Why I Love Channeling

I admit that one of the reasons I first started learning to channel was because it seemed like a cool thing to do. I also liked the idea of gaining an uncommon skill, because my ego likes to feel like I’m unique in some ways.

But my main reason for learning channeling was to help people, and in the years that I’ve been practicing the skill–even when I wasn’t doing so overtly–people have been helped by what Shiva and I have told them.

When I channel, Shiva and I don’t give clients a full-fledged road map for their future, or even for their present. The purpose of channeling, at least as I practice it, is to guide people to create their own road maps. Sometimes this involves nudging them toward a conclusion they may have already reached but haven’t yet acknowledged, such as asking them why they continue to view themselves more negatively than anyone else and helping them uncover the roots of those beliefs.

Clients have come to me asking about family members and have ended up confronting truths about themselves and their roles in the situations about which they’re asking. Shiva doesn’t give information about others who aren’t involved in the channeling session, because doing so would violate their free will. 

But if the client is contributing to an issue, Shiva helps them see their contribution and figure out how to change their actions and reactions in a way that might help resolve the problem. More importantly, we can help the client identify the boundaries of their own share of the situation so they aren’t taking on more blame or responsibility than is warranted–or than is healthy for them. For some clients, recognizing where their responsibility begins and ends has really been all they needed to deal with a problem.

I often work with clients who have experienced bullying or abuse in the past. The past can be a very insidious thing sometimes. Even those of us who have been through therapy and know ourselves pretty well can be tripped up by patterns and impressions placed on us by others or created in response to how others treated us.

For some those clients with whom Shiva and I have worked, hearing from an unbiased being that the past wasn’t their fault, and having guidance to see the patterns and impressions that are holding them back, has been the first step in breaking out of their pasts and creating their best life.

I’m always thankful to be able to help others with the skills I’ve learned, and to be able to work with a being like Shiva. If you’d like to find out more or experience working with us for yourself, please visit my Channeling page.

Channeling for Myself

In 2006, my mentor taught me how to channel, after first explaining the concepts of guides and channeling and helping me, with the aid of his own guide, reconnect with my primary guide Shiva. That was when I started channeling for other people, beginning with my mentor and moving to regular channeling sessions at a store in Portland, Maine.

But I’d been working with my guides most of my life, unknowingly. As a child, I thought of them as invisible (never “imaginary”) friends who told me how to stay out of danger, helped me navigate my life, and even occasionally helped me with homework. On one memorable occasion, one of them helped me with a test in my 11th-grade Algebra 2 class. Although I hadn’t understood the material in the chapter at all, and had gotten D’s and F’s on every assignment, with my guide talking me through solving the problems on the test, I got a B+.

After the age of four or so, I wasn’t able to work directly with Shiva for a number of years. Due to traumatic events in my life, my energetic vibration plummeted to the point where Shiva’s high vibration would have been painful and possibly dangerous for me. He never left. He just “backed off,” so to speak, and relayed things to me through one of my spirit guides, whose lower vibration was safer for me.

Once I was able to reconnect with Shiva at the age of 35, we started working together directly again. Since then, he has guided me through a lot of difficult times in my life. I’ve had to learn to ask for help from him and my other guides, because growing up I was taught to never ask for help from anyone, but when I ask, they give. Shiva generally won’t give me information or support unless I ask, but he will sometimes say, “I think you need help with this, but you have to ask for it.” And occasionally if I’m questioning something, he’ll answer even if I don’t address the question to him specifically.

I’m a lot better at asking for help than I was years ago, but that doesn’t mean I always listen. Sometimes Shiva gives me suggestions or advice that I don’t want to hear. Not because I didn’t ask for it, but because I’m afraid to take the action he suggests, or I know he’s right and that pisses me off. Eventually, once I process what he’s said and sometimes discuss it with him further, I do follow through, and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

Ultimately, my life is up to me. But it’s incredibly comforting to know I’m not alone as I try to live the best possible life. I have love and support. I have a source of wisdom and knowledge that I can access any time I happen to think of saying, “Hey, Shiva, I have a question.”

Channeling isn’t something I only do for others, though I’m very happy to do so when someone approaches me for a channeling session. It’s something I do for myself as well, and I’m thankful to have the option.

It’s Pride Month…

I’m not sure how wide-spread Pride Month is, but I know in a lot of cities in the US, at least, there are events during the month of June to celebrate people who are LGBTQ+. As the parent of someone who fits into those letters somewhere, I’m glad to see these events exist. It isn’t about shoving one’s sexual orientation or gender in other people’s faces, and despite how offended some folks get, it isn’t about pissing people off either.

