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I’ve found that in order for me to be successful at anything, I must be very conscious. Being conscious means not following rules-rules that I’ve set for myself or expectations that I’ve let others impose on me. Rules are artificial, a product of our minds trying to tell the rest of ourselves what we should be doing when our bodies, our souls or our emotions would rather be doing something else.

I don’t mean to suggest that all rules should be avoided, or that they should be avoided all the time-just to say that they’re not the be-all and end-all and in fact they can contradict each other, as in when a diet book says “eat no fruit at all” and another one touts the value of juicing. Even if some of the information is good, the rigidity of making up a rule (something is good and something else is bad) makes it a form of judgment and judgment tends to get in the way of love.

Say, for instance, that the issue is resistance. To anything-exercise, the right foods, taking better care of yourself, whatever you wish. Until we work through those parts of us that aren’t in alignment, it’s pointless to push ourselves. Resistance will come up some other way as we try to shoehorn ourselves into the rules our minds want to impose on us. If instead we ask our bodies and emotions, “Would you like to exercise?” – and get a “No,” and follow that, we’re closer to letting go of self-judgment and being loving to ourselves.

I find that when everything falls into alignment not from my mind but from my heart, it’s easier to choose what serves me. Perhaps I don’t feel like exercising, but I wouldn’t mind dancing. Maybe dancing is then more likely to inspire better overall choices. The point is, the best outcomes will emerge over time as a natural by-product of being entirely conscious in each and every choice, but only if I come from a place of love. When our mind dictates over our whole selves, some of the magic in our lives is lost.

When we’re fully heart-centered in our experience, each choice feels right and feels whole.

Photo credit:  mikebaird

I have a friend who thrives on wanting to be helpful (and who, incidentally, gave permission to write about him in this blog). He’s observant, experienced and insightful, discovering and applying to his life new things all the time. The only problem is, sometimes he’s convinced that whatever has worked for him should also work for you, and insists on you taking action now. If you don’t, there’s the subtle and not-so-subtle feeling that he’s judging you for your inability or unwillingness to do as he thinks is best for you.

We all know someone like that-a parent, a friend, a partner: people who have good advice but are often a little too pushy (and a little too judgmental) with their solutions. I can recognize this person because many years ago I used to be that way, before I understood that there was more happiness in releasing the people in my life to make their own choices rather than trying to control the outcome of their experiences and being vested in whether they do or don’t do what I think is best for them.

The external desire for others to change and not accept them as they are could be a mirror of what is going on inside of us. We all are in a state of growth, expansion and change, but if the imperative to change comes from a need to control or a sense that we’re imperfect, we are like the proverbial dog, always chasing our tail: we’re never going to love ourselves fully because there’s some other way we could’ve been “better.” On the other hand, if we love ourselves completely and unconditionally, we can listen to our whole being on how to make changes from a place of love and desire to expand.

So how do you change a critical nature-even if it’s well-intentioned? Or how do you change the feelings of inadequacy if you’re on the receiving end of a critical person’s attention?

We begin accepting others as they are by accepting ourselves, without conditions. Self love is neither earned nor a reflection of our accomplishments or lack thereof. At the core of releasing a critical nature (or letting others’ judgments slide off us) lies loving ourselves more fully, deeply and unconditionally-from the heart, not from a place within the mind or ego-and really connecting with all parts of ourselves. We can be discerning and yet love ourselves: we can choose to have a different experience and take action from a sense of self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-love.

With that gentler, more loving focus, we’ll be much less likely to want to impose our solutions on others or, conversely, take on shoulds or expectations that may be perfect for someone else but not for us.

Next time you run into your critical person (outside or inside you), think of it as the way in which we remind each other to breathe deeper, be more relaxed, and love ourselves more.

Photo credit: Tony the Misfit

In my last blog I discussed how sometimes we have uncomfortable feelings arise when we first start meditating. But what if you had a fantastic meditation the first time, and then you haven’t been able to replicate it since then?

