The high heat, little sleep, constant awareness, the commingled energies of 600+ disaster workers in a tight space, and the complete unusualness of this experience shifts my perceptual reality. The hours melt and the days merge. I am in a prolonged trance state. Every day in many ways, I act from my shamanic self, the part of me that understands energy, the part of me that connects with Spirit. The shamanic work allows me to read the energy and create options; hold the energy and reroute anger, clear the energy and reinstate balance.
It’s hard for me to tease out the special shamanic incidents vis-à-vis my interactions with other people. I was not asked to perform ritual, retrieval, or the like. However, I had many special moments with people, a few of which I will share with you.
My Red Cross partner likes to go off base daily and take care of HQ requirements, make contacts, do outreach and the like. I am happy being at the base, so we are a good match. She remarks one day that I am always talking to people. She is right. I do talk to a lot of people. There are volunteers who can’t get out of their cots, some who drink and drug, some with night terrors, some who don’t sleep. Many are men; they are looking for redemption. They are shattered and broken. They believe that if they are of service to others that they can, in turn, save themselves. Here are two glimpses:
• I have a line of regulars who seek me out. One of the regulars is a gentleman I will call “Bob.” Bob moves stiffly, looks to be in his 40’s, but turns out to be in his early 30’s. He presents as thin and awkward. Bob circles my “office” until lights out and then approaches me nervously for a chat in a whispered voice. He is having a hard time. He is a police officer who shot a young man several months ago. This happened in his home town during a late-night, gang-related stand-off over drugs. Bob tried to talk the young man out of firing, but the young man was high on drugs and had an audience of neighborhood onlookers. The young man announced that he is going to take out Bob the cop. Bob talked and talked. The young man went to fire at Bob and Bob shot him once, fatally. Then Bob held the bleeding, dying young man in his arms for the next 45 minutes as he waited for the ambulance. At the same time, the boy’s mother screamed, cried, and beat on Bob as he was holding her son. Bob is wracked with grief and guilt. He is a trained marksman, has served in the Armed Forces, and has never killed anyone in his life. Every young male he helps during the day looks like the young man he killed. Bob can’t eat; Bob can’t sleep. Bob refuses to go home. Over a few sessions, Bob’s young man comes to me. The young man’s spirit is dressed in the same clothes with the same gang demarcations as he was the night of his death. This gets Bob’s attention and allows Bob to suspend his rational mind. The young man gives me several messages for Bob, including that it wasn’t Bob’s fault and he, the young man, understands the big picture now.
• “Gary” is in his 50’s. You can tell he was quite handsome in his day with his chiseled features, blonde hair, and tanned skin. These days he is also missing his two front teeth. He is well-spoken, insightful, intelligent, and gives off the disheveled elegance and charm of a Southern gentleman. Gary gets angry frequently. Gary drinks too much. Gary gets angrier when he drinks. Gary gets violent when he is very angry (thus the two front teeth). Gary also has a loving way about him. He tells the story of a small, elderly woman who put-putted her aging car to his Red Cross site. She has her car, little money, and a severely damaged home. He can tell that she is full of pride and that she is also hungry. He offers to get her a plate which she reluctantly accepts. They have communion as they sit under a tree together, sharing a meal as she tells him her story.
Gary has a gift with people. Gary is also very sensitive. Gary is angry a lot these days and he is not sure why. Gary’s spirit talks to me. It turns out that when Gary places his hand on someone’s body he gets an entire intuitive print-out of the person’s health and history. When I bring this information up to Gary, he is incredulous and asks, “Did I tell you that?”