‘A child who is loved has many names.’
This is an old proverb that I enjoy expanding upon from a shamanic perspective. In shamanism, we work to bring the many parts of ourself into wholeness. In order to do that, it is necessary to identify those parts first. This is not always easy to do because so many parts of ourself can be lost, forgotten, hidden, denied, and so on, due to cultural, social, and familial influences that keep them in the dark. So how can we bring those aspects into the light where they can be healed and integrated into the you that longs for integrity of body, mind, and spirit?
I’d like to suggest this simple exercise as a first step.
- Find a blank piece of paper and pen.
- Set a timer for five minutes.
- Write down all the words you can think of that identify you.
- Do not to judge the words that come to mind. If the words show up, write it down.
- These words can be words that identified you in the past, but do not seem relevant now.
- Sometimes there may be two different words for the same thing. For example, in my case, I could write down that I am a ‘Registered Dietitian’ as well as a ‘Nutritionist.’
Here is a list of words that identify me:
Mother Dancer Shamanic Soul Coach Nutritionist Child Sister Cousin Mate Teacher
Registered Dietitian Teacher Radio Show Host Homemaker Graduate Lisa Business Owner
Friend Domestic Goddess Dreamer Divorce´ Lover Volunteer American Mentor Homeschool Mom
Daughter Student Priestess Medicine Woman Shaman Poet Lisa Tremont Ota Woman
Native American Environmentalist Naturalist Gardener Public Health Nutritionist Author
This is a great start! This helps me to recognize that I am not just any one of these parts. When we identify with just one or a limited number of parts, we tend to cut off other parts of ourselves. Eventhough I am no longer a ‘child,’ my inner child will arise from time to time and want to play or cry or be dependent, for example. Through shamanic soul coaching, we can allow the child to co-exist with the ‘woman.’ A woman who can allow herself to run through the woods with the freedom of a child will be in greater harmony with herself and others than the woman who restrains herself because she doesn’t want to look like a child.
You may also be aware of the tendency to want exactly what we forbid ourselves. Who hasn’t wanted a piece of cake (or other scrumptious treat) as soon as the commitment to give up sugar is made, for example? The part of us that doesn’t want to give up treats begins to cry out and make itself known because it feels denied and forgotten. If we can embrace that part, we may be more likely to design an eating practice that is more realistic. Here’s another example: When my two boys were young, I found parts of myself raging battle. Part of me wanted to be a ‘homeschool mom,’ providing the freedom and flexibility to explore the world in ways that they wouldn’t have if they attended public school. But then my ‘career woman’ would rise up in dramatic ways to make her presence known. “What about me?” she would cry (sometimes quite literally)! “You graduated with a master’s degree in public health nutrition and now you’re going to leave me by the wayside?” she would shout. Shamanism helps us to integrate these parts. I ended up homeschooling my boys for six years while finding a home-based business that I could incorporate into the flexible lifestyle that homeschooling demanded. Now, my children are both in college, leaving me with an empty nest and the resources from that home-based business to continue to expand my influence.
A shamanic soul coaching session can help you to more fully uncover, discover, and recover the many parts of yourself and to integrate them. Below are links to my own practice as well as that of Francesca Gentillé, my esteemed guest on SacredExploration (November 15, 2017).
Lisa Tremont Ota