Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Creativity, Soul, writing

The Creative Secrets of Shamanic Drumming

You’ve got to feel the beat.


“It is of the first order of importance to remember this, that the shaman is more than merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself, who is cured, and who must shamanize in order to remain cured.”
― Terence McKenna

Shamanic drumming is a purposeful soul journey usually undertaken in the company of like-minded people. The experience is intimate and personal, yet it is also qualified by an undeniable element of unification — deliberate togetherness.

Before social distancing kicked in with COVID-19, I was regularly attending drumming circles and learning from my very cool Shaman teachers, Bastian and Tiger.

Each session offered an insightful and unique experience in a profoundly personal way. There is just something about letting yourself go with the beat of a drum, and then connecting your energy with the vibration as it reaches in your heart-space, uplifting and energizing your being in such a critical way that it becomes a part of you.

It’s like smudging for the soul.

After each session, I always left the studio with a renewed sense of creative flow — it’s as if those sacred experiences existed to further open my awareness into my sense of self, which spilled over into my creativity, helping to keep those vital bonds between imagination and reality ignited.

Shamanic Drumming

From Shamanic Drumming:

“Shamanic drumming is drumming for the purpose of inducing a range of ecstatic trance states in order to connect with the spiritual dimension of reality. Practiced in diverse cultures around the planet, this drum method is strikingly similar the world over.”

Shamanic drumming uses a repetitive rhythm that begins slowly and then gradually builds in intensity to a tempo of three to seven beats per second.

Admittedly, it usually takes me a little bit to shake off the ‘real world’ feels and relax into the changed, esoteric-like atmosphere. Though, once we begin, it feels as if I have crossed an invisible threshold into a different realm — one that I am always reluctant to leave behind.

You have to intentionally let go of any inhibitions that may prevent you from benefiting from the spiritual medicine offered by the drumming session if you really want to gain insights from the journey.

More from Shamanic Drumming:

“The ascending tempo will induce light to deep trance states, and facilitate the shamanic techniques of journeying, shapeshifting, and divination. Practitioners may progress through a series of trance states until they reach the level that is necessary for healing to occur.”

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism is universal and not bound by social or cultural conditions. It is the most ancient and most enduring spiritual tradition known to humanity. Shamanism predates and constitutes the foundation of all known religions or religious philosophies.

In essence, shamanism is the spiritual practice of ecstasy. Ecstasy is defined as a mystic, prophetic, or poetic trance. One of the core beliefs of shamanism is that innate wisdom and guidance can be accessed through the inner senses in ecstatic trance. Practitioners enter altered states of consciousness in order to experience direct revelation from within.

Shamanism is about remembering, exploring, and developing the true self. Shamanism places emphasis on the individual, of breaking free and discovering your own uniqueness in order to bring something new back to the group.

Shamanic practice heightens the ability of perception and enables you to see into the deeper realms of the self. Once connected with your inner self you can find help, healing, and a continual source of guidance. To practice shamanism is to reconnect with your deepest core values and your highest vision of who you are and why you are here.”

How it Works

Shamanic Drumming circles come together all over the world with the sole purpose of healing the human spirit as a collective. I think that now, more than ever, the world can use those who have the ability to see beyond the chaos and pain enough to uphold the positive transformations which are bound to take place when the dust settles — that which will rise from the ashes of this prophetic era.

And make no mistake, Shaman teachers and students alike; and those in touch with their spirituality work quietly and tirelessly to help keep the vision and vibrations positive for the future. Regardless of your beliefs, collective consciousness and mindset plays a vital part in the unfolding future — and is there a better way to release the negative tension than pounding hard on something?

A nice thick layer of animal hide?

With thanks and gratitude.

Susan Z from 7th Sense Stories knows about Shamanic drumming and explains how the process works:

“How it works is the healing drum pattern projects onto the body a supportive resonance or sound pattern the body can attune to. This sympathetic resonance forms new harmonic alignments, opens the body’s various energy meridians and chakras, releases blocked emotional patterns, promotes healing and helps reconnect us to our core. The sound patterns also enhance your sense of empowerment and stimulates your creative expression.”

The journey aspect of a Shamanic Drumming circle involves a guided odyssey into another realm; a rumination to the soulful beat of the drums accompanied by other beautiful sounds, the burning scent of incense, essential oils and a dedicated altar.

The practice essentially leads us into an induced trance where boundaries cease to exist and clarity comes calling, as we give and receive from earth energies. It is here that completes the modest, yet significant finale of the entire journey — where secrets abound and creativity unfurls through group Shamanic Meditation.

Healing

The healing power of drums, is, in my opinion, phenomenal.

The drumming has a way of grounding and reacquainting you to your primordial beginnings — when the deep resonating beats strum through your being, you get a glimpse of yourself as a part of the greater whole.

It is a most humbling experience which soothes and heals from the inside out, and also helps to activate your own natural healing powers.

