What Brings You Alive?
What kind of life do you want to be living, really? At Great Plains we teach you how to become a shaman-shapeshifter of your life. Through our individual fire talks, group seminars and outdoor retreats you will learn to walk the Path of the Heart, a powerful method of healing and self-transformation rooted in the earth-honoring spiritual practices of your own indigenous ancestors.
Veteran spiritual guide Jeff Nixa brings to this work 25 years’ experience as a chaplain, counselor and teacher in both university and health care settings. After a life-changing experience during a 2009 vision quest ceremony, he left a successful hospital career to create Great Plains, a unique array of self-empowerment programs for awakening the soul and teaching the forgotten practices of indigenous healers worldwide:
- How to seek a vision for your life.
- How to meet an animal spirit guide.
- How to extract your self-limiting voices of fear and hesitation.
- How to break the grip of illness, anxiety and spiritual stagnation.
- How retrieve lost parts of your vital energy, creativity and power.
- How to become an artist of the soul by creating the life your heart wants to live.
- How to connect with the animals, plants and natural elements to learn from the spirits of all created things.
You will not find these tools elsewhere in modern society because they are rooted in cultures that honored the earth as a mother, and the spirit in all things as a father. These forgotten practices– used by the shamans of your own ancestors to heal, guide and protect their people for thousands of years– are now re-membered and available to address the modern needs of our people and planet.
The shamanic approach is powerful, deep and unforgettable. It is not a religious program requiring faith in a religious hero, a sacred book, or a church institution. It is a practical methodology for finding your spiritual Center and walking a more intentional life of joy and service in balance with the living earth.
“I loved our fire talk yesterday. You are a wonderful guide on the path of the heart. I feel more focused on my goals, like I am wearing armor to guard from negative experiences. Today I found myself using a negative situation as a reason to continue my path instead of getting bogged down. I am definitely recommending you to my friends.”
–Nick, U.S. Army, Humvee scout/tracker
“The shamanic journey that Jeff led our group in did more for me in ten minutes than a year of therapy.”
-Tom. software developer
- Fire talk counseling sessions
- Workshops on shamanic healing
- Retreats for individuals and groups
- Outdoor and Wilderness programs
- Seminars for colleges, business, religious and health care organizations.
“The evening you spoke with my class was the best thing that happened all semester. It was one of those experiences you keep in a special place in you, and take it out when you need to be pulled back into a place of sanity. One of my students said that when they were driving back to campus they all felt different–more expansive, somehow.”
-Patricia Sayre Ph.D, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana
Why Shamanism Today?
The spiritual wisdom of our ancestors is reappearing because people are hungry for a more meaningful connection with the earth and spirit world. People want a spiritual path that connects our lives with the web of creation all around us, not just the ambitions of humans and human institutions. Shamanic practitioners are healers who remember what society forgot centuries ago: that every created thing is alive and has a soul. To be happy and well, humans need to live in balance with the living earth, and stop acting like a parasitic species that is draining the vitality and soiling the landscape of its host.
Great Plains is about finding your way, using your deep soul as a guide. People who attend our programs are often facing a big decision, relationship or career change. Others feel stagnant in their jobs or unsatisfied in their relationships. Some are recovering from a loss, divorce, illness or past trauma. A few aren’t sure what they are looking for, only sensing they are not living the life they are supposed to be living. Many young adults use our programs to get clear on their future, their vocation, or college plans.
People who do not know their heart cannot know their purpose in life and easily get overwhelmed by big decisions and big change. This loss of vitality and direction is called soul loss. Soul loss is common and can result from many things, including the loss of our connection with nature.
The traditional “treatment” for soul loss was not to stay busy, go to psychotherapy or take an antidepressent. It was to get your soul back. That means embarking on a spiritual journey to find the parts of your essence that were lost, bringing your heart fully online, and living the life you were born for. It means getting your unique gifts and power–your medicine–out into the world
Some people know exactly what has been lost and the adventure begins there. Others have no idea what is missing so we begin with practices that teach people how to identify and listen to their deep core for the first time. Every person is different; every path is unique.
“One of the changes I have experienced through Jeff is letting my heart lead in new directions. I have even been writing some poetry. I never imagined myself doing that a year ago! I can sense your prayers and feel your sincere compassion and direction. Thank you!” -Keith A., CPA
Respectful of Personal Faith, and Indian Traditions
“I treasure my Christian faith, and I appreciate how Jeff can guide me to a deeper understanding of myself using the tools of shamanism in a way that feels very respectful to my faith. The human heart is not easy terrain to explore, and Jeff’s help has been so valuable.” -Jennifer, mother and graduate student
The shamanic practices at Great Plains can support and strengthen the personal faith of anyone. “Shamanism is not a religion but a methodology,” says anthropologist Michael Harner. One can learn the tools of shamanism just as one can practice yoga without being Hindu, or study meditation without being a Buddhist. Jeff”s approach is a modern integration of earth-honoring practices common to all our ancestors regardless of culture, not an imitation of Native American sacred ceremony (see FAQs)
Jeff Nixa has worked with Native American families and every religious group in the U.S. He understands the need to respect individual beliefs, and knows that a true healer is a border-walker: one who travels between meaning-worlds of faith and culture. Including the world of people with no religious belief at all. “Shamanism is for skeptics”, says Harner, “it is a system of direct experience”. The sacred text of shamanism is not found in a book written in ink or on stone tablets, but through the Great Spirit alive in our hearts.
If anything, people who participate in our programs find their personal faith expanding, developing a deeper respect for the Spirit alive in all things. With respect comes love, and when you open the door to love, you open the door to healing and hope for the world.
“I trust Jeff’s experience and training; I trust that he has done ‘the work’ for his own inner journey to live generously with and for the rest of us. He uses non-traditional methods that enable my heart to speak and be more full alive.”
-Cynthia, Catholic health care chaplain
What You Will Learn
I teach what I know: how to shapeshift your life by walking the heart path. I have completely re-created my own life four different times in twenty-five years and now enjoy much greater peace, joy and a deep purpose for living. Since 2009 I have apprenticed with several of the most respected shamanic healers in the West including C. Michael Smith, Sandra Ingerman, and teachers from the Harner Foundation for Shamanic Studies.
(The core of all this work is found in my new book, A Modern Shaman’s Field Manual: How to Awaken Your Power and Heal the Earth, available shortly through this web site, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.)
Our number one job is to come fully alive as the person we were created to be. To do this requires a journey downward, into the soul, to discover the destiny of your life and to deal with the barriers to living that life. Society does not teach you how to do this. You must go deep and meet both your core self and your biggest limiters- your inner “dragons.” At Great Plains we engage with those, transform them into helpers, and return with your gift for the world. You learn to become a shapeshifter of your life, a magician able to navigate with love and vision in an anxious world.
It’s an archetypal hero’s journey, because in making real changes you will encounter real resistance, mostly from within yourself. The negative voices of fear, self-doubt, and hesitation are powerful dragons that need powerful tools to conquer. I teach those tools and will support you fully as both a companion and guide in the adventure.
You can begin the journey to a more happy, authentic and rewarding life today. Learn more about my programs, or just enjoy the many photos and client testimonials by clicking around this website.
Thank you for visiting. See you soon.
-Jeff Nixa, JD, MDiv, CMT
Founder, Great Plains Guide Co.