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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Friday
May092014

Field Notes: Blossoming 

Magnolia tree in Minneapolis

Just before New Year's, I sat down to do a meditation to listen for what words and messages will serve as guideposts for the coming year. My words for 2014 would be — SERENE and STAMINA — and the message was that this year would stretch me immensely, but that the stretching would be good and so very worth it.

My job was to be serene through all of it.

Indeed, this has been one of the the busiest and most demanding year for me professionally. In addition to individual healing session work, officiating two weddings in June and planning a dream trip to Paris and the UK (to name a few things on my to-do list), I was also hired to help "birth" two amazing books this year for the best kind of clients — ones you love and adore being with. Midwiving these books has meant travelling most months to work on-site. Which has been incredibly wonderful. And oh-so-very-stretchy.

Part of what has been especially "stretchy" for me is to let go of some old beliefs about how work has to be hard, about not having enough time and feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list.

Instead, I am deepening my sense of what is possible for me – for how I move in the world and for how fun, easy, joy-filled and in the flow work and life can be — if I only allow it.

I was in Minneapolis this week for two days of consulting.

We covered a lot of ground during our time together. And we also made time to do a meditation and paint, to take walks by Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun each day, to take a midday break to go shopping, to eat amazing food, to have some separate alone time and to have deep conversation. One day, we even made time for a quick 15-minute nap. 

Throught it all, I experienced a beautiful feeling of nourishment and flow — of trusting and allowing, listening and responding moment to moment, of feeling held and carried each step of the way. 

On one of our neighborhood walks we passed by this beautiful magnolia, just opening to bloom.

There was a palpable sense of ease, flow and trust in its blooming process. No struggle, no overwhelm. Just allowing the bloom to happen and allowing its beauty, power and light to emerge.

Again, I am reminded of how much the flowers have to teach me — as I too learn how to open to bloom in a new way.

Tell me, what are your blossoming into? What are the flowers teaching you about blooming?

Friday
May022014

Field Notes: After the Ecstasy, The Laundry

The hellebores have finally bloomed in the front bed. {hooray!}

 

I love the sessions I get to facilitate for my clients — the chance to glimpse into the uniqueness of their soul...to see the beautiful spiritual support that is streaming love around them...to pass along messages filled with abundant encouragment...to connect with loved ones "on the other side" and feel a love that is so big it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Being in a session with a client feels to me like touching Heaven. It opens my heart, fills me with joy, and makes me feel incredibly grateful that this is the work I do.

It's such a sweet blissful feeling that it can sometimes feel like a let-down to return to ordinary life and to ordinary me.

Especially when I don't carry that heart-wide-open feeling into my everyday life.

Like when I'm weeding the garden and feeling overwhelmed. Or helping to clean out my daughter's rat cage. Or wiping down the streak on the bathroom door mirror for the second (or third) time that day. Or when I'm up against the mess and realness of myself at my most anxious, petty and fearful.

There is a book by the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield — After the Ecstasy, The Laundry. I have yet to read it; still several times a week, the title pops into my head.

I have begun to use the phrase as my cue to see the Heaven in the right here, right now, present-time messiness of life as it is.

To experience the full spectrum of my life — from the mundane to the sublime — as equally good and necessary.

To remind me that, yes, just 15 minutes ago, I had the profound sweetness of touching deeply into the mystical, and now, I need to get out the laundry detergent and throw in the next load. 

The phrase, "After the Ecstasy, The Laundry," helps me to remember that sublime moments of spiritual connection are inevitably balanced by times of disconnection and forgetting. To know that the amazing spiritual me is yoked with a beautiful real, striving human me, too.

In an excerpt from the book, Kornfield writes:

For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.

For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2000/06/After-The-Ecstasy-The-Laundry.aspx?p=1#LWD7Cjfd5SoEWi4s.99
For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2000/06/After-The-Ecstasy-The-Laundry.aspx?p=1#LWD7Cjfd5SoEWi4s.99
For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2000/06/After-The-Ecstasy-The-Laundry.aspx?p=1#LWD7Cjfd5SoEWi4s.99

It's like the Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water."

By recalling the phrase, I am reminded to love and celebrate the all of life. Especially those parts of life that are the "laundry."

And paradoxically, when I can see everything with equanimity — not just the the sweet joys of sessions and the moments of profound grace, but also the laundry, the weeds, and the parts of me that go all Chicken Little sometimes — I can begin to experience the Heaven in all of it, too.

