What Will People Think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Trance Channeling–An Inside View

In the years since I learned channeling, I’ve practiced two types: relayed and trance. Relayed channeling is pretty easy to explain and describe. I sit with my client, listen to their questions, and listen to the answers my guide Shiva gives. Then I pass those answers along to the client in Shiva’s words, or as close as I can get, and give clarification when asked.

Trance channeling is harder to describe, both from the perspective of an observer and from the perspective of the one doing it. But I’m going to try, because trance channeling is something I’ve found people don’t always understand.

As the name might imply, when I do trance channeling, I’m in a trance. My body is relaxed and, if I’m doing it right, so is my mind. I have a process for getting into trance that simply involves slow counting backward, and when I reach the right level of trance, I invite Shiva to “come in.”

Basically what that means is that my consciousness, in a sense, steps aside to allow Shiva’s consciousness to use my body to communicate with a client. It isn’t the same as possession; Shiva’s consciousness is just visiting, so to speak, and I can break out of the trance–thereby displacing him–at any time. 

It also is not something Shiva will ever do without my invitation. Sometimes, when I’m getting into trance to do a channeling, I forget to explicitly say, “Shiva, please come in,” and when that happens, he won’t do it. He might prompt me to say it, because he knows sometimes my memory doesn’t work as well as it could, but he won’t do anything more unless I ask.

While Shiva’s doing his thing, my body gets very hot. This happens to a lesser extent even when I do relayed channeling, because Shiva’s high energetic vibration causes heat, but it’s more intense when I’m doing a trance channeling. No matter how cold the room is, if I’m doing trance channeling, I’ll probably be sweating by the end of it.

I can hear everything that’s said, because I haven’t gone anywhere. My consciousness is still in my body; it’s just moved over a bit like someone might move over on a bench to make space for someone else to sit down. But hearing doesn’t mean remembering. Another side effect of the energy shifts as Shiva shows up and leaves is that the energy tends to interfere with memory. That’s why I recommend clients who are having trance channelings either take notes or record the session on an audio device (I don’t allow video), because they might not remember everything either, and I won’t be able to help them.

On the plus side, since I don’t remember much of what’s said, confidentiality is pretty much assured. Shiva definitely isn’t going to tell anyone what happens in a session!

I can’t see anything, because my eyes remain closed. Shiva could open them if he wanted to, just as he can move my mouth and sometimes my hands if we’re doing an email channeling. But I’m extremely visually oriented, and if my eyes were open, even with Shiva’s consciousness at the forefront, I might get distracted by something visible and end up breaking trance. So my eyes stay closed.

When the session’s over, Shiva leaves. That feels like something is exiting my body, and I usually end up slumping over for a second or two, until my consciousness moves back into place. Depending on how hot my body got during the session, I might feel cold and even shiver until my body temperature readjusts.

Trance channeling is definitely an interesting experience, and one that pushes my comfort zone. Even though Shiva won’t do this unless I ask, and I know I can break trance at any time, giving up even some control over my body is a scary thing for someone with my trauma history. I’m also sometimes afraid I’ll “do it wrong,” or that the client will either think I’m faking or get freaked out, both of which have happened in the past. That makes it hard for me to take the final step of inviting Shiva in. It’s something I’m working on, and when I’m able to get out of the way, trance channeling has been a good experience for the majority of the clients for whom I’ve done it.

If you’d like to learn more or schedule a channeling session with Shiva and me, please visit my Channeling page.

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.