Shamanic Healing for Veterans

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PTSD
Picture taken by Devin Mitchel in his Photo Series covering the real faces/stories behind PTSD. Full article viewed here.

There’s something to be said about alternative therapies and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Decades ago, it was discovered that this mysterious mental affliction of veterans had something in common. It wasn’t until the mental/emotional/spiritual afflictions of soldiers coming back from war began impacting the way that veterans were integrated back into regular society. It used to be covered up, ignored, and not really acknowledged. Those who don’t experience that type of experience don’t really know how to tangibly understand what it is that these soldiers experience. Perspective is one thing, and it is another to receive validation to have such a concrete diagnosis of “PTSD”… but then what do you do about it?

The department of Veteran Affairs and our government officials have slowly begun to recognize that the effects of this mental/emotional/spiritual affliction was big enough that the National Center for PTSD was founded in 1989 to help aid in the support of Veterans coming back from duty, integrating into a life apart from the military. Until then, this unknown affliction was treated with drugs and small support groups. It wasn’t until 2009 that more treatments were being discovered for Veterans besides just drugs. There began an interspersion and experimentation with psychotherapeutic and pharmacologic intervention. Because it was becoming a larger epidemic (that many with Veteran relatives or loved ones can testify) and psychotherapy/drugs were only making marginal improvements, there has been more exploration into “alternative therapies”. Of course, in our modern every day society, clinical research and data needed “proof” before commenting and providing evidence that “alternative therapies” really worked. Even in 1992, they still considered cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and hypnosis “alternative therapies”. It became a blur when things stopped becoming “alternative” and slowly started integrating into Western Medicine. In 2012, the National Center for PTSD even admitted that  “alternative” refers to their use
in lieu of conventional practices within the branch of Western Medicine, and it’s changing all the time. The latest that is considered “alternative” that is getting recognized is Acupuncture, Relaxation, and Meditation. If that is the case, why don’t we try exploring some other options? There’s already some experimentation by Veterans who are not documenting their progress with mainstream because it is not openly acknowledged or talked about as commonly. Here’s an article by Social Work Today that indicates that while it’s not acknowledged, there’s definitely hope. However, alternative therapies should not solely be used, but can be used in conjunction with Western Medicine to have a more balanced approach.

There have been any number of accounts, from yoga to scuba diving and yes – even to shamanism. PTSD is not a mental illness, and should not be treated as such. Shamanism is a very old form of diagnosis/treatment for diseases of the emotions, mind and spirit. It actually encourages one to not look at oneself as having something “wrong” with them, but finding a way to balance out the extremes of imbalance in ones life. When we are not given the support for mental wellness, then our foundations crack and what is labeled as mental instability/illness by our modern day society is a natural occurrence.

As many well known modern day shamans acknowledge, PTSD is a strong symptom of a spiritual disease known as soul loss. When we experience something traumatic, a part of our soul steps out of our body, and there is a common feeling of “emptiness” that happens. Some may just feel “not there” while the experience is happening, just running on auto-pilot. Others may go to the degree of watching things happen on a movie screen, or feeling like they’re just watching things happen to them, or (if really traumatic) they can blank out completely and not remember anything at all. Modern day psychology labels this as dissociation but no one in academic science really talks about what happens to the soul when it’s outside of the body because it cannot be proven/measured. This is the realm of the energetic/shamanic practitioner, who is able to see/interact/help heal those realms of the unseen. When the soul temporarily displaces itself out of the physical body, a piece of itself breaks off during the traumatic event. When the traumatic event is over, the soul returns back to the body, but without the piece that broke off. If traumatic events are seen/witnessed/experienced repeatedly, then these pieces of the soul accumulate to a large degree of what is called “soul loss” which is where people with the diagnosis of PTSD normally fall.

We can see how the predicament of having large amounts of ones essence or soul missing can lead to emotional, mental, or spiritual handicaps. Again, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the individual, and there is no hope. A soul retrieval is a simple procedure that can be done by many Shamans and Shamanic Practitioners. No, Veterans are not the only individuals that have PTSD, but they are a large population of the homeless, diagnosed as mentally ill, and some individuals have PTSD so bad they cannot function in a full time job. If we turn our attention and support of those who fought for our country instead of focusing on expanding our military, perhaps we might be a more well balanced society. If you happen to be an auditory learner and would like to listen to a series of podcasts on these thoughts, a good resource is Why Shamanism Now.

