Healing Tools for Finding Balance Point


For a shaman, stones and crystals, which are imbued with their natural, characteristic vibration, are tools that focus the intention of the user, the recipient, and their Spirit Guides for the recipient’s well-being.

Following the trends of the seasons and knowing when to retreat are important lessons to master, especially for a shaman. Being that this is the “bear den” time of winter, when we are less active and more conveniently reflective, I am strongly connected to the mineral dolomite.

Held in the left hand or placed on a nearby shelf in the room, dolomite brings me home. Ego evaporates, antsy-ness melts away, and my disparate yearnings shut down. Peace is aquiver, the sensation of a torn seam being stitched together—an open wound closed.

I am like the stone myself, brought to rest, vibrating stability. Calm. Right here. Right now. At a balance point rarely achieved. Not rushing to springtime—just here now—with the gift of winter. So simple, it makes me smile.

I envision a pond with crusty surface, dried stalks of riparian plants (sticks-in-the-mud) emerging from a white glaze of ice. Water is still. Plants are still. Inspiring rest.

As snow falls gently outside on these plants—further slowing routines—and dolomite hums its song of stillness from the shelf, I have nowhere to go, not yet.

Disclaimer: Spiritual and energy practices support the health, happiness, and well-being of the recipient. Sessions do not take the place of medical advice or treatment, but support and compliment medical care.

Stone Love and Healing


Stones and crystals are of the Earth and emit vibrations that are healing and supportive to health and well-being. Not as a replacement for medical advice and prescribed drugs and treatment, but complimentary and supportive of our easily unbalanced, out-of-whack beings. I am completing a certification course in crystal healing and integrating crystals into my well-being program with new understanding.

For example, I created a little oasis for taking blood pressure readings with a potted plant (Nature) and a grouping of stones:
Ussingite (the big lavender stone) which is for hypertension, processing of carbs, and free radicals; Leucite (the one with something embedded in it) for hypertension; and stitchtite (purple ones) and sodalite (blue ones), both for hypertension. These stones emit a vibration that supports normal blood pressure.

Not only do the stones do their work naturally, but whenever I see the stone set, I am reminded of my intention for full health. We all know, especially the shamans in the audience, that it’s all about intention. What do we want to create? What do we intend for yourself? What we think, we create is the sage, old saying, and whatever we’re thinking is out there in our aura.

Living holistically means that many old and familiar habits, patterns, and commitments melt away. For me, the relationship with Nature fills into the spaces, replacing burden, woe, and stress–and who knows, maybe one day hypertension that came with them.

I’ll be selling my stone book-and-card set, RAIN MAKES THE ROCKS SING, and FEET UPON THE EARTH on November 18, 10 am – 4 pm, with other authors of Blue Ridge Writers at City Space in downtown Charlottesville, VA. Stop by for a stone chat!

Summertime and the Earthing is Easy


Shorebird Wading


My friend texted me, “I am outside in the yard barefoot and there is a full moon over my shoulder!”

Finally! Success in convincing her to test out the practices of earthing!

Summer is a convenient time to test out the theories of earthing (or grounding), such as lying on the ground and walking barefoot on the earth to ground and balance the body’s electrical systems. If done with regularity and intention, improvements to health and well-being and reductions in pain and stress are the expected results. Walking in saltwater like a shorebird is supposed to be ideal. Documented testimonials abound.

We learn in the book Earthing – The most important health discovery ever? that we are part of nature and connected by electrical systems. The book, by Ober, Sinatra, and Zucker published in 2010, just recently came to me as a gift. The authors detail experiments where the health of individuals improved—no matter their individual condition or diagnoses—by grounding themselves. Improved health ranges from sleeping better to lowering blood pressure to finding relief from chronic pain, and more.

Putting the theories to test myself, I am lying on the earth and/or walking barefoot every day and watching for perceptible changes in my disposition, sense of emotional balance, physical strength, and willingness to simply return the sunshine I absorb out to others. Already, I am aware that my anxiousness indoors emanates from my desire and need to be outdoors. In my coaching practice, I start sessions when appropriate by lying on the ground. If you have the time, place, and inclination, I suggest a good earthing session out with the daisies and hummingbirds this summer day. If you’re fortunate to have saltwater nearby, wading on the shore can’t be beat for earthing benefits.

Try it out for a while and let me know the changes in your own state of being. The first step is to get beyond the critical, analytical mind of an adult and be playfully childlike. That alone is transforming.

