The Joyful Medium
In my own voice, musing about mediumship, spirituality and all things metaphysical
Cutting the ties that bind
November 8, 2020
November is here! Pumpkin spice and the holiday season are knocking on our doors.
Most people think of the holidays as a time of forgiveness and reconnection, love and light. For others, it’s a time of anxiety realizing they will once again find themselves feeling obligated to see a certain family member who leaves them feeling drained oremotionally battered. What happens when the love and light we need to give is to ourselves? At what point is it okay to cut ties with someone you feel intentionally or unintentionally obligated to stay in relationship with?
My view may be unpopular but, for me, the answer is that my first obligation is to myself, so if someone makes me feel unsafe, demeaned, degraded, breaks my spirit or I feel sick in the pit of my stomach when they are around, I have permission to discontinue my relationship with them. I do not believe that just because someone is related to us through DNA or family ties or even marriage that we should automatically give them a “pass” for however they choose to behave in our lives. We each have the choice, and perhaps the responsibility, for the behaviors we accept, allow, or tolerate in our space and in our lives. It’s important to note that I’m not talking about a one-time argument or just having differing views. I am talking about someone who’s behavior is harmful to our soul, someone who is consistently or habitually unhealthy in our space.
One example of how this was highlighted for me this year was around social media and my “friends” responses to the Black Lives Matter movement. As the people on my social media feed revealed the truths of their characters, I reevaluated friendships, familial relationships, and even casual acquaintanceships. Some rose up and showed up in beautiful ways. Others’ silence spoke volumes. A few shockingly spewed hate. I “unfriended” anyone from in-laws to old school friends. For me, where I drew my boundary was “if someone is not rejecting
racism and standing up for and with the lives, rights, and treatment of people of color I am ‘unfriending’”. It doesn’t mean I have to hate them or wish ill on them. It does mean that racism is a non-negotiable that I will not tolerate in my presence. What I am about and what energy I choose to entertain in my space is my responsibility. How people behave in my space matters.
You may be thinking, “well it’s easy to “unfriend” someone from behind a laptop but
what about someone who I see frequently like a closer family member or partner?” I
realize this is a very personal choice and each of us has to determine the answer for
ourselves and on a case by case basis, of course. Sometimes choosing to honor our
own spirit first may even upset someone else in our lives. Telling the truth might bear uncomfortable consequences. You might also be asking, “can I turn my back on
someone and still be a spiritual person?” We absolutely can. Whether we still love them but our soul is telling us they are toxic in our life or if we don’t have any love for them at all but have historically felt obligated, we have a choice with each and every person in our lives how to be in relationship with them. Those options include “from afar” and even “not at all”.
At the end of the day, the most important relationship is the one we are having with
ourselves. Through spiritual self-development, I have learned that any relationship in my life is a reflection of the relationship I am having with myself, within myself.
Relationships reflect our beliefs about ourselves, our self-worth, as well as the stories we tell ourselves about our past. Sometimes what is working within me is highlighted and sometimes it is my shadow side that needs to come to the light. As I am writing this, I have just settled into a cozy Spanish cottage that is my new home where I will nurture, heal and recharge myself after stepping away from a ten year, on and off, romantic relationship. I am again getting to practice the lesson that it is my responsibility to decide what I will or will not allow, accommodate, or tolerate in my space. Despite my best efforts over several years to create boundaries, attempts to request a change in his behaviors, and even attempts to “love and light” myself into accepting behavior that was unkind and unloving it became clear that my self-worth was, once again, out of balance. I had to make a choice. I could continue to take part in and enable these unhealthy patterns or I could give myself permission to take the action that was the most loving for me.
If I am being honest, I struggled with and sat with everything for a long time, all the while still putting my best effort into the relationship, determined and convinced that holding everything together was the most important outcome. If I could just continue to love my hardest maybe I could somehow do the work for both of us. While I was always hoping for things to improve, my actual soul searching intention, my prayer, and the intention I set before meditating, was to “shine the light of Truth on my life--I am willing to see the highest and greatest good”. Even I was repeatedly taken back when that still small voice within me kept nudging at me with truths like, “apology without changed behavior is just manipulation”, “at what point do your needs matter?”, and “so how many of these flags do you need before you decide you matter?”. I started to evaluate myself and the type of life I wanted even deeper but from the perspective of “I matter too”. Just typing those words bring tears to my eyes. I matter too. I wasn’t raised to look through that lens and
as an empath with codependent tendencies I can tend to forget it completely. I started asking, “if I truly believed I matter too what would be the most loving choice for me”. Once I was willing to see from that perspective everything I needed to know was illuminated. The nudges came stronger and even more clearly. All the ways I was
settling for crumbs of love became painfully apparent. There was a tipping point and the strength to choose me swelled up inside me until I finally showed up for myself, stood in my power, and ended the relationship.
