Nine Eleven

Today is a marker for a day of collective trauma here in the U.S. The 20th anniversary of 9/11. You don’t even have to say more than the date. We all know what happened. Terrorists attacked our country. And in response America went to war. It’s a story as old as time.

Sitting twenty years out from one of biggest collective traumas I’ve lived through, while I’m not feeling like myself today, seeing things from all sorts of perspectives, it feels both weird that we would commemorate pain and want to reexperience it every year and totally normal because this is what we do.

Yet it’s not only commemorating pain, but remembering and honoring everyone who died that day. It’s being proud of everyone who came together in a moment of crisis to help one another. And doing what we can so it doesn’t happen again.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Looking at trauma in general, it’s not only something that royally sucks when it happens and stays with us for life, but it’s also our soul’s way of presenting opportunities to evolve.

Usually people respond to trauma by wanting revenge. They want the offenders to feel the pain they feel and do something to make it better. They want an apology and reparations. That’s human nature in a nutshell.

When a life has been lost, we want someone to pay with their life – even though it won’t bring back the dead. And many lives were lost on 9/11/01.

So why would our soul want our human selves to experience pain and loss? To break us apart to see how we deal with it. To give us opportunities to rise above. To give us opportunities to stop cycles of pain and revenge through healing.

Some people are taken down by trauma or use it as a launching point to create something great.

A few of the things I’ve learned about 9/11 as a group consciousness event, is all the souls that died that day had soul agreements to do so for the collective good. They knew that our group consciousness needed a big shake up and wake up to see how everyone would respond (much like our current pandemic). And everyone who died that day fully crossed over. They are not stuck in limbo. And the same goes for people who’ve either crossed themselves over in response to aftereffects of the attack, or who’ve died from cancer. They are all safe and sound on the other side.

Also, I’ve learned that people who were miraculously saved were not supposed to die that day. You can’t die unless there’s agreement with your soul and Source. Even for those souls saved it was an opportunity for growth – to hopefully not fall victim to survivor’s guilt, but to have renewed appreciation for life.

Some say time heals all wounds, and as much as the passage of time helps, in and of itself, it doesn’t heal them. But doing healing work does.

As someone who’s been actively involved in healing work for a decade, the anniversary of a traumatic event provides a marker in time to show us how much we’ve grown and healed. Noticing what’s changed from year to year, and especially paying attentions to how our feelings evolve shows us how we’ve grown.

When you think back to that day does it bring up fear of terrorism and hatred toward the Middle East, or have these feelings abated? Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of the terrorists who died for what they believed? Do you get all pissed off at all the restrictions Homeland Security has put on our country since it’s creation? Or do they make you feel safer?

In my case, ten years after the attack I was newly spiritually awakened, seeing life through very different eyes. And these days, as much as I’m still walking my way through a challenging Kundalini awakening, ascending a bit faster than has been comfortable, I tend to focus on things that open my heart and help me feel more relaxed.

Thinking back to the morning of 9/11/2001, I was exactly one week away from my delayed honeymoon trip, and was home from my part-time ferry job here in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t remember if someone let us know to turn on the tv or if I happened to turn it on, but by the time we tuned in, reporters had cameras showing a plane that had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.

As horrifying as it was to realize someone had purposely flown a commercial airliner into a skyscraper in the middle of downtown New York City, it was even more horrifying when a second airliner flew into the other tower.

Sitting glued to the tv, we watched and listened as reporters scurried to cover the story. Visions of people covered with ash leaving the scene and others helping them filled the screen. Hearing about victims and heroes as events unfolded, we couldn’t take our eyes off what was going on. Cameramen filmed people jumping out of the buildings and store owners giving water and food to those in need. Firefighters and ambulances came on scene evacuating and helping people as fast as they could. Hospitals in the area readied themselves for mass casualties.

And then the towers collapsed. Shock waves again. Hospitals never received the mass casualties.

And then news of a third plane crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth plane whose passengers never allowed it to reach its intended destination of the Capitol Building, as it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

All air traffic in the U.S. was grounded and our democracy was under attack. As a nation we were taken to our knees by a handful of men. No nuclear weapons. No huge army marching on us from another country. A handful of men who planned and executed this specific traumatic event.

