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being compassionate

Are You Good at Being Compassionate?

Discovering Your Capacity for Being Compassionate About two years ago I added two questions to my intake form for new clients. I put the questions on my intake forms to learn more about each individual client and how she sees herself. The plan was to garner information from how these questions were scored and use it to tailor the content of conversations to best help each person. Here are the questions: On a scale of 1 to 10 how compassionate are you with others?…

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the trickster archetype

The Trickster Archetype

Daredevil skateboarders, snowboarders, BMX bikers, skiers, and motocross riders have an ever increasing dictionary of tricks. They are our modern day trick-sters, doing what defies logic and seems impossible while having a good time. An avid snowboarder for many years, I could never fathom what a rodeo flip was, let alone how to do it, but it didn’t matter, I still admired the beauty and grace of my trickster friends. These amazing tricks are a simple demonstration of how the…

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what does dove mean dove spirit animal

Spirit Animals: DIVINE DOVE

What does dove mean? The term “dove” actually refers to a whole family of birds that includes both doves and pigeons. There are many species of doves of a variety shades of brown, gray, rose and slate blue. Dove species include mourning doves, rock pigeons, Eurasian collared doves, white winged doves, and band-tailed pigeons. One of the well known species extinctions caused by man was that of the passenger pigeon. Hunting and habitat destruction by European settlers wiped out some 3…

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understanding solitude

The Seriousness of Solitude

I was brought to tears this morning by the most surprising of lines in a book: “I see more and more that solitude is not something to play with. It is deadly serious. And much as I have wanted it, I have not been serious enough. It is not enough to ‘like solitude,’ or love it even. Even if you ‘like’ it, it can wreck you, I believe, if you desire it for your own sake.” – Thomas Merton in…

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seeker archetype

The Seeker Archetype

It is no surprise that the seeker archetype is one of the most difficult to define. Pinning down this roving icon becomes even more complicated the longer one spends following her this way and that like the seed of a dandelion cast on the wind. The Seeker Archetype Searches for Truth The seeker archetype is looking for a thing, a feeling, a knowing, an experience called truth. This is not truth with a lowercase t mind you, but Truth with a capital T. Concrete physical facts…

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shamanism beliefs

Do Shamanism Beliefs and Other Religious Beliefs Mix?

Shamanism as a Container Unlike organized religions that tell you exactly what to believe, precisely when to worship, and literally how to talk to God, the practice of shamanism does not fill our worlds with things to do and think. I like to use the metaphor of a container, be it a bowl, vase, or basket, that holds our beliefs. Shamanism is that bowl. It is our hands cupped and open, ready to receive whatever we choose to fill them…

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bat symbolism

Spirit Animals: BAT BRAVERY

The mere mention of a bat sends many people into a panic. Conservationists have been working for decades to dispel the terrifying myths about bats and to bring humans into a greater appreciation of these flying mammals. Bats work wonders for an ecosystem keeping pest insects in check and producing fertilizer in the form of guano. Still, despite the best public relations campaigns, many shy away from the medicine of bat. Coming to Terms with Bat Symbolism We often want…

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archetypal hero archetype

The Hero Archetype

The hero archetype is one of the most recognizable archetypes in literature, film, television and video games. It seems that any compelling story has a hero of some flavor that is easy to name. Here are twenty real-life and fictional hero archetype examples: Superman, King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Luke Skywalker, Rocky, Hercules, Spiderman, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Neo (The Matrix), Rosa Parks, Frodo, Daniel LaRusso (Karate Kid), William Wallace (Braveheart), Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz), Moses,…

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spirit animal squirrel meaning

Spirit Animals: SECURE SQUIRREL

Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae and are characterized by slender bodies, longer back legs, and a long, expressive bushy tail. The name squirrel is derived from the Ancient Greek world skiouros meaning “shadow-tailed”. There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide, with the Eastern Gray Squirrel being the most commonly seen mammal in the United States. The family of squirrels includes not only tree squirrels but also ground squirrels, flying squirrels and chipmunks. Squirrel Meaning and Preparedness In four-season climates,…

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is shamanism a religion

Is Shamanism a Religion?

Shamanism is experiencing a great resurgence. The prevalence of shamans is on the rise. And, as everyone figures out how to pronounce shaman and shamanism (the first “a” is soft, like an “ah”), there are alternative terms adding to the confusion, “shamanistic” and “shamanist” being primary contributors. Given that many people are still getting comfortable using the words, it is no surprise that few know how to categorize shamanism. The question of “is shamanism a religion?” is a reasonable inquiry. Very strictly speaking, shamanism…

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