Life All In

I used to talk about the idea of “work hard, play hard.” Kind of a life mantra, though I also really like the one I started using during my MBA program, “make work fun.” Yet both of these don’t truly capture it or me. I have something better, which I just realized today on my drive up to the farm – Life All In.

Work hard, play hard is great, but it also is hard. Why does it have to be hard? If you have a passion for something, anything, even work, then it isn’t really hard – it’s your passion. The idea of fun really doesn’t capture it all either. Fun is great, but it doesn’t quite capture that level of satisfaction that comes with doing or creating something of significance in your personal or professional life.

On my drive, I thought about how I like to do things, all things. What I really do when I’m getting the most out of each moment, each task, each mission. No matter what I’m doing, I’m always all in. Not everyone understands this, and there are a lot of folks that don’t live their life this way, and that’s great too.

I choose to live my life all in.

Being all in means that you are giving life everything you’ve got. You enjoy and savor it all. We’ve heard the adage of “what you put into something is what you get out of it.” More accurately for me, it is the idea that the more you put into something the more you’ll get out of it. I’ve had that as a belief since I was a teenager.

It’s the same with life – the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

I live life up to the edge, full out, no matter what I do, with a passion and an intensity of focus. Gig? Bring it. Create something new? Bring it. Take up a new passion? Bring it. I’m all in.

There is no namby pamby about it. There is no hemming and hawing. There is no thought of “let me just stick my toes in and see if the water is warm enough.” I just know. Yes, I do my homework and my due diligence. I decide. And I do it. If it works and if I like it, I keep doing it. And I give it everything I’ve got.

I do things, and I do them with a passion and with an intensity for life. The few times I haven’t, to me it results in complacency. When you’re complacent, you’re not growing, you’re not experiencing all life has to offer in each moment. You’re stagnant. You’re not living your passion. You’re holding part of yourself back from the world, but more importantly, you’re holding it back from yourself. You dull your shine.

No matter what you do, do it all in. Let your light shine. Bring it. See how that shifts your life to this amazing brilliance and vibrancy. Even the little things all around you shift, and you see them with new eyes.

When I was young, that intensity for life perhaps burned a little too bright sometimes. Balance in life is always a great thing. Not all work, not all play, some rest too.

Now? That intensity is still there, but it’s focused into a fabulously hot, smoldering coal. It’s a fire that consistently burns and fuels whatever it is I want to do in my life. It is flame tempered with awareness of myself. Awareness of who I am, what I want, what makes me happy. It is awareness of what I can do, what I can’t do and what I choose to do.

If it makes me happy, I do more of that. Now. Tomorrow. The next day. But I don’t do it half-assed, I’m all in. This intensity of focus has made me a great lobbyist. A great friend. A great team player and leader. A great beloved. A great life coach and healer.

I don’t let limiting beliefs stop me. I don’t let fear stop me. I grab fear’s hand, partner with it and I go for it anyway. If it is something I want to do, I do it anyway, all in.

A lobbyist I worked with, whom I greatly respect, once said to someone about me as we were talking, “this one? This one here will go up to anyone and ask them for their yes, she’s not afraid to make the ask.” He was comparing me to others who he felt were afraid to make the ask. That was one of the coolest compliments I have ever received.

Got fear? Do it anyway. Anything else would not be all in.

Taking what I love and mixing in this intensity of focus allows me to accomplish so many things in life. I feel like I pack so much in, into every day, every moment, with so many different things and different people. There is this amazing tapestry that has been woven, with all of these gorgeous threads, creating this strong yet soft, textured, vibrant fabric. Sure, there have been holes in the fabric, who doesn’t have their challenges in life? But the darning of those holes has made the fabric even more robust, stronger.

It can take people, even my friends, a long time to discover and know all the threads of who I am and of what makes this fabric of my life, because it is such a rich tapestry, robust and full. I can be somewhat of a mystery, though it’s not intentional, there is just so much there to be discovered in the package of who I am. It’s like a present that just keeps giving with new surprises each day adding zest to each moment.

I find this intensity for life sometimes can be intimidating to other people, and I spent a lot of my life trying to tamp down the shine, especially in my personal life. I don’t do that anymore. Life is too short. I don’t apologize for who I am or for being happy. I’m happy and there is too much to do, too much to enjoy! I just keep shining.

I surround myself with confident, passionate people who encourage me to shine, just as I encourage them to shine, with whatever they want to do, whatever their hopes and dreams. You’ll find that my friends are strong people, who live their dreams, who know themselves, who do what makes them happy, who love what they do and who live life on their own terms.

Just as I live my life all in. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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What is Shamanic Healing?

On the top of the Pyramid on the Sun at Teotihuacan, Dec. 31, 2014
On the top of the Pyramid on the Sun at Teotihuacan, Dec. 31, 2014, Dawn of a New Dream, with the don Miguel Ruiz family

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 bilderbs@earthlink.net for a free 30 minute “Let’s get started session.”