It’s Not All “Love and Light”

This spiritual/human journey isn’t all joy, happiness, faith, and miracles. It isn’t all positivity and “manifesting” every good thing you dream of. It is not all peace and zen, “love and light.” It certainly isn’t all “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction” and holding positive feelings and intentions. Have you noticed? I’m trying hard to not use profanity here, but I want to acknowledge in the most clear and real way possible, that sometimes it just f-ing sucks!

The spiritual/human journey is more like an amusement park. There’s the “Sit and Spin” where you seem to be going around in meaningless, dizzying circles. There’s the roller coaster, where you have your ups and downs, sometimes violently jerking you around – just when you think you’re riding high, you go plunging terrifyingly toward the ground. Something inside of you trusts that you won’t actually hit the ground, but there are still moments where you feel your heart in your throat and an adrenaline rush that can floor you.

There are the funhouse mirrors where you and everyone and everything look distorted and you can’t quite get your bearings or your focus. It’s not fun when your perspective feels like it’s slipped and you feel completely disoriented. There’s the spiral ride, where you keep spiraling up, going through the same issues at increasingly high levels. There’s the drop tower where you go all the way up … you’re riding high, peacefully enjoying the view … then the bottom falls out and you go plunging down and there’s nothing you can do but hang on and hope/pray you survive.

There’s the carnival food that seems fun, but leaves you feeling queasy. You get the picture – digesting the experiences of life doesn’t always feel good, no matter how much we meditate or pray or try to bypass our experiences with spiritual principles. Sometimes human life is just painful, no matter what we try to do to alleviate that pain – no matter what crystals we hold, or Tarot/Oracle cards we pull, or spiritual circles we have supporting us. Sometimes we simply have to face the “dark night of the Soul” – and just be in it without any defenses or comfort. Sometimes it’s a series of small/medium challenges, the cumulative effect of which can feel overbearing, causing us to feel like we can’t catch a break and things will never get better.

And yes, there is always something to be grateful for. And yes, sometimes gratitude can pull us out of these dark places. Sometimes, though, it feels like we’re climbing up a slippery slide – and there’s never a place to rest. If we stop carefully hanging on, we’ll slide right back down into the mess … and it’s exhausting always trying to hang on. Do you know that feeling? You just want to be able to find some stable ground where you can lie down and rest? Just to catch your breath. Just to have some peace and quiet – to get off the rides for a minute, to stop feeling like you have to struggle and fight all of the time. You know that feeling?

I did this guided gratitude meditation the other day – and when I pressed the “gratitude button” deep in my “heart sanctuary,” I was surprised at the flood of images that came to me. It wasn’t all love and light. It wasn’t just the happy moments and my favorite people. There were scenes of a whole spectrum of feelings, from joy to pleasure to grief to fear to love. There were people I love, yes, but also people who have harmed me, betrayed me, and whom I thought I had shut out of my heart. But right there in my heart space, in my gratitude space, were all of the people and experiences that had shaped my life (in what I would call “good” and “bad” ways) – and there was an ineffable sense of peace and love about it all. It was a beautiful experience.

I am not miraculously healed from my feelings about the people and things that have caused me pain. I have gained some insight and been able to see the beauty of it all, to connect with a river of peace and knowing deep inside of me. I am able to bring some more gentleness and compassion back with me to apply into my life. I can intellectually understand that everything has its own beauty and purpose and that everything works out in Divine Right Order and Timing. That doesn’t necessarily translate into me feeling any better about my past or current struggles, pain, and disappointment. It doesn’t exactly alleviate my fears or allay the desperate urges that wash over me to just give up, just let go. Sometimes all I can do is keep breathing and wait for the feelings to pass. That doesn’t, by the way, mean that I’m “failing” at spirituality. If you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It just means you’re normal. And human.

I love “love and light,” don’t get me wrong. I find great comfort and pleasure in spiritual connection, in meditation, in various forms of inspiration. I enjoy communing with my Angels and Spirit Guides. I treasure my crystals and candles, Oracle cards and essential oils. Being out in Nature fills me. Sometimes I am filled to overflowing with the gratitude of just Be-ing. Sometimes my heart feels so expansive in love of life. Yes, yes, yes (!!!) to all of that! YES! In this moment, I am looking out my window at a beautiful sky filled with puffy white clouds that feel joyous and uplifting and peaceful to me. When I’m done writing, I’m just going to sit watching the clouds for a little while, feeling immersed in the serenity that provides for me. AND …

The view out of my window this morning.

Even though I’m feeling this moment of wonder, peace, and tranquility – this sense of “All is well with my Soul” – I’m also still feeling some angst, agitation, and a despair that I can’t even put into words. I’m feeling hopeful, excited, guided and protected – and also sad, tired, and very alone. Even as I say that, I have an awareness that I’m not alone – that I have circles of friends and loved ones connected by love – and a whole team of Angels and Guides and my Soul Council, who love me unconditionally. I know that love. I feel that love. And, I still have plenty of moments where I feel disconnected, alone and separate.

I think that for many, there’s an expectation of all being “love and light” – the belief system that if we just visualize and feel and believe in the “right” ways – if we are just “good enough” at our spiritual practices, then we will “manifest” only/all good things in our lives. And that, my friends, is dangerous bull-hockey. There isn’t light without the dark. There isn’t happiness without sadness. And there are no guarantees in this life. Sometimes Life has lessons for us that we need to learn – and that we cannot wave a magic wand and dismiss ourselves from that life lesson, no matter how ardently we try. Sometimes no matter how much good we do in the world, Life still knocks us down. I suppose there’s a reason for that, a purpose. It still feels like hell, though, doesn’t it?

Sometimes we do everything “right” – and we still can’t manifest a Soul Mate or a job to save our lives (welcome to my current life). It can be super-frustrating. We can rail against God/Goddess/The Universe/Life (whatever you want to call the Higher Power/organizing Force of the Universe). We can scream into the abyss. We can angrily demand a divorce from our Angels, who clearly aren’t doing their job (!!!). None of this makes a difference. Life still goes on, indifferent to our tumult of emotions and existential crises. Our Angels keep loving us and looking out for us, no matter our temper tantrums and lack of appreciation.

