Skip to content

Let your life speak.

indigenous wisdom | consciousness | culture

Sarah Seidelmann | The Wisdom of the Wild Things


After two decades in the study and practice of medicine, Sarah Bamford Seidelmann took a three-month sabbatical to search for a way to FEEL GOOD again. Having witnessed human suffering early in her career, and within her own family, she longed for a way to address more than just the physical needs of her patients and to live in a lighter, more conscious way.

Swimming with Elephants tells the eccentric, sometimes poignant, and occasionally hilarious experience of a working mother and wife undergoing a bewildering vocational shift from physician to shamanic healer. During that tumultuous period of answering her call, she met an elephant who would become an important companion on her journey, had bones thrown for her by a shaman in South Africa, danced with sacred stones, and traveled to India for an ancient Hindu pilgrimage, where she received the blessing she had been longing for. Ultimately, she discovers an entirely different kind of healing, one that enables her to help those who are suffering in the way she had always aspired to.


  • As a physician, she began to wonder what would happen if they stopped just focusing on diagnosing diseases and started working on their general wellbeing, surround people with love and seeing what happens.
  • She felt unsettled like she was missing the bigger picture. So she and her family sold their larger home and she prepared for a sabbatical. She got out in nature and started to feel the “high” of nature, and it changed her.
  • “It felt like the weeds and grass and trees were blowing in the wind for me.” I felt like I was either getting strange and cracked up, or… I was reconnecting and it was going to take me somewhere beautiful.
  • She was moved by the indigenous movements, shamans, natural medicine, etc. and began to explore the cultures and practices.
  • When we play around with sacred plants, we have to respect where they come from and what spiritual elements they hold.
  • “Wild animals that cross your path could have a message for you.”
  • She met her spirit animal, a bear named Alice. As she spoke with the bear, she realized she had been extremely distracted and it was affecting her whole life negatively. Alice helped her realign.
  • Our culture has sold us the story that somehow animals are beneath us. But as we study them more, we realize that’s certainly not the case. In many other (arguably more enlightened) cultures, they are extremely reverent and respectful of the wisdom and energy of animals.
  • She ended up going through the Martha Beck coaching program, which ultimately liberated her to do what she’s doing now.
  • Everyone belongs and we should all welcome them into our circle. 


Community is what gives us the strength to get through the things that would normally crush us.


Find Your Feelgood (Sarah’s website)

Swimming with Elephants: My Unexpected Pilgrimage from Physician to Healer





Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.