Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Transferred Visions

Recently I spent a week in Dream Teacher Training with Robert Moss at the beautiful and peaceful Mosswood Hollow retreat center in Duvall, Washington. It was so great to be able to step out of the pace of everyday living and immerse myself in the dreaming for a full week. To reconnect with nature. To reconnect with my deeper self. To reconnect with friends made last year and meet new friends. And to remember and remind myself how important dreaming is.

One focus of our week was to dream new ways of healing. We practiced vision transfer, a process in which one journeys via the shamanic drum and retrieves a healing vision for another. I reconnected with my friend from an earlier dream workshop who had gifted me with a powerful vision that helped me to write The Deep Water Leaf Society. Without that transferred vision, I don’t think I would have completed the book. Here’s how it happened, about a year and a half ago . . .

I had told Lisa very little about myself or my book at the time. I simply told her I wanted to write a book on grieving. I explained that I was feeling very stuck and feeling as though during any time I spent writing I was letting innumerable other more “important” things go undone. I was conflicted about several other goals and paths and I felt that time and dedication to the book would prevent me from pursuing them. She agreed to retrieve a vision that would help me to get unblocked and move forward with my project.

As the drumming began, I sat quietly, holding the intention of completing my book. Lisa rode the drumming into the place of dreams and visions. The drumming took her to a vision of a large outdoor fire around which many people sat. She saw me sitting at the place of honor, dressed in buckskin and a feather cape. A woman walked into the circle carrying a bundle in her arms. This woman, she told me, was the embodiment of Kachina Woman (a rock formation in Sedona). Kachina Woman dropped the bundle into the fire and smoke rose into the sky. Then she came and stood by me, holding out her arms. She said to me, “My arms are empty now. I can hold for you whatever you feel you might be missing while you write. It will be in my arms, ready for you to reclaim when your work is done.”

I pulled a feather from my cape and began to write words into the smoke. Then everyone around the fire was healed by the smoke rising from the bundle she had dropped into the flames and the words I wrote in it. They came forward, one by one, and dropped their own bundles into the flame. They thanked me and honored me for the healing I had brought them.

As Lisa told me what she’d seen, I was moved to tears. The feather cape I wore in her vision was a cape I had retrieved in an earlier vision that same day, when I’d traveled into space and connected with the Archangel Raphael, protector of humanity and healer of hearts. I had not told Lisa of that vision, and I was amazed that she had retrieved the same imagery. The fire and smoke also mirrored some of my earlier journeying. As she spoke of the smoke rising from the fire, I felt Cameron’s presence with me strongly. It seemed that the fire was my grief and the smoke was its transformation. It seemed the smoke was the remaining presence of Cameron and that he would be helping me to tell our story. I told Lisa all of this and explained to her that I had lost my son and that it was the grief of that loss I wanted to write about.

She said, “I didn’t want to say this before, because it seemed so odd and kind of creepy, but the bundle that Kachina Woman dropped into the fire was a baby.”

We both sat stunned and awed by the power of this vision. When I came home, I found a photo of Kachina Woman on the internet and set it as the background on my computer monitor so that she would be there, holding whatever I needed her to hold, as I wrote the book. I held in my mind the vision of all these other people finding healing from grief, of my story somehow helping them to do that. That is still my hope.

It’s easy to retrieve a healing vision for someone else. Here’s how:

  1. Create a sacred and safe space in which to journey. You can do this by calling on whatever healing and protective powers you feel connected to – God, angels, the Light, your power animals, the directions or anything else that works for you. You might wish to light a candle or use some other ceremony.
  2. Have the person you’ll be journeying for tell you, briefly, about a situation in their life for which they’d like to receive a healing vision. Have them paint a picture of the situation with their words so that you get a sense of their feelings about it. (In the above story, I told Lisa how frustrated I felt about all the other things that wouldn’t get done if I focused on writing the book as well as my uncertainty about the value of what I had to say.)
  3. Have the person you’ll be journeying for summarize and distill what they’ve said into a simple intention they can hold in their mind while you journey for them. (Mine was, “I want help to complete my book.”)
  4. Get into a comfortable position for journeying. Either lie down or sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Hold the intention that you are journeying to retrieve a healing vision for your partner.
  5. Using shamanic drumming (either by drumming yourself, having someone drum for you, or playing a recording of shamanic drumming), allow yourself to ride the drum sound as you pay close attention to what you see, feel, hear or intuit. The person for whom you are journeying simply sits quietly holding their intention. Fifteen minutes of drumming should be an adequate amount of time.
  6. When you return from the journey, take a few moments to write down your perceptions. If you feel like you “got nothing,” then make something up!! Your imagination has been primed by the drumming and you will be able to craft a helpful and healing story. Don’t second guess yourself.
  7. Gift your vision to your partner by telling the story vividly and with conviction.
  8. Ask your partner if there is any part of the vision they’d like to claim as their own. Have your partner retell as much of the story as they wish to claim in their own words. They can add into the story any personal connections they may have felt as you gave them the story. This retelling and saying the words out loud is an important step, because by doing so your partner will be claiming the power of the story as their own. (I claimed all of Lisa’s beautiful story and added to it the idea that Cameron would be in the smoke, helping me to write.)
  9. Ask your partner what action they will take to honor the healing vision. Dreams and visions require action to work their magic in your life. (My action steps were to find a statue or picture of Kachina Woman that I could keep in my writing space and to call on her when I felt distracted by other things or guilty about my writing time.)

