Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kundalini, Spiritual Awakening, and Control

One of the most difficult aspects of Kundalini awakening, or really any spiritual awakening, is reconciling the idea of control.

When we are still asleep we think that we are in control of much of our lives. Many spiritual communities and new-agers constantly speak of how “in control” we are– in fact, everything is a reflection of us and we “chose” our parents and our lives and the people and events in it. If we just think positively enough, or are “spiritual” enough we will have total and complete control over every aspect of our existence.

A Kundalini Awakening quickly breaks through that delusion. Kundalini awakenings are like a volcano of not-control, ripping through our lives and destroying any false notion of control we may have. Of course, some of you reading this may have gone through gentler awakenings and are merely pondering how much control you have, or if the memes and “secrets” about how when we awaken we have total and complete control over our lives is true.

It is not. The funny part about “waking up” is that you realize how much you have scrambled to believe things that are false, what illusions you have suffered under, and how frequently the opposite of what you once thought is the actual truth of the matter.

Control is an illusion. None of us have control. We have outer control of our “mundane” lives to a certain degree. If we sit on the couch and eat chocolate cake binge watching Netflix rather than going to yoga class that is (at least somewhat) on us. But did we even really make that decision? Maybe we were intended to eat chocolate cake and watch Netflix instead of going to yoga class.

As long as we think that we are in control we will always feel out of control. It is an odd paradox. In a Kundalini awakening most of us desperately want control… and we are taught a brutal lesson about control as our bodies are twitching and contorting and our beliefs and understandings about the world are ripped away from us. The desperate need for control causes us to clamp down, to attempt to stop the process, which only succeeds in making things much worse.

We do not have control. We never did, and never will. If we give up this idea of always being in control, of needing to be in control, and all of our mental constructs about control we can fully just be. No more planning, no more endless mental constructs about how we are going to be so much in control in our lives, or if we only were in control this and this would happen, and if we could just think hard enough or be enough or do enough we could finally have control.

We obsess about control. We let it rule our lives. If we are undergoing a spiritual awakening like a Kundalini awakening, we want to control the process because it seems to be happening despite us. The end result of this is that in the rare moments things may be going well in our lives and we feel in control we feel in power. And all the other times we fall victim to the endless thoughts of what would only happen if we had control and how our lives would be different.

None of us have control. It is incredibly freeing to let go of control, to let go of any illusions that you have control. In a Kundalini awakening it is crucial… it is one of the big tests and initiations in fact… to go beyond control, to realize that you do not in fact have any control over your existence.

Once you let go of this control you realize that you do, ironically, have some control. Of external circumstances, in a certain regard. But for the big stuff, the huge choices and “if only” and all of the stuff we obsess about we can simply let it all go. We can simply be. We can simply allow. And when you do that what flows into your life does to a higher degree, and when you make a decision you simply make the decision that you should make. The endless mental chatter is gone.

When we let go of control we allow for people, things, events, and everything in our life to be orchestrated by the divine. It flows through all of the layers of “reality” to our external, mundane, every-day reality. We become who we are meant to be, do what we are meant to do, and eat chocolate cake if it is the right time for chocolate cake.

By participating in life this way we know what opportunities, what energies, and what paths we should walk. We seize on opportunities when presented to us because they are the right opportunities. And when something “bad” happens to us, we do not think that “if we only did something differently” or beat ourselves up for not being a different person. It happened, it was intended to happen, and we move on (with the right sort of help or support system if necessary, of course).

By letting go of control, or our ideas about control, we can simply be. And if you are going through a significant spiritual awakening, such as a Kundalini awakening, it was intended to happen. You cannot stop it, you are not in control of it. Stop thinking of it as an adversarial force, stop stopping it and restricting it. Get to know what it is doing and why. Learn how to work with it.

If you are interested in working with me, you can contact me

Self-Worth and Justifying your Existence

” Reactionary behavior only happens when beliefs are underlain by doubt”– Esther Veltheim

For a long time I attempted to justified my existence on Earth. When I was younger I entered (and won) writing contests and art contests. I constantly strove to prove myself by my accomplishments. I was a bit of a troubled, emotional kid who was intensely private (for a lot of reasons that are probably evident by many of my writings now). Through my writings and art I proved myself. I wasn’t troubled– I was an artist. An artist who had her work up in the school hallways, an artist who got flown down to the state capital to read her short story.

When I got older I justified my existence by earning a ridiculous amount of credentials and taking every course, workshop opportunity, reading every book, pamphlet, and joining multiple groups in order to prove my worth. I was never showy with what I learned– I was actually pretty embarrassed at how young I was and how much I had accomplished. People would frequently ask me (and still do) how I got so many credentials in such a short period of time and quite frankly if it were solely up to me I wouldn’t have. Kundalini energy can be really intense, and a powerful force to drive someone forward in really dramatic fashion. But yet there still was this desire to have the highest credentials, take the most advanced classes, become the most advanced practitioner in my field that came solely from me that I take personal responsibility for.

About four years ago this all came to a screeching halt. All of a sudden I didn’t want to do anything. I want through an extended existential crisis about how small I was, how insignificant I was, and all the accomplishments in the world in the grand scheme of everything, in the totality of the cosmos was simply a drop in the ocean of divinity, no matter what I accomplished. All I wanted to do was sleep, to enjoy the peace, to no longer take classes or workshops or achieve anything.

Although I still take courses (the ones that interest me on occasion or when I need continuing education requirements for my license) there is no longer a sense of needing to prove who I am. Through the last four years I have gone through and thrown out (or scanned) old notes… read, sold, or given away hundreds of books that I once owned, dropped out of most of the groups I was in, and no longer have any interest in competitive spirituality, in justifying who I am as a healer or an artist or a person.

I see this same justification for existing residing in most of the people I meet. Since my focus is on spiritual communities, I will focus there, but it really shows up in a multitude of ways in many arenas. At a certain point I read the quote above “Reactionary behavior only happens when beliefs are underlain by doubt” and it really struck me. Anyone who knows me or my writing knows that I am not a quoter– I prefer to speak from my own direct experiences. But this quote was a catalyst to me understanding this need for justification of myself for so long, and why others have this same need.

When we are who we truly are… when we have no doubts about who we are… when we understand that we are valid as who we are… we no longer have to prove ourselves to anyone. We can just emanate who we are. We do not react if others question who we are. When we understand that our spiritual experiences are valid, we no longer have any doubts and can act from that place of validity.

When we do have doubts, when we have self-worth or self-esteem issues we are constantly in this reactionary space, in this space of needing to prove ourselves and justify our existence(s), That person who constantly talks about what they achieved, the person who creates drama by saying what a “Shaman” or how “awake” they are or how everyone else but them is “stupid” or “playing” in groups is reacting from a place of trauma and a place of doubt. The person who is engaging in conversation in a yoga class or meditation circle (or just in a regular social situation) where the topic goes to spirituality or esoteric-type matters who announces who they studied with and how long they have been meditating still is in a reactionary place of self-doubt.

We all have trauma, and it is healthy to have doubts and to deeply consider our spiritual experiences and if they are valid or not. But when we know who we are we do not have to justify ourselves. We can merely speak our opinions without interjecting our teachers names or how long we have been studying, we do not have to call ourselves “awake” or “enlightened” to others, we do not have to start up conversations about how attractive we are, how good we look, how in shape we are (or not), how we are a Shaman or healer or our certifications and licenses and jobs and how we feel others are objectifying or being reactionary or creating drama because of our loud proclamations and justifications about who we are. We can just simply be. 

