“Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things we don’t like. We can only live together in that way, and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.” — Bertrand Russell
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein
Recently, I found myself listening to a Jordanian medical student tell me stories of bullying in her life. She was bullied for being Christian in a predominantly Islamic country. It continues to haunt her and she was asking me how she could heal this so the anxiety wouldn’t sabotage her life. Her story was my story , just the context was different. In the same week, I’m talking with a man from the Balkans who shares with me how haunted he feels trapped in the negativity of his own mind. As he goes on, he shares stories of being bullied by Serbs because he wasn’t Serbian. As I listen his story was my story, and he asks me “will I always feel this crazy?”
I watch the events in Madison, Wisconsin where I live. Here there are protests as a young Black man is shot and killed by a police officer. I hear words being tossed about like “unconscious racism” and I smile. “What’s unconscious about it?”, I wonder in my mind. It just is, and whether there is the personal and political will to address this determines what change is possible. I am walking in my neighborhood and two black teenage boys are walking my way bouncing a basketball. I smile and nod at them and I see them startle and then they nod at me. I stop them and ask if I can ask them a question. I tell them I genuinely wanted to say hey to them and asked if “I scared you in any way.” After a bit of dialogue, we finally got to the point where they could say they are so used to being looked at with suspicion that they are always on the defensive.
Lastly, I now witness my home state of Indiana passing their so called “Religious Freedom” bill which allows businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The consciousness of religious intolerance that I knew so well as a child growing up in Indiana continues to live in the soil there. A number of Republican led states are seeking similar legislation and it is clear that the cancer of hate and division is very much alive. I applaud all who oppose this attempt to legitimize hatred, but even more, hope and pray that we as a people can confront this spiritual illness and take participatory action to look at our historical trauma in this country (Native Americans, Slavery, Chinese, Japanese internment to just name a few). As a people, true peace and healing can not occur in this country unless we demand that we not be divided. We must insist that all life matters. If we need a model, remember Denmark during the Nazi takeover during World War II. Under pressure to reveal who their Jewish citizens were, the King of Denmark wore a star of David as did many other Danes.
It’s easy to hold a spiritual belief that everything is connected and that we are not separate. It’s a whole different thing to live it in our actions. I am reminded of a spiritual axiom I received from the spirits years ago while driving around Madison. “Action without spirit leads to abuse, Spirit without action leads to malaise.”
My own personal belief is that our spiritual values are guidance for how we work to create the world that we want. Throughout the decades of teaching shamanism and healing, I have held that our issues are far more collective than individual. One of my personal writer favorites was James Hillman. In a book called We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse, I remember in the dialogue where he questions therapy’s push for relationship, and how it feeds this sense you will die if you are not in a good relationship. He makes the case that our bouts of longing and loneliness might not be because of poor relationship but rather the lack of satisfactory work and more importantly satisfactory political community. Political community helps us make sense of the world and focuses on what really matters.
In a world that has promoted our separation, we have lost sight on the commonality of our human struggles. Our issues are far more collective than personal.
Consider a couple of questions (there could be many and I’m offering these as a start):
- What is happening in your community/the world around you that really bothers you?
- How do you stop yourself from saying or doing anything about it?
- How would you like to dream into a better way of being?
And if enough of you write your thoughts/answers/journeys about this, I’ll publish a few either on the website or in the next newsletter announcement.
SEEKING THE 36: SHAMANISM, SCHIZOPHRENIA, MADNESS, AND THE WORLD
May 30, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin
Since the beginning of the year, I have been seeing more and more people in spiritual emergency. Many of them having been diagnosed as schizophrenic in the past, yet in the midst of confusion they live are pearls of spiritual wisdom. Others have been stable people all of a sudden having unexplained psychotic episodes. Anthropological literature of long ago, often called shamans crazy schizophrenics. The workshop explores skills needed to bring healing to these sorts of situations and helps participants put these experiences in a much larger perspective of global distress that calls for our healing efforts. Additionally we explore the Jewish shamanic tradition of the 36 who’s spiritual purpose is to balance the soul of the world to promote peace. Download flyer >
New Advanced Shamanic Training Group
Due to a number of personal requests for training/apprenticeship, I am creating a once/maybe twice a month small group that will meet at my office on Wednesdays. Hours will be 11-1. If interested, contact me asap as I will be starting the group soon.
Appeal for Donations for the Syrian Refugee Project
Last month, the Social Health Care Project for Syrian Refugee Children and Families (which I am co-director) provided psychosocial treatment as part of a mass medical triage in Jordan. Thousands of refugees received treatment in 5 days. These events require tremendous planning, coordination and staffing. As is the case, there are many unexpected expenses to assure successful interventions. We are now planning two more of these efforts to get services to people who are not being served. One will be in July and the other in October. Well over 50% of the refugees are children and there is growing fear that they will be a lost generation. The project we are running is a groundbreaking attempt to provide innovative healing approaches to communal trauma. NGO’s and universities throughout the region are requesting our training and services as our efforts are being recognized for the quality and creativity we’ve been able to offer on a shoe string budget. The two new mass triage events will require our needing to raise 10,000 dollars as quickly as possible. Please consider making a donation to our Global Giving site.
Any size donation is helpful and please consider spreading the word to people you think might be interested. Thank you for any support you can offer in these efforts.
Books written by current/former students
Though I’ve mentioned most of these before, I wanted to highlight them again as they may be of interest to some of you. They are:
- Missing Jim by Ann Marie Waterhouse. Jim Harvey was one of the early members of the shamanic drumming circles I started in Madison decades ago. He was a bright light and a gift in my life and others. It tells the story of living with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Because of You, I Am by Mary Ann Bumbera, tells the story of her special relationship to her dog Charlie, and how his illness lead her on a spiritual quest for healing and understanding life’s biggest mystery, death.
- Sedona’s Story: Our Autistic Daughter’s Journey to the Spirit World by Kim Starr-Shutter tells a story of how understanding her daughter’s struggles within a spiritual context helped provide healing and growth for the whole family.
Annual Shamanic Gathering, Sept.12, 2015
Site and agenda for the day will be released soon. Activities are being put together to continue efforts to make this a day for young and old alike. New teachings, ceremony, drumming, and other activities will be held through the day. All profits will be donated to the Social Health Care Program for Syrian Refugee Children.
Office Hours for Spring/Summer with Myron
Personal consultation and healing services available Monday through Friday. Evening hours available only on Tuesday/Thursday. Services are available in-office and where appropriate on Skype.
To set up an appointment, email:firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred) or phone: 608-469-1627.
As always, I hope this announcement finds you in the best of health and spirit.
Wishing a joyous Spring to all,