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Healing Trauma

Trauma can be defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Some people’s trauma can be the result of childhood experiences (abuse, being bullied, etc.), and some can happen in adulthood (divorce, loss of a loved one, and even a car accident). Trauma can cause depression, chronic pain, and even chronic disease. The body is stressed and therefor releases the stress hormones, which over long periods of time can fatigue the body lowering immunity or possibly causing pain.

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Trauma has been shown to lead to depression because people can relive the trauma over and over again. In Teal Swan’s book, The Completion Process, she discusses how the brain doesn’t know the difference between past and present, so in reliving a traumatic experience the brain doesn’t know if it is happening right now or not and your body reacts. Over time this can cause depression and anxiety. Trauma is also linked to chronic illness. The “cell danger response,” or CDR,  is when the body’s nervous system is overloaded by environmental stressors and the body then experiences change in cell function and physiology, which can result in chronic illness. The body’s immune defenses are taxed, therefor causing cellular breakdown. Many of the diseases associated with trauma are autoimmune diseases. Finally trauma is linked to chronic pain because of the mind/body relationship which links emotional pain to physical pain. If the emotional part of the person is suffering and in pain, then the physical body can take on that pain as well.

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So how can we work to heal trauma, illness, depression, and pain? First, if you are suffering from depression and/or PTSD always take your medication as prescribed. Anti-depressants can be a reset button and can help you and your brain remember how to produce your own feel-good hormones and regain your life. Other ways to help heal trauma is through meditation. As discussed in my blog on meditation, research shows there is link to calming the mind and body through meditation, which can benefit you if anxious and/or depressed. Diet is also huge in healing your mind and body. If you are eating highly processed foods, sugars, and inflammatory foods your body will feel sick, which in turn can cause depression. Switching to a whole foods plant based diet can truly help heal your mind and body. Exercise can also heal the mind and body because when you exercise your brain releases endorphins helping you feel good. Ever hear of the “runner’s high?” That’s endorphins. After cardio exercise some people feel “high” or extremely happy because their brain has released hormones that help them feel good. Finally, seek counseling. Having someone to talk to about your experiences can help relieve pressure and pain.

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Every person has experienced trauma because it is any time you haven’t felt safe. Trauma can be life changing and if left unchecked it can over take you. Allow yourself to feel what you are going through and take care of yourself. Just as every person has experienced trauma, I believe every person can overcome trauma. The journey will vary from person to person, but trauma doesn’t have to define who you are.

How Do You Go with the Flow?

This past week has been insane, and it’s gotten me to think on how we can all better go with the flow. We all prefer to know the outcomes of our choices and know exactly how those choices will affect us and those around us, what will happen to us in the future, and how we can control our lives. But, we must admit it is rare when things turn out exactly how we visualize–sometimes they turn out better and sometimes seemingly worse. But, when they do seem to be taking a turn for the worse, that’s a time to remind ourselves to go inward and reflect. How can I make a better choice next time? What did I learn from this outcome? Did this help me grow or hinder my growth? As you reflect this helps you “go with the flow” and really let go.

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It’s easier said than done, though. Our egos love to be right and control, and when we try to control every aspect of our lives, we can become frustrated and even affect our relationships negatively because, like many situations, people cannot be controlled. So, how do we let go and really allow life to carry us? For me, it’s faith. Faith that the universe, Spirit, God, Goddess (whatever name you give a higher power) has my back and even when things don’t go the way I would have liked, there has to be a better reason and I will come out better than I was before. Many times, those frustrations that take place when we are making decisions and the consequences are not what we wanted or expected are queues to us that we need to stop being overly impulsive, stop being overly controlling, and/or need to be more compassionate with ourselves and others. When acting out of love and compassion, it is much easier to let go and see where life takes us.

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Letting go is a practice. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Just like with yoga, running, and meditating you need to learn and continually practice at it. You will have easy days and days where going with the flow is more challenging and that’s ok. Those difficult days are learning experiences and are great for self-reflection. As I practice the task of letting go, I like to think of these words by the Sunni poet Rumi. While he and others with similar mantras were discussing a test or sieve to determine whether you should speak, I also feel it can be applied to your actions as well:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

At the first gate, ask yourself “Is is true?”

At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”

At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”

~ Rumi

By keeping this in mind, you will act more out of love rather than ego. And in acting out of love for yourself, you will be better able to let go of those things which no longer serve you and travel with the flow of life. Love and light to you all.

