Listen to Yourself

In January 2016, in the wake of David Bowie’s death, I posted the following on Facebook (there was more to it, but this was the most important bit):

“We all need to be unafraid to live our dreams. All of us can at least try. You might not reach your goal, but if you never even try, you’ll never have the chance. Let go of the “can’t” and “shouldn’t” and fear. Start now. Dare to shake the world.”

I hand-copied that in calligraphy and taped it to the wall above my desk. It’s been there ever since.

And yet I haven’t really paid attention to it. I have dreams. River Flow Healing is one of them, though at the time I posted that, River Flow wasn’t even a glimmer of a thought. Singing is another. Continuing to write fiction and having a bigger audience.

I have a lot of dreams, and some of them, if I fulfill them, will shake the world in the sense of making a difference. Having an impact. That’s the main reason behind a lot of the things I do. I want to be out there to help others.

I’m really not helping anyone if I don’t listen to my own advice. Fear and “can’t” and “shouldn’t” have been constant companions for me. And that’s entirely on me. I’ve allowed those things to become my roadblocks, and it really needs to stop.

I might not get as far as I’d like with any of my dreams, but that doesn’t mean being so afraid of failing that I don’t even make the effort.

That post, when I put it on Facebook, started with me quoting the poem “Ode,” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. If you’ve ever seen the 1970s version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you’re familiar with one line of that poem, quoted by Willy Wonka: “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” The first part of the poem ends with “We are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.” (As best I can determine, the poem is not copyrighted. If anyone knows differently, please leave a comment.)

Whoever creates is a “mover and shaker of the world” if they aren’t afraid to be so. That’s where I’m falling flat: I’m afraid. It’s time to listen to myself….

Teaching

At Rites of Spring this year, I did a Level 1 Chios(R) Energy Healing workshop, as I mentioned a week or so ago. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed working with the eight students who attended. I felt confident about my teaching, and liked seeing the students understanding the concepts and feeling the energy flow for themselves.

That reminded me of how much I used to love teaching. I was a certified special education teacher years ago. I worked as a teacher, aide, or substitute over the course of about sixteen years, working in every public school grade level at one time or another. I got out of teaching because bureaucracy and paperwork were interfering with the reason I wanted to teach in the first place: working with students. I also moved from Maine to Massachusetts, and couldn’t get my certification transferred without going back to school to get an advanced degree, something I didn’t feel inclined to do.

I tried substitute teaching after I moved, because I didn’t need certification for that, but it was only about a month after I’d had major surgery. I wasn’t physically or mentally recovered enough to deal with a day of teaching, and the experience ended up being so negative I chose not to try again.

That was the last time I really taught anything. I’ve done informal “teaching” in that sometimes I end up educating people I know in person or online about certain things, but that’s been about it until the Chios workshop.

I loved teaching that. I loved seeing the excitement of my students as they learned and practiced the techniques. I’m already planning to offer the workshop again next year, and I can’t wait.

I want to teach more. And I’m planning to. I’m taking private Chios students now (see the Chios page for more info), and I’ll be offering the workshop through some area community ed programs. I’m also putting together an 8-week class using A Story You Tell Yourself, which I’m planning to do through community ed first and then maybe in other venues, including possibly online.

I’ve known since the River Flow part of my journey began that teaching and speaking were meant to be part of my path. I’m really excited to be figuring out how!

Recalculating…

I’ve been in a state of recalculation lately. You know how sometimes when you’re using your GPS and take a wrong turn, it says it’s recalculating? That’s where I’m at.

In my life, I’ve done a lot of things because other people told me I should, or I had to. Even if those things felt counterintuitive to me, I ignored the intuition and listened to the other people. This has often led to things not quite working out for me. I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time doing social media promotions that didn’t work because I half-assed them. Writing books that aren’t fun to read because my heart wasn’t in them. Taking classes out of which I got virtually nothing because they weren’t on subjects I really wanted to learn.

I’ve taken a lot of wrong turns.

But the cool thing about life is that when you take a wrong turn, you aren’t locked into continuing in that direction. You can recalculate and find a different route. If there’s too much construction on a road you’re driving down, you find an alternate way to get where you’re going. The same is true of life. If a route you’re taking to get to a goal doesn’t work for you, you find a way that *does* work.

I’m working on figuring out what works. I’ve already made some changes to this website to reflect some of the new direction. I’m no longer offering guided readings, other than at special events like psychic fairs (and then only if asked), because my heart wasn’t in them and I don’t feel that’s where my best skills lie. I’m good at them, and the readings I’ve done have helped people, but that isn’t part of the route I want to take for River Flow.

