Crystal Healing at My Co-working Space

crystal-healing

Last week, I tried something pretty off-the-wall for me. I had a crystal healing session at my new co-working space.

At this point in the blog post, you may have questions. What’s a crystal healing session? And what’s a co-working space? And, but seriously, WHAT IS A CRYSTAL HEALING SESSION?

I’ll take on the co-working space question first. Always nice to save the best for last, no?

A co-working space is a building where people who work remotely, like I do, come together to create a sort of remote working community. It provides people with a dedicated workspace, and the opportunity to socialize a bit so that they don’t become insane recluses reduced to making friends with the paperclips in their desk drawers. (Good morning, Polly the Paperclip. My, you’re looking bent out of shape today! Ha. Ha. Ha. Don’t you get it? [Polly never gets it.])

So, to stave off the serious chance of losing my sanity while working solo, I’ve rented a desk at Sol Healing and Wellness Center for 20 hours a week. I work mornings at my apartment, but in the afternoon, I leave my apartment and go there to work. And that’s key, folks. I LEAVE MY APARTMENT.

“But Leigh,” you might be asking. “Why not just work from a coffee shop? That would also afford you with the opportunity to leave your apartment.”

Good question, oddly formal fake audience member. The very first day I went freelance full-time, I realized working from a coffee shop would be a problem for me. That’s because the coffee shop I wanted to work from, Thunderbird, was full.

I walked in, realized there was nowhere to sit, and had to leave. And even though the next coffee shop I drove to had desk space available (Monkey’s Nest, if you’re curious), I knew I couldn’t structure my days based on a variable as big as whether or not I’d have a place to sit.

Now when I leave my place, I can make a beeline toward productivity without worrying about a last-minute location change killing my buzz. :D

So, that’s hunky-dory. But, as we all well know, the funny thing about cake is, you can’t seem to have it and eat it, too.

While Sol is an established wellness center with an awesome, well-equipped co-working space, the co-working space component is brand spankin’ new, and as of now, I am the only co-worker on the premises. That means that even though I work within the general proximity of several therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other healers, I “co-work” alone in a large room surrounded by empty desks.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

But the way I see it, I’m getting in on the ground floor! When the other co-workers arrive, I’ll have a certain je ne sais quoi that will assure a level of respect and admiration befitting of my more senior position within the co-working space.

The new co-workers will all gather around and I’ll show them the ropes—and will let them in on all the juicy gossip going on in the paperclip drawer. Polly should really be a bit more discrete about her fling with Peter, for instance. You can tell something’s up by the way they always make it a point to stick close together by the rubber bands.

“C’mon, Polly,” we’ll all chide. “That’s the third time you’ve used the ‘oops, we got magnetized!’ line this week.” That Polly won’t be fooling anyone, except maybe her poor sap of a steady beau, Steve the Stapler.

But I digress. As I was saying, I rented a desk at a co-working space for sanity and structure reasons. Any more questions?

WHAT IS CRYSTAL HEALING?

Right you are, eager fake audience member number two! What is crystal healing?

According to Google, “crystal healing is an alternative medical technique in which crystals and other stones are used to cure ailments and protect against disease.” I’ll supplement that definition with a little of what I learned from my session—crystal healing uses special stones to energize our bodies’ chakras.

Chak-whats? Chakras.

Chakras, pronounced “shock-ras,” are a Hindu concept, and according to that belief system, they are the centers of spiritual power in the human body. There are seven main ones, and you can learn all about them here, if you’re in the mood for some extra credit reading.

And what in the world does this have to do with my co-working space?

The fabulous Tracy King, a chakra energy healer who rents one of the offices at Sol Wellness Center, recently completed her crystal healing training and offered a special rate to those us of at Sol who wanted to try it out. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to see what in the world this crystal thing was all about. So we set up an appointment.

On my way to the session, I suddenly had a horrible thought. I had done next to no research into this whole thing, preferring to go in with a clear, open mind, and it occurred to me that maybe the crystals had to be put on bare skin to work. Would I then be mostly nude and under a sheet or something, like with a massage?

In that case, I definitely should have picked cuter (or at least less visibly worn) undergarments for the occasion. But it was too late to turn back around and change. Tracy would just have to accept me as I was if it came down to it.

We met in her room at Sol. It’s called the “tent room” because she has it covered in the most beautiful, draped fabric. And luckily, the most intimate we got was with her pre-session questionnaire and subsequent discussion.

The questionnaire asked me about my organizational levels, eating and drinking habits, typical energy levels, level of comfort with physical touch, physical well-being, spiritual beliefs, and more. I wrote down my answers before driving to the session, and Tracy reviewed them and discussed them with me more in depth just before we got started. (Suffice it to say Tracy got to know me real well, real quick.)

