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The first experience I had with Spirituality was as the recipient of a Reiki distance healing. At the time, I was experiencing a tremendous amount of grief from the recent death of my brother due to a drug overdose. He was 38 years old and my younger brother. His death sent me into a downward spiral that I could not seem to get out of. I had always been a pretty optimistic person who was able to work through some difficult circumstances and grow and evolve both personally and professionally. But this experience was different. My brother’s death called into question the very nature of the purpose of my life and of my relationships. We had been so close, but over the years we had drifted apart and by the time he died, we were estranged. I felt completely at a loss as to how to move forward with seemingly no opportunity to ever heal or resolve the conflicts I had felt in my relationship with my brother. I was in a dark place.
After his death, I spoke frequently with my best friend and with my close relatives. Everyone was concerned about my mental and emotional state. Indeed, I was too. Just getting out of bed and through the day without a complete breakdown was difficult. It was hard for me to be a mom to my son. Everything suffered. My best friend finally confronted me. She told me she was concerned about me, that I was sinking further out of reach and she was worried that nothing she or anybody else said or did to try to help me climb out of my grief was helping. She even told me she was beginning to dread talking to me, as she felt so helpless and frustrated at how I was getting on. She told me she had bought me 6 distance Reiki sessions and basically begged me to try it.
Her words were difficult for me to hear. But I knew she was telling me the truth. At that point I knew had a decision to make - I could either shut her out or listen to her and try something different. Believe me, I wanted to just hang up the phone and add her to the list of things that were working against me. But I didn't. I listened and I took it in. I sat with her words for a couple days then I called her back and said I would try it. After all, I really had nothing to lose. I had never given any thought to Spiritual healing or energy work; in fact I had never even considered having a psychic reading or anything else of that nature. So, this was new for me.
I spoke with the healer briefly on the phone prior to our first session and I could feel her honest and open intention to connect with me on a deeper level and help me heal. She only asked me my birthday and my home address. She did not ask any questions at all about my history or issues. She told me she wanted to do the session when I was asleep, as that would be when I would be most likely the most receptive to the energy work. It made no difference to me, as I had no expectations. The morning after my first session, I could immediately feel a difference in myself. I felt that clouds had been lifted, that my chest was lighter, that the heaviness and darkness surrounding me was starting to lighten. I felt these changes both physically and emotionally. I am pretty well in tune with my body as a professional dancer and I am really used assessing my physical state in a detailed and deep way, so I was absolutely surprised, excited and intrigued with how profoundly I felt things had shifted within me after this first session. I could not wait to hear what the healer had to say about the session.
We had a phone consultation that day and my healer went into great detail about the issues I was indeed experiencing in my life. She spoke to me about toxic relationships, baggage from the past and how my Spirit was in serious need of some attention. She went on to discuss how I needed psychic and spiritual protection because of my abilities. Then she began telling me about the "helpers" I had in Spirit and how "Archangel Michael" wanted to work with me. I had never heard of an Archangel before – these terms were completely new to me and I seriously had no idea what she was talking about. But I could feel that I was standing on the edge of something truly amazing. Her words rang true to me at a depth I was not aware that I had. My Spirit actually had been longing to have this healing experience and just hadn't realized it. In fact, Throughout my life I had always kind of secretly hoped someone, like a doctor or something, would be able to see past the surface of me and into who I really was, to my inner self. This Reiki treatment was that experience, but with a Spiritual healer instead of a medical one.
My healer began walking me through the basics of Spirituality. She gave me books to read and affirmations and exercises to do to release and cut cords, to clear myself of images, thought forms events and situations that I was still reliving in myself. I began a regular meditation practice. The more I released the past, the more clarity I began to find in myself. I began to understand more about soul growth and what the nature of my relationship with my brother truly is. Many things suddenly began to make sense in a way I didn’t expect. I began to release the old images I had of myself as a victim, and in doing this I began to step into my true power.
When my 6 sessions were up, my healer encouraged me to find my own path and told me that I was ready. All I wanted was to figure out how I could do what she was doing. I wanted to be able to work energetically with people, to see their energy systems and help them identify and release what no longer served them. I wanted to open my clairvoyance in order to see beyond the physical into the truth existing in the unseen Spiritual and energetic levels. So, I found a Reiki teacher in my area and got my first attunement. The ceremony was a sacred experience for me and I could literally feel my crown chakra open to receive the Divine energy flow. I began practicing regularly and went back for my Level II certification a couple of months later. It was after this that things really started to change for me.