I’ve decided against some of the things I was planning to write, both nonfiction and fiction. I’ve reversed my decision about taking one of my pen names out of existence, and am focusing on promoting the few books still available under that name, as well as promoting the books available under my other name.

I’m trying really, really hard to get a grip on time management, which unfortunately is something about which I have a mental block. I want to push that block out of the way so I can stop rushing through things to make sure I get everything on my list completed, and stop spending time doing nonproductive things when I want to be productive.

It’s a work in progress. Life often is. But I’m thankful for the chance to step back from the wrong route and recalculate to find a better one.

Survey Says…

To help in my development of the A Story You Tell Yourself program, I’ve put together a short survey. If you have a few moments to take it, I would greatly appreciate it!

Rites of Spring

I’m late with this post because it took me a bit longer than anticipated to get back into the swing of things after returning from the Rites of Spring retreat in western Massachusetts. I was originally planning to post this on Wednesday, but time really got away from me.

The event was awesome, though. Last year when I attended, I felt left out and disconnected right up until the closing ceremony, when all of a sudden–and too late–everything started to click into place. I had a hard time with that, because I wanted to enjoy it and make new friends, and I felt like I hadn’t.

I had, of course. Maybe not the way I’d wanted, but I did make friends from it, and those friends were there to welcome me when I arrived this year. The moment I walked through the gate, I felt like I was home. When I arrived at the dining hall for my shift checking meal bracelets, a job I had last year as well (everyone is given a color-coded bracelet indicating what meals, if any, they’re supposed to have in the dining hall), I felt as if I’d never left.

It was rainy and cold a lot of the time I was there. That made it considerably less pleasant, and it had a negative effect on my mood some of the time. Especially since the retreat is held at a summer camp, so most of the cabins don’t have heat, and neither do some of the shower houses and bathroom outbuildings. But for two days the sun was out and the temperature was up, and that was nice.

I did a Chios Level 1 workshop which had more attendees than I’d anticipated, and most of them seemed to get a lot out of the workshop. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them, and to doing another Level 1 workshop next year.

I came home tired, but happy and rested. I felt refreshed and recharged, and I’m definitely glad I went.

FEAR!

For the past month, I’ve been going through a lot of changes. There are so many things about me that aren’t horrible, but aren’t helpful. Things I would love to change, because changing them would give me a better life.

The biggest one of those is fear. I’m afraid of almost everything. Today I’m leaving for the Rites of Spring Pagan festival in western Massachusetts, and I’m afraid I won’t get to know anyone there. I’m afraid I’ll feel silly like I did last year. I’m afraid my partner, who is also going, will ignore me the entire time.

Irrational fears. Though the fear of feeling silly isn’t so irrational. I actually did feel that way last year, but that was also tied to fear. I was afraid other people would think I was silly or stupid, so I just didn’t do anything. I didn’t participate in the rituals or the singing (I didn’t even know the songs, though everyone else there seemed to), and I didn’t really talk to many people. Which was unfortunate, because they’re nice people and would have accepted me if I’d been willing to be accepted.

I’m learning to let go of those fears a little more every day. Fear keeps you from truly living. You just exist day to day, doing the things you know are safe and won’t cause problems, and you don’t risk anything. But not risking means not trying, and not trying means you’re stuck where you are. Not necessarily the way someone wants to live, but sometimes fear seems stronger than you, and you don’t know how to fight.

I’m learning to fight. And I’m going to Rites of Spring despite the fear, and keeping an open mind (unlike last year, I admit) that it will be better this year, and that I won’t be as afraid.

Which reminds me… since I’ll be at Rites of Spring, there won’t be a blog post on Saturday. Next Wednesday, hopefully I’ll be able to tell you how Rites was!

Family Conflict

I feel very sad when I see people who are living happy lives and in happy relationships encounter opposition and even hatred from their family. Unfortunately, it seems to happen a lot.

Obviously different people have different beliefs. They’ve been brought up in certain religions and/or cultures that have strong, ingrained outlooks on things like marriage, same-sex relationships, sexual orientations, genders, and so on. For some people, overcoming those beliefs is difficult. This might be because they don’t understand other points of view. It might also be because they just plain don’t want to overcome those beliefs.

When beliefs interfere with family, though, something is wrong. And it probably isn’t the person who’s happy in a same-sex relationship, or a polyamorous one. It probably isn’t the person who’s just come out as transgender. The “something wrong” is that rigid beliefs are causing family members to turn against one of their own.