When I started my path 15 years ago doing Reiki I was really worried about how I would be perceived. I found that along the years the more I accepted myself, the less difficulty that people have with me and what I do. Now, if someone comes to me I can simply tell them that they have spirit attachments, or an ancestral curse, or are going through a Kundalini awakening (or whatever the case may be) and 99 percent of the time people listen to me and accept it. The same goes for my physical practice– when people came in wanting Acupuncture I used to give them Acupuncture. Now, if I know that they need CranioSacral Therapy or integrated therapies I simply tell them. My point here is that the more we accept ourselves the less outer chaos, the less flak we will get from others. Much of our drama, our feeling not accepted or judged is coming from our own chaos, our own non-acceptance.

When we are who we are we can simply emanate it. We can emanate our power. We do not need to justify it, or ourselves. Other people will sense and know who we are by us simply being who we are.

When we fully know who we are and no longer have self-doubts or self-worth issues… when our own inner chaos stops… when we fully embody who we are in our daily lives… the people surrounding us who we perceive judging us or ridiculing us or creating drama will stop (99 percent of the time).

When we are who we are, when we no longer doubt ourselves or our experiences, when we have confidence and fully embody who we are to the outer world… we no longer have the burning desire to achieve, to prove our worth through workshops and certifications and gurus and books and groups and jobs and possessions and proving our superiority about a subject in groups and social circles. We can just simply be. We may still take courses, or interact with others, or be in groups… but it is from a place of certainty of who we are.

When we are who we are without doubts we can notice when others are reacting from their own self-doubt. When they still need to prove themselves, when they are still in the vicious cycle of proving their self-worth, proving that their existence matters, that they matter. And we can have sympathy for them and all of the chaos that is caused because of this.

The truth is that most of us are still trying to justify our existence. And we do not need to. We are perfect the way that we are. We can always learn more, know more, be more… but we never need to justify ourselves, to create chaos and drama in a constant attempt to try to prove ourselves finally worthy. We can step out of this vicious cycle and simply be… whoever and whatever we are at this very moment. We can emanate that. Be secure in that. Have confidence in that. And when we do that reactionary cycle, the chaos and drama in our lives that is fueling and proving that we constantly need to justify ourselves and our very existence will stop.

We can have self-love, we can have certainty about who we are. When all of the violence towards ourselves stops we come to a place of peace in our lives. We move forward with the certainty of who we are and what we are intended to do here in our short lifetimes. We can still achieve, we can still do. We just move from a place of inner knowing in our lives. We no longer need to justify our existence to ourselves or anyone else. We can just simply be.

The Mythology of Oneness

One of the most pervasive myths in spiritual communities is this idea of oneness. Due to the somewhat recent popularity of authors (and some other authors for hundreds/thousands of years) who espouse enlightenment as a sort of emptiness or not doing or being anything… a shift from identification as a human being and from external reality and from any sort of sensate experience or emotional state… we have a culture of aspirational “enlighteners” who think that enlightenment is very different from their real, current, and human condition.

As I have talked about many times before, this only furthers the escapist, illusory mentality of people who wish to get away from their lives, their humanity, and “ascend” somewhere else. Spirituality cannot be here… we must “journey” to it, we must take weekend vacation workshops to find it, we must be something and do something and eat something else to achieve it. Most people are only awakened to the extent (especially in spiritual communities) to see what is wrong with themselves, what is wrong with the world, what is wrong with humanity. Or they are only awakened to the extent that they can accept the “good” or “light” in themselves and they castigate the rest. So, in their minds, the only rational illusion is that enlightenment and anything spiritual is not here and is not now and that it must be found and caught and sought after, that the “bad” or “shadow” aspects of themselves must be turned into light (often in quite a severe fashion) and that whenever something “not light” shows up it is worthy of admonition, chastising, and self-hatred because it means that they are not “enlightened”. That there are a whole series of rules and memes and books and gurus and diets that we must follow in order to “achieve” enlightenment, to “ascend”.

What is ironic about this is that entire spiritual communities are based in this illusion. That spirituality is somehow “out there”. That it must be achieved, and that anything having to do with humanity, the human condition, the physical body, our every day lives, our emotions, our senses, our sexuality… anything that is not controlled by this odd puritanical and pervasive thoughtform of “light” and “dark” and “evil” and “good”  is somehow not spiritual. The irony is that this odd puritanical reasoning is the furthest thing from how spiritual flow, how divinity, how the direct experience of spirituality and enlightenment actually occurs (and not just in my accounts, in the clients and people I talk to who have found such states and books not based on pop psychology/propoganda and illusion for centuries FYI).

Within this myth perpetuated in spiritual circles about the nature of enlightenment is an idea of oneness. There is this categorization of oneness as a sort of hippie love-fest– that it is indescribable bliss. There is also an idea that oneness means that we lose our “ego” and surrender our individual identity forever.

From these two ideas has come a whole slew of odd irrational thinking. That we are all the same, that there is no such thing as race, sex, or class. That we all have equally valid ideas, equal intelligence, and equally matter to the world and to one another. That we should give each other equal respect, and consideration.

Let us explore this. We now live in a sleeper society of Wikipedia. I see this in the groups and communities that I am in (or once was in). The person who has read a wikipedia page going into a Thelema group, or a Shamanic group (or whatever, you catch my drift) thinking that they know everything about the subject because of wikipedia and google. Then the people who have read a book or two thinking that they are “experts” in a subject. Then someone who has been studying spiritual healing or magic(k) for twenty years… and not only studying but practicing… having the direct experience of not only reading words on a page but engaging intensely with a path for decades. And let us say that there are two people who have direct experience of this path for decades. One of whom circles around the same patterns, the same stuckness, their same issues never really engaging in their spiritual path… and the other launches head-first into their spiritual path fully ready to surrender and move forward and learn and become who they truly are. Are these people equal? Are their opinions equally valid? Any logical person would say NO. In any other non-spiritual sphere/community this would not be accepted. We would not want a second grader teaching us calculus, and we would not want someone who had studied calculus but had no love or embodiment of it (and was at a second grade mentality despite studying it for a long time) teaching us calculus.

We are not all the same. We are different. Our cultures, our race, our identity, our features, our physical body, our studies, our direct experience, our traumas and ancestry and lineage and past lives and everything that makes us who we are makes us unique. We should celebrate our individuality. It is beautiful. We are not all the same. Our community is not the same as every other, our family is not the same as every other, our social group is not the same as every other. Each sphere, culture, social group, family etc. that we operate in is a unique energetic makeup. And it is individual. And it is beautiful and should be celebrated for that unique beauty and what it (or you) can uniquely bring to the world.

People who have not had the direct experience of oneness do not realize that it does not mean that we are all the same. It does not mean that we lose our “ego” or fight to kill our “ego” (another topic, but how violent are we to our poor ego?) It does not mean that our opinions, our physical prowess, our ideas, or our experiences are the same as anyone else, or equally valid to any other. There are many paths up the mountain, but some of us are at the top, and some of us are at the base. I would rather speak to those ahead of me than those behind me… and at this point I would rather speak to people who have climbed back down the mountain and are relaxing in a hammock than anyone still engaged in the proverbial mountain.

So what is Oneness actually like? The Direct Experience of it?
Well, like all good myths there is some truth to the illusion. We do experience a dissolution of Self, a realization of connection that is profound, life-changing, and a sort of bliss that is really indescribable. The myths are true. But it is a temporary experience so that we can change perspective, not a permanent state.

Let me explain. After we have experienced “oneness” (basically have dipped our toes into oneness typically) we can either get freaked out or be not ready for jumping into the full flow of oneness and go back to our separate thinking and identity. When this happens we desperately miss “oneness” and will seek spiritual high after spiritual high (or adrenaline rush like jumping out of airplanes) to find it again and again, to dip or toes in again and again, only to lose it again and again. This is what most people do, and why we have so many aspirational spiritual sorts– they are just looking for the high of oneness but do not venture into the reorganization, integration, and change of perspective aspects. Or maybe they do not realize that they can go further than this state. Basically, they never dive head-first into oneness. They just dip their toes in from the shores.

