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A Journey of a Million Steps

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

How To Navigate An Entire Life Overhaul

How many steps do you think you have taken since you were aware of your life? I do not mean being cognizant of your breath, your thoughts, and your feelings. I mean your inner steps - your inner travels into deeper awareness - how you discovered what you landed on Planet Earth for, and came here to do? Your Soul Purpose. Have you found it? If not, have you looked? Does it "become" you? If you answer no to any of these, read on.

COVID has exacted its pound of flesh from every human on Earth, in one way or another. And suddenly it's July 2022, and the worst of the pandemic is seemingly over, or at least in a lull. Somewhat normal life is re-emerging. Three years ago I moved cross country and purchased a fixer-upper house near Asheville, North Carolina. Eager to tackle the extensive remodel and so excited to recreate my business in my new home, all too soon my intentions lay smoldering at my feet when the lockdowns happened. In one way or another, it was so for most everyone.

Because I am an alternative healing practitioner/teacher I was able to offer sessions remotely via Zoom. So many people needed help dealing with their fear, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, and their resulting illnesses from COVID. And especially the Unknown that the lockdowns brought because the lockdowns halted the money flow for many. Many did not have jobs. Like most healers that I knew, my offerings were free.

Going into 2021, I had to back off from everything, as I found myself dealing with severe “Long Haulers’ COVID.” Looking back, it probably began with my first COVID infection in February 2020, which was a relatively mild illness with mild symptoms. But contracting Omicron in January 2022, was a different story. After recovering from horrendous near-pneumonia-like symptoms, a debilitating brain fog lingered. For months. Is this what Alzheimer’s is like, I wondered? At its worst, I could not remember anything. Some days I slept 10-12 hours a day. I experienced incredible depression at times. It was like being in a fugue state. I tried to remember things and couldn't. I would start to say the words I was going to say in a conversation, and then they would just "disappear." I felt like I was drugged, as if I had cotton in my brain that prevented synapses from firing and connecting. As someone that normally has a photographic memory, the experience was utterly terrifying.

After doing in-depth research and getting lots of assistance from my fellow alternative practitioners, I began a regimen of herbs, supplements, and a strict keto diet, all of which helped, and I slowly began to improve. My horrendous cough began to subside, and my memory and cognition began to return, but I still experienced incredible brain fog, especially when I was tired. There were days when my head felt stuffed with cobwebs. There were days when I was so utterly depressed, but had no real idea about why. In June 2022, I read an article by Dr. Mercola about specific supplements that ultimately helped to reverse this. I also began receiving acupuncture treatments. These were the last puzzle pieces and I recovered almost 100%, though I do occasionally have brain fog and mild confusion, when I am tired or my diet isn't up to par.

The emotional aftermath and impact on my life, however, has, at times, been utterly overwhelming and has taken me a long time to reconcile. As we emerged from lockdowns and collectively took our first tentative steps toward normalcy, things were far from normal for me. I had absolutely no idea what to do with my life. The February 2020 California trip I took for advanced marketing training to grow a thriving business only gave me my first COVID illness. My healing practice, which had steadily grown during 2019, flatlined with the lockdowns. I had not been able to function efficiently, let alone hold down “a job,” and I certainly did not have a clue what was next. And I certainly did not want “a job.” I wanted my life back. My CREATIVE life. I wanted to make a significant positive impact with my work. And I wanted to experience joy from doing this. Yet now that I could navigate somewhat normally, experiencing my “now” life felt akin to stepping out of a spaceship onto a new planet I had crash-landed on. The question haunted me day and night, “now what?”

I jumped right in, sort of. I offered workshops and gatherings for several of my friends’ kids, whom Society labeled “on the spectrum.” I called them “miraculously gifted.” The classes allowed these amazing kids to explore and play with the healing properties of sound and energy healing, such as Reiki, and learn how to use these and other tools to feel safe, grounded, and responsible for their personal energy. They developed their self healing skills. I did mini Sound Healing concerts for them and their friends with Tibetan and crystals bowls, tuning forks, drums. They practiced their energy healing skills on themselves and each other.