This is one of the many reasons why Eagle Therapies is going to host a Shamanic Healing Ceremony on October 22nd. It is a firm belief held by many that mental, spiritual, and emotional support to Veterans and others with PTSD is crucial at this juncture to help heal. It doesn’t take one therapist. It doesn’t take one drug or cocktail of drugs. It doesn’t take one Shamanic Practitioner to do one big soul retrieval. It’s a fact and a reality that recovering from post traumatic stress disorder involves a community and team of people who support the individual affected. The worst symptom of PTSD is death by suicide. This usually happens when a Veteran is feeling isolated, alone, and doesn’t have people around them to help them (i.e. a community). According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there is a 22% increase in suicide of adults in the US population that have been in the military.

The intention behind the Shamanic Healing for Veterans is to help people who are Veterans as well as those who support Veterans. Community is something that is sorely needed, and feeling like you are apart of something, or feeling like you’re not being judged as soon as you walk in the door is a comfort that most people take for granted. It’s not just for people who have something wrong with them, it’s actually for people who want to see Veterans as human beings; to laugh, sing, and drum with them as if they are whole human beings with an intact spirit. Because sometimes seeing someone with joy, love, and happiness in their being is something the every human being deserves. And being in the company of someone who thinks that someone with PTSD is “less than” can easily be picked up by the sensitive. It’s an attitude as well as a mind frame to look at someone with PTSD is just a regular human being, and we need more sacred places where people who have these treatable ailments can find comfort with others. We need more places where we can be ourselves. And that’s the hope for the Shamanic Healing for Veterans event.

Maybe this event might happen again, and maybe it’s just a “one-off” but the biggest intention is that events like this are not the only one.

References:

  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
  • PTSD: National Center for PTSD
  • Cukor, J., Spitalnik, J., & Difede, J. (2009). Emerging Treatments for PTSD [Abstract]. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(8), 715-726. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735809001184
  • Jackson, K. (2014, March 15). Treatments for Veterans With PTSD — Outside the Traditional Toolbox. Social Work Today14(2), 18.
  • Libby, D. J., PhD, Pilver, C. E., PdH, & Desai, R., PhD. (n.d.). Complementary and Alternative Medicine in VA Specialized PTSD Treatment Programs. Psychiatry Online. doi:http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201100456
  • Solomon SD, Gerrity ET, Muff AM. Efficacy of Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress DisorderAn Empirical ReviewJAMA. 1992;268(5):633–638. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490050081031 from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/398882
  • Strauss, J. L., PhD, & Lang, A. J., PhD. (2012). Complementary and Alternative Treatments for PTSD. PTSD Research Quarterly23(2). from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/newsletters/research-quarterly/v23n2.pdf
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Distance Journey Group

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Hello beautiful people!

If you have made it to this page, that means you’re interested in actively practicing Shamanic Journeying with a non-local community. Congratulations on these big steps to feeling connected and a part of something bigger. Keep in mind that whatever you put into it, is what you get out of it, and participation is voluntary.

For right now, the platform we are using is Facebook, since that seems to be the easiest way to run this. And besides, we’re still small enough where we can make this work on Facebook. So that means…

After you join the Facebook Group, there will be an every other week post that will announce the “suggested journey group topic” for that particular session. An example is something like what you will see on your left. This is a closed group, which means that no one except other members of the group can see what you post. If you are not on Facebook all that often and are interested in being on a mailing list that will notify you whenever the topic is posted, sign up here. You can feel free to respond directly to the email and I can post the results of your journey to the group. This can help you keep in touch with others who are on the same path, so there can be a feeling of solidarity that begins establishing itself.

If you cannot journey that evening, please do not feel pressured to do so. Journey at your earliest convenience and then post your findings under that specific Journey Group post that pertains to the suggested journey group topic.