Most people who go through the “high” of oneness will endlessly talk about it like an addict, and will ironically talk about killing the ego, oneness as the hippie-love fest and all being the same mentality while espousing how many workshops they have been to, what teachers or gurus they have studied under, and how long they have been meditating.

What happens if we go through (instead of back) into Oneness?
When we go through oneness, we come back to ourselves. We are still one (although without the high or rush that happens with being hit over the head with realization of oneness) but we realize our own identity. We no longer are haunted or persuaded or hurt by the innumerable thoughts we once had, or we sense them but do not identify with them because they are not who we truly, as an individual are. Our minds are quiet. Our lives are peaceful. We are one… yet separate.

It is hard to describe to people the perspective change that happens. Many people are not ready to hear that you can experience more than one state at once. That you can know that you are one, that you can be one, feel that you are one… and that you can experience separation and individual identity at the same time. In fact, experiencing oneness allows for you to truly understand who you are as an individual, it gives you clarity that is so clear that it is a bit jarring to process.

The perspective change that occurs with experiencing oneness is that it is always present. But you can be blissful and joyful and full of sorrow and pain and anger at the same time. In fact, all of these states can be exquisite and are equally valid and worth– no state or emotion needs to be chastised or cleared or chased away as “dark” or “negative” or “bad”. You can be one and spiritually isolated at the same time. You can realize that all of humanity, the world, and each other is one…. and that we are quite separate and that separation, that individuality, that individual spirit that is present in each person, each tree, each pebble is necessary, and often beautiful.

The direct experience of oneness allows for us to give up the seeker role. We have found. We constantly feel the ocean of divinity, the oneness, the vibration and sound and harmony that is present and flows through everything and every person. This can be quite difficult to process, actually. And the experience of oneness can actually be quite isolating, as the whole world, or entire spiritual communities would rather engender and support the mythology of oneness that the actuality of the experience.

In the direct experience we just continue to unfold, and return to our external lives with the perspective shift that we have gained. It can take years, or decades, or even lifetimes to integrate or even understand having simultaneous experiences of being oneness and also individual… being the entirety of the flow of divinity but yet just a pebble in that flow. It is a continual process of unfolding. The further that you get, the more you experience oneness, and the more people have no idea what you are talking about. The more you expand into oneness the more connected you feel and yet the awareness and understandings cultivated become isolating.

I realize that this blog may be difficult to process because people really want these states to be different from their lives. People hunger for their lives to be different as they repeat the same patterns, and destroy themselves again and again in their lives without consciously understanding why. Many people have this hunger for illusion because it perpetuates this idea that if they only changed their diets, if they only did yoga, if they only were able to “ascend” or “achieve oneness” their entire lives would be bliss and they would not have to deal with the human and sensate experience. And the state is different. Just not in the way that people want, the way that many “gurus” teach to gain money and followers (and most gurus have not reached these states themselves. Most real gurus are actually not popular because they say the things that are truthful and what people do not want to hear– most people really love their illusions. It is rare that a true guru gains popularity with the masses because most of the masses are asleep or caught in aspirational states and illusion).

If you are stuck in any of these states, I can help you integrate and work with them. Contact me with interest.

Boundaries: Part One

One of the things that is most common in my field to hear about is boundaries.  If I could count the amount of times that people gave the vague advice of “having boundaries” without any sort of follow-up thoughts or advice about actually developing boundaries, it would probably be in the low hundreds.

People love to give vague advice. If you have a spirit in your house, you should sage. If you are sensitive, you should ground. If you have difficulties with other people, you should develop boundaries. While all of this may be right on (except for the sage thing, but that is another blog), it doesn’t really offer any actual advice or actual knowledge. It is just yet more surface material, surface understandings.

So let us explore this in depth. What is a boundary? We are all familiar with concrete boundaries– the boundary of our property line, or our state. But we also have energetic and emotional boundary lines. These may be the same or they may be quite different.

Emotional Boundary Lines
An emotional boundary line is how much we are willing to give of ourselves emotionally, and how much we allow in to our personal energy body of the emotions of people around us. This can be a huge problem for Empaths, who generally have no boundary lines in this category, or nurturers, who take on the problems of others as their own.

We may notice that we are giving of ourselves in the extreme in this category. This means that we feel emotionally (and often physically) exhausted after encountering others. Sometimes this can be similar to “compassion fatigue” where we give away our emotions of peace, love, and other positive emotions so that people who are having difficulty can experience them. It is not a bad thing to radiate love, or bliss, or joy, or peace… but it is if it is depleting our own reserves. The peace and comfort and joy we offer others should radiate through us sourced from divinity, and not tap into our personal emotional bank so we end each day exhausted. I think of a lot of nurses when I think of this category, many of whom radiate a compassionate and helpful energy and then end their days unable to move or express love and emotion to their family because they are so burned out.

We also may be a total sponge, and taking in the emotions of others to the point that it is unhealthy to us. We may not even know we are doing this, that the emotions we are experiencing are not ours. We may even have trouble with our own identity (if we are super sensitive) because we are saturated in the emotional stimuli of others.

Although this is simplistic, it really is true that there are givers and takers in this world. Many, many people are takers. In terms of this category, it means that there are many of you out there who take on emotions of those who surround you in order to keep the peace, because you feel you need to, or it may be really unconscious behavior on your part. Many people who take on the emotions of others find themselves surrounded by chaotic, troubled emotionally people. This is because the emotionally troubled chaotic people love you… because they feel better after they give you all of their emotions and chaos.

You may instead notice yourself as a dramatic person, or simply someone who has high emotions (or emotions like a roller coaster) who feels a surge of emotions and automatically notices yourself reaching for the phone, or another person such as a partner, family member, or friend to release your emotions to. You may not realize that instead of managing your emotions that your friend/partner has actually taken them on for you.

Energetic Boundaries
We also have energetic boundaries. These obviously can be similar to emotional boundaries, but can be quite different. We all have a physical body, which we think has quite concrete boundaries. Our skin, basically. But we also have energetic boundaries. Some of us may be aware of further energetic body boundaries than others (we actually have a series of energy bodies that surround us and most people are aware and can be aware of the ones closest to them/skin level).

These energetic boundaries allow for stimuli coming from the outside to come in. This can be anything from scents to emotions to physical presence (we have all felt that person that is in our personal field that we just want to back away from us). It can also be what we allow to happen to us, what we think we deserve, and what we are willing to put up with. 

I always thank my clients for this, because the people I interact with have allowed for me to have boundaries and to constantly refine them. People looking for spiritual help will test every single loophole, every single boundary, every single personality weakness or vagueness that you have. It has been a real blessing to be able to constantly work on my boundaries, especially because I used to not have any (total sponge) and I have had to build them up one by one so I wasn’t and am not constantly run over by people, spirits, energies, and so forth that do so because they want something from me, or just because they can.

I am not a law of attraction person (for reasons I will not get into here)… but what I will say is that what you think you deserve you will get. If you do not think you deserve to get paid for your work, you will not. And you will get angry at every person who comes to you looking for free stuff. If you think that you deserve to get paid, you still will get people looking to get free stuff, but you will just let them go without any sort of resentment or issues on your part.

If you have taken care of many of your boundary issues (like I have) you will have people that come to you to test your boundaries and offer you the gift of refining them. I really love to help people, to be of assistance to people, but there are many people who are mentally ill who contact me, there are people who I feel like I have the tools to help but the energies I work with say “no”, there are many people who contact me who attempt to take advantage of me by constantly emailing me and asking me for things that are outside of my comfort zone (and outside of the boundaries of what any grounded, reasonable person would ask), and there are people who would really be better served by working with someone local (in-person). Just FYI- I love when people contact me. But I have boundaries. And I stick to them. And if the energies I work with say “no” I have learned to listen because otherwise things go really wrong (and do when I don’t listen).

