Study Update

Several weeks ago, I blogged here about some things I intended to study. I also said that periodically, I would share a bit about what I’ve been studying. So that’s what I chose to do for this week’s post.

I’m progressing in my courses through the University of Metaphysical Sciences. My ultimate goal is to earn a Doctorate through them, most likely in spiritual counseling. For now, I’m working through their Bachelor’s program. I have a Bachelor’s degree in education, but for the University of Metaphysical Sciences program, they require all students to start with earning a Bachelor’s.

The courses are interesting, and I’m learning some new things that appeal to me as well as refreshing knowledge I already had. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the courses, but that’s helping me as well, since I’m refining my beliefs and making note of things I can write about in the future.

I’ve done a review of the Chios Energy Healing materials, which is something I do periodically. Chios is a fairly straightforward modality, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy! There are a number of techniques, especially at the Certified Master Teacher level, that it’s difficult to remember fully, especially when I haven’t been doing Chios sessions often over the past several months. As a practitioner and as an instructor, I find it best to review the manual every so often.

During October, I was privileged to take a course with Stephen Barrett, the developer of Chios. This course earned me the level of Chios Master of Healing Consciousness, the highest existing level in the modality. I’m very excited about receiving this certification, and I’m looking forward to implementing the Master of Healing Consciousness techniques with my healing clients!

I’ve done some studying of the Tarot, both what the cards mean and how to read them, mostly using YouTube videos. I’m practicing Tarot readings with a few friends to build my skills.

I’m learning more about how trauma affects the brain and our behavior, as I noted in the above-linked post.

Right now, in addition to the above, I’ve started studying runes. I’m not entirely sure why I felt drawn to them, but I want to learn more about them and possibly learn how to use them as a divination and magical tool.

So that’s where I’m at with my studies, along with the ongoing study of myself, because learning who I am and how to work with my shadows and all of my aspects is my most important growth. 

Why I Chose Chios

In 2005, I was struggling. My marriage was toxic and at times abusive. I felt completely incompetent as a mother. I’d discovered I couldn’t fit into the box of public education, so my career as a special education teacher had come to an end.

Most importantly, and most impactful, I’d begun recovering memories of abuse and trauma I’d experienced as a child. Those things had never fully been forgotten, but I’d stuffed them into a strongbox at the back of my mind, and tried to pretend they didn’t exist so I could function on a daily basis. But now they were finding their way out of the box, and I didn’t know how to deal with them.

That year, I met someone who became a close friend and mentor. During one of our conversations, he told me he did a type of energy healing called Chios, and offered me a session. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, so I accepted.

The difference was immediate and profound, though definitely not pleasant. The mental strongbox opened, and a lot of things came out, some of which I’d known were there and some I hadn’t been consciously aware of. It was difficult, and I’ll always be thankful to my friend for his support and willingness to listen and help me process in the immediate aftermath of that session.

However, even though it wasn’t easy to deal with, the session was incredibly beneficial. Having the clarity of what had happened to me enabled me to deal with the events, and to work on my personality traits and behaviors that had developed as a result. I also became clearer on what I wanted my life to look like, and on the fact that I did deserve to live a healthy, happy, safe life.

The effects that Chios had on me and for me were amazing, and I knew after that first session that I wanted to learn the techniques so I could help others. My friend saw me as a natural healer and agreed to teach me. Within a few months, I worked my way through the Chios levels to attain the certification of Chios Master Teacher.

Chios won’t work for everyone. For some people, it simply doesn’t resonate, or it isn’t as effective as other modalities. For me personally, it’s the only modality that has ever fully resonated, which is why it’s the only one I practice. I have tried learning a couple of other modalities, but the information I studied literally would not stay in my brain for more than a few minutes, which showed me clearly that those modalities were not meant for me.

The reason so many modalities of healing exist is because nothing works for everyone, but everything works for someone. I have had clients and students come to me who have explored several other modalities and found, as I did, that Chios was the one that actually resonated. I recommend Chios to anyone who has found other modalities to be ineffective for them or for whom other modalities don’t resonate.

Beginning November 2, I’ll resume offering Chios distance sessions. A distance session lasts about an hour total, and includes discussion with me over video chat both before and after the healing work. During the healing work, all you need to do is lie down (or sit, if lying down isn’t an option) quietly for about half an hour, while I do the energy work for you. If this is something you’re interested in or curious about, please visit the Chios Energy Healing page on this site, or feel free to Contact Us!

I’m not currently accepting Chios students, but hope to resume giving instruction in Chios in early 2021. If you’d like to be kept informed about that, let me know!

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.

I’ve Been Recovering…

It’s been two weeks since I underwent throat surgery to remove my thyroid due to growths and an autoimmune disorder. 

