Homepage for "Kindling Spirit: Healing from Within"
"Carl is a wisdom-keeper, storyteller, and explorer into the mysterious. He has ventured into obscure places, worked with indigenous people, and delved into the unconscious. His is an authentic voice that will open your mind and change your world." -- Andrew Weil MD, author of Spontaneous Healing, Healthy Aging.
"Carl is a master storyteller who can take a mundane and insignificant incident from his own life and turn it into a fascinating, spell-binding tale that encompasses your life. His ability to involve you in this grand ride of words and insights will make you look deeper into your own story. I am famous for being a straight talker and that's why I like Carl -- he talks straight to my soul." -- Larry Winget, New York Times Bestselling Author of Your Kids Are Your Own Fault.
"Carl Hammerschlag is a national treasure, a wisdom elder whose medicine pours through his wonderful stories. He has walked and danced the path of a healer and spiritual guide. I invite you to open your heart to feel his word souls." -- Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., Professor and Hanna Spyker Eminent Scholars Chair in Education, University of Louisiana, and author of the forthcoming The Bushman Way of Tracking God.
"Carl Hammerschlag -- a most fascination man and writer! Trained as a healer in western medicine, he is -- at the same time -- deeply steeped in Judaic and Native American traditions as well. His extraornidary background and penetrating insights always make his work a joy and an education to read." -- Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D., author of The Shaman's Apprentice and President of the Amazon Conservation Tea.
"Dr. Carl, medical doctor and medicine man, storyteller and heart opener invites you to enter the world of healing enchantment within. Beyond allopathic medicine he makes a way from his heart to your heart from where healing begins. Besides, the book is a good read." -- Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, co-author of Jewish with Feeling and A Heart Afire.
" I need to meet and wrestle with thinkers to feed my concerns and look for solutions for a healthier world. Sometimes what I hear and see also demands that I become friends, so I can stand in any storm and still be dancing. With Carl, I instantly recognized I had to have him for life and get him (his ideas) in front of as many people as I can. Read this and wrestle too." --Patch Adams MD, Gesundheit! Institute
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kindling Spirit: Healing From Within is an experiential journey that will expand your mind and touch your soul. Listening to Dr. Carl Hammerschlag reaching deep down inside to share his story of self-discovery will invite you to look inside yourself and write new endings to your old stories.
Carl is a distinguished physician/psychiatrist and author, whose work with Native Americans has been chronicled in three critically acclaimed books, chronicling his transformational journey from doctor to healer. In Kindling Spirit, he shares the cumulative wisdom of almost 45 years working with Native people. In his inimitable storytelling style, he reveals the critical elements that allow us to stay healthy and thrive in the face of life's challenges.
We don't sit around campfires telling stories much anymore; contemporary storytellers have to find new fireplaces. Dr. H. will tell his story chapter by chapter, in monthly installments, here on Reality Sandwich. He invites readers to tell their own stories in the comments area. He says, "listening to the stories of others helps us make sense of our lives. This is how we build healthy communities." The conversation will also be extended through a series of monthly calls, "telecircles," organized by John Jay Koriath of Full Circle Learning, and you are invited. For more about the telecircles, see the letter from John below.
Join Carl Hammershlag and John Koriath for Kindling Spirit Telecircles and experience learning and healing in community. Click here for more information and to receive instructions for joining the calls. Kindling Spirit Telecircles are supported by your donations. If you find value in our work, we invite your contribution.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
We all see the world through our own filters. The way you see it is not the only way it is, it's only the way it was. It is impossible to see more than we already know unless we are willing to look at the familiar in a new way. We begin with stories about working with indigenous cultures, my transformative journey from doctor to healer, my history as the first-born son of Holocaust survivors, and my lifetime struggle to forgive Germans (and myself).
The best way to see the familiar from a new perspective is to separate yourself from your ordinary consciousness. There are many ways to open channels into the unexplored, unconscious mind, and the brain is hard-wired for such mystical experience. There are many ways to get into that space; these are stories about inducing trance states via praying, drumming, dancing, chanting, and the use of mind-altering drugs.
Quantum physicists and shamans both understand that everything that exists in the universe contains its own energy; they simply describe that energy in different terms. Both also know how to tap into those energies. These are stories of healers who connect to their sources of energy and heal.
It is an essential part of our humanity to be connected to someone other than ourselves; that's how we come into the world and are sustained in it. At the soul level we are all tribal people; we heal better in community because it reminds you that you do not face your struggles alone, and everyone has a stake in the outcome. These are stories about communities coming together in times of crisis and in times of celebration at the Oregon Country Fair, Red Wing Minnesota, the Haitian earthquake, Virginia Tech, and the Patch Adams Full Moon Festival.
The hand that you've been dealt does not determine the quality of your life. It's not the traumas or hardships you've endured; rather your life path is determined by the choices you make about how you play your hand. These are stories about coming to peace with limitations and losses (from ordinary aging, to facing death), and about the difference between curing and healing.
Rituals and ceremonies provide the structure by which people get in touch with their feelings. Symbols can be animate or inanimate; anything can hold special/sacred significance for us. Objects can intensify our ability to heal others and ourselves. We dramatically underutilize our power to heal by not incorporating them into our lives. These are stories about the power of healing rituals and totemic objects, and about how they can be abused by charlatans to cause grave harm.
Chapter 7: The Point of the Arrow
School children in an isolated Native tribe deep in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico had been suffering from a decade-long epidemic of demonic possession. This is an incredible story of shamanic power, and its potential for healing as well as destruction if the shaman gets hooked on The Point of the Arrow.
