If you were to really, truly listen to your body, what would it be telling you?
For months now, I was pretty sure my body was telling me to sleep for a week or more. I heard my body say it was tired, really tired, all the time, but I didn’t really LISTEN.
It was while I was brushing my teeth a couple of nights ago that I was bemoaning my body to any guides who were listening. A recent joint dysfunction diagnosis combined with injury in that area and pain that was easily a 10 on the pain scale had me feeling like my body was falling apart or betraying me. And I said as much.
In response, Michael popped in and countered my complaints with this gem: “Your body is a finely tuned instrument. It will tell you what you need to know and when to seek help. Your job is to listen carefully to its messages.”
Well, I thought, that’s not super helpful when I don’t understand the messages I’m receiving. But I decided to try again.
Overwhelmingly, I heard my body say it was tired. Exhausted. Even all of my self–care wasn’t helping.
And then I remembered telling my partner several times that I was waking up more tired than I was when I went to sleep. I sleep with a CPAP and my AHI has been below 2, so I know it’s not apnea (always a concern with waking up more tired).
I’ve also recently been sleeping with my smartwatch on (🚫🍎) at the suggestion of my guides and it tracks my sleep. So I started looking into the statistics.
Lo and behold, I’ve been getting an average of less than 20 minutes of deep sleep each night for the past two weeks. Deep sleep is the restorative sleep when healing happens.
Well, no wonder my body says it’s exhausted.
I’d already increased the amount of magnesium I take at night, recommended by my doctor to help with the joint dysfunction/injury and related inflammation and muscle knots. I was GETTING to sleep well enough, but I often woke with night sweats or pain in my feet or for no obvious reason at all.
I’d chalked all of this up to fibromyalgia or menopause or dehydration or some combination of all three, and other than continuing to try to drink more despite not being thirsty, I figured I’d just have to live with it.
But reading an article in the journal Sleep about the effect of deep sleep deprivation on hormones revealed that in a study published in 2019, sleep deprivation also sent hormones into chaos, including vasopressin, which controls the body’s hydration levels and moderates the feeling of thirst.
Could my struggle to drink enough water be physiological? And could it be caused by sleep issues?
I also know about my body that I LOVE having something heavy over my upper arms and shoulders when I sleep. I’d been using a second blanket over my sheet and regular blanket. But I kept getting an intuitive ping about using my weighted blanket.
So, last night I arranged my regular blanket down at the foot of the bed, spread out my weighted blanket instead, and slept with just that and a sheet. There’s no padding in my weighted blanket; it’s just two layers of cotton with glass beads in between. It’s heavy (20#) but not particularly warm.
I also achieved my hydration goal yesterday for the first time in a long time (many months), drinking 85oz of uncaffeinated, calorie-free liquid (mostly water).
The net effect was that I had to get up three times to use the bathroom, but I got right back to sleep easily. And when I checked my sleep statistics this morning, an astonishing 81% of my sleep was in deep sleep!
I’m still tired today, but my body is more relaxed than it’s been in months, and I can feel in my body that I’m on the right track to better health.
For the first time in six months, I feel hopeful about my physical health. Other than my hip joint issue, all of the other tests to get to the bottom of my symptoms (chief among them being severe fatigue) were normal. My doctors say I’m fine. But my body says it’s so very, very tired. And I finally listened.
If you were to really, truly listen to your body, what would it be telling you?
It would be great if connecting with our soul guides was as easy as plugging in an electrical appliance or adding a new mouse to your computer.
Plug-and-play guides. I’ll recommend that to my guides and see if they can run that up the chain.
“It really is that simple,” Dresden (my primary guide) said when I mentioned it to him. “The problem is that every person has their own unique operating system, customized by experience and belief.”
“How do you solve that problem?” I asked.
“Identify and implement the unique method for connection within each person,” Dresden said.
There are hundreds of books published about how to connect with spirit guides and angels and most are marketed to “everyone.” But Dresden’s right: no one method works for everyone. And the methods that are most commonly used in books and meditations are not trauma-informed.
What does trauma-informed have to do with this?
There are far more people who have been affected by trauma than those who identify as trauma survivors. One of those effects is a heightened need for safety. Very often, guide-connection meditations start with the person closing their eyes and then imagining themselves on a beach, or in a meadow, or on a path. Trust me when I say that for most people with trauma in their histories, this does not feel safe.
Another one of those effects of trauma is difficulty trusting. Most guide-connection books and meditations lead you to a presence, often appearing as a human or animal, and instruct the reader/listener to follow the guidance of that presence.
Sounds easy enough, but imagine for a moment that I give that instruction to a small child:
“You’re on a path. You don’t know where it leads. You’re alone right now but that’s okay because at the end of the path, someone is waiting for you. Walk down the path and when you come to the end, you’ll see someone. You can trust them. Listen to what they have to say.”
I’ve known my guides most of my life, and even I have an Oh hell, no! reaction. I would never tell one of my kids to do that. Why would I tell someone who needs to feel safe and has a hard time trusting that they should do exactly the opposite of what they need?
