Greg: Finding your purpose doesn’t have to be hard, brother.
Client: I know there is something bigger I’m suppose to do with my life, I just can’t figure it out. I want to have a meaningful life.
Greg: Do you know what everyone who felt that and then figured out their purpose in life have in common?
Client: (client shakes head).
Greg: They stopped at some point being frustrated about not having a sense of purpose! And more importantly they stopped judging themselves. Because it blocks the spiritual whispers that are trying to point you towards your mission.
Client: How do you get motivated? Then what do you do?
Greg: I tell you something funny – very few clients ask me that question. They go into a very innocent explanation of their story, instead of asking questions. So you are already doing something.
Greg: Warriors are dedicated to asking questions. This is the code. Wisdom will give you guidance when you ask questions. Believe that! Pay attention and act on what it suggests. This tells Spirit you are listening and ready for more instructions.
Client: I figured once I left high school, I would know what my purpose would be.
Greg: That’s a false idea perpetuated by Social Media — everybody looks like they figured it out! And then we compare ourselves and feel like shit — really getting out of our mental health.
Client: Sounds like me. (smiling)
Greg: Study GaryVee on Instagram, he posts a lot about this subject — can 9 million followers be wrong!
Client: I will check him out.
Greg: Remember this: You are hard-wired to do something — everyone is. The mission is waiting inside you to reveal itself. Your end of that partnership is the believe what I just said and don’t get down on yourself. Then suddenly your wisdom will point the way and the next step is act on it!
What I tell clients on spiritual retreats is that a lot of the times it’s a mission of subtraction. In Toltec shamanism, we call that a “non-doing.” What does this mean? In this case, it’s having “an opinion” about yourself that getting in the way of the guidance you are wanting or the direction or greater purpose for your life.
Stop judging yourself! It creates SPACE for directions to flow up from your Spirit/Wisdom. Let go of your personal assessment about yourself. Try this:
Spirit/Universe/God, I give over to you this judgment of myself, please take it from me, I’m ready for you to receive it.
That’s a powerful 2000 year old of praying. You can’t go wrong with going Old School! See this link for prayers and invocations. This invocation initiates a partnership with the Creator. Divinity want you to ask for help!
There is an old adage: “You come a little way, God will come the rest of the way! But the Greg-version of this is — a little way has to be out of your comfort zone.” Which could mean get out of your head and start to do something!
Client: I want to find my purpose?
Greg: What I have discovered is usually your purpose finds you.
Client: Really? How does that happen?
Greg: You have to ask yourself if your “visible” enough for it to see you. And the first step is to see how you’re “not” visible.
Client: You mean like hiding or negative thinking?
Greg: Exactly. Or are there actions you can take that create an opening but you hold back on taking them because of fear or thinking.
Client: Then my purpose can’t locate me…
Greg: You have to get out on the field and get visible! “I am here!” I’m not Christian but what I did was “The Prayer of Jabez” by Dr. Bruce Wilkson. It’s a small prayer in the bible that goes like this:
“Oh Lord, that you would bless me, that you would enlarge my territory, that your hand would guide me, that you would keep my from evil so that shall do no harm.”
You do that prayer once a day, something is going to show up! It did for me.
Client: Wow. I like it. I will give it a try.
Greg: Check out the short video I did about my Jabez experience on Instagram. I will send you a link.
Finding your purpose is a mission that comes up quite up a lot on retreat. And what occurred to me over the years and even in my own journey is “your purpose finds you.” If it’s not finding you then you have to ask yourself what you’re doing not to get visible.
How do you get visible? Bottom-line: Take action! Any action! But that’s not posting in your social media! Get out on the street and do something that’s feels uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable equals getting visible!
In the “Afterwards” in my new book, The Lead Guitarist & The Sisterhood of the Wolf, I describe how taking action caused the Creative Muse to land on my roof. Like a wild fire it ignited the writing of the book.
