Monday, June 27, 2016

Dreaming Muscle

It was raining this morning when Gérard and me decided to take the dogs out for a walk.  Summer time is the only season where I enjoy being outdoors when it rains.  I think even the dogs appreciated the scene despite the fact that they were dripping wet by the time we returned home.  They played for a while in the backyard and we were able to towel them down before heading into house.  Suddenly a rainy morning became a moment of perfection where all of our senses were wide open and savoring.

I noticed recently that Gérard and I often share our dreams during our dog walk in early morning.  I think part of it is because “our dreams are still fresh in our minds” and we are still trying to figure out their meaning.  My teacher on the other hand, probably would have pointed out “how nature gives us better access to dream imprints” – explaining why we always start our conversations as we reach the park.  As traditional Dreamers, Gérard and I were taught to remember “impressions” rather than countless dream details. 

I was telling a student of mine recently how much times have changed.  Honestly I never thought the day would come where I would actually utter these words especially when it comes to Spirituality, Shamanism, and Dreaming.  In most cases people still explore dreaming from Jung and Freud’s perspectives.  When you look at dreaming and psychology or psychoanalysis it seems nothing has moved since the 20th century.  Yet, people have changed and so have their dreams.

Indigenous Dreaming explores dreaming as a connection between man and nature / man and the stars.  Details like over population, urbanism, and technology influences human nature and human behavior.  So much so that it eventually affects the way we dream about “our World and our environment.” 

Lately Gérard and I often start our dream discussions with the statement: “I had a strange dream last night.” 

More and more we notice that our dreams carry details and impressions; which are unfamiliar or “new to us.”  Last night’s dream for example was about a man who was trying to break into my home.  In the dream I recognized the man even though he was a total stranger to me.  I knew the man wanted me harm; and I took every precaution to lock every window and every door to keep him out.  I could hear him from outside shouting threats. 

He was warning me: “Your actions are futile.  I will be coming in.”

I woke up somewhat baffled and with a series of questions:

·      Why didn’t she call on neighbors or loved ones?
·      Why didn’t she call on the police?

The impression was that “I was looking into someone else’s reality”.  After sharing the dream with Gérard he informed me that before our dog walk, he had driven his mother to the courthouse; where she was a witness in a trial against a man who had broken into their apartment a year ago.  The man had violently broken down their door. 

Gérard wondered:

·      Why dream about my mother?
·      How does the dream connect to you?

The answers seemed so obvious and clear to me:

·      I dreamt of her because I was meeting with him in the morning and he was worried he would have to cancel.
·      The dream connects to me in a circular way – through my connection with him.

“That simple?” he asked trying to find another perspective. 

Honestly I was quite happy with the fact that I we managed to identify the character in my dream as his mother.  It seemed to answer all my questions.  G’s mom is not someone who readily asks for assistance.   She’s also not the kind of person who would jump to the conclusion that “someone would take advantage of their age and want them harm.”  The attitude of the dream character was so unlike me that it puzzled me.

I find I’m often able to let go of dreams after I identify the characters and identify the meaning behind the dream.  In this case this dream was informative:

·      It informed me about an event; which occurred last year and the lasting effects of it. 
·      It informed me that Gérard was helping his parents: Driving them to the courthouse.
·      And finally, it spoke of his mother and her issues with depending on others.

For hundreds of thousands of years humans have dreamt about the weather; their environment; territory; and journeying.  It’s always been a blessing for a hunter to dream about a herd of caribou for example, and to be able to identify where its hiding in a valley.  In ancient times some dreams allowed family members to visit while territories apart.  It’s only recent that dreaming has become about “subconscious issues”.  By changing our “focus” when it comes to survival we’ve also changed the purpose of our dreams.

I often tend to dream similarly to my ancestors.  People often laugh at me because I seem to be only person they know who refuses to depend on a cell phone. 

Yet, like I often explain:  “It’s this life choice; which allows me to dream of others and their reality.”

I don’t consider myself “a psychic” and yet, the information I receive on others through my dreams is always very accurate.  I tend to use my “dreaming skill” as a technology that was used for millenniums by my ancestors.  Unlike many people in my life, I can tell you 48 hours in advance whether we should leave earlier for the airport because of traffic; or cancel a supper downtown because of a snowstorm; or expect car trouble on the way to a workshop… 

If you don’t use a muscle it often looses it’s strength, and the same applies to dreaming!


P.S. I plan to write a few blogs on dreaming because next week we are launching a two year POWER HUNT.  Many of the participants will inevitably search for ways to be stronger dreamers!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Renewal: A Path of Purpose

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog entry and it isn’t for lack of life experience.  Where do I start?


