Darkness Equals Rest

In the pagan Wheel of the Year (or at least the one with which I’m familiar), we’ve just passed Samhain, the end of the old year and beginning of the new. But we’ve also entered a time of year when, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is short and harder to come by, and it’s only going to grow shorter until Yule, a/k/a the Winter Solstice.

This is a hard time of year for me every year. The lessening of daylight impacts my mental health, and the holidays I grew up celebrating at this time of year (primarily Thanksgiving and Christmas) were sources of trauma and pain for me. Things will start getting better for me after the Solstice and Christmas have passed, though the cold New England winter that will prevent me from being outside as much as I would like will continue to have an impact.

These are things of which I’m always aware, and I do know how to manage myself and keep myself as focused and positive as possible through this time. But in the past years, I’ve also often put self-care behind trying to push through doing things. Running RiverEvolutions, working other jobs, keeping my house (mostly) clean, doing things that other people ask me to do…

This is the time of year when, thanks to having to interact more with blood-and-marriage family, I’ve most often heard that yet another year had gone by without my doing anything that mattered or anything that anyone could be proud of. And so even though most of those people are no longer in my life, and I know I’ve accomplished things people told me I couldn’t, and have accomplishments I can be proud of, it’s the time of year when I get the hardest on myself for not doing “enough,” whatever “enough” is. And so I push too hard, and try to do too much, and don’t honor my own needs.

This year, I’m trying to be different about that. I mean, seriously, who am I trying to impress by pushing through the darkness to do things that sometimes I’m not even sure have a purpose? It’s a time of year when some forms of life enter hibernation, and some just settle in to keep warm until spring, and I think I–at least the business “I”–am going to follow their lead.

I’m not shutting down RiverEvolutions. I believe strongly in this business. I believe people need balance, relaxation, and clarity, and I have seen through working with clients that I can help them achieve those things. I know where I was fourteen years ago before I learned Chios Energy Healing, and I know how far I’ve come–even when voices from the past pop into my brain to tell me I haven’t come any distance at all. They’re wrong.

But I do believe there are times to work and push, and there are times to rest and recharge. There are times to plant seeds, and to harvest them, and to cover the garden with warmth and let the snow fall.

I’m still open to clients on a very limited basis for both Chios Energy Healing and channeling; very limited meaning a maximum of 2 clients per week. I’m still working with my students, and I’m really pleased to watch their progress, and honored they chose me to work with. I’m still poking at tentative plans and ideas for RiverEvolutions for the future.

For the next couple of months, though, I’m turning inward. Looking at my own healing, and seeing where the weak spots are. Relearning what I learned from my mentor 14 years ago that put me on this path in the first place. Relearning what I learned 3 years ago when I was charged with creating this practice and guiding people on their journeys.

Relearning the “me” that exists under the years of sludge and other people’s voices. Because I will be far more effective guiding others to learning who they are when I’m doing a more effective job of remembering who I am, and taking care of myself.

A Container? What’s That?

Recently, Britt Bolnick, a business coach I’ve worked with, shared information about creating a container for one’s clients. I read the transcript of the video, which she sent out to her mailing list, and thought, “I have no idea what that means.”

And then I thought about it, because “I don’t know” or I don’t understand” sometimes becomes a defense mechanism for me. Sometimes, it becomes an excuse for not putting in the work to figure it out. This sounded like something important, so I chose to put in the work.

Basically, Britt’s point is that the service one provides as a practitioner (coach, healer, etc.) is only part of what one gives the client. It’s awesome that I’m able to provide Chios Energy Healing and that my clients find it effective and beneficial, but that isn’t as useful if I’m doing it in a way that doesn’t leave my clients feeling comfortable and confident in the process.

I tend to get nervous before sessions. Not nearly as much as I used to, but still, those “what if I’m a fraud” fears do crop up occasionally. Because of that, sometimes I don’t have the space adequately prepared when my client shows up, or I’m overly focused on remembering paperwork and the questions I want to ask, so I don’t give the client a chance to speak or I plunge right into the businessy stuff without taking the time to be human first.

