A shaman…in the boardroom?

I was telling a friend the other day about my Shaman in the Boardroom venture, explaining how I hoped to assist CEO’s to become more authentic leaders so they can go on to become shaman of their own boardrooms and create more successful businesses for the long term and she replied, ‘What’s a shaman??’ I have to say this threw me a bit! I suppose as I have worked worldwide as a shamanic healer for the last thirteen years it is easy to forget that not everyone knows what a shaman is. So here goes. A shaman is someone who traditionally served many roles on behalf of the earth and their community, such as healer, doctor (using herbal medicine), tracker (of herds), midwife, seer, counsellor, spiritual guide, priest and therapist. Shamanism is the oldest system of belief (it is not a religion) on the planet and predates all organised religions. In ancient times, the role of the shaman would normally be passed down the family line, or a person would be called to the shamanic path by the forces of nature. In my tradition (Andean), the usual way to be called to the shamanic path is to be struck by lightening! There is an alternative route thankfully and this involves being called to the path by receipt of a vision, usually of a shining man. Fortunately for me, I received the latter calling during a visit to Machu Picchu in 2004.

Shamanism has been practiced in cultures all over the world and is still practiced today, which to me is testament to the efficacy of this healing modality and practice. The shamanic path is often called the path of the ‘wounded healer’ for training often begins at birth and it is common for those chosen for the path to experience extreme difficulty and often severe loss in life. This occurs in order for the shaman-in-training to develop his or her own strength, integrity and powers and also to enable a deeper understanding of his or her client’s concerns and struggles. A shaman effectively lives between this world and the world of spirit, journeying to the spirit realms in order to receive information for the benefit of his or her client/community, and balancing out energies that have become distorted in either a person or a place. What is common in all shamanic traditions is the shaman’s wish to leave the world a better place and to live with respect for all things (rivers, plants, trees, mountains, animals, people etc -because all things are believed to contain Divine consciousness). Just imagine what this world would be like – if we all lived with respect for all things and tried to leave the world a better place…… it would be like heaven on earth! So why, may you ask, do I want to use shamanism to create better, more authentic business leaders? Why do I want to put shaman in boardrooms? Because organisations can have a huge effect on the people that work for them, on their customers, suppliers, other stakeholders and of course the environment. Organisational development can be attained by using shamanic practices and values. Shamanic techniques can help CEO’s and other executives to develop strong core values, to clear away dysfunctions and allow the emergence of their authentic being. And the more ‘shaman-like’ the CEO’s and management teams are, the more chance we have of living in a world that is significantly more heavenly than it is now, and of protecting the environment for the benefit of our children’s children… and their children. And because I firmly believe that the old business paradigm – of profit at the cost of all else – is crumbling before our very eyes. I believe that the successful businesses of the future, the long-term sustainable businesses, will be based around strong core values, environmentally friendly practices and exist to benefit all stakeholders not just shareholders. And for that to happen, we need to develop awesome and authentic leaders – we need shaman/leaders. So this is what myself and my group of awesome friends at ‘Shaman in the Boardroom’ are committed to do, to offer leadership development, to create the shaman/leaders of the future, through residential retreats and workshops and through this blog. If you would like to attend our next authentic leadership retreat, or if we can help you in any other way, please get in touch at dawnpaul2014@my.ntu.ac.uk

Tukumunayniyok! (The total power of unconditional love)

Dawn Paul, MBA.


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