The Dark Side of the Light Keepers

Living with depression is not easy. I mean, no chronic illness is easy to live with; but depression doesn’t always show “physical” symptoms. So when you tell someone you have an illness, they are looking for obvious symptoms. It’s not always easy for me to tell people when I am feeling depressed. I have been masking it most of my life, its what I have become used to. I mean, sure, I will tell someone “hey if I seem quite or off its because I am going through a bad bout of depression,” and they either get or they don’t. I have gotten so good at crying in the bathroom at work, or pretending my contacts are bothering me when people ask me if I am ok because my eyes are puffy and red from secretly crying. I have become so good at telling people I am not feeling good when I get asked to hang out because telling people that my brain has decided to crap out on me is easier.

I have been fortunate enough that my last two employers understood what was going on and allowed me time off when I just…well…when I just couldn’t. When I felt that getting out of bed wasn’t worth it. When all I wanted to do was sit in my pj’s on the couch and cry my eyes out for no goddamned reason.

But it still doesn’t make having depression easier. I have become really good at hiding the darkness within my light on a daily basis. I have depression all the time, but some days…or weeks…its worse than others. But I try, damned hard, to push the light through. Its hard for people to understand….that there is a dark side to the light keepers.

I have one of the most bubbly, cheerful, happiest personalities. I LOVE my life. I LOVE myself. I worked hard to get to where I am…and now that I am finally here…I could not be happier. A great partner, awesome family, great job, beautiful home, a great wellness practice, my dancing, my coven…everything I have dreamed of is now a reality. But that reality includes the fact that I live with a mental illness. An illness that sometimes, despite KNOWING I am happy, makes me feel like some dark storm is enveloping me and will not  GO AWAY.

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I AM A LIGHT KEEPER. I hold the love and bliss that the Universe has given me deep within my soul and heart. But sometimes its hard to keep the darkness at bay. People have a hard time understanding—depression makes you sad FOR NO REASON. Despite being a light keeper…..my brain likes to let the darkness in. Its like fighting a battle of good and evil on a daily basis…and sometimes the good will come and last for weeks. Other times, the darkness wins and eats the light until the light can finally get enough courage to battle again.

And its EXHAUSTING. I am constantly exhausted. In addition to the depression–the anxiety that goes along with it!? Imagine being in a grocery store and having to leave a full cart of food in the middle of the aisle because you are having a panic attack so bad you feel like your heart is going to come out of your throat! I have!!!

But through it all…I still manage to hold onto the light and push forward. This was the deck of cards I was handed and its the deck of cards I am going to play with for the rest of my life. And if I have learned anything, its that Light Keepers have a pretty good poker face when it comes to playing with depression.

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Cominando: The Walker

I believe, truly, in cosmic intervention–even when said intervention comes in the form of disruption, chaos, deceit and selfishness. Sometimes cosmic intervention–is not kind and circumstances arise that literally force you onto the path The Universe wants you to take. But when The Universe decrees something–it is to be so. The Universe works on its own terms and has its own methods. And even though you know you are going to make a change, The Universe will make the change happen when it is supposed to happen–not when you want it  to happen. So yes, its good to make plans, but not concrete ones, because they are always apt to change.

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One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past few weeks is that, when you have nothing to lose–it’s often the BEST time for changes. You do not need to hit “rock bottom” or be irresponsible to have nothing to lose. But when you realize that you have exhausted yourself — spiritually, physically and mentally— that’s when you realize that you have nothing to lose.

I realized that I had nothing to lose a few months ago. I was in a job that was going nowhere, not happy  with my living situation, and was feeling spiritually fatigued. My loves and hobbies did not give me the joy that they once had. We were planning on moving in August, but then, The Universe decreed it was time for us to go now. It wasn’t a pleasant, and it left me feeling a lot of anger and hatred toward several people (something I have finally gotten over after realizing you can not change a person–or people–and that sometimes cosmic intervention comes in unpleasant forms). We decided, it was time to go.

