It feels like there’s a lot going on right now.

I’m consciously pushing myself to be better, trying out different ways of doing and being, existing much of the time outside my comfort zone, feeling afraid of failure or just plain confused.

I’m finally learning the importance now of self-care as I try to learn and grow. (thank you to all my friends who remind me of this constantly).

The week before last was super emotionally turbulent, and I felt like I was in a transformation period. I could *feel* old habits and ways of thinking and believing slowly loosening and dislodging themselves from my psyche. I felt like I was getting ready to step into something new, to sprout wings, and have a new stage of experimentation ahead.

I wanted help and guidance, and so turned to one of my healers, Eileen O’Hare. Eileen is trained in a lineage of Andean Peruvian shamanism, and uses various indigenous techniques (inquiry, dialogue, song, art, visualization) to aid people in their personal growth and healing. I went to her last Sunday for a session. It was supposed to last about an hour and a half, but we ended up going for nearly 4 hours. It was a powerful experience I’d like to share, with the intention that it inspires a path to healing or self-inquiry for you.

Soul Retrieval

The session started with some dialogue around what was going on with me. I said I was exhilarated and full of optimism, that something massive feels like it’s happening….. many many people from around the world beginning to wake up to themselves and each other. Gathering. Connecting. Federating. Building new infrastructures. I’m a part of it. (i guess we all are). I feel pressure. I want to contribute. I want to help. I feel like some people are counting on me…. or are at least curious to see if I will really be able to pull off a role like “servant leadership.”

Will I be able to raise my awareness around the impact of my words and actions, and to be mindful? Will I be able to listen acutely, both at what is said and what is unspoken? Will I be articulate and clear in intention, and make choices that always consider the highest and best interest of all? Will I remember to be both humble and grateful to serve in this capacity?

I feel performance anxiety. I feel pressure. Everyone is watching. If I fail, they’ll all know. I won’t be able to pull it off.

This was the gist of the conversation. The next step was to face the fear directly, consciously, and with kindness and compassion to myself.

We embarked upon a soul retrieval – a kind of visioning process where the practitioner provides guidance with prompts, and you yourself use the imagination to construct scenarios that enable you to look at your issues in a constructive way and then resolve/dissolve them effectively – by being honest with yourself and then showing forgiveness.

What happened next was not what I was expecting, but then it never is.

Laying back with eyes closed, I was asked to go back to the earliest time I could remember feeling pressure or anxiety to perform.

My mind started skimming: Talking in front of an audience, getting good grades, performing on stage, caring for my mother when she was dying, trying to fit in with other girls, being a good big sister, and then….. a little boy.

I hadn’t thought about this in a long time, but there was a little boy who was my playmate when I was around 4 years old.

I used to go to my grandmother’s house every weekend, and the boy would come over and we would play. He was my best friend.

One day, we were in my grandma’s basement, and I asked if he wanted to play house. He said yes. I said ok, I’ll be the mommy and you be the daddy. Then we pretended we were in bed, getting ready to go to sleep. I asked him if he would give me a kiss. He said yes. I don’t remember if he kissed my cheek or my mouth, but I remember he kissed me.

I was happy… but then terrified. Was this wrong? Was I going to get in trouble? Am I allowed to do this? Am I going to get a spanking? There were already mixed signals in my home about love and touch and intimacy and safety. Where did this behavior fit?

After he left that day, I stormed over to my grandmother and told her that the boy had kissed me, and that I never, ever wanted to see him again.

She couldn’t understand why I was making this choice. Why would I push away my best friend? She told me she talked to the boy’s father on the phone, and that the boy was crying and devastated. I was so sad and hurt too, but I was scared. I didn’t know if I crossed a boundary that was unsafe, and so I ran away.

That was the end of my friendship with him. I think I saw him several years later at some event, but it wasn’t the same.

(At this point in the session I’m crying, feeling that this pattern has been playing out my whole life. I pull people in, cross a boundary, and then destroy them.)

I feel guilty and ashamed. As I experiment with my own construction of reality, I hurt people.

Eileen asks if we can heal this memory. I say we can.

She acknowledges that the little girl that I once was didn’t want to hurt the boy, and that she herself was hurt. We both make choices in life, and we both walk away with lessons.

She asks me to imagine a safe place to bring the boy, where we can forgive.