I’ve been doing some inner searching to try to find what I could do differently in my business. One of the biggest difficulties I have is that even when someone comes to have a Chios session with me, they usually don’t come back. And since they don’t come back, and don’t answer my emails, I can’t find out *why* they don’t come back. It isn’t necessarily, or always, entirely about me. Some people aren’t ready to do the work of healing. For some, I’m not a fit personality-wise, or Chios isn’t a fit as an effective modality.

But since I’m involved, I have responsibility somewhere, and one of the things I’ve realized is that setting a “container” is something I haven’t really been doing. Partly due to not understanding what that meant, but also, it just isn’t a thing I think of.

I grew up with parents who shut me down–or told me to shut up, though usually not quite that bluntly–if I didn’t immediately get to a point when I talked to them. They didn’t give me time to lay groundwork. As the only child of an only child, with two parents who rarely socialized with anyone, I didn’t have a chance to learn the small talk, give-and-take preambles to business work. I learned to just jump in and say what I needed to say, and do what I needed to do, and I’ve continued that pattern my entire life.

Recognizing that has been important, because I’ve realized I’m not serving my clients if all I’m doing is the service. If all I do is say, “Thanks for coming, I’m going to do this, this, and this, any questions, okay great lie down,” I’m not only not putting them at ease with the process, but I’m also not putting them at ease with *me*. I’m not giving them a means to connect with or a reason to trust me. More, I might actually be causing them to feel less comfortable than they would otherwise, because I’m coming across as rushed or abrupt.

I don’t know if that’s the reason some clients haven’t come back; as I said, I can’t ask them, because they don’t respond. But it is something I can control, and something I can work to change.

That’s where those of you reading this can help me. Just as I don’t think to set a container, I don’t always respond well when I’m having some kind of session and the practitioner spends what feels like forever doing small talk, or clearing the space, or whatever. I start feeling uncomfortable or impatient at those times. That’s also a result of how I was raised, but it means that as I try to change my process to better serve my clients, I don’t have a clear idea of what to do. I prefer the “get down to business” model as a client myself, so I’m not sure what to change or include as as practitioner.

So I would love to hear from you: If you’re having a healing session, coaching session, etc., what do you hope or expect in terms of how the practitioner greets you? What would you want to see (hear, smell, feel) in the space? What would set you at ease and give you confidence in the practitioner and the process? Feel free to comment here, or email me at kim @ riverflowhealing.com (no spaces). Thank you!

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.

I Was Skeptical About Chios…

In 2005, I became friends with someone. We bonded over a shared love of reading and writing, but as we spent more time together, I found out he had other interests as well. Things like energy healing, which I’d never heard of or at least had heard extremely little about.

As our friendship grew, I shared things with him about my life. Traumas I’d experienced as a child and was still experiencing in my marriage at the time. Healing didn’t occur to me; I didn’t know it was a possible thing. I just knew it felt good to talk to someone who seemed to care.

After a while, he offered me a Chios Energy Healing session. Once he explained it to me, I figured maybe it wouldn’t hurt, but I didn’t expect much to come of it. To be honest, mostly I only agreed to it because I wanted to spend more time with my friend, and this would be a reason to do so. Plus I didn’t want to disappoint him or upset him; my fear, irrational though it was, was that if I didn’t let him do a healing session with me, he wouldn’t be my friend anymore. I needed the friendship; it was the only thing in my life at the time that I felt like I was doing right. (I loved my kids, and they were my heart, but I knew I was screwing up as their mother.)

The day of the healing session, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, and my friend couldn’t tell me much because healing sessions are different for everyone. When I realized I had to lie down on a massage table, I almost gave up then and there; I was afraid to do that. But I swallowed the fear and lay down, and my friend closed the door of the room so his cats wouldn’t try to “help,” and we got started.

Fourteen years later, and without notes to refer to, I don’t remember everything about the session. I remember crying a lot, and apologizing for it, and my friend telling me to stop apologizing. Trauma memories I’d intentionally buried resurfaced, along with memories I didn’t even recall suppressing. I talked throughout the session, telling my friend what was coming up, and he gently reassured me but refused to stop the session unless I explicitly said to. Which I didn’t, because as hard as facing these things was for me, I knew it would ultimately benefit me.

