Looking Ahead to 2021

Happy New Year!

2020 has definitely been one heck of a ride. At this time last year, I sat here making plans for expanding RiverEvolutions, for services and workshops I wanted to offer and for how to bring more visibility to what I do.

And then there was a pandemic.

Instead of being a year of attracting more clients, 2020 was a year of attracting fewer. But it was also a year of taking better care of myself and of doing some serious inner work on my “shadows.” It’s been a beneficial year in a number of ways for me, even if it hasn’t been the year I’d hoped.

I’m cautious about planning for 2021, because I understand more than ever how quickly and vastly things can change. But I do have some things in store.

I’m still offering energy healing sessions, channeling sessions, and my most recent addition, oracle card readings. These services are open to anyone who is interested, but my heart is in working with those who have experienced abuse and trauma and are working to embrace their inner power to create their best lives. The tools and services I offer are those that have helped me in my own healing journey from abuse and trauma and in claiming my own power, and I am excited to offer them to others.

Any time I’ve done sessions with others, mindset coaching becomes part of it. Mindset coaching is gentle guidance and encouragement in recognizing the thought and behavior patterns that hold you back from creating your best life, and identifying ways to counter and break those patterns. This will also continue in 2021, and will be explicitly included. It isn’t a separate service and doesn’t include a separate cost; it’s part of whichever service you choose to have with me. And it is optional; if you aren’t interested in any discussion or coaching around mindset blocks, we can leave it out.

All sessions until further notice are done on Zoom or Facebook video messenger. Zoom is my current preference because of the ability to record the sessions for the client’s future reference, but I have to admit I find Facebook video a bit easier technologically. So it’s up to the client which they prefer. I won’t be offering in-person sessions until I feel confident in doing so without risk to my clients’ health or my own. (Channeling and oracle card readings are also available by email.)

I am not currently planning to offer any classes, workshops, or instruction in 2021. I thought long and hard about this one, because I know a number of practitioners reach potential clients and give added benefit through classes and workshops. For myself, I feel that I need to get a better handle on *how* I want to teach and then determine *what* I want to teach, so I’ll be working on that throughout 2021 and plan to resume offering Chios instruction, as well as other classes and workshops, in 2022. By which time hopefully I’ll be able to offer some in person!

I will be putting together resources for learning, though. Over the past few months, several people have asked, either in Facebook groups or directly to me, about connecting with their guides and learning to channel. That’s one thing about which I feel very called to create resources such as ebooks and videos, so I will be working on that and introducing the resources as they’re ready. That isn’t the only thing I’ll be creating, but it’s the most prominent in my mind right now.

Speaking of channeling, in May I will be releasing the first Messages from Shiva book, in digital form and hopefully print. This is a compilation of the daily channeled messages I share on Facebook, with some additional content and arranged by topic and theme. It’s my hope that this book will bring guidance and encouragement to those who purchase it. I’ll be sharing more info and some giveaways as the release gets closer!

I am continuing my inner work as well, and utilizing resources on trauma-informed coaching and other services so I can offer the most beneficial experiences to my clients.

It’s my hope to offer support and guidance to people navigating their way into the coming year and into their best lives. May 2021 bring us closer to the lives we desire and deserve!

Gender Inclusivity

I wanted to share this awesome interview I recently had with Lisa Marie Grantham about why it’s important to use gender-inclusive language, and some easy ways to be gender-inclusive.

 

For those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas.

Since Christmas is a holiday I celebrate at this time of year (along with Yule), I’m taking today off from blogging. I hope everyone has/had/will have a positive holiday season.

Stay the Course

Getting discouraged is easy. One thing goes wrong, one obstacle pops up, and the brain starts saying, “This is hard. Let’s not bother.” The more things go wrong and the more obstacles pop up, the more the brain says this, until we agree. “Yep, it is too hard. Let’s not bother.”

I deal with discouragement on a regular basis. Things are hard sometimes. Health issues get in the way; so do other things that are going on in my life. Stress from finances or worrying about family members can interfere. Sometimes someone else needs me to do something for them, and I don’t have enough bandwidth to handle their thing plus mine.

