What’s the Best Possible Outcome? A Quick Exercise in Dealing with Negative Thoughts

I’ve been trying something new lately. I have caught myself so many times recently fuming in my quiet moments over unfairness done to or around me, and it is toxic.

I realized that these thoughts are natural and they WILL happen, but I have control over what happens next. I have been actively on the lookout for these moments, and replacing the negative thoughts with ideas of what I want in my life a year from now, or just in the future at large. It’s incredibly refreshing to shift my focus and shift my energy, and I have noted that ideas and creativity flow more freely when I work on this. I call it “tending my Secret Garden” (lol I know it’s corny).

Anyone who has had a Reiki session with me knows that I teach a version of the Secret Garden meditation where I guide my client through a peaceful landscape that ultimately leads to their Spirit Guide. That landscape is the visualization of their soul, their dreams, all of the positive and beautiful things they hold dear to themselves, and once visualized, it is always there to be used later as a tool to remind ourselves what we treasure and what our minds are capable of creating—beauty, love, and peace ☮️.

Essentially, the idea of the Secret Garden is to simultaneously discover in yourself what you hold most dear, who you want to be, and that you have the power to change your own emotional landscape for the better. Whatever you imagine determines the conditions of the path you walk to that destiny—whether you make the sun shine or the thunder boom in the Secret Garden is up to you.

I leave you today then with one small piece of peace to keep in mind: What WOULD happen if, instead of focusing on the worst, you asked yourself—what’s the BEST that could happen? #soulunfold #breakingthecycle #changeyourmindset

Is It Just My Imagination, Or Did I Just Channel Gene Wilder?

A few minutes ago, I was sad because I just read an article about how when Gene Wilder passed away (it was 3 years ago but I just saw it), his favorite song came on with his final breath. I was so entranced with him as a child.

There’s a random movie on Netflix playing right now, called Hit & Run, and all of a sudden, I hear the refrain from Pure Imagination come from the movie.

If you want to view paradise

Simply look around and view it

Anything you want to, do it

Wanna change the world?

There’s nothing to it.

There is no life I know

To compare with pure imagination

Living there you’ll be free

If you truly wish to be.

And I pulled this card—“This card represents your ability to create your own reality.”

And I think…

… Anything you want to, do it

Wanna change the world?

There’s nothing to it.

There is no life I know

To compare with pure imagination…

There’s a tear in my eye. It feels like Heaven said hello through Willy Wonka!

🍭 🍭 🍭

Spirit Echoes: Light as a Feather

I don’t know how many of you truly believe in the Other Side. Every day, I’m blessed enough to experience the truth of life after death—even in small ways. And that’s available to everyone. I can teach you how.

Today, driving to a Dunkin Donuts drive thru line no less, I was having a moment. A low, self-questioning, self-effacing moment. You know the kind. And so I put my music player on…

And I earnestly asked if my main spirit guide would step forward and offer me a message in the next song.

And they did.

Feather

X Ambassadors

I will lift you up

For now and forever.

I will lift you up,

‘Til you’re light as a feather.

I know times are tough,

When you’re under pressure.

I will lift you up

‘Til you’re light as a feather.

I know you need somebody

Try to act like it’s alright, it’s alright.

‘Cause when you need somebody,

No matter what, you know I will lift you up.

For now and forever

I will lift you up

‘Til you’re light as a feather.

🙏 And I feel better. Thank you, Spirit.

Habits = Happiness: An investigation into confidence and manageable life change

I’m the first person to be annoyed when someone chastises me about better habits, negative thinking, etc…my inner b#%ch usually screams something about walking a mile in my shoes/does this person want a foot in their a$$/not all of us were born lucky, while I nod and smile politely.

However…there is something to be said for honest effort. There are a few things I need to change in my life:

1. My weight and general wellness

2. I need to organize my closets and cupboards/make my living space more efficient

3. I need to make more $$/have a healthier financial standing

4. I need to cook more and generally relax and stop holding my breath. I need to find time to just enjoy my life, which I’m not doing much of lately. I steal minutes from myself here and there while I mostly work myself to death.

5. I need to keep working to trust my gifts (I have had great success in this in the last year or so) and continue to just “see what I say” to build my clairvoyance and mediumship.

Building the habit of happiness will help me stay on track with shoring up the habits that will help me reach these goals. One of my main obstacles to success is what my mom used to diagnose as “lack of patience”–but as an adult, I see what she meant, and I see exactly what it is.

Sometimes I don’t believe in my power to make good things happen. I don’t believe in my own ability to change. This involuntary fear is depressing, and soul sucking, and it makes it hard for me to get up in the morning.

I have helped scores of people change their lives at this point through spiritual work, but I don’t believe in my own ability to change for the better. I don’t believe in my ability to do just about anything right, some days.

How screwed up is that? I have a whole book on deck about it. One time I was struggling to open this incredibly complex umbrella I borrowed (why why why would it have a hidden latch!?) while a security alarm counted down, and suddenly BAM I got it open and all was well. I literally just could not believe in my own ability to do this and was amazed when I figured it out.

To open an UMBRELLA.

Every time I successfully finish a spin class, I’m on top of the WORLD because I’m positive at the beginning that I will make a fool of myself and fall off the bike. However, 99% of the time I do not fall.

There is that one time I kicked my water bottle clear across the room, but that’s an anomaly.

My point is–I have a problem. I’ve had a problem for a long time: it’s called clinical depression and it doesn’t always go away. The generalized anxiety disorder did go away–and I thank my spirit guides every day that it’s gone and I have a new grip on life. I’m still depressed, though. I still feel like I can’t make a difference in my life or the world at large. I generally feel like I let literally everyone down every day, except for every now and then.