Then she had me lie down on her table while she covered me in a blanket and put me into a deep meditative state so that she could get to work.

You guys. That part—the session part—was so awesome. There are almost no words to describe it. But I’ve found some after much digging, and here they are:

The room was nice and warm and smelled fantastic, like essential oils or candles or some sort of inoffensive incense, or all three. And, to top it all off, for the next forty-five minutes my only job was to lie there, covered in a blanket, while I focused on new ideas for me about energy, and light, and breath.

She started off by putting two larger crystals at my feet (root chakra) and another one at my head (crown chakra) to keep us grounded throughout the session and, I think she said, to help stimulate a good alignment of energy.

I could also feel crystals being put on my lower belly (sacral chakra), the spot between my belly button and my sternum (solar plexus chakra), my heart (heart chakra—an easy one), beside my throat (throat chakra, ‘nother easy one), and on my forehead (third eye chakra). Tracy would place a few crystals, wait a minute, then add more or take away a few. I lost track after a while. Truthfully, I was so relaxed I nearly fell asleep. And maybe I actually fell asleep and didn’t realize it, which is an indication of ultimate relaxation in my book.

How often do you get permission to just be still for forty-five minutes, to just breathe and be and know this is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at this moment—and that you’re doing a damn good job of it? It felt deliciously self-indulgent and I was in absolute heaven.

After we were done, Tracy talked me out of my meditative state. Up until that point, I had been certain I was going to have to ask her to wheel me out of there after the session. I had been total dead weight while it was going on, and felt like I’d be unable to lift even my arms if I wanted to.

But when she was through having me wriggle my fingers and toes, I opened my eyes and was surprised to find myself completely energized. I felt like a million bucks. Or a million crystals. Take your pick—but keep in mind some of those stones looked pretty expensive. Here’s a pic of her worktable after our session was through:

crystal-healing-stones

After the session we talked more about what she’d discovered. I hadn’t known it at the time, but while I was on the table, Tracy had been using a pendulum to assess the energy levels of my chakras, and then adding crystals to improve those that could use a little love.

The pendulum had revealed that my solar chakra was the one that needed the most work—though my third eye, crown, and, to a lesser extent, my heart chakra had also been in need of a boost. My throat chakra, or the one responsible for my communication skills, had been peachy keen, which was a big boost to my writer ego. The solar chakra, the one I’d needed the most help with per Tracy’s diagnosis, is associated with my actual ego. It’s where my core identity lives, and it made sense to me that in this time of transition (going from full-time to freelance) that might be a little shaky.

To be honest with you readers, I don’t know what I believe about whether or not those crystals effected changes in my core energy, or if core energy is a thing I should be thinking about and working on. But I do know that her diagnosis rang true to me in a surprising way, and also that there was something wonderful about letting myself relax for a good forty-five minutes while someone else focused solely on helping me out. That was healing in every sense of the word.

Any Austin-based readers interested in experiencing crystal healing for themselves can email me for a coupon to try a 45-minute crystal chakra clearing & balancing session with Tracy for $40—half-off the usual price. It needs to be used by the end of December, and I’ve only got two of them, so don’t be shy. First come, first serve!

Namaste, y’all. :) Please leave me stories about new, scary things you’ve tried in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

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First Big Freelance Win: A Freshly Published Book!

Some of y’all know this, but for those of you who don’t, since I left my 9-to-5, my biggest client has been my Uncle Mike. He approached me early this year with a wildly wonderful idea: He wanted to know if I would help him self-publish his books.

He’s a Naval doctor and commander who’s been in the military over thirty years and has also spent the last decade writing fiction military/medical/political thrillers, along with a handful of manuscripts he describes as being in the “touchy-feely” vein, AKA love stories :). When he came to me, he had over ten manuscripts waiting for publication, but was having trouble getting traditional book publishing houses to bite.

I have experience working for book publishers—one a large traditional house and one an indie house—and his difficulties didn’t surprise me a bit. Publishing is a bit of a gambling industry, when you think about it. Publishers pay advances to authors which they hope to earn back with book sales, then they invest a ton of money in the production, marketing, printing, distributing, and warehousing of the book. If the book doesn’t sell, they’re in the red, and more and more publishing houses are looking for a safe bet.

This unfortunately means that without a huge social media presence (if you aren’t, say, Kim Kardashian) many first-time authors are passed over. Publishing houses run the cost-benefit analysis and decide, “too risky.”

Fortunately, in the age of the internet, there’s an alternative: self-publishing. I encouraged my uncle to go for that, and when he hired me to help him out, I was thrilled to be a part of the venture. Both because I was excited to see him accomplish his dreams, and, more selfishly, I was eager to figure out how this self-publishing business works with his books so that I’ll have the process down pat when I self-publish my own manuscript, hopefully sometime next year.

