Do I Trust Myself?

I had the most beautiful session yesterday with a client whom I have known for many years. We delved into some deep soul contract work (the subject of December's master class, in case you missed it! See below). As a part of this journey into her soul contract, we examined the idea of who we are in terms of trust.

How do we relate to the idea of trust and truth? How do we trust ourselves? How does that inform our identity, our I AM? In turn, how does that affect the way we live and the choices we make?

It can be easy to trust ourselves when things are going well. But the true test of our ability to ground in and fully surrender to radical self-trust comes when it feels like we have no idea what the heck we're doing. In those moments, we have the opportunity to pause, remember who we truly are, and say, "Yes!" to ourselves and our innate wisdom.

As I reflect on some of my major life events of 2017, I see plenty of places where I was able to drop into deep self-trust.

...and I also see some areas where it took me longer than I would have liked to get to that place, or where I didn't trust myself and my innate wisdom because I wanted something else to happen. In these moments, I ended up wishing I had just listened to that whisper at the core of my being that always tells me the truth.

All of these moments are important. I have learned just as much (more, actually) from those times of hesitancy and resistance as I have from my "easy" wins. As long as we can do so without punishing ourselves or spiraling into guilt, shame or blame, reviewing those times when we didn't fully trust ourselves can provide a tremendous opportunity to alter our patterns of behavior.

The more we can surrender into radical trust of our truest nature, the freer we will be to put it into action and show up the way we want to in the world. Here's to a 2018 full of opportunities to trust ourselves even more!

Journal Prompts:

As we head into the final days of 2017, I invite you to examine your relationship with trust--particularly how you trust yourself (or not):

When is it easy for me to trust myself?
When do I find it challenging?
What are the differences in those circumstances?
What does it take for me to bridge the gap?

My Gift to You: Happy SOULstice!

This Winter SOULstice, I've been thinking about what I would like to give back to YOU, the amazing people in my life who inspire me to continue the work I do.

As work with Soul Contracts comes up big time during this darkest, most contract-ive time of the year, it feels more important now than ever before to clarify and clean up our Soul Agreements before heading into a new year.

So, I would like to invite you to receive a special gift. I am offering five FREE Soul Contract healing sessions to you during December 26-29!

Here are the details:
-These must take place in person at my healing studio in SW Portland. Address provided upon registration.
-Once you register, there are no reschedules.
-First come, first serve! Once these sessions are filled, they are filled.
-Register here to reserve your FREE Soul Contract healing session.

What you can expect from these sessions:
-We will journey into the nature of your Soul Contract to examine any clauses that are no longer serving you.
-If possible, we will erase and rewrite them with a healthy, new agreement.
-We will do energy healing work to help this contract alteration integrate gently into your lived experience.
-I will not be doing this work "for" you. I will be guiding you and holding space for you to claim your full power in stating the nature of your Soul Contract with Spirit.
-There will be an audio recording of this session for you to revisit at any time.

If you would like to claim your FREE Soul Contract Healing session now, register here!

I AM an Alchemist

I have been working on developing an I AM Alchemy year-long training and certification program.

It's amazing how the core essence of who we are and what we're doing in the world can be right in front of our faces, and yet it sometimes takes years of practice, learning, falling down and peeling back the layers to see it properly.

I AM an Alchemist, and I have been one for not only this entire life, but definitely many lifetimes. Mentors and friends have reflected this to me over the years:

"Michelle, you're addicted to personal growth."

"Transformation is your THING."

"You work with the process of change better than anyone I know."

And yet, for most of my life, I was blind to the bigger vision of what I was doing.

I feared change because I didn't understand it. I submitted to transformation with gritted teeth because it felt beyond me, bigger than me and outside of me. I felt subject to the whims of the Universe and awash in a sea of energetic currents, and it felt as though every ounce of ground I gained took colossal effort.

Over the years, I softened my relationship with change. I learned to align with the Universal energy currents--the Cycles of Power--and to ride the waves rather than try to steer against them. I developed tools to bring ease and grace to my life. I learned to enjoy and look forward to the process of transformation with excitement, because I finally understood it. I had the tangible skills and embodied practice to become the magical creator of my life.

Alchemy is the art and science of transformation. For thousands of years and and for many devotees, the process of Alchemy provided the keys to undergo initiations of the spirit, burning away all that was heavy and impure in order to reveal the gleaming gold of an awakened soul.

In the year of I AM Alchemy, we'll be applying the magic of Alchemical principles and practices to master the process of transformation and create an easy relationship with change. We'll play with the Universal currents of energy and learn how to channel them into grounded manifestation of our intentions.

We'll explore our powers of self-transformation and actualization in order to come into the fullest expression of our I AM, bringing our God selves into existence on the Earth plane.

If you are interested in joining me on this journey, contact me and I will send you the information for the next steps.

Many blessings!

The Medicine of Space

When we create spaciousness for ourselves, we can relax into BEing and presence. We can expand to fully embody all parts of ourselves. We can be as big as we actually are. We can welcome in new energies and remain balanced through dynamic shifts.

I’ve been keeping relatively quiet for the past couple of months as I sit with some very significant changes that are coming up in my life and my work. I won’t go into too much detail now as it is still crystalizing, but suffice it to say that everything (one-on-one work, teaching, programs, etc) is getting an overhaul. The way that I am moving through it with a greater degree of ease and grace than I could otherwise is... spaciousness.

Even so, the overhaul has brought on some anxiety. The inner voices share their doubts:

“Am I committing entrepreneurial suicide by switching up my offerings all the time?”
“What the heck do I think I’m doing?”
“Am I kidding myself?”
“What if this is way too far out for people? What if nobody is ready for this? What if nobody gets it?”
“How can I make all these massive changes without shooting myself in the foot?”

Those are some of the highlights, but you get the idea.

I just returned from a week-long trip to Sedona, AZ, where I experienced a great deal of new energy and catalysts, set some changes in motion and received some profound medicine. One of the highlights was a visit to the Grand Canyon.

I had never been to this particular sacred site before, and as I approached the canyon rim, I felt myself start to tear up. I could feel the energy swelling up out of the exposed layers—ancient and constant in its power. Moved beyond words, I wandered off by myself to stand on a cliff edge and feel the potent waves course through my body. The Grand Canyon is a giant portal, and the amount of raw power and potential held within each grain of sand is palpable.

