shamanism

Coyote Drum

An unexpected space opened up in my oft very full calendar... It is a grey Alberta "spring" day, the temperature hovering around zero and the snow softly falling outside my picture window. 

I rejoice in this bonus "me time" by first sitting down to finish the book I am reading. I figure it should take me about 40 minutes to finish the book and I'm close, it takes me 35.

Afterwards, noticing that I have five extra minutes of "open" time and space, I decide to open Facebook.

Lately I have been noticing that some folks have been posting their "status updates" on some kind of coloured background, their words standing out in big, white, block-y letters.

Ever the curious one, I start pushing buttons, trying to figure out if this is a built-in Facebook thing or an add-on. I quickly find the place where I too, can proclaim my deep wisdom for the day against the background colour of my choice.

Feeling particularly mindful, I pause, close my eyes, breathe in, and allow whatever deep thoughts I have to share to come forward.

And... there aren't any.

Instead, I get this loud, almost booming-God-like message from my heart: 

"You have sat around long enough. It is time now to ACT."

Hmmm.  Interesting.

Instantly I know what I must do next. It is an item that I have had on my "to-do" list for 22 months. One that I have been kicking ahead of me, truly afraid to actually do it, lest I totally screw it up.

It was time to paint my drum.

I made this drum in the Shaman's Path program, a one-year journey about incorporating the teachings of the medicine wheel into your life. As participants, we each made a drum - cedar rings with deer hide skin. We (co)created our drums in the south, using the element of fire to help us to transform them into powerful tools for healing. 

It was that around that same time that I received clarity about my medicine name, and my connection to my sacred brother Coyote.

I knew back then that in addition to making my drum, I must also paint it. 

I also knew that I didn't need to do that right away, that I could sit with it and see what came forward. 

And so, I set about building a relationship with this sacred, special drum. Timid and shy at first, she grew in power and confidence the more I played her, as did I.

About six months ago, it became clear that it was time to paint her. I began sketching drawings and ideas. None of them seemed "good enough". I did not trust in my own painting abilities. What if I screwed it up? Rendered my special tool useless, or ugly?

I ignored her calling and put away my sketches and instead left it on my "to-do" list (this is a literal list, one that my co-workers tease me about). Every time I'd finish everything else on the list, I'd simply start a new list, and add "paint drum" to the bottom all over again.

Today, sitting in the stillness of my home, I knew it was finally time to set aside my fears and my stories of lack and do what I know needed doing. 

I had everything that I needed. I had a clear vision (or I thought I did) of what I was to paint and I had purchased all of the necessary painting supplies months ago.

It came quickly, easily even. After briefly sketching the outline of the image, I simply dove in, trusting the process.

Towards the end of the process, it became clear that I needed to add in the elements of day and night. Of dawn. 

Ant then... Lighting. The thought streaking from my mind to my heart, electrifying my soul.

I am Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman. I help to guide people through the dark night of their soul so that they can once again walk in the light... And I'm damn good at it too.

This is my Why. It is my path. It is my purpose.

Holy. Shit.

I have to say. I didn't see that coming.

 

 

Journey to the Sacred Heart

This post is for all of you fence-sitters out there!

If you are feeling called to attend Tending the Sacred Heart ~ A Woman's Spiritual Retreat but you haven't committed yet, just do it... we only have 5 spots left.

If you have checked out any of the information on the retreat, you will know that it is a collaboration between the inimitable Sarah Salter-Kelly and myself.  Sarah and I have collaborated on women's programs before and it is always a great time.  It was a "hell yes" for me when the opportunity to collaborate with her showed up again... however I was even more excited when she said, "I'd like to do something a little less intense than usual".  Lol.  If you know Sarah and I, this is a huge shift.  She and I both LOVE to go deep!  

So if you are wondering if this retreat is going to take you "super deep" into your "dark and twisty" bits... the answer to that is no.  At least, that is not our intention.

What is our intention then?

It is to guide you on a journey into your heart... and we have chosen the archetype of the "sacred heart" to help guide us on our journey to hold this space for you.

Along that note... as soon as this retreat showed up, along with it came the vision of a labyrinth.  When I sat with it further, it became clear that I was to guide a labyrinth walk as part of this retreat.  

