Discover your soul’s purpose by following the shamanic path of the heart
• Explains how to engage your heart’s navigational guidance system to access your spiritual core directly and find your life purpose and spiritual identity
• Includes shamanic practices to meet your power animals, consult with spirit guides, embark on journeys in the spirit world, slay your inner dragons of self-sabotage and fear, clear emotional wounding patterns, and find your personal spirit song
• Offers case studies and troubleshooting help for common pitfalls and obstacles on the heart-centered shamanic path
• Includes access to 4 guided audio journeys narrated by the author
Each of us has a vision for our lives, our soul’s purpose awaiting release in our hearts. The most important task we have is to learn what that purpose is and then bring it into the world. In our world of endless busyness and “hurry sickness,” many people are experiencing soul loss as they live out dreams of endless motion, empty tasks, anxiety, and negative thoughts. But you can change your world and discover the shamanic heart path that activates your wildness, your power, and your soul’s purpose.
Blending earth-honoring shamanic practices and modern depth psychology, Jeff Nixa explains how to practice the lost art of heart navigation to help you find your life purpose and spiritual identity, conquer the fear, doubt and criticism that stand in the way of that vision, and become a shamanic shapeshifter of your life. Providing heart-opening exercises to slow your mental racing and detect your heart’s navigational guidance system, he shows how to awaken your wild and free heart, access your spiritual core directly, deactivate trauma-based emotional patterns, retrieve vital energy, work with your dreams, and become an artist of the soul. You will learn how to meet your power animals and consult with spirit guides, embark on shamanic journeys in the spirit world for help and information, slay your inner dragons of self-sabotage, find your personal spirit song, and create the joyful life that your heart is attuned to seek out.
Offering case studies and troubleshooting help for common pitfalls and obstacles on the heart-centered path, this shamanic manual provides hands-on practices and ceremonies--including access to 4 guided audio journeys narrated by the author--as well as wisdom from the author’s own journey and the powerful teachers he has worked with, including Sandra Ingerman, Mikkal, spiritual elders of the Oglala Lakota people, and plant-spirit medicine shamans of the Amazon jungle. Allowing you to understand the precise contours of your authentic self and your visionary heart, this book offers a map to a vibrant new life aligned with your soul and deepest calling.
In our lives there are two great sources of information for perceiving and navigating the world available to us: the rational, analytical way of the mind, and the soulful felt sense of the heart. The mind is the King of “conscious” reality and specializes in the logical, verbal, archetypal “masculine” realm of visible information, matter, analysis, clock time, science, technology, reasoned principles, ideology, judgments, the parsing of things into their individual components, and an emphasis on separateness and differences. But the heart is the Queen of “unconscious” reality and specializes in the intuitive, nonverbal, archetypal “feminine” realm of spirit, nature, darkness, mystery, dreams, poetry, the relationships between things, and our connectedness to all life. The mind thinks, but it cannot perceive mystery, or unconscious reality. The heart feels, but it cannot speak in words or be dispassionate and “logical.”
Of these two available ways of perceiving our environment the conscious mind completely dominates our modern approach to healing, life navigation, and decision making. The problem is not that we use our rational minds so well, or fail to value its achievements in modern science, technology, and civilization. The problem is that we don’t equally value and use the heart. So when our rational approaches fail, or even cause us harm, instead of consulting the heart, with its entirely different realm of experience and information, we go back to the failed approach and repeat the same plays from the same playbook of reason. We seek a “bigger hammer”: more data, more research, more words, a stronger medication, a different technology, another scripture verse.
At no point do we stop and ask the huge missing questions that dwell in the archetypally feminine realm of the body, soul, spirit, and earth itself: Who am I? What am I doing here on this earth, really? What is my place in the world beyond my job, possessions, favorite sports team, and social network?
We don’t ask those questions because we don’t have a social, economic, political, or religious system that honors the heart, the wisdom of the body, or balance with nature.
Heart Communication 101
In order to get clear on your spiritual center, you need to be able to perceive the subtle communications from your heart on a moment-by-moment basis. In their simplest form, these communications can feel like the three colors of a traffic light: a green (yes/move forward) signal; a red (no/stop this course) signal; and a yellow (caution/slow down/wait) signal. Like a traffic light, these three basic tones change constantly. Each signal can be physically felt in the body and is experienced as:
• A pleasant attraction or invitation (green light/yes)
• An unpleasant sense of repulsion or a feeling of disinterest (red light/no)
• An unclear hesitancy (yellow light/not yet)
To better illustrate these basic heart communications, here is an exercise to help you experience them as they shift back and forth, “as the light changes.” You will be sensing these differently felt tones, not thinking about them conceptually, through shifts in feeling, bodily sensation, imagery, emotion, and intuition.
Experiencing the Heart’s “Navigational Guidance System”
1. Sit comfortably on a chair with both feet on the ground. Take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly through mouth. Close your eyes.
2. Imagine a person you love to be with. Picture that person in front of you. Imagine their clothing, posture, facial expression, eyes, and mannerisms.
