2019: Be Heard

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
-David Augsburger

2019 is my year to BE HEARD! Choosing a word of the year is a powerful tradition in my life. For the 5th year in a row, I am choosing a word to guide my path for the year. Except, this year it’s a phrase…my contrary nature finds that kind of delightful!

Image of two boys using a phone made of tin cans to be heard through

I find when I choose that word (or phrase) it lights the way for opportunities for growth. That first year my word was trust, and I noticed ways the Universe helped me learn to trust more deeply. When my word was power, I learned to recognize new ways in which I could express my power. When my word was choice, I began to notice how many choices we have the opportunity to make everyday. Last year my word was ask, and I reminded myself to ask, even when it was not comfortable.

What Does Being Heard Mean?

When the phrase “Be Heard” presented itself to me near the end of last year, I was in a stage of my life when I was playing it small and choosing not to speak up in ways that were important to me. I was doing a lot of healing and growing, and I wanted someone to hold space and be witness to both the pain and the power flowing through me. That sense of validation is an aspect of connection, and it is something we all need in way or another. So “Be Heard” can mean validation.

At the same time, I recommitted to my business and stepping into my role as entrepreneur. In that sense, “Be Heard” meant stepping out and not waiting for others to notice me.

A third aspect for me to learn about and work with soon became clear. It was obvious, but important, to recognize that it is just as important to give others the space and validation to “Be Heard” as it is to be heard myself. I’m good at doing that in big, emotional situations. This perspective helped me to start looking for ways to be more intentional in listening to the little, everyday communications in which we share ourselves.

In Practice

My opportunities to learn about being heard came fast and furious as the 2019 broke. I celebrated the New Year with a small group of friends on the beach. A series of events, poor communication, old wounds, and just unfortunate circumstances left me feeling minimized, judged, rejected, hurt, triggered, and thoroughly unheard that night.

I was able to address some of the things the following day. I explained to one of the people involved why some of the things had been so very hurtful to me. She listened and held me and made it clear that she understood what I was telling her. The energetic knife wound through my heart was immediately healed. I felt lighter and more loving and better able to hold space for others to feel heard.

The other primary player in the New Year’s Eve fiasco was too emotionally overloaded and wounded himself to listen to me in any way, and I was in far too much pain to listen to him. So we went in circles the entire week, digging a deeper and deeper hole neither of us could climb out of. It was a hellish week, and our relationship did not survive. I did learn some important lessons though.

The first is that Being Heard – feeling loved, validated, and accepted is important, and it’s something that I, and everyone else, deserves and is worthy of. Being Heard HEALS!

Also, waiting around over and over again to be heard, trying over and over again to be heard, being told that your feelings matter less than someone else’s –  is bullshit! You deserve to be heard, and anyone that treats you differently does not deserve to be in your life.

Third, my feelings do not need to hinge on someone else’s treatment of me. And even though I’m not there yet, I feel that this is a layer that is now ready to be healed, and this week of not being heard helped to get me to this point.

I got the chance to step out and Be Heard that very same week. I got a call one evening from my friend and mentor Michael Inanna asking me to be the guest on a weekly round table he hosts with his wife Freyja called Sex & Chocolate. They wanted me to come on and talk about sex magick in less than two hours. I actually almost said no, to this opportunity that the Universe handed me in response to my setting the intention of being heard. But then, my guides whispered in my ear and reminded me that it was exactly what I was asking for. So I said YES! and Thank You! And More Please!

And I was blessed with the opportunity to let those I loved feel safe and heard. I wasn’t the only one who had a hard week. From listening to my teenage son about his views of the world to a friend in a crisis of faith, to my lover as we shifted the dynamics of our relationship, I was given the gift of learning to listen better.

Just the Beginning

We haven’t even made it out of January yet, and I’ve already learned so much! I’m excited to see where my word of the year will take me for the rest of this trip around the sun!

And I’d love to hear from you. Do you choose a word of the year? Do you have other ways you focus an intention or goal for the year? How have these practices helped you to heal and grow? Share your comments below or in my Facebook group Grow with Me!