“This is the kind of healer I want to be. I want to be this spacious, this ancient, this solid, yet mutable.”

As these realizations formed in my mind, I felt myself expand enough to accommodate the Grand Canyon within my energy field.

“I AM this spacious. I AM this ancient. I AM this solid, this mutable.”

No matter the direction my work takes from here, the kind of space I hold for myself and for others is that deep. The kind of container I set for transformation is that wide.

I sat down to write in my journal, tears continuing to blur my vision. I had no idea what I was writing, and only discovered after I read it later that night that I had written a declaration—a prayer to the Grand Canyon herself:

I AM big enough to hold you.

I AM strong enough to serve you.

I AM patient enough to learn from you—the lessons in each stone and grain of sand.

I AM ancient enough to remember you as flat, scorched Earth that gave off the sharp tang scent of new metal, fresh from the fire.

I AM small enough to curl myself into each pore in your cavernous walls… tiny wombs where crystals and magic are born.

I AM quiet enough to hear the stories that have been buried in your layers for aeons rise up as they are freed by matter dissolving into air.

I AM raw enough to feel the currents of wind stirred by Raven’s wing.

I AM humble enough to kneel here, to know that I have died here and to surrender my bones to you to compost into soil.

I AM embodied enough to feel that you are big enough to hold me.

I AM wild enough to want to scream and chant and howl and sing and fill your canyons with my prayers, but subtle enough to know that a whisper will suffice.

I know that there is space for you in my bones, in my cells. I feel my body drinking in your familiar magic. Make me ancient. Help me remember. Support me in crumbling away all the surface layers to reveal the parts of me that were present for the birth of this and other worlds. Instruct me in how I may better serve. Teach me the ways of timeless presence. I fill myself with you. I AM reverence. There is no room here for anything but the Truth. I see my blood on your walls. Let me lie here and dissolve.

This is the kind of spacious timelessness that constitutes the Void. In this reality, no healing work is needed because nothing needs to be “healed.” There is no need to fix, to change, to alter or adjust. There is only BEing and presence.

Within that spaciousness, all things are possible. When I hold the medicine of the Grand Canyon in my body, the doubting voices immediately become silent.

I invite you to examine where you can breathe more spaciousness into your life. In what ways can you allow more BEing and presence?

Many blessings!

Michelle Hawk Shaman Portland Sedona Reiki Master Healer Teacher

"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.

Solar Eclipse: Courage & the Lion's Heart

My Heart and I have a pretty good system of open communication. Sometimes she speaks to me in words, using clear, precise language. Sometimes she expresses herself with a tender squeeze, or a wrenching twist of outrage or agony. She'll quiver with excitement, sing crystal tones of joy or hum in general contentment.

But whatever the message and means of conveying it, my Heart always tells me the Truth.

I wasn't always as skilled at understanding the deepest messages of my Heart as I am now, but that has come with years of practice of remembering how to get out of my own way and sit in stillness.

As children, we enjoy a graceful and easy connection with our Hearts and their truths. We are governed by the simple desires to be loved, to be seen, to feel connection... we bare our Hearts and their messages to the world.

I hardly need to tell you what usually happens next. We shut down, we step away from our Hearts and their truths, and we forget how to embody that effortless grace and communication.

But the good news is, we can always return to that effortless space. Our Hearts never abandon us, and even if we have closed ourselves off to hearing their truth, they still whisper in our ears.

Under this powerful Eclipse portal, that whisper is becoming a roar.

Any message of our Hearts that we haven't quite been allowing ourselves to hear or honor will now come blazing through in a way that we cannot possibly ignore. What is required now for us to come into harmonious alignment with these energies?

Courage.

Courage (comes from the root cor, or heart) isn't about being "brave" or "fearless." True Courage means living the Truth of our Hearts, whatever that might be. It means creating space and stillness to rediscover in ourselves that whisper of a message, that tender squeeze or drumming intensity. Courage means perceiving this Truth and being willing to honor it by acting upon the message. In short, this Eclipse Portal encourages us to wear our Hearts on our sleeves.

"But it's not safe to do that! Look at the state of the world! Why would I want to make myself vulnerable?"

Our mind presents reasonable doubts in its efforts to protect us. To that, I answer, look at the Lion/ess. The Lioness is truly the Queen of her Queendom. She is an apex predator whose presence maintains equilibrium for an entire ecosystem. Do you think she has any qualms about living the truth of her Heart?

This Solar Eclipse in Leo invites us all to go within and discover our own Lion's Heart. How can we unapologetically claim our seat on the throne of our Heart and live in total sovereignty as the Queen/King of our Queendom/Kingdom?

From one Lion Heart to another, you look great out there.

The Power of Subtlety

"Go big, or go home!"

"No pain, no gain!"

We're all familiar with these statements, and others that also glorify intensity, drama and suffering. I definitely used to be a member of the Harder/Better/Faster/Stronger camp. I think it was a combination of my desire for efficiency, my highly competitive nature and the need to receive instant gratification in knowing that my efforts had achieved some immediately measurable result.

It took me an embarrassingly long time, but I finally learned that healing doesn't work that way. In many ways, I almost felt exempt from the Universal Laws of subtle energy movements. See aforementioned competitive nature. "If anyone can heal overnight, it's me! I'll just do this one big ritual and I'll be good!" Then Spirit would kick my ass in some form or another and I would be forced to slow down, work on the subtleties and not try to rush anything or create some grand Hail Mary healing gesture.

There were times when I was moving through deep healing crisis, and the only thing I could do to work on myself was some mini personal practice, but I committed to doing it every day. One of the most gratifying examples of this took place a couple of years ago as I experienced the trials of the Portland housing market and had no idea where I was going to live. During a healing session, the practitioner told me that my root chakra was almost entirely shut down. I remember thinking, "That can't be right. I'm very grounded." But as I considered this information, I realized that I hadn't adjusted my personal practices to accommodate the destabilization I felt from losing my home. I silently promised myself in that moment to work on my root chakra and my sense of safety every day, even if only for five minutes.

