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Photo Journal of Seattle, Raw Food & Forest Fun

We are deep into late summer. Autumn sneaks just around the corner, teasing us with amber and crimson leaves that dangle from Sonoma County’s twisted old trees. Fall has come early this year, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this time of year; I love autumn and everything it embodies. But, before I cast my farewell kisses to our beloved sweet summer, I would like to share one of my highlights from the season of the sun.

In August, near Lammas, I traveled to Seattle to visit friends and family. As you may know, I used to live in Western Washington, in Seattle and in Bellingham. I love this entire area, for it brims with woodland magic, luscious gardens, deep azul waters and the mystical, tree-clad San Juan Islands. The whole area feels like the womb of Mother Earth- vibrant, abundant, beautiful and pregnant with life.

My time spent in this area was chock full of raw food gatherings, spiritual events and forest frolickings- everything I love! Here is a photo journal, a small taste, of my time in the Pacific Northwest with my spirit sister, Giacinta.

*Note: Most of these photos were taken either by me or my dear friend, Giacinta, with our iPhone cameras. Enjoy the perfect and a few not-so-perfect shots of some very perfect moments. 🙂

 

First off, I’d like to say thank you to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for offering raw food snacks. I found vegan raw bars and kombucha while waiting for my plane. A great way to start my travels off right!

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

 

On my first day in Seattle, synchronicity would have it that a recipe for a Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte should fall into our laps. Of course, we went right out, bought the ingredients and got to work. This is it…

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

The original recipe for this torte can be found HERE. We made the exact recipe, tasted it, and decided it needed more. To this recipe we increased the raw cacao then added carob, cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla for depth of flavor. We also exchanged the agave for maple syrup. In hindsight, dates would have been the best choice for sweetener. At some point in the future, I will remake this torte and post a proper recipe. Until then, know it was delicious and made a grand appearance at a few raw food gatherings with some very happy friends.

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

 

During one of our in-state journeys, we made our way to North Bend to pick fresh organic blueberries from Bybee Farms nestled at the base of gorgeous Mount Si. (Pictured Below). If you are in the North Bend area and would like to learn more about how you can pick your own berries, click HERE.

Mount Si

A field of Blueberries at Mount Si

This day was one of my favorite days, a highlight indeed. I was surrounded by rows and rows of blueberry bushes and clear skies filled with sunbeams, bumble bees and the sweet scent of fruits and leaves all coddled by the majestic Mount Si. It was incredibly soul-filling!

Organic Blueberries

Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

If you could zoom in on my Café Gratitude shirt, you would see that it reads, “What are you grateful for?” My answer, “Blueberries!” 🙂

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

As you can imagine, we ate blueberries for days. This is one of the meals we enjoyed among friends, each one of us contributing fruits and vegetables for this shared offering of fresh picked garden greens, blueberries, mango salsa, avocado and zucchini in pesto. Delish!

Summer Foods

Summer Foods

 

We were serendipitously blessed by a full moon during my time in Seattle. I love full moon energy and love to channel this powerful force during my meditations and healing Reiki sessions. With this being said, we participated in a full moon group meditation to honor Mother Moon in the height of summer as symbolized by my favorite flower, the sunflower. This is the candlelit, celestial altar that centered the meditation.

Full August Moon Altar

Full August Moon Altar

 

Another amazing evening we shared, and one of my top highlights, was a shamanic full moon drum circle at New Earth Farm in Redmond, WA. (Click HERE to learn more about New Earth Farm) This drum circle took place on private property that held an organic garden and lots of deeply sacred energy. Snuggled in a ring of redwoods and lush ferns, surrounding a fire pit was a circle of stone seats. The fire was lit; we each took our places, called the corners, and drummed, rattled and rolled into the warm moonlit night. The energy that was generated from our primal music and our collective, harmonious presence was magical and not to be forgotten any time soon! I hold the healing vibration and memory of this evening near and dear to my heart.

Drum Circle Venue

Drum Circle at New Earth Farm – Photo by Tom Armstrong

 

When we weren’t gathering for potlucks, meditation or drumming, we were out and about in Seattle, eating. Three great vegan restaurants I would recommend in Seattle are Café Flora, Chaco Canyon, and Jodee’s. Here are some of the dishes from each restaurant…

Café Flora

Café Flora

This was one of the best things I ate the entire time I was in Seattle. This is Café Flora’s Beet Gnocchi in Pesto with an Herbed Nut Cream, (pictured above) which I shared with Giacinta and my sister, Angel. This was ridiculously delicious and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon

Above is a photo of some of the offerings at Chaco Canyon in Seattle. We noshed on raw vegan enchiladas, salads and green juice. Delish!

Jodee's

Jodee’s

And lastly, the above photo is of Jodee’s raw vegan pizza. Jodee’s, in Green Lake, specializes in raw vegan deserts and smoothies but once in a while she offers up Friday night pizza. This is a yummy slice of her Mexican Pizza.

The abundance of good, healthy, vibrant food gave us energy to run around and play in the forests. Carkeek Park in Seattle is one of my favorite little spots to visit. When I lived in Seattle, I would visit this park often to commune with the nature spirits, walk among the greenlings, hug trees and meditate. When I was here with Giacinta, we came and did much of the same…

Shana Lying Over a Creekbed on a Fallen Tree, Communing with the Leaves

Shana lying across a creek bed on a fallen tree, communing with the leaves

Shana giggling with the forest

Shana giggling with the forest

Giacinta in a creekbed at Carkeek Park

Giacinta in the creek bed, dotted in light

 

For me, no trip to Seattle is complete without gathering friends for a raw vegan ice cream party and who better to host this type of a gathering than my friend Jeff Rogers, AKA the Naughty Vegan. You can read more about Jeff HERE. Jeff is an amazing ice cream artisan. If you love ice cream, I highly recommend his recipe book, Vice Cream, found HERE. Jeff whipped up a Coconut Peach Ice Cream, Giacinta and I brought frozen bananas and durian, and everyone else brought a variety of frozen summer fruits. Another friend, who, like myself, graduated as a raw chef from Living Light, brought raw vegan caramel and chocolate sauces to drizzle over all the ice cream.

