Check out this awesome trance remix of my song Ice Queen (featured in my episode of True Life) – this remix was done by one of my favorite artists – Flexstyle!
My song Ice Queen, which I performed in MTV’s True Life: I Want to be and Obscure Pageant Queen, is finally finished being recorded! You can download it for free on soundcloud here!
I’m going to be honest here – for most of my life I’ve been skeptical of energy work.
I have disregarded qijong, reiki, and other energy healing modalities as basically a bunch of new age BS, despite the fact that I’m well aware of the validity of other similar new age practices. I had no experience whatsoever to base this opinion on, I simply had always been told that it was nonsense so I always believed it was nonsense. Being healed by someone moving their hands over your body? Yeah ok.
Fast forward to a little under a year ago, when I called into Doreen Virtue’s radio show on Hay House Radio. For those who don’t know, Doreen is an extremely successful author of metaphysical books and the creator of an alternative to traditional tarot cards called angel oracle cards.
I asked Doreen for guidance about a few things I was struggling with at the time. She gave me an extremely accurate reading and sage advice. Doreen gives gifts to everyone who calls in, and she was really excited to give me a few.
One of the gifts she gave me was her Certified Angel Card Reader course and a deck of her Angel Tarot Cards. She also gave me a copy of her book Angels of Abundance. At the time, I had done tarot in the past, but abandoned the practice. I was a little skeptical of angel cards as well, but decided to take the course anyway.
To my surprise, I found angel cards much easier to work with than tarot cards and astonishingly accurate. I started doing a reading for myself every day, and eventually moved on to doing readings for others. After a while, I started giving readings at parties.
When I do readings for myself every day, I usually use Doreen’s Daily Guidance from Your Angels Oracle Cards. The question I usually ask is simply “What do I need to know today, Angels?”
One card that came up over and over again for me was the energy work card. I shrugged it off, and didn’t think too much of it at the time. The holistic health studio I go to for my weekly meditation group, Essence of Healing, offers reiki, so I had many opportunities to try it, I just never did. Like many people, I’m hesitant to treat myself to anything.
For Christmas, my brother got me Kyle Gray’s Angel Prayers Oracle Cards. So of course I gave myself a reading that same day, asking the same question I always ask. Again, I got a message about energy work. I decided on that day I was going to try reiki.
Not long after I made that decision, I discovered Essence of Healing was doing a Usui Reiki I training course in early January. I had not previously thought of becoming a reiki practitioner, but I figured it was a good opportunity to learn about it.
During the class, I learned about the history of reiki, heard some first hand accounts of how life changing it can be, and received reiki healing from the other student in the class. Still, I felt like I was experiencing the class through the lens of skepticism. Even though I could see it worked for others, I still didn’t necessarily believe it could help me. I left the class worrying that reiki didn’t work on me, and that I had wasted my time and money.
It wasn’t until a few hours later that I noticed the difference.
After class, I went food shopping and then I went home.
At home, when I looked around my room, it was like I was looking at it through new eyes. I suddenly wondered how anyone could live here. It was in a cluttered, dirty state from months of neglect, but I had never really noticed it up until that point. After receiving reiki, It was actually physically difficult for me to breathe in such a space.
I felt immediately that I had to clear it out from top to bottom. I removed all the rubbish, cleaned out my closet, reorganized my craft supplies, and trashed or donated anything that I didn’t really need. I put together a shelving unit I had previously been too lazy to put up, and even reorganized my shoes. Once I was done cleaning, I felt like the room doubled in size.
Normally, a cleaning project of this magnitude would be a hugely draining, day-long task for me (because, spoiler alert, I don’t like cleaning and have to force myself to do it). This time, however, I wasn’t even really thinking about it – it seemed effortless, and it was done in one Sunday evening.
The miracles continued the next day at work.
At the time that I took reiki I, I had a (soul crushing) day job in customer service. Since the beginning of my employment there, I had been sharing a small makeshift workspace with 3 coworkers, made up of three tables pushed together. The day after my reiki class, in the middle of a normal Monday, a work crew interrupted our workday to take away the tables and install real cubicles. I felt as though my energy coming into my workplace was what caused this to happen. After the cubicles were installed, I had so much more space at my day job as well.
Later on, as I drove from my day job to my teaching job, I felt as though I was seeing the rest of the world through new eyes as well. I was able to enjoy the sun, and the way the leaves looked as they were blowing in the wind. I was able to see the beauty in simple things that I had been completely blind to before.
In the months that followed, I continued to practice reiki on myself and others. Shortly after that first reiki treatment, I realized that there was no room in my life for the day job either. After 2.5 months of consistent self-healing (reiki, affirmations, shadow work, and meditation), I was able to quit the day job to focus on HAVING A LIFE AGAIN and doing the work that is really important to me. I don’t think reiki was the only thing that caused this chain of events, because I did a lot of other inner work as well. I can’t help but think, however, that reiki was the catalyst for it.