The whole situation was a perfect example of why, when you know something is wrong with your body, you need to push your doctors until they listen to you. I had been saying for two years that something was wrong with my thyroid, but even though I’m fortunate to have doctors who usually agree that I know my body better than they do, they didn’t do the tests that would have revealed the actual issues. They tested my thyroid function, which was in the normal range, but didn’t do the antibody test that would have identified the autoimmune disorder, and didn’t actually touch my neck or throat, which would have shown them the lumps that were developing

I’m thankful that the issues were found when they were, at the beginning of this summer. Actually, in a strange way, I’m thankful for COVID; if COVID didn’t exist, when I developed symptoms at the beginning of June, I might not have gone to the doctor who found the lumps in my neck and finally got the ball rolling for me to have correct diagnoses and the surgery. (I didn’t have COVID; my symptoms were the direct result of the issues with my thyroid.)

So now I’ve been recovering for two weeks, and I’m feeling almost back to “normal.” I’m able to get up and do things. My voice is recovering. And I am ready to start working with clients again.

I have already resumed accepting clients for virtual channeling sessions on Zoom or Facebook video messenger, as well as accepting requests for email channelings. I’ve spent the time leading up to my surgery, and during part of my recovery, honing my channeling skills and my presentation to clients, and I’m looking forward to the relaunch!

If you’re interested in having a channeling session or requesting an email channeling, please visit the Channeling page of this website or feel free to email me at river@riverevolutions.com. I look forward to working with you!

Today

Today, I’m undergoing surgery to remove my thyroid, as a result of the health issues I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Obviously, I pre-scheduled this post!

I appreciate good thoughts and healing energy that anyone is able and willing to send. The surgery itself is not major, but there are risks, as there are to any surgeries. More difficult for me, I will be alone in that my family members won’t be allowed into the hospital, so I won’t wake up in the recovery room to see them waiting for me, or be able to have them visit and sit with me while I remain in the hospital overnight.

At the same time, though, I am looking forward to having this taken care of. So many of the physical and even mental health issues I’ve experienced over the past two to three years can be traced to the thyroid problems. Once the thyroid is removed and I’m put on medication (which is simply a version of the hormones my thyroid is supposed to make and hasn’t been), I’ll feel so much healthier and be so much more able to accomplish things!

For the next few weeks, I’ll be somewhat out of commission as I recover. I have some blog posts banked up that I’ll be sharing, and my newsletter will go out on its regular schedule. I’ll be poking around on social media as well. However, channeling sessions and email channelings are on hold until September 28, and Chios sessions are unavailable until November 2, to give me time to tend to my own health and recovery.

 

This is and will be a good thing. This I believe.

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.

In Hiding

NOTE: This is a revised version of a post that originally appeared on this blog in 2017. I am choosing to share it again because it is relevant to a situation I’m living through now, and because I’ve made strides in this area that I wanted to share.

“Living your truth” is a big thing in the coaching field. Every coach I follow has said it at one time or another, and I definitely have used the phrase myself on more than one occasion.

The thing is, it’s easy to say, but less easy to do.

When you’ve been taught that you have to hide certain things about who you are, or who your family is, you learn that living your truth not only isn’t acceptable, it can be dangerous. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, someone might hurt you. At the very least, you might be shunned by the people around you.

Even though I advise others to live their truth, I haven’t always been out there showing everything about who I am. I’ve been in hiding about some things, because I’m one of those people who was taught to hide. As a child, I talked about things like communicating with the wind and trees. I told my parents when I “just knew” something was going to happen, and I shared my writing and stories with anyone who would listen.

I wasn’t praised for those things. I was told not to talk about the wind and trees because people would think I was “crazy.” My parents said the same thing about my “just knowing,” and also ranted at me about how little good it did to know those things since I couldn’t do anything to change them. While my parents tried to be supportive of my writing, and so did some of my teachers, my peers and other teachers made fun of me or at least of the stories I wrote.

I learned to hide.

Even as I type this, there are some things about myself that not everyone in my life knows. There are things about which I don’t talk to some people, and other things I don’t talk about at all.

Living your truth and speaking your truth are vital as you build the life you want to live, but sometimes you have to be more cautious than you would like about what you say and how you live around certain people. And that’s okay. If you’re just playing it safe because you don’t believe in yourself, that’s one thing; but sometimes it really is a matter not of *playing* safe but of *being* safe.

But knowing the difference matters too. Are you staying silent because speaking out would genuinely be unsafe, or because you’re afraid? Learn to recognize when fear is the reason you’re hiding, and work toward speaking despite your fear. Hiding doesn’t serve you or anyone else. I realized that, while in the past there were times when sharing my truth would have been genuinely unsafe for me, that ended years ago. It’s been safe for me to speak; I was just too afraid to do so. Realizing that my fears were not reality has made speaking my truth much more possible.

Your voice and your truth are two of the most important tools you have. Come out of hiding and start using those tools, and see how much you can create and grow.

That’s a lesson I’ve worked hard to learn. I’m coming out of hiding. And I look forward to sharing more of my truths with others.

