|Connect with Nature:
Regain Your Balance in the Modern World
Even if you live in the middle of a city, the earth is beneath your feet emanating her power of love.
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I've been a part of the Huichol culture now for almost forty years, and one of the most amazing traits they have is an ability to let go of negative emotions that can arise in stressful situations and refocus their thoughts on positive feelings. Yes, even very traditional people living in partial isolation from the modern world have to deal with stress and challenges! For just about everyone in our society today, it is less a question of whether or not we are under stress, but more a discussion about how much stress we are experiencing. Short intermittent bouts of stress are what can make us stronger and help us develop as individuals. But long-term constant stress is something that must be coped with. A look at some of the simple time-proven tools the Huichols use can be potent skills to help you immediately in this moment make those positive shifts in your own life.
Reconnect With Nature
Shamanism by definition is to develop a relationship with nature: to go out and experience the wind on your cheeks, the beauty and sound of a stream or the ocean, to draw in the incredible colors of a sunrise or a sunset. These are ancient tools of transformation that are available to each and every one of us still today. Even if you live in the middle of a city, the earth is beneath your feet emanating her power of love. A simple exercise that enables you to shift stress and bring positive thoughts and feelings is to walk slowly outside and with each step visualize love coming into your body from Mother Earth. The Huichols do this. You can too!
Draw in Light
In addition to accessing the love of the earth, a second power of nature is light. The sun has light, a candle or fire has light, the stars have light, and we as human beings are made up of light. But sometimes the light that is in each cell of our bodies can feel overshadowed by negative emotion like fear, anger, or jealousy. If you find yourself feeling like that inner light needs to brighten up a bit, go outside and visualize the light of the sun streaming into your body through the top of your head. Sit in front of a candle or fire and breathe that light in through your heart. Simple but powerful, this effective tool that comes from ancient times will quickly bring a positive focus and sense of well-being to your soul.
Isolation fosters negative emotions, whereas being part of a community tends to help diffuse stress and reduce feelings of needing immediate solutions to challenges we are facing. Most importantly, it provides a human being with a renewed sense that life is a wondrous positive experience. This is ancient shamanic wisdom that can be utilized in the modern world.
Laughter is medicine for the soul. It relaxes an over-burdensome sense of self-importance or self-responsibility that says we need to have everything in order before we can be happy. In fact, often the opposite is true. When we can just laugh or make a joke about something that is troublesome, we experience a sigh of relief and can regain trust that all things will work out in life.
Move Your Body
The Huichols have a very mobile lifestyle, walking to gather wood, water and grow their corn. They understand the regenerative effect of walking and are fortunate to have this as a byproduct of living in harmony with the world around them. Many of us lack this simple luxury and suffer the side effects of a more sedentary lifestyle, especially a reduction in the naturally occurring "feel good" hormones that are released when we move. If your attitude needs a shift, try a walk or hike as a way to activate this ancient tool of bringing balance to your body and soul.
Brant Secunda is the Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation, Center for Shamanic Studies and is the co-author of the award winning book Fit Soul, Fit Body. As the close companion and grandson of Don José Matsuwa, Brant completed a 12-year shaman's apprenticeship with him in Mexico. Brant leads seminars and retreats worldwide. For more information go to www.danceofthedeer.com
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