Twenty years have gone by and life has moved on. Kids back then are now adults and for people like my son, 9/11 isn’t something he even lived through. It’s now a story we tell and re-tell.

And for me personally, it marks not only tragedy but memories of my honeymoon trip soon thereafter. My new husband and I decided to have our honeymoon three months after our wedding so he could take time off work for both celebrations. But because of the terrorist attack, we were scared to fly across country.

After talking it over, we decided to keep our reservations and flew to Florida where we spent a few weeks visiting a friend on the coast, taking in Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, and driving down to Key West where I’d worked a dozen years prior. Orlando was deserted and hotels were begging us to stay there. The were no lines for rides at the amusement parks, as they were pretty deserted too. It was a bit surreal.

I was lucky. 9/11 didn’t take anyone I knew personally. Yet it has a collective vibration that carries both pain and hope. Tragedy and redemption. Trauma and healing. It was an event that was not only shocking, but brought us together as a country like nothing I’ve experienced before or since.

And these days we could use a bit of unification.

Today, I hope we’re all able to take a moment to sit quietly, focus inwards toward our hearts and feel gratitude to simply be alive.

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Knitting

Knots in my psyche are being untied.

Yarn unraveling

Collected into a ball by angels

Who take it back to Source.

The grand recycler of the Universe.

Where it will be knitted into an arm,

A breeze, or a toddler’s tantrum.

Or may be used to close a hole

In my heart.

It’s all energy.

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Showered By Inspiration

Where are you most inspired?
What gets your creative juices flowing?

Does sitting in quiet contemplation do it for you?
Or do you need to move your body?

For some it’s all about quieting
The mind chatter, the monkey mind.

Yet for me it’s often about
Zoning out so the divine can slip through.

Putting fingers to the keyboard
To give the muse a voice.

Driving long stretches of road
Until my own thoughts fade away.

Or doing repetitive household chores
Until there’s a space between my thoughts.

And this morning, as often happens
Talking to the Divine in the shower

And beginning to receive answers again.

Going through a Kundalini awakening, my entire being is being rewired. Being emptied out room by room, walls being taken down and rebuilt, and clearing out clutter to make room for the new. Updating and upgrading my knob and tube wiring for a system that’s fully grounded.

Something I’ve been drawn to for years, writing, is not only a creative outlet, but in the past several years has become a way to connect to my inner world, to connect to the Divine. And having that ability off-line has been very difficult.

Yet, this morning, showered by inspiration, I became aware that things have been offline because my I’m being renovated. And at some, yet to be determined time that’s hopefully not too far off, the renovation will be complete. At least enough that I can move back into my house, redecorate, and use it.

And I can’t wait!

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He Did It!

I’ve tried to write about Little Man for a while now, but one of the side effects of going through a Kundalini awakening is having my brain scrambled. So trying to stay focused and coherent has been elusive as hell.

That said, after five and a half years of educating Little Man at home, he finally earned his high school diploma! A day I couldn’t even see back when he was in elementary school when there were so many hard days.

Looking back at our time of homeschooling, yet technically not (because Little Man was actually enrolled in a local private school that’s all about independent learning) although there were times of difficulty and struggle, I can just about see Little Man’s and my souls being cast in the play of our lives.

I see my very human self playing the mother role to the best of my ability, doing everything she could to help her son from the moment he was born seven weeks early. And I see Little Man’s soul carrying out his mission to walk through life in a body with a wonky sensory system, a brain that would not only bring very real and lifelong challenges, but would also bring him gifts, and a big heart.

Over the course of Little Man’s life, his struggling always spurred me into action. And we walked down the path of my agenda until we hit a wall. Until something about Little Man’s soul mission needed to go in a different direction. For some reason that I won’t be able to see for perhaps many years if ever, it became important for Little Man to leave the public school trajectory.

I now see that signing him up with a local private school became important because only a year later Kundalini energy opened in me, and my ability to function as a parent and teacher tanked. Having regular meetings with a teacher who was open to my talking about healing and spirituality became a godsend for us (and me in particular). While our meetings were mostly about Little Man and his education, they were a place I could talk about what was going on with me with regards to going through a very challenging Kundalini awakening. And they kept us on track and moving forwards.