I remember a clearing in the woods behind my house when I was little. I used to play back there all the time, exploring. The woods were deep, and I would always explore just a little further, until the fear of getting lost set in. But it was magical and I lived in many worlds in those woods.

The first scene that popped into my mind was me as that little girl standing next to my grandmother, tucked a little behind her, my arm wrapped around her thigh. The little boy and his father were standing across from us. I took a breath and stepped forward, and offered both my hands. He took them. We stood there smiling at each other, holding hands. There was a warmth in his eyes that communicated sincerely “It’s ok.”

Then we were transported to that clearing in the forest. The light was warm, with a kind of lazy pixie dust quality to it. It was a safe place I wanted to show him. We were allowed to be children, free-spirited, without fear of punishment. (there was a phrase I repeated out loud, i can’t remember now, but i forgave myself for hurting my friend. he smiled and i knew that he accepted what had happened as well, and it was healed).

I put my arms around his neck and we gave each other a big, loving hug. We gave each other kisses and giggled. It was like puppies or kittens playing – there was no shame in it. We held each other’s hand and ran off through the woods, exploring the mysteries together……..

Then it was just me again in those woods.

Eileen asked me to identify with my young self. To celebrate the embodiment of the wild child and her impulses and yearnings.

I imagined the young me stark naked in the woods, hair long and filled with bits of leaves and twigs. Some kind of tribal markings painted on my face and arms. I was running through the woods blissfully, freely, slapping trees as I ran by them, dirt on my body, loving the soft crush of pine needles under my toes. Totally embodied, present, and in wonder and delight. I found a feather on the ground, and weaved it into my hair. I tossed myself down into a bed of leaves, rolling around and laughing. It was sensuous to just be alive.

Next it was time to bring the beauty and innocence of that spirit back into my self. To feel integration with the undomesticated feminine, not fear or aversion or shame.

I was asked then to imagine my current self, walking into those woods and approaching my little wild self.

I walked up to her, and I was naked too. We both looked at each other, smiling. It felt like a mom and her daughter. She was rambunctious and slightly defiant, and I was amused and appreciative of her easy nature. I reached out my hands to her and she took them. We swung our arms back and forth, our shoulders bouncing as we giggled at ourselves. We are both beautiful and free.

Eileen prompted me to now integrate the little girl into myself, in whatever way I imagined it to happen.

The girl and I kept holding hands and smiling…. then she slowly began to dissolve into a swirling sparkly fog. The fog surrounded me, made spirals around my body, and then slowly pulled itself into me, crossing in through every pore.

Suddenly, I was looking at the forest again, feeling like the little girl, but looking out through my own eyes today. She is here with me.


It’s only been a week since then, but I feel an ease and grace in myself that was knotted anxiety before. I feel a lightness of being.

I feel aware of my femininity, sexuality, and capacity to love. I feel a kind of reverent respect for it and mindfulness of its power, but not guilt.

It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the “problem” I came to the session with, but our issues seem to express themselves in curious ways. The root of our pain isn’t always where we think it is.

I wonder how this very fresh aspect of feminine confidence may begin to dissolve my other anxieties.

I wonder how many women out there are struggling with how to “show up” in the world in this way, to reclaim their undomesticated feminine, and to celebrate who and what we are, joyfully.

I wonder how important it will become for us to be comfortable and powerful in embracing our essence, and how much more positive transformative impact we can have on the world around us when we choose to do so.

v.miemis 02.27.2012

image via scoopit

Eileen O’Hare is a shamanic practitioner and teacher in the Andean Tradition; a legacy carrier in the Peruvian medicine way. Eileen is a Chakaruna – a bridge person. She helps herself and others heal by accessing wisdom, power, guidance, healing, light and love from etheric realms. She is committed to helping herself and others reach ever higher states of consciousness and is grateful to have sat with many teachers in the US and Peru. She is in the lineages of Don Manuel Quispe and Don Benito Quoriwaman. She works out of her home, The Healing House, in Beacon, NY with a private practice in NYC. Eileen travels and teaches at private homes, yoga centers and Wellness Centers. She taught families at Omega last summer. She’s recorded a CD, Love and Gratitude to the Water which she gives away in love and service. She leads sacred chanting every Sunday night. Holds meditation circles every Thursday night. And a Women’s Manifestation Group every Monday night. Her next shamanic intensive class starts this Sept. She offers QT classes as well. 845-831-5790. http://www.medicinespiral.com. eohare@mindspring.com