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Ask Isa: Vulnerability

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: You have said that there is power in the vulnerability inherent in major life transitions but I have a hard time understanding how that is possible. Would you explain this more?

Ask Isa: Overcoming Guilt as a Reaction to the State of the World

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: I feel very guilty about the state of the world and my relatively good life. I have so much and others are in such pain and have so little. My response is to over-give in an effort to help, but it never seems to be enough and I just end up feeling worse about myself and about the state of the world. How do you live with the knowledge that so much is wrong in the world and then not do something about it?

Journey On It Part 5: More on Healing with the Journey

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The shamanic journey works on the level of epiphany. Similar to muscle memory when we learn to hit a tennis ball or ride a bike, the realization that comes in the journey is beyond the rational mind. It is beyond thought. When we learn something at this level, it stays with us and we have the opportunity to change long held patterns of behavior, and shed ways of being that no longer serve us.

Journey On It Part 4: Journeying for Healing

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In a traditional setting, the shaman would align with the forces of the Earth in order to bring organization and guidance to human affairs. People today are so disconnected from the natural world and from their own inner worlds that the spirit of inquiry for the modern journeyer needs to focus on reconnection. In my Shamanic Journey workshops, I help students address issues of imbalance as they work with the journey to deepen their connection to their own inner guidance and personal power.

Journey On It Part 3: Inner Guidance

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In traditional shamanic practice, the journey was taken by the shaman to understand and connect with the power of the Earth. The shaman became empowered through the process of this quest and used this power to aid the community through ceremony, healing, and divination. Shamans use a repetitive sound to alter consciousness and then focus their attention inward. The most common sounds used for the shamanic journey are drums and rattles.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In societies whose stories and wisdom emerge from the Earth, the Earth was often understood to have two important aspects to it: the unseen and seen. This meant that every tree had its physical aspect in the form of the tree that we can see with our five senses. But it also had another, more hidden one. This aspect is often referred to as the ‘spirit’ of the tree.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The Journey is a process of going inward that helps us discover who we are and what our relationship is to the world around us. Seekers trying to understand the mystery of their experience can be found in every culture that has existed on the planet. Different societies have different names for these seekers – medicine men, medicine women, the ones who cure, the ones who know. Cultures with these kinds of references for their seekers tend to be cultures that exist closer to the earth.

In cultures whose traditions are closely tied to the natural rhythms and processes of the Earth, the Earth itself is the place where all inquiry begins and ends. In order to know when to plant successful crops, its rhythms must be measured. In order to measure its rhythms, seekers have looked skyward to measure the Earth’s rhythms against the patterns of the sky.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The roots of anger, and indeed, the roots of many potentially destructive emotions, lie in powerlessness. Most people would not choose destructive emotions as a way to gain control over circumstances if they could learn to tolerate not having control over the situations around them.

It is important to be gentle with yourself and have self-compassion as you learn to be present with your anger. It is easier to be compassionate with yourself if you can trust your ability to take responsibility for any way you may have harmed yourself or another with anger. In this way, you won’t look for the easy “out,” but instead learn everything you have to learn from the way you have related to your anger. In this way, you can understand the roots of your anger more fully, make amends where needed, and honor the information contained in your anger.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

There is a Mahayana Buddhist idea that everything in our experience is part of the path to enlightenment. This is very important to remember when we find ourselves wanting to avoid relating to others because it seems too overwhelming. We must remember that everything that comes up in our experience is workable.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

How attentively do you listen to yourself? Are you engaging in negative self-talk? Are you seeing your own self-talk reflected in how you talk to others? Are others having a reaction? Is it hard to ignore or deny that reaction?

Here’s a hint: There is probably a part of yourself that is hearing that negative self-talk and having a reaction similar to those around you who you might be treating in the same way. This is one of many benefits of being in relationship. We can learn about ourselves and see ourselves through the lens of relationship.

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