Grateful for companies and people that have had my back and kindly kept paying me through all this, through me going at maybe max 30 hour a week pace, as opposed to the usual 60-70 hour a week pace I’d been going at for years. So I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty damn grateful for Covid, for having given me the room I wouldn’t give myself, trying to get back to where I was, or rather to some new version of having it all. Grateful for the voice that said just put it all down and let it all go. It’s not meant to happen that way. Stop and surrender. Stop and listen deeper. Like you’ve done before.
There are 4 past moments of insight that have been forefront in my head this last little bit, relating to trust and maintaining higher perspective in challenging times.
One was the kind of insight and perspective you develop standing at the end of the bed of a loved one, 5 minutes after they’ve died. Staring at the lifeless biological machine that once housed the energy, the personality, the soul of someone you loved so intensely, it is never so obvious to you how little any of this material “stuff” or the thousand little and big dramas we’re constantly creating and doing our heads in over in life, even matter. All the money and power and influence in the world won’t bring them back and it certainly won’t fill the void where they and their gorgeous energy once was. Such times show us what really matters most inside our hearts. On the flip side of the equation, being told you might be the one in trouble, they remind us what’s truly worth living and loving for.
But then life goes on, the world goes on. Do we remember, or do we get caught up in how things are, and forget? I remember the time my 20’s when I was engaged and we were buying country houses closer to our families, after living in Brighton East in Melbourne with our 2 SUV’s and 2 dogs, talking about our future kids. Never mind the steaming piles of mental health stuff we we side stepping amidst family histories and sporting injuries that ended careers and drinking problems, while we were trying to measure up to our parents visions for us verses our visions of having it all.
Maybe if we just went on another trip interstate, or a weekend away to Daylesford, or he bought me love in the form of a Ralph Lauren t-shirt (when I was just happy with one a quarter of the price from anywhere, that was flattering) or I him in the form of some new hoodie or work shirt or new bottle of wine, or if we built a permaculture veggie garden, or a fence, or I picked a colour scheme for my home office and healing studio, maybe one of us would finally feel better and the chemistry would mysteriously come back from damn near flat-lining.
Moral of the story, no amount of stuff or trying to be enough or trying to give the other what they want can succeed in filling the void where your own passion and purpose, doing what you love and being of service, should be. Find that, be that, share that and you get the magic, or the magic back. Not to mention the resilience of the relational container, while the wounding starts to fall away. Money might afford you a different kind of experience or opportunity. Giving it might be a form of love. But it is no substitute for the MAGIC that starts in the heart.
The third and fourth were the things you learn in the moments in life where you feel like you’re losing it all, yet find yourself. For the 6 months after I left that relationship (and was healing and transitioning back from full time studying Transpersonal Art Therapy, to trying to get back into another Community Service job part time, while trying to get my private practice off the ground, in a new location, seemingly for a bit, absolutely nothing I did worked. NO amount of interviews lead to the kind of Peer Support roles I THOUGHT in that moment would be an ideal way to take all my past “life crisis” plus professional experience so far and turn it into mentoring others to successfully navigate their own experience worked. The thought of going back to temping in corporate literally gave me panic attacks and Christmas came and went with me on Centrelink, trying to get myself unstuck from ghosts of failed relationships’ and drunk violence past.
Until, In February, a very neo shamanic older male friend of mine, happened to be coming back from through Victoria from Queensland, rang me, told me he was on his way back, then headed to Alice Springs for work and life and he asked me if I wanted to come. I volunteered my car and said yes. I’d always wanted to go and what the hell, what else was I doing with my time? At worst, If it didn’t work out, I could come back in a week or two and resume dysfunction as normal. So, it being the start of 2011 and not long having just read Eat Pray love, I said a prayer about surrendering to divine will and finding myself and my deeper purpose and off we went.
And from the moment we set out, things just started to flow. Not just figuratively, but quite literally. In SA, the first evening, I put my hands in an estuary, made a wish about getting back in flow, closed my eyes, some bright light flashed and a few seconds later, water started trickling through the sand bar at the entrance nearby. On the way there, in the middle of nowhere, we seemingly got half a tank of fuel out of a 10L fuel can, one of my tyres went flat, but only right outside a tyre place in Coober Peedie, right across from where we stayed. People on the streets in Alice from the moment we got there kept answering questions we hadn’t yet asked out loud and I got a Community Services job working with Indigenous people with disabilities within 2 hours of arriving there. More than that, 2 days after we got to Alice Springs and got settled, it flooded.
We could be here for at least 3 chapters if I tell you more about the little vision quests and intuitive initiations we found ourselves going on in the middle of the outback the whole time. That whole trip though, was basically one long complete initiation into a new level of trust; in the divine order of all things, trust in the way it and exactly what we need at any given time shows up through others and, maybe most importantly, trust in me.