I will offer one possible spiritual reframe to consider that may help you get past any
feelings of guilt around releasing an unhealthy relationship of any kind. What if that challenging person has shown up as a teacher but the lesson is actually about self-worth or self-love? I invite you to try out that explanation instead of wallowing in the “why”. “Why do they behave this way?” “Why won’t they change?” “Why does it have to be like this?” Allow yourself to feel the emotions that are rising up within you but also give yourself the space to shift towards acceptance. Be available for the truth of what is rather than wallowing in the “why” that will never be answered to our satisfaction anyway. What if part of their purpose was showing up in our lives to trigger that piece of us that is ready to be acknowledged and healed? What if someone showing up with unkind speech, for example, was showing up as an opportunity for me to stand in my power and finally “get” the lesson that I matter too? We always have the option and the opportunity to choose how, and if, we will remain in relationship with someone, no matter who it is. It’s not about being in judgment of anyone else. We are all human and, while we are all serving as reflections of one another, the way people show up really says more about what’s going on inside them than the way they feel about us. The way they choose to behave speaks about them but what we choose to allow, accept, or tolerate in our space is all about us. Whether it is a relationship with a romantic partner, a parent, a sibling, or even a friend we are each worthy of choosing to have only those people in our personal space who show up in integrity, kindness, and respect. We do not need to issue excuses or free passes to treat us poorly to anyone for any reason.
Hopefully, we each have far more relationships in our lives that enrich, support, and
color our journey than not but I am here to hold space for you in reevaluating the ones that don’t. In case you need to hear someone say it, you have permission to discontinue relationship with anyone who breaks your spirit, bruises your soul, or devalues you. You matter. Your heart is precious and your soul has a purpose here. You are worthy of inner peace and self-love. Those truths supersede any blood relation, commitment, or perceived obligation to any person. By breaking the ties that bind us to unhealthy relationships, whatever their origin, we affirm to the Universe “I matter too”. And so it is.
Sending love to my “sensitives”:
8 ways to manage our own emotions and energy in trying times
July 22, 2020
Can we just take a moment to acknowledge that the past several months have been rough? I try to stay mostly on the bright side of life (love and light and all the things) but I have had some real struggles to work with lately. Life has changed quickly, things have been unpredictable and emotions are running high from so many directions at once. I know that we are all experiencing this in our own unique ways.
Some days I feel like I am standing in the middle of an emotional tornado. Being “sensitive” makes us highly aware of the emotional temperature of those around us. Many of us live with other people in the home but even if you don’t you may still be aware of their emotions. As empaths, many of us also tend to be “the one” that people come to for advice, problem-solving or a shoulder to cry on. Even if we are managing our own emotions during this ever-changing time, how do we manage the emotions of those around us?
Emotions are valid. They don’t always even have to be logical. It is important not to “spiritually bypass” emotions instead of processing them. Even the uncomfortable emotions have wisdom about ourselves and our boundaries. And it is a crazy time right now! Just in the past 5 months alone most of us have experienced personally (or through those we know) deaths, racism, pregnancies, marriages or postponements, ending of relationships, job loss, injustice, birthdays, financial strain, housing insecurity, illness or health scares, anxiety, depression, fear and things we wanted or had planned just falling apart on all different levels. Since we each process differently, there’s no wonder that feeling of “emotional tornado” is so noticeable to us right now!
Most of us have already accepted that we cannot control or change the emotions of another. At best, we can choose to listen and give support or maybe even useful advice or other assistance. So then how do we manage our own emotions and energy when other elements of our lives may feel out of control? Here is a list of things that have helped me in trying times:
1. Control what you can. Let’s just say I can now say the “Serenity Prayer” from memory. You know the one- “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Most days of the week I can control my early morning schedule. My house is quiet. My phone is quiet. I have permission (from myself) to create time for the things that are important to me. I can usually carve out at least two hours. Most days, I go for a walk and do my meditation with this time. If I’m feeling up to it I may even do some YouTube yoga or journal a bit. Some days what I need is to enjoy my coffee and listen to an inspiring interview or sit on my patio and listen to all the different types of birds having their birdie conversations. Is there a time of day when you can carve out time for what recharges you? What grounds you, inspires you, refreshes you or nurtures you? Even 15 minutes sitting inside your closet listening to a motivational talk or guided meditation counts! Give yourself permission to start where you are and control what you can.