Embracing Power with Love

I have been thinking about my relationship with power. As a young woman, my tendency was to play it small. My family gave me the implicit message to keep my head down, play it safe, and not make waves. While I loved to shine on stage, and my creativity was encouraged, in other aspects of my life I learned to not ask for more than my share, to not show my vulnerability and struggles, to work hard for what was just enough, and not take chances.

Image of man shaking finger at woman who has her head down and ears covered

There have been many twists and turns along the journey to step fully into my power, and that journey is by no means finished. Along the way sexual trauma and some poor relationship choices contributed to the perceptions of my powerlessness.

I think the journey to reclaiming my power began about 12 years ago when I started to learn about my own sexual power and divine nature as a sexual being through Moksha Magick. Sexuality is such a misunderstood and feared source of power and beauty. Ironically, or perhaps perfectly, I began that part of the journey before realizing how much damage was present in my sexual being.

Image of a woman's naked back with the arms of her partner wrapped around her

Then four years ago I was finally ready to face the sexual trauma from earlier in my life. I ran away from the pain and shame and anger from that trauma for over 20 years. I blocked it out so completely, that I didn’t remember it at all until I finally felt safe enough to stand in my power and face it. It was hard, messy work. (I wrote a little bit about it here) I cried, and screamed, and rocked, and shook. I took three months off work so that I could focus all my attention on reclaiming my power. I used all the tools I now had at my disposal, including that increased understanding of the Divine nature of my sexuality. I was engaged at the time, and my fiance was able to support me with sexual healing techniques we developed together over time. We also worked together as I learned to embrace all the difficult emotions that always become entangled with sexual trauma: shame, fear, guilt anger, helplessness, hopelessness, etc. and to express them so that I was no longer carrying them inside my body. Another important healing tool during that time was inner child work. I would talk to, write to, and embrace a specific doll, giving her all the love, understanding, and acceptance that I should have had as a young teenager.

About a year later, in 2016, I was again ready to take another step further into my power. The word I chose to focus on that year was power. The Universe delivered. I participated in a program for singing performance called Breakthrough (I wrote about it here and here). Nine of us participated, each for our own reasons. The facilitators were very gifted at identifying how each of us was ready to grow and what we needed to step into next. The song the group chose for me to perform for the final concert was “Happy.” It was perfect. It was about how letting go of fear and others’ expectations (in other words, stepping into our own power) is how we embrace happiness. Music is such a powerful healing tool, especially when we embrace it with intention and focus.

Image of woman breaking chainsLater that year, I entered the Integrative Orgasmic Healing program with Freyja and Michael Inanna. Once again, the focus was on fully expressing our emotions about traumas big and small. I cannot emphasize enough how important emotional expression is! The other major component of that three month experience was using sexual energy as a healing tool to fill the energy vacuum once those challenging emotions were released. So again, sexuality became a powerful tool in my healing journey. And I also had the support of Michael and Freyja. I cannot tell you how much I value their ability to create safe space and to intuitively respond to and honor the needs that arise within that space.

Here we are now in 2018. My healing journey continues. As long as we remain on this earth plane, the need for healing and growth continues. We cannot and must not rest on past accomplishments. And so, I step further into my power. I am revisiting what it means to be a sexual healer and what sacred sexuality means to me. I am continuing to find new ways to experience and express my emotions as new layers of trauma surface, asking to be released and healed. My inner child work has taken on greater depth as I find new ways to connect with and nurture her.

There’s a big difference this time, and it filled me with fear when the work presented itself to me. As new layersImage of hands outstretched began to rise earlier this summer, I was actually excited about what the hard and messy work ahead would mean. I knew I had the tools and the knowledge I needed to take a hard look at and heal new aspects of the old trauma. But I was afraid of doing it alone. I did not have a life partner or skilled practitioners by my side. Without that kind of intensive support, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. But as with all other things in life, I had all the resources I needed. Support came from varied and unexpected directions. In fact, all the support I have found and asked for is an aspect of my power. Our power does not need to live in isolation. In fact power in isolation is meaningless.