Tell me, what helps you to stay centered and present to your life? What helps you to notice Heaven on Earth?

*******

Addendum: For almost two years, I had a feature on this blog every Friday — Flowering Fridays. The photos and blog posts from this series became the basis for my book, Flowering Wisdom: Inspiring Thoughts on Life, Love, and Blooming Big. I still love flowers, and they are usually what my camera is focused on, but what I most want to share regularly in this space now are in-the-moment reflections on what I'm noticing from my own journey. So, starting today, I'm starting a new feature — Field Notes. My hope is that there will be something helpful or inspring for you out of these reflections. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read — so very grateful! Big love, Shannon

Friday
Apr252014

The Wonder of Life

Nola, six months new

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

— Mary Oliver, "When Death Comes"

I spent the last week in Cleveland, Ohio, visiting with family. I love going back home for a visit. To be with my sister, who makes me laugh more anyone else. To be with my dad who just had knee replacement surgery. To be in the city where I grew up and make a new discovery. (This time, it was Tommy's Pastries. Oh-my-yum.)  And especially to love up my little niece Nola, just six months new.

But for the last 10 years or so, it seemed I went to Cleveland because someone was dying. Or had died. Or we needed to clean out the house of someone who had died.

In some ways, for me, Cleveland came to mean crisis. A place of last visits, of many trips to the hospital, of doing what needed done, of saying final I love yous and good-byes. A place for things hard, tender, heart-breaking.

Last February, I noticed as we drove into the city, my stomach was a bitter mix of dread and anxiety.

As I often do when I'm in a knot about something, I began to mentally talk myself through it.

First I started with the facts: "No one is dying. This is a just a fun social visit to catch up with your family. Michael and Grace are here with you. Look at all the fun things you have planned this week. And you are still connected to the people you love that have passed on. In some ways you are closer to them than ever. "

But I still didn't feel better so I began to talk to myself as I would a child: "It's okay that you feel sad that so many people you dearly loved are gone. It's okay to grieve the loss of tradition and the beloved homes you celebrated in. It's okay to feel all this, even many years after their passing, even if you think you shouldn't feel sad anymore. It's okay that being here brings all this up. I love you and I'm here with you."

By witnessing raw emotion that was there, my tangle of emotions could loosen and the tears were finally free to roll down my face. When I was done crying, I felt a wave of calm and gratitude that carried me throughout our visit.

Still, as we headed home, I said to Michael, "I'm glad we got our Cleveland visit done for this year."

*****

I spoke too soon.

Two days later, my sister called to say that she and her beloved partner of four years were having a baby — which was both a shock and an utter delight after she had been told she would likely never have kids.

I surprised myself by how I excited I was that our family, after a decade of getting smaller, would be growing again.

As it turned out, there were many visits to Cleveland last year — for their wedding, for their baby shower, to help them move into the charming home they bought, and to help after Nola was born.

When I drove home last September, after a week of sister bonding, house nesting and baby showering, I was overcome with such a wave of gratitude.

The tears came once again.

This time, though, they were sweet tears of gratitude, joy and hope.

For the beautiful unfolding of this next chapter for our family — new brother-in-law, new baby, new house to make memories in, new traditions and new opportunties to connect, new branches in our blossoming family tree.

I saw the beginning of this chapter, and all I could feel was the blessing in all of it. Even in the pain, the grief, and the loss...as well as the joy, the delight and the Big Love that continues to come again and again to open my heart a little wider than before.

In that moment, I could feel there was some kind of divine unfolding at work — something larger than me, that was just on the outside of my awareness —, and I could sense how the losses might even have made way for all these new blessings. And how there was grace, God, miracles, support and more love than we could ever fathom carrying us through it all.

*****

This week, being in Cleveland, I was amazed with the abundance of growth all around me.

How Nola can now sit up, roll over, coo and laugh, smile and play with her toys. How my dad's knee was healing and how he could walk again without a cane. How my sister has grown into mothering so beautifully. How my brother is growing, too, by moving back home to support his dad, my stepfather, as he navigates chemotherapy and cancer. How the magnolias were opening proudly, how tulips and daffodils stood tall and open-faced to the sun, and how the grass was green and lush.

I couldn't imagine this was possible just 14 months ago.

But here it is. Right now.

This niece. This family. These moments. This precious, tender life. This perfectly imperfect me. All this goodness.

My prayer today is to be awake enough to notice it all. For my heart to stay open to this wonder-filled unfolding journey called life.

Tell me, what is filling your heart with wonder these days? what captures your amazement?

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