I got a bad cold after my second attunement, which I could feel was actually my body adjusting to the new energetic vibration the attunement brought into my system. In my meditations, I began to notice my experiences with Spirit becoming clearer and more regular. I began connecting clearly with Angels, Archangels, Spirit Guides, Power animals and Loved Ones. I saw my brother in Spirit on a regular basis and I began receiving information from him and other Loved Ones. The information became more detailed and I had to take the leap and start sharing what came through. I kind of dipped my toe in and started testing it out. In one meditation, my brother came to me with very specific information about my Dad's house, which I have never seen. My brother gave me furniture placement, where his ashes were placed, what chair my dad liked to sit in while watching TV and where the bathroom was. I was nervous about sharing this with my dad, as I was afraid that somehow it wasn't real and I had made it all up. But I gathered my courage and told my Dad what my brother had shown me. It was all correct. Every detail. This was incredible validation for me, and it gave me confidence to expand and develop my mediumship. Soon, I began communicating with Spirit for others.
Reiki was the door opener for me on my Spiritual path. I feel the energy attunements were necessary steps in the path toward becoming a medium. This is how Spirit often works-it gives you one step at a time and it's up to you to follow the breadcrumbs. My path began with Reiki, but soon led me to a path in mediumship. This works differently for everyone. I believe that each person's Spirit will align the circumstances that will help each of us to open to our inner selves and begin to consciously engage in our spiritual journeys. In Spiritual growth, there is no one way, there is no right way. There is only your way. Trust it, follow it and know you are loved every step of the way.
So I had a really nice Thanksgiving this year. Some extended family came into town and we all went out to a restaurant. I enjoyed myself, but gradually I began to feel like something was off. Really off. At first I couldn’t really tell why I was feeling so stifled, anxious and irritable. But now, after a day or so to reflect and re-center, I get it.
Opening to a spiritual path changes everything about you. It changes you at a core fundamental level. Your very vibration changes as you open to receive more and more light into yourself. As you begin to accept that you are more than just a physical being, as you create that clear channel between yourself, your Guides, Angels and Deceased Loved Ones, everything about you shifts and rearranges. Old habits, activities and people that you once enjoyed fall away. Your priorities change, your tastes change – your personality and character change. As you open to Spirit you release the old habits and hurts and you make room for love, compassion and forgiveness. You open a channel to the Divine and you begin to see your life as part of an eternal flow. Everything about you shifts in a deep, powerful and beautiful way.
When you are with family and old friends, you are with people who know you a certain way. You have a long and established history and dynamic with these individuals and they understand you and see you in a particular light. Their perception of you exists in a framework that has been created over a long period of time. They feel that they know you, understand you, maybe even predict you. Most importantly, they know who they are in relation to who you are.
Now, even if you aren’t trumpeting your Spirituality about to everyone, or yelling from the rooftops or anything like that, others still feel the shift when you change your belief system. These changes are felt even when you aren’t making a point of discussing your beliefs. Changes on this level are like the rumblings in the Earth as the plates begin to shift – it is deep and silent but the ground itself is moving and other can feel it too, even if they don’t know what it is they are feeling. When people sense change occurring in those they have come to see and understand in a certain way, it can be unsettling. They may question who you are now, and if you are different, where does that leave them? Your changes may shake their own foundations and make them feel uncomfortable on a conscious or unconscious level. They may feel a mix of confusion, rejection or fear that their status quo is suddenly in question.
So you are changing – you feel it and your family feels it, even if they aren’t saying it out loud. Now, because you are opening your awareness to energy and to Spirit, you sense your family’s unease. You can energetically feel other’s feelings towards you – their confusion, their rejection, and the walls they are putting up. The doubt, fear and anxiety you may be feeling in these situations are not always coming from you – you most likely are picking up on other’s emotions. Your family loves you and they are not (usually) intentionally trying to block you out, but to an empathic person it can feel that way. The important thing to remember is that this reaction is not personal – it is a form of self-defense for people who are afraid of the changes they sense in you because it implies change that they too may need to make. Change is scary for many people and they will do almost anything to avoid it.
In these situations when you sense yourself getting anxious, irritable or feeling like there is a big thick wall around you and you don’t quite know why, here’s what you do:
- Separate your energy. The fast and easy way to do this is to imagine yourself in a golden egg. Your egg can be as large or small as you want – as long as it completely surrounds you. Inside the egg is you and outside is everyone and everything else. Then, imagine a white force field around your egg that pushes away the energy that is pressing in on you.
