Spirit Walking Journal describes activities that fall under the category of shamanic practice. I chose Spirit Walking to have a title that appeared modern because, in spite of the fact that shamanic practice dates back at least 40,000 to 50,000 years, it has always existed throughout those years and still exists today. It is a modern practice! So what qualifies as shamanic practice? Any activity where the practitioner travels to the spirit world in order to heal herself or himself, family, friends, or communities. It’s all about healing in the broadest sense of the word.

So I’ve decided to start the year off with an attempt to write about ideas that will help us heal ourselves. Why? As social beings we may belong to several groups of people: family, friends, schools,  religious or spiritual groups, work groups, clubs, organizations and even, yes, political parties. Each of these groups has rules or guidelines for belonging, sometimes written, sometimes understood. These groups give us guidelines, feelings of worth and acceptance. And they also define our roles and beliefs. Truly, we become like the people with whom we associate.

So who are we? Are we mothers, BFFs, students, believers, salesmen, Republicans? Along the way we tend to join groups that support our beliefs, so something in each group may support other groups and we may come to believe we are those definitions because we make them fit neatly together. But there may also be conflicts because groups are defined by all members. Definitions may foster internal conflicts; Example: ‘I’m a Republican and a Catholic, but I believe abortion is a matter of choice.’ Conflicts like this confuse us, make us feel guilty, and lower our self esteem.

We know we are good people, but people in other groups disagree with us. What’s wrong with them? They seem to be nice people but they have views that differ sharply from ours. It’s hard to understand why this is. Many times we just assume they aren’t as smart as we are, or that they have hidden agendas. Think about Obama Care or the immigrant issue? How can seemingly sane people have views of the world which are at opposite ends of the spectrum?

This gets back to the question of who we are. Really, WHO ARE WE? Are we rational people? What about the people who disagree with us? WHO ARE THEY? How can mankind have so many different ideas and yet believe individually that they are right and others are wrong?

Believe it or not, this is part of being human. It is inevitable. We will always have our own opinions that differ from others. Starting with my next blog I will discuss how we think, judge, remember, and why even people who are close to us, family members, may strongly disagree with us. Here’s a hint: it has do to with the survival of the human species.