Rites of Spring

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEAR!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believing What I’m Worth

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

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

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

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

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

Studying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Bit of History

Thousands of years ago, people began to recognize the power of the human touch in healing others. In ancient civilizations in places such as China and India, scholars identified the human energy system and discovered that through touch, energy in the auras and chakras, or meridians, could be manipulated, thereby causing improved physical and emotional health. In other places, faith healing or laying on of hands has been practiced for decades or even centuries.

Whether you believe the healer is manipulating the energy alone, or a higher power of some sort is assisting, the fact that energy healing or touch healing has been practiced in one form or another for millennia indicates that people believe it works.

Energy healing, put simply, is the practice of using certain types of touch or other methods to balance the human energy system. While some methods, such as faith healing, probably wouldn’t put it quite that way, the principal is the same. Touch in and of itself can be healing for many people, partly because through touch, we share energy with one another. When the touch is done with intention, using certain techniques or methods, it can be incredibly powerful.

I was trained in Chios® Energy Healing and another modality developed by my teacher (which I’m not naming here because I don’t practice it any longer, and because as best I can tell he isn’t yet training others in it). Both are based on the chakra system: Seven major energy centers on the human body corresponding to seven aura layers that surround the body. The chakras rotate at a certain speed, while the energy field vibrates at a certain level, which is not the same for everyone.

The healing methods I learned employ certain hand placements and other techniques to repair poor functioning or damage to the chakras and aura layers. While there are other methods of healing, such as crystals or flower essences, for the next few weeks I’m going to be explaining energy healing from the perspective I learned. That isn’t to say that the way I do it is “right” or that other methods aren’t as valid. There are many ways to heal and maintain health, and all of them work and are equally valid.

Overcoming Doubt

About a week ago, I underwent my witchcraft initiation ritual. Since I’m a solitary practitioner, I wrote the ritual, and enlisted my mentor’s assistance as my witness. This wasn’t necessarily the best idea. Having him there caused me to feel very self-conscious and worried about doing things wrong. Even though I’m a solitary practitioner and I wrote the ritual, which means there *is* no “wrong.”

I find that sort of thinking cropping up in a lot of areas of my life. Even as a very young child, I hesitated to do things unless I was almost one hundred percent certain I could do them right. I usually knew the answers to teachers’ questions in school, but I wouldn’t raise my hand if I wasn’t positive.

A few years ago, a friend who knew I wanted a hobby gave me a bass guitar and told me to figure out how to play it. I’m not the world’s best musician, but I do love music, and I’m a fairly decent singer. But I was afraid to sing in front of him, let alone fumble around with the bass, because he was a musician with decades of experience on his own and playing in bands, and I was afraid I would mess it up and embarrass myself in front of him.

Other things that I’ve wanted to learn or try, I haven’t done, because I doubt whether I would be able to do it right—or, sometimes, at all.

It’s human nature to have some doubts sometimes. But when the doubts interfere with doing things you want to do, things you love or at least love the idea of, it’s time to make some changes in how you think. That’s something I’m working on, and something I’m reasonably certain I can do right.

Relearning What the Child Knew

When I was a child, I believed in magic. Completely and wholeheartedly. I heard voices when no one was around. I had conversations with the wind and with trees. I felt things changing. Sometimes, if I tried hard enough, I felt like I caused change. And I had “imaginary” friends who knew a lot more than I did.

Of course, growing up with very literal, science-minded parents, I was taught that those things weren’t real. I was also, unfortunately, taught not to say anything about those things to others, or I might get locked up. I didn’t have resources then to find out more about witchcraft, or energy healing, or anything along those lines. Though to give my father credit, a few times he surprised me with books about psychic phenomena and other metaphysical topics. But none of those had anything that rang true for me.

I grew up. I forgot a lot of what I knew and did as a child. My imaginary friends never went away, which I couldn’t understand, but since I didn’t have many friends or people to talk to, I was kind of glad they were there.

When I was about 35, I became friends with someone who taught me about channeling and guides—and I realized my imaginary friends might not be so imaginary after all. He taught me about energy healing, and I remembered the times when I was injured and held my hand over the cut, and felt heat and then the pain went away.

He and I weren’t friends long, but he made a pretty big impact on my life.

About a year and a half ago, I became friends with someone who taught me about witchcraft—and I realized I wasn’t the only one who talked to trees. That the voices I heard as a child might not have been my imagination either.

I’ve realized over the past decade or so that all the things I thought made me weird, and my parents thought meant I was crazy, weren’t exclusive to me. Other people believe the same things. I’ve learned things as an adult that I knew instinctively as a child, and I’ve felt like I was coming back home.

I tried to raise my own children with open-mindedness toward things like magic, energy, and guides. Whether or not they talk to guides or trees or anything like that, I wanted them to know they weren’t the only ones, and there wasn’t anything wrong with them for it. I hope I did okay with that.