The Powerful Benefits of Shamanic Drumming Healing Include:

  • Reduces stress.
  • Enhances creativity.
  • Improves your concentration.
  • Encourages the body to desire a healthier lifestyle.
  • Makes you feel happier.
  • Opens up acceptance of self.
  • Slows the aging process.
  • It is beneficial to your cardiovascular health.
  • Boosts your overall immune system.
  • Induces a deeper self-awareness by prompting synchronous brain activity and promoting alpha waves.
  • Helps to release negative feelings and emotional trauma.

Shamanic Drumming really does help to connect you with your creative resources as the process cleanses and purifies lower vibrational feelings that may have been dwelling deep within. It’s like shedding the BS and releasing the ego long enough to sense who you really are beneath the crud we so often present to the world.

And what lies beneath is where the magic really begins.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Author, Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Creativity, writing

Bringing Yourself to the Page


Life is a series of thought-provoking moments, eliciting our emotions and imprinting our psyche. Life is creation in-action. No one gets a free ride. We all love like crazy; maybe feel pangs of hate; take a deep breath before a leap of faith, and sometimes we get hurt — we learn and grow through pain. We sing with angels and rejoice with heart — we bleed, break and scar. Whoever ever said that life was easy, huh? It’s not. And neither is sitting with your emotions to confront your deepest truths.

Consider what Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung had to say about the meaning of life:

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls. We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life. Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.”

Hmm… that explains a lot. I may have just had an epiphany.

Moving on.

If, as Jung suggests, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being, then the expressive use of a pen may surely help pave the way toward enlightenment.

Yes?

How about using your writing in a more meaningful way — as an outlet to document and sift through your human experience — and then bring what’s on the inside to the page?

“Who looks outside, dreams’ who looks inside, awakes.”

  • Carl Jung

I’m talking about the deep, convoluted feelings that make you tick and drive purpose in your life — there’s a wealth of experience and lessons learned buried in your past. Use those little wisdom-nuggets.

Writing emotional responses evoked from our experiences is a great asset to writers. It’s the perfect outlet to work through your emotions, drive home your beliefs about the world, and then incorporate them as an important theme in your stories.

Right? Every great book brings an authentic message delivered with its underlying story theme. The way I see it, story theme gives us the opportunity to spread change to the world in our own small way.

Like layering up the good stuff.

It’s the reason you probably started writing in the first place.

The fact is that you are a complex creative-creature with many layers and depth. No one sees the world in quite the same way as you.

You view life through the fluidity of your unique perspective as you evolve, change and reach for new experiences.

Don’t be afraid of what’s deep inside.

More from Jung:

“Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living. We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are and by being serious enough to live the lives we are entrusted with. Our sins and errors and mistakes are necessary to us, otherwise we are deprived of the most precious incentives to development.”

Sounds delicious, does it not?

Making mistakes and doing something that may be considered unforgivable might sound absurd to some, but I think it sounds more like living your truths.

I also feel as if more of us need to embrace the flaws that make us who we are instead of feeling ashamed about them  Imagine if we could drive home that message in our stories? Or something similar?

Sweet glory.

Bringing your flaws and unique worldview to the page by exploring your inner-most emotions, perspectives and feelings is a gift not only to yourself but to others.

Think of it like this: You are the flesh and blood; the tangible and malleable. Yet, you are also a part of the mysterious — the light and the dark. Which ultimately means you have so much of the rich stuff to offer through your words.

Your emotions are your greatest muse.

“Everything begins with words — our stories, thoughts, messages. Each word has its own vibration, too. It is these vibrations that create the reality that surrounds us. Words create more than just stories; they inform our universe, our lives and our reality — and they teach us. Through creating words, I have managed to reacquaint myself more fully with my soul and to live a more authentic, love-driven and passionate life.”

– From Creative Writing Energy

Other benefits of exploring your feelings through writing:

Clarity

By expressing yourself and communicating complex ideas in a much more effective way, you will discover more about yourself and learn how to honor it by bringing your deepest truths and beliefs into your work.

Eliminates stress

Emptying your mind through writing helps to eliminate stress. Capturing those moments, developing and working through your ideas produces a ripple effect; since not only do you declutter your mind, but it is also a process of rationalization — story themes right there.

Productivity

Writing activates neurons in your brain and gets you set to face the day. Serious writers have demonstrated that setting goals or systems in their daily writing habits significantly increases the possibilities of achieving them.


Some fellow writers swear by starting their day with a little self-reflective journaling. Journal writing your feelings teaches you about you and helps to strengthen your writing skills and find your voice.

It also encourages greater self-awareness.

“The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional — of its own particular law.” — Jung

Writing down what you have in mind regularly — your dreams, worries, fears, deepest desires, is a viable path toward self-realization.

Writers often use snippets of their self-reflections in their work because it’s important to create characters that feel real to our readers. Well, I know that I tend to lean on my past experiences and feelings when tapping into the essence of my characters.

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your writing.”

– Gustave Flaubert

So, if I’m feeling a little like:

Frustration

I might use the edge to help drive story conflict. You know, inject some attitude into my words. Helps to release the tension too, by the way.

