Gender Inclusivity

I wanted to share this awesome interview I recently had with Lisa Marie Grantham about why it’s important to use gender-inclusive language, and some easy ways to be gender-inclusive.

 

For those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas.

Since Christmas is a holiday I celebrate at this time of year (along with Yule), I’m taking today off from blogging. I hope everyone has/had/will have a positive holiday season.

I Wanted an Oracle Deck…

In 2006, I was getting in touch with my spiritual side and with my gifts. Through that process, I discovered oracle cards.

Oracle cards are a divination tool. Generally, each card in a deck has a specific message, which is often printed on the card; the deck includes a guidebook that expands on the cards’ messages. Oracle cards are relatively easy to work with because, while you can certainly use your intuition and observation to interpret their meanings, you can also choose to just share the messages as written.

A wide variety of oracle decks exist. The number of cards in a deck varies from deck to deck, as does the theme and the messages. Unlike Tarot, which is always 78 cards with the same names and interpretations regardless of the theme of the deck, oracle cards don’t have to fit any set guidelines.

When I first became interested in oracle cards, I bought a deck, but something about it didn’t fully resonate for me. I felt drawn to create my own deck–so I did.

The first deck used digital art images created by my mentor, who gave me his permission to use them. The images gave their titles to the cards and were partial inspiration for the messages; however, I wrote the messages from my own intuition with contributions from my guides and from a collective of beings who introduced themselves to me as the Oracle Guides.

After a year or so, my relationship with my mentor dissolved, and with it went his permission to use his images. I retained the titles, because titles can’t be copyrighted, though I changed a few of them anyway. I also retained the messages, since I had written them in collaboration with the beings I worked with. However, my dream of publishing the deck went on the back burner for quite a while.

I did use the cards online to post “card of the day,” using stock images to replace the original pictures. But I wanted my own images, particularly as time went on and I started feeling drawn once again to publish the deck.

Over the summer of 2020, I was discussing the deck with my partner, who came up with what could have been a completely obvious solution: “Take pictures at the shore where you go for walks all the time.” That was a “duh” moment for me; I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it! That weekend, I spent a few hours at the shore taking pictures for my cards.

Within a week, I had reformatted the cards with the new images, and had christened it the Seascapes Oracle. I had two decks printed, one for my own use and one to loan out for reviews eventually. While publication of the deck is in the future (I’m hoping to have the process underway by this time next year), it is now ready for me to use to offer readings to clients.

Oracle readings are now available! I base the readings both on the cards’ messages and on my own intuition, and clients can request a general reading or ask a specific question. An email reading consists of three cards; I send an email with thumbnail pictures of each of the cards and a short paragraph about each message. Real-time readings are available over Zoom or Facebook video messenger, and can consist of three or six cards. A real-time reading lasts 20-30 minutes depending on number of cards.

If you’re interested in a reading, please Contact Us, or visit the Readings page for more information!

Study Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Chose Chios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studying

I love to learn things. Learning has always been something I enjoyed, though only under certain circumstances. Most of the “learning” we were required to do in school didn’t appeal to me, because it seemed arbitrary and I was only learning those things because someone else told me to. But learning things on my own, following my own interests and intuition, always appealed.

Partly for my own benefit and partly because I want to build and grow the skills and knowledge I use in RiverEvolutions, I’m currently starting a time of learning and growth in various areas. Some of my blog posts over the coming weeks and months will be about what I’m learning.

I’m enrolled in the Ph.D. program through the University of Metaphysical Sciences. This course is giving me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge base, as well as to narrow in on skills I can use as a healer, channel, and coach. It’s going to take time; regardless of what degrees one already has, UMS requires you to start with their Bachelor’s program and work up. But I’m excited about gaining this knowledge.

On my own, I’m studying Tarot and oracle cards, because I intend to offer readings of both types through RiverEvolutions over the next few months. But obviously if I’m going to do readings, I need to build my knowledge and skills! I’ve found a number of books and video resources, and if you know of any, I would love to hear about them.

I’m also reading more about trauma and its effects. I know many effects that trauma can have; I’ve lived with them. However, I want to have a more objective understanding of trauma, particularly as it relates to mindfulness practices and meditation. I’ve found for myself that some types of meditation actually have adverse effects; rather than feeling still and calm, I feel angry and revved up, and it can take a full day for me to settle again. At first when this happened, I thought I was doing something wrong, but then I saw friends of mine who also have lived through abuse or trauma say they had similar experiences when attempting to meditate. I’m setting out to study why that happens and find or create mindfulness practices that take those effects into account.

