Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why Body Awareness is Crucial in Expanded Consciousness

I love to dance. I love to meditate. I do both. 

Increasingly, there is much emphasis placed on increasing self-awareness, our relation to others and the world. Yes, we are all connected beyond physical terms, and how beautiful to discover and nurture this ethereal awareness! But the more spiritual I become, the more custodial I am of my body. If we wanted to delve directly into the esoteric realms of the topic, I could introduce discourse on the serpent in the Bible and the Feminine principle. But that's not where I want to go with this.

Recently in my meditations, I have seen in my mind's eye swirling energies above the planet. I see this as the collective consciousness of a given corresponding geographic locale in the physical plane. I see that there are new energies being introduced to the planet and the simultaneous need to purge old energies to make way for the new. It's as if these collective energies are cuing up to manifest themselves. However, from what I see, there is serious need to cleanse our thoughts and consciousness for the purest of these to enter our reality. 

But how do we know for sure what are the highest vibrations? How do we choose? Or do we even get to choose at all?

I like to utilize the imagery of light refracting through a prism. 

So much of our consciousness is fractionated. Whether by our egos, our belief systems, or the external realm of media and news information, quite literally our attention, like a beam of light, becomes refracted through the fog. 

When we try to redirect our divided attention back to ourselves -- whatever the question or insight we're seeking -- it's no wonder we can be confused. By going within ourselves, back to our central Self, we can surpass this. We become our own gurus. 

So, what are some ways to get to know ourselves? 

Meditation. Breathing practices. Centering exercises. Energy work. And, yes -- Mindful Movement and Body Awareness.

We've heard it again and again, but it's true -- we are a society bombarded by distractions and sensory overload. We almost have to numb ourselves in order to cope. Before we know it, we're caught in an endless cycle of overstimulation and withdrawal, until we don't even know what our vital life force is anymore. 

By tapping into the wisdom of the body, we can bypass the mind chatter and unending engrossments. We return to our center, the core of our being and awareness, before any refraction occurs. In this state, there is calm, clarity, and peace. There is a sense of resolve and contentment. And it is easyYou don't need to think yourself here -- because you simply are. 

The beauty of Mindful Movement and Body Awareness is that with focused practice, one can arrive immediately in a state of present moment awareness. Try it -- whether through yoga, tai chi,  qigong, or any type of dance. Feel your energy in different areas of the body. Follow the breath. Feel the sensations and simply note what is there -- be it warmth, pain, tension, or flow. See how your awareness is not always in the brain and mental activities, but very much with us in our bodies. 

I urge you to cultivate true body awareness. This cannot happen by adding substances to our systems or by numbing ourselves. Even drugs only give a temporary high which fades. 

And so, I dance... I meditate... I let one flow into the other, all the while my consciousness riding the waves of movement... one not better than the other, but each a means for awareness. So please, I implore you, explore. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Healing - Beyond Just a Practice

I think I'm finally getting it. 

That is, how to explain what I do. It's so funny when I meet people for the first time, or even when catching up with people, and inevitably the question arises, "What do you do for a living?" or, my favorite, "How is it going... whatever it is that you do?"

One way to answer is the technical way: With a person laying on a massage table, I use my hands in an intentional, heart-centered way, in a series of techniques with hands moving or still, with light touch or no touch, to balance someone's energy.

While completely accurate, this response is not complete. It leaves out the very nature of the work, which is also the greatest cause of its ambiguity -- that fact that it addresses our existence on spiritual, mental, and emotional levels of being -- and importantly, our experiences within them. 

In the beginning, I used to shy away from answering the question more fully in this way because honestly, it was a bit ambiguous. It's sometimes difficult to describe something that is so experiential and beyond physical, tangible context. While I wanted to explain my experiences, the logical part of my brain was fully aware of the words leaving my mouth and how crazy it all sounded. Because I didn't want to alienate myself, I would put a filter on my experiences and understandings, perhaps lending to vague generalist statements. 

But now, I don't filter myself. I speak from the heart and let the words flow, even if it sounds a little crazy. Or if at times there are no words at all. 

The world of healing is a world of poetry and flow. It's not just about getting the techniques right in the sequence of a healing session. It's about dedicating our own lives to continual self-evaluation, deconstruction, and rebuilding. 

Committing oneself to the path of a healer is about discovering just how complex and intricate we are -- how we learn and function, and what our principles, beliefs, and perceptions are. It's about being honest with where we need to heal ourselves; what areas are emotionally tender or psychologically frightening. As healing practitioners, we constantly delve into the places most fearful and vulnerable within ourselves. We experience everything viscerally and fully, coming out on the other side of the darkness with greater light, clarity, and awareness. 

We do this again and again so that when holding space for others, we can honestly say, "I know what you're going through. I know it's painful. I've been there. And it gets better. I've done it, and you can, too."

I've discovered that the process of healing is about breaking down the barriers we have set up within ourselves. This is what is meant by "dissolving the illusion of separateness." 

So, when I am asked, "What do you do for a living?" I answer, "It's not only about what I do, it's who I become." 

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Summer as a Turtle Tracker

How fun! Completely forgotten about... I was looking through old files and found this from summer 2006. Yes, I was a turtle tracker for the summer, and yes, it is one of the hardest jobs you can imagine! Beat the crap out of my physically, really, and mentally. Emotionally, too, with the communal living situation, though not touched upon here. I'm so thankful that I can NOW look fondly upon the experience.
Completely unedited and in its entirety. Enjoy and please ask questions! 

