I started practicing shamanism in the summer of 2013.
At the time, I was a graduate student, studying psychology (animal behavior, to be exact) and TAing experimental psychology.
My first child was a baby and I didn't really care about psychology, or my experiments, or any of it anymore. After I had her, I would come to campus when she was a baby (not maternity leave, I came back when she was 2 weeks old), and it really got me thinking about if I really liked what I was doing, and I didn't. I LOVED teaching, but in those months after she was born, I realized that I had only come to graduate school because that's what I felt I was supposed to do. I didn't know what I wanted to do, I just knew that this wasn't it.
Around that time, I received a reading from my sister, Amanda, where it was revealed that I had a shamanic healing gift. I didn't even know what shamanism was, besides some stereotype I'd created in my mind.
But nevertheless, I wasn't happy with my life and wanted a plan B, and this was it, even if it wasn't the life I planned!
So, in the evenings, after school, I started exploring it more and more. Learning more about it, practicing sensing energy, acquiring crystals and doing meditations with them over my third eye, trying to meditate, practicing on other people, trying to connect with spirit guides, all of it. Pretty much anything I could do in the 20-30 minute increments I had in the evenings after I got home from campus and before I needed to start my homework, research, stats analysis, grading, or whatever else grad school-y thing I was doing.
I was basically living a double life. It was SO uncomfortable. Go to campus during the day, teach about psychology experiments, do my own experiments, and sit in classes about neurogenetics. Then at night, come home and play energy worker. It was quite the dichotomy for me, and I felt like I was lying to everyone, because I kinda was.
I told no one. Like, no one. My husband and sister, and that's it. Everyone else, in the academic world, if they knew, it wasn't because I openly and proudly told them. (I had a blog then, so it wasn't a giant secret but I took steps to keep my identity semi-hidden.)
Truth is, I was ashamed of it and of myself.
I thought that what I was doing was weird and that what I should be doing was the only acceptable thing for me. I was embarrassed. And it was an entirely personal thing. OTHER PEOPLE in my life who did this, I thought it was cool and awesome and the most amazing thing ever, but for me, the programming ran deep and my brain could not accept this as acceptable for me.
I kept up with it and eventually left graduate school that fall after I'd completed my Master's Degree. When I left, I wasn't 100% honest about why. Only half honest and you can bet that I didn't tell anyone that I was leaving to go practice shamanism. NOPE.
Guys, I went on like this for FOUR YEARS. Hiding this part of myself.
I build a shamanism blog, a shamanic practice, and a whole business surrounding shamanism but I didn't tell anyone in real life what I did unless they pressed, and even then, I skirted around the issue, still ashamed.
All of the spiritual internets knew, but I was too ashamed to tell anyone in my real life.
I frequently found myself concerned about what people would think, especially people from my academic life, if they found out. (Spoiler alert, most people pretty much don't care and haven't judged me, and/or are spiritual themselves.)
Then, in 2017, 4 years later, I had the opportunity to go to Peru. I said yes. And I went, with the intention to finally heal and move past this shame.
I was afraid and ashamed to tell anyone I practiced shamanism, and it was uncomfortable to live still in the closet.
While in Peru, with teachers of Ayahuasca, Huachuma (San Pedro), Rapé, Cacao, Miguel, Jane, Guillaume, our whole group, and land, there was lots of puking and crying, and moments of clarity. But, when I came away from that trip, I felt an immense peace and okay-ness within myself. I was no longer ashamed of it, and I was fully able to let go of what I thought I was supposed to be.
I came away from the trip okay with who I am.
I realized that I had and HAVE a beautiful gift that was passed down to me through my ancestry, and that it would be sad if I chose to not share it because I was afraid. Through my work there, I helped clear generations of ancestral shame too.
Because guys, our shame is not just our own shame.
In part, it can be, but it can also be collective shame. The shame of the collective, of our ancestors, and of our families. IN ADDITION TO our own. (But is it really our own, since it's often programmed? I don't know, but moving on).
If you think about it, it's not all that surprising as spiritual gifts of any kind that are not attached to major religion have been closeted, shamed, and tabooed in this country, and others, culturally and socially, for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Persecution is real, and persecution of those with spiritual gifts is real. It's still happening for many.
Lots and lots of people still feel shame around these gifts. I know I am not the only one who doesn't tell people what their gifts are, who hides them, who skirts around the issue, who only lets select people know that they're "into" this.
It is a thing. If there could be one overarching commonality between people who are developing spiritually, it would be shame surrounding the gift.
But now what?
If you know that you feel ashamed, or exhibit behaviors of shame (hiding, keeping it a secret, not telling people, etc.), ask yourself why? Who are you afraid of? Where is the shame coming from? Why is it there? Who said that you aren't acceptable as you are?
What about your ancestry or your immediate family, is there any shame surrounding there?
The answer is probably going to be YES.
Then, set your intention that you wish to heal the shame. Your shame, and the shame you carry via the collective and your ancestors, past, present, and future.
Your gifts are not only acceptable, but they are beautiful, and you incarnated with them for a reason. They are not shameful; you are not shameful.
It could take months to do the work, it could take years. It will take effort on your part. There will probably be crying, maybe even puking!, but it's possible.