Letters To Your Past Self

Many, many years ago, I was involved in a prank that took a terrible turn.

Right after high school, I worked in a fancy chocolate store where non-stop hijinks ensued. I love a good practical joke, and the combination of personalities and lack of supervision led to constant mean pranks. In the course of a night, I was often locked out, sprayed with water, or fake “fired” in front of a store full of customers by another employee wearing a fake manager nametag.

This isn’t to paint me as the innocent victim; I gave as much as I got. Our joke wars were constantly escalating, and I began to wonder when and if a line would ever be drawn, or if we were going to end up burning the store down at some point.

One day, I had to use the restroom. As I began my walk to the bathroom, my coworker darted in front of me. “Me first!” he said, and slammed the bathroom door in my face.

Fine. I waited a few minutes, and soon he came sauntering out with a giant grin on his face.

“All yours,” he said, holding the door for me.

Immediately suspicious, I tentatively entered, and then realized the reason for the grin.

He had taken at least a pound of fudge and crafted it into…well, you can use your imagination. This enormous log filled the whole bottom of the bowl, curling up onto the seat itself. Ugh.

Refusing to give him the satisfaction of a response, I waited a few minutes, flushed, and ignored the ominous gurgling. I then nonchalantly returned to work. “How was the bathroom?” he asked.

“It’s a bathroom,” I responded. “How exciting can it be?”

Fast forward to the next day…

Out of all the employees, my friend Pam was the most mature one, the one who actually did work and never lowered herself to our shenanigans. She called my house in a state of horror after her shift that day.

“I cannot believe this. I am so humiliated. I went to the bathroom at work today and the toilet overflowed and…oh my God, you have no idea what came out. It was like the apocalypse. I don’t even know where it all came from! It was everywhere, just piles…and the manager had to call her husband to come with a plunger and unclog the toilet. I want to die. The whole floor was flooded. I can never show my face there again.”

Oh, no. For a moment, I debated whether to come clean. But I was an immature and selfish 18 year old, so instead I took a vow to never, ever reveal my secret. I commiserated with her and got off the phone as quickly as I could, unable to handle the guilt.

Twenty years later, I was contacted by a friend of Pam’s to take part in a memory book. It was her 40th birthday, and we were all told to write out our most fond memories of our friendship with her. It was my perfect opportunity to come clean.

So I wrote a long, detailed confession, and it was a huge hit. Surprisingly, she is still my friend after learning of my betrayal.

Fast forward ANOTHER eight years, and she came up with the idea to create a book of life lessons for her young niece. It’s all based on the question: what have you learned throughout your life as an adult that you wish you knew back when you were a teenager?

I know that there were SO many things I wish I had known back then. If I could return to my thirteen year old self as the woman I am today, and sit down to talk to her, here is what I would tell her:

People spend their whole lives waiting for what comes next that can make them happy. Waiting to lose those last few pounds. Waiting for the perfect job. Waiting for more money. Waiting to meet the perfect person. None of this matters unless you love yourself. Self-love will bring you everything that you desire. Confidence is the greatest gift you can hold. And guess what? Like everything else in life, you have to work at it. Every day, find one thing that you love about yourself, no matter how small or silly it may be, and believe the hell out of it. Because once you cultivate confidence, there is nothing that can hold you back from having and becoming all that you desire. Never let anyone else take this from you. When you hear others trying to tear you down, know that it is not about you. It is never about you. It only means that they want what they see in you, and it's painful for them. Rise above it, hold your head high, and know that this is not about you. No matter what happens in life, one day or year from now your life will look so different, it will be unrecognizable. Everything passes. Change is the only absolute constant in this world. The negative is always in transition, so relax into knowing that this too shall pass. The positive is always in transition, so take random moments to be still and silent and savor the good stuff like first bite of a delicious dessert. Every moment is a new opportunity for you to become a better version of yourself. Eat the good food. Don't ever wait for the right time to do what you want to do. The right time is now.