And I share this with you because so many people sit across from me at my desk at Willow or on video chat and tell me the same things I’m telling you here. But in them, I see the light of potential. I show them all of the paths their lives can take and what the potentials are for each choice.

And some of them come back to me, their light within shining, their lives changing because THEY made changes. I know it’s possible. I know it’s real. I see it every day.

My point is…what if it’s time for radical reassignment of who you are? I know it’s that time for me. I need to aggressively make these habits a priority, to plow through whatever used to stop me. Maybe I need to fully, unabashedly, powerfully believe in my ability to change myself and make an impact on the world, even if it’s just one more person. Maybe it’s time for me to believe in my thoughts, my ideas, my feelings, my own intellect, and bask in the love I show others while I amplify it outward.

One of the places to start is to document every day 3 things that I am happy for, and 3 things that I did this day that are remarkable and, also, how I’m feeling at that moment in time. I’m thinking this can’t hurt, it will take only a few minutes – really, the amount of time I’m usually spending watching pet videos on Facebook – and maybe it’s something I’ll be able to share with you all, along with my “Hearts Found in the Wild” photos you can see on my Instagram (@soul_unfold_tarot) and my Facebook (@soulunfold), which I may start sharing here as well.

There has been a wild Valkyrie living inside me for a long time, and I think she’s sick of the bullsh&$. She wants to be free, and I think I’m going to let her. I think I’ve known she’s been there for awhile and have neglected her.

After all this time, she may be what I’ve been seeking. It’s time to be the change I want to see.

In love and light,

Erica

Freaky Friday: Demon in the Sheets

Freaky Friday: Demon in the Sheets

Every Friday I will be sharing with you my stories of the paranormal: yes, I’ve seen a lot of spooky shit, that’s not a surprise, I’m sure.

People love to tell and hear stories of the paranormal. It can be in the middle of a posh dinner party or around a campfire–but the second the tones get hushed and people start sharing the crazy, otherworldly phenomena they’ve experienced, the bonding begins. It’s a bond over our shared experience as humans against the wild Unknown.

One of my spookiest stories happened when I was just starting out as a medium and hadn’t really come to terms with the gift yet. My friend and I were upstairs at my house, watching Family Guy on my upstairs TV in the bedroom. My then-husband was downstairs playing a game on the main TV. We were watching the show, and laughing and having fun.

At some point, we must have nodded off. It still seems strange to me, because I remembered going directly from having a great time to waking up, no falling asleep in between.

Both of the bedroom lamps were on, so it was not dark. This is a key fact.

When I awoke, I saw something that immediately made me start screaming. Wrapped around my friend’s back was a horrifying figure that looked burned, and had a smile that literally stretched ear to ear.

My friend was staring right at it and also screaming. We saw the same figure that night.

We bolted downstairs, confirmed what we both saw, and slept on the couches for the night. I learned about saging that week and accidentally cleared all of our ancestors out of the house with one powerful sweep of prayer and sage. It was eerily quiet for a week until I learned to invite them back in.

To this day, I try not to think about that night. There are other energies that walk with us on this Earth. Some are clothed in light, some are cloaked in shadow. It is a Universe of duality, of binaries, of magnetic physical push and pull.

There is no question that occasionally, something shadowy this way comes. Spiritual cleaning and protections are a must.

Got a story of the paranormal you’d like me to share? Please send to soulunfold@gmail.com: we can even be anonymous if you’d like! If you’d like a reading with Erica Lynn of SoulUnfold, I take PayPal and am not expensive: I can do in-person, Skype or email readings.

In love and light,

Erica

So You Think You’re Psychic?: The Soul Unfold Checklist

Seated in front of a table, all 78 cards of my Rider-Waite deck spread in various formations in front of me, a wide-eyed client across from me, the statement that typically comes after all of the big life questions of health, finances, kids and romance is usually:

You know, I’ve been told that I’m a very intuitive person.  Can you see that in me?

The answer is always yes, because intuition is not a gift saved for the few.  Intuition is a muscle ready to be ripped and used and built up. Sure, some of us are born with that ability primed and ready to go, with just a few triggers necessary to make it shine.  It’s like this:  most people are born with the ability to learn tennis and play it to some degree of success.  However, not everyone is born to be a Serena or Venus Williams:  some talent is already pre-gifted, ready to be developed into star-quality abilities.

But with some work, almost anyone can play tennis well.  And with some work, nearly anyone can develop their intuition and learn to do what I do.  It’s all about how much dedication you want to devote to it.  Your life moves in the direction of what you prioritize: for the spiritually gifted, the river flows easiest in the direction of developing intuition to a supernatural degree.  For those of you not quite ready to tackle speaking to spirits who have passed on, or not interested in learning the language of Tarot forward and backward, intuition can still be developed to the level of giving you an edge in your daily lives.

Everyone comes to Earth to do soul work. We come to work out the snarls and kinks in our eternal spirits, to smooth our rough spots. We come here to unfold our souls, because only through trial and error, highs and lows, happiness and sadness in balance, can we have the opportunity to prove ourselves. Our existence at the source on the Other Side, when we are in full knowledge of divine love and not incarnated, does not permit us to make the decisions to become who we need to be.  We need this beautiful world, with all of its lessons, to effect change in our eternal selves.

Just as there is with anything on Earth, there is an easy way to unfold your soul and there is a hard way.  Neither is good or bad.  If you are here at soulunfold.com, then you are looking to tackle it head on.  So let’s get started.

I present to you the Soul Unfold Checklist.  For all of you who have ever wondered if there is a process to developing your intuition, there is.  This is the one that works for me, and I hope it works for you just as well.

