I AM Alchemy Retreat and Sacred Visions

I AM going on retreat this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited! This Thursday begins the second retreat of my year-long I AM Alchemy certification training course.

I find myself blown away by the amount of growth and change that has already taken place within this container. Each of the seven of us, by committing to this work for a year, gave Spirit the green light for:

  • Massive shifts in energetic foundation and belief system.
  • BIG life changes in the realms of career, relationship, purpose, home and health.
  • More magic, more questions, more beauty, more challenge, more grace, more trial by fire, more support and more love than we imagined.
  • Rapid upleveling of sacred practice, craft and work in the world.
  • Profound energetic connection, intuitive awareness and awakening of innate knowing.
  • Permanently altering perception of and bringing closure to old wounds and traumas.

...and much more. It seriously boggles my mind, even though I "knew" going in that this Sacred Vision would be powerful beyond anything else I have offered.

...and I AM so effing grateful.

Not many people know this, but I AM Alchemy almost didn't happen this year. It was originally supposed to begin in February, then March, but both times, other life challenges arose that required my full energy and attention. By the time my March start date rolled around, I had no students enrolled and no conceivable way to launch the course. In despair, I called the retreat center to cancel my dates and told myself I would try again in 2019.

The next day, I had a business review session with two friends/mentors/fellow seekers on the path, Andrea Leda and Chris Wilborn. I tearfully described to them the challenges and struggles, the missed start deadline and how I felt somehow as though I had betrayed my commitment to a Sacred Vision.

The advice they gave me pushed me to commit to my work in a way I never had before. They told me to push the start date back one month, just one month, and to put everything I had into telling people about my vision.  That same afternoon, I called the retreat center back and reclaimed my dates, and told myself that I would do everything possible within one short month to give my Sacred Vision a chance to be born.

...and it worked.

My course began promptly at its new start date in April, and this weekend we get to gather together in person for the second time this year. Three and a half months in, we have already witnessed and supported each other through massive transformation and growth. We have shown up for ourselves and for each other. We have celebrated each other's wins, supported each other through challenges and held each other in our Sacred Visions.

...and none of that would have happened if I hadn't recommitted to mine.

As we enter Friday's Full Blood Moon Eclipse (see below for more information and ideas!), we have the unique opportunity to relate to our Sacred Visions in a powerful, new way:

  • What Sacred Vision do you have that wants to be born?
  • What fears or challenges do you face around actualizing this Vision?
  • What do you need in order to believe that it is possible, and to take action on that possibility?

For me, I needed a push from two people who believed in me and one more month to make it happen. I invite you to sit with your own Sacred Visions and let them whisper to you... they will tell you how they want to be born.

Many blessings!

Sacred Finances (Are you in right relationship with your money?)

Let's talk about money!

...did you just cringe? A year ago, I probably would have. Or at least given a reluctant sigh.

However, over the past year, I've been diving deep into my relationship with money, the financial side of my business, learning to love profit margins and paying myself a salary. Since practicing some very specific things over the past year, I have noticed a very significant change in my finances:

So far in 2018, I have grossed an equivalent income to the entire year of 2017, and I have netted almost triple what I netted by the end of last year.

I feel like I can't overemphasize this. Let me say it a different way. So far, in 4 months, I have grossed the SAME amount of money and netted almost 3X the amount of money as I did during 12 months last year. This means I'm on track to triple my income.

Why am I sharing all of this? After all, talking about money is generally taboo. However, I have a few very specific reasons for speaking so openly about a crunchy topic:

  1. I believe that the more we avoid discussing something uncomfortable, the more power we give it. Every time we avoid talking about money, we become more afraid of it. Therefore, by bringing it out into the open, we can become more comfortable with it.
  2. Healers and people working in the spiritual/personal development field especially tend to have wounds around money. "I don't deserve to be paid for what comes naturally to me." "How is it fair for me to charge someone to help them?" "My teacher didn't charge for healing work so neither should I." Sound familiar? All of these block us from owning our prosperity.
  3. Finally, if there is anything that I did to help myself that might support you on your path, I want to share that with you! It is my mission to empower other people through my own life and choices. If some of these tools, techniques and resources might be helpful, I want you to have them.