When working with my clients I’ve found that if people have a powerful healing experience the first time and get in touch with their core essence, they have the expectation of a repeat experience identical to the first one, and this can keep them from experiencing what is presented to them now.

Let’s say yesterday in the midst of a meditation you experienced your connection to Source from a place of light and the light was connected like a beautiful and glistening spider web. Today you try to experience the same thing, and all you’re getting is the visual of a flower.

If you let go of trying to make today’s experience replicate yesterday’s, the flower may in fact bring you feelings that are different but equally intense. You might feel love and transformation in the depths of the flower and realize that flower or glistening light spider web, it’s all God, it’s all Source.

Whenever anyone has the expectation for experience “A,” they might miss experience “B” because “A” might never be meant to be repeated. Each visit within has its own unique potential of possibilities.

The point of all this is: let go of expectations and dive fully into today’s experience, no matter what it is.

Photo credit:   AlicePopkorn

Sometimes it’s easy to assume that because we started meditating, we’re automatically bound to touch a sense of peace. You think you’re setting the stage for your mind and your emotions to settle only to find the opposite: an incessantly agitated mind, or feelings of anger, sadness or loss welling up seemingly out of nowhere, or physical discomfort. It would be nice if we could always go to the peace but often we encounter that initial layer of mental, physical and emotional “static” when we first begin to meditate. It’s normal for physical, mental and emotional patterns to come to the surface as a result of meditation—it brings consciousness to what is inside of us that we may have tucked away, not fully cleared and/or are looking to heal on a still deeper level.

What to do with this?

Look to remain heart-centered and fearless while in meditation. It can be scary and uncomfortable to feel these parts of you come forward, but remain open and relaxed. Sit and be with the emotion and/or whatever it is (even the emotion of frustration when the meditation isn’t going “how it’s supposed to go”—for that, just let go of any judgment and fear that can accompany and complicate the frustration). Really acknowledge and feel whatever the thought, physical discomfort or emotion is and ask it what it’s related to in your life. Where is it stored in your body? Are there any mental beliefs/patterns connected to this? How does it feel? How has it served you (yes, even the things we do not see as positive can have served us greatly)?

Sometimes just putting conscious attention to it and fully acknowledging this part of you that has surfaced has the effect of “dissolving it”; but you have to be patient to let it really release, as opposed to you wanting it to be done. Ask—is this emotion/emotional pattern ready to be released? There may be a lesson, something that this part of you wants to communicate. Listen for it. When at some point the energy of that thought, physical discomfort or emotion no longer feels contracted replace it with love and allow it to blend into you.

Know that the process of healing, expanding and being more fully aligned with the light gets easier as you go along.

 

Photo credit:  rogiro

So you may have an idea, a heart’s desire or an aspiration to bring something about – manifesting something. Obviously, first of all, you have to do your piece if there’s action required of you: if you want to write a book the universe can inspire you, but if you don’t put your pen to paper, it’s not going to happen. Likewise, if you want to be meeting more people but you’re not leaving your apartment, you are closing off the avenues to manifestation.

You have a desire and you do your piece. Next, you need to be grounded as a means of connecting all different parts of you – and this grounding is something the people often underestimate in the process of manifestation. Being grounded, being present, and being present in your heart, helps to connect all aspects of you and is key to bringing your energies from above and below, from the universe (source of ideas/concepts) and from the earth (physical/emotional realm).

What’s an example of not being grounded? Say, for instance, that you drive somewhere and arrive without any real sense of what happened between when you left home and you arrived at your destination. That would be an example of not being grounded.

To ground yourself, picture yourself being like a tree – roots sent deep into the ground. Feel yourself as not just connected to the earth, but being a part of the earth. Feel as though one main root reaches deep, to the very core of the earth (or what works for you). Take a few minutes to align with that feeling. Then, think of what’s on your wish list. Does it feel real in your body? Does your heart align with it? Are there any fears or conflicting emotions that interfere with it? Feel (don’t think) your way to a place of clarity and then hand off the list to Source. And handing off the list truly is handing it off – not checking every minute to see what else to add or whether it’s come about yet. Bring your attention somewhere else and let it go so it can come to you.