This kept me engaged until I knew “what I was supposed to do next.” Yet, there were pieces missing in this for me. Even though I loved offering this work and was ecstatically happy that the kids were loving these new tools and experiences, I still felt strangely depleted, unfulfilled, empty, and I could not understand why. Interestingly, I realized this was a very familiar place for me to be in. I had a rush of memory from my childhood feeling just this way, yet I couldn't place the "why."

And then I happened to read an article written by a successful artist who stated that she SHAMELESSLY RELISHED the fact that her art brought joy to others, to herself, AND supported her in all ways, including financially. She had integrated her art as an intrinsic, necessary part of herself, her survival – her “THRIVAL.” It was an “AHA” moment for me. I realized that in putting a thriving art business on the back burner in 2002 to study sound and energy modalities, I set an intention to share these healing modalities to “serve humanity.” But I was NOWHERE in that intention. I had left me totally out of the equation: my need for nurturance, fulfillment, the ability to support myself, to serve myself and fulfill my need for experiencing the JOY of creating beauty and purpose. And that was a key piece that led me to realize that this mindset had been with me ALL MY LIFE. It was time to finally unearth incredibly old childhood programming that had been running the show - for years.

It was always “play time” for me when I made art. It wasn't “work.” Even when I was a full-time successful artist, I thought what I did was trivial and seriously doubted that it was more than mildly important to others. I never believed that it “gave back to society.” It was just for me. From an early age, I had been taught that “hard work” was how I must support myself and contribute to my family and the world. "Hard work" was a nebulous concept, never really clarified. But at the end of the day, when I was done “working hard,” I could then make art and enjoy life, and feel that joy. For a couple of hours. Before I went to bed, got up and did it all over again. In the back of my mind, I would question: "Did I work HARD ENOUGH today to earn this joy?" And so, creating art was usually on the back burner, and when it wasn't I experienced an incredible amount of guilt. For years, I allowed my creative expression to come out and play only when I was done with work and chores and taking care of everyone else. My creativity was in an energetic shambles. For years, I had carried a lot of grief, guilt, resentment, and a deep sense of being unfulfilled, working in jobs that I utterly hated because I had believed I had to, to earn those few precious moments of creative joy. One day, in 1993, I rebelled. I QUIT MY HORRIBLE JOB. Walked out. Thumbed my nose at my abusive boss in her power suit on my way out the door. Went home and spent the rest of the day tie dyeing silks. In time, I became a fairly successful full-time artist doing this, yet I carried a huge amount of guilt because I believed I was being selfish for not “working hard” and earning a "legitimate" living.

Deep inquiry and inner work has helped me release these unspoken “energy agreements” I had created due to well-meaning but misguided advice from others in my life. Some of these agreements were not even verbal! Rather, they were based on subtle expectations around having to “be good” and “toe the line.” And what did that mean, exactly? What line? There IS no line! I had never questioned this until now. And I was horrified to see it was still running the show.

I realized my creativity, in whatever form, is an absolutely necessary essence for my life, an absolutely necessary balm for my heart and soul - a completion of me. I began to give myself permission to demand and receive the joy in creating, no matter what, or when, I was creating. Everything counted. This is where my years of training in energy came in, and helped me blend Spirit and creativity on a very deep level. I continue to purge the worn-out programming that I must “suffer” for art, that I cannot have what I want, and the unconscious decision that what I bring to the world means nothing and cannot be my greatest source of Joy AND a generous means of support.

A huge weight is falling away.... In that moment, my life took a magnificent turn.

My workshops help kids and adults learn how to play in the realms of Spirit and creativity, how to ALLOW joy, creativity, and inner vision to fill heart and soul, and be their guiding light that always leads them to find the next best things in their lives. And I get to say, "I get to do THIS for a living!"

Our Universe is a wildly creative, boundless Universe. But we create our boundaries through our beliefs, experiences, and our blind agreement to adopt others’ beliefs, expectations and “rules.” By what feels "safe" and "respectable." The Universe creates from Love and Joy; we are created from Love and Joy; Love and Joy make our world continue to turn. To look around at the magnificence in our world is to know that this is true. And claiming it is as simple as “YES!”

So...can we get on with JOY now? What Wild Magnificence can we create next??

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Christine Hanks
Christine Hanks
May 09, 2023

Thank you for sharing such personal and insightful thoughts! We have MUCH in common! And I look forward to all Source has in store for us! :)

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