Here is the short list:

  1. Choose your divination tool
  2. Journal your spiritual experiences, dreams and readings
  3. Meditate daily
  4. Read all of the spiritual books you can get your hands on
  5. Be patient
  6. Learn Reiki
  7. Practice your divination art of choice and Reiki on your friends

And here is a slightly more detailed list, but still not all-encompassing:

  1. Test the tools of spiritual communication and divination available to you to determine what works for you.  Be disciplined:  do not use this method just to relieve anxieties or answer questions.  Use it to develop a relationship with your spirit guides.
    • If you are interested in using cards as your tool, I recommend purchasing a physical deck for practice in downtime.  I also recommend downloading a digital deck for your smartphone and/or tablet. Tarot Pro is an excellent app to teach you what Tarot cards mean to you. For those interested in working with the angels, which I highly recommend, Doreen Virtue’s angel decks, including the well-known Archangel Oracle Cards, have given me incredible insights over the years.
      • Decks I love to use when communicating with the Other Side (disclaimer:  I have not been asked in any way to promote these items, I genuinely enjoy working with them):
        • Tarot Pro by Nuclear Elements (digital)
        • The Psychic Tarot Oracle Cards (John Holland, digital and physical)
        • Archangel Oracle Cards (Doreen Virtue, digital and physical)
        • The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards (Colette Baron-Reid, digital and physical)
        • Daily Guidance from Your Angels Oracle Cards (Doreen Virtue, digital and physical)
    • Randomized music
      • I prefer Pandora or the Amazon music player.  Sometimes I will use Spotify. Pandora works the best because it will show you new music you have never heard, therefore new messages will come through from the Other Side.
      • Look up the lyrics, record them in your spirituality journal (see step 2). You will develop meanings for songs that the Other Side will pick up on and begin to use as message for you in the future.  This is also how card decks work:  you develop a system of meanings for the cards/songs/dice, whatever you have randomized, and your guides use that system to give you message when you reach out if it is appropriate.  They do reserve the right to not give you a message when necessary.
    • Books
      • I have been known to use books to a multitude of purposes, but they can be a top-notch divination tool if you respond to words over visuals, the way I do.
      • Ask your guides what their message of the day is for you, then allow the pages to flip past your thumb like you are looking at a cartoon flip book.  Stop when it feels right, point at the page and your message will be there under your finger.  Need more structure?  Tell your guides the 10th line down on the page you land on is where you will look for your message, before you flip.
    • Fortune cookies
      • Fortune cookies are one of my favorite methods of divination (Read my post Kaleidoscope  to see this in action). On the front of my bullet journal are two fortunes I hold dear that came to me a few days apart:

        Fate loves the fearless.

        Don’t be afraid of opposition; remember, a kite rises against the wind.

      • Don’t forget to ask your guides for a special message before opening the cookie.  If you want guidance for something specific, make sure you tell them what the topic is.
    • Runes
      • Runes are a symbolic tool of divination that I find to be rather matter-of-fact.  Their messages speak to me in a similar way to Tarot, only with the message purified down a bit more:  this project will offer many obstacles. The answer to your question about whether you should trust someone is Sol, the rune of sunshine, light and vitality. And so on.
    • Pinterest
      • Pinterest, you say?  Yes. Pinterest can be used from time to time as a divination tool, but you can only ask one question per search term and you have to be open to interpretation. I once asked what my next apartment would look like, and up came images of beautiful, small apartments with bookshelves.  Sure enough, I have a built-in bookshelf in my entryway currently.
      • Pinterest also makes an excellent visualization tool.  If you create a “Vision” board and revisit it often to feel what it would be like for those dreams to come true, you are doing your daily visualizations in a pleasurable and easy way.
    • There are many other forms of divination.  i Ching, tea leaf reading, pendulums and dice are a few that I am familiar with but do not use on a daily basis.
  2. Keep a journal. Record synchronicity, messages, meditation experiences and dreams.
    • Not sure what I mean by “synchronicity”?  Check out my blog posts The “Sines” of Change and Catalysis to read an example of finding message from the Other Side through random words or ideas occurring 3 times or more in one day.
    • Record your dreams every morning, immediately upon waking. Read over the journal as you progress and look for occurrences of premonition:  Seeing events before they occur. Even your weird dreams have meaning.  I do dream analysis often for my clients, and something as odd as seeing your boss covered in ants while you talk to her (a symbol that the relationship is “spoiled” or ruined beyond repair) can have meaning.
    • Any animal encounters that are particularly interesting can be messages from the spirit world.  Record your encounter and research the symbolism of the animal:  you will find within it a message.
    • Meditation is a powerful tool (see step 3) for building spirituality.  I would argue it is the most powerful tool in your spiritual kit for increasing intuition and achieving spiritual balance. I journal about my guided meditation experiences and have witnessed scenes as wild as a coy fish morphing into a dragon.  Having journaled my meditations means I can look back later and see how my meditation practice has evolved and what issues I worked through in the past.
    • Journaling is an incredibly valuable practice that never stops rewarding you. Looking back after years and seeing your subconscious speak to you and tell you how far you’ve come or what you have yet to change is worth the time it takes to write or type.
    • I began my spiritual journey through paying attention to my dreams. Through your dreams, you can begin to connect with your guardians, your own soul and your subconscious. I have even dreamed of “going to school” with people and beings I have never seen before.
    • Try asking a question or thinking of a problem you want to solve before going to sleep, then journaling about your dream and thought experiences upon waking.
  3. Meditate
    • Meditation is the practice that took me from a nube who occasionally intuited the unspoken truth to an experienced intuitive. Meditation is practice in listening to God. The tagline of this blog is “Learning to Listen: A Journey in Spirit” for this reason. I love using my randomized Meditations and Angel card apps to guide my meditation for the day, because it feels like my guides have a hand in helping me grow. I also love using the song Alpha to Theta by Lowell Brahms while I meditate, because if feels like it opens my mind up.
    • Set the Scene
      • Setting your meditation scene matters. My tub was my temple when i first started. I love meditating in the water with Epsom salts and lavender. It sharpens my visions and makes me feel purified like nothing else does.
    • Stilling your mind
      • Meditation will teach you over time to separate your random thoughts from message. During meditation, wait for the time that your random (I call them monkey thoughts) thoughts start to settle down.  Wait for the period of stillness that feels like zoning out to a cicada hum in the summertime.  Just beyond that stillness await messages from your guardians.  Don’t give up, your first message after the stillness is a miraculous occurrence.
  4. Read everything.
    • Read as many books about spirituality as you can.  Re-read the ones that speak to you the most. Take notes in your journal about what you want to explore and research those topics. This practice will tell you what your goals are and what abilities you are interested in developing.
  5. Be patient.  It takes time, but you will see signs all along the way. Ask your guides to show you a purple cow in 24 hours and by God, you will likely see a purple cow.  Just be open to the way in which your guides may fulfill your request.
  6. Learning Reiki from an authentic source who respects the process can speed up your spiritual growth.
    • Reiki launched me into the intuitive space and transformed me from an intuitive to an intuitive healer.  It was indispensable in my spiritual growth. To learn more about Reiki and its role in my journey, check out my blog post The Accidental Medium.
  7. Practice on your friends.
    • Whatever your tool of choice is, practice on your friends and record the results. They will love it and it will give you the feedback you need to grow.

