Blog

Spiritual Consent

This past weekend I visited a spiritual gathering, a church of sorts. I attended as an observer, knowing that it would trigger a defensive response in me from a life of being raised in a religious cult.

There were many things said and done of which I disagreed with, one being very particular. A gentleman stood in front of the group and shared a story of going to a healer and having the healer pray for his friend through him. This man shared that he knew his friend had his issues with prayer and so he tentatively shared with him after the fact that he had channeled prayer on his behalf.

Praying for someone calls for consent. Now I can’t judge anyone for not knowing about spiritual consent, this is something that must be learned. For many people including myself we were taught that we should pray for everyone. I now know that this is not true. Prayer is powerful, and should be used within the limits of non-interference.

Non-interference is a spiritual law of sorts which speaks to respecting the boundaries of others. By holding space for others to live their lives without trying to control or manipulate how they live we are creating harmony. Everyone deserves to live from a place of free will, and it is each of our jobs to trust that they will experience everything in perfect timing. To read more about what non-interference read this post by DailyOM.

When sending spiritual energy towards others — such as prayer, energy healing or psychic reading — it is important to have their explicit consent. Do not send them energy, even if it is coming from a place of love, without asking them and having them give you a clear yes. If the person is unable to give verbal consent such as being in a coma or being a baby, then clear your energy of personal agendas and ask spirit for consent. If your ego is attached to the outcome, it would be best to abstain from praying for anyone other than yourself.

It is important to understand the equal exchange of giving and receiving: give and receive in balance. Having consent in your giving allows the receiver to send back to you their gratitude, free from shame. When the receiver is given opportunity to show gratitude to the giver, the giver is fed. This completes the cycle of giving and receiving and all are benefited.

Many thanks to my friend and teacher Pierre Dubois for passing on much of this knowledge to me.

Healing Secret Pain

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to have it on Facebook?”

My mom teaches me and inspires my growth, often not in the direction she intends. I spoke with her on the phone a few days ago, she wanted to make sure that I supported the public testimony our arrest that James wrote on his blog and shared on Facebook. I assured her that not only did I support his writing but I helped edit the post. Letting out the details of our experience is one of the ways that James and I like to heal. Shining the light on the pain and trauma is likened to cleaning a wound, and sharing what happened in a public format is a powerful way to remove shame around what happened. I choose to set myself free from any victim mentality that was assigned to me when I was mistreated. I know who I am and I know that I am much greater than this experience, by letting go of the story I no longer define myself by it.

There are many secrets in my family, some that I just found out this year, some that I hold inside because it’s not my secret to share, and surely there are many secrets that I do not know about. I like to do things differently than generations past. I like to tell all my secrets and set them free. I believe that hiding my pain only causes me more pain, I would rather air out my wounds and disappoint a few people than kill myself slowly with the internal burden of secret pain. When I told my dad about abuse I experienced as a child he cautioned me to be careful who I tell, I assured him I would tell anyone I want. I refuse to hide in the shadows of my trauma.

Shame is such a controlling force if we let it sink too deep into our psyche. I have found immeasurable freedom in refusing to be ashamed of anything. I am proud of who I am, proud of how powerfully I have moved through very challenging situations with strength and grace (and sometimes as a hot mess and then back to grace). It is my goal to continually become more polished in my ability to process testing experiences and in the process I have inspired others with my courage, a result I did not set out to achieve but a massive perk in doing the self work.

Growth requires change. I am not a Twinkie that will remain the same for a hundred years, I am a living, breathing, actively changing and growing human person. This might seem trivially elementary to some but to others who tell me “you’ve changed” I say “yes, I am so glad that I have.”

Southwest Love Fest 2018

Southwest Love Fest is the Tucson based conference on ethical non-monogamy, also known as polyamory. April 6-8 2018 was the launch of the first Southwest Love Fest, hosted at Hotel Tucson City Center. Featuring over 20 speakers the conference touched on a myriad of topics such as rewiring triggers, boundaries, mono-poly relationships, relationship anarchy, jealousy, family and household settings, inclusion, and more. Guests arrived from all across the country to hear the speakers and connect with other like minded folk.

