Telehealth and Pandemic Reflections…

This blog is inspired by a conversation I had on video last night with one of my closest friends. Lysette Herrera is a psychologist who has been seeing clients for many years now in Seattle, New York City and currently in Portland where she has worked for a group practice the past chunk of years. She sees mostly teenagers and has formed strong bonds with her clients whom she has been working with long term.

Upon switching to tele-health, like many therapists, she was nervous and unsure how sessions would feel over a video versus in person. We tend to see technology in a negative light and to think that screen connection is less intimate. Yet to her surprise, Lysette found her sessions to be very intimate. She discovered clients having an easier time being vulnerable when sharing from the comfort of their home and she has met many of her client’s pets too, which as we all know, are important family members.

Lysette has found that video sessions are not more intimate, per se, but differently intimate. I have found this to be true too. Lysette named the experience I have had this past week using tele-health. I too have experienced that differently intimate experience of connecting from our homes. The power of place is real. Home is a safe place and a comfortable place. When we feel safe and comfortable we tend to open up more and this allows therapy to go deeper.

Lysette mentioned that another positive aspect is that a certain amount of formality is shed through video sessions. This speaks to how I feel the pandemic is stripping away the persona and the formality in us all. The roles we put on in order to communicate are changing. Our humanity and vulnerability are coming more to the surface. As a result, sessions feel more powerful. Add the video element, allowing both therapist and client to connect from home, and the intimacy does feel very differently powerful.

I feel no less of a connection through having video sessions. The screen does not get in the way. I have not asked my clients about their experience yet but I imagine it is different for each person. Some people are more sensitive to screens and technology and others may actually prefer it. I can only say for myself, in many ways, I prefer video sessions because I enjoy the differently intimate experience that it creates. I also enjoy working from home.

I do miss going to my office and having a special physical space to see clients. My office is filled with crystals, cards, incense, and the vibe I work hard to create. I share my office with a friend and we share office space with another therapist we rent from. I love our physical space and location. The three of us create a very harmonious healing environment. Video sessions do not replace the in person experience but now I now know that tele-health is complimentary and not just a “plan B”.

Since the pandemic I have been spending a lot of time connecting with friends through video as well. My days in quarantine are spent sitting in my special chair where I video everyone. In-between connecting with clients and loved ones I do yoga, walk, get groceries, watch Netflix, meditate, read, journey, reflect, and pull cards. I am finding my new routine. I empathize with everyone who lives alone needing to find a new routine in the aloneness.

Living alone through this time is very surreal. All of my connection with others is through video except sometimes I take a walk with a friend nearby. I don’t have any physical touch, nobody to “prepare for the worst” with, nobody to be with in my home. Solitude takes on a new form that often feels too hard or like it’s too much. Anxiety can creep in. There is a lot to manage being alone. Therapeutic skills are extra vital as is keeping a routine.

I am beyond thankful I can continue to see clients through video as it is grounding to be of service. I am thankful to be able to continue to work. Many cannot and surviving monetarily is a real concern for many. This pandemic is going to force us to find new ways to be resourceful and take care of each other. It is forcing us to care more about community and our neighbors and not just for the self and immediate family. I think of my father who is all by himself in his eighties. I think of the service industry people out of work right now. The chain reaction of the virus will create much needed structural change on many levels.

Being connected through video is my life’s blood right now and I am learning to embrace the screen more through this challenging time. My intention is to highlight the positive to bring balance to the more prominent negative lens that tele-health and video connecting is somehow inferior or less connected.

During these challenging times tele-health is needed more than ever and my hope is that it becomes more of a norm in society. My dream would be for our licenses to be national or even global. For as therapists we are trained to work with humans, not just humans in one area.

 

 

Reflection on Manifestation, Surrender and Music….

I am sitting in a cafe with a blog idea in mind as the song, “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac plays and I am taken into a special place in my heart. A nostalgic and warm feeling seizes me and I think to myself, “music inspires and heals”. Instantly I try to connect this thought to my blog topic in some fluid way…

Like how music is often made to express pain and unmet longing, showing that life is not just about manifesting our desires and that there is beauty and truth in loss. I think of my father telling me how he listens to certain songs from his youth when he is missing his wife. Music heals him in his time of grief and connects him to his heart.

I am uncertain where to put paragraph breaks because I am flowing like a poetic song and not writing like a logical therapist trying to emit a message. Through music the message of truth and beauty in pain is felt and understood without explanation. How many of us love the sad songs? This love is meant to be as much as the happy songs…

The rise I have been feeling this past week is how many people are on the “manifest your desires” train as if that’s the only truth, purpose and reason to live and the only solution to an inner feeling of lack. It bothers me because life is about so much more than making pain go away by getting everything you want.

Life is about learning how to be of service. Life is about surrendering. Life is about learning soul lessons. Life is about transforming and growing through loss. Life is about becoming more caring and loving through healing the self. Life is about growing through suffering. Life is about love and love is about pain and pleasure, not just about desires being fulfilled all the time.

Music reminds us that life is about love and love is about everything on the spectrum of loss and gain, birth, death, illness, pleasure and pain. The universal experience of being human is understood through music. We all share the same wants and pains. Yet we all have different karma within the collective soup.

The natal chart in astrology is one way to discover your individual life path and karma. Numerology also is a great map.

For instance, in my numerology, I understand that I am here in this life to help reduce suffering in humanity, to take on great responsibility and sacrifice personal desires for the good of all. Therefor, if I don’t manifest my dream of being a famous artist, it is not because I need to focus more on the light, raise my frequency, or anything of the sort that will “fix” my inability to manifest this dream. It is because I am meant to surrender this dream due to a deeper calling in my soul.

The callings are the karma as much as healing wounds is karma. We let go of heavy wounded feelings from past lives and this life and this is karmic healing. We also get in touch with our inner truth of why we are here and this is also karmic healing.

You may not be here to help humanity. You may be here to experience manifesting all you desire. This is why we cannot compare and make a belief system the only lens everybody looks through. If your calling is to experience manifestation then the create your own reality/manifestation belief will serve you well. If you are here to learn to surrender and be of service the same belief may not help you as much.