This is all fine and good (I usually say yes to my Divine guidance without too much questioning or objections), however logistically I was a bit concerned about how I was to pull this off (and why).  So, not one to back down from a challenge, I did a bit of internet research, and figured out how to build a portable labyrinth.  

I have walked quite a few labyrinths in the past, and been facilitated in the process, however I am new to facilitating this process so I also ordered a few books on the history of labyrinths and how they are used, etc.  

You will laugh at this next part... or at least I did... labyrinths are a metaphor for a journey into the sacred heart. 

Lol.  Of course they are.

If this is any indication of how much guidance exists for us on this journey in particular, I wouldn't hesitate anymore if I were you.  

Let's journey together!

Much love,

Nahanni

Dancing Coyote Woman

What's in a Name? Meet Nahanni (aka Dancing Coyote Woman)

She came to me in my dreams... again, again and again.  

At first, I thought she was my child.  She appeared as a young girl - all bouncy blonde curls and piercing blue eyes.  She wore a white dress and over and over I would see her running barefoot across a field of wildflowers; giggling, dancing, laughing.  

This was before my son was ever conceived, and like I said, I just assumed I was seeing my unborn child (stuff like this happens to me, okay?)

Anyway, I forgot about her for a little while... Chephren was born, and I never gave her much thought again.  Becoming a mother changed me in more ways than I can tell you.  It caused me to journey deeper into myself than I ever thought possible.  

One day, a few years after Chephren arrived, I was talking with a friend and we were journeying together over the phone.  All of sudden, we both saw her... the bouncy, blonde, blue-eyed girl.  

Seeing her jolted me back to the present and out of the dream.  

I was struggling to understand.  Who was this girl and why was she showing up yet again? Was there another child waiting for me on the other side?  (This notion terrified me.  I had had such a terrible bout of Post-Partum Depression and at the time, I was on a horse-tranquilizer dose of anti-depressants.  I didn't know whether or not I even wanted to become pregnant again).  

Nonetheless, here she was.  And, rather than give into my fears and try to push her away, I decided to embrace her.   I began calling her by name - Nahanni (one of the names that Trent and I had picked out for a baby should we have had a girl.  Nahanni is the name of one of our Great Canadian Rivers in the Northwest Territories.  Similarly, Chephren was named after a mountain in the Banff National Park.  We apparently roll like that and I wouldn't change a thing.)

And so, I decided to sit with it for a long while, or maybe I should say, sit with her.  

Then, in September of 2013 I journeyed to Peru.  

This trip was very much a spiritual adventure, and we explored many of the sacred ruins and sites as well a participated in many initiations and ceremonies along the way.  

One day, at one of the sacred sites we were exploring, I felt called to lean down and pick up a three-sided stone and the words: "Maiden-Mother-Crone" jumped into my head.  Each step along the path I was walking seemed to echo these three words over and over.  

And then, I could feel her walking beside me.  Full-body goose-bumps and that familiar "electric feeling" and I knew that Nahanni was walking beside me, except her energy seemed to have changed.  She was older now.  Closer to my age.  And the best description that I can use to explain her is that she was like a "white, modern pocahontas".  Actually, she looked like the poster child for burning man or something.  Well, at least I think she did.  The thing is, I couldn't quite see her face.  The details of her clothing and hair?  Yes.  But her face?  Not so much.

I was a bit taken aback by this transformation and yet, again, confused.  

And so, more sitting with her.  Literally.

Actually, the picture from this post was taken at that location as I was doing just that: meditating on this new information/discovery.

And I still had no idea what it meant.  

The next weeks, months and years were FILLED with images, dreams and journeys with this iteration of Nahanni.  She showed up for everything.  My constant companion at every turn.  I literally could not have any kind of spiritual experience without her showing up loud and clear at the forefront... and yet, she was still basically faceless to me.  Bizarre.  

(I should mention something here actually.  The first time I saw this older version of her was actually about two weeks before I even knew I was going to Peru.  I was being guided on a specific journey where you go to a sacred site and receive a gift from a guide.  Well, this "white, modern pocahontas" showed up and gifted me with a mesa (a sacred bundle of stones used in Andean Shamanism).  Shortly thereafter I found out I was going to Peru and it was on that trip that I did actually become a mesa-carrier.  See?  I told you this kind of stuff happens to me.)

Anyway, back to Nahanni and her prolific presence in my life over the past two years.  

