For a more transcendent experience, I invite you to listen to this YouTube video in a separate tab while reading; and, grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate while you're at it. And, be at peace.
As I sit here on the floor of my living room taking care of this overworked and under-cared-for body of mine, I see my mother's feet. My first reaction is to resist this observation with none other than panic: "Whoa. Noooo. I'm not my mom. I don't want to be my mom. I don't want my mom's feet. I want MY feet. Oh boy. What do I do with this? Breathe. Breathe." This panic quickly fades into a wisdom that fills me with the inner calm and warmth of understanding. This is when I am reminded that these feet have carried me through this life just as my mother's feet carried her through hers. I marvel at how often our lives paralleled one another's as we navigated our individual, yet shared, journeys as two souls who chose to be together in this lifetime as mother and daughter, to learn and grow with one another in a world that is not for the faint of heart. My mother died without knowing who she was or what she wanted. She didn't know her power, her divinity or her freedom because she did not know how to break free from her pain and suffering. When I reflect on my mother's life, I see the beauty that she brought to this planet, and to my learning, despite her pain. This beauty was in her simply...being. My mother was a kind woman despite her hardships in surviving childhood issues, abuse, domestic violence, depression, breast cancer and poverty. It was standing room only at her funeral. Even in her browned-over flower gardens in her back yard as fall and winter settled in, my mother's beauty was witnessed.
Unlike my mother, I embarked on my journey into emotional healing to break free from the pain and suffering from generations and lifetimes of abuse, violence, depression, poverty and cancer. It is from this work that I now walk in the beauty of being.
If my mom were here, this is what I would tell her: "Mom, you did the best you could with what you had. You are a perfect soul having lived a perfect life. I may not have liked you when I was younger but you taught me 'the' single most important lesson, and the 'only' lesson I or anyone ever needs to know: just....be. I miss you so. Life has been very painful and difficult since you left, and I've wanted to talk with you a million times and needed you to hold me even more. Now that the darkness has lifted, I walk in the beauty that has always been here and always will be. And, I see you. I feel you. I know you. My tears are not tears of sorrow or grief but of pure love as our souls unite and we are one. I love you. I am you."
There seems to be a misunderstanding amongst the general population of how massage and bodywork work to alleviate physical pain and "knots". I've often heard clients say, "Work those knots out! Press as hard as you want...I can take it because I know it's good for me!" or "You can press harder." I used to think the same way 20 years ago when I was a student of massage. When it comes to pain, we just want it gone and we want it gone now. However, the mindset of "No pain, no gain" does more harm than good.
When it comes to massage and pain, I have found that that the lighter, the longer, the better. Meaning: the lighter the pressure and the longer I spend time on an area of pain/tension/discomfort, the more effective it is in relieving pain and inducing relaxation. I teach my clients that on a pain scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high, a "3" has found to be the most therapeutic when receiving massage or bodywork. Why? Because it elicits the relaxation response and not the pain/stress response. Relaxation is key.
For example: While in massage school, I was experiencing pinched nerves in my neck repeatedly over the course of a month or two (maybe even longer). While in class, a classmate lightly massaged my neck for 20 minutes. There was no deep tissue involved. The pressure was light, not firm. Not only did it resolve my pain, I did not have another pinched nerve for three years!
PHYSICAL PAIN ORIGINATES IN THE NON-PHYSICAL
We are more than just our bodies. We are also energy fields that hold our emotions, our thoughts and our spirituality, and these energy fields are intertwined with one another as well as with the physical body. When we have imbalances in these energy fields and they are not addressed properly, these imbalances manifest in the physical as pain and tension. We now know that when we have ignored our psycho-spiritual-emotional imbalances for too long, this is when our bodies begin to talk to us to get our attention through pain, tension, discomfort, etc.
So, when a client comes in and wants me to reef on their knots, I won't...because their knots and pain need to be addressed at the point of origin...the emotional, mental and spiritual levels...and this requires a lighter touch for a longer duration.
"The wave I thought I wasn't ready for was the one that carried me the furthest."
~ Mirna Valerio
I recently had the privilege of driving Mirna while she was in Portland for the Hood to Coast race. Mirna is a professional athlete who defies the norm...she carries a few extra pounds on her. If you ever need to hear a success story to inspire you, look her up. While we spoke, she shared with me this brilliant quote (she received this epiphany while learning to surf). It spoke to me instantly and deeply.
