Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Conduct Policy

As a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, I hereby pledge to abide by the ABMP Code of Ethics as outlined below.

Client Relationships

  • I shall endeavor to serve the best interests of my clients at all times and to provide the highest quality service possible.
  • I shall maintain clear and honest communications with my clients and shall keep client communications confidential.
  • I shall acknowledge the limitations of my skills and, when necessary, refer clients to the appropriate qualified health care professional.
  • I shall in no way instigate or tolerate any kind of sexual advance while acting in the capacity of a massage, bodywork, somatic therapy or esthetic practitioner.


  • I shall maintain the highest standards of professional conduct, providing services in an ethical and professional manner in relation to my clientele, business associates, health care professionals, and the general public.
  • I shall respect the rights of all ethical practitioners and will cooperate with all health care professionals in a friendly and professional manner.
  • I shall refrain from the use of any mind-altering drugs, alcohol, or intoxicants prior to or during professional sessions.
  • I shall always dress in a professional manner, proper dress being defined as attire suitable and consistent with accepted business and professional practice.
  • I shall not be affiliated with or employed by any business that utilizes any form of sexual suggestiveness or explicit sexuality in its advertising or promotion of services, or in the actual practice of its services.

Scope of Practice / Appropriate Techniques

  • I shall provide services within the scope of the ABMP definition of massage, bodywork, somatic therapies and skin care, and the limits of my training. I will not employ those massage, bodywork or skin care techniques for which I have not had adequate training and shall represent my education, training, qualifications and abilities honestly.
  • I shall be conscious of the intent of the services that I am providing and shall be aware of and practice good judgment regarding the application of massage, bodywork or somatic techniques utilized.
  • I shall not perform manipulations or adjustments of the human skeletal structure, diagnose, prescribe or provide any other service, procedure or therapy which requires a license to practice chiropractic, osteopathy, physical therapy, podiatry, orthopedics, psychotherapy, acupuncture, dermatology, cosmetology, or any other profession or branch of medicine unless specifically licensed to do so.
  • I shall be thoroughly educated and understand the physiological effects of the specific massage, bodywork, somatic or skin care techniques utilized in order to determine whether such application is contraindicated and/or to determine the most beneficial techniques to apply to a given individual. I shall not apply massage, bodywork, somatic or skin care techniques in those cases where they may be contraindicated without a written referral from the client’s primary care provider.

Image / Advertising Claims

  • I shall strive to project a professional image for myself, my business or place of employment, and the profession in general.
  • I shall actively participate in educating the public regarding the actual benefits of massage, bodywork, somatic therapies and skin care.
  • I shall practice honesty in advertising, promote my services ethically and in good taste, and practice and/or advertise only those techniques for which I have received adequate training and/or certification. I shall not make false claims regarding the potential benefits of the techniques rendered.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Unlabel-able Abilities

Normally I attempt to establish my blog titles with a quirky and compact blurb that might leave room for some mysteriousness. However, I am here today to share what my abilities are and how I receive affirmation from Spirit, with the most direct descriptions possible without all the holistic fluff. Which, by the way, I often refer to affectionately as "hippy shit" when I am discussing God consciousness with someone who is not at the frame of mind, for instance, my boyfriend or my mother. I intend to make it clear how I know what I know, and what it feels like to feel what I feel. "My Unlabel-able Abilities" seems like an appropriate title as I intend to share with you simply what I experience every day. I have come to find that I possess primarily the gift of clairesentience, intuitiveness, and healing. The three work together for me almost daily.

I receive affirmation by something I call the "God Chills". My healer, mentor, dear friend, and colleague -Sharon Roe, with Golden Age Healing, was the person who help me clarify what I experience. The first time I ever experienced the GC's was summer of 2012. I had just settled myself on my bed with the intent of saying a very intense and urgent prayer for a family member who I felt was in trouble. I had assistance in writing and drafting this prayer, as it was written down and it was intended to be chanted -each word chosen so carefully, that I believed if I got ANY of it wrong, that it would not take and the universe would not be able to respond. I waited for weeks until I felt it was the right time, with the right collection of energy to work with and with a clear mind -literally. I remember taking a couple of deep breaths and experienced a sense of grounding -without judgement or question, just open to experience without the hope of receiving an experience, or analyzing what I was about to give/receive. I just... was.

Half a moment prior to opening my mouth to speak, I felt the GC's come over me like a crashing wave. It started with a vibration/throbbing in the palms of my hands and the chills shot from my left wrist, up my arms, across my back, and down the back of my right arm. (I now understand that your left hand is your receptive hand, and your right hand is your power hand...female vs male, which to me, made more sense later.) The chills were not of cold, but of slight pain, myet tickled. To this day, I get them just before I finish asking questions directed to spiritual beings/universe/God, etc.

Having the God Chills, the best way I can define it is having the sense of clairsentience. Of all the parapsychic abilities, there are various definitions, some of which conflict a little. However, I have not met anyone who has this same type of constant experience. I do have two other abilities, but I will get to that later.

Now, when I 'tune in', which means I just concentrate on being neutral enough to make observations on my feelings or extraneous thoughts and 'images', I have to ask if "so and so" is there. When that being is there, before I even finish speaking my sentence I receive the chills as if to say "yup, you got that right!". I still cannot define it as any spirit or ascended master can reach me the same way every time, or if it is strictly archangel Michael...but, maybe that is something to ask the next time I have a tuning in session on my own. [Note to self, no. 1]

It was not long later that I discovered I had some psychic intuitive abilities. In the grand scheme of things, we ALL do, really, but some of us are more open than others, curious than others, blocked off, etc and so on. Every one is capable and every one is gifted differently. The first time I realized this, I had a friend seek my out for spiritual healing. At first I thought she wanted emotional support and some time with me in the form of a hot stone massage (the primary method of massage I perform). At this time, I had not come out of the closet as a spiritual healer, as I was still very shy and unsure of myself. I obliged and shared with her that I would do what I could, but that I was not trained in Reiki, nor psychic, nor could I see auras or any other 'useful' abilites. Looking back on it now, it seems she 'knew' that I was a healer, as she, I discovered later, is also. By the way, for more details on this particular story, please refer to my blog post titled "Healing the Mermaid".