It’s about acknowledging the prejudice and discrimination those who are LGBTQ+ have faced throughout history–and continue to face today. It’s about acknowledging people as human beings, regardless of who they love or who they are. It’s about celebrating diversity, love, and respect.

In past years, I’ve gone to the Boston Pride Festival as someone who considered herself an ally. I’ve been an attendee and a volunteer. But I’ve felt like I was watching from the outside, and felt privileged to be allowed to be there.

This year, Pride means something different to me. After years of wondering why I grew up not feeling like a girl (and not particularly wanting to, if “girl” meant acting like the bullies and backstabbers I knew), and why that feeling persisted into adulthood, and after doing a lot of soul-searching and inner work, it finally made sense. I didn’t feel like a girl because my gender isn’t female. It isn’t male either. I’m agender.

Agender means not having a gender. It’s important to note that gender has nothing to do with anatomy/biology (that’s sex), or with whom someone is attracted to (that’s sexual orientation). Gender is who your brain tells you that you are, and how you identify. Although I was assigned female at birth, my brain was never comfortable with being considered female, and male didn’t fit right either.

Gender is a spectrum, not a binary. And this year during Pride Month, I’m going to celebrate having finally recognized where I fit on that spectrum.

Much-Needed Respite

Every year for the past few years, in May, I’ve gone to a spiritual event/retreat. Sometimes it’s relaxing. Sometimes, depending on what’s going on in my life, it isn’t.

This year, I wasn’t really looking forward to going because of some issues in my personal life that were taking most of my emotional bandwidth. I almost backed out of going at all, but I’d made some commitments I needed to fulfill during the event, and I don’t break commitments if I can help it. So I went.

One of my commitments was teaching a Chios Energy Healing Level 1 workshop. I’d done the workshop at this event before, a couple of years ago, and was looking forward to sharing Chios with more people. Although fewer people came than I’d hoped, the important thing was people came! And learned, and seemed interested. A few people later mentioned having wanted to go, but they weren’t able to because of scheduling conflicts. So hopefully I’ll be able to offer the workshop again next year.

Aside from that, I wasn’t able to put as much energy into the event as I usually do. My body decided to rebel against me, leading to my needing shuttle rides around the campground where the retreat is held and to my going to bed before 10 every night. (Usually more like 8. Which is earlier than I ever go to bed at home.) During whole-group activities, I had to sit down and observe for the most part, though I was able to take an active role in one.

I wasn’t happy about it. I seriously dislike not being in control of my body, and the pain and exhaustion were beyond my control. But at the same time, at least I was at the retreat. I was able to participate to some extent, and I had plenty of time to reset and relax. Maybe that’s *why* I was exhausted and in pain. Maybe it was the Universe’s way of telling me to use the retreat to slow down and rest for a while.

Sometimes that’s the way things go. If you don’t take the gentle nudges toward the best course for you, the Universe steps in and gives you a not-so-gentle shove.

I came home from the retreat feeling more positive than I had beforehand, and feeling more rested as well. And I’m looking forward to being there again next year.

How I Channel

I learned channeling from the same person from whom I learned Chios Energy Healing. The circumstances were a little different, though. I didn’t know anything about channeling, and definitely didn’t know it was something I was meant to do. Even though I’d known my guides since I was a very young child, I hadn’t spoken to one of them in a very long time, and had pretty much forgotten about him.

My introduction to channeling was through my mentor doing a channeling session for me with his guide, a being of light. What I didn’t realize was that this being was in communication with Shiva, my primary guide (the one I hadn’t spoken to in a very long time). It wasn’t exactly conspiring, though I teased them by calling it that for a while. Basically, Shiva felt I was ready for us to work together again, and wanted us to do so. So through additional channeling sessions and some training from my mentor in going into trance and allowing another consciousness to work through me, my mentor’s guide helped recreate the bond between Shiva and me.

Shiva is a being of light, and that took some getting used to for me. For one thing, I associated the name with the Hindu deity, and I damn sure wasn’t “good enough” to work with a deity. Once I got past the name thing, I didn’t believe I was “good enough” to work with a being of light either, though my mentor’s guide pointed out to me during another channeling session that I’d been working with him for six months at that point. (I said it was different; I wasn’t the one doing the channeling, and he wasn’t my guide.)

After a while, I got used to the idea, and began channeling for others. Over the years that I’ve done trance and relayed channeling, I’ve gotten some varying reactions.

For me, whichever type of channeling I’m doing, there is a noticeable energy shift in the room, just as there is when I do a Chios session. I get very warm, sometimes to the point of sweating. If I’m doing a trance channeling, I feel like I’m just kind of relaxing off to the side while Shiva speaks. In a relayed channeling, I’m the one speaking, but I feel like I’m not completely in the same world as my client; I’m kind of halfway between the “real” world and the off-to-the-side one.