Spring came late this year; but when it did finally arrive it was beautiful, incredible and sweet as it always is.  The lilacs bloomed, the bushes were filled with flowers, the cedars sprouted through the fence, and the fresh perfume of grass and moss filled our nostrils.  So we couldn’t breath without sneezing for a month:  So what? The sunshine, the warmth and the flowers; they were all worth it.  Every year Spring is different and yet, every year Spring is Spring.  


Gérard and I give circles and dreaming workshops every year and when our regulars (students / dreamers) arrive we always tell them “how much they’ve changed.”  We may recognize their faces and their mannerisms; but their life story can be recognized through their attitudes, their body postures, and their eyes even. They are always surprised when we approach them with a word or comment that summarizes the last 9 to 12 months of their lives.

“How do you know?” they often ask.

One of the greatest complaints people bring to us (Gérard and me) is that of being “meaningless or invisible” in the lives of others.

“They don’t care, I don’t count…” are phrases we often hear. 

There seems to be this collective need to be heard, to be understood, and to be important to others.  Who doesn’t want purpose?  It’s not so much about “belonging” as it is about “being safe and secure” the way we believe we were in our mother’s womb.  We want to be welcomed, wanted, celebrated, and most of all accepted; but unfortunately we’re not given the path to purpose.   We agree we are all in search of the same experiences, yet even after all this time (250,000 years or more on Earth) we still don’t teach each other and our children the way to resolution. 

I told a friend / student today:  “Perhaps it’s because we don’t want it to end.  Perhaps the soul is so entranced with the endless potential of renewal that it has created an experience that can hypothetically always exist.”

Too many people create drama these days because they are looking to play centre stage in their lives and the lives of others.  I believe we are all born for a reason. We are exploring a story that hasn’t quite given us the ending yet.  Every incarnation gets us closer to understanding what the soul is pursuing.  I have no doubt we are all “seekers.”  Why else would we persevere through so many ordeals, challenges, and hardships? 

When people ask me: “What do you do in life?” 

I’m always somewhat surprised by the answers they expected.  People identify themselves to jobs and schooling.  They are conditioned to do two things:  Attempt to impress you or over power you.   Once they have done both, they are completely comfortable to tell you “they are mess”.   They were told and then, come to believe they are “worthless;” and yet they want YOU to believe they are “better than you.” It’s the constant inconsistencies; which throws us off…   

“We are all fucked up right?”  said a client once…

I believe the “World and a good number of the people in it are fucked up”; but I’ve never believed I was… 

The premise of our work (G and me) is to recognize that we all came into this World to live a story and that LIFE gives us an opportunity to experience and to react to this story.  Nothing is random and without reason.  My particular story fits me and in that attitude I feel gratitude and I feel blessed. 

Today a friend and elder thanked me for sharing my story with others. 

She said: “I don’t know if you realize how much your personal testimony gives courage, faith and hope to others?  You are important to people.”

I have two adult children and since the age of 23 years old they both chose to journey spiritually through a shamanic path.  In other words, they have joined the “flock” (so to speak).  I’ll admit that at first I was a bit worried about how they would integrate our shamanic community.  I was pleasantly surprised when they took their place like anyone else and accepted to do their work and explore their story with open curiosity and sincerity. 

In one of our Moonlodge circles / workshop my daughter openly admitted: “I do not come from a dysfunctional family.” 

In tears she explained how despite her happy family background she still struggles with attitudes, behaviours, and relationships. 

“I’m not happy” she acknowledged, “and I have to figure my shit out like anyone else. I fear that my story and my life’s challenges won’t be taken seriously because I can’t justify them by referring to a dysfunctional home setting.”   

Through her testimony several people realized that “blaming trauma, our parents and our upbringing” may not be the answer behind “why we are so discontent, lost and knee deep in addictions.”  There comes a point where it’s about truly exploring one’s inner basic nature.  What’s our story and what is it about it that brings us here and now?

When I call my adult children these days I always ask them: “What’s new?” 

The Medicine Wheel has 12 elements: 

  • Clarity, knowledge and illumination (East)
  • Growth, trust and love (South)
  • Experience, introspection and strength (West)
  • Renewal, purification and wisdom (North)

·        Out of the 12 elements we rarely speak of “renewal”.  Actually, clarity, growth, trust, love, experience, strength and wisdom over shadows the remaining elements.  The fact remains that these elements are steps in the journey and if we jump from stone to stone we inevitably explore every piece of the puzzle; which ultimately leads to “renewal.”   

