Now more than ever, we’re inundated with a barrage of messages, images and social constructs on a daily basis, which has us wondering if it’s all just food for thought or mindless calories? As business owners our eyes are always watching the marketplace, which makes it difficult to step back, put the OOO on and reassess. So, what’s the remedy? A more holistic approach to life – and business – as prescribed by spiritual guru Mama Medicine.
After what she describes as “a dark and tumultuous childhood and three strong, traumatic life events happening within a week of each other,” Mama Medicine founder Deborah Hanekamp took stock: she was seventeen and alone in the world. So, Deborah did what so many have done before: she packed up her belongings, moved to New York and completely remade her life.
For Deborah, this fresh start coincided with a deep dive into spirituality. It would be wrong to call it an awakening, since she had been interested in the divine from a young age. Instead, New York was a new chapter in which Deborah could fine-tune her work as a shaman, reiki master and yogini. After traveling the world and completing an apprenticeship, Deborah developed her signature Medicine Readings, teaching others how to become their own healers.
“I choose to take a more feminine receptive approach to my business by letting things come to me rather than aggressively pursuing things,” she said, noting that compassion and entrepreneurial interests are not mutually exclusive.
Here, Deborah talks about setting goals from a place of gratitude, being mindful versus judgmental, and why spending time in the “cathedral of nature” can be the best medicine of all.
As a child my dream was to be as close as possible to the divine in all forms. This desire led me to spending hours outside by the streams in the forest that surrounded me in the backwoods of northern Connecticut, collecting crystals and talking to trees and animals, searching for and finding many different ways to pray.
When I found out they did something called “baptism” at my church, I was determined to receive one. In my church people usually waited until they were in their thirties to be baptized and my pastor didn’t take an eight year old kid wanting to be baptized seriously. Unfortunately for my pastor, I’m a Scorpio, and I rarely take no for an answer. I kept asking and bothering him and finally he had no choice but to give in and let me get baptized.
A month later, in a routine check-up, my doctor found a massive tumor crushing my right ovary, fallopian tube and appendix, potentially crushing my chance of ever giving birth. I remember laying in that hospital bed for a month in pain but feeling so grateful to be alive and baptized.
This early health concern was one of the many catalysts that pushed me to an early start on my mystical path. During Ayahuasca Ceremonies, I got so much insight into the nature of this tumor, a pain I carried from one life to the next, to realize my part in healing the mother wound. My yoga practice guided me to look at my second chakra and my issues with control in the form of fear of success and abundance. With self-Reiki treatments I felt energetic blocks in my womb melt, replaced by receptivity.
After a dark and tumultuous childhood and three strong, traumatic life events happening within a week of each other, I found myself at age seventeen, completely on my own in the world. I decided to leave the pain of the past behind, and head to NYC to find my own path toward spirituality. The first thing I did was become vegetarian, because I love animals. Next, I began practicing Zen meditation and yoga which led me to travel back and forth from NYC to Thailand and NYC to Peru to study healing and shamanism. I began offering what is now called Medicine Readings™ around the age of eighteen.
I was twenty four and had years of deep spiritual dedication and practice under my belt. A shaman in the Mestizo Shamanic lineage of northeastern Peru visited the Yoga Studio and Healing Center I had just opened. Next thing I knew I was traveling with him for the following five years to places like Brazil, Peru and Puerto Rico assisting his ceremonies and eventually meeting his teacher who I completed my apprenticeship with.
THE LOW DOWN ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SHAMAN OR REKI MASTER
When people ask me what I am, the word I identify the most with is “Seeress.” meaning what I do when you come for a Medicine Reading is see the energy around you. I then translate what I see into English to help you to be your own healer.
Shaman- a term wildly used now for people who access the spiritual body to heal and balance in a holistic way. In most matriarch traditions all over the world there is someone in the tribe who takes on this role. I think that there is a Shaman within each of us that can wake up and help us to heal our lives.
