"I loved our fire talk yesterday. You are a wonderful guide and I feel more focused on my goals, like I am wearing armor to guard from negative experiences. I am definitely recommending you to my friends."

-Nick, U.S. Army, Humvee scout/tracker

"The drum journey that Jeff led our group in did more for me in ten minutes than a year of therapy."

-Tom. software developer


There is one question more important than any other in life. It's a question more basic and sacred than all the other questions involved in our daily living and working. The question is, What kind of life does your heart really long to be living?

Few of us are encouraged to ask this question. Fewer yet are given the tools or support necessary to actually answer this question, then do something about it. We are not taught how to listen for the call of the Sacred in our lives, how to recognize that call, honor it, and bring it alive. We are not told that the heart includes a compass, an inner guidance system that detects "rightness" and "wrongness" for your life and can be asked for guidance and direction in daily life. We are not taught that the heart is actively sending us invitations for a more authentic, power-filled, resilient, and joyful life. And we are not told that we can safely follow those invitations to discover our true self, bring that self out of the closet, and begin living our own life and sharing our true medicine alive in the world.

This is a problem. Because if you are not living your own life you're probably living someone else's life.  That someone else may be an aggressive or psychologically wounded partner, employer, friend, or family/member. It may be a church community, a group of peers, or the collective social beliefs of our entire consumer culture. Whatever it is, it has you marching to someone else's drum thinking you really have no other choice and that you should be content with it. Thinking it is better to be safe than to be really happy. Believing it is better to live a stagnant, secure life than a more authentic life of adventure, joy, vitality, and yes, uncertainty.

You don't have to keep marching to someone else's drum. You have your own drum. It is a sacred drum and your number one duty in this life is to get clear on the sound of that drum and start marching to the call of your own path, calling down the song of your own life and no one else's.  That is where your will find your healing, your power, your joy, and your deepest purpose in life. It is where you will find yourself healing from old wounding patterns, coming back alive, and living the live the Creator intended for you. It is where you will learn to walk a good path that honors the living Earth, and brings some real light and meaningful service into our wounded world.

Our number one duty in life is not just to find a job, work hard, raise kids, pay taxes, and retire as comfortable and secure as we can be. Our number one duty is to come fully alive as the unique soul-person the Creator made each of us to be. To live an authentic, vitalized, forward-directed life aligned to who we are, rather than to the fleeting values of our society or to the endless psychological needs of other people. This is how we become of highest service to our communities and to the world: through our joy.  "The influence of a vital person vitalizes others."  (Joseph Campbell)

This is a spiritual matter. And finding your own answer to the prime Question involves a great adventure and a journey of soul that no one else can make for you. Best-selling books, self-help seminars, religious practices, psychological counseling, yoga, massage, energy work, bible studies, even prayer and meditation alone cannot answer this question. Because you have to do something. You have to make a journey downwards, deeply inside, and explore the landscape of your own soul. Which is the last thing our culture or our egoic self-- our anxious, consciously tended, "packaged self"-- wants to do.  Because neither our culture nor our anxious ego-self knows anything about the sacred realm that lies deep within us and all around us.

I know about this realm and this sacred journey. And I also know that to be successful on this adventure the sojourner needs an experienced guide and outfitter. A guide familiar with the terrain and equipped with the gear necessary for the journey.

You will find both the guide and the gear you need in my programs with Great Plains Guide Company.  Not a "guru" with all the answers, or a new technique with quick fixes for problems.  Not a bunch of books and DVDs and teacher-training programs you endlessly pay for that make somebody else rich and keep you stuck in the role of wounded patient and forever student. Rather, I offer the quiet and reliable inner maps, compasses, and time-tested practices of traditional healers from around the world for discovering your own inner guide and safely navigating the terrain of the journey that is your life.