While I performed a variation of a massage session with the intent on prayer and 'healing' situations and relationships in her web of life influence, I was quiet and gazed around my office, as I often do. Whenever I perform a massage, although I am very much physically focused on my client, I often find opportunities to spend time with my own mind and think, which turns into daydreams. I discovered later, that when I begin to daydream, after a few seconds, a few minutes, or even right away I will have 'lucid dreams' which for me, seem like really elaborate day dreams that I, in fact, am not creating on my own. I cannot "see" things or spirits nor do I get "visions". My spidey senses are very specific but the only way I can truly define them as being "non-visions" or "non-visualizations" which, coincidentally I experience as being slightly cartoon-like. Ironic, I know. But, maybe my brain needs some things in black and white to make sense of the ethereal. Its like I see with my imagination. The experience of it is like being a little kid using the imagination to see and experience whatever I want in that moment. Its the 'pretend' kind of senses....where you are pretending with integrity, but not necessarily commitment because they take their own life. Then, to your surprise you end up being right...100% of the time in my case.

When I have one of my lucid day dreams, I am dreaming of very specific things with its own page...the image in my mind doesn't flicker like my normal awake mind...and I also realize that I experience no pain, no stress, no wonder no pleasure. The best way I can make this clear is I emotionally and rationally 'tune out' and just experience with a state of grace with no judgement. I don't force it, or ask just happens.

When I worked on the aforementioned friend, I somewhat panicked, as this is someone I am close to and I have a new responsibility to them. I flickered between moments of urgent need and prayer for help to lucid openness. While massaging her feet my imagination saw archangel Michael (who, from the beginning works very closely with me) hanging out in the corner -bored, standing on on leg with his arms crossed, like he wanted to say "Christi, c'mon you don't need me for this, can I go now?" But, what threw me off is in my mind I instantly though the name "Raphael" who I instantly knew was sitting on bench opposite Michael. I had never prayed to Raphael directly before. Then, in my mind, I day dreamed (looking cartoon-like) my friend in a little row boat with God on the ocean, with archangel Raphael or Michael (I wasn't sure who), sitting in the back. Then, I saw my friend grow a find and she lept out of the boat and swam in circles around it. The biggest part later, is I dreamed a pink and blue lilly growing out of an orifice on her body. It was strange and awkard, but it was beautiful. I asked her about some of my visions after the fact, as well as I did some googling. When I googled Raphael, I found a sketch of him standing on a fish. Then, my friend tells me she had auditioned to be a Dive Bar mermaid and she is a water sign. Then, freakishly enough, I asked her sensitively about the Lilly and asked if she had a particular event or trauma happen with that body part. She froze and gingerly admitted to me something very traumatic in her past, which turns out was coincidentally was on the fast track to healing, thank goodness.

This was a ridiculous amount of affirmation that I was not expecting to get. However, the most crazy part was I remember discussing with her my 'non-visions' and together we tried to untangle the lessons. Every time I spoke 'wisdom' --I got the God chills constantly. They layered themselves like various currents that confront and take over one the ripples caused by rain drops in a pond...over and over again. The craziest part is I hardly thought before I spoke. In fact, I don't remember thinking before, some other spirit was spouting wisdom out of my mouth and I could relay the message with Passion and without ego or bias. The experience was amazing.

The third and strongest gift is that of healing. I am a natural healer. It was told to me, I have proven it to myself, clients, and friends over and over again, and I now truly believe it.

Ok, so HOW I HEAL:


Bottom line, I pray...or cast spells if you like the mystical variations of words. I use certain crystals and some essential oils to help with 'the scene' and to establish a stronger assisting source of the spiritual vibrations (and I do mean this scientifically as much as I mean ethereally).

I pray for many things, even if we are just healing one thing. For instance, if Jane Doe was suffering from a broken heart, then I would pray for not only the easing of the pain, but that she quickly grasp the lesson she was meant to learn in that 'mini life', and then ask to heal her past lives of the same soul imprint and also heal FUTURE lives. I would also pray for the healing of the ex-partner in the same way. I would pray for her abundance and highest good, and pray for her to close off space for the person in her heart and in turn recycle it and open up her heart again so her next partner has an easier time finding her. I would pray for a sense of groundedness, and grace, etc.... the list goes on and on, for a REASON. The reason being that we experience complicated emotions and experiences and for me to assist someone to not only heal, but to move forward in this life, we have to cover as much ground as possible and avoid missing anything that keeps us from moving on to the next step in that life.

How do I know my methods of healing work?

Two reasons, because I get the God chills when I cast my prayer-thoughts out loud -out to the Universe and the Divine ascended masters or when I ask a direct yes or no question and the answer is "yes" when I get the GC's (which, coincidentally I get so fast that I'll feel them prior to finishing my question.)

Second reason, because my clients have told me almost every time that they felt different....whether I performed the healing in person or without them knowing. I've heard things like "My bedroom felt lighter and brighter" or "For the first time in 4 years I don't feel depressed over this subject" or "I didn't need my glasses to see and colors seem brighter".

Having the ability to manifest prayers and to creatively concoct healing is my greatest gift and I run with it with playful seriousness and with the most serious play. The lucid day dreams and the God Chills assist me with the affirmation I need as I am still growing in my abilities. What matters most to me is that I keep practicing to relax into my abilities with no judgement, ego, or lack of confidence. To learn to experience with nothing less than a state of Grace.

Massuese and Masseur, oh my!!!

My Name is Christi and I am a Licensed Massage Therapist. I have been performing massage and spa therapy and clinical #bodywork since 2005. Now, more than ever, #massage therapists are required to have significantly higher amount of training hours and certifications to practice at the State and National levels and will be going up at the end of 2013 in the state of California. However, there are many who are still referring to us as a “Massuer” or “Masseuse”. I encourage the general public to throw those words out of their vocabulary and to start using the terms “Bodywork” or, of course, “Massage Therapy” instead. Even though, according to the Webster Dictionary those words refer to male or female practitioners of massage, they carry sexual connotations that still inherently keep us from being take as seriously y as we need to as licensed health care and holistic professionals. Hit LIKE and SHARE if you love your massage therapist! 