The certified teacher who guided us through my son’s educational process and kept his records had also been a graduate student of writer and channel Paul Selig years ago. Coincidence? I think not.

Over the course of our lives together, my son has been a big catalyst, providing both the resistance I needed to get me into new things and push me out of my comfort zone, as much as I’ve been one of his models for life and his teacher in so very many ways. Due to him I learned how to parent differently than I was parented, and explored every option when it came to helping him. And being open to alternative ways of doing things led to my waking up spiritually.

Despite how difficult the past handful of years has felt for me personally, I’m very proud to announce that my son graduated from high school. And one day he’ll spread his wings and fly.

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Religions and Resonance

I was just up in my teenager’s room and a small paperback was about to fall off the backside of his bedside table. It’s a book his grandmother sent a few years ago, and because my teen has a habit of not noticing things that fall on the floor, I grabbed it before it joined who knows what else between the bedside table and the wall.

It’s a book filled with prayers and scriptures, and as I grabbed it, instead of my usual knee-jerk reaction of dismissing it because Grandma’s religion is really more of a cult, and I have less than no interest in most of the propaganda she sends us, I commented to my son that there is a lot of good stuff in the Bible (and other religious books), but people misinterpret it far too often to suit their own agenda. And this has been going on since the first religious books were written.

In my young life, I railed against going to church when I was about eight for so many reasons, and part of it was not resonating with some of what I heard. Some things didn’t make any sense and my parents didn’t discuss their beliefs or faith at home. Their beliefs were personal and I guess they decided if we wanted to go to church when we grew up it would be our choice. Religion didn’t play a big part in my life, especially once I was Confirmed in my protestant church when I was thirteen. And even that was done mostly out of obligation.

In the church I was raised, we were baptized as babies so if we died we’d go to heaven. And at the baptism a set of godparents proclaimed their faith and stood up (at least in theory) to help teach the child about their faith if the parents were unable to do this for some reason. Around the age of twelve or thirteen we took classes and had a Confirmation ceremony to formally announce our faith and begin to receive Communion at Sunday services.

I guess it’s a bit like the Catholic First Communion and the Jewish Bar mitzvah. Not exactly the same, but quite similar. A time of going through puberty and having a religious ritual signifying moving from being a child to taking on more adult responsibility in the area of religious beliefs.

Growing up without strong ties to my church or religion in general, I sometimes giggle now because I have more than faith when it comes to God and spirituality. I’ve had direct experiences of both God and the spiritual world which lives inside everyone. And because I wasn’t heavily indoctrinated into a particular church or faith, but enjoyed exploring different belief systems, including Eastern thought like Buddha and the Tao, a lot of things were more easily accepted. I didn’t have to be deprogrammed.

That said, the more of my own stuff I heal and the more I’m able to open my heart to other people’s ways of getting through life, I can appreciate my mother-in-law wanting to help us by giving us religious books and pamphlets, even thought they absolutely do not resonate with me. I wonder what she’d think if I sent her some Rumi? I have a feeling she might not be open to it, but who knows.

Her church is quite dogmatic about everything from not only what they believe, but how to raise children, be a good husband or good wife, how a person should eat (only vegan and organic) and they espouse ideas like being anything other than straight is an abomination, and having sex outside of marriage is a sin. I’m sure they have a list of sins a mile long and an even longer list of “if you don’t do this you won’t get into heaven” type things.

As I found the book of prayers, I wondered how my mother-in-law got so religious and why this church. I’m guessing it’s the one she was raised in, and when her first born died when he was eight, diving into her religion was how she coped. It was how she survived. It was the way she could make sense of his death and keep going on.

As a parent, I can’t imagine anything more painful than losing a child. Absolutely nothing. It’s losing a part of yourself, but even more difficult than losing a limb because when a child is lost it’s also all the hopes, dreams, and visions we have for them.

The thing about religion is when we find one that works for us, there’s resonance. All religions have some sort of dogma; a set of principles and truths. And when it comes to churches they find a fit between dogma and culture.