Jeff passed all the frozen fruit through his Champion Juicer to create a soft-serve style ice cream. (The Champion Juicer is an excellent machine to use to turn frozen fruit into ice cream.) This is the delightful mess we made in his kitchen and the yumminess that ensued…

Raw Vegan Ice Cream Party

The makings of a raw vegan ice cream party

A swirling bowl of ice cream

A swirling bowl of fruity ice cream

 

My last day in the Pacific Northwest was spent in Bellingham, one of my favorite places in Washington. I have lived in Bellingham and have spent much time in this area. This magical, quaint town and the surrounding woodlands have crept into my veins and won’t let me go. I love it here. Giacinta and I went to one of my favorite spots, to Larrabee State Park. It was here we soaked up the grounding energy of the boulders, the vitalizing energy of the ocean and the mystical energy of the rich forest.

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss :)

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss 🙂

Magical Trails...

A magical trail…

I’ll close this travel journal entry with one of my favorite photos, taken by Giacinta. Here I am in my favorite place, in the forest, becoming One with everything around me. There is no place I would rather be, truly!

Shana in the emerald forest

Shana in the emerald forest

My time in Western Washington this summer was abundantly full of my favorite things. I am brimming with gratitude for everything I experienced and for everyone who shared my journey. I am deeply grateful for Giacinta who walked with me along the way. Until the next time, dear enchanted Washington, I hold you in my emerald heart. Thank you. I love you.

Angel Channeling

rainbow_angel

In late 2013, I began channeling an angel for the first time. I have always been a natural medium, but channeling spiritual Beings outside myself was something I had not worked specifically to develop. As a Reiki Master Teacher and healer, I open myself and become a channel for healing energy. In Reiki, this energy is called Universal Life Force Energy. I become highly sensitive and intuitive while in a Reiki session, flowing Reiki through me to my client while receiving messages and visions as I work. Over the years, this ability has strengthened and evolved with every Reiki session I give.

A few years ago, I experienced a great change. I moved from Seattle, WA, to the high desert of Northern Arizona. You can read more about this HERE. There aren’t two places more diametrically opposed in landscape and climate than the lush, drizzly Pacific Northwest and the dry, sun-soaked desert. It was this move that created a spiritual shift within me, sparking an interested in channeling.

It was late spring of 2012 in Prescott, AZ. The sky was an endless sheet of crystal blue forevermore. The sun felt like an unctuous nectar that poured over me, filling every nook and cranny of my soul. The land released the intoxicating scent of sunbaked sage, dry earth and ponderosa pine needles. Inspired by all this, the energies of the Native American spirit that saturated the vast landscape, and the warm, healing rays of Father Sun, I found myself called to channel or to at least learn more about channeling. It was as if this new, bright world awakened deeper parts of my essence, beckoning me to explore and expand the depths of my spiritual abilities. After all, I had chosen to move to Arizona based solely on a spiritual calling. The intention had been set.

Fast forward to the winter of 2013. I had been working at the Mountain Spirit Co-Op in Prescott, providing in-person Reiki sessions and spiritual readings. My practice was growing, and I was expanding as a healer. One day, I stumbled upon an old book titled Opening to Channel. I know I just happened to find this book, but it felt more like this book found me. I took it home, read every word and immediately began to channel. It was as if something within me was unlocked. An initiation had taken place, staged by my Reiki practice and supported by divine forces far greater than myself. When I first closed my eyes to see if I could channel a high-level guide, what came through shocked and delighted me to my core. What came through was an angel, a female angel.

Ascension-4302

This angel embodies the most beautiful energy I have ever felt. She is pure divine, Godlike energy who emanates purple and gold tones and rainbow light. She is pure unconditional compassion. There aren’t words to define this angel or the way her essence feels. She is beyond description, beyond concept, religion or imagination. I can only say she is PURE celestial LOVE. She is one of my guides and has been for a long time. She has much to tell me and show me.

I channel her verbally and also through automatic writing, which has become one of my favorite ways to connect with her. The reason for this is that I am not consciously connected to the information that comes through. If I do not write it all down as it comes (or record it verbally), it is soon forgotten. Often when I am done with a channeling session, I will look back over my writing and am surprised by what I wrote.

She has been very instrumental not only in my life but in my Reiki healings. I work closely with her during sessions. She offers guidance, helps me to better call in my client’s own guides so deeper healing and shifts can take place, and she downloads sacred geometric symbols through me during my Reiki work. This is one of the reasons why the Reiki healing I do now is far more than just Reiki. I am working with high-level energy and geometric energy patterns, colors and crystal frequencies that provide more expansive and spiritually holistic results.

I will share more about this angel in future blog posts. She has a name. She is connected to some very specific activities. I feel energetically intertwined with her on many levels, and she has touched my life in amazing and unexpected ways.

Angel+girl

For the first month after I began channeling her, I experienced an angelic attuning. It was as if she was inside me, restructuring my physical and spiritual mind so I may better open myself to her. I would awake in the middle of the night with pangs of flashing golden lights pop and zip through my brain. This lightshow was often accompanied by whizzings and pings of loud sounds. It felt like my brain was literally being re-wired to handle the higher frequency of the angel realm.

Another “symptom” of my angelic attunement was that I would awake hearing choir music in my ears and in my brain. It sounded like a tremendous choir of a hundred angels singing. I was very moved by this and by the magnitude and beauty of these collective, harmonious, angelic voices.