When I saw this healer again a couple of months later, she noted that my root chakra was not only fully back online, but huge! Also, all of my other chakras were more balanced and aligned because of the work I had been doing on my root chakra alone. Aside from the measurable difference in my energy field, I emotionally felt safer, more secure and confident, despite the upheaval in my living situation. I had worked every day for a few minutes on internalizing my sense of safety, rather than having my safety be dependent on external circumstances.

I share this story about subtle personal practice right now because this exact phenomenon is coming up for many of my clients and people in my immediate surroundings. I have had more discussions about subtle personal practices in the last couple of weeks than I have ever had in my life.

In a conversation with a friend of mine last week, we got around to talking about energy clearing. I perceived that his field was a bit "dusty" and asked him what he did for a clearing practice. "You mean like a sweat lodge?" He asked. I answered that a sweat lodge was a good way to do some bigger clearing, but asked again what he did every day for himself. "Oh. Nothing," he answered. At this point Spirit started poking me with a very direct message, so I asked him, "Do you believe that subtle daily practices actually work?" He looked a bit taken aback as he thought for a moment, then, almost sheepishly, answered, "I guess not."

We all like magic fixes. We like thinking that there's one golden gem of a ritual or practice that we can bring in to clean up our energies and erase all the wounds. That's why there are so many "Intensives" out there in the healing and coaching world. There are plenty of retreats, ceremonies and other ways to experience a supercharged dose of healing. There is absolutely incredible value in dropping into your process and doing nothing else for one day, three days, five days, a week, but unless your awareness of the subtleties and your established personal practice is there to back it up, it is not sustainable and the energies won't stick around. While much less sexy, the subtle consistency of your daily personal practice is going to be the thing that saves your ass and creates the solid foundation for all other healing work to take place.

I guarantee you that the subtle work that you do every single day will be one of your greatest tools. This is what will allow you to become intimately acquainted with your energies, your process, your intuition and help you cultivate a strong energetic foundation. It is this foundation that will provide a clear container for whatever intensive healing/coaching/ceremonial work you do, and give you a place to channel that infusion of new energy.

I tell people, "Doing a subtle practice two minutes every day for 30 days is more powerful than doing one hour of practice once a month."

How can you harness your own power of subtlety? Check this out:

A Personal Practice Primer

Congratulations! You're ready to begin your subtle personal practice. Here are some things to consider:

Support

It's a good idea to receive some support in the form of healing work or coaching to help you determine the best direction for your personal practice. What energies would you like to develop?

Time

How much time can you commit EVERY DAY to this practice? I tell my clients to choose something in the range of 30 seconds to 1 hour. Choose the amount of time that you confidently feel you can commit to every single day. If there are some days where you do more than that, that's great! But at very least, you are setting aside that minimum amount of time.

The Practice Itself

So, what are you actually doing during that timeframe? Part of what dictates your practice is the amount of time you allot. For example, if you give yourself an hour, that's enough time for some journaling, breathing meditation, embodiment practices and affirmations. If you give yourself 10 minutes, maybe a brief visualization and affirmation practice would be more appropriate. If you give yourself two minutes, you can create a brief, but rich practice of silence, gratitude and simply being present in your body.

Here are some suggestions of a few things that you might want to weave into your personal practice:

  • Self-healing work (Reiki, chakra balance)
  • Breathwork
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude
  • Affirmations
  • Journaling
  • Embodiment practice (gentle movement, stretching, yoga, exercise)
  • Silence
  • Gardening

It's important also to change up your personal practice every now and then so it doesn't become stagnant. But for now, just get started!

New Moon in Leo: Self-Love, Sovereignty and Addiction

Self-Love, Sovereignty and Addiction.

...Wait, addiction?

Yes, you read that right.

The Leo archetype is well known for supporting the energies of self-love, worthiness, self-expression, sovereignty and shining our inner light into the world. But what does addiction have to do with that?

In short, everything.

In this case, I'm referring to addiction in many forms: not only substance abuse, but addictive patterns of behavior, addiction to beliefs and energy cycles, addiction to relationships... you get the idea.  Addictions help us cling to old ways of being where we get to stay small, disconnected from our truest selves and not claim our inner worth.

Let me give you an example. One of my own addictions that I learned of recently is addiction to suffering as part of the healing process. This came to light during a very intense ceremony where many people were struggling, and I was not. I felt very comfortable and grounded, but started to become anxious, wondering why I wasn't struggling with everyone else. I wondered if the healing I was receiving was as deep or profound as it could be. At this point, my guides tuned in and told me, "We're not going to make you suffer. You are addicted to suffering as part of the healing process, and it's time to release that for you, for everyone in this room and for all of humanity. You need to learn that healing that comes with ease and grace is actually more valid than healing that comes through suffering."

As soon as I heard that message, I released any remaining anxiety I had about my lack of suffering and was able to drop fully into the ceremony experience. Needless to say, it was powerful, profound and I DEFINITELY received deep healing.

Now that it's come to my attention, I can see that this particular pattern of addiction has been present with me for many years. Historically, I have liked to learn things the hard way. I have put myself in many situations where I experience deep suffering in the name of healing. I have used suffering to keep myself smaller than I am, because it's safer than living the fullest expression of my sovereignty.

Another addictive pattern that arose in my awareness recently was my addiction to self-judgement. During a ceremony, I received a gentle correction from a mentor of mine and immediately felt myself spiral into judgement. I made a tiny mistake, I did something wrong, now everyone things I'm horrible, blah blah blah.

I was fascinated to observe this very self-punishing thought pattern emerge from such a tiny thing. No harm had been caused, it was absolutely no big deal, and yet, I immediately plunged into criticism and judgement of myself so strongly that it took me aback. I observed these punishing thoughts like vines made of razors slicing over my my heart and mind, and I consciously released them.

I share these stories because addiction can be sneaky, and most of us don't easily recognize the addictive patterns that keep us small and disconnected from our self-love. In both of these cases where my addictive patterns came to light, I was able to discern them in part because of some powerful messages from my guides, but also because I have spent years cultivating a strong practice of self-love. This practice allowed me to see that these addictions made me feel unworthy, small and stupid. Because of my extensive personal practice of owning my sovereignty and my worth, I could distinguish the thought patterns that made me feel separate from my truest state of being.