He and I have been hard at work since May on his first title: Vector | Tradecraft: Phase Zero.

We’ve had the manuscript copyedited, then typeset, then proofread. We hired a cover designer who did a fabulous job. And we hired a marvelous marketing consultant who is in the throws of campaigning to get the word out. I’ve been acting as the project manager for the book, reviewing all edits prior to approval, coordinating between vendors, facilitating payment of invoices, setting up distribution accounts, and managing all other manner of housekeeping items so that Uncle Mike can focus on what he does best: writing great manuscripts.

And I’m so very thrilled to announce that this first great manuscript is so no longer a manuscript but an actual published book! Vector is available for sale on Amazon. Order your print copy today, or preorder the ebook, scheduled to release Nov. 9.

Vector Book Cover with Spine

Vector is a millitary/medical/politcal thriller that follows DHS Agent Lee Jansen and Dr. Emma Hess as they try to solve the mystery of exactly what kind of weapon researcher Jawad Khattib was working on before he died from its effects in the Massachusetts General Hospital ER. When they discover the truth, it’s worse than they ever could have imagined. The weapon isn’t just capable of killing hundreds—it’s capable of killing hundreds of thousands. Can they stop what’s been set in motion by a madman with a dangerous secret before it’s too late? Read the book to find out! :D

This title is the first in a six-book series my Uncle Mike and I are working to release. Read more about the book on his website, and sign up for the email list to be kept in the loop on when the next book in the series is scheduled to come out.

Again, I’m so very thrilled that this book is out. It feels like a huge personal win. I get to see a product of me going freelance in tangible form. The book is beautiful, and it’s a really great read. It feels amazing to have been a part of making it available to readers worldwide.

I hope you’ll order the book and enjoy reading it as much as I did. In any case, thank you all for following my blog and supporting me in my crazy passions and letting me word-vomit my excitement over Vector’s release!

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A Visit to Washington—Land of the Barrel of Cheer

The second trip I’ve taken as a full-time freelancer was on the heels of the Nola trip and with the same cast and crew—my dad and my brother. We flew up to Washington to visit Mark and Linda.

Mark and Linda live on a few acres of land in the small town of Sequim about a three-hour drive from Seattle. Mark’s a college buddy of my dad’s (and is also the author of a fantastic book called The Face of His Brother, if you’re looking for a good read). Linda is his lovely wife. Both are from my home state of Louisiana and both have the most wonderful accents as proof of the pudding.

I don’t have that accent. I have an accent, but it’s slight. The thick drawl that is my birthright somehow passed me by. Sometimes I’m thankful for that. It makes it easier to blend. Other times I think it’s a shame. It removes me from my roots a bit, and roots are important to have in this world.

Mark and Linda were the most incredible hosts. I mean, seriously. Remember when I said earlier their place was a three-hour-drive from Seattle? Well, Mark made that drive both to pick us up from the airport at the start of the trip and to take us back at the end.

Our incoming flight arrived after 11 p.m. and our departure left around 6 a.m. That’s right. He stayed up until the wee hours of the morning driving us to his place from the airport and then awoke in similar wee hours to take our asses back. And did not breath a word of complaint. That is some gold-medal level hosting.

I’d never met Linda before and was excited to finally have the chance. I’d heard so much about her.

Since we got in so late, we didn’t see her until the morning, but when we woke she had steaming coffee ready for us. We chit chatted over our mugs at a table on their recessed, grotto-encased patio surrounded by beautiful old pine trees that made me realized the pines we have in Texas have nothing on the ones they have in Washington. At least size-wise.

I thought I’d seen tall pines before. I hadn’t. These were the stuff of children’s books. Larger than what seemed possible, and so, so very green. They were breathtaking.

Washington Pines

After coffee, Linda went inside to get breakfast ready while Mark showed dad, Haydon, and me the property.

They’re selling it soon, which was a big driver for the trip. Dad had heard about the place for years and wanted to see it before it was too late. They have a handful of wooded acres that back up to more land they sold to the local Indian tribe.

We could still walk on the Indian-owned land, though, and a beautiful river runs through that part of the land.

Dad and I couldn’t resist a river selfie.

Sequim, WA, river

The whole area was just beautiful. And when we got back Linda had prepared a quiche along with delicious fresh fruit. It was fabulous.

After breakfast, Mark drove us to see some of the sights. We stopped off at the John Wayne Marina which had a little restaurant. We’d been exploring for a couple of hours at that point and had worked up an appetite and were also thirsty.

Dad told the hostess his last name was Zezlette. He said it was Moravian, then he spelled the name for her, unasked. Mark and I struggled to keep our faces straight.