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I decided to literally up root myself. After living in the same place for most of my life, I decided that in order for me to reconnect with everything important to me, I needed to move forward–take a leap of faith– close my eyes–and free fall. We packed our stuff in 2 weeks, found an apartment and decided to move cross-country to Flagstaff, Arizona. As most of you know, I had a profoundly deep experience when I went to Sedona, AZ in 2014. It was the first time in my life that I was somewhere where I felt that I belonged. And so here we are….

I am starting a whole new life. Like a flower that has been uprooted, I am being replanted in a bigger space with love, life and the ability to blossom like I have never done before. I am walking a new path, in a new place, filled with new bright adventures. Reinventing myself. Cracking out of the egg. Flying out of the cocoon. I feel–free.

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And of course it doesn’t come without fears. Fear is normal. I am starting from scratch, a whole new life. And it scares me. But of course, I know if it was not meant to be The Universe would not have delivered it right now. But it did.

Taking leaps of faith are scary. But with a leap of faith–only new beginnings can occur.

So if you have nothing to lose–I highly recommend….closing your eyes, free-falling and taking that leap. There is no backward..you can never go back. Only forward.

Wrap Yourself in Coils: You Are NOT A Healer

I have been guilty of it myself. I have let it slip in the heat of the moment. “I am a healer.”

 Well, no…I am not actually a healer—and neither is anyone else who uses that phrase. We are conduits for healing energy. Like a giant Tesla coil, we allow the forces (Universal Energy, God Energy whatever you want to call it) to flow through us for the benefits of healing. It’s a gift from The Universe. It was The Universe (or Creator if you will) that is allowing you to be the instrument of healing. Gifts are given and can easily be taken away.

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Maybe it’s my years of practicing Earth based magick and religions. Years of working with various Deities in various forms. Truth is, what is given can be taken away. If The Universe feels you are abusing that what is granted-it can just as easily be abstracted from you.

Sadly, I have met a lot of conduits of healing energy who taught the “I am a healer” phrase—who use it as a means of projecting some form of supremacy over someone else. You are not a healer. You are merely a channel—nothing more.

The Mystical Urban Shaman

I am a bit tired of hearing about people who try the one up card. You know those people: I studied with so and so and therefore I am way better than you will ever be.

Seriously? I hear that a lot in the “healer” community. Which is a bit ironic……..Or the “teacher” who is only out there for selfish reasons- to have groupies and followers- in which breeds the seeds of negative energy which gets passed on and on and on and one………

I get that a lot with “shamans”…..So let me just empty my brain.

Just remember–the further you go–the less you know.

A shaman in essence, is one who walks between the worlds. I journey when I do my intuitive work and during a reiki session. Shamanic reiki consists of doing a shamanic journey in conjunction with the reiki. Anyone can journey—it just takes patience and time…..lots of time….And it doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to practice NATIVE AMERICAN shamanism to be a Shaman.  Work with what connects to you. Ironically, even though I am a quarter Native American—not all aspects of Native American shamanism resonate with me. I take bits of Aboriginal, African and Native American shamanism when I work. I know people who connect with Nordic Shamanism or Celtic Shamanism.

The word shaman is simply Siberian for–“one who sees in the dark.”

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We are just idiot humans with a vision of what a Shaman should look like—A wild lone man living in a cave with no clothes, ratty hair and bones around his neck? Or a head full of feathers tossing animal bones to read……..Humans are narrow minded in the world of words, imagery and symbols.

It’s IMPOSSIBLE now, for people to find a Shamanic teacher.  And classes that offer you the idea of the instantaneous shamanic journey are rolling in money over something that takes years and practice. I was recently speaking to a client who attended a 3 day long Intro to Shamanism class. Of course they “taught” students how to journey—and explained they would be able to journey by the end of the session—and then could “graduate” to the next 3 day long $$$$ workshop. During the 3 day workshop, the teachers asked students what they saw on journeys, etc. All the students had something to say—except him. He didn’t experience anything. After the three day workshop was over and he was speaking to his other classmates, he asked them “did you actually see all those things?”—in which most of them said, “no” or “I just said I did because I didn’t want the teacher to feel bad.”

