“Because it is not an organized religion as such, but rather a spiritual practice, shamanism cuts across all faiths and creeds, reaching deep levels of ancestral memory. As a primal belief system, which precedes established religion, it has its own symbolism and cosmology, inhabited by beings, gods, and totems, who display similar characteristics although they appear in various forms, depending upon their places of origin.”
– John Matthews, The Celtic Shaman
Shamanism has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and is once again growing in popularity as a way for people to de-stress and reconnect in a world that has pushed nature and meaningful relationships towards the side-lines. The purpose of Shamanism is to heal the four bodies; spiritual, emotional, physical and mental. In my travels across this planet there is not one place I have visited where Shamanism is not practised and revered by many. As part of my training as a Coach and Therapist I have found that there are many elements of traditional Shamanism that have great value in supporting our every day experience of life. One aspect in particular that I often employ in my work with clients is ritual.
“You are what you repeatedly do” – Aristotle
I remember in my early days of training one of the first things I learnt about ritual was how it could be effectively used as a device to break old habits and patterns of behaviour and illicit new and healthier ones. I had a client who persistently got moving violations for not fastening his seatbelt, and he had come to me to break this very expensive habit through hypnosis. The solution was simple. I told him to perform the ritual of leaving his house, getting into his car and fastening his seat belt and repeating the action 21 times, whilst repeating a sentence that I had specifically crafted to suit his new pattern of behaviour. He never forgot to fasten his seatbelt ever again. This is just one example in which hypnosis and ritual can be highly effective in creating meaningful change. It is an incredibly simple process that we can draw upon to great effect.
There is this common yet misguided belief that life is beyond our control, or that we can just magically change the way we think and we will change our lives. One of the simplest and most effective ways to create lasting change in our lives for the better is to create a visceral experience. Simply put – to change what we repeatedly do – that a subtle yet profound emotional shift is quietly acknowledged at the deeper levels of our consciousness. We can make that change at any moment. I often find that today is always the best day to start.
Our life is not shaped by big external events, it is not changed by decisions we make, it is not changed by the opinion of others. Our lives are changed by ritual, the ritual of our daily actions, and if that action is repeated often enough we create a new habit. We learnt to walk and talk – two of the most complex skills for humans to master – when we were incredibly young. These great feats were achieved by repetition driven by a need to belong. That is a very powerful combination to inspire and motivate significant change. The ability to walk and talk assured our belonging to the tribe into which we were born, our family, our social group and our country. This innate need to belong gives added depth to the task of repeating an action. Similarly, ritual brings in a sense of sacred meaning and power. So when we have the desire, and the impetus to create change, there is tremendous value in giving honour to the action by ritualising it. Hence some of the most important moments of our life are marked by ritual to clearly indicate that something profound has happened.
The golden number is 21 days. Once a ritual has been performed and repeated for 21 days consecutively it is certain that change will occur. You can change your health, wellbeing, work performance, relationships and so much more. Recent research from the university of California shows that your brain is led by your actions, if you start by making your daily actions positive then your daily thoughts will be positive. Action creates a vibration in our bodies, and when vibration and thought are combined the change in thinking has greater depth than changing our thinking alone.
A daily ritual is a way of saying I am voting for myself, today in this moment I am going to take good care of myself. Rituals require commitment, engagement, ownership and accountability. There is no half-mast. If you start a ritual and then stop before day 21, don’t be surprised if nothing happens.
There is little benefit for a Coach to support someone who is half hearted. A good Coach will not do it. If however, you are committed to making change and are interested in exploring rituals to do so, then contact me here.