Here’s where I found my inspiration this morning… I booted up the computer to an inspirational video from the gig on the big project I’m working on.
It came from the initial research I did back in January and February. It is amazing to see how things start and where they end up, how it progresses. I think the same can be said for any project, gig or effort in life.
It often starts with the mundane steps. Though “mundane” or “boring” is a story we tell ourselves. In this case, I spent days in the archives (physically and online), and I found an amazing book and researched it as well. Now this brilliant video has been created out of that research by a lot of smart, creative folks, and I can’t wait to share with everyone! It’s one of those things where I can’t wait to see what happens next.
This whole process is a great reminder for life and for all things. Like building my coaching practice, building my business, being an entrepreneur or starting any dream. It first starts from the foundational work, the basics, consistent practice and dedication to showing up.
By showing up, day after day, the magic happens. You can have the magic when you do the work to allow it to happen. Can’t wait to see what happens next!
Most folks have known me over the last 25+ years as a highly driven lobbyist. Though I am no longer a lobbyist, I am still in the field of public policy, as Director of Public Policy for a local non-profit, educating folks on important public policy issues impacting long-term consumers. I am also a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, a Shamanic Healer, founder of a spiritual/charitable non-profit and an ordained minister.
Whew, that’s a lot of hats! But I like it that way. I have always worn lots of hats. From a shamanic standpoint, we call them masks. Each one is a part of who I am. Together, with a lot of other masks, they make up the whole of me. But yet, not quite. I do not identify myself with any of them really – they are all labels, words to create an understanding, a picture or a story of me, and I am not attached to them. We all create and wear masks as a part of our ability to relate with others and to identify ourselves to others.
I bring all of who I am to every aspect of my life – to my public policy work, to my business and to my charitable work. I am always my authentic self, I just do not put every label or identity on myself for everyone I meet. There were times in my life where I was very attached to many things, such as to the identity of being a lobbyist. I allowed it to define me and who I am.
When we are able to detach from identities, beliefs and things, we can heal and balance ourselves. This is part of my life coaching and shamanic practice. Through this process, working on myself first, I have healed myself in so many ways and found a great sense of peace and happiness. Sure, things happen in life, but I am able to navigate the rougher waters and transform myself in the process, creating new beauty in my life.
A great book on the topic of attachment is from don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., The Five Levels of Attachment. It explains how we attach ourselves to beliefs, others around us and the world to the detriment of ourselves and our authentic or essential self. Overly attaching to things, people or situations, also ties into issues with having and maintaining healthy boundaries. In drawing on ancient wisdom for finding your true self, don Miguel, Jr. explores the five levels of attachment through which we cause suffering in our own lives, which are: Fanaticism, Internalization, Identification, Self Preference and Authentic Self.
I also recommend The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz and The Fifth Agreement by don Jose Ruiz, “be skeptical but learn to listen.” The Four Agreements are:
Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
The Ruiz family members are shamans, practicing in the Toltec tradition. I have studied with them online and in person. Over the last 15+ years, I have had extensive shamanic and metaphysical training from many organizations and teachers, including intensive studies with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. (read more on other pages at http://www.sheribilderback.com). And yes…all this while being a lobbyist too!
I do all of my life coaching and shamanic healing sessions via phone, which has proven to be quite powerful for my clients. Shamanic healing done in this way is called “distance shamanic healing” – an apt term. The idea behind distance work is that all times are one time and all places are one place, that energy connects everything like a web – think of the internet and how it connects everything, kind of like magic!
But what is shamanic healing?
The idea behind metaphysical, shamanic or spiritual healing is that over thousands of years our ancestors from every continent learned how to access spiritual sources of power, compassion and wisdom, which otherwise are ordinarily accessible just through dreams, myths, and near-death experiences. The shamanic, spiritual or metaphysical practitioner is trained to contact these sources, in what is called non-ordinary reality, and bring back healing and answers for the benefit of the individual and the community in what is called ordinary reality.
For more on this, you may wish to read Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner. Through his extensive anthropological work, Michael Harner distilled the core principles and concepts that proved consistent between indigenous societies around the world, into what he calls Core Shamanism. He created the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.
As a practitioner of metaphysical, spiritual and shamanic healing, I use drumming, music or rattling, to enter the shamanic state of consciousness to access spiritual sources of wisdom to be used for the benefit of the client during the session together, or to guide the client on a meditation. This may involve various metaphysical methods and/or core shamanic healing methods, such as power animal retrieval, shamanic divination, spirit ally ‘medicine’ retrievals (i.e. energies from the spirits), shamanic extractions (i.e. removal of things that don’t belong in the energy bodies and that can cause disease) and soul retrievals (i.e. we can lose pieces of ourselves through trauma and various situations in life, which can cause illness or hurt our ability to heal from illness).