We need more variety and understanding how important honoring variety is when it comes to truths and beliefs.

Numerology or the natal chart mysteriously spells out individual karma but you may not believe in it and that’s ok too. Variety. You can find your own way of becoming clear about your inner truth and calling without such maps.

You can become clear through what gets you emotional on a deep level. A teacher of mine used to say that “whatever brings you closer to your own broken heart,” is your calling.

I used to desire to be a famous artist living large in the big city but this path did not bring me closer to my own broken heart. I spent years trying to make it as an artist, finally moving to NYC to test out this dream but upon being there I felt an emptiness in my heart and realized my desire for fame was more about projecting self love onto the world. The calling wasn’t to be found. I knew then that I was meant to let that dream go. It took years to let it go because I had identified with it for so long.

Surrender and letting go is as positively powerful and life changing as manifesting what you desire. This is what I have learned.

When I think about helping humanity, when I sit with my clients, and when I read or watch stories of human experience, I am brought closer to my own broken heart. I feel the calling. The feeling resonates deep beneath the ego projecting into the world hoping to “get the cookie” in order to feel pleasure and worth.

Key word: broken. The sacred broken heart is a poetic phrase that honors the suffering we experience in the collective and through the bloodlines because so much injustice, tyranny, abuse, and needless suffering continues. The balance is lost and the systems are broken and need repair. Nobody is free of this. We all need healing. You might be able to distract yourself through focusing only on your self centered wants but in the shadow is your broken heart too.

I don’t mean to moralize being of service or shame being self centered because humans are supposed to be self centered. We are supposed to live out our individual karma and be a unique character with specific wants. Service to others and self fulfillment are not mutually exclusive. They go together. Some of us have a more service oriented karma than others but we all have our own unique balance of this within families, community, humanity, or in our jobs.

Callings may be to help humanity, raise a loving family, enlighten, manifest desires, learn balance, experience sacrifice and loss, create strong boundaries, be alone, find self love, experience true love, be an artist, inspire the world, invent something, devote to your craft…on and on and on and on. Callings are always changing and evolving too.

The point I want to make is that only you know. The calling is an inside job.

Back to music. Music seduces the heart into expressing feelings you cannot get to otherwise. Music inspires the heart to feel your calling too. The song “Spirit Bird” by Xavier Rudd connects me to my calling deeply. Any song by Stevie Nicks connects me to love I have not manifested that longs for expression. Some music helps me make peace with the pain while other music inspires my calling.

Our hearts yearn to be understood, seen and heard and music gives this to us.

I am writing this blog under the Pisces Mercury retrograde new moon cycle so these words are flowing like a song and like thoughts that swirl around a strong and stable heart center that longs to express wisdom, love, and inspiration.

Do not think something is wrong with your vibration if you are not manifesting what you long for. Sure, you might need to work on yourself to line up and manifest your inner calling but you also might not be meant to manifest what you desire at this time. Lost dreams are teachers. Surrender is a teacher…

Surrendering to spirit is a powerful transformer when you are forced into it because you cannot “do it” on your own. Spiritual surrender leads me to think about surrendering to a higher power with addiction or any form of chronic illness and suffering. We can surrender to the transpersonal when pain, addiction, loss, and life itself becomes too overwhelming.

Surrendering ego to the transpersonal is an act of strength and empowerment. We are not separate entities plucked from the whole, meant to do everything on our own. This belief is actually an avoidant attachment wound speaking. We are meant to be interdependent creatures living symbiotically with all of life, including the forces larger than us.

I have surrendered to spirit over and over again in my life and experienced spirit take my pain each time. They call this the miracle and in my life journey I have experienced a handful of miracles. Who would I be if I had not been forced into surrender because I manifested everything I ever wanted?

How neurotic are people who do manifest all their desires and get everything they want? Where is their self love? Having all the things you want does not make you self loving or content. Self love and contentment stem from finding inner peace and acceptance, not from having everything you want. Inner peace is achievable if you are on the path of healing and understanding your inner truth.

The spectrum is real with those who have and those who don’t have. With everything from relationships, jobs, money, health, children, every fundamental human experience and craving. We are meant to experience both having and not having. What we make of ourselves and our lives from not having what we most long for is just as meaningful and important as getting our desires met.

And then there is music to comfort, heal, and inspire…

Widen the lens of your belief beyond manifesting your desires as the central core of meaning. This line of thinking is more rooted in western capitalist thinking but that’s a whole other diatribe. Your perception is your power.

I want to inspire you to grow beyond the narrow gaze of holding only one belief as truth. I wish to restore the variety. Fundamentalist thinking shows up in conservative religious ideology as much as it does in the new age.

Our hearts are complex and life is a myriad. Music understands this and not the logical mind that tries to solve and remove pain. Pain is also fruit. Pain is also needed. Pain is a teacher. Pain is a trickster. Loss is a trickster. Our characters are the riches.

 

Mercury Retrograde Blog

Mercury is about to go retrograde on the 17th in Pisces and is now in the shadow phase in Aquarius so it’s a good time to begin reflecting from an Aquarius place. Mercury retrograde is all about reflecting on who you have been, understanding why and how you have impacted others. It’s a time to understand by looking into the past. Sure, communication gets a bit wonky, computers mess up, and travel plans may find complications but that’s just the side effect of this powerful cycle we go through three times every year. Powerful because Mercury helps us gain easy access to inner awareness and meaning.

Seeing the big picture of how your personal story is also a collective and archetypal story is the Aquarius shadow phase protocol. We all go through similar experiences at the universal root but we express the universal in a very individual way. Everyone wants love, security, happiness, and freedom. Everyone goes through loss and gain, pain and pleasure, life and death in very archetypal ways. Our little life stories are also collective classic tales. As an Aquarius friend of mine always says when speaking of her personal life, “it’s a story as old as time.” What part of the universal story are you living in?

I am living in the universal tale of building resilience with my life’s purpose. I am living the collective story of learning how to surrender and “relinquish the fruit” through self-restraint with my autoimmune disease. I am in a classic dark night of the soul story as I grieve my mother and family system. I am in the collective story of standing in my personal power to create a life aligned with my true self. I have the privilege to live in thriving stories and I do not take my privilege for granted. Not everyone has the opportunity to live aligned with their inner truth.