For my client, it depends. When I did a channeling for the manager of one store where I’d hoped to offer the service to customers, Shiva gave her information about a situation she hadn’t talked about to anyone, and it freaked her out. She stood up so fast the chair almost fell over and said, “You aren’t allowed to channel here. You aren’t even allowed to mention it. Don’t ever do this again.” And then hurried away.

At another store where I was allowed to offer channeling, during one group session, one of the clients asked about her financial situation. Shiva responded by saying, “You’ll have the money for the center you’re planning.” She hadn’t told anyone–including her friend who was at the channeling with her–that she was hoping to open a holistic or retreat center within a few years. My mentor was also there, and told me afterward that the woman looked completely astonished, and then completely happy and at ease.

Some clients feel absolutely no change in the energy of the room. Some complain that the temperature is too high once Shiva is present. One employee at yet another store found the energy shift so intense that he had to leave the room. He was clear with me afterward that the energy was entirely positive, just very, very intense.

When I do a trance channeling, the voice coming out of me is different from my normal speaking voice. Shiva speaks more slowly, at a deeper pitch, and with an accent I haven’t been able to identify. This was one of the things that upset the manager at the first store I mentioned; she was expecting the voice to sound exactly the same as my usual one. (She was also conflating channeling and mediumship, and expected me to talk to her about her departed family members.) It can be a little weird if you aren’t anticipating it.

My eyes stay closed; because I am extremely visually oriented, Shiva believes that if he were to open my eyes, the visual input would distract me and I would end up breaking trance. And Shiva, since he isn’t and never has been human, doesn’t always hold back what he has to say. He can be very blunt, and while he has no wish to upset or hurt anyone–quite the opposite, actually–it doesn’t always occur to him that his bluntness might be upsetting to some. He also refers to me as “Ganatram,” a name he gave me a few of my lifetimes ago, which has confused some clients.

Image (C) 2006 Christopher S Harris. Since it’s my name–Ganatram–in Sanskrit, I was given permission at that time to use it.

During a relayed channeling, the only thing that changes is the energy in the room. I’m listening to Shiva speaking to me and then passing along what he says. I’m the one speaking, so it’s my normal speaking voice, though I do need to pause, sometimes longer than a client is comfortable with, to be sure I’m hearing Shiva correctly and conveying what he wants the client to know. My eyes stay open, because since I’m actively engaged in this form of channeling, I’m less likely to get distracted.

Relayed channeling can be more comfortable for the client, but it can sometimes be more difficult for me to be sure I’m speaking the correct information in a way that won’t upset the client but is still accurate to what Shiva is telling me. I prefer trance channeling, but I offer both services because my clients’ comfort level is more important than mine.

On June 3, I’ll officially be introducing channeling as a service of River Flow Healing. 30-minute sessions of either trance or relayed channeling will be available in person at Vita Therapia in Westford, MA, or online via Skype or Facebook video messenger. Email channelings, in which the client sends me 1-3 questions and I channel Shiva’s reply and send it back, will also be available. If you contact me at schedule@riverflowhealing.com by June 2, with “Channeling session request” in the subject line, you’ll receive 20% off your first channeling.

Who Are My Guides?

I’ve been connected with my guides (beings who work with me to help me find my way through my life and experiences) since I was a very young child. I’ve been told that it’s rare for someone to connect with their guides as early as I did. In my case, it was because the humans around me were either overtly dangerous to me, or those who were intended to protect me chose not to. I needed help and protection, and so subconsciously or unconsciously reached out for those things.

I was very fortunate. Many people who open to channeling and to their guides are permeable, which means that any being who chooses can connect to and communicate with them. Sometimes that results in them connecting with beings who are not what they claim to be, and do not have the person’s best interests at heart.

In my case, the beings who responded to my call were my genuine guides, and they put protective measures into place to prevent other beings from connecting with me. This makes me an impermeable channel, since only my own guides can connect with me unless I request otherwise, or another being receives consent from me and from my primary guide.

My earliest memory of my guides comes from when I was about three. Two of them manifested to me as “people” whom I called Big John and Little John. (Hey, I was three. Names weren’t my strong suit.) My parents called Big John and Little John my “imaginary friends.” I was very adamant in correcting them; my friends weren’t imaginary, they were just invisible.