By asking my adult children “what’s new” I ask them “what changed in you and in your life since the last time we spoke.”  I open the door to their stories; but mostly I open the door to the lessons learnt and the “renewal” it brought forth.  I want to know about “who they are becoming.”

‘You’ve changed” we tell them showing them that we’ve been watching, listening and following their journey. 

It’s so important to be each other’s witness.  

I’ve always told my children: “You don’t have to work over time to be included in my World or my story.  I chose to bring you into my / our story when you were born and I make sure every day to let you play your role.” 

It’s the same words that I use with my students as they become part of our growing family / community.  Teaching people how to step into their story and understand the connection it may have to my story and the story of others is what I do in life… I’m good at sharing blessings and I believe we can all learn to become generous with the LIFE we’ve chosen to explore. 

P.S.  At the end of every blog I feel like I could write so much more about so much more….  Leave a comment and you may get me started all over again!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moon of Inter-Relations.

I recently promised I would write about the Moon of Inter-Relations; which happens to be the Moon we are experiencing right now until the Full Moon of March (2016). I specify the year / or date because according to a Moon calendar based on the Blue Moon cycle -- the Moon of Inter-relations doesn't always fall at the same time during the year.  The Moon of Inter-Relations is the 7th Moon, found in the South of the Medicine Wheel.  She is definitely influenced by the elements of growth, trust and love. 

It makes sense doesn’t it?  No inter-relationship can survive without these three elements.

When I was a child I loved dolls.  Each doll had a name and a story.  It was only after having children that I noticed they too adopted the same kind of behaviour.  They didn’t need anyone to teach them how to connect to the World around them; they related to their toys in the same way that I had once did.  I believe that children are born knowing about  “their fragments.”  They are somewhat aware that they’ve existed before and that they carry within themselves countless pieces of the past, present and future. I remember when CT (my son) was 7 years old.  He woke up one morning explaining to me that "he spent the night running after a part of himself who was always 24 hours faster than him."  

Such comments from our children do make us giggle but when they are common enough to occur all the time and with every child -- they are science. It’s our job as adults to confirm and validate our children's experiences even if it may be unlike anything we've experienced or seen before.  I also believe that our physical body is designed to archive, trigger, and give us access to these inner characters and their personal stories.  They hold keys to a bright or difficult future.  No doubt they are the roots to learning and healing.  The whole point perhaps is to bring resolution and closure to a cluster of legends.

All 7 year olds learn the same basic lessons; but they all come about these lessons differently.   When working with Moons I often ask my students to remember and share one story for each Moon.  These stories often reveal very unique and sometimes eccentric characters who have particular habits, struggles, and even abilities / skills.  It’s through remembering our inner children and their realities as well as how they dealt with them that we can best get to know ourselves.  I often suggest some distance when exploring fragments so that we can truly hear them speak and share from their perspective rather than our expectations and ideals. 

The idea of soul retrieval isn’t to control our personal story and rewrite it.  It’s to develop the ability to listen and to truly hear what different members of our inner community are sharing.  They have numerous functions for which the ultimate one is to bring us to wholeness and what we call “Oneness.”

It’s only once we can “inter-relate” that we can truly “relate” to the World around us.

At a recent Grandmother Lodge gathering, I explained to our Circle that the Moon of Territory was teaching us about how “we take space, have roots, and are fundamentally connected to the land we are born on…” I have several ladies in my group who are from France, Ireland and other Canadian Provinces outside of Quebec.  Each of these women has strong ties to what they call “home.” Do they still call their native land home because their parents still remain on the territory or is it because a part of themselves hears  “a call” from the land and its ancestry? 

( I leave it to these ladies to answer the question in the comment section of the blog. Some stories should always be shared first hand.)

Since all Moons are connected within a cycle and influence each other, you need to explore the Moon of Inter-Relation by considering the Moon of Territory.   Imagine yourself holding two skipping ropes with the help of a partner.   The rope, its movement and rhythm represent the Moon of Territory.   We as the actors of our Wheel are the “jumpers;” we incarnate a story for a lapse of time.  The people holding the ropes represent the Moon of Inter-Relation (a fragment):  They hold space (so to speak). 
In most instances we have no idea who is at the end of “our rope.” Every day, we create movement, and rhythm in our lives.  We are the creators or instigators of experiences and stories; which inevitably brings us to learning, healing, and growth.  As a traditional Dreamer I approach life as if it was a constant series of dreams.  I pay attention to the synchronicities (what some call “omens) and inherently interpret the details / hear the messages hidden in my every-day-story.  I’ve come to see “life” as Mystery and phenomenon. 