Author Louise Hay gives a great description of the word disease as “dis-ease.” The idea is that when we have disease or illness, there is an unease or a lack of ease with ourselves and our body. There is something that is disconnecting us and our mind, body and spirit connection resulting in or contributing to illness in the body. When we work to heal the mind, body and spirit connection, we can aid in our healing. Life coaching and shamanic healing work helps us heal the mind, body and spirit connection.
There are many sources of studies and many traditions of shamanic healing and other methods for which I have been trained and that you may wish to research (shamanic healing, crystal gemstone healing, Reiki and more). Please note that these are metaphysical, shamanic and spiritual services. I am not a licensed physician, and my services are not medical treatments. A good basis for the concepts involved may be found in the article/interview with Michael Harner, Shamanic Healing: We are Not Alone.
There is so much more that I could share here! I think this provides a good overview. Wishing you love, happiness and health!
P.S. If you’d like to learn more and perhaps schedule a session with me, you can email me at email@example.com for a free 30 minute “Let’s get started session.”
“Are you in your business or are you in their business?” Such a juicy coaching question. I *love* this question! It all of a sudden puts the brakes on, causes you to look around and just…stop. Wow.
Well, at least that’s what happens to me when a fellow coach tosses that cookie to me. I slowly chew every delicious bite and then ask for my glass of milk and pat myself on the head. Satisfying.
Sweet clarity. It provides a great way to pull yourself out of the muck and mire – what I like to call the “igh” – and get a clear look at a situation. Dust yourself off, hold that stuff in your hand and look at it. Be the observer. Ask yourself, “Am I in my business, or am I in their business?” “Is this my stuff? Or is this their stuff?”
We can only control ourselves and our own stories – our own business, our own stuff. Other people’s stuff is simply that – theirs. And newsflash…it really says nothing about you! Pause and let that one sink in. … I know, right? Powerful.
I’m sure that I will be writing more about The Four Agreements and related books by the family of don Miguel Ruiz, which gets into this concept of our stories. I also wrote about it in my blog post The Power of Story, Creating Your Life.
I know there have been many times in my life where I’ve internalized the stories of others – their views and opinions about me. And what did that result in? All it gave me was drama filled plot twists.
I carried around their stuff, their bucket of igh and made it mine.
Not so fun, right? Let’s take it a step further. Ask yourself some of these questions…
Are you one of those people who feels everything strongly?
Do you walk into a room and feel the mood of the group as if it were your own?
Do you find yourself sensitive to the emotions of others?
Do you cry – I mean *really* cry – at sad movies?
There are a lot more questions I could ask, but if you answered yes to most of those, chances are that you’re an “empath.”
By the word “empath,” I don’t mean “having empathy” or ” having sympathy” for someone – that’s not quite it. We all do that. Being an empath is like having empathy on steroids. It takes it to a deeper level.
As an empath, you actually feelwhat the other person is feeling. In fact, it can go so deep for some folks that they even feel physical symptoms when someone they are close to is sick. Have you ever had that happen? It’s a little less common, but it shows how many different ways you can be an empath.
As an empath, if you accept the stories and opinions of others as defining you, you also accept the emotions that come with it from other people. You internalize their stories and you internalize their emotions. Just toss some more igh into that bucket of stuff you’re carrying.
I recently taught a tele-class on this concept for fellow coaches and just had this conversation with a friend over the weekend, where you could almost see the light bulb turn on. Stunned silence. In my experience, when folks hear about this idea it results in silence, quickly followed by something like “Damn, really??! Omg, that’s me! It explains so much of my life!”
Quickly followed by, “omg, what can I do?” My first response is always, ask yourself, “Is this mine? Or is this someone else’s?” – a variation on the coaching idea that started off this post.
Being an empath is a huge gift. It helps you to understand others. It also comes with a burden – you lug around that bucket of stuff from others. That is before you know how to work with it.
Pretty cool, huh?
Yeah, I love that a-ha moment. I had a student I’ve been teaching for the last two years who says knowing this literally changed her life. It helped her relationships with other people and got her off of this emotional roller coaster. She set down that bucket of stuff she had been carrying for years.
She told me that she always just called herself a “New Yorker *itch” – she is NY through and through and loves it. But after her “ah-ha” moment, she realized that was never true – it was only that she was always overloaded with the emotions of other people. Can you imagine being in such a big city and not knowing your were an empath and feeling everything from folks around you?
I know that place well myself. It was years before I figured this out. I’ve been a lobbyist for 25 years. Imagine not knowing any of this and being a lobbyist working crazy hours on highly controversial issues surrounded by the strong emotions of others?
Yeah, this realization changed my life too. So I wanted to share it here with you. The next time you are in a situation and feel overwhelmed with emotion, ask yourself, “is this mine? or is this someone else’s?”
If the answer is no, set down that bucket of stuff.