My Summer as a Herpetological Field Assistant (Turtle Tracker) in Lockport, IL
Summer 2006

Oh, Lockport. How do I describe thee?

Taking this job, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. Lacking any field work or research experience, I counted myself fortunate to land this opportunity. Staying at the field house in Lockport, I was part of a team of other turtle trackers, as well as some snake people. The premise of the turtle activity was a Masters project for tracking the spatial movements of turtles in various habitats. The focus of concern was on Blandings turtles, which are state endangered. There were 3 sites:

Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve, consisting of mostly dolomite prairie, cattail marsh, and some ponds, right off of the Des Plaines River. There were about 75 turtles total radio-tagged – Blandings turtles, Spotted, Snapping, Painted, and Musk turtles.

Keepataw Black Partridge Forest Preserve, right where the wonderful I-355 extension is being built. That’s right, straight through the marsh. There’s a lovely electrical buzz and crackling from the huge powerlines, as well, that cut through here. We had only a few turtles here (Blandings) for the numerous traps we had set, but there was much drama with turtles in the construction zone.

Goose Lake Prairie State Wildlife Area, temporarily, because this area of wet unfragmented prairie turned out to be a huge game of hide and seek with what few turtles (Blandings) we had. The turtles would stay put in their pond for a little while, randomly take off, and leave us blindly searching for them. They were laughing all the way.

Daily, there would be a team for Lockport Prairie, and for Goose Lake Prairie and Keepataw. At Lockport Prairie, you would be given a few areas (West Marsh, Railroad Marsh, East Pond, etc.) to track turtles in. Each turtle has a small transmitter attached to their shell, and each is a different radio frequency. Your job was, with radio antenna in one hand, receiver in the other (in which you typed the radio frequency), and with your “turtle bag” flung over a shoulder, was to track your given number of turtles, anywhere from 10-15, through all of the habitat and weather conditions that nature can throw at you. Once you find a turtle, as indicated by the increasing “beep, beep” sound of the receiver, you take down all of the data in that location on your handy little clipboard: GPS coordinates, temp, humidity, vegetation type and height, water depth and temp, etc.

And daily, hoop traps would be checked to see if we could catch any more Blandings turtles to put transmitters on. Often, we caught Painted turtles. Whatever turtles we caught, we would haul back to the truck, measure, mark (make notches in their shell), and release. Your day was guaranteed a bit more interesting if you caught a gigantic Snapper in the trap.

The same process would occur at Goose Lake Prairie and Keepataw, except for the fact that we tracked fewer turtles in these areas, and that at GLP, it was not uncommon to lose turtles for a few days, and then by some miracle, track them to some obscure pond or marsh a half mile away that we would’ve never known existed. But by God, or sheer insanity, or both, we tracked through the brambles of raspberry, clumps of sedge that are put on this Earth in order to break your ankles, through swarms of painful, blood-sucking horseflies (mosquitoes are playful compared to them), f%*#@ing Wild Parsnip (forget Poison Ivy!), the death mud, and above all, the Death March to Oak Pond, assuredly one of the vortexes of Hell.

I regret not saving the job description, but may this be a lesson for all future field workers: exposure to harsh field conditions is no understatement, and is a warning flag. Such a job is not for the weak!

I honestly don’t know how I survived. The first month, I was plagued with blisters on my heels that would not heal, because I was wet everyday, and only 2 days off in-between for the wounds to dry out was not enough. Ugh, it was so, so painful.
Not to mention, everyday getting scratched by vegetation – namely cattails, which grew to 10 feet late in the summer. But river rushes were the worst, because they catch your skin as you drag it across the leaves. I thought my scars would have faded by now, but they haven’t.

I could go on and on. About having to rescue traps underwater when after a heavy rain the canal waters were released, flooding the Des Plaines and all connected water bodies (a.k.a. Lockport Prairie and Keepataw). About losing signals in the cattails, and water up to your waist, trying not to drop equipment in the water, feet stuck in mud, slipping on rocks, evil bugs (Carl always won the imbedded tick game), 90 degree weather . . . it’s all there. I wore out the soles of my gym shoes. And it’s amazing how as much as you wash, the marsh smell never leaves your clothes (and the dirt never leaves the toenails until a couple weeks later).

Such an experience as Lockport deserves this long narration. I absolutely loved working with the turtles – without that, I would not have stayed long.
But I thankfully leave this story to the winds of the prairie, whom I am no match for. Utmost respect to this harsh and beautiful landscape.

This is how we did laundry
Taking data
Fresh scars

Shoes worn to the end

Catch of the day
Some people still don't believe me when I mention turtles this big... here's proof

Giant powerlines through Keepataw, and home to many turtles
Myself with tracking gear 
Blanding's turtle
Hoop traps for catching turtles
I-355 construction through the marsh

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Story: Career Change

This I wrote a couple of weeks ago on the 2-year anniversary of leaving my job and career in the science field. It's a reflection and chronicle of a one of the biggest turning points so far in my lifetime. 

Two years ago I made the decision to leave my job and vocation in the sciences -- what I like to call my previous life. I remember feeling such freedom in going on a bike ride in the morning and starting the day with a meditation, coming to this very spot at the Skokie Lagoons where I sit right now. I meditated on the movement of energy across the Chicagoland area. I was overcome by such a strong surge from my soul, wanting to burst forth in joy from the freedom I'd been waiting so long for, and had finally granted myself! To now be at liberty to dedicate my energies freely to the endeavor of a healer and spiritual warrior.

