The Girls – Part 1: The Story of Deirdre

Deirdre, 1-2 days old

Deirdre, 1-2 days old

Several years ago, I traveled to Boston in August by train to attend a week-long intensive that resulted in certification in Shamanic Counseling. It was a fascinating and sometimes grueling 5 days of shamanic journeying and self-evaluation.

For those who aren’t familiar with what a shaman is or does, let me explain briefly. Shamanism is the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind, dating back at least 40,000 years. The word “shaman” comes from the Tungus tribe in Siberia and it means spiritual healer or one who sees in the dark. It is now used as a general term for a spiritual healer that works with the spirit world in a particular way. A shaman is a man or woman who uses his or her ability to “see” what is normally hidden in order to gain guidance from the spirit realms (an ability that the Celts call the “Second Sight”).  Shamanism has been practiced in Siberia, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, Greenland, and native North and South America, and is enjoying a resurgence in the Western world today. [Read more…]

TBI Part II: How Shamanism Helped My Brain Heal

black pegasusAfter my horse Dare clocked my noggin, as I mentioned in Part I of this blog (which you can read here if you like), I suffered post-concussive syndrome. Post-concussive syndrome is a collective term for the after-effects of mild traumatic brain injury. As a shamanic practitioner and a scientist, I was intrigued by the recovery process that I was experiencing. I took note of the things that were different about me and the slow progress toward recovering my normal brain function again.

One of the effects I was left with was blurry vision. I had halos around every letter, and it didn’t matter if it was a road sign or a textbook. I saw an optometrist and she said my eyes were fine, but that my brain was telling my eyes to do two different things. [Read more…]

How Traumatic Brain Injury Changed My Life

Brain lobesOn June 2, 2012, I sustained a concussion. Some of you who follow my blog already know this. I must admit that at the time, like most people, I had no idea how serious a concussion can be. Over the next few months, I learned first-hand that a concussion is a brain injury that “may take 3 to 6 months to heal.” (Picture me doing the air quotes, and you’ll see why below.) Another name for a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury.

It’s referred to as “mild” only because your head isn’t split wide open and you aren’t laying unconscious in the ICU. [Read more…]

One Year Later

Alf 031394

Alf in the old barn, 1994

So…today it has been one whole year since Alf departed this world. I have been torn in my heart all day. Part of me wanted to blog, to commemorate this milestone and honor his memory. And part of me wanted to have nothing to do with thinking about it, because it is still very painful to remember that he is no longer here with us. To remember how much I love him, and how much I miss him. I don’t know if anyone can even begin to imagine how much I miss him. Even now, as I write these words, the tears fall. This, THIS is what I was trying to avoid today, this feeling. But with grief, there is no way around it. One must, as always, journey right through the heart of it to get to the other side, to get to the healing.

[Read more…]