Just before the arrival of 2012 I moved into a sweet little house in Sedona. It was the completion of a cycle that had begun more than a year before, when I had moved out of my first home in Sedona. It was an unbelievable journey that included a bout with breast cancer, camping out with friends in guest rooms and on sofas—even living in a camping trailer for a while.
This little adventure took me from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, to the beaches of Kauai and included completing the training to become an ordained Shamanic Minister, certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator, earning an MA in Shamanic Intuitional Practices and a PhD in Shamanic Psychospiritual Studies. It also took me to depths and heights of myself I didn’t know existed.
Finally I ended up where I began—back in my beloved red rocks of Sedona. Where I began, but not—meaning I’m not the same. Life is a spiral, not a straight line. So, as I took that year-plus turn around this spiral of life, I arrived back at the same spot, but from a higher perspective, wiser yet humbler, stripped of much I thought was essential, freer, more open, lighter, and a lot more courageous.
I’m far from the only one experiencing bizarre life rearrangements. However, I will say, that as a good Scorpio and 4 on the Enneagram, I’m pretty much wired to take things to extremes and be a bit of a drama queen.
But seriously, at every turn I see and hear about lives in upheaval. Aspects of life we have so taken for granted are shifting, being lost, shaken up, disappearing. We are being challenged to our very cores to step into these upheavals, to let go of so much that is familiar, and recognize and trust that in the letting go, we are being ushered into places of greater freedom and limitlessness. All those parts of our lives we thought we couldn’t live without—when we dare to let go, we find we can expand into something more—more free, more flexible, more courageous.
It’s a lot like the story of Moses and the children of Israel when they were being prompted (nudged by the hand of God) by decidedly uncomfortable circumstances in Egypt to launch out into the unknown of a “promised land.” We so often hold on to situations, circumstances and relationships that are less than ideal, but are comfortable because of their familiarity, when our souls have something more for us.
I’m learning a lot about the brain these days, and there is a definite physiological component to staying with the familiar, even when it is uncomfortable. We become addicted to the familiar, to the particular cocktail of neurotransmitters that releases in our brains around patterns of behavior, circumstances and relationships, even when those patterns no longer serve our highest good, our growth and evolution.
So all of that—both the spiritual and the scientific- is what I fall back on when my own circumstances are shaken, when life takes a turn that is decidedly not on my wish list. I’m grateful for the teachers who have shown me the tools that allow me to see the good, to breathe, to surrender and to trust. And I can now say I am grateful for the circumstances that have allowed me to move from an intellectual understanding to a gut level, life on the line, experiential knowing.
One such teacher phoned me recently, inquiring about my journey of healing breast cancer. The dreaded C-word had struck in her close family, and she needed to know what I did, how I handled it, the healers I’d worked with and, how I was now—was it all still working for me. She is someone whose wisdom, training and teaching have inspired and informed me personally, and in my own writing and teaching. In fact, it was much of her teaching that enabled me to handle the cancer the way I did. So no matter who we are, how much we know, we are all taking our turn in going deeper into release, trust, surrender and growth. I was grateful that my experience could serve.
There is another Old Testament story I remember and refer to a lot: during one of the battles, Moses was instructed by the Lord that the Israelites would prevail so long as he held his staff up over his head. Of course, Moses’ arms grew weary, and each time he wavered and his arms started to droop, the battle would swing toward the enemy. The story is that his sister Miriam and brother Aaron stood on either side of him, and helped him hold up his arms.
They could not take over his job for him; he had to do his work. But they could stand with him and support him as he did what he was called to do.
So it is with us. As our family members and friends step into their own unique life experiences of learning, surrender, growth and transformation, we stand with them, lending strength and compassion as they in turn do their divine work.
One more OT reference comes to mind. When I began my own spiritual journey, I took with me a verse from Jeremiah: I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. I’ve held on to that. So far, so good. As I sit typing this in my lovely office, surrounded once again by beloved belongings, in the cozy tranquility of my new home, healthy, happy, freer and oh so grateful, all I can say is Thank You—to the Divine, and to all who stood with me as I did the work of this last year and made one more turn around the spiral of life.