You might say, “But, Greg I don’t know what those actions are.” First place to look is whatever you are resisting, whatever you don’t want to do, whatever you are procrastinating about! Now, lets say you’re not resisting, then the next step is the Invitation To Divinity which you can get online or come work with me on retreat.
Sounds like this, “I invite my Divinity to offer me some guidance about what I need to do to find my purpose.” Then the next step is to be in Faith. The guidance will show up. It has to, those are the rules!
Gregory Drambour is the owner of Sedona Sacred Journeys and the author of three books on practical spirituality: The Woodstock Bridge, The Shaman & His Daughter, The Lead Guitarist & The Sisterhood of the Wolf.
Student: For a long time, I’ve had the feeling I’m suppose to become a shaman, to learn shamanic healing. How do I find out?
Greg: By taking action on that feeling. That is the warrior code. When you get an inspiration, act on it. In the code, it’s referred to as having “No Gap.”
Student: I’m not sure where to start? I’m afraid I will go in the wrong direction.
Greg: Sounds like you are overthinking it. To not do that is the first step on the Shaman’s path. Warrior’s allow their inspiration to guide them, not their thoughts. Start there. Believing in these inspirations with “action” is the language of the shamanic warrior. Because always and forever, behavior is the truth.
Student: I guess that’s the problem, I’m not acting on what I feel. If I’m ready to act can you suggest a next step?
Greg: You could clear these blocks in you.
Greg: Here are a few invocations:
“God (Creator, Spirit, Source), I give over to you all these blocks inside me that are keeping me from my true destiny. Please take them from me! I am ready for you to receive them! I give them to you!”
Ask: “I invite my Divinity to show me how to clear these blocks. I stand in faith that this will flow up. I’m in faith, that’s my stand!”
Find a dry-creek bed and stand in the middle of it and call forth the Spirit of the Water, the Blood of Mother Earth to clear you of these blocks
Ask your inner-child why they are afraid? And then just acknowledge their feelings – don’t try to fix them! It might sound like this: “I see you are really afraid, can you tell me what’s going on.” Please see my YT video on inner child healing.
Client: Wow! I’m excited. That feels powerful.
Greg: If you do the Creek Clearing one, guess what? You’ve just done shamanic healing session!
Client: I will do it! I promise. I would love to do healing work as a profession.
Greg: That sounds like an answer to your question. If you “love to do it” — that’s all you need to guide you. Let me know what happens.
Over the years in my practice, I’ve had hundreds of folks tell me they want to create a healing practice or practice shamanism. Sometimes, these are feelings they have had for many years and they don’t act on them. The first thing to know is you are absolutely not alone in this resistance. You have done nothing wrong. It’s very natural and innocent to allow our thoughts to scare us, to block us. How do you punch through?
There are many healing processes to get to the other side. It’s my job as teacher in partnership with clients to discover the path that gets them there the quickest. But let’s say you can’t reach out for support for whatever reason and you need to figure it out on your own. Those invocations above are few ways that could tip the scales and help you breakthrough to taking action — turn it to healing ceremony for yourself.
Client: I know you have a core principle to your shamanic healing work. Can you talk about it a bit?
Greg: “If you honor them, they will honor you.” That was what was handed down to me, everything I do flows from that. That is my shamanic tradition or path of medicine.
Client: Is it a form of acknowledgement?
Greg: You got it. When I honor the Tree-People or Rock-People by acknowledging them even with a simple hello, they honor me and my clients by perhaps flowing up energy or a clearing. These life-forces in nature want to be your friend, they want to help you.
Client: That’s how you could create an opening for a spiritual healing?
Greg: The Holy Men, my brothers, always kept it simple. Reach out your hand and it will be held. Everything around you is alive, the plants, tree, rocks, special little places. When you acknowledge it’s aliveness by a simple gesture – all nature will you hug you back. This is the path of Spirit. A Ho.