My individual fire talk counseling sessions, group workshops, and outdoor retreats all teach in various ways the Path of the Heart, a unique approach to personal healing and transformation rooted in the earth-honoring spiritual practices of our indigenous ancestors. You will learn how to connect directly with your own soul, seek a vision for your life's purpose, conquer the fears and hesitations that have kept you from living that purpose, and come alive with new IMG_0100 2power and joy to be of real service in the world.

As a veteran spiritual guide I bring thirty-five-plus years' serious experience to this work, experience earned through thousands and thousands of deep encounters with real people as a hospital chaplain, pastoral counselor, wilderness guide, and teacher in university and health care settings.  All of which prepared me for the inner shift that was about to come later in my own life. At age 49, after a life-changing experience during a 2009 wilderness vision quest, I left a successful twenty-year health care career to begin a seven-year apprenticeship with two powerful shamanic healers. I have since created my own programs here that I call Great Plains Guide Company, a unique array of self-empowerment programs for awakening the soul and living a more purposeful, forward-directed life.


"I return back to my family, friends, work colleagues, and the world as a different, more focused and authentic person than when I came to you. I thank you from the depth of my soul for giving me the opportunity to work with you and with the medicine created through the vision quest week you have created. All the very best."

- Giles Newman, British Columbia (vision quest program)


Ancient Power Tools, Retrieved

At Great Plains you will learn the powerful, life-changing practices of indigenous healers worldwide, including:


  • How to seek a vision for your life's purpose
  • How to navigate major life decisions and transitions, including education, career, home, relationship partners, serious illness and loss, and new opportunities.
  • How to find your animal/spirit guide and get practical help for your life
  • How to extract self-limiting voices of fear and hesitation that keep you stuck
  • How to break the grip of empty busyness, anxiety, and spiritual stagnation in your life
  • How retrieve lost parts of your vital energy, essence, creativity and power (soul retrieval)
  • How to call down the song for your life, and become an artist of the soul, creating the life your heart really longs to be living.



Programs and Jeff's Books



x"The evening you spoke with my class was the best thing that happened all semester. One of my students said when they were driving back to campus they all felt different, more expansive, somehow." -Patricia Sayre PhD, Saint Mary’s College

"Jeff, your talk to my Spirituality of Caring class was awesome! It had a wonderful impact on the students. You are doing very important work, and it is inspiring to see how your deep listening to life has led to this wonderful fruit." -Dominic Vachon, PhD, University of Notre Dame


What You Will Learn

I teach what I know: how to reconnect with your spiritual core, discover your passion, and bring that alive in the world using your heart as a reliable compass. I have re-created my own life four times in thirty-five years and now enjoy great peace, joy, and a deep purpose for living. I make my living now using what I learned and doing what I love: helping people find their own way, safely and confidently, through the fog of difficult, confusing, or painful times to really come alive with new vision and power 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 teachings and practices I learned through all my work and travel is found in my book, The Lost Art of Heart Navigation: A Modern Shaman's Field Manual.

Our number one responsibility in life is to come fully alive, as the unique soul-person our Creator made us to be. Some people know what their heart longs for but they feel stuck, powerless or unworthy to do anything about it. Other people have no idea what they want, what their "heart" is, or what it really feels. Either situation requires a journey downward, into the soul, to discover the destiny of your life and to deal with the obstacles in the way of living that life. You learn to become a true shapeshifter, able to navigate with vision and real power in an anxious world, while living a simpler, more authentic, and grounded life in balance with nature and our wounded earth.

You can begin your own journey to a more happy and rewarding life today. Learn about my programs and get answers to your questions by clicking around this website: What is a nature-based approach to healing?  How does it relate to your own faith and religion, and that of Native American cultures? What is a vision quest? What is the difference between a heart-based fire talk session, and psychological counseling? Answers to all this and more, on the FAQs page.

Thank you for visiting. See you soon.

-Jeff Nixa, JD, MDiv, Founder, Great Plains Guide Co.


Great Plains Shamanic Programs

e-mail: GreatPlainsGuide@gmail.com