Last week I was ordained a Shamanic Minister. When I told my mother she said, “Wow, from Catholic to Shaman, that’s really something.” Yes, it is something. And while I don’t pretend to come close to the title of Shaman, part of this path is awakening the “inner shaman”—not really so different from the Holy Spirit, or the kingdom of heaven Jesus spoke of. And it’s about helping others awaken to their own inner shaman/healer/counselor/teacher.
Part of the ordination ceremony was to write a Statement of Intent for my ministry. I’d like to share an excerpt with you. It’s a bit longer than usual, but hopefully you’ll read it to the end.
On a much earlier segment of this life path, I was a charismatic Christian. A group of like-hearted seekers, perennially suspect by ministers and church elders, we diligently studied the Bible and applied it to our own lives. When Jesus said “Greater things than these will you do, for I go to the Father”, we took it literally. We simply did what the Bible said: laid hands on the sick, cast out demons, saw miracles happen in answer to our prayers of faith. We told mountains to move, and they did. When I became disillusioned with the form of Christianity practiced in churches, I walked away from all of it. I had not yet found the Divine outside that form. When I left the church, and much of my spiritual practice, I did so deliberately. I told God: I want the truth of You. I am sick of following this path or that path, only to be disappointed in what I find there. If you are real, if any of this is true, show me.
I took two verses from the Amplified Bible with me. One, from Jeremiah—“ If you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” And the other from Hebrews, talking about the 40 year wandering in the wilderness: Because they did not have an “experimental faith”. So, I challenged God. I had an experimental faith. And for ten years I wandered in the dark. When I moved to Arizona, I had nearly destroyed my back, was on 2 antidepressants, several anti-inflammatory meds, and morphine for pain. I wandered into a Tai-Chi center, discovered energy, meditation, and God. I bumped into God while stumbling around in pain and darkness.
I’ve been on a superhighway of learning and transformation since that day. What I learned in the early bible study days has come around full circle in a much deeper and fuller way. And I’ve seen and made my own this Golden Thread of Truth that runs through all the great spiritual teachings
All that is to say, that this ordination, is a culmination of the journey. Now, to take all the “stuff” I’ve collected along the way, and with the blessing of my teachers, and my community, alchemically transmute it to healers gold.
My conviction is that we are evolving into a new kind of human –from Homo Sapiens to Homo Spiritus, to borrow a phrase from David Hawkins. As we evolve, we change the species, the planet, the cosmos. Just by doing our own work, just by tending to our own evolution. It is also my understanding and conviction that our evolution into the Oneness of our Divine Source, of necessity includes all of us—all the bits we’d rather leave behind—the ugly, the shameful, the hurtful, the uncomfortable, the wounded; past selves, aspects of us that exist on multiple dimensions simultaneously, our future selves. We, all the parts of me, become One, and One with All That is.
Through the work I’ve done with the Venus Rising Association for Transformation, as well as a lifetime of inner work, I’ve reclaimed much of that lost and abandoned soul territory. And while I’m far from finished, there is in my being immeasurably more peace and wholeness now than ever before. And it is for this that the world is crying. And so it is to this that I am called to speak, teach and most importantly, to live.
Thanks to divine grace, and so many teachers along the way, I’ve stepped into much more of who and what I really am, and, to a much greater degree, out of a limited, fearful, self-sabotaging life picture. As I step more fully into my own healing, and into the experiential knowledge of myself as a limitless spirit being, I am being recognized and sought out by others as a teacher, mentor, healer and guide. This ordination provides a framework and a platform from which I can better fill these callings, and step into an even greater expression of the package known in this lifetime as Meredith Star Raven Davis.