If you consider yourself a beginner journeyer, I would recommend taking a look at the Journeying at Home page to help you prepare yourself as well as your space. I have a project that I am working on for a Journeying CD to accompany this “preparation” to allow one easier access to altered states of consciousness. If you would like to provide your own music, a drum, rattle, or tapping on your body can help produce the trance like state we are seeking. If you are unsure about doing that, then you can pick a track to play with headphones in:

    • 12 minute track – Has whistling in the beginning to call in protection and the ancestors by Sandra Ingerman
    • 30 minute track – Single track drumming by Michael Harner
    • 30 minute track – Single and double drumming tracks by Michael Harner
    • 30 minute track – Beautiful Taiko drumming with Nagado drums, Odaiko, and rattles by Sandra Ingerman featuring Taiko Sol

Here is a helpful video by Sandra Ingerman about journeying, and here is a link to her book, “Basics of Shamanic Journeying”. If you would like further instruction, there is typically a class about journeying right before the monthly journey group (with no suggested journey topic) for practice. Variation may range based on the month, however you can stay in touch with our events via our newsletter archive, signing up for our monthly newsletter, or looking at our Facebook or Meetup pages. If you wish to deepen your studies, there are several courses offered through Sounds True, the Shift Network and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.

If you have trouble journeying, or have tried several times to journey, please do not fret. Sometimes it just takes practice. Going into an altered state of consciousness at will is a learned skill. It’s like a muscle. You cannot expect to go right into the gym for the first time to bench press 100 lbs. Some people might be surprised to find out they can, while other people struggle to even lift up the bar. Everyone is different, with different experiences and skill sets. Some may have a problem concentrating because their imagination runs wild, so they have wild vivid journeys but they make no sense. While at the same time, others might struggle to release the thoughts of their day and keep thinking about things they have to do – thus feeling blank for the journey itself. It all varies, but the only way to keep gaining experience is to do it and see what happens.

If there still seems to be trouble and there are certain blockages that are hindering your progress, it is possible that a shamanic healing might be in order. Sometimes with the amount of disconnection our society is in, vital pieces of ourselves might be missing due to soul loss, or trauma from our past. Shamanic healing sessions can be done either in group ceremonies or in one-on-one sessions. The group ceremonies tend to be done by donation, while the private sessions (either private or you can invite other people to witness) are done by sliding scale. More information can be found on the List of Services tab.

Feel free to contact us by email at info@eagletherapies.com or call/text 571.306.3197 if there are any questions or concerns. Don’t be shy! And happy journeying, everyone.

Joining From a Distance

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The biggest thing we are facing today as a society is feeling isolated. Many spiritual leaders, guru’s and mystics have already uncovered that our Western Contemporary Society has a large wound of separation. In a shamanic cosmology, we are one with everything, and there is a sacredness in all things. If one believes that God/Goddess/Spirit created the world, then by that same definition, doesn’t that mean that God/Goddess/Spirit is in everything that was created? When we feel separated from this great “web of life” as some call it, then things within our inner landscape become out of balance. If the imbalance progresses, illness or a dis-ease of the Spirit can take place. Many traditional Shamans believe that if a spiritual illness (such as soul loss) were to perpetuate and set in, it can (over time) lead to physical ailments. If you’re interested in exploring this more, there are two Shamanic Podcasts that I highly recommend which talk extensively of this perspective. There is Michael Stone with Conversations, and Christina Pratt with Why Shamanism Now.

One of the ways we can counter this illusion of separation is to remember that we are one with all things. This is where daily spiritual practices and coming together in community are especially important. The daily spiritual practice will help reinforce your own personal connection to a higher power, while the community aspect allows you to be on this journey of inner awareness with others who are trying to accomplish the same thing. The law of attraction states that like attracts like, so pay attention to what you are surrounding yourself with.

Oh no… but what if you see great events and can’t participate in them because you can’t make the commute, or you’re too far away/live in a different state?!

This is where the beauty of the internet comes in handy! I can’t speak for all people that hold distance events, but here are links to the basic guide/overview of how we will run things at Eagle Therapies so if you do not have a local community – you can still participate in one!

