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Guiding principles & ethics

You might be wondering…     

What are the behind-the-scenes principles that guide my work with clients? 

These four principles are at the heart of everything I do:

1. Who you are is good. 

The way you are–your essence, your core–is wonderful, beautiful, and exactly right for you. Though you may struggle with fitting into the rest of the world, it’s not because you are “a problem.” You, with all your gifts and needs, are sacred, and you deserve to have joy. 

2. You can trust your instincts about what’s working in your life and what’s not.

Lots of people will be glad to tell you what they think you should be doing, but they’re not you and they don’t know what it’s like to be you. You and your instincts are the best judge of what’s right for you, when it comes to your work, your relationships, your spirituality, or anything else.

3. The longings of your heart can guide you toward a fuller, more joyful life.

How often do you allow yourself to ask, what do I really, really want? Not what you think you should want, or what other people expect you to want–but what does your heart really long for? As you listen, you’ll grow in clarity about who you are, what brings you joy, and what you were born to do with your life. 

4. Your creativity can help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you dream of being.

It might seem impossible to realize your dreams. And indeed, it probably won’t happen overnight. But what if you made one small change that brought you just a little closer to the life you long for? And then another, and another? Once you get started, you may be astonished at how much creative energy you have to achieve your goals and make the changes that bring you closer to peace and joy. 

Learn more about how these principles work in spiritual direction, life coaching, and shamanic work

And let me add…

A few thoughts on shamanic work and cultural misappropriation:      

Sometimes people ask me, how do you steer clear of cultural misappropriation as a White person doing shamanic work? 

This is such an important question. Cultural misappropriation happens when people from a dominant culture adopt cultural practices, symbols, knowledge, etc. from another culture without permission. This includes traditional rituals, prayers, or religious practices (for example, the sweat lodge). It is not OK for a White person to steal the religious practices of a Native American group and call themselves a shaman.

Most people today believe the word “shaman” comes from a Siberian-Mongolian word meaning “one who knows”–that is, someone who has direct, experiential knowledge of spirit realms. Many cultures around the world have their own distinct names for this kind of person. Today, it’s become common for Western people to use the term “shamanism” to refer to a vast range of culturally specific practices.   

Core Shamanism, the tradition I practice in, strongly emphasizes respect for indigenous cultures and high ethical standards in the work. The practices taught in Core Shamanism are not specific to particular indigenous cultures; they are a synthesis of practices learned with permission from traditional healers in many cultures.

And in my experience, shamanic practices are widely found in Western religious cultures too, especially among the mystics, who saw visions, felt powerful connections to all living things, and sometimes worked healings. Howard Thurman, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, and many others–including Jesus himself–all had experiences very similar to those of shamanic practitioners in other cultures. 

Plus a word about structural oppression:      

I believe structural oppression is real and highly damaging to our souls, minds, hearts, and bodies, especially for people who identify as BIPOC and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Though I have a lifetime of experience living with gender discrimination, as a straight cisgender white woman I can’t fully know what it’s like to be a person of color and/or a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

But it breaks my heart to see the ways that racism, homophobia, transphobia, and the many other “isms” of this world have harmed so many people I love.

It is my heart’s desire that all people can be safe and free to live openly and joyfully as their own authentic self. That’s the fundamental reason why I’m here doing this work. So I’ve worked hard to be a respectful, supportive ally of folks in marginalized communities. 

If we work together, I promise that I will listen deeply to you about what your life is like and what you need. I will believe you and believe in you.

And if you ever feel like I’m not getting it, or if I say something unskillful or hurtful, however unintentionally, I sincerely ask you to tell me as soon as possible, so I can stop, shift, and do better as a partner in your healing and growth.

Blessings and thank you!

Questions?

Just let me know. I’d be glad to talk with you.

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