I’m building my knowledge base about Witchcraft. I am a Witch (not a Wiccan, though), but that doesn’t mean I know a lot. Magic and Witchcraft are very, very broad topics with a lot to learn and read, and I’m poking around finding things that call to me to learn more about. 

And I’m taking a course to attain the next level in Chios Energy Healing! I’m so excited about this one, because it will enable me to offer even more effective and beneficial energy healing services to my client, and because I’m learning directly from the developer of Chios, Stephen Barrett. Stay tuned for more about this, because you’d better believe I’ll be celebrating when I attain this degree. This is especially relevant now, as I gear up to resume offering Chios Energy Healing sessions beginning November 2.

Those aren’t all the things I’ll be learning and studying over the coming months. I’m kind of excited about this, because as I said, I love learning new things and refreshing or building on my knowledge of things I’ve learned previously. In some blogs, I’ll share things I’m learning.

“Create Your Best Life”

“Create and evolve into your best life” is the tagline for RiverEvolutions, but some people aren’t clear on what I mean by it. So I wanted to take a moment to explain.

I believe all of us have the innate power to bring things into our lives, change our lives, and create what we want to live. This isn’t some magical thing, though some people might call it magic; it’s a power we have purely by virtue of being alive.

As children, a lot of us play games of “make-believe” or talk about what we want to be when we grow up. We don’t recognize limits on our creative power. We believe in magic, we believe we can be whatever we want to be, and we create those things in our minds. And sometimes, those childhood “imaginings” and creations carry over into adulthood.

But sometimes we lose touch with that creative power. It might happen because adults tell us to stop playing “silly” games and make-believe. Sometimes, it happens because our power is taken away through abuse and trauma. We learn that life is a thing that happens to us, and we have to take what we get.

That’s a mindset I was in for a long time, and the events in my life didn’t do anything to change that mindset. But finally, I started realizing that I do have power in my own life. I can make things happen instead of sitting back and waiting. 

What I want in my life is what I can have, if I am focused and believe I’m deserving of having the things I want. If my life isn’t working out the way I want it to, that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve good things; it means I need to examine where I’m not using my creative power, and make changes in those areas.

When I talk about creating your best life, I’m talking about reclaiming your power and using it to make things happen in your life. And evolving? That means learning to *accept* your creative power, learning how to use it, and pushing beyond the fears and “what ifs” to actually put things into place so you can live the life you truly want to live.

Basically, I believe everyone deserves to live a life where they feel fulfilled and happy. Learning to create that kind of life is a journey, one I’m still on myself. But tools like energy healing and channeling have helped me recognize, reclaim, and use my creative power, and that’s what I love to do for others using those tools. For me, part of creating and evolving into *my* best life means helping other people create and evolve into theirs.

I’ve Been Recovering…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healing Doesn’t Always Mean Forgiving

Note: This is a slightly revised version of my post which originally appeared on the Wellness Universe blog on August 2, 2020. 

My marriage to my children’s father included a great deal of emotional and verbal abuse from him, along with behavior that can only be labeled toxic. That behavior and abuse continued off and on even after I ended the marriage, until last year when I finally severed all possible means he had of reaching me. He has caused lasting emotional damage for me, with the result that I have been in therapy for over a decade to work on healing from what he did as well as from other abuses I’ve experienced in my life.

In some corners of the spiritual community, I would be told to forgive him. I might even be told that forgiving him is the only way I could “truly” heal.

I disagree.

My spiritual mentor taught me that when it comes to harm caused by others, forgiveness equates to admitting that person has power over you. My mentor’s advice was, instead, to practice acceptance. “I accept that this occurred in my life, and that it was the choice of the person who caused the damage to do so. I accept that it was not about me, but about them. I accept that I am a good person regardless and can move on with my life.”

Forgiveness, as preached and practiced by some, not only involves acknowledging someone’s role and power in your life, but also often includes allowing that person to remain in your life. Again, according to those who espouse this way of thinking, the only way to be genuinely healed is to continue to allow the person who wounded you to be around you, even at the risk of being wounded again.

And again, I disagree.

In my view, someone’s first priority is to take care of themselves. To practice self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance. Sometimes, this means removing other people from your life. I had little choice about allowing my kids’ father to remain in my life; we shared children, and the court refused to believe what I told them about his abuse, so I was legally compelled to coparent with him. That exposure to him and his abuse did an additional near-decade of emotional and mental harm to me, until my children were old enough that I was no longer under that legal obligation. And the moment that became the case, I cut that tie.