When we feel discouraged, it’s equally easy to give up entirely. To let the discouragement take the reins and stop us from continuing with what we were trying to do. I’ve dealt with that as well.

It is absolutely okay to stop doing something if it becomes too stressful, isn’t something you want to do, or no longer serves you. But if it’s something you do want to do or feel you need to do, you can combat the discouragement.

That isn’t as easy as it sounds, of course. Sometimes when you feel like giving up, that urge is too strong to “just get over.” (And let’s be real here–“just getting over” anything isn’t always possible. Some things are not just a case of mind over matter.)

When you’re at that point, take a break. Not a permanent one like the discouragement might want, but a temporary one. Give yourself a little while to do something you do actually enjoy, or to do something that gives your brain a rest.

Talk to someone supportive. This might be a friend or family member, or someone you know through networking, or even a paid coach if you work with one. People tend to hide when they’re feeling discouraged or stressed, but hiding it doesn’t help. Find someone you trust, and talk about how you’re feeling. Not only might that help you, but acknowledging that negative feelings happen, and that that’s okay, will help others as well.

Finally, be kind to yourself. There isn’t anything wrong with you for feeling discouraged, or for the struggles that are causing the discouragement. We’re all human, and part of being human is recognizing that sometimes things don’t work the way we hoped–and that however we feel about that is okay.

When you’re ready, come back to whatever was discouraging you, if that’s what you really want to do. Don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s something you genuinely don’t want to do anymore, but know that you can take a few steps back to deal with discouragement and then come back to it later. Taking a break won’t be the end of the world, or the end of what you’re trying to accomplish, and taking that break might be what you need in order to stay the course.

Power to Choose

How many times have you heard yourself saying things like “I have to do this” or “I have no choice”? If you’re like most people, those are phrases you probably use fairly regularly.

The truth, though, is that we almost always have a choice. We were created as beings with free will and the power to choose. We might not always *like* the options that are in front of us, but most of the time, if not every time, there are options.

For those of us who have lived in abusive or traumatic situations, that belief in the absence of choice may be particularly entrenched. After all, abuse, by its very nature, is the taking away of power. We don’t have a choice about how we’re treated by our abusers, and we certainly aren’t choosing to be abused. Those things are genuinely beyond our control. But having that power taken away can lead us to believe that we have no power in any aspect of our lives.

One of the most important steps in our healing journeys is to recognize the power we have to make our own choices. That doesn’t mean that we’ll always have options we want to choose! Sometimes when we say we have no choice, what we really mean is “That choice isn’t viable for me because of this reason,” or “Only one of those options comes without consequences.” But that doesn’t mean the other options don’t exist, only that they aren’t something that would work for us.

Freedom to choose doesn’t mean freedom from consequences, which is something people sometimes forget. You might, for example, choose to drive 100 miles per hour on Main Street; you’re free to make that choice. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get pulled over and ticketed or arrested!

Sometimes we confuse the existence of consequences with the absence of choice. As we learn to recognize and embrace our personal power, we need to learn that choice does exist, and to consciously make choices rather than falling back to a default because “there is no choice.”

This is something it’s taken me time to learn, and sometimes I still catch myself saying I don’t have a choice. But at those times, I stop myself and say, “Okay, wait a minute. What are my choices here? Why are choices A and B not valid for me right now?” Going through that process enables me to *consciously* choose option C, rather than just going with it because I’ve forgotten that I have the power to make a choice. I have free will, and I can use it.

The next time you’re faced with a situation in which you believe you don’t have a choice, I invite you to go through the process I just described. Ask yourself what choices exist in the situation. Not what choices you like, or which ones have no or fewest consequences, but just which ones *exist*. Once you’ve done that, look at the possible outcomes of each option, and consciously decide on the option that has the outcome you want.

Embrace and exercise your power of free will, and see how it can help you create the life you want to live.

An Oracle Card Reading

One of the things I’m gearing up to offer through RiverEvolutions (starting November 30!) is oracle card readings.