Blocking People

On social media, I generally don’t block people unless they’ve either proven themselves to be dangerous in some way (in other words, directly threatening me) or I’ve found them to be detrimental to my mental health (such as an abusive ex).

However, lately I’ve found myself blocking more people for other reasons. I’m not happy about it; some of those people are ones I considered friends, or at least friendly acquaintances. I have respect for some of them in general.

But the pandemic and other current events in our world are leading to people showing their beliefs more and more, and there are some beliefs and teachings/preachings that I simply cannot and will not support.

Some statements and beliefs just frustrate me to the point that I need a break from them to manage my emotional reactions, and in that case I’m more likely to unfollow the person or, in Facebook terminology, “snooze” them. However, other statements and beliefs are things I see as having a strong potential to cause harm, and I won’t allow people who espouse beliefs I consider harmful to remain in any type of connection with me. I don’t hold anything against the people, but their statements and, in some cases, vilification of and threats toward those who don’t agree, aren’t acceptable to me.

I’ve learned not to try to debate or reason with these people. I’ve seen some flat out reject reliable, scientific sources as “I don’t consider that reputable.” At most times, I wouldn’t have the emotional bandwidth for a discussion with them; right now, as I’m trying to maintain and manage my health, I definitely don’t have it. So blocking them is to prevent myself from engaging in something that will take more energy than I have available as well as to prevent myself from seeing and appearing to support conspiracy theories and potentially harmful–and false–information.

It’s sad that so much divisiveness has come from the pandemic and the current political and social climate in the US. (It may be similar in other countries; I’m not in another country, so I’m only speaking from what I know and what I’ve seen.) Sometimes I think the real virus and the real threat is humanity being torn into factions and fighting against each other at a time when working together is the surest way to end the struggles.

It saddens me to lose people I considered friends because they’ve chosen to espouse beliefs I can’t support or accept. But that is their choice to make; my only choice is whether to continue a connection with them. Unfortunately, sometimes the choice I need to make is not to.

My Voice

As a child, I was taught not to use my voice, especially when it came to speaking about the things I knew to be true. My mother became easily overwhelmed when I talked “too much” (meaning, talked the way a young child typically would), and my father was horrified and upset if I talked about magic, having invisible friends, trees talking to me, or any of the other things that made up my world at the time. My father and other adults also told me not to talk unless I had something important to say, with the implication–and sometimes explicit statement–that nothing I had to say would ever be important.

Whether it was because of how adults treated me or something I would have experienced anyway, I also have always had a great deal of difficulty with expressive language. The ideas are there, in my brain, but sometimes the words to express them aren’t. And even when the words are there, sometimes I’m too afraid to speak because of what others might say or do. Anxiety about saying the wrong thing, about being accused of lying or having someone misunderstand me and get angry with me because of it, has been a constant in my life.

I also have difficulty comprehending what others say; sounds get into my ears just fine, but the words sometimes get jumbled or translated into gibberish as they reach my brain. This only adds to my difficulties with speaking and my anxiety about conversations.

As an adult, I lived for about fourteen years in a situation where speaking my truth was literally unsafe. I learned to be quiet no matter what was going on. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but self-preservation took over.

Now I’m in a safe situation, but with some people who don’t understand or don’t believe in the magic, energy, and other things I’ve rediscovered from my childhood. My entire business is based around those things, but I can’t talk about them to my husband or some other people in my life. They won’t harm me, but their eye-rolling and disrespect aren’t much better.

For many years, I’ve learned not to speak my truth, not to speak up for my needs, not to express my wants and dreams. Even as I started learning about energy, and knew that choosing to be silent would have negative effects on my throat chakra, which could lead to negative effects on my overall health and wellbeing, I was still too afraid to speak. I did energy work on my throat chakra, but didn’t carry that through to speaking up about what I believe in, my gifts and skills, and even who I truly am.

Now, in a couple of weeks, I will be having surgery to remove my thyroid. My immune system has been attacking a gland that resides in my throat, and on top of that there are growths on the thyroid. I had a biopsy that came back with no results due to an issue with the sample; I’ve since had a second biopsy that revealed abnormal cells, and we’re waiting for additional results to determine whether it’s cancer. These issues, and others I’ve experienced due to the deterioration of my thyroid, should be fully resolved by the surgery. But the surgery itself carries the risk of damaging my vocal cords. I could literally, and permanently, lose my voice.

I’m thinking about the positives. The risks are small and unlikely. However, I’m also thinking of how I got here. The fact that my constant and consistent refusal to use my voice has led me to a point where losing it is a possibility. The fact that this condition has been present for at least two years, worsening all that time as I continued not to speak even when I knew there was something wrong in my throat.

I’m learning to speak up now. It’s too late to correct what I’m facing, but I can correct the energies and the habits.

Speak your truth whenever and wherever it’s safe to do so. Use your voice. Avoid my choices, and make the ones that will most benefit you when it comes to speaking up.