spirit canoe drum beat
The Cloud People
  I don’t know about you, but my Labor Day weekend got off to a rocky start on Friday. I’d only been up for a few minutes, when I realized I was feeling terrified. It was all the usual things we can find ourselves scared about on a given day — money, work, love, relationships — that day, I was feeling it all! I called on my helping spirits for support the way I do every day, knowing that support can come in many forms, and I sent an S.O.S. out by text to a few friends at the Boulder Center for Conscious Community, where I have my practice. I got some encouraging suggestions back, and a few great ‘heart’ emojis, and the sense of connection began to break the spell. It did not prepare me for what happened next.

I looked out my west-facing living room window, and noticed a band of storm clouds gathering over the foothills. It’s a common enough sight in Colorado, brilliant blue sky, billowing white clouds with gray bellies full of rain, but suddenly something extraordinary happened. A feeling of exhilaration welled up inside me. It came from nowhere and broke through the knots of fear that had me in their grip. It felt amazing, and I caught myself scurrying to tamp those expanded feelings back down. “Not a good idea to feel that great, Robbie,” I heard my brain telling me. “Remember the world’s a sad and scary place!”

But in that moment, I made the choice I don’t always make, to give my brain a rest, let my heart open, and just feel good about feeling good. And that was when I knew that those weren’t “just” clouds, they were the Cloud People. They were living beings with spirits, just like me, and they were offering me the chance to connect, and to share in the same miraculous aliveness that sent them soaring over the mountains towards me. I remembered that until we open our hearts, we’re separate. We can forget one of the most essential principles of shamanism, that everything is alive and has a spirit that we can learn to connect with. I chose to let myself experience that connection, and let it heal me.

The next time I find myself in the grip fear about the world, or about the circumstances of my life, I’m going to remember the lessons of the Cloud People. I’ll reach out to a few trusted friends, I’ll open my heart and remember that I’m one with the spirits of all living things, and I’ll watch for the miracles! Will you join me?

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