Mar 3, 2009


My dear friend Miya Ando Stanoff is a talented artist who takes raw steel and transforms it into transcendently beautiful abstract metal canvases. Her work is strong with intent; she wants each piece to offer an opportunity for contemplation and introspection.

Shamanism is also rich with intent and I find the process similar to what I imagine Miya experiences. Shaman take mental "journies" to the spirit world to enlist the help of benevolent spirits to heal those of us in the ordinary world. I come to shamanism as a great skeptic. I'm an aethiest and think the whole notion of spirit realms and animal guides is a bunch of huey. So how can I effectively practice Shamanism? It comes down to intent and my belief that people who need help respond positively to others whose intent is to heal. Shawmen only heal those for whom they have permission to heal, this partnership creates the opportunity for an exchange of intents and corresponding adjustment in attitudes. The simple act of one human being reaching out to help another is powerful with purpose and intent. If the intent is honorable, I believe the receipent will be positively affected.

One could then imagine that healing occurs anywhere intent is positive, and I think that's true. My brother is a surgeon and I believe he approaches his work with similar intent. However his range of healing is narrow and deep; he's not in the business of stitching the rips in our psyche.

Shawnen aren't psychologists either but rather generalized caregivers with an intent to help. What I'm surprised about is the effect of that positive intent on the caregiver. I mentioned my self-serving feelings about my art in a previous post. What I didn't mention was how that behavior has spilled over from my art into my personal life and my dealings with friends. I find that a lot more bothersome than spending a year making art that no one sees. I'm hoping that time spent helping others will indeed heal the healer too.

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