“To touch is to give life.” – Michelangelo We are all innate healers. We know that when someone is hurting we reach out and touch them. Positive touch has a long list of physical and mental health benefits including improving blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration, reducing pain, and alleviating depression and anxiety. Hugs, massage, reiki, cuddling, a pat on the back or a hand to hold all have benefits. Circle of Light provides services related to positive touch: #reiki, #cuddling, #doula services. These services also help those who have experienced the #trauma of negative touch to heal.
All the abortion ban legislation and related posts the last few weeks have been a lot for me to handle. My relationship with abortion is complicated and still evolving.
Even when I left the church when I was around 20, I continued holding most of the anti-abortion beliefs I had been raised with. Individually I would support anyone in her individual choice, but I still primarily identified as pro-life…or at least I walked the middle of the road in such a way that nobody wanted me on their side.
Last year my views started to shift. I began my studies as a bereavement doula. One of the areas that some bereavement doulas work in is supporting women through abortions. The course material brought up old trauma, and I was determined to work through it. I felt called to provide this kind of support, and I knew the only way to do that was to deal with my stuff so that I could be fully present with them and not pull away into my own triggers.
I did research online, read books, talked to people who had abortions or had supported others through them. I did inner child work and released more fear, anger, and grief. I talked to my daughter who had been aborted. My views began to shift as more about the circumstances surrounding the many individuals I was learning about came to light.
Then last month as all these dangerous, cruel, scary pieces of legislation were surfacing, I began to get angry. I was angry about the hardship, danger, and oppression the government is imposing upon the citizens of this country.
There was one particular post that stood out to me. It was the story of a woman whose father, a doctor, had repeatedly raped her as a teenager. When she became pregnant at the age of 13, a buddy of his performed the abortion. She was given no choice. Her mother told her that everything that happened was God’s will. There were parts of it that resonated with me and my own story, even though other parts were very different.
That post made me want to share my own story and to speak out for the right for all women, girls, trans, intersex, and binary people to choose what happens in their very individual circumstances.
Here is my story…As a young teenager, around 14, I was repeatedly raped by men I knew who were not related to me. After months of terrible abuse, I became pregnant. I remember feeling so scared and alone. I also felt so much love for the life growing inside me. I wanted that baby.
I confided in one of the men. He had shown me small kindnesses during my ordeal. I naively thought he would help me. First the rapists tried beating me to end the pregnancy. When that didn’t work, the man posed as my father and took me to have an abortion. I didn’t know what was happening until it happened. I started to scream, and somebody put a hand over my mouth.
I didn’t remember the rapes, the abortion, or my baby for over 20 years.
My choice was taken away from me, and with it my memories and my voice.
Over the past 5 years, I have worked through healing those related traumas using all sorts of tools. I have released layer upon layer upon layer. I am dedicated now to helping others to release and heal sexual trauma.
This is my story. I add it to the millions of voices with their own stories of trauma or shame or illness or poverty or pain or hardship that so many others have faced.
I, Rev. Niki Kissell, am adding my voice because it is more important to me now than ever before that those faced with this most difficult of decisions have access to choice in a way I didn’t have. I am telling you this because societal changes aren’t made because of statistics or political affiliations or dogma. Changes are made when people encounter individuals – when they meet somebody with a face, and a name, and a story.
This is a call to be heard! Not everyone is in a position where they can or want to share their story. Not everyone has this kind of story to share. Other ways you can help to add your voice for the right of choice is by making financial donations to organizations working on the front lines like the ACLU, SisterSong, The National Abortion Federation, and the Yellow Hammer Fund; voting for legislators that support women’s right to choose and encouraging others to vote as well; calling and writing to your legislators; learning about this issue more deeply and learning the stories of those involved on all sides and in all kinds of situations.
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
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!
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.
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!
Do healers have to be perfect? I think it’s pretty obvious that the answer is no! I made this video because people in my life have been stating or implying that because I do this work, I shoulder be tougher, smarter, more perfect in my healing process. I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t so!
I was starting to slip into a depressive episode as the negative self-talk around feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness compounded an already painful and triggered state. Luckily I asked for help. Then I realized that I need to pass on the assistance I received in that moment.
You do NOT have to have all the answers. You do not have to have a “thicker skin.” You do not have to be completely healed from everything ever. It is okay to ask for help.
P.S. Click here for the Facebook group I mention in the video.
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.
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.
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.
Later 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 layers 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.
This Points of Light just has a few thoughts about healing through music.
Below are the promised links:
Healing Composers: http://deutermusic.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.
Points of Light: The Path of the Healer
In this installment of Points of Light, I try to answer the question, how do you start on the path of becoming a healer?
Here’s the short version: It starts with “the call,” the passion for doing the work. We are the guides for others doing their own healing work. We need the conviction and knowing that what we are doing is working. It is about service, not ego.
Please ask questions in the comments, and let me
know what other topics you would like to hear about!
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.
Moksha 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.
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.
“Ask, Trust, Allow” – Author Unknown
2017 was a year full of choices, partially because I asked for them. As I mentioned in previous posts, (this one too) my word for 2017 was choice. Granted, every year is full of choices. Not a day goes by that we don’t make choices, even if that choice is to maintain the status quo.
One of the things I learned throughout the year was to remember that I had a choice, and even more importantly, that just because I had chosen something at one time, I did not have to keep choosing it.
So I chose to close the healing center that I worked so hard to create. I chose not to choose a new goal right away. I chose to be gentle with myself as I transitioned away from the old dream. I chose to enjoy myself and return to some hobbies I had not made time for in years. I chose to feed my soul be attending and sharing in groups that others were facilitating. I chose to honor my body, to nourish it with movement and better nutrition. I chose to release more trauma stored in my body. I chose to claim my power regarding who has access to my body and I how I want to share it. I chose to embrace my sexuality with joy and power. I chose to heal and grow, rather than stagnate. I chose to begin dreaming new dreams.
For 2018, the word I choose to bring with me throughout the year is “ASK.” For far too long, I have held back in asking for what I need and for what I want. I have lived my life in fear of being told, “no,” mistaking that “no” for a rejection of the validity of the request or of myself. I have hidden my need for help, mistaking vulnerability and need for weakness. I have forgotten that even when human help isn’t available that I have a legion of guides and gods in the spirit world, not to mention my True Self, ready to supply answers and aid if I only ASK.
So this year, I chose to face my fears and ask.