Energetic protection.

You guys, we're almost there. It's February 26th, the sun is out, Mercury is direct, the snow is melting here in Chicago...and, dare I say it, the days are actually getting longer. Could Spring be right around the corner? Yes!

But, after coming out of such a long and bleak and challenging year- and a very dark and very cold and very stagnant winter- we may not be 100%. Tired, depleted of serotonin and dopamine, stressed from ambient anxiety, perhaps concerned about illness or the job market or the economy or a long list of other "scarcity stressors", we're perhaps not rushing out of the gates with our full suit of energetic armor.

And, as I've been reminded in the last few weeks, the landscape we emerge into in the spring is littered with challenges, obstacles, and even some actual adversaries. But how do we know we're not just reacting out of fear when we feel uncomfortable with a situation or person? How can we trust our powers of intuition and discernment and ensure we're not assessing the dynamics through a distorted filter? How can we know that we're not reacting inappropriately because of past traumas or experiences? How can we take the necessary calculated risks critical to our success in business, love, or spiritual development without making ourselves unnecessarily vulnerable? How can we trust ourselves, psychic or otherwise, when the stakes are so high?

Recently, I've gotten a much needed lesson in acknowledging my own trauma responses, particularly with regard to business. Some background: I come from a corporate world in which bad behavior is frequently rewarded, and in which paranoid, defensive thinking can be the critical difference between surviving or not. Sparing you the gorey details, here's the gist: I've realized that years of navigating a world in which coworkers and "friends" backstab and lie, betray and trade, and otherwise treat human beings like chess pieces has very much impacted how I interact with the world. I can now see that I'm effectively leaving a very long, metaphorical winter (ala Game of Thrones, with monsters and Night Kings and everything) at the same time I'm emerging from our literal winter. And while I want to leverage the lessons I've learned and grow from experience, I don't want to unnecessarily carry the baggage with me into a new lifestyle.

Sure, I had awareness of the toxicity of this corporate environment in real time. Over the decades, I used tools and tricks to mitigate negativity through energy work, self-care, and energetic protection. I got better at boundaries. I managed my expectations of others. But I now know that I totally underestimated the lingering influence of these energetic pathogens and spiritual toxins on my energy body and my behavior. In other words: it's not winter anymore. The army of the dead is gone. I'm safe. I'm capable. And I don't need to be so constantly vigilant about survival. And yes- this email will have a lot of Game of Thrones references;)

So what am I doing about this? Well, to start, I acknowledge that it's going to be a balancing act. I can't just apply a sweeping "yes" or "no" to a variety of people or opportunities or altogether avoid problems by killing projects before they get a chance to start. Instead, I need to navigate each relationship, opportunity, or challenge with a beginner's mind and intuition, allowing for the possibility of a good outcome while maintaining a vigilant eye to how things are evolving. I need to be confident that I can and will handle things if and when I need to handle them.

Through this experience, I've created a sort of amped up Energetic Protection program for myself that might be useful for you, too:

1. Establish foundational boundaries. Asking tough questions or having uncomfortable, honest conversations at the front end can save a lot of trouble on the back end. Sometimes, being our own advocate can feel bad- almost like it's rude to ask tough questions, request clarity or detail, or say something that's not entirely "positive" (#badvibes). But by leveraging the power of our sacral chakra- the chakra of power, money and connection to the material world- we can be kind while holding the line. It's not about taking what's not ours: it's about keeping what is ours while creating something new in the world. I have discovered that, when someone is really breaching my boundaries or otherwise doing something untoward, I get a distinct sensation in my body: overall agitation, muscle tension, jaw clenching, and a general energetic sense of feeling "uprooted" or "at the mercy" of others. Using the body this way- like a pendulum to "divine" the answers- is an incredibly powerful and accurate way to assess situations, so start tapping into this tool. Sometimes, it's as simple as just checking in with our bodies and taking notes in these moments, documenting over time how your body says, "Danger, Will Robinson!". And don't dismiss the power of crystals: holding a piece of carnelian during a challenging chat or moment of agitation can help stabilize the ship and give you the confidence you need to be your own advocate without scorching the earth like a dragon.

2. Communicate with an open heart. This past week, I expressed some concerns about a contract for an incredible, new opportunity with a former coworker of mine- someone I really respect and like. But before communicating my concerns, I sort of quietly melted down, spinning out a variety of doomsday scenarios in my mind's eye and engaging attorneys to give me worst-case scenarios, reinforcing my seeming commitment to a doomsday outcome. When I apparently had enough of torturing myself, I sent an email and got on the phone with this former coworker to discuss the details. He immediately diffused all of my concerns, explaining the intent of the changes to the wording and expressing genuine interest in collaborating. I owe this person A LOT (and they're on this email list, so thank you!), because their willingness to openly and honestly communicate with me inspired me to do the same. We then started to talk about just how traumatic our previous working environments were (some real Littlefinger stuff), and I quickly understood that I had underestimated the impact of these dynamics on my energy body. We both allowed ourselves and each other to be vulnerable, and this, in turn, enabled a positive outcome. I realized that I was trying to proactively protect myself from harm because I didn't really trust my ability to foresee problems or handle them if and when they arose. And this is a surefire way to screw yourself out of great, new opportunities. If you find yourself in a similar situation, try to actively tap into your heart chakra, feeling a connection to your throat chakra and allowing yourself to have a "beginner's heart" in addition to a beginner's mind, communicating your real concerns respectfully and kindly and seeing what shakes out of the situation. These chakras are green and light blue, respectively, and picturing these colors or using crystals like amazonite or blue lace agate can assist with these efforts.

3. Connect to Spirit Guides. Why was I sweating things so much when I know I've got bad@ss Spirit Guides keeping an eye on things? Looking back on it, it's so ridiculous. Yes- sometimes even I forget I have invisible bodyguards, which made me realize I need to maintain a continuous, active practice around Spirit Guide work so that I can delegate the energetic protection tasks to the professionals. Luckily, we just kicked off our Spirit Guides online workshop this past week, perfect timing to align me with a very strong guide that immediately started to support and assist me in my personal growth. Sharing these experiences with the other class attendees- and hearing their Spirit Guide stories- helped me quickly realize the "so what" of what I was experiencing, giving me an action plan to peel back trauma in my energy body, energetically heal and reconfigure, and get back to a place in which I'm not constantly worrying about a myriad of hypothetical problems. My guide for this past week, Lilith, suffused me with a happy confidence, reminding me to get out of my head and connect to the naturally supportive energy all around me. Being strong and smart doesn't mean you have to be rigid or stressed out. If you've really got your act together, you'll be able to handle whatever comes your way...so why go looking for trouble before it rings the doorbell? There's no good reason. This guide reminded me to breathe, chill, and be present- and it couldn't have come at a better time. If you want to learn about this Spirit Guides online course or our similar, upcoming in-person Spirit Guides workshops, check out our Events Page here or shoot me an email here anytime! I'm taking the classes and doing the work right alongside you guys, and I can honestly say it's helping me across my personal and professional development in ways even I couldn't have expected.

4. Maintain spiritual hygiene. These recent experiences and struggles really drove home the importance of consistent, basic spiritual hygiene in every area of my life. Sometimes, as practitioners, we get all wrapped up in doing for others and sometimes forget to stick to our own rules, and I'm as guilty of this as anyone. This past year- and particularly this Chicago winter- has been a lot, and even if we're not conscious of it, odds are our energy body is traumatized, reactive, and stagnant: a recipe for energetic disaster when you want to make a critical pivot. This past week, I took steps to invest in my spiritual hygiene, including scheduling a remote energy work session and an upcoming reading, both with other practitioners. Sure, I can do it myself, but why add to my workload when I know so many great professionals that can easily neutralize my reactive energy body, affirm my own assessments about the good things to come this year, and generally just offer me a sense of support in this challenging environment? And I definitely needed the help: on the third day since the remote session, the energy work is still integrating through my physical and energy bodies, grounding me and clarifying things with each passing hour. It literally feels like I can breathe again, and I didn't realize how bad it was while I was "in it". In addition to the energy work and upcoming divination session, I've also brought back the basics: clearing my work and living spaces with sage and palo santo, reestablishing energetic boundaries on my home and meditation centers, eating healthy and happy food, taking flower essences every day, and not forgetting a salt bath before bed. These tools only help us when we use them...so I'm using them everyday!

Upcoming Events

We're going to be discussing energetic protection at all of our upcoming workshops- it's a critical part of any spiritual practice and, frankly, can be a major contributing factor to our professional and personal success. I'm looking to seeing you soon at these and other upcoming events:

March 7th- Divining the Future 2.0: Auras, Channeling & Mediumship

This in-depth, in-person workshop is designed to help you harness the power of advanced forms of divination: i.e. "fortune telling": auras, channeling and mediumship. We'll be reviewing energetic protection and how to protect oneself as we go deeper into the world of the esoteric. Details and registration can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/134345951357

March 14th- Shamanic Journeying: Totem Animals and the Lower World

The Lower World is the world of Totem Animals, Ancestors and helpful Spirit Guides willing to offer advice and guidance. The Lower World is very relaxing and healing, ideal for grounding, gaining insight, and reconnecting with the energy of the earth. If you want to learn more or secure your spot for this workshop, please check out our event page here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/141722510845

April 4th- Shamanic Journeying: Angels, Ascended Masters and the Upper World

TOTEM has designed this guided meditation workshop- leveraging the ancient technique of Shamanic Journeying- to put you in touch with your unique Spirit Guides, Angels and Ascended Masters in the Upper World. If you want to learn more or secure your spot for this workshop, please check out our event page here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/141725511821

May 2nd- Shamanic Journeying: Astral Projection and the Middle World

TOTEM has designed this guided meditation workshop- leveraging the ancient technique of Shamanic Journeying- to put you in touch with your unique Spirit Guides and Soul Parts in the Middle World (aka the Astral Realm). If you want to learn more or secure your spot for this workshop, please check out our events page here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/141843432525

And, when all else fails, remember: you've got this. You've already made it this far, through extraordinary circumstances and seemingly impossible challenges. You've completed tasks and conquered demons, metaphorical and otherwise;) And, if you feel a bit shaky or like you're struggling, remember to reach out for help. That's what I did, and I'm so glad I let my guard down to momentarily recalibrate. Sometimes, you just have to go slow to go fast- and we need to take care of ourselves before launching into new endeavors.

I'm really looking forward to seeing all of you soon- and, as always, please reach out anytime with any questions about Energetic Protection or how we're going to address this topic in our upcoming events: rachel@totemreadings.com