In no particular order, here are some of the things that I have done in the past year to come into right relationship with money: (All of this is to the best of my memory... honestly, there's a lot of this that has been happening over the past few years in my internal work.)

  • I consciously claimed that I wasn't happy with my current financial situation. (This might seem too obvious, but it's an important step. If we're settled into complacency, or a belief that we're "getting along okay," nothing will change.)
  • I talked to money. I treated it like an entity with a unique consciousness, had conversations with it, wrote letters to it, and got to know it as a specific frequency, rather than an abstract.
  • I took $3500 in hundreds out of the bank and meditated with a stack of cash. I held it in my hands, went through the stack and thanked every bill, set them out on an altar and acknowledged them every day for a month (read more about that here).
  • I journaled about money. A LOT. I wrote about my beliefs around money, my relationship to receiving, my understanding of my own worthiness, and my place in the global economy.
  • I moved to a new space that enables me to comfortably work from home. I now have a gorgeous office that is a 20-second commute.
  • I made a living prosperity altar. I asked the tree outside my office window to be my "Prosperitree." I placed crystals around the base, hung a beautiful bird (squirrel) feeder to bring traffic to the Prosperitree, and I water it regularly with prayers and nutrients.
  • I listened to Fredric Lehrman's Prosperity Consciousness. Repeatedly.
  • I quit my part-time job as a substitute high school teacher and tutor. This job was barely bringing in any money, but I kept it around as a subconscious safety net. As long as I had it on the side, it meant that I had a fallback in case my business wasn't thriving (read more about that here).
  • I released parts of my work and my offerings that were no longer lighting me up. It meant "leaving money on the table," but it also meant disengaging with old energies to make room for the new.
  • I got very clear about who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to do that. This also meant "leaving money on the table," but it also meant that the clients who I did choose to take on were far more aligned with my work and my practice.
  • I started looking at the longevity of my business, and building in practices that would allow me to do less, but be more effective in what I was producing.
  • I got over my fear of selling people into my work by practicing it a bajillion times.
  • I started working with a new mentor who has a healthy relationship with business.
  • I started tracking and paying attention to all the nitty-gritty financial parts of my business, rather than just the big picture of income/expenses.
  • I read Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Repeatedly.
  • I shifted from my bank to a credit union. This served to work with a financial institution that was way more in alignment with my values, but also enabled me to actually practice the techniques in Profit First and Prosperity Consciousness.
  • I practiced seeing my business as the thing that would fuel and fund my lifestyle, rather than my life fueling and funding my business.
  • I started honoring the actual value of my time, and asking for that level of compensation.
  • I started budgeting for travel, for self-care and for financial independence.
  • I got really good at being uncomfortable. ***This process started way more than a year ago, but it has served me so much in my financial work that it deserves a place on this list. The better you can get at being okay with being uncomfortable, the easier it will be for you to sort through your finances.

My best advice to you (if you want to come into better relationship with your finances) is to steel yourself, sit down and actually start looking at this stuff. Looking at your financial situation won't make it any worse, I promise! But it WILL help you feel more empowered to actually know what's going on with your money.

Here are some of my favorite exercises I did that I invite you to practice:

  • Talk to money. There is no particular quantity required for this. Get a dollar bill out of your wallet and hold a conversation with it. Ask it questions.
  • Journal prompt: "What beliefs do I have about money? What does that say about me? How do I want to feel about money?"
  • Make a prosperity altar. It can be a living altar like mine (a tree or plant that feels especially abundant), or an interior altar of your choosing.

Here's to our prosperity!

The Acualization of a Vision

How can a little, gold matchbox symbolize so much?