Surviving domestic violence is like this wave. Healing from trauma is definitely like this wave. Embarking on the spiritual awakening/ascension/authenticity/soul journeys are most certainly like this wave. Healing from my life experiences has meant that I had to make myself available to be completely cut open and gutted. I never knew healing would be so painful. I never knew finding myself, my real self, would be so gut-wrenching. But it has been. The wave of healing has carried me the furthest.
My spiritual awakening journey began almost 30 years ago when I started to hear the universe speak to me in radio ads: "Do what you love and the money will follow." I was a legal secretary at the time. It was a job a fell into at age 18 but I knew it wasn't what I truly wanted to do. I didn't know what I truly wanted to do. When I kept hearing this ad again and again, I was ready to seek and find. Little did I know what lie between that time and now, almost 30 years later. What a road I've traveled!
Thirty years is a lot of time to cover in a blog post so I'll give you the condensed version. Out of nowhere, I was let go from my job as a legal secretary. The other secretaries decided they didn't like me anymore and complained incessantly until my boss couldn't take the pressure anymore. I didn't do anything wrong. In fact, I did everything right. This eventually led to homelessness and living out of my vehicle. I'd lost all of my possessions. I was stripped of my life as I knew it. The shirt on my back wasn't even my own.
Then, in the midst of severe depression from not knowing what in the hell was happening to me, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, at age 32. As I awoke in the dark hours of the early morning, the word "mammogram" was stretched out over the vastness of my mind. By this time I had learned to listen to the abundance of divine guidance I was receiving on this very difficult journey of mine; so, I obeyed. I decided to not go the traditional route of going through a doctor to get a mammogram because I thought considering my age and a message in a dream, I would have been denied the referral. I went straight to the mammographer (is that a word?). Within a few days, they were in contact with me. I tried to dodge their calls because I didn't take this seriously. They eventually tracked me down and informed me that I, indeed, had breast cancer. There are some interesting mini stories in here that I will save for another time.
Then, two weeks after finishing with radiation treatments, I met the father of my four children, the man who I would, 20 years later, send to prison because I made the right choice of calling 911. I was completely blindsided and unprepared for the journey of not only surviving domestic violence but also the ensuing trauma. I'd never known the extent of such fear, of such pain, of such sorrow and grief and loss. The trauma was severe; so severe I was unable to work for 18 months, and when I did begin to work it was minimal.
In the four years since calling 911, I've journeyed through trauma; fear; poverty; trying to save my home from foreclosure which, due the court system, mediation, and his vindictive involvement, inevitably was sold behind my back; eviction; homelessness (again); all while trying to keep my four children's lives as normal as possible. I will be honest...surviving domestic violence has been nothing short of hell. Mirna's quote says it all, though. I may not have thought I was ready for it, but when life says it's time, it's time. Somewhere from the depths of our souls, we summon the fortitude and strength to carry us beyond our hell. I've been a massage therapist specializing in emotional healing for 20 years, and I've always said..."We have to go through the mud and the muck to get to the good stuff." The good stuff is....freedom. I'm closer to bliss than ever before. The one thing my life and all the divine guidance I've received has not only introduced to me but has taught me and that is to.....trust. Trust is not about trusting something or someone outside of us. It's about trusting the universe, trusting God. And because we are one with these divine entities, it's about trusting ourselves.
The thing about being a spiritual being having a human existence is that sometimes things don't make sense in our human minds. We are spiritual beings and when we forget this about ourselves, life happens so that we are again reminded of who we really are. As spiritual beings, we are to follow our hearts and to trust. But we can't do this if we are filled with fear, worry and doubt.
Trauma. Life is filled with trauma. The effects of trauma prevent us from being our true, soul self. It prevents us from connecting with our divinity. My life has been filled with trauma since in utero. I was born into an environment of domestic violence, addiction, depression and poverty. At age 8, my mother left my father and moved her and us five kids to a nearby state to be with her family. By age 9 or 10 and until age 16, I was repeatedly molested and raped by an adult male family member. At age 16, a stranger attempted to rape me and then abducted me (I was able to get free). At around age 30, I was a witness to a double homicide that occurred in the apartment across from me where I had to enter to rescue a 3-year-old girl who just saw her mommy and her boyfriend murdered on Christmas Eve. At age 31-ish is when my spiritual awakening began that I wrote about above. It's been a very long, rough road...almost 30 years.