How about you? What lessons have you learned throughout your life that you wish your younger self had known?

Tech Advice From The Spirit Realm

Let me preface this blog by saying…although I am proficient enough to host a website and write this blog, I am NOT a techie. AT ALL.

I still get confused about how to download and save things. It’s not good.

Regardless, I’m not one to refuse a challenge, so I have this whole project in the works for a paid group that I run on Facebook called Magic, Mindset, and Marketing. Part of it involves figuring out a way to save Facebook videos and relocate them. I won’t bore you with the details, but it is NOT easy. I worked on it for two weeks, and suffice it to say there was a lot of swearing and wine involved. I could not figure out how to do the thing, even with the help of various experts and tons of research.

While I was in the midst of this project, I came to work and saw that I had four hypnoacupuncture sessions in a row lined up.

So, the interesting thing about hypnosis, at least in my case, is that I go into a light state of hypnosis along with my clients. Obviously I am awake, aware, and functional. But I drift into a state of deeper connection with my patients. Quite often, I will get messages that the client needs to hear, or will have a vision of what I need to communicate to this person. It’s very cool. Over and over, I will say something that comes into my mind during this light trance state, and the patient will later exclaim, “How did you know this? It was exactly what I was thinking/wanted to hear/needed to know.”

On this particular day, I was on patient three, and DEEP in the zone. As I went through my protocol to bring the client into the subconscious state, I wasn’t thinking. Seriously, I had zero thoughts in my head. I was so into the session that the only thing that existed for me at this moment was the lull of my own voice, the words so familiar that I was in a perfect state of flow, with no need to engage my brain in actual thinking. My mind was blank, empty, in a rare instance of what some would call a perfect meditative state. And in the stillness and silence, I heard a voice whisper to me…

“You need to install Dropbox.”

Even though the voice was in my head, it felt so separate from me that I jumped a bit, startled. What the hell?

I refocused my attention on the session at hand, and once it was over, I realized that this was the answer to my tech dilemma. I NEVER would have thought of it on my own, and in fact I’ve never really used Dropbox, or knew anything about it. But once I did five minutes of research, I found out that this was the solution I had been searching for, for weeks on end. It was so simple, yet so far out of my reach…at least, normally it was.

“KAREN!” I blurted to my office manager, as she tried to eat her lunch in peace, “OMG. Guess what??”

“What?” she asked warily.

“The voice of Spirit came to me in a session today! I received a holy message.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It told me to download Dropbox so that we can migrate the videos over, and you know what? It’s totally true! I was in this meditative state while hypnotizing and that’s what I was told. So please download Dropbox so we can get these videos done.”

Never a dull moment at our office.

Although I jokingly referred to this voice as Spirit, I truly believe that this situation was a momentary but profound connection with what people refer to as “Higher Self.” This is the part of us that is pure love and brilliance, untainted by all the crap…the constant influx of sensory information, our doubts and fears and limiting beliefs, those old experiences that lead us astray when we are seeking insight. I really do believe that we are limitless in our potential to KNOW, that we have knowledge beyond our wildest imaginations, but these pathways to knowledge get blocked. When we are in the unique space of being in perfect flow and NOT blocking ourselves by thinking, this is when the pathways clear, and we get what we need…

…either that, or my Spirit guide is a Dropbox affiliate.

I Am Not Your Guru

I am sure I’m going to get a lot of flack from my “healer” tribe for this, but it needs to be said: I am a health care practitioner, but I am not your guru.

Most holistic practitioners entered this field because they were sick of the Western healthcare system…the system where patients were not fully heard, and were seen through a narrow lens. “Holistic” is all about embracing the whole person, not just treating in pieces. Or at least, that’s the ideal.

Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every field. For every caring, nurturing holistic practitioner who genuinely sees you and wants to see you thrive, there is someone else who is exalting in their power trip, doling out judgment and poor advice in equal measure.