The bottom line is that people affected by trauma cannot meet and trust their guides until they feel safe and know the guides they’re meeting really are guides and can be trusted. Kind of a Catch-22.
How do I get around that?
Before I can answer that question, I have to return to what Dresden called our unique operating systems. Not everyone is going to see their guides. Not everyone is going to hear them. Even among those of us who are fully connected with our guides, we don’t all have the same method of communicating with them. Some use meditations. Some use dreams. Some go into trance. Some have full “downloads” of words, concepts, or instructions. Some see images, symbols, colors, or words. Some smell scents that don’t currently exist in their physical environment. Some hear voices. Some feel sensations, temperatures, textures, pressure, nudges, pokes, or even tickles.
Telling someone whose operating system is geared toward sensation to listen for their guides isn’t going to help and might just set them up for failure. Telling someone to imagine walking down that path and seeing their guide at the end isn’t necessarily going to work for someone whose dominant communication style is knowing something beyond doubt, without knowing how they know it.
Some people have been taught to believe that anything outside the boundaries of their holy texts must therefore be evil, which immediately brings fear into the mix, and fear and safety don’t play well together.
Movies and TV and stories have further taught many that messages from guides and angels are delivered with trumpet blasts or bright light or a booming voice from the heavens. That works great in a medium like a movie, where you have to portray intensity and power through visuals, sound, camera angles, and dialogue. But the real thing? It’s subtle. It can still be intense and powerful, but what you’re tuning into is subtle.
There’s a reason the Hebrew and Christian bibles both refer to a “still, small voice.”
Where am I supposed to start, then, if I want to connect with my guides?
Start by identifying where, when, and how you feel safe. Are your eyes open or closed or open a little and focused a few feet in front of you or something else? Does it help you to have an object to focus on like a rock or a candle (lit or not) or a stuffed animal or a photograph? What does your environment need to be like? What temperature? Sitting, standing, laying down? Lights on, dimmed, or off? Door open or closed? Do you prefer silence, white noise, relaxing music? Is there a best time of day or night for you? Everything about your environment should be there to support you.
Believe that you are worthy of having guides. As much as we joke about our spirit guides face-palming, day-drinking, or giving up on us because we’re not listening, that does not happen. (They might roll their metaphorical eyes now and then.) Our guides may be more hands-on or hands-off, depending on what arrangements we made before birth, but we are always free to change our minds (YAY free will!) and they will accommodate us.
Set the intention that you are going to meet your guide(s) and only your guide(s). Ask your guides to protect your meeting so that you only meet them. If a ritual helps you do this—lighting a candle, creating a circle around you, reciting prayers before and after—feel free to do so.
Are there energy beings who do not have your best interests in mind? Yes. I think of most of these entities as the leeches or lampreys (eww) or mosquitos of the spiritual world. I don’t say this to create fear, because you have a lot more power than you think you do. At the same time, it’s best not to invite them into your energetic home for dinner.
Be open to all the ways in which your guides may communicate with you. Ask questions. Good questions to start with are, “Are you one of my guides?” “What is your name?” “What do you want me to know in this moment?”
I highly recommend keeping a journal and writing down or recording (if you prefer audio or video) what comes up. Notice anything that comes up. Any sensations, images, emotions, memories, thoughts, scents. Keep track of any dreams you have after trying this.
And keep trying. This is a practice, not a task to complete. I’ve been in contact with my guides for over fifty years, and there are still times—especially highly emotional or stressful times—when I need to go back to the basics and solidify my connection with them.
What if I still don’t feel safe or like I can trust this?
What if I’ve tried this a hundred times and it still doesn’t work?
I can help. I can work with you one-on-one to create safety, establish trust, and identify your strongest methods for communicating with your guides. You don’t have to do this alone.
Mental blocks. Distorted thinking. Cognitive distortions. Stinkin’ thinkin’.
There are a lot of names for it, but these are all ways to refer to a pattern of inaccurate thoughts or beliefs that keep us stuck and unable to heal old wounds and trauma. The other day, I was asked about one of mine.
“What will take you out, every time?” one of my coaches asked.
I knew well enough not to think too hard about it but instead go with my intuitive sense. “Criticism,” I said.
And then, working with that, I was able to narrow it down. It wasn’t just criticism. It wasn’t just uninvited criticism. It was uninvited criticism about how I expressed myself—my words and appearance. That pointed to an old wound, heavily criticized as a child by family members as well as peers about how I told stories, how I sang, how I dressed, my hair, my weight, my teeth, my height, my intelligence.
It’s as if one of my child parts got stuck as a skinny nine-year-old, deep-thinking weirdo with buck teeth, braces, long, stringy hair, and messy handwriting. A person assigned female at birth with severe body dysmorphia who talks too much, sings too much, cares too much, talks to invisible people, and spends too much time writing and daydreaming and not enough time doing chores.