We have moments of spiritual awareness and connection. We have moments of bliss and joy. We have times where we notice signs and synchronicities and feel guided and held. And we have times where we feel alone and abandoned, disillusioned and in despair. It’s ALL part of the spiritual/human journey. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it “wrong.” Your journey is your journey. It will have its ups and downs. Give yourself lots of grace and compassion. This living isn’t easy! Ask for help when you need it. Be willing to reach out, to give and to receive. Notice that last part – and to receive. So many people think that the spiritual journey is just about giving – that to be “good” we have to sacrifice our selves. NO. It’s about balance. It’s about honoring our selves and loving our selves and each other the best we can in each moment (and sometimes our best totally sucks! – it’s okay!). Sometimes life is joyous and sometimes it’s f-ing hard. Yes, sometimes it is love and light. But sometimes it’s shadow and darkness and despair. Just hang on, hang in there the best you can. The wheel is always turning. You can’t see from here what new joys await ahead.

Answering The Call Of Spirit

I’ve got a lot going on right now! I’ve just published my book series, I’ve been continuing work on my spiritual development (a lifelong journey, of course) with a fantastic metaphysical/spiritual group called Awkwardly Zen, and now I’m being guided by my Soul Council to do more intuitive readings!

To that end, I am offering a great special during this holiday season!

If you read my blog, you know that I have intuitive and healing gifts that I’ve been working with for over 25 years. I love helping people and I am happy to share these gifts with you! From this Friday (11/27/2020) through Christmas Day (Advent Season!), I am offering a half hour reading/healing on Zoom for just $20 (that’s a $45 savings!).

To book an appointment with me, please email me at psychickath@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, and 2-3 days/times that would be best for you. (Example: Monday or Thursday, 12/7 or 10, from 3-5 pm). I’ll get back to you within 24 hours with an appointment time.

I try to keep my hours between 10 am and 5 pm (MT), but if you need evenings, that is okay too. We’ll figure it out! I’ll be doing 3 readings a day every day Friday through Christmas day, first come, first served, so please contact me soon!
To see what is available, check out my website: https://psychickathsenergyhealingreadings.com/.

Also! If $20 is a stretch right now, but you would like a reading – please let me know! I’m happy to do it for free while appointments are available! I understand – I am right there with you! I’m happy to help in any way I can!

What do you need to know? What messages are waiting for you? Book an appointment with me and find out!

Following My Soul’s Calling

I have just published a 3 book series that will be growing in time. It is called The Sexuality Reclamation Project for Women – and as I look back upon my life, I can see that everything in my life has been leading me to this work. There is an intricate web of people, places, situations, and circumstances that have all brought me to this point: my soul’s calling.

I originally wrote the initial book 20 years ago when I was in Energy Healing school, shortly after my first divorce. I was supposed to be writing a thesis and I was so inspired with what I was writing that it got way out of control and turned into a book.

I was afraid to even try to publish it at the time, since I had a young child at home and the book was about sexuality – and that combination scared me, particularly since some of my ideas/philosophies are unconventional, and custody issues seemed potentially at risk – a risk I was not willing to take. I did, bravely, write a workshop based on the book and presented it at a NAAFA convention. After that, I put the book in my closet (literally and figuratively) and there it sat until the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, I pulled out the workshop notes – and as I flipped through them, I thought, OMG!!! This would have helped me SOOOO much over these past 20 years if I’d just remembered these concepts and listened to my own advice! How could I have forgotten all of this?!?

I pulled out the book and reading through, decided to edit it and update it a little (although most of it is still totally relevant to today). I took the workshop notes and wrote a workbook to go along with the book, so that people could write their own thoughts and do their own explorations. (The workbook can stand on its own – and if you only get one, get that one!)

I’ve had many signs and amazing synchronicities along the way that this is the right path for me. Honestly, I’ve always known this was my path and my purpose – it’s just taken until now for me to be ready to fully step into it. I feel like my whole life has led straight to this moment – and I’m really excited to share this with the world and keep moving forward on this path.

These books are for you if you:
*have ever felt shame about your body and/or your sexuality
*have ever struggled with body image issues
*have ever felt “wronged” for your relationship and/or your relationship choices and/or your sexuality
*have ever sought intimacy in ways that were damaging and painful to yourself and/or others
*have ever felt unworthy of love, sex, intimacy, respect, consideration, etc.
*have ever struggled with boundaries – or felt like you lost your Self when you were in a relationship
*have ever been confused about what you want in life, love, sex, and/or relationship/s
*have lost connection with your own voice, your power, your inner spirit – and are ready to reclaim all of who you are – personally, sexually, and in relationship
*want to live your life more at choice and able to be more authentically you

My books don’t give you answers – because your own answers are within you. They tell stories, share ideas, feelings, and questions – and ask you to look at and consider what is true for you. My goal is to create safe space so that you feel empowered and able to step more fully into your own authenticity and truth. I want you to celebrate your Self and create your own happy, fulfilling life! What is your soul calling for you?

The books are available now both on Kindle or in paperback. I recommend paperback for the workbook so that you can write directly into it – it’s definitely interactive! If this interests you, please check it out – and share it with any women you know who might benefit from this!

These past few months, I’d been lamenting being unable to find a job. All of those closed doors make sense now – they gave me the time to do this. I’m now grateful for this opportunity to follow my soul’s path. It feels amazing how many things have lined up since I committed to this in the past few weeks. They say that when you make a choice, the Universe steps up to help you along your way. I have certainly felt that! I’m feeling in the Divine Flow right now, looking forward to seeing where my path will lead. I hope maybe my work will help you to find your path, your truth, your best life.

Please share and feel free to contact me in the comments below or via the contact page on my website.

When the Universe is Talking to You … Are You Listening?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always listening. I’m busy, I’m distracted, I’m dealing with things. I forget to tune in, to turn to Guidance. I feel abandoned and like I have to handle everything on my own. I worry what will become of me and my life. Or – in good times – I feel like I’ve got things figured out and have this handled, don’t need any help. Yeah, that never lasts for very long. LOL There’s always some sort of reminder to pay attention and to reconnect with the Divine.

Sometimes those reminders are quiet, gentle, friendly nudges – easy to overlook. Hey, remember Me? Hey, notice this! When I fail to notice, the reminders get louder. Sometimes the reminders get so loud that I find myself in huge life crises, with no choice but to turn to the Divine. For example, when I fell and broke both of my arms, the Universe had my complete attention – and I received some very important messages and insights into my life and the people in my life. I’d rather have learned those lessons in an easier way, but I wasn’t allowing myself to see what was, in hindsight, pretty obvious – so the Universe had to get louder and take more drastic action to get my full attention.

Speaking of obvious, the Universe gave me a huge sign this week – a gentle reminder to pay attention, to stay tuned in to Guidance and Spirit. I do frequently ask the Universe to teach me easy – I don’t want any more hard lessons. This communication was clear – both a wake up call for me, and a welcome reassurance that my life is Divinely guided. Given the precarious life position in which I find myself currently, I am most grateful for this message.