For being an inaugural event, Southwest Love Fest was exceptionally well done. The co-founders Kate Kincaid and Sara Bachman-Williams pulled off an amazing weekend with the help of volunteers, all who worked tirelessly and with smiles on their faces.

Local businesses run by polyamorous people were featured, which is the vantage point that I experienced the conference. Greeting and feeding attendees as they went from session to session was a lovely experience. Meeting new people and making them smile was the perfect way to spend a weekend.

IMG_6352
Kosmic Kitchen brought specialty chocolates and treats

Southwest Love Fest took excellent care of their guests by offering child care and an emotional support team. If a break is in order a visit to the emotional support tent to lay down on pillows and have a calming conversation can make a huge difference. Integrating the lessons of self growth can sometimes call for a mental reset, so coloring books and games are provided.

In addition to a weekend full of amazing sessions, Friday night there was a pool party to start things off and on Saturday night a hotel wide party was thrown called Choose an Adventure Treasure Hunt. Follow clues from room to room with surprises around every corner. Lose yourself in the dance party and dress up at the photo booth. This party was an amazing experience and great way to loosen up and see peoples more playful side. Pirate and fantasy costumes abound!

Supporting to the community is an important goal of the SWLF team, this year 5% of the proceeds were donated to Marisposas Sin Fronteras, an amazing group that brings help to queer people who are in detention.

savethedate.jpg

If the Southwest Love Fest is an event you are interested in being a part of, then save the date for next year. For more information, check out their website and subscribe to their email list for updates.

How To Use The Block Button

“Never unblock!”

My words were passionate, a bit emotional, and sharp like a whip. My partner took a deep breath to hold space for my wisdom. They had been facing the repercussions of seeing a person from their past online and thus opening up triggers that were better left healed in their natural timing and not because of social media.

A year later — long after I had forgotten the advice I spewed — my partner reminded me how powerful those two words were in creating boundaries not just in their relationships but in their heart. They shared how blocking this person created a safe container for healing and allowed them the freedom to face their pain and overcome it in their own power.

Blocking is a powerful little button that can make a world of difference in ones daily life and overall happiness, peace, and sense of safety. I am going to share some misconceptions and tips for blocking and how I have taken my power back with the block button.

“Is blocking mean?”

One of the first fears and misconceptions that comes up for me when choosing wether to block someone or not is the potential of the block being a hurtful act. When I am in this state I typically am putting too much attention on the other person and not enough attention on myself. There are ways to gently and respectfully block someone, but first I have to check myself. I take a deep breath and a moment to observe my gut and how I really feel.

Would I feel happier, safer, more at peace if this person was no longer in my social media world? Do I want to block this person assuming there were no hurt feelings and I could simply know that my online life is now private from this person? How do I think it would feel to know this person can’t contact me or comment on my posts through this outlet?

Recently I asked myself these questions in a situation where I went back and forth several times. I was so worried about making such a hard line in the sand, and these feelings were intensified knowing the sensitivity of the person I was dealing with. At the end of the day, having a technological connection to this person was wearing me down and bringing far too much stress and drama into my otherwise happy go lucky life. After much thought I realized that I absolutely must put myself first in this situation. Was there potential for the other person to be hurt? Yes, but I was being hurt by my inaction and in blocking them I was protecting myself from pain and attack. Blocking was the kindest thing I could do for myself!

Social Media vs Reality

I feel it is important to take a step back and clarify the difference between online and real life. Yes the internet is real and the interactions we have are often authentic, but at anytime we can put our phone down, close our laptop, log out, delete the app, and our lives go on! I think it is important to step away from technology on a regular basis to clear the mind and remember what we love about this life. The experiences we have online can often consume us but there is so much more life to live that uses all five — even six — senses. When I step away from the internet and the drama I remember how silly it all is, and blocking someone seems even less abrasive. I think to myself, “So I blocked someone, big deal. Life goes on!” Often I have taken long breaks from social media and have deleted my accounts, these cleanses have been wonderful but I came back because I wanted to have the option of connecting with new friends through social media and sharing experiences with long distance family and staying updated on local events. Social media is a tool and a gift and I wanted it to stay sweet. When someone infiltrated that peace, I had to block them and move on. Any uncomfortably that I felt around blocking them can be easily comforted by spending time in the garden, focusing on a work project, or spending time with friend who make me feel valued and trusted.