Simply put, we all should have rules and boundaries for what we accept into our lives. What we are willing to take on. Who we are willing to take on. How much stimuli we are, what type, and through what channels. We should have an unwritten (or written, as that can be helpful) for what sort of behavior, energies, emotions, and other experiences we are willing to allow into our world. And then we should embody that contract we have written for ourselves about what we accept and what we believe to be true about ourselves. We should magnify it and let it radiate from our energy field.

This is not a control thing. Stuff will still happen. But if we do not have these rules defined in our world, in our energy field, we will continue to have people who use us, who control us, who dump their energy into us. If we do not have these rules we may never learn how to manage our emotions and will dump our emotions onto the nearest sponge (taker/person). We do have a lot of control over our energy field, over our belief systems, and what we allow to present and come through to us. We may not have control at larger levels, but we are blessed with an energy field that we can refine and work with.

Part Two of Boundaries will be about how to set up a contract with yourself… and how to set up your emotional field and energetic field to embody that contract. 

On Being an Empath

One of the most commonly talked about and thought about psychic abilities these days is Empathy. But what exactly is an Empath? What does it mean to be Empathic?

In many circles I see this as a source of difficulty– a wide variety of people belaboring the moon cycles, or crowds, or an Earthquake in a far off land as a source of great pain and discomfort for themselves. And while this is true, and can and does certainly happen, it certainly misses out on the positive aspects of being an Empath, and is largely the perspective of the unskilled (meaning lacking the understanding and tools to navigate the ability).

A lot of people I find also announce themselves as an Empath when they do not have much information on it, and will assume that they are one because of a meme or quiz on Facebook or a short article somewhere, or because it is a term that they heard basic information on (and they don’t know anything about other psychic abilities). While this is in no way dangerous, knowing what our dominant psychic ability is (basically how we take in information) is how we both understand and develop the capabilities to work with our sensitivities (the PC word for psychic abilities these days it seems).

We all have a dominant psychic ability– a way that we take in information. Even the most asleep, clouded individual who is in no way psychic (and would likely loudly denounce the term) sometimes takes in information that other people in the room might not notice. This can be through felt sense, visually, hearing, taste, smell, and/or feelings.

Being psychic in a simple sense just means that we take in information that is beyond our culturally accepted notions of what “reality” is. We think of reality as being somewhat concrete. Five people walk into a room and they all agree that a desk is in there. This is concrete reality. Two people may notice two things about the desk, one may notice three, one may notice twelve, and one may notice forty-five. The last two people, in simple terms, are psychic. They notice more than other people do, and are likely noticing things that are outside of what we commonly accept as “reality”.

So what is an Empath then? There are actually different degrees of being an empath. For simplicity I will refer to them as low, medium, and high. Empathy in itself simply means that you take in that information, feelings, and experiences of the people and situations around you like a sponge. Likely most of us (especially if you are reading this) have had an experience of being in a room with someone who is really angry and then feeling angry ourselves– not because we are actually angry but because we actually soaked in that energy.

Empaths are energetic chameleons. There are different psychic abilities that would create the situation that if we were in a room with an angry person our Stomach may hurt (Clairsentient, which most people who consider themselves as Empaths actually typically are, and is something that also happens to most Empaths to a certain degree). But while someone who is faced with a lot of stimuli and gets a headache or stomachache because of it (and this is something that normally happens to the person when they are faced with an overwhelm response), the Empath will get a headache because someone else has that headache, they will get a stomachache when someone else has a stomachache, they will get angry because someone else is angry.

Empaths energetically change themselves, like chameleons, to the dominant energy of the room, a person in that room, the environment, the weather, or even the world. 

In low level Empaths they may just notice not feeling well, they may notice that when they encounter someone angry that they take on that emotion. They will often call themselves sensitive, or will notice that they are sensitive, and will have trouble with crowds, with chaos, with difficult emotions. They will be able to connect deeply to people and will be able to see people for who they truly are (behind all the masks and lies and other stuff people put up to survive). They will be able to tell when people are lying.

In mid level Empathy the person will have all the traits of a low-level Empath but will also use their sponge- like abilities to soak in/change their energetic structure to match the weather, the environment, political upheavals, the room they are in, the internet, their electronics (yes, this is where difficulty with electronics can come in and most mid or high level Empaths cannot wear watches because they just stop them). The mid-level Empath unless they are aware of what is going on is often in a fair amount of pain (physical pain) and doesn’t know why they feel like crap so much of the time, and why their emotions are always all over the place.

In high level Empathy the person will have the traits of low and mid-level Empathy. They also will feel major shifts with the world, the cosmos, the fluctuations in the Earth (volcanoes, for example) from even far away. Most high-level Empaths actually process these events in their bodies like a fault line for the Earth (a topic I can get to in another day). A high level Empath who is unskilled (who doesn’t know what is going on or hasn’t found any tools to deal with it) is often in a great deal of pain and is often not able to be functional in the world. In some high-level Empaths there also is the ability to not only resonate and take on energies like a chameleon there is the permanent shifting of their energetic structure after. This can happen with some skills (like sculpting for example, where the person is around a sculptor, resonates with them, and permanently takes on an ability to sculpt) but happens with psychic abilities as well. For example, I have worked with plenty of high-level Empaths who have found people who can see grids, or can communicate with the dead, who after their encounter with them now have the ability to do so themselves on a permanent basis.

In many cases of mid and high level Empathy it is difficult for the person to have an identity– to know who they really are. This is because they are processing and assimilating so much information that is not them. This means that it is difficult to know what is vs. what is not actually themselves. Mid/high level empaths may feel quite lost or feel that there is so much stimuli around them that they are constantly on overwhelm. These are all skills that can be learned and worked with and even the highest level Empath can discover who they really and truly are.

All of these Empaths (low, mid, or high) require the right skills and understandings to navigate their world. A fair amount of Empaths think that empathy is just torture, and it is an odd torture that they on some level enjoy. They enjoy going into chat rooms and groups about psychic abilities or “shifts” and finding others in their same situation to complain about how the current shift, or astrological phenomena, or person in the bar has caused them pain and finding other Empaths to be in a pain field with. People are where they are, and if they wish to have that pain, or the label of Empath means pain and difficulty to them, they can stay with it.

But there is so much more, and with the right tools and understandings Empaths can really thrive. You do not need to be in pain, you do not need to lament your existence because you are so sensitive. Empathy contains a lot of useful skills that allow for you to feel life on a different level than most, for you to care for people and understand people on a really deep level. For you to make a huge difference in the world. At the very least knowing when people are lying is an incredibly useful skill. I have helped many Empaths become functional, learn skills, and learn to thrive in a world where “sensitive” is still not considered an admirable or useful trait. I offer 3 or 6 month programs as well as individual sessions for Empaths to learn all the skills they need to navigate their experiences, understand their experiences, and learn how to build a functional and quite wonderful (if I do say so myself) life with their abilities as a source of power instead of being a source of constant pain or detriment to their existence. If you are interested, you can contact me.

Revisiting the Word “Shaman”… or Why I no Longer Call Myself a Shaman

I have posted in the past about the usage of the word Shaman in modern contexts (you can read some of this here, here, and here), as well as my difficulties with the neo-shamanic or “core” shamanic community (you can read about this here and here).

In the past I postulated that there are actually fairly specific criteria for who is a Shaman, and that it is something that you are called to. It is not something you get a certificate in, or take a weekend course and become, and if “core”/neo/aspirational Shamans knew what actually was involved in the process they would run screaming in the other direction.

I still believe all of this to be true. There are people in modern day society, people in the suburbs, and people who are not traditionally classified as “native” who are called to be Shamans. There are people all over the world who are intended to be Spiritual Workers, who have the calling and capabilities to be Spiritual Workers.