I have often been afraid of people I perceive as being in power. Seeing or experiencing people wield power for power’s sake or to make themselves feel important infuriates me. I fear making that same mistake myself. If that’s what power is, I don’t want to be powerful! But no, that is NOT the only expression of power. Power can be expressed as sexuality and all the creative force that entails. Power can be expressed through emotions and holding space for strong emotions. Power can be expressed through acceptance and understanding. Power can be expressed through music. Power can be expressed through joy. Power can be expressed through support of those that need lifting up. Power can even be expressed by asking for help. Power can be expressed through connection. Power can be expressed through love.

So, as I stand on the precipice, preparing to step even more fully into my power, I embrace my power with love.

Image of woman embracing power with love

Points of Light: Healing through Music

This Points of Light just has a few thoughts about healing through music.

Below are the promised links:

Healing Composers: http://deutermusic.com/

https://www.stevenhalpern.com/prod/so…

https://www.shainanoll.com/

Playlist from Healing Circle https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

My personal healing playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

And remember I offer healing sessions incorporating your use of music, movement, and art to help you access and release your deepest emotions.

A stop on the healing journey

In my last newsletter I wrote that I was super busy. Well that just increased in the following weeks to the point that I got completely overwhelmed.

Image of Niki looking overwhelmedMoksha Magick classes, Reiki classes, presenting at various festivals, planning a private retreat, new Reiki clients, new promotional materials, and of course prepping for the Reiki Retreat at Sea have been enough to keep anyone busy! The Universe is sending what I’ve been asking for, and I am grateful beyond measure!

On top of that, my caseload at my day job has been growing by leaps and bounds, and finding time to take care of all my client has been mind-boggling.

Just like anyone else, I find it hard to take my own advice, but I really am trying. I am doing my best to feed my body nourishing foods, get enough rest, and keep up with my yoga routine. I’m also trying to be strict about sticking to my meditation practice and scheduling times to do things I enjoy.

Last week I did something really important. I made a post to one of my Facebook groups about how overwhelmed I was. I felt better just by writing out my frustration. I got a lot of support and some of the members asked really good questions to help me clarify and prioritize things

Then, over the weekend I participated in the Holistic Heath Family Gathering at All World Acres in Plant City. What a healing weekend! I was there partially to teach my Moving through Emotions workshop and to spend time with people I love in a place I think of as home. I got so much more than that! My favorite workshop was Ego Warrior with the amazing Dru Ann Welch. She was as insightful and funny as always and gave some fabulous tips from her latest book by the same name about how to take the remote control out of the hands of you ego and take back control of your life. Since then I’ve been having conversations with my ego and a tug-of-war over that remote control.

Image of Ashley Rae with her crystal bowls
Ashley Rae with her crystal bowls

During a sound bath with 15 crystal bowls played by Dru Ann and festival organizer, Ashley Rae, I set the intention that of bringing people into my life that will help me to achieve my goals and healing any blocks that were preventing that. As the vibrations of the bowls moved through me, I felt a huge release! I realized shortly after that that the right people had already started to show up, and as the weekend went on, I had some enlightening conversations with some very practical applications that will lighten the burden I’ve been struggling under.

As the weekend continued, I did a personal vibrational healing session and got a massage. Both of those sessions, as well as many other small experiences throughout the festival helped me to realign with my priorities, including spiritual practice and self-care. It was also my honor to be asked to lead the Saturday night healing circle. When it was my turn to receive, the love I was bathed in washed over me and covered me in a blanket of healing and appreciation that was palpable.

In fact the whole weekend was full to overflowing with love and acceptance.

I start the new week feeling more balanced, in better control of my priorities, and full of love.

The only thing to fear…is ourselves?

This week I am preparing to teach Moksha Magick classes. Moksha Magick is a practice near and dear to my heart, but I realize that because of the focus on sexuality, many people might not be interested in exploring it. That’s okay. Everyone has a different approach and experience when it comes to a wide variety of healing practices.