As I write this, I’m in Portales New Mexico, the morning after John and I taught a weekend workshop to Counseling grad students and therapists at Eastern New Mexico University. It was part of the summer school program there, and definitely out of the box for some in the group. The course was titled The Journey Inward and during it we introduced them to Shamanic Breathwork and taught about the shaman as wounded healer.
As you can imagine, there was a fair amount of skepticism about what the weekend would bring, but to their credit, everyone showed up and more importantly, came back the second day. Their professor was the one who brought us in to present this decidedly edgy material, and she was our biggest fan—engaging fully in her own process, which gave students permission to do the same.
Doors were definitely opened, paradigms shifted and much inner healing and release took place in that room over those two days. What a privilege—and what fabulous “work”! Love doing this! It was not lost on us that the name of the town, Portales, means doors in Spanish, or as it became for these souls, a portal into another dimension of themselves. Beautiful to be a part of.
So, to catch up a bit : I haven’t blogged in a long time. Couldn’t. Didn’t know how to talk about it. About a week before I wrote the last blog, which was pretty much a breezy recap of a delightful summer in Sedona, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Me, health nut, fitness nut, spiritual nut. I had thought, wow, I’ll share the journey, all the insights, the highs, the lows. (Lots of drama of course) Truth is, I didn’t know where to begin. I hated talking about it in a way, as I felt that would glorify it, give it energy. But in a way not talking about it gave it energy too. Plus, dealing with it took a lot of time and energy.
Obviously, from my opening report, I feel fine now, in fact, better than fine, so you don’t need to race to the end to find out.
I’d always said if I got cancer, I would never do the cut, burn, poison route, which is all the medical community has to offer. But I tell you, when you sit in a doctor’s office and they tell you that you have to do this or else, it gives you pause. I chose the natural route and began working with a naturopathic oncologist—lots and lots of supplements, Vitamin C IVs—all of which amounted to around a thousand dollars a month. I had surgery too—right before Christmas. The tumor was supposed to have been about 2.5 cm and it didn’t appear that any lymph nodes were involved. So it looked easy—take it out, take the supplements and call it good. Except the tumor was nearly 6cm– they didn’t get it all even after a second surgery a week later–and 11 lymph nodes were involved. I was told to begin chemo immediately, or face having it in bones, liver and lung in a few months. Even the naturopath concurred. I felt betrayed.
I know that all matter is energy, and that everything that shows up in our material world is a manifestation of an underlying energy. So treating this from the physical, as if it were separate from soul and spirit was foreign to me. Everything I’ve studied and practiced spiritually and energetically for the last number of years screamed at me that this path of treatment was wrong for me, that I couldn’t do it. And yet, while I had an intellectual grasp, I wasn’t able to bridge the gap and step into really KNOWING in the depth of my gut that I could heal energetically. And I knew enough to realize that if there was any doubt in me, I needed to go ahead and have treatment along with the energy work.
I felt somehow that I needed to surrender to the chemo—it was supposedly the mildest, and didn’t cause hair loss. I felt that if I didn’t have the treatment at this point, I’d be in some kind of spiritual denial lala land. I had the thought that I might be claiming a healing where I was actually covering up my fear of having the chemo.
So, I had the first chemo treatment. Nasty business, I have to tell you. They give you so much stuff, shots to protect the immune system, shots for nausea, shots to counteract the shots. My life was taken over by IVs and shots and supplements and blood tests.
“God, is this really the plan? Is this how it has to be?” I felt myself being sucked into the vortex of fear of all the negative energy the C-word carries with it. And I couldn’t pull myself out. During this time, I was working with a dear friend and energy healer, Angelica Joy, who helped me get to some place of peace with it all. Another dear friend, Gerard, hung out, walked my dog, and made me laugh.
When I went back to get the second treatment, they said, sorry, we can’t give it to you, your immune system is too trashed. If you feel like you’re getting anything, go right to the emergency room because you have no defenses. Really? It was as though Spirit said—had enough? Ready to claim the healing? So I said thank you very much and walked out. Haven’t been back.