This past weekend marked the first of three retreats with my I AM Alchemy students. This initiatory weekend involved a fire ceremony, and as part of the ritual items I provided, I had metallic gold matchboxes custom printed with my I AM Alchemy program logo and a special quote.

I love them SO much.

I AM Alchemy

It feels almost over-the-top how much I adore these little matchboxes. I mean... it's just a matchbox, right?

When I shared these sentiments with my mentor, she asked what else the matchboxes might mean to me. I considered for a moment before replying that these matchboxes were the first physical, tangible items produced in relation to my program. Everything thus far has existed as digital material or ideas in my head. In a way, these matchboxes were the first time that I AM Alchemy has had a "body."

As someone who provides the invisible (Spiritual Mentorship and Mastery is a service-based business with almost nothing tangible involved), opening the box to see these beautiful, shiny matchboxes left me feeling a sense of joy, giddiness and childlike pleasure. I took one out and admired the gleam, the quality of the matches, the perfect printing of the logo, the saying I carefully chose...

I AM Alchemy has been in the creation process for at least three years. I have produced various pieces of the material, called it a few different things and generally kept it small as I continued to learn exactly how it wanted to be born. Now that it has finally begun as a year-long, deep-dive journey, these sweet matchboxes feel like a kind of "proof" that it exists! To me, they symbolize the years of inquiry, study, investigation, writing, trying out material, channeling, planning and TRUSTING that this body of knowledge needed to be shared. These matchboxes symbolize every moment of doubt I overcame, every time I wanted to quit and didn't, every tear I shed wondering if I could ever actualize the vision I had for so long. They are evidence to me that I am capable, that I have created something of value and that finally, this program has truly made its way into the world to initiate others into the path.

Yes, they are "just" matchboxes. But it feels SO good to hold the box, admire the golden sheen, and with childlike enjoyment, strike a match and witness a spark igniting to actualize a dream.

Are you interested in participating in I AM Alchemy next year? Get on the wait list for 2019, and you'll be the first to know when I open applications this fall! Plus, receive an Early Bird Bonus!

Journal Prompt:

What vision of mine is ready to actualize? What does it need for that to happen? What do I need for that to happen? What validation do I need to receive to "know" that my vision has truly been born?

"What if...?" (Releasing the Safety Net)

I did something yesterday that is kind of scary, but ultimately empowering... a vote of confidence in myself, if you will.

I released my Safety Net.

Joy of Energy (my wonderful business, passion project and the entrepreneurial face of my life purpose) officially opened in May of 2009 when I registered with the Oregon Secretary of State. In other words, I have been in business for over eight years.

...and for that entire time, I have had some additional form of employment, until yesterday.

My Safety Net was born when I graduated from college with no business plan, no business training and no idea what it took to run my own company. Naturally, I did what more and more young adults do these days when they want to enjoy a new experience, and I took off to live in a foreign country for a year. I worked at a language school in Spain, traveled all around Europe and perfected my Spanish. It was great!

When I returned to the US and started to think about considering building my business, I applied to a couple of local high schools as a substitute teacher and private tutor. After all, I figured it was a good idea to have a Safety Net as I tried to bring some clarity to the nebulous idea of what I was doing with my company.

During the first couple of years of Joy of Energy, my Safety Net paid to keep my business alive. I didn't make a lot of money as a substitute teacher and tutor, but it was a lot more than I earned from my business, and it allowed me the time and freedom to continue to grow personally and professionally.

The ratio of my sources of income gradually shifted, and for the last couple of years, I have been spending much less time working my second job. But even as my business grew more and more profitable, I still kept a couple of spaces open in my calendar to meet with high school students and teach them Spanish. I would explain myself to someone, listing the fact that I love speaking Spanish (true), I enjoy working with teenagers (true most of the time) and that I viewed it also as an opportunity to offer some mentorship and life skills to students who spend all day in their brains and out of their hearts (definitely true). But the hidden reason that I continued to hold onto my second job--the reason that I just discovered yesterday, when I felt a twinge of fear as I let it go--is that I have been afraid to lose my Safety Net.

