The Shaman's Take Category Blog entries categorized under The Shaman's Take Sun, 29 Nov 2020 03:52:24 +0000 Joomla! 1.7 - Open Source Content Management en-gb True Listening One of the drawbacks of wanting to live in the midst of ordinary life- not drawing attention to myself as a seer or shaman, not wanting people to think that the magic is made by me nor that I want to be seen as special, all of which takes away from the power of self-realisation in the person to whom I am of service –Is that the size of the gap between what I live and how I see others trying to make sense of life occasionally knocks me for six.  Even the most interested and intelligent put together what they already know and, in a friendly and well-meaning way, apply some of that to how they imagine I function. And they are mostly miles off course, having no idea how much I see or know, how great the self-discipline, nor how rooted in discreet humility the whole business is.

None of this much matters, but it did get me thinking “what is it that others are missing?” I’ve been working intimately at a very profound level with a bunch of people, women and men, who joined me for a week’s retreat in the summer. We haven’t stopped the process – via email and occasional get-togethers - of deepening an exceptional sense of community that comes from raw, honest, openly-shared feelings about Life and how one fucks up, falls down, gets up, dreams and loves, stumbles, finds an outstretched hand, loves, fails, falls again, loves, celebrates, delights and grows together a thing of great beauty. Everyone is learning to properly listen. To themselves, to their body, to another, to their instinct, to feel and not to deny those feelings, to give full attention to another and to be still in body and mind.

A proper listening makes for much greater learning. Not in the conventional sense.

We’re holding a real treat of an event next Tuesday November 4th for any woman who wants to learn how to learn from others, and how best to share her gifts. This will be experiential, with practices led by the splendid educationalist Ann Finlayson.

Come and find out more about yourself here


Meanwhile, here’s something on true listening.

True Listening is an art. A true listener experiences layers of information: physical, sensual, energetic, cognitive (with multiple variations of understanding in both mental and emotional fields of play) all flowing into each other like colours on a canvas generously hung on an uncrowded wall...  rather than hastily tacked up among one's own gallery of never-ending, unfinished self-portraits.

True listening is a feast. It nurtures the capacity to enjoy others, to celebrate the amazing richness of the human palette, and to widen one's own experience of life through the gift of meeting and knowing others.

True listening requires neutrality. It does not occur in the presence of judgment, prejudice or expectations.

True listening is an art barely cultivated in our noisy, self-serving, self-asserting society, but I suggest that it is a skill worth learning for the benefit of the one who listens and the one who communicates. Everyone can develop such skills. Some may become such skillful listeners that they themselves are deeply enriched by listening. Such a skill grows into an art form fashioned in silence and stillness. Such an artist is worth listening to. When the listener becomes the communicator, she or he enriches the lives of other true listeners... and so it grows.

© Judith Seelig 2014

]]> (Judith) The Shaman's Take Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:53:21 +0000
Women, Money, Earth and Worth A personal note on the Women on Fire weekend at Embercombe, with perhaps wider application.

Real, heart-felt gratitude is a lovely, nourishing feeling. If you allow gratitude enough time to flood your entire body, it’s possible to sink into a sumptuous wellbeing, a kind of honeyed, sensual abundance.

Feeling gratitude is down to you. What do you notice, what do you value? If you’re reading this, you are living in a place and in a society where, despite much room for improvement, there is yet more to be grateful for. Food, freedom, the beauty of nature and the companionship of others are among numerous causes for gratitude.

Expressing gratitude or appreciation is something else. Whether by thought, speech or action, expressing gratitude puts you in relationship with what you are appreciating. Your gratitude is a gift for the other. It’s a way of making sumptuous wellbeing delightfully contagious.

My personal view is that feeling grateful to the anonymous producer of food and to all the forces of nature for the food that I eat, better nourishes me and vibrates the air with appreciation. I know in advance how much I will pay for the food that I choose to buy. Just like any other commodity, its price will reflect how much is available and how many of us are likely buyers. But for me the value of the food is not how little I paid. More how much vitality it offers. I would rather eat a little beautifully grown food than plenty of poorly-tended produce.