That nine-year-old was convinced they were too much and not enough, all at once.
But adult-me doesn’t generally get that kind of criticism, and if I do, it’s from someone I don’t trust and don’t have room for in my life.
So, it’s not criticism that takes me out. It’s the anticipation of criticism. Because that nine-year-old is still expecting it around every corner.
What have I done in reaction to that fear, that anticipation? I silence and squash myself. I make myself small, unnoticeable, forgettable. I will even breathe so shallowly that no one can hear me, and I can barely feel it myself.
It’s almost as if I will myself not to exist anymore.
That’s no way to live. In fact, I could argue that that’s a kind of death.
When I work with my clients, we invite our soul guides in. What are soul guides? I use “soul guides” as an umbrella term to encompass spirit guides, angels/messengers, ascended masters, animal spirits, ancestors, our higher self, and the Source of All. Each one may have a different role to play in supporting us to experience what we’re here to experience.
It’s not about following their directions or doing what they say. (Real guides won’t tell you what to do; they’ll offer suggestions and defer to your free will.) Rather, it’s that our guides see us as we really are, underneath the self-criticism and shame. They see our true essence, with loving eyes, not critical ones.
Some people don’t silence and squash themselves. They make themselves bigger, better, best. It still hides the same self-criticism and shame. And their guides can see through it.
“If you saw yourselves the way we see you,” Dresden, my primary guide, said in my forthcoming book 10 Things Your Soul Guides Want You to Know: Especially If You Have Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Pain, or PTSD, “you would treat yourselves like the divine beings you are.”
It’s a process to begin accepting such a perspective. I argued for years against it, until I exhausted my arguments and came to realize that I was arguing for silencing and squashing myself. I was, in effect, betraying myself every time I shut myself down. I didn’t even need those uninvited, untrusted critics. I was doing their dirty work for them.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about four questions to ask in determining who earned the right to offer her criticism to which she’d listen. My guides meet all four of these criteria. My critical relatives did not. Nor does my inner critic.
Today, I’ve got that nine-year-old’s back. They grew up into a thoughtful, loving, compassionate person who still talks to invisible people, even (or especially) while doing chores. It’s time to stop silencing and squashing ourselves. It’s time to live from our whole essence.
Is your inner critic getting you down? Sign up to download my free mini-ebook, Self-Talk and the Inner Critic.
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.
Are guides and angels (or is God) causing the current novel coronavirus and Covid-19 in order to get our attention or to punish us?
I’ve been asked this question now four times in the past two days. The answer is an unequivocal NO.
This is not a divine punishment, nor is it a wakeup call because we haven’t been paying attention. This is a natural extension of living in a physical world that supports replication and mutation of genetic material. It is no different, spiritually, from any other disease-causing pathogen.
Here’s where you can go with the challenges created by the current pandemic: you can really begin to see that we are all connected. You can see that what each one of us does has a ripple effect on so many others. And we get to choose if that ripple is one of disease risk or of kindness and compassion. You can acknowledge your mortality and that of everyone else, and be the best version of yourself that you know how to be in this moment.
You can do all you can with what you have from where you are.
You can practice physical distancing, but remain social via any of the many apps available now to connect us, whether Zoom, FaceTime (if you’re an Apple user), social media, Marco Polo, Skype, etc. By reaching out to others, you also bring yourself out of the internal isolation and thought-spiraling that can make you feel worse.
Are our guides sitting around on their thumbs while this is going on? While people are getting sick and dying?
No. They want very much to remind you that you are a spark of Source energy, that you matter to the world, and that you are far more powerful than you think you are. They want to support and encourage you to grow and learn and experience. And they are having a difficult time being heard above all the fear and anxiety and constant input from the media.
How can you get their message?
Limit your consumption of the media, both in terms of time and the reputation of the source. Aim for the least biased sources, with the least amount of hype. Public radio and public television are more likely to give you that than commercial broadcasting.
Make time to be. Whether in silence or yoga or meditation or prayer, take some time to be still and silent and with yourself. Open yourself to the “still, small voice.”
Stay in the moment. If your mind races off to some other place or time, bring it back gently and let those thoughts and feelings go.
Breathe. Slow and easy, relaxed and comfortable.
If you are someone who likes or is open to guided imagery, I’ve uploaded two calming meditations on Soul Guides’ new YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQQgOCRiQAlJkrdQxkMjyIQ
There are also two videos there (with more to come) on shifting your energy away from anxiety and toward gratitude and love.
Beware those who spread more fear
I’ve also seen warnings from spiritually-inclined people that we should prepare for apocalyptic-like failures, such as a global internet or power blackout or fuel scarcity or long-term food (and toilet paper) shortages.
No. This is nothing more than buying into fear and creating more panic. The real threat is overwhelming the capacity and capabilities of hospitals. No zombies. No end-of-times.
Just another opportunity for you to center and ground yourself, connect with yourself and your guides, and be the gift you are to this world.
If you want to learn how to connect with your own guides, contact me for a free Illumination Session.