In love and light,

Erica

BE the Grasshopper: How to Create Your Ideal Life One Leap at a Time

A co-worker and friend once told me, “E, you always make so much meaning out of your life.  I like how you put things together into a story.”  She has always been a keen observer of human nature, and she had a point.  I make meaning out of the seemingly random observations of my everyday life, both my physical and my spiritual lives (arguably they are two sides of the same coin, but you will have to read my book to see what I mean there).

You can do this too, and I’ll tell you why it’s a great practice.  Narrative is one of the most powerful survival tools given to humans.  Narrative weaves cultures together, starting all the way back to when stories were passed down by word of mouth and painted and carved by firelight.

Narrative brings meaning to life.  And meaning is what drives us forward.  Without meaning, we are pinwheeling through a sea of chaos, which is exhilarating and hopeless and horrifying, but still, we build a narrative to explain that, too, the narrative that nothing matters because there is no end game and no reason for existence and you either follow rules for comfort’s sake or live in anarchy, but nothing really matters.

It is true.  We live in a world of disorder, a two-sided Janus of a Universe built on opposing poles of chaos and yet infinite, magical wonder, right down to seeing the Golden Ratio in a leaf’s design and the beauty of the tides and their magical, yet dependable movements. We are disorder and order infinitely and miraculously woven into complex designs that only beings beyond our reach could have engineered.

We are a narrative built of the energy created when polar opposites revolve around one another, and we cannot escape this story.  Even the endings of our stories are just another part of the narrative structure.  Think about it like this—your life structure follows a narrative that you have created through your actions.  Most of this narrative you wrote yourself, with some of the structure gifted to you by forces out of your control.

Each one of us is a narrative within a greater narrative, and each of our physical lives is part of a soul’s greater, overarching narrative.  Starting to see the structure now?  Each thread of the tapestry is composed of millions of other threads, all weaving together to create one big book.

In keeping wzth my own narrative, at the end of every day, I love to spend a few minutes with my journal, piecing the events of the day together and making sense out of the signs and symbols sent my way.  I aid it along with mini readings for myself, as well, and I string each day together to see the overarching trends of my soul’s direction and what my spirit guides are urging me toward.  It is an incredibly easy and fulfilling practice that anyone can do—and you will find yourselves more spiritually attuned and feel your soul growing and reaching when doing this practice. You will feel more connected to the Divine in a personal, comforting way than you have ever been before.  There are even mediums among you, some of you who have not yet fully discovered your own abilities.  This is the practice that will bring those abilities to shine.

So last night, I worked in my journal, then in the minutes before sleep, I sought some inspiration in fitness boards on Pinterest, then looked at the savvy workout program I have created for myself.  I thought “I’ll wake up in the morning and do my workout.  Nothing’s going to stop me.”

Well, the Sandman stopped me, but not for long.  After I had readied myself for the day, I was on my way out the door but heard a loud noise coming from the direction of the window air conditioner.  I went over to check it out and realized I had to add a shim to the window to stop the rattling.  As I looked for the perfect spot for the shim, I encountered a horrifying object.

A 4” grasshopper crouched at eye level, daring me to do something about his presence.  I am terrified of insects—just a visceral, lizard-brain reaction takes over and I can hardly focus when one is nearby.  However, I finished shimming the window, finished my locking up, and went to work.  I probably should have identified the grasshopper being so high up, so large and so insistently in my face as a sign from Spirit, but I did not realize that until I was in the car and my fight or flight response had finished hurling insults at the little green monster.

I thought throughout the day about the significance of the grasshopper, and my intuition told me it was important. I researched the symbolism and there it was.  In some Native American traditions, the grasshopper is a symbol of making dreams come true, of grounding your dreams to the Earth, yet also making them fly.  The message suddenly unfolded before me, and I pulled an angel card to see if I was definitely on the right track.

The angel card that came up stated “Healthy Lifestyle.”  The grasshopper was there to remind me of my dreams, telling me to bring them to life, nudging me with a note about how I prayed for help with my fitness and how I need to make consistent steps to making it happen.  Because I like nothing more than to see good messages come in threes, I also queued up my music player for a random song, and it played a song titled “Vrkshasana,” which translates to “being grounded without being inflexible.”  It is notably also a song with a picture of a woman doing yoga on the front of it, and yoga is one of my favorite fitness practices.

