Health

The Medicine of Space

When we create spaciousness for ourselves, we can relax into BEing and presence. We can expand to fully embody all parts of ourselves. We can be as big as we actually are. We can welcome in new energies and remain balanced through dynamic shifts.

I’ve been keeping relatively quiet for the past couple of months as I sit with some very significant changes that are coming up in my life and my work. I won’t go into too much detail now as it is still crystalizing, but suffice it to say that everything (one-on-one work, teaching, programs, etc) is getting an overhaul. The way that I am moving through it with a greater degree of ease and grace than I could otherwise is... spaciousness.

Even so, the overhaul has brought on some anxiety. The inner voices share their doubts:

“Am I committing entrepreneurial suicide by switching up my offerings all the time?”
“What the heck do I think I’m doing?”
“Am I kidding myself?”
“What if this is way too far out for people? What if nobody is ready for this? What if nobody gets it?”
“How can I make all these massive changes without shooting myself in the foot?”

Those are some of the highlights, but you get the idea.

I just returned from a week-long trip to Sedona, AZ, where I experienced a great deal of new energy and catalysts, set some changes in motion and received some profound medicine. One of the highlights was a visit to the Grand Canyon.

I had never been to this particular sacred site before, and as I approached the canyon rim, I felt myself start to tear up. I could feel the energy swelling up out of the exposed layers—ancient and constant in its power. Moved beyond words, I wandered off by myself to stand on a cliff edge and feel the potent waves course through my body. The Grand Canyon is a giant portal, and the amount of raw power and potential held within each grain of sand is palpable.

“This is the kind of healer I want to be. I want to be this spacious, this ancient, this solid, yet mutable.”

As these realizations formed in my mind, I felt myself expand enough to accommodate the Grand Canyon within my energy field.

“I AM this spacious. I AM this ancient. I AM this solid, this mutable.”

No matter the direction my work takes from here, the kind of space I hold for myself and for others is that deep. The kind of container I set for transformation is that wide.

I sat down to write in my journal, tears continuing to blur my vision. I had no idea what I was writing, and only discovered after I read it later that night that I had written a declaration—a prayer to the Grand Canyon herself:

I AM big enough to hold you.

I AM strong enough to serve you.

I AM patient enough to learn from you—the lessons in each stone and grain of sand.

I AM ancient enough to remember you as flat, scorched Earth that gave off the sharp tang scent of new metal, fresh from the fire.

I AM small enough to curl myself into each pore in your cavernous walls… tiny wombs where crystals and magic are born.

I AM quiet enough to hear the stories that have been buried in your layers for aeons rise up as they are freed by matter dissolving into air.

I AM raw enough to feel the currents of wind stirred by Raven’s wing.

I AM humble enough to kneel here, to know that I have died here and to surrender my bones to you to compost into soil.

I AM embodied enough to feel that you are big enough to hold me.

I AM wild enough to want to scream and chant and howl and sing and fill your canyons with my prayers, but subtle enough to know that a whisper will suffice.

I know that there is space for you in my bones, in my cells. I feel my body drinking in your familiar magic. Make me ancient. Help me remember. Support me in crumbling away all the surface layers to reveal the parts of me that were present for the birth of this and other worlds. Instruct me in how I may better serve. Teach me the ways of timeless presence. I fill myself with you. I AM reverence. There is no room here for anything but the Truth. I see my blood on your walls. Let me lie here and dissolve.

This is the kind of spacious timelessness that constitutes the Void. In this reality, no healing work is needed because nothing needs to be “healed.” There is no need to fix, to change, to alter or adjust. There is only BEing and presence.

Within that spaciousness, all things are possible. When I hold the medicine of the Grand Canyon in my body, the doubting voices immediately become silent.

I invite you to examine where you can breathe more spaciousness into your life. In what ways can you allow more BEing and presence?

Many blessings!

Michelle Hawk Shaman Portland Sedona Reiki Master Healer Teacher

The Power of Subtlety

"Go big, or go home!"

"No pain, no gain!"

We're all familiar with these statements, and others that also glorify intensity, drama and suffering. I definitely used to be a member of the Harder/Better/Faster/Stronger camp. I think it was a combination of my desire for efficiency, my highly competitive nature and the need to receive instant gratification in knowing that my efforts had achieved some immediately measurable result.

