Soul Guides: What I Do . . . For You

Soul Guides: What I Do . . . For You

Can you guess which of the following paid occupations I’ve NOT had?
1. Law clerk
2. Mental health counselor
3. Journalist
4. Researcher
That was…a trick question. I’ve had all of them. But I want to talk a bit about my work as a mental health counselor.
In the early 1990s, I was hired by a residential addiction treatment facility for women who were pregnant or had children under age three. My job was initially to create a relapse prevention program that offered additional resources and tools to residents who were survivors of trauma (most notably child and domestic abuse). I then began counseling these women, as an adjunct to other required therapy, on how they could cope with their manifestations of trauma instead of self-medicating.
In this facility, we focused on those who self-medicated with drugs or alcohol, but there are many more who self-medicate with shopping, gaming, gambling, sex, relationships, self-harm, food, exercise, and on and on. It was the beginning of trauma-informed addiction recovery there.
Fast-forward thirty years and I’ve healed decades of abuse I endured. I’ve raised two children to healthy, well-balanced adulthood. I’ve been through my own intense trauma treatment with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and Somatic Experiencing®. I live a trauma-informed life.
I am not a mental health counselor anymore. I’m not licensed and I don’t practice therapy. I also don’t consider myself a healer. I do, however, offer coaching.
What’s the difference?
Here’s my take:
A therapist helps a person heal their present by addressing what led them to this point (e.g.: trauma, core beliefs, emotional avoidance, etc.). Especially in clinical settings, it requires a “problem/ solution with measurable progress” paradigm. It is the surgery of the psyche, going after the root of the issue.
A coach helps a person change their present by addressing their thoughts, beliefs, and actions in the present moment and moving forward. It can operate as both problem/solution and also support/ celebration/accountability. This is the physical therapy of the psyche.
A healer helps a person change their present by addressing their energetic and physical health in the moment and moving forward. This is the medicine of the psyche.
While there are some overlaps, they largely have their own areas of focus.
When I’m coaching, we honor the past and acknowledge that it has an impact, sometimes profound. But we don’t go digging for it. We don’t go back to the past to try to heal it. That’s for therapy, which I usually recommend be trauma-informed.
Instead, we focus on the now. And that’s where intuition and soul guides—mine and yours—come in. Because guides can see patterns and what can happen if you continue to engage in the same patterns of thought, belief, and behavior. (Some humans, including me, can do that too. Guides are better at it.) 
If you’ll pardon a food metaphor, you’ve been picking at a plate of rubber chicken, cold lima beans, and undercooked Brussels sprouts for a lot of your life, because that’s what other people told you that you were supposed to want. That’s the life that would please others. It doesn’t please you.
You want a plate of, well, your ideal meal. Food that makes your taste buds come alive and your brain sing with dopamine. Some people—and sometimes society in general—have told you that you can’t have that ideal meal because of who you are, or because of your race, your income, your religion, your sexuality, your gender, your job, your weight, your intelligence, your mental or physical health, or something else. 
Working with your guides and/or your intuition is the fork or spoon (no sporks here) that is going to get that ideal meal to your mouth, bite by divine bite. (Usually not all at once; divine stomachaches are not a walk in the park.)
And I offer more than one-on-one coaching, because not everyone is into that. I’ve been writing articles for years on these topics, and I have a new book coming out later this year: 10 Things Your Soul Guides Want You to Know: Especially if You Have Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Pain, or PTSD*   *With arguments and questions from a human with all four 
If you’re at all interested in any of this, sign up for my weekly email list, with informative articles, resources, book updates, fun with guides, and more:
For more information:
Am I Worthy of Divine Guidance?

Am I Worthy of Divine Guidance?

You’ve probably seen the memes: the text I have a feeling my guardian angel looks like this often and a photo of an angel statue facepalming. It’s meant as humor, self-deprecating though it often is, and it hides a very real fear that no one wants to talk about.

What if my guides have given up on me?

What if I pissed them off?