I knew when I started channeling the angel that my life would forever change. There were too many things occurring around and within me as a result of my direct communication with her. The same thing happened to me the first time I received a Reiki attunement. Everything in my life shifted right into place. Reiki is powerful this way. Things that were no longer serving my higher good were pushed right out and paths that were more aligned with my greater purpose became clear and available. I had an underline feeling this would happen again with the angel’s direct presence in my life. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what that would look like or how it would unfold. But, unfold it did. Much has indeed changed since then. In fact. everything has shifted. I am still shifting.

I will be sharing more of my journey, my life changes and my quantum leaps forward with my healing work in future posts. Until then, I will leave you with a music video that reminds me of the divine singing I would awake to during my time of being “re-wired” and attuned to the angelic realm. Now, every time I hear choir music like this, every cell in my body begins to vibrate to the frequency of the angels and my heart opens…

With great love and angelic blessings,

Shana

The Art of Being in the Flow

A few days ago, I was in Sedona. I love coming here to rejuvenate and recharge. The energy is so powerful and invigorating. I went to the Bell Rock Vortex, one of my favorite spots in the red rocks, to soak up the healing energy, to meditate and to reflect.

View from Bell Rock in Sedona

View from Bell Rock in Sedona

After filling myself to the brim with what the magnificent red rocks had to offer, I decided to head home. As I was leaving, I swung by a natural food store, New Frontiers, to pick up a few things. While there, standing in the check-out line, I found the latest edition of Sage Woman on the magazine rack. With its beautiful cover art and with the theme being herbalism, I couldn’t pass it up.

As I was checking out, the woman at the register, noticing the magazine I was purchasing, said, “Wow, what a gorgeous cover! I would love to frame that.” Hummm what a lovely idea, I thought to myself…

   ♥

Fast forward to today. I wanted to spend a lazy sunny morning reading my angel book, Messengers of Light. But, I simply could not find it anywhere. I wandered around the house searching in all the nooks and cubbies, but alas, no book.

Knowing that when things don’t flow easily, it is best to give it a rest or change direction. It is never a good idea to force anything, ever. So, I let go and released the desire to read my angel book.

There are wonderful, unimaginable gifts in letting go.

As soon as I made this shift (which happened in an instant), the idea to read the Sage Woman magazine suddenly popped in my mind. I gathered up the beautiful magazine and went to a sunny room to snuggle in and read.

As I walked into the room, I looked down at the vibrant cover art in my hand and remembered what the woman at New Frontiers had said to me. I appreciate creative, out-of-the box thinking. I wouldn’t have thought to frame a magazine cover, but it resonated, feeling very playful. The art itself made me feel bright and happy, so I flowed with it.

I looked around the room for a frame and found the perfect one, hanging on the wall above a tall window-side oak table. It already had art in it (a black and white pen drawing), but the time felt right to change out the art and bring in more color. I love change.

I plucked the frame off the wall, removed the old art, cleaned the glass and fiddled with the frame and new art until the magazine cover page looked just right in its new home.

The Cover of Sage Woman Magazinr

The framed Sage Woman cover art, Winter into Spring 2014 issue

Guess what happened next?

Just as I hung the newly framed artwork on my wall, I looked down and noticed the angel book I had been looking for was resting right there, on top of the tall window-side oak table that the art was now hanging above!

A smile stretched across my face like sunshine stretching across a field of flowers in the spring. I grabbed the book, held it to my heart, stepped back, looked at the festive new image on my wall and felt immense happiness and gratitude.

I now had my angel book in hand and a delightful art piece on my wall. A true gift from the angels and from the guiding energies above and all around.

There are gifts in the losses, gifts in being redirected. There are angelic blessings that you cannot begin to imagine. There is a beautiful rhythm to the natural flow and divine magic of life. All you need to do is quiet what the mind thinks it wants and allow your body and your spirit to go with the flow.

We are all being divinely guided; we just need to listen to the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) energies that nudge us into perfect alignment.

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

This is the full art piece called “The Herbal Goddess” by artist Holly Sierra:

"The Herbal Goddess" by Holly Sierra

“The Herbal Goddess” by Holly Sierra

From the artist as printed on the inside cover of Sage Woman magazine: “The Herbal Goddess sits in splendor amidst her Earthly Garden. Atop her head is a halo of flowering herbs and berries, about her throat, a bee necklace celebrating pollination… Beside her, a teapot for brewing herbal teas, rosemary vinegar, a trowel and terra cotta pots for work in the garden. Cradled in the Goddesses’ arms are many of our most beloved herbs! She is a feast for the eyes!” ~Holly Sierra

You can purchase this beautiful piece as a print and other magical works of art from Holly Sierra’s website HERE.  I love her work! ♥

♥ Have a very blessed day. ♥ Let go and flow so magic can happen in your life. ♥ You are supported and guided, for you are deeply loved. ♥ ♥ ♥

Moved by Spiritual Callings

Have you ever had a spiritual calling? Have you ever wondered what life would be like to follow these inner callings? Where would it take you? What would you become?

It wasn’t until I moved from my life-long home of Northern California that I can say that, yes, I know what it is like to walk away from EVERYTHING- stuff, family, friends, familiarity and comfort to follow a higher calling. Stephen and I moved to Western Washington merely based on intuition and a spiritual whim. From here, amazing worlds were explored and an unexpected journey was launched.

We were living in Santa Rosa, CA, in Sonoma County. We had taken a road trip out to Northern Arizona, thinking this area may be a good place to relocate. Immediately upon arriving, I had an adverse reaction to the area, in fact I felt energetically repelled by it. We spent a day in Prescott, a day in Sedona and then drove up to the Grand Canyon (…which I loved. More on the magic of the Grand Canyon in future posts). I loved seeing all these areas. I was intrigued. I was enchanted. And, I fell in love with the strong Native American spirit, but I was not called to stay and live.