Afterward, he gave me something to eat and drink. I don’t remember what it was, only that it was something I liked, and it was vegan (because everything he ate or drank was vegan). I felt exhausted and shaky, and stabilizing my emotions seemed impossible. But I also felt triumphant, because I’d allowed the session and I’d gotten through it.

For over a week afterward, as the energy filtered through my system, memories and ideas and thoughts continued to surface. My friend patiently waded through pages of emails to address my concerns and offer support as I dealt with the memories. He never once told me to get therapy (we both knew I needed it, he knew I couldn’t get it at that point because of my husband, and he knew I knew I needed it). He never told me to get over anything, or to let it go, or to stop whining, or any of the other things I’d heard from people who claimed they wanted to “help.” He simply listened–well, read, anyway–and reassured.

I kept having sessions with him, but after just that first session, I knew I needed to learn Chios. It had had such a profound impact on me, and I wanted to share that impact with others. My friend strongly recommended I have one or two more sessions myself before I started learning, which I did. He was my instructor, and I was so excited to learn it that I went through all three levels in under four months.

That friendship and those healing sessions made an incredible difference in my life, and although the friendship itself only lasted about two years, the impact has lasted ever since. And that friend is a huge part of why I do what I do.

Sharing Chios

Since Chios Energy Healing, the modality I practice, isn’t very well-known, one of my chosen missions is to bring awareness of it to more people. That’s part of the aim behind my #Healing100, in which for 100 days, all private Chios and channeling sessions are discounted by 40% to make them more accessible to more people.

But private sessions don’t necessarily help get the word out, so I also am always thankful for the chance to offer Chios sessions or teach Chios workshops in other venues. This weekend, I get one of those opportunities! I’ll be at Elemental Energies, 27 North Berwick Road, Wells, ME from 10-4 offering Chios healing sessions. (These sessions are slightly different in terms of length and logistics from the private sessions, so the rate is lower and the #Healing100 discount does not apply.)

People are welcome to contact Elemental Energies in advance (you can find contact info on their website, http://www.chrisann-jeff.com) to guarantee a spot, or just walk in. 

Elemental Energies is a great store to visit, in my opinion. A couple of weeks ago, I brought my offspring and grandsons there, and all of them enjoyed the energy. Jeff, one of the owners, even took some time to teach my 6-year-old grandson about runes, which fascinated my grandson! So if you come in and decide not to have a Chios session, you’ll still have a wonderful experience visiting this high-vibration store.

Yeah, okay, I know this post sounds like an ad, but it does come from the heart. I teamed up with Chris Ann and Jeff to offer Chios at their store because of the incredible positive energy, and because of the chance to spread the word about Chios. And I hope to see you there!

#Healing100

As a prospective client (for healing, coaching, channeling, etc.), I’ve often found the cost prohibitive. Not necessarily because the practitioners are overcharging; usually they aren’t, though there are some…

But because I am disabled, and I’m on an extremely tight budget. Do I put gas in my car or have an oracle card reading? Do I pay my rent or sign up with a business coach? These are the choices I face on a regular basis, especially while I’m still trying to get my own business off the ground. (Something which is also hampered by finances.)

I’ve heard others talk about how they wish they could have a healing session, or a channeling session, or work with a life coach, but they can’t afford it. And since I know how that feels, I decided to do something about it.

For 100 days, which started yesterday (Aug. 11) and runs through November 18, I’ve discounted my energy healing and channeling services *for private clients only* by 40%. It’s my hope that doing this will enable more people to benefit from the services. You can find more information on my Chios Energy Healing and Channeling pages.

(Discount does not apply to Chios Energy Healing instruction, to workshops, or to sessions held in stores.)

Upcoming Events

I’m excited to have a few events and appearances planned over the next couple of months! Please note that these are subject to change, depending on enrollment and other factors, but as of today this is the current schedule.