I can impart guidance, wisdom and encouragement. You can take it or leave it. I have years of experience, but you know what? I make mistakes. I’ve likely given out inaccurate advice throughout the years, out of sheer ignorance. Like everyone else, I am constantly learning. Most importantly, I AM NOT YOU. YOU are the most powerful force in your own healing. YOU are the expert of your own body. And YOU have the ability to create any changes you want to make, with or without me…or anyone else.

If anyone claims to have all the wisdom, look out. If they claim that they know more about you than you know yourself, beware. And if they claim that their way is the only way? Run.

If you are seeking help in your journey to better health, look for guidance, not judgment. If you leave someone’s office feeling worthless, lazy, less than who you were when you walked in? This is not the person for you.

The word “healer” denotes a certain level of power and superiority doesn’t it? It indicates a person who knows more, does more, IS more than we lowly civilians. They’ve got the inside scoop on what makes you tick; this alone warrants a degree of respect. Respect, yes…but not worship. Whether you are seeing a Western doctor, an herbalist, a reiki practitioner, or anything in between…you need to advocate for yourself. You’re seeing a Western doctor for strep throat, and you feel worse after your round of antibiotics? Speak up. It’s your body, you know when something isn’t right. Your herbalist’s prescription is stirring up some funky side effects? Say something. And if your practitioners scoffs or fumes at your questions, they are not right for you. Find someone who listens, who respects the wisdom you hold around your own health and body.

Manifesting What You Want With Hypnosis

An image popped into my head recently during a hypnosis session, as it often does.

The session was around waiting with confidence for the right things to unfold at the right time. At its core, it was about manifestation. How do we call in what we desire? We visualize a clear outcome, do all the work that is within our power, and then envision the end result as if it was already ours. Easy enough to say, but how often do we find ourselves sabotaging this process with self-defeating thoughts and doubts?

As I performed the session, I had an image of standing in line at Starbucks, ordering a coffee.

This simple image began to expand and evolve into a message…

If we could ask the Universe for our desires the same way we order coffee, we'd be all set.

You go into Starbucks with your money. Handing over the money represents the energy we put into getting what we want-this is the work. Then you ask for what you want: your latte. There is no doubt or worry; you KNOW it is coming.

There is no: "I’m asking for a latte BUT WHAT IF THEY DECIDE NOT TO GIVE ME ONE??"

There is no: "What if they don't think I'm worthy of a latte, and give my latte to someone else instead?"

There is no: "There is a long line, so I will need to wait. What if the wait never ends and I just never get my latte?"

And there is no: "I'm going to invest my entire heart, soul, and being into getting this latte. If it doesn't come within 10 minutes, it's just another example of how I am not meant for this world."

You ask for your latte, you expect to get a latte, you receive a latte. There's no emotional investment aside from pure faith and trust: YES, I gave you my money so I KNOW that latte will be inside of me very soon.

You can't just walk into Starbucks with no money and get a latte, just like you can't sit there helplessly, putting zero effort into getting what you want, and expecting it to fall into your lap. It doesn't work that way.

You can't walk into Starbucks and ask for a cappuccino when you really want a latte. Then you’re not going to get your latte, you’ll get something that you don’t want instead.

Work, intention, clarity, and certainty. This is what manifests success.

The next time you REALLY want something, think about what you are doing to get it, how clear you are being in your intentions, and how you are emotionally connected to the outcome.

I Suck At Meditation

“You must be great at meditation!” I hear this all the time.

Just because I am a relaxed and relatively peaceful person does NOT mean I am great at meditation. In fact, I give myself a D-. As my dear departed Grandma used to say, I’ve got ants in my pants. I have so much to do, and taking time out to do…well, nothing…is painful. I find myself vacillating between boredom, irritation, and rage when I’m forced into relaxation.

