One of the first messages that ever came to me was one that I’m sure I had read on a plaque with a picturesque photo somewhere before or heard in an uninspiring speech at one time or another – probably many times. The message was: “Everything you need is inside of you.” If it had been any other time under any other circumstances I might have laughed – probably bitterly. But I had been suffering from a deep depression for 4 years at this point and having exhausted all conventional forms of treatment, I had moved beyond the point where I cared where the help I needed came from. If there was some profound truth to be found in this overused statement I was determined to discover it. I had begun to work with energy not long before this, which led me to explore shamanism (the origins of energy work my research revealed). All of my preconceived notions about life had long since fallen away and I was surprisingly open as a result. I was single-mindedly determined to end my depression. This seemingly trite message came in response to my request for help after making what was deemed a connection with my spiritual helper in a shamanic workshop. The message was delivered into my mind in such a powerfully direct way that I was compelled to respond with “How do I access what I need?” “Show me how”. The answer to this is the guided work I’m doing today.
At the time that I received this message I was ‘sick’. I now realize that it was actually a healing. I had been severely congested for years. I had lung issues after the birth of my son and although I had an operation, my lungs continued to be sluggish and my sedentary lifestyle didn’t help. Being exhausted all of the time (and depressed) didn’t lend itself to an active lifestyle. This ‘sickness’ came in the form of pneumonia and I had a temperature of 104 degrees at times. I recovered fully and after evacuating much of the mucus that had been weighing me down for so long I took the first long and deep breath I had taken in years. Things were beginning to change for me. Not long after this I came across information on an obscure African plant medicine called “Iboga” which was renowned for addressing issues like depression among many other things.
My involvement with plant medicines changed everything for me and I still work with them today. These particular healing tools are not for everyone but many of us who have been lucky enough to be called to experience them know why they’re called ‘teacher plants’. The lessons that come out of these experiences often have to do with changing things about ourselves. If we heed these lessons, they can change our lives for the better. Having emerged from depression I’m now learning about the many other things inside I must emerge from to achieve my goals. Through some intensive work, I’ve begun to navigate this inner world that contains the key to my well-being. Previously, I had been heavily focusing on external factors when really, I needed to understand what was happening inside of me. Inner work is not visible or easily recognized by the outside world but the results definitely are. It can be a solitary endeavour at times but that is by necessity to avoid the kinds of distractions that can reinforce all of the things I’m working to change within me.
This is why altered states are so important to this kind of learning for me. It takes me beyond this world of distractions and set perceptions to one where messages and lessons can be delivered in a more effective way. Dream work can be like this too and although there are times when things are very murky indeed, there are other times when messages come through my dreams with startling directness and clarity. We all go into an altered state every night and it is integral to our health to do so. It is an optimum time for healing and not only physical healing. I think it’s important to explore the extraordinary healing that’s possible during the many hours we spend in this altered state every night.
All of the work I have done and continue to do is based on my agreement or intention to engage in it. All of it begins with this small exertion of free will. It can be a very powerful thing. None of this was possible for me until I was willing to entertain the possibility of it. Just doing this can open the door to life changing experiences that defy description at times. I have learned more about myself in this way than I could have from any other source. It’s an important endeavour that I had neglected for most of my life. Now it’s transforming my life in a way that for the first time in a long time, reflects who I really am.