On Sunday, August 18, I’ll be at Mindful Intentions, 193 River Street, Troy, NY. I visited this store when I was in Troy for my birthday a few weeks ago, and it’s an amazingly high-vibration place. I’m really looking forward to doing a combination Intro to Chios/Chios Level 1 workshop there! The workshop runs from 12-3, and pre-registration is required. Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/350436045904437/

 

On Saturday, August 24, I’ll be at a benefit psychic fair at Elemental Energies, 27 N. Berwick Road, Wells, ME from 10-5. This store is huge, with plenty of awesome crystals and other things. There will be a number of practitioners at the fair. I’ll be sharing information about Chios and, weather and space permitting, doing brief Chios sessions and demonstrations. Please note: Due to allergies, no outside food is permitted on site. Elemental Energies website event page: https://www.chrisann-jeff.com/events.html

 

On Saturday, September 7, I’ll be back at Elemental Energies doing Chios Energy Healing sessions from 10-4. Pre-registration and payment is required. Elemental Energies website class page: https://www.chrisann-jeff.com/classes.html

 

On Saturday, October 12, I’ll be at Elemental Energies yet again for a Chios Level 1 workshop. Pre-registration and payment is required, and it is strongly recommended that participants have a Chios healing session prior. See the above-linked class page for more information.

If you have any questions, please contact the venues, comment here, or email me at kim@riverflowhealing.com. Hope to see you!

I Have a Confession…

I’m human.

You might be thinking, “Well, duh, everyone is human. How is that a confession?”

It’s a confession because sometimes people fall into the trap of believing they have to have all their shit together, or at least had damn well better act like they do. They hide how they’re really feeling. They present a fully-healed, perfect-ish face to the outside. This seems especially true in the coaching and healing industries, where it’s not uncommon to hear “You can’t help others until you’re healed.” So those who want to help others and haven’t finished their own healing *pretend* they have so people will believe they can help.

It doesn’t work that way. Not always. Maybe not even usually. Healing isn’t a thing you reach and that’s the end of it. You make progress. You might be able to shake some of the things that have held you back, and some of the habits and defense mechanisms you’ve developed, but life is an ongoing process, and so is healing.

I grew up with a constant barrage of “What will other people think,” coupled with constant judgment, bullying, and emotional abuse. I tried my hardest to hide all the things that were “wrong” with me so people would like me and wouldn’t treat me like crap. I hid who I truly was because the alternative was to let people actually know me–which would mean they wouldn’t like me, which would mean they might hurt me.

I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the decades. I’ve learned that other people’s opinions of me don’t define me and in the long run don’t matter…but sometimes, I forget that. Sometimes, especially as a healer and coach, I start thinking I have to at least present a fully-healed facade to the world or no one will want to work with me. I bury my struggles so no one will see them and think less of me. Instead of leaning on the people who care about me, I decide I shouldn’t bother them, and just hold everything in until I can’t hold it anymore.

I have depression, anxiety, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. These are illnesses, and they aren’t going anywhere. There’s no cure. There’s treatment, which is varying levels of effective, and there are management strategies, some of which I’ve learned and some I’ve developed myself, because I know what works for me.

But despite best efforts, sometimes those illnesses flare up, and those are the times I’m most likely to bury things and try to convince myself I can handle everything without help. The demons of screwed-up brain chemistry and brain alterations caused by trauma start whispering to me that I can’t count on anyone else, shouldn’t count on anyone else, and if anyone finds out I’m struggling, they’ll think I’m a whineass. I don’t deserve to be helped, according to those demons. I deserve to feel like crap, and that’s what anyone else would tell me.

Obviously, that isn’t true, but those demons can be pretty damn persuasive.

I have come a very long way in my life. I have done a lot of healing and a lot of work. It isn’t always steady forward progress; most healing isn’t. There will be setbacks and backtracks, and that’s okay. The point is to keep moving as forward as possible, and accept that when the setbacks happen, they don’t equal failure. They equal being human.

Over the past few months, the demons have been especially loud as I’ve tried to get River Flow Healing fully off the ground. This has been due to a combination of the stress of trying to start and run a business, some personal life stressors, and the medication I’m on becoming ineffective, which is a problem because there is a very limited number of medications I can take without adverse reactions. (If you’re someone who doesn’t believe in medication for mental illness, more power to you, but please post on your own venue about your opinion instead of starting an argument here. For me, and for many other people I know, medication is not only beneficial but vital. Nothing works for everyone, everything works for someone. And I have tried treating my illnesses both without and with medications.)

For the past few months, I’ve forgotten to let myself be human. I’ve become convinced that I can’t let anyone see that I’m not fully, perfectly healed, or I’ll never have clients. I’ve shut down and operated on autopilot, compartmentalizing the negative thoughts and emotions instead of managing them.