At some point I started to get very comfortable with her showing up, I think I even started to take it as a given; truly letting go of the need to know who she was or why she was there.  I just assumed she was my "spirit guide".  

And then it happened.  

One day I was in ceremony/in journey with her and she and I finally came face to face.  And maybe it won't surprise you to hear this kind reader, but it sure shocked the hell out of me; when I finally got to see her face and look deeply into her eyes.  She was me.

I know.  Weird.

I am Nahanni.

Well, if I thought that my dreams/visions/journeys were vivid and wild before that, I just had no idea how wild things could get!  Each journey started to become more of a shape-shifting experience.  I could start to morph in and out of her skin, clothes, and hair and feel what she was feeling.  

Often we would find ourselves roaming in a wide open field (just like we did as kids)... barefoot, wild and free; sometimes dancing amongst the wildflowers playing with a pack of coyotes, sometimes naked under the light of a full moon... and I finally started to understand who she was and why she was here.

She is my wild nature.  She is my truest essence.  

She is the me who I would unapologetically be if I weren't still playing by all of society's rules and expectations.  

And I love her so.  How I long to feel her heart beating in my chest, the wind dancing in our hair and our feet bare on the warm, fragrant earth.

And that my friends, is how I came to be Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman.

 

 

 

Game-changers

You know that feeling when you first reunite with a good friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time?  There is that pull of urgency in your belly, you feel a bit flustered and slightly overwhelmed because you aren’t sure where to possibly begin in order to fill them in on all that has happened since you last saw each other.

That, kind reader, is how I feel right now about writing this blog.

I take comfort in the fact that I have been in the above-mentioned “real life” scenario quite a few times in the past, and from what I can recall, things just worked themselves out.  The sense of urgency begins to gently subside, the explosion of words that you feel compelled to vomit somehow manages to fall out of you, and somehow, a vague sense of order emerges from its chaos.

I am taking this sense of urgency, overwhelm and flus-tration (new word!) as a good sign… a verrrrry good sign.  You see, it means that I WANT to re-connect with you (you = the outside world).  And this is the first time I have felt like this in a very long time… about three years (give or take).

The tricky thing here is that it is often (not always, but often) a one-sided conversation on the old blog.  You see, I have been blogging for seven years.  You might recall that this blogging adventure began with “MareBare Necessities: A Year of Living with Less”, which was a one-year project in which I gave up being a consumer of new goods.  It turned out to be an epic journey, and somehow, unintentionally, it became quite well read.  Like 50,000-readers-per-month well read!  (I know, it still shocks the hell out of me too!) 

After the “MareBare” project was over, I quit blogging for a bit, but then I was pushed,pulled and practically dragged back into it because of people like you: you see, my blog had started a CONVERSATION.  (I know now that this is no small feat – I have been trying every since to “continue the conversation” with my “on-line community”, only to discover that as I shifted, morphed and changed, so did they).  Today?  Not so much of a conversation.  Not so much of a community.  And so, I find myself once again in a very much one-sided, somewhat awkward, I’m-really-excited-but-overwhelmed-to-tell-you-stuff social situation.

(And after yesterday’s post… you can just guess how I feel about that… cue the sweat).

However: I’m doing it anyway.  You see, when I started MareBare Necessities, I couldn’t friggin’ WAIT to write my posts each day.  I was SO excited to connect with “my tribe” (which started off as one or two readers… one of whom was my mom).  And that is, once again, how I feel about connecting with you kind folks (there are about 8 of you all told)…

So, where shall we begin?  Ah yes.  The title of this post: GAME-CHANGERS.

Because of the overwhelm/excitement/flus-tration, it occurred to me that maybe I should just tell you what the biggest, most epic changes, challenges, self-discoveries/uncoveries have been over the past three years.  This post then, can kind of serve as the “index” for the rest of the blogs to come.

Here they are, in no particular order of timeline or importance (and please note, I shared the first two with you yesterday):

·Giving up alcohol (for 510 days and counting) and moving into “recovery” (I love this word – it means: to regain possession of something lost and return to a normal state of mind/health)

·Discovering that I am actually a very introverted/shy/socially anxious person

·Going through a divorce (duh). We have done this in the most conscious way possible and although it has been unbelievably painful, it has also been a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and growth.

·Working as an educational consultant (turns out that I really love this work and it continues to change and expand as well).

