Shamanism is both a personal healing practice and a healing practice for others.

It teaches me that 'others' includes everything and everyone, "All My Relations":

I greet the People, my neighbors in Quechua as I cross each threshold. I do this because:

  • everything is alive
  • everything has aware and has consciousness
  • everything can communicate
  • everything grows and changes and unfolds
  • everything is connected

I am learning, at long last, to be polite, to be a good neighbor to ALL of my neighbors.

"Allillanchu, sumaq pachamamachaykaypi! Allillanchu hatun sumaq mallkirunakunachay! Allillanchu abikuna! Allillanchu Inti Taytay, Mama Killa, sumaq q'ayma anqas hanaqpacha! Allillanchu phuyukuna! Allillanchu wayqechay wayra, panachay para! Allillanchu sumaq unu! sumaq allyu! Allillanchu sumaq runakuna, sumaq nunarunakuna! Ñoqaqa Robert Jeffrey Rich, wawariki! Sonqoywan munay. Añchatam añanchaquyky."

"Hello, my dear, beautiful Pachamama here! Hello, my dear big, beautiful Tree People! Hello, birds! Hello Father Sun, Mother Moon, beautiful blue upper world! Hello clouds! Hello Brother Wind, Sister Rain! Hello beautiful water! Hello, beautiful neighbors! Hello, beautiful People, beautiful Spirit People! I am Robert Jeffrey Rich, your little one. Heart-felt love to you. Thank you (for your kanchaq, your Light, and for sheltering me and watching over me. (I say this part in English because I don't know how yet in Quechua.)"

I greet my office and my business as old friends, thanking them for providing for me a living and a beautiful place in which to practice it.

I greet my home with love and tenderness, for it shelters me and gives me a beautiful place in which to rest.

These places and these inhabitants are all People, all my neighbors. I greet my human neighbors, too :-)

My eyes and my heart now see the trees and see when they suffer from lack of rain; I feel it in my body ("everything is connected"). 

I am learning how connected I am, and how oblivious I have been to this connection. My eyes and my heart are only just beginning to open.

As I pursue these connections, I begin seeing them in my healing work: I learn in constellations how we are nourished by the land we come from, and I learn how the land can work against us when we do not see it or know its story.

I learn again and again that I am not alone; I am beautifully held within a rich web of connection, affecting it and likewise being affected by it.

I learn how disconnected I am, still, and how far I have yet to go.

Everything I do, say, think matters. Because it touches everyone.

Everything is connected.

I learn again and again that this is always and only a world of 'we' and never a world of 'I'.

As my heart grows, my harshness is worn away by the grit of connection and lubricated and softened by my tears, the pains that are part and parcel of shedding yet another useless, worn-out skin.

I learn that instead of getting smaller, I grow larger, more beautiful and more whole with each skin shed, each tear, each tantrum. The tantrum is part of the shedding: when a snake sheds a skin, it writhes and thrashes to get that thing off!

So do I. Not always pretty in the moment, but always beautiful after.

With each new step, I learn that there is more power -- and more awareness, more chores, and more responsibility -- and more opportunities to 'get it wrong' in a much bigger way than before.

Give it up? Hell no! I can't wait to see what happens next!

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Jeffrey Rich, LMT 656, is a practitioner and educator in the healing arts living and working in Huntsville, AL. A Licensed Massage Therapist, he is certified in Orthopedic Massage by OMERI, Certified Systemic and Family Constellations Facilitator. Jeffrey is a Shamanic Practitioner and teacher who studies and practices the Andean Cosmology and Core Shamanism.
Being a true Gemini, he has two websites,
www.shining-mountain.com and www.waterwillowmoon.com
He owns waaay too many books for his own good.