I took a few years off from any real shamanic exploration, in favor of working on getting various health issues under control. As it turns out, I had both undiagnosed and improperly treated problems, such as my apnea, which was woefully undertreated, thanks to a negligent doctor having me on the wrong settings for years despite regular check-ins. Because of this, I was getting the functional equivalent of about four hours of sleep a night--upward from about two a night previously since I was little. That's a lot of sleep debt. Now that I'm under the care of a competent sleep doctor, I can much more easily focus--including on spiritual matters.
A whole lot has happened since I set aside my creative and spiritual life to work on core personal issues. My therapist, George, who supported me for years while I was in the worst part of my struggles, died last year. I owe him for getting me writing again, for helping me to get past the anguish of being betrayed by my spiritual group, for helping me reconcile with my family, for teaching me to manage my emotions better and for helping get my anxiety attacks under full control. The guy really helped me get my feet under me, and he remains an inspiration.
I have semi-maintained my altar and gear since shutting things down for a while. The only spiritual work I have done is a little crafting, a little advising. Now, it's time to not only move the altar but also revamp the whole thing. I need to make room for George on the memorial section, and my ideas of altar layout have evolved considerably. I am realizing that I was still trying to cling to practices that have no personal spiritual meaning, giving equal space for spirits I honor but no longer work with, and being lackadaisical about design. I'm an art major--I can do better.
As I prepare to take up my rattle again, I have been using a tool which I originally started working with a few months ago for stress and insomnia. Binaural Beats are a kind of sound wave therapy, and are also very handy for masking outside sound when you are trying to meditate or journey. I have had surprisingly good results after several weeks of trying it out--though only while using headphones. I'll probably do a more detailed write-up after another few months of testing.
Here is a link to a free Binaural Beats web site.