·Taking charge of my mental and physical health through a life-changing dietary program called Whole30 (look it up.  No seriously look.it.up.)

·Moving (several times) and finally settling into The House With The Red Door.  Lately we have been “Tidying up” our home (via the work of Marie Kondo) and so far this has involved disposing of 45 garbage bags of “stuff”, and we are only about ½ way done.

·Learning about co-dependency and moving into recovery from that sticky mess (this is also connected to learning how to set boundaries).

·Continuing to learn more and more about mental health and depression and continuing to navigate recovery (through WHOLEistic methods)  (I call this “taming the dark dragon”.) In other words, this has meant freeing myself of my behavioral addiction to and pattern of being “dark and twisty”.  This has meant taking FULL accountability for all areas of my life and letting go of my victim story (again and again and again).

·Facing ALL of my deepest, darkest fears, (most of which surrounded mortality and death) and emerging on the other side.

·Discovering a different way to be in an intimate partnership, and re-discovering the different forms/roles/shapes that can exist in a “family”

·Taking my medicine wheel training, travelling twice to Peru to study shamanism and beginning to practice and share my gifts as a shamanic practitioner.

·Changing my legal name back to my birth name.

·Claiming a medicine name (more on this later).

·Navigating intense survivor guilt (this is truly a one-day-at-a-time journey).

And there you have it: the list of “game-changers” and the likely future index of this blog.

Any questions?

Nahanni, DCW

Spiritual Alchemy: What if we don't have to choose?

 

Some of the most interesting people out there (in my humble opinion) are those who combine and honor all of their loves, interests and passions.  These folks manage to take two or more hobbies or areas of interest that are seemingly completely unrelated and combine them.  It is an alchemy that often results in pure magic, probably because it is so authentically unique. 

Take Caroline Myss for example.  She is a best-selling author and speaker on spiritual topics, however every time I have heard her speak, she brings up the fact that she is a war history buff and she somehow manages to bring this content into her presentation.  Imagine: war history facts infused throughout a spiritual talk (!).  But the funny thing is… it works!  These two seemingly unrelated topics are in fact connected through Caroline.  She masterfully becomes the container for which this beautiful alchemical reaction can take place.

I can think of several other friends and colleagues who are combining their passions in similar ways.  I have a friend who is an accountant, environmental activist AND a watershed expert.  Another friend is passionate and talented at improv theatre, magic AND marketing (yep, marketing).  A colleague of mine is a Martha Beck trained coach (that is code for woo-woo believer), a history buff, AND a lawyer.  She has a wonderful blog in which she writes about historical figures, and combines it with her love for fine scotch.  Seriously.

I hope you are getting the message here: you do not have to choose which parts of your being are worth sharing or pursuing.  THEY ALL ARE.  In fact, it is the combination of such unlikely elements that make it (you) interesting. 

I recently found the first iteration of my business card.  I laughed when I found it because it seriously reads like this:

MareBare Necessities

Maren Hasse (aka MareBare)

Coach, Facilitator of FIERCE Integrity Project, Yoga Instructor and Retreat Facilitator, Speaker, Writer, Reiki Practitioner.

Seriously.  It says all of that.

Now, I could think of a few more things to add: vision consultant, meditation teacher, spiritual teacher, published author, ceremonialist and shamanic practitioner

Hmmm… I think I might need to get those postcard-sized business cards.

For the past four years (more) I have been wrestling with this perceived “problem” of explaining who I am and what I do.  The truth is, I do all of those things (and yet none of them explain who I am).  I also use ALL of those skills in EVERYTHING I do.  You can’t separate them.  When you hire me as a consultant, you are also getting a coach (plus all of those other things) because I am me.  I am the container. 

In the past, I have been criticized for re-branding so many times, for not being “clear enough” about what I do and for whom.  However, whenever I have tried to “narrow it down”, I feel that I inadvertently cut some part of me off, that I have to deny some part of my being. 

The truth is, I don’t have to (nor do I want to). 

Currently, my brand is my name.  My brand is ME.   

I am getting more and more clear on my medicine/niche (I help people navigate adversity and change using coaching and shamanistic practices) and apparently this is true across a wide range of environments, people and settings. 

My message for today is: be the container.  Just be YOU.