I do, however, spend much of my day in a state of meditation. I’m a hypnotherapist. I can literally feel my brainwaves shifting into a completely different pattern as I hypnotize my clients. When I’m in this state, I’m present and mindful…but not about myself. It’s as if I forge a connection directly into the brains of my clients. We are truly on the same wavelength.

Maybe that’s why I’m such a calm person? My brain is primed for being this way. I get so much practice being in this half-awake, half-asleep state that it’s where I’ve started to naturally reside.

But sitting there, cross-legged, chanting and breathing? Hell no. I just can’t.

Lots of my clients feel the same way. They love that I’m with them on this, and not forcing them into doing something that is acutely uncomfortable for them.

Lately I’ve started to think about this. Is meditation truly what we think it is? As long as we get into a place of being present and relaxed, does it really matter HOW we get there? Some people get into this place when they run. Others read. Some people need to feel a physical connection to their body, others want to be totally in their heads. Some people need a repetitive mental activity to get there, and others want to drift off and not think at all.

Today I was watching my cats, and thinking that they are ultimate meditators. They are ALWAYS present, always in the moment, aren’t they? I wish we humans could be half as content, or that we at least had the ability to unplug and reach that level of disengagement with the world around us.

In the spirit of challenging myself, I have brought on a meditation expert to come to my space on Wednesday, May 29th at 7pm. She gets it. She knows that we are all different, and that unlike what we have been taught to believe, meditation is not a one-size-fits-all. This will be an experiential evening of learning new ways to meditate, and then getting the change to test it out and see how it feels. Come on over and finally learn what style works with YOUR brain.

Raising the Bar

“Wow, you’re so confident.”

I hear this all the time. The way it is said speaks volumes about the person saying it.

Some people say it with a big smile, and a tone of kinship. I know that they are operating from a place of security, positivity, feeling good about themselves.

Sometimes I hear it said with a trace of longing. “If only I could feel that way…”

VERY often, I sense a profound eye-roll beneath the surface. “Ugh, who do you think you are? Your ability to feel good about yourself is highlighting my lack of ability to do the same.”

You don’t have to be the most stunning, brilliant, together person in the room to radiate confidence. It’s something separate from all that. I have no qualms about letting my confidence shine through, because it’s not just about me-I consider it a gift to my clients. Whether I am seeing them for acupuncture, hypnotherapy, or hypnoacupuncture, it doesn’t matter-every patient is on a path to becoming a better version of who they were the day before. And I KNOW that this is going to happen for them. Because my confidence in my own worth doesn’t stop at the way I feel about myself…I feel it in reference to EVERYONE. I see the potential that not everyone can see-hell, MOST people can’t see it. I KNOW that you have the ability to get better, even if this is so far outside of your truth right now, it’s completely ridiculous. I have absolute faith that you will rise up, understand your value, and let go of what is no longer serving you.

I see you at your highest, and let you rise to meet my standards of what I know you are capable of.

Years ago, when I was a high school teacher, I was guided by curriculum, and would often get fired up about the low expectations around it. The system believed that the kids were capable of only so much, never more than that. And what we ended up with were kids who would never reach those low expectations, because why bother? If the bar was set that low, why strive for it at all?

On the rare days that I was allowed to have a bit more freedom with the coursework, I would consistently be amazed at how much smarter these kids were than anyone was allowed to see. I’d raise that bar so high, and give them concepts to think about that were confusing even for college students. You could see them light right up, even when they were lost, not because the material was so inspiring…but because someone actually believed that they had potential to understand this. They would rise to the level of my expectations of their potential, and they would feed off my confidence in their abilities, hungry for it.

Perhaps my unshakable faith in those who sit before me is sometimes unwarranted, but I don’t care. I’d rather be occasionally disappointed than know I’m failing to enlighten patients to their full potential to thrive. Sometimes when you can’t believe in yourself, you need someone to hold that belief for you until you become more sure of your path.