Shifting Tough Emotions

Last week I took a trip to the Sierras with my partner, to get away and relax for a week. We’d been watching the Ken Burns series “Our National Parks” on Netflix, and wanted to experience in person the beauty of Yosemite. It was my first time there, and I was eager to explore a deep shamanic connection to the Earth in the magical valley where the Ahwahneechee people once lived.

Usually any trip into wilderness is healing and rejuvenating for me — but this trip was different. Instead it brought all of my inner demons to the forefront. Instead I experienced this:

“The shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection, turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else”

–Carl Jung

It was probably my own fault, for traveling during the transformational Scorpio full moon. The sign of Scorpio is known for dredging up the deep, dark, stuff that we don’t want to look at and bringing it out into the light. This process is necessary for me if I want to let go of past disappointments and injuries and become a person who is more open, loving, compassionate, and kind.

But on this trip I was very uncomfortable. I found myself snapping at my partner more often than not, and was beyond irritated by almost everything he did. For some reason, all his faults became magnified in my eyes, and I became angry and unpleasant to be with.

I know that when I’m this disturbed by someone else that the real fault lies within ME, not in them. So I prayed for guidance from Spirit, and began a deep inner search. I was led to immerse myself in music with my headphones, and in reading spiritual literature while we were in the car. When we hiked I focused on breathing and being silent.

Shift gently began when I realized that HIS behavior was really just a mirror for MINE. I decided to take a vow to completely stop any criticism, nagging, or judgement of my partner, and to keep anything coming out of my mouth positive.

Failure was inevitable because I’m just not perfect. But I succeeded about 80% of the time. With that success, I discovered something magical. When I stopped criticizing him, he criticized me less. As I focused on being kind, he became kinder.

This is one of the secret powers of Water Medicine — that like water, our emotions flow and mingle and affect the emotions of others. We are all part of a vast ocean. In fact, scientific studies that show that the heart’s magnetic field affects the fields of other hearts around it. (see

As we continued our travels through Yosemite and beyond, I noticed what a powerful metaphor the myriad states of water could be for my own feelings. When I was afraid I felt like ice, when sad, like rain, and when angry, like a raging waterfall. When I felt love, I was a creek singing over the rocks, when joyful I was light sparkling on the river, and when serene, I was the glassy surface of Mirror Lake.


For now I have to remember every day to be diligent about bringing the peace and healing of Water Medicine into my life. These are the things that help when I do them every day:

  1. As much as possible, I do what I love. In the car when I was angry, I shifted myself by listening to music I liked, reading something that helped me feel happy, or playing a game on my phone. At some of our rest stops, playing my flute for a few minutes dramatically lifted my spirits.
  2. I just say no to things I don’t want to do. My most difficult experience was being slightly injured and wanting to catch the shuttle back to our campsite and rest. Instead I continued on for another hour, which created a mini-meltdown.
  3. I sleep. The lazy shaman’s Earth Medicine  of napping and sleeping in supports Water Medicine and resets my emotions.
  4. I drink water to stay calm.  When I’m dehydrated I become vague, confused, and unable to feel anything but fear. Carrying water everywhere keeps me hydrated, as well as more clear, joyful, and conscious.
  5. Soaking makes everything better. A pivotal shift happened on our trip when I spent an hour in a jacuzzi after a few days of not even being able to shower. Too much time away from water separates me from my feelings and I start to “go numb”.
  6. I practice circular breathing. One of the easiest methods for shifting difficult emotions is deep even breaths with no pause between the inhale and exhale. Once I start to calm down, I tune into the Water element all around me and let it heal me.

Want a shamanic healing with me to learn more ways to balance your life with Water Medicine? Start by requesting a free phone consultation

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