Many of the people receiving this newsletter embrace the practice of Reiki and other forms of energy healing whole-heartedly, but you may have friends or family members who perceive these practices as fraudulent or even morally wrong.

I am not here to convince anybody that they should change their spiritual, religious, or ethical beliefs.

I AM here to help people face their fears. And for many certain aspects of sexuality is a big one. In fact I don’t think I have met anyone yet that doesn’t need some form of sexual, including the many sexuality educators I know (myself included).

For most of us, our sexuality has become separate from ourselves. We remove it and put it in a corner, and then call upon it only when “appropriate.” When we begin to heal, we automatically start to close that gap, whether the focus is on sexuality or not. When we bring that intention as a focus, that healing comes much more quickly.

There are other aspects of ourselves which many people are afraid of as well. Things like intuition, psychic abilities, emotional intimacy, and expression of our emotions are just a few.

These things are often much scarier than the boogie man, spiders, enclosed spaces, or even public speaking. These things are part of ourselves, and in order to become a health, whole human being, they MUST be faced.

So whether you take a Moksha Magick class, or not, I invite you to explore your fears within yourself…whether that is with me, with another practitioner, or on your own.

 

Leadership Through Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brené Brown

Man walking tightrope over sharks

On January Second, 2015, in front of witnesses, I looked directly into my own eyes and told my reflection, “I love me,” in a clear, compassionate voice.

While that seems like a simple act, I’m sure that anybody who has tried it will agree that doing so is anything but easy. To make that proclamation, especially in the presence of others, normally would leave me feeling very vulnerable. However, in this case, I felt empowered instead. I felt empowered because I had allowed myself to show my vulnerability rather than hiding it. In that sharing, I was set free and found that rather than weakness, displaying my vulnerability led to strength.

Over the past few years, I have come to appreciate that allowing our vulnerability to be seen can be an incredibly empowering experience for myself and those around me.

There were two experiences in the last eighteen months that really brought home to me that expressing my vulnerability as a leader empowers and heals both me and the members of my community who witness it.

The first experience centered on a ritual my partner of the day and I created as a tool for healing. I created the ritual as part of my healing work regarding sexual trauma. I had made a huge breakthrough near the beginning of December in which I did some powerful writing around forgiving the girl who was so scared and confused and ashamed about the situation surrounding the rapes. However, in the weeks that followed I came to realize that I had not forgiven all of me; I had not forgiven my adult-self who had made questionable decisions and chosen harmful paths in an unknowing result of what I experienced.

It was important to me to have witnesses and people to hold space during the ritual. Sharing struggles and triumphs is a human need. That need is a major reason why ceremonies like weddings and funerals are such important religious and secular events. I wasn’t thinking about the greater context at time I invited my friends. I just wanted to share my fears and celebrate my growth and healing with those I hoped would acknowledge and accept me.

In the ritual, I shared with my friends some of the specific things I had done for my healing and how utterly lost I had been for the past several months: the hours spent crying, the days spent shaking and rocking, the inability to take care of my children in the way I wanted to. Expressing those fears was an important part of taking back my power and my confidence in myself.

My partner then took us through a meditation about seeing forgiveness not as releasing guilt, but in accepting ourselves and our choices.

After the meditation, I took a jar and put in some important symbols representing different parts of my development. Looking back on it now, I think the most important item I placed in that jar was a piece of pyrite (fools gold). pyriteIt represented my fear that people perceived me as gold, but if they really knew what was inside me, they would be disappointed and see me as a fraud. I was a healer and a leader in my spiritual community, after all. What if people knew how dysfunctional I had been in the previous few months? What if people knew how full of doubt and fear and shame I was? Part of my intent in that ritual was to bury that notion and to begin to perceive myself as gold.

After I buried the jar, the others formed a line and took turns telling me how they saw me and appreciated me. I was brought to tears, not only by the beauty of the words, but by their sincerity. I wouldn’t have been able to accept their words as  genuine if I had not shared my fears first.