A Year’s Reflection

Reiki Thai Wellness is officially one year old! So many things have happened in the past year that I wanted to write about reflection, both on the self and situations. Too often we, myself included, go through life–each passing day, week, month, year–without really reflecting on the choices that got us to where we are. I hadn’t been reflecting until recently, and as my anniversary for the business approached I started to look at how things have turned out, what has manifested, and what has transpired over the course of this past year.

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This past year has had many ups and downs. Professionally I’ve had mostly ups–a new career, a new business, great clients, a steadily growing client base–but on a personal level this is where it gets raw, I’ve had a few downs. I don’t want to get into all of it but there were a lot of changes and heartaches. I felt like I was caught in a whirlwind and wasn’t acting like my normal self. I was doing things that I normally wouldn’t do. No, no, no, nothing illegal, illicit, or anything like that, but just things that I normally wouldn’t have done as a 31 year old woman, wife, mother, etc. It almost seemed like I was regressing. On the surface I looked fine, maybe even happy, but on the inside my heart and soul was screaming. I didn’t hear the screams until late June when the whirlwind spit me out on my bum, and I looked around and wondered, “How in the world did I end up here!” That’s the big question, and that’s where the reflection comes in. In his book, Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg talks about “connecting with the feelings and unmet needs stimulated by past actions we now regret” (Rosenberg 133). I’ve been the master at beating myself up for my actions and what has led me to this place personally. We all do this: “I messed up, therefor I should suffer and I deserve what has happened.” But is this really true? Sure, we need to take responsibility for our actions but many times when we act in ways that hurt ourselves and those we love it’s because we have unmet needs. If our needs are unmet we can tend to act aloof, impulsive, resentful, and angry to name a few. When you realize what you have done and the mistakes you made, regret and self-blame can set in, which can be truly painful. We beat ourselves up, we tell ourselves we are terrible, we deserve misery, and so on. But, as Rosenberg explains, regret doesn’t have to go along with blaming and hurting ourselves, rather you can shift your attention to what you do need and go toward “creative possibilities on how to get that need met.” This shift of focus goes along with self-forgiveness. Rosenberg says, “When we listen empathically to ourselves, we will be able to hear the underlying need. Self-forgiveness occurs the moment this empathic connection is made. Then we are able to recognize how our choice was an attempt to serve life, even as the mourning process teaches us how it fell short of fulfilling our needs” (Rosenberg 133). In other words, we can only truly forgive ourselves when we listen to ourselves and understand what needs were not being met, how we tried to get those met, and how those needs can be better met in a compassionate and loving way rather than a destructive one. When we can look at our situation or ourselves with compassion (again still taking responsibility but without judgment on ourselves), then we can shift and make a necessary and caring change to better serve our needs as well as the needs of others.

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Jacey Tramutt explains the best way to work on self-forgiveness is through a support system. Find a friend to confide in and have them listen, or find a counselor who can help you through your difficult time.  Another point she makes is to allow yourself to grieve. Grieve on the decision you didn’t make because oftentimes regret sets in because you couldn’t choose both decisions you were faced with, so allow yourself to grieve and go with it…feel it.  And finally, give yourself time. Time heals; it’s cliche but so true. What seems so hard and scary right now will not last forever. With time comes change and growth. It’s impossible to grow in a stagnant world, many times we need those soul-quakes to shake us and help us learn and be stronger.

Not every year is a shaky one. Certainly my business has been amazing, and I’m so grateful for it. Without it I would have been a mess because of the personal things I went through, and am still going through on many levels. But, I know this time next year (maybe, hopefully sooner) I will look back on this time and think, “Wow I made it and I’m a way stronger and better person than I was then. Thank goodness I went through that! And, Reiki Thai Wellness still rocks!” Reflect on your year–the good, the bad, the indifferent–and see where you can grow, for what you can be grateful, and what needs work. Love and light and thank you so very much for your support. I can’t wait to see you for a massage!

 

Healing Through Music

Do you ever turn on your car and immediately have a smile on your face when one of your favorite songs plays? When you feel down do you turn on your speakers and listen to music to feel better? Music and sound therapy are great ways to help with depression and healing. Music can uplift our spirits or slow our brain waves to a calming space.