And then start feeling gratitude as if what you desire is already here and now. Ground yourself, and every step you take you will be radiating and attracting the reality of what you desire.

It’s as simple as that.

Photo credit: cassandra204 

My son John gave me full permission to share this.

I had a dream about him not too long ago; in it, I sensed he had been having troubles the night before.  When I called him and expressed this, he confirmed this – girlfriend trouble, more specifically.  He was feeling crushed and emotionally overwhelmed, which was a concern to me because whenever emotionally intense situations have arisen in the past, my son has tended to turn to drug and alcohol as a means of alleviating his emotions.

On the phone, I talked him through the process of calling up the emotions, releasing the pain – while replacing it with love and in his heart letting the girl go.  I told him he had a choice in how he was going to have his energy be: attached to this girl and suffering, or letting her go so she could go on her path and make her own decisions.  The choice, again, was that he could keep all the anger and the pain and sadness or let it go and open himself up to the possibility of another person coming into his life – someone perfect for him. He chose to work with me and release all his emotions and attachment to her… and later he expressed how much better he felt. But still he couldn’t picture the possibility of finding someone new.

I had him fast-forward into the future and I had him “feel” the reality of a new partner. His mind instantly dismissed that it was possible.  “No, no, no, it’s not possible, I don’t have any new girls in life” was what his mind was telling him and he relayed.

Because I have worked with him before and he’s seen the results of that work and trusts me, he allowed himself to feel the truth of this new partner in the future, “I can feel this is true.” John had to go with what he felt and believe it, and upon feeling it, his mind accepted this truth. He eventually accepted the belief that a new partner was possible for him and integrated this within his whole being.

Within four days, much to his surprise, he had a new girlfriend.

The point of this story is that he had been so miserable that had it not been for our work together, he would’ve resorted to alcohol.  But because he did the energy work and tuned into what his body needed, released the old – while replacing it with love and was feeling more realigned with himself, not only did he not need the alcohol but he also he opened himself up to bringing in a new person into his life.  Now, he feels grateful for this new adventure in his life, which is far more rewarding than the old girlfriend who had left, and he has further evidence of the benefits of connecting with himself and clearing out stuck feelings to literally make space for something new.

Photo Credit: Herbert Johan

SHIFTING THE INNER LAGGARDS

 I often reflect how my spiritual, mental and emotional bodies have always been so very quick to transform and yet I seem to require a lot more focus and effort when it comes to my physical body – it’s sort of the laggard of the package.

 Some people have challenges in their mental fields: they have continuous negative thoughts bombarding them, or belief systems that don’t serve them and weigh them down.

 For other people, it’s their emotions that tend to run amok and pull them off balance repeatedly.

  Others yet have the belief or the perception of separateness (that is, the perception that they’re separate from Source or God or the One). That could be a challenge because it limits how we can grow spiritually, especially when ultimately we’re always one whether we’re aware of it or not.

  Each of us has our specialized area where we’re more comfortable growing… and few of us have everything aligned at all times.

Honoring those parts of you instead of being angry or frustrated with them is key to real, fundamental change. Just bringing love and light into the part that lags, and doing so with continued focus and commitment (still with the intention of doing it with ease and grace), and paying attention to what is required to support that part of you, is all that is needed to allow those parts to catch up with the rest… and to do so in an elegant and fluid manner.

Photo Credit: By h.koppdelaney

Occasionally I hear about spiritual hierarchies. Different traditions accord status and spiritual progress in various ways. Some people might refer to angels and to guides; and some may allude to darker energies. When I encounter energy that consists of vibrations that I may not be accustomed to working with (let’s say there’s an energy that comes through me that would like to assist in my healing work), I use a few questions to help me clarify my relationship to that energy.