I’ve always taught my kids that the one thing I want for them more than anything else is that they be happy and safe. If that means they’re gay, or trans, or polyamorous, or whatever, that’s fine with me. Even if I don’t understand how they’re identifying themselves, I can see whether they’re happy and confident, and that’s what matters most to me. I don’t have to understand. I can just love and trust them, and let them be happy.

I know too many people whose families don’t think that way, and sometimes I just want to gather them all up and tell them I’ll be their family. It’s okay to believe what you believe. It’s okay to believe what you’ve been taught. But I can’t see how it could ever be okay to completely turn against your child, or parent, or sibling, or whoever, because their happiness means they aren’t living by your beliefs.

Believing What I’m Worth

A while back, I listened to a webinar about running a coaching business. One of the points the leader of the webinar made was that people, especially women, often develop products and a business but then don’t charge what they’re really worth. Because they don’t *believe* what they’re really worth.

I can say that’s definitely true for me. My past has led to me constantly underestimating my own worth, whether it’s as a person in general or as a parent or as a healer and coach. This has been a problem in trying to build River Flow Healing. I second-guess myself and doubt myself quite a bit, which is not an effective way to draw people who trust that I know what I’m doing and want to work with me.

My past impressions about money also play a role. Money has always been a difficult topic for me, and when it comes to my business, I don’t want to charge “too much,” because people might get upset that I cost that much and might think I’m not worth it.

That’s a major fallacy in my thinking. I truly know what I’m doing, and I bring value to my clients. That’s worth a lot!

I’m still working on myself as well as on the business. Improving one’s life and outlook isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing; it’s an ongoing, often life-long process. I’m learning to have more confidence in my worth and value, and that means I’ll get there.

What Are You Creating?

What are you creating in your life?

For some people, hearing they create their own lives, or they create things in their lives, is problematic. They hear it as victim-blaming if they’ve had traumatic experiences, or they just don’t believe it’s true, because magic isn’t a thing.

(Magic *is* a thing, but that’s a different subject for a different time.)

Creating your life, or aspects of your life, doesn’t mean you’re at fault when things go wrong. If we don’t know our own creative power, we don’t have control over what happens. We have to learn that we can have that control, and then how to use it.

When we think hard about something, really want—or don’t want—it, often it comes into our lives. We’re putting so much time and thought into it, and therefore we’re putting a ton of energy into it. Energy calls to energy, and the energy we put out draws whatever it is we’re devoting energy to.

If we understand that, we can begin to consciously and intentionally create what’s in our lives. If we’re constantly stressed about money and trying to figure out how to get it, and thinking about how we don’t have it, we’re unconsciously creating not having it. We aren’t putting energy into having money; we’re putting energy into the lack of it. But if we can shift that thinking into fully believing, and putting our total energy into, the idea that we have the money we want and need, we will have that money.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to drop into our laps, of course. When we consciously create something in our lives, it doesn’t appear out of thin air. At least not usually. What does appear is opportunity, and we need to stay open to the opportunities that arise to bring us what we’re creating.

So what are you creating in your life? And what do you want to create? Think about how you can do that.

Studying

I’ve been doing a lot of studying over the past few months. So much that some of it kind of leaks out of my brain. It’s a good thing I take notes!

When I was in school, studying was something I tried to avoid at all costs. I didn’t care about the things my teachers were trying to drill into my head, so I sat in class and mostly listened, took notes if I thought I should (or if the teacher required note-taking as part of the grade), and pretty much took tests from that. I often did homework the morning it was due, as I sat in the school cafeteria chatting with my friends.

The traditional school structure didn’t work for me. I didn’t fit in as a student, or as a peer. I wanted to do and learn my own things in my own way.

As an adult, fortunately, I have that option. I’m taking some courses, but they’re online home study courses that move at the pace at which I decide to move. I’m reading a lot of books and taking notes about the things that resonate for me, or things that I believe will be beneficial for me to know.

I wish I’d had the option to learn this way when I was in school. For years, I daydreamed about starting a school where kids could do exactly that: Learn at their own pace in ways that made sense to them.

There are schools like that in existence, and may well have been when I was growing up. Some forms of homeschooling, such as unschooling, operate on exactly that concept.

I hope someday it’s widely recognized that people are not cookies cut from the same cutter. We learn in different ways, and have different interests and needs. One thing we do have in common, though: We can all succeed if we’re given the right tools and opportunities. I wish that happened more often.