I see from a zoomed out perspective that the loss and discomfort I experience daily is building me into a the new me who is still forming, which is the classic story of self rebirth.  I call out to joy and more light hearted times as the dark night turns into the grey night as I make my way back into the daylight. I see how I have avoided love with stories that aren’t true for me anymore but now appear as masks covering a deeper fear of intimacy that I open myself to experiencing, which is the universal story of heart healing.  This is my Aquarian shadow analysis I share to give an example.

Moving into the full retrograde in Pisces…it is time to dive into the sea and feel. Pisces is the unconscious where most of self actually lives even though ego likes to think it’s much bigger. In truth ego is a tiny chihuahua and the unconscious is a vast sea of who we are filled with dormant potential at all times. Pisces is the nebulous feeling of oneness and connection. Pisces is compassion and unconditional love. In shadow, Pisces is the escape and avoidance of feeling through addiction and dissociation.

With Pisces, you either feel your truth or you escape feeling your truth. Pisces truth is rooted in love and speaks from a place of wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge mixed with love and experience. When you have wisdom you understand yourself, your loved ones, and life in light and dark and can make peace with life’s vicissitudes and losses. You can let go and accept what is. Pisces at its best is the serenity prayer: Universe (God, Goddess, Nature, Spirit, Being, etc) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As we dive into the unconscious sea of feeling it’s like searching for the treasure chest buried on the ocean floor. You cannot will the treasure chest into being. You must swim and feel and follow your intuition and see what happens and trust the strange non-linear process.

Ego must relinquish control and arrogance and be willing to meet the truth of the soul that says, “this is what I need, this is who I am, this is what I truly long for, this is who I truly love, this is what really hurts, this is what needs to be released and forgiven, this is what’s leaving, this is what must be done,” on and on. The treasure is found when ego is ready to find it. The wisdom is gained when the heart is ready to receive it.

If you want to brave the adventure and use this retrograde fully, make an intention, say an invocation, do a ritual, it can be playful and spontaneous or elaborate and thoughtfully crafted. Say in your own words, “Universe, Mercury, Pisces, true self take me into the sea of my being and show me the way, reveal the wisdom I need to see, help me to let go and embrace the new.”

Pisces is also about endings. Completion. Wholeness. What is ending in your life or needs to end? A way of being? A way you have identified with yourself (I am like this, I am like that)? A relationship? A phase of life? A job? A habit? This retrograde will show you all you need to understand in your heart.

The water signs (Scorpio, Pisces, Cancer) represent the realm of feeling and heart. Heart is the core translator of true self or soul. Heart reveals to us what we need to know through feelings.

There is a difference between feelings and emotions. Reacting to the constant borage of stimulation and relating in the external world is emotion. Going within to access your intuition and foundational sense of truth is feeling. To feel we must go within. To go within me must pull back from emotionally reacting to every little thing, person, and circumstance. Mercury retrograde asks us to take a break from the external emoting and to dive into the inner depths and feel the feelings living inside that don’t care about success or failure.

True self feelings, wisdom, and longings do not care about results. Only ego cares about outcomes. Results and outcomes are important too, ego is a necessary aspect of self but ego should not be driving the self. Soul should be driving the self. And to get soul into the driver’s seat we need to go within to discover soul’s longings, feelings, and wisdom continually because we are always changing. Nothing is static. This is why we retrograde on the regular. To go within and catch up with true self so we can stay aligned with who we are and live from a place of inner truth.

This alignment is fulfillment at its best. True self seeks to experience for the sake of experience and does not need the security of successful outcomes. For instance, your soul may want to experience deep intimacy with a romantic partner. Where as ego wants to make sure that the partnership lasts forever because ego needs validation of being loved and the security of not being alone; soul seeks only the experience of intimacy whether it lasts a lifetime or has an end.

True self is not fearful of loss or failure but actually embraces loss and failure as a tools for growth. During this retrograde we have the opportunity to let go of ego’s constant need for results, security, and validation in order to go deeper and discover the latest sense of true self and soul longings that are asking for expression out in the world. It is up to ego to bring latent aspects of self out of dormancy and to give permission for new life to take form. Pisces Mercury Retrograde Blessings to you all.

 

5 Skills on the Path of Transformation KO

This blog is addressing five skills you can build when doing the hard work of creating new neural pathways in your brain on your path of transformation. These skills will make you more peaceful, less anxious, more graceful, less self-doubting, more fulfilled, less chasing the dangling carrot, more present, less stuck in the past or future, more equanimous, less victim to the natural dark and light waves that life presents.

These skills may or may not lessen the ebb and flow of intensity in your psyche because a lot of how we roll is our temperament. Some of us roll more passionate, expressive, up and down, reactive and sensitive. This it is not wrong or bad. We all have our natures. Do not waste your energy judging yourself. As a friend just reminded me during one of my own internal storms, it is important be on your own team and treat yourself kindly.  As a former teacher put it poetically, who you are is not a design flaw.

Happiness is a feeling always in flux depending on circumstances. Peace is more sustainable and brings a certain contentment through dark and light times. Grace is learning how to traverse life’s dark and light times with more fluidity and ease. Fulfillment is being aligned with your true self in all your choices. Equanimity is the ability to have distance from your thoughts and feelings and to not identify with them, creating inner balance. Becoming present happens when the inner witness is strong inside.

The following five skills will help you achieve more peace, equanimity, grace, presence, and fulfillment on your path of healing, in service to true self and self growth…

1) Resilience. The reality is that the feelings you try to avoid and run away from inside will never go away. You will either repress them or feel them. You may repress them by being really angry or hurt by another and blaming them so you can avoid taking responsibility for your emotional experience. You may repress them through the spectrum of addiction/enjoyment/distraction with food, shopping, working, looking good, getting attention, drinking, drugging, etc. But when you are on the path of transforming, you face your addictions/dependencies/distractions and feelings start to rise up.