On October 15th of this year, 2020, I accidentally wrote in my gratitude journal “10/15/15.” I laughed at myself and fixed it. Whoa! What was I thinking? When I made the very same mistake in my regular journal, I thought to myself, I need to look at my journal from that date and see what I wrote. Of course, me being me, it took me several days to get to it. I finally got to it yesterday afternoon (10/20/2020). It was an unusually short journal entry that day. This is what it said:

I just wanted to jot down a story from today that probably has a lesson for me. I was at Kroger’s and there was a display that had cucumbers and bell peppers. I could see the price of the cucumbers right there on the front of the display, but I looked everywhere for the price of the peppers – and I couldn’t see it. I stood there, debating what to do – I thought about seeking out a produce person and asking them. I was feeling pretty ticked that they hadn’t posted the price – it seems like they do that fairly often. And as I stood there and fumed – I finally saw the giant sign that I was standing right next to that said the peppers were 4 for $5. The answer was written on a big sign that was right next to me! I’d somehow thought that was another sign for the cucumbers – I think it was the same price. But it makes me wonder – what answer is right in front of me if I were only paying attention? What is so obvious that I’m not seeing? And how can I shift my awareness to see it?

Point taken, I shared the story with a Meetup group last night where we were sharing Tarot and Oracle card readings. But that’s not where the story ends. After the Meetup group, I watched Netflix for a couple of hours on my computer while I scrolled through Twitter on my phone. I was getting tired, so I clicked out of Netflix. My Facebook screen came on and I saw I had some notifications, so I clicked on those … and then I did something that didn’t make sense because I was tired and about to go to bed, definitely had no intention of scrolling through FB – I clicked on “home.”

What I saw at the top of the screen was a FB memory of that very same story from five years ago – complete with a picture that I hadn’t remembered taking. I was a little stunned – in a good way. Now, this FB memory didn’t come up five years from the date of that story – it came up four days later than that, on the same day that I’d finally remembered to look up my journal on that date, found the story, and told my friends about it. What are the chances – from my “accidentally” writing the wrong date (twice! – cause I didn’t get the message the first time) to receiving the message to look at that date to see this story – and then having it come up again like this on FB? I LOVE synchronicity! Thank you, Universe!

The sign in question – honestly, how could I possibly have not seen that?

So now the question is: What does it mean? Are there big, obvious signs in my life that I’m not seeing? Am I failing to pay attention? Am I failing to notice the Guidance that is right there, totally available to me? I’m definitely tuning in because I don’t want the messages to need to get louder. I want to learn as gently, easily, and pain-free as possible! What do I need to know?

I asked this question of my Angels and Guides last night as I went to bed. I asked for a dream or a direct knowing that I would remember when I woke up. Dear Angels and Guides, please talk to me in my dreams tonight. Please show me clearly – tell me what I need to know. Tell me what I’m missing. And help me remember when I wake up. Don’t be ambiguous about it, don’t make me figure it out. Don’t make me feel like an idiot because I’m not seeing the giant sign that’s right next to me. Okay? Please? I wanted a clear message, not symbols that I would have to figure out.

The clear impression and words that I woke up with this morning are that part of it is that the Universe is just letting me know: You are being guided. Stop being afraid. But that’s not all. Here is the rest: You can’t miss what you are meant to see. You can’t miss what you are meant to know. In the right time, in the right way, in the right place – everything you need comes to you. Every message, every sign, every piece of information that you need to move forward – it all comes to you. Your life is Divinely guided. It’s not going to pass you by – you’re not going to miss it. Relax a minute. Relax and just trust that everything you need to know, you will know when you need to know it. Okay?

It’s not going to pass you by – you’re not going to miss it. And if you think back to that story, the piece of that story that you didn’t focus on – is that you did see the sign. Even before you asked for help (thankfully before you asked for help and made a fool of yourself, LOL) – you did see the sign. You didn’t miss it. You missed it for a little bit, but then you saw it and you were there, present with it. And as so, there have been a lot of lessons in your life, Honey, Sweetie – that you have missed them, missed them, missed them – until you clearly saw them – and that’s how life works – is that we don’t clearly see some of the steps until we’re right there and it’s the right time and our vision opens – and then we clearly see what we need to see.

Or like, look at yourself in relationships – you’ve screwed up, you’ve screwed up, you’ve screwed up. Okay? You’ve chosen the wrong men over and over, you’ve let yourself be mistreated, you’ve devalued yourself – all of these signs you didn’t get until – well, you got little pieces along the way, but the whole big, glaring sign? You’re finally putting it together. Hopefully. And, the takeaway remains – that what you need to know does come to you. What you do need to know, you will see. You may feel like you’re struggling as you’re looking for the answers, but even though you struggle for a little bit, the answers are inside of you already. They’re right there already – and when you let yourself see them, you see them. So, let yourself ask, what am I not seeing right now – or what am I resisting seeing right now? And just sit with it or sleep on it and let it come to you.

I am very grateful for these messages. I think that a lot of it comes down to presence – being fully present in the moment, not distracted by the past or future. I’m even more resolved to treat each moment of the day as a living meditation – as much as I possibly can, to hold an awareness of my spiritual connection in this life. I’m inspired to check in more frequently with my Angels and Guides and intuition. Another synchronicity – as I’m writing, an email notification from Pinterest flashes across the top of my screen that says “Angels, Doreen Virtue and more ideas you’ve been looking for” – and I notice that at the exact time I’m affirming my awareness of my Angels – indeed as I am literally writing the word “Angels”, I get this confirming message. Notice, notice, notice. And, yes, I will be pulling out my Doreen Virtue Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards to see what message they have for me.

I am aware that there are signs that I’m still not seeing and awarenesses that I’m still not completely (or at all) grasping at the moment – but I know that the Universe is still continually communicating with me and that I will see what I need to see and know what I need to know when the time is right. I am grateful for this reassurance that I am Divinely guided and that what is meant for me will not pass me by. The right doors will open, the right people will be there for me, and everything will unfold as it is meant to be. The signs are big and little, sometimes glaring and sometimes super subtle. My “r/R” has started sticking on my computer. Even that, I think is a message for me. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to figure it out, but I think I just realized what it is. Now I have to figure out what I’m supposed to do about it. It really is a fun adventure, this mystery of life.