Oracle cards are cards that contain certain messages to guide people through their lives, offer answers to or insight on questions, and so forth. Oracle cards differ from Tarot in that oracle cards don’t include suits, while Tarot do, and the number of cards in an oracle deck vary from deck to deck, while Tarot decks always contain the same number of cards. Tarot cards are interpreted based on the meanings of the suits or other aspects of the cards, while oracle cards often spell out the meaning or part of the meaning in words on the card itself.

In 2006, I created an oracle deck, and have used it in various ways since. I was a little hampered in my use of my own cards because the images I originally used did not belong to me; I had permission to use them, but that permission was withdrawn after about a year. So I had cards with messages and guidance on them, but no pictures, and pictures are an important part of oracle cards.

Fortunately, I found a solution to that issue earlier this year. My deck is now called the Seascapes Oracle, and I’ve been using them as daily cards on my Facebook business page, as well as to do weekly readings on Facebook Live.

I wanted to do a short 3-card reading here to give a sample of what I’ll be offering to individual clients beginning November 30. This is just a general reading; the cards are applicable to anyone seeing them, though they may not resonate or feel relevant to everyone. The message in quotation marks for each card is what is on the card; the rest is my interpretation.

 

 

 

The first card is Limitless Source, “There are no limits to the abundance of the Universe.” You’re feeling reluctant to ask for what you want or need because you’re afraid you’ll be taking something away from someone else. This card says there’s plenty to go around. Whether it’s in your personal life or your business, it’s time to stop holding back and worrying about taking away from others. Reach out to have your needs met, or go after what you want, and know that there is more than enough for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second card is Cool Waters. “Allow clear water to cleanse your mind and soul.” You’re stuck in the muck, so to speak. “Dirt” from other people’s words and actions in your past–or maybe your present–is covering up your true self and holding you back. This card is both figurative, in the sense that you are covered with the “dirt” other people have left behind and need to cleanse yourself of that energy; and literal, in the sense that spending time in clear water, whether it’s a lake or ocean or your own shower, helps clear your energy as well as cleaning your physical body. So take some time to do this. It might be too cold where you are to spend time in a body of water outside, so take a bath if you’re able, or a shower, and envision or intend that your mind and energy are cleared of the residue left by your past.

 

 

 

 

 

And the third card is A Crystal Vision. “Your sight is obscured by expectations.” Instead of seeing what is truly there in front of you, which might be some pretty awesome stuff, you’re stuck on what you wanted to see or what you believed would be there. You aren’t seeing the good things in front of you because your mind is focused on the things you *don’t* have. Let go of expectations, and know that sometimes, you don’t get what you want or expect because it isn’t what’s truly in your highest benefit. What’s in front of you will benefit you more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s a sample oracle card reading. If you’re interested in having me pull cards for you during one of my Friday Facebook Lives, please join me on the RiverEvolutions Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/riverevolutions) at 12pm Eastern time any Friday or send me a message through that page. And stay tuned for information and details about private card readings starting Monday, Nov. 30!

Studying

I love to learn things. Learning has always been something I enjoyed, though only under certain circumstances. Most of the “learning” we were required to do in school didn’t appeal to me, because it seemed arbitrary and I was only learning those things because someone else told me to. But learning things on my own, following my own interests and intuition, always appealed.

Partly for my own benefit and partly because I want to build and grow the skills and knowledge I use in RiverEvolutions, I’m currently starting a time of learning and growth in various areas. Some of my blog posts over the coming weeks and months will be about what I’m learning.

I’m enrolled in the Ph.D. program through the University of Metaphysical Sciences. This course is giving me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge base, as well as to narrow in on skills I can use as a healer, channel, and coach. It’s going to take time; regardless of what degrees one already has, UMS requires you to start with their Bachelor’s program and work up. But I’m excited about gaining this knowledge.

On my own, I’m studying Tarot and oracle cards, because I intend to offer readings of both types through RiverEvolutions over the next few months. But obviously if I’m going to do readings, I need to build my knowledge and skills! I’ve found a number of books and video resources, and if you know of any, I would love to hear about them.