Christian churches tend to teach that God is a father figure who is tasked with taking care of us and who loves us, but only if we obey him. He stands in judgment of us when we are bad and when we die. Certain churches are more or less judgmental than others, but they set down rules to follow so you know right from wrong. Rules of conduct and behavior to follow if you want to stay in God’s good graces and get into heaven. That’s the big end goal. The reward for living properly. To get into heaven and not be doomed to purgatory or hell. Basically you’re taught to follow the rules and you’ll get your sweet dessert after you eat all your food. Otherwise you get punished for eternity. That said, depending on the severity of transgressions and how sorry you are, you can work your way back into God’s good graces.

This works for a lot of people. Especially if they were raised in a patriarchal family where the father provided while the mother supported him by taking care of the children, and keeping the house clean. And when the children disobeyed, they were punished. That’s a little simplistic, but you catch my drift.

Religion takes something that’s beyond the everyday human experience and tries to describe and teach it. But along the way it gets humanized. We slap our conditioning, our programming, our judgment on it and it can lose a lot in translation. It’s also why so many different interpretations and flavors of faith become developed and resonate with so many different people.

Having my own conditioned beliefs and judgments healed at broader and deeper levels over the past four years of living with active Kundalini energy, I’m not only seeing things from broader and broader perspectives, but my heart is able to stay open because I’m not so quickly emotionally triggered by things. Instead of summarily dismissing things as bad or wrong, I’m able to see how although they may not resonate with me personally, they work for others. And I’m discovering this extends to religious beliefs. My ability to hold others in a space of compassion seems to be developing further.

*Adding a quick note that this mother-in-law is not my husband’s mother; it’s his step-father’s current wife. My husband’s mother passed away over 20 years ago.

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Healing Path

Although my life’s journey walked me into spiritual awakening and energy healing, awakening me to parts of my life that I’d forgotten, I’m amazed at the grace my life has had at the same time. Forgetting things that happened when I was too young to be able to process and retain conscious memories allowed me to keep walking through life. Having all sorts of beings in the world of spirit protect me from things I wasn’t supposed to go through kept me blissfully unaware of narrowly escaping harm and potential death. And having spirit orchestrate a few things in my life that allowed me to grow up with so much family dysfunction under the radar protected me from all sorts of shame and rejection when I would have been much too young to handle it.

I find it simply stunning that painful memories from my past that I’d long ago forgotten only surfaced during healing sessions when I was very comfortable remembering them and was actively dissolving the pain and letting it go. And that the process my soul chose to introduce me to would make healing feel so easy and fast.

I’ll concede that it took trying this and that and going with what worked, and even after finding my modality of choice – hypnotherapy – working with a handful of different people, each one better than the last. And I was able to fit it all into the life I already had. But one thing I know about myself is I love efficiency. If something doesn’t work for me after a good ole’ college try, move on. If it works, stick with it. And tweaking things to work better is always an option.

Because of how my life went I didn’t identify with having been abused until I was in my forties. Some people spontaneously remember traumatic events they’d blocked out and then have to do years of therapy to be able to deal with it. That hasn’t been my path.

I’d forgotten years of my mentally ill mother’s treatment of me; oscillating between verbally attacking me when she was manic and rejecting and abandoning me when she was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed. Those memories were all gone until my teenage years when she completely lost touch with reality and was hospitalized for the first time.

Having to do for myself at a young age, I learned how to make breakfast by watching my parents do it. I can still remember proudly making my parents breakfast in bed for their anniversary when I was about five. I couldn’t read yet, so I had to ask my mother how to make her morning Sanka (pour boiling water into a mug with a teaspoon of granulated instant coffee and stir). And I forgot to butter the pan when I made my Dad’s egg and it ended up being scrambled instead of fried, but he was ok with it.

I’d also forgotten how mean my older brother had often been to me when we were little. I spent our entire childhood trying to get him to like me and to let me play with him. I didn’t see him as some sort of deviant, bully, and predator. Memories kicked in somewhere around age 13 or 14 when he had been molesting me and I became pregnant. And as happens with victims, I blamed myself and felt intense shame for decades. Through doing healing work that’s gone now. What happened to me when I was growing up was not my fault.

And even after doing quite a bit of healing from having been molested, I didn’t really know why for decades I blamed myself for being violated until a conversation with a cousin sparked a memory flash just this past late March. And because of having active Kundalini energy coursing through my body it didn’t take much to heal that either.