When you stop projecting onto others you also face all the feelings in the shadow rising up to be felt. And not just feelings. Also, the dark personality that copes with the feelings. Such as your super sarcastic bitchy inner queen, or your lazy nihilistic asshole, we all have our shitty personality that helps us cope and repress the feelings in order to survive. These dark personalities may be in the shadow or not. Mine is not in the shadow but I only show her to my close friends. It’s different for everybody but your dark personality has a bunch of beliefs that are false, such as love is not real, life is meaningless, this type of thing…beliefs that help you cope with what hurts or what you do not have.

To build the skill of resilience is to radically accept the dark personality who has helped you cope with life and then to radically accept all the intense hurt and feelings that are hard and scary to feel that the dark personality protects you from feeling. Radical  acceptance of everything you experience will create resilience and resilience gives you the capability to handle life in the dark and light times and especially long periods of darkness such as the dark nights of the soul we all go through.

2) Non-identification: This skill is connected to the practice of mindfulness. The key is to witness the dark personality and all the hard feelings without thinking you are the dark personality or the hard feelings. You may feel like the queen of bitchy sarcastic rage, for instance, but in your mind say, “this is not me”. You may feel extreme anxiety but in your mind you say, “I am not this anxiety”. You need a practice to be able to say these things to yourself and believe it over time.

You can meditate a few different ways. You can sit and do it. You can do it with yoga by connecting breath with movement. You can chant. You can color, draw, or do something with your hands that is repetitive while you witness your thoughts. Or you can do walking meditation.

The key is to be able to witness your thoughts and feelings, not to make them vanish. This builds the witness muscle. Just like building any muscle you get stronger with consistent practice. As you build the witness you can get stronger and better at not identifying with the constant stream of thoughts and feelings coursing through you as well as the many parts of self. We have the dark personality that protects the vulnerable inner kid, we have all the archetypes connecting to self, we have the family system traits, so many parts inside!

To build the skill of non-identification you need to commit to a consistent meditative practice. It is that simple. When you build the witness inside you can stop thinking you are your thoughts and feelings. You begin to free yourself as you grow more resilient to the darkness as you stop identifying with thoughts and feelings.

3) Mind-Body connection. This skill is also rooted in a meditative practice as well but also you connect mind to body through what you consume. We are supposed to be mind-body connected but the split occurs due to the broken world we are born into and our bloodline’s wounds lighting up in the DNA mixed with how we are raised and what we endure. Long story short, we have to find our way back to the natural mind-body connection that is our birthright.

When mind-body are reconnected we feel our feelings in the body and release feelings as they rise up. This keeps us healthy just like pooping out the excess food we eat each day.

When we are mind-body connected we can’t over eat or drink without it hurting and therefor we can’t escape the moment through food, drink, and drugs…we can only use them moderately because body requires balance. When we are connected to body overdoing it feels like crap physically. When we are disconnected from body we can drink five beers or eat a whole bag of chips and not feel any physical discomfort and in fact we may feel great because we are satiating the void. Numbness, dissociation, and de-personalization are all real deals. Connecting mind to body brings the us back into feeling the body’s responses to what we consume and what we truly need in the physical.

It seems by default we all identify with self in the mind and the mind bullies the body.

To build the skill of mind-body connection you need to have the boring practice that you force yourself to do each day. Find your way to the practice right for you. Is it alone or with others? Is it with a video or an app or just creating some space alone?

The other vital way to connect is through food, drink, and everything you put in your body. How much do our minds bully the body? We say, “I love beer,” and identify with being a beer drinker. We say, “I am a chocolate lover” and identify with eating sweets on a regular basis. These are examples. The body may be saying, “ouch my liver,” or “my intestines are growing bacteria and throwing us into disease” and the mind never listens or cares because the self identifies with the things is it consuming while ignoring the body’s needs.

Every body has its own requirements for a diet right for that particular body. Same goes for movement and self-care. What happens if you challenge your mind to listen to body and use that as a practice? Can you notice the cravings instead of giving in to them? Can you tune into your body and take the long road of discovering its best diet and way to stay healthy? Can you release identifying the self with what you consume, radically accept the crappy feelings that rise up when you use restraint and bring the witness to your practice? This will reconnect your mind to your body.

4) Unconditional love. This skill is built through the transpersonal path of connecting self to the divine. The divine does not have to be God, Goddess, or any version of spiritual belief from religious to non-religious. Thoreau connected to nature as his transpersonal force. You can call the transpersonal and see the transpersonal however feels right to you. The understanding is that you are never a disconnected self living in a disconnected word. There is a larger force than you and this larger force can take your burden, your cravings, your confusion, your anger….this force can bring you peace and what you long for deeply, can provide miracle moments, can open doors, make connections, and open up your heart.

You can keep the force as a natural mystery in your mind or hold the force as a God in heaven or a pantheon, it does not matter…but when you cultivate this connection you can begin to access the feeling of unconditional love. This is a natural feeling every human is capable of experiencing. When you feel it you let go of the hurt connected to others and to the self. Letting go does not mean not feeling hurt anymore, it just means that you accept the hurt and you accept those that hurt you, including yourself.

Once you accept the hurt and those who hurt you unconditional love rises up naturally and helps to wash the past away enough to make peace with unfairness, loss and all the vicissitudes of life.  Feeling unconditional is a process. To build the skill of feeling unconditional love is to cultivate your transpersonal relationship just as you would cultivate any relationship in your life. The more intimate you become with the transpersonal the greater your capacity to feel unconditional love and release the suffering in the heart.

Mindfulness helps you distance yourself from suffering. Connecting to the transpersonal transmutes the suffering.

5) Courage. I know it sounds simple but it’s an invaluable skill that takes time to build unless you are one of those naturally courageous people. Most of us aren’t and judge ourselves for it. Instead, let’s radically accept the lack of courage and not identify with this lack.

With courage we can face what we tend to avoid. What we resist persists. If you don’t face your fear of being vulnerable you will continue to hurt others close to you and yourself with your avoidance. If you don’t face your fear of the broken messed up world you will continue to escape reality and grow stagnant and angry. If you don’t face your failing relationship you will continue to endure with a stiff upper lip and false hope while the sensitive one in the relationship or family system will unconsciously feel all of the anxiety you avoid and they will suffer and not understand they are feeling your feelings too. These are just a few examples.

