One Client's Amazing Healing

I love witnessing my clients as they make amazing shifts in all areas of their lives! I checked in with one client today who, before we started working together, was feeling stuck—stuck in an unfulfilling job, stuck with friends and acquaintances with whom she no longer had anything in common, stuck in a place of less-than-optimum health and stuck in a mundane daily routine that zapped her of any drive and energy. She contacted me several months ago after she came across a book on Shamanism, and she described the feeling as though a fire was lit inside of her. She knew that her health, her marriage and her life force energy were all suffering and she needed help to “get unstuck” and reconnect with her joy and sense of purpose.

Even though she was motivated to make some changes in her life, she was very afraid of upsetting the status quo (especially in her work and in her marriage). What if these life changes made her stick out even more at work and she lost her job? What if, by stepping into her personal power, she alienated her husband? What if she lost everything?

A few weeks ago, we completed our three months of working together in my Deep Medicine Path program, and watching her transformation has been absolutely extraordinary. Instead of losing her job, she decided to proactively phase herself out of her unfulfilling line of work at her own, gentle pace. She is in the process of beginning her own life coaching practice so she can inspire and empower others. Instead of losing her marriage and feeling alienated from her husband, their relationship finally has that spark of new life! He has loved witnessing her changes and gladly stepped up in full support of her transformation. Instead of feeling drained and tired all the time, she now has energy to devote to her own health and well-being and her body “hasn’t felt this good in years!”

Hearing “I’m so glad I worked up the courage to say yes and work with you!” from a client is the most amazing feeling. I am so humbled every time someone trusts me to shepherd them through their awakening. It means the world to me that I get to be a mentor and a guide for those stepping into their own power and embodying the radiance of their true selves. In so much gratitude!


SHAMAN: What's in a "title"?

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to introduce myself to someone using "anything but the woo-woo words" to describe myself and what I do. I was meeting a family member of someone close to me for the first time, and was forewarned that this family member would be most receptive to meeting me and warming to my character if I did not use "Spiritual language" to describe myself. In short, the phrase, "I'm a Shaman!" was off the table.

Challenge accepted!

When asked, "what do you do?" by this family member, I described the functional, tangible aspects of my work. "I support humans and animals in their journey to natural health and wellness. I work with animal health and behavior, and on the human side, I help people connect with their joy, love and purpose. I mentor people through challenging periods of their lives and help them work their way to the other side feeling more empowered, confident and connected." This person nodded approvingly and the conversation moved on.

Fast forward to today, in continuing with the theme, when someone online asked me, "What do you do as a Shaman?"

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed considering the functional implications of the term. What does a Shaman "do?"

Here is what I wrote back:

"I'm kind of laughing at my internal response to your question, which was "What DON'T I do as a Shaman?" I know that's not how you meant the question, but I try each day to live the idea of "my every breath and action is a practice in devotion to All That Is." So, essentially, I do everything as a Shaman, from washing the dishes and dancing to my healing work and more!

In other senses of the question, I practice the philosophy of "A Shaman devotes herself to the health and well-being of her Tribe." In my case, my Tribe is my global community. I work with humans and animals all over the world (though much of my client base is local) to help them discover and express their greatest joy, their fiercest love and their deepest purpose. I teach empowerment, mentor personal investigation and shepherd people through the underworld as they experience their own dark nights of the soul.

Functionally, I also work with supporting natural health and wellness (for humans and animals), teach Reiki and other healing practices (to humans), translate between species (animal communication) and channel Spirit (usually for humans).

Does that answer your question?"

Being a Shaman means different things to different people. The term gets thrown around a lot, and it's often loaded with some kind of judgment and/or misunderstanding. It took me YEARS before I was able to "put on the mantle" of claiming my medicine and publicly call myself a Shaman.

Now that I've journeyed through the process of fearing the label, unfolding the layers of the label, coming into my own understanding of the label, claiming the label and living the label, I'm finding that the label matters less and less. Shaman isn't what I DO, it's who I AM and how I live each moment of my life.

When my every breath is a prayer for the Highest and Greatest Good of All That Is, when I practice presence and peace in the face of every challenge, when I accompany people into the depths of their darkest fears so that they may feel safe, when I surrender to Spirit and allow the Divine to flow through me in order to let someone feel loved and seen and held--THAT is what I do, with or without the label. Shaman or not.

To be fair, the word "Shaman" fits more easily on a business card. It can be a very loaded "title," but it is also only that--a title. How is someone living their life as a Shaman? How do they practice their devotion? What is their offering? How do they live their service? These are questions I love to ponder for myself and others in the world, whether or not they call themselves Shamans.

I offer my gratitude to all those who continue to inquire and create opportunities for me to ponder my work, my choices and my path! I gladly receive these moments of reflection and growing understanding.

Many blessings and much love from your friendly neighborhood Shaman!

Michelle Hawk

My First Universal Life Revelation

The moment that I later described as my “First Universal Life Revelation” occurred on Saturday, November 4th, 2006 as I stood in a record-setting torrential downpour.

