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Shamanic healing

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I would like to add to this thread periodically as I try to compile some experiences I have had on the quest for healing.  


Shamanism is an ancient tradition that has been practiced across cultures and time.  There has never been a time on Earth when Shamanism was not practiced, it is just that it hasn't been very popular in the west due to organized religion.  Basically, it is a spiritual practice that reconnects us back to the elements of nature.  And hinges on the philosophy that everything has a spirit.  


And I wouldn't have believed this part, had I not experienced the profound effects of the practices myself...but shamanism also is built on the notion that our physical reality is not the only reality.  that there is also what's called "non ordinary reality" or a spiritual dimension to life.  there is an underworld, middle world, and upper world.  and each of these levels is home to different spirits and helping guides who want to assist us and support us in life.  sounds crazy, right?!  :)  


will type more soon...



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I find shamanism to be a really wonderful window to use to understand much of my experience too.


I have a collection of links on shamanism and mental health here that might be of interest.


The Shamanic-like nature of consciousness


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I pray ever day my guides are with me... If not I fear I am truly all alone. I'm considering finding a shaman to do some soul retrieval- I feel like I have lost part of myself in this mess.

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I pray ever day my guides are with me... If not I fear I am truly all alone. I'm considering finding a shaman to do some soul retrieval- I feel like I have lost part of myself in this mess.


Do you still feel the presence of your guides? 


Most of my life I've felt that there have been protective, guiding beings surrounding me, but since going into withdrawal, I feel like I've been totally abandoned, I can't figure out if this is good or bad.

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I am very much interested in Shamanic principles, which in essence, have harmonizing interconnections with Pure Consciousness. No idea how to connect to a guide of some sort. It's as if these chemicals create a barrier between Self and nature.

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Not sure if this is the correct thread to post this, but I'd like to share something I found recently.


There was a man who lived in Germany who was called Bruno Groening. He was a spiritual healer and he helped many people heal from different illnesses. He said that everyone can experience the healing force in the universe (he called it Heilstrom) with the correct attitude and tuning in to the force (he called that Einstellen). If you're interested in his teachings you can find a lot of information about him on Google. There is also an organization called The Bruno Groening Circle of Friends that has branches all around the world. I know there is one in Bulgaria. I will be trying to do Einstellen daily in an attempt to receive the healing energy, Heilstrom. 

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I find interesting that some Shamanic healing ceremonies involve the use of Ayahuasca , which is psychotropic/hallucinagenic.

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I've read stories by people who claim they were healed from life long anxiety and depression with Ayahuasca. 

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So have I but it can be really bad for central nervous system..

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just about everything can be good or bad. I know several people who found Ayahuasca to be life-changing in a positive way. 


I would also NEVER recommend it for any of us who have seriously injured nervous systems...because yes, it has the potential to gravely harm as well. 

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Be very careful with this one.  See below..




"...And though many prospective ayahuasca-takers – people likely to have been prescribed antidepressants – struggle with addiction and depression, few shamans know or care to ask about antidepressants like Prozac, which can be deadly when mixed with ayahuasca."

Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-dark-side-of-ayahuasca-20130215#ixzz3ZfYIgQBJ 
Follow us: @mensjournal on Twitter | MensJournal on Facebook

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Only a portion of shamans use substances. Many work with drums, rattles, or dancing to alter consciousness.


Everything has it's place. It's a matter of timing, having the right person or group to work with, and trusting what you need at the time.


I have never worked with ayahuasca, but have journeyed with other substances (but not anytime around wd). Some of those experiences were life-changing for me...I've also done holotropic breathwork, which is a non-drug way of encountering the same states that would arise with substances. Also not something I'd recommend to anyone with a sensitized nervous system..and would question its use with people who have early trauma as well.


I used to seek out those big experiences more, wanting there to be something that could really change things..I've come to realize that for me, a stick of dynamite is a poor choice. I'm much better doing practices that every day connect me, that teach me, and help me live more in this realm, rather than another. Things that are more gentle, which in many respects are as effective..minus the big risks of working in big ways.


I did some shamanic training a few years ago, and worked a lot with that early in wd. I found it helped me find the things I needed to support myself..and also helped me to open to some of the more difficult emotions and sensations. I set it aside for awhile, because there was a period where I just could not connect to anything when I journeyed..I'm feeling it might be a time to bring it back into my life again. No drugs involved..just drumming, rattling, and chanting.

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I wanted to share the information on this event. It's happening starting today for several days. Talks are available to listen to within 24 hours after they have first aired. A number of well-known Shamanic teachers are presenting:


August 4-6, 2015

Join an unprecedented gathering of teachers and healers from around the planet to journey into the heart and soul of shamanic practices — and discover insights, principles and rituals for personal and collective transformation.



