What To Say?

In the past week, our world has changed drastically. I’m not going to enumerate the changes, because if you have access to any news source at all, you already know.

I’ve had trouble focusing on accomplishing tasks for the past week and a half, since I started seeing news about colleges sending students home. One of those colleges was my daughter’s, and helping her navigate that massive change and the effects it might have on her graduation this May and her continuing to graduate school in the fall took a lot of my emotional bandwidth. Don’t get me wrong; I was grateful that she came to me for support and that I was able to help in some way.

According to what a friend of mine posted on Facebook, some are talking about the current crisis being part of a “great awakening.” Maybe so. I do believe our world and our Universe are shifting and changing… but then, I believe that is ALWAYS the case. I don’t believe it’s my place, or the place of any other human, to tell everyone what the Universe or any Creator power has in mind. I think it’s completely fine to share your own beliefs with others, but not to force those beliefs. Not to look at someone who’s lost a loved one to this illness and say, “It’ll be all right, this is just a great awakening,” or look at a parent struggling to feed and care for their children with schools, day cares, and workplaces closed and say, “Don’t worry, just think abundant thoughts and you’ll have everything you need.” (I have not seen the first one personally; I have seen the second.)

I believe this is a time that humanity might learn a few things about ourselves. I believe this is a time that might lead to greater understanding, tolerance, and kindness. But it starts with us *being* understanding, tolerant, and kind. It starts with supporting one another, not telling others they’re wrong for not believing the way you do. It starts with saying, “I believe” instead of stating your beliefs as facts. It starts with recognizing that not everyone believes what you do…and the acceptance of the possibility that you’re wrong. You might be right, but you might not be.

It starts with knowing that this crisis will pass, as crises have a tendency to do. Eventually, this illness will fade out. Schools, daycares, and workplaces will reopen. We’ll be able to get together with friends again, go out to eat, go to a movie. We’ll be able to walk into a grocery store and find what we need, instead of seeing aisles of empty shelves.

And maybe, when that time comes, we’ll all be a little less set in our ways, a little less “you’re wrong, I’m right,” and a little more open to the reality that we don’t know everything, we can’t say what the creative power in our Universe is thinking, and sometimes we just have to accept what happens and learn from it.

Some Things About Me

It occurred to me that people visiting my site might want to know who I am as a person, not only as a practitioner. So here are a few facts about me:

1. I have 2 kids, both adults now.

2. I’m a witch, but I sometimes feel like I’m not very good at it. (I’m a good witch, but not good at *being* a witch.)

3. I prefer following my own instincts, intuition, and focus over following other people’s rules.

4. I’ve been on a journey to heal from abuse, bullying, and trauma for years now, and I love helping others on their journeys.

5. I’m an author; although most of my books are out of print now due to publishers closing, at one time I had over 80 novels and short stories on the market under 2 different pen names.

6. I was a special education teacher for a number of years, and developed a phonics-based reading/comprehension program during one of my jobs; the program’s been on the market since 2002.

7. I’m agender. I don’t identify as female or male, just as me.

8. The “River” part of my business name (RiverEvolutions, formerly River Flow Healing) is part of a name I was gifted when I started studying witchcraft and chose it as my spiritual path.

9. I’m polyamorous, meaning I have the capacity to romantically love more than one person. Thanks to a very understanding and compassionate husband, I have a marriage of nearly 10 years (anniversary in April), a long-term relationship of 4 1/2 years, and other connections that bring me happiness.

10. I’m a grandmother. My older grandson is technically a “step,” but I don’t think of him that way; he’s been part of my life since he was 3. My younger grandson turned 1 yesterday!

11. Sometimes I fall flat on my face when it comes to following my beliefs about healing, manifestation, etc. I’m constantly learning to feel more compassion toward myself at those times.

12. I learned Chios Energy Healing after a friend offered me a session in 2005; I’d never heard of energy healing before that. I became a Certified Chios Master Teacher in less than 6 months because it resonated so deeply for me.

13. I channel a being of light who calls himself Shiva. He’s been my guide my entire life (I used to think of him and my other guides as “invisible friends,” and became very angry as a child when people said my friends were imaginary, not invisible), and I learned to channel him around the same time I learned Chios.

14. Shiva and my other guides, as I said, have been around my entire life, and they offer a lot of guidance and support on my journey… but I don’t always listen to them. Kinda like a toddler doesn’t always listen to their parents…

15. I was raised as an only child by parents who rarely socialized with anyone, so a lot of human “socialing” behavior makes no sense to me. I do much better and feel much more comfortable interacting with people one-on-one than in groups.