That ritual was a seminal moment in my life.It helped me to move back into my roles as healer, teacher, and leader with confidence.

About a year later, I was hosting a Moksha Magick ritual at my studio. It had been a long day. There had already been two other events at Circle of Light that day. The previous group had run late. Two people arrived early for the Moksha group, and I hadn’t had a chance to eat yet. My partner and I had just had a tense moment. I was hungry, tired, and on edge.

We went ahead and ate our dinner while the discussion topic was introduced. As the discussion wrapped up, we began to get ready for ritual. My partner met my eyes and asked if I was in a space to participate. The question stopped me in my tracks.closed eye I sat down and burst into tears. The old shame rushed up to greet me. What kind of leader was I? The gathering was in my space. I had suggested the day and time. I was the high priestess, for heaven’s sake!

Then something monumental happened: I was able to think clearly enough to ask myself what I would do if it was someone else in the same situation. I realized that I wouldn’t hold it against another person at all, even from a host and a leader. I would assure them it was okay and ask if there was anything I could do to help. I was able to express this revelation to the small group and then express what would help me without waiting for one of them to ask.

What I wanted was to just be held and nurtured. Instead of creating the ritual we had originally intended, we created a beautiful, powerful ritual that perfectly met the need of the moment.

I realized later what a blessing it would have been to have witnessed leaders in my own life show this level of vulnerability in a similar  situation. I was blown away. What a gift! A gift I gave myself and those who shared that space with me.

Brené Brown says, “When we meet someone, vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you, but it’s the last thing I want to show you in me.” In other words, we admire those who are able to embrace “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” However, we fear others will judge us when we do the same.

That really doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? It’s a paradox. Maybe we admire those who are willing to show their vulnerability because we want to be able to do the same. We allow our fear of weakness to hold us back from embracing our greatest strengths. Perhaps just recognizing this double standard we have for others and ourselves will allow us to begin exploring the expression of our own vulnerabilities. In doing so, we begin to courageously accept our own strength.

 

 

 

 

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Breaking Through – Part II

breakthroughopening

In my last post, I wrote about how the Breakthrough program helped me to further develop my sense of trust in the Universe and myself.

I just want to take a moment to share how the last week of the program and the final concert continued to change my life.

During that final week of the program, instead of meeting just once a week, our group of singers and seekers came together five times. Mick and Tess gave us an amazing amount of support, expertise, and genuine caring. I felt so loved and cared for by the entire group that just experiencing that support was worth the entire program.

On the day of the concert we gathered together and shared with each other our intentions for the evening. I spoke my intention of facing my fear to sing and share from an authentic space instead of wearing my performer’s mask.

When my turn came to share my song, I also seized the opportunity to share about what it meant to me. Admitting that my parents were human and made mistakes made me extremely nervous…so just giving that little speech about taking risks was a risk in itself.

And then I sang my heart out, communicating with song, with words, with movement what my very soul wanted to communicate.

happy

Our songs were chosen for us, first by Mick, and then eventually by the group. Thank you Mick, thank you everyone for taking care of me so well, and gifting me with this song that spoke to my soul so strongly. They gave me Happy, originally recorded by Leona Lewis. Thank you, thank you dear ones.

If you would like to hear what I had to say and sing, click here and enter the password nikisings

The next Breakthrough concert is on March 20th at the Unity Church in St. Petersburg.

If you are ready to break through and let yourself shine, don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity!

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Breaking Through

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it tblooming roseook to blossom.” – Anais Nin

2015 was a breakthrough year for me. I have faced a lot of fears. I had been on three months of mental health leave from my full-time job. A few days into the New Year, I started back part-time and eventually transitioned to permanent contract work.

I started the year in the arms of my fiancé. A few months later, following some really hard discussions and decisions, we parted ways.

NYE 2015
Elizabeth, James, and me in our new home/healing center New Year’s Eve 2015

I learned to walk my own path again. My clients and students reminded me of what I know and what I’m capable of. I moved with my kids across town and expanded my business. As with any new business, we’ve struggled to make ends meet and sometimes despaired about being able to do so. At the close of 2015, I was ready to embrace life’s ups and downs, trusting that this will be a year of growth and healing. I am ready to breakthrough once more.

