Tip the Scales in 2018 by Fiercely Rooting in Wholeness
If all that's alive is a sacred expression of the Divine, so are you.
Nothing can change that. Our misalignments and imbalances offer us learning opportunities to enhance our consciousness, practice using our bodies to make better choices, and intensify our experiences, that's all. How we define and divine ourselves and our reality is totally up to us: in this lies the gift, curse, and power of being human.
- Loraine Van Tuyl
If you've missed hearing from me, thank you for noticing and for your patience during my mini hiatus. Perhaps you too have been tuning into stubborn feelings of resistance and taking your time to explore and wrap your head around these unfamiliar layers of darkness, wading more slowly and cautiously than usual through the thick muck.
Shielding myself from shadow, dense, and imbalanced energy that I regularly encounter along my path has never been a huge challenge for me, but towards the end of last year, I'd lost my mojo and special touch.
The sociopolitical climate was partly responsible. 2017 was a hard and trying year for many. It sometimes felt like a full-time job just to get through the day and buffer the non-stop blows and bombs dropped by either the White House & Co, by other exploitative moguls, leaders, organizations, and governing bodies, locally grown or worldwide, or by the people trying to overthrow or outdo them with more craziness and violence.
What made matters worse: I put myself more out there than usual after my book was released and I wasn't able to ground and regroup fast enough between radio shows, events, and traveling.
All this eventually took its toll and wore out my protective coating. I could no longer keep out and clear what needed to stay out. My body became riddled with painful, swollen glands and it felt as if invisible, harmful forces were poking holes through my immune system and attacking me. My weakened physical state and powerlessness turned into widespread self-doubt and chaos.
Lost without my Touchstone
My inner sense of balance and well-being had always been my touchstone and homebase, the central engine that propelled the manifestation of my dreams and goals. I was lost without it. Why wasn't I able to clear my body's energy field? Why was what had always worked no longer working?
I have a big tool box that's filled with all kinds of natural remedies: psychotherapeutic skills, depth hypnosis tools, intuitive, self-healing short-cuts, my potent, sacred 7 inner sanctuary meditation that I amplified with drum, rattle, and crystal healing rituals and extra doses of high vibrational and healing foods, essential oils, bikram yoga, and energy work when needed. None of it was working. I couldn't get under the dis-ease, and I felt stumped, frustrated, off, and in a fog.
I scratched my head for a while, staring at the barren branches and bleak, grey sky made of a single, never-ending cloud. The Goddess of Winter wanted me to stop and drop more deeply into myself to access her clarity.
I had been avoidant and ambivalent about completely surrendering to her guidance and come to think of it, had also grown a bit entitled and impatient over the years, trying to outsmart and outwit mystery by cutting corners. My rituals and routines had been running so smoothly, I sometimes expected them to work on auto-pilot while I ventured in new directions.
Our Growth Spiral Hitting Us Like a Curve Ball
I figured that this is what I would eventually write about, this circular growth spiral that can hit us like a curveball when what we are used to doing no longer gets us the same results. Especially our linear ego-mind resists these growth spurts and turns, but it can be trained to pivot and bend more gracefully.
Even though I wasn't able to root as quickly as I liked into my core strength and wholeness, I could still return to my fire-tested practices. Being able to faintly sense my truth and power stirring under the imbalances reassured me that I was going through growing pains that would eventually pass.
I'd witnessed growth spirals knock down my clients more times than I could count, but I needed to experience being thrown for a loop myself to deepen my compassion and refresh my beginner's mind.
This is what I gathered: treating debilitating pain and hard feelings as a messenger was the trickiest part. It felt like a glitch in the system and I feared that something was seriously wrong. It seemed counter-intuitive to sink more deeply into the experience and pain, as if this would somehow reinforce the problem.
But as soon as I gave into winter's guidance and wisdom, daring to dig my roots further down into her damp soil, I reached depths entirely new to me. What I saw as a detour wasn't a detour at all. Every tree that's ready to branch out needs to become sturdier and more firmly rooted into Mother Earth in order to expand out.
Our practical, logical ego-mind often resists the healing work that we need to do to align with our greatest potential and highest self, because healing and stretching require change, and change is uncomfortable.
I reluctantly recognized that remaining stagnant was more uncomfortable and painful than changing. This gave me incentive to embrace the message that had been trying to come through: our old ancestral, past-life, and early childhood trauma and wounds are majorly acting up and energizing our modern-day imbalances and current wounding, on purpose. We can't expect to grow and expand without tending to unfinished business.
Doing so will negatively impact our health, core beliefs, functioning and well-being in more ways than we realize. It may even be what's short-circuiting and sabotaging our overall well-being on a collective and fundamental level. Understandably so, as most of us get overwhelmed and confused by the complexity of all of this, are not aware that these old wounds can be retroactively healed, and if we do, often don't have the faintest idea where to begin.