16. I tend to overexplain and make really long lists.

I Didn’t Like Channeling

When I started learning channeling, it scared me. My mentor practiced trance channeling, in which he entered a trance state and allowed his guide to speak through him, and that was what he taught me. But I’d been in too many situations in my life where I wasn’t allowed to be in control of my own body, and trance channeling sounded like just one more way of not having control.

I was also afraid that I was making it all up. Maybe I was deluding myself into believing this being of light was speaking to me and through me. I’ve always had a good imagination, and as a child I was often told I was imagining things that to me seemed very real. Including my “invisible” friends, who, as I’d found out by this point, were actually my guides.

I would love to say that I got the hang of trance channeling and learned to love doing it, but I have to be honest. While I did become more fluid with it, and it grew easier to enter trance and allow my guide Shiva to speak through me, I’m still not entirely comfortable with it. Even now, well over a decade after I first started learning.

It isn’t as much fear of giving up control at this point. Shiva doesn’t “take control” of my body when I do trance channeling. It’s very much a consent-only undertaking. I choose to enter trance. If I’m feeling okay about it, I ask Shiva to speak through me. Usually, he does so, but sometimes he refuses, either because he doesn’t feel that I’m really as okay with it as I want to be, or because it isn’t the right thing to do at that moment. If he does begin speaking through me, I’m still aware of what’s going on and have the ability to stop him, or even to break out of trance entirely, at any moment. We’ve worked with my fear of losing control.

Now, it’s more of the “Imposter Syndrome” I mentioned in last week’s post. I know I’m not imagining Shiva, because he knows a lot more than I do, including things I don’t really have any way of knowing. But there’s still that little niggling doubt in the back of my mind, accompanied by my father’s voice saying, “Don’t talk about that kind of thing, they’ll lock you up.”

For a long time, I didn’t offer channeling at all. That was partly because of the issues I just mentioned, and also because of an experience the last time I had a trance channeling session scheduled at a store where I saw clients. (I’ll blog more about that next week.) When I started again, it was relayed channeling, where Shiva gave me information to pass along to the client, rather than my entering trance.

I offer both now, but strongly prefer relayed channeling. That’s something on which I’m working, because there’s a fine line between doing what I’m comfortable with because it’s more effective, and doing what I’m comfortable with because fear’s blocking me from pushing the comfort zone a little. However, I love doing channeling because I’m so thankful for the chance to help others by giving them access to Shiva’s compassion and wisdom.

I have openings for channeling clients now. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to comment, email me at info @ riverflowhealing.com, or visit the Channeling page here on this site.

Imposter Syndrome Happens

I started learning Chios Energy Healing after the first time I had a Chios healing session, which I blogged about recently. After I’d trained a bit, it was time to start *doing* Chios sessions.

This was not as easy as I’d thought it would be.

I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my skills. I knew I was a good healer; I’d been told things since childhood that indicated it. But actually doing a session with another person, intentionally, with skills I was still learning and didn’t feel I’d mastered, was a different prospect entirely. Especially since the first person who requested a session from me was my mentor.

He was someone who had studied energy and energy healing for years. He was a Reiki master as well as a Certified Chios Master Teacher, and from my perspective in the sewer of low self-esteem, he knew more about everything than I did. How could I dare do a healing session with him?

By this point, he knew me well enough to understand my fears. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do the healing. I had a massive case of what some people might call Imposter Syndrome. “I don’t know enough, and this person’s going to realize I’m a fraud! Or worse, I’m going to totally screw everything up!”

I didn’t screw anything up. I did the session perfectly competently, though he pointed out afterward that I had been noticeably nervous and I might want to work on that before I did sessions with anyone else. He understood the nerves, but a client who was relying on me to provide healing might not. But, he told me, I brought him a lot of benefit through that one session.

Imposter Syndrome happens, especially for someone from a background like mine. I was taught most of my life that I knew nothing, was worth nothing, and had no business “pretending” otherwise. I also was a perfectionist before I could even pronounce the word; even as a toddler, I refused to do anything unless I was sure I could do it completely right the first time around. Which meant there were an awful lot of things I never did.