Indigenous cultures and shamanic practitioners since the beginning of time have had a deep intimate relationship with the Earth. Many folks know this of this history or through their shamanic studies. But here is my invitation: I have translated that knowing into engaging nature like you would a new friend? This is just not through donations or recycling, etc. but really getting out an talking to the Tree-People!
Brothers and sisters, shamanic healing is not just about altered states of consciousness, soul retrieval, the spirit world or spirit guides. It’s about a simple friendship with all the life forces around you in this physical world — the Tree, Rocks, Plants, Water. They really want to be your friends. All you have to do is say hello to them!
Image: “Sisters In Spirit” by the late Donna Jacobson.
Greg: Is there animal you feel in kinship with?
Student: The black panther totem!
Greg: Wow! Did you know that’s my totem?!
Greg: Yes, that’s how it all started for me when I met my black panther brother over 30 years ago. He was the gateway into shamanism.
Student: How do I meet my animal totem, my spirit animal?
Greg: Go to a place in nature that feels special to you, where you have spent time. Sit down on the ground. Close your eyes and go very quiet inside for a few minutes then say these words from your heart. “I invite the Black Panther to come and join me. My heart is open. I want to become your friend. My name is …”
Student: It’s that simple?
Greg: It can be. There are other ways. But I would give that a try and see what happens! If you suddenly see or feel a black panther in front of you, please don’t discount it and think you’re just imagining it!
Student: Can you have more than one spirit animal? I feel very close to wolves
Greg: Wolf spirit animal! These are powerful partners! Yes, you can definitely have more than one. Are any of them coming to in your dreams?
Student: Yes, it’s a wolf but he seems bigger than normal wolves.
Greg: Sometimes that happens. I would call that a Spirit Wolf.
Student: What is the symbolism of a wolf totem or panther?
Greg. Well, I have different feelings about this most folks that teach this. They feel that each totem has specific characteristics. I feel they are like humans in that each spirit has its own personality.
Student: I like that.
Greg: People will ask sometimes when I see an animal in nature does that mean something. Yes, for example: butterfly symbolism–if you saw a butterfly float by when you were connecting deeply with nature I would say that butterfly represents transformation for you.
Student: That makes total sense. It’s like nature and the butterflies are helping you, giving you a message.
Greg: You’re getting it! That’s shamanism–listening to the signs of the world. And sometimes are totem brothers and sisters can help us read those signs. Like your black panther totem can nudge you and say look over there! He’s your buddy!
I feel many teachers of shamanism want to make meeting your totem animal way too complicated. Simple and from the heart is always best. For me, my shamanic journey started with meeting my black panther totem those many years ago. At first, he was pissed! Because I had been innocently ignoring him for a while — I knew I had a kinship with panthers.
Over our 35 year journey together we have become brothers, best friends and partners. I go-He goes. We have had a lot of great adventures together! In my practice he helps me see into the darkness of client’s emotional body to identify the root or foundational thought creating a block. One could say, he is “lending me his power.” A phrase you will see used in Castaneda’s books or in the Toltec tradition.
My big message to everyone about totems is they want to become friends with you, just like a person would. Meaning it’s not “just” about using them in some way — whether it’s in your healing work or for some other reason. Its’ like the Tree, Rock and Plant-People – they want to be your friend. Always and forever, brothers and sisters, “If you honor them, they will honor you. A Ho.”
Gregory Drambour is the author of three books on shamanism, each of them exploring the friendship with spirit animals. He offers a series of Totem Animal Tutorials and also a Shaman Training Online Program. I found this great site on totems. Check it out: Spirit Animal Info
Interviewer: Unhappy marriages seem to be the norm now. Are they any suggestions for couples that you feel would be helpful? I know you have spent 30 years counseling couples.
Greg: If they can get more aware of when they’re giving meaning to what their partner is doing or not doing.
Interviewer: What would be an example of that?