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Music therapy is becoming more popular to help people who are struggling with depression and even cancer. Music therapists either play music for you or teach you to play an instrument. Researchers are finding that music helps calm people during invasive surgical procedures, can help restore lost speech in patients who suffered from strokes, reduces side effects of cancer treatments such as nausea, helps with pain relief, and improves the quality of life for dementia patients. Music can be very calming and can help people go into a theta brain wave state, which aids in calming and can improve sleep quality.

In Britain, researchers found music therapy helped with depression when added to the standard practice of counseling and medication. They believe this is because it allows people to express themselves non-verbally especially when words can be difficult to articulate when in a depressed or anxious state, and can improve mood overall.

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Many practitioners including massage therapists, Reiki practitioners, yoga teachers, and counselors use sound healing to help improve the energy found within the body. We all have energy within us that can help heal our minds and physical bodies. Sound can channel that energy further to facilitate healing and help calm the mind and body. Practitioners will use different tools such as voice, drumming, singing bowls, and tuning forks. It is ancient practice to use sound to move the energy we hold within us to help heal traumas that manifest in the physical body. Sound healing, like music therapy, can assist with depression and anxiety, sleep disorders, PTSD, stress management, and pain management.

I personally like to use singing bowls because they are calming and have an amazing effect in slowing down the nervous system. During a massage if someone is particularly tense I will rest the singing bowl on their body and bring it to sound. The sound is not only calming but the vibrations within the bowl move through the body and allows the client to relax. I also use music to calm people. While I do enjoy the typical meditation music during massages to relax people I will also play artists such as Norah Jones, Pink Martini, and Lindsey Stirling to bring familiarity to the client and something a little different. People often enjoy the popular music and say they feel happy listening to something they recognize. Many massage therapists, physical therapists, and counselors play music during their sessions to calm their clients and take their minds off of whatever is bothering them.

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In my massage room I love to play fun and/or relaxing music. I love meditating to anything from Tibetan singing bowls to The Piano Guys. Music is a wonderful thing to add to your healing journey. When you come see me, feel free to request whatever music you like and I will add it to my play list; it’s your healing space.

How Can We Enjoy Life Guilt-Free?

For the past few days I’ve been having a lot of fun because I just bought a new Jeep Wrangler. No, material things don’t make one happy, but sometimes they can add to the experience. I’ve had a blast with the top off of the Jeep, enjoying music, seeing my son’s face light up as we drive fast and the wind blows through our hair, and the feeling of the warm sun shining down on us through a topless car. Then, ego starts talking. That voice of guilt, fear, anger, etc. My ego can be pretty nasty to me (then again, so can everyone’s). It started telling me how impractical this car is, how I’m irresponsible, and that it isn’t a good “mom” car. This got me thinking about why my ego and the egos of pretty much everyone on the planet dissuade us from fun and really living life to the fullest.

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It has to do with trauma. Remember, trauma is anytime a person didn’t feel safe and secure. Our egos do have a purpose; they are the ideas we have of ourselves–beliefs, judgments, and culture. Parts of our egos (our beliefs) stem from traumatic events, be it an abusive childhood or enduring a childhood bully, and therefor the ego can dictate out of fear. This is a fear of that traumatic event happening again, but that fear is irrational. It’s trying to keep you safe, but it’s not from a place of love. The ego is not of love, ego can cause suffering because it wants to control. A new experience that is fun can be quashed by ego because of beliefs we gained from influential people in our lives. For example, when I was a teenager I actually begged my mom for a Wrangler (a friend of mine got one when she turned 16 and I wanted one too because I had a blast in hers). But, my mother said they are dangerous and unreliable. I ended up with a practical Toyota Tercel (yes, a 1987 Tercel with no air conditioning or radio!). Throughout my adult life I got cars that made sense because of what I was doing–a Ford Focus because it was inexpensive and ran well (she was a good car) and a Subaru because I got pregnant and needed a safe car for my family (she was not a good car). She was a 2013 when the clutch needed replaced and the transmission was starting to die, I’d had enough. I went on a yoga trip to the Sand Dunes, and my bunk mate had a Wrangler. I rode in it all weekend with her and learned a lot about them. I decided that was the car I wanted and three weeks later here I am. The point of this story is that my ego’s voice is that of my mother’s, an influential person who helped shape my ego. My mother has been wrong about many things, but that’s another story for another blog on another day.

