Monthly Archives: October 2012

Secret Spot at Sea

Today I had the most remarkable secret spot at sea.

I have been doing secret spots since I learned them from Jon Young in 2002’s Art of mentoring. I have been snorkeling two or more decades longer. Yet I have never thought to combine these two passions until today. 

Quiet, nearly motionless, with the sound of my breathing and the tinkling of pebbles of coral rolling along the sea floor, my morning snorkel became a profound secret spot experience. Some key ingredients of secret spot work flooded over me as I entered the water, singing a song of thanksgiving to the sea, the mother of us all. Our brain waves and energy signatures shift towards the speed of nature when we engage in an attitude and feeling of thanksgiving.

 And slowing the body down to the speed of nature, tho hard to be motionless, I simply drifted on the surface, letting the waves move me to and fro. At this speed, I was able to see a vast array of interspecific interactions I had not seen before. Parrot fish were following the stealthy speckled “leopard” eel (I do not know the names of sea creatures, so I name them for myself). The eel would go into little coral crevaces, while the parrot fish waited eagerly then met up with the eel, face to face, when it emerged.

 I do not know if they exist, but I saw what seemed like a sea snake, white and black speckles (more random than the eel’s highly organized speckles), curling its way around the base and undersides of coral stalks.

 I slowed down and noticed different stages of maturity of a fish species I encountered for years.

 While in my reverie, a snorkeling gentleman said “over there you will see turtles”. He repeated this as I did not realize he was talking to me. I gave him the thumbs up sign and kept secret spotting (hmmm…a new verb?). I had seen the turtles every year and decided they did not need more disturbing people gawking at them. I had actually touched one last year, and I felt too moved by that special moment to have need to repeat it.

 I was slowwwwwwwwly floating when a turtle came upon me, below me. The sea was so quite you could hear it munching on the algae or coral it was nibbling. Then, it slowly rose, its head one foot from my head to take a drink of air. It then reminded me that all of the principles of secret spots on land held true in the water. It was a transmission for sure.

I feel so moved, blessed, changed.

Thank you to the mother of all mothers, the sea, and the turtles, carriers of the first people.


Red Stone Song, Healing

Red Stone Song, Healing

I was on vision quest last month with Animas Valley Institute. I received enormous healing and information from the stone nation, red and vibrant there in the canyon-lands of SE Utah. I had heard my mentor Jan Engels-Smith say that there was a star nation on earth, not just in the sky. I experienced that directly in the stones, that they were the star nation on earth.

A steady wind blew up from the canyon below my quest spot. I sat atop a cube of red stone right on the rim of the canyon. Many stone cubes were on various stages of falling into the canyon below and in front of me. Yes, stones do roam the earth, as many Lakota sacred songs tell about.

This wind carried the medicine—wisdom, power, unfathomable knowingness—up the canyon’s rim and into me throughout my solo time. For hours and hours, I sat and just received this. Jan had suggested that as part of my intention, I relax. and so in this relaxed state, I simply received. it was a healing all unto myself.

I asked the spirits, the land, the beings, the Others, if they had a name for me, a spirit name.

“You are Red Stone Song”. I am to receive and transmit this power in my sound healing and singing to the people. It is also power coming through the red stone of the prayer pipe; and as my friend and colleague Marty also added, it is the energies of the songs sung by (and to) the red hot stones coming into Lodge.

Thank you!

Soul Exchanges with the Beings of Earth

I just returned from a descent into the mysteries of soul during a vision quest program facilitated by Animas Valley Institute. During this time, I experienced a deep communion with the beings of nature, and learned a new way of being with them and honoring them. Not just an offering and a listening, but a true exchange, a conversation between Soul and Being.

In my long history of shamanic living, I have connected to the beings of earth in very specific ways that have mostly involved listening to their wisdom. I would come with a question or issue. I would place tobacco, corn meal, or lacking these, a bit of my hair or spit (in a sacred way), and ask my question. I might rattle or drum, or sing a song, to deepen into an altered state of consciousness, so I might listen to them and hear their wisdom. I might journey to the upper or lower world or pass through the veil into the non-ordinary middle world, and connect with the spirits of nature. Stone people, the standing ones, spirit teachers, power animals. In an altered state, we would converse. Mostly, though, I would listen. While I would sing the sacred songs gifted to me by my elders, it would be a calling and presencing of the spirits through the songs.

During the encounters of my soul with the beings of nature during this vision quest program, through counseling with the beings of nature and the guides (human),  a deeper, truer exchange ensued. I would simply be with the stone people, the standing ones, the star nation, and ask a question. I would receive healing sentences that would drive me deeper into the inquiry of soul. What I was observing would become translated into statements that would then evolve into metaphors, gems of knowledge, that would cause me to ponder about the state and the evolution of my soul.

 And then, I would offer a gift, an outpouring, a gesture of my soul to them. It might be a song, a gesture of love and heart, a dancing, a story of thanksgiving or “I heard you, I honor you”; some notes from my new flute. A poem. My songs are now offerings of love and soul back to the beings, not just a presencing or calling.

It has become, not just  a question to the nature beings–“what can I learn from you about love and soul?”—but also, “what can I offer you from my heart and soul, that you would hear and feel love from me?” Thanks to Fisherwoman, one of the human guides on my journey, this distinction has come deeply into my beingness and doingness.

 As an example, we were given a directive to converse with some being in nature about our quest intentions.  I hiked up into the canyon of the ancients, and lay down under an overhanging, cave-like stone formation. Silky sand accumulated below– fine enough for the antlions to make their little pits—and sand stone piled in layers above. I could sense the effects of time, wind, and rain on the shaping of the stone. As I looked closer, I noticed tiny insect holes in the stone. And then heard, “everything, everyone contributes to the erosion”. This healing sentence was directly related to one of my primary intentions for the quest, which was to examine and let go of barriers to love and openheartedness. This statement I saw in two different lights. The first was an old belief that I had, that everything contributes to the erosion of the soul, the personality, the energy stores, my Self. That the world could be harsh and eroding. The second way I heard this was the healing way—that everyone and everything was worthy of love and contributes to the eroding of the barriers to love.

After processing this with my questmates, I returned to the stone cavelike structure to sing and tell the stone stories of love and connection. And compassion and understanding of the power and the wisdom of the stones. And what great gratitude I held for them. And how my relating to the stones, including the ones we lovingly bring into the lodge during sweat lodge ceremonies, would never be the same. This outpouring of love and soul a beautiful punctuation to their giving of their beauty and innate messages from their beingness.

And so we are in this exchange of wisdom and soul, listening to each other. Honoring each other. Present in the ordinary reality middle world together, each dancing our sacred dance, together and in our own realms of being. Always, now a gesture of the soul emerging and being shared. No longer just spit or hair…The deepest of deep exchanges emerge from the mystery of soul and the wild nature of Earth.

–Written by Red Stone Song

AKA Lauri J Shainsky, Ph.D.