It was not easy to come to this decision.  I had a battle within myself and it did manifest with others. I realized about a month and a half prior that I had been seeking outside approval to make this career move. I had confided with some dear coworkers and mentors, and they each supported me. None of us were happy where we were at our workplace, and the situation seemed to worsen daily. The difference between them and I was that I was in my mid-20s, without kids, with a supportive partner with steady income. I had the freedom and advantage of youth to change jobs, careers, even. So what was holding me back?

Rationality, heh. We all have it supposedly. The life vision for ourselves: go to school, college perhaps, begin our trade, build experience and relationships so that we get a better job, make more money, so that we have enough for a car, house, savings, all of our material possessions, travel... yes. All important. All the time spent in school and our jobs is a huge investment, a dedication of ourselves ultimately into building ourselves. 

Well... What happens when everything you've built doesn't seem to be working out like you wanted?  You move on. Usually. 

The problem is... It's not just about the job. It's not just about the coworkers, the bosses, the company structure, the commute, the PTO, the benefits. It's not even about your accomplishments or how much money you make. It's how you FEEL. Are you fulfilled? Energized by life? Feeling like you're moving and growing as a human being, as a soul? 

And maybe that's not at the front of your mind... But it certainly was on mine. And perhaps because I was meditating nearly every day, because I was in the School of Metaphysics and was encouraged (nay, demanded!) to follow my true inner motivation and soul's urge to express itself, it was impossible for me to NOT contemplate constantly my purpose and choices, and to NOT become increasingly miserable as I realized that what I was dedicating most of my waking time and attention to simply was... not... what I wanted anymore. And because I was thinking from a holistic perspective, I knew that if I wasn't proactive in making life changes, my stress would continue to increase and wear me down mentally, emotionally, and ultimately physically. I knew this. It happened in the beginning of my career. It was how I got introduced to Healing Touch as a client, in fact. 

I had always wanted to support something - an organization, company, structure - that was more holistic, contributing positively to the environment and society. Now I found this desire evolved to include supporting the individual expression; MY true expression. And perhaps if I practiced more assertiveness at the time, I would have moved on more quickly. In the end, of course, it didn't matter... because there's another facet to why we do what we do. 

It's the belief that life is about learning lessons. Until I completed whatever lessons I needed to learn at this job, they would follow me wherever I went. It might be different coworkers, bosses, and projects... but all the same problems, wearing different masks. 

So then the struggle was figuring out: What were my lessons? 

If you're familiar with The Law of Attraction, you know that "like attracts like." You need look no further than your coworkers. It becomes quite evident what our lessons are -- when we all complain together over lunch, what we say in hushed voices when the bosses aren't around. Look at the bosses or subordinates you attract and what conflicts arise. Why do some people just aggravate us for seemingly no reason at all? What situations do we avoid? IT IS NEVER ABOUT ANY OTHER PERSON OR SITUATION. It is always something to do with ourselves. 

In my studies of metaphysics and spirituality, I learned that anything and anyone outside of myself that triggered a reaction, be it an emotion or negative thought, was merely a reflection of something inside of me that needed to be addressed and understood, until when faced with the same circumstances, I could be in a state of mind to choose my response, rather than react. This is how we become empowered by our thoughts and feelings. We become neutral, centered, more calm - even amidst absolute craziness! 

For me, my lessons were on embracing my inner authority and standing up for myself; finding my voice. To be unable to truly express myself, even something as simple as pointing out a mistake (especially when it was my boss!) was debilitating. Being respectful of authority and fearful of authority are two totally different things. In my case, it turned into passivity and avoidance. When there was confrontation, I shut down, only to later fume at my inability to stand up for myself. Swinging between the extremes was tiring and frustrating. 

As time went on, I spent a lot more time crying. First at home. Then during lunch. Then during the workday. Taking work home with you? Dumping it on spouse and family? Something is unbalanced and seriously wrong. It is NOT normal - or at least, it's not how it should be. Then, why? Why do we choose this suffering?

Fear of the unknown. Or failure. Lack of Self-worth or Self-confidence to change, which leads to passivity and martyrdom. Yay, for the human condition! Our very own tragedy to complain and commiserate with others about. But we can only do this for so long before others get sick of hearing the same old story. They've got their own shit to deal with. 

My lesson was learning to assert my desires, ALOUD. I cared too much about what others thought. I'm sensitive to other peoples' thoughts, opinions, and what I didn't realize at the time, their energy. I recognize this NOW - but before I knew this, I simply took on other peoples' thoughts and emotions, or molded myself to their desires - because that's what they wanted, right? No wonder I was unhappy. Without asserting myself, how could anything possibly change? 

Only through prayer, meditation, and trusting in a higher guiding power did I uncover my inner desires and dare to face my fears. Getting encouragement from others was pivotal. And finally, practicing being different, again and again. Even when it was super uncomfortable. Practice, practice. 

I probably could have continued at that job. But when the epiphanies and signs came pouring in, I knew it was time to act. And, where the rational mind is unable to justify an action, faith and trust enter in. At least in my case -- I have no doubts, this is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It seems to be working out so far. :-)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I almost feel like another Hello and Welcome is needed! It's been quite a while since my last post. Why? you may ask... or not... anyway. I've been so BLESSED and busy doing healing sessions, working towards completing requirements for Level 5 Healing Touch and certification. 