I’m also reading more about trauma and its effects. I know many effects that trauma can have; I’ve lived with them. However, I want to have a more objective understanding of trauma, particularly as it relates to mindfulness practices and meditation. I’ve found for myself that some types of meditation actually have adverse effects; rather than feeling still and calm, I feel angry and revved up, and it can take a full day for me to settle again. At first when this happened, I thought I was doing something wrong, but then I saw friends of mine who also have lived through abuse or trauma say they had similar experiences when attempting to meditate. I’m setting out to study why that happens and find or create mindfulness practices that take those effects into account.

I’m building my knowledge base about Witchcraft. I am a Witch (not a Wiccan, though), but that doesn’t mean I know a lot. Magic and Witchcraft are very, very broad topics with a lot to learn and read, and I’m poking around finding things that call to me to learn more about. 

And I’m taking a course to attain the next level in Chios Energy Healing! I’m so excited about this one, because it will enable me to offer even more effective and beneficial energy healing services to my client, and because I’m learning directly from the developer of Chios, Stephen Barrett. Stay tuned for more about this, because you’d better believe I’ll be celebrating when I attain this degree. This is especially relevant now, as I gear up to resume offering Chios Energy Healing sessions beginning November 2.

Those aren’t all the things I’ll be learning and studying over the coming months. I’m kind of excited about this, because as I said, I love learning new things and refreshing or building on my knowledge of things I’ve learned previously. In some blogs, I’ll share things I’m learning.

“Create Your Best Life”

“Create and evolve into your best life” is the tagline for RiverEvolutions, but some people aren’t clear on what I mean by it. So I wanted to take a moment to explain.

I believe all of us have the innate power to bring things into our lives, change our lives, and create what we want to live. This isn’t some magical thing, though some people might call it magic; it’s a power we have purely by virtue of being alive.

As children, a lot of us play games of “make-believe” or talk about what we want to be when we grow up. We don’t recognize limits on our creative power. We believe in magic, we believe we can be whatever we want to be, and we create those things in our minds. And sometimes, those childhood “imaginings” and creations carry over into adulthood.

But sometimes we lose touch with that creative power. It might happen because adults tell us to stop playing “silly” games and make-believe. Sometimes, it happens because our power is taken away through abuse and trauma. We learn that life is a thing that happens to us, and we have to take what we get.

That’s a mindset I was in for a long time, and the events in my life didn’t do anything to change that mindset. But finally, I started realizing that I do have power in my own life. I can make things happen instead of sitting back and waiting. 

What I want in my life is what I can have, if I am focused and believe I’m deserving of having the things I want. If my life isn’t working out the way I want it to, that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve good things; it means I need to examine where I’m not using my creative power, and make changes in those areas.

When I talk about creating your best life, I’m talking about reclaiming your power and using it to make things happen in your life. And evolving? That means learning to *accept* your creative power, learning how to use it, and pushing beyond the fears and “what ifs” to actually put things into place so you can live the life you truly want to live.

Basically, I believe everyone deserves to live a life where they feel fulfilled and happy. Learning to create that kind of life is a journey, one I’m still on myself. But tools like energy healing and channeling have helped me recognize, reclaim, and use my creative power, and that’s what I love to do for others using those tools. For me, part of creating and evolving into *my* best life means helping other people create and evolve into theirs.

Healing Doesn’t Always Mean Forgiving

Note: This is a slightly revised version of my post which originally appeared on the Wellness Universe blog on August 2, 2020. 

My marriage to my children’s father included a great deal of emotional and verbal abuse from him, along with behavior that can only be labeled toxic. That behavior and abuse continued off and on even after I ended the marriage, until last year when I finally severed all possible means he had of reaching me. He has caused lasting emotional damage for me, with the result that I have been in therapy for over a decade to work on healing from what he did as well as from other abuses I’ve experienced in my life.

In some corners of the spiritual community, I would be told to forgive him. I might even be told that forgiving him is the only way I could “truly” heal.

I disagree.