Greg: One partner says, “They’re disrespecting me.” That’s the meaning you are giving what your partner did. Then you get the matching feeling of anger and then you get a drama and an unhappy marriage.
Interviewer: How can they catch themselves when they are doing that?
Greg: Using your feelings as a resource. If you get angry, that’s an alert you gave meaning to what they did. Then you want to question your perceptive: “Is there any other way I can look at what they did?” Or you can step back from those angry thoughts and create some space for wisdom to flow in and create some understanding.
Interviewer: We are essentially making the meaning up?
Greg: More than you can imagine. When you’re in a marriage you are not really in a relationship with that person – you are in a relationship with your thoughts about that person. Another way of saying that is, whatever “meaning” you give that person’s actions or non-actions is in fact the relationship. Literally!
Interviewer: That’ wild but I get it!
Greg: If you can get more aware of when you are making that “meaning” up you will avoid an unhappy marriage. It’s totally innocent. People feel they’re right when they think, “they’re trying to piss me off!” They are convinced that’s true. But we are making it all up in our head!
Interviewer: When you work with couples in an unhappy marriage, do they hear this and change?
Greg: A majority do because its just make sense to them. Teaching them this truth is so much more productive and impactful than diving into all the details of a 20 year marriage. At least that’s been my experience on the ground for all these years.
Interviewer: It almost sounds like your a relationship coach.
Greg: Sure, why not!
Interviewer: Is there a specific way you help them with getting of aware of this?
Greg: I encourage them to use their negative feelings to alert them that they are probably “giving meaning” to what their partner just did. For example if you feel “anger” and then say: “Well, it’s obvious you don’t care about me!” Question that perspective because you’re “angry.” Stop speaking from it or throwing up over your partner with it!
Interviewer: Then how do they get settled down?
Greg: Take a breath, step back, create some space. Allow your innate wisdom to flow up some helpful thinking. Your wisdom is always there to help. Wisdom loves space.
Interviewer: Your saying to use anger as way to know you’re not seeing clearly?
Greg: That is exactly right. When you’re angry, you’re dumb! Time to take a nap!
Interviewer: What would be immediately helpful in any marriage? Even if they don’t have major relationship problems?
Greg: To understand that you and your partner are going to be in separate realities sometimes and it’s okay. If folks do that, you will see more healthy marriages in the long term.
Interviewer: Meaning you are going to see things differently?
Greg: Yes. And you don’t want to give this meaning. It doesn’t mean you aren’t suppose to be together or their problems in your marriage. Being in separate realities is going to be part of any relationship and accepting that can be powerful and create a happy marriage.
Interviewer: How does a couple navigate through those moments, when they have a rough patch?
Greg: Instead of being in what I call, “disagreement-listening” or “defensive-listening” you want to get curious about why your partner’s perception makes sense to them. Can you see the thread of truth or agreement in what they are saying, can you find more information about their perspective. In short, letting go of ego in your listening. Here is an example:
Wife: Sweetie, I don’t feel you are acknowledging me.
Husband: But I don’t feel I am acknowledging you.
Me: Brother, you just didn’t acknowledge that she doesn’t feel acknowledged!
Greg: This couple is in separate realities. She doesn’t feel acknowledged but he feels he is acknowledging her.
Interviewer: What’s the best move for him when his wife says that?
Greg: To get curious why she feels that way. No one is right or wrong. We experience our partner through our thinking. And for her to get curious why he feels that he is acknowledging her. We all have different thinking and thus different realities – it’s NOT personal!
Interviewer: I’m getting this for my own marriage!
Greg: Cool! Blaming your partner for your feelings is a strategy for an unhappy marriage. Here is what’s possible when we can respect our partner’s point of view even though it’s the opposite of ours – a deep rich feeling of generosity of spirit and understanding – we could say this represents maturity.
