Book Feature: A Shaman in Kensington Square by Alba Lewis
This is a story about a mouse, an eagle, a shaman, Sarah who’s run away to London from her husband leaving her children, Janet who’s been loyally married to Roger for decades and wants to stand by her husband but has fallen for the charms of a much younger man, and Doug who frequents back room bars whilst holding down a important job. But all their lives change as the energy of the shaman comes to stir things up.
I close my eyes, waiting to feel what to do next. Twenty-five faces watch me. You are waiting to hear the words that will flow from me. Even I don’t know what they will be or where tonight will go. But you are here, eh! In my country. In Peru. On my mountain.
When I began this work I used to fear these moments where nothing appears to happen. I would get caught in the belief that I was stuck. Even sometimes now I trip, just for a tiny moment. Then I take a breath deep into my body; I almost see it, the breath, it is running down my throat into my lungs and I see it go, how you say, separate into my blood and into each and every cell and I think it is funny I am so scared. Because, eh, you know there is no such thing as nothing happening. There is constant dying and being re-born – happening right inside us all, all the time. When you really sit on your arse, when you let your thoughts go and watch your body, you will feel it is alive, sometimes as if you are in a room full of flies buzzing around, eh. Why? Because each part of us is alive. Inside your guts are things living and dying. Living because of you. Heh heh. You forget, no? But probably when I remind you Westerners of things like that it makes you shiver, no? But I don’t know how else to explain the busyness of our bodies when we stop to listen. It is loud, I tell you. So busy.
I open my eyes. I start. ‘I will tell you the story of the sacred mountain and the journey you and me make, the journey we all need to make. Even if we don’t want to, eh. Perhaps it is even the reason for our lives. I don’t know. You find out. We all have the opportunity to make the whole journey in our lifetimes… But before I do this I want to ask you all a question.’ You all look at me, how you say – expectant, waiting; your eyes shine with the camp fire we have made in the centre of our human circle.
I stand up. ‘I’m not very tall compared to you. My people come from the mountains, my body’s more compact with the – what do you say – middle of gravity lower to the ground. Here – I punch my stomach – ‘I think it helps us to live in the mountains and to walk the distances we do, something my people do less and less now. Maybe. Maybe I’m wrong. My belly’s soft and full too; I love my food and I love sugar, eh, don’t you?’ I walk around the circle with the fire on my left. I hold my right arm out and I touch the heads of those of you who’ve come to learn from me. I touch each of your heads by taking the tips of my fingers and placing them on each forehead, pushing my fingers through hair and sometimes I scratch your scalp gently. If I feel like it, eh! Heh heh. Sometimes the texture makes me smile. It is my gesture of love to you. I ask this question before I begin my story… ‘Who here wants to be enlightened in this lifetime?’
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About the Author
Alba Lewis was clear she wanted to be a writer at the age of 13 as she smoked cigarettes in the cubicles with her friends. It took her 20 years to start writing and so far she has published seven books, two fiction and five annual factual books on life. Committed to an interesting life, despite the paradoxes, Alba continues to write, work with not for profits, and support others to take their creative spirit and get it out into the world via her mentoring programmes. ‘We live in a world where a creative resource is paramount to solving problems and having an expansive life”.
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