So how do we have fun without listening to our ego? First, you need to become aware that your ego is doing the talking and try to decipher from where it comes. What trauma is causing the ego to fight you on your decision? Once you figure that out you can start to heal that trauma and then let go. Upon letting go you can start to enjoy life and truly have fun without allowing the ego to stifle your enjoyment on life.

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What is the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine?

I’ve been asked several times to explain the divine masculine and the divine feminine by friends, loved ones, and clients. As the human species continues to grow and evolve so too does our desire to find balance within ourselves. Gender is your biological make up–those physiological aspects that makes one biologically male or female–while the divine masculine and divine feminine are energetic aspects that every human being carries within him/herself.

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The Divine Feminine:

The divine feminine is represented throughout many cultures in the world–Mother Mary in Christianity, St. Brigid in Celtic tradition, Isis in Egyptian mythology–and when in a healthy and balanced state it shows nurturing, creativity, intuitiveness, and essentially represents the mother. When thinking about a mother one focuses on fertility, nurturing, and healing. For centuries, because of patriarchal society, the divine feminine has essentially been quashed, but now a resurgence of the want for love and nurture has come to pass. When the divine feminine is out of balance, one may feel a lack of self-love and a lack of self-confidence. When in balance, the feminine is intuitive, wise, and loving. The main aspects of the divine feminine are creativity, fertility, compassion, empathy, love, and acceptance.

In our culture, it is looked at as though men have to be “tough” and women need to be quiet and demure. But, we all have these qualities within us. Men can and need to be loving, compassionate, and nurturing, not only to others, but also to themselves. Mental health in this country is suffering, and it may be because we are stifling energetic aspects of ourselves. If men are told to “man up” and take it, of course they will bottle up their emotions and slip into self-loathing and depression. But what would it look like if men and women were able to freely express compassion? The world would be a kinder place. If we were able to freely express our compassion and love, there would be no need for war or hate because rather than coming from fear and aggression, we would come from love and peace. However, as important as the divine feminine is for our psyche, so too is the divine masculine. You cannot have one without the other. Everything needs to be in balance.

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The Divine Masculine: 

The divine masculine is also represented across many cultures–Jesus in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, Mohammad in Islam–and shows aspects of fearlessness, courage, and loyalty. There is gentleness in the masculine’s strength and is never ego-based. The masculine is the protector of the feminine and is open to exploration of compassion and love and values sexual energy but from a loving standpoint rather than a dominating one. The divine masculine moves forward and puts ideas and thoughts into action. The masculine is open to exploration and learning new things. When out of balance the divine masculine is stagnant, afraid, and rather than exploring new things for himself, listens and believes what he is told without question.The imbalanced divine masculine will look to outside sources for happiness and will try to exert power in inappropriate ways–through ego, dominance, and anger. Sexual encounters are enjoyed but are not fulfilling in an unbalanced masculine energy.

Look at our culture now. There is a lot of unbalanced masculine energy both in males and females. Women will often look to outside sources for happiness whether in relationships or through body shaming and guilt. Many “powerful” men exert their power and abuse it to get what they desire–be it in business and/or relationships. So, how does one balance the divine masculine and feminine? How do we find harmony within ourselves so we have balanced scales of nurturing, love, and compassion with action, self-confidence, and courage?

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It’s All About the Balance:

The best way to balance masculine and feminine energies is through meditation. Yoga is another great way to find balance in the masculine and feminine. Vinyasa is active and will charge your masculine qualities, while yin is a little more passive and allows you to sit in the quiet and offer nurturing to yourself. If you notice you are feeling out of balance in either aspect focus on changing that aspect before moving onto the next one. For example, if you feel you’ve been giving a lot of yourself and haven’t taken time for you, your feminine is likely stagnant. Look to massage, yin yoga, meditation on the goddess within, and self-care such as a quiet bath or time to write in a journal. If you are feeling fearful your masculine energy may be at a lull. Take time to go on a hike, a run, a bike ride, write down ideas and take the steps to put them into action–when afraid the best thing to do is act on those things you don’t think will come to fruition, even if in small ways.

We all have the divine masculine and divine feminine within. It doesn’t make one less of a woman to tap into her divine masculine, just as it doesn’t make one less of a man to tap into his divine feminine. We are all of the divine and as such have both divine energies within us. Embrace these aspects of yourself. When in balance, the two work together to heal and to make the world a kinder place.