I invite you to consider your own patterns of addiction. When you tune into your choices and behavior, what do you notice? What beliefs do you hold about your own worthiness and sovereignty? What patterns do you have that get in the way of living the fullest expression of your self-love? Now is the perfect time for these inquiries. Align your energies and intentions with this powerful New Moon container to release patterns of addiction. This is the first of TWO New Moons in Leo. Use this first one to remove any blockages and old patterns that no longer serve you, so next month you can plant the seeds of self-love and sovereignty under the container of the Eclipse.

(For more information on working with the Lunar Cycle, check out my LUNAR ALCHEMY course beginning September 12!)

In the name of loooooooooove!

Soul Family

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people: my amazing sister, Katherine Bird.

When I went to visit Kat a few weeks ago, many people asked us how we had met. Kat and I met for the first time after Burning Man in 2013 at Summer Lake Hot Springs. We chatted a bit, she showed me some body rolling techniques, gave me a Yamuna ball and a business card and we parted ways.

I kept her business card on my desk for over a year, feeling an energetic draw. We connected here and there a few times over the next year or so, but never sat down to have a proper one-on-one conversation.

When we finally did in January of 2015, it became immediately apparent that we have a deep energetic connection. We started attending a weekly women's group together, shared our work with each other and eventually birthed many creative projects together (Animal Dance, Shaman Sister Sessions, and more!).

It's funny when I think about how long in terms of earth years we've been in each other's immediate orbits... We've really only "known" each other properly for about 2 1/2 years, and yet, we've known each other for eons. This is definitely one of those sister soulmate scenarios (fun to say, more fun to live).

My two cents: when you find your people--the ones who see you (sometimes more clearly than you see yourself), the ones who you love easily, expansively and unconditionally, the ones where you support and inspire each other to shine ever more brightly and witness each others' luminous unfolding--love them dearly. Everyone's lives are better when Soul Family comes together.

Shaman Sisters Michelle Hawk and Katherine Bird

Full Moon in Capricorn: Foundation and Freedom

Foundation and Freedom.

Are these two ideas mutually exclusive?

How are the energies of structure, support, grounding, nourishment and community related to those of freedom, expansion, passion, growth and the wild pursuit of dreams?

They're actually deeply intertwined, especially under this powerful Full Moon in Capricorn.

This deep Full Moon container encourages us to evaluate the sources of structure and support in our lives. What is the state of the bedrock of your earthly existence? Is it stable enough to support the rocket launch of your wildest dreams? If not, how can you adjust and call in what you need to construct a more solid foundation? If your foundation is rock-solid and ready, how can you use this amazing framework to support the free, explosive expansion of your joy and purpose in the world?

I've been asking myself a lot of these questions over the last week leading up to this lunar container. Especially over the 4th of July, where the topic of "Freedom" comes up a lot... but what does Freedom actually look like?

For me, Freedom means easy and graceful flow. It means my body, mind, heart and spirit are clear, balanced, healthy and expansive. Freedom means that I am safe, my earthly needs are well-met and I have plenty of space and tine to devote myself to my joy. Freedom means doing plenty of the things I love the most: spending time with dear ones, being active and doing my work. (For real, I'm not just saying that last one because this is a business blog post--my healing, mentorship and teaching work lights me up in a way that few other things do and sets my soul on fire.)

The foundation that allows me to experience deep freedom in this way includes my nurturing home, my flourishing business, my amazing family and community, my health and personal practices devoted to nourishing my well-being. The structures I have created for myself provide a framework for me to be, do and have all the things that light me up. In short, my truest freedom comes from structure.

I invite you to consider these things in the context of your life. What does Freedom look like for you? What Foundation do you have in place to support your continued growth and expansion? Now is the perfect time for these inquiries. Align your energies and intentions with this powerful Full Moon container to build a firm foundation for your greatest freedom.

(For more information on working with the Lunar Cycle, check out my LUNAR ALCHEMY course beginning September 12!)

From one free spirit to another, you look great out there.

What I Learned From Dancing With Angels

I'm feeling very tender and hypersensitive today.

But spending the weekend holding ceremony, communing with spirits, dancing with Angels and opening a Galactic channel will do that to you, I suppose.

I had the pleasure and honor of being invited to attend ceremony this past weekend with one of the foremost experts in Spiritism and Mediumship in the country. The weekend was a whirlwind of visions, healing, working in the astral plane and connecting with the Divine. I am being guided to share one particular message with you.

Part of the ceremony involved opening up the circle to practice Mediumship. For a more detailed discussion on the practice, please see this episode of Shaman Sister Sessions. In short, Mediumship is a process of opening oneself up to become available to connect with energetic forces, spirits, Angels, etc. In opening myself to practice Mediumship, I issued an invitation to Spirit to direct me in whatever way would serve the Highest and Greatest Good.

During a particular part of the ceremony, people were invited to come sit around the altar and open themselves to channel. I felt a nudge from Spirit to go to the altar, but the particular seat I wanted was already filled by someone else. I felt the nudge again, but still, I didn't move. Finally, I felt someone shove me in the back, making me fall forward out of my seat. Taking the hint, I went to kneel at the open space in front of the altar.

Immediately, I felt a rush of energy as my body began to move. I have experienced trance dance before, but never like this. I could feel beings moving my body to create a flow of energetic current, and I knew that they were Angels who had come to dance with me. After a few minutes, the song ended, and my body returned to relative stillness.

The music began again, and once more, the Angels started to dance my body. This time, I felt my mind creep in with its concern. "I'm only supposed to be at the altar for one song. I should go back to my seat and give someone else a turn." Immediately, however, the Angels responded with the knowledge that I was in exactly the right place, and they would release me when the time was right. I relaxed back into the dance, then felt that concern creep up in my mind again. I opened my eyes a tiny crack and saw that no one else at the altar was moving, and my mind seized upon the idea that not only was I hogging altar space, but I was the weirdo who was dancing while doing it.

Again, I felt the Angels calm my mind. They told me without words that I was in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing, and to continue to trust and be guided. Once more, I relaxed and allowed myself to be moved in the most beautiful dance, conducting the energy current through my body.

When the song ended the second time, I returned to stillness, and the Angels released me to go back to my seat.