2. Make a list. Personally, I love lists. I keep lists for all kinds of things right in my phone, easy access. Once an emotional “funk” starts setting in sometimes I cannot think of anything to pull myself up out of it. I can’t remember my spiritual tools to turn my beat around so for me it works to have lists that I can quickly reference for help. Almost like a lifeline from a more clear version of myself. Two lists that have really helped me through this time are A. my “uplift me” playlist and B. my list titled “Things that help me right now”. List A is just what it sounds like. It is a music playlist that I am always working on which is made up of songs that make me want to sing, dance or uplift me in a big way. It has everything from Queen to Bob Marley, all upbeat. List B is a list of things like “go for a 10 or more minute walk” and “watch an Oprah SuperSoul Sunday” ( I cannot recommend these 2 ideas enough by the way). Both lists change as I change. What works for me now may not next month. The key is to work on the lists when you are feeling good. The times when we are feeling grounded, inspired, uplifted, joyous, energized, these are the perfect times to ask ourselves what belongs on the list! Did you just listen to a podcast that energized or inspired you? Put it on the list! What is working for you right now that belongs on your list?
3. Write it down to get to the bottom of it. As much as I resist journaling it is almost always incredibly helpful. I am not talking about the “details of the day” journaling. I am talking about the tears on the page, “what the hell is this emotion” type of journaling. Processing feelings journaling. For me, the key is journaling with a purpose. I start with, “what is my intention for this journaling session?”. Whether triggered by ourselves or someone else, emotions usually show up to point something out to us. We need to name it to release it and what we resist persists. This is a basic, real-life example of the process: Maybe I am really feeling the tornado of emotions swirling around me and I know I am frustrated. I realize I am frustrated with someone in my life/home. My intention is to understand more about the frustration. I get my journal, some privacy if possible, and agree to see this emotion without judging myself. (Sometimes instrumental music softly playing in the background helps me if I feel stuck). I take several comfortable, slow breaths to calm my energy, ground myself, become fully present, etc. I take a few moments with my eyes closed and I allow a memory to rise to my mind of time when I felt frustrated with this person. I allow myself to relive the experience. Then I begin journaling about the memory, about the time I was very frustrated. The pen somehow pulls out small nuances in the emotions of that experience onto the page. Maybe I begin to write about how part of the frustration was that I didn’t feel my feelings were taken into consideration on that occasion, that I felt unsupported. Maybe it triggered another time I felt unsupported. As I continue to write I may realize that I missed the opportunity in that situation to speak up for what I wanted or offer my desire to be considered. I keep writing until I know in my heart I am done for the moment. Almost always by the end of I have uncovered some part of myself or my reaction that I was not consciously aware was attached to the initial frustration. Sometimes it comes to my mind later in the day in an ah-ha moment. Resist the urge to judge yourself or your emotions with this exercise.
4. Move your body to move your energy. By moving our physical body we can help our energy move and shift. When our energy becomes stagnant we can lose motivation and become more of a sponge for “negative emotions”. It’s like energetic constipation. This idea may feel a bit counterintuitive “in the moment”. Most of us don’t want to get moving from our couch island when we have been in the same sweat pants for three days. This is one of those occasions where we have the opportunity to parent ourselves by being the “adult voice” in our own head gently but firmly telling our physical body, it’s ok, you can do some activity for 15 minutes, this is good for you, this is happening now. (Again this is where the pre-written list of your preferred activities can help). Some easy ideas are: take a 15-minute walk (or jog) around your neighborhood, find a 15-minute gentle yoga video on YouTube, go out onto your patio or balcony and do 15 minutes of grade school gym class stretches and feel the fresh air on your face, dance around your bedroom for five songs in a row to music you love, do 15 minutes of mindfulness by very slowly taking small steps around your living room and with each step give gratitude for your breath. Start where you are and feel free to get creative. Slowly add more time or more blood moving activities as you are able. Consistency is ideal to help create a cumulative effect but today is as good of a day to start as any and two times a week is better than zero!
