Spiritual Practice: Shamanism and the Workplace

I believe that shamanic practices in the workplace need to be centered in holistic intention. I worked for a social services organization whose clear goal was to benefit its clients.  If you stop to think about it, bringing healing and balance can be a secondary job description for a variety of jobs, and problem solving can benefit a larger culture.  Shamanic practice has application at your place of employment in a variety of ways:

Problem solving
There are a variety of shamanic methodologies for problem solving.  The first is the shamanic journey.  I didn’t get paid to journey at work, so I had to do it on my own time at home.  It was some of the best time spent.  I journeyed for the clients, staff, and to the ambience of the facilities.  I journeyed to a wide variety of problems, being careful not to be intrusive without permission. That could make me the carrier of the journey, bringing shamanic mind into contact or counseling.  Where I was in charge, it was completely appropriate to journey to achieve harmony.  Sometimes there were obvious problems, such as damaged communication, inadequate service delivery, or misplaced priorities.  Sometimes I’d get straightforward answers and sometimes my answers were clothed in symbolism, which pushed me intentionally over time to connect with the problems in the imaginal realm of symbols.

Rarely, I would find a negative intrusion or bad piece of luck that needed to be removed.  I would often “drum to the space” of the problem, without seeking an answer to a question.  Like holding a vigil, it kept me on the trail to finding balance.  I would also chant, dance, pray, or sing to a problem or solution.

After a journey or series of drum sessions I knew that I would need to stay alert on the job to see how the work might manifest — stay alert to possibilities, opportunities, or communications that might enlighten or modify my behavior or response.  Sometimes I just got lucky, though I don’t feel that gathered luck is mere coincidence.  One thing to keep in mind: I obtained permission from my spirit helpers to do shamanic work on a work subject.  I always journeyed within the boundaries of my job description.  Being a director, that description was sometimes broad.  Another way to say this is that I only journeyed about situations that were under my responsibility, or which had a direct effect on my ability to perform the job.

Relationships at a job are important, and when I could I hired people that fit my description of a good team member.  I wasn’t always successful.

The first instance of using shamanism was rather early in a 25-year employment.  I started out as a counselor.  The owner at that time was probably an alcoholic and was definitely unpredictable, even contentious.  Some employees were afraid of him.  I journeyed to the situation and was taught the method of speaking spirit to spirit– my spirit to his spirit (I later learned that this was taught by shamanic teachers).  I gained empathy from the experience and softened my attitude toward him.  But my spirit helper said that it wasn’t enough.  Because I had anger toward this person my spirit helpers urged me to continue having shamanic dialog until my anger and dislike had been erased.  They explained I still might get angry or dislike him situationally, but that I was not to carry it.  The journeys were successful on my end.  To my surprise, the journeys also seemed to transform our relationship at the job.  He clearly held me in respect, and became generally less intrusive.  He began to plan his retirement.  Because the method was so successful, I used it with other contentious relationships I encountered during my employment.  Sometimes an understanding came quickly.  On at least one occasion the alchemy of our spirit conversations took time to manifest at the workplace.

When I knew a potentially contentious meeting or situation was on the horizon, I might journey ahead of time to try and smooth the way.  Occasionally I received specific advice on how to arrange a room, set an agenda, and when to react with patience or assertiveness.  I remember once receiving a “magic word” that I was to employ in context in order to bring harmony to the situation.  Sometimes it did not seem like I got useful information, but the meeting or situation still proceeded without incident.

Middle World blessings
On instruction or intuition I would sometimes visit the workplace in a Middle World  journey to bring good vibrations.  I might chant or dance or walk around with a teacher or power animal.  I might sit and observe the quality and distribution of light.  Sometimes I would follow-up Middle World  journeys with imaginal reenactments at the job.

Linking with Luck or Power
In my early and earnest days of gathering a shamanic practice it was common practice for me to bring a power object with me to work, such as a stone, necklace, or crystal.  The object acted as a “touchstone” to help reestablish a link to Power when I felt a bit disconnected or unbalanced.  It was important that the object had come to me a special way or that the object was part of my shamanic ritual and practice.  You can’t just purchase juju beads and expect magic to automatically manifest like rent-a-genie.  The object has to be a genuine link or medium. With experience, the link to shamanic objects or visions can become imaginal — invoked from a distance.

When I practiced mindfulness, I would notice when I began to drift or gravitate off-center, and use breath, an object, or a brief visit with Power to help bring me back online.  If you can, start a “centeredness contagion.” You know the people you work with who are more likely to add synergy and spread good vibrations.  Explore and nurture those relationships.

Remain honest to your practice
For example, if I wanted to quit, but on my journey I didn’t get an indication or omen that I should quit, I didn’t interpret my journey in a way that might fit my ego’s desire.  If I didn’t get anything on a subject, I let it go as an indication that the situation was either in motion or that I needed to make my own choices. Sometimes ambiguity means there’s a process that needs to be negotiated.  Staying in touch with spirit helpers is still empowering, even when journeys do not seem concrete or comprehensive.

We live in busy times, filled with distractions.  My experience suggests that it is important to step outside the everyday to contact spirit helpers.  However you connect with the sacred, do so intentionally.  Shamanism is a powerful tool that can inform your environment with compassionate spirits and goodwill.  In more difficult situations, it can even help you endure, protect your soul, and begin the process of improving your lot — your guidance through difficult landscapes.

Photo from Facebook page Earthschool harmony

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6 Responses to Spiritual Practice: Shamanism and the Workplace

  1. Lynda says:

    Nice thoughts Jim. It’s so important for those of us with “day jobs” to remember that our healing practice extends outside of our healing space. Our life is our healing practice; our presence is part of the healing we offer.

    One thing I do re my day job is journey to the spirit of difficult projects themselves. Has helped transform my relationship to unpleasant projects immensely.


    www . lyndaskeen . com

  2. Jo Badger says:

    I have connected with the spirit of a workplace in order to help me feel more settled in a job situation. Connecting with the Divine always helps me add dimension to mundane reality, helping me to understand the underlying purpose of my souls journey in everyday life. I find it interesting that life situations are not necessarily what they seem. The soul appointments that I am keeping with others can be happening in the most unlikely of situations and exchanges. Keeping a link with spirit helps me to realise that and practice acceptance.

  3. Irene Blanck says:

    Hi Jim
    You may know that I’m a TMI person so use the focus levels that we learn at TMI. I have used those tools many times in many facets of my life.

    I use Focus 12 to visit with people that i have a “conflict” with. Before i go into F12 I place intention that i meet them at my park bench. In F12 at my park bench i will sit and try and resolve the issue – or at least understand their point of view. Almost always it seems to change our relationship in the physical, without me having to confront them.

    I am also a hospice volunteer and use the skills I learnt at Lifeline to help many of my “friends” find peace and either cross over peacefully or help them after they have crossed over. I certainly don’t tell my hospice organisation of the extra curricular work that I do as i don’t feel they’d understand.

    Again, i do all of the above with the permission of the people involved.


  4. Jo Badger says:

    Ooops….typo error there! Should have read ‘comments’ !

  5. Jo Badger says:

    Thank you Jim. I find your article truly inspiring and very much about integrating our spiritual practice in everyday reality to improve quality of life. Thank you. Jo

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