I was a sophomore in University at the time, earning my degree in biology. Entrenched in academia, I was struggling to come to terms with what I learned in my study of science and how it related to my study of Reiki, as I had just completed my Reiki II training the month before. There seemed to be a substantial gap between the scientific community’s understanding of life and the world in which I was beginning to immerse myself: the world which taught me that there is no such thing as a barrier of space and time and that I am connected to All That Is. Looking back on that time of my life, I feel so much compassion for my 19 year old self. Sharing with other students the profound experiences that came from practicing Reiki served to isolate me from my academically-minded peers. The incredulity with which they met my suggestion that energy healing had a role to play in modern medicine dissuaded me from expounding upon my ideas.

On that Saturday in November, it seemed as though every circumstance had somehow come into perfect alignment to make me as miserable as possible. For one, I was sick. The previous Wednesday evening I had started to feel achy and tired, and I had woken up the following day with a burning fever. I missed all my classes Thursday and Friday as I lay in bed, drifting in and out of hallucinatory consciousness. My illness coincided with one of the heaviest periods of rainfall that Tacoma has ever seen. The drumming downpour on the roof set a dramatic soundtrack to my convalescence.

I awoke on Saturday feeling as though my fever had broken, though I was weak and somewhat shaky. When I finally ventured out of the dorm that afternoon, I enjoyed the bizarre sight of a few outdoorsy people kayaking in the flooded streets as sheets of water continued to swell the new, impromptu lakes. The whole situation felt almost unreal, like my hallucinations had followed me into the waking world.

For some reason, I decided that my first outing would be to go with my roommate to attend the last football game of the year. I’m still not entirely sure of my motivation for going. I have little patience for watching football even when I’m healthy and enjoying beautiful weather, so I’ll chalk it up to the pull of the Universe wanting to send me a message.

We stood there in the pouring rain as gusts of wind whipped cold strands of hair across my eyes to sting my exposed cheeks. At least my body was largely protected from the wind by the crowd of students, though the jostling on all sides felt just as invasive. The cold crept up my legs from where I had splashed myself leaping over a deep puddle and I bounced in place to attempt to bring some circulation to my freezing feet. I tried to watch the game, but the sky was so dark and the field was so muddy that it shortly became impossible to distinguish the color of the jerseys below. I had no idea how anyone on the field could even see the ball, let alone catch it.

I remember thinking how completely ridiculous the whole situation felt. I generally practice the philosophy of “things could always be worse,” but in that moment, things felt pretty close to awful. I was standing in the pouring rain after being sick for three days, watching a game I don’t care about, completely unable to tell what was happening on the field while being bumped and jarred by yelling people. And instead of succumbing to the monumental misery of the moment and hating everything about my circumstances, something clicked in my brain and I decided to have fun. That’s all: I decided that I was going to enjoy myself.

And so I did. I had so much fun watching the rest of the game in that record-setting downpour, surrounded by a crowd of screaming people while I sweated out the last of my fever. I felt like I was high, like nothing could touch me, and from then on the chilly rain seemed comical as it ran down the back of my neck. I have no idea who won the game (I could barely see anyway) but I had just discovered that I had the amazing power to decide how I felt, regardless of the circumstances around me.

This amazing high lasted for weeks and helped me to earn a perfect score on an exam for my Vertebrate Zoology class, deliver an amazing presentation to my Archaeology and Religion professor (he later cited my work to others in the class as an exemplary project) and navigate with more success than ever the challenge of integrating my growing understanding of energy into my academic studies. I found it much easier to speak with my peers about my experience working with Reiki, and found that they seemed much more open to hearing me. From that simple decision I made, that I was going to have fun in spite of the miserable circumstances, came a cascade of wonderful alignments and further validation.

I cite my “First Universal Life Revelation” as the beginning of a dramatic shift in my consciousness because, when presented with the opportunity to choose between misery and joy, I chose joy. It would have been so easy to succumb to all the factors pointing me in the direction of “everything about this is terrible,” but instead, I decided to enjoy myself. In that moment, I consciously became more powerful than my circumstances. I created my own experience, chose my perception of the situation and felt my joy reflected back to me on all sides.

We are all more powerful than our circumstances. We all hold the enormous capacity to create our own experiences, or at very least, to decide how we feel about them. I like to celebrate my own personal anniversaries of these revelations because they remind me of moments in which I experienced a profound shift in my awareness that has since altered the course of my existence. Reminding myself of times when I receive that teaching, that “lightbulb moment,” helps me feel empowered to embody those lessons consistently every day. There have been circumstances during the intervening years in which it felt as though my world was falling apart. And yet, I was able to move through it all relatively gracefully by reminding myself that, even in the moments when I feel least empowered, I still have the option to choose between misery and joy.

I’m finding my 10-year anniversary of this revelation particularly relevant right now. Between Standing Rock and the election (not to mention any of the other political and environmental atrocities taking place at the moment), I have had many opportunities lately to practice choosing joy, compassion and purpose over misery and despair.

Today, on the 10-year anniversary of my First Universal Life Revelation, I renew my commitment to choosing joy. I remember that I am empowered to create my own understanding. I take responsibility for making sure that my thoughts, words, actions and choices all work directly in service to creating an empowered, joyful experience for myself and others.

And if you feel called to join me, I invite you to do the same.

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 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.