Why Boundaries are Important

We all hear about the importance of boundaries, but many of us (myself included for a time) don’t really know how to set them and keep them. Many still don’t understand what healthy boundaries look like. “Boundaries are the limits of acceptable behavior” from those around us–professionally, personally, and even with those we don’t know. But how do we set boundaries? So many of us worry about what others may think about us or that we will upset others we often don’t speak up for ourselves, which in turn can cause resentment and anger.

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Matt Kahn has a video I would highly recommend. It’s long so make sure to allow yourself time with it, but he talks about setting boundaries and why they are important. He essentially states that boundaries are a way for us to make and take time for ourselves to recharge. If we are feeling nervous, angry, or fatigued at the thought of being with a person or doing an activity someone has asked of us that is our nervous system saying we need a break. Matt Kahn explains you can say something along the lines of, “I really want to be present for you, but right now my nervous system cannot take that on. I’m going to have to say no.” I thought this was brilliant because I personally relate to my nervous system feeling overworked when I haven’t been setting boundaries and giving too much of myself to others. I will get to a place of fatigue and want to check out. In the past I would just put a smile on my face and carry on doing what others asked of me, but how did this really help them and myself? It didn’t help them because they didn’t get 100% of my energy and it didn’t help me because I would become exhausted and/or resentful. This isn’t good either because people catch onto that energy and they either back away or expect more and more of you because you always say yes.

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Boundaries need to always come from a place of love because they are meant to support our own well-being and that of others. The two types of boundaries–internal and external–are equally important. The internal boundaries are personal agreements with ourselves to modify a relationship. External boundaries are those we verbalize to another person. In setting boundaries this is a place of authenticity and love. Boundaries also allow us to be truly present, either with ourselves or loved ones.

It can seem foreign to set and keep boundaries, but they are essential for our mental health. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of and help others. If we are resentful or a doormat, how could we be at the top of our game? It takes practice, but once you start you will realize you feel much better, and you may even inspire others to take care of themselves and make boundaries of their own. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi

 

What Does it Mean to be Present?

For the past few days a friend of mine has challenged me to set a daily intention. Today my intention was to be fully present in all I did, which was difficult with some things and easier with others. But what does it mean to be “present”? I’ve discussed this idea regarding mindfulness and meditation. But it goes even farther.

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Being present means being fully immersed in the moment, or fully aware and involved in what you are doing or seeing. For example, when you cook dinner you may have kids running around and you’re worried they are making a mess or possibly bickering. You may be checking your phone off and on in between stirs of your cooking stew. You may be having a discussion with your partner while you chop the veggies. This can cause chaos in your brain, in your body, and in your surroundings. Rather than focusing on many different things, being present would mean focusing on your one task–dinner. This is where creating boundaries is essential. You need to have boundaries in all of your relationships so that you and your loved ones feel supported and cared for. You could tell your children, “I’m going to start dinner, so I’m wondering if you would be willing to do a quiet activity as a team, like a puzzle or coloring.” You could get the kids squared away doing what they want to do, and then you could tell your partner, “I’m interested in knowing about your day, but would you be willing to tell me about it during dinner, so I can focus on cooking?” Maybe offer her or him to go have some time to decompress. Put your phone in the other room, so you don’t feel tempted to check on it. Now you can really get to the present. You can really focus on chopping the veggies–feel the knife chop through the onion, feel the difference in chopping a tomato versus a bell pepper, smell the aromas each veggie releases. Hear the sounds of the vegetables as you sauté. Smell the spices and ingredients come together. Feel the sensations in your arm and hand as you stir. Feel the heat coming from the stove. Notice the pleasure and sense of pride you get from creating something out of these ingredients. This is presence. This is the art of being immersed in your task. Doesn’t this sound better than the chaos in the first scenario? Sure, life happens and even when your kids are getting along, they may start bickering. Remind them you are cooking and try to have them work it out. You may get distracted, but coming back is what’s important; you don’t have to be perfect because this is a practice.