Courage is key. We all avoid pain, doubt. and vulnerability because we are all scared. Courage gives us the quality to face what we fear. You don’t need to have confidence in yourself to have courage either. Courage is not high self esteem. Courage is simply a willingness. If you are willing you can walk through what you fear and show up aligned with your true self.

You can ask the transpersonal to give you courage and it will work. You can also take a pragmatic path to building courage by telling yourself you will do one small scary thing a day and build tolerance in increments. I know for myself, I have a lot of weakness in this area. On my own path to building the skill of courage, I find that asking spirit to give me courage while meeting spirit half way and doing small scary things is the best recipe.

Courage is incredibly transforming because when we face what we avoid we become who we truly are and this sense of fulfillment opens up many new doors within and in the world.

Resilience, Non-identification, Mind-body connection, Unconditional love, and Courage I capitalize in honor of these powerful skills on the path of transformation and healing. These are not easy skills to build nor are they the only skills that matter but they are five potent keys that will change your life and awaken your true self.

Stream of Consciousness Healing Blog

I write the following blog with the intention of my stream of conscious writing to be a catalyst of inspiration and healing, if you enjoy reading in this style.  It is meant to be one big long paragraph where I did not think before writing or craft the writing, I just typed and allowed the unconscious to do the expressing. Raw material direct from within. You may want to try it yourself. Don’t think, just write or type and let it all out…

My mom’s one-year death anniversary is Thursday. She feels so gone. Doesn’t show herself in signs or dreams. It’s so weird to feel how gone she is. It’s weird how natural it feels that she is gone. I suppose I expected to feel suffering, but I don’t. Grief is not suffering. Grief sometimes is worse than suffering but often grief is beautiful. There are many faces of grief and we all grieve differently. I speak of my experience. The dark abyss of endless longing for somebody you will never see again is a face of grief worse than suffering. It is the face of an endless heaving creature pain that pummels the nervous system. Nature never makes that last more than the body can survive it or more than the heart can survive it. But the mind can always glom on to the pain and create stories of life not worth living anymore. For elderly spouses this can be a common story. We are only human after all and this story is tender and deserves compassion. My story, per usual, is always one of healing. My mom’s death has catapulted me into healing the multigenerational wound in the female line. Body shame. Let’s face it, what woman do you know that does not feel some kind of shame about her body? Anyone? Our pain is not unique. It is collective because collective forces have enslaved our inner power. Feminine power in both men and women equally. Females are the avatars, but men are enslaved just as deeply. They have more power to run the world, but they run a messed-up world from an enslaved mind that does not comprehend how sick the world is. They are the avatars of power imbalance. Women have less power in the world, sometimes no power at all, but women talk about their feelings and bond emotionally with each other and therefor are much more empowered in the heart. Men are disconnected in the heart. These are sweeping generalizations made by the magical child’s commentary. It’s ok to let her voice out too. No fear. Then you have all those who don’t identify with these labels of gender and sex identity at all and may these types navigate their own course of identity, pioneering and catapulting evolution. Room for everyone in the variety, is my motto. I cannot write about it all though. I write specific. The beauty of grief I feel is how deeply I can love my mother now that she is free of the human suit. Nothing says love like I will never see you again. I hear her laugh in my head. She is light and happy as a spirit guide. She lets me know this all the time. I flipped the cushion of the chair I always sit in last night and said, “see mom, I did it, ” knowing she would be proud. Felt her in that tiny moment. It’s the little things even after death. Grief is beauty because she is inside of me. A piece of her soul landed inside those closest to her. I got some of her elegance, pragmatism and humor. Back to the healing aspect, I also got her unprocessed human pain and I am discovering how to let it go. How to heal that multigenerational wound that lived in her. How to process her anger and shame that mingles with my own. It’s through letting go. Always. I am beginning to understand on deeper layers how to let go. Not buying into the negative mental story. Not expecting life to provide fulfilment. Forgiveness that is felt and not just known as some ego-should to obtain. Radical acceptance which is the only act that leads to genuine forgiveness. Radical acceptance is not expecting life to be different than it is and allowing pain as much room as pleasure to exist as a fundamental aspect of human life. Accept what is. Every single aspect. The abuse of power, the positive force of the human spirit and everything in between. This pain is meant to be happening. The feelings say, “no it shouldn’t”. The creature hurts and doesn’t understand hurt. So soul needs to play mom and dad within to child ego, child creature, the very human part of us. Soul needs to play god and goddess within and guide creature. Soul needs to comfort and validate creature’s hurt, leading the way through the dark night. Soul has her dark night too though and needs to express lifetimes of karma, the deep well within of all she has endured. The she within every man and woman. We have all of these stories as movies, poems, novels, plays, songs, paintings, carvings, sculptures, meals, gardens, every creation that stems from pain. Beautiful expressions that release the pain through sharing it. We know we are not alone and we are meant to endure it. The paradox is hard to digest mentally. Sweet ego, always trying to make logical sense when only about one quarter of life can be reduced into the tiny cup of logic. Half of life needs the skills of mindfulness. unconditional love, a strong consistent practice. liberation of addiction, bringing order to chaos, rewriting the narrative of self, healing the multigenerational wound through letting go and making up a new myth of humanity. But you cannot exist fully in skills. We are not supposed to be healing robots. We are human beings and half of us is wild, the feminine spirit in every single body, the creative unknown, the pioneer, a body still quite unknown to science, so much still to know and explore and so much we will never know. We need creative expression, freedom, sex, sensuality, connection, newness, evolution, dreams. We need to remember the power within that is us but more than us. The transpersonal is the power within, call it what you will. We are connected always to the transpersonal force that courses through bringing us into life, love, intelligence, and awareness. We heal to touch upon this. We heal to remember this. We heal to grow. Healing is the structure that supports living, healing is not the point of living. Sometimes we get so bogged down though. We are weary from healing. We long for new stories to begin. Remember in your weariness that the act of enduring is meant to be too. Pain is a teacher. Grief is a teacher. Enduring is a teacher. Meaning and inspiration can rise from pain as much as from light and expansion if you touch the raw tender center with your mind. I know that sounds vague, but it will make sense over time. No need to avoid any aspect of life. Welcome dark to tea as much as light.