Over a delicious creamy Dungeness crab dish and Prosecco, we all chatted, and whenever the waitress came by dad tried to drop in little relevant details about how things were doing back in Moravia. From the waitress’s face, I wasn’t sure whether the oddness off it even registered. I could tell my dad was dying for her to ask him more about his home country, but she didn’t bite.

Then we went to the Walgreens where we could buy not only beer and wine but liquor as well. We picked up some Jameson and a few bottles of Pinot Noir.

Back at the house, Mark pulled out what he likes to call his barrel of cheer. It’s full of beer and you need only add ice to make it a party. He added ice.

We sat around the fire pit telling more tales with everyone, Dad, Haydon, Linda, me. Mark had mentioned we’d all have a cookout that night. But then, something inconceivable happened. Someone else showed up at the house.

It was Sue.

“Hi Sue,” Mark greeted her. “How’s it going? What brings you by?”

“Well, it’s Wednesday, right?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Aren’t we having game night?”

I saw a look pass between Mark and Linda. Game night. They’d completely forgotten about game night.

“Of course! Come sit down,” Linda said without missing a beat. “These are some friends from out of town.”

Mark introduced everyone and Linda slipped inside.

Five more people showed up making our little party nine people total. And I began to worry.

What was Linda going to do? We were running out of cheese and crackers and it was clear these people were used to coming here to eat food with their games and now it appeared there would be no games and also no food. Not only that, but Sequim isn’t the kind of place where you just pick up the phone and order something in. No pizza delivery to save the day.

This was a hostess’s nightmare.

Or I thought it was. But it wasn’t this hostess’s nightmare, because Linda comes from the old school of southern belles, where you’re ready to prepare a banquet feast for nine at a moment’s notice. And that’s just what she did.

I walked into the kitchen to see if I could be of any help, and she was cooking up a storm. Multiple pots were on the stovetop simmering with delicious smelling things. The stove was on. Bread was out. I asked, “Can I help you with anything?”

“Oh, dear, I’d like to say ‘no,’ but it’d be great if you could set the table.”

I could certainly do that.

“Grab Mark and your brother and get them to put a few chairs outside. Mark will know which ones. We’ll eat al fresco!” Linda was smiling, wasn’t even breaking a sweat, and I was in awe of her calm under pressure.

Mark, Haydon, and I set everything up while dad entertained the folks gathered around the fire. My father’s a wonderful storyteller and was the perfect distraction while the food was being prepared.

Linda came out of the house under an hour later, and dinner was served. But not just any old dinner, no. And certainly not one that looked like it had been thrown together last-minute and consisted of whatever she had laying around the kitchen.

Y’all, it was three courses. And each and everything she prepared was absolutely delicious.

We had French onion soup with toasted cheese baguette on top; perfectly baked bone-in chicken breast—juicy on the inside, crispy skin on the outside—served with a tasty vegetable medley, a side salad, and fresh French bread; and for dessert, cobbler topped with ice cream.

As each dish came out, I became more and more impressed. Linda did what I could never do. I am not from that school of southern belle. My generation would starve to death if presented with the challenge that Linda so effortlessly embraced.

Like many of my peers, I am not a cook. There are so many basic, basic things people from her generation whip up in the kitchen—making it look as natural as breathing—that would be the most impossible of feats for me. Homemade pie crusts. Spaghetti sauce from scratch. Chicken salad.

I can’t make anything at all without a recipe, and sometimes even those give me trouble.

As with my lack of an accent, I feel like I’ve missed out on a little of my birthright by being a Southern lady who wouldn’t know how to make dumplings if her life depended on it. I can make Ramen noodles in a coffee pot—and have. But, while perhaps a teensy bit impressive as a sort of parlor kitchen trick, that’s not quite the same thing. :)

Everyone at the table that night talked, laughed, drank, ate, and enjoyed—none the wiser that their visit was something of a surprise to their hosts.

The next day, Mark drove us up to Olympic park and the view was breathtaking. Have a look:

Olympic Park mountains

There’s something about mountains. Pictures never quite capture the majesty of actually being on one. Of ascending rung by rung up the road and having the slight sense of becoming elevated and then having your eyes affirm you’ve gone up much higher than you felt you had and then seeing for miles and miles and miles. We don’t have mountains in Austin. We have hills. And while they’re quite lovely, they’re no comparison.

When I got back to Austin, I knew I’d experienced two things on my travels I wouldn’t soon forget. The celestial beauty of the mountains, and the awe of a truly great hosting from a couple who can make any number of people feel welcome in their home at moment’s notice— who are always ready to entertain with a barrel of cheer, a home cooked meal, and a warm, inviting fire.

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