Really, I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world when I'm working with other people during healing sessions. It is a huge bond of trust established between healer and recipient. Even more than traditional massage, energywork truly delves deep into the energetic layers of a person, revealing the stories written in their aura. I can feel energetic flow throughout the chakras and energetic bodies, sensing where spaces are stronger and weaker, how this translates into the way a person processes every day experiences, emotions, stresses, and how connected a person is to themself and sense of divinity. Every person is different, every session is different, and to be allowed into one's energetic space is such a sacred act. I am so grateful each and every time. 

As an energy worker, I can raise my vibrational level in order to channel energy for healing. Just as one can experience gentle, soothing strokes in massage versus intense pressure in deep tissue massage, energy work can function the same way, I find. Sometimes gentle releasing held for a longer period of time is needed. Sometimes an intense burst of energy is needed to open a blockage or to seal a weak area. Many times a problem area manifested in the physical body cannot be worked on until another area is released or cleared. The ideal from any session is to clear tension, congestion, or heaviness in order to produce flow and movement. Sometimes all that's needed is for me to hold space while a person's energy does all the work. Even then, to be witness to this healing is amazing. 

To hear afterwards, "I feel so relaxed!" and accounts of never being able to slow down the thinking until having a session, and a sense of being more centered, grounded, connected... it's so gratifying. And all that's needed is an opening, willing heart to serve. And trust me, this giving builds and multiplies, spilling forth so that you want to give more and more. I can't possibly contain all this love for myself!!! Everyone needs to do this! At least, everyone needs to give, to serve, in some way or another for someone else's well-being. Even if it's as simple as putting aside everything and giving your undivided attention listening to a loved one speak for a few minutes, or volunteering time and effort towards a cause. It's the most beautiful thing we can offer to others. So in whatever way you can, please serve! Give of yourself purely to others and feel blessed. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trust Yourself!

One of the biggest leaps for me in deepening understanding of myself and spirituality which every so often I'm reminded of is trusting myself. Trust the process. And for anyone who questions themselves on, how do I know this is real? or, how do I know this or that is true? the best I can offer is, have faith and practice. Nothing you do is wrong as long as you have the best intentions in mind (coupled, of course, with wisdom). 

For me, my experiences in meditation, healing, and spiritual practices are the basis of my core beliefs and understandings about myself and the world around me. Even if I read and take in outside information, I always reflect on it and meditate on it, and eventually have experiences in day-to-day life that validate or refine the information. 

I first started exploring meditation in my adolescence. For a person naturally quiet and more inward, this was easy for me. I explored lots of books on psychics and delved into stories and worlds that seemed so fantastical and yet so full of magic, wonder, and beauty, that I was willing to put aside any rational-mind chatter and disbelief to entertain the possibility of angels, spirit guides, the Other Side, and a beautiful, benevolent world. I also became fascinated with Tarot and began to explore it. I became frustrated with myself for not knowing the answers; I wanted to know so badly which were the best choices to make! 

One of the biggest things stopping me at this time, though, was trusting myself. How did all of these psychics and spiritual gurus know that the information and guidance they were receiving was really real, and not their imagination? How did they seem to move forward so confidently in life and their decisions? 

Somehow, I accepted the false belief that because I wasn't born psychic or with outstanding extrasensory abilities that I was automatically limited in connecting to this other realm filled with light, spirit beings, unconditional love and guidance, and all-knowing. I thought that because psychics could see the future and know things instantly that this made them masters of a sort. And I was not among them. 

This all changed one summer. 

The summer after my Freshman year of high school, my mom, brother and I took a road trip out west to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. While I've always had a strong connection to nature, and while my understandings of the inner landscape already were becoming stronger gradually with maturity, there was something especially powerful with this trip. I'm pretty sure I've had past lives as a Native American, and I felt a strong connection while travelling throughout this landscape (every time I travel here, I've felt this way). Yet even without this aspect, something was different and changing significantly within me. The nature surrounding me definitely aided this change. 

Everywhere we went, I felt like spirits were communicating with me. I did not know if they were higher spirit beings like guides, or nature spirits, or if I was just interpreting vibrations and making them into separate entities in my imagination -- but I didn't care. I let it happen. I let the experiences unfold and rest in my consciousness. I felt my spirit expand and felt immense peace wherever we went. Hour after hour of driving through pristine landscape, I let my mind wander and go quiet. While hiking trails, I would connect to the earth with each step, and lose myself in the beauty of nature. I began to ask questions in my mind. I would let thoughts, prayers, requests, float away ... and then I started to receive answers. I would see signs and experience coincidences -- far too many to occur by chance alone. What's more, I began to sense within me different levels of understanding, or knowing of truth, by what I felt inside. To me, it is a vibration; it either feels good, smooth, harmonious, high frequency, or not. If you play an instrument, you know the varying degrees of being out of tune. It's exactly the same. It's an experience of resonance or dissonance. And when you hit a note exactly right, without any extra effort, that note rings louder and clearer. 

This is how I began to differentiate between imagination and true inner knowledge and guidance. It takes practice, but this is where it began. 

There are so many details I could go into ... but I won't here. I have a longer narrative piece describing this vacation further that I will share. 

After this summer vacation, I had no doubts. I always trusted in my experience and knew that I was always guided and protected. I came to know God as within myself and everything around me. I finally understood what had been written in all of those psychic and spiritual books; if you know, you know! 