Stop the word to end the word!
@christicrapotta #urbankneads #christisurbanmantra #christikneadsknots
@christikneadsknots on instagram!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Unbeknownst Offering I, II, III


I had always been a somewhat spiritual person. Moments of faith in my life were tail-gaited by the 'what if' types of questions in various layers, and sheer simplicity of what WAS in the grand subject of Divinity. In waves, I struggled with believing that there WAS more to a mortal life, and that whatever or whoever God is or was, is going to be misunderstood by the masses, which it always had been. Even in my youth, it was the one solid spiritual thing I  believed that. That in itself, did not seem to be enough when it came to social politics in a northern California high school, being a non-practicing Catholic by culture, but struggling to not drown in the black and white ocean of Southern Baptism and other types of non-denominational Christianity.

Later, in college, I reached by first steps of my personal salvation -and I don't mean in the "I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior" kind of way. As an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University, I was surrounded by Jesuit priests. They had this approachable and grounded way of living that brought an unknown sense of familiarity to my heart on the day to day that left me feeling hopeful in regards to the Catholic Church. Yes, there were Catholic students (practicing and non-practicing), Jewish students, atheist and agnostic, Buddhist, etc and so on. Everyone was loved and welcomed by staff, both religious and non. The students, of the ones I interacted with, were passionate about leaving their mark on the world in some way during and after school. The Spiritual Life Ministries on Campus had a beautiful message that became clear to me in a Philosophy of Human Race course. The professor, this stout, older man with a beautiful and cleanly kept beard and round metal framed glasses and wearing a tan safari vest, who's name, to this day begets me. The opinion of the grand majority the students he seemed pompous and arrogant...but to me, he was warm and loving, like Santa Claus parading as a normal human being.

Within the first 2 or 3 lecture series of this course, he shared, "[LMU] carries on in the pursuit of following the intent of St. Ignatius of Loyola: to be more like God my serving those below them. You know, for thousands of years, human beings always looked toward 'ascending' in some way, which would make them closer to the Divine. I'd like you to consider this, God, does not look above himself, ethereally, but rather, around and below him. He serves His own Divinity by creation, and healing, and listening to our prayers, creating miracles, and smiting. He also sent His son down to us. So, to be more like God, we must go below ourselves and serve. I don't mean go to those who are not as good as us, but go down and do the best we can to help those who need our help. As a University, this school is teaching you to be able to be the best functioning members of society that you can be. I can only imagine that you becoming so knowledgeable about some subject, or good at some trade enough to teach it, and help others create and teach themselves is one of the God-liest things you can do."

Something that I have yet mentioned, the Philosophy and Theology departments worked together very closely. Students who majored in either subject, were required to have a double major with the other. Requiring those students, no matter their stance or belief system, to have the opportunity and gift of creating an open mind and/or further helping them strengthen how they viewed the world and its history. Another interesting fact, Loyola Marymount University was the place where the linguistics and text was researched and developed for the subtitles and script for Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ", as well as the first screening of the film prior to release to the masses. But, I digress.

Later on that same academic year, I took a "Religions of the World" course. This professor, who I also adored, often spoke with his hands together as if he was subconsciously greeting all his lessons to us with "namaste". He had a grand and goofy hair style that reminded me of a softer Einstein look. Very deliberate and soft inflections in his voice, very gentle and loving....and always wore a bracelet of prayer beads from some Eastern country. In this course, I was partnered up with two girls, who, for a short time, I was very close friends with: a conservative, yet feminine and confident girl named Kathleen, who always wore her hair in a low pony tail and a wooden berret with a horse on it; and another gal nicknamed 'Lucy', who was an Americanized emigrant from Kazakhstan. She had a mysterious beauty about her that reminded me of a majestic cat from ancient Egyptian art -and happened to have NEVER known the concept of religion until coming to the United States at 10 years old. She was an interesting case to the class and the professor.

The three of us, together: an ethereal agnostic dancer (me), a Catholic from the bay area, and someone with a fresh slate of no formal faith -bonded over our unforgettable trip to find Lake Shrine on West Sunset blvd. This place was like a religion heaven for me. The garden alone, with a man-made lake, honored the 5 major religions. The sermon including chanting "OHM" as a community, AND singing "Valley of the Lilies". It was all inclusive, which spoke to me greatly. I felt more at home in a religious community than I ever had, to this day. This was back in 2002, I might mention. At their gift shop I purchased a large wind chime that was a giant 'ohm' with Egyptian camel bells all over it. It was very precious to me for a very long time and often was the the first thing I noticed when I walked into my apartment every day.

As far as spiritual experiences are concerned, I experienced a friend having a spiritual experience. While out swing dancing, and hanging out with a dear friend, Ricardo, he intuitively 'saw' my grandmother standing next to me. It was the first time I had ever considered spiritual visitations.

I began to ask him millions of questions. He was, for lack of better terms, a 'new age' believer and healer. Many times, he 'tuned in' for me to answer many of life's hard questions that I wanted God to answer for me. Like, "which major should I stick with" and other silly things of that nature.

Part II - The Panic and the Offering

A few years later, now living in Northern California and moved back into my childhood bedroom, I had been dating man for a brief time, who in the end, would end up being my 6 year 'lesson'. I was crazy in love with him, for reasons that now, don't have a place in my essence, and are hard to remember. We always had fun together, though. Amongst his many qualities, he grew up Christian. His parents were very involved Church and their bible study groups, even to this day, I suppose. He, however, veered away from the practice of Christianity, but for a long time, could not shake the basic foundations that he was brought up to believe in, via traditional guilt, fear, and some minor brain washing. We broke up many times through the course of that relationship. The first time we broke up, he left me with the drunken argument that "it hurts to much to be with you because I know one day, when we both die, I will go to heaven and won't find you there." He said this in response to my stating I didn't know how to believe in hell -that it was a foreign concept to me, as it was something never broached in my upbringing, culturally. When he sliced me with his words, my very foundation was shaken to the core. This did something VERY deep to me that I had never experienced before.

