I’ve been rereading Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. I love the simplicity and clarity of this book and I’ve also been frustrated with the simplicity too. After his recommended step of opening one’s heart chakra no matter the circumstance, he then writes about “letting stuff go”. I have struggled with this recommendation for years. God, wouldn’t you just love to let shit go? Set your intention to “let go” and voila! When I hear this phrase I think of someone coming over and just turning a switch off on me. “Here Juanita, You’ll never have to feel that emotional about that situation again, I found the let go switch!”. Well, wouldn’t that be nice? It’s never been that easy for me and I’m guessing it hasn’t for you either. Through conversations with others I found that “letting go” actually means being fully present with whatever emotions are present and even embracing them. When I’m fully present with uncomfortable emotions, the intensity of them lessens and then I get closer to that feeling of letting something go. For some triggers in my life, I find it impossible to fully let it go, because these reactions were learned early in childhood. And just when I think I have let it go, a situation arises and I realize that there’s another layer of emotion that needs my presence. In the meditation world, this presence is often given to oneself by cultivating the witness/observer part of your Self as you feel an emotion and want to react to it. Meditation can teach us to watch ourselves instead of react. Sometimes we can see an emotion rise and fall if we sit with it long enough and our minds don’t take over. In the counselling world, there are many psychotherapeutic techniques that can help a person cultivate the wise self watching all the emotions and other parts of themselves engage with the world. But perhaps the most helpful things psychotherapy can offer is the act of presence with another as they feel their uncomfortable emotions. It can be very powerful to have another person anchoring & present as feel the depths of our pains & struggles. I’ve often found that the only way I can be present with certain uncomfortable emotions is with my own therapist. I’ve paid that person to be with me for an hour and while I could end the session early, I won’t because I’ve paid and that often helps me commit to the act of fully being present with my emotions and even embracing them. This process is closest one I’ve found to actually letting shit go. With energy healing, presence is also a valuable gift to give to others and to ourselves - fully being present as a chakra opens or shifts. Energy healing also offers techniques to help clear the blockages in our chakras which lessens the emotional intensity. Often an integrated session of both psychotherapy & energy healing can help you integrate and process things with more ease. What things have you found to be helpful or unhelpful as you try and let go of things?
Energy Healing Articles
|I’ve been rereading Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. I remember reading it for the first time five years ago and was in awe of Michael’s ability to capture a process towards inner peace & freedom with such clarity and simplicity. Reading this book felt like being bathed in something so pure.|
On the surface, Michael is writing about the art of meditation as a way to find freedom from our pains & struggles . He names one of the key pieces of meditative work is to open one’s heart. Many times he encourages his readers to “just keep opening and not closing [their heart]”. I remember when reading this book the first time, I was frustrated at Michael’s message of “simply open up your heart”. It has never been that easy in my experience to open my heart, especially when I’ve spent a lifetime finding reasons to keep it closed in certain situations and often for very good reason.
If you too have struggled to simply open your heart in times you really want to close it, you are not alone. Meditation is one path to cultivate awareness of when you open and close your heart, and fortunately there are others.
The essence of psychotherapy is often also to help us open our hearts. With psychotherapy I often help people to feel their emotional pain and create a new relationship with it. People engage with counselling often because opening one’s heart chakra and being present with what emerges is often met with many of our own internal resistances – the sudden urgency to do laundry, or watch Netflix, smoke a cigarette, or really do anything but feel. Then shame & self-judgment at our distraction emerges and adds another layer of protection from feeling the deeper pain.
With energy healing, attunement & techniques are used to balance and clear chakras. Sometimes the focus is on the heart and sometimes not. If you watched my Energy Healing at Home Series, the chakra series shows you a gentle way to open your chakras simply by offering your presence to each one. Today, my invitation to you is to start with awareness. Any time you notice yourself distracting yourself or pushing away or shutting emotions down, pause for a moment and notice your urge in that moment when that uncomfortable emotion arises. Often it’s anxiety, shame, sadness or anger. Notice what you do when you start to feel those emotions, even if you realize it 24 hours later. See if you can both notice the part of you that feels the pain and the other part that doesn’t want to feel it. Overwhelmed? Talk-therapy is a great way to do this in a supportive way.