Shamanic Journey Group

There is a bi-weekly Shamanic Journey Group that meets every other week at the Intuitive Wellness Center on the border of Burke and Fairfax,VA. There are some people that wish to practice their journeying skills with others, and this is the perfect way to do so – whether in person or at a distance. The Journey Group has been running steadily since 2014, so there is a solid structure to hold people as they engage in the “Journey Tracks” that are posted as we find explore a topic to journey about together. For a link to an in-depth explanation for the structure and format, click here.

Ancestral Healing Circle

Once monthly around the New Moon is a Ceremony called the Ancestral Healing Circle. This is a Ceremony that welcomes both the new as well as the experienced. It is where we gather and work on the unresolved issues/patterns within ourselves, the ancestors, as well as in the land itself. The Ancestral Healing Circles are now officially apart of the Shamanism Without Borders community and follows the code of ethics set by the Society of Shamanic Practice. Before involving healing of any kind in our circles, we must first ask permission/consent for those that we are praying for. This is why most of the time (especially for beginner ceremonialists), we focus on ourselves and our connection to the topic at hand for the month. As Sandra Ingerman says, the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and any inner work that we do has an effect on the greater web of life. A post is coming for a more in-depth explanation for the structure and format of joining at a distance.

If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at info@eagletherapies.com or call/text 571.306.3197. And please also don’t be shy about leaving a message. We are here to help support a growing community of people that want to help each other. We’re all in this together.

Journey Group Outline for September and October 2017

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Wow! Would you look at that! I have everything all set in stone for the next two months and I have everything scheduled! IT’S A MIRACLE!!

Well, not really. But I have a lot of deep gratitude to a lot of people helping me pull this off. So without further ado – let’s see what we’ve got in store at Eagle Therapies for the next two months!

For those that don’t know, there is both a bi-weekly shamanic journey group as well as a monthly shamanic journey group. The one with the “journey group outline” is the bi-weekly occurring event. The monthly meetup has a class right before hand, so if you’re interested in journeying but don’t feel comfortable doing it – well here’s a class for you! We weren’t able to have a monthly journey for September, but that’s alright. Just come in October instead! The monthly journey is also longer and with two journeys instead of one. There is the option to journey for someone else during the second journey. There is a facebook group for the journey group, and I promise I’ll get better about posting in there. The intention behind the facebook journey group is to have people that are joining in from a distance to post the results of their journeys – or to have members post odd synchronicity of what happened when they applied what they learned in their journey group.

So without further ado: Here is the suggested journey topic for the next two months!

Energy Health and the taking care of our Bucket

I did a blog post about this last year, and we are going to revisit this topic again, because it’s a different set of people, as well as a new location. The basic premise is to explore the blog post, but to give an opportunity to the group to be able to break it down into separate journeys. Here is how we shall break this down:

September 7th

Introduction to the state of our energetic health
Facebook and Meetup

A lot of people aren’t really sure what to make of their energetic health. A lot of people that claim to be “empathic” are sometimes just super sensitive to other people’s energy because their energy body is porous. We will cover this topic as well as explore how our energy body is interacting with the world around us, and what impact is has on our emotional, mental, and spiritual status at any given moment in time.

September 21

The container
Facebook and Meetup

This is where we explore what our container is, as well as what status it is in. Not many people will see it as a “bucket”. People have had this show up as a glass container, a wooden one, a porcelain, and also metal. No answer is wrong, but the type of material it is made of is also a representative of how you interact with the world.

October 5th

The contents
Facebook and Meetup

It’s funny how sometimes we can acknowledge something on the surface, but underneath it can be a putrid pond filled with gross stuff. Is an energy body supposed to have sediment down at the bottom that isn’t touched? Perhaps one can have a sluggish reaction to certain things, but then “boiling over” or reactive when it’s close to the top? What does repression mean and what are the repercussions of it on your energy body.

October 19th

The stability
Facebook and Meetup

Sometimes we can feel as though we are teeter tottering on the edge of a precipice. Knowing ourselves as well as “where our bucket is NOW” can provide insight into our emotional/mental stability at any given moment in time. If we are on unstable ground, or if we feel as though we are about to “lose it”, then we can certainly journey to our energetic body to see what type of metaphoric “ground” we are on, and explore/heal that aspect of ourselves.

