I started this project about three months ago and because I have asked the participants to write the story of their experience thus far, I have decided to do the same. Prior to beginning, I wanted to know if energy work could have an impact on mental illness. Deep down I felt of course it could, but deep down I also felt there was no such thing as mental illness. It doesn't mean I don't recognize that many people are not able to live the greatest versions of their lives due to the way that they perceive and act in the world, but the word "illness" always felt inaccurate. I have been very close to people who had the diagnoses of bi-polar, paranoid schizophrenic, manic depressive, and severely depressed and although I didn't always enjoyed their behavior, I could see the heart behind it all. I have never understood that even though they saw a therapist every week and took medication they never seemed to get better. Each episode was worse than the previous one and when they were on their meds or somewhat stable, they were either zombie like or functioning with a cookie cutter like personality. Their authenticity seemed to be missing. Sometimes I wondered if what I felt was their authenticity, was actually their "illness". I began to wonder who is this person really? Do they know who they are?
My work over the past 3 months has begun to answer those questions. At the heart of the work, I realized that with each person, they never took the time to define the way they wanted to function in life. It was never presented to them as a choice that they confidently and securely could make for themselves. I feel this is the case for most people. The traumas, joys, and parenting we experience in our childhood shapes our adulthood with very little of our input. Our lives become surrendered over to the past that we then try to survive moment by moment, year by year. Personal power is no where to be found. I can then see how it is easy to be afraid of everything. It is very easy to be afraid of everything when you aren't taught that particular everything you are experiencing is really an extension of you. In my sessions, I have found myself holding the space for that unfolding of awareness.
Before I became a Holistic Energy Practitioner, I learned about myself through making a commitment to love myself. I learned that self-love isn't about being a great person or even having a great self-esteem. It isn't done so that one may acquire a life partner, be a better family member, or a humanitarian. It is about accepting yourself fully so that you may know who you are. Self-love is about self-realization. It means that as those not-so-cute aspects of who you are surface, you are able to stand and face them instead of running and hiding. It means you experience the wholeness of who you are. You don't look for a savior outside of you because with the love you have cultivated within yourself, you find there is a place and function for all of you. Love becomes the fuel for your growing inner intelligence. The guides, angels, and creatures that show up now are a part of you. The voices you heard are now you speaking to yourself. The visions you see are a glimpse to an aspect of who you are. Loving yourself is a daring act because self- love is both destructive and creative. Love burns, floods, purifies, nourishes, and balances. Love creates a shift. That shift is what I see happening now within this group.
During our sessions, I have taken to letting the energy build up during the sessions and then guiding everyone through a process of integration at the end. I really enjoy this method because I get pretty excited to see what has developed. It is like aspects of them are revealing themselves in technicolor and I am the one to describe all that I see. It's fun. I work with energy altogether differently than I did before. It's more subtle, yet upfront and far more feminine. I find myself dancing, swirling, and being in a greater harmony with the process. Since I shifted my approach, they have given me great feedback and confirmation that magic is indeed happening.
The past three months haven't been daisies and roses for everyone. They have had their regular life challenges and a few sunflowers got trampled on. So much change has happened for everyone, but I can tell they are moving through these changes differently than they were before. There is less anxiety, less emotional suppression, and more awareness. Everyone has put in the work and it shows. I was talking to The Whiz and I realized that in all of our sessions that the phrase, "mental illness" hasn't come up. Somehow the term has become near irrelevant. I feel this is because of the absence of judgement and my desire to understand more than label and categorize. And I have dug deep in my quest to understand and ultimately know. I find that I'm not afraid to cut to the chase as I see my blunt honesty become even more magnified in these sessions. I guess otherwise, I feel like we would all be wasting our time.
Each week there are awakenings and epiphanies for everyone. I am growing exponentially through this experience as well. I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity and I am excited to see what the end result will be. Right now feels like that moment in the Wizard of OZ where Dorothy and the crew get all primped and pretty. We made it to Emerald city and the exploration continues.
This week I finally learned a lesson that I have been trying to learn my whole life: Never dim your light for anyone. I always heard about it in theory and I am sure I could have or have given this advice to others, but it never sunk in for myself. For the majority of my life, I have always been good or near great at things, but there was always a point as I was learning or even excelling in something that someone who would say something to me that would discourage me. The moment I would hear that sentence, I would back down. I wanted to be a model and someone said I was too short. I wanted to play soccer but someone said I looked like I didn't enjoy it. Sometimes it wasn't a phrase, but a look or laugh. I wanted to be a gymnast, but the way the teacher looked at me as I tried a handless cartwheel discouraged me. The list goes on and on. Each time, I put the dream down. I gave up.
Today as I was hooping in my hoop class someone made an unattractive comment to me as I was struggling to learn a hooping technique. They enjoyed to see me struggle because I did other things so well. The week before someone wished I would fall as I was running backwards so they could laugh. Before that, I noticed that whenever I dropped a hoop someone would laugh because it made them feel better when I wasn't perfect. These are the same people who I have taught with nothing but love and encouragement. I am becoming an awesome hooper and it is obvious. In the past I would just brush it off or backed down, but today, I stopped and told the person that she had issues. I then declared that all of them had issues. It was in that moment I realized that people discourage others because they feel bad about themselves. Instead of stopping what I was doing, I kept going and got even better at the technique I was practicing. I followed it up with a self high-five.