And for whatever you don't know, it's okay! It's okay to say you don't know. Work within your skill set and understandings to the best of your ability, with the best intentions. This is the whole point. Ask for help and guidance and be open to receive. Trust the process, trust in the universe, and trust in yourself. You will receive what you are seeking to the extent that you trust. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meditation - Expression and Truth

I've been thinking a lot about expression lately. Recently I was privileged to see Dixon's Violin perform a few days ago at the Green Tavern in Chicago. I love soaking in experiences like this, where I'm in the presence of those expressing their soul so purely and beautifully. I'm endlessly fascinated -- especially as someone who has not always felt able to express themself so easily. I always take opportunities to observe and understand how others express themselves -- through music, art, speaking. These are the manifested forms from the Throat chakra. 

Energetically, expression is connected to the Throat chakra (no big surprise there). Related symbols and ideas are the color blue, the sword, and Truth. This is beyond just the everyday true or false concept. In the highest spiritual sense, Truth is that which is everlasting and universal. It is an expression of universal law that guides energy cycling throughout our existence. It's hard to fathom this concept with the logical brain, so bear with me, as the following insights are from my meditation last Saturday. 

The highest form of expression is Truth. At the opposite point if the Throat chakra is the medulla oblongata. This is the point in the human body where universal energy flows in, giving life. This is our will to live. Hence intimately and inherently linked to the Throat, and Truth, is Will. The will to speak the truth is the highest and most developed form of the Throat chakra energy, as the sword of Truth cuts through the duality of existence, presenting a universal reality beyond duality (the pair of opposites -- white and black, good and bad, right and wrong). Ultimately what's left of any discourse where there's Truth (as it manifests as a reality in a plane of existence) is not only non-duality and neutrality, but the tool used in the process, the will. The will exists even beyond Truth after duality has been neutralized. 

I find this to be a very beautiful thing -- the everlasting nature of the will and its powerful role in crafting reality. Tying the will from the Throat chakra to the Solar Plexus chakra is where more physical manifestation happens. This is what I've been understanding and experiencing more frequently in my day-to-day life -- my appreciation of the strength of will in all the forms it takes. I have the utmost respect for those who exhibit such mastery of expression and I aspire to reach their level!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Theory on Beautiful Sound - This Is What It Feels Like

This is inspired by a song getting in my head today. Has that ever happened to you? You wake up with a song playing in your head, it continues all day... and sometimes, if you're lucky (if of course it's one you WANT to hear), you end up hearing it on the radio. This happened to me today.

The song: This is What It Feels Like, by Armin van Buuren. The version that happened to come on was by W and W, and which happens to be my favorite mix. It has a loud and pumping drop -- I can feel the energy of what it sounds like live. Amazing!!

I've seen Armin van Buuren live a number of times; recently at EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) Chicago, at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, and at Vision Nightclub in Chicago when it existed. I've listened to him for years and charted many life events with his songs as my soundtrack. I always feel his sound connect directly to my soul. Ever since I started on the energy healing path, I've become quite addicted to the energy of electronic dance music, and especially more positive vibes. 

Especially this latest time of listening to a number of DJs live at EDC, I've come to greater realization about what makes some DJs more popular than others. There's a reason why Armin has been voted the world's #1 DJ 5 times. 

The nature of the universe is connectedness. The universe is moving increasingly towards a state of unification. And while not everyone may agree, I believe electronic dance music is one of the most beloved musical genres because it follows this idea. Armin van Buuren exemplifies this ideal to unify and uplift through music. What a gift! He is a master of sound. I'm sure he has lots of past life understandings built on how to connect to collective consciousness. His life's purpose seems to be to unify and uplift the masses through one of the most beautiful mediums -- music, sound, the harmonious blend of vibrations that can be healing, energizing. Sound has the ability to literally put us into a state of trance, from a psychological perspective and a physiological one. If you're curious about this, research drumming, shamanic trance music, how repetitive sounds alter brainwave patterns, and how rhythmic sounds alter bodily functions like heartbeat. Pretty cool stuff. 

The Universal Law of Tenfold Return basically states that any energy given freely that benefits another soul's growth returns to the giver ten times over. This is because the energy given is multiplicative, moving parts of creation towards a higher vibration and unification, which is closer to Source. This principle is in place to ensure that this return of energy can be used again and again towards higher purposes, reinforcing the positive intentional giving of energy towards the highest purposes and ideals. In short, for the greatest good of all. 

Hence, why Armin's music never fails to uplift millions of people again and again, and why one always feels empowered during and after hearing his sets. You'll know if music is beneficial and healing to you if you experience this full-body effect. Many thanks to all who possess this gift and who share it with the world!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Lesson in Karma, Compassion, and Justice

I am so graced with a better understanding of mercy, compassion and forgiveness, that I can't wait to share. 

Back in May I rear-ended someone's car. After the initial panic, the sickening heart-dropping sense in my gut, and shame, I emerged (rather quickly) invigorated with a newly strengthened respect for outer and inner authority. This was huge for me -- up until this point, I'd spent much of my life in fear of authority figures, for seemingly no reason. The level of apprehension varied between types of authority, but there was always an element of fear. There was a healthy dose of fear and respect for teachers, for instance, while with bosses it was nearly debilitating, especially when they were "coming down" on me, correcting me, or worse yet, angry with me. Interaction with them could render me speechless and to the point of paralysis. I remember a few instances standing up for myself while visibly trembling before them. It had been this way all my life and I pretty much believed that I would have to struggle with this for the rest of my life. 