The cherry on top, though, was last night, in pure, effortless synchronicity, I heard two quotes stand out from a show I was watching on Netflix with my boyfriend.

Pennsatucky: Man, do you know what it means when there ain’t nobody up there punishing the evildoers? It means there ain’t nobody giving out prizes for the good ones neither; ‘Cuz there ain’t no judge. There ain’t no justice. We just crawl around this earth like ants…
[pause]
Pennsatucky: And then we die.
Then, perhaps somewhat unbelievably, later on in the show, long before I came face-to-face with the jumping green monster on my window:
So-So:  BE the grasshopper.

BE the grasshopper, Erica.  Dare to jump, therefore to fly.  Exercise.  Become both supple and strong.  These are important elements to living my best life.  Important elements to bringing forth the narrative I want to create with every breath I take in this incarnation.

Later in the day today, someone close to me also reminded me to take the vitamins I have been neglecting to take for weeks.  Guess what?  Those amazing vitamins made me feel great, allowing me to power through my day’s work until 9:30 p.m., then create this blog post. They also help me stay motivated for morning workouts.

One of the elements of this world for which I am most grateful is cause and effect. Throw a rock, hear a splash.  Put effort into something, it will respond.  That is the beauty of this world, that we can make an impact, we can effect change, because with change comes transformation, and transformation is the whole reason we move around this Earth.

Cause and effect.

Call and response.

Some people would call this naiveté on my part, but I don’t believe we are destined to just crawl aimlessly around this Earth until we die.  We are the meaning makers, we are the storytellers.  The truth is, the world IS chaos.  It IS meaningless.  It IS designed to make us question meaning, to make us think there is nothing beyond it.  We are given the tools to MAKE meaning.  We are the narrative, we are the myth makers, the legend creators, the heroes and the villains.

Like Joan Didion said, we tell ourselves stories to survive.  We shout into the wilderness and we are the voices that record on the ages.  We are also swallowed up by the vastness of the Universe and snuffed out like candles at a moment’s notice.

Today, my story is about bringing my dreams to light, and yours.  My spirit guardians are guiding me toward fitness, telling me to take that first leap, and even right now as I write this, I see one of my guides making a grasshopper leap in my third eye to show me that if I just try, if I just give it some effort, they will take that effort and expand it, turn it into a miraculous leap forward, like the huge (yes I was horrified when I saw it, anybody who knows me knows I was horrified) 4″ grasshopper exploding effortlessly almost 6′ up to my window to remind me of my role in bringing my dreams to light.  Tomorrow, I will finally wake up as early as I need to and start my new regimen.  And my guardians will make sure that my results are faster and more powerful than I could have dreamed.

In making that pact, I turn back to you, because you are my true focus here.  I already know my path, and I am following it as my guardians light the way, 6′ in the headlights at a time.  My question for you this post is simple and it’s also a challenge.

What story will YOU write today?

Chapter 2: The Secret Garden

As promised, below please find an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my work in progress, Confluence. Feel free to leave me feedback in the comments. In love and light, I share an early spiritual experience with you:

Chapter 2: The Secret Garden

When I first entered the realm of spiritual work, I found myself overwhelmed with fear. Heart-pounding, paranoia-inducing, all-encompassing fear. I knew my anxiety issues were not helping matters, but at the core of this fear was deep-rooted misinformation I had picked up from the media throughout my life. Television, films, the Internet, even my beloved books, had all taught me that “opening doorways” into the spiritual world would only result in terrifying events. If anyone had asked me when I first began spiritual work whether I would be open to becoming a medium, an individual who channels messages from Spirit, including the souls of those who have passed over, my answer would have been a resounding “No.” At that time, I wanted no part of such things that could lead me into the kinds of trouble I had seen and read about in the media. I did, however, want a closer connection to the Divine, and that is what I set out to find when I began meditation work. I simply assumed at that time that I would go ahead and leave the channeling work to the practiced psychics. Over time, however, channeling chose me and I accepted the messages and passed them on with love and light.

As a young woman, I had experienced a few prophetic dreams. I always knew that I had a deep capacity for compassion and empathy. I have an easy time seeing both sides of an issue and understanding others’ unique perspectives. Other than these early indicators, though, nothing told me in my early life that I would eventually become a medium. My talents lay dormant for most of my life—and I believe that most people have the innate ability to access mediumship, they just need the right perspective to see that they have been likely communicating with Spirit all their lives.

I started my spiritual journey by seeking change in my life, and like many people, I sought answers via what I saw as mysterious avenues. My quest, at its core, though, was so simple–I was looking for hope. I was looking for proof that I should hang in there, that this all was worthwhile. Insert any amount of trite witticisms here–seek and ye shall find, throw the rock and hear the splash–in flooded hope where before had loomed a seemingly endless darkness. My first memorable experience with meditation gave me a glimpse into the infinite power vested in each one of our spirits. I attended a psychic fair in central New York out of sheer curiosity and the promise of learning more about the spiritual world. I was an avid reader of spiritual books and even at that time prayed daily with Jesus and believed in the existence of a soul beyond the physical form. I had a 5-year plan and I resonated with the idea of making a plan for your life and systematically praying and working to make that plan happen.

I signed up for a psychic reading that day in which the reader told me I would have a strong connection with spiritual guides in the distant future—she mentioned several types of beings I was unfamiliar with at the time, and it jogged my curiosity. I decided to attend the lectures at the fair that day because I was out and about on my own and it felt like a fun thing to do—and in this attendance, I learned a valuable tool virtually for free—the Secret Garden meditation.

A clairvoyant running a table at the fair led the lecture hall in a basic meditation that I now know is common amongst beginning meditation groups. The Secret Garden meditation offers a comfortable space for us to become familiar with our own soulscapes—whatever you imagine in the Secret Garden can become a part of your spirit. As I walked down the brick path of my soulscape and looked around me, I realized there was an entire world available to me beyond my 5 traditional senses that I had never explored.

