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I am often asked how people can know if the shamanic path is a path that is right for them. Of course, this is a very important question – but only the individual can really know if the shamanic path is right for them. When people ask me this question, I ask, “Have you had anything out of the ordinary happen to you? You may have had anomalous experiences – you may have felt a shift in the light and a sense of a presence of something unseen. Or perhaps you have vivid dreams while those around report never dreaming, or perhaps you have had an illness or a calamity befall you which has changed you and separated you from those around you. And you may have set off on a path to try to understand these experiences.” If this is the case, it is likely that education related to the shamanic path will be helpful to you.

Spiritual Maturity and Depth Hypnosis

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

People often ask me if Depth Hypnosis is like psychotherapy. If psychotherapy is a process of identifying psychological disturbance and then talking about it, possibly while working with prescription drugs to reduce symptoms, then it cannot be said that Depth Hypnosis is psychotherapy. In Depth Hypnosis there is no process of diagnosis and no use of medication. Rather, it is more a process of inquiry and discovery – particularly about client experience that might be hidden or unknown.

In “The Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered” Neal M. Goldsmith suggests that it might be more accurate to look at symptoms of imbalance such as anxiety and depression as an indicator of spiritual immaturity rather than as an indicator of psychological pathology. This is an intriguing idea – and certainly one that resonates with the practice of Depth Hypnosis.

Buddhism Offers a Solution to Hopelessness

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and the epidemic of depression raging across the world will be the single biggest contributor to the overall burden of disease of all health conditions by 2030. Suicides by high profile personalities such as Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, and Kate Spade have triggered a widespread effort to understand what causes people to suffer so much that they find suicide to be a viable option.

When I first began practicing Buddhism, a teacher told me that everything is an illusion – so my suffering was an illusion. All I needed to do was to let go of the illusion of myself and the suffering would go away. This was not helpful. In my view, spiritual practice which encourages the student to “Just let go of the self!” or “Just let go of the pain!” is misguided.

Listening to the Sacred Earth

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

If we listen, the earth has much to tell us. When humans lived closer to the earth, they understood that great wisdom was held in the trees, the plants, the rocks and the sea. They communicated with the earth, and learned ways of listening to the wisdom she had to offer. For example, the shaman of a tribe is often described as talking to the plants to learn the nature of their medicine. Ways of gathering this kind wisdom are still preserved by many indigenous cultures. The vision quest and the shamanic journey are just two examples of these processes that are accessible to us today.

Healing Your Mind by Dropping into Your Heart

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Sometimes people come into my office struggling with a problem, and whenever they try to address it, they find themselves stuck in “mind loops.” Mind loops are characterized by sequences of labyrinthine reasoning containing dead ends and knotted thoughts that fold back on themselves without producing the hoped-for clarity.

People who experience this type of mental confusion are usually viewed as having a high level of intellectual intelligence, and tend to work in professions that require the use of their intellect. These people are able to generate logic sequences that make them valuable contributors at work. This capacity, however, can often send the same people into mental traps when they try to apply these logic sequences to experiences that do not necessarily respond to logic.

Repatterning Life Transitions and Initiations

By Isa Gucciardi PhD

Within each of our lives, we have important moments of transition, which we experience in our bodies, that can be understood as initiations into a new way of being. Birth, death, puberty, the sexual encounter, becoming a parent, and for women menstruation, menopause, and giving birth, are all potent initiations we experience in our lifetimes. Each of these initiations holds powerful information and the possibility of transforming long held patterns that no longer serve us.

Safeguarding Birth, Invoking the Sacred

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

From the moment we are born until the moment we die, women are constantly engaged in the processes of creation, creativity, and change. For much of our lives, through our monthly cycles, our bodies create forms to prepare to receive new life, and if that new life is not received, a process of destruction of those forms takes place.

When we give birth, in the process of becoming a mother, our old sense of self as an independent being falls away, and, in defining ourselves, we include the needs of another in a very real and intimate way. As a woman goes into labor, however, the new definition of self as a mother who includes the identity of her child as part of her own self-identity has not quite gelled, and the old definition of self as a single, unitary being is challenged. As this challenge occurs, the power that was binding together the old form – the independent woman – is released. This power is then available to create the new form – the mother.

Conscious Parenting Part 6: Learning from Our Triggers

By Joanna Adler, Psy.D.

Editor’s note: Joanna Adler, Psy.D. is a certified Depth Hypnosis Practitioner and licensed clinical psychologist. Her two-day workshop on Conscious Parenting will be at The Bodhi Center in Bainbridge Island, WA on the weekend of April 28-29.

Life throws so many difficult things at us as parents. It’s important to find enough time to support ourselves so that we can be resilient and offer that same support to our children. We know this, but sometimes it can feel like yet another thing to do. The good news is that there are practices we can cultivate for when we encounter difficulty in our relationships with our children, practices that allow us to get out of the way and offer the child what is truly needed in that moment.

Conscious Parenting Part 5: Interview with Joanna Adler, Psy.D.

Editors’ Note: We’re delighted to publish this interview with Joanna Adler instructor of the Conscious Parenting workshop that will be offered at The Bodhi Center, Bainbridge Island, WA on April 28 and 29. Joanna Adler is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified Depth Hypnosis Practitioner. She has studied extensively in the fields of Depth Hypnosis, Buddhist Psychology, Shamanism, and Energy Medicine at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. We asked Joanna about how she helps people with the dizzying array of choices parents face on a regular basis, what the word “discipline” means to her, and what interests her most in her work with families.

Q. How do you work with parents that may be struggling with knowing how to best support their children when there are so many choices, so many potential ways to respond in a given situation?

Conscious Parenting Part 4: Cultural Context

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In the first post in this series on conscious parenting, I touched upon how important it is for us, as parents, to know what we value, because our values become the structures within which our children learn to express themselves. Then I discussed how we can foster the authentic expression of our children’s highest potential and how to get out of the way of this expression. Because the cultural context can have a significant influence on our children’s expression, it is also important for parents to determine how well this context is contributing to our children’s highest potential. The cultural context, for the purposes of this post, consists of the values and priorities of the society in which you live.

If you have values that are different from the surrounding society, it will be even more important for you to be clear about what your own values and priorities are, and communicate them clearly to your children. If you don’t, your children may absorb the values of those around them by default, and that may put you at odds with your children.

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