Counting on Mysterious Guidance
Fortunately, mysterious guidance often leads us back to our core self, the seat of
our soul and true home, where all the answers await us. I dared to listen. A scheduled trip to my native Suriname toward the end of the year to celebrate my 25th anniversary with my relatives and childhood friends, and a visit to Awarradam, a village centered around eco-tourism in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, turned out to be beautifully in synch with my intuitive wisdom and urge to attend to deeply buried childhood and ancestral wounding.
I landed in Suriname after many years with an open heart and clear intention to experience what I knew to be true: there were pockets on the planet where people still practiced powerful and ancient ways of living harmoniously with one another and nature.
The Maroons of Suriname are such peoples, and hold a special place in my heart because we share the same African roots on my maternal side of the family and also share soulful worldviews that made me feel less alone and odd as a child. I'd done a good amount of healing work around this that I wrote about in my memoir, but there was more to do.
Living in Tune with the Natural World
It was impossible to ignore the ways in which the current government, the poor infrastructure, education system and lagging economy were hurting those living in the city (and the young people migrating from the jungle to obtain higher ed--middle school and beyond), but I was able to focus on absorbing the very special and critically endangered ways of life that a good number of indigenous people and Maroons living in the rainforest of Suriname (not near gold mines) still honored and have been practicing for centuries--i.e. living on pristine, clear river water in matrilineal villages that were structured around women's monthly cycles and completely dependent on the generosity, nutrients, guidance, and medicine provided by Mother Earth.
Reconnecting wholeheartedly with the highly-charged, Amazon rainforest, and those living right under her wings--the Maroon people--was very powerful. Breathtaking diverse life forms, power animals and nature spirits made meaningful appearances that uplifted me, and my beloved relatives, who I hadn't seen for years, treated me as if no time had passed.
I drank until my cup overflowed. When it was time to say goodbye and re-enter into Western, fast-paced life, I felt as shell-shocked as when I first moved to the US as a teenager, torn from the bosom of the only earth mother and community I'd ever known and had loved without any inhibitions.
This time around, I was able to infuse more spaciousness in the heartbreak and experience it full-on. Apparently, this is what had been ailing me and what my soul was guiding me to tap into and heal. My sorrow cracked the hard shells around the old and crusty adolescent wounds open, and my juices started to move again.
My heart swelled with love for my devastated, hurt self, already so deeply connected at her young age to mystery and to the mystical place of her birth and power. I grieved for her and all of us who are able to identify our soul's most primal longings and needs: the desire to live in sacred, uninhibited communion with earth and our own true, unconditioned wild nature. Waves of sobs and tears flowed freely from the mysterious depths that were no longer so mysterious.
The Soul Retrievals that Sealed the Energy Leaks
Acknowledging and feeling the raw pain of this profound loss somehow allowed me to reclaim its essence and my connection to my truth and Source with a heightened sense of awareness and fierce protectiveness. This inspired me to do a series of targeted soul retrievals that sealed the holes and leaks in my energy field and immune system, and helped me to come around full circle, a rung higher and wider than where I was before I was knocked down.
I felt invigorated and better prepared to branch out, but wondered how I could incorporate this new set of teachings into my mission. I was certain that my experience wasn't all that unique. Seekers and wisdom keepers on the path of consciousness probably bump up against these blocks and imbalances frequently.
I received validation at our annual Depth Hypnosis gathering that reports of being thrown by dark and imbalanced energy were on the rise in our sangha, so much so that our teacher, Isa Gucciardi, had us journey together to specifically strengthen our circle of solidarity, protection, connection and support to ward off this increase in adversity and negativity. I drummed my heart out and solidified the umbilical cord between me and my earth mother. Being so connected to her and my fierce brothers and sisters flushed my energy field with burning flames followed by a rushing river of cleansing water.
I couldn't help but wonder how in the world highly-sensitive, conscious and intuitive people who didn't have these kinds of resources and tools coped in this day and age? How many people struggle with what I just went through on some level and don't know how to access and connect to old wounding, their soul's basic needs and allies?
Do most perceive their symptoms purely as physical ailments, as mental illness or as some kind of chemical imbalance when they start to lose their psychological footing? Do they ever get to the bottom of issues?
At the height of my ordeal, which was exacerbated by a terrible case of the flu, I practically lived on anti-inflammatory, low-carb, plant-based foods, lots of citrus and green, leafy vegetables, lots of liquids, herbal, teas, fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, and soups.
I released and sweat out toxins through bikram yoga, jacuzzi dips, and massages, used essential oils and eucalyptus, and even experimented with various doses of ibuprofen days on end. Just implementing a fraction of these remedies used to cause a shift. My body didn't budge at all until I did the deeper work.
What would give anyone the incentive and self-trust to remain open to guidance from their deeper wisdom and pain when nothing seems to be working? For me, it was a deep, unwavering commitment to live a soulful life guided by my inner Wisdom Goddess and Warrior. She wanted her essence, fierceness, and light to be revered, honored, and shown, and didn't stop until she'd defeated opposing dark forces.
I remembered the many times when this fierce beacon of light guided clients who'd never before experienced self-love, self-respect, inner peace, balance, a sacred connection to Source, their Buddha nature. To my amazement, the truth of who are can powerfully override all of our lived experiences and stories, if they are false.