The point of this is that trauma occurs not only from a single, horrific event (this is called 'acute' trauma). 'Chronic' trauma occurs from repeated, long-term exposure to stress. Not only do we take on trauma in utero, its effects are also passed down generationally from our ancestors.
Trauma slows downs our vibration. Because everything is energy and energy vibrates, we too vibrate. Our cells vibrate. Our thoughts and our emotions vibrate. The effects of trauma changes our natural state of being...that of being spiritual....so that we lose our connection to our divinity. Connecting to our divinity is achieved by raising our vibration. Raising our vibration is achieved by expanding our consciousness into love. By transforming the effects of trauma, we transform our connection to divinity; we transform from being a human being having a spiritual existence or being a spiritual being having a human existence. The darkness and density of the effects of trauma and hardships are transformed to who we truly are, beings of light and higher vibration.
Healing is a choice, and it's a choice I made for myself as I had a lot to heal from. If I had one thing to say about the difference I feel as a result of healing, it would be this....I feel ALIVE! I feel normal. I feel love. I am love. I am.
Did I ever find what it is that I love to do? Yes. I love being happy. I love sharing my light with others. I love helping people. I love writing. I love my transformative bodywork. I love driving Uber. I love living.
Divine timing is a blessed thing, isn't it? One of the things I do to help others and myself is to drive them around. Yesterday, I was blessed to be in the presence of an angel who needed a ride. The moment this gentleman entered my vehicle, I knew he was different. He was very quiet. When he spoke, it was softly, almost barely audible. Within his first few sentences, he made my cry. He said, "When we heal others, we heal ourselves." I don't know why this made me cry, but it did. The rest of our conversation consisted of me listening while he talked. He exuded a tremendous amount of peace, light and love, and I felt like I was in the presence of God. He was a gift, indeed. I have been struggling in my life and the presence of this man has helped move me forward in a positive, abundant way. More than anything, he helped me get back on the Path of Peace.
For me, walking the Path of Peace means walking in Grace; it feels like walking on air, levitating. It means being in my body and mind in a way that keeps me connected to my divinity, to my light, at a high vibration. It means letting go of worry and pain, of the past, of the future. It means being in the now moment, fully.
As I sit here, waiting for my tire (it had two nails in it), I am filled with peace and contentment. I am happy to be given this moment to write....as it's been awhile.
The Path of Peace...what to do with it...how to get there....how to stay there once you've arrived? These are the questions of the day.
I made the mistake of believing that the Path of Peace would take care of my human financial needs as I went about anchoring this state of being within me. It does not. Yes, we are to trust. Yes, we are to rest, not judge, not panic, and connect with others...not in lieu of earning a living and taking care of our daily lives...but in conjunction with it.
The challenge then becomes managing our discomforts that the state of "being" inevitably brings into our conscious awareness...be they emotions, thoughts, beliefs or behaviors, as we go about our day. This becomes easier as we practice, as we become disciplined.
A successful life begins with self-love. Self-love is the champion ingredient in rising above our discomforts because every person and every situation that pulls us off our Path of Peace are there to reveal qualities in ourselves that we need to transcend to keep us on our path. These people and situations act as mirrors that reflect back onto us the inner work we need to do to heal and return to the Path of Peace. So, our issues are not with them or even about them...they are about us and whatever it is that is getting in the way of our light and love. When we see ourselves and our life challenges in this way, it is much easier to recognize the work we need to do within ourselves in order to be and remain on the Path of Peace.
