Your joyful, innocent 5-year-old self was discovered in a realm of wonder, safely skipping upon rocks in a bubbling stream and singing to the deer, squirrels, and raccoons. She was afraid to return until assured her daddy was no longer alive.

Were you surprised that one of your soul parts was found screaming in terror on the side of the road where the car accident occurred 20 years ago?

As a 40-year-old devoted mother and wife living a privileged lifestyle, you had been feeling an unexplained loss. The shaman was led to a free, ecstatic, 25-year-old who was painting a brightly colored canvas within a realm she called, “artist’s heaven.” Wasn’t that the age you had your first child and turned your studio into the baby’s room?

An infant part of your soul – tightly swaddled, forgotten, and frozen in shock – was all alone in the hospital nursery. You lived without that part for 68 years, your entire life. Hasn’t abandonment been your foundational wound?

Psychology and shamanism agree – trauma, which is relative – creates dissociation. We call this post-traumatic stress disorder, an experience that manifests with mild to severe symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies sell us medications. People go to therapy for years trying to break free from a past event, release themselves from depression and anxiety, or to shift unhealthy life patterns. Sometimes they’re successful, but too often, resolution is difficult.

One of the gifts the human soul offers is to serve as a “nurturing mother.” This  helps us survive trauma. How can anyone live through abuse, or war, or abandonment, or the sudden death of a loved one, or ……….. , without dissociating? Don’t we all suffer from post-traumatic stress?

Shamanically speaking, dissociation is soul loss. Trauma occurs, a part of the soul leaves, goes to a place in another realm or reality, and becomes stuck in time. In the short term we survive, yet no matter how many years pass, our soul part(s) live as if the trauma is occurring NOW.

Our soul parts are us, and affect our lives in ways we may or may not be aware. The goal of healing is to be whole and awake. To live in the present moment, and acknowledge past experiences, but not be run by them. Soul retrieval is powerful. This ancient healing modality where core, dissociated parts are discovered, awakened to the situation change, brought for healing, and restored home to the soul, is an accelerated path to happiness and offers us opportunities for internal unity.

Don’t be fooled by the emotional state your soul part is found in. Whether it’s – “safely skipping along rocks in a bubbling stream,” “ecstatically painting,” “screaming in terror,” or “frozen in shock,” – it is dissociated and traumatized. Every part is multi-dimensional, and however and wherever they are discovered, has many aspects. The innocent 5 year old carries the wound, and the infant’s gifts have yet to be aroused. That’s why it’s important the shaman brings all soul parts for healing before returning them to the person.

Soul retrieval integration is about self-love. Some parts require less attention, while others necessitate a great deal. The bottom line is – love and care for yourself.  And always – TRUST YOUR EXPERIENCE.

Suggestions for Integration:

1- Sit with both hands on your heart/soul space (in the center of your chest.) Breathe. With your imagination as a bridge, call to each part individually. Welcome her home in as loving a way as possible. Notice her behavior. Ask if there’s anything she wants to tell you. Listen. Tell her what you’re feeling in that moment. And then see what she would like to eat for dinner.

Most people are surprised when I suggest that last part, and surprised again at the response they receive. Many years ago, a client called me about 2 weeks after her soul retrieval. She, an adult woman with a healthy lifestyle, had been craving a MacDonald’s burger all week and couldn’t understand why. Then she had an “aha” moment. When she was 9, those burgers were her favorite food. Her little girl wanted comfort food. In an act of pure self-love, the 42 year old took her 9 year old self out to MacDonald’s.

2- The initial integration phase lasts about 3 days. The energy of your soul is re-harmonizing and discovering it’s new balance. During that time you might find yourself sad, happy, angry, exhausted, unable to sleep, starving, not hungry at all – in any number of emotional states. The first step is to notice what’s happening. Then ask, “Who is so upset?” You’ll know. “What do you need right now?” Attend to her.

3- Put pictures of yourself at whatever age(s) you were found on your altar or refrigerator.

4- Check in with your soul part(s) every day.

The 25-year-old wants to paint. You might not have your studio anymore, but there’s always the kitchen table. Buy some watercolors and paint with your children. The 5-year-old wants to spend the day in nature. Is there somewhere near a stream you can go? Your soul part wants to return to the site of the car accident and place some flowers. Bring a loved one and do it. The infant feels alone and wants to be held. Can you ask a loved one to come over?

5- It might feel a little crazy at first, but all healing is awakening, and the path of integration is a conscious one. One day you’ll realize you haven’t checked in with your parts in a while. Do it. Is everyone happy? Maybe the integration phase is complete.