What is the message from that experience? Drumroll, please:

As long as we practice trust and surrender to our guidance, we will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

That was one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend. I cannot overstate this, so I'll repeat it as a mantra that I invite you to say to yourself out loud:

As long as I practice trust and surrender to my guidance, I will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

Yes, our minds may creep in to make us doubt ourselves. Our human brains are very good at trying to keep us safe and make us question things that seem beyond reason or control. That is, after all, their job. But guidance exists beyond reason or control, and the Divine forces we invoke possess no human limitations or concept of shame or social correctness.

As I integrate the energies and messages from ceremony, I'll be asking myself the following questions (and I invite you to do the same):

  • Where in my life am I in alignment with my guidance?
  • Where in my life am I not in alignment with my guidance?
  • How can I more fully practice trust and surrender in order to bring myself into alignment with my guidance in all areas of my life?
  • What is required for me to show up differently to practice trust and surrender with ease and grace?
  • Where can I call guidance into my life in order to support me in embodying the Highest and Greatest Good?

And one more time, for good measure:

As long as I practice trust and surrender to my guidance, I will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

Many blessings!

Summer Solstice: Expansion & Contraction

I don't know about you, but I need a break.

I just arrived a few hours ago in San Diego to visit my dear sister, Katherine Bird. Over the next several days, we'll be facilitating ceremony, attending ceremony, doing healing work and offering our channeling and mediumship skills as guest experts in a Galactic Channeling Activation intensive workshop.

This is definitely not a vacation.

And yet, as soon as I arrived, I felt my nervous system immediately go into a state of contraction in anticipation of rest and nurturing.

When working with Cycles of Power, expansion and contraction are both equally important parts in the ebb and flow of energy. Today, on the Summer Solstice, we exist in the biggest possible container of light--the greatest potential for expansion. We have been building to this point for the last few months and the energies of expansion will continue to prevail throughout the summer, then wane back into contraction in the fall. This is the time to harness the power of illumination to reveal the deepest parts of ourselves that might otherwise stay hidden.

ILLUMINATION. WITNESSING. REVELATION. EXPRESSION. These are the keys of the Summer Solstice.

So, where does Contraction fit in all this?

Contraction is the space that enables us to go within, set our intentions, write the contracts (literally, "CONTRACT-ion") for our soul blueprints, work with the Karmic records and adjust our energy frequencies. Contraction is the essential counterpoint that turns Expansion into an effective, directed process, rather than an unsustainable explosion of energy.

I need to contract first in order to expand even more.

As I prepare to dive in deep and move some massive energies (I can feel it already), I will be taking some time for stillness and receiving. I'll be attending a singing and voice activation workshop with a master sound healer, lounging in the sun with my sister and snacking on healthy food. I'll be journaling (see below for my Solstice Gift to you!), setting my intentions and preparing to deeply alter my soul contract.

And then, I'll be ready to expand even further and continue the Cycle of Power.

What are your intentions for this powerful time?

Happy Solstice!

Identity Structure

This article is a follow-up exercise to my last post.

What makes up an Identity Structure?

Identity structures are exactly what you'd imagine: they're all the parts of ourselves that constitute any component of what we might identify as "Self." Some of the things included in our identity structures are:

-Physical body: What container do you live in?
-Emotional body: How do you feel about things?
-Mental body: What do you think about things?
-Energy body: What is your vibration and how does it respond to the world?
-Thoughts and beliefs: How do you think and feel about the world?
-Relationships: What role do you play in other people's identity structures and what roles do they play in yours?
-Childhood/past events: What formative experiences shaped your beliefs about the world?
-Memories: What is your subjective interpretation of past events?
-How you spend your time: Sacred Work/job, activities, pastimes... what do you do with your precious days?
-Language: What words do you use to speak about yourself and your existence?
-Interests: What captivates your attention?
...and SO many more!

Understanding Your Identity Structure

In order for us to work with the nuances of identity structure, we have to know what comprises the foundation of our Being. Here's my best advice to you:

Start with ONE of the points above. With your journal, sit quietly in meditative space and write intuitively about what comes up for you when you examine that facet of Self. For example, if you were to choose the "Memories" option, you might ask yourself, "What are some of the strongest memories I have from my childhood? What emotions are attached to those memories? What do those memories say about me? How do I feel about them?"

After you feel complete, review what you wrote and notice what jumps out at you. Is there any new information there? What themes do you notice? Does what you wrote feel positive and in alignment with a healthy identity structure? Does it feel as though it needs some further investigation and support to be fully processed and integrated?

The Outcome of Working with Identity Structure

Why do we do this? Ultimately, knowing who we are on all levels and allowing it to be witnessed is what lets us live our fullest expression. By diving deep and asking ourselves, "Who am I?" we create space for healing, processing and a healthy way of being in the world for ourselves and for everyone else.

Identity: The Dangers of Suppression

"Who am I?"

No small question, to be sure.

I spend a lot of time thinking, teaching, speaking and writing about identity and its manifestations in myself and my clients. Who are you as a healer? How does your Soul's Mission express itself? What parts of your Medicine are ready to be claimed? These are all sub-questions of that core inquiry: Who am I?

Up until recently, the concept of identity seemed to me to only be a net positive process of investigation. In other words, of course it's a good thing for people to discover and claim all parts of themselves! A few weeks ago, however, I had a startling revelation that has drastically altered my viewpoint on the universal implications of claiming our identities.

In the way that we remain casually connected with people through social media, I saw the coming-out declaration of an old classmate of mine. In a lovely and articulate post, she introduced herself as a transgender woman and showed her true face to the world. One line in particular struck me deeply: "This past year, as I approached my 30th birthday, I realized that while everyone else was exceedingly happy with who I was, I was decidedly not, and, if I didn't do something about it, I knew I wouldn't make it to my 40th."

As the implications of this sunk in, I realized that while it is not only a positive and healthy thing for us to claim and honor our identities, NOT doing so is not a neutral choice, it is an ACTIVELY DETRIMENTAL and DANGEROUS one. The results of suppressing or ignoring any part of our true selves are damaging and potentially life-threatening.

