Chapter 2

About halfway through the massage training program there was a three-day course on Eastern Philosophy and the theory of energetic healing. This seemed pretty esoteric, but I was loving what my instructors were teaching, so I went in with an enthusiastic and open mind. They started class by asking us to rub our hands together to generate heat. Then, we were to put our hands about three feet apart and bring them in slowly, until we encountered the “edge of an energy ball.” Then we were to experience this energy ball, play with this energy ball, combine our energy ball with another student’s energy ball, and then pull and push this energy ball between us like taffy. I was on board as far as the hand rubbing and the heat, and then they lost me. I did not feel the edge of an energy ball. I did not wish to play with this indeterminate energy ball. I did not wish to pull energetic taffy with my neighbor. I was seeing these instructors I respected and who had taught me so much in a disturbing new light. I looked around the room at all the air taffy pulling and panic swept in.

Holy crap, I had quit my job!

Chapter 5

When we have a well-balanced heart chakra, we care about others and feel cared about in return. We feel intimately connected to society as a whole and freely express kindness, affection, and generosity. We are able to love unconditionally, recognizing the goodness in people regardless of their behavior. We are able to give love without expectation or ulterior motives, and in this way can ease suffering of even the most traumatized individuals. You can recognize someone with a well-balanced heart by his or her authenticity and openness.

Most of us have felt the pain of heartbreak at some point, which is a very tangible sensation, but is clearly not the result of an actual injury to the heart muscle. Rather it is an experience of a disruption in the energetic flow of the heart chakra. If our fourth chakra remains blocked, we may fear intimacy, sabotaging relationships with real potential in favor of the superficial or solitude. We tend towards being critical and suspicious rather than trusting and accepting. This makes others uncomfortable and defensive of their own fourth chakras, and can result in self-fulfilling loneliness. Or, we may extend love and kindness to those we like, but feel justified in withholding love from others, in which case we will continue to have experiences that evoke compassion until we figure this out.

Conversely, an overactive heart chakra may result in empathically experiencing the energy and emotions of others, and feeling the need to rescue everyone from their own pain and learning experiences. In psychological circles, this is known as co-dependence.

Rita

You may remember that during my first chakra clearing, before I really knew what I was doing, I had a panic attack while working on Rita’s heart chakra. This is where her ideas about love, trust, and connectivity and traumas associated with them were stored.

I bumbled my way through a few more experiences before I got the hang of working with the heart chakra.

Marc

Marc came in for a sports massage a few weeks before the Chicago Marathon. He was planning to run, but hadn’t really trained and was experiencing muscle tightness, pain, and fatigue in his legs. I told him I’d do what I could, but urged him to manage his expectations.

“Anything you can do to help is appreciated,” he assured me.

I put my hands on his back first and immediately felt a heavy tightness in my chest. His heart chakra was under duress. I worked on his legs, per his instructions, and they loosened up some. We chatted briefly at first, but then he got quiet and I followed his cue. When I finished tenderizing his leg muscles with my hands and forearms, I moved up to the top of the table to cradle his head in my hands for a few minutes of nurturing. I don’t like people to leave my office on an intense, elbow-to-the-sore-quad note.

As I held his head gently, his eyes were closed, and he was drifting off. My heart/his heart was still uncomfortably tight, so without explaining why, I asked him if I could try an energetic technique and he consented. I gently removed one hand from under his head and reached out over his heart chakra. I felt a storm cloud there as my hand passed over, prickling me like a gentle, dense static. I grabbed this mass in the air above Marc’s chest and pulled. Marc jumped up to a seated position and spun around, his eyes wide.

“What the hell was that?”

He wasn’t afraid, just startled, which translated into a teaching moment for both of us. I was just trying to help and thought clearing out this disturbance in his heart chakra would cause a subtle—perhaps physically imperceptible—shift for him. I was wrong.

Turns out he and his girlfriend had just broken up, and his heart chakra was traumatized. He was still connected to her energetically, regardless of the distance between them. When I pulled out the cord connecting them to each other, it was like pulling a plant out by the roots, a tangible disconnect. “I’ve just never experienced anything like that before,” he kept repeating, as if apologizing for his reaction.

For my part, I apologized for failing to communicate better. I became more diligent with clients going forward, and revised my intake form to include an informative section about my work with energy fields and potential outcomes.

Marc ran the marathon without incident, and was very grateful for that. He also told many people in his circle he is now a believer in energy healing modalities.