A huge breakthrough occurred only a week or two prior to this car incident. With the help of a trusted healer and therapist, I'd identified an initial instance in my childhood when this part of myself that feared authority was incepted into my being, from a brain-patterning perspective, a psychological-identity-forming perspective, to an energetic perspective. 

Without going into full details of the memory for now, suffice to say that during this session, I was able to replay, slow down, and fast-forward as an observer to this memory. However, since I am so energetically sensitive and sensory in my experiences, I can literally feel exactly how I felt; I can experience the same emotions, sensations in my body, and to an extent recall the thoughts that were present. Depending on how long ago the memory is, this might require some imagination. However, no one else can live your experience for you. Since it is yourself and your memory, you'll likely surprise yourself with how easy it is to do this exercise. 

Reliving this memory revealed that the sense of outer authority had been strongly imprinted on me. It was so strong that even when I wanted to be self-led and initiate activity, I held myself back, waiting for permission from some outer authority. This registered as an intense pressure to the left-top of my head, above my Crown. It then filtered down through my Throat, Heart and ultimately Solar Plexus, stopping forward movement -- like an invisible hand pressed against me. 

I always felt like I was being watched, even when no one else was around. This influenced my proclivity towards being quiet, elusive, secretive. I never felt like I could fully be myself or act on my inner desires. 

As children we are impacted enormously by our surroundings and everything within them, including our primary caregivers. Our brains are at a high degree of plasticity as we soak in new information from our initial experiences. This is how we learn about the world, our place within it, our relation to it, and begin to formulate our identity. The experiences we have up until age 7-8 determine to a great extent the neural pathways in our brain and our belief systems. The greater these are reinforced, the stronger the conditioning -- for better or worse.

As I felt deeply into this experience, I asked for healing. Strong, warming, laser-like sensations began in my Crown and spread throughout this space around my head. I held onto this feeling for a long time, as it crept down the sides of my skull and neck, through my Throat, and ultimately my Heart. I allowed the feeling to spread and stabilize, as if filling a void. 

From this experience forward, my apprehension towards authority had seemingly vanished. It sounds incredible and it is! But believe me, I knew there would be experiences to test this new brain patterning and belief system. The biggest one, by far, had arrived. 

As the various police arrived and began their questioning, normally I would have trembled. I would have been on the verge of tears. Afterward, I would have returned home, guilty and sulking, curling up figuratively (and sometimes literally) into a ball of self-pity and shame. 

None of that happened.

After I gathered myself, I was surprised at how confident I felt. Still uncomfortable, but fully functional and present. This was completely different -- and I liked it! The more I felt into this new found feeling and state of being, the more accomplished and validated I felt for the inner work I'd done. I emerged with greater understanding and self-empowerment. It would still take time and practice to set this new pattern, but it didn't matter! There were no more doubts. 

Just like that, my attitude towards authority transformed. It's noticeable even with simple occurrences, like seeing a cop car while driving and no longer getting apprehensive. Similar changes occurred in my dreams. Instead of having cops stop me or follow me in dreams, I notice them and simply continue on my way, and they continue on theirs. This is a sign of change towards outer authority as well as my sense of inner autonomy. In that one specific memory, I discovered that I had displaced my inner authority (or self-authoritative sense) outside of myself. I think we all do this as children, and it makes sense. But unless we are raised to cultivate a strong sense of Self, overcoming this initial patterning, an unhealthy view towards outer authority can show itself in rebelliousness, bitterness, passivity, or fear towards authority figures throughout the life. I can attest to this. It's a reflection of our sense of inner authority. Are we strong in our beliefs and expressing them? Are we confident and comfortable with ourselves, especially in the face of conflict or debate? Are we rigid with our way of thinking? Accepting of new ideas and points of view?

There would be a follow-up lesson in authority; I had a court date scheduled for 6 weeks later. Every day till then, I prayed for and visualized a benevolent outcome. I saw myself in court, calm and relaxed, standing tall, speaking my truth, asking for a clean slate. I wanted to learn and experience forgiveness with my full being. During the following weeks, this was definitely the theme of my experiences and meditations. I made a mistake, I was sorry, and I made no excuses. The most anyone can be is honest with themselves, examine the intent of their actions, and move forward, doing good in the world -- again, slightly different from what I would have done in the past, when fear and shame would have stagnated me and closed me off. 

When the Summer Solstice came, a series of new transmissions from the Ascended Masters arrived (ask me more about this if you're interested). One of the transmissions came from Lord Alpha. In it, He offers a prayer that invokes His presence and protection against negative vibrations and energies for 24 hours. The first time I said the prayer, chills filtered down through my Crown and body. The vibration and sense of protection was palpable, unlike any other time I've said a prayer like this. I would use it again before the court date.

Following my curiosity, I came across more reading on the Ascended Masters. For the first time, I was introduced to Lady Portia. She is believed to be the twin flame of St. Germain. I will quote a description from one website: 

"She holds the balance of mercy and judgement. She helps those who want to balance heart and head. She will also help those who judge and criticise others from the lower mind to raise their energy to their heart centre and be loving towards themselves and others. You may apply in meditation to the Lords of Karma for release of personal or collective karma ... Lady Portia is one who frequently offers grace. One can call to Her for assistance in legal action."

Lady Portia is the Goddess of Justice, representing compassion and mercy. She can be symbolized by the scales of justice, embodying the archetype of Libra. One phrase really struck me: "Justice is at the balance point of thought and feeling." Head and heart, thought and feeling, justice, karma ... it all seemed connected in my consciousness. 