I am working with an energy healer in San Diego—Dr. Hector Garcia. He’s a miracle worker truly and his specialty is cancer. He’s a modern day shaman in a white lab coat. He tracked the energetic source and cut it off. Now I am resting in my healing, taking supplements to detox the body and getting on with life.
This was a powerful call to put into action the spiritual principles and energy work I’d been studying. It was a wake up call to put my life on the line with these things, and decide whether these principles are true or not. I know many who have successfully used Western medicine to treat themselves. That is their path. Many have found deep spiritual significance in their lives as a result. My path was different.
I’m back living in Sedona now—just got here a couple of weeks ago. I am glad to be settling in among my beloved Red Rocks again. What a whirlwind of learning and growth! It has prepared me for this next phase of life, which began this weekend. It was a portal for us too.
I haven’t posted a new blog in over three months. So much was happening and it was all so fun that I either didn’t take the time to stop and write, or just didn’t know which of all the amazing occurrences to pick out to share. Both I think.
Summer in Sedona is delightful: hiking in the magical red rocks, swimming and picnics at the swimming hole on Oak Creek. My little dog Cheney is a champ–runs all over the trails and loves to swim in the creek. John and I and Cheney took John’s airstream down to Rocky Point, Mexico for a few days where we enjoyed swimming in the Sea of Cortez, yes, even Cheney swam a bit, but mostly eating fresh seafood, drinking beer and margaritas and smoking Cuban cigars. It was a profoundly spiritual experience. Really! Especially having fish tacos and beer for breakfast in an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea!
I also had the wonderful privilege of co-facilitating the first installment of Earth School for Souls. The series of classes was a great success, with some of the participants telling us it was the most powerful thing they’d ever done. The experience of opening the way for others to heal and awaken was both humbling and exhilarating beyond description. I loved doing it!
In the middle of August I hosted a wedding reception at my home for my dear friends, Pam and Jim. I turned the house over to the team of volunteers who removed all the furniture from the great room and proceeded to turn it into a party venue, complete with dance floor and sound system! The preparations were a powerful example of people coming together egolessly to serve friends, working, playing, laughing and putting on a terrific event.
Meanwhile, my landlady announced that she was raising my rent in January, so I started thinking about what I would do. At the same time, I was receiving lots of emails from my old art school in Scottsdale (Brio Fine Arts, I highly recommend them) announcing some very interesting classes for the fall and winter. So, after many agonizing days and nights of indecision, I decided to move out of the house and spend the winter back down in the Valley taking art classes. Besides, I love the warm winters down there. So, I packed everything up, put it in storage and headed down the hill.
I am doing an experiment in letting go. Letting go of having my own home, not exactly sure of what comes next–all very interesting experiences. I should say, however, that where I’ve landed for the next few months is pretty wonderful. My good friends, Steve and Karen, suggested that I stay with them, as they would be away much of the fall months. So, I’m living in a lovely, large home on a golf course, complete with a housekeeper twice a month! Maybe there is something to this letting go business!
Art is coming along too. I had felt pretty stuck and uncreative, and all it took was a few classes to revive the spark and get me unstuck. I’ve completed several paintings I’d started in Sedona, but knew there was something off about them. I can now, for the first time, say I love my work!
This experiment is calling forth all the tools in my spiritual toolbox. I’m back in the Valley of the Sun, where I lived for 12 years, but I’m not the same person who lived there then. It is a magical time; I feel more at home in my skin, more at peace with life, and happier that I could ever have imagined possible. I catch glimpses at unexpected times of the flow of Divine Creation in ordinary life happening all around me. I am able in these moments to see myself as a cell in the great body of the Divine expressing itself in so many different ways as this thing we know as Life. It is a great joy and blessing to see and feel this, to take a deep breath and jump into it with both feet and let the flow of it take you to greater adventures.
Speaking of which, I have recently embarked on a new adventure which I will be writing about in the weeks to come. Yes, weeks, not months this time. Blessings everyone!