I was staggered. Something had clicked for me in a new way as I thought about all the means that so many of us take to shut down or stifle parts of ourselves. When it comes to our fundamental existence, there is no such thing as neutral: we are living and thriving, or we are withering and dying.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Let's think about this from the societal perspective. The way we behave and the choices we make in the world gives permission and sets the tone for other people to do the same. We are resonant beings whose frequencies respond to each other, so when people in a society are well, happy and fulfilled, it ripples out to others. The same is true for disharmonious frequencies. When people are unwell, unhappy and suppressed, that ripples out as well.

It is imperative, therefore, not only for our own health and well-being, but for that of ALL beings, that we choose to fully claim and honor all parts of our identities. If we don't, they wither, and we collectively create a society of slowly dying people.

I say this not to induce despair, but to emphasize the vital nature of this question: "Who am I?" If we don't fully know who we are, how can we honor those deepest parts of ourselves? How can we give life to and nurture the many faces of our infinitely complex being? How can we grow and thrive and, together, cultivate a society where all beings are inspired and given permission to fully express the truth of their hearts?

From one Warrior of the Light to another, I promise to keep asking myself that question every day so I can continue to honor all parts of my being. I do so not only for myself, but for the health and well-being of ALL beings.

So I ask you, now:

Who are you?
 

Walking Through Fire: Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius: Friday, June 9 at 6:10am PST.


"Elegant, curving lines, like the arching holes on the face of a cello, twist through the darkness. A reddish glow emerges from the depths, and the outline of pulsing embers becomes clear beneath my feet. The air crackles with heat and intensity, but I am calm and steadfast. I softly close my eyes and step onto the coals in front of me. The sound of shifting embers fades, and I can hear only my own breath as I continue to calmly walk forward into the unknown."

Fire.

Trust.

Surrender.

These were the themes that presented themselves when I received this vision about the energies of the upcoming Full Moon.

Sagittarius works in service to Spirit through the intuitive pursuit of Truth. This particular Full Moon creates a beautiful, luminous container for us to explore just how far we are willing to trust ourselves (and Spirit) along the way. Are we ready to surrender to the power of our intuition? Do we believe that we are held and supported in answering the call of our Soul's Mission? What is needed in order for us to fully trust ourselves?

These are questions to keep in mind as we enjoy the powerful energies of this Full Moon!

Lunar Ritual

If you would like to hold some ceremony for yourself (either alone or with community) to capitalize on the energies of the Sagittarius Full Moon, here is a ritual suggestion:

Light a candle and make yourself comfortable in front of it. Maintain a soft gaze at the base of the flame, imagining the burning ember.

Take a few moments to drop into your body and your breath.

Allow your attention to drift toward the questions posed above (you may journal about these if you like, or not):
-Do I fully trust myself?
-Am I ready to surrender to the power of my intuition?
-Do I believe that I am held and supported in answering the call of my Soul's Mission?
-What is needed in order for me to fully trust myself?

When you feel as though you are complete in your consideration of these questions, offer whatever you would like to release (blockages/beliefs/fears/etc) into the candle flame and commit your intentions to the Moon with the following affirmation:

"Moon, Luna, I release to you all that which does not serve me. Please assist me in dissolving away any blockages, beliefs, patterns, karma or anything preventing me from fully trusting myself and my intuition. I am ready to surrender to my own magic and live the fullest expression of my purpose. Thank you for the blessings."

When you feel complete, blow out the candle and trust that the work is taking place!

Life Review: Birthday Edition

My upcoming birthday is prompting even more introspection and self-examination than usual! I'm turning 30 on Thursday, and as I prepare to celebrate my life and usher in a new decade of even greater awesomeness, I'm taking the time for some considerable life review.  (I also have a GIFT for you!! See below.)

One of the big things that came up as I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago was appreciating just how quickly change occurs. I was at SOAK (a regional Burning Man event which I have been attending since 2011) staring at the massive bonfire and remembering who I was one short year ago, and how I was in such a different place in my life. I continued to follow this train of thought back over the years and was struck with so much appreciation for the way in which change occurs much more quickly than we realize. Maybe this isn't new information to you, but it was a revelation to me. I know I tend to run around the world with a certain degree of impatience, always wanting to accomplish things as quickly and efficiently as possible because there's so much to do!! However, things only feel like they're moving slowly when I zoom in and look at the short-term. As soon as I was able to widen my perspective and take in the last year (and widen even further to take in the last several years), I felt enormously humbled for just how much change I have created in the last year. Let's take a look at some highlights (and lowlights, because those are important, too):

  • On my birthday last year, I officially began claiming my medicine in an even deeper way by calling myself Michelle Hawk and honoring the name that Spirit had given me.
  • (Just over one year ago, but it's so close that we're counting it) I successfully redid/rebranded my business and launched my gorgeous new website.
  • I went through the trauma of losing my home and my amazing roommate, was gifted with a safe place to land over the winter, and two months ago moved into an amazing Goddess Temple house in a beautiful neighborhood.
  • My wonderful witch mother, Rosemary, and I officially released and began teaching our Illumination Reiki™ curriculum. We've been working on this for YEARS and it feels amazing to put this out into the world!
  • We also began teaching our classes at a gorgeous studio space (Vibrant Studios) in SW Portland. If you haven't seen it yet, we'd love to have you join a workshop and check it out!
  • On the personal note, I took a deep look at my patterns in relationships. I learned hard and valuable lessons from a couple of boyfriends and did amazing healing work to heal and finally release some old trauma from an abusive relationship.
  • My wonderful sister Katherine Bird and I began our video podcast, Shaman Sister Sessions, which will soon be available on iTunes!
  • I successfully trained for and ran my FIRST ever race! I ran a half marathon (ran every step of the way, no stopping or walking) and finished just over my goal of 2 hours (2:01:13, which is pretty darn close). 10k coming up next!
  • I reworked my healing and mentorship offerings to include Spiritual Warrior Mentorship for my clients who are ready to fully claim the magic of their Divine nature.
  • I gave a twist to my New Moon Rising intensive program and am delighted to offer it in its newest incarnation this fall!!
  • I spoke at a conference for the first time, taught a breakout workshop at another conference, traveled to California to teach at a retreat and was invited to speak at another conference in October (I just learned that I'll be giving the closing keynote speech on the first day!!).
  • I finally started treating my work like a business, instead of "just" my life purpose and passion. I cannot overstate how huge this is.
  • I released a lot of old beliefs, did a lot of hard personal work, coached myself through heartache and tears, loved myself fiercely enough to hold my ground and speak my Truth, trusted myself and Spirit enough to take some big leaps and danced plenty along the way!

