Category: Inner Wisdom
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
As the Shelter in Place order continues to stretch into the foreseeable future here in the Bay Area, the days are stretching longer and longer into the night as we approach the summer solstice. June 21 is the longest day of the year and its night is the shortest night. The solstices and equinoxes are important moments in the Sacred Stream‘s calendar. This is a time where we come together at our quarterly drum circles to honor our relationship to the sun and its relationship to events on the earth. The marking of these moments of the year is a time-honored tradition in many cultures. Bonfires have been lit across the world for millennia in summer solstice celebrations. Native Americans celebrated with fire as well, and the Sioux people have the special initiations of the Sun Dance during this time. One aspect of the Sun Dance initiation involves helping initiates focus on the development of endurance and trust.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot come together in person as we have for every summer solstice since 1995. However, we can still reflect about this moment in time together. Endurance and trust are two qualities that are helpful to reflect upon as we enter into our 16th week of Sheltering in Place here in California during a time of increasing social unrest. This is a time where our capacity to weather difficult and unforeseen circumstances is being challenged as the protests to demand racial justice uniquely highlight the complexities of our situation.
By Joanna Adler, PsyD, CHT
The demands of parenthood have perhaps never been so daunting as they are now during this Shelter in Place. Parents now need to be their children’s teacher, coach, friend, and parent, without assistance or break, while also doing their own jobs, caring for their house, etc. Parenting is already the toughest job there is, but add in the uncertainty and overwhelm of COVID-19, and uninterrupted childcare duties for months with no end in sight, and we have an incredibly tall order.
As a Depth Hypnosis Practitioner and clinical psychologist, I have had the opportunity to counsel many parents over the last months, and as you all probably know, parents are struggling!! The effect of being thrown together 24 hours a day is wearing on even the most skilled of parents.
In this talk from Embodied Philosophy’s Virtual Empowerment conference, Isa Gucciardi describes the role of the shamanic journey in traditional contexts and how it can be adapted into the modern therapeutic setting to transform inner experience.
By Denise Colby, Ph.D.
“Yoga saves your life.” It was my trademark phrase around the yoga studio, and what I offered to anyone who asked for my opinion on the practice. In my nearly 20 year engagement with yoga, I’ve found the practice to influence and mirror just about every aspect of life off the mat. Like my relationship to Depth Hypnosis, it started out as a tool I engaged with for a particular purpose and eventually became a way of life. These two practices weave themselves together into a beautiful tapestry of healing and transformation for this very corporeal, very human experience that we are all having. What I have found over the years is that there’s a lot of Depth Hypnosis in yoga, and a whole lot of yoga in Depth Hypnosis. A mindful dedication to this combination of practices creates a powerful vehicle of transformation to support the healing process.
In Depth Hypnosis, we are deeply engaged with the process of encountering ourselves in all of our darkest spaces. The shadow self is bravely and compassionately explored so that we can heal our trauma and unwind the false beliefs and patterns that we have held about ourselves and reality for much of our lives. Depth Hypnosis is a somatic practice that addresses trauma or energetic imbalance through the body itself, ultimately re-wiring our circuitry to bring about understanding and peace in our past and current experience. For those who have suffered bodily trauma or other experiences that have made the body feel like an unsafe place to be, a significant piece of the work of Depth Hypnosis is simply reestablishing safety and connection to the body. This is no small feat.
This episode is a retrospective of some of the highlights of the past year. You’ll hear excerpts from Laura Chandler’s interviews with bestselling authors Dawson Church and Christina Rasmussen, Grammy nominee Barbara Higbie, and renowned channel and author Paul Selig. Our featured music includes songs from Barbara Higbie, Dan Walters, and master sarod player Rajeev Taranath, as well as Sacred Stream’s very own Katie Rudman and her duo, Heddwen.
By Laura Chandler
As the REM song says, “Everybody hurts, sometimes.” It is the inescapable truth we all share as humans. We are going to experience pain. The holidays are a particular source of pain for people who have lost loved ones. Those celebratory holiday gatherings and fun parties can be a source of sorrow as they remind us of what is missing from our lives. Often times, for those who have lost a close friend or family member, the holidays are a time to withdraw, and a time to seek refuge in the quiet of solitude rather than the rush of holiday fervor. So, how do you help someone who is grieving?