What if my guides—or Source/Spirit/the Universe/God/Goddess—hate me?

What if I’m not worthy of divine guidance?

These are natural, human fears, ones that many of us wrestle with at various times, and they are all based on one forgotten truth: You are part of Source and Source is part of you. If you want to go even deeper, Source Energy is Love Energy and Love cannot unlove itself.

But, one may argue—and I know this because I have elevated arguing with my guides to an art form—what if I am the exception that proves the rule?

You’re not, and here’s how I know: no one incarnates alone. The task of selecting a potential lifetime, of choosing a family or childhood situation that will best help your soul experience what it wants to experience as the full expression of itself, is not done alone. There are guides and helpers, teachers and mentors, friends and loved ones all along the way. Your soul may choose to have more hands-on guides after incarnation or more hands-off, but even if your soul chose one or the other prior to incarnation, you can always change your mind later. Guides are huge fans of free will.

Guides will never tell you that they’re done with you, that they’re giving up, that you’ve done something unforgivable, or that you don’t deserve them. It’s simply not in their metaphorical DNA to do that. What’s much more likely is some trauma, perhaps buried, perhaps not, in which someone in power—parent, adult relative, clergy, teacher, caregiver, partner, etc.—told you one or more of those things. Perhaps they said or implied that there was something wrong with you. Perhaps they said God couldn’t love someone like you because you weren’t or you’re not [fill-in-the-blank]. (Straight, well-behaved, quiet, normal, a particular religion, obedient, etc.)

They are wrong.

Perhaps they cannot love someone who is [fill-in-the-blank], but they do not speak for the All That Is. Perhaps they do not know how or are unwilling to love unconditionally, but the Universe does and can.

We are all connected. We are part of Source and Source is part of us and anyone who denies love to another based on subjective classifications like skin color or gender identity or sexuality or religion or nationality is also denying that connection with and being part of Source.

I have this sort of trauma in my background. My parents must have thought I was extremely powerful because I had the ability to ruin entire holidays by not behaving exactly as they wanted. I was blamed for my father’s heart attack and my mother’s cancer. When they were still alive, my parents cast themselves as victims and me as the perpetrator when I called some of their treatment of me abusive. Relatives sided with them; some betrayed my trust. For years, my parents gaslit me, giving me every reason to believe that there was something wrong with me.

Fortunately, I had my guides with me. They countered the angry, shaming messages with their own messages of unconditional love and acceptance. They might be the reason I survived.

Until one day when I was about fifteen, a day when my mom found out I was talking with my guides and writing down what they said, and for my own safety, I shut it down. It wasn’t conscious. I really wanted to know they were with me. But for three months, it was silence from them.

I worried that I had done something wrong. Maybe I’d failed them by not hiding my journals well enough. Maybe they weren’t even real, and this was all some sort of mental illness like my mom said.

Things went from bad to worse at home and I created a plan to end it all. But my guides literally—and rather physically—stepped in and stopped me.

I had done nothing wrong, they said. There was nothing to forgive. There was no reason for me to blame myself. No matter what, I would always be loved. No matter what, even if I couldn’t hear them, they would be there for me.

There are no conditions on unconditional love. You do not have to think, believe, behave, or look any certain way to be loved by Source/Spirit/the Universe/God/Goddess and your guides.

There are no conditions on unconditional love. Click To Tweet

The only question is: are you open to receiving it?

If you are open, or if you’d like help becoming open to meeting or deepening your relationship with your guides, set up an Illumination Call today and we’ll have a conversation and see if we’re a good fit.

One Year Ago Today

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today was the last time I gathered with people who were not my household family members or medical personnel for required medical appointments. 

One year ago today was the last time I hugged a friend.

One year ago today was the last time I ate in a restaurant. 

One year ago today was the last time I left the house without a mask.

In the past year, I have permanently lost friends, some to COVID-19, some to conspiracy theories. Both have hurt deeply.