It is so important to look back every now and then in order to really appreciate how much we have changed, how far we have come and how darn quickly it all happened! Thank you for the part YOU have played in my journey. It is a pleasure to walk with you on this path. Let us continue to witness each other in our magnificent unfolding.

Many blessings,

Michelle Hawk Signature

Okay, your turn! And here's the GIFT part:

In celebration of my 30th birthday, I am offering you a free 30-minute call with me! One on one, your chance to chat with me about whatever you like. Life purpose stuff? Big questions? Important decisions? Spending half an hour just catching up and telling jokes? Sure! Send me an email (please include your phone number) and we'll set up a time to talk.

 

In addition, I have an invitation for you.

While this is not required for you to claim your GIFT call with me, I highly suggest doing this exercise before we talk (or anytime). Grab a journal, cup of tea and settle in for some life review of your own!

  • Make a list (like I did above) of the standout events, accomplishments, revelations, personal growth moments, low points, etc of the past year. 
  • After you have your list, give yourself a hug! You've done a lot in just a short time.
  • Next, rate each list item on a 1-10 scale in terms of emotional charge (1 is no emotion attached, 10 is very emotionally charged).
  • Everything that scored an 8 or higher, look at more closely. As you re-read these items on your list, drop into your body and your breath. Notice what sensations and emotions are attached. Do these things feel expansive or contractive? Are they associated with joy, fear, love, rage, grief, pain, euphoria or something else?

The emotional charge that we hold from these defining events informs our current experience and way of being in the world. Notice what revelations come up for you as you look at this list. If you choose to claim your GIFT call with me, we can look more closely at some of these things and identify how they're impacting your lived experience, and what alchemy needs to take place in order to integrate the lessons.

Song as Medicine

Over the past month or so, I've been sitting in deep contemplation with my relationship to music and song. This is still a fairly new and somewhat vulnerable theme for me, but I feel called to share it with you! (For more background on how this has been coming up for me, check out this previous article.) Suffice it to say that I am currently exploring Healing Songs as an important manifestation of my medicine and Sacred Work in the world.

Last night, I had a Medicine Dream that reaffirmed this theme for me:

In my dream, I was performing as the closing act of a concert which took place in a church. I was supposed to play a song on the flute. Even though in my dream I didn't know how to play the flute, some part of my subconscious nature did, so I trusted that I would be able to perform the complicated song when the time was right.

I opened my performance by speaking about Standing Rock and offering a prayer for the sacred waters and the Water Protectors. Many people in the audience started talking and ignoring me as I spoke. I became angry and frustrated and tried to play my flute song, but was barely able to make any noise come out of the instrument. As I grew more frustrated and the show director asked me to leave the stage, I heard a subtle thread of drum beats and music coming from somewhere nearby. My microphone was still on, so I started to sing. I sang my frustration at the people for ignoring the prayer, I sang a call to prayer and I sang the prayer itself. People stopped talking in order to listen to the prayer song, and I started dancing the prayer as well. It was a simple, powerful song that reverberated around the church and pulled people into its strength.

At this point, some older men came into the church, playing drums. It was their music I had heard in the distance. They came to play with me as I sang and they spoke to me, offering me their blessings and witnessing me in my prayer song. I awoke still reverberating with the power of the song and the message.

I know these men represent my guides, who appeared to support me in sharing my song. My voice is my instrument of power, and while I don't know exactly how it will manifest, Healing Songs are an essential component of my Sacred Work in the world. While revealing this publicly still feels sort of new and tender, I am so excited to continue exploring this powerful Medicine! More on this to come, I'm sure.

Healing the Money Story

MONEY MEDITATION

Following Tuesday's episode of Shaman Sister Sessions in which we discussed healing the archetypes (catch this and other episodes here), I decided to do some of my own work on my inner "Impoverished Healer" and my Money Story today.

In the way that the Universe works in perfect timing, I received some immediate feedback that this was the perfect thing to do. One of the ridiculously synchronistic signs was this journal prompt I received in my email today:

"What do my thoughts, fears, believes and desires about money say about me? How do I want to treat money? How do I want money to treat me?"

Here is my 10-minute flow journaling entry:

I am intimidated by Money. It has a cold face. It is dispassionate. I can't hear it the way I hear Life. The current of Money exists outside of me. It feels mechanical. I don't want to be a part of a mechanical, cold system. I do not see/feel the life in money.

I would like to understand the life force of money. I want to appreciate it as I appreciate living things. I want to feel its pulse and discover its warmth.

"Cold, hard cash." :(

Money is sovereign, it is not a servant. It has its own soul contracts and agreements. Money knows its own value.

I want Money to be attracted to my vibration. I want it to feel nourished in my presence--swoop in like a flock of sparrows to receive some admiration, appreciation, a handful of seeds, then fly out again to continue on its way.

I want to be friends with Money. I want us to be allies, partners, co-creative visionaries who conspire to bring Joy to all.

I want Money to be on board with my vision and show up to support me in its actualization. I want to honor the life of Money and view it as an equal--it is an entity in itself.

I want to understand its movements.