The Universe is always talking to us – through signs and symbols, both literal and figurative – through songs, song lyrics, memories, overheard bits of conversations, interactions with other people, articles and books and movies that catch our attention, traffic jams … and countless other synchronicities. Are you paying attention? Does it strike you that maybe the message I received was also a message for you? There is something here for you – or you wouldn’t have read this far, don’t you think? I think so. And I invite you to open your awareness and start listening more closely to the myriad ways that Life is constantly communicating with you.

So, what has the Universe been saying to you – are you listening and are you able to figure out the messages? Feel free to share any stories – big or small, recent or historical – or any thoughts about this topic in the comments below. Also, if you’d like some help figuring it out, I do psychic/intuitive readings online and I’d be happy to consult with you. Just leave me a message and we’ll set up an appointment. Whether you contact me or not, best wishes on this magical journey of life! Namaste.

The Healing Power of Embracing Imperfection

I am currently editing a workbook that I wrote 20 years ago. I’m hoping to self-publish it this November. It’s just been sitting in my closet (and on my computer) all of these years. Twenty years later, as I re-read my own words, I think about how much it would have helped me over the years to have re-visited these words and concepts on a regular basis. I’m also thinking about how many other women this workbook could have helped – and how I’ve denied them that possibility by not bringing it out into the world. I wasn’t sure it was “good enough.” I was sure it wasn’t perfect. But, you know what? Virtually nothing is – and it doesn’t have to be! WE don’t have to be! Perfection is not required!

This workbook came about as a result of a failed marriage, my first. During that marriage, I felt like I had lost my sense of Self. In trying to be the “perfect” wife, I had lost my own identity. Our greatest learning comes from our greatest mistakes – and I had learned a lot of hard lessons. I wrote a 400 page book about it, then condensed that down into a workbook of lessons to take away – and questions to ask – in order to explore what I really want in my life, what my priorities are, and who I truly am outside of who I’ve been programmed to think I’m supposed to be by my family, church, schools, society, media, etc.

I’m thinking about the concept of the path of the Wounded Healer, which I’ll be writing more about in a future blog post. The trials, tribulations, and pain that we go through can teach us lessons that we can use to help others and ourselves. They can make us stronger. Yes, fallible. Yes, imperfect. Yes, human. But the reality is that we are all human. Perfection doesn’t exist – and our insistence on striving for it and negating ourselves unless we achieve it – is harmful. Our ability to move forward despite our imperfections, our willingness to embrace our imperfections, and our determination to live our full lives and share our imperfect gifts – are all steps toward healing. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect is a step toward healing.

I know a significant amount of information regarding how to have unsatisfying – even abusive – relationships … and also, how to not repeat those same mistakes. I know how to choose the wrong partners. I know how to put their needs above my own and not speak up for myself (which is not a strategy that I recommend!). I know how to betray my own interests and Self (also not recommended!). I could go on, but you get the picture. The thing is, because of these hard lessons, I can relate to people who are facing these issues. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine allowing a man to mistreat me. I wondered, Why on earth would these women put up with that? – until I was in that situation and then watched myself in some disbelief feeling and acting in ways that had previously been incomprehensible to me. I also learned how to heal myself from the many poor, harmful choices I made – and that is one of the gifts that I bring to the world.

Obviously, I still don’t have all of the answers. I’m not perfect. My message isn’t perfect – but it’s still worthwhile and helpful – and, for a lot of women, relatable. I could be wrong, but I believe that more women than not give their power away in relationships. I believe that many women lose their sense of Self in relationships. I believe that many women (and men) are unhappy with the sexual aspect of their relationships (obviously, with the infidelity rates being what they are). I believe that good communication and clarity about who we are, what we want, need, desire, and value would be helpful. I’m working on that in my own life.

I’m learning to (still) be willing to make mistakes (at my age, LOL – we’re never too old to make mistakes!). I’m learning to be willing to speak up even if I say the “wrong” thing. I’m trying. I’m doing my best. I’m learning as I go – that never stops, does it? I think that in a healthy human being, we are always learning and growing – if we stop, we stagnate. I’m learning to give myself space – to allow myself to just be, to rest, to do what I need to do to take care of myself in each moment. I’m creating space for me to live and breathe and explore and play and laugh – rather than be bound by social expectations and the unbearable seriousness of life. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt the need to create and hold space for myself and others to be our authentic selves. I’ve always felt an inner rebellion against conformity and the expectations of perfection (which has not protected me or prevented me from falling into these traps on occasion).

I can help people who are going through what I’ve been through – at the very least, I can offer empathy and compassion. I can share what helped me. I don’t have to have reached a perfect level of healing, either, in order to be helpful. That’s another trap people fall into – thinking we’re not an “expert” until we’ve completely mastered something or gotten it perfect. That is false. Nobody ever truly masters anything – there’s always room for improvement. Even doctors “practice” medicine – and we put our lives in their hands. We can’t hold our gifts back from the world until we reach an impossible level of perfection – we owe it to ourselves and to the world to share our gifts now. Yes, some professions require a certain level of competence – we don’t want to hurt anyone, so we get the requisite training. But for everything else, what’s holding us back? And why are we letting it?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ten Energy Drains & Ten Energy Boosts

Do you notice when something – or someone – drains your energy? Are you aware of how your energy cycles throughout your day? Do you understand sudden fatigue as resistance to something you don’t want to do? Do you know how to protect your energy?

Let’s look at some of the things that can drain your energy:

1) Saying “no” when you want to say “yes” – or saying “yes” when you want to say no.

We’ve all been there, right? Whether out of politeness, embarrassment, people pleasing, duty, not wanting to disappoint, fear, or some other reason – we don’t speak our truth in the moment. When we aren’t true to our own desires, it can suck our energy right out of us! Rather than rushing an answer, allow yourself to take a moment, tune in, and see what you truly want. Then you are able to choose what is most beneficial for your life and energy – and say what you need to say. Importantly, if you fail to give yourself the necessary time/space in the first place, don’t be afraid to go back and speak up and change your mind. It’s your life and your energy – you get to choose to take care of yourself!

2) Certain people/conversations that don’t vibe with you.


Do you ever get off the phone with someone and feel completely drained? Or notice yourself feeling fatigued every time you’re with a certain person or group? Pay attention! Your body has important information for you! Listen for the message there – and then choose to set healthy boundaries. That may mean avoiding some topics of conversation … or it may mean avoiding certain people altogether. For myself, I notice my energy flag when I’m in large groups of people. So, I take extra care of myself if I’m in that sort of situation – and avoid large crowds when I can.

3) Certain foods that make you feel sluggish (not always a bad thing).