Interviewer: What about the classic things that traditional couple counselors talk about like, date night, holding hands, spending time together, increasing physical affection not just sex?
Greg: I think they are all good ideas but the counselors that teach those things have a very low success rate from what I understand. So of course you have to ask why those suggestions aren’t working.
Interviewer: Why do you think?
Greg: I think a lot of couples are looking for something tangible “to do” to fix the problem and all those suggestions are concrete — if you know what I mean.
Interviewer: Yes, it gives them something to do.
Greg: I think its more impactful to teach them “how” they experience each other which is through their own thinking. They are one hundred percent responsible for how they experience their partner. If a couple gets even a small insight about that, they are going to have a beautiful marriage.
Gregory Drambour is the owner of Sedona Sacred Journeys and considered one of the top Couples Counselors in North America. He is the author of three books on practical spirituality.
Check out my blog post: Online Marriage Counseling
*My columns and blog are not part of Hearst Digital or Hearst Digital Media. Or do I ever include links to retailer sites on my blog. How Icky!
*Or do I participate in affiliate marketing programs for anything I recommend. Or receive commissions on editorially chosen content or editorially chosen products purchased. I am just here sharing my experience working with a lot of brave folks.
Client: I really want to create a center for healing.
Greg: Wonderful! The world definitely needs more of them.
Client: Nobody in my life supports me about this. They think it’s woo-woo, you know?
Greg: So you feel alone and judged?
Client: Yes, they all think I’m a little weird anyway.
Greg: (being quiet). Something just occurred to me. Let’s imagine it’s 10 years from now and someone asks you, “What happened to that center for healing idea?”
Client: Okay (client eyes are starting to fill).
Greg: You can’t really tell them the truth, right? That you didn’t do it because you were afraid of being judged. And maybe over the years, you yourself figured out a way to avoid the truth and created another reason why you didn’t do it? And let’s imagine that person who asked you is your 21 year old daughter.
Client: Oh, shit.
Greg: Should we starting making a plan to create this center for holistic healing? (smiling)
No parent wants to model to their children not following their dream because of fear of judgment. According to the current research, the number one way children learn is they inherit their parent’s inner-emotional life. The higher-level parenting, the long-term parenting is really taking that research and running with it. It’s asking what is my inner-emotional life teaching my children? I always tells parents who up are for these big questions, “If you want to find out what to work on for yourself, study your children.” They will give you clues to your own behavior. This is not easy but it’s the Warrior level and many brave parents I work with it, are up for it.
Then on the other side of the guidance is to know at a deeper level that when people judge you, it’s happening because of the relationship they are having with their own thinking. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! Now, most folks who are reading this know that. But can you translate that knowing into telling everyone to mind their own business and you are going to do what’s in your heart and Spirit? And then you are not teaching your children to give into fear of people’s judgments.
Gregory Drambour is the author of three books on real world spirituality
Greg: It’s been a while. What’s going on with your spiritual journey?
Client: I want to have more consistency with feeling inner-peace?
Greg: Any idea what might be blocking you?
Client: I was hoping you might know! I want to have that deep spiritual awakening, of enlightenment that I read about which will give me that consistency.
Greg: So you’re thinking that when you get enlightened or have an awakening, you’ll have a more consistent connection with your higher power, with inner peace?
Client: Yes, definitely
Greg: Let me share something that really made a difference in my life — it was a crossroads moment. No matter how enlightened you are or how many deep insights you’ve had, you will always go up and down in mood. It’s inevitable and part of the spiritual journey and being human.
Client: Wow, really? I have never heard that. I thought once you pierced through that veil of deeper insight you wouldn’t go backwards.
Greg: Here is the trick: To accept this inevitability, to be kind and gentle with yourself when go you down in mood. Do that and that spiritual health will bounce right back. As opposed to judging yourself for “losing it.” That will keep the inner-peace further away.
Client: Is everyone’s spiritual journey this hard (laughing)?