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Pretty cool.  I am going to have to read more about shamans.  And ayahuasca.  I can't imagine that a homeopathic amount would hurt me.......but still.........cautious, and trust issues............


The one who arrived in my life is an army vet........once had a diagnosis of PTSD.  Just his stories are fabulous and also sad.  Like when he went to the VA, and then later had to say goodbye to his friends there.......who of course were still there but weren't, as they were all heavily medicated.  They didn't even remember him.


I think I should give him a call........as it is (anti) Columbus day here in the States, although.......what could I say?


I would like to add to this thread periodically as I try to compile some experiences I have had on the quest for healing.  


Shamanism is an ancient tradition that has been practiced across cultures and time.  There has never been a time on Earth when Shamanism was not practiced, it is just that it hasn't been very popular in the west due to organized religion.  Basically, it is a spiritual practice that reconnects us back to the elements of nature.  And hinges on the philosophy that everything has a spirit.  


And I wouldn't have believed this part, had I not experienced the profound effects of the practices myself...but shamanism also is built on the notion that our physical reality is not the only reality.  that there is also what's called "non ordinary reality" or a spiritual dimension to life.  there is an underworld, middle world, and upper world.  and each of these levels is home to different spirits and helping guides who want to assist us and support us in life.  sounds crazy, right?!   :)  


will type more soon...


He did tell me about the upper world and lower world and middle world.........with his hands........and I noticed the upper was lower and lower was upper.  And then there are elements........fire, water, wind.........hmmmmmm.......probably one more?


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Interesting thread! I have also read lot of about shamanism. When I was on Sertraline I try mushrooms few times. On my first trip I finally realized that stones, trees and everything got soul within. I realize that fact when I looked into mirror: I saw my skin but not a soul. Then I thought stones: I see just surface of stone but how dare I be so sure that there is not spirit inside? I started to cry because I was so happy. After the first mushroom trip I bought shamanistic books. Unfornately I lost my interest in everything (even in shamanism) when I quit Sertraline. I know facts of shamanistic worldview but I want to feel those facts personally again. Maybe it will be possible if I became to feel more emotions and pleasure again.


I like to try mushrooms again but I know that it is not a good idea because my nervous system is in too weak state at the moment. Maybe it is time to start find drumming guide.

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Earth.  Earth is the 4th element.  How could I forget Earth!!!

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I was "Harner method" trained in the 90's.


A few helpful tips - it's good to have someone with you when you journey, even if it is just for a couple of minutes.  I used to have this in the US, as I had a friend who took the course with me, and we both "trained" others who were so inclined.  The Harner method claims to have studied shamanic traditions worldwide and condensed them into simple teachings (but richer, more intense practice) that can be easily explored.


Upper, Middle Lower, were, for us = Up, mid and below.   This might vary for cultures, but the 3 are pretty widely used.  Upper is for contacting "the gods," angels, spirits of a higher nature.  Those to whom we aspire.  Middle world is for solving current problems, looking in on people, distance healing, and contacting ancestors.  Lower world is for animal and plant spirits who have messages for you.


It is recommended to start with the lower world to get training and experience before attempting the other 2.


The "inducement" should be repetitive, unchanging - the beat similar to a Theta rhythm (binaural beats can do this).  BUT - the advantage of having someone drum for you - is they can see when you are ready, and give a signal to bring you back.  It is much easier to transition with this signal to return - and the safety of knowing it will be there allows you to go more deeply into the state.


I hear what you are saying Free about here and now consciousness.  If you are present with that, all the symbols and information you need will come to you just fine.  No need to seek out "other" experiences.


I see shamanic symbolism as archetypes - not "other worlds."  I see them as symbols, means to give our unconscious and subconscious minds a way to communicate with us, to tell us what we need, how to heal ourselves, how to be better people.  


All the shamanic journeys in the world are not worth squat unless you can "bring them back," record them, track them, follow them, write them down, and apply them to your life.  Otherwise, they are just pretty pictures/feelings/sounds/sensations.

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it's not possible to have companions if you journey 24/7 and I do...that's been my healing trip...for better or worse...   :P


there doesn't have to be hard and fast rules...the otherworld is right here and it meets us as we are cut out to meet it (however you want to understand it...yes, archetypes, too...). It's nice if we have the good fortune of finding folks who can be with us...but in this culture it's often not possible. It wasn't for me for many years.


I had the great honor of meeting with Malidoma Some recently...he's wonderful. If you've not seen this post I shared a while back it's worth taking a look. 


