Ethics for Helpers & Healers: Words Act Like Spells

Dear healers, intuitives, energy workers, and massage therapists: I have a request and a concern. I’ve been been both a recipient and a facilitator so I speak having been on both ends. My rub: Please don’t just carelessly tell people they have some serious blocks, or a ton of tension, or dirty energy in their field without offering a solution— in fact, just don’t say it at all. I consider this poor bedside manner bordering on poor ethical boundaries. Let me explain:

You are stating the obvious and it is not helpful. Obviously the person is carrying some form of pain, blocks, or tension, otherwise they wouldn’t have come to you. Would a yoga teacher go up to a student and tell them they aren’t flexible? (I hope not.) They would instead offer some adjustments, some useful advice to help them reach their goal of flexibility. This is useful and empowering.

Secondly, the power dynamic during a healing session is amplified. The one facilitating the healing process is in a powerful position while the person being worked on is in a receptive and vulnerable position. Being seen on an energetic level is extremely vulnerable. Please use this role with care.

Lastly—and this is the most important one—words have the power to hypnotize us, and they do so on a daily basis. We are more impressionable than we would like ourselves to be, and we are especially attuned to paying attention to negative feedback. Choose your words wisely. Choose empowering language, and offer empowering solutions. People have a tendency to identify with their “pathologies” and the goal is to have people identify with their divinity.

If you see “blocks”, tension, or “negative” energy do what you do so well and simply help the person release them then and there. If you notice something that needs to be released but you don’t have any empowering solutions to offer them, hold that tongue. Try perhaps being curious. Try perhaps asking the person questions that might lead them towards an understanding. Try asking your intuition how the “blocks” might be transformed. If you get an answer, tell them that. If not, it is OK to not know how to help in that moment. Your intention is good, your heart means well, I know it does.

I welcome any comments/discussion on this matter!

 

 

Friending Facebook: How to navigate your relationship with social media

friending-facebook

There are three major positions as far as social media is concerned: those who don’t have a facebook account and don’t ever plan on getting one (until they finally give in to the pressures of their loved ones or their business coach), those who believe that life and business IS social media (and without it you basically don’t exist), and the rest of us who do our best to use social media in a way that enhances our lives without falling prey to its pitfalls.

I use facebook on a daily basis—for business, for communication, for friendship, for expression, for entertainment, for inspiration, for boredom, and for absolutely no reason at all. I’ll go ahead and admit that I use it pretty compulsively. As in, I check facebook habitually in the morning, when I need a mental break from tasks at home, when I come home from work, and before I go to bed. Unless of course I put myself on a facebook diet, which I don’t do often because, why try to control something that is not a problem, right? So when IS using facebook or other social media a problem? How do you know when it has slipped from entertaining and helpful to hazardous to your mental health?

This is my personal experience of the ways in which facebook has helped me and the ways in which it has been counterproductive to my wellbeing.

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Real Life Contacts

One my favorite things about facebook is that I’ve made many real life connections that were initiated through virtual friending. I’ve made friends with new people in new cities, reconnected with old friends, and traveled to stay in other countries with acquaintances. The majority of my 891 facebook friends are not people I pal around with in real life (I’d be a very busy woman indeed), however, many of my real life friendships have been formed or maintained in one way or another through facebook. This is the original point of facebook after all: to create social connection (that and spying on exes perhaps). Through facebook I’ve created events or gone to events that led me to people who have become important to me in my real, everyday life. So for me, social media has not only created virtual superficial relationships, it has also led me to many meaningful ones.

Career Connections

Making real life connections initiated through social media has also been very valuable for my career. How did I find my web developer? Through a contact I met at a networking event which I found out about though facebook. How do people find out about my events? Mostly through facebook. How did I find the integrative psychiatric center I work for? Through a contact I met on facebook, who then introduced me to someone that worked for them. The list goes on and on. Business is reliant on network building and information sharing, and facebook is very good at facilitating this.

Information Sharing

A lot of the valuable content I read or watch on the internet generally pops up on my facebook feed, rather than me seeking it out myself. You could call this lazy, but I call it efficient. Most of the facebook contacts I have are contacts because we have common interests, so it is likely that much of the content my friends share will also be valuable or interesting to me. There are some friends that are really good at sourcing valuable content, and I am thankful that they do the legwork for me and sit it on my screen.

Inspiration

Cute animals on my facebook feed never gets old for me. Awwwwwwww. Tee-heee. Sqeeeee! Keep on bringing em. Facebook can be a wonderful place to find inspiration, share humor, and create some warm-and-fuzzies.

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Information Overload

Facebook offers so much information so quickly, that one minute scrolling through your feed can have your brain starting off on a million tracks. Before you know it you find yourself wondering what you sat down to do in the first place and wondering why you feel slightly depressed, distracted, and unfocused. This is your brain on facebook. You have just had so many thoughts and emotions triggered in the last minute without you even realizing it, no wonder you feel confused. The brain simply can not handle this much information very efficiently. It is time to close facebook and reorient yourself to this present moment in time. You will feel refreshed once you finish that one simple task.

Social Comparison

Why is everyone going on vacation but me? Wow, he really has his act together, I should really be doing more. Everyone is having babies and getting married, why can’t I have that? Oooh that’s cool, maybe I should buy that. Oh she’s really pretty, is she prettier than me? He’s already doing what I want to do, I should just give up. They look like they are really good friends, when did that happen, and why wasn’t I invited? As social beings these kinds of thoughts are our primal nature. Facebook (and its users, including me) has a way of so brilliantly advertising our lives that it can be a breeding ground for comparison. You may think this doesn’t apply to you, but I can be pretty sure it happens to most of us on a subconscious level unless we keep it in check. I might not ever utter those words aloud, or even think them aloud, but it might just register as a funny sensation in my belly. Next time you feel a funny sensation in your belly, close facebook and remember that you are comparing yourself to an idealized, facebook-enhanced version of another person’s life. Open your notebook and start focusing on your life vision regardless of what anyone else around you is doing.