Do I Use a Fork or a Spoon?


Blueberry Peach Cake

When my husband came home yesterday with three gorgeous, ripe peaches that just had to be juicy inside, this recipe for Blueberry Peach Cake came to mind. My love affair with blueberries has been in full swing for a number of weeks already. When peaches and blueberries are ripe together, it is time to bake!

The chosen recipe was Blueberry Peach Cake from the book Spring Evenings, Summer Afternoon, A Collection of Warm-Weather Recipes by Barbara Scott-Goodman with Mary Goodbody (https://www.amazon.com/Spring-Evening-Summer-Afternoon-Scott-Goodman/dp/0811804879).

On vacation on Ocracoke Island several decades ago, this cookbook jumped into my hands at a souvenir shop. It has survived “downsizing” of possessions for a relocation from Maryland to Colorado and another move from Colorado to Virginia. Wherever I go, so goes this recipe. Each time I make it, the only question is, Do I want to eat it with a fork or a spoon? Usually, I choose spoon.

As the author writes, “The peaches complement the berries and both taste wonderful nestled on a sweet, plain cake. This is a great choice to take along for a picnic, but it is also just right eaten on the back porch after the sun goes down. Try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream—or maybe homemade peach ice cream.”

Thank you to the authors, and Happy July!

The Need to Retreat

One of the easiest, most accessible personal retreats is a Screensaver Break.

While researchers are confirming the health benefits of spending time in nature, most of us don’t need this proof. When we can’t get outside, pausing over a screensaver can be a mindful respite. The relief that comes from seeing earth’s natural landscape is spontaneous and palpable.

My current screensaver is a photo taken several years ago of people I love at a place I love–family members on a guys-only visit to Maroon Bells near Aspen. Viewing the picture takes me there and to them. I inhale and exhale. My senses open and awe reawakens, leaving me refreshed and ‘good to go’  before taking a real break with my feet upon the earth in the great outdoors. #HappyFriday

For more retreat tips from The Contemporary Shaman visit https://www.pinterest.com/LaughingWaWa/retreat-often/.



On the Rocks



Life can get rocky. It did for me recently and the mood would not lift, so I went to the creek. It gurgled where it fell between rocks on its way to the reservoir, and I complained that it wasn’t making much noise. I needed the racket of a real waterfall. Scum formed on the surface where water pooled, and it had an odor. I told the creek it stunk. It matched my mood.

Interesting, I felt guided to sit on the man-made bench rather than on my usual rock formations. ‘Going to the creek’ is synonymous with sitting on the rocks. But, I followed the guidance, and from the perch could look down on the creek bed for a distance upstream and downstream.

Bored with the little gurgles and still in my own stew, the urge to a hike a trail got me up and moving. The bare winter woods was particularly uninteresting, as my experience was tainted by attitude.  The trail brought me back across the creek. I spent a few minutes on the bench again and the stink wafted in the air again.

I decided that coming to the creek just wasn’t going to help me this time. Rounding a bend in the trail I stopped in my tracks as a skunk waddled nonchalantly up the sandy edge of the creek and disappeared into a hole under overhanging tree roots. “Huh! It’s a skunk!”

Ha! It was you, not the scum causing that odor! I laughed and was glad I had not sat on the rocks in the creek.

Is my negative attitude stinking up the woods like you? Thanks for letting me know what’s it like to be around someone with a bad mood. Are you telling me that I can be nonchalant like you? No one messes with you. If they do, they’ll regret it.

Nonchalant. Like a child. Innocent. Carefree. Even if life stinks for the moment, I can be nonchalant, knowing I am protected.

After watching the skunk disappear from sight, I walked up the trail toward the parking lot. With every few steps, I noticed in the ground looking back at me, heart-shaped rocks. One rock after another peppered on my trail. I felt the love again. The Earth holds and heals me. It is good to go to nature to reconnect.


PS   The first time I saw heart-shaped rocks in the Earth was on 911. After my family members made it safely home, we drove to our local park, which was a special place to us, to soothe our nerves and find our balance. As we descended the trail and walked along the creek, I noticed underfoot heart-shaped stones, thus beginning my habit of looking underfoot for what is helpful to regaining equilibrium.





On an Outer Banks, NC, Retreat this week.
Returning to the Appalachian Trail next week.

For now, I’m with the cormorants flying in formation,
willets puttering along the sea foam,
herons quietly moving through the wetlands,
gulls squawking and hunting,
seashells, the resident gray fox,
and pounding surf.
And of course, the dolphins.