One morning, Stephen and I were having breakfast together in a small town just outside of Sedona called Cottonwood. It was here I asked Stephen for one of his famous psychic readings. (I was too emotionally attached to the outcome to read for myself.) I asked him to give me a reading about what the best living environment would be for me at the time. I still have this reading, which I jotted down on a napkin.

He said I would be surrounded by trees, water and lush, rich earth that would grow anything. There would be vegetable gardens and fruit trees, wild life and open wilderness. It was during this reading over breakfast in a small desert town that Stephen and I decided to move to Bellingham, WA, sight unseen.

Bellingham, WA

Bellingham, WA

This was a rash decision based solely on intuition, prompted by a simple and playful reading, but everything about this decision felt right. It was a tremendous spiritual calling, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

By the very next month, our belongings were packed and we were driving into Bellingham, WA, which is located just a half hour south of the Canadian border and British Columbia.

Ever wonder if you are headed in the right direction? Doors will open. These doors didn’t just open for us there, they swung WIDE open.

When we entered Bellingham, we had one week to find a home. It was the very second placed we viewed to rent that we found one of the most beautiful homes I had ever lived in. We rented it on the spot.

Our home in Bellingham, WA

Our home in Bellingham, WA

This was our home- a gorgeous old, single family, Victorian house that had been converted into 5 charming apartments. It had a vegetable garden and incredible bayside, sunset views. We rented the largest of the apartments on the main floor, which allotted me my own healing space for my Reiki practice and a private meditation room. This home called us to it for many reasons. We were supposed to live here.

The backyard bayside vegetable garden

The backyard bayside vegetable garden

 

Sunset view from our living room

Sunset view from our living room

It was here that more magic came into my life than I could possibly explain. It was here I experienced so many spiritual shifts and growths, darkness yet brilliance, and dove into higher realms, experiencing firsthand the world of the elementals. Yes, we had resident Beings, nature spirits, who shared space with us in the garden and in our home. I could see them, and they did all kinds of tricky and fun things around the house. (More on this in future blog posts and articles) Stephen and I taught Reiki classes together, and I gave energy healings out of this home. We only lived here for a year and a half, but the mind-bending things that occurred and the spiritual leaps were life changing to say the least.

Being energy workers, both Stephen and I are intensely aware of subtle energies. The energy of the house, of the city of Bellingham, and of our neighbors shifted. The time to leave was near. We felt it. This was a gentle shift, but the universe was easing us into other opportunities. When the day came that our landlord informed me that he wanted to move his family into our space, I was already expecting this change. And, I was grateful for it.

At the time, we considered moving to Arizona. After a year and a half of darkness, I ached for sunnier landscapes. We also considered moving back to California, but I intuitively knew it was not yet time to return, though I was homesick. Instead, we decided to move an hour and a half south to Seattle. I had friends, raw potlucks, raw vegan restaurants a-plenty, and lots of things to do there. I missed being in a bigger, more metropolitan and cultural city that offered a plethora of activities to choose from.

We left magical Bellingham and our quiet yet grand South Hill neighborhood. We left the bay and the wild, green gardens, the spectacular sunsets and moved to the city. I had never lived directly in a city, and I wanted the full big city experience. (Be careful what you ask for!)

We moved to Lower Queen Anne just 2 blocks away from the Seattle Space Needle, smack dab in the heart of the city. Our apartment was built at the turn of the century. It was an old brick, four story building. It had no elevator but it did have a couple of resident ghosts, one of which lived in our unit. We were, of course, on the top floor and the laundry room was, of course, in the basement. Parking was a space we rented a block away. Needless to say, there was a lot of schlepping going on, schlepping laundry and groceries up and down streets and endless flights of stairs. This was quintessential city living.

Metallic Seattle Space Needle and City Center

Metallic Seattle Space Needle and City Center

The romance of this lifestyle withered away very quickly for me. I didn’t mind the physical requirements of it, but I did mind the grey. Seattle is a grey place with eight months of rainfall. Our apartment faced east, so gone were our glorious sunsets and the glowing, crimson sweetness that cracked the cloudy horizon at the end of each day. My world in the city became drab. The surrounding buildings, asphalt, skies, and concrete- everything around me was one note. I desperately missed living in the forest and among my faery-luscious, GREEN trees. There were wonderful mossy, forested parks in Seattle, which I loved to hike and meditate in, but my actual city living environment and view… as my crime-writing sister would call it… it was all gun-metal grey.

Six months into our city living, we had the opportunity to shorten our lease, which gave me a new lease on life and new possibilities.

I would like to add that Seattle is a very magical place, and I do not wish to down-play this. I did have some very amazing experiences there. I still love to visit and a part of my heart and spirit will always be in Western Washington along with some family and many great friends. But, one lesson I definitely learned during my time there is that I need to live in more natural, wild settings. I thrive in nature!

One of my favorite places to visit, the Faery Bridge of Carkeek Park in Seattle

One of my favorite places to visit, the Faery Bridge of Carkeek Park in Seattle

It was time to move. In retrospect, I feel we placed ourselves in this environment, all of it from the city to the old apartment, so we would be more inclined to leave Washington. You see, I was in love with the magic of the forests, the waters and the islands around this area. However, I had spiritually learned what I needed and it was time to go. If my living environment wasn’t a struggle, it would have been easy to remain complacent and stay longer than I should have. This was an important lesson. It was a lesson about seeing the gifts in the challenges, about non-attachment, about letting go, about embracing forward movement and about taking giant leaps of faith.

Signs are everywhere. Subtle energies are always at work around you. The question is, do you stop to listen? Do you scream out, “Why Me?” in the face of hardship or do you take a look at the bigger perspective, the bigger picture? We are each exactly where we need to be. If you are in an undesirable place, your pain and discomfort are signs to reevaluate life direction and will influence change, especially if you have the gumption to listen and to follow your heart, your gut and the messages around you.