In the past year, I have also been witness to incredible resiliency, patience, courage, determination, and authenticity, some of it my own.

In the past year, I simultaneously felt like I lost faith in humanity and renewed my faith in humanity.

In the past year, I have become even more conscious of what’s truly important to me, of where I need to grow, where I need more compassion, and where I can stop holding back out of fear. 

One year ago today, everything changed.

The Journey to Love: Healing Birthday Trauma

The Journey to Love: Healing Birthday Trauma

Photo by Tore F on Unsplash

As I write this, it’s my birthday.

Like many trauma survivors, my birthday has never really been a day of celebration and joy. Rather, it’s been a collection of traumas big and small, a message layered year after year that I’m not worth celebrating.

Until this year. Because this year, with a lot of help, I processed the trauma around my birthday.

I see now how I was taking other people’s words and actions (or lack thereof) and making it about me. That’s easy to do, and a normal part of child development. And as happens with trauma, we can get stuck with unprocessed trauma, in the same stage of development we were in when it happened. So the child who blames themself for being unlovable, as children do when they are rejected, overlooked, ignored, punished unfairly, and so on, becomes the adult who blames themself for being unlovable. And every time those old wounds get triggered by current words or actions (or lack thereof), it’s taken as proof that the old wound’s message was right: I am unlovable.

When we process the trauma, we can separate ourselves from it, create a more empowering belief from it, and place it appropriately into the narrative of our lives that makes us who we are today.

But it must be processed. And to process it, we have to be honest about how we feel, be willing to feel the emotions, accept that the emotions are a natural and necessary part of who we are as human beings, express those emotions in a way that does not cause harm to ourselves or others, and love ourselves on the other side.

The day before my birthday, I sobbed. I grieved for the child who so often was rejected or ignored. I grieved for the child who believed that a pleasant birthday experience had to be earned. I grieved for the child who never wanted to have another birthday because it was only a reminder of being unloved.

I had a call with my coach that day. Knowing she’s a safe person, and our calls are sacred space where I can freely be my full self, I sobbed in front of her. She saw my tears, witnessed my grief, and heard my pain. And when I had shared enough for her to understand why birthdays were so painful, she gently reminded me that what others say or do (or don’t say or do) does not diminish my worth one iota.

An image from my three years of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) trauma therapy came up. In the image, I was standing on a crowded beach, in pain. Everyone around me was wearing sunglasses, but as I looked more closely, I realized that some of these glasses didn’t just block the sun. They also blocked the ability to see others, or others’ pain, or only certain people.

It wasn’t that they didn’t care. It was that they couldn’t see me. It’s no one’s fault, including mine, and it also doesn’t change who I am. How others see me (if they do), has everything to do with their perspective (glasses) and nothing to do with who I am.

I am neither diminished nor elevated based on how others perceive me, including if they don’t perceive me at all.

On the morning of my birthday, I woke with a physical feeling in my body that what others say or do is not about me. And making it about me is what I as a child did because that was developmentally appropriate for a child. I don’t need to do that anymore.

I felt a complete separation between what others say or do and who I am. I felt in touch with the truth of who I am as a spirit being of love. I felt joyous. I felt loved by the universe. I loved myself.

At 11:56 p.m. the night of my birthday, I saw the clock and that internal, critical voice noted, “Only four more minutes of my birthday, and then it’s over.”

“No,” I said aloud, shaking my head. Because every day is a day to celebrate the truth of who I am, to love myself, and feel loved by the universe. Every day can feel like my birthday, and I can celebrate everyone who comes into my life and invite them to celebrate love with me.

Every day is another opportunity to experience life from a place of love. Every day is an opportunity to truly know that we matter.

Stay In Your Lane

Stay In Your Lane

I spent several weeks in June helping my oldest son get all the practice he needed to take his driver’s license road test. And he discovered, as all of us who learn to drive do, that when driving on the highway, even small movements at the wheel can significantly change the trajectory of the vehicle when you’re traveling at 60 miles per hour.