I want to invite Money to make itself comfortable with me and let us get to know each other. I want to offer it a cup of tea and look at crystals together. I want to thank Money for all that it has already offered me. I want to express my gratitude to this friend and ally who has grown with me and enabled me to invest in myself and my vision.

~~~

I followed this by sitting down and individually thanking a stack of $100 bills, then inviting them to get comfy on my meditation cushion. They seem to like it there.

Sacred Finances Conscious Business Money Meditation

Turning Down Clients: A Practice in Devotion and Discernment

IT IS OKAY TO TURN DOWN A CLIENT.

I just turned down a potential client who was interested in working with me because it felt like the wrong fit. When he described the kind of coach he was looking for, I knew that we wouldn't be a good match. I referred him to a colleague of mine who I felt would be a much better fit, but he was reluctant to contact this amazing practitioner because he was very attached to the idea of working with a woman.

In the past, I might have told him that we could work together, happily accepted his money and then struggled through a series of sessions that may not have served either of us. There can be a bit of ego, savior complex and/or scarcity mentality that comes into play when healers/coaches/practitioners are learning that IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO TO WORKING WITH SOMEONE. I have definitely fallen into this category before.

"Sure, I can do that kind of work." "This person really needs help!" "I could use the money." These were some of the arguments with which I would convince myself to take on a client that didn't feel quite right. And, invariably, something would be a bit off in our work together, and I would end up referring them to someone else. Fortunately, I only needed a few of these clients for me to fully learn this lesson.

Turning down a client is a practice in devotion and discernment. By holding the specific vision of the kind of client you want to work with, you attract more of those people to you and get to go that much deeper into the kind of work you love the most. Think of it as refining the agreement you have with Spirit about the way you want to show up in the world. If you're a generalist, you will continue to receive a broad spectrum of clients coming your way. The more you narrow it down and get specific about what you are here to do, the more your potential clients will align with that frequency.

As long as we're on the subject, let me practice being very specific:

My mission is to fully embody and express my Divinity/God Self on every level through my Joy, Love and Purpose, and in doing so, catalyze other people to do the same, thus bringing Spirit to full, grounded actualization on the Earth plane. I work with people who are in the process of awakening to their own Divine nature--those who hear the call to step fully into claiming their power and offering their Sacred Work to the world. I work with Warriors of the Light who are ready to be initiated into the full unfolding of their Soul's Mission. I work with Divine Embodied Beings who, every day, are committed to living fully expressed lives of Joy, Love and Purpose.

...Is that you?

I Am Not A Musician

I AM NOT A MUSICIAN.

…or so I keep telling myself, but my relationship to music and the way it manifests through me seems to be up for reconsideration.

I love to sing. My voice has always been my chosen musical medium, and other than my ceremonial hand drum, I have only ever played an instrument with the intention of providing a background for song to pour through me. Over the last several years as I stepped more fully into the practice of channeling healing songs during my energy work, what began as a few hesitant notes and chants eventually grew in fluency and fluidity. They now flow effortlessly in a cascade of moving energy to support nurturing, catharsis, activation, clearing and death. The healing songs I bring forth have given a voice to the grief, joy, innocence, pain, sweetness, rage and love of my clients (and of myself). Sometimes these songs have words, but mostly they consist of a blend of syllables and tones that provide some semblance of structure to an otherwise formless melody. While there might be similar themes, most of the songs are completely new in the moment and leave my consciousness as soon as they pour out of my throat. One or two, however, have come through so often and so strongly that I know them as allies that are here to stay and can call upon them consciously.

So, you might ask, what is it that has me meditating on the medicine of music? Let me take you through some standout events of the past week.

Last Friday, I attended a gong meditation and sound healing bath. I absolutely love these events and always go deep with the sound healing, and this was no exception. Despite the volume and intensity of the gong, I fell asleep, as I do when receiving deep healing. When I awoke near the end of the event, I suddenly heard a chorus of flutes within the shimmering tones of the gong. I listened, transfixed, and perceived the melodies of the ancestors making their way through the gong vibration. I felt my body respond with subtle shifts and releases as the sound of flutes intensified.

The next evening, I went to the closing ceremony of Sun Gate studio. In addition to the beautiful community container and celebration of the space, this wonderful event featured some amazing live music. As I drank in the deep heart songs, I heard that same chorus of ancestral flutes! Someone there was playing the flute, but what came through was much richer and more ancient than a single instrument and I knew that the ancestors were making their presence known. Later in the evening as other musicians shared their medicine, I experienced similar sensations of seeing/knowing/feeling the space from which they were channeling, and feeling that intimate connection with my own version of bringing forth healing songs.

Also at this event, I ran into a friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a while. He is a wonderful cellist, and we have enjoyed the occasional singing and playing together. He asked me, “Michelle, when are we going to make some music together?” I told him I don’t play an instrument, and he said “Well yeah, I know, but you sing.” I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do remember the feelings of resistance and shame and shyness that rushed through me, because after all, I’m not a musician and would have nothing to offer.

Fast forward a couple of days to a conversation with a friend. I don’t remember how the conversation arrived at this point, but he said something to the effect of “You’re going to sing during your speech” (meaning the speech that I gave yesterday at Embrace Festival) and my reaction was along the lines of “Haha, yeah right. I’m not a musician.”

The conference began on Friday, and the very first speaker was a woman from Australia who captivated me with her heartfelt talk on nonviolent direct action… and the pieces of songs of Australian First People that she wove into her talk.

Yesterday, I gave my speech at the conference, and as my friend predicted, I sang onstage. It was entirely unplanned, but as I gave my talk, I realized that I was actually offering a group healing session to the audience. In typical fashion, a healing song poured out of me. That was the first time I had ever sung a healing song in any kind of public context—a fact that didn’t register with me until just now.

Last night, I received some more deep medicine of powerful heart music during the Embrace Festival closing ceremony. I enjoyed every musical offering, but hearing Peia and the profound ancestral magic that poured out of her left me dissolving and raw.

…oh, and yesterday, a friend with whom I haven’t spoken in several months got in touch out of the blue to ask if I wanted to buy her ukulele.

…and the woman from Australia, after hearing me sing a healing song during my talk, said she wanted to give me some songs, so we sang magic together as we walked through the streets of downtown Portland.

I don’t really need to be a “musician.” I don’t even know what that means. But I do think my relationship to song and the way in which I share it with the world is up for reexamination. I know I cracked at least a few people open from giving my talk, and song medicine was a part of that. Given my philosophy on radical transparency (the reason I publish all the personal musings), if anyone anywhere could benefit even a little bit from me sharing a story, no matter how vulnerable, then I share it. I think the same goes for song. I have no idea what that looks like moving forward, but I will hold space for it to manifest in its perfect space and time.

Words—my normal, comfortable means of communication and a significant component of my medicine—seem to be failing me at the moment. The same thing happened repeatedly last week whenever the music cracked me wide open (as it did a few times) and I was left trying to communicate that which exists beyond words. Better quit while I’m ahead and leave it to a song for another time.