What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital


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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and wisdom.  It just seems that so much is coming at me now.........different stuff........

I think I need to take a few steps backward yet I will still be ahead from where I was before.  Not sure ahead is the best word..........just one of those days.

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I just saw this lecture from Will Hall on Shades of Awakening, on Psychosis and Spirituality.  This may be time sensitive - but I think his lecture will just slide down the page over time.  Right now, it is the first one on the page:




and yeah, Gia - having a partner for this - well, that's a luxury now, isn't it? I was lucky to be in a community when I was learning this stuff!  It is helpful, and darned good - but if it were essential, we'd never check on "otherworld" (or whatever name you wish to call it) consciousness, eh?  I now use recordings of drumming or chanting and just go for as long as need be.  That's the journeying, but I think what I'm hearing from you and Free is the everyday awareness of the spirit, the life, around us, and being receptive to what the messages are.


Receiving information from random twigs and leaves on the ground

Communing with the flight and song of birds

Who has come into your life today? (plant and animal encounters)

That feeling / intuition which guides your choices

Finding meaning along your path


All of these are shamanism - but I guess, like with meditation - I believe it helps to have a practice to cultivate and honor and bless the information  / knowledge as it comes.  For those of us who have a "window to the otherworld" (called by medical folks as "psychosis") open all the time, then the practice would be more to honor what comes through, and learn when and how to open, and when and how to choose to look away from the window in order to function in "ordinary" or consensual reality.


For awhile, my practice was styled after Native American Pipe ceremony - I was initiated by a white person who shared a red person's pipe, so I'm not a direct initiate.  But I adapted it, and welcomed the 7 directions (East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, North/Earth, Above/Father, Below/Mother, Within/Spirit) with my pipe as a ritual, a ceremony to open myself and welcome all of the possible elements of otherworld into my life.  I brought my pipe to Australia - but when I prayed here, it was as though the plants and spirits didn't understand, and I couldn't connect.  Australia is a very different landscape, shamanically, and I've glimpsed it - but for me - it is deep and ancient and I am not near ready to approach it.  But that's just ceremony - I still have regular practices - like my journeys before sleeping - that keep my shamanism alive.


Then, everything is practice, right?  My coloring books are practice.  My reading is practice.  My walks around the neighborhood are practice.  My interactions with my cat (she's not as shamanic as my last cat) are practice.


Now I am going to find out about the pheasant coucal whose company we have been enjoying of late....  (rare birds, tougher to interpret!)

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I had another nice talk with the shaman. 


It went like this..........MMT:  asks all these highly analytical, intellectual questions to clarify concepts and words used.  Shaman:  answers yes.


My laughter is less cynical/sarcastic lately........just more often pure joy.


Definitely a part of breaking the chain that has existed through time........starting with my forebears way back when............


I can't wait to find my Emu.......referring to birds above..........meanwhile the ones in back are quite active year round and now so visible too.  I am not certain where the deer have gone........my regular visitors of spring/summer seem to have moved on a bit.........I do hope they are protected.......I believe they are wise enough and hiding until hunting season is over.

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MMT you can be your own shaman.  You don't need to go to another to get this information, in fact, it is more valid when you get it for yourself, IMO.


If Emu it is, how can you cultivate emu?  Emu is about attentiveness, attention.


Pay attention.  The chances of you running into an emu in the wild are pretty slim, but the symbol of the emu is many places where I am.


Why Emu?  Pay attention.  What you feed with your attention, is what will grow.

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Sounds good........


Perfect......  "Pay attention.   What I feed with my attention, is what will grow."


Just the bronze statue nearby.......but I will resume my quest to find some........as far as the Emu's go.


I am finally writing more and recording anyway.........this being receptive to what the messages are............focus, attention to........recording may help me find the meaning.

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I saw a shaman for an ayahuasca ceremony in Ecuador, a couple of years before I went on Prozac. The ayahuasca had no effect on me, although others in my group who'd drunk from the same bowl had hallucinations and vomited. It was quite disturbing though - the shaman spoke Spanish and my Spanish is awful, but afterwards someone said that the shaman had said I was bad, or had a bad spirit or something, while he was shaking stick/reed things over me. After the experience I went on to be quite reckless in my behaviour and with drinking/drugs, but whether it was linked I don't know. 

It's not something I think about much, but when i do I wonder why he was talking about me being 'muy malo' (the only 2 words I caught!) and it makes me feel a bit uneasy. 

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I'm sorry to hear of your experience keepinghope, but I'm certainly glad you shared it here to keep people aware that not all ayahuasca experiences are "love and light and peace and oneness with all creation."