 

Reflection on Past Lives

It doesn’t matter if past lives literally happened or if they are mythological and archetypal stories informing us of the soul’s life. What is real versus what is not real, in terms of esoteric information, cannot be solved by the human mind and empirical means. Our ability to know what constitutes the whole of reality is limited and always will be.

Different pathways of knowing are designed for different knowings. Science, empiricism, logic and reason has its place. Intuition, feelings, imagination, and belief has its place. Both are needed and valid. Knowledge may be discovered in many different ways.

When it comes to spiritual knowledge, people tend to either go on blind faith or felt experience. I always recommend the latter as blind faith tends to create enslaved minds because it is often fear based and a way to give power up to a larger external institution. But felt faith is different. Felt faith is a lived experience of faith and full bodied, placing the power source within.

I believe in past lives because I have remembered many of my own. The memories feel like memories I remember in this life. Ever notice how memory has its own specific feeling?  My memories have come through past life journeys, dreams, and instantaneous sudden awareness. I have been shown signs. I have vomited and cried upon first meeting somebody in this life I have known from past lives. And all the lives I have recalled have all helped me heal.

I could deconstruct every past life I have recalled to sift out the major psychological themes happening in my present life. Meaning, I can turn any past life into a metaphor. Which one is true? Is the past life a metaphor or literal? It doesn’t matter to me. I hold both as true. I have a critical thinker and an esoteric priestess in me. The latter is more my true self and knows past lives are literal. The critical thinker in me is always humbling the priestess by saying, “this may be all in your mind.”

I like to be humbled by the critical mind. Nothing is more falsely seductive and bypassing as a spiritual guru type claiming to have all the answers in their new book, class, technique. The real gurus are the ones hardly saying a word and living off the grid without materialism at all in pure service to humanity. All the rest of us may be wise, psychic, and intuitive healers but we are very human with egos and desires that constantly want to feel needed, valued, and empowered.

Let go of trying to prove something right and as my friend said the other night, “bring it back from the dead with the power of belief.” Belief activates what is in the collective unconscious. Think of it like a vast place as big as space that we all psychically spring from. In this vast space everything exists in essence. The infinite void contains all, contains the multitudes. When you believe in something you resurrect it from dormancy by pulling it up from the collective unconscious infinite void into your waking self where life is lived out loud.

We are supposed to believe in myth. Stories inspire, guide, and heal. Our ancestors pass down their stories through the collective unconscious through patterns of behavior we exhibit, through feelings and desires bigger than our own, and through dreams. Each ancestral life lived a particular story with particular wounds and longings unmet that travel through the DNA hoping to be lived out by the next generation. This is a form of past life too. Our ancestors are our past lives.

The way I see it in my mind is in two axises. The vertical ancestry and the horizontal ancestry. The vertical is the soul’s journey from group soul to individual soul, from starseed to human, from lifetime to lifetime, and from dimension to dimension. The horizontal ancestry is who you are in your earth bloodline of ancestors. Where the two intersect is where the true self roots. We are a verb not a noun. True self is an expression of the vertical and horizontal ancestries living in the present moment.

We are never a separate being plucked from the collective. We are an expression of both ancestries at all times. You have your great great great great grandparents in you, your star home in you, your past lives in you, on and on. You are history living in the now. You are the future living in the now too but let’s not get too trippy in this blog. Who you are is a collective pretending to be an individual. This pretend game is very serious in that spirit aches to express, evolve, grow, and play all the time. Spirit is always alive in the present moment, always dancing. You are spirit dancing.

There are many ways to recover past lives. You can go see a past life regression therapist. I have guided many people into past lives. The guidance is very simple and the basic technique is relaxation of the body to go deep into the unconscious self to recover the life through imagination. The hard part is trusting the imagination. Many people think regressions are where you are not conscious while “going under” but you are conscious. You must trust what your imagination reveals to you because the imagination is the movie showing you the life.

Dreams can reveal a past life too. You may not be literally told in the dream that it is a past life but the scene, the people, and the scenarios may all feel very familiar, vivid, and important. Both journeying/regressing and dreams require trust in the self. This is where I see the most blocks in others. Self doubt. We are so conditioned to only put validity in science and empirical knowing that the intuition and imagination muscles may be weak.

The only way to increase psychic skills is through practice. Practice journeying, practice imagining, practice listening to your feelings and intuitions. Meditate a little bit every day. It takes work and effort like anything else. In our society, the gym and making money hold much more importance because we put more value in the body’s health and appearance and in the status and comfort level of the ego. There’s a grave imbalance. On the other end of the spectrum you have people going on blind faith and believing with no lived experience, no critical thinking, ignoring the body completely and living all for a future place in an after world.

I diatribe but just want to make the point that balance is key. What you focus on grows and what you ignore atrophies. Simple as that. If you want to remember your past lives you need to practice developing your journeying, intuitive, and imaginative skills. Although some people go deep right away when being guided by somebody or self guiding. You might already be gifted and just need to create the space and time to go within and take a journey to remember.

Past lives may be felt when reading or watching something on the screen too. You might be watching a period piece and find yourself crying for no reason. You may be obsessed with a period in history because it is a life you lived. You might detest a period in history. Clues surface all the time when coming into contact with history through entertainment, school, stories from elders, walking through a museum or a library. Trust the feelings. Listen to the feelings. Follow the feelings and allow your imagination to unfurl.

I have uncovered past lives with clients when pulling tarot cards. This happens when the client is already somewhat skilled in using intuition and imagination. Through talking, pulling cards and our mutual intuition, out pours the lifetime. Sometimes I see past lives in others suddenly. When I see the past life of a client I share what I see but I never want to hold more power than they have to know the self. I share with humbleness. Back to the top of this blog, what I see can be used as a healing metaphor only.

This is why I travel back and forth between literal and metaphor, spirit and psychology, the esoteric and critical thinking. Keeps it real. Keeps the ego from inflating and soul from deflating. Keeps the balance. Feel free to share what you see. We are not performing surgery when we share, it’s ok to be wrong or off and to stay playful about the vision. Sharing what you see may be a gift for the other person.