On my drive home, I felt myself get fired up. Memories of all the times I dimmed my light came flooding in my mind. My heart was racing full of love and pride that I finally stood up for myself. I was also pissed off that I allowed myself to be duped all of these years. I felt that rainbow fire pulsing through! When I asked the woman if she was good at anything, she said that she used to be an expert whitewater rafter. So she was straight hatin' on me because of what she can't do. What in the world does my awesome hooping have to do with that? Not a damn thing. If I go back to those other haters I am sure that they had something similar festering inside them, jealousy with a side of self-hate.
Each time I dimmed my light so that others could shine, I thought I was being humble or sweet. I thought that others could do it better and I should try something else. I thought that maybe I should just take an supportive role. Today I say F#@K that nonsense. Now I know, when they hate, discourage, scoff, laugh , or look at me sideways, that is the universe telling me to really keep going and that I am about to break through to something awesome. This even goes for when you reach a tough patch on your journey to/in your dream.
Before I started this business, I began a love affair with myself. I was committed to loving myself beyond anything I had ever experienced. This love that I grew within is what helped me stay committed to this journey even though I didn't see any money coming in and clients were few and far between. I refused to give up on myself. The universe was giving me a f#@king hard time. Would you believe I am crying now as I type this? They are tears of joy, love and pride, but they are tears and a cute crying face nonetheless. It's hard to believe that I have come so far. I refused to give up on myself even when I couldn't pay my own bills. The love that I cultivated within wouldn't and will not let me. There is no giving up.
Working with the children in Korea taught me in many ways how to love a child and encourage their dreams. That same love I learned to give, I then applied to myself. I am an excellent teacher and I made myself my favorite student. Now I am not afraid to learn new things or have new dreams and I feel that is what true humility is. It isn't about lowering your head or stepping out of the way. It isn't about helping someone else fly. It is about knowing that you always have something to learn. That's it.
In Portuguese, "Cinza" means gray or ashes, but when I work it is with straight RAINBOW FIRE! That's my journey, ability, and gift. I shine bright in every F#@KING color. Lesson learned.
Truthfully, I have always been this way...you know...spiritual. I acquired my first crystal (tigers eye) via minor theft (finder's keepers O_o) in the third grade. (I have since forgiven myself for that incident.) I talked to my special friends as a little girl. On my first trip to Sedona when I about 7, I knew it was magical. I would read about fairies and mermaids and never believed they were mythical. I have always had one foot here and and the other in other realms of existence. I am trained as an artist, more specifically in sculpture although I have never limited myself to it. After receiving my MFA in 2007, and subsequently experiencing several life-changing events, I became engrossed in embarking on what many would call a "spiritual" journey.
I always had healing intentions. I would cry, pray, laugh, and sing into my artwork with the intention that everyone who would see it would have a healing experience. My studio was even secretly rigged with crystals and deliberate feng shui placements. I even burned sage and incense regularly. I did all of this without really knowing why. I wasn't trying to be "spiritual"; I was doing what I felt made sense. It wasn't until much later that I realized I was onto something "spiritual" and "other-worldy".
Having been in school for all of those years (only taking a year off in between) trained me to study everything except myself. So when it was all over and the only things left were me, the world, and decisions, I started to ask myself those big questions. Who am I? What is life? What is love?...In my search for the "rest of my life", Reiki sparked my interest early on, but at the time I didn't have the money to go to any classes. For the next few years, I worked in and out of the Art world in New York but quickly grew dissatisfied even though I had plenty of fun in the process. I was deep in spiritual study and my soul was calling for more. My real passions are traveling, connecting with people (especially children) all over the world, and sharing as much love and creativity as possible while doing it. Along those lines I somehow managed to land a teaching job in Seoul, South Korea. After teaching lovely Korean children for a year and saving money, I decided it was time learn Reiki, and Miss Kiki turned into Kiki.
Since then I have been building this business, exploring my gifts, writing, and spreading love around. I think that catches us up, no?
Are you ready to go through the fire with me? Chaka Khan plays as I contemplate how to introduce myself. Well that is what this whole healing thing is like, you get baptized by fire. I have had to face those things I thought were impossible and push through. On the other side I was left with a person I have truly come to love.
For Once in my life by Stevie Wonder plays and I smile. It describes my journey exactly. It is about seeing how finally I have found who I was searching for in myself. The strength that somehow I mustered as I went through the fire helped to put love in my hands. It's a love that isn't going anywhere.
Stay in my Corner by The Dells plays and it is exactly how I feel about all of the support I feel that surrounds me. I hear more "I love yous" everyday than I ever heard in my life.
End of the Road by Boyz II Men plays and I laugh about all of the doubts that come in my head. Will this last? Will the laughter continue? Am I crazy? Healing? Reiki? This is the song of my ego. The ego doesn't want to let go. I am learning to love it for what it can give and teach it to behave in all other circumstances. I listen to its song and smile.
I'm unforgettable and no, Nat King Cole isn't playing.
So what have you learned?
I listen to Pandora when I write.
I am not really into modern music.
Everything means something to me.
I like to write.