I went to bed devastated for a variety of reasons. I prayed hard to God. I said "God, I really don't know if you exist or not. I really want you to exist. If you are hearing me, please help me. I don't know what I believe. I don't know what is truth. Please, help cut the bullshit in my sphere of influence and guide me to the right information. I'm tired of being punished just because my instincts tell me one thing and other people who "study" you say another. I feel like EVERYONE misunderstands you, but me. Help." I had no premise for the belief that I understood or misunderstood God, by the way.

Now, the insane part that should have had me locked away in the looney bin.

Around 5 am, I watched my clock that was beside my bed. The Large hand was spinning out of control. But, at the same time, the seconds hand was taking what felt like minutes to tic and tok. In the diagonal corner of my room, there was an orange retro chair. I sensed/saw a figure in a sort of grayish/tan robe with a hood sitting there. I could never see his face, but yet, we looked into each other and communicated telepathically. I experienced dual realities at the same time! This was insane, and I feel very vulnerable sharing this story, even now: I was paralyzed and immovable and my body felt as though it were burning and at the same time I was twitching and seizing with my head jolting in all directions. The first and only time in my life, I felt petrified for my very soul. This figure and I interacted for either seconds or hours, I could not tell. After what felt like years of silence, he said to me in my head "If God were to come to you in a familiar form, and give you the gift of golden, perfect truth in the form of a beautiful white ball on a silver platter as nothing but a gift, what would you do?" At that moment, either I was not ready to understand the question, for if I did, would I would have responded differently...OR the figure was trying to show me there is a truth and gave me the choice of exposure to it at this time in my life and KNEW I was not ready for it, but WAS ready to experience a mere glimpse. Quickly, without much thinking, I thought the figure meant Christianity: in its most strict and traditional form. I said "I would say to God, thank you, I appreciate this gift, but it is not my truth to hold. I honor you and me enough to not follow blindly. Is that wrong?" The figure responded, with, what felt like warmth and comfort, "no, that is perfect." As soon as that statement was finished, it was 7:30 in the morning, and I awoke in a hysterical panic attack. It took a few hours to calm myself.

This happened 7 years ago. When I grew the courage to share this story with very close friends who, in my definition, were spiritual...I was matched with a blank expression and no compassion or advice. I kind of thought it was Jesus Christ. Someone else suggested it was an angel. Some other confidant suggested it was a demon. I was more confused than ever, so I tried to never think of this experience again. Since then, I had a couple of emotional encounters with what I believed was my grandmother, Alma's spirit, and nothing more. There, I stopped searching.

Part III -The slap on the Head

A year and a half ago, I had moved out of my mother and father's house. It was October of 2011 and for years we were having a very tumultuous time in our relationship. It got worse and worse and truly, was never over anything truly serious. One day, I snapped. I hastily, and hardly without words packed up and left for the sanctuary of a friend's home in South Sacramento. After that Christmas, I was blessed with a new job with the state, as an independent contractor working from home. All I needed was my computer. Finally! My life was going to be put back together and I was going to be ok! The day I came home from my first day of training, I walked into the house to discover the house had been robbed of everything of value: not only most of my roommates most valuable belongings, but two computers that I owned, my camera, silver, gold, stones (I made jewelry for extra income), some tools, food, clothes, some of my purses and all of my personal jewelry. --Even my grandmother's rings that my mother entrusted me with. Even next month's rent was found and stolen, which I had hidden under my cat's litter box.

After a stressful evening of police, investigators, and a sleepless and congested night at my boyfriend's house, I called my new job to tell them I might need another day or two and explained the situation. They were compassionate until I mentioned my computer was also stolen, and they said my contract will be disintegrated since I had no reliable computer. I lost all my serious belongings and my job in less than 24 hours. A little over a week later, I went into town to meet a girlfriend for drinks and dancing, but was T-boned at an intersection with no stop sign and two BMW's going 40+ mph on the road before they hit me. My car was totaled and the police deemed it my fault on top of that.

For the next month I was stressed and devastated, for a variety of reasons -but mostly because I did not know what to do. Like a naked baby in blinding white light in a cold room hearing too many echoing sounds. I even lost my voice and could not speak much for 3 weeks. I cried every day, I was edgy and jumpy, and I was starting to retreat into my own self and feel more and more alone. Worst of all I felt helpless, incapable, even pathetic with no one to turn to. I was about to internally combust from being a hair away from a panic attack at every moment. I needed to take care of so much. I needed to find a job, find a new place to live, no computer, no phone, no money, and no vehicle and stupidly believing that I could not confide in my family for assistance as we were still not doing well in our relationship. Then, the house was robbed a second time.

A few days after, I took a hot shower to spend some time with myself. I had not thought about God, or faith, or spirits, or prayer, or anything for a few years at this point. In fact, I was an "anti-Christian" for bitter reasons. Anything that sounded "Christian" made me roll my eyes in disgust. In the shower, I crouched into a little ball and leaned against the cold tiled wall, experiencing both its sharp cold and the intense heat of the water -so hot, I thought it might make my skin peel off my body, but I didn't care. I intended to tune out the pain and just shut down. Without thinking, I looked up and said "God, I can't handle anymore. I can't do this alone, please take all of this from me". I could have slapped myself for sounding SO preachy.

Instantly, I felt better. Emotionally, I didn't seem to feel the suffering I did moments ago, days ago, or weeks ago. A vivid thought came to me as I dried off: I was going to go back to what I know. For the next few weeks I plugged away at getting back into my old career in massage therapy. I did it for years in Napa and got tired of the "pompous hippy shit" that I was surrounded by that, at the time, I did not understand or connect to. I took some home-study classes from a school in LA, got the credits I needed to get my state certification, got insured, and went on various interviews. I was offered a job in Folsom, and not only was offered full time work with 4-5 clients a day to see, but coincidentally my parents invited me to return home to get back on my feet. They loaned me the family van for the time being, and the dust began to settle in my life. I was grateful to the universe and God and whoever was answering my prayers and helping me find emotional security and actually enjoying my new chapter in life.