Experiment with your process of being present with your uncomfortable emotions. Notice all the different parts of you that get activated when you try and sit with them in a non-judgmental way. What method do you prefer to open your heart chakra- energy healing, meditation or psychotherapy?
As always, if there’s anything else you’re curious to learn about in the energy healing world and/or how it combines with the psychological, send me a note 🙂
|It is always bittersweet to change locations. I have enjoyed my time at 16McMurray street in Dundas, and I will especially miss the fish tank and the Dundas locale. That being said, I am excited to share my new location as of June 17 at 430 York Blvd in Hamilton at the Hamilton Centre for Personal Development. It is a beautiful space that I’m looking forward to sharing with you. |
I will be keeping my Thursday Burlington location for now.
The new space is located at the corner of Locke street and York Blvd in Hamilton. The parking entrance is off of Locke Street, and there is free street parking too. It has easy access to the 403, being just minutes away.
The building is shared with De La Sol Yoga Studio, Studio Zee Pilates, and so much more. My entrance is located on the York Blvd side. Just go up the one set of stairs and I’m there. If you need wheelchair accessibility, please let me know and I will share the details.
I will continue to be available Mondays and Wednesdays. See the link for hours and details.
Hamilton Centre for Personal Development Open House
|If you want to see the new space or anything else that is offered in the building, there will be an open house on June 14 from 6-9pm called the Night of Light.|
It’s always so exciting when scientific research deepens and enters into new horizons. Kelly Noonan Gores created a thought-provoking documentary, Heal that highlights research that shows that our bodies have the capacity to heal from life-threatening prognosis. She weaves in stories of her own journey and other women and men she has met who are either starting their healing journey or have healed from their disease. It is now available on Netflix.
Research is showing that our bodies have the capacity to heal from any diagnoses. She interviews Kelly Turner, Ph.D. (author of Radical remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds) who has found 9 things that people have in common in situations where they have healed from life-threatening prognosis.
9 Things That Research Has Shown Are Connected To Healing
- Radically Changing Your Diet
- Taking Control of Your Health
- Following Your Intuition
- Using Herbs and Supplements
- Releasing Suppressed Emotions
- Increasing Positive Emotions
- Embracing Social Support
- Deepening Your Spiritual Connection
- Have a Strong Reason for Living
Kelly notes that only 2 of these items are physically related – #1 Radically Changing Your Diet and # 4 Using Herbs and Supplements. Ongoing research is being done to look into tangible steps for the emotional and spiritually related items.
The movie also explores how some people heal, and some people do not and how painful this can be when a person has invested time, money, energy, and spirit into their healing journey. Often times individuals can either judge themselves, or feel the judgment of others (if they are members of the complementary health community). The journey towards healing or acceptance of an illness is a very personal one to be met with curiosity and compassion. For more of my contemplations on this read my blog post
How Energy Healing Helps Heal Physical Illness.
I liked how this movie also pointed out the importance of working together with the medical community. As a person who has worked in a hospital, and who also has children who have the hospital staff to thank for both life-saving care and healing for minor injuries, I know from first-hand experience that both medical and complementary health care have their place. You can read more about the importance of both in the highlighted blog post above.
Even if you don’t have an illness, one can see how incorporating any of these 9 Things in our lives would be beneficial to our health. Which of the 9 Things are you already incorporating into your life? Or have you found one to be especially helpful for you?
For my birthday this year, I asked my husband for a crystal singing bowl. You can see me playing it in the photo above. More and more research has been showing the physical and emotional benefits of healing through sound. Benefits can include reduction in stress, better focus, reduction in pain, and so much more. We can experience the benefits in an indirect way when we attend church or a concert or we can seek out specific types of sound to accelerate healing in targeted areas of our life with a sound healing practitioner.
I hope this article helps you reflect on where sound has been healing for you in your life and gives you ideas to explore sound healing in a deeper way.
Sound Healing With A Group
When I was a kid, I went to church twice every Sunday. A lot of my experience at church was boring as a child. There was always a congregational prayer listed as an item on the agenda for the service. Before I knew what the word congregational meant, I thought it meant long and boring. As an adult of course I can appreciate that it was a prayer for individuals in our congregation, but as I kid I did not. So where am I going with this? What I want to highlight is that amidst the boring parts, the thing I loved the most about church was the music and singing. My favourite memory was every Christmas when the congregation sang the song Glory to God with the organ and the piano. It always moved me to tears when I heard the passion and heart from a group of 200 people. The congregation sang it in English or in Dutch. Here is one version below.