Sometimes it feels good to feel satisfied and a little sleepy after a meal … but not right before an important meeting where you need to think clearly! Or not when you have a busy day ahead and you need your energy! It’s helpful to pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods – and since everyone is unique, nobody but you can give you accurate feedback. Just notice – and make adjustments accordingly. Save some foods for when you can just relax and enjoy.

4) Expectations that feel uncomfortable for you.


Ugh! Sometimes other people’s expectations of us can make us want to build a blanket fort and hide – amirite? “Should” is one of the most damaging words in the English language. This is where healthy boundaries are essential. You can choose not to let other people’s expectations suck the life out of you. You have the right to live your own life on your own terms – you know, as long as you aren’t harming anyone else. It is arguable that not allowing other people space to be themselves is harmful. Create that safe space for yourself too.

5) Stress.


Ah, stress. It’s everywhere, right? Stress is a huge energy drain. It’s worth looking at ways to reduce stress in your life – and ways to handle/cope with the stress that is inevitable. I find it helpful to ask if the things that are stressing me out are actually important to me – or if I’m just falling into thought patterns that have been socialized into me. With some frequency, the reality is that I don’t really care about whatever it was that I was getting so worked up about. Another helpful thing I do is focus on the present moment – usually my stress isn’t here in this moment. (Thank you, Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer for this insight!) Some people benefit from meditation. Some people benefit from long walks. Find what works for you and do it!

6) Worry.


How much of our energy do we burn up worrying about things that are out of our control? I’ve been a world-class worrier in my life. I was afraid that if I didn’t worry, if I wasn’t thinking of every possible contingency, then tragedy could strike. The problem is that it is impossible to think of every possible contingency – and that life is going to happen how it happens anyway, no matter how much we try to control it. I learned this when I fell while walking (not normally considered a risky behavior) and broke both arms at the same time! I could not have seen that coming or prevented it! We need to learn to let go of our worry – it is not protecting us! On the contrary, it is draining our life force as well as our joy and pleasure in life.

7) Feeling pressure to …


Nobody I’ve ever met likes feeling pressured about anything – not even fun stuff. In fact, feeling pressured takes the fun out of pretty much everything. It’s important that we choose to do things out of our own desire and pleasure rather than feeling compelled to do them in order to make someone else happy or to meet an obligation. In fact, sometimes feeling pressure to do something makes us feel resistant to doing something we’d otherwise actually enjoy and want to do! If you’re feeling pressure, maybe just take a look at how you’re feeling under there – and honor whatever it is you are feeling. That will most likely involve some communication – it’s worth the effort!

8) Hurry. Feeling like you have to hurry/rush.


So many of us rush through our days, from one thing to the next with barely time to catch our breath. I learned a long time ago to not over-schedule myself. I can’t do it! I know my energy limits – and honestly, I’d rather err on the side of being over-protective of my energy than trying to do too much and feeling overwhelmed. I know when I’m over-committed because I get irresistible urges to nap. It just knocks me right out. It’s okay to say “no” to people and opportunities – even fun! – to take care of your well-being.

9) Hunger.


Our bodies run on fuel. When we fail to feed them adequately, our energy gets depleted. This isn’t rocket science. Most people can’t think clearly, can’t function as well, and don’t feel energetic when we are hungry. I’ve known a few people who’ve gotten all excited with how energetic they felt if they skipped a meal. Meh. I don’t think that’s true for most people. Hunger makes me tired, cranky, irritable, and unable to function. I know I’m not alone in that.

10) Holding yourself back from what you want – that is exhausting
.

How much energy do you expend not allowing yourself to say or do what you would like to say or do? How much energy does it take to keep your social mask in place? To be polite when you’d like to scream? To keep control of yourself and hold back when you’d like to dance in the street or ask for a hug or ask for help? We spend so much time and effort managing our emotions and protecting our egos from the embarrassment of being human and the shame of needing things. That uses up so much of our energy. What if we were to choose to live authentically? To stop caring so damn much what other people think? Let your body move! Let your voice be heard! Ask for what you need or want. Let yourself be human!

Now, let’s look at some things that can protect and even boost your energy:


1) Laughter.

Smile – all the way to your eyes. Did you feel that? Did it shift your energy? They say that a smile changes your mood. That’s even more true of laughter. There’s a reason that “laughter is the best medicine” is an adage that’s been passed down through generations. Reader’s Digest is not the only one who’s noticed! Laughter gets the happiness hormones circulating – and that gives us energy. Have you ever done a laughing meditation? You don’t even have to have anything funny to laugh at – you just start the physical motion of laughing and keep it going. Soon, real laughter takes over – and it’s very energizing! Try it! Share it! It’s really fun when done in a group!

2) Doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say.


There is so much power, freedom, and energy in living authentically. When you aren’t carefully editing every single word you say, your energy doesn’t get blocked. You just flow. Can you imagine a quiet mind? Like, not having conversations in your mind in preparation of how you’ll handle some conversation/issue or how you wish you would have? If you just speak your truth in the moment, you don’t have to worry about it. When you allow your life force to guide you and you don’t block it, the amount of energy that frees up can be amazing. Have you ever spent hours doing something you love – and you didn’t even realize how much time had passed and you never got the least bit tired? Maybe spend more time like that!

3) Food that fuels you.


Food is nourishment. Food is also pleasure – which is often tied to fun and connection. Food fuels us in multiple ways – not just nutrition. Food gives us energy, not just through calories and nutrients, but through pleasure. Yes, it’s ideal to get your fruits and veggies and proteins – to have a balanced diet. I believe it’s also ideal to enjoy your food, whether you are alone or are enjoying meals together with loved ones, friends, or community. Pleasure gives us energy.

4) Enough rest.


It is helpful to know how much sleep you personally need – and honor that. Some people need more sleep than others. That’s okay and nothing to be ashamed about. There are no actual rewards for sleeping less, even though some people act like there should be. Ignore them. Sleep is healing and restorative. Naps are heaven. Take what you need to feel your best. Yes, sleeping too much can drain your energy, but that’s not the issue for most people. Find your sweet spot and listen to your body’s cues.

5) Emotional, physical, mental, spiritual support and connection. Love
.

You know the feeling when you’re excited to see someone? Or when you’re excited to go somewhere? For me, that excitement usually stems from feeling like I’m going to be feeling emotional, physical, mental, and/or spiritual connection – and it gives me energy. I’m excited to spend time with people that I love – or to meet new people with whom I may form connections. Interesting conversations feed my mind. Hugs and physical affection or shared activities (like walking, dancing, biking, swimming) feed my body. Laughter and a sense of belonging feed my emotions. Deep, authentic conversations feed my spirit. Being loved makes my energy feel expansive. What feeds your energy body? In what ways do your connections and activities make you feel more alive?