I’ll be honest. I still get nervous before healing sessions. Not nearly as much as when I did that first session back in 2006, fortunately, but still, every time there’s that little niggle of “What if I don’t actually know what I’m doing? What if they think I’m a fraud?” It’s normal to have those questions. It doesn’t mean I’m not an effective healing practitioner. It means that as I help others work on their healing, I’m still working on my own, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I was angry the day I did that first healing session, because I was afraid and my mentor refused to let me back out. He was right not to let me. Fear will become an insurmountable obstacle if you let it win even once. So even though fear still follows me around and whispers in my ear, I’m thankful my mentor pushed me through it that one time, so that now, I can push through it on my own.

Non-Imaginary Friends

A man I befriended in 2005 taught me a lot of things. Chios Energy Healing was one of them, as I blogged about last week. That was a little weird for me, and I wasn’t sure it would work, but it was a lot easier to accept than channeling.

Since I was a very young child, I’ve had imaginary friends–except that when I was small, before I learned to be careful of what I said to whom, I was adamant that they were NOT imaginary. They were just invisible. I gave them names that made sense to me as a little kid; since I wasn’t necessarily good with names at age two or three, the first two were named Big John and Little John. By the time I was 8 or 9, my invisible friends numbered somewhere around 40. By then, I’d learned that they had to be imaginary–either that or I was crazy and needed to be locked up. I’d learned it upset my parents if I mentioned them, and I got bullied if any of my peers found out. (I got bullied for many other things as well, but I figured if I could cut at least one thing, maybe the bullying would decrease.)

I read parenting articles constantly as a child, because parenting me effectively and nonabusively was largely left to me. Some of those articles mentioned that imaginary friends were perfectly normal for young children, especially children like me with no siblings, few friends, and huge imaginations, and that those imaginary friends were usually outgrown well before junior high school.

I didn’t outgrow mine. That scared me; maybe I really *was* crazy. Most of them went away; by junior high, only three or four remained. But they were definitely still there, and they knew a lot more than I did. They told me things I had no way of knowing but was able to confirm were correct. They guided me through the extreme emotional lows and traumas I experienced, and at times literally kept me alive. And even though I knew it probably meant I was crazy, I continued talking to them, because most of the time I had no one else. Despite the fear that someone would find out about them and lock me up, I also found their presence comforting.

Fast-forward to 2005/early 2006, when my friend started teaching me about energy healing and channeling. Channeling, he told me, was the ability to connect to higher-vibration beings such as beings of light or spirit guides, who could offer advice and support from a broader perspective. He had a guide with whom he spoke fairly often, who helped him with his writing projects and whom he channeled verbally for others. He offered me a session.

That scared me. A lot of things about this friend scared me, to be honest. Even though he was an extremely gentle man who would never have harmed anyone intentionally, he talked about things like beings of light and channeling as though they were completely normal, which was the total opposite of what I’d been taught as a child. And somewhere inside, I knew that his skills could help me, and I was afraid to accept that help.

But I accepted the offer of a channeling session, partly because I was curious and partly at the urging of my “imaginary” friends.

During that first channeling session, I was excruciatingly uncomfortable. I was afraid to talk to my friend’s guide; I was afraid of the guide, even though I could sense that he was nothing but benevolent. I wasn’t used to benevolence. Also, his energetic vibration was far higher than mine, and higher than that of my friend (beings’ vibrations are generally higher than those of humans), and that caused some physical discomfort for me. Over the year or so after this that the friendship continued, I never became more comfortable having a channeling session, though I at least became less afraid.

But I also realized my imaginary friends were not imaginary after all, something I’d suspected all along but hadn’t dared to acknowledge once I got “too old” to have imaginary friends in the first place. I realized there were reasons they knew things I had no way of knowing, and that they’d helped me navigate my life and stay alive as long as they had.

And, as with Chios, I realized this was a skill I could learn and use to help others.

At the time of the first channeling session, I didn’t know who my primary guide (the one who helped me the most and whom I would channel) was. That being had been unable to work with me directly for a number of years because trauma, bullying, and some of my own poor choices had lowered my energetic vibration to the point that his presence would have been harmful to me. In fact, when I first met my friend, my vibration was too low for me to tolerate the presence of his guide either; although I didn’t know it, the Chios sessions I’d had, other techniques my friend had taught me, and the friendship itself, had helped me raise my vibration to a level high enough for my friend’s guide’s presence and my own guide’s presence to be safe for me.

I learned to work with my friend’s guide through our sessions, and he helped connect me with and relearn how to work with my own guide, a being of light called Shiva. And as with Chios, I began offering this to others in the hope of helping people work through and work beyond things similar to what I’d been through.

What Will People Think?