Does the energy consist of unconditional love, compassion and truth? Is it in alignment with Spirit (God, Source)? All energy is part of Source. Is it an energy that’s in alignment with my highest and best? How can it serve me, how can it serve others, what is its purpose? What is its vibration or energy telling me?

I then discern whether that energy would serve me or not at any given moment. You always have the ability to choose what energies you want to work with and what energies to bring through. I don’t always have to understand all of the energy to use it or not to use it, to learn its message or to pass it by. My basic approach is always working with the above questions and then letting the energies align with me as a whole person, so that my healing is expanded and enhanced.

Ultimately the energy is either made of love, or it’s not. Names, systems of thinking, definitions, hierarchies – they’re not all that important to me. Asking the above questions helps me to clarify my relationship to those energies, but my system is simple. What it boils down to is, the less I get enmeshed in definitions or hierarchies, the more I can lead from my heart center and stay in alignment with Spirit.

photo credit: boogies with fish

Remember all those school textbooks you carried with you when you were a kid? They were heavy, they weighed you down, but you couldn’t hope to keep up with the class if you didn’t have them. You needed them and they served you. Regardless of whether you remember the books, the teachers you didn’t like or the kids who picked on you, you learned whatever suited you in school and you discarded the rest, and today you don’t need to carry the books around nor store them because the information they contained is something you have integrated.

Sometimes it’s not quite like that with a memory, a time in our lives, or a traumatic event. We went through an experience, we learned the lesson, but there are things we’re still holding in our mind, our body, or our emotions. And yet there is no need to retain the baggage – the sorrow, the heaviness, the drama, the fear and the pain that may have accompanied the experience. You learned something, and you can let go of those emotions just as you let go of the old textbooks that taught you.

But what to do if those emotions are still there after the lesson? Or what if you’ve worked to release the emotions, and they still persist?

The sorrow, pain or heaviness that might still be there serve a purpose: they are a reminder that the baggage is still with us and it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the wisdom that experience brought. We can treat them not as a chance to get emotionally lost in the drama of long ago but as information to be noticed. Sometimes, those emotions tend to be like onions, and when they surface to be healed it doesn’t mean that we didn’t already address the stuff in the previous layer but rather that we’re working now on something deeper.

Eventually we can replace those emotions with love, joy or compassion. The lessons will remain, but without the textbooks to weigh us down.

Photo credit: anotherkindofdrew

Oftentimes people seek me out to deal with things that they blame others for – or if not others, then some unspecified thing, such as the feeling that they got the short end of the stick in their life. And I can relate, because when I first started my path of growth, I had a difficult time separating my feelings from other people’s feelings. I could easily pick up on others’ energy and become reactive or have physical symptoms or emotions. In that context, it seemed like everything was happening to me, and so I blamed and judged – others and myself.

But part of the process of developing my intuitive abilities was daily meditation – turning my focus inward. Once I could tap into meditation and other tools that fostered discernment and focus, I realized how easily I could remedy a situation just by knowing when I accidentally took on other people’s energies. I could now look at each situation not as a chance to blame or judge but from a place of information-gathering. Why did I attract that energy? Was there a focus or a reason within myself why I attracted it? Was it just to be aware of and set boundaries? In the latter case, it led me to be more discerning of what type of energy I allow to be in my life – what I attract and what I let go of.

I mention this because when you’re feeling off-balance and your focus is external (what everybody else is doing, what things are irritating you), it’s easy to view those annoyances from either a place of judgment or being hard on yourself. By turning your focus inward, however, you can view circumstances as an “opportunities arise” kind of situation – opportunities for expansion, growth and shifting your energy, instead of blaming yourself or someone else for what they did wrong. You become the observer and through self-questioning and self-reflection you arrive at the underlying truth of the situation – and armed with it, it’s easy then to sense the right course of action.

Photo Credit: Anua22a