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They say everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. I am about to make my battles public. The struggle is real for me, but not always readily apparent to everyone else. I struggle with bipolar disorder and anxiety, but my coping mechanisms are stellar. I have spent many years practicing and cultivating my coping skills for both. My disposition is such that I am inclined to worry. However, my childhood only amplified both my worries and predisposition for bipolar disorder. Growing up, my mother had very real hardships with bipolar disorder. As a result, a heavy dose of PTSD was added to my childhood and development. In my early 30s, I was diagnosed with  bipolar disorder. Why am I sharing this very private and vulnerable information with you?

Because vulnerability breeds strength, courage, love, and hope. 
I never saw my mood disorder coming. Bipolar disorder is like holding a live grenade, but you are ineptly unable to throw it away. Exploding-fluctuating emotions that I am utterly, maddeningly, aware of. The noise inside is deafening and time itself feels suspended. Ironically, life is like that. We all have moments when tragedy strikes home to our emotions, but for myself it can happen at regular intervals. How do we handle these harrowing life challenges?

The best way I’ve found to manage challenges is to face them head on. Face your fears.
There is no room for procrastination. You must take a hard look at yourself while prioritizing self care. During times of duress, it is vital to have a team of loving people at your side. My husband and soul mate plays a pivotal role. Words are severely inadequate to express the love and support he provides.

Jiu Jitsu is another part of that team and within this community boasts some of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. Jiu Jitsu is my happy place. You will always see me on the mats grinning from ear to ear. Jiu Jitsu helps me to find my center, the portion of myself that is truly “me”.

Friendship is a cornerstone for my team. I have the most-loving people surrounding me. They get me to “lighten up” and laugh more. They push me to grow and to be better. I am immensely grateful for all the incredible people in my life, which includes my support in spirit. I have wanted to write this post previously, but my anxiety has always stopped its progression. People may judge me or feel sorry for me, but I will not let these things hold back this post any longer.

Today, I do not let anxiety or fear run my life. I feel them, but then I move forward. I do not quit. 
Know that through your failures, you will learn to extract the key learning points to improve yourself or your situation. Failure is not the end, it is the beginning. Your struggles need not define you. You define yourself. Choose the bravery and courage to be your definition. Above all, use your struggles to inspire and lift others from the depths. Be a beacon to guide others back to themselves.

I am better as a result of my struggles. You can be too. 

How to find your spirit animal
“A spirit animal is a spirit that guides an individual, protects them, or both.”

How do you know which spirit animal is working with you? As a spirit animal reader, that is the number one question I am asked. For starters, ask yourself the following simple questions. What is your favorite animal? Which animals are you naturally attracted to right now? Is there an animal that you see frequently? These questions are just the beginning! Be mindful and in no time you will notice even more spirit animals trying to get your attention.

“Owl helps us to pierce illusion and unmask the truth”

Just today, my friend messaged me on FB and said, “Look who has been hanging out with me for the past half hour.” It was a burrowing owl! Later that afternoon, I walked down to the thrift store and saw the image of owl everywhere! My intuition already alerted me that owl was indeed present, but the external validation told me that I needed to pay more attention to owl spirit. I promptly looked up the spirit animal meaning and symbolism for owl.  Below, you will see two of my favorite Shamanic reference websites for spirit animals.

1.) Shamanic Journey
2.) Wild Gratitude
Here are the primary ways you can connect to your spirit animal guides: 
1.) Dreams
2.) Meditation
3.) Shamanic Journeying
4.) Nature
5.) Animal Objects(For example, feathers, animal jewelry, or animal statues)
6.) Prayer

How do I know a spirit animal is trying to contact me?
Your intuition will guide you. Do you think the animal is trying to get your attention? Do you think there is s message? Trust yourself.  My grandfather passed away a few years ago(see above photo). During the time period leading up to his passing, I started seeing hawks. Even though the doctors were initially optimistic about my grandfather’s illness,  I got a feeling that the hawk was there to support me and my grandfather during his  transition into the spirit world. The day of his funeral, as we were driving home, a hawk flew right in front of our car. I see hawk frequently during my travels. Hawk reminds me of my grandfather’s loving spirit and support from the spirit world. The hawk makes me feel protected and safe. The hawk also reminds me that I am indeed divinely guided at all times.

Is the animal behaving strangely? 