 

Again, there is no class and monthly journey in September, but the next Shamanic Journeying Class is on October 28th, followed shortly by the Monthly Journey Group. If you are familiar with journeying, you can skip the class and come right to the monthly journey group for more practice. For the up to date event listings, feel free to check out either our Facebook calendar or our Meetup Calendar. If you are interested reading our newsletter for the month, visit the Newsletter Archives or join the newsletter.

Happy September! So many kids going back to school 🙂 Blessings to those children starting their new school career this year ❤

40cean Blessing Bracelets

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As some people have been following the blogs and newsletters, they might be aware that for the month of June, I had an offer for people to get recycled bracelets from a company called 4Ocean. To look back at the previous blog post click here. These bracelets are made of trash that has been picked up from the ocean. There are several sites all across the world that have “Ocean clean up” days, where volunteers just pick up trash. The glass beads are made from the glass bottles, and the string is made from recycled plastic bottles.

The fun thing is, that over $400 was raised in order to donate to 4Ocean! I am so proud of those that support our community and the love that was raised for the Ocean ❤ The bracelets arrived just in time for me to bring to my first shamanic training in the 4 year training program that I’m in. While I was in Arizona for the Masks of Illusion and the Authentic Self (It’s a 4 year program that teaches how to live a shamanic lifestyle), I had put these wonderful bracelets on the community altar – so the proud owners of the bracelets will walk away with some powerful transformative energies as well as some personalized blessings. These bracelets also came along with me as I traveled and camped in the wilderness of the desert.

I happen to be an introvert, and I knew that training was going to be intense. I was right, it was. And I really needed to heavily process. Sometimes in order to process I escape to nature so I can reconnect with myself and the bigger picture of what I came here to do. I camped at Picacho State Park overnight, and in the morning I gave gratitude and blessings to the Land Spirits that helped hold us during our powerful transformational processes. I will tell you a really funny story… because as I was giving offerings to the land, I happened to give gratitude to the desert by pouring some water on the ground. As soon as I said, “I give this to the Land Spirits and the Spirits of Place” and dumped the water on the ground, there was this little ground squirrel that came out of nowhere, scampered up and shyly drank the water that I just poured. I guess the Land Spirits come in all shapes and sizes 🙂

 

Big bump I climbed

I climbed that big bump you see right there. While I was up at about 2,000 feet above sea level, I had built myself a little offering altar and placed the bracelets up there while it absorbed some really expansive mountain/desert energy. I played a couple of songs on the flute, and sang on the drums. Some of the other hikers appreciated the drumming/singing. It was quite comical because I had found a little shady spot under a cliff, so you couldn’t really see where I was sitting unless you walked past me. I had some hikers comment that they were worried there was a ghost around here, and we had a good laugh as I chatted with some of the good natured folks who also decided to climb Picacho Peak.

I shall start planting the seeds of blessings in them this month. June was a pretty bumpy month for me, and the training took a lot more out of me then I expected. I had to take a break from clients and even cancel a few social/community events I had planned. Thank you to those that are patient in receiving the bracelets 🙂 They shall be delivered soon! With a cute little bag and post cards that say “Thanks for cleaning up the ocean!”

Much love and many blessings to all of you ❤ And thank you for caring about the state of our ocean and helping contribute to a cause that is helping clean up the mess humanity is leaving on our planet. We shall do right by the world. Gotta leave it better then we found it so our children and our childrens children can enjoy it.

Newsletters Archives

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It has been asked for a directory list of past newsletters. So here it is! Keep up to date on what’s going on in the area, and see what has happened in the past.

Click here to go back to the directory

Click here to sign up for the newsletter

 

New Wave of a Birthday

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It is one thing to celebrate one’s birthday with parties, balloons, presents, and gifts presented by loved ones.

But what about the loved ones with no voice?

The Earth doesn’t have a voice that we can hear with our physical senses. To me, it’s something that I feel, and I usually feel this union in my heart. Whenever I look up at the sky when it’s thunder storming, whenever I look at the ocean, or when I’m in the woods listening to the wildlife around me… I don’t necessarily hear a voice, but I feel a deep thrum in the pit of my belly. Sometimes I hear an invisible song that brings me deep joy and peace. From this deep gratitude that I feel, I wish to give back on the anniversary of my birth.