Big John and Little John, whom I now know as Dominic and Blake (though they’ve given me other names to use for them over the years), are spirit guides. Once, they were human, but they completed the incarnations they needed in order to learn what their souls had come to learn. They stopped incarnating and instead took on the role of guides. Dominic and I knew each other in one of my past lives, which was his final lifetime as human, several hundred years ago. Blake hasn’t been quite as forthcoming with why he’s chosen to work with me.

When I was about four, “Jesus” came to play with me quite a bit. This wasn’t the Christian Jesus, nor was it the being some know as an ascended master. Nor, for that matter, is Jesus one of the names this being generally uses. I was brought up in a nominally Christian household. A being with extremely high energetic vibration, who manifested as protective, safe, and loving, wasn’t something I could conceive of outside the “Jesus” I’d learned about in church.

That being, who I now know as Shiva, though again he’s had other names, is my primary guide. He’s a being of light, which is one of the highest-vibration beings among those who choose to work with humans, and he’s the guide I channel.

Some pretty horrible things happened to me as a child. Although my guides protected me to the extent they were able, free will plays a role in beings’ dealings with humans. My soul chose certain lessons to learn and patterns to address in this lifetime, and certain events occurred because of those soul-level choices. Since I was unaware of these choices on a conscious level, I wasn’t able to ask my guides to help or protect me from the events, and without that request, they could only be with me, support me, and try to ensure that I survived. At times, they advised me on courses of action that might prevent trauma, but if I chose not to listen, they couldn’t do much else.

With each subsequent traumatic event, my energetic vibration decreased. In order to work with a being of light, a human has to have a proportionately high vibration. By the time I was seven or eight, my vibration was too low for Shiva to work with me safely. He never left, but he “stepped back” and observed and protected me from a distance, figuratively speaking, so his vibration wouldn’t become painful for me or cause me harm.

For nearly thirty years after that, I remained connected to and communicated with my other guides, often wondering why what I’d come to believe were imaginary friends (because that’s what I was told by everyone around me) didn’t disappear as I “outgrew” them. Then, around 2005, I became friends with a man who channeled; he was also the one who taught me Chios Energy Healing. Through channeling sessions with him and his guide, I learned techniques for raising my vibration, and his guide, working in concert with Shiva, restored the connection Shiva and I had had when I was a child.

It took work for me to believe I was “worthy” of channeling a being of light, and to be honest, sometimes I still struggle with that lack of belief in my worth. But he is my guide, though I’m not the only human with whom he works directly, and I did learn to channel him.

Beginning on June 3, Shiva and I will be offering relayed channeling and trance channeling services. We did this together over a decade ago, but then life, including raising my children, got in the way of my practices. I’m thrilled to be able to offer it again.

Why Change?

Why change? Good question.

Life is a constant, ongoing process of change and growth. Unless you’re really, really determined, it’s pretty much impossible not to grow and change as you move through life. But some of that growth and change isn’t a conscious choice. It’s in response to things that occur in our lives, or simply the result of getting chronologically older and gaining more knowledge and experience. Change happens.

Conscious change, though, takes work, and to do that work, most people want a reason. That’s where getting tripped up and tangled in others’ opinions can happen. Changing solely for others doesn’t benefit anyone. For change to be effective and long-lasting, we need a self-focused reason to make it.

Sometimes we recognize something about ourselves that we think we might benefit from changing. We might not know how to start making those changes, but at least we know we want to make them. We’re consciously choosing to do something about a problematic trait or habit. We might need help figuring out how to change it, but it’s our decision, and if we do the work, it’s likely to become a permanent, positive change.

There are times when something about us is a problem and we don’t recognize it. Or we think it’s a problem that doesn’t require change when it actually does. In those cases, someone else might have to point out the issue to us so we become more aware. But even then, it’s still more effective to make the change because we see a reason to. Because we see a benefit to ourselves as well as others.

Early on after my kids and I moved in with my husband, when I was still working through some serious issues and still getting a handle on emotional regulation, sometimes I raised my voice when I was angry with my kids. I didn’t realize how much it upset my husband, or my kids, until my husband took me aside and told me it was really hard for him hearing me like that. My kids also told me they wished I would yell less.

I knew I was still working on effective emotional management. After nearly four decades of not being able to display any negative emotions for fear of what other people would do to me, I was finally in a place where I felt safe enough to stop suppressing the emotions. Unfortunately, that meant sometimes the emotion came out with an intensity that was out of proportion to whatever was going on. I knew this, but I didn’t always realize when the emotional display was out of proportion.

When my husband and kids had that conversation with me, I didn’t say or think, “I need to change for them.” They were the cause of me recognizing the need for change, but they couldn’t be the only reason for the change. I needed to change my behavior, and double down on learning better emotional regulation, for myself above all.