I have used a lot of tools for healing and personal growth during the last year: Reiki, meditation, yoga, Moksha Magick, Oneness Deeksha, art, journaling, mental health counseling…the list continues on. They all have value, and I am blessed to have them all in my toolbox to use in whatever combination makes sense in the moment. I have shared about most of these in one way or another with my students,  clients, and blog readers.

Towards the end of 2015 my dear friend Monica introduced me to a new tool. It’s called Breakthrough. It is a workshop developed to help people of all backgrounds and levels of experience in their healing and personal growth through song performance. Since October 24th, the fabulous Mick and Tess Pulver have guided a group of nine seekers to greater understanding of ourselves, where we have been, and where we want to be. For someone who loves to sing and is actively healing and growing, this was a perfect fit! With the guidance of Mick and Tess, I have continued to learn to embrace trust in all aspects of my life. I have also become aware of a fear I didn’t even know I had:  letting my true self break through the mask I tend to wear.

breakthrough

More than that, I have to share how much I admire some of the other people on this journey with me. I love to sing. I try my best to stay active in my healing work. For some of the other participants, singing in front of other people is very scary, and doing the deep work needed to really heal is downright terrifying! Yet they’re doing it! They are my heroes! It is such an honor to witness the healing and growth of everyone in Breakthrough and to share my healing and growth with them.

The culmination of all our hard work, play, and healing is a concert on January 9th at 7 pm at the Unity Church in St. Petersburg, FL. If you would like to be a part of an uplifting evening of song and hold space for some amazing performers as they share their breakthroughs, please join us!

If you are ready to do some breaking through of your own, click here for information on free introductory sessions and registration for upcoming workshops.

I wish you a blessed 2016, however you choose to breakthrough.

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How I Finally Learned that Art is Fun

I consider myself to be a performing artist to some degree. I love to sing and dance, and from the age of 10, my home away from home was the local community theater.

I’ve never thought of myself as a visual artist. When I was a kid and the Sunday School teacher asked us to draw a picture to make the morning fun, I would end up in tears because it never looked the same way on paper as it did in my head. In my Reiki II class, I became completely intimidated when we had to learn how to draw the symbols.

When I began doing the Journey of Yes courses a few years ago, I was nervous about doing the art prompts, much less sharing them with the professional and semi-professional artists in the course. I finally talked myself into doing some of them and posting them on the Facebook group. Everyone was so supportive of my stick figures and wavy lines. They truly appreciated the symbolism I put into my attempts of self-expression.

joyhand

 

Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was actually enjoying doing this kind of art.

Not only was the artwork helping me to process and express my emotions, it was actually fun!

Then, joy of joys! During the Hell Yes course at the beginning of the year, a piece of  the class  included some tutorials on how to create memes and other digital artwork on Picmonkey.com. All of the sudden I could visually express the pictures in my head!

Here is my first attempt at digital art: beyou  I created it to encourage myself in my journey as I learned to speak up for myself.

I used these creations to help me process what I was working through at therapy and at home.  bindourselves

 speak truth super hero

                              halt

Pretty soon, I started making memes for others,when they needed encouragement as well: drythemall

phoenix

Some memes came to me as messages in meditation havecourage

like this one that I wrote about in the post Have Courage. Speak out and this one that was related to me by a fellow student in my Core Shamanics class fire

This one was inspired by current events

(the historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage).

marriage equality

Most continue to express my thoughts and feelings as life has continued to evolve.

leap2

leap1

(I couldn’t decide which one I liked better here.)

releasedoubt

ask.trust.allow

This one is a self-portrait showing myself what it would look and feel like to have achieved my goal of trusting myself and allowing blessings into my life, as I wrote about in a previous post.

worthy Empathy 

The last few memes have honed in on some quotes by figures I admire and am learning from. These messages inspire me so much that I want to create art incorporating them and share them to inspire others.

