“I’m your mirror,” she said with a mischievous smile, her eyes sparkling with the ageless wisdom of ten thousand grandmothers. She leaned her round turquoise- skinned body closer as if to tell me a secret and said with a whisper, “And the Great Milky Way is your alarm clock!”

She laughed a big laugh and slapped her knee. “There’s no snooze button! It’s time for my human children to wake up!”

Wake up, indeed! This is what the Spirit of the Earth conveyed to me during my brief encounter with her while in a shamanic trance state. My intention in making this connection was to gain a deeper understanding of this monumentally uncomfortable, yet exciting shift we’re currently going through.

At this point in the shift, I’m thinking you’d have to be comatose to not notice that every system on the planet has slipped into a state of chaos. You can see this globally from the precarious state of the economy to the divisive nature of politics, and personally, as so many people’s lives unravel emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. There’s a lot going on.

I think when things feel out of control the natural human tendency is to want to put the external world in order in an effort to feel the illusion of control again. But what if that approach misses the mark? After all, it seems pretty clear that our attempts to “fix” failing systems in the way we always have, isn’t working. Things are just getting more chaotic. Perhaps our approach is backwards, akin to putting duct tape on a ruptured appendix.

I, like many, believe the shift we’re experiencing is a shift in consciousness. The human race is coming out an extensive dark age of perception, where I’d like to suggest we’ve been between 95 and 99 percent unconscious while awake. Which means humans have been sleepwalking through life for thousands of years – just creatures of habit who behave, say, believe, think, react, and feel the same way in response to the same triggers day after day, year after year, century after century.

As our solar system enters new territory in the galaxy in preparation for the galactic alignment in 2012, things are getting stirred up in a big way. Several years ago I learned during one of my shamanic adventures into the dreamtime that the dense energy of the Milky Way, that our solar system is now swimming in, is acting as a catalyst preparing us for the next step in the evolution of our consciousness. It’s time to wake up – to be more conscious. But collectively we seem to be reaching for the snooze button as if begging for just ten more minutes. Becoming more conscious means living more responsibly – which, to me, means demonstrating reverence, integrity, and humility. Not an easy way to be. But certainly worth the effort.

If the Earth is our mirror, which I believe she is, then that would mean that the external world is a reflection of our internal world, which in turn would mean that the chaos we’re seeing in the external world is the collective manifestation of each individual’s unaddressed stuff. And from where I’m standing it seems pretty clear that all of our unaddressed stuff is becoming more and more difficult to ignore. I see the process of waking up as classic shamanic initiation – the death and rebirth of who we are as individuals and as a species. (i.e., You can run, but you can’t hide!) Initiatory experiences can be extremely difficult – the stronger the attachment to the old way of being, the more uncomfortable the experience. Naturally, the snooze button looks pretty inviting!

Later in my exchange with the Spirit of Mother Earth, I addressed the mess we’ve made of things and asked how she would best be served.

“There’s no need to worry about me,” she said with a knowing smile. “I’ll be fine. My resilience is immense.” Her thick dreadlocks twisted into the ground and became roots that stretched along the surface of the Earth as far as the eye could see. “If you really want to help me, don’t fight for a cause. If you want to help me, heal yourselves.”

My understanding of her message is that activism, although well intended, is a distraction from our personal healing journey because it places our focus outside ourselves. Instead, if we put our energy into healing ourselves, a natural byproduct of our personal evolution would result in more loving, respectful relationships with every other living creature and the planet.

What’s exciting, and hopeful, is that there’s a growing segment of the population who are finding themselves intuitively drawn to practices that bring the focus inward. I’ve found that the people who have a regular spiritual practice, such as shamanic journeying, seem to not only be navigating the chaos quite well, but they’re healing themselves in the process.

As difficult as it can be, this is truly an amazing time to be alive. Imagine if each person found the courage to march like a warrior into the mystery her own shadow to face and ultimately befriend every insecurity and fear only to emerge whole and illuminated – pregnant with wisdom and radiating truth. Imagine a world where everyone lived from the inside out . . .

About the Author

WENDY HALLEY is a licensed mental health clinician specializing in workplace wellness, a veteran practitioner of the shamanic healing arts, the author of several books, and the host of the Lucid Café podcast. Her unique approach merges ancient and contemporary traditions and is grounded in the idea that we are our own best healers. You can find out more about Wendy and her work at Lucid Path Wellness.