Greg: Pretty much! But when you go down and just are okay with it and have faith inner peace will come back, it sharpens your spiritual sword. This is a good thing, my friend.
I encourage folks to question where it’s written that a consistent connection to Spirit is the goal? I would suggest the goal is to be consistent with “how you respond” to what is always true – that life will go up and down, that a feeling of inner peace will feel present and then sometimes not – these movements are part of life. What you can control is “how you respond” to this shifting.
I call this “embracing the principle of inevitable.” You will go up and down in your connection and the more that you can be kind and accepting of this inevitability the more connection you will feel! If you flow up kindness and acceptance you are in fact in a connection to your spiritual wisdom — makes sense? This principle is talked about in my Code of the Spiritual Warrior Video Series
Remember, brothers and sisters, even now during this crisis, the world is still working from the Inside/Out. What does that mean? Simply, in this case that our thoughts create how we are “feeling about” and “experiencing” the Corona Virus. I encourage you to not let the enormity of what’s happening convince you that “should be” in fear or worry or stress. You get to use your creative power of thought to see this crisis without fear. Step back from the fear and let your Spiritual Intelligence manage you back to a feeling of calm. It’s an Intelligence System — it “knows” how to reset you — let it. It only makes sense to stay hopeful and optimistic. Hope this is helpful, my friends. A Ho.
Gregory Drambour is the author of three books on real-world, practical shamanism and the medicine path: The Shaman & His Daughter, The Woodstock Bridge and The Lead Guitarist & The Sisterhood of the Wolf.
Another Blog Post About Inner-Peace
Interviewer: What’s the most despicable thing you have experienced?
Greg: (laughs) That’s easy!
Interviewer: What’s happened?
Greg: Someone using your own advice against you! Long time ago, when my literary
agent was having trouble selling first book, “The Woodstock Bridge.” I called a “published” writer-friend and was moaning about this and he said, “Do you have your manuscript around?” I said, “Sure.” He says, “Go look on page 158 and read the last line.” So I go get it. I know he has the manuscript but how does he know what’s on that page?
Interviewer: What did the line say?
Greg: (look of disgust on my face). To quote myself: “Why does something have to be approved of by others to be a success? Maybe you did something because it felt good to do it.” How despicable!
Client: Greg, I can’t let go of them, it’s been 9 months now. What do I do? How do you let go of someone you love?
Greg: Do you really think you want to let go?
Client: I want to move on. I am so tired of trying to get over them. I’ve tried everything.
Greg: Maybe that’s the block? You’re trying too hard.
Client: Please explain.
Greg: I know you know that you have a very powerful spiritual intelligence inside which is always present. (client nods). The word “intelligence” means it’s a management system, it has intelligence. When given a chance, it will manage you to acceptance and letting go of them with absolutely no effort on your part. If you let go of trying to figure out how to let go of them! Create a little space for the Intelligence to flow up and help.
Client: That makes sense. There has been no greater challenge for me that letting go someone you love. If I can get this, it will really free me. Maybe free me to love without fear.
This was a big insight for me on my personal journey many years ago. “Spiritual Intelligence” was literal! It’s a management system and will guide you back to nice feelings when you get out of its way. We are blocking its help in many ways – one would be trying to hard – we do that because we are suffering. Makes perfect sense. But when sadness flows up about that lost relationship we want to remember it’s coming from our own thoughts about that relationship.
Move away from those thoughts for a moment! Don’t let them suck you in – I know it feels “warm” there in some strange way – for a moment we are “back in” the relationship. You all know what I mean! In that moment you have moved into some habit thinking – that’s all. See it like that and point yourself in a nice direction – makes no difference what is it. Go to Denny’s and have some French toast! Go to the juice bar, for a walk. Have faith that the gift you were born with will come and guide you back to some peace – always. Put more energy into believing in that gift than being sad. Cool!?
Recommended Companion Blog Post: Inner-Peace