Singing with a large group of people can be a very healing experience for both adults and children, especially with a song that everyone loves. If I were to guess, I would hypothesize that when we sing a song with a large group, our chakras open and our connection strengthens to eachother, the divine, and the earth. Just think of a concert you went to and the feelings evoked as thousands of people sang the lyrics to a song. The first concerts that come to mind for me are with Sarah McLachlan singing Your love is better than Chocolate or the band Radiohead singing Karma Police. I have never seen Coldplay live, but I think it would be a lot of fun to do so. Here’s their hit Paradise at a concert in Paris.
Sound Healing At Home
Beyond listening to great music in our homes, there are things we can listen to in an intentional way to improve mood, decrease stress, decrease pain and vibrationally lift us up as we heal emotional wounds. Have you ever been in a room and even though no one is in there, you can just feel ickiness or an unfinished argument in the air? Sound can be used to clear a space.
Binaural Beats are when two slightly different frequencies of sound are played into each ear creating another sound in your brain. So you put on your earbuds and a different frequency is sent to each ear. Research has been showing it can improve anxiety, balance mood, decrease pain and more. Here’s an article that includes the science behind binaural beats and 9 different ways they have been helpful for people.
Where Can I Find Binaural Beats?
It’s easy to listen to binaural beats for free. Simply go to Youtube and search for it and you will find a plethora of options. Spotify also has binaural beats available in its catalogue and I’m guessing Apple Music would have it too.
Acoustic Brain Research
Tom Kenyon is a psychotherapist and healer (among many other things) who has scientifically studied the impact of sound on healing. Over the years he was a psychotherapist he’d start to encompass sound into some of his sessions. He started to study the healing benefits of sound. Here is a post to learn more about science of sound healing in general. Similar to binaural beats, research is showing benefits of reduction of stress, improving relaxation and focus and so much more.
Where Can I Find Tom Kenyon’s Music
You can either get a cd or download his music from Tom Kenyon’s store.
I was lucky to meet Callie Whitworth at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Every year our school had an evening of artistic performances. Callie always sang, and I wasn’t the only one wowed during our last year when she found something deep inside her and went to where her music wanted to take her. I’ve tried playing binaural beats & Tom Kenyon’s music to my kids and by far their favourite is Callie’s voice.
Where Can I Find Callie Whitworth’s Music
To listen to a sample of Callie’s music or buy her cd Vibrations in the Wind, you can visit her website Dreamtime Medicine.
Sound Healing Sessions With A Practitioner
Once you’ve started to explore sound healing, it can be a wonderful experience to see a practitioner who devotes an hour to personalize sound healing to your needs. Once you open this box, you will find that there any many different types of sound healers available in your geographic area. Here’s a few to get you started.
Located on Bloor Street West, my friend Lianne has expanded her Reiki practice to include sessions that include the use of tuning forks. Different tuning forks are used at different points and chakras on the body. Tuning forks combined with Reiki? Sign me up. You can find her at LianneGraham.com.
So Texas is large, but if you’re close to San Antonio, you can find Callie Whitworth and her beautiful studio. Callie combines Brennan Energy Healing with the sound of her voice. I was lucky enough to receive a session this past spring that left me wishing I lived closer. You can find her at DreamtimeMedicine.com.
For my European friends, if you want an option that’s closer to you, I’d encourage you to try a sound healing with my friend John Reilly in Dublin, Ireland. John is also a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. He always brought his set of Tibetan singing bowls to each week in Florida and gave sound healings to individuals and groups. He places the bowls at different points and chakras on the body to create an incredibly healing experience. You can find out more about John at OpenSourceHealer.com.
Yoga & Sound Healing at De La Sol Yoga Studios
If you practice yoga, an easy way to experience the benefits of sound can be a session at De La Sol Yoga Studios in Hamilton. Peter Monos leads the group in a gentle Yin Yoga while playing his Tibetan Singing Bowls. I always leave each session feeling both relaxed and re-energized. You can find out the class schedule at De La Sol Yoga Studios.