The work that I do with individuals, whether privately or in groups, isn’t vital to life, but it can be nourishing. It’s not a well-known commodity. In many respects it’s unusual, with no place in our culture. Even though words are my craft (the career I gave up for this was as journalist, writer and editor) I am unable to convey its power or its style. Partly that’s because the power is not mine, though it might appear to be so. Partly it’s because the knowing is not mine, though I am the one speaking. Mostly it’s because I serve to the best of my ability the great mystery that is the unspeakable. So I leave it to others to find me, or to feel drawn.

So how do I put value upon my work? How do I set my charges? I don’t look to the market, for I don’t find there what I offer. Of course I know the mundane costs that have to be met, and I know how many hours a class or an event covers, but then there are the hours of preparation and the roughly one third of my life I spend in solitude, listening. This is my wild time, timeless and formless, literally vital to what I have to offer. I set a fee that reflects this richness, and then so as to deny no one access to the offering, I may adjust downwards, sometimes to a bag of apples.

We are accustomed to viewing success as inextricably entwined with money. We might view the material aspects of someone’s life and deduce how much money they have or earn. Is material wealth abundance? Not by my book. For me abundance - which means ‘overflowing’ - is to be flooded with gratitude. Gratitude pours through you and out of you. This is a true wealth, for it spills out and enriches others, spontaneously, of its own accord. Gratitude is such a lovely thing to feel it tends to nurture beautifully thoughtless little gestures of generosity. Perhaps it begins with a smile to a stranger and then bursts into a small, spontaneous act of giving. Gratitude begets abundance.

Part of what I teach is good housekeeping. Give away, empty out, so that you have space to receive again, and again. Let life flow through you, hugely, so that all the action you take is funded by the whole. Be precise. Don’t waste energy doing something whilst thinking about something else. Let what you don’t know be as much a part of life as the known, or the familiar. Take stock of what you have, be grateful, give away or share. If you don’t like some aspect of your life, take proper action. If you need a broader perspective, move, change. Stand in a new space or place; take a different view. Ask others what the view of you is like. Let what they say flow all the way through you. What’s true will vibrate you. What’s personal piffle will fall away. Don’t waste energy going after their piffle with judgment or self-justification. Look at what you value, and check that every part of you smiles upon it.

Love what you value without expecting anything back. Gratitude born of love and appreciation nourishes. Don’t waste energy looking to see who’s noticed your gratitude or clocked your abundance. Share it with joy. Don’t waste energy contemplating your navel. Contemplate instead the navel of creation, of all that is, the great, glorious universal mystery of which we are all a part. Look outwards so that you may know the inside.

I don’t earn much money, but I live beautifully, abundant in love and appreciation, overwhelmed by grace (that word too, means gratitude). Women on Fire is part of my gratitude. So it carries something of the abundance for which I am grateful.

Here is some of my gratitude stock:

Love, the gift of noticing beauty, Earth, her generosity, death, decay and resulting fertility (that cycle, visible in an English hedgerow, is continuously present in my life), companionship, womanly grace, energy, vitality, laughter, sharing, wildfire, compassion, truthfulness… and all the power that comes from all of that together.

The Women on Fire weekend at Embercombe connects woman, as grace, to Earth, as favour (that word means to show kindness to). It connects woman to woman, irrespective of time and space. It celebrates womanly wisdom without regard to contemporary culture. I will show you how to plug your body’s circuit into that of the Earth, through gratitude.

There is no fee for what I offer. But if you come, I invite you to express gratitude. First, the feeling grateful. Not to me, but to whatever it is that I am in service to.

Second, the expressing, the sharing of gratitude. Let it rise in you, flood through you and out of you. Allow full giveaway. This might be in any form: something made, grown, sung, bought, treasured, appreciated, earned, created but most of all, valued. Of course this can include money too. Money expresses, betokens, value. The great generosity of money is that the recipient chooses where to place its value.  I may myself give away or share what is gifted to me. And if anything is for me personally, it will become part of my gratitude.

