Soul Companions

I recently got “called” by a book called “Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole” by Robert Moss. Apparently The Universe felt I needed to read this because it was the first thing that popped up on my recommendations list on Amazon when I first started to have one of my dark moments due to depression. Ironically, the first few chapters discuss why its so important to travel in the darkness to understand the light.

One of the most interesting terms he speaks of in the book is “soul companions.” I have never heard this term before and its not the same as a “soul mate” or the ever volatile “twin flame.” I never like the term “soul mate” because I feel personally that people can have more than one soul mate–so its why I found soul companions to be such a better term. Of course, some of us are lucky enough to find one person whom we feel connected to and wish to spend the rest of our life with–in some sense, I guess the word “mate” would fit there. But what about all those other people we meet and feel connected to?

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A soul companion is essentially a person or group of people who share a common thread of spirituality/universal connection with you. Its not the same as a “community” as this is an individual connection to each person. People who speak a common language. Soul companions are often those that we feel connected to and don’t know why exactly. But there is something within each individual that we feel a deep connection with. As group, you feel that they are your spirit family–your kin–not blood related but connected to you in a much deeper level–a spiritual cosmic level.

I avoid the term “community” here because I often find within communities, specifically large ones, there is always one person or persons who inadvertently adds stress and drama to the group. I am a wanderer (remember that “not all those that wander are lost”). I meet individual who I spend time with and when we come together as a group its pure magick.

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One thing I stress here, is that a soul companion is essentially a soul friendship–though sometimes its hard not be attracted to soul companions. But connections are much more than just sexual–they are about soul kinship’s. So being attracted to one another is healthy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Another thing I found interesting within the book (which I am still reading!) is the idea that soul companions can work with each other–even at distances. We can heal one another by entering within a trance or dream state. We can communicate with each other and feel each others emotions–because of a deep connection that goes beyond the physical world. As a group, soul companions can journey together and do great work together.

I don’t believe that soul companions are meant to stay in our lives continuously, though some do. I think some soul companions enter our lives at specific times to help or teach us something specific. Sometimes that is all they are meant to do. Other times we have soul companions who stay with us forever.

I have been blessed to have had and have many soul companions. People who I can share my spiritual journey with…..even the ones that have moved away!

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Seeing in the Dark

I am a healer. I have been drawn to healing for many years and its why when I was 19 I decided to work in health care. I eventually became a certified Medical Assistant and worked for years in Radiation Oncology-a stint at Hospice-and now I am back in internal medicine. I want to help people. Its in my nature. I am also a Shamanic Practitioner, and an Empath. Its my Empath skills that get me into trouble. I have clinical depression with biological factors. As an Empath–I feel everything….Energy shifts, changes in mood. You name it I feel it. And when you have depression–feeling what everyone else is feeling makes getting better more difficult. Especially being a healer.

ImageMy last “fall” into my depressive state really awoke in me this internal battle: “How can I help others while battling a mental illness like depression?” I felt somehow, that that would be impossible. And who would take me seriously knowing about my illness? Furthermore, is it possible to be a Shamanic Practitioner, in which I would need to undertake journeys to assist and heal other people-while dealing with an illness that is so mentally and emotional unstable. And the answer is, YES! I thought long about this. And the truth is that part of being a good healer–part of being someone who can help another person–is being able to feel their pain. Shamanism for me, has become not only an external practice-in which I assist others, but an internal practice as well. I am working with my spirit helpers, ancestral spirits, and of course, my power animals more so on a regular basis than I had in the past. Its in this darkest of times–that I see the clearest.

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During my darkest times, I feel that I become more empowered. That my spirit helpers are reminding me that they are with me, even more than before. Even when I feel the overwhelming sense of hopelessness-I feel a need to begin again. This is a test. I see my depression as a test. I am Shamanic Warrior. I need to walk through the darkness to understand the light–and vice versa. One thing has become clear-my need to surrender to the power of the Universe. I am not a person who just surrenders easily. But the more I battle with this disease, I realize the more I need to let go. Let go of anxiety, fear, and the unknowing.  I started a mantra, “Unto the Universe I surrender all things.” Its a mantra to help when I become anxious. My anxiety feeds my depression-if I can control that-I can control the uncontrollable. Being able to help others means being able to go to places that you fear-even if its inside yourself. Its part of connecting the web. You have to be able to see in the darkness to understand the light.