The morning of my court date, I said Lord Alpha's prayer, a prayer to the Lords of Karma, and some poignant prayers to Lady Portia that I had found (I will share this separately). I meditated on the image of the scales, the concept of justice, and that one sentence: "justice is at the balance point of thought and feeling." 

I realized that since the fender-bender, throughout my prayers and visualizations, I'd been seeking the influence of Lady Portia; I'd been asking for mercy. I had always understood that from the physical existence standpoint, there were laws and insurance regulations to be dealt with. From a karmic perspective ... I could only pray, meditate, and hope for full understanding of the soul lessons. From the very beginning, I knew this incident was a sign that I needed to serve others more, and to move forward with long-standing plans -- but I needed some finishing touches (hence why I was literally halted from moving forward). I  actively increased daily awareness from the Heart perspective -- benevolence, forgiveness -- I became more proactive with healing energy, and began expressing my inner authority. My new awareness and attitude towards authority was the final piece I needed to move forward with full zest and drive and inspiration of myself!

As I further contemplated justice and karma, another awareness crept into me. I never viewed law and justice as compassionate. Thinking of the Justice and Judgement cards from the Tarot deck, this part of existence always seemed cold, rigid, and harsh to me. Most people view karma as bad. Up until recently, we all know my view on authority was not positive. Yet all of the descriptions of Lady Portia said otherwise. I kept this in the back of my mind after coming across Lady Portia, and now brought it forward in my meditation. The realization was astounding. 

Karma is in place to ensure that we fully learn the lessons placed before us. Without fulfillment of the Law, how could we ever hope to move forward in our soul's evolution? Or collectively? We need to be responsible for ourselves first, and the universe keeps tabs on us through karma, even when we're not fully aware ourselves. Thank goodness!

Through this karmic process, we are held accountable to become our best, because we are loved. This is the compassion of karma. We are held accountable because we are loved. And so here is the balance, the scales, of love for the soul simply in its existence, and the need to learn the lessons  -- heart and head. 

Finally, I understood. I saw the connection of karma, law, evolution, and compassion. Our carnal fear of punishment is probably imprinted on us from centuries of incarnations being subjected to man-made laws that are imperfect. In the higher planes of existence, justice is truly fair and impartial and aligned with Truth. This is why karma is not to be feared but embraced. 

Regardless of the outcome that would come from court later that morning, or from the insurance company later, I would move forward and stand tall with this new understanding of justice. I would feel and emit the presence of Lady Portia to anyone willing to perceive it. And I would share this experience. 

In the end, the citation was dismissed. 

I am grateful! Now whenever I pray, I ask to be relieved of any karma. I want a clean slate. I want to move forward unhindered and in the fullness of my being. I do believe this is the greatest gift and aspiration we can have for ourselves. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meditation: On Love

Just finished meditating. I am overwhelmed with this sense of Divine Love. I feel so peaceful.

I began like always with a prayer. Further into the meditation I visualized a lotus blooming in my Heart. And it grew, and grew ... warmth spreading through my Heart, extending out through the Crown of my head. I held my focus and felt I was in the presence of an embodiment of the Mother. Such pure, nurturing love radiating, pulsating in my Heart, spreading to my Third Eye, Solar Plexus, pooling and bursting through my Crown. Holding this sweet fire, as it seemed to dissolve any blockages in the Heart chakra. Then spreading tingling to my hands and fingers, I love this sweet feeling. Even now I feel pressure in my Third Eye and Crown; my Throat and ears on fire. (Sorry, I'm not really clairaudient yet!) 

Messages of love came to mind. I will share a passage I wrote in February of 2012 as part of an assignment given while I was a student in the School of Metaphysics:

"Love is acceptance of wholeness that is intrinsically ours, of which we are a part of, and the recognition of this connectedness with all of creation. Love is the embodiment of this awareness.

Love is what is experienced when we feel connected with all of Creation. Love is expansive, inclusive, and beyond judgement. It transcends perceived separation, taking the forms of forgiveness, acceptance, and thankfulness. It is complete acceptance of ourselves for who we are -- and for that matter, anyone, for exactly who they are. Love is openness and awareness to the giving and receiving of energy with another aspect of ourselves -- since we are all connected -- and experiencing the life-generating fields from this movement of energy."

In this age of consciousness, especially following the completion of the Venus transit in 2012 (initiated in 2004), energies of love are much more readily abundant and available to us. It is important to connect to love -- love of ourselves, and the feeling love resonating when we connect with fellow souls. 

I am grateful. I strive to rest in the Heart. Whenever I experience any fears, doubts or worries, by focusing my awareness on the Heart center and trusting fully in this awareness,  anything else vanishes. It is remarkable and the more I practice, the easier it becomes. 

Today's meditation was a blessing, a validation and reminder to continue this and to share this message. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Living From the Hara

Summer Solstice occurred last Friday. As the sun set on the shortest night of the year, I reflected on what I’ve been experiencing. Gratefully, it is fulfillment and manifestation -- this blog being one example. And not to talk too much about dreams, but in fact the night before the Solstice, I dreamed about being in my backyard tending three separate fires. Fire represents expansion. How fitting to be dreaming of fire also as the sun’s light was the longest of the year.

Manifesting means expanding beyond any fears, limitations or preconceived notions about what we believe is possible. It means utilizing qualities we have built in ourselves, igniting these with the creativity of our minds, and pushing outward with our will and personal power – our Hara.

