Hello! I'm Shannon.

As a soul specialist, radiance amplifier and inspiring guide, I help people bloom bigger into life through 1-on-1 soul activation & energy clearing sessions, personalized readings for what's next, inspiring talks, transformative classes & keepsake photography books.
 

This is my virtual home. May you discover precisely what you need, to unfold into your fullest potential.

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Every threshold in life is a portal to initiation — a flower, unfurling with energy.

Healing invitations, lovingly curated tools, real-world rituals & practical sense for blooming through life.

Drop your name & email address below, and receive your digital copy of Flowering Wisdom: Inspiring Thoughts on Life, Love & Blooming Big as my gift, to you.

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Saturday
May312014

Field Notes: Having New Eyes

 

Tree on walk, from 2011

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust

I am writing this from 37,000 feet in the air, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, south of Greenland. Michael, Grace and I are en route to Paris and the UK for 19 days. A trip we have spent many years dreaming into being.

I have never been to the UK, despite a deep Anglophile streak and a yearning since childhood to live there someday. Michael and I were last in Paris 14 years ago, the year before we had Grace. It was a trip that changed me deeply, and I expect this visit to be no different.

As I was packing my bags an hour before leaving this morning, I noticed how different I have planned this trip from our last visit. Last time, we had a pretty intense travel schedule — lots of things we wanted to see, every day planned out. Three days in Paris, three days in Florence, two days in Cinque Terre, two days in Rome. It was wonderful, but full.

This time, I have a short list of must-sees and a few things scheduled (sunrise inside the circle of Stonehenge, a tour at C.S. Lewis' home The Kilns, a daytrip to the Chartres Cathedral, surprising Grace with a performance of Wicked in London).

Of course, being the research junkie, former travel writer that I am, I have a ton of research gathered — quaint pubs, beautiful manor house gardens, gluten-free bakeries in Paris...enough for a year's worth of touring! — and several guidebooks packed.

But this trip, there is space kept open for serendipity, exploring lesser known spots and just being present — to myself and my soul, to the whispers of the Divine, to these two beautiful people I'm blessed to share my life with, and to life at large — and seeing what new wants to emerge from this trip. 

I intend to spend some afternoons just wandering. I brought my art journal to draw and write in. I plan to blog here regularly. And I have a new little camera with which to take lots and lots of pictures.

I know one doesn't need to travel to have new eyes.

Contemplative photographer Kim Manley Ort discovered a secret garden on a walk near her home last week. (So swoon-worthy. And if you want to develop new eyes for seeing, Kim's online contemplative photography classes are wonderful. The photo above was taken when I took her Photo by Design course in 2011.)

This week, I discovered several new-to-me plants in our garden, and saw my husband with a new light when he brought Grace home a charm bracelet with the name of her beloved pet rat, Louis Sapphire, who died this week, engraved on a heart.

There is always something to be seen anew, even things we think we know by heart.

In many ways, the most beautiful openings happen when we see  that which we feel is known as a revelation of wonder and beauty. Be it in something in our own backyard, in our beloved or in ourselves.

It feels miraculous. But in truth, it is ever-present and always available.  

I think this is a big part of why I love doing my Stargazer sessions so much. I am gifted with the opportunity to see someone in a new way — through the lens of their incredibly radiant soul, through the loving lens of the spiritual.

This noticing, this being in wonder, this deeply seeing into the heart of things is me at my best. It fills me with joy, humbles me with how very much Love permeates everything, and makes me knees-to-the-ground grateful to be alive on Earth.

Today, I am choosing to travel far from home to see things with new eyes. And I am filled with wonder at what might emerge from it.

Tell me, what are you seeing with new eyes in your world?

******

P.S. Is there a part of your own life journey that I could assist in helping you have "new eyes" for? 

A stuck spot? An area of disconnect? Clarity around your next level of expansion? Insight into to your unique purpose? Deeper spiritual connection? A wider view of the landscape of your life?

My clients report clarity, comfort, joy and spiritual openings as a result of a Stargazer session.