My last animal story is about a baby cardinal that was lightly tapping against our window. The boys kept saying. “Mom, we have a visitor!” They told me the baby cardinal had been rapping against our window all morning! My sons know that cardinals mean an ancestor or family member is visiting us from the spirit world. Right away, I thought of our first child my husband and I lost. For me, it was a beautiful “hello” from my first baby in spirit. I brought out a bread offering as a form of gratitude for a message received.

Gratitude for all the blessings that we have received and to those we have yet to receive,

Jaguar spirit animal

Jaguar reminds us that we are powerful beings.

Dark times remind us that we can suffer tremendously, yet come out of our struggles both stronger and wiser. During the challenges of life, it can feel as if we are drowning and will never recover. Clarity is replaced with a veil of fog. Then, debilitating anxiety and depression often follows. As a result, we can “feel” weak and powerless..

I am hear to say, “Nothing can be further from the truth.”

The truth is that no matter how challenging our circumstances, within, lies incredible opportunity. Opportunities such as personal growth, strength, transformation, and wisdom. Our power cannot be stripped away and it certainly cannot be taken. Your power is fully your own. We simply forget how powerful we truly are.

Ask me how I know?

I am not spouting some yogi BS, because I have been down this road. There was a time when I felt incredibly low. I wanted to give up. My power felt non-existent. It took many months for me to reclaim my power again. I was battling severe PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Today,  my anxiety level is near zero and I feel more powerful than ever. This transformation does not take place overnight. It takes patience, work, and faith in spirit. You must understand, there is a reason for your challenges and lessons to be learned. The light, power, and happiness are yours. The power lies within you.

How to reclaim your power?

Focus on self love, self acceptance, and self examination. Look within and do not fear what you see or feel. No judgment, just awareness. Rest. Restart and refocus as many times as necessary. Face your fears one at a time. Allow feelings, emotions, and traumas to come to the surface. When you are ready, let them go. Be still. In stillness, we find clarity.  Be gentle and patient with yourself. Pray and have faith in the Great Spirit.

Today is your reminder that you are powerful and, like the jaguar, incredibly strong.

The rabbit and “fear caller” has been twitching his bunny nose in my direction. Rabbit has been asking me to take note of my fears and to move through them. Last night, I had a “light bulb” moment. My relationship with fear has been one of immense struggle! It has been a tug of war in which I am running from one end of the rope to the other. No one makes progress and no one wins...well, no one that is accept fear.

I also tried(as the sea turtle would) to flow through fear. That also seemed confusing and truly getting me nowhere. How do you flow through fear?! It is a blockage, right? So what alternative do you have to get through or past your fears?

I agree with the old adage, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. The things we feel fearful about are clues about lessons we need to learn and problems we must face. We must face fear. We can choose to run away from or ignore fear, but that only increases our stress and anxiety. Running from our fear offers no real solutions and only offers more problems.  I have always approached fear(as stated earlier) from a fighting standpoint. I am a fighter by nature, however, that has only left me floundering for higher ground without much progress on the conquest of my fears.

Last night it finally hit me, trust was the real issue and the root cause of all my fears. I not only need to trust the divine, but to trust in myself and others. A myriad of trust issues is the key to unlocking and moving through fear. I cannot teach you to trust, because that requires faith. Faith is something we all must develop on our own and at our own speed.

My final words of advice are to stop struggling against fear and surrender to it. Live in the present moment and as the hummingbird would say, “Stop to enjoy the sweet nectar of life”.

About this article: I am a spirit animal medium. I don’t really have a title, but I do know that I can find a owl in the dark from a distance away and I get spirit animals in my third eye as messages for myself and others. These entries will be written like anonymous journal entries that I have with clients expressing main takeaways from our session.

A “paradigm shift” is defined as “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.”

It started as it always does, a late night wake up. I grab my phone and open the notebook app. Sometimes I peer at the clock for numbers and other times I get right to work. It also happens, occasionally, that I dream for my clients as well. Although, I have felt a shift in this pattern. Recently, I have been fully awake to gather information from spirit. I start to gather information and write it down for our session. I hear, “Back up”! The words were stated in a threatening manner that included posturing and a dark toxic energy surrounding it. I associated it with the client’s spouse. I felt an overwhelming amount of fear. I was so scared and after receiving all the information it took quite awhile for me to fall back into slumber.

