I don’t remember where I first heard the phrase, the ‘no bypass’ zone, or the personal work that a client is faced with when a shift and or a healing has taken place. It is a phrase I use frequently with clients. It is the changes we make in our daily lives to support and further the healing and transformation of our lives. These changes are where we put our attention, the choices we make, and the things we do. These changes are made because we now can do something different, where before it seemed useless and maybe not possible.
Shamanic healing can be very powerful and at the same time also subtle. For example, what I refer to as ‘looping/repetitive thinking’ that you cannot interrupt. When a shift occurs we can find that we are able to put our attention somewhere else. Simple things like looking at the land, trees, a stream of water, or looking around the room we are in and noticing what is in the room, noticing the person talking to us, or noticing our breath which brings us into our bodies.
The ‘no bypass’ is being able to take the steps to shift and change our thinking, actions & behavior. Paying attention to our new ability. Creating a pause button within us to derail old behavior and knee-jerk reactions. When we pause, that gives us time to do nothing, or choose another response.
This personal work or practice takes individual forms depending on what we are addressing. It requires curiosity, which fosters creative ways of our participating with new ways of living our everyday lives. It is quietly exciting and a wonder as we discover and become aware that we can shift our behavior. More often than not it is subtle.
My own experience of waking up in the morning and noticing that I was not feeling the low or high grade anxiety that I had experienced for much of my life was a major shift. It didn’t ‘knock my socks off’; it was more like waking up and becoming aware that nothing was going on. Nothing! Not worrying, not anxious about anything. For me it was a miracle, although there were no bells and whistles, no loud clapping or balloons.
Existence can and often is really challenging and looking at ourselves and asking for the truth of what we are looking at is key to awareness and making changes in our daily lives. We don’t always have a good attitude or feel grateful. I don’t see any usefulness in pretending or avoiding what I call ‘bad hair days’. If we are cranky or resentful, whatever the feelings are, we can let ourselves know that. If we need help learning how to navigate this territory, there are people trained to assist us. Either way we are accountable for our behavior. This includes our bad behavior toward ourselves and others. The wonder of healing is the progressive ability to make good and better choices. This practice includes messing up, which we all do sometimes.
The commitment to ourselves is a quiet relentless tenaciousness, to notice, wake up, and make good choices for as long as it takes. Recognizing that it takes the time it takes. We need to be patient and know this is a practice and a learning.
The only exception I see is if we can do real harm to others. A friend once said to me back in the 1970’s that we cannot help our impulses or attractions to anything. I have never forgotten that. What was also obvious to me is that given this truth, it is up to us to not act on harmful impulses, whatever they be and whatever that takes. The largest proportion of our personal work and healing does not include doing real harm to others, and yet I am personally compelled to include this.
Stepping into awareness of our part in our personal healing and taking quiet action when needed, in my experience, is not necessarily easy. The experience of choosing something else where we have been habituated to behaviors with recognized and/or unrecognized outcomes, the experience of interrupting the ‘over and over’ reactivity is very encouraging. This gives me continuing hope of reducing or eliminating suffering that is avoidable. Pain and suffering are a part of life and existence, as is learning how to accept life as it is, as well as regeneration, healing and recovery.
The miracle of it all is that as we shift our thinking and behavior, in a good way, we promote those shifts on behalf of all life. Our good attention to ourselves fosters the well being of our incredible and amazing planet Earth and all life.