Reiki is a healing art form created in the 1920’s by Dr. Usui of Japan. There are four different practitioner levels of this healing art. In level one you receive an attunement and can practice Reiki on yourself and others. In level two, you can send distance reiki to someone who is not in the room with you, or to your past or future. In level three, you become a Reiki Master and learn special Reiki symbols for healing and in level four you are a Master level and can give & teach Reiki Attunements to others.
ON TURNING HER PRACTICE INTO A BUSINESS
I had a really hard time in seeing the value in what I do. In a way I was my own worst skeptic. But at the same time, Medicine Readings are the only thing I can do really well. So every time I’d try to do something different, I’d get pulled (sometimes forcefully) right back on the Medicine Readings path.
It seems money is an energy we all need, so I had to start charging for my time, quiet my inner critic and know my worth. I had to trust on this journey how incredibly guided I am. I’d like to think that as we get older we get wiser and I’ve surrendered to the face that in this lifetime I’m meant to practice Medicine Readings and be a present mom and wife and that is the wisdom I’ve let in!
Medicine Readings are a 75 minute experience. When you first come in, we sit and talk about anything you are looking to call in or clear out of your life at this time. We meditate for a minute or two as I read your aura in depth. After that, you lay down on a crystal bed and I use different tools to engage the faculties of the senses for healing. To finish I give you some spiritual homework and a ritual bath for you to do on your own.
For me, the goal of Medicine Readings is to give you tools you may need to be your own healer. So you are not relying on me to heal you.
BALANCING HER PASSION WITH THE NEED TO MAINTAIN A VIABLE BUSINESS
I choose to take a more feminine receptive approach to my business by letting things come to me rather than aggressively pursuing things. I think there can be a lot of spirituality in running a business with compassion and grace. I also find that while I’m facilitating Medicine Readings I’m receiving so much healing and guidance so it’s nice for me to have that aspect of my spiritual practice in my work. In addition to that though, it’s very important for me to engage my spirit outside of work. For me, that comes in with trying new things that are outside my comfort zone. For example this week I tried Muay Thai kickboxing, and next week I’m going rock climbing.
Trust the divine timing of things. If something isn’t working out even though you really want it to, it may simply not be in your highest good. Growth happens when it’s meant to. Think about it – you wouldn’t bend down to a tiny seedling and start yelling at it to grow. You would just trust that if you give it enough water and sunlight it will grow on its own. Treat yourself and your business the same way…
Usually when I’m trying to force something and it doesn’t feel right, it becomes very draining. It takes up my time and energy only to eventually not work out. To get back in the flow takes humility and being able to admit to yourself that though it’s a good dream, it’s maybe not the right time. You will know you are in the flow when you feel calm and joyous with your endeavors rather than overly excited and stressed.
I think in our culture we have a hard time understanding that we have everything we need. Set goals from a place of gratitude for what you already have and completeness. Then look at them from this place of fulfillment how can you naturally evolve?
TAPPING INTO YOUR INTUITION
There is so much to be found in nature and if you live in a city take time to remember you are nature made of water, minerals and the same substances that the earth, trees, ocean and animals hold. So a trip to nature may just be taking a few moments to place your hands on your physical body in gratitude and breathe.
Take time each day to remember who and what you love. Love is the highest form of spirituality we can connect to. And this is a practice you already know well! Just add some awareness, take your time and voila – you have your meditation!
Unless you have incredible self-worth, you are usually not as bad as you may think. Know your shadow but grow towards your light.
I hope that all you do is giving you more inner strength and self-worth. If it’s not then you may want to rethink what you are exposing yourself to. I think our best self is one that is not striving for or cultivating anything but is just content with who we see is and from this place lets herself grow and become what it is she is destined for.
INTEGRATING SELF-CARE PRACTICES
I like the idea of weaving in self-care rather than having to carve out time for it. Though I try to bookend my day by beginning and ending with the sacred, I don’t want self-care to feel stressful or like one more thing I’m not doing. So I try to take little breaks during the day to get my legs up the wall or use a hydrosol between Medicine Readings.
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