My spiritual mentor taught me that when it comes to harm caused by others, forgiveness equates to admitting that person has power over you. My mentor’s advice was, instead, to practice acceptance. “I accept that this occurred in my life, and that it was the choice of the person who caused the damage to do so. I accept that it was not about me, but about them. I accept that I am a good person regardless and can move on with my life.”

Forgiveness, as preached and practiced by some, not only involves acknowledging someone’s role and power in your life, but also often includes allowing that person to remain in your life. Again, according to those who espouse this way of thinking, the only way to be genuinely healed is to continue to allow the person who wounded you to be around you, even at the risk of being wounded again.

And again, I disagree.

In my view, someone’s first priority is to take care of themselves. To practice self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance. Sometimes, this means removing other people from your life. I had little choice about allowing my kids’ father to remain in my life; we shared children, and the court refused to believe what I told them about his abuse, so I was legally compelled to coparent with him. That exposure to him and his abuse did an additional near-decade of emotional and mental harm to me, until my children were old enough that I was no longer under that legal obligation. And the moment that became the case, I cut that tie.

Allowing someone toxic or abusive to remain in your life in the name of “forgiveness” doesn’t serve you or bring any benefit to anyone except the toxic/abusive person, who continues to have an unobstructed license to continue their behavior. This is not “true healing.” This is ego speaking, telling you that you have to act in a “more spiritual” way to prove that you’re really healed and enlightened. (An exception might be made for someone who has been toxic or abusive in the past but has demonstrated remorse, willingness and ability to change, and has expressed apology and made amends for their behavior.)

True healing comes when you embrace yourself as the incredible being you were created as, and choose to conduct your life and relationships in a way that honors yourself, your needs, and your health. And sometimes that means forgiveness doesn’t happen, at least not as it’s often preached–and that is okay. You have the right to set boundaries for yourself. You have the right to say, “This person is unhealthy for me.” And you have the right to forgive–or accept–in the way that works best for you.

I work with people who have experienced abuse, bullying, and trauma and are learning to forgive and accept themselves above all, providing Chios Energy Healing, channeling, and mindset coaching to facilitate their healing journey. I would love to talk with anyone who is on that journey about how I might help. Channeling sessions, which have been on hold due to my recent surgery, will resume on Monday; Chios Energy Healing sessions are unavailable until November 2, but I can share some suggestions for ways to rebalance and restore your own energy system. You can learn more on my website, http://www.riverevolutions.com, or my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/riverevolutions.

Choosing Community

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve chosen to leave some of the Facebook groups for spiritual practitioners to which I belonged.

I won’t get into all the reasons here, because I want to avoid calling out anyone in particular. Let’s just say that members of one group became very judgmental and accusatory about me and my practices due to a message I shared with them (ironically, a message about judging and working on yourself before you judge others), while the other group was specifically designated as a women’s group and has members who are very firm about it being a women’s group, which became uncomfortable for me as a nonbinary (specifically agender) person.

A third group includes members who post conspiracy theories, misinformation, and blatant lies about COVID and other things, and due to my policy of zero tolerance for that kind of thing, I’m likely to leave that group as well. I’ve stuck it out thus far because I have great respect for other members and consider a few of them my friends, so leaving the group would be more painful for me.

Finding community, whether it’s online or in person, isn’t easy. It’s even more difficult when you hold beliefs that others either disagree with or find “crazy” or “ridiculous,” and more difficult still when you are not one of the recognized binary genders. I’ve always struggled to fit in much of anywhere; even as a preschooler, I was “too weird” for the other children to want anything to do with me. And the more people I encounter, the more frequently I feel like I don’t belong.

I have been fortunate with some of the communities I’ve become part of. Shout-outs to Britt Bolnick and Calandra Martin for making their communities welcoming and inclusive; while they specifically state they work with women, and in fact I was still identifying as a woman when I began working with them, when I came out as agender both of them made the effort to make sure I knew I was still included, and both have made attempts to alter their language to be more inclusive. Also to the EarthSpirit community, which is a large, varied, and hugely welcoming and caring spiritual community I’ve been part of for four years now, and to the Polka Dot Powerhouse networking community, which has expanded their mission to explicitly include serving nonbinary people.

