(This article was first published in the Spring 2021 issue of Well Being Magazine)
I recently had a client in consultation who was suffering from many emotional problems. Victim of repeated abuse in her childhood, she had then attracted to her partners who perpetuated these toxic and dominating relationships. Obviously, these patterns reflected a belief system that she had acquired at an early age and had strengthened over time.
A few years earlier, this client had made a shamanic journey that had left a deep impression on her. During this experience, she had felt Mother Earth’s energy moving up her legs, to work for a long moment in her womb. She had felt a lot of care, cleansing and warmth. As a result of this powerful contact, she began to be guided to various shamanic traditions, including the use of the drum. However, she didn’t really know where this path could lead her, and this was one of her questions during our session.
When she asked me what the purpose of her shamanic practice could be, and what goal she could set for herself, I closed my eyes and asked my guides. I heard a sentence very clearly in my head: “Her shamanic path is to relearn to Love.” I can hardly describe how deeply this message touched me personally – as if it had suddenly triggered something in me. My client’s story resonated with certain themes of my personal journey: When I heard this phrase, it wasn’t just an auditory perception, but a deep sense of what it implied, including an intense feeling of love. Seeing the suffering of this woman in front of me, I understood how much she needed to fundamentally relearn what love is, she who had never really received it – neither from others nor from herself.
Until then, if I was asked what shamanism meant to me, I answered that it was a deep exploration of consciousness. Indeed, my years of practice in the Amazonian tradition, with the use of plants medicines like Ayahuasca, had clearly taken me on a journey through the many meanders of my psyche. And my analytical mind, in its search for happiness, had rather privileged the understanding of my thought patterns and my belief system. However, many experiences had also consisted of reconnecting me with a love of total purity, almost ecstatic. I had been clearly shown that this love was the primal nature of the Universe, and that everything was literally made of this fundamental energy, including us. That’s why it feels so good to feel love: We reconnect with the deepest essence of things, we return to the Source – we go back home, so to speak. Ironically, we have to be very powerful creators to be able to create a sense of disconnection in our lives, which prevents us from feeling this omnipresent love.
All these years, I have regularly talked about the importance of love, and about opening the heart. But like my client, I always approached it from a distance, from an intellectual angle – as a way of understanding the nature of things, as a goal to achieve, but not as a way of life that I could really apply at every moment. I now realize that my shamanic experiences had a much deeper purpose: to teach me how to love, not through words, but through practice. To understand fundamentally what it is to feel unconditional love, without the filter of mental interpretation. And to learn, little by little, to approach all aspects of life through the heart, not the mind. This is the healing that this practice can offer us.
Those who have a strong connection with Nature already know it: It conveys this primary energy of Love, because it is its very essence. This is why a simple walk in the forest or by the sea can radically change our vibratory level and our mood. And hugging a tree to commune with its energy is not just a weird hobby for woo-woo people, but a concrete experience during which it is possible to feel what this tree naturally radiates. It is an incredible and so underestimated gift!
In the same vein, the animal world is also a very powerful catalyst to reconnect with the Love of Creation. Those fortunate enough to have an animal as a companion know how they can be an inexhaustible source of affection and healing. They express love in its purest, most unconditional state.
I realize that my “Spirit Animal” oracle, based on totem animals, takes on an even deeper meaning today: In addition to providing daily guidance, it also allows one to reconnect with the benevolence of the animal world, and by extension, with that of Mother Earth, to experience it directly.
An essential reconnection
Needless to say, today’s world can seem extremely hostile. Empathetic and sensitive people find it very difficult to manage the chaotic energies we experience on a daily basis. Since I am convinced we are going through an awakening phase on a global level, it may seem logical that more and more people are feeling heightened emotions. Some would even like to reduce this sensitivity, and thus enjoy a moment of respite.
However, I believe on the contrary that this reconnection will ultimately allow us to re-establish a form of balance in this world. Indeed, how can we reduce violence, whether physical or psychological, if we are not aware of its impact on others? How can we measure the consequences of our actions and words, if we cannot feel what the other person is feeling? Starting from this simple realization, opening and reconnecting the heart – even if it can sometimes be frightening and involve a form of vulnerability – is probably our only hope for profoundly changing our world and our way of life.
At the beginning, it definitely takes courage to open up to others, without mistrust or apprehension – especially if we have been hurt in the past. “What if the person I open up to rejects me? What if they use my vulnerability to hurt me?” These are legitimate fears. But if we close ourselves off to love, we will also be unable to attract people who are willing to love us, creating a vicious circle that leads to further isolation. All that will remain is fear and a sense of exclusion. What could be more depressing than a life disconnected from all the blessings we could receive?
With empathy come understanding, compassion and forgiveness. The world of the mind is sad, cold and based on fear: If we seek comfort, joy and affection, we can only find them in the heart. And in this approach, acting is often more effective than thinking. Reconnecting with Nature, through ancestral shamanic traditions, can be a good starting point to explore this opening concretely, without fear and without risks. Let’s just give our heart a chance to show us the way.
Message from Spirit
To conclude, I would like to share with you the card of the Giraffe, taken from my “Spirit Animal” oracle, and whose concrete message is precisely the reconnection with the heart:
“With this card, the spirit of the Giraffe wants to tell you about the power of the heart. Indeed, the Giraffe has a very big heart, in order to pump blood up to its head. Of course, the first concept associated with the heart is love. So, the Giraffe invites you to be a loving and compassionate person.
But the heart is also a very important energetic center, where awareness exists – some even say the heart is another brain you can use to make decisions and act from a centered and wise place.
The next time you face an important choice or you simply need inspiration, don’t stay in your head. Instead, focus your attention on your chest and ask the question again. You will probably get a very different answer—more positive and loving than a typical fear-based response from the mind.
So follow your heart, as it is your best counselor. It has all the answers you will ever need.”