First of all, a proper experience would involve a 7 day fast, drinking the healing herbal potion the shaman makes for you.  You are isolated, in your hut - no contact with anyone except for the healer and his helpers who check up on you.


Amazing things have happened, but if you are not spiritually prepared, it can be disastrous.  i have a fantasy that I would like to do it someday, it's not dissimilar to some of the practices I did when younger.  But when you look forward to days of solitude in a jungle full of snakes, mosquitoes, and language barriers - and fasting, and drinking (possibly nasty) herbal preparations - then 


The trip itself of vomiting and hallucinating - and sure, maybe God will talk to you - but maybe he won't, and the hole of disappointment could be a greater risk than you anticipated.


Add in the random element of withdrawal, and I think - maybe as an absolute last resort, I might go to the jungle.  (but even now, as I think about it I wish I could take someone with me!)


There are substances which are allies, which help you connect to other spirits.  It might be lavender, it might be lactium.  It might be socially acceptable, it might not be.  (and substances, in withdrawal, are always a risk, too).


Even the trance of chant is difficult for me - if I find myself going into extended Alpha in chant, I cannot continue.  I don't want to flatten my brain waves.


The drum keeps me in Theta, and that is a comfort - a creative place that is safe to let the visions take me where they will, and be creative, and learn and grow.


Plus, I lost my voice with thyroid surgery - I don't think I could chant for more than a minute or two. 


I got a new drum for my little shaman group!  It's a commercial thing, a Remo Buffalo Drum, with synthetic head - I've been told it is safe to take into sweat lodge (most drums go "mushy" in sweat lodge).  Now - to find a sweat lodge....

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there are different sorts of ayahuasca ceremonies...many are done in group settings...maybe most actually.


and awful **** happens everywhere unfortunately...just as good stuff does too...it's life whether we like it or not. it is very good to be aware of that...

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Jan Carol, 


"now to find a sweat lodge......."


I know you can't get here by Sunday but I will be happy to bring you in on the 4th round we do next Sunday or thereabouts.........it's the round where we bring people in and then send out something called inipi, I think.  If I don't make it there this time I can pass it on to someone who will do that.


The last lodge there........there was this beautiful what sounded like flute music.........from the whistles........


My first experience was definitely not all "love and light" as mentioned.  It sure had it's place in my journey though.......I can see that now.   No ayahuasca substances either, there, here........where I sweat.........don't know much on that but do know, for me, for now.............that would be too, too much........fragile trellis and all that I am.  Oh, not so fragile(bad choice of words).........perhaps re configuring, I think.


I  am presently up in the wee hours now and keep forgetting.........my oxcarbazepine dose on time...........something that goes along with each reduction I think.........how weird is that???  Not weird at all I suppose.  Woke up to remember it oh and also to check the final score of that game I was watching.


Love, light, open ness, Life,




(my signature needs a bit of update.......reminder to self)

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Inipi means sweat lodge to the Lakota.  


I miss my women's sweats, and tribal sweats.  I miss the sauna (my massage therapist had one).  I wish I could put in a sauna (pref infrared), but space, $$$$, power, etc.  


I remember in the hippy days, we'd bend some branches and cover with wet blankets and tarps and bring in hot stones from the fire.  It was dark and womblike, and the nearby stream was spring-fed and cold.   We'd go there at dark moon or full moon, or just when we could get it together.  The "lodge" was temporary and was destroyed and rebuilt each time in a similar place.


Now it doesn't seem so simple.


Now I'm older, and pickier about who I associate with.  I wouldn't go in a sweat with just anyone (and especially not with James Arthur Ray!), and even when I try a group, I may feel affinity with some, but rarely all of the people.


Those youthful experiences were so much more flexible than I am now.  


I might go to the nearby one - about 30 minutes from here at a place called "Deer Park," and find it is a beautiful facility, with creature comforts (I am too crippled to sit on the ground for long unsupported), and the requisite cool stream for splashing the heat from the body.   I might find all of the things I want from a sweat lodge, and I might show up with women that I know and trust - and still - not enjoy it.  


Then there's the chance that the facility might not be nice, it may only have half of what I want from a sweat lodge, I'm not really qualified to "lead" a sweat lodge.  So I would have to attend with others that I do not know in order to build a practice up.  All of this makes me uncomfortable, and while this is my year of challenging "uncomfortable," that one is just beyond me. It's hard enough to drum for a group and ask for their commitment to do it regularly.  (and, sadly, marketing, studio space, money, all the "stuff" that goes with holding a meeting)


All we can do is try!  I'm glad you have your Inipi, what a beautiful regular practice to attend!