I used to create stories constantly. Before I even learned how to write, I made up stories to tell to people, on the occasions when I could get people to listen. Then I learned how to make those funny little squiggles people call “letters” and started putting my stories on paper.

Big mistake. Kids at school saw my stories and made fun of them. One of my worst memories–which, given the amount of bullying I experienced, either means it’s really bad or I’ve blocked out the really bad stuff–is of leaving my notebook on the bleachers when I was the manager for my school’s junior varsity girls’ basketball team. The coach had asked me to go get something, so I set down my notebook and left the gym. When I returned, the entire team–including the coach–was gathered around as one of them read out loud from my notebook. All of them were laughing, and when they saw me, they started hurling insults at me.

(Remembering this does not mean I need to heal from it, by the way. Healing doesn’t mean forgetting something from the past, it means choosing not to be affected by it. I admit I still feel angry when I think about it, especially toward the coach, who as an adult should have put a stop to the bullying instead of joining in. But it’s the same anger I would feel toward anyone who bullied any child, and it didn’t cause me to stop writing.)

I used to talk to trees, believe in magic, and play massive games of let’s pretend where I was the only one pretending and the people and things my imagination created seemed more real than “real” life. Sometimes I tried to talk about those things, especially as a young child. Reactions ranged from “That’s nice, leave me alone,” to “Don’t talk about those things or people will think you’re crazy and will lock you up.”

No one ever locked me up, probably because I learned to stop talking about those things.

One of the most difficult things for me in my business has been overcoming the mental blocks against “talking about those things.” I’m a witch who practices energy healing and channeling. None of those are particularly mainstream. All are things that in certain corners can get people “locked up,” or insulted, or called crazy. Being a witch, not as much, because it is a spiritual path that’s become better known over the years, though there are still plenty of misconceptions about it. But energy healing, to a lot of people, is “weird,” and channeling is just plain not something a lot of people understand.

Those are things I do. They’re skills I learned, not just something random that happened or that I made up. It is hard for me, though, to tell people about them. When I signed on with a business coach several months ago, at first I didn’t want to admit to the other women in the coaching group that I channel. Even telling them I do energy healing wasn’t easy, though some of them do other modalities like Reiki or EFT, so it at least wasn’t quite as “out there” as it is to some people. But it was scary to admit anyway.

Even when you’ve healed from specific hurts, sometimes the fears and blocks your mind sets up to “protect” you stay in place, and you might not even realize it until you start trying to figure out why something isn’t working the way you’d like, or why you sit in a corner at a networking meeting and just kind of smile and say hello to people. You don’t understand why you’re hiding, until you intentionally and consciously start connecting the dots. Even healed wounds don’t vanish entirely; they can leave scars. And sometimes those scars are hidden so well you don’t know they’re there.

I’m getting better about talking about what I do, though I admit I’m still hesitant to mention channeling since it’s the easiest for people to misinterpret and the hardest for me to explain. But still, if I feel that someone is open to at least hearing about it, I do bring it up. It’s a learning curve and a healing process, but I’m getting there.

What are you afraid to tell people about yourself? What do you do, or dream of doing, that you believe other people might react poorly to? How would it feel to tell just one person?

Give it a try, if you can. And if you want support around it, email me at kim@riverflowhealing.com and we’ll talk about how I might be able to help.

Listen to Yourself

In all the things I’ve been writing lately about channeling, I realized I’ve forgotten one very important point.

Your guides–or my guides, or the guides of anyone else who might channel for you–know a lot more than humans do. There’s no question about that. They have access to more knowledge and wisdom than we have, and they’re happy to share that with us if we ask.

But no matter how much they know, you aren’t obligated to listen to them. And a true guide will never force you to listen.

I’ve met people who have told me their guides call them “stupid” if they don’t listen, or insult them, or order them to do things whether they want to or not. I recently had a conflict with someone close to me who claimed that if a guide or being wants to get a message through, they’ll have no problem forcing a human to relay that message whether the human wants to or not. He didn’t seem to see a problem with that, but he had a big problem with my assertion that a truly benevolent being would never do such a thing.

Benevolent beings who work with humans, whether as guides or in other ways, are–well, they’re benevolent. As Shiva puts it, “Free will trumps all.” These beings want to help us and show us love and compassion. Forcing someone to relay a message, or commanding them to follow a course of action no matter what, or insulting them if they don’t listen, is not love or compassion. And it definitely isn’t helpful.