6) Self-care – baths, massages, Reiki, journaling – whatever makes you feel most

relaxed and alive.

So what do you do to recharge your batteries? In what ways do you nurture and care for yourself? I know I feel better when I do Reiki self-treatments and yoga regularly. Hopping on my bike is a guaranteed mood-booster. Playing music and dancing is essential to my well-being. I love a good massage (that’s one of the things I’m really missing during the pandemic!). Writing in my journal is my major coping tool. And water – whether it’s a bath or a hot shower, a pool or a lake – water heals me, relaxes me, allows me to recharge.

7) Gratitude. 


Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude! When I am consciously grateful for people and things in my life, my energy lifts. Focusing on who/what we are grateful for in our lives reduces stress. The more gratitude we feel, the less stress we feel – it puts us in a different emotional bandwidth. I’m not saying that it makes all of our problems/challenges disappear – but it may make the load lighter. When we put our focus on gratitude, our energy expands. Try it!

8) Hope, inspiration, purpose.


There is nothing like a sense of purpose to lift our energy! When we are inspired and hopeful, that’s like rocket fuel for our energy levels. What gives you inspiration and hope? What do you deeply care about? What would you like to create in the world – or enjoy in the world? If money were no object and there were no obstacles, what would you do? Let yourself try on that feeling – and watch how your energy rises. They say that if you can dream it, you can achieve it. In what ways can you move toward your dreams and desires? Sometimes offering others hope and inspiration can fill us up in ways we couldn’t have imagined. What can you offer your loved ones, your friends, your community?

9) Enjoyable exercise, preferably out in nature … because sunshine and trees and a nice breeze …. 


Getting our hearts pumping can help us gain energy. A lot of the time, people think that exercising takes up too much time and energy. Not true! Most people feel better and are more productive after exercising, getting more accomplished in less time. I make it simple for myself by only exercising in ways that I enjoy. I wouldn’t choose to do anything I found boring or unpleasant – not even for a “good” cause. So, in what ways do you enjoy moving? Do you like being out in nature – or do you prefer being inside? I love to ride my bike outside, feeling the wind and sun on my body, breathing the fresh air. It gives me a happiness quotient that I find helpful for my energy body. I believe that part of the benefits of exercise derive from the pleasure of moving our bodies and being physically present in our bodies – so make sure to do something you enjoy!

10) Fun, play, doing things you truly enjoy
.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be silly? Do you remember fun? Play? Adults can get so caught up in survival mode, busy working and being serious – that we forget how to simply relax and have fun (or use over-indulgence in alcohol as a poor substitute). What did you enjoy playing as a child? Do you like board games? Video games? Drawing or painting? I remember we used to play practical jokes on each other with some frequency. Just the thought makes me feel giddy. LOL What makes you feel alive? Do you like to play catch? Four square? Golf? Tennis? Basketball? It’s worth making time to play! Don’t take yourself too seriously or that ruins the fun! Pre-pandemic, I loved to go out dancing and singing karaoke. The key is to be willing to be silly and just have fun! Maybe there’s something you’d like to learn to do. What are you waiting for? If you enjoy it, it’s giving you energy! Go for it!

Please feel free to share in the comments below the things that you’ve noticed drain your energy – and/or the things that lift your energy. If you would like some coaching on how to live more authentically and boost/protect your energy, feel free to hit “Home” at the bottom of the page and contact me!

Energy Clues

Have you ever been getting ready to go somewhere or do something … and then suddenly, you feel like you desperately want to take a nap? It may even have been something you were looking forward to immensely, but your energy somehow feels zapped, like your battery is almost dead?

Have you ever been dead tired, couldn’t even keep your eyes open … and then you get a phone call that suddenly has you wide awake, energized, and excited to go out?

Do you pay attention to what your energy is doing throughout the day and night? Do you ever notice the subtle shifts of energy that are happening all day long? Do you notice the big shifts? Or do you just push through it all and do what you feel needs to be done?

Do you notice how you feel after spending time with certain people? If you pay attention, you’ll notice that some people drain your energy … and some people leave you feeling uplifted, inspired, and energized. You might want to pay attention to these energy clues and make decisions about with whom you spend your time accordingly!

Your body is always communicating with you. The question is: are you listening? Unfortunately, if we don’t pay attention to the smaller clues, like subtle energy shifts, then the body may start getting louder, with increasing fatigue, pain and dysfunction.

So, for example, when you eat something, notice how you feel afterward – has it energized you or made you long for a nap? Which, naps are good, don’t get me wrong! And sometimes a comfort meal that makes us sleepy is just the ticket, right? But awareness is good too. Maybe we have a presentation to give that we want to be energized for. It would be helpful to eat something that fuels us rather than slows us down in that case.

Something I couldn’t figure out for the longest time is why I’d feel so tired when I was in a theatre watching a very enjoyable play. I’d have the thought/awareness that this play was incredibly fun/moving/well-done – I was loving it! – and at the same time, I was having the feeling that I couldn’t wait for it to end so that I could go home and sleep. What I finally came to understand is that, being very empathic, being in a large crowd is draining for me. I frequently get tired when there are a lot of people around, no matter how much fun I’m having.

It’s not just large crowds in person, either! I was noticing that every time I got on a Zoom call with a big group of people, I’d start nodding off. It didn’t matter how interested I was in the topic or the people, I’d feel my eyes shutting themselves! Then a friend pointed out that I was probably absorbing everyone’s energy and it was overloading me, basically blowing my circuit. I started being more aware of the energy and consciously shielding myself – and that helped a lot!

Here are 3 quick ways to begin to take intuitive clues from your energy:

1) Notice when you feel tired. Did it come on suddenly? Were you getting tired a few minutes before – or did it just hit you? Do you have reasons to be tired – or is it hitting you unexpectedly? Have you just spent time with someone or talked to them on the phone? Do you regularly feel tired after being/talking with this person? Think about the circumstances around your fatigue. Did you just eat something that makes you sleepy? Were you in a situation that drains your energy (like me at a play)?

2) Notice when you feel energized. Who/what makes you feel like you are lit up with energy and excitement? Or even what makes you feel quietly motivated and energized? What foods make you feel alert and active, ready to play and/or be productive? Who/what fuels you, body, mind, and spirit? What conversations excite you? What music moves you? What purpose gives you life?