Including this last one that I just made today.

transform sex

Thanks for letting me share here once again. I really encourage you to explore a new art form. Push your boundaries, and express yourself.

And have FUN!

Bridges

As many of you know, I am in a transition period in my life, a bridge so to speak. This has been an incredibly healing and powerful weekend. I need to write about it to help me continue processing what I have experienced. I’m sharing my reflections here in the hope it will help someone as they are transitioning through their own bridges.

bridge

The weekend of healing and insight began Friday evening at a Moksha Magick gathering. It was the first time I had seen my former fiancé since he moved out at the end of May. I knew that seeing him might be hard, but it was both easier and harder than I had expected. It was easier in that it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it might be. We were able to come together in Moksha and let it be exactly what it needed to be. It was harder because by the time I got home, I was much more raw and emotional than I had anticipated.

There was so much that was left unsaid. I played games on Facebook for hours trying to get myself to wind down. As I was trying to convince myself that I really needed to go to bed, I came across a post from one of my Reiki students with a suggestion for a simple new moon ritual of releasing. It was perfect. I combined it with the intention from the Moksha Magick ritual for emotional strength. I asked the Goddess to give me the emotional strength to release my longing for the relationship that now belongs in the past.

Cool, I thought. I’m being given the emotional strength we raised energy for already. Well, yes and no. Writing “longing for the relationship” on a broken piece of pottery and burying it did give me a sense of action and peace. But the next day, I found that I was continuing to replay the evening and then add imaginary conversations in my head.

At a private healing circle that day, the thought of the broken relationship brought up tears that I thought had already cried themselves out. The tears and the support I received were healing. I acknowledged that I still needed to spend time with what I was feeling and why I was feeling it.

The weekend culminated Sunday morning, sharing Conscious Movement with members of a tribe who made me feel right at home. This was only the second time I had danced and moved with this fabulous group. Some of them I had met briefly before, and some of them I shared space with for the first time.

I surprised myself this morning by being on time and the first one there. When I walked in the door, the comforting smell of sage greeted me, followed by warm, enthusiastic hugs from the organizers. As I warmed up with the music, it felt so good to be in a supportive, accepting dance space with the beautiful souls coming through the door.

The theme of today’s session was Bridges. The fabulous Kathy Oravec, facilitating through music and movement, helped us to find and express the bridges in our lives.

Not long after the opening circle, I found myself in a situation I rarely encounter: I felt lost on the dance floor. I wandered aimlessly, without feeling the music in my body. I kept coming back to a blanket that had a pile of small scarves and some toys that were there for us to move with if we felt like it.

It popped into my head to create a bridge with the scarves. I laid some scarves out end to end, thinking that the bridge I was creating was a bridge into the next chapter of my life. This was a bridge to a life where I feel comfortable and confident on my own. I went back to the blanket and found a little car, then sprawled next to the scarves. The car drove part way up the scarf bridge in time with the music and then turned back towards the beginning. I moved the car back and forth, making progress little by little, until it jumped the track and took a completely different bridge into my new life.

I felt accomplished and proud of myself, but sad too. I missed AumJah. I thought about how much he would enjoy this gathering and how fun it would be to share it with him. There were these huge floor to ceiling windows encasing the room in a semi-circle. I thought about how much he would like those too. I drifted to one and looked out at some trees. They seemed to be inviting me to join them. So I went and gave one a big hug, finding comfort in its solidness and peace. I cried and gave them my sadness, my longing, my pain. I sat with them until I felt that I had expressed all I needed to in that space.

Then I went back inside and flung myself into the dance. I smiled, I played, I connected with people, and instead of feeling lost and wondering what to do, I lost myself in the dance, knowing exactly what to do.

I found more bridges. The first was the dance itself: it created a bridge to my feelings, the sadness, the joy, the connection. The second bridge was the tribe gathered to share connection through the music and movement. They made me feel so welcome and part of them, embracing me physically and energetically.

I will surely spend more time with all of these bridges…and count myself blessed.