3. Holding that person’s image in front of you, draw your attention to your chest and belly area. Notice what you are experiencing there physically. Scan your body for subtle sensations and pay attention to where in your body you are feeling them. Take your time. Notice your breathing and inner feelings.
4. Take three deep breaths and clear the image of that person.
5. Now picture a real person you can hardly stand to be with; a person who may have hurt you or caused pain. Picture that person right in front of you. As before, clearly note their clothing, facial expression, mannerisms, and eyes. Now do the same body scan of yourself and notice what you are experiencing physically, in your body, especially in the chest and gut area. Take your time. Notice your breathing, and the area around your heart. Note anything different from what you sensed with the first person.
6. Take three deep breaths and clear your imagination completely of this person.
7. Now for a second time, imagine the person you love to be with back in front of you. Smile. See them smile. Again, do the body scan of your physical, felt response to the presence of this person in front of you. Notice the differences and where you are feeling these differences in your body.
8. Clear your imagination, and repeat with the unpleasant person.
9. Return now a final time to the person you love to be with. Enjoy that felt sense.
10. Open your eyes. Take a few minutes to write down what shifts you felt in your body between each person, and where you felt those shifts in your body.
The shifting physical sensations you experienced in the exercise above are the dynamic feeling tones of your heart. Feeling tones are the nonverbal language of the heart--and of spirit itself--experienced through your physical body. When honored (carefully explored and skillfully interpreted) they can help you navigate complex life situations as reliably as a compass or GPS unit. Should you take this job? Marry this person? Move to a different state? Your heart knows the answer, and its navigational guidance system is locked on to your unique destiny, and no one else’s. When ignored (as I ignored my own persistent body signals in law school) unfortunate things will happen and continue to happen, just as when you ignore the colors of a traffic light.
Jeff Nixa, J.D., M.Div., is a shamanic practitioner, teacher, and writer. In 2010 he founded Great Plains Shamanic Programs, an array of counseling, healing, and education services, including one-on-one fire talks, seminars, university classes, outdoor retreats, and wilderness trips. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.
“In this time of great change, our modern culture needs tools for finding a way back into balance with nature, soul, and spirit. Nixa leads readers along the Path of the Heart: a three-pronged approach to personal way-finding, healing, and transformation that weaves together traditional shamanism, modern soul psychology, and nature-based mindfulness practices. . . . a brilliant book that is truly innovative.”
– SANDRA INGERMAN, M.A., author of Soul Retrieval and Walking in the Light
“Heart-centered living has been failing in the Western-influenced world with dire consequences for us and the earth. Nixa takes us on a journey that becomes a self-help manual for reviving our human nature through the deliberative and intuitive nurturing of our heart minds. In the process, we learn to rebalance our minds and center our spirits in life more broadly, opening ourselves to our unique gifts. It’s a book for anyone ready to move forward toward self and community transformation.”
– Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame
“With metaphor and poetic prose Nixa describes practical exercises, to which everyone can relate, for implementing the ancient wisdom of complementarity both within ourselves and in the world around us. Enjoy the read, follow the guidelines, and feel the joy of legacy you can start ‘leaving in your wake.’”
– Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs, Ed.D., Ph.D.), American Indian activist and author
“Nixa’s lovely book offers both an inspirational and grounded approach that requires embracing the ‘four shamanic steps of hearing, honoring, acting, and protecting as core requirements’ on the navigational path of the heart.”
– Linda Star Wolf, Ph.D., director of Venus Rising Association for Transformation and author
“Jeff Nixa has created a valuable spiritual field manual for discovering and attending to our inner growth work. His ability to combine the practices of core shamanism with leading-edge spiritual psychology comes from his many years of serving from the heart. If you follow Jeff’s practices and programs you will experience greater ease and freedom in your life as a result of expanded consciousness and the awakening of your dormant gifts, strengths, and talents. Every page of this essential book is filled with the love he exudes in all of his work.”
– Michael Stone, host of KMVR’s Conversations
“The Lost Art of Heart Navigation acts as an insightful guide for the journey home to one’s authentic self. It explores how the path of the shaman reconnects each of us with our soul, personal empowerment, and sacred creativity. This book is heartfelt, innovative, and greatly needed at this time.”
– Anna Cariad-Barrett, D.Min., author of Shamanic Wisdom for Pregnancy and Parenthood
“The brain is loaded with neurotransmitters but so is the heart. In this remarkable book, Jeff D. Nixa helps his readers follow the path of the heart, a route well known to tribal shamans but one all but ignored in the modern world. Drawing upon ancient wisdom as well as the work of contemporary Jungian psychotherapists, Nixa provides exercises, rituals, and tools that are informative, visionary, and--most important--transformational.”
– Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., coauthor of The Voice of Rolling Thunder
“Relying on the wisdom of helper spirits, Jeff Nixa has designed The Lost Art of Heart Navigation to serve as a guide for those of us seeking purpose and meaning in our lives. With valuable tools such as breathing meditations, guided imagery, and outdoor moving meditation Jeff leads us through the challenges of modern life and into our own heart path. Join me on the adventure of saying yes to our heart’s invitations!”
– Terri Hebert, Ed.D., assistant professor of science education at Indiana University
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