It was time to go. To where, we did not exactly know. California? Arizona?

One morning, the energy to move and shift was strong. It was palpable. I pulled out one of my decks of Tarot called Earth Magic Oracle Cards. I love these cards partly because my Reiki practice is called Earth Spirit but also because I have an innate and very spiritual connection to earth. Earth is magical in every way. So there I was with my Earth Magic Oracle deck. With the question in mind, “Where do we move next?” I meditated, I sent Reiki to the situation, and then I pulled one card…

From the Earth Magic Oracle Deck

From the Earth Magic Oracle Deck

Um, Universe, could you please be more specific, gee-wilikers!

It was decided that morning that we were going to Arizona. Upon making this decision, I remember looking out the window and saw 12 crows perched on a bare-branched, winter tree. Being that Crow is my main Animal Spirit Totem, this very much felt like an acknowledgement and blessing of our new direction. 12 is also the number of perfect, harmonious completion.

A tree of crows

A tree of crows

We were lucky enough to have an opportunity open for us to stay in Prescott, AZ, for 2 months. Another sign we were on the right path, everything immediately opened right up for us. Within one day, we not only decided to leave Washington but we secured our next location out of state and gave our landlord notice. The day started with an oracle card reading and ended with plans to start packing.

Both Stephen and I work from home with his life coaching practice and my distance healing work, so we can be very mobile and live anywhere. We started to pack, but the month it took us to organize the move was a very topsy-turvy time. Despite the oracle card reading, I decided that I wanted to move to California. I went as far as to tell all my friends and family I was returning. I researched storage units and ordered the moving truck. The plan was to drive to California, place all our things in storage, then drive on to Arizona to stay in the home that was available for 2 months. We would have our vision quests and anything else that may open for us. After the 2 months, we would then return to California to live. This was the plan… or so I thought.

There’s a little saying that goes something like this: There are plans, but then there is life. And my life path had another direction and purpose.

While packing our apartment, I was in the bathroom. The overhead cupboard door was open. I was bent down, filling boxes. Can you guess what happened? I swung my head up as I stood and cracked my forehead on the corner of the solid wood cupboard door. This was a severe injury that left an indent on my forehead as a purple lump immediately formed. I had a concussion.

Head injuries are interesting things both physically and spiritually. The concussion affected my eyesight, my ability to focus and my ability to continue packing. I sat down for several days to rest, forcing me to pause and evaluate our movements.

I take nothing for granite. I know injuries and sicknesses are significant signs, often depicting that one is moving in the wrong direction. It was during this introspective time, sitting in a torn-apart apartment, surrounded by boxes and chaos that Stephen and I decided to take a leap of faith, cancel our California storage, redirect the moving truck destination, and move directly to Arizona instead of California. This was the correct and intended path. Both Stephen and I collectively felt a very strong calling. We were each spiritually drawn to Arizona for more than just a 2 month stay.

We originally thought we would move to Sedona, especially with the spiritual, metaphysical and healing work that we do. With this in mind, we stored our things in that little town just outside of Sedona, Cottonwood (and so we came full circle, returning to Cottonwood). We stayed in Prescott for those 2 months, allowing us to catch our breath after the move and to enjoy our new surroundings.

Eagle Blessings over Lake Watson in Prescott, AZ

Eagle Blessings over Lake Watson in Prescott, AZ

It was here that I read, meditated, hiked, photographed, sun-soaked and visited Sedona. The distance from Prescott to Sedona is similar to the distance from where I lived in Sonoma County, CA, to San Francisco. It is a little over an hour away. This is an easy drive from one magical place to another. I love Sedona like no other place, but a very surprising thing happened; I fell in love with Prescott. So, we stayed and found a permanent home for ourselves.

We are here now in Prescott. There is so much I could share about the powerful lands around us and our time here, but I’ll save this all for future blog posts. Just know the magic and spiritual nudges continue… in my life and with my healing practice.

Timing really is everything. Years ago when we first visited Prescott to consider living, we were energetically pushed away. The timing wasn’t then right. We needed to be in Western Washington, both of us, for the time that we were. And, we left Washington at the absolute perfect time. Stephen accomplished exactly what he needed to, and I experienced one of the most cathartic spiritual experiences of my life while there. It was like a spiritual schooling of sorts. It was something that couldn’t have taken place in any other location. I needed the separation, the darkness, the rain, the forests and the magic to support my spiritual shift and growth. Plus, life-long friendships were found.

Thank you Western Washington for your darkness, beauty and woodland magic. Thank you Stephen for your flexibility, spontaneity, out-of-the-box thinking, your gypsy spirit and for your unyielding, compassionate support. And, thank you Northern Arizona for being exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

Shana in Sedona, AZ

Shana in Sedona, AZ

Celebrating Spiritual Transformation

I lost my dearly loved uncle last week to lung cancer. After the long battle, he quietly slipped up into the ethers, trailing love and peace in his departure. Though, I expected to hear the news of his death at any point, there is little on earth that can prepare a surviving loved one for the moment of passing. The nanosecond I heard the news, my breath was swiped away and my hands instinctively cupped my face as I watered them in tears.

Why did I weep? Yes, he will be deeply missed. Yes, he played a significant role in the lives of many. But, what was the true source of my tears? Isn’t it a blessing that his suffering finally ended? Isn’t he now in a happier more blissful place?

Society molds us into the people we are, influencing us to think and behave the way we do. Society teaches us that death is bad, scary, unknown and final, but is it any of those things? Since I was raised to believe this, of course I would immediately be shocked into tears of loss and pain. I question- is this necessary? And, I ask a more provoking question- is this even the truth or reality?