Then I take it deeper, spinning my characters with sass and diving into the gritty, dark, even profane.

Heartache

Even better. Well, maybe not so much for me, but my character’s benefit from my soul-crushing pain. Lucky them. The fact is that words created from an aching heart have a way of bringing depth and authenticity to the page.

Real feelings mean readers will relate to, care about and resonate with your character and their world because everyone has been hurt in some way.

Love

Need I say more?

We can’t get enough of the love-stuff. It’s where alchemy and magic abounds.

Personally, I spend more time than I probably should contemplating the concept of love and exploring its meaning, and I’m not even a romance writer, per se. Regardless, love always winds its way into my writing. Every time.

Love affects us all. It’s the universal language we all know and understand, and bringing it to your story creates real-world feelings and connection.


Go on, give it a try — dig deep, unravel yourself from the inside out and let your emotions be your greatest muse.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Uncategorized

Creative Writing Energy: Understanding the Mind for Creativity

The mind has many layers.


Creativity is one of the most fascinating challenges in contemporary neuroscience. In fact, very little about the nature of creativity is known. I like to think of it as a mystifying and wonderful complex side of our minds awaiting exploration.

Our capacity to create, produce new concepts and ideas is one of the most vital attributes of the human brain, and yet its neural basis largely remains a mystery – creativity and imagination cannot necessarily be defined or measured. 

I am not a neuroscientist, but I am a creative who often ponders the gift of imagination and creativity. It’s sure to be one of our most valued human traits, and has given us the tools to change the world through innovative ingenuity and insightful visualization. Creativity is also responsible for our ability to adapt to changes beyond our control.

But is creativity a conscious or unconscious process?  

In their attempts to understand creativity in the human brain, cognitive neuroscientists are led to the conclusion that the creative process arises from the unconsciousness rather than occurring as a conscious process, claiming that only 5 percent of our brain is conscious while the rest lies beyond our awareness.

The human mind has many layers.

Sigmund Freud believed that behavior and personality were driven by the constant and unique interaction of conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness: the preconscious, conscious, and unconscious or subconscious.

Here’s a quick overview:

The conscious mind

Rules thoughts, memories and feelings of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally.

The preconscious mind

Consists of anything that could potentially be brought into the conscious mind. It exists just below the level of consciousness.

The unconscious or subconscious mind

A reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. The unconscious mind thinks in the expression of form such as images, memories, underlying desires and creativity.

It is our subconscious minds that influences our actions to fit a pattern consistent with our self-concept. It’s like an inbuilt master program. This is why our thoughts are so critical – we can actually reprogram our lives and self-concepts through the thoughts we create and believe.

Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to kick-start change through kind, motivational and prosperous-oriented bites of sound. That’s why we at Creative Writing Energy created a series of positive creativity prompts – to help instil positive thoughts and encourage writers to believe in themselves and their creativity.

The unconscious or subconscious mind is a fascinating part of the human brain because it holds much of the mysterious aspects about humans, our perceptions and our experiences. It also holds the key to our creativity and shines a light over the path leading toward higher states of consciousness; the Higher-Self.

Your Higher-Self is where dwells your higher-creative mind.

From Wikipedia:

“Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a god or “the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts”.

Concepts of higher conscious has ancient roots dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas. It is a belief held by Hindus and New Age thought alike.

In his Theory of Consciousness, Gerald Edelman makes the distinction:

“The higher consciousness or secondary consciousness from primary consciousness, defined as simple awareness that includes perception and emotion. Higher consciousness in contrast “involves the ability to be conscious of being conscious” and allows the recognition by a thinking subject of his or her own acts and affections.”

Basically, our higher consciousness is the eternal essence in each of us that is everything divine, perfect and love – It is our bond connecting us to the higher-universal intelligence.

The source of all light and life within you.

Becoming aware of and building a relationship with your higher-self is like opening a door to parts of yourself that you always sensed was there but you couldn’t quite grasp it.

Yes, it might sound a little on the abstract side, and that’s because it is. There is a reason why neuroscience and quantum physics cannot solve the mystery of life, creativity and imagination.

Analytics, scientific data and a logical brain can only take you so far. The rest has to be learned through intuition, faith and connection.

Connecting with your higher-creative mind takes deliberate practice and intention through creating the space within yourself and your life to get there. You must possess the desire to reach for more if you are reap the divine rewards.

Creativity and imagination abound within these higher spaces, as does a sense of tranquillity, profound connection, wondrous revelations and well-being.

Here’s a few methods and tools you can use to begin the journey toward the higher-creative mind:

  • Meditation
  • Reading Spiritual Text  
  • Earth-grounding
  • The Tarot
  • Oracle Cards
  • Yoga
  • Shamanic Medicine Drumming
  • Free-form Writing for Self-Exploration
  • Crystals
  • Yoga

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th - 19th.  

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


Creative Writing Energy will be presenting their panel on Saturday April 18th at 3pm EST!

We’ll be around to answer comments – come say hello!

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