- Detach. When you feel overwhelmed, separate. Take yourself to a different room and take some time to release your emotions. Try to look at the whole scenario you are in as an outsider – like someone looking in through a window. This helps to pull yourself out of the emotions you feel and back into a higher perspective. Try to do this without judgment – just as an innocent bystander would pass by a window and see a group of people inside together. This helps to clarify the roles being played and can take the heat out of the situation for you.
- Clear. Take extra time to clear your energy. Ask Archangel Michael to clear any negative energies from within and around you. Take time to breathe white light in and circulate it in each energy center.
As you find yourself in the company of people you love but may not have much in common with, remember that you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You are who you are just as they are who they are. Your family is your soul group and there are important reasons you are together – perhaps one of them for you can be to learn how to be true yourself and stand your ground, in your own heart.
I recently found myself at a bookstore and as I was wandering around I heard my Guides say "Sonia Choquette". OK, I know who she is, in fact I read two of her books "The Psychic Pathway” and "Ask Your Guides" when I first began my Spiritual path, but I hadn't really looked at her latest book "Walking Home". But I listened to my guides, picked it up and read the intro over some tea.
Well, the first bit of the book illuminated something truly fundamental to what a spiritual path is all about. Sonia Choquette recently experienced a time in her life when suddenly everything was in question. After the death of her father and then her brother, she began a period of deep inner reflection. She explains that her life, her priorities and even her marriage were no longer honest representations of her Spirit. She felt disconnected from her self, so she decided to walk the famous and ancient pilgrimage in Spain, the Camino. She committed to walking this trek to help herself find forgiveness and healing but most of all; she was seeking reconnection to her true self, her Spirit. Sonia was facing a dark night of the soul.
I believe that we all have these moments of reckoning, and they come no matter who you are, how evolved you are or how successful or not successful you are. For me, this moment was also precipitated by a death, the death of my younger brother to a drug overdose. When he was gone, I realized that I had been living my life by defining myself by all of the hardships I had overcome. I was suddenly tired of all of those old tales about pain, fear and hardships of my childhood. I realized that all of the time I spent with my therapist rehashing the past was essentially reinforcing all of the things, people and events that I most needed to release. I began to question myself: wasn't there more to me than just an accumulation of experiences, triumphs and hardships? Every time I looked in the mirror or talked about my life I heard the same stories, saw the same images, felt the same relived over pain again and again. Why was I doing this? I could feel it was time to let go of the past. But I was afraid – I didn’t know who I was without all of my familiar stories. How could I let go of everything that I thought made me who I was? But I knew I had release the past to in order to go on. I was facing my dark night of the soul.
A dark night of the soul is often the beginning of a spiritual awakening. The soul will arrange the circumstances necessary to get you to become conscious of yourself and your life in a new way. Often these circumstances are a series of extreme events that challenge you to your core. Your soul creates events that force you to see more of the picture of who you are than you have been seeing – it makes you break down the images, thoughts and narrative you have constructed about your life. Often these challenges come in the form of illnesses, deaths and the dissolution of relationships. Your Soul does this not to punish you, but to help you discover how much more there is to you than the stories you have been telling yourself. It makes you find the light through the darkness.
A dark night of the soul is about opening to the truth behind the truth-it is about looking beyond what you think you know about yourself and opening to the real truth that your Spirit is wise and powerful and has so much more to offer than any self-victimization or aggrandizement that your ego could ever invent. When you begin to reach down within and question everything about yourself; when you can be honest and see that there is something missing in your life; when you sift through the layers of half-truths and when you feel the darkest; is when your soul is reaching for the light.
Why does it need to be so uncomfortable? Well, think about your belief system before you opened to Spirit. Was there room for belief in your Spirit as an eternal soul on a path of growth? Was there space for your Guides, Angels and Loved Ones? Probably not. Chances are there wasn’t much room there at all to accept that you are a Spirit inside a body, that you have a team of Spiritual supporters guiding, assisting and loving you towards your Highest and greatest good at all times. Sometimes our Spirits need us to break down our existing belief structure in order to build it anew from the Light within.
Sonia Choquette's pilgrimage is a great metaphor for the path we are all on: heading towards that unburdening and revelation of the soul within. It is also a poignant reminder that no matter where we are on our life path, here on earth we are all here to grow, to evolve and to learn. Sonia is wise enough to admit that the Spiritual pathway is a life long one, for all of us. When your life reaches that critical moment where everything seems like it is just falling apart, try to remember that is precisely when you are closer to your Spirit than ever before. If you feel yourself in this place, take heart and know there are many who walk those dark hallways with you, and we come out the other side.
Remember, it is through these trials that we find our real truth about the power and the Light within.