But my thinking about the word Shaman has changed, and my desire to call myself one has changed. People who know me or have worked with me know that I think a great deal about energy fields. Each of us has a field of energy around us that makes us up. Not only that, every organization, group, family, archetype, and even every word has a field of energy around it. And the field of energy around the word or the archetype of Shaman is too loaded, too screwed up, too appropriated, too associated with the appropriators, too hated by indigenous cultures for me to want to use it to describe myself. It doesn’t feel good to do so knowing what I know about the energetic resonance of the word, and the energy field behind it.

As I have stated, if we were to create a check-list of what would a “Shaman” be– I could likely check off most of the items on that list. Near death experiences, childhood illness, intense spirit led initiations, series of odd dismemberment dreams and other dreams, a way of looking at the world differently to the extent that it can be alienating, spirit-led knowledge, the ability to easily walk through worlds, other Shamans/Spiritual Workers looking at me and laughing because they know the path I have to take or the path that I am on… I have had or experienced (and in some cases continue to experience) all of the criteria.

But with the amount of animosity that comes from NDN/Native and Indigenous cultures about the “core” shamanic group (some of this is definitely righteous and totally understandable about modern/mostly white people appropriating yet another something Native and turning it into yet another mystical thing to accomplish without understanding anything about the culture and its hardships) I do not wish to call myself a Shaman. I feel some of this anger is misguided, and can see how the anger stems from ancestral sources of grief and terror and anger rather than the usage of a simple word, but I understand their perspective. Each time an indigenous/native healer chooses to sit with me and discuss this, I learn something. And I see their point more and more looking at most of the “Shamans” that they see in modern culture and the workshops they hear about and the “Indian priestesses” that are actually Irish but announce themselves as pipe carriers on a Native roll somewhere when anyone who knows anything about any Native culture knows they are just taking part in some odd delusion that they have concocted.

Also contributing to this energy field is the amount of “Shamans” who have decided that they simply wanted to be one, took a few classes, and now offer Shamanic work. Although many of these people are lovely, or can be lovely, again… there are a lot of delusions and illusions and the odd sort of puritanical thinking that comes up in this group that makes me not want to associate with them. With the appropriation of “core” shamanism it was largely done under the umbrella of really puritanical, rigid, and conquerer type energy and it is hard to see this energy and not react in disgust to it. Adding to this is the difficulty of the upper-middle class suddenly posting a bunch of memes about how Shamanic they are, and how they decided to get rid of some of their possessions because they understand that is what being a Shaman or what being Spiritual means, and it is understandable that most people who are fairly reasonable would not want to be a part of that crowd.

Most of modern Shamanism doesn’t really have much to do with being a Shaman, and most “Shamanic” services really amount to psychological help or life coaching. There is nothing wrong with working in the mental realms, or boosting our confidence or awareness, but it is not what real spiritual work does or is like. For example, most Shamans who are called have spiritual experiences come to them… for example will have a “power animal” that stalks them, that haunts them, for periods of time. You do not go off to a weekend workshop to drum and ask for one. There are many other experiences like this that occur and differentiate modern core shamanism, which is mainly a mental/psychological construct, and actual spiritual work. Mainly the amount of power and the intensity of experiences that the practitioner has, but that is a different blog I suppose.

Another consideration is that most modern “Shamans” don’t actually do any, or much, work for others. They go to workshops and maybe help friends. Most Shamanic workshops are self-help seminars. And this can be wonderful, because any of us that feel a bit better about ourselves is great. But it is rare that people set up, or have success setting up, a practice. This is because it is not their calling and they do not have the power to attract clients and energies to them. Some modern “Shamans” are quite successful because they were formerly in business or marketing and utilize their skills and calling in that arena to be “Shamans”.

So the end result of this is that I call myself a Spiritual Worker. I do this to differentiate myself from the field of energy that now comprises the word “Shaman” which either calls in a sense of anger/fury or the weekend warrior that wouldn’t know something spiritual if it smacked them across the head. From the puritanical constructs of the “Shamans” who think anything to do with this world, or darkness, is bad or “evil” (I could tell a funny story about a woman who basically told me I was too dark in a Depossession/Spirit Release and Curse Removal group, but I will stop). I do not have the puritanical constructs that still heavily influence most “Shamanic” workers. I also do a lot of different work and have studied many paths intensely that are not “Shaman” oriented- such as Occult/Magic(k), Rootwork, Conjure, Vodou/Voodoo, Witchcraft, Energy Work, and Folk practices of a lot of different cultures, including those from my own ancestry.

The other thing is that I actually work. I don’t care to get in lengthy discussions about what a “Shaman” is or how to release spirits or how to work with ancestors because I am actually working and doing so for a living. There is a huge difference between intellectual knowledge and what is gained from actually doing the work. There is a huge difference in having direct spiritual experience, knowing because of having spiritual experiences and initiations… and people who just read books and quote their teachers and take on their cosmologies. Many of my experiences do not have a name, they do not have an easy label. I go through an initiation, or learn something from my ancestors or teaching spirits, and it no longer fits neatly into a specific name, and it isn’t likely in any books.

The point of this blog isn’t “oh, I am so great”… it really isn’t (just to clarify). I do the work that I do because I am called to it, and I am good at it, and at this point I really can’t do anything else (trust me, I have tried). It is partially to say a bit about where I stand regarding the usage of the word Shaman and why I call myself a Spiritual Worker now instead. It is also because I know many of you out there are struggling with your experiences, your very real direct experiences, and do not see yourself in the core “Shamanic” groups, and are sensitive enough to sense the animosity or general oddness of the field of energy surrounding the word Shaman. The energy surrounding the word “Spiritual Worker” is more peaceful, and is descriptive enough to keep many of us away from being identified as Core Shamans and the work that they do, and also describes those of us who actually do spiritual work rather than just talk about it, and those of us who are actually having direct spiritual experiences and initiations happen to us rather than seeking them out.

It is my calling to help others who are having direct spiritual experiences, such as Shamanic/Spiritual Callings, so that they can understand and work with their path. If you are interested in working with me you can contact me.

Letting Go of Toxic People and Energy Vampires

Do you have someone in your life that drains you? Every time you are around them the situation is always about them, their issues, their victimhood, their chaos. We all have people in our lives like that. People who are toxic, lost, chaotic, broken, severely traumatized, or narcissistic. Some of us have people in our lives who go beyond that and are significantly mentally ill or toxic to the point that they have lost all source of reason. Some people are Energy Vampires, or people that suck all of the energy out of the people and even environments that they interact with.

There was a point that I had someone like this in my life. Over the years I soaked in new-ager mythologies about how “we create our reality” and that everyone was an extension of myself. I believed that somehow my emotions and beliefs and woundings created this person and their mental illness, their victimhood, and their inability to not only be unable to take care of themselves but a lashing out and toxicity towards anyone that tried to get them help or was compassionate towards them.

In my own life since I was relatively sane and stable I tried to have compassion for this person. I tried to see them as an extension of myself. I tried to reason with myself that they didn’t understand what they were doing. But I realized that in doing so I was harming myself.

It is great that we take responsibility for ourselves, for our lives. Most of us do not. Most of us are still fully asleep in our own lives and not able to take much responsibility for our lives. We feel victimized by our lives, our circumstances. Some of us begin to awaken and we begin to believe that we have total responsibility for our lives. In fact, we are the creators of our own world, and anything that goes wrong with it is because we are not thinking right or acting right.

It is our fault, basically. This type of thinking is yet another illusion, and it is problematic. It is wonderful when we begin to take responsibility for our lives. We really should. Most of us don’t. But there is another layer, that of the people around us creating their own lives, our communities creating the reality of our communities, and our world creating the reality of the world. We are not the center of the universe. We dream our world into existence only to a certain extent. And beyond that we dream our world into being as families, societies, and the world… and beyond that we are part of divinity, and divine flows, and sometimes stuff just happens.

