In my shamanic energy medicine and wisdom coaching practice I see all kinds of people, and over the years I've cultivated a mastery of my craft. It doesn't happen often that I find myself surprised. But as 2012 approached, I was caught off-guard by the request of a new client — a 13-year-old boy — who spoke with a sincerity and adamancy I had never before encountered. When I asked why his mom had brought him to see me and what he hoped to get out of our time together, the boy looked me in the eyes and said: "She told me you were a shaman, and I want you to teach me how to make my dog come when I call." He was dead serious.
Foster went on to explain that his mom had read a book about an old, wise woman in the mountains who could call eagles and have them fly to her. He had decided this gift was something he needed to know much more about since his dog rarely listened, often running in the other direction when summoned. Listening to Foster's request, I'll admit to a minute where I had the unusual thought of "I am so in over my head." But in the rare moments when this happens, I know it is a call to look toward the stars and surrender to the knowledge that all is well. So I offered Foster my simplest version of the relationship between metaphor and the literal world. "When we call," I explained, "it doesn't necessarily mean that things physically come in the way we expect them." I talked with Foster about whether his question was really about his dog or about something else. We discovered together that he was most interested in being the greatest, most powerful force in the world that he could be.
But after our discussion, Foster still wanted to know how to call the dog and have him come. He persisted in wanting literal guidelines. He wanted answers, and he was convinced that I had them. So I did what every wise shaman does in a case like this, when it is clear that the energy must be followed just as it is showing up: I looked at Foster as the wise one that he was, and suggested that we speak directly to the shaman who was the expert in calling eagles. I glanced toward the empty chair next to me, telling Foster it was the seat of the grandmother of the mountains — and that anyone who sat there and got really quiet would be able to hear her voice and then speak as the elder shaman herself. I explained that the seat wasn't just a metaphor. It was real. I took out my pen and paper, and asked him what question he wanted to ask the grandmother. Foster's reply was, "How can I be my most powerful self so that my dog comes when I call him?" Then I told Foster to go sit in the shaman's chair, and I got up and sat in his.
What unfolded from there was amazing. It was a point-by-point list, spoken by the "grandmother" through Foster's 13-year-old voice. A few of the points included: realize the power you already have; believe that you can; and be sure that the failings of the past don't prevent you from thinking you can in the present.
But it was the first thing spoken that really got my attention. When Foster first sat in the elder's seat, I posed his question to the eagle-calling grandmother. Foster didn't speak for almost two minutes, and the silence was so palpable that the tick of the battery-operated clock in my office grew to be almost deafening. Then Foster looked up from the quiet and said, "In order to be your most powerful self, the first thing you need to do is to stop that clock from ticking."
Believing already that 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, is about the opportunity to connect to our most powerful self, and being practiced in listening for patterns that mirror the collective in personal stories, I made a connection. Apparently, the metaphorical act of calling in dogs powerfully, or perhaps of calling in anything powerfully, requires embracing the metaphorical end of time. I have no way of knowing exactly what will occur as 12/21/2012 approaches, but I do know this: When an ancient culture known for an uncanny accuracy in marking cycles of time suddenly stops their calendar-making, it is wise to pay attention.
All around us "end time" prophets — some of them Hollywood for-profit types — speak in the voices of media. We watch exaggerations and doomsday predictions come alive on the world screen. But elders of the ancient indigenous cultures see this time as one of great awakening — a dawn that will birth a quantum change of consciousness. If we are willing to step into the stream of these connections just as Foster did when he sat in the chair of the elder, we too can receive answers as to how we may "call in" the possibility of becoming our own greatest, most powerful selves.
As a contemporary medicine carrier and teacher, native to North America and connected to a lineage of seers and sages that trace back to the Laika of South America, I have come to know and experience every day as a reflection of where I choose to place my attention. My "reality" is the absolute result of how I "hold" my world. Shamans of all cultures have always understood that our perception holds the fundamental key to change. We continually have the freedom to select from a menu of possibilities.
Options for 2012: Impending doomsday disaster? Global financial market collapse? Earth changes? Or perhaps a consciously held combination of all three? What about an impending quantum shift, the presence of higher human or divine values in the commerce and exchange of relationship? What about the possibility of a world-changing tsunami of consciousness? And if the latter is my choice, what are the steps necessary to have that call to consciousness heard and made manifest?
If we listen for and give voice to the wise elder within, as did Foster, will we too discover that the end of time is a necessary first step? Perhaps not the end of linear time itself — but what would it be like to walk through linear time living from a place of present moment consciousness? Is it possible that 2012 offers the opportunity to relate to time differently, no longer as divided into a continual chain of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows? What if we could live without holding a perception of having failed in the past, and so stop that imagined "failure" from imposing upon our present? What if the power we already have could be fully recognized and awakened?
When Foster returned to his own chair, he appeared all of the 13-year-old kid that had first walked into my office. He said simply, "That was way cool." I read him back the list of things that the elder advised were rightful steps to getting your dog to come when it calls and to being your most powerful self. Then we both remembered one that I had forgotten to write down. The elder grandmother had said: "Most people will find what you want to do impossible or difficult. Know that it will just take practice."
I've decided to fully embrace 2012 as the end of time. I am choosing to find all the benefits in the stories that leave people scared and re-scramble those six letters so that those stories reflect the sacred. I will listen to the voices of our children's children as they hold our destiny. I will listen to the wise voices of the elders behind us.
As for the present? My teacher once told me that the medicine elders of indigenous tribes always gave the most difficult tasks to the young shamans because these young spirits didn't yet believe that the tasks were "impossible." I choose the difficult and the impossible, knowing that all it takes is to believe it to be so, to sit in the chair of wisdom, to listen for what comes, and to bring that instruction to practice.
I choose belief in the birth of a new human consciousness this year. And I will look up to Sirius, the galactic dog-star, to transmit its brilliant shine to earth and to the awareness of the brightest shine within me. I believe — I know — that consciousness will come when I call.
Image by Peta-de-Aztlan, courtesy of Creative Commons license.