I was watching "The Secret" DVD every day, and was practicing a 30 day challenge to bring new things into my life. Things were looking up in all aspects of my life because I began to change my attitude. Every morning I had an hour drive that I thought about all the wonderful things I had and was going to have and sang at the top of my lungs. On the hour drive home every day I was grateful to have a job, and grateful to have a family to come home to.

A few months into working there, a new massage therapist was hired, named Sharon, who would become my mentor, one of my dearest friends, my healer, my second mother at times, and my colleague. A tall woman with full blonde, curly hair, glasses, and an amazing laugh, to boot. One afternoon, in passing, I invited her to have lunch with me before we went back to work. We spoke of the massage world and the bodywork industry, etc. One of the subjects we touched on was the spiritual side of our career, which I had never touched on before.

As we walked back to our workplace, she shared with me that she is a spiritual healer. She began to share with me how it worked and what not and I shared a few minor experiences and shared with her my interest and especially how I never quite found a place or other people to share that with. Once inside, we sat in an empty massage room and shared more stories. At one point she interrupted me and shared with me that my grandmother, Alma, was there with us. I began to sob. I missed her so much, even though I didn't actually remember her. And it had been many months since I thought of her. Sharon comforted me with a beautiful maternal hug and began to teach me things about the spiritual world that we, apparently live in, even if we can't see it. I was in awe and my insides began to stir with hope and anticipation.

The next thing she said, stunned me. She took my hands and looked into my eyes with a neutral, kind expression and said to me: "In this life, you are going to reach mastery. This will be your last life on earth, as you will have learned everything your spirit was sent here to learn, unless you wanted to come back."  I said, "Sharon, what does that mean? Does that mean, I am supposed to be psychic, or a healer, or whatever?" She confirmed, "Honey, that means all of it. It means you ARE a healer. You're a master. By the time you die, you will have affected a lot of souls and helped a lot of spirits and a lot of people. You just need to be opened up and it will all start to happen like a domino effect."

For days I digested on her words -picking apart each inflection I could remember in her voice and reliving it over and over again. This was all surreal to me, yet, the things I'd always needed to hear, and just didn't know it.

Some weeks later, I was having a gut feeling that something wasn't right with a family member of mine. Someone I haven't seen in at least 15 years who is not part of the family any more. I feared for her life. I confided in Sharon and she wrote down for me a prayer involving the archangels and God, and the gold bowl of healing, etc and so on and so forth. It was very detailed and it involved a lot of imagery. I waited a few more weeks to, I guess, collect the energy and calmness I would need to perform this prayer.

One night, it felt right. I sat on my bed with my back against the wall. I opened up my hands and began to feel for the first time, what I like to call the "God chills". They were chills without heat or cold that started at my left wrist and flew up my arm, across my back, and down the other arm. I did not think much about it, but I instinctively and intuitively called the spirit of my aunt to sit in front of me, and watched it and noticed the time it took for it to happen, moment by moment. My imagination took control of what I experienced and I saw/felt a figure opening the door and crawling onto the bed, like a small pet and sitting at the other end, facing me. For half an hour I chanted over and over each line of the prayer -in different ways, with different points of intensity and intention. Once I felt finished, I turned off the light and went to sleep.

Earlier that day, I had purchased a cheap magazine box on clearance at Pier 1. I had put a magazine, a pen, and a notebook in it and it was placed by my bed, hidden with my comforter. The morning after my prayer, I awoke, stretched, and reached down into the box for the pen to log my blood pressure. The first thing I touched was a massage tool that I hadn't seen in 6 years. In fact, I threw it away in Los Angeles before I moved home to Northern California. It was called a "thumb saver" -they still sell them at massage supply websites. When I grabbed it, I got the "God chills" again. I began to have a panic attack and called Sharon. It was my day off, but she was at work. I paced the house flipping out over the fact that this thing manifested out of NO WHERE. I asked every member of my household if they had seen it before and none of them recognized it, much less placed it in the box. Finally, Sharon returned my call between clients and listened to me chatter away at my experience. She responded with "I just got confirmation from Spirit that Archangel Michael left it there for you to give you confidence. To let you know that your prayers have power and you have begun healing your aunt and let you know to relax and have faith."

That was the beginning of my new life as a healer. From then on, I spent hours, days, weeks, and months picking Sharon's brain, reading books, praying, meditating, etc. I began to have faith that not only did God exist for sure, but so did Jesus Christ (we call him Jesua), but Buddha, Ghandi, and spirit guides from this life and previous lives, etc were ascended Grand Masters that are here to help us through all aspects of our life when we ask for them. Finally, the things that I instinctively always sort of, believed, or wondered about were becoming as real to me as an ice cream cone or my my mother's love.

This could not have come at a better time. The man I was with for 6 years, who I was planning to marry left me, out of the blue -which was not completely abnormal. Instead of grief and devastation, I was merely sad, but not so much gave up, as just chose to accept the reality and to close that door forever. A year later I prayed to God, "Great Spirit, I have faith that you have my greatest good at heart. Please remove the blinders from my eyes and the muffs off my ears so that the reasons why can be clearer to me. I am very grateful for everything I have. I know that the next man you send me will be amazing. He will either be the one, or very close to it. If not him, then the next one will be. Either way, I'm ready to meet the best love of my life, anytime you are ready to throw him my way." 2 weeks later, I met Matthew.

I was at a friends' house that evening, and decided to be pro-active. I already prayed to God and praised gratitude to the universe, but I realized I needed to take control and manifest someone. I created a list of everything I needed, wanted, and and would like in my next lover -in three categories. I must be ridiculously thorough or powerful because not two weeks later, I had this amazing man who made me laugh constantly and made me feel like a beautiful woman, plus fulfilled all those things that I had asked in my list.