I chose to do the work and improve my emotional regulation because my behavior was hurting people I loved deeply and wanted to avoid hurting. Because the person I wanted to be was someone who took care of and protected those I loved. Because when I raised my voice and felt my temper rising to the boiling point, I saw in myself the people who had abused me, and I hated seeing that in myself. I wanted to build a life in which I could love myself. I wanted to create a space where my children might feel the love and safety I hadn’t had as a child or during my marriage to their father. I wanted to become the person I wanted to be.

When you identify a change you think you should make, take a moment to figure out why you want to make it. Are you doing what someone else has told you to do? Are you trying to change something about yourself that you’re okay with, but someone else isn’t okay with it and you’re trying to make them happy? If it’s a change someone else brought to your attention, do you have a self-focused reason to make it, or are you only doing it for them?

Ultimately, the one person on earth whose opinion of you matters, is you. You’re the one who has to live with who you are. You can’t “make” someone else happy, because you don’t control what anyone else feels or thinks. You can only create whether you are happy with yourself. So don’t just be the change you wish to see; be the primary reason you wish to see it.

How I Learned Chios

As a child, I was very clumsy. I didn’t have much body awareness, so I constantly walked into things, or tripped and fell. I have scars on my knees because I skinned them so often.

Cuts and bruises hurt, obviously. But when I was four or five, I realized that if I put my hand over a cut or bruise, my hand got warm and the injury didn’t hurt as much. It also usually healed faster.

The adults around me told me that was just my imagination, so, as with a number of other things, I pushed it away. I didn’t want people to think I was weird or crazy, and I definitely didn’t want to annoy my parents. Besides, adults were the ones telling me the warm hand thing wasn’t really happening, and when you’re a child, you pretty much believe adults know everything.

When I was about 35, I became friends with someone who practiced yoga, Chios energy healing, and channeling. Over time, he started sharing these things with me. The first time he did a Chios session with me, I had some pretty intense results, and I decided to start learning Chioswith my friend as my instructor.

In Chios, one of the first things you learn to do is call in the energy, which means opening yourself as a conduit for the healing energy to flow through. You don’t use your own energy to heal others; you allow universal energy to go through you into the people you work with. My friend warned me, and I’d seen for myself, that when that energy flows, it brings heat with it. What I didn’t expect was that one of the first times I called in the energy, my hands got so hot that the wedding ring I had at the time left a burn mark on my finger!

That was when I started remembering the warm hand thing from when I was a child. It hadn’t been my imagination after all. It was energy healing.

As I went on learning Chios, I didn’t feel like I was gaining new knowledge. It felt a lot more like someone was reminding me of things I’d already known but had forgotten. Regaining that knowledge was exciting, and so was seeing the results I was able to bring the people who let me practice on them while I was learning.

I don’t know whether Chios, or something similar, was something I learned in a past life, or just instinctive knowledge I’d had as a child until I let the adults around me convince me to shut it away. But I definitely feel like it’s natural for me. And I still get excited when clients tell me what they experience during and after healing sessions. That’s why I started River Flow Healing, so I could bring Chios to others.

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.

Refocusing

I’ve found that where I was focusing my energy previously wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be.

This surprised me. I thought I wanted to be a coach or mentor to those who are on journeys of healing and trying to gain self-love. It’s something I studied, and something that I do informally in a few venues, and I love the feeling of knowing I’ve helped someone. More, I love seeing them gain insight and make positive changes in their lives.

Deciding I wanted to coach was a change in itself. When I originally conceived this website and business, the plan was to do energy healing and guided readings. Then I realized that when I did healings and readings, I ended up informally counseling my clients anyway, so I looked into becoming a counselor. That would have required a degree I was unwilling to invest in, so I looked at life coaching/mentoring instead. And that became something I found myself more drawn to than energy healing or readings.

So the next chapter of this business was meant to be coaching, or holistic mentoring. I created an eight-week coaching program, and realized that interested me more than ongoing, less structured mentoring. Then I created a talk to go with that program, and realized that what I really wanted to do was become a transformational speaker.

So now I’m focusing more on speaking, and that’s what I feel the most drawn to at this point. That and teaching theater to children, which doesn’t seem to connect with the other things, but that’s how passions are sometimes. Transformational speaking to large groups is on hold for now while I work with smaller venues, including schools where I discuss my message of self-acceptance and living one’s truth using one of my young adult novels as a springboard.

Many of these changes have occurred in just the past month, as I’ve looked at and refined my goals for 2018. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to do the full year in advance.

Life isn’t a static thing, and sometimes that means plans change even when you don’t expect them to. My eight-week program, which is now a six-week program, is still part of my work, and I’m building the speaking side of things. And I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.