I feel so blessed and honored to facilitate these incredibly transformative sessions.

It was a joy to receive this email from a client as we arrived at the airport today. "You've given me more than I ever imagined ... I wanted peace. I'm feeling peaceful for the first time ... ever?  Maybe not ever, but since I can remember."

My exchange and structure for Stargazer Sessions changes July 1.

I will now have two options to choose from — a single-issue session for 45 minutes by phone ($60 USD) or (my favorite!) a deep-dive, big-shifting two-hour session (in-person or by phone) with suggested practices to support you going forward, and follow-up support if needed for $250.

If you would like to pre-purchase a the two-hour Stargazer session at the current rate (of $115) in June, you can use it any time between July and December of this year. Email me to book or for more information.

 

Friday
May232014

Field Notes: Unfurling

Fern frond, unfurling, my garden, last week

I am in Ohio this week, babysitting my sweet niece Nola. She will be seven months old today, and holding her last night, full of smiles and a light that radiates about her, I couldn't help but wonder what she will be like when she grows up — what life journey will unfold for her?...what gifts and seeds is she here to plant?

I have felt reflective on my own unfurling journey of late.

From growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, to college in western Massachusetts for a few years, to a unexpected trip to New York City at 19 (a destiny moment if there ever was one) that led to a summer internship at Ms. Magazine and meeting my husband Michael.

There have been many more twists and turns to my journey — finishing college at Ohio State, dating Michael and breaking it off, working as a public radio producer in Boston, reconnecting with Michael and moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be together, then back to Ohio to take an editing position at Ohio Magazine, then getting married, then teaching and coaching writers, then leaving Ohio Magazine to teach writing full-time.

Then the blessing of having Grace, then finding myself getting baptized and becoming Catholic at age 31, then moving back to Milwaukee, then writing a book about ice cream, then serving as a freelance spokesperson for Breyers Ice Cream and appearing on the History Channel and the Food Network.

Then embarking on a transformative personal and spiritual journey and choosing to find God outside of the church, and then a string of deaths...of my beloved grandparents, of my mother, of my too-young brother-in-law who died of lung cancer at 38.

Then writing and self-publishing my book of flower photos and seeing life through the lens of flowers. Then training in dying consciously, hospice, biographical facilitation and as a shamanic practioner. 

And there is so much more. So many moments, people, places, experiences that are woven into the rich tapestry of my life, as it is with each one of us.

I couldn't imagine any of this when I was growing up. Oh, I did love books and writing — so that isn't too much of a stretch — but how my love of writing and books would unfold was a mystery and a delight...and a story still being written.

We leave in a week for a 19-day dream trip to Paris and the UK. This is a family trip, but I sense that something new (or expanded? or re-remembered?) is sprouting up within me, something that might quicken or become visible during our trip. I sense and have received some clear intuition about this, and yet much of the details — what, where, when, how — feels veiled.

I am feeling excited — and a bit nervous in the face of uncertainty. 

What next tendril of the unfurling fern of my life wants to turn open? What wants to be experienced, expressed, expanded? Where will my journey take me next?

I have lived enough to know that life can be utterly wonderful and completely challenging. That what we most need to learn might come only through struggle, heart-break and surrender. That the deepest joy is often found in unexpected places — the dailiness of life, in the little things, in the individual steps along the journey, in the moments where we aren't looking for it. And that whatever wonderfulness we can imagine for ourselves is often far less than what might actually be borne.

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis:

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

So while I feel I am standing at yet another threshold of my life — of learning to parent a soon-to-be teenager, of deepening into my practice and work, of exploring what writing wants to flow through me, I am comforted in the knowing that whatever will unfold will be perfect.

Better than perfect, in fact. It will be marvelously mine.

And it will probably make more sense in the long-view of my life, many years down the road.

Spiritual teacher and Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chödön writes in When Things Fall Apart that: "Life is a good teacher and a good friend."

As I stand at this threshold, I lean into this truth. Whatever will come will be here to expand me and support me. 

