By changing your inner life, you can change your outer life.
One powerful way to do this is by creating your inner garden and your spiritual team that can increase your power, or chi, or life force. For most of us, that life force has been drained because of trauma or loss. This process can not only give you more life force, but it can give you protection and support.
Here is an illustration from my own life. In 2008, like so many teachers, my teaching position was cut at my school, so, to create a breakthrough for myself, I decided to do some inner gardening. I asked inwardly my spiritual team to help me pull some weeds that represented by job loss in my inner garden; next, I planted poppy seeds to represent “seeding” my new job. In a few minutes, I could see red, orange, yellow, and white poppies blooming. That was on a Wednesday. The following Monday the phone rang with two new clients; Tuesday I had an interview for an opening at another University.
Even more dramatic, Dr. Hank Wesselman, author of Journey to the Sacred Garden, talks about a cancer patient who vigorously cleaned out her inner garden and cleared up her cancer. She changed her inner life to affect a positive change in her outer life.
To be an effective inner gardener you need to set a strong intention to have something positive happen in your life; then set aside some quiet, uninterrupted time to do deep visualization; and create an inner garden. It might be a place in nature you have been to or one your imagination is creating for you. Ask for a spiritual companion to join you. It could be an animal, an ancestor, or an angel. Ask to see something in your garden that represents a block or problem you are having. Ask what has been the lesson and what has been the gift that this problem has taught you? Then ask an angel, guide, or spiritual ally to remove it. Plant or create something in your garden the represents your new, healed, and vital life. Observe your outer life for the next little while. While we cannot predict the specific outcomes, inner gardening as well as other shamanic techniques can be powerful tools for healing and personal transformation.
Inner gardening is just a small part of shamanism, an ancient set of techniques that most traditional peoples practiced for thousands of years and indeed many still practice today. It involves accessing what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious by deep vision work. Dr. Wesselman believes that we are all “hard-wired” to vision, it is in our DNA. With a little training, everyone can learn to journey, create an inner garden, work with plant spirits, connect with a spiritual ally, remove blocks and call back missing parts of ourselves, what traditional peoples call soul retrieval.
In my own case, visualization has transformed, reorganized me, revitalized me, and healed me. After a severe car accident, I had a herniated disc and lost the use of my hands and arms for three years. UC Irvine Medical School said I had permanent nerve damage in my arms and hands, and I would never have the full use of them again. A few months later my mom and dad both died. Needless to say, I was in emotional and physical pain and very depressed. None of my usual therapy techniques were working. A friend said you’ve had a soul loss, so I tried a session of soul retrieval. I didn’t think much happened. However, over the next months I began to feel joy, sing in the shower, want to work again, and the other treatments I was doing began working. Now, I am completely healed. I don’t think shamanism grew my damaged nerves, but it did remove emotional barriers and bring back parts that had dissociated from shock and loss so my body could heal itself.
Since I was able to work again, I trained to be a shamanic practitioner myself. Over the last 19 years working with over a thousand people I have found that shamanism is powerful and effective set of tools that can clear up issues that have been stuck for years and often in one or two sessions. A few thousand shamanic practitioners practice in the US, and they have found, as I have, that depression, abuse, addictions, trauma, loss, chronic failure, procrastination, and issues that are stuck seem to respond well when treated with shamanic techniques.