Article: Interview: Plant Medicine as a Spiritually Transformative Experience: Challenges to Integration in the Modern Context
ACISTE recently had an opportunity to interview Isa about her views on the use of psychotropic plant medicine for psychological and spiritual transformation. Given the recent resurgence of clinical interest in the use of psychedelics for treating mental health concerns, we hope this two-part (Feb/Mar) interview will encourage therapists and others to further educate themselves about the unique integration needs of those who choose to engage plant medicine for healing and guidance.
By Melanie Robins
When I put my infant daughter onto the bed, my hands could not bear to hold her for one more second. It was as if the hot, bubbling rage ripping through my veins had thrust her from my arms to protect her from getting burned. As she landed on the bed with a giggle, the spell broke and I was slammed back to consciousness. While she thought we were playing an exhilarating game, I knew I needed help.
Regretfully, the story does not end there. I did this more times than I can stomach. As her will came forward, there was more resistance around sleep and more frustration for us both. The constant need since birth for me to participate in her sleep process took its toll. While not every day was horrible, there were some difficult and shameful moments where I blew my top and yelled, slammed doors, and shook with rage.
We are thrilled that the Sacred Stream has been named one of the top places to explore Shamanic ceremonies in San Francisco by Head + Heart, an online platform that helps connect people with mindful events, experiences and community across the USA and Canada. The Sacred Stream offers classes and training programs in Applied Shamanism, including certification in Applied Shamanic Practice & Plant Medicine Integration. For more information about our classes and training programs, visit our Applied Shamanism website. Here you can find articles, videos, podcasts, and other resources to support you in your study of shamanism.
By Denise Colby, Ph.D.
The most critical choices I have made in my life have rarely been the ones that were researched, well thought-out, and intentional. At best, I’ve stumbled into them, and many times I’ve been full of resistance and struggle. These have been the watershed moments that could only be seen and understood in retrospect. Only after I’ve witnessed how a single, hesitant “Yes” could totally change the course of my life. There have been a handful of these critical moments, but perhaps the most significant has been my encounter with Depth Hypnosis.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
We live in a time of paradox. On the one hand, wars and conflicts of all sorts rage all around us. The Earth is buckling under the effect of them. We also live in a time where there are opportunities for innovative solutions to our situation. We could focus on different types of innovations – technology, new ways of doing business, and more. But here, I would like to focus on the new spiritual and healing possibilities that are emerging to address this crisis. These approaches to addressing the difficulties of the current time can help us explore consciousness in ways that might not be accessible in less tumultuous times.
By Denise Colby
It goes without saying that what makes doubt and denial so good at keeping you shackled is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you can’t see it, how on earth do you begin to heal? There are many ways that truth begins to surface within us, but this is one of the places where a consciousness practice can be quite helpful. In the first part of this article, we discuss some of the ways in which we become aware that things are not as they seem and all is not well. This section addresses what to do once you have made the commitment to move into the light and live in truth.
By Denise Colby
If we have been in deep denial about some aspect of our experience, the revelation of truth will at first be a painful one. Truth will make its entrance in ways that will seem quite disturbing—intrusive thoughts, nightmares, innocuous interactions producing strong emotions, or a general feeling that one is “not OK.” It is at this juncture that we come to a choice: we can stay in denial and find external reasons to justify our internal experience, numbing and modulating using whatever coping mechanisms we have, or we can claim our internal experience as something uniquely personal and get very curious about it.
There are many roads out of denial, but at some point we will have to choose to validate what our body and reactivity is saying over the story we’ve been telling ourselves. This breaking down of an old story — the acknowledgement that we’ve been telling ourselves a false story our whole lives — provides the crack where the light of truth can finally break through to our awareness.
By Laura Chandler
In a recent article in The Atlantic titled, “Your Professional Decline is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think” (July 2019), the author, Arthur Brooks, looks for a silver lining as he explores the idea of his own unavoidable decline and the loss of relevance he will suffer in old age. His investigation takes him to different psychological principles, Darwin’s theory of evolution, happiness studies, and ultimately to an Indian guru, Acharya. His question to this master was this: “Many people of achievement suffer as they age, because they lose their abilities, gained over many years of hard work. Is this suffering inescapable, like a cosmic joke on the proud? Or is there a loophole somewhere—a way around the suffering?”
Question: How would you define personal responsibility?
Isa: Personal responsibility is a process of becoming more self-aware, understanding your motivations, your intentions, and the effect your actions and thoughts have on you and those around you. It involves a willingness to contemplate the consequences of your emotional responses, and the ability to recognize when those expressions are harmful and when they are beneficial.