5. Reach out. This goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway: mental health is equally as important as physical health. Many mental health professionals are doing sessions by phone or video chat right now. There are sliding scale fees, and “COVID discounts” and sometimes even free sessions if you don’t have insurance or means to pay. If you don’t feel ready to talk to a professional one on one, maybe a support group feels right for you. Don’t see one that fits? Start your own! You can create a Facebook group for free and invite your own list or just make it public. Whatever you choose just know you don’t need to struggle alone, reach out!
6. Go within to seek solace. When I suggest meditation to people I am often met with one of two opposite responses: either “I love meditation, what do you suggest?” OR more commonly some version of “I have tried to meditate but I can’t so it’s not for me”. I thought the latter for many years. One important thing that I wish I learned sooner is that the “monkey mind” is completely natural and we don’t need to stress out about “shutting it off”. Hold on, that’s a lot of meditation speak, let me translate. A lot of peoples’ resistance to meditation is that the thoughts keep coming and it can feel impossible to quiet the mind. It seems to jump, like a money swinging limb to limb, from the grocery list to what is that smell to is my leg asleep to I have to pay that bill and everywhere else. This is normal. Someone once told me “we are not trying to silence the mind but merely practicing to extend the length of the pause between thoughts”. That reframe changed everything for me. I can have the thought of the grocery list but I don’t have to go down the rabbit hole of mentally touring my refrigerator. I also didn’t realize that there are many different types of meditations for different purposes. YouTube is a treasure trove of guided meditations. I have created several myself. You can find guided meditations that focus on everything from “how to connect with a deceased loved one” to sound healing meditations and everything in between. Whichever meditation I choose, I almost always feel a change in my awareness or my emotions every time I meditate. If you want to take it one step further you can create a special journal where you document your mediation experiences and how you feel afterward or even which type of meditation you tried that day. I also feel like I should mention that, depending on what type of meditation you are doing, you may not have mind-blowing spiritual experience every time. Knowing this takes a lot of the pressure off for me. Some days when I meditate I am just practicing lengthening the pause between my thoughts. Even the seemingly small exercise of learning to focus completely on the breath can be life-changing. Meditation doesn’t have to look just one way.
7. Create something in the world. Creating something, however large or small, can spark momentum for change and can also help us process through our emotions in a productive way. It’s amazing how sometimes when we pour all of our emotional self into something creative, totally unrelated solutions to concerns can show up. So what to create?? Right now I am creating this as a way to move my energy and put something empowering into the world. What sounds interesting to you? For some, it may be creating art or music. For some, it may be creating a recorded meditation to share with others. For my neighbors, it has been creating a backyard vegetable garden and sitting area to enjoy. For my best friend, it has been creating completely organized kitchen drawers. Another friend is learning to knit and getting a head-start on holiday gifts. For my office mate, it has been creating a plan and methodology for safely reopening his business when approved. Not only does creating something move your energy and help process emotions but it also carves out a little haven for you to focus your attention in a positive way, giving some mental space from emotional overload. What are you motivated to create for yourself or to give to another?
8. Gratitude. Not in an “spiritual bypassing” way but in a “there are still things to have gratitude for” way. From a “Law of Attraction” perspective, what we put focus on is what we are telling the Universe we want more of. From a physical standpoint, pausing to list even five things we have gratitude for can give us the mental space to calm our heart rate and maybe even our anxiety. From a spiritual perspective, gratitude helps us be in present and reconnect to the fact that we are a part of something much bigger than the ego voice. Whichever reason you like best, gratitude just works. This idea may be the easiest to play with because it doesn't require practice or quiet or anything at all really. For years, I have named three things I am grateful for every time I wash my hands. Attaching this practice to an existing habit just helps with remembering to do it. Maybe you will mentally list your gratitudes while you brush your teeth or when you get out of bed or as you cut your kids’ toaster waffles. Whatever works for you is perfect! I want to point out that for me different days are, well, different. I have great days where I am able to easily list a steady stream of deep gratitudes and then there are days where I am listing off seemingly simple things like running water, my own washer/dryer, and being able to take a deep full breath today. Let me repeat, start where you are and no self judgment!