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You can practice being present anytime and anywhere. While you practice yoga, are you truly present with your breath and the poses? While at the park with your children, are you watching them, enjoying the sun and breeze, and noticing the smells of the grass and flowers? While getting a massage are you really feeling the sensations in your body–the release of your muscles and the relaxation of your mind? Being present can be difficult due to the distractions of familial obligations, work, and social media. But even with these distractions, being present can be done. You can practice being present with the family–watching your child play soccer while feeling the grass under your feet as you sit on the sidelines; you can be present at work–put your phone down and close the extra tabs on your computer and be present (of course take breaks as needed, but while working, focus entirely on the work); and start taking breaks from social media–limit it to once a day (this is easiest when you take the apps off of your smartphone), or you can limit the amount of time you’re on social media by setting a timer on your phone. Being present is being mindful and this does have immense benefits on your mind and body from decreased anxiety to improved cognition.

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Set your intention to be fully present. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s difficult at first. Not to be too cliche, but practice does make perfect. Give yourself time and before you know it, you will be enjoying the little things and maybe even feel more grateful seeing all the wonders of life happen around you.

Is Manifestation Possible?

Several of my clients have been discussing the idea of manifestation–the ability to focus on something and bring it into your reality–and some have said they can do it easily and enjoy it, while others struggle with this idea. Many, including myself at times, feel they aren’t worthy of manifesting whatever it is they want or even need. It can also be a difficult concept to grasp: that anyone on this planet can work alongside the Universe and bring wants and needs to ourselves at any time. So, how does this work? Is it even possible?

Manifestation is about setting an intention and releasing control. The fun thing about manifesting what you want and need is those wants and needs come to us in the oddest, yet simplest of ways. The main thing to do is really focus on that which you desire. Be clear. Your thoughts are powerful and have the ability to create your reality. A simple example of this would be, “Mondays are terrible.” And, you will see that your Monday turns out “terrible”–maybe the barista at your coffee shop got your order wrong, traffic was worse than normal, etc. If you change it and think, “Mondays are easy,” even if those things above still take place, your perception is changed and the day flows easier because you can let go of the little annoyances. This is one way of creating reality–your perception and how you view the world around you shapes your reality.

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The intention behind your manifestation is key as well. If you are wanting more money so you can buy a race car and show off to your friends, that’s probably not the purest intention. Whereas if you want to manifest money to help your family live comfortably and donate to charity and help others, the intention is from a place of love rather than ego.

Conscious manifestation means taking back our power in working with the Universe rather than relying on “coincidences or luck.” The 9 principals of conscious manifestation are: have a vision (a clear goal or direction), have a strong desire (this fuels the vision), have a clear intention (this “gives a clear direction to your goal”), have an unflappable belief (disbelief blocks manifestation, so believe you are worthy), acceptance (this is accepting that what you manifest is already yours), take aligned actions (align your actions with your goal; co-create with the Universe, take steps to show that you believe your manifestation is already yours), detach (this is difficult at times, but necessary; you must release control and have faith that it will come to you exactly as it is best for you), support yourself (focus on your dreams and living the life you crave), and be as clear as a laser beam (complete focus on what it is you want).

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A wonderful way to be clear and focus on the goal, intention, etc. is through journaling. Simply writing down what you want is a beautiful way to let the Universe and yourself know what you desire. Another way, one that works best for me, is through daydreaming. I will sit for minutes at a time, or while I’m driving, and play scenarios through my head of what I want. Though, I do let the scenarios go once I’ve played through them because I know that they will come to me as they are meant to. One principal of manifestation that can prove difficult for people is feeling you are worthy of whatever your manifesting and believing it’s yours. We all have traumas that can make us doubt our worth as human beings. A way to move past those traumas so you can have self-worth, and manifest, is through feeling your emotions and going through each trauma to heal pieces of your soul. Then you can find your inner divinity and see that you are a part of this universe and a co-creator in your life and reality. Teal Swan has an excellent article on healing and working through trauma.

