QUESTION: I have been a student of spirituality for many years and shamanism has been of special interest. I have felt stuck for many years now around several issues in my life, including relationship and work. I had been in a codependent relationship for years with no sexual connection, but my lover was sick and I felt obligated to stick around. As soon as that was done, multiple family members got sick and I felt a responsibility to them, even though I am not fond of them. So I keep delaying what I need to do, which is care for myself.

I have done much work around these issues, including years of working with healers, therapists, shamans as well as spending time with shamans in different countries. But I still feel stuck. I am thinking of doing another trip to spend some time with a shaman that I have journeyed with before, and see if this time I can get some clarity.

Something that really bothers me is an aspect of fear on my path. Lately, I have been troubled by what I can only call bouts of “bordering on insanity” and the fear that I will make a choice for “power” - not so much the way of the shaman, but this other piece that is more akin to the Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan Matus idea of sorcery or the path of a brujo.

I am not talented enough, powerful enough, smart enough, etc., to be able to tell where one stops and the other begins.

So, I’m stuck in this middle place of fear. And that’s where the Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan Matus idea of “giving up everything/all attachments” is terrifying.

And it seems that no matter what I do, that’s the direction I’m being led to… so yes, very frightened and very sad. 

What are your thoughts?

ANSWER: Let the story go. Let the analogies go. Let the teachers go. Let the concepts go. It’s all another trick of the ego to keep you stuck where you are.

Stop running away. Face this fear and grief head-on. Your pushing away of this has caused an exponential amount of the same.

Yes, no matter what you do, you are led there. And you keep managing not to take the step into the unknown. No more journeys. No more excuses. No more hiding under the guise of worrying for another and caretaking, when your own soul is screaming for some attention and respect. Drop all of that and answer your soul’s calling.

Stop taking a pass from your own soul’s directive under the guise of paying attention to your soul. Akin to a soldier that returns to base a thousand times to make sure that he has received his orders, to find that the orders have not changed, you need to execute what you know, instead of dancing around the base camp.

We all carry great fear and grief. Many times “all” that is required is for us to push through the fear. There is no magical cure that lifts the fear. We tremble and wail as we push through the comfort of the known into the great unknown. Similar to coming through the birth canal, there is effort and great discomfort involved.

No more excuses, no more time-outs, no more "ifs" and "whens". The time is now.