Matthew is still currently my great love. I thought I was ready for him when we met, but I drove him nuts, probably, because I tried to get rid of him four times, but his persistence opened the door for me to learn his other attributes and he healed me too. He, in turn, I just now realized, is also one of my healers in this life. He came WAY quicker than I anticipated, whether he was brought to me or I manifested our meeting, or what. I hope it remains that way, but if it doesn't, I have faith, regardless, it will be for both our greater good. He supports and pushes me and my healing ways, and I share with him my spiritual experience that is life day to day. Even if he doesn't quite grasp what I share with him, he tries, and takes me seriously. As a woman in love with a great man, you can't ask for much more.

I am currently still actively reaching out to receiving healing -to pull back the layers and work through each one in my life...and even to heal soul imprints from past lives. I want to know and see everything the ascended masters can teach me. "Put me in Heaven University, please!" I would like to shout to the universe. I am opening up gradually yet very quickly and am becoming less and less afraid of my intuitive and psychic abilities, and my curiosity keeps me alert. These days, whether I search for it or not I can see God's large pink hands and feel Archangel Michael with me often. I have even met the Goddess twice and Archangel Raphael and Ghandi once each. I even sent a couple of spirits to the light to find peace. I came out of the spiritual closet and even began offering spiritual healing at my massage practice, with great results from my clients. The look of gratitude, love, and hope on their faces gives me the sense of purpose I had wanted from God all those years ago, even when I didn't know that is what I wanted.

What I learned was is to have faith in faith alone. Even if you can't see it or feel it or see proof of it yet, just believing in it, and in believing in you can make amazing things happen, as we are all a part of the great "I Am" which is what God is also made of -and He and the other Ascended Masters can make amazing things known to you, if you want to know it. This, has made me the person I can be for the other people I love, and even just the people I meet. You will never live your life the same. With all the love and gratitude in my heart, I promise you that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flowers, trades, and healing.

I love flowers. love, love, LOVE, love, LOOOOOVE them. I love plants, I love cactuses, I love them all. Can I grow them and keep them alive? Pssh! Absolutely NOT. However, this last year I was healed by flowers. Not just by who gave them to me, but the fact that they existed and were intended for me.

I have a trade going with the florist across the street. The owner, Michelle, a really lovely woman who always wears fashionable dresses and riding boots to work and often to my surprise, humored by my sarcasm. I give her a massage and I am able to pick up bouquets or she offers to put one together for me if I just ask. When we first agreed on the trade I intended to help out a beloved and deserving human being but I believe that I ended up with the greater gift.

All my life, I have been obsessed with romantic love. Since I was 10, I would constantly fantasize about being loved, and honestly, not in a healthy amount. I believe to this day, it was unhealthy, the way I craved it. Not only being loved, but being the kind of woman who deserved to be loved. Someone who always said the right things, someone who was desirable and easy on the eyes....someone who was truly feminine and wonderful...and bold...and magnetic. I was a swarthy child, with a sturdy build and was ridiculed for my weight when I was really young. Through my teen and college years I went unnoticed and uninteresting, and not necessarily feminine from my point of view. I never really fit in to anything I was a part of socially, either. Although, I was decent at a lot of tasks and hobbies, to this day, I've never been great at any one thing. That always drove me into frustration. I just wanted to be special. That was my life mission and I ventured to heal that part of me through acting and the theatre. Actors deserved praise for their beauty and talent and their abilities to transcend humanity to a deeper more honest place. Maybe that was where I could receive that kind of love of myself, I thought. 

Through my years of belonging to the theatre, my father would always have a bouquet of roses waiting for me by closing night, whether I was in a union theatre or in a 20 seat black box theatre with half a roof and right in front of train tracks. I could never feel deserving enough of those flowers and would become sheepish and recluse in my behavior.  

All through my years of dating the wrong men, and the right men who got away, and all those men in between...I NEVER received flowers. Not one time. Even when I had the same lover for 6 years who wanted, at one time, to marry me -never bestowed upon me the selfless and uplifting act of bringing me flowers. 

So, in time, like any 'down to earth' girl, you start stating things like "I don't need gifts and flowers to know he loves me" or, my favorite "I don't like cut flowers, it hurts the plant". If you are a woman who has ever had a man who genuinely, deeply, loves you for who you are and treasures you, they MUST get you flowers. If you say any phrases like those that I mentioned you are just full of it. 

My first flowers (outside of what my dad gave me for performances) were this year when, for just no reason I got myself a small bouquet of flowers from the florist. I put them in my office and fantasized about receiving them as a love gift from my boyfriend. Whether I was day dreaming or not, they made me feel loved. Love for myself. Later that day, I was bringing them home from work and I thought, "you know, mom could use some flowers". I walked in the front door very calmly and feeling grounded when my mother noticed my colorful bundle. I extended my arm to her and said nothing and I don't think I have EVER seen my mother's face light up and become almost youthful and refreshed in that manner. I don't think I could ever forget that moment...a moment when I realized that though my words of "I love you" and "I appreciate you" often go in one ear and out the other, it seems, it felt like for once, she truly believed it with this tiny selfless effort that I performed for her. She said "Aw, honey, you've never given me flowers before. What are they for?" I said "REALLY!? I never have?" Various times that evening I heard her boast to her friends, some aunts, my father, and my sister "look what Christi got me!" The reaction was almost that of realizing for the first time that her daughter, me, loved her deeply. I was deeply affected, almost saddened that it took this one act for her to realize it, but grateful to know that for once, she really KNEW.

My mother and I have had a tumultuous relationship since my late teenage years, and more so as we have aged into my late twenties. We can only reach certain level of vulnerability when we collide in our ability to communicate and relate. But the love is always there and very intense, but at the same time, we've learned to disassociate when the pain, anger, and resentment are too much to process. The best I can do is heal us from a more on the surface superficial layer, and pray that it penetrates our relationship down into thicker, heavier levels, which I believe it does. One day, my inner child was suffering greatly, to a point where I could not function for two days. My inner child kept saying over and over again "I want my mommy." The only way I knew to be vulnerable without digging through our 'crap' was to get her an amazing bouquet of flowers.... all in reds and oranges, and colors of passion and power...somehow hoping her soul would understand that I value her and I need her always, and in that very moment, much more than normal. When I came home with them, she was happy and touched, but not to the extend as she was the first time, which I expected. I was telling her how badly and painfully I needed her to hold me and love me and let me cry by giving her this gift. She did not grasp that that was the place I was coming from, which was for me to know and no one else at that time.