The Darkest Days

“The way other people practiced a sport, learned a dance, I sat with feelings to learn who I am.”
― S. Kelley Harrell,

 

 

I have depression, although I was not formally diagnosed until this year. In conjunction with depression, I have an anxiety disorder. To some outsiders, depression is caused by external sources–a bad job, loss of a family, financial troubles–and this causes anxiety. The idea of “life is hard,” or “everything will be ok” is all nice in the world of people who don’t have depression. Depression is not unhappiness. 

I have biological depression, which means, that somewhere in my brain–chemical and neurotransmitters aren’t working the way they should. I am on medication and weekly therapy. 

What doesn’t help, is people who have no idea what its like living with depression. Who think that a few days of rest will help you stabilize and “deal”~Those people who think your unhappiness is caused by outside factors. My depression is internal factors–that I have no control over.

My moods go from extremely happy to dark. And when I hit my dark days, my “Eeyore Days” as my friend calls it–its like being tossed on a fast moving train with no breaks. I have no idea where I am going and I have no idea when I am going to stop. It just is. I have no control over my emotions. I feel deep sadness, hopelessness, pain, anger, isolation and loneliness. I feel them–and I have no control over them. I will burst in tears until I cry myself to sleep. Feel hopeless. Want to scream. Its like fighting a different person inside me. I have to remind loved ones around me–not to take it personal–that “its not me” when I am in my dark phase. Its my brain…fighting me. 

 

I hate talking about depression to people who don’t understand it. Its not their fault. They cant relate. They don’t understand what it feels like to have no control over your emotions-your feelings or what is going inside of you. To them you are just a grumpy, sad or unhappy person. They think you just take a pill and everything is fixed.

The thing with biological depression, its not a like cold. You don’t start taking a pill and suddenly everything is all better. The worse part, the thing that sucks the most, is the finding the right meds–the right pills that will help your brain function. And its a process. I have tried a few–they work for a little while and then I have the “fall” ~ and need to try something else. Its a constant struggle finding the best medication that will help.

Depression is an illness. But unlike other illnesses its not something that just “goes away”~ its not something you treat with radiation or fix with a cast. Its there. Always. There are ways to make it manageable. But its always there. 

People ask me why I am so open about it. The truth is, there are so many people out there who have it. So many people who feel lost and stuck in the dark. I want them to know they are not alone. It feels like it. It feels like you are so isolated—even if you have amazing friends and family–you still feel that sense of loneliness and emptiness. You are not alone. I struggle with you. I struggle alongside you. 

The truth is, living with this illness, despite its daily struggles and the ups and downs, it has forced me to begin a journey of self exploration. I realizing what matters in my life, and what doesn’t. What truly is important to me and what is not. Its forced me on a new path in my life. For nearly 10 years I have been a professional performer–and I have enjoyed it immensely. I loved sharing my art with others-seeing people smile-happy and involved in my love of dance and theatre. Inside, I wanted something more. To some dancers, their art is their spirituality. To me, it was something I did to help with getting emotions out but not facing things dead on. After 10 years of dance and study, I have decided to spend 2014 on journey of self exploration. To learn and discover who I am  and in turn, not only heal myself, but also help to heal others like me.

I have enrolled the first courses of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies to begin a path as a Shamanic Counselor and Healer. I have started to become active in a local drum community and have begun not only Shamanic journeying on a regular basis and keeping a journal, but also painting. Painting images I see in my journeys is away for me to connect to my spirit. This is all part of the healing process. Despite this illness, I see it as a gift, even when I feel like I am about ready to crash and burn, I see it as a gift. A lesson. I need to experience pain in order to heal and understand my place in the world. 

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“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”― Mary Oliver