3) Follow your energy to the extent that you can. Make choices that charge you up! I know that sometimes there are things we feel obligated to do for work or our families or friends – but there are also times where we get to choose. When I feel myself resisting something by getting tired, I ask myself, what would excite me to do right now? What would give me energy to choose right now? So, for example, if I’m thinking I should be applying for jobs and that has me feeling drained and like I want to take a nap … I think, what would make me feel awake and alert right now? What would I be happier to be doing? Then I think about writing a blog post or reading a book or baking cookies, and decide to do that instead … and my fatigue miraculously disappears! When I go do that for an hour or so, then I can come back and apply for jobs with a better attitude and more energy. And if doing the thing I really want to do doesn’t give me an energy boost, then maybe I just really need a nap!

When we are paying attention, our energy can give us clues to whether something or someone is a “yes” for us or a “no” for us. Another useful tool in our intuitive toolbox.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Paying attention to my energy has certainly helped me to make better choices in my life! I continue to grow in awareness and I am grateful for that. If you’d like help identifying your energy patterns – or if you’d be interested in receiving some Reiki energy or energy healing, please click on “Home” below – and contact me for an appointment. Be blessed!

The Gift(s) When Things Go “Wrong”

My life has not gone according to my plans at all. In fact, the cliché, “We make plans and God laughs” comes to mind. I’ve been determined to make the best of things – which is not to say that I haven’t had my grief, whining, anger, despair, resentments, and complaints along the way. I’ve had the full range – and to be clear, I value the full range. I’m a big fan of Carl Jung, who famously said, “I’d rather be whole than good.” 

However. Even through all of my resistance – even though Life has had to drag me kicking and screaming at times – the fact of the matter is that if I stop to breathe and center myself a moment, I can clearly see where each experience has led me to where I needed to be, to the lessons I needed to have, to the strengths I needed to develop, and to the people with whom I was meant to connect. Every single, horrible, disappointing, unpleasant, heartbreaking, and/or unwanted event has had a purpose. There are a few things that I’m still not sure why they happened the way they did – but I do know that they are part of what brought me to where I am today, which is definitely where I need to be. So, there’s that. 

In addition to the “negative” responses I’ve had to the interruptions, blocking, and destruction of my own plans, I’ve also experienced personal growth, strength, courage, resilience, compassion, and a host of other “positive” impacts from these detours Life has thrown at me. 

A few examples: 

Falling and breaking both of my arms at the same time was decidedly not fun. However, that accident showed me some very important things about my life. It exposed a “friend” whom I’d spent most of my days with for years, to whom I’d given money, loaned my car, given free childcare, and frequently (daily) fed her and her child – as not being my friend at all. I could have gone on giving and trusting forever had I not been given the opportunity to clearly see that she was just using me and didn’t actually care about or value me at all. She did not lift a single finger to help me when I was completely helpless.

Thankfully, that same experience also showed me a true friend, a retired nurse, who took me into her home and took care of me for two months – until I could take care of myself again. The first couple of weeks, I couldn’t even hold a toothbrush or a fork. She did everything for me. I don’t know how I would have survived without her. My gratitude for her is endless. My gratitude for basic health and mobility also increased thanks to that experience, along with my understanding of how it feels to be at the mercy of other people’s compassion, care, and kindness. I’d been the caregiver a few times in my life. This was my time to allow myself to be cared for – and to do something that I’ve struggled with: to allow myself to receive. Just receive. Not give back. Not over-give, doing something even nicer/better for the other person. Just receive. 

In fact, Life has busted me down a few times in the past few years. It’s been challenging for me in my life to ever ask for help – or for anything. I’ve let my ego stand in the way. I’ve let fear stand in the way. I’ve let a sense of unworthiness block me from asking for what I want, need, or desire. I’ve had a hard time pushing past that – so Life pushed me. When I had cancer, I had to have surgery in a different state than where I lived – and a few friends took me in and took care of me throughout the whole ordeal and healing time.

Later, when I risked everything on an invention I created and the business that I thought would take the world by storm … and ended up having to sell my house and go into bankruptcy – I was welcomed into a friend’s home, where I was able to rent an inexpensive room. My pride may have been kicked in a bit, but it was good for my ability to accept help and to feel belonging, care, and community. I also learned the important lesson that allowing other people to give generously to you gives them the opportunity to feel good about themselves, to feel generous, loving, giving, kind, and empowered. Because when someone is able to be strong for other people and help them, they feel empowered. I’ve denied people those good feelings too often in my life by refusing to accept help, needing to be “self-sufficient.” Life taught me that I can’t be – that being held in community matters.

I may regret my marriages, but my first marriage gave me my beloved child and my second marriage took me to a place in Florida where I wouldn’t have gone on my own, where I met wonderful friends and chosen family. So, the marriages served their purpose – not to mention the many lessons I learned in each marriage about life, myself, and relationship/s. 

There have been countless incidents of redirections, closed doors, roadblocks, falls, losses, hurts, and other upsets. Sometimes Life has been gentle and sometimes not. There have also been countless incidents of kindnesses, opened doors, opportunities, grace, love, hope, possibilities, and other beneficial occurrences. My life has been blessed. Everything that has happened in my life has given me some form of gift – perspective, wisdom, insight, blessings, friendships, love. 

My life is no different in this than anyone else’s. We all have our paths we are meant to travel, our lessons we are meant to learn, the gifts we are meant to receive. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our plans. We think we know exactly what we want and how it should all unfold. I’m learning to go for what I want – but also to hold it loosely, knowing that the Universe may have better plans for me. I’m learning to trust my journey, trust my path – and know that everything happens in Divine Right Order and Timing. I’m patient with myself when I’m struggling to accept what’s happening. It isn’t easy giving up our illusions of control and “safety.” Self-compassion is an essential ability to develop. I just try to remember to tap into my Inner Knowing – and to connect with that eternal Self that can keep me calm, grounded, peaceful – and in trust that there is a gift in every situation for me to discover – and that I am always on the right path for me.


Are You Paying Attention to the Signs?

Life is frequently sending us all kinds of signs, both subtle and overt, to help guide us along the way. They come in countless forms – numbers, songs, colors, fortune cookies, memes, passages in books we read, snippets of conversations we overhear, literal signs, and more. The Universe is constantly talking to us and interacting with us – the question is: are we paying attention?

I met my second husband on 1/23/4. When I met him, I started seeing those numbers everywhere – on street signs, on the clock, on restaurant or grocery bills. That number sequence just kept showing up – and that gave me an assurance that this was the right path for me. Now, that marriage didn’t work out, but it did have a lot of important lessons. In my next post, I’m going to be talking about how sometimes the things that seems to go “wrong” actually lead us to where we need to be. There was perhaps no other way to get there.