The refrain he most often heard from me during those highway trips was, “Stay in your lane.”

So imagine the surprise and a certain amount of frustration when that became the refrain from my guides to me.

It went like this.

I was scrolling through Facebook, as one does, finding myself getting sucked into reading arguments about Covid-19, about masks, about the USPS, about racism, about the upcoming election, and about politics in general. People were doubling down on conspiracy theories, supplementing them with QAnon talking points. And my energy went from open and peaceful to fear and anger.

“You need to get off of Facebook,” Dresden, my primary guide, cautioned me.

“How are people believing some of this?” I asked. “Have you seen this?”

“What I’m seeing is you not getting off of Facebook.”

“This is just wrong!” I continued. “This isn’t true at all. Science debunked this years ago.”

“Don’t go there.”

“Here, look. Someone else posted a well-written rebuttal from a verified source. I should copy this source for use in the future.”

“Sheyna,” Dresden said in a tone I hadn’t heard in a while. “Stay in your lane.”

“What? I’m not driving.”

“You’re heading in a direction that will not take you where you want to go,” Dresden said. “Remind me what you uncovered as your mission.”

I remembered a kind of psychic download that I’d just recently received. “I connect you to your true self and your own kick-ass team of guides, who are ready to help you live a powerful life of love, joy, and freedom.”

“And what did you then discern was your mission on social media?” Dresden asked.

“I share what I’ve learned and experienced — both pleasant and unpleasant — in my journey to that powerful life of love, joy, and freedom.”

“And how is this,” Dresden waved toward my phone, “helping you stay true to your mission?”


“You think you’re just browsing posts,” Dresden said, “but is it taking you anywhere close to love, joy, or freedom?”

“I need to know where people are, where they’re coming from,” I argued, knowing already it wasn’t helpful.

“How is allowing yourself to get mired in anger and fear going to help you experience love, joy, or freedom, or for that matter, helping anyone else experience that?”

“It isn’t.”

“And what will?” Dresden prodded.

“The things I’m drawn to: meditation, time in nature, talking with you, laughter.”


“So, I don’t need that rebuttal? Or any other evidence that would support where I stand on these issues?”

“That isn’t your mission,” Dresden said. “Not this time.”

“I need to be very mindful of what I consume on social media,” I said. “Stay true to my mission. Stay in my lane.”

On Confession, Denial, and White Privilege

On Confession, Denial, and White Privilege

Image by Betty Martin
I’m white. I’m Jewish. I’m an abuse survivor. And I’m a former mental health counselor and current soul guides coach with a specialty in adult survivors of trauma. This collection of experiences and perspectives comes together and leads me to invite my fellow white people to be with me here in the pain and grief and rage and powerlessness in this week following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
I invite you, fellow white people, to be here with me and to consider another perspective.
We Jews don’t do individual confession the way Catholics (and perhaps other Christians) do. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we recite—five times—the Viddui, a prayer for the confession of sins. And what makes this different and unique is that we recite it communally. We all confess to the same failures, whether we know we are guilty of them or not. We do this for a few reasons:

  1. As a communal people, a tribe, what one of us does, it affects our entire community;
  2. We are creating a sacred space for those who know they need to confess, but don’t want to admit it;
  3. We are acknowledging that even if we don’t think we’ve failed in this particular way, we know we could have unknowingly, and that we have the capacity to do so.
In the Viddui, we confess to failures such as being self-destructive, betraying ourselves and our families, stealing from others (including time, energy, attention), being impulsive, stubborn, ignorant, and this one, especially now: we have diminished the importance of others.
We Jews have historically always been on the side of the underdog. We’ve been the underdog. In some places in the world, we still are. And we are all, Jewish or not, much better at empathizing with the victim than the perpetrator. We can’t help but imagine what Mr. Floyd’s last few agonizing minutes were like, we see the injustices and feel angry and called to protest them in some form, and we place our solidarity with those who have been wronged.
Most, if not all of us, know what it feels like to not be able to breathe.
My invitation for you today is to step away from that perspective for a few minutes. Make sure you’re in a safe space, as you do this, and if you also have trauma in your background, that you have support people nearby, physically or virtually. Begin to take deep, easy, rhythmic breaths. Any distracting thoughts can be let go for now. They’ll return when you need them. Feel the support beneath your body and allow your muscles to relax. Then, focus on your heart, on the love you have for others, the love you have for yourself, the love others have for you.
Remember that we as human beings are all connected energetically. On one level, we are all George Floyd. And that means we are also, on one level, all Derek Chauvin.
Saying that we are all George Floyd gives us a sense of righteous fury, of fighting for equality and justice. And for all of us who are white, it means being less likely to be shot down (literally or figuratively) for that. Because like it or not, believe it or not, the reality is that we have white privilege.
Saying that we are all Derek Chauvin? That has an entirely different feeling to it. And I would submit to you that almost no one wants to say that and mean it. But that’s precisely what I’m asking you to do right now for this exercise.
In the same way that we confess in the Viddui that we have caused pain to others, say silently or aloud, “We are all Derek Chauvin.”
What feelings come up? Denial? Anger? Disgust that I’d even suggest this? For many, the immediate reaction is, “No way, I am nothing like him.” But that’s not the point. The point is not whether you, an individual, have acted (or even thought) like another individual. The point is that we are part of a community that has, and that continues to, treat Black, indigenous, and other people of color as less-than. We are part of a community that has discriminated in housing, employment, social services, policing, law, and education, among others.
That’s the discomfort I invite you to be with. The discomfort of knowing that we are part of a community that has caused pain, betrayal, that has stolen futures and lives.
Am I suggesting that you are equally guilty of murder? As an individual, no. As a community, yes, we are. And here’s why: The people we vote for, the people we trust, the people we defend, the people we elect to lead us, the people we give our money to—these are the people who have written the laws and policies and contracts and rules that have led to where we are today.
When we as white people elect a racist person to lead any part of our community because that racist person values businesses and profit and property over the quality of life—and the lives themselves—of Black, indigenous, and other people of color, then we are part of the problem. When we as white people make excuses for police brutality because “the people they arrested shouldn’t have done what they did,” we are part of the problem. When we as white people use racist language and excuse it by saying we mean it as a joke, we are part of the problem. When we give money—in donations or by using our purchasing power—to racist and white supremacist business owners, we are part of the problem.
In myriad ways, we are part of the problem that has led to where we are today. And we are part of the solution. But we can only be a part of the solution by acknowledging and owning our collective responsibility, our communal sin, and how the decisions we and those who came before us made, how the way we have bought into even subtle systemic racism, have created the Derek Chauvins of this world.
Be with the discomfort, the anger, the denial, the disgust. And recognize that those feelings are there to point you in a direction toward healing. None of us want to be Derek Chauvin. So, what are you going to do to atone for our communal responsibility? Whose voices will you amplify? Who will you invite to speak at your organization? Who will you vote for? What petitions will you sign? Where will you donate? What will you repost? What words will you choose? How will you show up in your life, in your family, in the world?
Our communal responsibility is not a sentence of punishment. It’s an opportunity to do better, to be better. Will you take it?

What Are Soul Guides?

I use “soul guides” as an umbrella term to encompass spirit guides, angels/messengers, ascended masters, animal spirits, ancestors, and Source/Spirit. Each one may have a different role to play in supporting you to experience what you’re here to experience. Here’s a brief description:

Spirit guides: Energy beings of a high vibrational frequency, who have gone through extensive training—through both incarnations and back Home—and whose role is to provide support for a soul incarnated into physical form. There is a kind of hierarchy of spirit guides, with some working with “supervisor” guides.

Angels/messengers: Extremely high-vibrational beings who have a wide variety of responsibilities. The word “angel” comes from Greek and literally means “messenger.” As the word angel has acquired quite a bit of Christian religious baggage, some angels have expressed a preference to be described instead as “messengers,” saying that it’s more accurate. They also are adamant that the message is more important than the messenger. The status that humans give to them is largely irrelevant to them. Most (but not all) have never incarnated in a lifetime from birth to death.