My last boyfriend was motivated and had his heart set on having a "real" Valentine's Day for the first time. At the time, I was still recovering from past emotional traumas of ex-lovers and was in no mood to get my hopes up for anything. I had spent years learning to not care or get caught up in anything romantic and adjusted to this mentality merely to protect myself from pain and judgement for the hurt of it all. The first part of our relationship I spent learning how to open up enough to get excited about silly sentimental things. -Things, that actually, are very very important to experience and do with a partner...and luckily enough, I dated someone who was VERY sentimental, probably more so than me. For a while I dug in my heels: "I don't really want to make plans, what if we get invited to a party or something? I don't want to miss out on that." But, I promised him we would set that time aside for US. On Valentine's day, I had this overwhelming sense of excitement and feeling 'twitterpaited' (or however they say it in Bambi). But, as the day closed in on the evening hours when we were to meet for dinner (for our favorite burger at the dive where we had our first date) I began to feel some hurt and anxiety. What if Matthew has to say to me "Sorry, babe, I just didn't have enough to get you flowers" and I would have to swallow my hurt over a) being let down and b) my inept selfishness for being let down and c) have to have him be hurt by the look on my face while trying to swallow both 'a' and 'b'? I bought myself a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to make me happy with the intent of pretending they were from my incredible boyfriend. They did, however, put me at ease, because they were a gift to myself and I deserved them. I knew I did. Even though I am not a cover model, or have a mane of beautiful hair, or have feminine child-bearing hips, and I say the wrong things, and I am loud and unnecessarily abnoxious...I still deserved them, even if they were from me. 

Even though we were going to a dive, I dressed myself up really intently, including red lips and pearls. I waited for Matthew at the bar for an hour, surrounded by folks having beers with friends...but I didn't see any couples....or anyone alone for that matter. As I ordered a glass of wine for myself, I could not help but notice the somewhat drunk brunette next to me surrounded by three guys as she said "I don't like it when guys get me flowers, it hurts the plant. I'd rather get a plant". All of a sudden I sensed someone standing to my right, looked, saw no one, and as I turned my gaze to my left, there was a large bouquet of perfect white roses staring me in the face. "I'm sorry it took me so long, but I had to walk to three florists across town to find these" Matthew said, looking all dapper and polished.

All I could do was marvel at how CLEAN these flowers were. Not in their petals, but in their intensity. I felt as though they were saying "because of the beautiful and simple soul that you are, we belong to you, in your honor." I said to Matthew, "Honey, they're amazing. I wasn't expecting these and I'm just overwhelmed". He says "I promised you I'd get them for you, what makes you think I'd break my promise?" Right in front of me was an example of a man who would make sacrifices to get me something to special. I can't remember what I said next, but he said "but, they aren't just flowers. They meant so much more to you than just the shear fact of them. You needed them to heal and I want to be the one to heal you and love you."

I am still unable to truly describe how, simply, I had certain parts of my soul healed when I received them. I cradled them in my arms, like the mass of them were a precious infant that I never had. I put them in my white and lavender bathroom in a crystal vase and could not help but feel the lingering crash of love and romance sweep over me until they began to wilt. 

Although my experiences with floral healing is very detailed in the stories, there is no true way to describe the intensity of the minute details that cannot go described with words. If you have a florist, pay them a visit: thank them for what they bring to our economy and society. If you have a loved one, bring them some kind of flower.... for any and no reason at all. Its a small way to help heal others on the metaphysical plane in a society that needs so much healing. Florists provide beautiful choices and combinations of ways to create a bridge for an apology. Flowers can show love in the most innocent way without judgement or agenda, and add a cushion for healing and condolences. They add vibrancy to the love and celebration of a single person or persons. What an honorable and wonderful profession? To create a hub for celebrating and healing humanity that much more?  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tomatoes, Groupons, and Ethics, oh my!

Most people who know me, are aware that half of me is made up of Italian and Sicilian American genes. I am originally from Long Island, NY -where people are known to have 'STRAWNG' accents and bad attitudes and customer service is associated with the latter of the two. I too, when I am around it for even a second, have an accent that comes back and helps me have social courage to be loud and somewhat stronger personality and feel more powerful.

Also, most people know have met me know that I own my own business -a massage practice in downtown Sacramento. Most of my clients are state workers, body builders, cross-fitters, rich people, not so rich people, broken people emotionally and physically, and happy people with amazing spirits that even heal ME when they walk into my office. The only thing they have in common is they bestow upon me the gift of gratitude, and I, in turn, are grateful for their presence in my life, even if it is during my 9-5 and not on a more personal level.

Growing up the second half of my life in California, customer service is ingrained into you (probably because culturally no one here seems to want to tackle verbal confrontation no matter how simple and innocent). Whether you perform retail for minimum wage or you own thirty franchises -customer service IS sacro-sanct. I never questioned why it was so dramatically important to go so above and beyond to make 1 person happy (no matter the issue or their demeanor or value to the company in question) because it just IS important to have amazing customer service.  Proper business ethics is not even a choice, it is a requirement, no matter how amazing or awful that customer or client is and no matter what you offer or don't offer.

Well, how about this: business is not a one way street. If one party is upholding good customer service, shouldn't the other party partake meet half way in showing some small amount class and graciousness? Not too long ago I began to realize that there is something missing that I like to call 'consumer ethics'.

It was ingrained to me to make the client happy NO MATTER WHAT and with charisma and passion -like a cute performing circus monkey. To make corporate happy by forcing myself to WANT to make the client happy for any and no reason at all, probably to the point of anal retentativeness (I AM Sicilian after all and being high strung is genetic.) I am no longer a 20 year old worker bee who was brain washed to be over-enthusiastic about a product that isn't personally condusive to my lifestyle to pay my way through school...No longer needy of making customers happy just to be patted on the head like a golden retreiver at $8 an hour with the hopes of being needed and wanted and irreplacable.

Living in California, I have come to expect to be welcomed and given good customer service. In turn, I go above and beyond to be really friendly as a consumer. I rememeber what it was like to work in retail, I hated it and secondly, you are more likely to receive more than the bare minimum if you show some respect and gratitude to some degree.

A few weeks ago I visited long Island, NY with my family. Although it was wonderful to be home, I had a rude awakening. I ordered food for pick up at a famous kosher deli. I am allergic to tomatoes (actually, I hate them SO much I just tell people I am allergic and then forget that I acutally am not allergic. See what happens when you lie? You start to believe it yourself). I ordered a salad to-go and said to the gal at the counter "I am not familiar with your menu, but I am allergice to tomatoes. May I order a salad without tomatoes?" She cut me off rudely as if I slightly insulted her in a very customary Long Island manner and said "We DON'T put tomatoes on our salads". I said, "Ok. Perfect, thank you very much." I went back to my hotel room to eat my salad -the chicken on it smelled divine, and they make their own dressing, I couldn't wait to chow! Low and behold there there were tomatoes on my salad! Oh boy, was I furious! I HATE tomatoes THAT MUCH that the mere sight of them gets under my skin and makes my left eye twitch in fury. They were not even the dainty cherry tomatoes that I can pick off, but the large -too red -too ripe -too slimy sliced tomatoes that had the nasty coppery tasting juice making endless and disgusting love to my salad with the half green icky seeds EVERYWHERE! I instantly lost $18 and my appetite to boot. (You probably got my point without my rant, but bear with me).

Instantly expecting that the restaurant should get me a new salad or a gift card or something to make up to me for my experience. I asked my dad "What do I do? Should I go back and get another salad? Should I just call and complain and just eat something else?" My dad was amused and half laughed at me saying, "Baby, this is New York, not California. l can guarantee they did that on purpose."

I was beyond puzzled and could not wrap my mind around the thought "Are you kidding?! They are SUPPOSED to make me happy!" Yup! I said that loud and clear like a true typical self-entitled customer who expects to be given the sun and the moon for integrity sake!
He wisely responds "Baby, their business has been around for a long time not because of service but because what they offer is what people want. If someone doesn't like your stuff here, they can go somewhere else. However, there is employer-employee loyalty here which we don't have back home. Regardless, customer service doesn't seem to make a difference here because everyone has an attitude, customer and client alike without social business agendas. " I was still puzzled and could not digest this layered mini lesson -Nor the stupid salad. (Damn tomatoes.)

In the beginning stages of owning my own practice there were times I knew that the client I was serving was not going to be a returning client, but still, I would serve them the best I could because I was brain washed to believe I HAD to.

One evening I had a client who purchased an online voucher at a discounted rate to enjoy one of my services. When I booked the appointment I was aware that her voucher already expired, I still offered to take care of her, because she was so pleasant. Our schedules collided and she would have had to wait two months to get to see me -on a waiting list. So, I rearranged my personal schedule a little bit to give her a good experience. I figured me breaking my boundaries a little bit could be an investment into a new client.

In person she was the opposite: Pompous, arrogant, and more annoyingly, could not stop spouting sonnets regarding how much "experience in receiving massage" she has had all over the if massage was the equivalent of elite cheese and wine tasting. Listening to her stories of receiving Swedish massage in Europe, Thai massage in Thailand, and cold shell massage in Tahiti -began to irritate me.

To make matters worse she felt the need to 'educate' me (as if I have NOT done this for 11 years). The session lasted a mere 15 Minutes. She went on attempting to correct my technique by informing me I "don't do Swedish Massage right". Losing my patience and playing dumb, I asked "have you ever studied massage? Is that why you are so knowledgeable?"

The final straw that broke the camel's back was when she responded to my question regarding her experience if she had ever trained and practice massage herself: "ME? touch other people!? PALEEEEZ, that is below me!"

"Well, serving [people like you]* is below me. You may get dressed and leave my office now". She said nothing out of surprise and I quickly exited my office to respectfully and professionally give her the time and privacy to dress herself.

She complained that she paid for her service in full. I was in disbelief that I was truly interacting with a 5 year old brat who truly believed that if she complains enough she can get everything she wants! I had to reiterate that she paid only half my rate by purchasing a groupon, for one. Secondly, it was expired and I did not have to honor it. Thirdly, I opened up my off hours to accomodate her, out of kindness only.
 For the first time in 7 years, I had kicked somebody out of my place of business. From old habbits working for big corporate companies at the bottom rung, I went into defense mode and almost had a panic attack and had that edgy feeling you get when you are 6 and you did something bad and your parents are going to spank you when they find out, and you will be shamed for being 'bad' (don't forget, I am Sicilian and high strung, this is my nature). But, I realized, wait a second, I am being stupid. I have a right to respect myself and as a friend put it, I have a right to "fire" a client. I am not in trouble or did anything bad

I realized that I didn't have to go "above and beyond" to the second or third power, like I always had to to make ends meet. Did I REALLY want to make those old habits the premise of my business ethic? Considering I am my own boss now, do I take a different approach to making my clients happy, like, respecting my protocols, schedule, and price list first to have my time and skill respected more? I value my integrity and the universe will always take care of me if I am a good girl with a good heart who does good things. My profession is about spreading joy and wellness and healing and its my job to be that person before during and after a session...And then the last reason, which is to make good money! Lets me honest, I want to make a living and be a sole provider for my household AND be able to spoil my nieces and nephews at Christmas! In other words, to keep a good professional reputation to make good professional money!

I used to belief that my business would suffer and crumble if I had a bad review on Yelp or playing 'he said/she said' with the BBB! Like I said, old habits die hard. But they can be let go of by adopting new habits. Like, respect for business, respect for other businesses.

At this point, I can confidently say that I am willing to serve my guests with the best that I can offer, while still respeccting my limitations as well as my boundaries. I do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and I reserve the right to fire a client if it is in my best interest to not serve them. But most importantly I will respect and honor my amazing and wonderful clients by showing that respect and ethic to myself as well. Everybody gets the best of me and my personal as well as professional integrity.