For over two decades, I have been on an alternative healing path for my health. This journey has led me to practitioners in many modalities, including homeopathy, traditional therapy, Reiki, holistic nutrition, and acupuncture. I have experienced steady and profound improvements in my physical health through this time, however, finding a permanent resolution to ongoing flares of depression and generalized anxiety has been a more elusive pursuit.
The first time I ever experienced shamanic healing was in late December 2020 in Texas while visiting my sister. While I have had many energy healing sessions in the past, this was the first time I had one that incorporated shamanic healing. I left feeling centered, grounded, and calm for the first time since the start of the pandemic nine months prior. This feeling lasted for almost three months.
In March 2021, my feelings of anxiety and not being grounded crept back in. I turned to Google – a shamanic energy healer near me – and to my surprise, found Zenith High, owned by Mary Newstrom, right in my suburb St. Louis Park. I had my first session with Mary and left with a restored sense of being centered. During this session, she told me about her shamanic studies program, Spirit Flow, and invited me to consider joining the program starting the following month.
Coincidentally, I had created a vision board more than a year prior and intuitively had placed a large design with the word ‘shamanism’ in the center. Tucked in the back corner of my bedroom and forgotten during the pandemic, it was not something I had thought about for some time. I noticed it the evening after my healing and conversation with Mary and knew it was a sign leading me into Spirit Flow.
You know those decisions that come effortlessly, as if there isn’t any possible answer besides yes? Joining Spirit Flow was one of those. Between Mary’s incredible healing energy and the excitement she conveyed when sharing her program, I knew learning shamanic techniques to incorporate into self-healing was my future. I submitted my application the same evening and joined her program, which began a short two weeks later.
From the first Spirit Flow workshop, which taught me how to journey and form relationships with my spirit animals and guides, I knew I had found a mentor, friend, and guide to help me achieve a new level of healing and purpose in my life. The format of bi-monthly day-long workshops with time to integrate and practice new skills has allowed for mastery of the many techniques presented. I also studied Reiki a year ago and find it is a great companion to shamanism.
As I reflect on the last 18 months of Spirit Flow, it is clear I have reached a place where anxious thoughts or a down day are just fleeting moments in my life. The last time I had a particularly upsetting and worrisome event in my life, I journeyed to my trusted spirit animals and guides, asking for guidance on how best to handle a situation. I was able to ground myself, trust my intuition, and hold space for a loved one without it overtaking my thoughts.
As I continue the work of a year two student, I can see myself fulfilling my dream of helping others through energy work. I look forward to the remainder of my year two studies and on to year three. In addition to the workshops and check-ins that are part of the curriculum of Spirit Flow, there are additional activities to deepen our spiritual community of students and alums. Connecting with other students through our ongoing activities, including camping weekends, bonfires, book clubs, and other spiritual-based activities, are just the icing on the cake!
I have only recently realized that my work with Mary in Spirit Flow is leading me to restore missing or fragmented portions of my mental, spiritual, and emotional self. I plan to join Mary in the summer of 2024 on her yearly retreat to Peru, as the students who have gone share that the deep, accelerated healing that happens during the retreat is profound. I look forward to experiencing a true rebirth in the jungle. Spirit Flow has given me a healing toolkit that continues to grow and friends that will be with me for a lifetime.