Was that the end of all moments of doubt? No. I had a lot of magical things and opportunities explode into life during that time and since, that I have a lot to be grateful for. But in 2015/2016 I had another challenging moment, where seemingly no matter what I did, or how hard I worked at solving people’s problems and being of service, or how many hundreds of hours I spent applying for jobs, again, I felt like I was stuck and it wasn’t working again and the universal taps of abundance were turned off in my direction. Only this time, for the first time ever, I could only part pay the rent and I only had about $15 a week left for food. And for the first time ever, had to face ALL my biggest fears, about what would actually happen if there was no money left? I had to face all these secret fears that had been running my life for decades, about what people would think if I didn’t have it all together and if I let them down and couldn’t keep my promises, in the form of money. Let alone the pressure of contemplating what, shortly after, 20 K of Wellness Industry clients looking for a picture of success would think and do seeing where I was at, if or when they found out I’d risen and fallen. Being literally crucified and stoned in that moment might actually have felt preferable to the modern day social media version that I feared might come, if I didn’t get my shift sorted.
Funnily enough, making all the necessary phone calls to real estates and the ones to family asking for help, where I KNEW some would lay the boot in when I already felt like absolute crap, telling friends and business partners, I DIDN’T actually die. I DID though, find myself surrendering to listening to some higher will again though. And then found myself walking up the street into town, feeling about the freest I had felt, EVER, on the other side of NOT dying from and shaking off the shackles of all those fears. Only to see some guy i knew driving through a roundabout in front of me. Who happened to be my a friend/an ex, who happened to have just been to the bank and got several K worth of refund he wasn’t expecting. Who I then just happened to tell where I was at and he just happened to loan me the just $250 I needed to get me through until the next few K of client payments came in,
AGAIN, I had to gesture to the sky with a “touché universe, touché. We co-created that one well. Thanks for having my back”in that moment. A few months after, I surrendered again my little rental home of safety on the literal T-intersection of my metaphorical fork in the road in real life I was having and went off on the next leg of the journey of trust and faith and started on the next few years of house sitting, travelling and working (remotely and live) across the country. Yet another initiation into a new level of trust; in the divine order of all things, trust in the way it and exactly what we need at any given time shows up through others and trust in me.
So as I and we start this week, no matter what version of any of the challenges within the above, any of you, or someone you know might be facing, remember, even though it might at times feel like it, the world won’t actually end over money and stuff and things that are seemingly falling away. Sometimes you DON’T just have to work and push or BE pushed harder. Sometimes you need to stop and breath and re-align, before you pick up your tools and start working again. Or try a new entry procedure, with what seems like a locked door. Maybe it's not even THIS door, maybe its the one NEXT door. If people you thought would stay or be there during such times didn’t, maybe you’re still right on the passion, right on the vision, but maybe slightly off on strategy or how you THINK the solution should look and when it should appear, who should be involved and what every body should do to bring it into being.
As clever as our minds are, sometimes, some higher, wiser part of us. Has an even better plan and an even better means of bringing it about. How can we hear it though, if i mind is too busy trying to talk out a solution, when our higher self, the universe, whatever you want to call it, is trying to ring through a message. In a universe that’s always actually conspiring in our favour, there’s always A message waiting to download and at least 1 doorway, waiting open there. But we have to keep our eyes, our eyes, our senses open to receive it.
Maybe it will come during that disciplined meditation or yoga practice, or standing amongst the trees. Or maybe it’s in the moment where you stop doing the thinking and start doing the dishes. Or during the crazy cat video, or while you get a hug from somebody at home. Maybe it’s that thought that then suddenly gets IN. Maybe it’s in the shape of a cloud out the window. Maybe it comes to you in the shower. Maybe via a friend. Maybe via some curious (or slightly ‘unique’) stranger on the street, on the way to where you’re going. Insight is never that far away, if we can just learn to recognise it for what it is and the many forms in which it shows up.
And while the numbers and the achievements all count as A FORM of success and value and love, they’re not the ONLY form of our value that defines us, their fleeting highs are not our only means of fulfilment or the only currency or language in which we can give and receive. Are they really the only reason we ever got into all of this or to be where we are now? What WAS the reason? What about that still lights you up now? Or what else now does as well? Or instead? These can be important questions for such times.
On a planet, where, if you think about it, in the context of this solar system, this galaxy we live within, it is rather miraculous that this planet of ours even exists in it’s Goldilocks zone of biological existence, there is a whole lot to be grateful for and a whole lot to be passionate about. And a whole lot to be created and experienced, in ways that they have not yet been created before. On the other side of whatever we're being asked to let go of attachment to, in it's current form, in order for it to get in. Are the goals you once set and the things you once wanted or hoped to achieve, still REALLY what you want now, in your deepest heart of hearts? Or is what's happening on the outside, trying to show you something else? What lights you up, what is it that you REALLY want now? These can be important questions for such times. And i promise you, the answers are there. They're coming. You better than anyone, will know them when they come.