How to Block With Grace

The decision had been made: a block was necessary. In my recent example I needed a social media cleanse of this person on every platform. Every situation is different, and often a swift click of the block button is perfectly appropriate. When blocking a friend, an ex, a family member, or anyone who you feel like showing particular respect to, I recommend sending them a message explaining the block. Let me clarify, this is not necessary! This is an act of kindness only needed if you personally feel on a situational basis that a farewell message will ease any discomfort or in-person interactions. If you plan on blocking someone from every aspect of your life and never want to see them again, this step may not be for you.

In my case, I wanted to create a boundary for myself on the internet but would be okay with seeing this person in social settings, so I wrote out a message explaining what was happening and why and then I sent it through text after I had already blocked them on all social media platforms. I was honest and direct. I shared how I felt even if I thought it might come across as painful. This was my opportunity to be true to the feelings that until then I had been suppressing. I didn’t say anything cruel, just honest. I began with the initial truth:

“I removed you from my Facebook and Instagram because I didn’t feel like you could handle the responsibility.”

Note that I am not stating facts, just my personal opinion. I went on to share ways that this person had violated my social media space and had made me feel uncomfortable.

“Being connected to you has brought drama into my life that I find unnecessary. Having stories and projections thrown at me distracts me from living my life.”

I then gave an example of a boundary that was important to me and paired it with politeness.

“I don’t want you seeing what events I am attending; go to whatever you want and if I see you there I will show you nothing but kindness.”

It was important for me to end a toxic cycle and this message gave me the strength to block them while knowing that it wouldn’t be a surprise or shock when they couldn’t find my page anymore.

Blocking Someone’s Phone Number

Is the connection you have to someone through text and phone calls causing stress and triggering you? There is nothing wrong with blocking someone’s phone number, and with smart phones it has become as simple as ever to prevent someone from contacting you. With the click of a button you can have the peace of mind that you deserve. There is no rule that says you must let people text or call you, if it makes you uncomfortable then you have every right to create this bold boundary.

If someone is harassing you, sending you threats or dangerous messages, absolutely block their number and perhaps report their activity to the police. If someone is bringing these threats into real life, get a restraining order. Keep community close and call upon your trusted friends or family anytime you need support. Abuse should never be tolerated. If you are in danger, call 911.

Unblocking

I began this post with a quote of me saying “never unblock,” but I don’t think this is true of all situations. I have had huge blowouts with friends that led to us blocking each other’s numbers and ended in ya making up in person and unblocking. If there is room and maturity for working through whatever issues have come up, then unblocking is absolutely a potential.

When I advised my partner to never unblock, that was during a time when they had some deep personal work to do. A couple years later, they actually connected with this person as a means to create closure, although it is important to note that they are still blocked on social media. Working through our relationships to bring them to a place or clarity and understanding seems like the higher road to take whenever possible. When it is safe and you feel completely ready, go ahead and click the unblock button.

What Happened to My Business?

When I was first coached on running my own business as a means to leave a job I hated I felt it was my chance to finally birth my lifelong dream of being a counselor. Although I lacked an advanced college degree or fancy credentials, my life experience and training in holistic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy felt like enough to launch my business.

My baby business was Light as a Feather and as I grew Angel Ray Therapy was established which combined counseling, Reiki, and yoga. I was passionate about helping others become empowered and overcome major obstacles such as leaving a toxic job or relationship, overcoming addictions, healing from trauma and PTSD, and recovering from a religious past which I called Religion Rehab.

After a year of committing to this passion my person life went under some major shifts and movements. Since then I shut down Angel Ray Therapy as I took the time to deeply consider what it is I want to do.

I have learned quite a bit about myself since letting myself off the hook of running and promoting a business. First of all, the pressure of building clientele to sustain myself was heavy. I still counsel friends through life challenges and I still offer Reiki healings and even classes on occasion, but I don’t make it a goal to do these things: they come to me when the time is right. I felt that I should support myself financially through other means for a while and let my healing practice simmer on its own.