Finding community is a very individual thing. Communities which feel supportive and welcoming to one person might feel exactly the opposite to another. Sometimes personalities don’t mesh. And sometimes it’s just another example of “nothing works for everyone.”

I struggled a bit with leaving the Facebook groups, because I felt like I was giving up, and one of the bits of detritus from my past is the tendency to put myself down for not forcing myself to stay in situations that don’t feel healthy or aligned for me. But that’s the thing. Those groups did not feel right *for me*. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the groups or the people in them, just that they weren’t groups in which I fit. And when you are in a situation where you don’t feel like you fit or feel like you have to change yourself in order to fit, it’s okay to leave. 

It’s especially okay to leave when a community or group turns out to be toxic or unhealthy for you, or where you experience bullying or emotional harm. I’m thankful that wasn’t the case with the groups I left; they weren’t toxic, just misaligned with me.

Finding and becoming part of a community can bring you benefits, but there are no benefits to joining a community that isn’t aligned with you, or to forcing yourself to stay in a community that doesn’t feel right. It is okay to make the choice to leave and seek a different group. Doing so doesn’t make you a quitter or weak; it makes you someone who values yourself enough to find a group where you feel like you belong.

Speaking Through Fear

I’ve been working and learning to be better about speaking my truth. Speaking up for what I believe, and expressing who I am and what I stand for.

What I didn’t take into account is how scary that actually can be.

I knew *I* was scared to do it, but chalked up the fear to all the time I spent in environments where speaking up was literally unsafe for me. What I’d forgotten is that in claiming my freedom to speak, I’m also claiming responsibility for the things I say, and sometimes that responsibility includes facing people who respond negatively or who are hurt by my words.

When I am informed that I’ve said something offensive or hurtful, I apologize where warranted and make amends where possible. My right and willingness to speak up doesn’t absolve me of the need to own my shit and take responsibility. But even though I apologize and I respect and validate people’s reactions, that doesn’t mean fear doesn’t raise its head.

In my past, people have harmed, or attempted to harm, me because they didn’t like things I said or just didn’t like me. So when someone approaches me with an issue they have about something I’ve said, while outwardly I try to respond in a respectful and productive way, my inner child is gibbering that the person might hurt me, that they’ll talk behind my back and turn people against me and so on. And anyone who has experienced the gibbering fear of a child can tell you that logic doesn’t always work to quiet the fear.

Then there’s the issue of attracting unwanted attention. Since I’ve begun speaking up more and sharing my messages on Instagram as well as Facebook, I’ve had about half a dozen men respond with propositions and “compliments.” (They might think that “Hey, you’re sexy and I want to be your friend” is a compliment; I do not.) It’s easy enough to block them, but again, my past comes up. I have been preyed on and victimized in the past because I present as female, and so even though I know these men are online (and often in far-away countries) and I can block them, the fear that they’ll stalk me or track me down elsewhere in person or online still looms.

I’m learning. I’m finding the balance between staying quiet out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings or speaking up but in a mindful way. I’m also finding the line between rational fear and irrational, and the more important line between what I am in control of and responsible for, and what is in the control and responsibility of others. I believe I owe people the respect to not hurt them intentionally and to apologize if I cause hurt; I do not believe I owe anyone the choice to keep my mouth shut so they aren’t offended.

(Note that I am referring to individual offense, such as someone not liking it when I state an opinion that is opposed to theirs. I am not referring to things that are offensive, prejudicial, and harmful to entire groups of people, such as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. speech. I don’t engage in those types of speech knowingly, and if someone calls my attention to something I’ve said that falls under one of those things, I learn from it and am more mindful going forward.)

Saying, “I’m going to use my voice and speak my truth no matter what” is easy. Actually *doing* it is complicated, difficult, and scary. There are a lot of things to weigh, including whether speaking truth is worth the risks. For me, it is, and I hope to learn more over time about how to find the balances I need in order to speak.