I have been living a double life since 1993. You may know me from my spiritually-oriented websites, like www.quado.com, as well as my books, the latest of which is A Call to Greatness, the Exciting Adventure Your Soul Wants You to Take. But I am also a management consultant who installs software in the apparel industry. I have been working with computers in the corporate world for over thirty years, and it is this work that pays my mortgage.
For most of my “spiritual” years, I have felt a conflict between these two sides of my life, a need to keep them separate, and a nagging feeling that I should be devoting myself completely to spiritual endeavors. And of course, there is that longing in my heart, for once I awakened to Spirit and felt that deep, loving connection, it seemed such a wonderful thing if I could spend all of my time there instead of in the demanding, noisy corporate world.
And yet, try as I may, my many fulfilling and fun adventures on the spiritual path have not enabled me to reach financial comfort. And when a corporate severance package enabled me to put myself in spiritual service for a year, I earned only enough for a life of near-poverty, something that didn’t seem in the least bit spiritual! And so, I continue to walk both paths.
In a recent Pathfinder session, a bio-chemist asked if she should leave that field to pursue life as a healer, even though she had not found financial success there. I understood this question completely. And of course, there is a strong religious tradition for doing just that, a path that is clearly right for some. But in her case, and apparently in mine as well, Spirit answers: “This is not asked of you.”
And so, I would like to propose another path, one that also has a long and honored tradition, the path of the Master Shaman. (In case you are not familiar with shamanism, please just think of a shaman as a healer who uses plants as medicines and animal spirits as guides to help people to get well, mentally, physically and spiritually.)
Here’s what Michael Harner says in his wonderful book, The Way of the Shaman:
“The shaman operates in nonordinary reality only a small portion of his time, and then only as needed to perform shamanic tasks, for shamanism is a part-time activity. Among the Jivaro, the Conibo, the Eskimo, and most other primitive groups, the master shaman is usually an active participant in the economic, social and even political affairs of the community. He is commonly an accomplished hunter or gardener, craftsperson and artist, thinker, and responsible family and community member. Indeed, the ability of the master shaman to operate successfully in two different realities is seen as evidence of power.”
What a wonderful, freeing concept! Not only are we not expected to turn away from the secular world, but success in that world can be seen as an expression of great power, a way to show that you are able to navigate the passage back and forth in different realities, and be a shining light across the full spectrum.
And so, if you are like me, I invite you to become a Modern Master Shaman, to feel free to just be who you are, living and working, exploring and expanding in multiple realities, spending some time in the warm arms of Spirit and some out in the world, taking care of ourselves and our family in the best way we can.
And every day, you can look at your life and its amazing variety, all of the experiences it brings to you and say: I am a Master Shaman. Everything I do is a spiritual experience. I am this.
Love, peace & joy,