The psychiatrist my parents sent me to after I gave birth to the product of incest when I was not even a week past my fifteenth birthday treated me as if I were complicit in the sex. I was never treated like a victim by the psychiatrist or by my parents (although my father put a latch inside my bedroom door that I had to use every night to keep my brother out). My becoming pregnant through incest courtesy of my older brother was treated as a shameful act that must never be spoken about.

Although I lived with the shame for decades, because things were kept very quiet I wasn’t ostracized. And yes, back when I gave birth to my daughter, if people had found out about the incest and about my being pregnant, my family and I would have been ostracized. It was a very different time.

The people I grew up with, with very few exceptions still don’t know. And I’m selective in who I tell. It’s shocking to suddenly destroy people’s versions of reality and their version of the past.

As I find small online communities of people who are healing from abuse and people who are actively doing therapy to help themselves live with mental health challenges and feel better in life, I watch as they become vulnerable and share their pain, and I read stories of those who’ve been in therapy for decades, revisiting their pain over and over taking months or years to reach a breakthrough. Finding ways to get help when it’s often expensive, and I applaud every one of them. It’s often easier to live in denial.

And I’m bowled over by the path my life has taken, that yes, I fully believe I’ve had a lot of unseen help in walking. I’m bowled over by the metaphysical things I experienced during hypnosis sessions before I had a clue they were metaphysical. I just knew that they enhanced my life. Like having angels come into sessions to help me heal and connecting with my higher self when I didn’t know what it was. Or seeing a giant gaping hole in my heart being magically knitted back together.

I’m bowled over by the progress I’ve had in relatively few healing sessions. If I’d only worked with therapists I never would have been able to so easily remember lost memories and it would have taken years to heal what I was able to accomplish in just one hypnotherapy session. I know people who have been in therapy for decades and will be for the rest of their lives. And as much as I wish my magical healing experiences on them, I know we each have our own path to walk. In truth, I may not work with a therapist these days, but I’ll be using healing as a tool for the rest of my life, as needed.

It still amazes me that so much of what I’ve been able to heal is beyond the scope of talk therapy and allopathic medicine. (Although there’s absolutely a place and a time for those too).

Walking into a path of healing and spirituality has not only enhanced my life in ways that can truly only be appreciated when experienced, but having Kundalini energy crank open took everything up a hundred notches. That said, have the past four years of navigating this powerful creative force been smooth sailing and filled with only love and light? Hell no! It’s been as wonky as a Gooney bird trying to take off or land.

But this mystical and magical path life has brought me down, no matter how hard it’s felt for the past few years is incredible. I’m still here, am more healed than I’ve ever been, and am still learning how to fly.

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Have Those Uncomfortable Conversations

I recently listened to an interview by host Kevin McDonald that really spoke to me. The guest was a woman whose teenage daughter had been sexually assaulted while volunteering at a church’s soup kitchen – assaulted while there were 50 attendees, 24 students and 4 supervising teachers. She wasn’t alone in some dark alley at night. And instead of insisting her daughter stop volunteering, which would be many parents’ reaction, Amy Carpenter helped her daughter press charges, deal with the immediate emotional aftermath, and didn’t stop there. She educated herself on blind spots she as a parent had, blind spots the supervising teachers had, and blind spots the students had, and created a sexual safety education program that includes two books she wrote.

After listening to the interview (the first hour of Martha Norwalk’s Animal World radio show on 6/27/21, hosted this show by Kevin McDonald), my biggest takeaways were a few things.

First and foremost, the definition of sexual assault is: uncomfortable touch. It’s simple and is also subjective. What’s comfortable one night may not feel comfortable the next night or day. And conversely, what’s not comfortable one day may become comfortable later on as a relationship develops. And my next takeaway was that we need to give our children and teens scripts to use when they find themselves in uncomfortable situations such as being attracted to another person and wanting to get closer but not sure what to say to make sure it’s ok, or when they need to put up a personal boundary and say no to unwanted sexual attention. (I’ve actually given Little Man a few phrases to use in situations in the past, but not to do with sexual safety).

And the most important take away of all is to have those uncomfortable conversations. And if you can’t directly talk to your teen because they’re at a stage of life where they’ll only listen to their friends, if they’ll read it, slide them a copy of Amy’s book, Be Strong, Be Wise.