In retrospect I can see that the external state of my room and workplace was a physical manifestation of the internal energetic blockages I had lived with up until that point. Receiving reiki had cleared the blockages out, and as a result my external circumstances “cleared out” as well.
Before I discovered reiki, I often used to lament that I felt as though my brain didn’t work right. I seemed to always be struggling to enjoy virtually any aspect of my life, and my energy was very unfocused. Now I realize my brain is fine, it was just cluttered, and receiving reiki has cleared it out more than anything I had tried before – including meditation.
Energy work doesn’t remove the need for other spiritual practices, such as shadow work or self-love. But it can clear away our own stubborn resistance to healing.
Everything you read about angels states that when you’re in a state of gratitude, your angels rejoice and dance around. If you’re like me, you’ve heard countless people say that practicing gratitude is good for your wellbeing, good for manifesting money, good for stress relief, and all this other stuff. Gratitude is touted as the key to undoing all the bad things in your life, especially financial problems.
Despite all this, I admit, the “practice of gratitude” is something I’ve always had trouble with. Whenever I sit down to use my gratitude journal, I don’t feel genuine appreciation for the air that I breathe or the roof over my head or whatever the hell else people tell you you’re supposed to be grateful for every day. It just feels more like I’m trying to remember what gratitude feels like than actually being in a state of appreciation for those things. Additionally, I find it really hard to appreciate things like the air I breathe when it seems like I’m struggling so much in so many different areas. Even still, like a lot of people, I used my gratitude journal almost every day in an attempt to feel less shitty about the current state of my life (because let’s be real, that is the only reason I used it). My inability to focus on gratitude plagued me all the time. I could feel that writing in my gratitude journal wasn’t accomplishing anything.
The problem with gratitude is that it can’t be forced.
Or mustered up, or summoned for the purposes of igniting positive change in your life. When you try to, the appreciation isn’t genuine. You’re not grateful, you’re trying to be grateful.
Because of this, focusing on gratitude in this way will never lead to health or prosperity or joy, regardless of what most spiritual gurus say. This is why so many of us abandon the practice of gratitude.
So what is the real value of gratitude? Why does everyone make such a big deal about it? Is there actually a way to “practice” gratitude at all?
I didn’t really seek the answer to these questions, but the answers found me anyways.
The Christmas Miracle
This past Christmas, while I was making us some Christmas Day green juice, my boyfriend Ben went into the back yard to let the dog in. While he was there, he found a purple metal Lulu Lemon water bottle (above) that had been sitting in the back yard. He brought it in and said “is this your water bottle? It’s been in the backyard since at least your birthday party.”
I had never seen it before. My birthday is in August, so whoever had left it there clearly wasn’t coming back for it.
“It’s not mine,” I said with a shrug.
“Do you want it?” Ben asked. “I’ll wash it off for you.”
Again I shrugged in response to this. I never really carried around a water bottle because, although I drink 4 liters a day, I’ve never found a water bottle that I liked. I usually drink out of a mason jar with one of those straw lids (seriously). Bottles are always either too expensive, don’t hold enough water, made of plastic, just plain ugly, or some other thing. I had been given a plastic one with a straw in it as a gift a few months prior and never used it because the straw was weird and you had to suck really hard to get a sip of water and I didn’t like it. Also it was too small.
After Ben washed the water bottle for me, I started using it when I didn’t feel like dragging my mason jar around, and found that it was a lot easier to carry (duh). It fit in my car’s cupholders, and I could put my green juice in the jar and still have water in my bottle. Over time I started bringing it everywhere, and felt this new sense of relief because I never had to worry about having something to drink out of. I always had the water bottle with me.
My Moment in the Light
This past weekend I was with Ben. I got a new phone and we went grocery shopping. We took my car and I brought the water bottle with me.
As we pulled in the driveway of his place after we were done, I went to take a sip from the water bottle and, again, I felt relieved that I had the water bottle there. It was just so nice to have on hand.
When I was drinking, I suddenly noticed. Oh my god, I held genuine, not-mustered-up unbridled appreciation for something: the water bottle. It was SO utterly convenient, I loved it so much.
Ecstatic with this realization, I turned to my boyfriend, held the water bottle in the air, and practically screamed “HOLD ON, can I just say— I’m going to share something I’m grateful for because we never do that. I AM SO grateful for this water bottle. It is so fucking convenient and makes life so easy and it’s METAL and it was FREE! And YOU cleaned it up for me! Which is awesome because I would’ve totally been too lazy to! Having this water bottle has no joke improved the quality of my life. I love it so fucking much and it’s so fucking awesome!”
I felt like this was kind of a big deal on its own, but I had an even bigger revelation when I witnessed Ben’s response.
The Sudden Realization
Ben was elated (and a little shocked, in a good way) by my sudden outburst of appreciation. As he explained to me why he chose the water bottle, how it was only going to waste in the backyard, how he thought the phrase on it suited me, and so on, I was able to see the effect my gratitude had on him.
