Setting Out

Denise GuerringueShamanism, Working Your Shamanic Process

I’ll confess right up front that I’ve struggled to get to this spot, my first blog post. And I’m not even talking about my usual struggle with semi-colons versus commas, Arial versus Verdana or even my titanic passes through the thesaurus looking for the word that perfectly describes the nuances of my idea.

I mean that I’ve struggled for years to give life to this web site, this simple bare-bones statement of who I am and what is my work in the world. And I’ve struggled for weeks with the text of this first blog entry: what new is there to say about the struggle of beginning?

Modern life and technology has made it possible for us to regularly engage in the act of setting out. The kinds of settings-out our ancestors engaged in were epic and huge, requiring tremendous acts of courage, expenditures of time and resources, and even the consumption of human lives. Migrations and explorations are the stuff of our history: entire continents, people and cultures “discovered” halfway around the world; the flight into space; the journey of our species to become one human race through all of our wars and peaces, disasters and triumphs. I can’t help but contrast these epic efforts with the ease with which we modern humans can simply open an electronic space and create something entirely new where nothing existed before.

And yet, despite this ease, I have still experienced a great reluctance in this stepping out, this setting out. When I’m stuck in a process, I sometimes like to ponder the cultural understanding of that process, and so I often begin my process of getting unstuck with the dictionary. And this time, I find that Webster’s has handily provided me with a deeper understanding of my dilmena, and a roadmap for how to free myself to move forward. Here is what I found:

Set Out is a verb originating from the 14th century. (I’m already delighted by the connection to the ancient explorers who overcame their own huge hurdles in order to set out.) And I find three definitions:

1 a : to arrange and present graphically or systematically b : to mark out (as a design) : lay out the plan of?2 : to state, describe, or recite at length <distributed copies of a pamphlet setting out his ideas in full>?3 : to begin with a definite purpose: intend, undertake.

In this ordinary dictionary definition lie tremendous tools for getting myself unstuck in this process. Taking Webster’s advice, my first step was to mark out a step by step plan for my own setting out. You’re reading some of the fruit of that plan now; there is more to come down the road.  Webster’s second bit of advice is to state my ideas in full; and my newly arrived web site does just that. I hope you’ll take a look and let me know what you’d like to see in its pages in the future.

Finally, Webster’s third bit of advice: Begin with a purpose, a definite intention. This is, perhaps, Webster’s most critical advice.  When we act within our purpose in the world, when we act in concert with Spirit and in connection to the Universal Life Force, our intention is the critical factor to shaping the outcome. When our intention is unclear, our path forward cannot be sharp and clear. When our intention is false, our results cannot be true. And this was the final key to getting myself unstuck: understanding and stating my intention, then pouring that intention into my work. And so, my intention that I reach you through my words, and that you are led to your own healing through them, has finally freed me to set out on this blog. I thank you for the part you play in affording me this freedom.

A query: Where in your life do you need to set out? What do you call the place where you are stuck? Pick up a dictionary and see what your culture says about that thing. Is there a map for your freedom in there?