Chapter 10

The first spirit I’m aware of connecting with was my father in my own dream state, and then the woman’s dog and father while fully awake in the psychometry class. Since then, I’ve connected with the dearly departed relations of clients and others. The universe has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate to me, beyond any doubt, that connecting with loved ones who have crossed over is possible and occurs much more often than many realize. However, I am not able to communicate with those on the other side on command. Sometimes it just happens. Here are a few of my more profound experiences.

Mary

Mary, the woman with the broken tibia, came to see me after her grandfather passed. She was understandably grieving. He lived in one of the southern states and Mary had intended to fly down to spend time with him before he left this world, but by the time she could get away from work and arrange a flight, she was informed by her family that there wasn’t time. Instead, she had to settle for a phone call in his last hours, which left her feeling both short-changed and guilty.

In the weeks that followed his passing, she came in for a combination of massage and Reiki for relief on all fronts. As we were finishing up, and I had her head cradled in my hands, I felt a tangible pressure around my middle and up my back, as if I was being hugged from behind. I usually shared my intuitive impressions with Mary, as she was very open to exploring metaphysical phenomena, but at the same moment I felt this sensation, she began to cry. She was having her own experience and I decided to keep my mouth shut. Afterwards, she told me she felt her grandfather’s presence when I was holding her head and that’s what had brought on her strong wave of emotion. I debated whether or not to tell her what I felt. The information I receive is not always verifiable, and I never want to come off as opportunistic or trying to manipulate someone’s grief. I decided she knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t do that, so I told her what I’d felt in the same moment she was having her experience of him. Her eyes got wide and filled with tears again.

“The last thing I said to him on the phone was that I was so sorry I wasn’t there for him,” she said, “and that I just wished I could give him a hug!”

And then I got weepy, too. We sat there in silence for a moment, astonished at the experience we’d just shared—all three of us.

Mediumship Practice

After a few more spontaneous experiences like this, fleeting, but real enough, I decided to try to hone this skill. The information I was able to present to my clients about their loved ones was so welcome and so healing for them, but I couldn’t do it with any regularity. This was especially frustrating when a client had an exceptional experience of connecting with a loved one and shared it with friends, who would then call and request the same service. “I can’t promise anything,” I’d have to explain. “It doesn’t work like that, at least not for me.”

As synchronicity would have it, right about this time a friend invited me to join her monthly mediumship practice group. There were several people in the group, but after two years of meetings, they were becoming familiar with each other’s loved-ones-in-spirit, and in exchange for offering me a learning opportunity, I was offering them an opportunity for fresh connections.

There were five of us at the first meeting: my friend Ashley, Jack the facilitator, Kara, Suzanne, and myself. We did a meditation to get centered and receptive, and then Jack explained the exercises he had planned for the meeting. We rearranged the chairs such that four were facing one chair, designated as the medium’s seat. One person would try to channel loved ones for any of the other four and then we’d rotate. Suzanne went first and was able to get some bits of verifiableinformation from Jack’s aunt who came to wish him congratulations on his upcoming wedding.

Ashley, a very gifted medium, went next. She connected with Jack’s grandfather, rattling off a number of facts about him including his name, appearance, occupation, the close nature of their relationship, and activities they shared, all validated by Jack.

It was my turn next and I was intimidated, but I was here to try, so I gave it my best shot. After a few moments of silence, I saw a severe-looking blonde woman via my third eye. I described her, but no one in the group knew who she was. Jack directed me to gently send her away and ask for someone else to step forward. I was silent for several more moments. It was difficult to clear my mind and not think about the people watching me and patiently waiting. My desire to produce a connection was distracting and therefore counterproductive.

Next I saw a man in black pants and a black, short-sleeved shirt with a white collar, a priest. He was forty-ish and good-looking, maybe Italian . . .“Evan. His name is Evan,” I said, trying to sound confident. “Or Kevin.”

Ashley asked about his family.

“He’s with a younger blonde woman in her twenties,” I told them.

“Okay,” Ashley said, “you’re reading me psychically rather than channeling. Earlier today I was talking to my friend Evan whose dad is a Greek Orthodox priest. You need to go up for departed spirits,” she said as she pointed toward the ceiling then repeated, “Go up.”

I was both thrilled that I had received such specific and verifiable information, and incredulous that I got no credit for it. Tough crowd!