Ideally conversations about sexuality and sexual safety could begin when our kids are very little, telling them things like safe touch is outside of where their bathing suit (or underwear) covers. And expanding the conversation as the child grows and becomes more curious. I remember talking with Little Man about things like the differences between his body and daddy’s, that he would grow hair on his arms and legs like daddy, and when Little Man was older having conversations about facial hair and hair other places such as under the arms and between the legs. And one little chat about masturbation when he was around fifteen that was mortifying for both of us.

Because Little Man’s life has had him at home quite a bit for the past few years and his contact with girls has mostly been online via a headset, hearing the voice but having visuals only via character avatars, we haven’t talked much about becoming intimate, giving and getting consent, and about sexual safety in general. But there’s been a running commentary for years between us about listening to your gut and honoring the body’s messages when it comes to whether a person feels safe or not.

Having grown up in an environment that wasn’t always safe, I learned to blow off my gut instincts. I learned to ignore my body’s wisdom and didn’t learn how to have appropriate personal boundaries. And having done quite a bit of healing around personal boundaries I want to teach my son, both through actions and having little chats with him, not only that it’s important to develop personal boundaries, but how to do so.

Not only is talking about sexual safety often an uncomfortable topic, but talking to your kid about sexual intimacy is probably one of the most dreaded conversations. That said, your child can sit through a health education class or watch a film to learn about how bodies mature and how babies are made, but it’s something else to educate them on when during a relationship it’s right or appropriate to be sexually active and to what extent. And to know about using contraception. Who would be using it, when, and what kind.

You might not like the thought of your precious baby having a one night stand, and while this may never be a thing for them, it absolutely happens. And if they don’t want to take a chance of catching a sexually transmitted disease that’s incurable, like herpes or AIDS, there better be a condom involved, be it male or female. And normalizing conversations around birth control, making sure your kiddo knows that every time they have sex without it, they could become a parent. Mother Nature doesn’t care if they are thirteen, twenty-three or fifty-three and still fertile (yup, one of my classmates in college was the product of a mother who thought she was no longer fertile in her early fifties).

The point is, as a parent it’s so very important to have all sorts of conversations with our kids. Not only the fun ones like helping them figure out what outfit to wear to the prom, but the uncomfortable ones that could keep them from becoming a parent before they’re ready, getting a sexually transmitted disease that could stay with them for life, or could prevent them from becoming a victim of sexual assault. And the more we model being brave around talking about uncomfortable things, the more brave our kids will be. Some cycles are worth perpetuating.

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Freedom

On this Independence Day here in the US, the talk of the day is about freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom from enslavement. For our country it began as freedom from British rule without representation, and that’s about as far as I’ll go with history since it’s truly not my forte. But the current conversation about equal rights and equal treatment for all people regardless of sex, sexual orientation, and color is hot right now and has been largely thanks to our last president. He catalyzed quite a bit during his tenure in office.

Over the course of my healing journey I’ve come across this theme of enslavement and feelings of freedom, and during one of my sessions when being regressed through time I popped back into a previous lifetime. I saw myself as a very large and physically strong black man who was a slave. I’m not quite sure the time period, but I was in either the Middle East or North Africa (it was a desert climate) and was involved in building structures hauling large stones.

Ironically for me, what was being addressed was fear of being intuitive. The fear of knowing things intuitively and speaking out about them because they contradicted the status quo, and I was eventually killed because of it.

During that lifetime I knew that if the slaves were treated better, perhaps fed better and were shown even a little appreciation, they’d work harder. But the people who were in charge either didn’t know this or weren’t interested. And when I tried to get better working conditions for the others, it didn’t go well and I was put to death. I saw myself put on display to discourage others from “acting up,” a bit like crucifixion and stockades were publicly used to keep people afraid and in check.

What became healed that session was some fear of speaking up about what I know intuitively. So many people are shut off from their own intuition and allow their lives to be ruled by hate, fear, and division that it’s the only way they know. And growing up a very sensitive person who was routinely shut down by a parent, I had no voice of my own for a very long time. This has changed quite a bit because of healing things inside me. Today, my intuition is extremely important in my life, and I’m no longer afraid to speak my truth.

