We don’t often connect the word “spiritual” with anything physical. We have ideas and notions that lead us to believe that anything spiritual is heart based, or based in the cosmos. I am leading a 9 month shamanic intensive and the participants are diving into shamanic journeying and creating relationships with their allies (shamanic helpers or spirit helpers, as we call them). These helpers guide us in making informed decisions, healing our past, and helping us to see our own strength. Incredible connections are being made during this weekend and the group is creating a unique community among themselves. Recently, I taught them how to make rawhide rattles from scratch. We made pairs of handheld rattles, vs ones with a handle (stay tuned and I will tell you the benefits of this type of rattle in another email). Everyone was excited to make rattles but didn’t realize the challenges that would come up, in the process of cutting (real animal skin), sewing (they had to sew wet rawhide) and removing the sand once the rattles dried (it can take a long time!). Some of their strings split, making it impossible to sew, some of the holes were uneven, etc. The whole project took a lot more effort than they thought. It pushed their buttons, reminding them of how they judge themselves, made them feel like they weren’t doing it right and a whole slew of resistance came to the surface. One by one, they asked for help and let it in. They let me help them, and they helped one another. One by one, they worked through their discomfort so that they could complete their project. And not one, but two rattles were what they were required to make! After two days of focusing on rattle making, they finished with wonderful, heartfelt tools that were completely unique to them; ones that will aid them on their journey forward. Observing this process reminds me of my first rattle making. It also makes me think about the things in our life that are “hard”, the things we avoid, or make about stories about, but they wind up turning out to be our greatest teachers and ones we are quite proud of. At the end of the day, nothing beats a result that you achieved (in our case, the rattles) after you doubted that you would finish it. So I wonder. Is there something in your life that you are struggling with? Something that you want to create, or are in the process of creating and it just isn’t going the way you planned? And sometimes, it’s all about how we manage ourselves through that process. Do we give up right away? Do we ask for help? Do we allow ourselves to receive that help without judging ourselves for it? Go ahead and let the help in, and be patient with yourself through the process. I included a pic of one of the sets of rattles that were made. Some of them will be painted and some of them will be plain. All will be cherished for the medicine we received during the process it took to birth them.
Have a beautiful day,
P.s. If you are interested in making rattles for yourself, or feel like you want to dive into a container of like minded folks who are learning a shamanic-centered spiritual practice, visit this page for more information.