This had been the plan all along: my business would eventually grow to booming success (still working on the booming part, but it's getting there) and I would get to devote myself completely to the work I love the most. I knew at the end of the school year this past June that I was done with my second job, and yet, I still felt a little jolt of fear yesterday when I informed the school that I would no longer be available.

I listened with a compassionate ear to all the concerns raised by my Fear Body (which is, after all, only trying to keep me safe). Here are some of them:

  • What if I have a really slow month (or a few really slow months) and I can't pay my bills?
  • What if all this amazing progress and momentum I've achieved stops?
  • What if I really need those extra few thousand dollars a year I was making with my Safety Net and then I don't have it?

You get the idea. All of these fears essentially boil down to the core Fear of Failure. If I fail at my business, I no longer have a backup source of income.

In response to all these doom-and-gloom What If? questions from my Fear Body at the idea of releasing my Safety Net, I played my own What If? game with my Heart:

  • What if my business continues to grow and become more profitable?
  • What if the extra time and energy I have from not working a second job gets to go into my own work and creative projects instead?
  • What if I trust myself enough to know that my business is already succeeding, and will continue to do so?
  • What if my enjoyment of speaking Spanish, working with youth and offering mentorship gets to be met in a more fulfilling way than working with bored high school students?
  • What if I allow my expertise and established work history speak for itself, and trust that more and more people will want to continue to work with me?
  • What if I get to be paid lavishly to love my life more every day?

This second What If? game is way more fun, and ultimately more indicative of all the work I've done to get here. During these last 8+ years, my company and I have been growing up together. My Safety Net provided not only a financial airbag, but an emotional cushion that I am finally ready to release.

I no longer need the idea of a backup plan. I fully step into radical trust of myself, of my work, of my darling business (basically my 8-year old child) and of my ability to continue to grow and thrive.

Here's to soaring without a net! What If...?

I invite you to play your own game of "What If?"

We are all fairly accustomed to the version of this game played by our Fear Bodies, where the What If? questions usually end in worst-case scenarios.

But what if we were to use this same inquiry to imagine a healthy and positive outcome? (See what I did there?)

I introduce you to "What If? Up-Thinking."

Rather than using our What If? to give voice to all the ways in which something could possibly go wrong, let's use the power of What If? to up-level the perceived possible outcomes into eager anticipation, rather than anxiety.

Here's how to play the game:

  1. Begin by choosing your own adventure: You know that thing you've been holding onto some resistance, fear, anxiety or concern about? Yeah, that one. Breathe this situation into your awareness.
  2. Allow your Fear Body to voice their What If? concerns around the situation. Remember that your Fear Body exists to try and keep you safe, so it's trying to be helpful and keep you from getting hurt. Sit with compassion and allow it to do its job, and make a list of all the What If? worst-case scenarios it offers up for consideration.
  3. Thank your Fear Body.
  4. Read through this first list of What Ifs? and try to identify the core theme(s). What is the root of your Fear Body's concern?
  5. Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe.
  6. Drop into your Heart and invite it to share its wisdom with you.
  7. Allow your Heart to voice its What If? hopes around the situation. Remember that your Heart exists to inspire and propel you forward, and that part of its magic comes from dreaming bigger than you might otherwise allow yourself. Sit with whatever emotions arise as your Heart offers you its list of What If? best-case scenarios.
  8. Thank your Heart.
  9. Read through your second list of What Ifs? and try to identify the core theme(s) there. What is the root of your Heart's hope?
  10. Sit with these core themes from each list and notice how they inform each other. What do you feel as you contemplate the beliefs associated with each What If?

This game invites us to not only up-level our thinking, but to go deep into identifying the root of our hypothetical beliefs. The clearer the relationship we have with our What If? scenarios, the easier it is for us to create new patterns of thinking and choosing.

I'm curious to hear how this game goes for you! Feel free to let me know how it goes, or contact me for a consultation if you would like some support.