I thought today’s post would be the second one discussing reasons for having Agreements. I had it all written, posted, formatted and scheduled. But I’ve delayed it for day, because today I got some very bad news, and I need to write about it. It’s a bit long, but I feel that’s fitting in some ways, to balance out a life cut short.
A couple of years back, I was in a 9 month training program called Shamanic Soul Coaching™, created by Francesca Gentille. This method is her own, created from her own personal experiences, and her experience with a number of other psychological and shamanic systems (e.g., Inner Voice Dialogue, Gestalt, Shamanic Depth Psychology, Shamanic Soul Retrieval, Jungian Psychotherapy, and Caroline Myss:Sacred Contracts.) It also bears some resemblance to another system that Francesca did not study, called the Internal Family Systems Model. Each of these systems can work well for some people; each of them have their own flavor and particular applications. One thing all of them share, is that they agree that within each individual there are multiple parts to the Inner Reality. The work of the individual, of the soul, is to engage in conscious integration, compassion, and internal dialogue, in order to bring these parts into harmonious interaction and balance. It’s a journey that most people never complete, because there’s always some small way in which we can improve ourselves, treat others and ourselves more kindly, or communicate more clearly and compassionately. That said, as we engage in this work, through sessions with others, through training, and through our own daily practices, we gradually heal our traumas, and we become more whole and complete, happier, more alive, and more able to share our own gifts and talents with the world. Not an easy journey, but highly worthwhile.
Two years ago, I spent nine months in this training with a very special group of seven students. We became familiar with each others’ traumas; we grew to know each other well, and to understand our strengths and weaknesses. I consider my fellow students to be part of my “tribe,” and I care deeply about each of them. Two of them, “Deanna” and “Lilith” (the names by which they were known in their community), immediately took their training and followed their hearts to establish New Pagan Journeys, a pagan community and store in OR. I admired their courage in pursuing their dreams and passions so fully. On the way to Loving More‘s Poly Living conference in Seattle last year, I arranged a layover, and managed to see their store—though I almost missed my flight to do it! Deanna’s calm and good humor while facing the intense traffic was amazing, and we shared smiles in the sunshine of the drive, despite the tension. It was the last time I would see her.
Today I found out from one of our fellow journeyers that about a month ago Deanna had taken her own life.