Your soulscape, or “Secret Garden,” is both where your spirit resides and it is your spirit itself. As I looked around my secret garden, I watched animals walk up to me and alongside me. Majestic trees lined the path and flowers of every variety and hue bloomed for as far as I could see. The lion by my side was tame, and he led me to the stone-walled area the meditation leader spoke about. I met with, or imagined a meeting with, Archangel Michael, because he makes me feel safe and even at that time I knew he would be an appropriate energy to help me begin my quest.

I took this meditation tool home with me and began to practice. I used it while taking baths, which, unbeknownst to me, heightened my spiritual encounters because of the presence of the Epsom salts mixed with the water. The clairvoyant performing the demonstration indicated that the meditation could be used to meet our spirit guides when we were ready. Because I was experiencing so much fear at the prospect of developing spiritually, I first wanted to reach out to find out who my spirit guides were at that time.

This led to the first authentically miraculous spiritual encounter of my adult life.

That night I ran my bath and measured the Epsom salts and baking soda into it. I lit a sage candle for protection, because I was still too nervous to burn actual sage, and I prayed for God to protect me as I embarked on this journey. Then, I imagined myself climbing stairs up to a wrought-iron gate and opening the gate. Inside that gate was the same brick pathway I had seen during the first meditation, and surrounding it were lush trees and flowers of every variety. I felt the soles of my bare feet on the cool brick and the swish of my long gown at my ankles as I moved down the path. There was a breeze in my hair and honeysuckle on the air, and everything felt perfect. However, as I moved down the path, I was still filled with fear at what I might find at the end of it. I know our spirits are powerful manifestation tools, and my fear was that I was in uncharted land without a guide.

So I decided to change that fact. At that moment, I was overcome with the most obvious solution. If I am such a powerful manifester that I believe I can manifest evil, then why do I not simply manifest what makes me feel safest instead, and take it from there? In a word filled with the binary, with cold and hot, light and dark, charged and neutral, how could I not see that if you believe in evil, then you must, without a doubt, believe in its opposite: good. I began to imagine who would best make me feel safe in this realm, who I could trust to guide me through it, and around the next bend, there she was.

The wild overgrowth on either side of the path became a gorgeously landscaped garden as I turned the corner. In the midst of it was an older woman wearing a gardening belt full of tools. She was clipping plants and wearing canvas pants, and I immediately felt safe with her. This, at long last, was my spirit guide. She looked up and smiled and we embraced. I knew upon meeting her that she helped me stay safe in my Secret Garden, and that she, along with the lion, the angels and all the other mystical creatures, allow it to be a fortress for my soul. I awoke from the meditation with tears on my face and gratitude in my heart that I could experience this being while I am on Earth.

While this was an incredible, remarkable, ethereal moment, it was still taking place in my soulscape, in my third eye, in what some may call my imagination–but what happened next most definitely crossed the boundaries of space and time to cement for me the reality of this encounter.

As I drifted in the water and allowed myself to continue to be still and meditate on what had happened, I decided that what I wanted most was a sign that the encounter was “real.” At my current stage of spirituality, a part of me balks at such an idea–to require proof. But that is a myth, that Heaven requires blind faith. They WANT to show you proof. As I asked my spirit guide’s name and drifted in the water, not expecting anything, out of the air came a sound, real, unbelievably real, whispered to me from right in front of my face, “Althea.”

I sat still in the water, convinced I had crossed some line and made a mistake. I trembled and wept in fear, then I did what any terrified beginning psychic would do in the 21st century. I googled “Althea the spirit guide.” As Spirit knew I would, I hit a result obscure enough that I never would have seen it before, but specific enough to tell me the encounter was real. The blog post I hit told of Althea, a nature spirit, who guided the writer for a number of years. The writer identified Althea as an advanced spirit guide who was tough, but kind.

I found my Althea gardening and chose her as a guide because I saw a woman who was tough, armed with gardening shears and kind. She knew her land and protected it fiercely. If ever I could conjure the image of what a “nature spirit guide” would look like, it would be the woman I saw in my secret garden. Unbeknownst to me at the time, althea is also the name of a plant known to have healing properties, and the word itself is a derivative of a Greek verbmeaning “to heal.” Knowing Althea is present when I need her, tending my spirit, lifted a weight from me. I credit this experience in part for my recovery from anxiety and depression.

After meeting Althea, I was hooked on learning more about spirit guides. I was also endlessly curious about the power of dreams and how I could use my dreams to receive message from Spirit. Safety, however, was and is my paramount concern—I wanted to grow my spiritual understanding, but to do it safely, while always staying connected to the Divine. I began to work daily with a Doreen Virtue archangel card deck as an application on my smartphone—the deck is simply titled “Archangel Oracle Cards” and to this day it is a reliable, comfortable oracle. As I worked with the deck, I began to learn how the angels fit into my daily life and how each card represents certain themes and reoccurs during particular patterns in my life. I learned who the archangels are as presented by Doreen Virtue, along with each angel’s “specialty,” or what makes each one suited for the particular situations that arise in a human lifetime.

Before going to sleep each night, I have found it useful to pull an angel card from the deck and ask Spirit to guide me in my dreams toward my goals and to let me be aware of that guidance. One night I dreamed I was out at a bar with a band of people I had never met before, all of whom felt like my best friends. I remember walking into the place and seeing a well-oiled, sturdy-looking, beautiful old bar at the center of the room. Around it were a collection of welcoming faces, all instantly familiar, yet not people from my life to whom I could put a name.