I talked in a previous post about how my Mom had lit a candle to let me know she was still around and okay after she’d passed. When my Dad had passed many years previously, my Mom had been in a college computer graphics class. She was working on a project when her screen went blank. It remained blank for over ten minutes. Even the professor couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was only later that she found out that my Dad had passed of a sudden heart attack at that exact time that Mom’s screen went blank. Now, every once in a while, one of my screens will go blank for no reason – and I feel like that’s Mom’s secret code for saying “hi” to me and letting me know she’s still around.

You may think that’s just imaginative on my part – but a little over a year ago, I had a visit with a psychic medium. Now this psychic didn’t know me at all – but my Mom came through loud and clear. She told me that my Mom mentioned she enjoyed seeing me with her colorful tea mugs, which I use every morning. The psychic mentioned the sand-dollar earrings I was wearing, which remind me of my Mom because she loved sand-dollars. She said my Mom acknowledged her awareness of my wearing them and the connection I feel to her through them. Just little signs, but they mean a lot to me.

She predicted that I would be moving to Colorado even though that wasn’t the plan. We were planning for my loved ones to be joining me in Florida. We actually tried it that way, but it didn’t work out – and just as predicted, I ended up moving to Colorado, where I am very happy to be!

I have a new attitude as of late in relation to losing/misplacing things – because I’ve noticed each time that I do, I find other things that I wasn’t even thinking of that were beneficial for me to find. Or sometimes, I get an intuition to do something – and then that leads to a whole series of events that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t followed that intuition and taken that webinar or joined that group, etc. To me, those are all signs that I am being Divinely guided.

In fact, in order to remember so I could write this post accurately, I was listening to the recording of that meeting with the psychic – and heard helpful things that I had forgotten about – so I feel like I was meant to listen to that recording today. One of the things that I hadn’t even registered at the time was her mentioning the number “23” – which was my anniversary day that we’d always celebrated each month. Strange that in the reading, I didn’t put it together. That happens sometimes – you realize later what a psychic was referring to.

This is so cool. I’m listening to when Nodira predicted that I’d be moving in about 8 months to a year, which I insisted wasn’t possible because it was going to take me two more years to finish my license requirements for my professional teaching certificate. Guess what? Almost exactly one year later, I moved. She’s also telling me that I always have a “team of Divine Helpers” around me – and says, “If you need guidance, you can always say, ‘Give me a sign in the physical world. Show me if I’m making the right choice.’ Something you will see, someone will pass you by and say something, or a banner somewhere or a sticker on a car in front of you, something. The more aware you are, the more able they are to talk to you.”

See what I mean? I am happy to have further confirmation of this psychic’s accuracy – and it feels like another sign among many that I should contact her again. I’ve been having that feeling and she’s been brought into my awareness several times in the past few months. If I hadn’t been writing this post and hadn’t wanted to remember some other details, I would not have been listening to this recording! There are so many signs of how we are being guided in our lives if we look for them – countless synchronicities. It’s easy not to notice them if we aren’t paying attention.

Many of us are familiar with the “1111” – and the various meanings ascribed to that. “1234” remains a frequent guiding post to me. I often see “444” and “555.” When I see those patterns of numbers, I just pause, take note, see what Life may be trying to get me to notice – or just feel a sense of trust, of being held. There are times when I’ll be feeling stressed or worried, then I’ll see those numbers and feel a sense of relief and reassurance.

When I’m in tune and paying attention, I see how much my life is guided and how everything seems to be orchestrated to bring me to wherever I need to be, and to provide me with whatever I need, whether that be material things, opportunities, information, messages, or connections. It always comes – I just sometimes have to look for it. When I worry or feel doubtful, Life provides me with hope and inspiration. I’m not always paying attention and sometimes when I’m not listening to the gentler guidance, Life has to turn up the volume – which is not always pleasant. It’s much nicer when Life can whisper and guide me softly and gently. I find that the more grounded and centered I am, the easier it is for me to pick up on the signs all around me. The more I follow and trust my intuition and signs, the more effortless and relaxed life feels.

If you’d like to talk about how to get more grounded and in touch with your own intuition, click “Home” on the bottom of this page and contact me through my website. Remember to pay attention to the signs all around you! Blessed be.

The Magic Pain Relief of a Small Ball

In a time when going to a massage therapist (or anywhere) may seem too risky, it’s helpful to have ways to relieve sore areas in our bodies on our own. There are lots of home self-care techniques that I recommend to my clients. Yoga and stretching are helpful, of course. Unwinding is great! But what about that knife of pain between your shoulders that stretching doesn’t touch and unwinding hasn’t shaken loose? May I introduce to you the amazing yellow ball.

Now, the reality is, you can use just about any ball of any size or hardness. You can use foam rollers and other shapes too – but this 4 inch yellow ball (that I bought many years ago on Amazon) has been a lifesaver to me over the years.

Here’s how it works: wherever you have a sore spot, put the yellow ball under it and lie on it – or put it against something and lean into it. Here’s the secret: don’t push or force – just let your body sink in, allowing your body’s tissues to soften gently onto the ball. Most people find it more comfortable to do in bed. You can do it on the floor, but it may be more painful because on a hard floor, there’s no give under the ball. You may be able to do it on the couch, but the couch may have too much give. You’ll have to experiment and see what works best for you.

Here’s the other secret: it can take your myofascial tissue (that surrounds your muscles and is the webbing that holds your body together) 5-7 minutes to release. So, you need to relax, breathe, and sink in for 5-7 minutes to get the best results/relief. A lot of the time, when people are stretching, they rush through. Mistake! One minute really isn’t going to do it. You have to give your body’s tissues time to release!

Once you release one spot of pain, you can move the ball to another spot. I will often stick a ball behind my back while I’m sitting (I’ve got one there now!) or even driving (just be sure it doesn’t drop at your feet while driving!). What the pressure of the ball does is allows restrictions in the myofascial tissue to release – which relaxes the tension and takes pressure off of pain sensitive nerves. It can make a huge difference in how we feel and in many cases even in our range of motion.

You can try it with a tennis ball. I’ve found that to be a little too small and hard. I’ve used a yoga ball successfully – it’s a little bigger than the 4″ ball. In desperate situations, I’ve even used a water bottle or a rolled up towel.

To learn more about myofascial release and its benefits, check out John Barnes’ website. If you’d like some coaching around self-care techniques or individualized suggestions for specific areas, I’m happy to help – just contact me!