May your world be absolutely full of new magic for you this week. New messages, new perspective and new reasons to trust.
Yes, we CAN be equally as effective online, as face to face
I know, because I just spent the last 16 years being trained from multiple sources in HOW to do it and then practicing and refining a technique TO intuitively get to the point quickly and accurately, YET lovingly and gently, for the benefit of the lovely human on the other end of the webinar, who needs you to emotionally support and be present with them, for a little longer than JUST the 7 seconds - 3minutes it can take YOU to get the breakthrough insight THEY need to change and transform their world in positive ways, once you get hella good at working in the online space.
Under some schools of Counselling (or Coach or NLP training) today, they call this something like refining your counselling/coaching micro skills in client observation . In more alternative circles, the same might be referred to as developing your sensory + intuitive intelligence. e.g. the capacity to feel and intuitively identify what experiences are going on for oneself, the environment around us or with another living being.  Combined with your skills in emotional intelligence (being able to recognise one feeling from another, and strategies to manage them effectively.)  Either way, it’s all an aspect of building our online social intelligence. E.g. our awareness of what is going on with others around us and what we then do with that awareness, in this case, relative to our desired online therapeutic outcomes.
If you do any degree of research into the history of Shamanism (which I did a lot of when I was up-skilling in Transpersonal Art Therapy and Psychology 3 years into my Counselling and Community Service career and while I was living in Alice Springs for a time, circa 2007-2011) Indigenous Elders and Shaman are the original Masters of altered states of consciousness; they have been using the human capacity for projecting their consciousness, awareness and energy to others and another location for millennia for healing purposes, to get downloads on the state of the world and attend things like Council gatherings on the other side of the country . Or to connect with Elders in other countries, among many other things . But the capacity to accurately sense and interpret information from afar is also well explored in the more recent research and lit reviews on remote viewing  and the ability and mechanisms by which we can influence the energy and presence in a location other than our own in time and space, was well explored and documented in the early 2000’s by the likes of Gregg Braden, Lynne McTaggert and the many primary (university) associated sources of research that they reference in their books of the time .
But I’ve digressed. Beyond the bigger picture of how and why this works. And beyond the smaller scale, individual picture of us sorting out the technical and equipment setup and barriers that can get in the way that can block communication, why is it important to learn how to do all 3 (speed, accuracy and gentleness) in online sessions well?
-Firstly, for the clarity and purity of the communication dynamic between you. The clearer you are in tuning in, the more ‘on point’ the questions and statements you will use to communicate will be. Clearer, more direct communication, leads to better quality outcomes from the work you do together.
-The better we also get at ‘holding’ the space for them online from afar, this will also have the benefit that THEY feel like they received a better quality of support and care throughout the process of your work together. Who doesn’t want that?
-It’s also important for your own energy levels and the sustainability of your Practice as the Professional, to learn and become practiced in how to do all 3 well. I was listening to some research sited by NICABM in their latest blog recently, stating that one of the greatest sources of fatigue for Therapists moving to working online or via phone is simply trying to hear the clients in an online session, as opposed to live . I would also further clarify, when they’re straining more to make sure they hear you accurately “from a distance” via the unfamiliar medium of video, that anxiety may well be due to fearing the consequences of NOT hearing accurately- we might fear that we might not give a good quality of service or not get it right and that will have negative flow on for the clients in terms of outcomes and perception of the quality of care given. Which can make many of US put ourselves under more pressure about getting it right.
If though, we can open up to the idea that it is equally possible to “hear” or rather read someone’s verbals and non verbals accurately both via video and no matter where we are in time and space, and get practiced in the art of doing so, it reduces the development of this kind of stress and fatigue. When we operate from trust and build our confidence in focusing on and reading others online through practice, we’ll again be able to better maintain our energy through the process, without having to try so hard at it.
So how do you get better practiced at it? Here’s a rough summary of my process, and some homework tasks you can do to get hella good.
1. VISION- likely pre session, you’ve already got a sense from your intake process, of what they’re coming to you for and what they’re hoping to achieve and receive out of your time together. So I’m going to assume you’re coming to the session with this existing know.edge. But if by chance, you don’t, then this becomes your 3rd step to inquire about, instead of the 1st.
2. STATE: This is the quick meditative process you do just before the session, to reconnect your awareness to yourself, release anything from your focus you don’t need and refill back up with your own soulful presence and energy, before you turn to setting the intention for the session.