As part of that, while a guide will offer you information or advice if you ask for it, they don’t demand that you accept it. Even when they know they are correct, they leave it up to you whether to listen or not. I frequently refuse to listen to my guide Shiva or one of my other guides, partly out of obstinacy and partly out of fear, and they have never gotten angry, never insulted me, never given me orders. They simply, and patiently, say, “You don’t have to listen. We’ll still be here.” And when I finally accept they were right, or if something negative happens as a result of my not following what they’ve said, they simply, and patiently, say, “It’s okay, we’re here, let’s figure this out. And maybe you could listen this time?”

When you have a channeling done, or speak with your own guides, it’s a good idea to listen to what they have to say. But it’s also a good idea, maybe even a better one, to listen to *yourself*. To your own intuition. Does what the guide says feel true to you, or is your intuition telling you something different? What feels like the best course of action?

A true guide won’t become angry or frustrated if you choose to follow your own inner guidance rather than the guidance they offer, because one of the things these beings want for humanity is for us to learn to listen to ourselves. Even if it turns out the guide was right and our intuition has steered us wrong, choosing our own free will over someone else’s words is not a wrong thing to do. It’s part of learning to connect with yourself and make your own choices, and that’s one of the things guides want for us.

My Favorite Things About Chios

Last week, I told you a little about the history of Chios Energy Healing, the type of energy work I practice. (If you missed the post, find it here.) As I said in that post, I can’t compare Chios with other energy modalities, because Chios is the only one I’ve learned. I have tried learning a couple of others, but they didn’t stick with me. My brain simply wouldn’t hold onto the information. With Chios, I didn’t have that issue, which told me that for me, Chios was the right choice.

One of the things I enjoy about Chios is the focus on working with guides. While that isn’t a requirement, for me it’s a bonus. Guides are beings with higher energetic vibrations than humans, who work with humans for our benefit and, often, for theirs as well. These beings include angels and spirit guides, among others. When Stephen Barrett developed Chios, he worked with a group of guides, though he also did a good amount of his own research and refinement of the techniques.

Not everyone believes in guides. I do, and have been working with mine as long as I can remember, though as a child I didn’t realize they were guides. They were just my “invisible friends,” and as I got older, I didn’t really understand why I didn’t outgrow them the way most kids outgrew their imaginary friends. I didn’t learn until I was an adult that it was because they aren’t imaginary.

I have a guide who works with me specifically on healing, my own and the healing practices I do for others. When I do Chios healing sessions, I also communicate with the guides who introduced Chios to Stephen Barrett. For me, this is a benefit, because it gives me even more confidence in my skills. I know I’m good at what I do, and that I know the techniques, but having backup from these guides is reassuring. Besides which, sometimes there’s a need to vary the sequence of techniques I use, or use a technique that isn’t as common, and my guide tells me when that’s the case.

Another thing I love about Chios is the benefit I see my clients receiving. When a client tells me after a session that they’re feeling calmer or more focused, or that another problem they’ve been having has either cleared up or isn’t as bad, I’m excited for them. I feel really good hearing that something I’ve done has helped them. I don’t consider myself to be the one who’s healing them; I’m just making their healing easier and more accessible to them. But it’s still incredible to be part of someone’s healing.

Obviously, I think Chios is pretty awesome. It’s been thirteen years since I first learned it, and even though I’ve gone through stretches of time where I didn’t practice it, I’ve always come back to it. I would love to talk with you more about Chios. If you’re curious, leave a comment, or visit the Chios Energy Healing page for more information or to schedule a healing session.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is basically the belief that any success you have is a fluke, and that the people around you will figure out you’ve just faked your way to where you are. You downplay your accomplishments and find plenty of excuses why those accomplishments don’t really mean anything.

I found a great post about imposter syndrome recently, so rather than rehash it, I thought I would share: “Do You Suffer from the Imposter Syndrome? by Cindy J. Holbrook.

Listen to Yourself

Most of us get advice from one time or another, whether we ask for it or not. Sometimes we find information online that’s meant to help us. Well-meaning people make suggestions about how to improve our lives. There’s a wealth of beliefs and thoughts and statements about who we can be, who we should be, and how to get there.

When you’re bombarded with all these messages, it can be difficult to figure out who and what to listen to. Everything sounds reasonable. Some of it sounds like things you could do, or want to do. But there are just so many things to pay attention to, and they can’t all be right.

At times like that, listen to yourself first. Just because something is right for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. No one knows you better than you know yourself, and that means if you take the time to think about it, to really listen to your inner self, you do know what will and won’t work. So give yourself credit for knowing these things, and listen to yourself above anyone else.