There was more, I saw my family in my third eye and it felt like a my client and I mirrored one another. I have experience being a paradigm shift in my family, but I did not make that connection until the day of the session. I wrote these feelings down and continued.

I got a view of a poisonous snake in my mind’s eye. I had the urge to look up, “poisonous snake spirit animal”, which I did. The message speaks of toxic energy. The poisonous snake is a galvanizing guide that provokes you into action through pain and suffering. The poisonous snake acts as a catalyst for change. It helps you find the power to transmute suffering into a blessing.

Feelings and a bit of “knowing” came through. I felt a loss of personal power, a feeling of being trapped, and loads of fear. I had a “knowing” that this was a commanding or authoritative figure being highlighted. I kept feeling the spouse’s energy. I also felt a blow to the right side of my face. My left brain started to get in the way and I felt myself wondering if my client’s spouse was abusive. I felt or heard, “don’t assume”. This was a great lesson for me this week. Do not assume.

More information came in. “Karmic energies”, which felt oddly out of place at the time, but made complete sense during our session. Also, “It’s time” and a “need for releasing pent up energies”. The word “paradigm shift” came in during our session. I was also told to guide my client to a previous article that I had written, “Breakdown to Breakthrough ”. Feeling satisfied that a good picture had been painted, I slowly drifted off to sleep.

The day of the session, I walked over to my office and started my meditation session for centering. My client walks in and we begin. I connected and strong emotions were washing over me. Dark and very heavy emotions came forward from my client. Nervously, I started to go over the information I received from spirit the night before. My client confirms with my “mother-in-law”. That is when it all clicked, my client has three boys and I have three boys. We are both paradigm shifts in our families. I asked about the piece of information that I got about being “struck upside the face”. My client said her mother-in-law had a bad fall a few years ago in which she hit her head.

My client is being spurred to take action and to help cleanse her family line. Her final message, “Take courage, dear heart”. To do what is necessary sometimes requires us to cast our fears aside and summon the great courage that resides within. By the way, we never lose our power we simply lose sight of it sometimes, but it is always there waiting for us to claim it as ours.

Breaking down to have a breakthrough. This concept seemed truly abstract at the time when my metaphysical friend and I started to talk about it. My opinion now? I truly believe that breaking down and getting to the heart of the matter could be the very thing that can jump start your life for the better. For example, say you have a problem with anxiety. Ask yourself questions. Why  are you anxious? When do I feel anxious? Strip away the layers until you get to the root cause of the problem. By getting to the actual root of the problem, you have an opportunity to fix it.

Having a breakdown is typically viewed through a negative lens, but what if you choose a different perspective and use a positive “rose-colored” lens on your breakdown. Having a breakdown gives you a chance to have a fresh start. The breakdown process feels uncomfortable and painful, but remember this process is preparing you for a breakthrough and growth. What most people who are in the throes of suffering do not realize is what awaits them on the other side. It is the promise of hope, recovery, and(once the breakdown is processed) a renewal of the spirit. What awaits you is a new beginning stripped down to the building block essentials. This gives you a chance to rebuild your life on your terms and to shape the life you have imagined for yourself. It is never too late to build again.

A breakdown could mean many things, but let's give an example of a “breakdown event” in your life. A “breakdown event” is any event that feels devastating to you. DIVORCE. That word strikes sorrow and fear into the hearts of many. However, If you are miserable together than a divorce is a chance for release and freedom. It is a chance to start over again and make better relationship decisions. The divorce is a chance to step forward and have a breakthrough regarding what you want and need from a partner. It gives you both a chance to reflect upon the breakdown of your marriage. It involves the reflection of the good, the bad, and the challenges leading up to your divorce. This process is a chance for a renewal of the spirit...a fresh start.

What is the point of explaining all of this? Going through turmoil does not destroy you. It is a destructive process that forces you to strip away emotions and even people you no longer need in your life. Darkness, sadness, and distress give you time for reflection and a chance to rebuild your life for the better. It is a chance to start with fresh eyes, a clear mind, and a humble heart. Do not let anyone tell you that you are tainted because of your troubles! From now on, I am calling my troubles growth experiences! So, the next time you are in a dark place shine some positivity on your situation and grab a pair of rose colored glasses. You will be grateful you did.
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