3. INTENTION- This is both about intending to be able to be of the highest service to the person and setting some intentions relating to your state and the energy in the room you want them to feel. How do you want them to feel supported during this session? What energy do you need to embody and bring to the space to help achieve that? Are there any people or energies that you also need to either invite OR ask to kindly wait outside the virtual waiting room also until after the session, so that you have a clear space in which to work?
4. FOCUS (TUNE INTO AWARENESS OF THE OTHER)- of the great sea os incoming sensory data available to our senses, this is about just honing into the “channel” the “stream” of data that relates specifically to the client’s experience (past, present and future) as they sit “with” you, in this virtual session space you’re co-creating. Tuning into them, to find out what’s going on with them.
5. QUESTION- now you ask them an open question/s to open up discussion (and get verification) about what you’re sensing. Or a closed one if you want to get straight to yes or no type verification of specific detail you’re sensing, like a particular emotion or a pain in a certain area of their body. (NOTE- a word of warning here to pick your questions carefully. If you only use ones that get straight to YOUR point, rather than invite YOUR CLIENT to tune into themselves to find the answer, the risk is that, over time, you’ll condition them to be dependent on YOUR intuition, instead of their own. For example, starting a bit more generally with something like “tell me about what you feel going on in your body right now” as opposed to jumping straight to “is there a pain in your left knee right now? Tell me about the pain in your left knee.” Give your client a few questions worth of room to increase their own awareness and get the insights, before you tell them what you think might be going on.
6. FEEDBACK- listen to the feedback that they give you. Repeat steps 2-3 until you get as much info as you need to. NOTE- word of warning no 2- you never know for sure until you ask them and or the test of time and further experience reveals the truth, so be careful not to go down the egoic path of “ha, I know better than you what’s going on with you” because, remember, how you interpret things, is also slightly subjective, based on your unique experience and world view. So even if you think you know, ALWAYS still do seek their feedback. It not only confirms or clarifies, but also respects your client’s sovereignty and honours the validity of their personal experience too.
7. ACTION- if the whole goal of your sessions is to bring them to a point of decision and have them plan out their next steps of action to help create the better outcome they’re seeking, then this step is about clarifying the actions to be taken now and seeking commitment to them.
YOUR HOMEWORK TASKS: remember, if it helps, you can always take some time to go practice aspects of this process that you feel you need to build your online muscles in, with colleagues virtually or people at home.
Homework task 1: PRESENCE- After you’ve done step 2 above (managed your own state), you might both take turns at playing with step 3 (INTENTION). Pick a giver and a receiver, then the giver intends to send their practice buddy a particular energy in the space, then intends to take it away. Then you both compare notes on what you both experienced during the exercise, before swapping over the roles and doing it again.
Homework task 2: PRACTICE- After you’ve both done steps 2-3, you might both sit and take turns at trying steps 4-6 (focusing on your partner, questioning them and then seeking their feedback response) and comparing feedback with each other at the end on what you both experienced, before you swap to the other having a turn.
The benefits of this are two fold. They will not only help you be more practiced and hence more confident in running your online sessions. But also have the added benefit of building your trust in that the process can be just as effective, online as it is live, face to face.
If you have any questions, or would like to set up some sessions to practice, just let me know.
Until next time,
Nat Ferrier xx
P.S. Was there an AHA moment in this for you? Know someone who might get an AHA out of it too? Feel free to share our article intact.
1) Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC), Counselling Microskills: Client Observation
2) Ackerman, C.E., What is Emotional Intelligence? +18 Ways to Improve It, 24th April 2020
3) Bird, M., 3 Minute Coach, p. 324-352, Busybird Publishing, Eltham, Victoria, Australia, 2014
4) Braden, G., The Divine Matrix, Hay House, 1st Edition, 1st March 2007
5) Goleman, D., What is Social Intelligence? Greater Good Magazine, UC Berkeley, 1st Sep 2006
6) Kihlstrom, J. F., & Cantor, N. (2011). Social intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg & S. B. Kaufman (Eds.), Cambridge handbooks in psychology. The Cambridge handbook of intelligence (p. 564–581). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511977244.029 via https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-12794-028
7) Lee, J.H., Remote Viewing As Applied to Future Studies Technological Forecasting and Future Change, Vol 75, Issue 1, Jan 2008, pgs 142-153
8) McTaggart, L., The Field, The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, Element Books, April 1 2003
9) McTaggart, L., The Intention Experiment: Using your thoughts to change your life and the world, Atria Books; Reprint edition (February 5, 2008)
10) Padesky, C and Siegel, R., Practical Ways to Improve Telehealth Sessions, The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), April 30 2020
11) Vadala, J., Cross-Culturally Exploring the Concept of Shamanism, Human Relations Area Files, Yale University, Mar 27 2019
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.