Shamanic journeying—is liken to meditation. The practitioner needs to be able to pull themselves from this “reality” into another. And like meditation, you can’t learn it in a three day workshop. To be a shamanic practitioner does not require certification. We don’t live in a society where you can study with a Shaman or are “chosen” by the Elders in your tribe. We live in a world of urban shamanism. Every human being has the ability to be a Shaman. It’s about accessing and using all of your senses including your 6th sense. By not using them, we destroy that one gift handed to us by our ancestors—the ability to be able to help others by accessing a Divine Source of Power within us. But with that takes the understanding and the knowledge that to become a shaman doesn’t mean taking a few workshops, classes, etc. I used to think that. I used the think you had to take classes, study with a group, spend a crap load of money, find a “guru”, and go on retreats. Then one day I realized, I have been preparing for where I am at this moment in my life since I was 13.

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I started my journey when I was 13. I studied Witchcraft, Gnosticism, Ceremonial Magick, Egyptian Magick, the Kabbalah, Buddhism — you name it I have studied it at some point in my life. My extensive book collection will show you—and I can point how old I was when I started!  I have also heavily studied ancient mythologies from around the planet as well as the anthropological and historical religious teachings of various tribes from around the world.  I was involved in three esoteric groups and then was in a ceremonial Magick/alternative religion group for 10 years where I got initiated and got my name “Zehara” from. Yes of course I took some classes on the way, got certificates in Metaphysical studies and herbology (even though I had long since been using herbs to make mojo bags, teas, incense) and got my reiki attunements. The nice thing about Shamanism and reiki is that you work with what suits YOU. In essence creating your own version of Shamanism and Reiki. I use almost everything I have learned in the past 20 years since I started my journey into my practice now—from casting a circle to reciting a mantra to banish negative energy. It’s like I have been blessed with a large and extensive kitchen full of ingredients to make the most magical delicious healing work.

And Shamanism is a moment by moment thing. I try explaining that to people who ask me. What was given to you by the Higher Power, which I refer to as The Universe, can just as easily be taken away. You don’t own it. You are allowed to have it to help others but it’s not yours.

I like to refer to myself as a practitioner—not a healer…Clients are the healers—I am just the middle man-the initiator. Clients heal themselves—I just give them a boost. Shamanic journeying is like day dreaming—for me anyway. I don’t like the term of “non ordinary” reality. When I journey I am in reality—I just use all my senses. I am in a different state of mind—I “see” things which exist outside the scope of what we call “normal reality.”

Think of journeying like dreaming—it’s the same thing, but you are awake. You see things in dreams that don’t make much sense, but are meant to be taken symbolically. When I see a deer during a journey-it means a few things.

  1. It’s the clients totem
  2. Deer represent gentleness—hence, perhaps the client needs to be more gentle to themselves

I guess my point here is that, anyone can be a shaman, with respect to the understanding that you realize it’s a special gift The Universe is allowing you to have—and at any moment-take it away. It also requires patience and an understanding that being able to “see in the dark” takes time.

And yes, study. Read whatever you can get your hands on. Network. Meet people. And be open minded. Our world is not the only one. There are multi universes you can access once you are able to journey. And ignore the one uppers……they have a lot of work to do.

The Power Over: Flight of the Hummingbird

With so much going on in the world right now, and of course, governments trying to quell fears and tell lies that “everything is going to be ok” ~ I have learned that we live in a “power over” society. Unfortunately, a power over society makes people afraid to take leaps of faith, be themselves or even be accepted. Its forces people into believing that others will and always will, have power over them. A power over can be anyone or anything: family, governments,  finances, a job, a friends. Anything that makes you feel if you don’t have it (or them) you can not survive.

