May 15, 2017

What's The "Spirit" in Spirit Camp?

Guest Article by Eva Goulette.

One of the major ways Dancing Jaguar's Spirit Camp differs from other camps is its focus. 
This program teaches children to focus inward and to learn how to navigate their inner landscape. When children are at school, they are nurturing their minds; when they play sports they are nurturing their bodies; and when they attend Spirit Camp, they are nurturing their spirit -- that wonderful essence that makes each child a unique, beautiful individual. Human beings are made up of mind, body, and spirit. How can we expect to have fully balanced, whole lives if we neglect and even refuse to acknowledge a third of who we are?

The spirit within each of us contains a small, quiet voice, - our intuition. 

This voice can also be referred to as "our higher self" or "higher consciousness." When we turn off or refuse to listen to the voice within, we lose our connection to the deepest part of who we are. Using games, crafts, songs, and activities to connect to that inner essence, children at Spirit Camp are encouraged to trust their intuition, honor their truth and speak from the heart. What an important set of goals!

Lisa Miller, Ph.D., author of The Spiritual Child, completed 20 years of research about the behavioral benefit when children are exposed to spirituality. Such children are 40% less likely to act out and experiment with drugs and alcohol than their peers who have not been exposed to spirituality. They are 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers and are 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex. Miller states that human development is designed by nature to include a spiritual component.

Religion, however, is not a part of Spirit Camp. Children are exposed to mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and other modalities that assist them in connecting to their inner world, but religious dogma is not included in the curriculum. Rather than learning to use a set of rules to navigate the ups and downs of life, children develop their inner compass. By learning to listen to their inner voice, they come to trust themselves to make choices that will sustain mind, body, and spirit.

In Spirit Camp, children are also taught that the human body is a big bundle of energy, as is everything around us. When children learn that their emotions are "Energy in Motion" and are given the tools to move that energy through, then out of their bodies, they are receiving invaluable tools to help them navigate difficult situations in their lives.

We use the analogy of plumbing to help children understand how to work with the energy in their bodies. In our homes, we know that the water is in the pipes, but in order to access it we must turn the faucets on and off. To access the energy in our bodies, we learn to turn the “faucets” on and off. 

The children learn that they have energy systems in their bodies called "chakras." When they are having a good day, feeling happy and joyful, it's because all of their chakras (the faucets) are open, and energy can flow through and around them. When they are having a bad day, are frustrated, grumpy, anxious, or angry, they are experiencing one of their chakras (faucets) being closed. The staff at Spirit Camp teach the children how to open their chakras (their faucets) so that when they leave Spirit Camp, they are empowered with the knowledge that they can alter their emotional life when they are having a difficult time. In this way, children are learning resilience and self-nurturing techniques that will set them up for success as they grow.

One of the biggest changes parents see in their children after they have attended Spirit Camp is that their child has the ability to find a nurturing way to shift their emotions from one that feels "yucky" to a more positive, peaceful place. How many of us have witnessed a child in a bad mood, spinning her wheels in frustration, and affecting everyone around her? Wouldn't it be empowering for that child to know that she can shift her emotions by using one of the tools she learned at Spirit Camp? As you can imagine, a child who learns to do this for him/herself also helps to shift the entire dynamics of the family!

Spirit Camp is a brand new kind of summer camp. Its purpose is to assist children to connect to the essence of who they are, to learn how to nurture that essence, and to trust it when they have important decisions to make. Isn't that what we all want for our children? Don't we want them to have a strong sense of what is right and wrong for them? Aren't we all hoping that when our children are facing difficult choices in high school and beyond they'll have the tools they need to listen to their inner voice to help them make the right decision? That is the "Spirit" is in Spirit Camp.

Click here to listen to a podcast interview about Spirit Camp between Eva Goulette and Dory Cote, shamanic practitioner and owner of Center For Earthlight Healing.

Guest post by Eva Goulette, Founder and Spirit Camp Leader

More about Eva: I knew from a very young age that I was creative, artistic and loved to express myself in non-speaking modalities. Dance became my main outlet for my creativity, and for my ability to communicate without using words.

In my twenties, I was completely immersed in running a ballet studio in New York state. I felt confident in my abilities but started realizing I was hiding behind a mask.  The confidence I exhibited to the rest of the world was hiding the insecurity and self-doubt I lived with every day. I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that has carried me through the next few decades of my life and has brought me to learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. This journey is a never ending one and I am thrilled to know there is no ‘destination’.

A month before my 40th birthday, the vehicle I was driving was struck head-on on Pacific Coast Highway in Southern CA.  The accident turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. My life was changed forever, and I am so grateful for the way my path changed on that fateful day.

I spent years recovering from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and had no choice but to live in the moment each day.  I had very few memories of the past and I didn’t have the ability to project into the future.  I was a bit child-like in that respect. I can’t think of anyone better at living in the moment than a child! I had always loved being in the presence of children, admiring their spontaneity, curiosity, openness, etc. Although I didn’t realize it for a number of years, I was living my life post-accident just as a child does. Over time, I began to feel like a child magnet. I believe they were able to sense my ability to be in the moment with them.

Gradually, with their parent’s permission, I started teaching children things I had been learning since I embarked on my journey of self-exploration nearly twenty years earlier.  I began taking classes to become a shamanic practitioner.  It was very hard at first because I kept falling asleep in class. The amount of information I was learning was overwhelming my brain. In time, I began to realize that I was staying awake longer, remembering more, etc.  After my first year, I realized that my brain was starting to heal as a result of the shamanic journeying I was doing.

I became a shamanic practitioner after three years of study and am thrilled to be focusing my attention on working with children.  I began offering Spirit Camps and Spirit Classes, which are well loved by children. We explore energy, chakras, auras, nature spirits, guided visualizations, shamanic journeying, the law of attraction, attitude of gratitude and many other spirituality based subjects.  I also work with children one-on-one for healing.  It is always my goal to empower the child, to offer “tools” they may use in their daily lives that will assist them in dealing with anxiety, restlessness, difficulties with situations they may be faced with and feeling safe.

I consider it an honor and a blessing to be able to work with these new souls on our planet. They have come into this world with such sensitivity! I feel it is my duty to assist them on their way to fulfilling their soul’s purpose while here. I learn from every child I work with.  I am their teacher, and they are mine.
I have found my life’s purpose and love every minute of the work I do.

Connect with Eva on Facebook and Twitter. 

No comments: