Archive | July, 2016

Spiritual Guidance Tools II: Intuition and Psychic Info

In my experience, intuition is like a foreign language that we all sort of know. Everyone has the capacity for it, but some people are better than others at using it and understanding it. Just like some people are better at cycling or writing or counseling or math. And, just like all these examples, intuition is something that can be learned and developed.

For me, intuition is the language of energy between things. How people interact with other people, how the tree interacts with the Earth, and what the energy of each one feels like and the patterns of energy each sends out. Some people see this energy very clearly- they are psychic. They can tell you details and specifics- you will buy a new car next week, you need to fix that relationship, they aren’t moving. That sort of thing.

At the other end of the language spectrum is the intuitive ‘grunts’ most of us get- stop here, don’t drive there, pick that one, etc. The ‘gut’ feelings that we should do or not do something with no logical sense of why.  (If you’ve ever seen the ‘amazing dads’ video on Facebook, where dads catch their kids in mid-air or stop a baby carriage at the last second, that is a great example of the ‘basic’ intuition language.)

And there is a bunch of gray area in between those two poles of expertise.

There are also many kinds of intuition and ‘other knowing.’ (If you want to read a great book, one that even made me do a double-take, check out Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan. And prepare to have your mind blown.)

Some types of intuition include:

  • clairvoyance (clear seeing, or psychic vision)
  • clairaudience (clear hearing, or psychic hearing)
  • clairsentience (clear feeling/sensing or psychic feeling/sensing, including clairempathy)
  • clairtangency (clear touching or more commonly, psychometry)
  • claircognizance (clear knowing or psychic knowing)

And while there are some people who genuinely have this gift, there are also some sham artists. [I had a great resource to avoid scams, but I can’t find it. I’ll link here when I find it again!]

::: ::: ::: :::

So, how does intuition work for spiritual guidance? I believe if we begin to listen to and nurture our connection with our intuition, we are listening in on the deeper vibes of our own spiritual journey. If our ‘Bible’ is a way of connecting with guidance from outside ourselves, intuition is a way of connecting with guidance from inside ourselves.

Now, I am not a psychic, but I am highly intuitive. I listen to my intuition and have honed it over the years. If you would like some practices to help you develop your skills, I highly recommend Sonia Chocquette’s The Psychic Pathway. Great book with super helpful tools.

I would say my skills are somewhere in the high-middle range. My intuition is clairsentient (I know and feel things that others have done, are doing, or will do) and also clairaudient (I can ‘hear’ inside myself certain messages from another person or thing). For example, my Dad regularly loses things- one of them was my mother’s wedding ring. He called to ask me where it was, and I could feel where the ring was, from the ring’s perspective (make all the ‘Lord of the Ring’ jokes you want- I do!). ‘It’s in a drawer, I said. Somewhere dark and calm and and with a green base layer.’ He called me back, 20 minutes later, so say he’d found the ring in a drawer in his workshop, on top of a green rag. I will say that the closer I am to someone, emotionally, the more detail I see and the easier it is to see/feel/hear things.

This is a good spot to also say that I see the truth of things. People, places, connections. If I have a ‘dialect’ to my intuitive language, it is that I see and hear the truth. So, when we were out to dinner a couple of nights ago, I could hear and feel that the wife of the couple at the other table, her greatest wish is to be cared for and taken care of (not financially, but emotionally). That is her truth, right now, so that is what I could hear and feel.

I use a variety of tools I have developed over the years to sort different pieces of information I get. Sometimes I see light around particular options and that is the one I’m supposed to choose (doesn’t mean it’s the easiest option, just means it’s the one I’m supposed to take- the path I am supposed to travel). I double-check some info I get, to make sure it’s the energetic truth. I ask for confirmation and have a variety of ways to receive it. Sometimes I attach symbols to people or situations and then, if that symbol arises, I know it’s about that person or thing. This piece is really about developing a language with Life, which I will talk more about in the third installment of this series.

And while I don’t usually get specific info, sometimes I do. I once had a connection with someone who didn’t quite trust me and was trying to ‘dig around’ inside my head one weekend. I don’t know what he found, but what opened for me was the entire story of his demising marriage and new relationship. I saw everything about the wound his ex had that caused her to treat him in a certain way that, in turn, caused him to leave the marriage (and his wound that played into all this) and how the new relationship was propping him up so he could feel good again. The whole story was laid out before me- not to mention the energetic patterns and vibes of everyone involved. In this case, as in many cases, the energy of a thing- or simply people’s true spirits- want to be witnessed. And because I am open to the energy, I get to see/feel the story.

My current success rate with intuitive readings is 80-85% (depends on the person, how long I’ve known or felt them, what they’re looking for, etc.). One of the best things you can do to develop your intuitive skills is track them. What did you feel, hear, see, and how did that play out? Everyone has a unique version of intuition, so tracking it helps you gain confidence and clarity.

There is also one question I use if I think it has bearing on a situation or I can be helpful. I simply sit in a meditative state and ask, “Please show me what I need to know in order to be useful.” Quite often I am shown specific things. This happens in client sessions a lot- I will see specific words, pictures, or interactions that I need to introduce into the session to help a client move forward- but this happens in everyday connections and conversations as well. I think because I am a good person, trying to be helpful, with a good heart that has been thoroughly tested, I get access to different pieces of information. Life knows I won’t use whatever I’m given to hurt people or manipulate a situation; I’m here for the truth and the growth of souls.

::: ::: ::: :::

Everybody has intuition and I believe it is a way that our soul/spirit talks to and connects with everything and everyone around us. We can learn the language of our own intuition- how it works and when- and begin to navigate our lives with more information and insight. And, I believe, this is another way of directly connecting with Spirit or God or the Divine Intelligence, or Whatever You Wanna Call It. Intuition comes from the place inside ourselves that is already connected to the Greater Whatever and so it gives us access to that place where all can be seen (or felt or heard).

I highly recommend developing your intuitive skills as a way to bring you closer to your own life and path. One of the best things I can also offer is the reminder that intuition is often a development of deep spiritual practice, but it isn’t the focus of practice. Intuition and other spiritual skills are a gift, but not the goal.




When life gets broken.

[I promise that Spiritual Guidance Tools II will show up tomorrow at some point. This was just on my mind and heart today and needed to be shared. See you tomorrow!]

I am building a new, wild heart. And the fact that I am doing this made me realize I’ve come a long way. I’m building something new inside myself, no longer consumed by the fire of internal transmutation. No longer lost in the confusion of silent fallowness. I am creating myself again.

What this also made me realize is that I have some wisdom for those in the fire. For those whose life is falling apart – by choice or by force. And it is also for my friend, K, who is in this fire right now, losing something very important.

May you find it useful.



When Life Gets Broken

First, you must cry. The cry that is from so deep inside you, you are almost frightened of it. That you did not know how deep it went. That you were that primal with emotion.

These tears are the first magical waters you will encounter. They will keep your soul protected from the fire of your burning life. Let them flow.

Second, you must breathe. If that is the only thing you can do for weeks or months, just breathe. If you are a robot on auto-pilot in daily life, that is okay. But find yourself always in your breath. Always come back to the fact that you are breathing. This is the way to keep alive inside the fire. 

Next, you must watch it begin to fall away. Hold yourself still. Let it go. Let the fire begin to incinerate what was. Just stand there and watch. You may be singed, but you will not die. Let your fingers dance with the flames as you wave goodbye.

Fourth, if you need goodness or hope or something to keep walking for, find simple things and do them. Make sandwiches for your children. Feel your hands and arms move, even when your heart is numb. Take them to the park and think of nothing. Watch the sunlight make shadow puppets of the tree leaves. Watch the dust particles take off and land, in their lazy, drifting way. Imagine this is how dreams work.

Sleep. Drink water. Pray. Even the quietest prayers. The one word prayer we have all prayed: help. Cry more. Watch it burn. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Sleep the sleep of the dead.

And I will tell you the secret of going on. One day, soon, I promise, you will begin to see the shadow of your own dream in the sunlight. It will feel like freedom because everything has been burned to dust and carried away- there is only open space for this dream. It will be full of light. And you will smile. Life, healed, will begin anew, with wisdom at its side.




Spiritual Guidance Tools I: Anything Can Be a Bible

[I want you to know how dedicated I am to my craft: I’m writing this in my underwear because it’s so fucking humid in my house. That’s how much I love you, people!]

I grew up on a fairly religious household. We were Protestants, and I mostly attended Baptist and Presbyterian churches. I was taught various Bible verses throughout my life (until I left the church), starting with the verse that is considered to be the basis of all Christian faith: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

I will remember that verse until the day I die.

I read much more of the Bible as an uber religious high schooler. (Someday I will tell you about ‘missionary dating’ – it’s not about sex, unfortunately.) And I actually found a lot of direction and guidance in the Bible at that time in my life. There were some very universal + wise stories, passages, and verses. I definitely felt and believed that those words were showing me things about my life and how to live it well.

I believe, to this day, that we can receive direction about our own life from other people’s stories and ideas. This is probably the most important aspect of the Bible.

The other important aspect of the Bible is the general underlying principle- why it was written. The Bible was written to tell the story of Jesus Christ and how his life came to happen. It is the story of a how he came to be, what his mission was, and how his life ended. It is the story of a man full of love, acceptance, and social justice (please, let’s remember who he hung out with: the whores and the thieves- and he turned over the tables of the money men).

::: ::: ::: :::

As I matured and met other people, learned from their perspectives, travelled and had a bigger vision of the world, I realized: there are a lot of other books, TV shows, and movies that offer sound advice on how to live and how to be. In some cases, I think they offer advice that is more sound than the Bible.

I’m thinking of things like:

Star Trek and the Prime Directive. Where we explore new worlds, in and outside of ourselves, but we do not impose any of our values or technology on the other worlds we find. Some people find this immoral, but I find it immensely encouraging because it is about tolerance and acceptance.

Star Wars and the Jedi Code (which is parallel to Taoist beliefs, in many ways). This is a ‘Bible’ about good versus evil and might versus rebellion. It is a Code of equanimity- something we are certainly short on in Western society.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Can I tell you how many people base their life on this book? A zillion. That says a lot to me. It must provide insight and guidance that are meaningful and help those people live good lives.

The Harry Potter series. Books full of symbolism and stories and verses, very similar to Bible stories. The best part about these books is their unwavering commitment to the confusion of growth but utter dedication to the process. Not a bad way to find guidance. And also, finding your magic. We are all magic somehow.

I think a good ‘Bible’ needs to be something positive and growth oriented. We are all on the hero’s journey– even Jesus- and so we need stories to help us see our way forward. A good ‘Bible’ also holds a story that is larger than we are. It gives us something to believe in beyond our daily existence which also actually helps us in our daily existence.

[Some people are gonna hate on this and say, “But the Bible was created by God!” To which I would say: One, how do you know for sure? And two, how do you know that these modern works were not from the hand of God? Because I would argue that they did.]

::: ::: ::: :::

How do we take guidance from our chosen ‘Bible’ then? There are two practices I think are super useful.

Lectio divina. This means ‘divine reading’ in Latin and it is the practice of opening a book to a random page and reading until we find something meaningful or guidance for a question we might have. (Some people say you should hold the question in your mind as you flip to a random page.)

In all honesty, I think this is similar to a Tarot reading, but people think it’s holier because it involves the Bible. Whatevs.

But it certainly can work. You can flip to any old page in a book, or select an episode of a show you think might have the answer (oh, Netflix!) and see what you get. See if there is some story, bit of wisdom, or surprising sentence that gives you guidance.


What would _____ do? Oh, yeah. It’s that question. Only, you don’t have to put ‘Jesus’ in that missing spot. You can put in any character you admire or one you find particularly aligned with you and see how that works.

Just imagine asking: ‘What would Obi-wan do?’
‘What would Hermione do?’
‘What would Dumbledore do?’
‘What would Spock do?’

Could yield amazing results, yes? I think so.

The thing about these practices is that they help us connect with an inner knowing I believe already exists within us. You can call that ‘connecting with God’ or ‘tapping into the Collective Unconscious’ or whatever floats your boat. But what these divination tools do is reconnect us with our deepest, best, most positive understanding and truth.

::: ::: ::: :::

We don’t need the Bible for our guidance, but some of us do appreciate guidance from outside ourselves (knowing how our ego can get in the way or how we can ignore our deepest truths because of how inconvenient they make life sometimes). We can pick our own ‘Bible’ and follow it’s direction and see how it goes. If it works and offers us useful guidance, wonderful. If it doesn’t, we can choose again.

We are, in the end, responsible for our choices and our life, but it doesn’t hurt to have outside resources for support on this journey.

Big love, fellow travelers,
Joanna :: xoxo




I figured it out, dudes.

I’m supposed to be paying the bills and making lunch, but I figured it out and I can’t keep it to myself.

I got it.
The pieces fitting together.
The download.

I’m sure some of you already know this, but I finally do now, too.
And I got it deep.
(Sometimes we have to learn a thing, at deeper and deeper levels, until we get it.)

This is what I got: it never stops, the growing and the learning.
And sensuality is the way we make life worth living as we grow.

Maybe this is super ‘duh!’ to some of you, but this is big to me.

I have been living, I now see, with the sense that, at some point, I would figure out enough stuff, heal enough stuff, to have life work. Not necessarily to get what I want- every dream fulfilled, just so– but to just travel more easily through life.

But that’s not how it works.
At least not for people who are growth oriented.

[Growth orientation: a way of seeing life, and its problems, as opportunities for growth and change so the issue or problem can be healed and removed from life. See also: growth mindset.]

If we are growth oriented, we will always be challenged. Challenge is when we keep facing the same situation or outcome over and over again and we don’t like it. This is Life calling us to heal our heart, soul, psyche (Psyche is soul, but that’s another post). Life hands us situations and people to show us, over and over again, what needs to be healed within us.

Some helpful examples: the mentor I am learning about this from had seven failed relationships before he realized he needed to learn about how to ‘do relationship.’  He was always going to repeat the same pain in relationships until he learned how to do them. This was his challenge.

I guess my own example is the same. I tried to leave a friendship for 5 years, but could never quite get it done. I always hoped it would bloom into something deep and amazing, but it never did. I was being challenged to learn boundaries and self-respect so I could let go of a connection where I gave far too much for not much in return (one-sided).

I had to prefer the pain of growth rather the than the pain of repeating the mistake. I was going to be in pain, either way. Only one of those painful paths was going to get me out of the mud, though.




Now, we can always say ‘no’ to growth. This is the beauty of free will. But, I believe, our life will be the worse for it. We will be hit upside the head with the problems for the rest of our life and hate our life. Or we’ll medicate the pain the problem produces with alcohol, sex, drugs, shopping, or whatever keeps us high and away from the pain.

And if we decide to grow, it will be different for each of us. Some of us will be challenged by relationships. Some will be challenged by family issues. Some of us will be challenged with work or parenting or health issues. But we can overcome these challenges if we are growth oriented and committed to it.

This makes life sound like walking through heavy mud from problem to problem.
But, no!

This is where sensuality can make life beautiful, even in the mud.

As we go through challenges, being aware of what is good in our life gives us the juice to keep going. The more we interact with and cultivate our sensuality, the more we enjoy life and feel grateful for what we have.

When I’m in the dire straights of grief, I can hear my children laughing and find joy.
When I’m frustrated with not getting it yet, I can sit quietly and enjoy the view.
When I’m crying, I can feel the full sadness and the cool pillow beneath my head.

And when things are good- when I’ve mastered the lesson or when there’s just space in life- I can enjoy the fuck out of it.

Sensuality isn’t just the juice that helps us persevere through our challenges and growth, it can also fill our internal well in the ‘in between’ space.

The path is the combo of these two things: we accept the pain of our challenges and commit to growth and we use sensuality as the soft center of support to help us get there (and celebrate when we do!).

That’s what I got today.
And that’s why I had to share.
Because this is the path, fellow travelers.

In the next week, I am sharing a 3-part series on spiritual tools we can use for guidance on this path. We’ll look at internal guidance and divination (intuition and ‘psychic’ work), external guidance from the stuff around us, and external guidance from a ‘higher perspective.’ I hope you’ll join me.

Big love fellow travelers,
Joanna :: xoxo





the path of love.

I’ve been writing a couple of wedding ceremonies this summer (for friends, gonna go officiate one in Seattle this Fall – cannot wait) and I’m thinking about love and commitment. I’ve taken a few relationship courses, read a fuck-tonne of books on the subject, studied every aspect of affairs, and considered all my own experience (20 years with the same guy, we’re doing damn well, even though I really wanted an affair at one point!).

I’ve worked through my own stories and history (the way I play out what his mom used to do and he plays out what my dad used to do and how that drives us crazy and we have to heal that shit x 1,732 times or it will make us resent each other).

What do I say to these people that will not be cliche and crass? What do I say that will be true and helpful? What do I say that helps them live well with each other and grow together?

Two things keep rattling around in my mind:

1. Famed Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn wrote, “You must love so that the one you love feels free.”

2. Someone else (I’ve seen it two or three places lately) said, “You must love them more than you need them.”

[And yeah, that’s some profound shit right there, so if you need to take a second an re-read that until it sinks in, please do.]

::: ::: ::: :::

I feel like these are the best things I could tell a couple because they ring so true in my own experience.

Even when I was wanting to have an affair, my husband loved me in such a way that I felt free. Don’t get me wrong, he was very clear what his position was (I could choose what I wanted, but if I chose an affair, our marriage was over), but I never felt that I was being pushed into a choice.

In less difficult circumstances, daily circumstances, I feel free as well. The more issues and history we have worked through, the more we trust each other and the easier it is to let the other live as they wish. We have worked hard to create enough trust and communication that we can be who we are and know the other still loves us and has our back.




As for needing and loving, my husband and I still need each other in many ways. But our need is never greater than our love for each other. Were one of us to say they needed to leave or have space or get a new job or quit some particular responsibility in the house, our love will always allow those things to happen. Yeah, there’s gonna be some discussion, but both of us would work our heart + ass + soul off to help the other get what they wanted or needed (even if it hurt or felt strange or whatever; that’s growing together).

Loving more than needing means we are okay as individuals and the couple is willing to support the individual, even at its own expense. I think that’s one of the most loving things you can do in some cases- to give up the idea of coupling so the individual can live and be free. (I think the selflessness of that act has to come from a place of love, not desperation, though.)

Marriage and love are so fraught today. They feel like amazing, huge risks to me- now that I’m so far down the road. There are so many things that can go wrong. But when you’re in love’s first blush what do you know? Nothing but the beauty of your beloved and the desire of your heart. Which is a great place to begin- but it takes so much more to make the long haul work.

I promise, no cliches and no half-truths for my couples. Only honesty and love.
That is the best example I can give them.

[You can see some more of my ideas on love and commitment and the path of long-term loving on my Pinterest board “:: loving / the path of ::” ]