The moment my uncle died, I learned that others felt ecstatic energy in the room with him. Visiting family interpreted that his spirit was filled with this very energy; or rather that he WAS this very energy after dying. I italicize the word dying here, because this process doesn’t feel to me like a death at all. It feels more like a birth but on the other end of life. The body dies but our essence, our soul, our Being (whatever you feel comfortable naming it) continues, shifting into another state of consciousness and energetic form. That evening after he shifted, I was told, “He is ecstatic!” It is now clear to me that he has done anything but die. Instead, he has spiritually transformed.

The night I heard the news Stephen sat down and did with me what he does best. He lovingly coached and nurtured me through the process of death, the emotional attachment to life, the bigger picture of it all, and together we explored the spiritual possibilities of my uncle’s transformation. (I should mention that Stephen is a deeply spiritual and compassionate Being with lots of coaching experience and natural psychic gifts.) He is such a blessing to me.

I learned that I needed to cry it all out and grieve. I should not hold on to any of it. I should allow my emotions to flow through, and allow them to do just that- flow THROUGH. Don’t hang on to any of it. Death should be celebrated. (In some cultures it actually is celebrated.) After all, my uncle himself is now totally ecstatic and free of pain and limits. How could I not celebrate this? I must cry for my and the family’s loss, but then I should celebrate his spiritual progression.

I also wanted to connect with my uncle one last time after his death. I wanted to see him, feel his presence or dream about him. A selfish desire maybe, but I wanted this all the same.  I learned that this would be difficult to experience until I released some of my grief. I am not saying that one cannot experience a visitation while still in the throes of grief, because I know this has happened for many, but for me it was far easier after my intense emotions had dissolved.

The next day after he died, I felt much lighter. I was still in a faint daze of loss, but my thinking had shifted. (Much thanks to Stephen) I knew that my uncle was in an ecstatic state. I knew that this alone sincerely and lovingly deserved celebrating. This knowing guided me through my grief. I also intuitively knew that with my spiritual-emotional shift, I would connect with him. Or rather, I would make a portal, a spiritual window in divine multidimensional space, available for him to connect with me. And, that is exactly what happened.

I did not see his vision, dream of an encounter nor did I hear his voice in my head. It was nothing quite as grand or obvious. I simply felt different, VERY different. I was straightening up the house that afternoon, a routine activity, when he entered my thoughts. I suddenly felt intense celebratory energy emanating from my heart. At that moment, I truly undoubtedly knew exactly what it meant to CELEBRATE his death, his spiritual evolution. This felt like pure divine love streaming through my heart and into my entire Being. It seemed to fill the whole room I was in. I felt deeply happy, pure bliss and a peaceful joy. I felt my uncle’s ecstatic energy. He was there with me then. These feelings lasted for some time. Any remaining grief I had was completely dissolved and replaced by this experience.

I no longer agree that death is bad, scary, or final. Nothing about his transformation feels negative in any way or final in the least. If anything, he is now divine, ever expansive and continuous.

♥   ♥   ♥

I share this story not to broadcast my family’s personal loss, but to shed some light on my own experience. I lovingly intend that this may offer a shift in thinking, solace, hope, insight and ecstatic peace and joy to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one.  Peace and Love to ALL.

♥   ♥   ♥

I wrote the following poem for my uncle the evening I heard he passed away from lung cancer.  Each word flowed from me alongside tears mixed with loss and joy. Surprisingly, I created this short piece in a matter of seconds. I am either deeply inspired by intense emotion or I simply cracked opened during my emotional release and streamed his divine energy. Perhaps a little of both are the truth.

♥ I dedicate this to you, Bruce. You are dearly loved and I celebrate you…

As the sun spills across the horizon, you shed your physical form. You run along the sun kissed oceans, laughing in delight.

Expand deeply and lovingly into ecstatic peace. You are now the very breath of life.

Fly free, my spirit brother. Fill your light body with divine energy and ecstatic joy. Fill your lungs deeply with BLISS, my spirit brother. Dance. Play. Rejoice. Love with divine freedom and joyful abandon.

You are now purely LOVE itself.

Body of Divine Light

Body of Divine Light

♥ I dedicate this poem from The Prophet to all Beings who are transitioning into spiritual, ethereal bodies of light, peace and pure love…

“If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance.”
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Eagle Spirit Blessings

My partner, Stephen, and I set off to spend the day together yesterday. We had no idea where or what we were going to do. Because photography is one of Stephen’s passions, we did at least know he would bring his camera in tow. We would just drift along with the winds and our whims. We gathered our things for the day- camera equipment, sunglasses, hats, and our explorative, happy hearts. We settled into the car, with Stephen behind the wheel, and started to drive. Where to, we still did not know, but we were excited nonetheless. Stephen looked at me, smiled gently, and said that he wanted to travel wherever he felt pulled to go. Intuition would spontaneously guide our way. I more than agreed. We shortly thereafter found ourselves at the freeway entrance, and he coolly announced, “It looks like we are going to go south.” And so, the day began.

From where we live in Bellingham, Anacortes is an easy drive away. Anacortes is a familiar bayside town, home of the ferries that transport many travelers to Port Townsend and the San Juan Islands. We had stopped there once last summer as we originally traveled into the state, relocating from Northern California into Washington. Since we had not returned for a visit since, we were inspired to stop there for a walk around town, enjoying a little photography along the way.

However, while there, I could not help but notice signs for a place called Deception Pass. I had heard of this pass, of its beauty and mystery. I had seen many photos and paintings of the lands and water around it, of the cliffs, trees, and the twin bridges, and I had heard many stories. The pass earns its name due to the deceptive strength of the water that flows through the narrow straight-like bay. The swift, powerful current forms standing waves, large whirlpools, and roiling eddies that are a struggle for boaters to maneuver. The idea of exploring this new area immediately ignited my drive, lit my heart, and led our day into an unexpected adventure full of wonder and spirit.

