• Jill Hance Bakke

Stay in Your Lane

Recently headlines were filled with a tragic semi-trailer accident on Colorado Highway 70. The semi’s driver claims faulty brakes, but he now faces vehicular manslaughter charges. The roadway was closed for hours to remove the dead and injured, damaged vehicles, the litter caused by the collisions, and the extensive investigation it required. Death, destruction, pain and inconvenience was everywhere. Crossing his lane, the driver affected innocent people, who caught in the chaos had its damage spill into their lives.

Sadly, individuals can cross boundary lanes without a vehicle. I recently committed the transgression of crossing my lane to be a rescuer. I knew the danger, and I thought I was being careful since I felt no personal agenda in the process. But rescuing is sensitive and often causes the situation to crumble into disaster. Rescuing can only help when it is requested. Yet, even then tread lightly, or the results will move you from being the rescuer to the perpetrator or even victim.

A wise shaman once told me that if you are going to help people don’t tell them what to do. Tell them a story. Instead of inferring that they are doing something wrong, it becomes impersonal. They can consider it from that aspect and apply what they are willing to apply. Tell anyone to do something, and they will often refuse. People have free will and choice and rightly prefer to use it.

But with story, no arguments or personal and emotionally charged discussions enter in. They don’t feel judged that “You should “ presents. No wedges are placed in the relationship, and the problem has not been enlarged. A story properly presented can prevent the receiver from wondering how or why the information works and entice them to try the idea.

Words carry a great deal of energy. They can hurt or they can heal. Their power is as mighty as the sword’s. Everyone lives his own story. Simply listening, with an open heart and without judgment, to a person’s words can help understand the situation better.

Words of encouragement are uplifting and give hope. If I cannot contain myself from giving advice, I preface it with words such as “If it were my problem, I would consider this. . .” Or I might recommend a book that I liked with the same soft-touch introduction: “I just read XYZ and found it interesting. It might help you work through your dilemma.” But I still find listening for the true story, then telling a healing story and linking it with ceremony works best.

Ceremony has power, and I like to incorporate in it a story. It helps the brain accept the work we are doing and to seal it as done, much in the way visualizing the correct golf swing or specific dance steps embodies them in us.

There are many ways to present a story Here is one example which could be used with a person who feels overworked, stressed, and lacking energy. Once I know the issue, I would begin with a simple remark such as “Oh, that has happened to me too. You know what I did?” (Or, I could say, “A friend had that problem. She did. . .” ) Then follows the story part:

I wrote down all the roles I had. Do you know I discovered I had 30 roles! I was a mother, entrepreneur, wife, child of my parents, artist, churchgoer, friend, homeowner and homemaker. . . No wonder I felt so tired and overwhelmed. So, I wrote each roll on a separate piece of paper. Then I made a circle for a sandpainting in a round dish. Of course, I had to take the time to diagram which stone went where. Strange, but this told me some things about myself that I hadn’t been aware of. It was the start of my knowledge about the rules, regulations, connections, and ‘must do’ requirements I placed on each role.

I left the sandpainting for a couple of days and then began to remove the stones. Using my diagram, I started with the easiest role in the group. I told it ‘You cannot rule my life’ and stomped on it. Then I took one of the small twigs I had gathered and blew the role into the twig and placed it into the fire. (I used my firepit, but you can use a candle, your fireplace, any fire.) As I placed each twig with its role in the fire, I repeated the name of the role and my release statement, i.e. “I release the role of homemaker; it is no longer a label of who I am.” Of course, I still had to pay the taxes and keep the house in shape, but I no longer had all those “must do” things tacked on to it.

Our predetermine requirements for each role can exhaust us. And our labels feed our ego. The exercise for me released the ego attachment to the roles and freed me from some of the requirements. After I released the roles, I discovered some of the earlier requirements that went with them were totally unnecessary. I still must perform the role. I am still a parent, student, homemaker, and in some manner tied to all the roles I listed, but I felt free to serve them without seeking glory and in a way that truly fit my life.

For example, in my role of homemaker, I was ironing my king bed sheets. After all, they felt so marvelous when I slept in a hotel. It also fed the ego of how well I managed my home. “I even have ironed sheets!” Yet, was it necessary? Not really, and it gave me more time for new things to enter my life, things which truly enrich me. I’ve had so much more energy since I did this exercise. And you know what?

I still act as the mother as well as all the other roles. I still write poetry and paint, etc. But all the shoulds and rules those positions entail no longer control me. I feel free. Maybe this would be something that could help you.”

The friend may say they like the idea and utilize it. However, it doesn’t matter what they say. The story has been told. Do not push. Do not nag.

Since I am trained as a shaman, I bind myself with other lane markers. It doesn’t mean I don’t make errors when emotionally tied to a person. But when I become aware I have crossed the line, I need to immediately back away and then make whatever corrections I can. Often those corrections will be few beyond allowing it to play out.

Here are some of my other lane markers. My initial lane marker is requiring the person’s permission to help him or her. I can’t see someone’s need and pray for any solution other than the one they want. Not my will, but the will of the individual and their destiny is what should be done, and that becomes my mantra.

It is also important I look at my own shadow and cleanse it of baggage so that I do not push my agenda but become a hollow bone for the Universe to work through. This is frequently a sticky point. Much of our baggage lies in our shadowy subconscious. I had to learn how to be aware of what lay within.

I am careful of the language I use when I act as a shaman. For example, If I am cutting a cord or extracting a crystalized energy or entity, I will say to the removed item, “I release you to your destiny.” Not to its highest good, or wherever else I might think it should go. I am aware that everything is made of energy.

It is very important I am aware of how frequently I cross out of my lane regarding my self-dealings as well. I become a self-sorcerer if I say things like “Oh, that was a dumb thing to do” or “I am too fat, too old, or to untalented to think I can do that.” Who hears the words I say first? I do, and they often contain my limiting beliefs which will become self-fulfilling prophecies if not corrected. Bottom line is that what I think becomes reality.

And there is a final element to my staying in my own lane: my belief in the divinity of all people and all creation. A sage once said that seeing the divine spark in someone or something helps that element see and feel it.

What an easy way to help improve our world without straying from my lane!

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