Getting out of the glamor of the esoteric is important because if you sink into the glamor you bypass the healing work. If you are all ablaze with importance because you remembered you were the king of a country, you will bypass the feeling of being insignificant that needs out of the shadow. You can as easily be ego inflamed from a horrifying and sad past life if the ego over-identifies with the wounds it carries, bypassing empowerment trapped in the shadow.

Just like somebody with a beautiful physique may live fully in the attention they receive for their outward appearance, ignoring their inner life, a psychic maven may ignore her lower chakra creature life and live in an inflated sense of importance with her intuitive gifts, the attention this gives her, and the power she feels from helping others. We all have gifts and we all have areas of weakness and the human ego loves to inflate the gift to repress the weakness in order to feel loved, needed, validated, and seen. Not one of us is above the craving for attention and the hunger to be loved and needed.

In astrology you can find your past lives in your south node and Chiron. Some schools find it in Pluto and Saturn too. In my own channels, I find Chiron to reveal the deepest wound carried from past lives, the south node to reveal the past life character wishing to be integrated but not identified with, Pluto to show where the soul feels the most loss from past lives and Saturn to show where the soul feels most limited and challenged due to past life influences.

There are a few lifetimes I have recovered that transformed me through remembering them. They involved meeting the souls I share this life with too. Soulmates are not just romantic. They are siblings, friends, parents, teachers, anyone. Romantic soulmates are very intense because lovers are intense and most closely mirror attachment with parents or caretakers.

The key to healing from past lives is to understand that all feelings that were not let go of and made peace with before death travel with the soul into the next life. This is karma. Guilt, for example, may be traveling with your soul through the vertical ancestry from life to life and be traveling down the horizontal ancestry through the bloodline from the first Grandmother who was oppressed by the patriarchal system. Until guilt is released it will travel with you.

If guilt is traveling with you, the unconscious will create relationships that will make the guilt rise up to the surface to be felt because feeling is healing. To let go we first must feel what needs to be released. If you feel the guilt and choose to accept it without judgement and let it go by not believing the story around it, you set guilt free from the soul. You no longer carry it. You release the karma. This is the key to karmic healing and the point of remembering past lives.

There are many paths to the same place. You can not believe in past lives and never talk about it once and still heal as deeply as somebody doing past life work. Through accessing your feelings in this life you can release all karma and understand yourself fully. It’s all a matter of choice, belief and individual expression.

 

 

 

A Psychological Reflection on Autoimmune Disease’s Effects on the Body and Psyche

That’s a long title up there and living with autoimmune disease feels like a long road. I am writing this blog in the spirit of sharing my personal journey to inspire you if you are also on the path of living with autoimmune disease.

I have lived with an AD since I was eleven but I did not know it was an AD until three years ago when a doctor causally said, “Oh you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa,” while giving me an exam. Before that, I only knew that I had some skin curse with no cure. I lived with it by ignoring it even though I was always dealing with it. Denial is strong.

My particular disease is ugly, insidious, painful, and a fucking cross to bear. I have immense compassion for anyone bearing the cross of AD because whichever one you have tends to be incurable and wreaks havoc on the body and psyche.

My disease caused me to feel shame my entire life. I have worked through shame by feeling it with love and letting it go. I am free of it now and it wasn’t easy to release but I did it.

In my mind, I tell myself that we all bear our crosses, all bodies are imperfect, ugliness is an aspect of life, and that being a brave advocate who knows my beauty is what can bring myself and others inspiration. I rewrote the shame story into a story of empowerment and acceptance.

I could not release shame and rewrite the story of living with AD until I got mostly in remission. Remission of my symptoms led the way for the healing of my psyche.

I say mostly in remission because I still go in and out of remission but overall I would say I am in 90% remission and it is completely connected to food and going on the AIP and ketogenic diets as a lifestyle for the long term.

I am no longer a “normie”, a term addicts use to classify those who can use alcohol or drugs in moderation without being addicted. I feel there is a big of a distinction when living with AD.

The first year I knew I had HS, I ignored it. Denial is powerful. I was in grad school and my mom was battling the cancer that would kill her a year and half later. I had no room in my psyche to face my disease. But then I did have room. I was ready in the summer of 2018.

I looked up HS online and found blogs, forums and a lot of people finding remission by going on the autoimmune paleo diet or AIP for short. I started this diet the very next day. I was desperate because my flares were so bad I was willing to try anything.

The AIP diet eliminates all sugar, grains/rice, nightshades, caffeine, seeds, nuts, alcohol, and dairy. Basically everything but organic meat (grass fed and free range), fruit, and vegetables. I switched my diet in one day, eating only chicken breast, apples, carrots, greens, and a fruit smoothie to start me off the first week.

Being a genuine food addict my entire life, I battled not having “my foods” on very deep levels, much deeper than somebody who is not addicted to food. Every day for a year I felt despair, anger, and every uncomfortable emotion yummy food had been stuffing down. I also felt isolated from my friends because I could no longer eat out or have a few drinks and I was used to doing that most days of the week.

What gave me strength to stick with it was that I went into immediate remission within weeks of staring the diet. It was a sheer miracle!

The remission did not last and new flares appeared but far less flares cropped up and they were far less severe. Remission from the severity began and has stayed with me since I began the diet and so began my journey of figuring out all of my trigger foods.

I went to a naturopath to get some help and started the journey of learning I have a huge yeast allergy and needed Vitamin D, along with other aspects I won’t get into that have helped me to deepen remission with healing the gut.

To make a very long year and a half journey short, I learned that yeast, nuts, seeds, grains, dairy, sugar, beans, fruit and many vegetables are trigger foods. I learned that I need to not only do AIP but I need to go ketogenic because insulin is a trigger. I need to cut out all fruit completely and keto adapt so my body uses fat instead of glucose as fuel. This has greatly improved remission.

I reintroduced alcohol the night my mother died in the beginning of 2019. I learned I can drink hard spirits with nothing added but I cannot touch beer or wine. I learned I can eat eggs (so far). I can also have coffee in moderation.