It took me a good long while before I realized that you can fight a Power Over. I recently had a head injury that put me out of work for 3 weeks. I don’t care much for my job and have been on a job hunt to find something that suits my abilities and creativity more. I have wanted to leave my job for a while, but fear has kept me frozen. The power over finances, and what if’s. During my three weeks home I wasnt allowed to go online, watch tv, use the phone or even read. Which meant I spent a lot of time on reflection.

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Being a non-conformist, a person who walks against the grain, a person who does not want a conventional life, I find it difficult to live in a Power Over society. Especially in a country where wealth and job descriptions define who you are. I found myself making excuses, going against what I believe is in my heart and what my mind has been taught truth.

Then one day, when I finally felt up to it, I went for a walk. I have live in the same neighborhood my whole life. Truthfully its been for reason that really should not be all of my responsibility. My partner and I have finally decided to move the end of 2015, but I a part of me is still afraid to surrender.

In all my years living in the same city in the sam neighborhood, during our walk, I saw a little hummingbird. I have never seen a hummingbird in these parts. Let a lone a hummingbird who not only stopped to smell the flowers, but also stopped to give me a look. I got that feeling of calmness. That feeling that The Universe and the animal kingdom was sending me a sign. So naturally I went home to look up what the meaning of a hummingbird was:

  • fearlessness
  • Wisdom
  • resiliency
  • ability to overcome fears (even when you feel small)

At that moment, I realized, The Universe was sending me a message in a tiny bird–that everything was fine. That being able to close my eyes and be me–was OK. The Power Over started to disintegrate. When I got home, a feeling washed over me, one of great trust. I decided that in order to be happy I have to break the power over. I told myself that if I don’t have a new job that makes me happier in a few months, then I would leave my current job and just trust that the Universe will guide my little wings in the right direction. I started telling myself over and over again, “its temporary.” The more I reminded myself of that beautiful colorful tiny hummingbird, the more I realized that even those who feel small can overcome the Power Over.

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Your happiness is what defines you. Not your money, your job, your hair color, whether you are living a traditional life style or not–its you happiness that defines you. A power over is something created by a society afraid to trust. A Power Over society is a fearful society. If we don’t play by the rules, if we make our own, we are bound for failure. Once you break the Power Over ideology, the more you can spread those tiny wings and take flight.

Dear Universe…..

Thank you for knocking some sense into me — literally.

Our refrigerator broke– we found a new one–but we were going to be away. Of course we were going to be away because I was going to be taking a 3 day movement therapy course. My gut kept telling me “something is going to happen,” but I always get nervous when I travel. Additionally, with us away, my grandmother would be responsible for allowing the delivery men to bring in our new fridge.

I am stupidly an “over cleaner”. Its a part of me that I am working on. Its ok to have bits of dust on a table! But if I see it, forget in. I sweep and vacuum at least every other day and am constantly wiping things down. It was always instilled me that cleanliness came before Godliness (or Goddessness???). Anyway, I freak out over the stupidest things when it comes to having a clean house. I have gotten better-but occasionally that OCD bug gets in my head and then the Lysol, broom, Murphy’s oil soap and whatever else I need finds its way out of the closet.

So, I decided since we were going to be away, then the I should probably clean the disgusting mess that was left behind from where our old refrigerator used to be. It was vile. One of those “sweep, vacuum, then get on your knees to scrub the hell out of the floor” kind of things.

Additionally, I have been having feelings of “losing myself” ~ I am currently looking for a part time job so I can leave the full time job I have now that is sucking my energy and focus more on what makes me happy. I was spending WAY to much time on the internet and not ENOUGH time focusing on what I needed to be focusing on.