As the mystery angel sat talking to me in my car, I noticed that he kept his voice in the same tone as he spoke...quiet and gentle. There was no aggression about him. However, as I sat and listened, I felt like he did not truly hear me nor was he sympathetic to the questions I asked of him and my situation. Sometimes, I feel that people miss the mark when I reach out to them. I'm looking for comfort in some way. Inevitably, though, what they feel compelled to say does resonate even if I'm not aware of it at the time. I've learned to be open to everything they say. I've noticed that when they share a message that I'm there to receive, it doesn't always feel pretty and nice. These messages do not always feel like flow or ease and cause me to scrunch my face beneath my mask as I tell myself, "Just listen, they aren't understanding what you need or are looking for. There's no use in getting into a debate. Just listen. There just may be something in there for me, anyway. Let people speak until they are done. They need this, too. As they speak, share and express their light, love and wisdom...as they give....just receive...without judgment, opinion, criticism....just receive in love and light." ...And this is what I did. I received his message later in the day that moved me forward in a big way.
As I sit here enjoying this quiet time of reflection, I have become aware of the nervous anticipation of my car being ready, taking me from this peaceful moment into the 'next' in my day. My worries and busyness over the past few days are still in the driver's seat. Then I remind myself about my angelic rider from yesterday. He has mastered the Path of Peace. How can I emulate such mastery in this moment for myself? Ah, yes...by being in the NOW moment, and knowing that each moment takes care of itself. This is where recovering from trauma has taken me....to self-mastery.
A word about anticipation. The anticipation of something bad happening is a sign of trauma. It also sways us off the Path of Peace. Sometimes bad things do happen (e.g., there's more wrong with my tire than a simple free fix), and change is life's most feared event. It's amazing to me the degree of fear I feel that a change as simple as going from this safe and quiet reflective space (while waiting for my car) to the 'anticipation of change' when my car is ready and I have to go about the rest of my day. My advice: let go of anticipation. It takes us off the Path of Peace. Anticipation adds to fear.
As we enter fall and winter, the seasons to go within, I am becoming less extroverted and more introverted. I am naturally exploring my inner world and transcending the lower vibrations as I enter the cocoon stage in my transformation in self-mastery. With this in mind, I invite you to give yourself permission to retreat into your inner self and to work on your 'funk-n-junk' as you enter your own cocoon. Come spring, we will emerge as the beautiful butterfly that we are.
The time on the clock reads 12:24 a.m. What am I doing up at this hour writing this post? I've been asleep in bed, resting my body and mind from the demands of yesterday. I have this habit of pressing my finger into the corner of my eye when my subconscious is trying to get me to see something. I woke up to this. As I was waking up I heard several messages emerging from my sleep. In my sleepy awareness, I asked questions for clarification. I'm to do my job....and that is write. At this hour? In answer to this question, my body is gently jolted and I am now fully awake. Okay. Message received. I guess the answer is "yes", write now. So, here I am.
For years, I have been on the spiritual awakening/ascension journey, a journey that is unique to each individual. There are many 'newbies' who are now waking up into their own journey, and it is these folks that I am here to serve.
For those who are awakening into their spiritual nature, my message is this:
God does not exist outside of or is separate from you. God is within you. God works through you. In this way, you are God.
You are the miracle you are seeking.
You are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
When I first tried to explain what is energy healing many years ago, I had no logical (or illogical, for that matter) explanation. I had nothing to wrap my mind around. It took a couple of neuroscience classes while earning a B.S. in psychology for me to understand energy healing in a way that I could adequately explain it that made any sense.
Before I share my findings, however, it's helpful to understand a few things: 1) that everything in life is made up of energy; 2) that energy is in constant motion; 3) that this motion is vibration; 4) that everything vibrates at a different rate; and 5) that energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed.
With that said....
At the cell membrane exists a naturally occurring electrical charge that is created simply as a result of the chemicals that are present on both the outside and inside of the cell membrane. When the cell is at rest (called 'resting potential'), this charge is minute. Cellular activity changes the chemicals surrounding the cell membrane thereby increasing the electrical charge of the cell. Eventually, the electrical charge reaches a threshold point creating an 'action potential'. This action potential stimulates the release of neurosubstances in neurons which then generates a cascade of additional neural activity that can influence our DNA.
Simply put, energy healing influences the electrical charge at the cell membrane.
Because our bodies are designed to heal themselves, energy healing is a natural, non-invasive treatment that supports this natural ability.
Over the course of my younger years, I developed a habit of suppressing my emotions which led to the numbing of my body. At age 32-ish, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am the fourth generation on my mother's side to have had cancer (and the first to survive). In my healing, I learned that my cancer developed as a result of suppressed anger. Depression also runs in my ancestral line.