I have been named strange more times than I can count in the 3 decades I’ve been alive. And this is something that I am completely okay with. I actively choose not to participate in the gift giving habit this year, and I am hoping that those who know me well enough to want to gift me a present will do the same. As many know, I care deeply about the Earth, and the astonishing atrocities that are being committed now are things that would leave me in tears for hours if I slowed down enough to process all of it. Instead, I do what I can, pick up trash when on hikes, have vowed to take shorter showers, and have helped with recycling programs/dig through trash both at home and at work to help clean/support Mother Earth. This year, I don’t want my birthday to be just about me – I want it to be a celebration of life in general. Honoring the Earth and being in gratitude for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat are simple pleasures many take for granted.

The Standing Rock movement was something that helped enlighten a lot of people to the dependency that we have on oil, and we have marinated again and again in spiritual awakenings. More people are becoming aware that the way we are living now is not sustainable. For example, the Dakota Access Pipeline that was promised not to leak began leaking even before it was complete, and now has leaked twice after being officially “open”. I, of course, encourage you to do your own research and fact check. There are plenty of articles available on this subject matter.

GarbageBut this brings out the point that we can’t focus all of our energy into what is not working. We can, however, focus on things that are working. There is an epidemic of trash for many reasons such as human nature (read laziness), privileged people and the overflowing landfills all across the world. Humans are constantly consuming and creating more refuse that is affecting our wildlife. One of the biggest results is the accumulation of “Garbage Patches”, where there is a concentration of trash due to debris falling off ships, or careless tourists that end up forgetting their trash on the beach and it washes away. Plastics comprise about 80-90% of this. There’s an interesting thing about some plastics – that they never really “degrade”. They actually just break down into smaller and smaller pieces, hence causing mass deaths. Thankfully, a lot of awareness has been brought up in this regard, and there are many efforts to try and clean our oceans of plastics.

4ocean braceletThis year for my birthday, I want to be able to support causes that I know where the money won’t go into corporate hands and actually make a difference in this world. This bracelet really spoke to me, because this bracelet is made from 100% recycled material. The beads are recycled from glass bottles, and the thread is recycled from plastic bottles/bags. This company named 4Ocean is putting out there that for every purchase of a bracelet, one (1) lb. of trash is cleaned from the ocean. You can watch this video for a brief introduction to it.

This really spoke to me and my heart, because I’ve been a big fan of the ocean for a long time. Whenever I hike, I make sure to bring a garbage bag with me so I can pick up the litter. I also find that somehow getting a memento from others picking up the trash and being able to do something with it, is like a reflection and friendly reminder of the times I’ve already done it. And it gives me hope when I see my son doing the same, and helping me pick up the trash on his own, instead of me having to ask. I hope that this trend of good stewardship for the planet keeps picking up, and I wish to invest my energy into something that means a lot to me. And if you were thinking of giving me a present, please consider donating to this instead, and sending me a nice message saying that you got a bracelet and helped pick up one (1) lb. of trash from the ocean. And even if you weren’t and happened to stumble across this post – then please, to help fulfill my birthday wish, consider donating money to this wonderful cause.

As an added bonus, if you do happen to get a bracelet and send me an email, I’ll be more than happy to send you a blessing over the phone to activate your recycled bracelet.  It will be a short diagnostic journey and then a personalized blessing. If you are not familiar with Shamanic Journeying, here is your chance to test out the results of it! If anything, you get a bracelet which helped clean up a pound of trash from the ocean. I would love more stuff like this to be a thing of inspiration, so many people can see what harm is being done to the world around us. And may this short little blessing be enough to help reverse what harm has been done, in what little way it can.

Every effort of the heart matters. When something moves you in the heart, please do something great or small that is a reflection of how you are moved in this world. And performing a blessing into that bracelet for you is the least I can do.

My birthday is coming up on June 8th 🙂 Please send me some emails! The blessing promotion will continue for the whole month of June.

Contact: info@eagletherapies.com