Was this my calling, to offer curious and courageous truth seekers who are hungry for richer and more layered integration, the practical, tested, and soul-centered tools to live, lead, and thrive in alignment with their Wisdom Goddesses and whole selves?
Grandfather Sun | Grandmother Moon Sacred Path Spread
I decided to pull Jamie Sams' Sacred Path cards and lay out a Grandfather Sun - Grandmother Moon spread for answers and guidance.
What do our oldest ancestors, these ancient male and female energies, recommend I do to balance today's polarities often driven by more our linearly-oriented ego-minds having trouble aligning with our more circularly-oriented souls? What blessings and gifts do they have in store for all of us that are to be channeled through me?
I drew a gorgeously aligned spread that was most affirming of what I've been trying to practice, offer to others, and achieve with my Sacred 7 directions Soul Sanctuary Building Meditation, the incubator for our most potent whole selves:
Grandfather Sun: The Hour of Power - Ritual of Joy
"The Hour of Power speaks of rituals of Joy. No matter what your present situation, you are being asked to do what gives your heart the greatest joy. Drop any activity that is taxing and focus on connecting to the Earth and with the energy you need to maintain happiness"
Grandmother Moon: Dreamtime - Unlimited Vision
If the Dreamtime has called to you, you are being asked to see with unlimited vision. Wipe the dust from your eyes and pay attention to the messages you are receiving from the parallel universe. Our world is pregnant with possibilities. All time is now. You are a co-creator in the Two Worlds, and will be given unlimited sight and knowing if you ask for it. The cocoon is open, trust yourself, your Allies, and your Medicine. You may now take flight."
Male Side Challenge: Counting Coup - Victory
"The war cry has been shouted and victory is assured if you have received the Counting Coup card. You are being put on notice that a personal victory is in the works. You may have overcome a longtime challenge or conquered an opponent, so now is the time to share your victory with others. Whether the victory is one of a spiritual nature or of wining a lottery ticket makes no difference. Counting Coup represents the success of forward movement and the acknowledgement of right action. You have been true to yourself and are being rewarded for staying on the Sacred Path. Congratulations. Victory is sweet but sweeter when the spoils are shared with those you care for."
Female Side Challenge: Standing People - Roots | Giving
"The Standing People (trees) card speaks to us of roots and giving. We must nurture ourselves through connection to the Earth in order to give freely without exhaustion. The root of the Self is where strength is gathered. This root should be firmly earthed in the soil of our Mother planet. Without this connection, dreams cannot manifest and our giving cannot be compensated by the Earth Mother. If you are spaced out, stop and reconnect. Lift your branches high, seeking the light of Grandfather Sun, and you will see how you are of the Earth and yet a bridge to the Sky World."
Gift of Assistance from the Ancestors: Power Place - Earth Connection | Empowerment
"You are seeking a way to become a Catalyzer of certain life events if you have chosen the Power Place card. Being the Catalyzer in any situation means you are commanding your talents to affect some kind of result. This ability is learned through earth-connection. Your body can conduct the energy you need to create the desired outcome if you allow Earth to feed you the extra voltage. Find a personal power place and call upon the four elements through prayers of gratitude. Then you can command your talents for good, and effect the empowerment of manifestation."
Thank you, Ancestors, for these blessings of validation, guidance, and encouragement in my offering of the sacred 7 directions tree meditation to cultivate a Power Place for our souls. I'm in the process of designing an online course where you will be able to learn this powerful meditation in the comfort of your own home or retreat location to do heal old wounds, strengthen your connection to your own power place, and rediscover your true nature and self-trust by aligning yourself with the power of the natural world and the elements, which are everywhere.
It will amplify your ability to manifest your dreams and convictions and your ability to be more deeply present and rooted in wholeness to support your health, clarity, focus, peace, and well-being in the face of today's challenges.
Check out my private Facebook group, Awakening your Amazon Wisdom Goddess, where I offer free guidance, articles, a taste of my tree meditation, and videos. In my latest video, I pull these Sacred Path cards and read the full applications of this beautiful spread.
More about how soul retrievals are done within the Depth Hypnosis model, which is the core technology of my Soul Sanctuary Meditation, the building blocks of your Soul's Power Place.
Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT, holistic psychologist, depth hypnosis practitioner, and shamanic healer from the Sacred Healing Well, is devoted to helping wisdom keepers, seekers, healers, and teachers dive deep into their self-healing potential and carve out their sacred dream paths in service of their dynamic whole self and the greater good.
Her memoir, Amazon Wisdom Keeper, is an eye-opening account of her spontaneous shamanic awakening and initiation during her graduate training in the mental health field. What gives her story an added twist is her ability to anchor into her rich cultural background and mystical upbringing near the edge of the Amazon rainforest when standing her ground, challenging indoctrinating double-binds in her field, and placing all bets on her spiritual integrity, intuitive wisdom, and clarity—each one severely tested after escaping the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in her native Suriname and losing almost everything that she knew and loved at the age of 13.