It took me an embarrassingly long time, but I finally learned that healing doesn't work that way. In many ways, I almost felt exempt from the Universal Laws of subtle energy movements. See aforementioned competitive nature. "If anyone can heal overnight, it's me! I'll just do this one big ritual and I'll be good!" Then Spirit would kick my ass in some form or another and I would be forced to slow down, work on the subtleties and not try to rush anything or create some grand Hail Mary healing gesture.

There were times when I was moving through deep healing crisis, and the only thing I could do to work on myself was some mini personal practice, but I committed to doing it every day. One of the most gratifying examples of this took place a couple of years ago as I experienced the trials of the Portland housing market and had no idea where I was going to live. During a healing session, the practitioner told me that my root chakra was almost entirely shut down. I remember thinking, "That can't be right. I'm very grounded." But as I considered this information, I realized that I hadn't adjusted my personal practices to accommodate the destabilization I felt from losing my home. I silently promised myself in that moment to work on my root chakra and my sense of safety every day, even if only for five minutes.

When I saw this healer again a couple of months later, she noted that my root chakra was not only fully back online, but huge! Also, all of my other chakras were more balanced and aligned because of the work I had been doing on my root chakra alone. Aside from the measurable difference in my energy field, I emotionally felt safer, more secure and confident, despite the upheaval in my living situation. I had worked every day for a few minutes on internalizing my sense of safety, rather than having my safety be dependent on external circumstances.

I share this story about subtle personal practice right now because this exact phenomenon is coming up for many of my clients and people in my immediate surroundings. I have had more discussions about subtle personal practices in the last couple of weeks than I have ever had in my life.

In a conversation with a friend of mine last week, we got around to talking about energy clearing. I perceived that his field was a bit "dusty" and asked him what he did for a clearing practice. "You mean like a sweat lodge?" He asked. I answered that a sweat lodge was a good way to do some bigger clearing, but asked again what he did every day for himself. "Oh. Nothing," he answered. At this point Spirit started poking me with a very direct message, so I asked him, "Do you believe that subtle daily practices actually work?" He looked a bit taken aback as he thought for a moment, then, almost sheepishly, answered, "I guess not."

We all like magic fixes. We like thinking that there's one golden gem of a ritual or practice that we can bring in to clean up our energies and erase all the wounds. That's why there are so many "Intensives" out there in the healing and coaching world. There are plenty of retreats, ceremonies and other ways to experience a supercharged dose of healing. There is absolutely incredible value in dropping into your process and doing nothing else for one day, three days, five days, a week, but unless your awareness of the subtleties and your established personal practice is there to back it up, it is not sustainable and the energies won't stick around. While much less sexy, the subtle consistency of your daily personal practice is going to be the thing that saves your ass and creates the solid foundation for all other healing work to take place.

I guarantee you that the subtle work that you do every single day will be one of your greatest tools. This is what will allow you to become intimately acquainted with your energies, your process, your intuition and help you cultivate a strong energetic foundation. It is this foundation that will provide a clear container for whatever intensive healing/coaching/ceremonial work you do, and give you a place to channel that infusion of new energy.

I tell people, "Doing a subtle practice two minutes every day for 30 days is more powerful than doing one hour of practice once a month."

How can you harness your own power of subtlety? Check this out:

A Personal Practice Primer

Congratulations! You're ready to begin your subtle personal practice. Here are some things to consider:

Support

It's a good idea to receive some support in the form of healing work or coaching to help you determine the best direction for your personal practice. What energies would you like to develop?

Time

How much time can you commit EVERY DAY to this practice? I tell my clients to choose something in the range of 30 seconds to 1 hour. Choose the amount of time that you confidently feel you can commit to every single day. If there are some days where you do more than that, that's great! But at very least, you are setting aside that minimum amount of time.

The Practice Itself

So, what are you actually doing during that timeframe? Part of what dictates your practice is the amount of time you allot. For example, if you give yourself an hour, that's enough time for some journaling, breathing meditation, embodiment practices and affirmations. If you give yourself 10 minutes, maybe a brief visualization and affirmation practice would be more appropriate. If you give yourself two minutes, you can create a brief, but rich practice of silence, gratitude and simply being present in your body.

Here are some suggestions of a few things that you might want to weave into your personal practice:

  • Self-healing work (Reiki, chakra balance)
  • Breathwork
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude
  • Affirmations
  • Journaling
  • Embodiment practice (gentle movement, stretching, yoga, exercise)
  • Silence
  • Gardening

It's important also to change up your personal practice every now and then so it doesn't become stagnant. But for now, just get started!