Communication Gone Awry

One could argue that all communication is flawed, but virtual communication is more so. Feel disappointed that so-and-so didn’t come to your event? But I invited them on facebook! Some of assume that if it is on facebook, it shall be seen. I’m guilty of this, which is why it is on my list. A reminder that what makes facebook so valuable is the real-life connections it facilitates, however it can’t do all the work (and it doesn’t). Want to make sure your friends know about something? Pick up the phone or send them a personal email. I know I certainly fall into the trap of being to reliant on media to get the message out. I’ve missed out on my friends events as well because the invitation sat in the unread pile of hundreds of upcoming events. Show a friend you care and make the extra effort to invite them personally.

Time Suck

Even if we are floating in the happy flow of making friends and business contacts, reading insightful articles, and laughing at pictures of naughty kitties on facebook, we may find that minutes accidentally turn into hours and once again we ask ourselves, what was it again that I planned on doing today? Perhaps timing your facebook usage might be a helpful way to keep the facebook experience helpful rather than distracting.

Feeling More Disconnected

If facebook is so good at connecting us, why do we feel so disconnected? I think what facebook does is disconnect us from ourselves. As we get transported into the images and stories of other people’s lives, we disconnect from our own vision, voice, and purpose. Just as much as we need to feel connected to others, we need to feel connected to ourselves. To do this, we must spend time by ourselves, quieting the mental chatter, and listening to our own inner guide. We need to find time alone everyday to dream, to tend to ourselves, to be the active creators of our lives. If I sit and free-write before I open facebook or start my day, I am poised to continue my day with confidence from the core of my being, because I have taken time to start there. If you are a morning facebooker, try meditating, doing movement, free-writing, or making art for 10 minutes before you do anything else. Notice the difference it makes.

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In conclusion, facebook can make us feel both more connected, and more disconnected. Take the time to notice when each is happening. Make a plan that works for you so that you can utilize facebook for what it is brilliant at, while taking control of the ways it makes you feel disempowered. I’d love to hear more about your relationship with social media in the comments below, and any tricks that work for you to rein in your usage.

Dancing with Destiny: How I started Coaching before I even knew it

Last winter I had the honor of witnessing one of my close childhood friends perform his inspired, emotionally moving, and brilliantly choreographed work at the Byham Center in Pittsburgh. Kyle Abraham, with his company Abraham.In.Motion, brought the audience to a standing ovation, not only with pride for a hometown hero creating artwork about Pittsburgh, but because of the raw intensity and magnificence of the work. Not one of us was left unmoved.

While we clapped for him in a fury of thoughts and emotions after his powerful performance, he came out to say a few final words. From seats up in the peanut gallery I heard him say “I see many friends and family out in this audience and I am so happy to see you here. There is one person who I have to thank or else I would not be where I am today. Greta Polo, if you are out there, thanks for encouraging me.”

It felt as surreal as having my name announced on TV and I exclaimed to my boyfriend, “that’s me!” I was humbled. To see such a powerful work of art and then hear that I was thought of as a catalyst for this was hard to take in.

I take no credit for the talent, creativity, sweat and tears, and success of Kyle Abraham. In my opinion he is someone who felt passion in his heart, and made the unwavering commitment to follow the path of his dreams. However there was a time that I believed in him, and this believing must have made all the difference.

Kyle and I grew up together and formed a bond by being quiet misfits, artist-types who moved to a different beat than the rest. We loved to be silly together, but most importantly we both LOVED to dance. Kyle had a unique street dance style that was unmistakable, and he found it hard to not shake his thang on a regular basis. When I was in high school I began dancing in the high caliber Schenley musicals and began taking ballet, modern, and jazz classes at the Civic Light Opera Academy to turn my raw passion for dance into technical skill.

This is how I contributed to Kyle’s date with destiny: I merely suggested that he too should try out to be in the musicals and that he should begin taking classes in traditional dance as well. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Before I knew it he had transferred to a performance arts academy, went off to study dance in college, danced for famous choreographers, and then became a “must-see choreographer on the New York scene.”

All of us who know him have been watching with so much pleasure as we see him shine so brightly, traveling around the world, and making appearances on well known shows such as the Katie Couric show. Here he is with her.

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His essence has not changed. In fact we all get to watch him becoming more and more himself. He has had the courage to follow the path that was meant for him. How do I know it was meant for him? Because it is the path of his heart’s desire, the path that leads people to lead inspired lives uniquely suited to their unique genius.

When I took the time to gently encourage Kyle to pursue a path that was so clearly meant for him, I was dancing with destiny as well. Not only would dance become a major part of my life story, so would inspiring others to follow their dreams.

My work in Wild Fulfillment Coaching deals with movement in the literal sense at times, because movement brings the spirit alive. But that in itself, the animation of spirit is my main goal, not the by-product. That is why I counsel and coach people to bring movement to their lives in a metaphorical sense. To dance with life, to move from the heart, from your essence.

You could say Kyle was my first, unofficial coaching client. Now after years of experience counseling others and developing my own intuition, I have an even better capacity to bring people’s passions into light.

I can’t tell you how deeply joyful it makes me to see someone connect to their inner spark and start embarking on an inspired life journey. If you want to speak to me about your dreams, let’s rap during a Coaching session. If you are interested in having a stronger communication with your own spirit, I can help you with that too!

If you and I are on a date with destiny to work together, thus it shall be. Until then, stay vibrant.