Deception Pass

Deception Pass

As soon as we arrived at the twin bridges that drape high over Deception Pass, my heart opened and waves of shear bliss washed through my body. I gobbled up the majestic scene with hungry eyes, and Stephen sat taller in his seat, imagining the boundless photographic possibilities of the day. I looked into the empty blue sky, and I saw an eagle in my mind’s eye. Without dropping my gaze, I casually mentioned to Stephen, “We will see an eagle today.” This I sensed. It was not a strong hit, just a subtle knowing. We parked the car at one of the lookout spots, gathered our things and embarked on what turned out to be a strikingly magical and spiritual experience.

On foot, we followed the usual tourist route. We gently hiked the narrow dirt paths that twisted along the hillside, which served up soul-filling views of distant, green mountain peaks, nearing tall evergreens and deep blue waters. This hillside that stretched up from the depths of the bay was lined with wild grasses, clumps of trees and patches of bright yellow wildflowers. The entire area emitted such profound energy. It filled me and thrilled me. I immediately wanted to sit right down in the soft brush and meditate. Deception Pass has been home to various Native American tribes for thousands of years, and I could deeply feel the powerful energies course through me. In those moments, I was no longer a woman watching the world; I was the land and the sea itself, flowing with the breath of earth’s spirit.

Soul-Filling Views From Deception Pass

Soul-Filling Views From Deception Pass

We continued to walk while Stephen opened his camera to the views. We trailed up to the road and along the bridge, crossing high above the watery pass and tall trees. In the distance, a bald eagle suddenly appeared, soaring effortlessly through the sky. I smiled, realizing that what I had sensed earlier was actually happening now before our eyes. It seemed to be flying near a red-tailed hawk, both searching the hillside with their keen intensity. They were too far to photograph, so we continued along the bridge in their direction. We slowly ambled around, snapping pictures, chatting, giggling and breathing deeply.

As we neared the area where the birds were flying, the sky fell empty. They had been gone for some time, so we sat down, resting on a log that lined the road. We relaxed and settled into each other. The entire time we were at Deception Pass, I was filling with pure love. I became so full, I felt as if this love was now pouring out from my pores, stretching my heart and tearing from my eyes. I felt such a cosmic connection to Stephen and to the expansive landscape of our lives together. Our conversation naturally drifted, and we were sweetly engaged in the topic of our union together. And then… magic happened.

Eagle Blessings

Eagle Blessings

We suddenly looked up and saw not one, but two bald eagles soaring above our heads. They were a pair, matched for life. We had not seen them before and we did not know where they had come from, but there they were, circling us. They cut through the sky with wings spread wide. They flew lower and closer to us as they graced the space just over our heads. Stephen grabbed his camera in excitement, shooting as many frames as possible. We stood there for a long time like this. People stopped to watch the eagles and us. It seemed as if this mated pair was there only for us. I could hardly believe my eyes. I felt intensely blessed!

The eagles continued to fly around us until the camera’s memory card finally ran out of space and could no longer hold any more photos. We both looked down to change the memory card. When we returned our gaze to the sky, the eagles had disappeared.

Looking back at the experience, we both feel these majestic birds came to honor us, encircling us with their empowering and supportive blessings. This was a magical, poignant and stunning moment in the flow of our lives, a spiritual breath of light, love and endorsement.

This blessing heightened our time together. Golden hues seemed to gently kiss everything I saw for the rest of the day. We attracted more wildlife and more opportunities. The afternoon unfolded like thoughtfully crafted poetry. And, as we drove home in the early evening hours, the sun lit the skies and our hearts in flaming rose tones, casting warm, glowing, divine light on everything in its path. We were in its path.

I now realize that for the entire day, we were not only in the path but we were an integral part of the path, of a greater more expansive, interconnected, spiritual path. I have a sense that this is the case with every moment and every breath of each of our lives. We just have to open and flow with it. ♥

“I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.” ~Walt Whitman

Being the Path of Light

Being the Path of Light

The Death of My Life

Carve Your Own Path

Carve Your Own Path

Do you want to change your life? I mean really change your life? Do you long to tear it down to the last thread of its current existence and weave a new lifestyle, livelihood, a new identity? If your answer is yes, you are among the millions who are searching for something bigger, something more fulfilling. You yearn for a lifestyle change. You expect more from yourself; you are seeking a greater return on life.

Life is full of movement. Change is the ebb and flow, the breath, of our existence. We learn to move with the winds of desire, opportunity and inspiration. However, what if those winds whip us against a corner, whisking away opportunity, forcing us to take action, make rash changes or settle for less? The current economy has done just that to millions. Real estate and jobs have been lost, families struggle, the individual questions the system.  Many sulk in the corner after that whipping, immobilized by fear and constraint.

I have highlighted a grim picture of our current plight. Is it really this bad? To many, the answer is an emphatic yes. It is difficult to focus on anything more than restriction and lack when treading through the muck of these hardships. But, is it? Can a refocus on new positive changes be possible? I believe anything is possible.

What would happen if you used upheaval and failure to create the life you have always wanted? Could you imagine doing such a courageous feat in the face of defeat? It is time to move towards your true life path. This is something that needs attention whether you have suffered a loss or not.

The time is now.

I am addressing those who have been forced into unsavory life situations, because that is the most challenging position to move out of due to the debilitating wounds of a fall. However, anyone can restructure and redefine lifestyle. It does not take a tragedy to desire more out of life. The yearning for personal evolution and truth exists within us all.

Do you want more out of your life? Of course you do! It is time to CREATE the life you have always deep down felt you were meant to live.

Allow me to share my personal story of loss, growth, courage, fear and transformation.  I was raised with high financial morals. At age 14, my mother made it clear that if I wanted a car at age 16, I would have to buy it myself. I got my first job waiting tables at a small, local café and slowly earned, diligently depositing every cent of my income into my new savings account. Two years later, on my 16th birthday, I bought my first car with all my saved earnings. This was the beginning of my perfect life. Or, so I thought.