When my monthly group is strong enough, with enough commitment, we might go do a full moon sweat lodge.  It's backwards - we should do the sweat before we do the journeys, purify before asking for guidance.  We do what we can.

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To whom it may concern...


From An Ancient Whisper by Karen Alexander


“That is my nature spirit,” she answered. “I am healthy and strong because my nature

spirit takes its direction from my natural mind. It is not subject to the attacks that come from the social mind.”

She paused and added, “My nature spirit can do wondrous things. Not only does she take

care of all my physical systems, but she is responsible for making the connections between me and other people.”

“I don’t understand,” I said feebly.

“Just watch.” The cloud seemed to vibrate more quickly, and a beautiful silver thread

came out of it. Gradually, that thread increased its diameter and crept toward me. Afraid, I

leaned backward.

“Don’t be frightened,” Mariah said soothingly. “You’re only seeing what goes on all the

time between one person and another.”

“What is that?”

“It’s a hollow cord made from my nature spirit’s body. As you can see, its energy is more

condensed than that of my other two spiritual bodies. If I concentrate on someone for any period of time, the nature spirit sends out such a cord, and attaches it to that person. That’s one of the ways that energy flows from one person to another.”

As she spoke, the shimmering silver cord made contact with my hand. I was instantly

filled with a wonderful sense of peace and acceptance. “Why does it do that?”

“So that we may understand one another without the need for words,” she answered.

“Without a social mind, I give to you only love and understanding. Unfortunately, the cord will also deliver the contents of an active social mind if the person has not escaped from it.”

“So, once a cord is attached, does it stay there forever?”

“It isn’t meant to,” she replied. “You must understand that your nature spirit does this for

you, whether you request it or not. But it will not disconnect, unless you tell it to do so. It’s very important to sever the ties you have made throughout your day. Otherwise, you will continue to receive the thoughts, feelings and concerns of everyone you’ve connected with.”

Maybe those cords were responsible for many of my sleepless nights. Often, I couldn’t

seem to shut off the events of my day, and the emotions they had generated. I had a sudden flash of insight, “Is that how telepathy works?”

“Yes, it is. It is also how close friends and family members can experience a feeling that

you’re in trouble, or need them to call. What is incorrectly called intuition is often simply a

message being received along one of the nature spirit’s cords.”

I thought about all of the people in the field of human services who had suffered burnout.

Although their hearts were still full of compassion, they had become unable to continue in their professions. They had felt that they were carrying a burden that was too heavy for them to bear.

Maybe their nature spirits hadn’t severed the cords of energy from all of their patients and clients.

If that was the case, they were constantly plugged into the pain of those they tried to help.

“Exactly,” Mariah said. Seeing my surprise at her ability to read my mind, she nodded

toward the cord. “That’s how it’s done.”

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That is beautiful Morgane!


I learned it like this:  different people attach with cords to different parts of your body, your chakras.


A cord to your root chakra is someone who is dependant upon you

A cord to your sex  is someone who wants to hook you

A cord to your solar plexus is someone who wants to take your power

A cord to your heart is someone who wants to drain your courage

A cord to your throat is someone who won't let you speak.

A cord to your third eye is someone who obsesses, or drives you to obsess.

A cord to your crown is someone who wants to totally control you.


You can go through and visualize clearing them all out - and some of them will be like pulling tree roots - they will be sticky and deep, and you keep pulling and pulling until it's free.  When that's done, you polish your chakras like gems.  I learned this from a book in the 80's called "Motherwit."


The people you need in your life - your children, your spouse - will reconnect with you in more pure ways.


I also use it with a one-way mirror visualisation exercise.  


When someone is trying to control you, or attach to you, or "velcro" or "vampire" or denigrate you, imagine a one-way mirror between yourself and him/her.  


Imagine that the words they say, they are saying to themselves (for most people this is true).   When you hear the words, "You are such a loser!" it really hurts.  But when you put the one-way mirror up, you see that the person saying it - is really saying it to themself, and you find compassion for him or her.


As you imagine the one way mirror, the harmful words, the words meant to manipulate, do not reach you.  They fall to the floor after they bounce off of the mirror, or they bounce back to the person who said them.


It makes it easy to see what is a healthy relationship and what is not.  If you need to put the mirror up all the time to talk to someone, maybe it's time to move on from them.  But imagining the mirror helps you to see them for who they really are.  It helps you separate your issues from their issues, it helps you realize how much of the garbage that is being thrown at you - is not your garbage.  It's someone else's.


And it is very freeing!

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