Chapter 8: Epilogue: Eating the Reality Sandwich
This is the story of a healing community that comes together around this new on-line fireplace to tell each other stories that help them make sense of their lives. People who can come together to share their strengths and vulnerabilities in this way represent a paradigm shift in modern healthcare delivery; instead of the current interventional model where we wait to get sick or overwhelmed before seeking help, here is a preventative model where people are reaching out to one another and keeping each other healthy.
LETTERS FROM DR. CARL HAMMERSCHLAG AND JOHN JAY KORIATH
Dear RS Relatives:
Let me introduce myself before I invite you to join me on a unique healing journey. My name is Carl Hammerschlag, I'm a physician, my specialtyis psychiatry, and my clinical practice took a bit of a departure from conventional medicine. When I completed medical school and internship, I joined the Indian Health Service instead of going to Viet Nam. I thought I'd spend a couple of years to fulfill my military obligation and then I'd look for a real job.
Those two years turned into 20, because working with American Indians taught me things about how people get sick and well that I never learned in medical school. Those experiences moved me from doctor to healer and storyteller. I've written about that transformational journey in three previous books. Now I've written another, and I'm going to tell this storyfirst on the pages of Reality Sandwich.
The experience of life is told in myths, they are tales that teach us how to live life under any circumstances; stories about values, wonder, miracles, and heroes. These myths used to be told around fires, by storytellers who wove their magic around fireplaces under the night sky.
At the soul level, we are all tribal people. Stories, rituals, and ceremonies are the ways we give meaning to our lives. We don't gather to listen and reflect around campfires much anymore; nowadays the experience of life is distilled and transmitted while it's happening. I'm interested in seeing if we, as kindred spirits, can come together to tell each other our stories, and find in them something that will help us make sense of our lives.
Storytellers need to find new fireplaces around which to tell the tale, and Reality Sandwich is one -- a community of kindred spirits who share a mythology about how to sustain ourselves (and the planet) in a civil society. Kindling Spirit: Healing from Within, is my story about ordinary triumphs, tragedies, miracles, indigenous wisdom, radical self-acceptance, shamanic healing, and altered states of consciousness; they all reveal how, if we are willing to look at the familiar in new ways, we can create new endings to old stories.
You will get the stories one Chapter at a time, on the third Tuesday of every month. After you read them, if I say something that touches you, I hope you'll respond and tell me your story. I'll publish a final bound copy, which will include some of your stories. So if you choose to post a response, know that you're giving me permission to use it (anonymously of course) and without recompense.
For those of you interested in a more "up close and personal" experience, we will gather in a teleconference that my friend and colleague John Koriath, PhD, will describe. We will be joined by other friends such as Patch Adams MD (humanitarian clown, healthcare visionary), Brad Keeney PhD (musician, psychologist, Bushman shaman), Mark Plotkin PhD (ethnobotanist, environmentalist, and shaman's apprentice), all of whom will share their unique stories as we integrate the book's implications on us as individuals and as a culture.
Looking forward with joyful anticipation to joining with youon this journey, I say this, for all my Relations, Mi Takuye Oyasin.
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Dear RS Relatives,
I'm delighted to join Carl Hammerschlag, my colleague and spiritual brother of many years, on this journey of sharing the chapters of his next book, Kindling Spirit. I will participate by developing, with you, a deeper conversation in the RS community, both in this online space and in a series of "telecircles" that let us pioneer ways to recreate the intimacy and authenticity of being gathered around the fire in community, while being dispersed in time and place on planet Earth. We will use the essence of Carl's stories, emerging interdisciplinary frameworks and cross cultural perspectives, along with the truth of our own life experiences, to create and hold a heartfelt space that allows us to touch the earth while reaching for the sky.
My purpose and passion focus on sustaining soul in everyday life. To me this means opening vibrant portals between the worlds of possibility and the realities that we create moment by moment with one another. There is only so much to be learned doing "work" on ourselves. Lighten Up! Share the journey and don't be co-opted by your own bullshit. To know our personal power, with sanity and grace, we need to practice with one another. If, like me, you share a sense that a profound shift in consciousness lies in the world of possibility, yet know that a social transformation is critical for it to be a healing reality in everyday life, I invite you to be a participant in our telecircles and learn how to do this. The way you see it is not the way it is. It's just the way you see it. Still, we all need to see it the way we see it, at this moment, to move forward together. It's time.
Each month, in the time between Carl's Chapter postings, we'll hold a telecircle. These will not be "sage on the stage" presentations of "the three This's, the Seven That's," or any secret , significant, or withheld premium content that webinars and teleseminars are known for. They will be experiences over a conference bridgeline, in which we seek to create rapport, and enter the sacred space of the heart. We will share our stories and life experiences to open a portal to moments of the miraculous that let us take our next steps with hope and joy.
I hope you will join us on our journey to explore this terrain. We've done this face to face for decades, in small groups around campfires, where we know the signs of "nature" can follow body language, and see where a group is and is going. We're still crawling and hoping to learn to stand upright doing this in virtual time and space. This is not intended to replace our in-person work, but to look again at what we know and begin to form reliable trails that connect us in new and needed ways. We need ways that let us draw on the best of our history, while we discover the path of our destiny.
Kindling Spirit Telecircles will be offered through a gift economy. We’ll give our time, energy, and the technology to make them happen. We hope you will participate, find value, and make a donation to support us in our endeavor.
Click here for more information and to receive instructions for joining the calls. Kindling Spirit Telecircles are supported by your donations. If you find value in our work, we invite your contribution.Tweet