Most people do not awaken to this. Most of the world is asleep. And those who are awakening like to believe that they create everything. It is empowering to do so– to believe that you are in total control of everything in your life if you just think and act right. Unfortunately, this is a myth. We are not the center of the Universe. We do create our own reality, but so is the person next to us creating theirs. And they may be broken, toxic, asleep, and harmful to you and your wellbeing.

The truth is that even if you think right you may be mugged, that the starving five year old doesn’t need to take personal responsibility for everything. Some things that happen, in fact many things that happen, are not because of us or our wrong thinking or acting. It is because of community, societal, or world dreaming… it is because of spiritual divine flows and reasoning and stuff just happening. We are not in control, and we are in control… but only to a certain extent.

It took me a long time to cut this person out of my life because for so long I wanted to believe that if I was only more compassionate, or if I ignored them, or if I tried to reason with them or understood with clarity that they would change. I tried new age reasoning that I created this person, I had compassion for this person, and what ended up happening is that they took advantage of my compassion. Every interaction with them sucked me dry, it made me feel terrible, and I felt responsible for their feelings and their brokenness because I am sane and stable and they are far from it.

While I suggest to everyone that they see if they can mend their relationships, especially with family, and work through ancestral and personal traumas (the whole taking personal responsibility thing) it is important to note that there are people out there that no matter how much you heal yourself will not heal. You healing your own thoughtforms will not bring someone out of mental illness. You healing your own addictive tendencies will not cause anyone else to stop being an addict. We are responsible for our ourselves, our own beliefs, our own traumas… but other people have their own that we really have nothing to do with. Again, we are not the center and sole creator of the Universe. We just are not.

When you get to a point of clarity about what you can and cannot take personal responsibility for it is a choice to have certain people in your life, even if they are family or close friends. A relationship should be an equal energetic exchange, meaning that you give and receive 50 percent in a relationship. A lot of relationships don’t do this– it may be 60/40 or 30/70. A lot of these relationships can be worked with and healed. But there are some relationships that are 10/90 or 0/100 and these are toxic and can be harmful to us. With the clarity of how we feel and what we are receiving from this person, we can make a logical and compassionate decision to not have a toxic person or an Energy Vampire in our lives.

By saying this I am not saying to abdicate responsibility for an autistic child, or a mentally ill family member, or a friend who is an addict. But there is a questioning process here of how much of an impact they have on us, how much energy we are willing to give, how much of our own sanity we are willing to give. If it is an autistic child this may be a much greater percent than an addict. I cannot tell you what to do in your own life. But what I can say is that it is worth questioning if the energy vampire friend, the narcissist who is unable to listen you or anything you say, the mentally unsound family member who creates nothing but violence and chaos, or the work colleague who you feel extremely drained by are people who you wish to extend your own energetic reserves, emotions, and general sanity for.

Ideally all of our lives can be peaceful, and filled with people who bring energy and beauty into our lives. As we awaken we may notice that the people we once held as friends, the family members who once pulled us into their own issues, and the work environment we once disliked but couldn’t put an exact reason why are toxic or even dangerous for us. We may naturally find ourselves parting from these environments. This may be a painful process. We may find how we have engendered these people and places and need to take personal responsibility for our part in creating them. But we also may find out that these people and environments are toxic all on their own and decide that the best decision is to sever ties from them.

I will say that it is typical in the awakening process to see the patterns in everything and everyone… except our own… especially at first. To see everyone around us and even the world as a toxic and horrible place. At this point it is healthy and relevant to look back at ourselves and heal ourselves. Later we can remain with people who have trauma and issues and even the worst energy vampire/ taker of energy in the world and be okay. But it is our ability to make that conscious choice of who we want to interact with, who we want to have in our lives that is key. And it is okay to let some people and situations go if they are not serving us.

Spiritual Advice Column: What is Awakening, Ascension, and The Shift?

Hi Mary-

I am quite confused and am hoping you can clarify some things for me. All over I see the terms Awakening, Awake, Ascension, Enlightenment and talks about Shifting? What do these mean? Are they all the same thing? Can you explain in some clear way so I actually get it?

– Thanks!

Hi Thanks!

Yes, I agree the terminology can be a bit confusing. I will try to explain the best I can what each term (from my understanding) means.

Awake and Awakening– Awakening is a term that means that someone is becoming more conscious. We have a lot of layers of personal trauma that color our worldview and create our belief systems. We also have layers of conditioning– from family, ancestry, past lives, society, religion, the world placed on us. Most of us are unconscious to the fact that we operate with a sense of sleep in this world, meaning that we accept this conditioning without understanding that it is there, or if we do we feel trapped or victimized by it, unable to transcend it. Awakening simply means that we are working through these layers, are noticing them, and may be in the process of transcending them.

Awake means we have transcended them. We know all of the layers, understand who we truly and vitally are without them. We are able to see them in ourselves and others. Interestingly enough, most “awake” people still have conditioning, patterns, and trauma left. They are just able to recognize it and consciously work through them.

Enlightenment- In some circles enlightenment and being awake are the same thing. And really it is. En-light-enment refers to the process of getting lighter– both meaning removing baggage (trauma) and the conditioned layers of reality which weigh heavily on our physical bodies, as well as the fact that when we remove these layers/baggage/belief systems who we truly are can come through. Who we truly are is divinity, it is light. When someone is fully enlightened you can see light around their heads as well as light in their eyes specifically, but there will be light around and flowing through them because they are connected intimately with the divine, and they do not have anything blocking that from emanating from them.

Ascension- Ascension is a funny one. There are whole communities focused on “ascending” and I have worked with countless people who believed that they were “ascending”. Quite frankly, as long as we are in physical bodies we are not going anywhere. Ascension is an illusion (a helpful one, but still an illusion). We need this sort of mythology to explain our awakening. A lot of people have difficult lives and the thought that they are going somewhere and a dis-identification with their physical bodies provides them exactly the sort of illusion that they need to get by and get through what might be a difficult awakening. Either that or they have heard of “ascension” and decide to say that they have done so because it sounds cool.

That being said, there are a lot of things that happen as you are getting lighter, as you are casting off the layers of conditioned reality. Some of these can be quite incredible, such as the seeing of geometric forms comprising the world, the viewing of yourself and your reality from a much wider scope, and even the development of energetic wings. It is easy when some of this is happening to be caught in your own trauma and to believe that you are “ascending” or going somewhere else, or create an illusion that in a certain amount of days you are going to “ascend”. But most people who actually have worked through their layers of stuff (become awake or enlightened) recognize that everything is right here. Even other times, dimensions, universes, etc can all be accessed through and by us… even death states, the Void, divinity, etc. are all right here. But this is one of those hard illusions to shatter. People really want to believe that they are going to ascend, or are ascending.

It has now been part of our “awakening” mythology and Judeo-Christian spiritual paths for such a length of time that it is not going to be dispelled. For people who believe they are ascending I always ask them two questions: What would happen if you ascended and didn’t go anywhere (ie remained in your physical body and in your current external life of picking up groceries and going to work)? Are you willing to let go of the belief of ascension to understand something greater and deeper? Most people understandably want to maintain the illusion that they are going somewhere, and there are a lot of cults and organizations and spiritual circles catered to this illusion. But most people when they have “ascended” find that they have created an illusion to help them through some difficulties, and that they still are human and have a human body, and simply get on with their lives.

Shifting- We are all shifting. Every one of us. Sometimes we go through bigger shifts, sometimes larger. Sometimes personal shifts and sometimes shifts that the whole planet, the whole cosmos is participating in. Typically “shifting” refers to the more global shifts. It is the idea that the whole planet is becoming more evolved, more awakened, more conscious, and it does so through shifts that cause a wide variety of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual symptoms.