Freedom is as much a state of mind as it is a physical state. And in fact when it comes to being able to enjoy life and have the things you want, when you’re able to address what’s keeping you from feeling free on the inside, your entire life can change. Instead of feeling trapped, you can suddenly feel free. And once you’ve loosened the bonds of fear it’s easier to make changes in your life if you still want to.

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Windows to the Soul

As a photographer I love to capture a person’s essence when I photograph them. No, I’m not a professional photographer, but it’s been a lifelong passion, and getting a really great shot of someone isn’t always easy. Most portraits I capture are spontaneous moments when someone is engaged in something they enjoy, or talking and laughing with friends. My favorite thing is to take pictures of people when they’re just being themselves. And sometimes this is best done from a short distance away using a zoom lens, like at my Dad’s birthday parties back in the day. (And never done without a person’s consent – I’m not a creep).

At one of his later birthday parties, when he couldn’t get around very well, Dad asked me to take pictures of everyone – something he normally did. I was in heaven. The tricky part, which wasn’t too hard because everyone there was relaxed and were longtime friends, was when I’d approach a small group in conversation and cheerfully butt in to ask for a photo for the birthday boy. Everyone was happy to oblige.

When Little Man was indeed little, all my photos of him were candid. With his language delays I never prompted him to “say cheese” for the camera. I waited until he was intently playing with his toys or was having fun outside. It didn’t matter to me whether he was looking into the lens or not, smiling or pensive. And he didn’t seem to mind.

I’ll never forget when he was in preschool just shy of three years old, and the school photographer obviously had little experience photographing toddlers because she sat Little Man in a cute kid’s chair with a few props surrounding him and told him to smile. He sat there confused. The more confused he was, the more she and everyone around tried to get him to smile.

Before too long he noticed the prop tricycle and with zero impulse control reached a foot out toward the tricycle. In a flash he decided to go for a ride and started pedaling away. I jumped in front of him grabbing the handle bars, and while laughingly telling him it wasn’t a trike for riding, pushed him back in place and jumped out of the way of the flash. With a huge grin on his face, Little Man’s joy was quickly captured by the photographer.

boy on tricycle

It was easy to photograph my son when he was little. When we had playdates with friends I’d sometimes bring my camera and snap a few pictures while the kids played. But when it came to taking pictures of my friends, they tended to not want their picture taken. There was always an excuse of either looking too fat, or not looking pretty enough or dressed well enough. And I’ll admit that because I was much heavier when I had Little Man than I’d been a few years prior, I didn’t really want my picture taken either.

But after hearing stories of people who’d lost Mom and had no pictures of her because she was always the one behind the camera, I got brave and got in front of the camera. He’s one of my favorites from a few years ago.

Over the course of learning about myself and other sensitive people through my healing journey, I’ve noticed when people are particularly sensitive (and often that directly correlates to having anxiety) they have a tough time staring down the barrel of a camera lens. And it’s not uncommon for them to have difficulty looking people in the eye; doubly so for strangers.

A friend I’d hang out with when our kids were very young, had tremendous anxiety. She thought medication might help her, but there was such shame in the family that she dabbled with supplements but sadly never got any medication. She also hated having her picture taken. She couldn’t handle looking into the lens and most pictures showed her intense discomfort and anxiety. I think maybe once I was able to capture her when she was actually happy and relaxed, but it was probably when she was watching her girls.

Many gifted healers, people who are able to feel subtle energy are highly sensitive and often live with anxiety. Especially those who haven’t worked on themselves very much. But when they’re in their element, doing healing work, the anxiety disappears.

Several years ago I met and had sessions with a very talented Pranic healer. He’d worked diligently to hone his healing abilities and it showed. Unfortunately, he hadn’t spent an equal amount of time working on himself, and when he wasn’t doing healing work it showed too.

One day, because I was so grateful to him and the work he’d done on me, and I noticed his portrait on his website was very out of date, I offered to take his photo so he could update the website. But when I was with him for our portrait session, when he had to look into the lens his personality completely changed to that of a very uncomfortable little boy. He couldn’t relax and smile. With a friend’s help, she got him to smile and I captured a decent photo. But sadly, he never updated his website.