I recently read a book that had a huge impact on me. I picked it up at the library “by mistake”. Ha! I live I Sedona, I know better than mistakes!! I got home, looked at it, wondered what it was, and thought I’d read it anyhow. Funny how Spirit puts things in our paths when we’re open and allowing.
The book is an ostensibly simple story about a woman’s life, told through the perspective of how her soul orchestrated a life contract so it could learn and experience certain things. The story showed how when we incarnate, we forget there is a plan and then wonder why on earth we’re doing the things we’re doing, and what the point of it all is. So, we judge and condemn ourselves and others, blame everyone for our pain, make what we consider to be huge stupid mistakes, ad nauseam. You know the feeling?
So, when I looked at my life from this higher perspective – and really this story could be about any of us—I got such a different view. So much self-judgment, fear and doubt about this journey I call my life simply disappeared, leaving nothing but love and compassion behind. I became able to look at the people around me differently too, seeing them as souls on a journey to learn, grow and experience. I have become free of the compulsion to judge their paths, personalities, and choices and can simply honor and bless them — and myself too. I see how courageous we all are to have embarked on these journeys we call life and bless all of it. Wow, what a liberating shift this has been!
I felt a strong desire to share my experience by leading a study group. After my friend John read the book and had a similar experience, we decided it would be fun to co-facilitate it. We submitted a proposal to our minister here at Unity of Sedona and were approved to offer the workshop, which we’re calling Earth School for Souls, at the church. This is new for me. I’ve worked with some groups in the past, but this is different. I’m so glad to be sharing the experience with John, as we each bring different skills and perspectives to the group.
Our dear minister, Mark Pope, reminds us to simply allow Spirit to use us as we are, to surrender to being a channel for grace in whatever way it wants to come through us. So, last Sunday we announced the workshop at church and were met with a great deal of enthusiasm.
As divine timing would have it, this past weekend I also participated with 24 other dear friends in what was originally termed Chaplain Training. It was a deeply transformational weekend, beginning with a heart opening ceremony in which all of us experienced opening to divine energy more deeply than ever before. It also included a death ritual, in which we imagined that we only had two more hours to live. We surrendered attachments to people, places, things, attitudes and judgments. We wrote a last will and testament. And we wrote last words to loved ones, and also to those we have less than loved. We surrendered our plans, our wills, our dreams. Then we burned it all.
I realized as I gave all that away, that none of it was real or important except the love I had given and received along the way from family and friends. It may be that I never felt the love for all of them as strongly as I did in that ceremony. So, I will share what I wrote with them so they don’t have to wait till I’m gone from this body to know it.
I truly felt as though I had completed my old life lessons. I felt I had done well with this life and could return to heaven having completed my curriculum. That felt good.
So on Saturday, we all began new lives. We spent the day sharing deeply with each other and the love, compassion and rejoicing were astounding to behold. The depth of oneness among us continues. I’m happy and excited to be embarking on this path now, so free, so clear, so opened, so full of love and light. All of us are forever transformed.
I have spent the last couple of years pretty quietly, doing a lot of inner healing, coming to a lot of realizations. It is obvious now that this year is about me showing up, stepping up, and allowing whatever gifts, talents and abilities I have to be seen and shared. I wrote about that last time, and how my big earrings remind me that I’ve outgrown the phase of my life where I played small and safe. How wonderful it is that as the activity of grace has so prepared me for this time, and now I’m ready to say yes, I will serve. I will speak, share, show up because I’ve been so filled with light and grace that it is just overflowing. And it feels so good.
The book, by the way is A Hit of Heaven by Andrea Avari, PhD. It is available on Amazon.com or through the author’s website, www.andreaavari.com. And for those of you in the Sedona area, the study group is being held at Unity of Sedona in the sanctuary, on Monday evenings, beginning August 2, at 6:30pm. The suggested love offering is $10 per class or $50 for the series of 6. The book is required, and we have them available for $10. Pre-registration is requested but not required. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more info.