Again, there are whole groups catered to “surviving” the shifts where people get together and talk about how horrible they feel because of what the cosmos is doing. Often the self-appointed “gurus” of the groups focused on this will maintain and even create this energy because they don’t know any better either. It gets to the point in many of these circles for “sensitives” or “awakened” sorts that every full moon, every Mercury Retrograde, every earthquake on the other side of the world is cause for long discussions and identification with how sensitive one is, and how it is such a struggle to be so.

While I certainly have compassion for people who are plugged in and feeling the energies from societal, global, and cosmic grids (for more on the grid system you can read this) much of this is an illusion or can actually be transcended. I have had interesting discussions with many well versed astrologers about how Mercury Retrograde is a sort of fad, and that the emphasis that has been placed on it is a current illusion that in fact creates many of the issues. Basically, if you think Mercury Retrograde is going to be awful, it is. Do not blame Mercury Retrograde– it may not even be affecting you based on your individual horoscope.

Similarly, I have read many, many self-help and spiritual books by this point going back decades if not hundreds or thousands of years. For the last hundred years or so (I will say eighty, probably) most of these books end with talking about what a great shift we are undergoing and how it is the “great shift” resulting in the turning point for humanity. Every single year for the last eighty years there has been a book that has said this. Guaranteed. And while there certainly have been turning points in our history, in our nation, this idea that there is going to be one huge shift (ahem 2012) that we, as alive people in current human bodies, are going to be part of, is a huge illusion. The truth is that we are always shifting in big and small ways. The world is always shifting in big and small ways. We are not the people to bring us into a new age. When we recognize this we can see that the world is always shifting, as are we (as long as we are open to it), and that we are not that special… that every generation thought that they were the ones.

We also have the ability to “transcend our horoscope”. I used to be affected by every single shift, events happening in other places of the world, the weather, Mercury Retrograde, every full moon (you get the picture). While this is a work in progress (yes, I definitely do have some natural up and down energy levels with the moon especially), I have worked at transcending my horoscope– basically meaning that I have gone from a space of reaction and participating in the levels of conditioned reality (the grid system) that create such events and the contents of my individual horoscope saying what I am going to react to and when… and am no longer affected by them the same way I was. I simply notice shifts and larger energies now instead of being overwhelmed by them (well, most of the time). I also do not participate in the mythologies, in the illusions, that the cosmos is one huge source of pain for anyone who is sensitive. I recognize that it certainly can be, but I have opened up, and have taught many others to open up, beyond this idea.

Hope that helps! If you want to send me a question to answer in a future column, you can contact me with “Spiritual Advice Column” in the headline.  Please note that I am not a physician and do not give personal health info online, and only pick questions I feel that I can answer and ones that would make for a good blog.

False Spirit Guides, Angels, and Tricksters.

As many of you may know from reading my other posts, what I generally see from many people is that they are self-creating most of their spiritual experiences, angels, gods, spirits, spirit guides, and so forth. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because these aspects are disassociated aspects of Self- meaning that they are aspects of ourselves that have split off due to trauma or because we are not yet able to or cannot fully identify with them. When we fully know who we are, when we are fully integrated and embodied there is no longer a “true self” or “inner physician” or an aspect of ourselves that is a traumatized six year old because those traumas have been resolved and we are just simply who we are– one integrated, awakened human being.

So the parts we self-create, or are aspects of ourselves are important. They allow for us to understand our deepest desires, to let us know what we are really thinking, to have access to parts of our subconscious. But there are things outside of ourselves. There are all sorts of energies and beings and spirits that we can contact, that we can connect with, that are not us, or a disassociated aspect of ourselves.

It seems that this is something that nobody talks about, but people take for granted that what they are contacting (when they contact something outside of themselves) is a spirit guide, an angel, a deity, an ancestor, or a helpful spirit. Sensitives automatically assume that when they are channeling something that it is what they say it is, which is often a being of light, or great wonder, or something of great intellect. While there are all sorts of beautiful, blissful, and interesting energies, spirits, and beings out there, most people are not contacting them. What they are contacting is a run-of-the mill former human, an aspect of a former human, an attached energy, or a trickster.

This is obviously a difficult sale (so to speak) because most people really want to believe that they are contacting Archangel Michael, or a deity, or some other great power. It is a difficult illusion to look past. When we self-create AA Michael, or he is an aspect of our higher self, he tells us what we want to hear. What our deepest desires are. Again, this can be wonderful to hear because outwardly we may feel confused or directionless or stuck in our lives and AA Michael as a subconscious aspect of ourselves may tell us exactly what we are really thinking. When we are contacting something outside of ourselves we will hear advice, thoughts, and understandings that are not our own. When we are working with a true, non-physical teacher this will often be things that we need to hear, rather than want to hear. We may be challenged, we may have difficulties, we may be put through initiations so we can go up a level on the proverbial spiritual elevator, or go down a bit in the proverbial rabbit hole of spiritual understanding.

But when we are really and truly speaking or working with an enlightened being, an angel, a presence of the divine it has a much different energy than us (no matter how enlightened we are or think we are). It has a much bigger power source than us. It is a much bigger, denser, and more intense vibration than us. This means that you will feel this presence when it enters a room, when it speaks to you, when it makes contact with you. There will be a palpable change. We cannot help but feel changed or be changed by this presence, especially if we channel or in some way take it into our body. We may feel shaking, have headaches, or be so expanded that we cannot move. The energy field of AA Michael and our own is so incongruent that it may take months, if not years, to work with him so we are not “blasted out” after an encounter. It is typical when actually working with large and powerful energies such as this to be fatigued, in a state of expansion, or have a release of a huge amount of emotions, traumas, and other blocking material after the encounter.

When working with “lower” energies such as elementals and elevated ancestors (a little lower on the huge energy scale) there still will be a palpable shift, a sense of presence different than our own, and even a change in our physical environment (for example in the work that I do I set out water or perfumed water and the presence of ancestors would create bubbles in the water). These energies are important to work with and cultivate, but although their energy fields may not be so hugely different than our own, they have different ideas, thoughts, understandings, ethics, and belief systems than our own. They do not fit tightly into our cosmology of the universe and our concepts of right and wrong.

But many of the energies we are actually interacting with, if they are outside of ourselves, are not actual spirit guides, angels, or elevated presences. They are likely not even elementals or “lower” presences. They are most likely former humans or tricksters who have taken on the guise of a spirit guide to get their needs met.

Most former humans (basically meaning spirits or part of the spirit) are typically pretty weak. They are typically quite congruent with our own energy fields. If spirits do not move on they can attach to our energy field for strength and for energy. Some of these former humans will begin to present as spirit guides, angels, and so forth so that they can remain attached. They will espouse various memes and sayings that will help you feel good about yourself, give advice/guidance, and help you with clients and friends. You will not feel energized, or move up the spiritual elevator (or down the rabbit hole) or really have any deep understandings, and most importantly you will feel drained and ill from the encounter. You will also likely, if you are able and willing to reflect, be able to point out a specific part of your body, or your energy field, where this “spirit guide” is.

It is hard to convince people that what they have is an attached former human and not a deity that is informing their decisions. In my work I never get rid of anything– I let people make choices about their spiritual path, what they want to work on, and even if they want to get rid of harmful energies that are not theirs. Most of the time people decide to keep their “spirit guide” and then will come back later, after much reflection, to release it. It is understandably hard to admit, hard to process, that you are carrying something that you thought was AA Michael and really it was simply a former human.

You may ask what is the harm of keeping a former human if it is giving decent advice? The real harm is in having anything in your body or in your field that is not you. Anything that is not you that is in your body/field is draining you of energy. It is taking your vitality. It also may be giving shitty advice that you really shouldn’t take. Just because someone no longer has a physical body doesn’t mean it is all-knowing. Many spirits have an increased capacity to see their lives from a clearer and more expanded worldview, but if they are earthbound they are likely the same intelligence they were here, have the same spiritual wisdom, etc.