I recently had my first Zen Shiatsu experience (also on the Solstice). The session begins and ends with assessing the Hara. In martial arts and Japanese healing arts like Zen Shiatsu, the Hara refers to the area of our lower belly and more. (More specifically, the tan tien or tan den is a point in the Hara and on the Haric Line resting below the navel.) All of the meridians of the body flow through here. It is our power center. 

In Healing Touch, we learn that when one is aligned with their Hara Line, they are grounded and strong in the intention of their soul's purpose. From Barbara Ann Brennan's book Light Emerging it states, “When our personal wants and desires are aligned with our spiritual longing or higher desires, our purposes are aligned and the creative principle in the universe can function unhindered” (288).

Yes! This is it, this is what I want -- to live from intentionality.

 "... to align the aspects of thinking, feeling, and willing. When thought, feeling and will to action are in harmony, they hold a synchronistic vibration (or harmonic resonance) that creates the possibility for a powerful and significant shift in health and wholeness” (Healing Touch Level 3 Workbook, 46). When aligned with the Hara, we bring the energy of intentionality into physical manifestation. It is quite possibly our most potent creative power.

At the apex of this year's light, I hope you too are manifesting your desires. Pour your light into your creations and relish their fulfillment. This is your power. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My First Memory is a Dream

I was 2 or 3 years old. The dream goes, I was in my bedroom, in my crib. I had woken up during the night and was standing up in my crib, looking out of the open window across the bedroom. It was very quiet.  I had a sense of being self-aware.

Then the scene flashed, and I was in my mother's arms, and she was talking to me, soothingly, while looking out the window with me and explaining what was going on. Looking down onto our backyard, there were emergency vehicles - a fire truck, ambulance, police cars - and their lights were flashing silently, the sound of sirens became muted.

This only lasted a few seconds. Then the scene flashed again to me asleep in the crib. I remember hearing a chord, like the ending sound you hear to a movie's closing, as if to end this episode in my dreamtime. 

The thing is, I seemed to be observing these scenes as they happened, while also experiencing them. 

One can interpret the dream and say, I was piecing together elements from my recent experiences in daily life. Maybe I sat in a fire truck recently with my mom or saw some police cars with their lights flashing.

Another interpretation is me using my mind to see things outside of myself - outer circumstances which are drawing my attention. I'm doing this with the help of my highest Self, my highest guidance. And then finally coming back to a state of rest. The interesting thing is, there's an element of being Self-aware by experiencing and feeling the observer perspective.

I view this dream as me becoming aware of my own exploration of the world. Recognizing parts as outside of myself, rather than all-inclusive. It's fitting as my first memory because it’s surreal, quite literally a different world; definitely not a fixed reality, and surely the beginnings of my observer mind.

What are your first memories or dreams? Let’s explore. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello and Welcome

I’m a Scorpio (Sun in Scorpio). While this might be a generalization, it’s a good place to start. Scorpios are intense, passionate, mysterious – and equally curious to explore all such things. What is hidden and obscure to many is the Scorpio’s dream. All things written here are always topics of meditation, exploration, and scrutiny in my everyday life.

On my journey as a healer, a spiritual entity and a human being, I can’t help but continually search for greater understanding about myself and the world each day. This is my inner mantra, my heartbeat.

I can’t help it – it’s simply what I do. This goes on whether written or not…  so why not share my insights and explorations along the way? Maybe they can spark something in you, too.

I’m a Chicagoland native.  I’m married and have a dog (best Puggle in the world!), 3 turtles, a tortoise, and a lizard (the snake and toad passed away a couple years ago, unfortunately). I am studying and practicing in energy medicine to become a healer. My previous career was in Life Sciences – trajectories in life ranging from veterinary to ecological sciences, settling in research and development of eco-friendly commercial plant products for a time.

I thirst for knowledge and wisdom.  I explore topics related to metaphysics, astrology, energy work, healing arts, science, and even philosophy. Connecting ideas and fields of thought within cultural and narrative contexts, these topics are sometimes covered more distinctly and objectively, while other times more fluid and interwoven in personal experience. Throughout are the underpinning that we are individual beings of light, endowed with free will, intelligence and a purpose to be creators. We are first and foremost spirit, encapsulated in a soul, harnessing universal energy and substance into energy bodies and finally physical matter. We are meant to live our soul’s purpose, gaining wisdom and understanding each lifetime to become whole and complete as a spiritual being – and in fulfilling our individual paths, we also elevate the collective.

My love of nature is profound and integral to who I am. I have a daily spiritual practice that hinges upon meditation, mindfulness and energetic practices. My ways to express these are through Kundalini Yoga, Middle Eastern Dance (bellydance), and Shamanic Dreaming. I have studied formally and informally many modes of spirituality, including Metaphysics and Shamanism. Many of my practices lead back to honoring the Divine Feminine, embodied in the Earth Mother – hence my love of nature.

All in all, my spiritual practices are geared to expand mindfulness and elevate consciousness, and integrate spirituality into physical life.

Oh. And I’m still human. I love electronic dance music (even before this term was coined), dancing, working out, biking, and working with plants and animals (especially reptiles). I love all kinds of food and being healthy, invigorating activities, comedy, and driving fast … shhh….

This blog is for me as much as it is for you. If you find something that startles you or disturbs your preconceived notions about the world, good! Please help me do the same. Otherwise, how else will I continue to learn and grow?

There is no one path. There is only the beauty of the individual journey and how it finds its way. Here is mine.