One of the most challenging things a person can do, and especially so for someone who is very sensitive, is to look in a mirror and say, “I love you. I truly and wholly love and accept you.” When I tried to do this years ago, the first thing I noticed was an inner voice answering back, “Bull shit.” Every time I tried to use affirmations I heard the same inner voice.

The eyes are not only the window to our soul, but the window to our inner child. And looking into another person’s eyes or staring down the barrel of a camera lens is just like looking into a mirror. Whatever’s inside you comes out. Whatever you feel about yourself, you’ll see in another.

When you take away all the distractions, all the noise, and it’s just you, how are you doing? If you were to look at yourself in the mirror, what sort of messages do you hear? Are you looking good or are you critical of yourself? Do you love yourself despite your flaws or are you able to appreciate how well your body carries you day after day, year after year? I’ll admit that it’s been a process for me. And healing work has made a big difference. Ok, a huge difference.

The girl who grew up with a brick wall around her heart a mile thick and blocks of shame cemented onto her shoulders, has been whittling it away. And assisted by Kundalini energy, it’s more like things are being chain-sawed away in big chunks. Today when I look in a mirror, my inner child knows she’s amazing, strong, and courageous. She knows she’s doing the best she can. And she even knows she’s divine, as do I. And so can you. Healing works.

Posted in Holistic Healing, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Father’s Day

Thinking about my father on this celebrated day, and all the years I’d make or buy him a card to recognize him when I was younger. Later on, picking up the phone and calling him was preferred over any present or card. I wish I could pick up the phone and call him, or better yet, video chat with him. And even with that wish I can feel the connection through the ethers.

He was a big man in my life, not only standing six foot three, but being my role model for what a man should be. He gave my life a sense of safety and security and made me think I could do anything I set my mind to. He was a good provider, was a kind and caring man, and enjoyed life. And yes, he had some flaws like anyone does, but I didn’t see them until I was well into adulthood.

Memories of Dad take me to random times like once when we were getting ready to go skiing the next morning, and one of my brothers was bringing skis up from the basement to the front hall. I quickly saw him bring my skis up and as we were sitting at the kitchen table chatting I said my skis were already up from the basement. When Dad (whose back was to the hallway where our cellar door opened to) disagreed with me, my typical child response was, “Wanna bet?” And Dad answered with, “Sure. How about your allowance – double or nothing?” I paused, got up and made sure my skis were indeed in the front hall, and accepted the bet. Then Dad went to the front hall and saw that yes, my skis were there. He paid me double my allowance, which was probably around fifty or seventy-five cents at the time. I rarely made bets unless I was sure I could win. And Dad always honored his debts.

In fact, Dad was the sort of man whose word was his bond. If he gave you his word and shook on it, it was as good as a done deal.

Another random memory I had with Dad was during a drive with him. I was in my early twenties and had moved back home after college and we skied together. During the long drive he started telling me about how cortisone works to calm irritated skin – he was a dermatologist. Got an itchy rash? Cortisone helps. Got a painful, red sunburn? A Cortisone injection was the treatment. It calms the body’s defense mechanisms. He made it sound so interesting and being fascinated listening to him talk, before I knew it he’d chatted on for about 45 minutes. I don’t remember all the details, but I could have listened to him talk about all sorts of things for hours.

Years later, I’m pretty sure when I discovered energy healing, Dad told me about a paper he’d written when he was in private practice. Being handy, he made a wooden box and outfitted it with perhaps lights and something that made a sound – the details are a bit fuzzy, but he gave me a copy of the paper – and he used it when patients came to see him who had warts they wanted to be removed from their hand. He had them stick their hand in the box and told them they were being healed by the “treatment” they were receiving (he’d flash the light and make sounds), and he saw an 85% cure rate. When they so strongly believed they’d received a treatment that would make the wart go away, it did. Otherwise his standard treatment for wart removal was freezing them with liquid nitrogen, which is painful. Even Dad knew the power of the mind could be amazing.

My Dad was my hero, and even when faced with unimaginable challenges, he handled them the best he could, thinking of his family first.

Dad I miss you and love you always.

Dad during his Navy days as an ET, circa 1945.
Posted in Random, The Voyage | Tagged , | 8 Comments