It was pouring rain as my friend Rick and I waited outside a suburban-style home in Boquete, Panama. We were both reluctant to get out of the car. Being five minutes early for our appointment, we sat, hoping the rain would stop—it became more intense. Finally, at the same moment, we both opened our doors and bolted for the high, metal gate which blocked our way to the side door to the shaman’s residence.
I wasn’t prepared for what I would meet on the other side of that door. Not even close. I am a man of some years and a whole lot of experience, and there—as I was dripping wet—stood a 24-year-old boy, who looked young for his age. I suspected that, should he attempt to enter a bar, he would be asked for ID. He didn’t look a day over 17.
Rick and I sat on an old bus seat on one side of the room. It was uncomfortable. The shaman sat on the other side of the room wearing a panama hat, with a man-purse round his shoulder and surrounded by musical instruments.
He picked up a drum and began speaking of inviting in the spirits from all directions beginning with the south. He drummed and chanted. I pondered how long this would go on, well aware that it is the nature of time that I would never get the two hours we had paid for back.
Please forgive me, but I am not a fan of “hocus pocus.” I do not doubt that other worlds and magical places exist: I have read and enjoyed Carlos Castaneda and had some pretty wild experiences of my own, but when my Chi Kung teacher speaks of the wonders of Atlantis I mentally check out.
I have no idea how long this induction took, but during it, the shaman seemed very self possessed, introverted and unaware of our presence. The springs in the seat hurt my old bottom, and my mind wished to be anywhere else.
Finally he was done. “Amen,” I thought. He looked at both of us and asked, “What did you come for?” Rick had been to see this fellow two days earlier and had questions about medical advice he had received. I didn’t really have a reason or expectation for being there. So I told him that I didn’t know. For that “lack of cooperation” I received a subtle scolding.
It was then that the shaman got up, turned off a big fan that I hadn’t even noticed, and I relaxed. The shaman looked at me and said, “There is a woman, would you like to talk about her?”
“No,” I replied. Not being resistant, but just being unwilling to have my session be a therapeutic one, all about content with someone exactly the age of my youngest child leading the way. I received another small rebuke for being unwilling to share content.
Rick spoke up, nervously attempting to quiet the obvious discord between the shaman and me. The shaman did a very unimpressive bit of content therapy with Rick about his mother and some other stuff. Now I really wanted to get out of there. Rick was uninspired; he wasn’t having a good time either. He had come for medical advice and found himself in elementary Freudian therapy.
When the shaman returned his gaze to me he said, “I will have to do something different, something I haven’t done before. I will have to meet you in a different place, and I will.
I know a powerful declaration when I hear one. And this was one. He was acknowledging his entry into a place he hadn’t been before.
He had my attention then, just like that.
“This woman is out of proportion in your life; she is much bigger than she should be and all you need to do is cut her off. Use a sharp blade and just cut the connection.”
I did exactly that within myself. And he said, “That worked about 80 percent.”
“Wait,” I said. A small smile showed on his face.
I cut off the remaining 20 percent and he said, “That’s it.”
I hadn’t acknowledged anything about a woman or told him a thing.
From that point on, we danced together energetically. He focused back on Rick, but I was no longer observing. I had entered into a process of my own and was busy watching my insides become volatile, dance with my thoughts and offer up new terrain.
When he shifted his attention back to me, we continued our journey, this time with an exploration of fathers. While we all have both male and female energy, yin and yang, we often have a preference for one or the other, creating an imbalance in ourselves. He didn’t explain this to me, as he knew that I already knew it.
Instead, we went on a search for father aspects of myself that I hadn’t found. I have two kids, and I am a good father to them. I completed things with my own father many years before he died, resulting in over a decade of being completely connected and in love with him. But what I hadn’t come to grips with is that often workshop participants project their problems with their fathers on me—I become a father figure for them. I steadfastly resisted that, and anything we resist persists. Suddenly, like a sunrise, I saw myself as a father to all and to everything.
I watched as the dominoes of this discovery fell, leaving me open, loving and soft. At that moment, I realized that life and leading courses would be easier and more loving—and my relationship with women would change from seeking to be their father to simply being a lover.
It is difficult to put into words how huge this discovery was for me. The shaman knew it though, as he spoke of my energy filling the room.
A few minutes later, after sewing things up with Rick, the shaman turned back to me. I held my hands out, palms up, indicating a gesture of completion.
There was a short tribute to the four directions and a little drum beating that I still saw as hocus pocus. He had Rick and I stand up, turn one full circle to the left, and then we exchanged hugs. Rick and I noticed the large sweat spots on the shaman’s underarms. I looked at the clock as we got in the car, it was exactly two hours very well spent, that would influence the rest of my life.
As we exited, I felt like a new person—as Father Nature, perhaps, as the rain had stopped. Rick said, “That is nothing like the session I had the other day with him. He did a really good job, didn’t he?”
“Yes,” I said. “Very impressive, and I got just what I wanted though I had no idea what I wanted. The shaman had a plan coming in, and let it go so we could find our way into new places.”
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Travis May