Second I learned a huge lesson in stepping back from trying to help people. Although I might want to offer advice and support, it isn’t always my place to be someone’s counsel. I believe that we all have everything we need inside of us, and attempting to help others sometimes left me feeling like there was an implied weakness in the other person. This is not a philosophy I want to support, so I changed my actions away from helping others and turned towards helping myself. We all need support sometimes but I felt the need to stop trying to help others and to let it happen on its own, by being myself.

Now that I have contemplated these lessons for a while I felt the desire to share with my friends and followers my journey. I still want to support others in any way I can. I am always available for phone or in person counseling sessions, yoga, and reiki (Check out my Angel Ray Therapy page to learn more). I would love to have a Religion Rehab support group, does this interest you? I share all this to say that I am here for my community and for my world. I may not be actively advertising what I offer, but I am always just a message away. 💛

3 Things to do in Tucson

So you are visiting Tucson for the weekend and want to know the must-sees in town. Here is a list of three things to do to make your stay special.

1. Nature. Head up Mount Lemmon on East Catalina Highway to witness the amazing tall pine trees and Mountain views. Visit Rose Canyon Lake for a chance to experience water in the desert. You might even want to spend the night at the Rose Canyon Campground to enjoy a bonfire at one of their well maintained campsites. Stop at Windy Point for the climactic sunset and view of the city lights.

2. Saint Philips Square Farmers Market is an excellent place to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning sampling local foods, perusing fresh vegetables, and shopping local handcrafted goods. Sit by a fountain and enjoy a tamale or vegan bbq sandwich or just people and dog watch.

3. Dance. Move your body to the waves of 5 Rhythms at one of the weekend freestyle dance classes held at the Square Dance Center, 613 East Delano Street. Surrounded by community and no talking on the dance floor creates an environment of free expression and release as well as an excellent workout. Dances are held Friday nights at 7:30 and Sunday mornings at 10:30.

Whatever you choose to do in Tucson, welcome to our city!🌵

I Made It to Tucson

I bet some of you wondered where the heck I have been. Traveling across the country was way more intense than I expected. There was a lot of shedding and growth that I had to go through to get here, and with all the bumps in the road I decided to take a lot of space from social media and blogging.

I will catch you up on what happened along the way in the coming days, but for now I am excited to announce that I am now settled in my new home!

Tucson Arizona is the place James and I decided to live. The constant sunshine and vibrant way of life feels comfortable and healing. Being surrounded by mountains and national parks means we can go hiking at any time! The views are breathtaking, especially during golden hour right before sunset when the mountains look purple and pink.

We are currently renting a house in a cute neighborhood right near a small park. Every morning I see my neighbors walk or bike by with their dogs and children and it makes me feel safe to have this community around me. After living in an RV for two months it is so nice to have space to move around and a kitchen to cook in, a backyard to hang around in our hammocks, and a real bed to stretch out in. The cats are happy to have more room to run around and outdoor space to feel wild in.

Tucson is home to a wide variety of food and restaurants which keeps me entertained. My recent accomplishment of becoming a yelp elite for 2017 gives me a purpose to my hobby of checking in, posting pictures and leaving reviews.

One of things I was most excited to do once settled was start gardening again. I am so thankful to have a raised bed in the backyard and lots of space to experiment with. Currently I am growing strawberries, silver mint, tomatillos, tomatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of kale, lavender, parsley, Serrano peppers, and a dwarf pomegranate tree. I also received a huge box worth of aloe from a generous craigslist connection. My travel herb garden that came with me from CT is still producing basil and oregano. I have a compost bin working its magic to supplement the soil and I fell in love with the nursery and garden center called Green Things here in town.

That’s all for now, check back soon!

Unifier 2017

Unifier.

Home.

Freedom.

Love.

Two years ago I went out on a limb attending Unifier festival, a first of many experiences. I met my husband while canoeing to Blueberry Island. *romantic sigh*

img_2596

Unifier 2017 was a unique experience, more of a roots gathering than a festival. The event was intimately capped at 500 guests and was held at a smaller location, a one time decision while leadership finalized the purchase of Timber Trails in Tolland Massachusetts, Unifier’s now permanent land!