From this place, I can lean in to life, alive and awake to whatever wants to unfurl next.

Tell me, what is unfurling within you? What do you sense is opening for this next piece of your own journey?

Friday
May162014

Field Notes: Tenacious Blooming

Cactus on my friend Mark's mountain land in Colorado

I have been in Denver, Colorado, this week, supporting my dear friend Mark with the book he is writing. On Wednesday afternoon, we drove an hour and 15 minutes southwest of Denver to visit Mark's 87 acres of undeveloped wilderness.

As you can see from some photos I posted on Facebook, there were breath-taking vistas, wise old trees that held deep magic, and a quartz crystal bed that was heaven to sit upon. (Oh, and a lot of huffing and puffing to climb up the peaks at 8,000 feet.)

To my surprise there were also cacti everywhere — blooming out of the red granite earth, co-existing alongside the Ponderosa pines. 

These cacti seemed so determined to me, so defiant and gutsy in their emergence out of the soil...in their laying claim to their place amongst the stately pine and juniper trees...and in their sweet pink blossoms so delicate in contrast to the cactus prickles.

I have been thinking a lot in the past few years about tenacity. Especially how to have tenacity in a feminine way — a fierce determination that is steady, soft, sinuous and strong all at the same time.

Since I turned 42 two years ago, I have felt a deep inner call toward developing a stronger internal taproot — something that will anchor me as I navigate both the varying currents of life at large and my inner emotional life. I want to be strong and rooted in my radiance and soul strength and in the sustaining waters of Spirit, no matter what life brings my way.

It has been challenging and necessary process for me. Growing this internal taproot has been multi-faceted and slow-going. Beside my usual approach of working on the energetic and soul levels, I also have been exploring what supports the anchoring of this taproot in real time.

What comes to me repeatedly, whether in my dreams and meditations, or through books like Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit or Steven Pressfield's The War of Art, is how practices and routines can support inner tenacity and allow my taproot to deepen and grow strong. 

I think seeing the cacti this week was another messenger for me, echoing the inner wisdom that my soul knows at its taproot and my conscious mind is starting to finally get.

In the cactus blooming, I see tenacity in the plant and in the flower — the effort of pushing up in through soil, growing slowly, and then pushing past the prickly spots to bloom.

I notice as I have been more consistent with the practices and routines that speak to my soul and anchor me — regular walking, weekly blog writing, spending reflective time in my cottage, making time to connect with Michael and Grace, eating food that my body loves best (alas, wheat, sugar and dairy are not on that list), taking regular baths, reading — I feel stronger and more able to move forward in all areas of my life. 

These habits support my own blooming on all levels, and I'm noticing subtle and significant shifts rippling out to other areas of my life as well: Hiring a viritual assistant. Moving forward on shifting the sessions I offer come July 1. Naturally adding back in yoga to complement my walking.

Part of what I love about Mark is that he is great about consistent repetition in moving toward goals in his life. Part of his success is due his training as a pro-level natural bodybuilder; he literally knows how to build a new muscle and make it stronger.

His writing is progressing beautifully as he uses a similiar approach that he uses to train for a body-building competition — get a coach (me) to support and help keep him on track, be clear on his end goal and then make time to write regularly, accumulating more and more words with each passing week.

I have taken enough flower photographs to know that blooming doesn't happen overnight.

There is a steady striving and progression for a seed to grow into being a flower. The flower has to keep showing up, day in and day out and allowing the growth that wants to happen to emerge.

This is can be a challenge for me. I see the big-picture vision, and I just want to get there. Now. But I am learning to make steady progress and discovering the value in the showing up, regardless of the results I achieve.

These cacti are reminders of my commitment as I cultivate the authentic tenacity to pursue my deepest callings — to write, to empower others, to share from my heart and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of life around me. 

To bloom with patience past the hard stuff, to draw down deep into the waters underneath it all, and to grow, grow, grow.

May it be so for me. And may it be so for you and everyone, too. 

Tell me, where are you being tenacious in your blooming? What practices and habits strengthen your growth?