Ascended masters: Souls who have achieved a very high vibrational frequency and incarnated with the specific purpose of teaching humanity and bringing them closer to their true essence as a spark of Source energy.

Animal spirits: Spirits who present themselves as animals, either incarnated or not, or who can shape-shift between human and animal forms, whose responsibility is to guide you on your way toward what you intended to experience in this lifetime.

Ancestors: Previously incarnated souls who were part of your family line in this or a previous incarnation, who encourage, comfort, and love you from back Home. They may also visit as spirits, working in tandem with animals or insects, or manipulating energy to comfort and encourage you.

Source/Spirit: The Source of All, the conscious energy that creates and permeates everything.


If you want to learn how to connect with your own guides, contact me for a free Illumination Call.



“Um,” “uh,” “you know,” and “like” were verbal diarrhea, according to my eighth grade speech and debate teacher. He added that using words like this made us sound stupid, and I did not want to be seen as stupid, so I threw myself into eliminating every filler word possible.
Two years later, working a summer job, I drafted my legal research on a pro bono case involving the definition of the word sunset for my father, a well-known attorney in the south San Francisco Bay Area at the time. Rather than rewriting it, he thought it good enough to present to the judge as I’d written it. Then he asked me to accompany him to court for the case.
The judge recognized immediately that it wasn’t my father’s writing style, and asked who wrote the brief. My father said I did, and motioned me to stand. Then the judge addressed me.
“What do you want to do for a career, young lady?”
“Um…” I began.
I didn’t tell him I wanted to be a writer, because my parents already convinced me I’d never make any money at it, and I should give up that dream. I didn’t tell him I wanted to be a psychologist, that I wanted to guide others toward healing emotional wounds, because I’d already been lectured on the “soft sciences” not being real science. I told him I was thinking of law school.
I wanted his approval. (He was a judge, after all.) I wanted to present an image that others would approve of.
For the next twenty years, I did my best to perfect that image. I called it my mask. And behind it, I was dying. I didn’t want to always look and be professional and competent and constantly prove myself and subject myself to judgment every time I opened my mouth. I wanted to live in jeans and go without makeup and give voice to the voices in my head—those of my guides and those of the characters that had stories to tell.
I had a 90s power suit, was the assistant to the executive director of a university business department, and spent a good deal of time on the phone soliciting money from wealthy donors. I wanted to write and watch the clouds go by and eat ice cream messily.
In my thirties, I got that chance. I had kids. And I wrote two novels. And I spent a lot of time looking at clouds and hunting for Little Boy’s Other White Sock.
Now I’m just into my fifties, my kids have become well-adjusted young adults, and I’ve embarked on my true love—even beyond writing: teaching others how to connect with their soul guides, their intuition, and their joy, and how to use those in every aspect of their lives. In making this shift in my work, judgment came back. How should I dress? How professional do I need to look? What should I say?
But here’s the thing: I don’t want another mask. Now, when you get me, you get me, ums and uhs and awkward silences and all.
There’s actually a science behind all those filler words. Sometimes I use them to let others know that I’m trying to find the right word, that I’m not done talking yet, or that I’m trying to sift through my thoughts and all the input my guides are giving me. (It can be very noisy in my head.) So, Mr. R. in eighth grade speech and debate, I understand what you were trying to teach us, and, um, I reject the sacrifice of authenticity to the altar of image.
And now, in the middle of this global pandemic, when millions are unemployed in the United States, and we’re all stressed to some degree about who’s going to get sick next and if they’ll survive, and what about the economy… I encourage you to give yourselves a break. Accept all your ums and uhs and live in denim if that’s your gig and embrace who you really are, not the image you’ve been trying to project.
We have enough false images in the world today. It’s time to be real. And whole.
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