The limited guests meant that the consistent most core group of Unifier family was present. As if our gathering wasn’t sweet enough, this year there was a new closeness. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with some of my favorite people! 

Since James and I and cats arrived via RV we did not camp but instead set up a space for our hammocks by the pond and used it to recharge, relax, and meet with friends.


The grounds were well kept and spotted with beautiful flower gardens and wooded areas. A beaver lived in the pond and would spend its days swimming around collecting rocks and sticks

 

The music was amazing, my faves were Kai Altair and Moon Hooch. Whether bopping with vendors or sneaking a dip in the pond, hearing the music echo over the land is my favorite part of festivals.

Shout out to Unalome Designs for having amazing hemp naturally dyed clothing. Your clothes are comfy and sexy, keep it coming.

ec7d90c4-f3fa-465f-8e16-da302651adf9
Hemp top by Unalome Designs
Hosting in the RV was quite fun as many of our friends wanted to come play with the cats and check out our mini home. James loves to cook for people so we walked around with a plate of tempeh dogs at one point.

And finally, one of the best surprises of all was playing with baby ducks. Yes, only at unifier.💛

#Firefly2017

This year we decided to go to Firefly on Friday and Sunday with Saturday being a rest day at the campground.

We arrived later in the day on Friday just as Weezer was finishing their set. I was surprised by how old they seemed as I had a reality check about the passing of time (okay). It was nice to hear their classic songs as everyone easily sang along.

Next Benny Benassi wowed us with his famous beats as we bounced under the colorful lights and giant balloons (obsessed).

IMG_2469

The next band was 21 Pilots. They put on a show of red white and black colors with loud shocking noises, twice what sounded like gunshots. Although I enjoyed hearing their music, I thought that they could improve their live performance skills and I thought the gunshot noises were unnecessary and could trigger someone, not cool. 

We finished up the night bopping to Flume. James did a tour of the food booths before we headed back to camp for the night. 

We returned again on Sunday for our favorite artist, Nahko and Medicine for the People. 

While waiting for Nahko to finish his sound check we watched tweets scroll by on the giant screen. I figured I would tweet something, even though they were mostly showing tweets from the day before, and guess what: they showed my tweet. I did not get a picture of the screen as it went by quickly and I spent most of the time trying to tell the guy behind us that he was on the screen too. 

 

Nahko played twice at Firefly this year. The first show was mid day on the Backyard stage. James and I knew we wanted to be front and center. With the sun blazing we rocked out to the medicine.

The evening show was a more acoustic set at the intimate treehouse stage. We had a laid back spot this time just chilling next to a tree.

We had the honor of visiting with our friend Max Ribner, the trumpet player for Nahko’s band, and he had a chance to meet James’ parents. We took a photo, still trying to get my paws on it. 

Finally we ended with a great show from Muse. They were professionals at live performance and keeping the flow going between songs with riffs and solos. The crowd really showed up for them and even still there was plenty of room on the lawn to sit close to the main stage. 

All in love I had a lovely time at Firefly festival. I’m not sure if I would go again unless my favorite artist were there, not because it was unpleasant but I tend to prefer more intentional gatherings with less garbage on the ground. 

Killens Pond Campground // Deleware

Killens Pond was our campground of choice during the weekend of Firefly festival.

IMG_2450
We arrived at night which left me unaware of my surroundings until morning. Nestled in the trees the RV sat while plugged in to water and electricity. There were bathrooms and hot showers in a building not far from our spot in section D. Just through the trees I could glimpse sparkles from the pond.

Killens Pond is circled by well maintained trails, a dock, and a boat launch. Kayaks and canoes can be rented nearby. The water is beautiful and brings a cool breeze into the campground.

Just a short walk from our spot James found chicken of the woods mushrooms, which are safe to eat if you like wild mushrooms. One night we got some firewood from the campground and cooked a meal over the fire.

IMG_2505
Asparagus, plantains, and green onions

I would highly recommend Killens Pond Campground. There were people with RVs and people with tents, and there are cabins to rent as well.

IMG_2494
I did some trail running in my Inkkas