Be grateful for Earth, for your womanly body, for sharing, for companionship, for bare feet touched by Earth’s vitality, for freedom from judgment and comparison, and for the guardians of the land, the facilities, that are Embercombe, and you will help to build a little economy this weekend that is based on grace. Invest gratitude and you’ll find the return is greater than the investment. Your part is to notice what to celebrate, to allow grace full flow. Through gratitude you will come to know your own worth, and your value in the economy that is love.

© Judith Seelig 2013

]]> (Judith) The Shaman's Take Wed, 24 Jul 2013 19:26:14 +0100
time out Been taking time out but not time off. The yoga that I teach requires a lot of self-discipline. This isn't about practicing for hours on end but being willing to put down the personal stories that keep you from gliding into a moment of boundless stillness on one breath or in one asana. I got a bit tough a few years ago, and laid down strict terms and conditions. At the time I'd no idea if that would mean the end of the classes. Most people stayed, sharpened up and then blossomed...really blossomed. I'd love to be able to offer that on a wider scale. Those yogis, and others who have since joined, are happier and, as far as I can tell, bigger, more effective human beings. Does this process only work in small, intimate classes? I used to think so, but am now not sure.  Meanwhile, I have been running wild - literally barefoot on the Cornish cliffs - inviting perspective to come slowly from beneath my feet. It's a lovely, illogical way to get inspired. But I've failed in my own discipline to stay empty and neutral. I'm decidedly delirious with happiness, much of it in appreciation of riotous natural beauty all around. Can one ignite that same joy in others, I wonder?


]]> (Judith) The Shaman's Take Wed, 25 Jul 2012 12:54:20 +0100
Me and Earth  

I'm writing this from my version of heaven on earth. No altered state of consciousness, just a place where the sound of the wind or the sea is accompanied by the whirring of a hundred starlings, or the chatter of house sparrows living in grass-filled tenements under my eaves. The old stone walls are crammed with wild flowers, courtesy of the birds and the wind. There are several small-scale farms, so outside I can hear geese, hens, cockerels and guinea fowl, the distant lowing of cattle and at this time of year the vocal ties between ewe and lamb that always sound so urgent. I'm learning to differentiate between twin 1 and 2 in a nearby paddock. Just for fun.


Inside, apart from sparrow chatter, there's silence. The walls are thick. I  love it that the floor is earth, literally. Huge slabs of slate lie like a giant's jigsaw on flattened soil. I love it that at the flick of a switch the soil will dry and the slabs grow not damp but a foot-friendly cool. Though that's a process that takes time. 19th century lifestyle with 21st century technology is my grateful version of unparalleled luxury.


I think I've always listened to the earth. Not just to the sounds of nature, but to the frequency of place. I assumed everyone did, but reality slowly dawned in my early 30s. Perhaps I had become confident enough to share. Two years ago I made a request. If I am to continue listening and in the midst of humanity, please could I have the equivalent of a monk's cell by the sea? Somewhere where my senses could run free and the translating of experience into language could be a pleasurable experiment. The monk's cell turned out to be lovelier than I'd dared to imagine.


I'll be blogging from the wilds and from city pavements, from my intimacy with nature and my learning through people. When I'm listening to frequencies that aren't generated by us I find it hard to switch to human contact. My friends know and appreciate this. Appreciate because I bring back heart-warming, helpful perspective. I suppose that's the basis of my work in teaching yoga or unraveling life's tangles.


So if you write to me and don't hear back, I'm sorry. You will have been heard. It might be a while before I surface again. I sometimes feel as if I'm doing the cosmic splits but can only feel one foot at a time. I'll keep practicing...


© Judith Seelig March 2012

]]> (Judith) The Shaman's Take Thu, 08 Mar 2012 11:03:51 +0000