As much as I’ve focused on my own inner work, I still have a hard time being vulnerable. I’ve shared part of my strength and vulnerability journey in my post “Losing the Strength to be Strong.” But when I signed up for the Winter Shamanic Dieta with Mary Newstrom from Zenith High, I had no idea that I would be face to face with questioning my own worth.
What is a Shamanic Dieta?
The shamanic dieta is a spiritual exercise that restores the natural balance between body, mind, and spirit through the guidance and intelligence of one or multiple master plants. It is one of the most important rituals and elements within Amazonian shamanism. In our dietas, we work with the spirit of Cacao.
The dieta requires us to limit what we are consuming in mind, body, and soul. This includes limited whole foods, the removal of most foods, alcohol, caffeine, tv, reading, computers, social media, phones, radio, and other stimuli that add toxins and allows us to numb ourselves. The purpose is to become a hollow reed for spirit to connect with. We spend most of our time in reflection through journaling, journeying, meditation, and silence.
From the first day, this was a very different experience from my first dieta.
Meeting Mother Cacao
The first journey to meet the spirit of Cacao set the stage for my transformative 10-day experience. She manifested as a wise, old indigenous woman this time. She showed me trance dancers from many different cultures, dancing around her while she sat still with a knowing smile on her warm face. I knew she wanted me to dance with her, to meditate with her, and to drum with her. I asked her how best to work with her over the next 10 days. She said, “Be. Listen.” Two of the hardest things for me to do, even as a spiritual student and teacher. It proved to be an almost unbearable task over the coming days.
I was struggling from day one. I struggled with the food. No longer able to stand the smell of potatoes, broccoli, or beans and rice, I was living off fruit and vegetable smoothies. I had borderline migraine headaches for the first four days. The mind chatter in my head had gotten so loud that I wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t settle into meditations. I felt as if I was drowning in my own swirl of thoughts. I don’t remember my mind chatter being this deafening since before my spiritual awakening. Back when I delt with it by numbing myself with wine and work. I had eliminated that option long ago.
The only “approved” outlet was writing. So that’s what I did.
I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more.
What started to come out was this deep feeling of worthlessness. Who was I to be a transformational leadership coach, an energy healer, a spiritual teacher? There are so many other wildly talented coaches, healers, and teachers out there. Many doing something similar to my work.
I felt frozen. Afraid of failing. Afraid of succeeding. Afraid of being seen. Afraid of not helping raise the consciousness of humanity. Afraid of not leaving this world a little better than when I got here. Afraid of not doing enough.
Day five, still struggling, we had our second ceremony. This time we were journeying to understand our purpose. I thought I knew what was going to happen since I’ve done many of these in the past. I learned back in 2018 that my purpose is to love, heal, and teach. Mother Cacao decided she needed to be more direct.
We were guided to a reflection pool, and my visualization put me in a boat in the middle of a clear, still as glass lake. It was a stunningly stary night with the full moon suspended high in the sky. The reflection of the above stars on the lake below me made me feel as if I were in a boat in the middle of the universe. I asked Mother Cacao what my purpose was and looked at my reflection in the water. I heard, “Wise woman. Teach.” I instantly felt a pain in my solar plexus.
The Solar Plexus energy center is the source for our self-confidence, our warrior spirit, our personal power, and our transformation. It is an area that can become blocked when we don’t allow ourselves to process our emotions. When it becomes blocked, it prevents us from feeling and expressing our gifts in the world.
The pain expanded into my chest and my heart center. I began to feel both sadness and courage. And then anger.
My worthiness to be a teacher swelled up again.
Have I done enough of my own work? Have I done enough healing and forgiveness to help guide others?
My Worth Work
True spiritual work is deep and sometimes very messy. But I believe in walking the path that I teach. I believe in sharing my own experiences from my spiritual journey to help others. That often takes me deep into my shadows to bring to light what wants to be healed. This experience brought up my resistance, which pointed me to things that asked for healing. In this case, it was my self-worth.
I wrote more. I reflected more. I realized that my self-worth, or lack thereof, was showing up by me still watering down what I do.
This started long before my spiritual and transformational work. As a child, I learned to keep the things I liked, my energetic personality and silliness to myself so I wouldn’t be rejected or punished. As I got older, I was accepted but considered “odd” for the music I liked, my spiritual interests, and spiritual practices. So, I kept most of it private.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I kept my accomplishments to those in my closest circle. When I worked at Amazon, I wouldn’t tell people because I first heard things like, “Oh, you must be smart! You must make a ton of money! Must be nice to be you!” Those comments made me feel like I was making the other person feel “less than”.
I have never wanted to make someone feel “less than” anything. Especially not less than me. I learned long ago to stay small, to water down, and to minimize my accomplishments to make others feel ok. I felt responsible for their emotions. What I didn’t understand was how I was minimizing my own worth by constantly making myself small, by not celebrating or even necessarily acknowledging my accomplishments.
This is my work. To let my freak flag fly, as they say. To not water myself down to make others more comfortable. To celebrate myself and all my accomplishments. And to not take responsibility for other people’s emotions.
The Importance of the Soul Family
I’m incredibly blessed to have people close to me that support me and remind me of my worth and the importance of my work.
A client and dear friend of mine said to me a couple months ago, “I don’t think you realize the thing that makes your work so powerful is you. You are the magic that makes the difference.”
My brother, who is not a spiritual or woo woo guy at all, said, “You need to get your work out there. People need to hear your message. I tell everyone who will listen about your work. And while I love you, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t believe in it.”
Even as I write this blog, another friend and advocate of my work posted, “You are a force, my dear friend! Thank you so very much for all you are! #teacher #guidance.”
It reminds me that my work does make a difference. That it is important.
The importance of surrounding yourself with your soul family can not be underestimated. They see you and encourage you when you can’t see yourself and are too tired to keep going. I am so grateful for mine.
Mother Cacao’s Parting Words
On the last day of the dieta, we had a final journey to Mother Cacao. She told me to remember to allow the story to unfold. To let my magic to unfold. She said there are big, amazing things ahead of me and told me that I am ready.
I know I am.
I added Shamanic studies to my spiritual education and training over two years ago. This year, I’m joining Mary and the incredible women of Spirit Flow.
Spirit Flow~ Shamanic Study for women is a multi-year program designed to help you connect with your true essence. To fully understand and embrace why you are here and what your soul’s purpose is. What sets this program apart from others is that it takes these insights one-step further in helping create the opportunity of manifesting the life you are meant to lead.
If you are interested in Shamanism and Spirit Flow, reach out to Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay curious, my friends!