But I am human. I’m not some magical being who doesn’t experience pain or fear or flashbacks. I’m not here to show others how to become perfect. I started my healing journey at a much lower point and I’ve progressed to where I am now, and I’m continuing to progress, and I’m here to tell and show others how I’ve done it and how they can too. To be a healer, you don’t have to be fully healed. You just have to be more healed than you were, and continuing to work on it.

So yeah. That’s my confession. I’m human. But I’m a human who’s been where you might be, and if you think I can help you, I would love to try.

Fighting the Violent Rabbit of Change

A lot of us talk about doing our inner work. Working on ourselves. Our mindset. Our health. We all have work we need to do, absolutely. Life is an ongoing process of change and growth, and to change and grow, we need to do the work.

But how many times do we say, “I’m going to work on this,” and it becomes busywork? The work becomes what we do to avoid the work. We say we’re going to do the work. We make lists of the things we’re going to do. We put it in our calendar. And then we look at the lists and calendar notices and say, “See? I’m working on it!”

Working on ourselves, doing our inner work, is scary. We’re conditioned to fear change. In some ways, we’re created to fear change. Our ego sees change and yells, “Change! Auughh! Run away! Run away!” It’s like change is that violent rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and we’re the knights running away.

So our egos come up with every possible way to make us feel like we’re doing what we need to do, and feel like we’re making the changes, and think that things are happening, when they’re not. All we’re really doing is covering up the work we need to do with the busywork we’re doing so we can say “See, I’m working on it.” I know I’m guilty of this over and over again, and it’s something I’m trying to be better about.

Think about it. If you say you’re doing work on yourself, are you really? If you are, that’s great! But there’s no shame in saying, “I’m going to do the work,” and then having your ego convince you that you’re doing the work when you’re really not. That’s human. We’re human; we have egos. That’s what happens.

But sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the inner work we say we’re doing, at the inner changes we say we’re making, and decide, “Are we really doing this?” Or is our ego saying, “Look, I put it in the calendar! Look, I made a list! I’m working!” so it can keep running away from that violent rabbit of change?

Facing that violent rabbit is easier with support. Talk to friends or loved ones. Get professional help if you feel it’s warranted. Energy healing can also help bring up possible changes to make, and give you the clarity to make them. I have openings for new Chios clients now; please comment here or visit my Chios Energy Healing page for more information.

Benefits of Balance

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about what happens when your energy system is out of balance and what might cause that imbalance. Today, I’d like to share some of the benefits you might experience when your energy system is in balance.

It’s important to note, as I’ve done in the previous posts, that energy is not everything. Energy healing is not a substitute for medical or mental health treatment, and any physical or mental symptoms should be discussed with a professional to ensure that illnesses or injuries are treated effectively before looking toward energetic treatment.

If your energy system has been out of balance, you have probably experienced some negative effects, as I discussed in my February 14th post. When your system is back in balance, here are some positive results you might see. No results are guaranteed, but these are some that I myself have experienced after receiving energy healing treatment, and that my clients have reported.

  1. You might feel more rested and find yourself sleeping better, particularly if you have also received treatment for underlying causes of exhaustion or poor sleep.
  2. You might find it easier to focus your attention on tasks you want to complete, whether those are work-related, household chores, or simply things you want to do for yourself.
  3. You might find that things that have stressed you out don’t have as much of an effect on you.
  4. You might find yourself better able to effectively and constructively express and manage your emotions. (If you are experiencing emotional or mental distress, please seek help from a professional.)
  5. You might experience an increase in positive emotions.
  6. You might feel more energized or motivated.
  7. Your sense of well-being and connection to yourself might increase.
  8. Other aspects of your life might become better or more easily balanced, such as your work, family, and social life.
  9. You might gain more clarity on situations you’ve been trying to address.

These are only some of the benefits I’ve experienced or have been told about by clients. Again, nothing is guaranteed, and while you may also experience health benefits, energy healing is not a replacement for traditional health care.

If you’re interested in seeing what benefits you can receive from an energy healing session, I have openings for new clients! Visit my Chios Energy Healing page for more information.