I was introduced to the crowd in the bar, taken to each person and greeted lovingly. One man in particular was a dark-haired, fatherly and portly figure in a gray sweatshirt, who gave me the most intense feeling of belonging and safety. Right now, as I write this and think of this figure, the song “Halo” came on my random music player. Synchronicity is common when you connect with Spirit intentionally:

Standing in the light of your halo

I got my angel now.

Everywhere I’m looking now

I’m surrounded by your embrace.

I do not remember much else, except for how the night ended. As the night wound down, I was escorted down a long hallway and back to my “room” in the dream. I entered a master bedroom and walked into the master bath, now alone. I found myself suddenly in tears and overwhelmed. I felt intensely like I had lost my mother and that I was in her room without her, as I could smell her perfume everywhere and felt utterly alone.

The angel who walked me down that hallway was Haniel. She is the powerful archangel of feminine power, joy and beauty, and if any angel were to leave the feeling of one’s mother in her wake, it would be Haniel. This was the trace that convinced me there was something about this dream that went beyond a typical brain refresh. Upon waking, with tears on my cheeks, I called my mother to make sure she was fine, but I knew that the intense emotions and weeping stemmed from parting with an endless love that feels like forever, feels like home when you encounter it. My sadness was from being placed firmly back on the other side of the veil and feeling a greater separation from the Divine energy I had been steeping in all night.

Catalysis

As a medium, I often encounter clients who refuse to acknowledge signs of change. Spirit communicates with us in every way that we can sense-through occurrence, thought, feeling, dreams, sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, intuition, you name it. Your life has a story arc, a narrative structure, that did not happen by accident or entirely by your conscious design. Your life unfolds according to a basic blueprint prescribed by you and your soul group when you are in Heaven, then you add the details on the fly here on Earth as you live out your lessons, some in triumph, some in despair. To guide you along that narrative, Spirit throws signs in your path, directing you toward necessary change. When you studiously ignore those signs and bluster forward while looking behind, Spirit has a way of opening the blinds.

Just when you need it, Spirit sends a catalyst to spark and accelerate change in your life, enabling you to transform. That catalyst often feels like all hell breaking loose, or as a friend of mine recently put it, “a series of WTF moments” (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, of course).

What brings me to talk to you today about catalysis is what brings me to talk to you about anything, any day.  The word “catalytic” appeared to me three times (plus one for good measure) this past week in very distinct and separate occasions, clearly pointing to a message. The message is that transformation and freedom from pollution and stagnation in life require a catalyst, and to allow Spirit to send catalysts into your life, you need to embrace the Unknown. It’s time to flirt with disaster, to set off on a journey, even if it’s a metaphorical one. It’s time for a grand adventure.

The word catalysis refers to an increase in the rate of a chemical reaction. The first instance of “catalytic” last week occurred about 10 feet from me in a Walmart store.  It was humorous enough to catch my attention and make me chuckle while I shopped.  A young lady told her gentleman companion that the “Cadillac converter” in her car had “gone bad.”  The gentleman kindly corrected her with “catalytic,” inspiring her to say “I don’t even know how LONG you can DRIVE a car with a bad Cad-cata-CONVERTER.” For all of his knowledge of pronunciation, the young man also did not know the answer to this question. More to come on that later, as the answer, apparently, is “forever, it is not intrinsic to the operation of the vehicle” (courtesy of my research and my own gentleman companion).

With the Cadillac converter long forgotten, I set off on an adventure to the movies Saturday night to see “The Nice Guys” with Ryan Gosling and the lovely Russell Crowe.  A major plot point in the movie centered around the emergence of catalytic converters in the automobile industry and what it meant for preventing air pollution.  Oddly enough, I and my gentleman partner were unaware of this plot point going in, and he had noted that he thought he saw smog lying near the ground as we drove to the mall that evening.

This, my friends, is not a long, boring story for much longer.  This is synchronicity #2, Catalysis edition. Still just a series of coincidences, however, that I chalked up to “life is funny.”

That was, until the next day, Sunday, when, feet on the dash of the car in the pouring rain, I read aloud a truly excellent horoscope written by Rob Brezsny in a local paper. The horoscope (for my sign) ended with:

Now is an excellent time to reap the catalytic benefits of being willingly lost in a wild, idyllic, relaxing setting.

Well, what do you know.  Spirit is trying to talk to me about catalysis.  I proceeded to meditate on the subject of catalysis, and to read everything I could find about how catalytic converters work.

Essentially, a catalytic converter sets off a chemical reactiont that converts emissions into less harmful gases. It spurs and accelerates a reaction to ultimately result in reduced pollution-cleaner air, greater clarity.

I also asked Spirit through my music player to help me further understand their message. The lyrics were daunting:

You were my fire, so I burned, ’til there was nothing left of me

I, I touched your face, I held you close, ’til I could barely breathe

Why give me hope, then give me up, just to be the death of me

Save the rest of me-“Hesitate,” Stone Sour

Catalysis is about igniting a reaction, firing up an essential change in the elements at play. It is about burning off what existed before until there is nothing left of it and creating something new, and in the case of a catalytic converter, it is about breathing easier.  The final sign was undeniable.

Breaking the messages down to their basic elements, we have a repeated message about a catalyst.  Catalysts set off reactions, they spark change. A catalytic converter, at the heart of this synchronicity, results in less pollution in the air and is better for all surrounding life. It clears the air and presents stagnation.

What the angels and Spirit are telling me is that they want me to experience more of life, to allow for change, because change leads to transformation. To willingly enter a time of uncertainty and allow it to be a catalyst for positive change can be wildly refreshing. Embracing change and opening space for a new version of yourself allows you to create a platform from whatever life throws at you next and to build on it, instead of holding onto the past and being shoved into the future by a catalyst you could not have foreseen.