Walking on the sand has its challenges, too!



Late Autumn on the AT—AAH!

Two Miles at Hawksbill
Scarn and Scree

 Up close and personal with the woods today. Short hike on the AT after a night of rain. Moist underfoot. Quiet. Rock and moss, decaying logs, green leafy ferns, trees bare of leaves–naked in profile. Alone on the trail, one hears the mind, worries, wonder—silenced by the invitation for protection to take over. Then everything is a hum.

The normally rocky-to-smooth trail is interrupted by four scree crossings. Each hike has something to remember, so far, none more interesting than the crumbling side of Hawksbill Mountain.

The Trail Ahead

The Trail Further Ahead

Makes one curious …

What geologic action created this pointy megalith?

Refuge for faeries during the rain.

Heading home.



Shamanic Sunset


I’m cut loose, a convict escaped,
Fleeing the simmering Piedmont.
A lone, whirring cicada
Seasonally attuned
Slipped his shell, clinging
Empty and stiff to bark.
I’m parched as cicada’s crunchy shell.

Survival instincts free me
To a higher perch in the Blue Ridge.
From a stone wall on the crest,
Legs dangle into oblivion.
The sun slips lower
In a Massanutten-Alleghany meltaway.

My head in the sky of diminishing day,
Magic and wonder return.
In a hail farewell at the horizon,
Sun tosses a burst of red light.
A sun-bear flies to within my reach
And we merge! “Huh!”

It is ecstasy and exhalation.
A higher voice interprets,
You are a shining ball of light,
From head to toe.
 The message echoes within, encouraging
Comprehension as diminishing light
Takes the cacophony of day.

Trees covering mountainsides
Withdraw to their roots.
Air cools. Insects and butterflies retire.
The only sound in the panorama
An uplifting nocturne chirped in duet.
Moon takes center stage.
Day is done.

No longer a wizened Piedmont shell.
Homebound, full, nestled in fleece.


copyright Louise M. Mitchell

Hiking the Appalachian Trail–AAH!


November 12 – Animal Totems

3.6 miles Hawksbill Gap to Skyland

As we drove into Shenandoah Park, the outside temperature dropped a few degrees to 38. Skies were crystal clear. My son was my hiking partner for the day. First wildlife sighting was a hawk circling over Skyline Drive. Quite beautiful—hello, Hawk! Second wildlife sighting was a deer bounding across the road a few cars ahead of us. She made it safely to the other side. Hello, Deer! Once parked at Hawksbill Gap, out of the car and hiking boots on, I chose to wear gloves and a headband around the ears and a winter jacket over a lightweight fleece. Note to journal: all good choices.

Few leaves remained on trees along this section of the AT. As in previous hikes, the leaves lay as a blanket across the rocky trail, forcing us to concentrate on footing most of the way. We hummed along and stopped to enjoy our first icicle of the season hanging from a rock formation.

About halfway through the hike, where the trail had nice little ups and downs through wooded areas with massive rock formations, my son stopped walking and said, “Bear.” I must have been far away in my own world, because I was caught off guard.

“A bear? Where?”

“Over there. A mother and her cub. A mother by herself is not a problem. But with her cub …”

I saw them. They looked to be running and playing, bouncing around. Then she stood still. She looked at us. She looked away. She looked at us and looked away.

“Let’s back up the trail a little,” my son said.

That was good thinking. Okay.

“Do you have your whistle, Mom?”

“Ah, yes, right here.” It has been hanging from the top strap of my backpack for the last two months, but this was the first time I needed it.

“Should I blow it?”


I blew it and rested and blew it and rested. The bear continued to watch us. Two other hikers stopped with us. They were equally captivated and happy to take cover under the whistle. I noted that the trail ahead curved away from the bear family. A peaceful feeling came over me, when I realized another animal totem was showing itself. I talked out loud to her and told her she was safe. I felt safe. We walked on and she disappeared with her cub over a ridge behind where they had played.

We walked on thinking that was pretty cool and after another half-mile stopped in our tracks again as a wild turkey crossed the trail, fleeing from our footsteps. Another totem! Ah! So much wildlife in one day—more than I have seen since we left Colorado three years ago. What a great thrill to be so close to W-I-L-D-L-I-F-E!


Mother Bear and Cub



Trailside Landscape

Undulating Ridges and Valley View