My friend John the eloquent writer and poet has posted a new blog and I highly recommend that you check it out at http://in-lite-un.blogspot.com/
I imported my old blog posts into my website, and they all got posted to Facebook! I figured–no accidents, so I took another look. If i do say so myself, there is some good stuff here. Maybe I should listen to myself more often!!
As we gathered in the home of one of the instructors, seated ourselves on cushions around the room, we began as always by passing the bowl of smudge to clear the energy and our auras. I love the smudge, the fragrant smoke that is mostly white sage. I noticed how much it’s like the incense in the Catholic Church, with the addition of some different herbs. But the process and purpose are the same. We cleanse ourselves and allow our prayers and our intentions to be purified and holy, to float with the smoke into the heavens.
Then we pass the talking stick. I love the talking stick too. Every household should have one, if you ask me. When you hold it, you automatically step into the place of knowing that you are intending to speak your heart’s truth, whatever that is. Somehow just holding on to that stick gives the courage to say the hard things. And the “rules” of the stick are that you can speak safely, and the other party has to listen with their heart and not interrupt. So, we began our evening with the instruction to share something about ourselves that people don’t know, and that it was to be a fairly deep something. We were told to filter through layers of ideas of what to say until we came to something that made us feel vulnerable to share.
As the stick went around the room, we heard beautiful, sincere, confessions, really, of vulnerability and fear and then how these feelings transmuted into goals, hopes, aspirations, accomplishments, learning and growth. I only knew about half the people in the room, so it was a beautiful thing to listen to these men and women speaking so freely from the depths of their souls. And we learned from each other by listening. We learned how much alike we are, how we all struggle with so many of the same issues. And we laughed and celebrated and encouraged each others’ goals and determination in moving forward.
When it was my turn, I spoke about how I’ve played it so safe. Like so many others, I lived according to what I thought people expected of me, deciding what behavior seemed appropriate, and acting accordingly. Of course, I have no idea what people expected, only what I came up with in my own mind. Not a formula for authenticity, boldness and daring by any means.
I’m happy to say that through these workshops and teachings, I burned through all that. I seemed to have a fear of being seen and maybe falling short, so I played it safe and nice. Now I know that my soul wants to show up and play bigger and harder.
So, the question then is—the one that’s afraid—is that the True Self? The Highest Soul? Or is it the ego trying to keep things the way they’ve always been. I think the answer is obvious. So, you could say, I’ve come out. I’ve determined to allow the Light of this Soul to be seen. After all, Whose are the gifts and talents? And if they are of the Spirit, it is Spirit shining through, not this little vulnerable ego, which really is nothing more than a pattern in the brain, not even real.
Today in church our minister, Mark, told a story about finding himself called to stand and speak before and audience, back when he was still in his barely awakened hippie stage. He recounted how a wise elderly woman sitting next to him reminded him that it wouldn’t be him speaking, but Spirit, and the best thing to do is just relax and surrender and let Spirit show up the way it wants to.
That’s such profound truth. If we could live our lives that way, just letting Spirit show up in us, through us, and as us, we would watch in delight as Life unfolds in magical, mysterious, miraculous ways, far beyond anything we could imagine. I actually do that a lot, and it is amazing and awe inspiring. Plus, a lot more fun than I could come up with! Through grace, I continue to discover more areas of life to surrender to Spirit, areas where I’m still contracted, fearful, cautious. Grace continues to show me when I need to challenge the voice that says you shouldn’t, or you can’t, or you’d better play it safe and dull.
So, one of my really secret, powerful spiritual tools is my earrings. I’m now called to let Spirit shine big through me, so I started with my earrings. (Spirit doesn’t expect us to get up one day and walk on water, you know) I used to wear little, conservative, safe, inoffensive earrings. Now I pretty much wear the biggest ones I can find. They remind me to show up and shine.
Author, Poet, Teacher – Sedona, AZ http://in-lite-un.blogspot.com/