I lived the standard life. You know, the life that parents, peers, scholars and society pushes, the one that trucks you along from school to college, from job to career, from renting to home ownership in hopes of delivering the great American dream of material happiness and eternal gluttony. I reached the pinnacle of this dream in my early thirties. I made it. I had the college degree, the career, the home. I paid all my bills in full and on time. My credit was so shinny clean; I could see my own reflection in it. And, believe me, it reflected perfection. I was a success by society’s standards. However, never once did I ask what my standards were, nor did I wonder what it was I considered to be true perfection.

I was so devoted to the principles by which I thought I should live my life that I failed to look at what it was I truly wanted. I thought I wanted everything I had. I thought I loved consumerism. Ironically, I was the one being consumed. Something was wrong.

By the time I realized that my life was incongruent with my greater wellbeing, I was firmly set within it. My house, which had lost value due to the economic downturn, was a giant cement block attached to chains that coiled around and imbedded into my legs. My career paid the bills, yes, but lacked the luster it once did, painting my daily routine in the dullest of colors. I was fading behind obligation. My inner light flickered in desperate attempts to ignite some former passion and enthusiasm for a creative, fanciful, courageous and bountiful future that no longer seemed to exist.

I was so consumed by the life I thought I should live and the things I thought I should own and the person I thought I should be that I was not cognizant of any of this. I clung to society’s ideals. Oddly, I was still considered a success.

Then it happened.

I was a commissioned corporate employee, and as the economy slid down the muddy hills of defeat, my income dropped like a sack of rocks. It crushed everything in its path. I watched in horror as my house and flawless record shattered around me in tiny shards of imperfection reflecting back at me. I curled up in a ball of failure, embarrassment, lack, fear, disbelief and shock. The wounds caused by those jagged little mirrored shards, bled the life right out of me.

This was an absolute blessing in disguise.

The life that bled from my devastated body was no real life at all. As I slowly uncurled myself from that agonizing ball, something greater within me began to unravel. I awakened. A fire started to smolder, and I began to fan the flames of new possibilities. I questioned everything. My values, career, lifestyle and self-image were suddenly splayed across the butcher block to be trimmed or discarded. I knew there was something more within me, something I earnestly wanted to uncover and celebrate. I began to see a clear ray of my true essence where there were once only clouds of obligatory accomplishment shrouding my reality.

This is what I discovered.

I am a precious being with a compassionate heart full of love and wonderment. I am connected ever so delicately with all other life forms and natural elements. I am ONE with the earth, oceans and the skies. My spirit vibrates to the pulse of the universe. I am raw and awake. I am that wild animal with keen senses, untamed, alert and excited. I am the wind, the sun and the rain. I am the lightening that streaks across the darkened night, fierce and poignant. My body has its own intelligence, aligned to my soul’s path. I flow with the synchronicities of life. I am life. I inhale wisps of tranquility and exhale healing harmony. I am everything I have ever imagined. I am every dream that has bounced off my pillowcase. I am that wish upon a falling star from the milky heavens. I am adventure and exploration. Bliss twinkles from my eyes. Curiosity rolls over my lips. I am pure. My life energy is gentle yet powerful, capable and captivating. I radiate like polished crystals.  I am boundless, timeless, and priceless.

So, I quit my day job.

With this single choice, I stepped out of an insignificant life of limits, monotony, lack, fear, disharmony, worry, structure, and confinement, and I stepped into SIGNIFICANCE. As I tepidly stretched my foot over that threshold, I was tempted to maintain my familiar mediocrity by a lifetime of social conformity. It took every trembling ounce of courage and faith I had, but I did it. I took that step. I broke free. With my intuition ablaze and trust in my soul’s greater purpose, I changed my life.

I connected to my passion, my spirit and my higher ideals. I now have my own practice, and I work at what I love. I offer Reiki healings. I teach. I write. I create raw cuisine. I use my intuition in my spiritual readings. I coach others to connect with personal truth and to live significantly. My heart now beats to the tempo of my life work and my whims. Now that I flow with my life instead of force it, my work feels more fanciful and creative. It is my whim, for it is my muse; it is whimsical. As I allow myself to transform and grow, as a result, so does my effort. My passion and my labor have become synonymous. I invite change instead of confront it. I now sway to my own rhythms. I breathe in freedom. It is fresh, invigorating and inspiring. I can now see a fulfilling and abundant future.

I formerly believed that society wanted me to be that other thing, that unimaginative employee with the hefty mortgage and spotless accounting record. I thought perfection was owning that car, having the highest credit rating, making the safest choices, living within structure, and, ultimately, being an insipid enculturated debutante.

The irony is I followed my soul’s true path, and I now have more respect and more personal and spiritual abundance than I ever did before not because I am somehow now better, but because I am living a congruent, passionate, grateful, loving, positive, compassionate and free flowing life. I am living the life that used to occupy my heart in daydreams.

I faced my greatest fears. I took that step. Where there was once defeat, loss and a sense of failure now exists innate knowing, soulful endeavors, spiritual awareness and natural living.

I am exactly like YOU. We share the same inner brilliance. We are no different. We each have higher ideals and a heart opening, nurturing, healing, awakening purpose.

I know many of you reading this ache to embrace that greater calling. Whether it is leaving a dead-end job, selling a home, recreating a relationship, starting your own business or embarking on a dream you have always thought was just out of your reach, you, too, can live your highest Truth. It is more than possible. I now realize perfection is not defined by society. Perfection is simply and only divine. It is within us all. Can you feel it smoldering deep within you?

How will you create your divine life, the life of your unlimited imagination, the life you were BORN to live?

Leave Your Own Beautiful Trail

Leave Your Own Beautiful Trail

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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