Walking Through the Fire
I believe one of the most amazing gifts of this life of the challenges, and inner and outer, that we’re given to propel us into growing as human beings. While we’re spiritual beings, to try to evade the fact that we’re also human is to ignore why we’re here to begin with and also to lose the possibility of truly enjoying the gift of being totally and completely human and spiritual at the same time.
As a healer, I’ve often found it’s a deep seated need to heal the calls people to their path. Illness - physical, mental and spiritual - and human pain are often the impetuses for finding that which you are truly called to do, and when soul calls your human part to change, it’s hard not to listen. Sure, you can draw it out for while but ultimately it comes back to your needing to step up to your life and heal the past to fully step into your future.
Once you step into the fire, taking on the challenges of your humanity, then you can truly begin to understand compassion. I recall speaking with a 54 year old woman several years ago. She was angry and bitter because she was sick for the first time in her life, and it made no sense to her. She had never been sick, never experienced a truly deep loss, and never been thrown into what she termed ‘a heart wrenching experience’. She realized this was such a time and didn’t feel she had the tools to go through it. She kept trying to evade it and it wasn’t working.
She didn’t know what to do. When we went deeper into her current situation, we found her illness wasn’t the only change she was experiencing. She was also considering leaving her husband, was deeply ready to change her career, and felt like she wanted to move somewhere where she felt more at home. Overall, she wanted a new life and this illness was telling her the time was now.
I told her I was excited for her and she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. I guess on some level for her in this lifetime, I was. Yet it was clearly a language she deeply wanted to learn/remember. I told her from my point of view, she was ready to walk through her ‘Fire’ for the first time and what a powerful journey this was going to be for her. Her body, heart, soul and mind were all calling for the changes to happen and if she chose to take responsibility for her life, she was going to step into a new journey that would change her on many levels. In that first meeting, my excitement was a bit overwhelming for her. She new it was right and she said she felt this was the language for what she had been feeling, she needed some time to process this.
I gave her some books to read specific to her needs and offered her the opportunity to contact me when she was ready. She took the time she needed to experience her current state and went through each book, checking in with me from time to time with questions and concerns. Every so often, she would e-mail me that she was moving forward. Then on day I received an e-mail that stated ‘I’m Ready’ in the subject line and I smiled.
Together we began a journey through her life. We learned what had brought her to where she was now and how she’d created her path thus far. She realized that a part of her had always known that her course would change when she got older and her kids were out on their own. She new deeply that it was time to go into herself, really for the first time, and find out who she was without all of the roles she’d been playing. It was such an honor for me to be present as she dove into herself and connected deeply with her soul.
At times, it took weeks for her to be able to face the truth without running from it, but her commitment to seeing this through pushed her to stand in the fire and let it burn away the debris of illusion and judgment. We both knew this was her path and her heart began to explode, it was like a light came on deep in her heart and for the first time, I felt like I was truly seeing her in all of her beauty.
Her journey ultimately led her to move to the other side of the U.S. and she decided that it was time to release her partner and walk her path alone for a while. She chose a new career that allowed her to live her life as well and shifted to a more modest home and lifestyle. She’s happy now, a term that she hadn’t used for herself for years and for the first time, she told me she’s ‘home’ within herself.
She touches base from time to time with questions and offerings. I’ve learned a lot from her and am always honored to be present for her next transformation.
Wishing you beauty and power in each moment. May we all walk through our fire and listen to our yearnings.
Jenifer Shapiro, Shamanic Healer and Teacher of Shamanic Studies. Jenifer is an intuitive shamanic counselor and coach with over 15 years experience integrative shamanic practices into her work with clients. Her medical intuitive capabilities and her empowerment work have been publicized on television and radio and her shamanic certification programs train new shamanic practitioners in various forms of shamanic healing methods. More on her programs in shamanic practices.
Note: Many ask if I follow the Michael Harner (Foundation for Shamanic Studies) methods or Sandra Ingerman's work. While I have studied with western shamans, including Alberto Villoldo (The Four Winds Society) and others, my work is an integration of my personal shamanic journeys since childhood and my work with western, European and indigenous shamans. Rather than focusing on the work of a specific teacher, I work with my personal spirit guides and the intuitive of my heart and soul to offer the ability for the experience to unfold exactly as it should and always does, using ritual and the love for truth beyond judgment that I believe is the core of this work.
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