It was great to reconnect with Lisa this past week and to have an opportunity to let her know how powerfully her vision had worked in my life. Never underestimate the power of dreams to heal and transform. And never underestimate your own power as a dreamer and a storyteller. Your words can heal others and help them to find their way.

Thank you, Lisa, for helping me to find mine!

Lisa's business is called DreamSync and she offers counseling and support with dream circles, decisionmaking, tracking synchronicity, imaginal healing and dream journaling. I hope you'll check out her beautiful website at

Wishing you peace on the journey . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pre-Order The Deep Water Leaf Society Today!

We are rolling right along with the final steps to getting The Deep Water Leaf Society in print. The cover design is complete, the back cover text is finalized and Paul is just finishing up some final tweaks to the inside artwork and layout. Not even some significant health challenges could prevent him from seeing this through. I want to publically thank him for going above and beyond to make this happen. I finally received the last of my lyric reprint licenses, so no outside forces are holding us back. We are on target for our September 15 release date. This baby is ready to be born!!

Check out the “Buy the Book” page at the website ( for links to download “sneak peek” chapters. The Preface and Chapter 1 are already available, and Chapter 2 will be posted on Saturday, September 23. Make sure you pre-order your copy of the book right away while you can still get the 30% discount! (Offer expires September 12, 2008).

And as long as you are browsing the web, check out my new movie version of “Risking Everything” (the poem I included in my last post) on YouTube.

I’ll post more about my experiences at Dream Teacher Training, which inspired the poem, in a few days.

Wishing you peace on the journey. . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

Risking Everything

At Mosswood Hollow during Dream Teacher Training this past week, Robert Moss gave us a series of questions to ponder that would help us to define and connect to our Personal Truth. One of the questions he posed was, “What would you risk everything to defend?” He drummed as we each journeyed to find our own personal answer to that question.

As he drums, I discover that I am unable to answer the question. In the space where I am looking for answers, I find more questions, like, “What does it mean to defend?” and “What does it mean to risk everything?”

If I risk everything to defend something, am I not also risking the very thing I claim to defend? Am I mincing words? Is it just semantics? Perhaps it is the word “defend” that bothers me, as I have been, in recent years, so focused on letting go and practicing non-attachment. “Defend” sounds like hanging on, to me. It sounds like fighting and posturing and the opposite of allowing. Is it wimpy and ineffective to defend nothing? Does it mean that nothing is important to me? Not at all. There is much of beauty and innocence in this world that I would defend, to some degree, but not at the cost of greater potentials that I cannot see. My own sense of what’s right and important, my own sense of “how things should be,” may be very limited compared to what is possible. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it is that the bleakest of situations, those against which we kick and scream, often carry the biggest gifts if we will only open our hearts and hands enough to let go of whatever we’re holding so tightly.

The question annoys me and leaves me stirred up—and therefore it is an important question. The question holds a paradox—and therefore it is a sacred question.

The question hangs with me through the rest of the day, and on into the next. I begin to see all around me, in this peaceful 40-acre retreat center, how nature’s creatures move quietly through the process of letting go, always on the border of becoming something new, not defending any current forms but spiraling through a constant state of metamorphosis.

Eventually, the following words came through . . .

Risking Everything

What would you risk everything to defend, he asks?
An odd question to ponder
In this land of the antevasin
In this sacred hollow
Where dreamers walk between the worlds
Where mortars turn to thunder and shrapnel turns to rain
Where pond skaters dance in perfect concentricity
Balanced on the tension between sunlight and water’s deep
Where abundant lilies hang heavy with seed
Their suckling roots digging deep
Into muddy mysteries at water’s edge
Where tadpoles lazily dream their tadpole dreams
Never imagining the wonder of the legs to come
Where bees rise, pollen laden, to carry their treasure
Across the green sea of meadow to foreign shores
Where blossoms morph into berries
Which will fatten Bear for winter
Where leaves, just now,
Are trying on their richest gowns
Anticipating their date with Autumn
When they will dance,
Giddily and freely,
Into the unknown

The Gatekeeper here,
In this land of border dwellers,
Is an ancient Tree Spirit who,
Becomes the bulwark for that which will,
One day soon,
Swallow her
Even now, her piney juices
Flow freely into alien veins
Berry Vine
Their probing tendrils reach beneath her ancient bark
To harvest her deepest secrets
And make them their own

She is Life swallowed by Life
Life becoming Life
Feeling no fear in her becomingness
Savoring the cool protective verdancy
Of her cocoon
Not knowing, or caring,
If wings are in the offing

It’s not the risk of everything that bothers me
It is the word DEFEND that feels so foreign here
From what is anything to be defended or protected
When nothing is ever lost, but only transformed?

I’d rather ask,
What am I willing to ALLOW at the cost of everything?
What am I willing to risk to dream at the edge of becoming?
An antevasin, a border dweller
Defending nothing, savoring everything
With heart and hands open and ready to release
As I continually wake from one marvelous dream
Into the next

View a video version of this poem at

Wishing you peace on the journey . . .