Faith and trust are important at times like these. I have experienced catalysts before, including when I was first building my mediumship. The catalyst for my psychic development was being initiated into the practice of Reiki. A channel opened up to the Divine during the very first attunement and I never looked back.

Probably the most moving catalyst I have ever encountered is a man named Ken Baldwin. He was written about by journalist Tad Friend in an article in The New Yorker titled “Jumpers.”  Friend captures the memory of Baldwin leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge, stating:

As he crossed the chord in flight, Baldwin recalls, “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.”

Baldwin’s catalyst was leaping from a bridge known for ushering in many gruesome deaths.  But Baldwin survived to tell his incredible story, and, wherever he may be right now, that one act of bravery, of telling that story to a journalist for The New Yorker, has saved someone. That act has given someone the catalyst to achieve a new mindset, to look at life from a new perspective. When i’m in times of despair and anxiety and I just don’t know where to turn next, I think about Ken Baldwin.  I consider that moment of perfect clarity as he arced through the air, and I think about how my busy mind would snap to and solve all of my problems as I spun out of control, rear over teakettle, like he did.

This, my friends, was one of my early catalysts, my spark for change in the depths of depression.   I share this story with you not for sympathy, because I am miraculously strong and healed now, on most days. I share it because, essentially, stories like this enable others to heal and to step into an imaginary space with a new perspective, without actually leaping to imminent danger.

I share it only because I want you to answer a question for me, and for you. First, gather all of your most pressing problems, and sit in front of a computer or a pen and paper. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine Ken Baldwin taking that last step.

What solutions do you see?

In love and light,

Erica

Kaleidoscope 

Without you it’s shadows, the night’s black pitch,
There’s a hundred thousand light bulbs but there ain’t no switch
Living in darkness, fearin’ the night,
Oh what a feeling when I see that light- “Kaleidoscope” by The Script

This week, a friend tossed me a fortune cookie and said “ask Spirit a question, I want to hear the answer.” I obliged her and held the cookie in my hand, asked Spirit for their best message for me at this point in my life, and opened it.

The fortune inside read “Your life is like a kaleidoscope.” I threw the paper in the air as she giggled and said “But what did it SAY?” I have been on a roller coaster of events and emotions over the last year, and I was just struggling at that moment with the profoundly funny nature of the fortune.

“Your life is like a kaleidoscope.”

“You know, E, that means it’s always changing.  You get that, right?” said Ms. Co-Worker.

I hadn’t gotten that yet.  All I was getting from my perspective was “Deal with it.  It’s made of highs and lows.  You know this.  You write about this all the time.”

But essentially we saw the same thing.  Your life is like a kaleidoscope…it’s made of many different colors and patterns and it changes at the push of a button.  One click and voila–everything is different.  One action, one statement, one movement, and it all shifts and changes perspective.

So, for those of you still hanging on at this point, here’s a reward.  I really buried the lead in this one, not exactly something an old journalist would typically do, but hey, it’s my blog, I do what I want.

I kept thinking about that fortune all night.  So I did what I always do when I’m musing about something all night.  I turned on my music player and asked Spirit to help me understand the message better.

On shuffle, out of 603 songs, came a song I hadn’t heard in months.  It’s unbelievable even to me, and I’m the one living this dream.

The song was “Kaleidoscope,” by a band called The Script.  And it wasn’t just for shock value.  My guides had been waiting to tell me something:

Give me highs, give me lows,
Give me thorns with my rose
I want everything
When you laugh, when you cry,
If you’re sober or high,
I want everything

Give me love or hate,
You can bend me ’til I break
Give me fire, give me rain,
I want joy with my pain
I want your fears, your hopes,
The whole kaleidoscope

Give me nothing, give me faith,
I want give with my take,
I want everything
Give me life, give me death,
All your biggest regrets,
I want everything

Show me your fears, show me your scars,
I’ll take whatever’s left of your heart
Give me heaven, give me hell,
All the dreams you try to sell,
I want your fears, your hopes,
The whole kaleidoscope

Without you it’s shadows, the night’s black pitch,
There’s a hundred thousand light bulbs but there ain’t no switch
Living in darkness, fearing the night,
Oh what a feeling when I see that light

With you, with you
Our colours come alive when I collide
With you, with you
Our colours come alive when I collide
With you.

Oh what a feeling…when I see that light.  They were reminding me that we are all blessed, not just by the opportunity to incarnate so uniquely on Earth, but also to gain the perspective inherent in such a journey.  By being away from the light for so long yet catching glimpses of it, we appreciate it so much more deeply.

My spirit illuminated from those messages.  I remembered an element of my faith, which has been slipping.  Only in darkness can we understand the value of a spark. And I have certainly had a measure of darkness lately, but that does not stop Spirit from wanting to be heard.  According to Spirit, we are here to flip the switch and do more than just light up the room.

We’re here to light the night on fire.

My book Confluence is all about the themes from this song, energies colliding and effecting change, the frequencies of Spirit coming alive when they collide with us. What we do with the Divine energy we are given brings it to life, turns on the switch and allows it into the world.  That is what it means to be a medium:  you open up the channel to the Divine.  You turn on the switch, complete the circuit, and light just floods the room as people connect with their loved ones and receive messages from beyond.  There is nothing quite like watching a light bulb go off on a first-time client’s face as he or she realizes that I am talking to their dead relatives and life has continued beyond this sphere. There is grace and joy and love in that room for however long we connect.

There’s nothing like it in this world to know that life continues beyond this sphere, and sometimes I take it for granted. But sometimes, we have to be pensive in the darkness of our cave, until the light shines in:

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, — will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?–Plato, Allegory of the Cave

 

Without you it’s shadows, the night’s black pitch,
There’s a hundred thousand light bulbs but there ain’t no switch
Living in darkness, fearing the night,
Oh what a feeling when I see that light.

In love and light,

Erica