I tried nuts and bacon but after a few months they became triggers. This happened with avocado and broccoli. Some foods cause immediate flares while other foods build up and then cause flares. The journey is constant and never ending.

I learned that lectins, phytates, and oxalates are poison to my body and this is why vegan foods harm me which is another aspect I have had to grieve. I have the heart of a vegan. I spent many years of my life eating vegan and vegetarian unknowing of how sick it was making me. Now I am a carnivore. I had to let go of my treasured belief system so my body could be healthy.

I have grieved and continue to grieve the loss of food as addiction, celebration, and comfort. Emotional eating is over. Eating out with friends is over. Eating to “treat myself” is over. Normies say that all the time, “treat yourself”. But if I treat myself with food I get a huge flare and it’s just not worth it. The treat is poison.

Those of us with AD who go AIP, keto or both to heal cannot treat ourselves with food because it makes us feel like complete shit. I tell myself that food is fuel and nothing else. This is my new story.

Don’t count me in when you make celebratory food plans. I have no desire to celebrate Thanksgiving because I can’t eat the food and from now on, I am done thinking I need to partake of any holiday with food. When I travel food will not be part of the adventure. When a partner comes into my life he will have to live with food being only fuel for me too.

I like the foods I can eat. I like eggs in the morning, salmon, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, chicken breast, coconut milk, burgers, steak, and arugula. I am satisfied when I eat even though not a day goes by I don’t crave cheese, bread, hot pepper, beer, tacos….I mean, the grief is real and the loss is daily. I compare myself to an addict in sobriety taking it one day at a time.

What feels amazing is being mostly in remission all of the time. My body is healing on deep levels too, beyond just remission of symptoms. I am healing my organs, gut, skin, bones, losing weight, and all anxiety is completely gone. Within a month of the AIP diet all anxiety left my psyche as anxiety truly does live in the body. Within a month of being keto and AIP my ability to focus greatly increased and my energy levels began to even out. The healing continues.

I love that I eat like my ancestors. I feel that how I eat connects me to them. I feel more rooted to the earth. My sleep is pristine and I no longer suffer from insomnia. I have become strong and disciplined in every aspect of my life. I exercise five to six days a week. I do what I say I will do in terms of my daily and long term goals. I can handle anything, is what it feels like.

I have no anxiety, no procrastination, no split in the psyche where what I want and how I behave are out of alignment. I have come into a much more profound sense of self love, ease, and integrity. My psyche has never been healthier and more at peace.

Funny, how each day I feel loss and cravings but each day I feel at peace with myself.

I no longer respond to loss and cravings with fear or resistance. I have learned the power of surrender. I accept loss, pain, and my AD. Grief is not something I need to avoid anymore. I am no longer in denial of the dark side of life. I am at peace with my limitations, the ugly, and all that is hard.

For now, I have whisky, mezcal, and coffee with coconut milk as pleasures I can still indulge in. I cannot overdo it so I drink in moderation and I am also willing to let these drinks go the moment my health needs it.

I have become so emotionally strong that I no longer depend on any food, drink, or substance to keep me feeling ok or to enjoy life. I cannot stress what a big deal this is as I have been a food addict and hedonist my entire life, always using food as comfort and enjoying the party. Now, I can find comfort and enjoy the party in a new way.

I am in the process of learning how be a hedonist in new ways that are good for my health. Sexual expression is something most people never explore fully and is one of our greatest gifts as human beings. No shame. What possibilities exist to explore and merge with another soul on a sexual level and experience deeper levels of pleasure, replenishment, and love?

How can my body express through any form of movement that brings heightened pleasure? Dance, hiking, sky diving, fire walking, floating, strolling….

There are many possibilities.

I find hedonistic pleasure in essential oils, incense, crystals, flowers, the beauty of nature, fashion, putting on make-up and dressing up. I find hedonistic pleasure in gazing at art, listening to music, and reading books. There is so much to imbibe and indulge in that is not food and drink. I also feel immense satisfaction when I paint, write, sing, and express myself creatively.

AD has transformed me for the better.

I know in my heart of hearts that AD is connected to multigenerational trauma. Interesting that my mother and father both had the same AD as me.

My mother had it killed with near lethal amounts of antibiotics from a certain doctor in Vegas who had his theory. I believe this treatment destroyed her gut and led to many health issues to follow. She eventually got colon cancer. I do not follow in her footsteps with my AD and for very few has antibiotic treatment worked. My father said he stopped having flares in his fifties and that it just went away. I can only hope for such a healing to happen to me. I cannot count on it.

For now, I must eat keto/AIP to stay in remission but I am thankful for this diet beyond being in remission because I am healing my body completely, healing multigenerational trauma, healing completely from anxiety, and healing food addiction all while transforming into a stronger, more centered, disciplined, equanimous, and poised individual who is no longer dependent on “the cookie”.

It has taken a year and half to get to this place of love, strength, balance and health that is not static or fixed. Like I said, I still get flares and have to figure out why. I still feel loss for food and cravings rise up all the time (though going keto took away 80% of all food cravings). There’s always work to be done and progress to be made in body and mind. Just like in a yoga pose, you need a constant focus to stay balanced.

If you are reading this and have AD, I hope to provide you with some inspiration from sharing my story. Food truly is the biggest culprit of many if not most of AD symptoms.

AD seems to be rooted in generational trauma passed down through the DNA and from diet. The AIP diet works and for some of you, keto will also work.

Western medicine still looks down upon all holistic routes but go ahead and let them. If you dedicate yourself to trying the diet for 30-90 days you will experience the results for yourself. You can reintroduce certain foods after the initial period and begin cultivating the exact diet that works for you.

Will power gets easier over time as you adapt and your body feels better as it adjusts too. Anxiety will diminish and you will become more disciplined and emotionally independent.

Grief is real for no longer being a normie and getting to eat what you want but there is liberation in no longer fearing grief. Life is suffering, Buddha said. If we face the suffering with an open heart, willingness, and a mindful approach that does not resist limitation, pain and loss then suffering will transform your soul from a mud ball into a pearl and your body will be a sanctuary living with illness.