When I was a kid growing up in rural Saskatchewan we had a school yard game called “King of the Hill”. Being the bald prairie and all, we could only play this game in winter when the snow would get deep enough that we would actually have a hill to speak of. It was even better if we had snow that some snow plough had piled up. That way it was solid and we wouldn’t fall through when we were on top.
So the object of the game is to throw everyone else off the hill. That way you would be king of the hill…at least for however long it took for someone or a group of someone’s to toss you off the hill. It really was a messed up and dysfunctional game. In a way, it did promote both leadership and co-operation within the participants. I remember one little guy looking at me and saying, “I have no chance at this game unless you agree to help me.” That was when it dawned on me that the guy that was at the top of the hill was 4 years older than us and therefore a giant in comparison. This little guy could get really hurt by him if he were to attempt to take him down! Although I wanted to be king of the hill, what I wanted more was to take down the guy at the top. I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own, so the little kid and I enlisted the co-operation of all our friends (all 5 of them!) and we charged the guy at the top. Some of us went down with him but some of us stayed on the hill and watched him roll down to the bottom.
We all stood there in silence and satisfaction as he came to a final stop at the bottom. There was this weird pause for a moment and then we all felt it. It was like this sudden foreboding that ran through our veins. We all looked at each other, knowing that our allies had just become our opponents. And then it happened. Total mayhem erupted amongst us! Each and every one of us had abandoned our common goal to get the big guy off the hill and had turned on each other. For a good 10-15 minutes there was chaos until the recess bell rang, letting us know it was time to come inside. How we didn’t lose teeth during this game is, to this day, a curiosity to me. We were bloody brutal with each other! I am pretty sure that the only thing that prevented broken bones was the padding of our snow suits…and perhaps the fact that kids tend to be more flexible than adults (did I hear someone say “Gumby”?).
But here is what I learned in looking back on this entire episode of my life:
- Kids can be real douche bags to each other.
- Kids learn to be douche bags because of how the world around them is.
- That game is representative of humans in general.
- We all have been programmed to strive to be the King of the Hill.
- When we participate in the King of the Hill mentality in LIFE, we become stressed. After all, it is one thing to get on top, but it is a whole other thing to defend that position from everyone around you. You learn that you can trust NO ONE. You can’t enjoy the view for more than a couple of seconds before someone else tries to take that position from you. And sometimes it is an entire group of people who try to take it from you. And that group of people may have been your allies once, but now they are your enemy and you MUST DEFEND YOUR POSITION.
Is it any wonder that, when I decided to follow my calling to be a shaman instead of becoming a lawyer, or an accountant, or a doctor, or a minister people kind of looked at me like I was a freak? Just like the game King of the Hill, to not play the game is social suicide. I chose to not play the game of money making and just follow my calling and my passion. And yes, it has, on several occasions, been social suicide. “What do you mean you’re not CHRISTIAN?” “What do you mean you have no financial ambitions?” “What do you mean you are content with your life just the way it is?” “What do you mean that the work you do puts you out of work?”
Being a shaman means that the people I am helping are going to GET WELL. So yes, I put myself out of work on a daily basis. I am not making scads of money from any pharmaceutical company by being a glorified drug dealer. I am not chasing ambulances to get a client so that I can participate in suing anyone. I am not selling my soul to a religious organization to feel like I am in the “in” crowd. I simply help people to find their own personal power once again. That does not mean that they find their power over anyone else. It means that they find their inner power over themselves and then make personal changes in their lives that will improve their own well-being. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it takes a shorter time. The only one to determine that is the individual, not me. I am not the type of person who likes to string someone along in hopes of them becoming a repeat customer. The service I provide is a good one and it speaks for itself. I don’t need anyone to follow me along like sheep following the newest cult leader!
Sometimes people ask me when they should come back to see me. I tell them that I don’t tend to work that way. Only in extreme circumstances will I suggest they come back in a certain period of time. Other than those extreme circumstances, the people make their own decisions regarding if and when they return. I am not the boss of them. That may mean that creating a “budget” for the month is the most challenging thing I do with my time, but it also means that, in the end, I can know that I am clean of any wrong-doing when it comes to manipulating or controlling others. Not all shamans are like that. I just have to say it right here and right now. It is important to do your research and to follow your gut instincts when it comes to working with anyone who is going to help you delve into the deeper aspects of reality. But it is important that you do that with anyone who provides any service to you, be it a doctor, a lawyer, or the guy who steam cleans your carpet! Often people think that because they belong to a “spiritual community” that everything is going to be amazing. Then they find out that being spiritual also does not necessarily make a “good person”. They feel horribly betrayed and immediately think that they must have done something wrong to deserve the treatment that they got. Balderdash! Sometimes people, even spiritual people, are just assholes.
The thing is that our culture has become one that idolizes people. Celebrities, people in positions of authority, anyone at all. We are taught that there is always someone ELSE who knows BETTER what is good for us than what WE know! That is straight out screwed up. It completely lacks respect for the sovereignty that each and every one of us holds within us. It lacks respect for the individual and creates little drones in our society who will just do whatever they are told to do and who will only want what they are told they should want and who will only become what they are told they are capable of becoming without even checking in with the SELF to find out what the SELF actually wants! No wonder we have people who are suicidal and jump off of bridges and slash their wrists and blow their brains out and overdose on medications! They just can’t stand it anymore. They don’t feel connected on a soul level to ANYTHING in their lives and so, in their personal hell of desperation, they choose to simply make the pain stop. The thing that really pisses me off about all of this is that it is PREVENTATBLE.
I don’t mean “preventable” in terms of drugging their brains out or institutionalizing them. I mean preventable in terms of acknowledging them as SOULS in the world and acknowledging them as IMPORTANT in the world. Once someone gets it that there is a place for them that is important and necessary, then they have PURPOSE. They see themselves as an important part of all of Existence. And we are all an important part of all of Existence. If any one of us were no longer here, just disappeared into the vapours, then all of Existence would miss us.
Take a moment and imagine yourself sitting peacefully beneath a starry sky. Allow yourself to breathe in deeply the evening air. As you exhale, allow yourself to let go of the tension and stress that is being held in your body. Do this for a few minutes while focusing on the starry sky.
Now allow yourself to just relax into the experience of the star light. Each and every one of those stars is a sun. Some of them may have planets revolving around them. Some of those planets may actually be populated in some way. After all, if we were the only ones existing in the entire universe it would be a vast waste of space, and I think that the Creator is much more efficient than that. Feel yourself, for a moment, just connect with your heart to one or more of the stars. Feel the energy thread that links you to that or those stars.
Now feel that energy connection to the trees, the rocks, the clouds, the mountains, the rivers, the deserts, the oceans. Feel that connection to the insects, to the reptiles, to the animals, to the birds. Feel that connection to the humans who currently walk the earth. Those energy ties that link you to everything and everyone are REAL. And without you in the equation, all of it unravels. Your absence creates just as much of a ripple effect as does your presence. But what your absence lacks is the potential to achieve more on behalf of this world. Your presence allows you to contribute to the world in ways that, at this moment, may still be unimaginable to you. But, given time, those ways can indeed present themselves to you. All you have to do, once you hear the call, is step up.
In stepping up to your life you allow yourself the opportunity to become your very own King of the Hill. And you don’t have to throw anyone else down that hill to do so.