One of the things I’ve done really well so far in life, is make things a lot harder on myself than they need to be. It’s not something I’m proud of, just a weird, natural quirk, but one that helps me IMMENSELY when I’m teaching – especially when it comes to all things spiritual.

I usually take a look at an aspect of my work, and what it took me to actually learn that, and then show my clients the fast track. Because while we’ve created the illusion of merit in “the struggle” if you can learn things the easy way, why wouldn’t you?

So if you’ve found yourself on the spiritual struggle bus and you’re ready to get off at the next station, this post is for you.

Phase 1: Natural gifts with the wrong inspiration

I was an intuitive kid who spent a lot of time in confession because I told my priest about using ouija boards and trying to astrally project. I was a curious kid who read a lot, and tried most of what she found in books. This lead to me getting kicked out when I was 12 because my stepmom thought I was possessed by the devil.

Because of my Catholic upbringing, there wasn’t a ton of support to nurturing my innate gifts and my spiritual curiosity. Where my brother learned about life through the hidden Playboys he could find, I learned through stories, a lot of them occult based. I also learned about ouija boards from older kids at my dance studio, and I learned magic and scrying from randoms on the internet as a teen. I had a lot of scary experiences in my youth, including energetic violations, and manifesting a haunting of a frenemy’s house. I only knew the dark side of this world, and it frightened me. By the time I was 17, I’d shut almost everything down. I feared what was possible and how powerful I may be.

The lessons:

Set the foundation with trustworthy resources – don’t learn how to do deep spiritual work from fiction or people you don’t know.
It’s essential to feel safe, anchored, and protected in this work so you can continue to explore openly. You need to learn the right tools to manage your energy, help you guard yourself, and ground, ground, ground as part of your spiritual maintenance.

Phase 2: Exploring your shame stories

Aside from feeling the energetic overwhelm of spiritual work, I also had a lot of unravelling to do with the stories I’d been collecting about what it means to be spiritual, and not religious. The guilt of a Catholic upbringing didn’t help, and when you spend 30 minutes in confession (and get 20 prayers for penance), your classmates notice. The feeling of being “other” was long enforced before my stepmom asked me to leave.

Part of my mediumship training had to do with exploring our stories about this work. It seems funny now, but I didn’t really think I had any, but the reason was: it was never overt. The people I knew didn’t go around blatantly calling people witches or freaks or weirdos… it was more subtle. It was keeping social distance. It was the additional penance. It was eye rolls. Silent warfare –  never overt. So when it came time it was hard to identify, because it wasn’t things I’d heard per se, more things I’d experienced. Once I could realize that distinction though, I could feel the remainder of my shields just melt away. Because here’s the truth: I’d rather be liked for who I am by only a few, than be adored by the masses for pretending to be someone I’m not.

The lessons:

Explore your beliefs and try things out, but also look at the conditioning you’ve received about them. Just because something was true for you then (or just because other people tell you something is true or right) doesn’t mean it resonates for you now.
Get comfortable with who you are and what you believe and know it with unshakeable certainty. Be ready to let relationships go that aren’t aligned with the person you truly are.

Phase 3: Wholehearted Self-Acceptance

In my late 20s, I started to recognize that life as I was living it wasn’t working for me. I began working with a shaman, with plant medicine, and energy work. Now here’s the kicker: in those early days, I was SO shielded and unplugged from my heart that I viewed this work as a psychological exercise to connect to my subconscious. I had no idea that something as simple as a plant would have the ability to bypass all the bullshit I’d told myself over the years and get straight to the Truth.

In my second ceremony, the entire theme was about self love. The intention I’d set was to understand the relationship with my body, and why I wasn’t motivated to make changes to it, but those lessons wouldn’t come through for another 10+ years. Instead, I was inundated with the awareness of all my best traits. I was laughing over it. I could feel myself levitate above the room doing the backstroke through the year, sprinkling love over everyone around me.

In the years to come, I started looking at all of my shadow stories. Stuff from my past, from my childhood, from past lives, and my lineage. Hard, uncomfortable truths. Lots of forgiveness required – not just of those in my life, but primarily of myself. For the things I’d done to others, and for the ways I’d betrayed myself. It was by doing this: seeing the good, the bad, the ugly and loving myself despite all of it that transformed my relationship with myself, and the divine.

When I began my formal angel studies a few years ago, the very first exercise he had us do was drop our shields so that we could see our angel. Because here’s the thing: your angels and guides already see beyond your doubt, shame, regret and they love you anyways. So when you do this work of accepting all aspects of yourself, you make it a lot easier to receive messages from the other side, because you’re able to more easily (not entirely sometimes) bypass your shame and skepticism.

The lessons:

Learning to see ALL of you and choosing to love it is probably the bravest thing you can do, whether you’re choosing to live a spiritual life or not. At the end of the day, you’ll always be with you, so liking that person (or working to like them) goes a LONG way.
Seeing yourself as your angels and guides do makes it so much easier for them to communicate with you. If connecting with your spiritual team is something you yearn for, it begins with an honest connection to yourself.

Phase 4: Resistance and Control

After I’d spent all these years on rewriting the stories I’d been told, learning to manage my energy, and loving myself so messages could come in, naturally there needed to be another hiccup. (Remember when I said I have a tendency to make things hard on myself?) I was willing to communicate with my angels and guides, but only under certain circumstances. The two big no-nos for me were being physically touched by a being, and not wanting to see anything, especially with  my eyes open.

The best advice I’d gotten from my mediumship teacher before I began my studies was “Rather than trying to learn how to suppress clairvoyance, wouldn’t it be better to understand why you’re determined not to see?” Ugh. Hard truth. But even in knowing that, I was stubbornly resisting, and my guides increased their persistence.

For a period of 6 weeks, I would be woken up at 3am with ringing in my ears that was so piercing it would pull me out of a deep sleep. And they wouldn’t stop. I called it angel radio, and I was so resentful. I would cry before bed, begging for a full night’s sleep, and when the inevitable 3am wake up would happen again, I would curse the heavens and silently scream as my husband slept beside me. (I talk about this in my video for Due North.)

And then something shifted.

Rather than fighting it, and stubbornly laying in bed, holding the pillow over my ears trying to make it stop, I accepted the inevitable. I decided to use the time instead of fight it. I’d get up out of bed, climb into the shower, and sit in the bottom of the tub as the water washed over me.

I started out with prayers to Archangel Michael to cut the cords that bound me, and I called all my power back to me. I would do several rounds of EFT (tapping), and I’d then put in the plug and lay down as the water raised up over my ears, and I’d listen. I couldn’t hear angel radio well through the water, but I was able to start receiving messages. It started out with just knowing things (clairsentience was my first gift to turn on, claircognizance was next), and then suddenly I started receiving messages with music. Sometimes it would be a lyric that was especially relevant. Other times it was a song from a point in time that was relevant to something I was experiencing. I got waterproof notepads and started writing things down while the shower continued to run. I got downloads for my work, for clients, for designs.

The channels were open, and it all began with my willingness to listen, and my commitment to the work. (To be honest, I’m curious but a bit nervous to know how long that would’ve continued for if I hadn’t started that daily ritual.)

The lessons:

Don’t get cocky – just because you’ve been at your journey for awhile, doesn’t mean there isn’t more to learn. The term “new level, new devil” is especially poignant with spiritual work.
Commit. The worst place you can sit on your spiritual path is on the fence.Find ways, even if it’s 5 minutes a day, to tune into receiving messages from your angels and guides. It doesn’t have to be fancy, elaborate, or expensive – it just needs to work for you.

Phase 5: Boundaries and Energetic Maintenance

Because my journey began with self-study and zero support, I kind of thought this work was like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost – once it was on, it was ON and I was to be at Spirit’s whim. I didn’t want to live life where I wasn’t in control, and I was easily overwhelmed to the point of anxiety and exhaustion.

While I don’t recommend trying to control how you get information from Spirit, I am a firm believer that health boundaries makes a relationship. And when I began working with mentors, I learned that it’s 100% okay to call the shots. So I began setting some guidelines with spirit…

  1. No more waking me up at night. This is the biggest one, honestly because ya girl needs her sleep. Before bed every night I invite in angels to basically be my bedroom bouncers to keep entities from visiting – even the peeps I love, so that my body remains undisturbed. (Minus my cat wriggling.) I also set the boundary that I do not receive messages in my dreams, and I put up a protective bubble of golden light that extends beyond my house to keep out any visitors. I’m spiritually “on” pretty much all day, that they have plenty of opportunities to say hi during my waking hours.
  2. NO TOUCHING. Ugh, when my gifts were waking up, I had a ghost cat that would rub my legs, I had my face stroked while I was in the tub, and my shoulder touched when I needed reassurance. While I get that these were all affectionate things, they freaked me the eff out. So the no touching rule was born.
  3. I don’t give random messages. In the first years of my training, my stepdad would come through a lot with messages for my sisters, and he’d get increasingly frustrated when I wouldn’t give them to them. (One sister was hard to pin down, the other doesn’t want to receive messages.) I also had painful ear ringing when I ignored someone trying to pass along a message while I was on vacation. If I’m in a session with a client, bringing forward messages is part of the gig, but only the stuff that is in support of their highest good and truth is permitted to come in. I don’t go around chasing strangers with messages because boundaries are sexy – and I’m not at the whim of someone with unresolved stuff from the other side.

I also started to build energetic clearing into my regular life, and my ceremonial work. This helps me maintain my own energy boundaries – I can tell if I’m carrying stuff that isn’t mine (empath problems!) and I can send it back from whence it came. I’ve probably been working with sage the longest, but also love working with palo santo, aura soma and my own room sprays to clear my energetic body. And I can’t say enough about salt baths with a high quality essential oil (especially lavender).

Energetic boundaries is not a betrayal of your sacred work – it’s how you can support yourself continuing it. Find out what works for you, and develop routines that keep you feeling safe and supported.

The lessons:

You are the boss of your being, and your energy. You get to choose what you will and will not do, and when you will and will not do it. I’ve frequently said “I am NOT Spirit’s bitch” and I mean it. Remember that you are always the captain of your ship. Develop the tools you need to navigate the waters with clarity and confidence.

With love and magic,

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