Renewing the Practice of Self-Care

Sweaty, sporting a new gaping blister and beginning to feel the stiff prickle of lactic acid in my legs, I arrived home from my intense morning workout to read a text from my man friend that said he had just been offered a ticket to Burning Man. Immediately, I felt a rigidity to rival that of my weary thighs spread across my chest, up through my neck and into my face, forcing my lips into a frown and my brow into a forbidding crease.

Noticing the turmoil of mixed emotions that tore through me upon reading this simple message, I registered with some surprise that, while I was excited for my man friend and happy that this opportunity had fallen into his lap, the hungry feeling that made my chest crawl uncomfortably was none other than envy. Forcing myself to focus on the happiness I felt on his behalf, I texted back a congratulatory message and went about my morning, preparing to see a client. I brushed aside the rising emotional bubble, told myself that I had too much to think about and needed to focus on my work, and what was I envious for, anyway? I hadn’t planned on going to Burning Man this year and I have other projects that take priority.

My man friend and I spoke on the phone a few hours later while I made my way through slow-moving traffic. As I drove past the exit to my old neighborhood and saw the trail where I used to run along the water stretching out into the distance, sharp pangs of longing and loss punctuated the envy that bubbled up like a sour taste from where it slouched, heavy, in my gut. I swallowed it as long as I could and tried to stay fully present with him in his excitement, but when it felt as though I would choke or have to scream and cry, I finally admitted my feelings.

As this confession poured out of the part of me that feels like an ugly, demanding child—the part that I’m reluctant to reveal to anyone, let alone to a new relationship—I heard myself say that I wanted to receive a gift like that, something that would allow me to go on vacation and have someone take care of me and not have to the person who does the caretaking. I heard myself acknowledge that living a life of service is something I love, and that offering healing and holding a container for the well-being of my community is inherent to my role as a Shaman. And yet, in that moment, I wanted nothing more than for someone to acknowledge all of my hard work and struggles and reward my enormous efforts with a trip to Burning Man.

I indulged in a moment of piteous self-assessment as I sat on the highway surrounded by semi-trucks. My eyes burned from staying up too late writing the night before, my legs were stiffening into hard masses and my fresh blister stung with the drop of sweat that rolled down my ankle. I had just completed an energetically draining session with a very challenging client and had several more hours of work to accomplish when I arrived back at my temporary home. I felt my shoulders roll forward in response to the tightness that flashed across my chest and throat and sent sharp tears to prick the corners of my eyes.

Reflecting on this conversation hours later, I know that I will always live a life of service and will continue to offer myself and my work for the well-being of my community. The fact that I had such a strong reaction to my man friend receiving a wonderful gift tells me that I have been severely neglecting my own daily self-care lately. I felt these realizations creep across my brain like gentle friends coming to soothe my grumpy, demanding inner child. I have been pouring so much energy into my work and single-minded focus on my business that I have not nurtured the part of me that loves to have adventures, meet new people and play. Rather than wishing that someone would come rescue me with a vacation to the desert so I can take a break and receive from others, I must offer myself the care I deserve so I can live sustainably from a place of balance and empowered fulfillment of my own needs. I felt my breath slow and deepen, my shoulders softening as I articulated the thought, “I must fill my own energetic cup with nourishing care and joyful experiences in order for me to truly offer myself in service to others.”

Ultimately, I am the source of my own joy. I am my own best resource for happiness. When I find myself wishing that someone would swoop in and offer me those things, I ask myself these questions: What steps do I take to ensure that my energetic cup is full? How can I actively nurture the health of my body, mind, emotions and Spirit? If I feel as though I need validation for my work, how can I acknowledge my own efforts and recognize my amazing achievements?

I commit to renewing my healthy habits of simple, daily self-care to nourish myself on every level: physical, mental, emotional and Spiritual. I commit to honoring the needs of my inner child to ensure her continued health and happiness. I commit to filling my own cup so that I may offer myself to the world from a place of overflowing joy and fulfillment.

Many blessings,

Michelle

Michelle Hawk offers 4 easy ways to practice your daily self-care on every level: physical, mental, emotional and Spiritual. Cultivate your own health and well-being and feel more centered. You are the source of your own joy.