In some cases there may be a trickster or other non-human simply messing with you or that has a specific purpose (such as if you actually have abilities and it is interested in you and/or your abilities but you are unskilled and do not know how to use them). There are all sorts of beings and energies that will present differently than they actually are or will not present who they actually are as a sort of test, or simply because they want something from you. A trickster is the most notorious of them for presenting differently than they actually are, and for interfering with humans who don’t know what they are doing in their spiritual practices. The trickster will present as a deity or spirit guide for its own amusement, to gain energy or ask for offerings, of for other purposes that are too complex to talk about here. Again, since a trickster is a lower energy, there will often be a sense of deadening of energy and fatigue and there may even be feelings of confusion or a gut instinct on your part that things are not what they seem (if you are actually willing to look at what you are dealing with rather than being simply content that you have finally found something that is a separate energy from you). Tricksters are notorious for going into well-meaning spiritual practitioners offices and screwing with the sessions, and many spiritual practitioners are unfortunately unable to clearly see that they are dealing with one.

Although this can be a lengthy and controversial topic, please know that what appears to you in meditation, in your spiritual practice, and through the course of your life as a “spirit guide”, angelic or other heightened presence has specific signs, or guideposts, that mark their presence. It is important to question what you are dealing with (even if you like the presence or are excited you are dealing with a spiritual presence for perhaps the first time). It is important to be just you in your body. Even if you are a channel it is important that energies leave after… and that you have complete and total sovereignty in your own body and are capable of making decisions of what you let in or not. If you are having difficulty with any of these issues, contact me, and I can help you through an individualized session: spiritual healing, instruction, or spirit release.

Surface Understandings and Bodywork, Acupuncture, and CranioSacral Therapy

As many of you may know, I have a bunch of professional licenses/certifications, amongst them Acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy.

Due to the popularity of Acupuncture combined with the length of most Chinese Medicine schools (3-4 year full time degree), many professions have begun to include Acupuncture in their scope, or have attempted to. The most recent attempt of this is by Physical Therapists, who call Acupuncture “dry needling” and say that their Acupuncture and usage of Acupuncture needles is “scientific” while Acupuncture is a bunch of hogwash. Nowadays Chiropractors, Medical Doctors, Naturopaths, and even Massage Therapists (in Canada) have begun doing Acupuncture with very little training and zero clinical training (most of the time).

The effect of this is either nothing (as in the client gets no benefit), the client actually does get benefit of some sort, or that something awful happens, such as the increased incidents of pneumothorax by physical therapists who have begun doing “dry needling”. But most of the time the effect of this is nothing. This basically means that someone goes to a chiropractor who only has a very surface understanding of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, the chiropractor does the same 6, or 12, or 15 points he/she does on everyone (or the only 6 points he/she knows), and the client gets little to no benefit.

And just to show that I am not biased, I will say that this happens a great deal with Acupuncturists as well. Acupuncture has become popular enough that a lot of students are flooding schools. These students may or may not cultivate themselves properly, be able to understand Chinese Medical theory, or ever get to the point that they are actually decent at Acupuncture before they leave the profession (the attrition rate of acupuncturists is pretty awful).

The same thing happens with CranioSacral therapy. Someone takes a weekend course and all of a sudden they say they do CranioSacral therapy, or are a CranioSacral therapist. The most ironic part of this is that I have seen many Acupuncturists (the same ones who may claim that chiropractors and the like are ignorant of Acupuncture and do not have adequate training to practice) have no problem with saying that they are CranioSacral Therapists, Energy Workers, Shamans, Spiritual Guides, or do other forms of bodywork after a weekend course. Ah, life ironies…

Any form of bodywork/massage, CranioSacral Therapy, Acupuncture (and Chinese Medicine) is a lifelong learning process. There is a quote by Ida Rolf, the creator of Rolfing, (I forget the exact quote) saying that she would not consider someone a Rolfer until they had a five year full time practice because before that time they are not doing Rolfing. This sentiment of course extends to any sort of modality including Energy Work, Spiritual Work, and even Psychotherapy.

Bodywork of any sort is an art. It takes time to be become an artist of any modality. Each modality I practice I recognize is a life-long pursuit. I have great admiration for an Acupuncturist I studied under who has been an Acupuncturist for close to forty years, and who comes from a lineage of Acupuncturists and great spiritual men. He is confident yet humble and once said in one of his talks that however much he knows he cannot know everything, and that he has so much more to learn. Each great bodyworker I have met is an artist. His/her work with clients is an artistic expression– as lovely as a painting, a poem, or a piece of music.

It also takes an immense amount of time to be skilled at any form of bodywork (I will use this as a general term meaning Acupuncture, CranioSacral Therapy, Massage, Energy Work, Herbal and Spiritual Work). It is a continual learning process that is never over. Many beginners focus on amassing a great amount of skills and workshops (I sure did at one point in time) and ultimately being skilled means doing one technique, one modality, one expression of that modality correctly. The real skill is the clinician being able to hold space, to hold stillness, so that the client can release their imbalances, traumas, and chaos… and return to a state of greater balance.

It also takes a great amount of knowledge to finally begin to understand any form of bodywork. Study of the history, understanding the innovators, how and why things came about, what it can help or not help with, and understanding the modality itself takes years, decades, and even a lifetime (or several) to understand on a significant level.

Any form of bodywork requires a great deal of cultivation of the Self. It will bring up your own issues, it will be tiring and trying if you do not have the personal cultivation practices to back it up. This means dealing with your own issues on your own time, doing yoga and meditating and building your own personal power so that you do not get burned out or suffer from compassion fatigue.

Finally, any bodyworker that has done significant work has a connection to something greater than themselves. Most are very aware of this. There is only so much one human, one person, one clinician can do. Having a divine connection and understanding of the flows of the universe and how to work with them is something every great bodyworker I know has.

Unfortunately most clinicians are operating with very surface understandings of their modality. Ideally each clinician would take a personal inventory of themselves and realize that there are certain conditions that they are unable to treat, that there are certain people they do not resonate with, and that there are certain modalities they are a beginner at and refer out. This does not happen. So what happens is that we have many people going to see Acupuncturists, CranioSacral Therapists, and Bodyworkers of all sorts who are not very good. Instead of saying that the clinician cannot help them, the client often says that Acupuncture didn’t help them. This is unfortunate, because Acupuncture with an artist, one who has cultivated themselves and studied and knows Acupuncture on a deep level could likely transform their life with a few needles.

This pattern of operating in the clinical world used to upset me. I would hear Acupuncturists (even fully licensed ones who have gone through four years of school with a clinical practice) tell me that they didn’t believe in qi and Craniosacral Therapists ask how they should treat an MS patient (when anyone who has even taken the first course in CranioSacral therapy knows that it is intended to be deeply individualized and that is why it works so well). I have had patients tell me Acupuncture doesn’t work when it is obvious they just went to a crappy Acupuncturist and patients tell me that they are learning CranioSacral therapy and when I look at their teacher they have only had a minimal amount of training.

But I have made my peace with this (although I have been talking about it a bit lately). Most of the world is at surface level understandings, and this includes clinicians. People who find me for CranioSacral therapy are ready for deep work. If they wanted more surface work they would find the practitioner who had one weekend of training. People who find me as a spiritual teacher are ready to move beyond the illusions of the New-Agers or the surface understandings of most spiritual communities, books, etc. And just to prove that I have humility, I will say that people find me for Acupuncture when they are ready for an intermediate-level clinician for that. It is such a rare, beautiful thing when you find a bodyworker who is a true artist. They can truly be life-changing. Be ready for one. Be open to one. Know that any of these modalities have their charlatans, their weekend warriors, the people who have taken one workshop and list themselves as an expert, the people who teach after taking a few classes. But there are true artists out there, people who can help you move beyond this surface clinical reality and hold space for you, be a catalyst for you to have tremendous healing, to find true balance and peace in your life.