Stressed Out? Scared? Taking Yourself Too Seriously?
Forget feathers, bones, and beads. Most shamans dress normally and carry no magic objects. In these exercises you are asked to play. Try the trickster way of tinkering with your life. Seek the visions and the giggling that transform every moment, breath, and heartbeat. Commit yourself to a practice that is deeper because it is lighter. Appreciate the ridiculous. Laugh your prayer in order to find the mysteries of God's humor.
To Become Worry Free
Make a list of three things that you can't possibly imagine yourself worrying about. For each worry-free item, select a color. For instance, you might come up with something like this:
- Opening a book that you are not interested in reading: Blue
- Washing a sidewalk: Green
- Reading a phone book: White
When you have made your list and color assignments, select three dimes. With a marking pen, color each dime on both sides.
Carry these worriless coins in your pocket or purse. Whenever you start to really worry about something, pull out all three coins, shake them in your hand, and let them fall onto the table surface. Carefully note which ones fall as "heads" and which as "tails." If there are any heads, place them on top of your own head for five seconds. For any coins that land as tails, pick them up and spank them with one of your little fingers. If you don't get a head, then repeat the procedure until you get one. After the heads have been placed on your head and the tails have been spanked, place the coins back into your pocket. Say quietly to yourself, "It is important to stretch my foolishness."
Can you worry about what you worry about?
If you worry more about worriless things, might you worry less about other things?
Consider how shaking the coins could influence the effectiveness of this directive.
How many different ways of spanking your tails can you come up with?
Could you have chosen other colors for your coins? Is color important?
Consider whether practicing absurd directives in a serious fashion helps you become a holy fool.
To Boost Your Spiritual Motivation
Go to a party store and purchase three noisemakers. Call them Gabriel's horns and ask for their permission to be used in a shamanic way. If they do not talk back, assume they have granted their permission. Keep these shamanic noisemakers with you when you go to work. You may conceal them in a bag or briefcase. Whenever you find yourself feeling spiritually unmotivated, go to a private place, perhaps a restroom. Take your shamanic noisemakers along with you. When no one is looking, make noise for 10 seconds. Use each noisemaker. Under no circumstance should you make noise for longer than 10 seconds.
After you make the noise, try to keep the memory of the sound in your head. Tell yourself that the reason you are unable to get spiritually motivated is the noise in your own head. If your mind forgets the sound of your noise, reach into your arsenal of noisemakers, pull one out, and sneak in a little reminder.
Will you make one noise at a time or make all three noises at the same time?
Recall the name of the noisemakers. Speak Gabriel's name before letting them sound off.
Experiment with other noisemakers and names.
Ask someone to help you. Have them make noise upon your command. Then have them direct you to make noise. Consider a duet.
Listen to whether the world sounds the same after you make noise. Is it quieter? Calmer? Or does it seem more full of sound? Are there times when making noise makes a clearing for your mind? Study the aftereffects of making noise in this way.
To Bottle Your Fears
Obtain a plastic bag and a glass jar large enough to contain the bag. Go to a private area and spend several minutes thinking about your fear. Place your mouth over the plastic bag and shout into it the name of your fear. You may then scream or make unusual noises into the bag, as long as they communicate everything you possibly feel about your fear. When you have exhausted the possibilities of expressing your fear, tighten the end of the plastic bag and place it into the glass jar. Immediately seal the jar and reflect on how you have bottled up your fear.
Take your bottled-up fear to a place of worship that looks friendly. Open the jar and unseal the plastic bag. Say the verse, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee."
Consider that the noises you make transform your fear into raw energy that can be used in a good way by others.
Do the directive again, unleashing your bottled-up fear in other places. Try a playground, movie theater (while the movie is running), a comedy club, or concert.
Try opening up a plastic bag filled with fear energy and whispering a loving thought into it. Imagine the loving thought becoming stronger as it feeds upon the energy in the bag.
Say the verse in reverse: "Thee with am I for not thou fear."
When thinking about fear, get out a plastic bag and conduct the exercise again. This time, simply say the word "fear" as fast as you can for one minute. Try to feel fear when you do this. See how difficult this can be. Consider why this is so.