While I was cleaning, my phone went off. It was my partner asking me to pick him up. As I went to grab my phone I stood up full force and BAM~head on collision with the cabinets. As if I didn’t know there were cabinets there!!!! I got a little dizzy and saw the stars (not in a good way), but brushed it off. Headaches are nothing. As I was driving to the train station I started to feel sick–really sick. But, being the stubborn mule that I am I proceeded to pick up my partner and head home. Two hours later I was in the ER diagnosed with a mild concussion. Oi! So all our plans went to hell and I spent nearly four days in bed asleep. Doctors orders: no TV, no texting, no internet.

Um…so what was I supposed to do??? Well, I slept a lot. My brain needed that.

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But, being forced NOT to use “media outlets”– within 48 hours I forgot I even had them! I actually spent QUALITY time doing things I should have been doing a long time ago–before Facebook and Netflix. When I wasn’t knocked out in a cold concussion brain sleep—I was painting, spending real quality time with my snakes (something I haven’t really done in a long time!). I meditated. Sat quietly. Listened. The less I used the internet–the less I watched tv–the less I missed them. I realized that I had become addicted to the media outlets. I realized how much better my life would be if I spend less time reading about  someones cat, a rant on global warming, seeing idiotic posts of dogs doing dog things—-I realized that there is nothing relevant in making my life more meaningful on social media. There is no point getting caught up in text messages about someones dinner or the fact they got a new car. I want REAL life conversation. Not chatting over a machine.

The Universe literally knocked some sense into me. I decided since its been 4 days since I have been on line–and I don’t miss it…I am going to continue not to miss it. I will allow myself an hour a day to do whatever it is I *need* to online–and blog of course!– but it will no longer be to me what it once was.

So Universe, thank you for the lump on my noggin’!!

You Are Never Broken

Lately I have been hearing a lot about people saying how they are “broken.” Typically its when they have reached a low point in their life. 

Sure, we all feel at times like we have been “shattered”—little pieces of slivers of broken glass all over the floor. At some point we maybe reminded that were “broken” into tiny bits when a wound gets reopened. 

But, we are never broken. There is nothing about a person that cant be fixed. All of us all over the world have issues going on. Whether personal or public. Sometimes our problems are so grand that they leave us feeling like a wet mop in a dark dirty closet. And we see no way out. Sometimes are problems consume us. Its all we can think about.

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We have all felt broken at some point in our lives. Some of us keep it in and weep privately, others are open. There is always that phrase “one door closes another opens.” Its that one bit of advice I hate hearing. Sometimes we are stuck between doors. One that has closed but can still be revisited and another door in front of us that is ready to be opened, but we are not ready to open it. So we remain in a hall way. Stuck between a door of new beginnings and a door of endings. 

My advice is to remember that you are not broken—you experiencing something that will only make you stronger. And depending on which door you choose–the closed one where you can remain–or the open one—depends on how and when you are ready to move on from a situation. But you are never “broken,”

So coming from a person who used to think I was “broken” ~ here is somethings I do to remind myself that I can be put together.

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1. Remember–its all perspective: Easier said than done, I know. But depending on how you look at a situation makes a difference on how you related to it. Losing a job isn’t always a bad thing–it maybe just what you needed–it was The Universes way of telling you that where you were at was not where you were supposed to be. Sure its scary as hell, but seeing it as a new opportunity to find a job or start your own is better than seeing it as a shut door.

2. Remember all the bad times: Yep. That door that was “closed”—well, you can still look back. But just don’t linger there. Think of situations where you felt shattered–torn–broken—a lost soul. Then remember who you have become. Remember that you have a resiliency inside you. If you made it through that–you can make it through another bad time. And truth is, there will always be bumps in the road.

3. Think of it as a challenge: Whenever I feel “broken” I always imagine that I am fighting some invisible force. I need to unleash those superpowers I have and prove to my invisible enemy–that I can win.

4. Don’t dwell to long on the closed door: Or you will miss the one that is wide open. 

5. My mantra: NEVER BROKEN

We are never broken. Just facing a challenge. Make it your own. Learn from is the lesson you are facing–even if you feel like you cant put yourself together again–you are not Humpty Dumpty!