Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag is a guide for finding the way back to one’s personal truth, authenticity and purpose by shedding the stories that we tell ourselves about or own lives. The book draws on Native American and shamanistic traditions, Eastern practices, universal spiritual pathways, and a medicine bag of other heart-opening methodologies developed by two seasoned experts, Lee McCormick and Mary Falkner. Readers are given the tools to step away from addictive, compulsive behaviors that hold them back, so they experience real happiness and joy as their spirit soars-- Living Happy, Joyous and Free!
The following exercises from the book are highly transformational. You will be awakening aspects of yourself that you have possibly been out of touch with for a long time. Work slowly and repeat exercises as needed.
Exercise 1—Exploring Your Hopes and Dreams
Your journey in consciousness begins by exploring your hopes and dreams. This is the first step in claiming your truth. To explore your hopes and dreams, consider these questions:
· What do I long for?
· What does it feel like?
· What about life hooks my imagination?
· What does that feel like?
· What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
· What would fearlessness feel like?
Writing down your answers in your journal makes them more powerful. Sharing them with someone else makes them even more powerful. While transformation is personal, it happens best when we work together. Keep your list handy, as you will be referring back to it during these exercises and as you practice them in the future.
Exercise 2—Dreaming the New Dream
Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for an hour or so. Get comfortable, relax, and allow yourself to get in touch with your deep hopes and dreams. You might begin with the question we often ask kids, What do you want to be when you grow up? If you have any trouble finding an answer, give the question more time. Put it on the back burner. There is no need to rush to find your answers. Your brain is wired for curiosity and creativity—it likes wondering, and it will find your answer. You don’t have to know before you know.
Next, change the focus from your career goals to the type of person you want to be. What qualities or characteristics do you want to embody? For example, transformation encourages us to live from the heart, cultivate a positive mind, be of service, and live honestly. What values or characteristics would this require—for example, creativity, bravery, humor, cooperation, peace? In your journal, make a list and don’t worry about how you can develop these qualities. They are on the human hard drive; you just have to download them and live them. From the items on your list, pick the top three—the ones you most want to have in your life. Now select one, and imagine how it feels to have this quality.
Experience this quality emotionally, and breathe it in fully. Keep imagining your life with this quality until you can feel it physically. Notice where in your body the feeling resonates. Toxic beliefs that cloud your new vision begin to come to mind, giving you the opportunity to choose to invest in them further or let them go. Some will dissolve on their own. Others may require deeper investigation. This is you transforming into you.
Exercise 3—Transforming Blocks
Taking the top quality you identified in the second part of Exercise 2, close your eyes, and breathe down into your belly. Speaking to wise mind (the intuitive part of you), ask what gets in the way of fully living the quality you have chosen to embody—for example, if you chose the quality creativity, ask, “What is blocking me from experiencing my creativity?” Sit quietly with that question while your deep memory searches the files. Did someone tell me I wasn’t creative (or beautiful or handsome or wonderful . . . )? Did I believe it? Do I need to believe it now?
There may be more than one message or belief involved, but you don’t have to locate every single thing that’s part of the block. Often one or two toxic messages will unlock the whole mess. This process is natural; allow it to happen rather than putting demands on yourself.
Exercise 4—Dreaming the Real You
Anything less than loving yourself indicates you are living a nightmare, not dreaming an awakened dream. This exercise will help you get out of the bad dream and into the one that was written on your heart by your creator.
Talk, write, and/or draw pictures about your transformed life and your ideal self until you feel the feelings of it and it begins to feel like it’s yours. Notice where in your body you feel these emotions, and breathe into those areas, grounding them in your body—giving them life. Practice consciously breathing into the feelings or the sense of your ideal self for several minutes each night as you are going to sleep and again when you first wake up. At those times and at intervals throughout the day, the brain naturally slows down into what are called alpha brainwaves—a highly creative and healing state of mind. During those intervals, energizing your dream is most effective.
As you imagine your ideal self and your transformed life, notice what blocks you from fully entering this new dream. Notice where your mind wants to take you—for example, you might find it saying things like “Wake up and get real; you’re just daydreaming,” “Life isn’t like that,” and “Yeah, right . . .”
Write these blocks down or create a drawing or other piece of art that represents them. Often, there may be additional subconscious beliefs holding you back, such as “I don’t deserve . . .,” I can’t do . . .,” “I’m just crazy; it’s useless . . .,” “If I change, it will mean I was wrong all these years . . .,” and so on.
When you have identified the blocks and are ready to give them up, create a ceremony in which you will symbolize letting them go and allowing them to transform. Fire and water are traditional symbols of transformation.
Letting go of beliefs we have carried throughout life can be challenging, but it is totally possible. It’s not unusual to repeat and repeat and repeat your efforts—each time reaching deeper into yourself. You are clearing patterns that have come down through your genetics for generations. It’s like peeling the onion—one layer uncovers another and another and another. In cases of childhood trauma, the patterns are stored deep in the limbic system, and, in addition to your sincere intention and steadfast attention, healing them may require therapeutic assistance. The limbic system can be updated. You can heal. Don’t give up before the miracle, and get more help if you need it.
Lee McCormick and Mary Faulkner are the co-authors Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag; A Transformational Guide for Living, Happy, Joyous and Free (HCI Books.) an essential and life-changing resource that is half autobiographical journey and half medicine bag filled with spiritual healing practices for those who are struggling with any aspect of life. Offering a way out of life’s maze, Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag is a guide for finding the way back to one’s personal truth, authenticity and purpose by shedding the stories that we tell ourselves about or own lives. The book draws on Native American and shamanistic traditions, Eastern practices, universal spiritual pathways, and a medicine bag of other heart-opening methodologies developed by these two seasoned experts. Readers are given the tools to step away from addictive, compulsive behaviors that hold them back, so they experience real happiness and joy as their spirit soars-- Living Happy, Joyous and Free! For more information, go to www.SpiritRecovery.com or www.hibooks.com.