When I decided to share with him how grateful I was, I did it purely on an impulse. One thing I hadn’t anticipated was how it would make him feel when I expressed my gratitude.
He was overwhelmed with appreciation because I was so grateful for this thing he gave me.
I had been so busy trying to find things in my own life to be grateful for I had never even thought about the effect expressing my gratitude might have on others.
Then it occurred to me. I finally understood gratitude.
The truth about gratitude
Gratitude isn’t just about what you are grateful for. Gratitude is EVEN MORESO about expressing appreciation to others so that they can FEEL APPRECIATED.
Gratitude can’t be forced, which is why it’s important to take note of the things you’re grateful for when you’re already in a state of appreciation for them.
Other people seeing you in a state of gratitude inspires them, just as observing others in a state of gratitude can inspire you.
Burcon 2014 was my first Supernatural convention, so I kind of went all out. A gold pass was out of my reach this year, so instead I splurged and bought all the photo ops I wanted. I got photo ops for Jared, Jensen, Jared AND Jensen together, Tamoh Penikett, Rob Benedict, Rich and Matt together, and Misha Collins. The only one I didn’t get that I wanted was Mark Sheppard, but I will get him next time.
A lot of people only came to the con for Jared and Jensen. I suppose, theoretically, I should’ve been most excited to meet them. And, don’t get me wrong, meeting them was magical and surreal and definitely worth the absurd amount of money I spent to go to the con. But the most memorable experience I had was my photo op with Misha Collins.
The Real Misha
The first thing I realized when I saw Misha’s panel was that the “quirky” Misha Collins everyone sees on the internet is not the real Misha. That version of him is basically a character he plays. The real him is way more like a “regular” guy, except there’s something …magical about him that I can’t really put my finger on. He seemed comfortable and unguarded, with an honesty you don’t often see in a convention setting.
The morning before my photo op, I got dressed in my girl!Castiel costume. I originally hadn’t planned to make a Cas costume for this convention, because I figured there’d be a ton of Cas cosplayers already. I actually wanted a Gadreel outfit, but when I went thrift shopping to look for a jacket or hoodie, I couldn’t find one that I liked. I did, however, find the perfect Castiel trench coat (if Cas were a girl anyways). I used a skirt I already had, borrowed a white shirt from my mom, and bought a tie when I was out and about in Hollywood earlier that week. The fishnets were actually from my Impala costume, but I decided to wear them for Cas too because I thought they would be cuter than wearing plain black tights as I had originally planned. The shoes are a pair of super beat up heels that I usually use for work.
When I got in line to get my photo op, I was super nervous. I felt like I needed to express to Misha how much I loved him, and I was scared I wouldn’t have time. I hadn’t been able to splurge (even further) on an autograph or meet and greet ticket, and I was wondering now if I’d regret it. I was hoping he would like my costume, but then I thought maybe he’s sick of seeing Cas cosplayers and won’t care. I looked in my hand mirror a million times to make sure there was no lipstick on my teeth because I don’t usually wear lipstick so I have no idea what I’m doing when it’s on my face. I took a photo of him with someone else on my phone (above) and the Creation Entertainment staff yelled at me which made me more nervous. I started to get worried that if I tried to talk to Misha before my photo I would get yelled at again. I was having trouble keeping my eyes on him, because looking at him is sort of like trying to look at a really bright light.
Finally it was my turn to get my photo taken. As I stepped closer to Misha, I could feel my vibration raising to match his.
I was not prepared mentally for the reaction Misha gave me when he saw my costume. As soon as he saw me, he gasped as if to say “Oh my god…” He seemed almost overwhelmed with appreciation. He acted like he thought I was the cutest thing on Earth. I expected him to not even notice my costume, but he loved it!
I quickly decided there was no way I was not going to at least try to talk to him for half a second. I didn’t have a special pose in mind for the photo so I decided I was going to pretend I was asking for a pose and just tell him how much I adore him.
He said hello and I got close to him as if I were going to ask him for a specific pose. Somehow I summoned the courage to speak.
“I don’t really have a pose I want to do,” I confessed, “but I just wanted to say that I love you, you’re my hero, and you changed my life.”
He smiled and said thank you and quickly grabbed me by the shoulder. Before I knew what was happening, he had spun me around and we were both facing the camera. He held me against him as the photographer, Chris, quickly snapped our photo.
After our photo was taken, he shook my hand and said “it was very nice to meet you” before I was ushered away by the creation staff.
As I left the photo op room, I all of a sudden realized that I was crying. I joke about it, but tears of joy aren’t usually something that happen to me. I was shocked at my body’s response to meeting him and quickly ran to the bathroom to fix my make up.
There were two more days of the con left at that point. And all my other photo ops and the panels I went to were amazing… but to be honest, everything else paled in comparison to meeting Misha Collins.
Here’s the new version of Uniforms Undone which will be on my upcoming EP, “Ice Queen”! Download it for free on my soundcloud!
Love and light,