Manifestation is possible. When your manifesting comes to fruition it is amazing to watch and see how everything flows. This happened with my business. I got my Reiki certification in November, 2015, and was really trying to force a Reiki business but wasn’t clear on what I wanted or even what to do, and I didn’t think people really would want to come see me. Then, I was supported to go to massage school because I was told I have “a nice touch.” I scoffed at the idea and swore I was done with school (I have my bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate, so I didn’t want more school). On my way up to the mountains for my 30th birthday I saw 5 “Reiki Massage” businesses and thought that it was strange. Then I talked to people and they said they wished there was massage infused with Reiki. I immediately went online and found a program at Denver Integrative Massage school, and I was accepted a week later, and I started a week after that. Everything flowed beautifully. Then, I said out loud, “I want a cool internship where I can learn more Thai massage.” I drove to a store and next to that store was a Thai massage salon, so I called and just asked if they needed an intern. They said yes, interviewed me, and I got the internship. Then I said out loud, “I want a job with the Thai Healing Arts (my internship).” I emailed the owner and asked if they were hiring, and he wrote back and said I could start after I finished my hours. I finished my clinical hours in 2 months and took the job. After working there for a short time I said I want my own business in Arvada. I would sit down every night and imagine a cute little room with my mat and table where people would come to see me. I emailed a friend of mine I spoke to in February and told her then if she needed a sublet to let me know, and she said her previous sublet just left and she was getting ready to advertise for another but she said she would love it if it were me, and I opened up my business on August 2nd (1 month after officially receiving my license). I worked in that room for a time and then I emailed the landlord and said if there was a room that was opening up to let me know, he said he just had one become available and that I could take it, so I moved downstairs in January and here I am. I definitely took steps in creating my reality but it really was effortless and that’s how manifestation works. It’s not hard. It’s a process but a fun one. I couldn’t have put this together on my own; I co-created with the Universe, and it’s been amazing. You can to! It truly is about putting your mind to what it is you want and the rest will fall into place.

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Yoga as a Spiritual Practice

I’ve been thinking a lot on yoga, and lately I’ve wanted to find a more spiritual-based yoga practice because, after all, that’s what yoga’s main focus is. So many people, myself included at one point and time, practice yoga to gain that “yoga body” or as another form of exercise. While the fitness is a nice benefit to yoga, there is much more to yoga than just the physical practice.

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When you choose to get on your yoga mat you are making the conscious decision to be present with yourself for an hour (give or take). This is mindfulness in action. If you commit to the practice for an extended period of time you are letting go of attachment to control the pace and rather enjoying the journey. Yoga is about being in a state of wholeness. This wholeness is a connection to the body and mind. When you practice the asanas you are present with your breath; you are focused on the breath moving you through each pose. This is yoga as meditation. It is important to carry this wholeness, this state of consciousness in your everyday life because then you are truly able to enjoy a relationship with yourself and the world around you. Rather than being unconscious in your phone, yoga can help you gather an awareness allowing you to be mindful in your life–noticing the flowers as you walk, being present with your children, better able to focus at work, etc.

Deepak Chopra and David Simon wrote on the 7 spiritual laws of yoga, which include: pure potentiality (inner divinity); giving and receiving (being one with the universe because you, like the universe, are in a constant state of change so give and receive to remain balanced); Karma (cause and effect–what you put out into the energetic field comes back to you); least effort (using love as motivation); intention and desire (the law of attraction); law of detachment (let go of control); and dharma (life’s purpose). When you focus on these intentions within your yoga practice you retrain your brain through neuroplasticity to let go and understand you can manifest and create your reality. In practicing these laws on and off the mat you will come to realize your dharma, life’s purpose, and will be able to detach and live in a mindful, fulfilled way.

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Iyengar yoga is rooted in Hatha yoga (movement through the breath), but its focus is aligning the body, mind, and spirit for overall health and wellbeing. There is a stronger focus on alignment and precision within each pose, which ultimately helps your mind better focus on the practice. There are three key elements to Iyengar yoga–technique, sequence, and timing–which all allow one to stay present with pranayama (breath control). There are many forms of yoga, however, to help you become mindful. For me, this form is a wonderful way to really be present and aware.

Thai massage is also rooted in Hatha yoga, among other traditions, but it allows your body and mind to connect through breath and assisted movement. In receiving Thai massage you are relaxing into a state of meditation while also allowing your body to heal and your mind to quiet. In this way, Thai massage (also known as Thai yoga massage) is truly a meditative and healing practice much like traditional yoga. You focus on your breath, focus on being present to relax, and focus on self-care and healing.

Yoga is much more than a workout. It’s truly a lifestyle practice on and off the mat. Yes, the physical benefits are wonderful, but so are the mental and spiritual benefits. In a yoga practice, you learn about yourself–you may push the boundaries, learn how to quiet a racing mind, and learn you are able to heal and control your breath. Next time you step on the mat remember yoga is a spiritual practice first and one that can only help you grow.