Allowing someone toxic or abusive to remain in your life in the name of “forgiveness” doesn’t serve you or bring any benefit to anyone except the toxic/abusive person, who continues to have an unobstructed license to continue their behavior. This is not “true healing.” This is ego speaking, telling you that you have to act in a “more spiritual” way to prove that you’re really healed and enlightened. (An exception might be made for someone who has been toxic or abusive in the past but has demonstrated remorse, willingness and ability to change, and has expressed apology and made amends for their behavior.)

True healing comes when you embrace yourself as the incredible being you were created as, and choose to conduct your life and relationships in a way that honors yourself, your needs, and your health. And sometimes that means forgiveness doesn’t happen, at least not as it’s often preached–and that is okay. You have the right to set boundaries for yourself. You have the right to say, “This person is unhealthy for me.” And you have the right to forgive–or accept–in the way that works best for you.

I work with people who have experienced abuse, bullying, and trauma and are learning to forgive and accept themselves above all, providing Chios Energy Healing, channeling, and mindset coaching to facilitate their healing journey. I would love to talk with anyone who is on that journey about how I might help. Channeling sessions, which have been on hold due to my recent surgery, will resume on Monday; Chios Energy Healing sessions are unavailable until November 2, but I can share some suggestions for ways to rebalance and restore your own energy system. You can learn more on my website, http://www.riverevolutions.com, or my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/riverevolutions.

Today

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

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

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

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

 

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

Choosing Community

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve chosen to leave some of the Facebook groups for spiritual practitioners to which I belonged.

I won’t get into all the reasons here, because I want to avoid calling out anyone in particular. Let’s just say that members of one group became very judgmental and accusatory about me and my practices due to a message I shared with them (ironically, a message about judging and working on yourself before you judge others), while the other group was specifically designated as a women’s group and has members who are very firm about it being a women’s group, which became uncomfortable for me as a nonbinary (specifically agender) person.

A third group includes members who post conspiracy theories, misinformation, and blatant lies about COVID and other things, and due to my policy of zero tolerance for that kind of thing, I’m likely to leave that group as well. I’ve stuck it out thus far because I have great respect for other members and consider a few of them my friends, so leaving the group would be more painful for me.

Finding community, whether it’s online or in person, isn’t easy. It’s even more difficult when you hold beliefs that others either disagree with or find “crazy” or “ridiculous,” and more difficult still when you are not one of the recognized binary genders. I’ve always struggled to fit in much of anywhere; even as a preschooler, I was “too weird” for the other children to want anything to do with me. And the more people I encounter, the more frequently I feel like I don’t belong.

I have been fortunate with some of the communities I’ve become part of. Shout-outs to Britt Bolnick and Calandra Martin for making their communities welcoming and inclusive; while they specifically state they work with women, and in fact I was still identifying as a woman when I began working with them, when I came out as agender both of them made the effort to make sure I knew I was still included, and both have made attempts to alter their language to be more inclusive. Also to the EarthSpirit community, which is a large, varied, and hugely welcoming and caring spiritual community I’ve been part of for four years now, and to the Polka Dot Powerhouse networking community, which has expanded their mission to explicitly include serving nonbinary people.

Finding community is a very individual thing. Communities which feel supportive and welcoming to one person might feel exactly the opposite to another. Sometimes personalities don’t mesh. And sometimes it’s just another example of “nothing works for everyone.”

I struggled a bit with leaving the Facebook groups, because I felt like I was giving up, and one of the bits of detritus from my past is the tendency to put myself down for not forcing myself to stay in situations that don’t feel healthy or aligned for me. But that’s the thing. Those groups did not feel right *for me*. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the groups or the people in them, just that they weren’t groups in which I fit. And when you are in a situation where you don’t feel like you fit or feel like you have to change yourself in order to fit, it’s okay to leave. 

It’s especially okay to leave when a community or group turns out to be toxic or unhealthy for you, or where you experience bullying or emotional harm. I’m thankful that wasn’t the case with the groups I left; they weren’t toxic, just misaligned with me.

Finding and becoming part of a community can bring you benefits, but there are no benefits to joining a community that isn’t aligned with you, or to forcing yourself to stay in a community that doesn’t feel right. It is okay to make the choice to leave and seek a different group. Doing so doesn’t make you a quitter or weak; it makes you someone who values yourself enough to find a group where you feel like you belong.