Today at the age of 50 years old there’s no doubt in my mind that what holds the other end of my rope loves me and works along with me.  God, Spirit, Creator, or Guidance – these are a few names I’ve given my partner on the other side of “my rope.”

Yet, there were days during the last 50 years where all I could see or say was: “I’m at the end of my rope.”  I didn’t always give one end of my rope to God, Spirit or Guidance.  There were times when “my rope fell in the hands of people” who didn’t have ME in their best interest. 

I’ve been teaching the Medicine Wheel and Indigenous Dreaming for close to 30 years.  We (G and I) mostly work with young people between the age of 19 and 30 years old.  Recently, we’ve noticed that we’ve actually gone through a few generations of young people in the last three decades.  The youth of 2016 has suddenly hit us with new challenges and surprised us with new and sometimes even foreign perspectives.  The World has changed and although “young people will always be young people” they are rapidly showing us that stories have shifted; stories have been resolved; and we are now looking at a completely new series of tales with new and improved characters!

One question will always remain because no matter how many times "life changes or evolves" -- the teachings remain the same:  “Who is holding the end of our rope?”

Did you trust and rely on one of your wounded fragments or did you depend on the wounded fragment of a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or friend?

When exploring the Moon of Inter-Relation you need to follow a few steps:

1  Do a bit of self-discovery.  Acknowledge your fragments and get to know them.
2  Give space to your fragments (territory).  Explore your origins and bring consciousness, learning, healing and growth to your story.
3   Trust the end of your rope to caregivers, teachers and guides who want your best interest.  Don’t let others or yourself disempower your Wheel.
4  And finally don’t be afraid of transformation.  Accept a new perspective of “death” – see your fragments as pieces of a bigger puzzle and find a way to accept that “returning to wholeness and oneness” doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your uniqueness and power!  (A topic for another blog…)

If you are struggling with relationships you may want to take a moment to look inside towards your inner community and its conflicts.  Call in what you need and you may be surprised by the results. 

A young man recently asked me: “Lisa do you pray?” 

“Yes, every day” I replied, “I learnt to pray as a child and never stopped.  It makes me feel safe, serene, and grounded.” 

What it also does is “give the end of my rope” to a higher presence.  It allows me to explore “the names and stories” of these divine entities who truly want the very best for me.  It gives me access to my “library of fragments” and helps me develop the skill to be conscious of the alleged “invisible.”

There’s a domino affect between the Moons and we can’t forget that despite the notion of “fragmentation” on our Wheel, there’s also a pull towards the collective.  This means that “inter-relation” may apply in dominance to the 7th Moon but it has been created through small dosages of “inter-relation” all through the first 7 moons.  Take a moment to remember “inter-relation” all through:

1  The Moon of Welcome (0 to 12 months)
2  The Moon of Affirmation (12 – 24 months)
3  The Moon of Drama (3 years old)
4  The Moon of Self-Value (4 years old)
5  The Moon of Omnipotence (5 years old)
6  The Moon of Territory (6 years old)

It’s important while working with the concept or philosophy of the Medicine Wheel that you acknowledge both the fragment and the collective; the individual and the communal; and the ME or personal with the idea of wholeness and oneness.  Each anchor on your Wheel must be set in order for you to feel safe, sound, and whole.

   East is about incarnation, self-discovery and exploration:  A beginning.
   South is about attitude, behaviour, skill / ability, work:  MEDICINE / power.
   West is about duality, death, letting go and preparing for transformation and renewal:  Endings, closure, integration and resolution.
   North is about path and purpose, destiny, acceptance, forgiveness, and wisdom.  Here we see our whole wheel: All makes sense.

Where there are 36+ fragments on every Wheel – there’s also 36+ fragments attempting to work together and create ONE WHEEL.   The Moon of Inter-Relation brings us the understanding and wisdom of such a concept.  Imagine it’s the 7 year old inside of us who opened up the possibility that “we are all and all is us.”  It’s not coincidental that some cultures call the 7th year: The AGE of WISDOM. 

Traditionally Medicine Wheels are built by kneeling in the South.  This way we can keep our eye on our wisdom in the North.  It’s wonderful to acknowledge that every stone / fragment / piece of my Wheel resembles the Cosmos and is sprinkled with stars.  Wisdom, inter-relation, growth, experience, and / or clarity --- all of the details on my Wheel hold a little bit of everything and each other within them….


Photos: I added a few photos taken from workshops we've given; but with years between them....  Perhaps, some of you will be able to add some insights on the lessons and experiences relating to "inter-relations?"