This is a time in history that will be remembered forever in so many areas of importance and on so many levels: health, civil rights, politically, economically, and our own personal stories. While feeling spiritually connected and “sensitive” can help us weather the storm during this time period it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier and it definitely doesn’t exempt us from having this human experience. Be patient with yourself, start where you are, and resist self-judgment about your emotions. You are a sensitive, for better or worse- but I like to think largely for the “better”. After all, being highly sensitive is a beautiful gift, and part of your soul’s unique expression. I hope these suggestions for managing your emotions and emotional sensitivities are empowering in some way. Which ones resonated with you? I would love to hear how you make them your own or other ideas that are working for you right now.
3 Signs that you’re feeling the veil thinning and what to do about it
September 25, 2019
First of all, let’s quickly address what the “veil” is and what it means to you.
Also called “the veil between worlds”, this term refers to the etheric curtain that separates our physical world from the spirit world. You might think of it as the invisible dividing point between the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, or as separating the time-bound and the timeless. In simpler words, it makes the place between worlds invisible to most. As Albert Einstein said, "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one".
Some people, even sensitives, don’t feel anything different at this time of year. For others spiritual gifts seemed heightened, emotions close to the surface or the world around us can just seem a bit more energized- almost like an invisible “static” feeling in the air.
Are these all psychosomatic or is there an actual, noticeable shift?
The following are 3 signs that you may be feeling the veil thinning:
1. Dreams are vivid. This one may stand out particularly if you are one who rarely remembers your dreams. Some dreams may feel more like guidance or a comforting visitation from a departed loved one. Others experience dreams that seem like riddles or make no logical sense. Whatever the content, the dreams seem overall more, well, vivd. It could be argued that this vivid dreaming is the unconscious mind becoming aware of these subtle energetic changes even in our sleeping state.
2. You feel a “prickly” or “static” feeling in the air. This one is harder to articulate. Growing up, I thought this “feeling” in the air was just the fall season in Boston. When I moved to California , I felt it here too. It has nothing to do with geography at all. It is the invisible feeling that someone is walking behind you in a public place when no one is near. It is mistaking the whisper of the blowing wind for someone quietly talking. It is the underlying excitement you feel in your chest when something magical or unexpected might be about to happen. You may feel it in your body or just have a sense of it all around.
3. Your life feels like a Lifetime movie. Seriously, you’re carrying tissues now because tears could be jerked at any moment. Ok, maybe not quite that extreme. What I’m trying to say is that emotions may feel very close to the surface right now. You may find your feelings (or ego, let’s be real) get bruised more easily than normal. You may feel easily annoyed or quicker to lose your patience than normal. Sad things feel sadder, heavier emotions feel more painful or your empathetic heart may break for others a little easier and more deeply than usual.
Ok, so maybe the veil thinning is “lighting up” your Spidey senses a bit. What now?!
1. Try a dream journal. Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out. By journaling your dreams you will have the opportunity to notices patterns or themes that would have gone unnoticed. By writing everything that you can recall right away, you can save some of those details that would otherwise be lost or forgotten but may prove to be the real gems in uncovering the common threads in several dreams. You can write it out by hand or there are also free apps that you can use “talk to text” with- no pen needed. Still not convinced? Can you recount, in detail, your last 5 dreams?
2. Start working with you intuition. After all, it is a gift. If you are a natural empath and you’re feeling the emotions of those around you, start to practice noticing when an emotion actually “belongs” to you and when it doesn’t. You mind find that you are perceiving (or “empathing”) the emotions of others around you more than you realize. If you already have an idea that you are sensitive /intuitive/psychic/mediumistic now may feel like the right time to explore your gifts further. You can start simply by opening up to and asking to see signs around you from a loved one in the spirit world.
3. Get grounded. There are several ways to do this.
A. Meditate: There a quick (and free) grounding meditation /visualization on my website. There are many great options for grounding meditations on YouTube. If you find one that resonates with you, I recommend a daily practice.
B. Get outside in nature. In a pinch, this can be as simple as taking a walk around your block and being presenting the moment-no texting! Other options include going for a hike, beach walk, or even sitting down on grass or dirt. Basically, get connected with Mother Earth in a way that makes you very present.
C. Carry rocks in your pocket. If you are into crystals, onyx, black tourmaline, smoky quartz or lava stone can all be used to keep you feeling firmly rooted and more balanced.
These are just a few suggestions and I would love to hear what works for you! What’s your experience? Do you feel like there are energetic changes this time of year? Let me know your thoughts!