Because emotions are energy in motion (e-motion) they are meant to be felt and expressed. When emotions are suppressed, or otherwise unexpressed, their energies are stored in the body's tissues resulting in our cells vibrating at a slower, denser rate which can then lead to dysfunction in one form or another (e.g., physical pain, disease).
Listening to my body has meant that I had to de-numb it, which meant that I had to FEEL the emotions trapped inside. I learned that emotional releases were a good thing. I learned that not always did I need to make a mind-body connection in order for healing to take place. I learned that my cells were so tightly wound that working with my energetics felt like the consistency of tar. I'm now reaping the benefits. It's taken me many years of hard, laborious work to get to where I am now: vibrating pretty high and 90% pain free, and it just keeps getting better. I am nearly 58 and I feel 30. And I'm not even exercising regularly, yet!
Emotions are the core of all things. I can't express strongly enough how vital it is to our health and wellness to take care of our psycho-spiritual-emotional aspects, especially as we age. My goal is to age gracefully and to live to 125 (I have a lot of work left to do in this world) as vibrantly as possible.
Listening to my body has become a spiritual practice. I take the time to rest and meditate upon awakening, and at any other times throughout the day as my body dictates. Meditation allows me to go within to receive any messages my subconscious has for me to help me in my day. I also use my body to connect with my divinity and to stay in the flow. Upon awakening, I also check in with my mind-body to transmute any negative thoughts that my mind is transmitting. By doing this, I get out of bed with a positive and energetic mindset.
Learning to listen to my body also helps with decision-making. As a survivor of domestic violence, I experienced severe trauma and have been recovering for the past four years. It is startling how trauma adversely affects decision-making. I have learned to check in with my body when making decisions. It's important to make the right decisions because although "there are many answers to all things, not all answers are the right answer." I still have times when I change my mind often, but these are becoming less and less frequent as I become stronger in trusting myself. Trusting myself is founded upon listening to my body.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience. As a spiritual being, we are innately powerful and inherently divine. We have the ability and the resources to overcome any obstacle and to break free from whatever it is that is the source of our hardship (negativity). In essence, hardship is anything or anyone that is taking our power and interfering with our connection to divinity.
Being in our power and connected to our divinity is really our only work here...it's WHY we are here. Once we've accomplished this, we then have the ability to help others.
Our bodies are our temples. They serve a purpose beyond what we use them for in the physical realm (movement, tasks, work). They are an instrument with which to create miracles in our lives, and we do this by listening to them. Our bodies are full of knowledge, wisdom and guidance. By listening to my body, I readily receive divine guidance to assist in the manifestation of abundance (love, health, prosperity). This guidance has been pivotal in my 4-year adventure in surviving domestic violence and the subsequent trauma recovery.
Hardships are a blessing, and the sooner we see this the sooner they will begin to work in our favor. Hardships are presented in our lives as opportunities to expand our consciousness into love.
Although a blessing, hardships also create stress, and stress affects our bodies in many ways. In simple terms, stress from hardships lowers our vibration. Over time, this lower vibration creates mental, spiritual, emotional and physical dis-ease preventing us from fully connecting with our divinity and sovereignty.
The key to raising our vibration is relaxation in whatever form that resonates with each individual. I highly recommend: rest, nature, meditation and, of course, transformative bodywork.
Raising our vibration not only heals us, it also equips us with the presence of peace, calm, clarity and neutrality which allows us to face future hardships with much more ease than in the past. Raising our vibration is how we create and manifest our miracles. We are our miracle. We are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Take care of your temple.
In a previous post, I stated that I owed my current station in life to my Inner Child and Spirit. These two aspects of my spiritual being-ness are who helped me overcome much hardship and adversity in my life. I would like to take this time to talk a little bit about Spirit.
Spirit is very closely connected to Inner Child. Inner child is healer and protector of the soul. Spirit is our zest for life. She is bubbly and effervescent. As with Inner child, Spirit is pure, free and full of life. Spirit walks with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face. She is innately optimistic and sees the silver lining in all things, eventually. She's like sparkling cider compared to soda that has gone flat. She is full of energy and health. She loves adventure and thrives while in the flow.
Spirit is high vibration.