Sound & Spirituality
Sound can also be used to help us on our spiritual journey using the methods above or in many other ways. In my next blog post I will share about some of my experiences with sound & spirituality from journeying to Nepal to experiencing a group event with Tom Kenyon this past October.
What types of experience with sound healing have been healing for you? I’d love to hear about what you enjoy the most.
I have been an on again-off again meditator for years. I have always envied those individuals that have made meditation a regular habit in their lives. When I met my husband, he would meditate daily for 30-minutes to an hour every morning and evening. He would invite me to join him, but at the time I thought it looked pretty boring to sit silently for that long. He too goes through periods of meditating and not meditating.
Over the years I would read about people such as Ram Dass, Yogananda, or Michael Singer who had mystical and transformative experiences meditating, and I thought, “Well of course if you’re having that type of “wow/life-changing” experience, you would continue to meditate”. Or I would think, “Of course if you’ve chosen the spiritual vocation as your life path, these transformative experiences would happen”. And then at the same time I would read about stories of people who meditated for years and never had that “wow” experience while meditating.
So, if I can’t get a Guarantee of that “Wow Factor”, Why Meditate?
So, without having the “wow” factor goal in mind, I wondered why meditation would be so highly recommended for individuals.
Physical, mental, and emotional benefits
Calmness, focus, centeredness, happiness, better health, and self-love are all benefits of meditation. It seems that as each year goes by, more and more research demonstrates the healing benefits of mindfulness or meditation for more and more things. Pain, mental illness, stress, and burnout is just a few of the things it can help with. Just google “research meditation” or “research mindfulness” and you’ll notice a plethora of information at your fingertips.
When I taught Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to teens and adults, mindfulness was a key component to this therapy. The main benefit of mindfulness in DBT is to help a person pause and connect with their thoughts & emotions and how they are using this information to interact with the world. Many other types of psychotherapy involving mindfulness have been created too, with the most famous probably being Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) created by Jon-Kabat Zinn. In other psychotherapies, the word mindfulness is never mentioned, but it is used in practice to help a person connect to their emotions and bring awareness to thoughts.
If you’re on a spiritual path, meditation seems a key part in going deeper into one’s spiritual journey whether it be with a religion or a more general spiritual path. Meditation allows a person to connect beyond themselves to something on a much grander scale – God, the universe, specific religious individuals such as Jesus or Buddha, and more.
Where Do I Start (or restart)?
- Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are, was one of the books that inspired me to start meditation. It’s an easy read with short chapters. This book is especially helpful if you’re interested in the Physical, Mental, & Emotional benefits. If you’re a person who is interested in being mindful but doesn’t want to sit quietly in meditation, this book provides many other options. You can do anything mindfully. Really.
- Want a book that also captures the spiritual benefits? Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul is succinct and you can tell from the depth and simplicity of this book that he is a seasoned meditator.
There are a lot of guided meditations available on YouTube, it can be a matter of trying a few to find your favourites.
- Tara Brach is my favourite person to listen to for a guided meditation. I love her voice and her variety of meditations. You can find many selections on her website or on YouTube.
There are many apps related to mindfulness and meditation. After not meditating for many months, I tried the 14-day trial with Headspace. This was a great way to hear if I liked the person’s voice for guided meditation and try out some of their meditations. When flying on Air Canada earlier this year I found some of their meditations available on the online entertainment system.
After the 14-day trial I decided to buy a subscription for a year (They offer a great discount after you’ve completed the trial). I really appreciate the options to have a 1 minute or a 30-minute meditation. Also my screen can be dark and it can keep playing (unlike YouTube). Some days I’m happy if I meditated for 1 minute. Other days I want to meditate for a longer time. They also have great packages for different topics such as sleep, restlessness, worry and more.
If you notice in your life that it feels busy, even a few minutes of meditation a day can provide benefits of restoration and calm. Often between sessions with clients a take a few minutes to connect to myself and shift my energy from the past client to the next one.
I don’t use the word mindfulness in most of my sessions, but often I’m helping clients to connect with themselves in a deeper way to find the solutions that they seek. Many of us like to spend time in our minds, and while we would benefit from connecting with our bodies or our emotions, we are often not practiced at doing so. We are often on the move.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you found something to inspire you to start or restart your journey with meditation!
 Meditation is a form of mindfulness. There are many ways to be mindful without meditating, but meditation is a popular method of mindfulness.