Maren

 

 

 

 

  

Fire Walker

I have always loved ritual and ceremony.  As a child I can remember casting spells and making potions out of items that I found in nature.  I even had a "magic wand" with a miniature purple-wizard-guy on the top of it, and I can still remember the sound of the bells on his tiny hat as I swooshed it through the air, Blessing my creations.  Yes, I love the magical side of life.

I also love reason.  I love to have my questions answered… definitively.  I love reason and rational thinking so much, that I even have three University degrees, one of them in Science.  

One part magic and one part reason: there's that Gemini thing at play again.

Anyway, every year at New Year's, for as long as I can remember, I have chosen a word for the year.  I need to do this with a lot of consideration and care, because, as it turns out, whatever word I select typically becomes kind of like an intentional axis for the teachings/intentions over the entire year.  I do not know exactly how this works, but it does.  (My rational mind hates this fact, but my magical heart absolutely LOVES it).  

My word for 2015?  Trust.

So, let me tell you how this actually works.  When I first started doing this ritual, I thought, yes, I'll pick a word and then receive that word or feel that way all year long.  Well, Yes… and, No.  What really happens is that I will inevitably receive opportunity after opportunity to CHOOSE the vibration of whatever word I've chosen, often in the face of difficult or counter-intuitive situations… kind of like a test (or more like many tests).  

To be honest, I wasn't aware at first that this is how it worked, and my first couple of years of this practice were actually quite painful.  I thought the Universe had totally heard my prayer/intention, looked at my word and then laughed openly as it gave me the opposite.  But that IS how it works.  I can now see that when I pick a word, I will be given ample opportunity to put it into action!  (Last year's word was Grace… you can just imagine how messy 2014 was!)

Now, 3/4 of the way through 2015, I can honestly say that the Universe is right on cue with this year's word.  

Reflecting back on the year so far, I can see that there have been many examples to step into and choose Trust: avoiding river pirates in Peru, drinking Ayahuasca plant medicine (yes, again), riding near-wild horses in the Andes, rock-slides on crazy Andean roads, money stuff, work stuff and BIG relationship stuff, however a few weeks ago the Universe brought me what felt like a very, very big test.  

As some of you know, I am currently on a one-year training program called The Shaman's Path - facilitated by my brilliant friend and colleague Sarah Salter-Kelly.  We meet four times over the course of a year, in accordance with the equinoxes and solstices.  It is a training program based on the teachings of the medicine wheel and so far, it has proven to be nothing less than life-changing (I know, I know, how many times can I have a "life-changing" experience?!  Apparently many.  Infinitely perhaps).  Anyway, at the last gathering for the fall equinox (West direction), part of the program was performing a fire walk.  

Now, I had some vague recollection when I signed up that there was going to be a fire walk during the program, but honestly, I never gave it much thought.  It was one of those, "yeah, yeah, I'll worry about it when I get to it" kind of things.  

Well, on Friday night of the fall program, there it was, staring me straight in the face as a red hot, bed of coals.  The time had come to "worry about it".

I did what the facilitator (Brian) said to prepare, I connected to my breath, I connected to my energy field, I envisioned "cool moss"… but I was scared as shit.  My rational brain would NOT SHUT UP, with many others in the circle voicing my internal concerns: "Won't we get burned?"  "What is the science behind this?"  My magical heart, on the other hand, was totally in.  

Do or die.  Ok.  That's a bit dramatic.  Let's say "Learn or Burn" instead… or maybe "Trust or Bust"  (oopsie, my dorky sense of humour just got out).

Erm-Erm (throat clearing).

Who do I trust?  My magical heart (which I know is fully connected to the Universe), or my rational mind (which is actually quite a smarty-pants).  

We walked in silence, our group of thirteen.  I went quickly, right after Sarah and Brian… wanting to literally walk away from the conniption fit my mind was having in my head.  

And I did.  And it worked.  

On the other side of the coals, I collapsed in a heap of emotion.  

The Universe DOES have me.  I AM supported.  I CAN trust.  I DO trust.

Later, when we looked at some of the pictures (the one above).  I have to say I was a bit gob-smacked.  I don't know if you believe in capturing evidence of spirit on camera or not, but after hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer talk about it at length and show many photographic examples, I do.  I choose to believe that all of the white in the above picture is spirit.  That I am surrounded by love and support.  That I CAN trust in that.  

Grateful for the lesson.  Humbled beyond measure.  

Yours, in Trust,

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman