I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church in Florida. While Florida isn’t exactly the deep south, it was south enough that there were very strict rules and regulations we were forced to follow to keep God happy. The 1990s brought a conservative revival of sorts within the Southern Baptist Convention as liberal and moderates were forced out. The 20 or so years I was in it, purity pledges and “Lady in Waiting” training manuals, hellfire and brimstone, “Growing Kids God’s Way” parenting manuals, Christian-themed summer camps, tracks, potlucks with that diced potato corn flake casserole, bible chapter and verse memorization, church every Sunday and Wednesday — the whole bit — were cornerstones.
There we were taught that there is an ever-present clashing between good and evil — always at odds, and being ever balanced to one side or the other, based on our actions. A pendulum of sorts that humanity needed to sway for good until the return of God. In the meantime, they said, we would face spiritual warfare from “the enemy” or “Satan” (as he was called) in all forms of temptations and pain. It was our job to learn and grow from the problems, or neutralize the problems by finding a solution.
Over the years, I’ve come to find that spiritual warfare is real, no matter your faith or level of liberal or conservatism. It happens on an energetic level. While I may not agree with every interpretation (nor should you — please decide for yourself), I have seen and experienced spiritual warfare myself and with my clients. It’s the banana peel on your jog, the nail in your driveway, the stain in the dead center of your shirt. It’s the things, whether big or small, that seem to keep us on the hamster wheel, never quite able to get comfortable.
If your spirit is simply your soul and you experience a sudden onslaught of difficulties when you try to improve yourself/soul or your life, there is a form of internal and external warfare that erupts as a result. Whether intentional or unintentional, things go awry, communication errors occur, you get angry or frustrated or sad, you temporarily give up on your goals and dreams.
Think of it this way: when you try to get ahead, who or what is trying to pull you behind? Who or what is throwing a wrench in your life so you are stagnant or in the red? Who or what is draining your energy because all you’ve been able to do is be on the constant defense, stress or worry too much?
That’s an energetic trap and a form of spiritual warfare. They’re energetic prison bars keeping you stuck on one personal actualization level despite you trying to break into the next. We are all here to self-actualize, become better, more loving, more knowledgeable people. If something is preventing that, it is a threat to your soul’s growth. I think this is one reason the great spiritual leaders have taught us non-attachment — it truly is the only way to stop the stress cycles caused by what happens in our external circumstances.
Many people have a hard time opening up and sharing about what is really happening in their lives. This happens for many reasons: we’ve been conditioned to be quiet about pain, we deny the pain ever existing, we are scared of the consequences of talking about the pain, etc. As I’ve written about before, talking about or addressing pain can get you shamed, shunned, mocked, isolated, and hurt. Who in their right minds would want to do such a thing? Well as you probably know, when the pain of the pain is finally too great to bear, you suddenly will do anything to get out of it, even if that means facing very difficult truths and putting in lots of hard work. It’s essential to acknowledge and address these things. This information can be used to understand and process the difficulties you are going through in your life.
Whether you choose to think of spiritual warfare as being carried out by a serpent, devil, or otherwise is up to you. I would challenge you to think about the narcissism you are surrounded by as a major form of spiritual warfare. Narcissistic personalities are the number one instigator of spiritual warfare because they are so adept at inducing stress, they feed off of your ATP (used for energy in the mitochondria), and they train themselves to engage in a positive feedback loop with peptides so they feel rewarded by the pain of others. By recognizing common methods they use to drain, confuse, and weaken your energy, the more you can get a solid grip on your life and take it in the direction you choose.
Ways narcissists engage you in spiritual warfare:
- they know your weaknesses and use them at opportune times
- they drain your energy so you aren’t as sharp
- they leave you guessing, never knowing what the truth really is
- they draw you into cognitive dissonance games to make you question reality and back down
- they set proverbial traps so you are prone to failure
- they control the group think, weakening your confidence and energy
- they blame you for everything they did to you, leaving you in a constant state of defensiveness
- they leave you always anticipating their next move so you can protect yourself
- they give you no warning
- you wonder which answer you will have to come up with next to explain yourself to them, despite you doing nothing wrong
- they remind you of how worthless you are and you begin to believe it
- they deflect from the real issue at hand
- they make you keep their secrets
Sounds almost tactical. Remember, think about problems in your life as challenges rather than eternal roadblocks. While you are in it, it feels impossible to get off the hamster wheel. Once on the other side, you can survey the landscape to see how far you came in the battle and be proud you are out the other side. Then you can identify the people or situations in your life that seem to hold you back.
In my experience, we can use the spiritual warfare to serve a good purpose — because narcissistic personalities are so good at tearing down for fun, we can take any perceived weakness they throw at us and build upon it to correct or improve it. My spiritual warfare came for 2 years as I realized I was an Intuitive and incorporated that work into my practice. It felt strange to certain people that I had such a strong sense of who I was, what I was capable of, and how I felt my place was helping those who are sick. “How could one person know things that others may not? There’s no science to back up intuition. She’s speaking with too much certainty.”
But these people hadn’t seen the fifteen plus years it took me to get to a place where I could even trust myself, think my gift is valuable rather than terrible, had confidence to be seen, or am able to open up and speak. I was breaking a pattern that only benefited them. Because they didn’t like this change, wrench after wrench after wrench got thrown at me and I had no choice but to pick them up and fix the loose bolts. I couldn’t get out of it this time. As a result, I’m healthier than before, way happier than before, doing something that comes naturally to me and I deeply enjoy, and actually contributing what I want to in this world. You deserve the same. Without these challenges, I would have never activated these parts of myself.
On the other side of the problems is you, plain and simple. Empaths, you have been used up. You’re probably tired, sick, and weakened by the stress/energetic threats. The only way to stop these stress cycles is to first, identify the problems fearlessly and authentically like you never have before, then stand up to the toxic energy or those engaging in spiritual warfare with you.
Part of activating your chakras (a central goal here) is doing the scary things, stepping outside of the familiar box, and doing what we have dared not do before. Inevitably, it will mean standing up to spiritual narcissists and bullies who thrive on the pain of others and throw wrenches here and there for shits and giggles. Secondly, it also means getting away from them. If you cannot actually leave their presence, disconnect energetically by having no stress response to their passive aggressive games. Third, if possible, share your story. The world will only change when we stop keeping secrets of abuse in order to protect others at the expense of ourselves. Telling the secrets is, and will, change the world.
Until then, remember nothing lasts forever and there is a rhyme and reason — figure that out and you can get out of the spiritual warfare.
If you’ve been reading my blog series Empath sabotage, you may have noticed I posted a blog last week about how left-brained thinking can sometimes get the best of empaths. See, empaths tend to learn in more right-brained ways because the right brain is our emotional center and rules these highly sensitive personality types. It can be hard living in a world where people are rewarded for primarily functioning out of one side of their brain (the left), while the right-brained thinkers sometimes get their process or their experiences relegated as fringe, impractical, “overly emotional” or “artsy”. This needs to change. We need the empaths and right-brained thinkers to come out of the closet in order to have a more balanced flow of information and representation of the human experience.
I went to college for a degree in Education because of the struggles I faced over the years due to left-brained learning disabilities. It forces me to operate out of my right brain (being an empath is kind of a life sentence for me) and I have great difficulty performing mathematical and linear tasks. After being in classrooms over the years and working with kids (and now having a child myself), I see that we all learn in vastly different ways. Remember that you have a right to learn in whichever way works best for you, whether it be listening, observation, experience, memorization, etc.
But today I want to bring another learning method to you — one you may already use but are unaware of, or maybe one you have not considered before. If you’re an empath, you may do this naturally. It’s a technique I call “forward threading” and it’s a way to learn new information without needing to have a base of information to recall from. You see, the traditional educational model tells us you have to begin imparting a base set of knowledge from a very young age — math, letters, presidents, countries, shapes, sounds, etc. From there, children are taught progressively complex information that adds onto the base knowledge they have already acquired until they are considered proficient in knowledge memorization and recall.
Don’t get me wrong — this method works, for sure. But there are a few problems with only thinking in this one way. It creates rigidity because we only believe we are capable of learning if we already know something. Therefore, anything that is outside of our realm of understanding becomes something we feel uncomfortable thinking about. New theories, possibilities, brilliant ideas, flashes of insight are often dismissed, mocked, or ignored until there is “sufficient” evidence to support the foundation of the theory. These kinds of ideas get long forgotten when they could instead be put towards helping humanity and studying viable solutions to our biggest problems. Only information that fits very neatly into a preconceived notion of what knowledge is gets passed down.
Secondly, much of the information we use as our “base” is largely flawed, misinterpreted, contains gaps and holes, or is indecipherable. Everything is filtered through a human lens of the times so we may assume we understand the origins and workings of man based on what we have learned, but there is usually a much more interesting truth at the root.
Forward threading is a great technique because it’s a way to remember and learn new things that you can then write down, record, and be able to later explore, and debunk or confirm. It’s a way to tap into your subconscious mind without using meditation or other methods. Information will start coming to you as insights and you can simply jot them down to think about and come back to later. You don’t need to judge these ideas because doing that will stop the flow of information. The ego is a big road block to this kind of learning. Instead, reflect on what comes to you and later explore the ideas by researching or use the scientific method in your own life to see if it could be true.
For example, perhaps one day you begin reflecting and think, “This hummus is not agreeing with me. Every time I eat it, I get _______ symptom. I wonder if I could be sensitive to it.” So you sit with this idea for a few days. Then you begin deconstructing the ingredients in the hummus: chickpeas, water, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt — which could be the problem? Or is it the phytates, lectins, sodium or BPA, or could it be cross-reactive with gluten, etc? A few days later you have chickpeas on a salad and get the same reaction. The next day you take chickpeas out of your diet for three weeks with no other changes. One week in, you realize you no longer have that nagging symptom. After the three weeks, you are positive it was the chickpeas causing you problems because you haven’t felt ill the whole time you weren’t eating them. Take this information to a doctor and they may say, “Your diet has nothing to do with that. It’s unrelated. And anyway, no one has allergies to chickpeas.” You can then choose to take the standard approach and ignore your instincts in lieu of a rigid pyramid-based knowledge system that requires external validation, or you can trust yourself and keep that food out of your diet.
Over time, new insights will come to you more readily and rapidly. If you choose to trust yourself, you will experience more and more forward threading where you start to see what else in your diet or life may be a problem that you can then get answers to. Ask yourself a question, then wait for a solution to present itself. If you wait and seek it out, it will come. Then you have to begin trusting it.
I like to describe forward threading like this: imagine there is a long, infinite piece of string floating out in space. Though it has no anchors, it stays in place. You feel the urge to pull at the string by asking a question; something you want to know. When you ask, an answer suddenly pops into your mind — a solution, a good idea, an explanation you hadn’t thought of before and you realize this answer is a knot on the string. “I’m not sure if this is the truth” you may tell yourself. After all, you didn’t get this answer from a doctor, or pastor, book, or friend. You found it inside of yourself. Though, you don’t trust yourself so how could you trust the answer, you wonder. But the solution makes perfect sense so after a while, you decide to ask another question by pulling your fingers up the thread. You are given another solution and you realize there is another knot there. Eventually you realize you can keep asking questions in order to find solutions and with each tug you feel the individual threads of the string making it very real, as well as knots that signify answers. You can see that this thread keeps going forever and ever and isn’t limited to a base of knowledge. You are learning in forward.
Or, think about it this way: imagine you are in a terrible accident and wake up in the hospital a few days later with amnesia. You have no memory of who you are, why you are here, or what is happening. All you know is that you have a body that is now in pain and you have a consciousness that feels blank. Although you are an adult, you try to express your thoughts and they come out garbled much like an infant. A nurse stops by your room to check up on you. She speaks to you in plain English and it sparks your memory — you know the words she is speaking and you repeat them back to her. After a few interactions like this, you recall words and are able to say one or two to communicate your needs. After a few weeks, you begin stringing sentences together. No one re-taught you the basics of the alphabet or how sentences are composed; you simply acquired it through internal remembrance. As months pass, your strength builds and you rediscover things you enjoy doing, which gives you a faint remembrance of what you used to do/be in the world. It builds and builds.
I highly encourage you to give this technique a try. Ask yourself, “what do I need to know?”, “what do I need to learn?”, “what does this mean?”, “what is a solution to this?”. It will help you tap into your subconscious stressors that are keeping you sick and energetically drained. It will help you find solutions and get answers. It will help you trust yourself and ignore the loud noise of everyone around you when it comes to decision making in your life. Remember, don’t judge — just observe, then see if you can confirm it.
Each and every one of us is covered in a thick, complex, tangled web of fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that sits under your skin and on top of your muscles. On anatomy diagrams, fascia looks like the off-white strings and planes that sit on top of or in lines up and down the muscles. It provides structure and support, helps transport nutrients, helps regulate nervous system function, helps keep you hydrated, helps you maintain a healthy youthful appearance to the skin, and much much more. Some forms of fascia are also known as “scar tissue” because it is considered fibrotic tissue.
In addition to the physiological roles fascia plays, fascia also keeps your secrets. It collects your memories. It remembers your joys, but largely it stores your traumas. It forces you to live in the pain of the past instead of being able to be present in the moment. Your fascia has kept a record of every time you misused your body, forcing it into bras and cinchers, too-tight jeans, or awkward shoes — and why you did so. It also remembers how often — and to which degree — you’ve smiled, laughed or cried, winced, squinted, questioned, tensed, quieted, forced, sat or walked. It’s the literal, tangible mind-body connection and it is the record keeper of you.
I’ve had clients ask me before, “I know everyone talks about a mind-body connection but I just can’t visualize it. How does it all connect?” I tell them the mind-body connection is the fascia, the connective tissue. Not only can you feel it under your skin with your fingers, you can also see it with the naked eye — constriction or restriction, bulges, tightness, thick skin/”big boned”, cellulite, crepey skin, and asymmetry are all likely fascial distortions. Don’t get me wrong — we need fascia. It is an integral system and structure of the human body and some kinds even support your organs. But most of the obvious fascia people are carrying around these days is full of adhesions, or thickened, jumbled, tangled fascia resultant from trauma to the area (such as accident or surgery), improper use of the area (or surrounding areas), improper diet, dehydration, infection, and in rare cases certain genetic conditions.
It’s like we become covered in scar tissue of our own making. Let me explain. Let’s say you have an inhibitory throat response such as choosing not to speak, holding back tears, being fearful of making noise or “rocking the boat”. Well, as a result, the surrounding structures (nearby muscles, joints, tendons, etc.) will be used improperly because of the tension. Over time, this physical response becomes your go-to pattern. After years of making those dysfunctional movements, you create asymmetry that changes your fascia, which changes your appearance. It’s a way for your body to compensate and provide structure or balance in the midst of dysfunction. In theory, the more fascial adhesions (jumbled, dysfunctional fascia) you have, the greater the challenges you have faced. Or, the greater the adhesions in a certain area of your body, the greater challenges to that area, both physically and spiritually.
Fascia is the mask we all live in. And fascia never lies because you created it.
In the case of hypothyroidism, you may notice “thickened” skin around your neck but especially near your thyroid or voice box area. If you try to gently pinch your skin but cannot grab a very small amount — getting only large thickened chunks — it is indicative of fascial adhesions. You should be able to grab just the epidermis layer of your skin without too much resistance from the dermis.
Sure you might have plenty of fascial adhesions on your neck area and be hypothyroid, but how do the fascial adhesions affect, say, your actual thyroid gland? Well, on the surface of the thyroid is a substance called thyroglobulin. It is a protein precursor of thyroid hormone and acts to collect nutrients (such as iodine and tyrosine) from your blood stream and store them on the surface of the thyroid gland. That way, your body readily has nutrients available to it any time it needs to make thyroid hormone. But now imagine on top of your thyroid/thyroglobulin, you have a thick mesh strangling the area, cutting off blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients from entering the area — or only entering very slowly. Suddenly you have a thyroid crisis because that vital gland is not able to receive what it needs to function optimally. Mind-body connection. Now imagine this happening all over your body.
It gets tricky because fascial adhesions can also extend to other related areas in order to compensate. You see, fascia is like a spider-web sheath covering your entire body from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. It’s all connected so the neck fascia you’ve created from holding back your thoughts or emotions, which is now choking your thyroid gland, then works it way up and extends to the sides of the neck, to your cheeks and face to create the classic hypothyroid “puffy face”, and over the shoulders, creating a thickening there too. Dowager’s Hump or myxedema can develop. And on it goes.
With fascia it goes like this:
your experiences cause you to generate thoughts/feelings
your thoughts/feelings create your reality
your reality determines how you are allowed to, are encouraged to, or want to move your body
how you move your body determines which areas develop fascial adhesions
therefore, the areas that contain the most adhesions are the areas where there is a core wound or life lesson that needs to be resolved
I try to infuse most assertions I make to you with an anecdotal story to back it up. I want you to see that the information I share with you isn’t about getting likes, recycling outdated information, repeating the same things everyone else is telling you, etc. I want to share new and innovative information that is affecting you but that you might not have heard before. I share this information with you because it changed my life so dramatically for the better, and I have seen it do the same for my clients. But it’s still hidden. So here’s the story about why I “got into” fascia and why I believe this is the next biggest thing you should know about, if you’re not already intrigued:
I was diagnosed with a “mild” scoliosis in 1997 — a lower-back curvature. I don’t remember the curvature degree at the time of diagnosis (or that anyone even measured it because I was diagnosed by a school nurse), but about 4 years ago, according to an x-ray done by a chiropractor, it was at 24 or 22 degrees. As a child and young adult, I woke up every few nights with spasms in my lower back that startled me awake and gave me nightmares. My back would consistently “go out” and I felt pressure, couldn’t bend in certain ways, and was in aching pain most days. I went to chiropractors on and off over the years since being a teenager and even did some physical therapy and massage, and saw a podiatrist to try to help my back. Though they provided temporary relief, I would always end up feeling the same as before a few days after appointments.
Then after my daughter was born in 2012, I suffered a near month-to-month string of slipped discs. It went on like this for a couple of years — going to the chiropractor in hopes I wouldn’t re-injure myself, using a decompression table to get the discs to go back into place without surgery (it worked thankfully), trying to stretch and exercise, etc. But nothing really seemed to improve my back issues and pain. Then one day I stumbled upon information about fascia. It was a video of an expert talking about the role of fascia in our health and appearance. I was so intrigued at the idea of using myofascial release to overcome my pain that I started immediately.
I have been using myofascial release (MFR) for over two years now. For me, it has been an absolute miracle. First, I haven’t had a slipped disc or rib go out of place since using MFR. More importantly though, I have had three chiropractors tell me they can no longer see a scoliosis curvature in my spine. Meaning, I reversed my scoliosis. I’m not saying this is possible every time. What I am saying is that no one had ever offered me another option to help my back pain and no one offered any good answers for why it developed in the first place. I learned that my scoliosis was considered “functional” meaning it could be traced back to something and, therefore, potentially corrected. I believe this is true for many modern health conditions.
That is the power of unraveling your fascia. It’s like a way to work backwards and confront every challenge you’ve stored in your body head on. As you use MFR, your fears and insecurities rise to the surface, the lies and cover-ups rise to the surface, and your true power starts to rise as you let go of the trauma. As an Intuitive, I operate through waves of insight that come to me, well, intuitively, as well as through reading and observation. This was the case with my foray into fascia: I learned the information, applied it and observed the effects, then it just “came” to me: the fascia is the record of your mind-body connection and we’re covered in fascial masks to hide or compensate for the trauma.
As each fascial layer was peeled away, I was left with questions. Myofascial release on my feet caused my pelvis to flip up and out. I had been walking with my tail literally between my legs for decades. Why had I felt the need to do that? In order to hide. Why did I feel the need to hide? Because of learning disabilities, un-supportive environments, fear of being seen for fear of punishment, extreme religious oppression, etc. You see, fascia holds the answers but you have to ask yourself the questions. Once you start asking the questions, you then begin the process of testing your subconscious mind to see which answer is correct. Once you find the correct answer, you release the emotional attachment or stress response to the corresponding wound. That is how you know it is true. In the process of MFR, you may also clear up stagnant lymph, restricted blood flow, saggy or unhealthy looking skin, trim inches, reduce pain, and have wide range of mobility again. Mind-body connection.
You deserve to know about yourself first and foremost because self-awareness brings healing. You are so unique that no one-sized-fits-all approach will ever work. Think of your fascia like a soul blueprint. It helps to gently illuminate what your fears or weaknesses are in order to improve yourself, helps you get out of the trauma by identifying the toxic cycles in your life, it tells us about the state of your physical health, and once released, it helps you move onto a healthy future instead of clinging to the pain of the past without realizing it.
First, know that there are ways to smooth out the fascia and restore it to its proper function and appearance. Myofascial release, proper hydration (which is about way more than water), essential nutrients for collagen health, liver and lymph support, acupuncture, and more. I come at this from an informational standpoint. I educate my clients on the issues they’re facing then what they can do about it. But there are plenty of ways to do this yourself or with a trained professional. Dysfunctional fascia does not have to be a life sentence.
Secondly, know that it’s a long process. Imagine decades of your body layering adhesion ontop of adhesion. The process of breaking this down can take years in some cases. So do not get discouraged. Also, will you likely experience detox symptoms physically and emotionally as you retrace the dysfunction, much like a game of connect the dots. But as I always say, if you want to heal, it is worth it and the only way past it is through it. Once you acknowledge what has not worked, you can release it both emotionally and physically in order to get to the root of who you really are without trauma and pain on your body or in your mind.
If you are interested in learning about your unique fascial adhesions, core wounds, and life lessons, please read about Body Readings.