The Voice of Your Higher Self

I was four years old the first time I remember hearing the voice. I was playing in the front yard and my toy rolled onto the sidewalk. We lived on a busy street and I knew I was not allowed to step off the lawn, but I really, really wanted that toy. My mother was inside with my baby brother, and I figured she’d be none the wiser if I quickly jumped out onto the sidewalk, grabbed my toy and ran back. As I went to step out, I heard a voice say very lovingly, “Cheryl, you know you’re not supposed to do that.” It seemed to come from both inside my head and above me at the same time. I quickly looked around but no one was there – just my cat, Inky. I eyed Inky suspiciously. Until that moment I didn’t know she could talk, but it was the only explanation I could come up with. I decided I better not go on the sidewalk or Inky might tell my mother.

That was over 50 years ago, and I have heard the voice numerous times since then. I learned over time that this is the sound of my higher self. Sometimes it’s barely there in the background, pointing me in the right direction with a nudge or a song lyric, or a bit of humor and love. Other times she comes through loud and clear with precise instructions or suggestions. No topic is too large or too small to engage my higher self, and the range of comments over the years have both startled and amused me. I was at a party once and got the word very distinctly, “Do not eat the blue cheese dressing.” Bummer, because that was my favorite. Another time I was at home musing about work and my need for a creative outlet, and I heard the name of a magazine for poetry and literature that was accepting submitted articles. Car maintenance is always a popular theme: “put air in your tires,” or “get gas now, not later.” More recently, I agonized over putting our beloved ancient cat to sleep or letting her final illness take its course. I was assured that either decision was valid, and that my cat was at peace either way.

Do I always follow this wise guidance? The short answer is no, not all the time. I did skip the blue cheese dressing that day, but I did not submit anything to the literary magazine. I do check my tires or buy gas when I get the message, but I did not move or relocate when I “heard” about a more ideal town. I don’t always follow the suggestion, but I do always listen. And who knows, I may still end up living in that better town a few years from now, just as I wound up writing at a different online magazine a year or so after the first suggestion. I imagine my higher self smiling at this and lining up the next thing she wants me to do.


Take A Walk on the Wild Side: Encounters With Animals in Nature

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Most of us have had the experience — wonderful, heart-stopping, sometimes terrifying — of unexpectedly encountering an animal in the wild. It may be the tranquil sight of deer off in the woods, or a hawk circling in the canyons of Manhattan. It can be scary, as in some of the recent bear sightings on the East Coast, or inspire reverence for the raw beauty of the creature sighted.

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Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over fifteen years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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The Health Benefits of Salt Caves

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Salt caves have been associated with healing for hundreds of years, and are a perennial favorite of European and Asian spa devotees… Himalayan pink salt is supposed to be the best and the purest for therapeutic purposes, but any salt minerals should work. Obviously, it can be pretty hard to trek to the Himalayas for the real deal, but not to worry. In the last few years “salt caves” have opened all over the country.

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If Plants Are Consciousness, What Happens When We Eat Them?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Last week The New York Times ran an article, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? The new evidence that plants have a type of “conscious,” joins a host of other research indicating that plants are intelligent, understand where they are in space, respond to threats and obstacles, and communicate with each other. We’ve known for years that plants grow faster and lusher when you play the right music or speak nicely to them, but now there is evidence that plants form memories. Does that mean they remember that you were kind to them? And what does it mean now to eat them? What, if any, are the moral or ethical implications?

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The Pudgy Squirrel by Markus de Vries

| by Cheryl Shainmark

The Pudgy Squirrel is a marvelous little gem of a children’s book, written and illustrated by German author, Markus de Vries. Importantly, this slim volume tackles important issues of mental health, such as depression, anxiety and addiction, in simple language to which a child can relate. Through following the adventures of our hero Squirrel, the child is introduced to a variety of animal friends who are suffering obstacles until Pudgy helps them in small ways.

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Moved By Mountains

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Moved By Mountains – Several years ago I dreamed I flew as a hawk, high above seared mountains, gazing down on granite soil marked only by occasional stunted evergreens. In my dream I soared and twisted, riding the air currents until I actually felt dizzy and then, as soon as I thought, “This is too much!” I woke up in my bed. I remembered the details vividly, though I had never seen those vistas in real life. Last week I saw the mountains of my dreams, that is, the dry stretch of the Rockies where the rain does not fall.

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Zen and the Art of Home Buying

| by Cheryl Shainmark

It used to be that buying a home – a house or condo – was one of the more fraught experiences we had as adults. People seem to move more frequently now, but I think for many of us it can still be stressful. It’s still one of the most expensive purchases many of us will ever make and, no matter how well researched, represents both a gamble… and a commitment. Most of us would be immobilized and still living in our first home if we really thought about it too much — so we do our due diligence and then take a deep breath, cross our fingers, and jump.

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Peace and Where to Find It

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Peace and Where to Find It is a slim gem, packed with insight and wisdom. For fans of Eckhart Tolle, Peace takes up where Tolle’s The Power of Now leaves off, (and, in fact, Eckhart Tolle wrote the introduction for this book), but it’s not necessary to have read one to enjoy the other. The author, Christopher Papadopoulos, has clearly walked the walk, done the work, and come back to share his transformative experience with us.

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Deep Awake by Tim Freke

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Deep Awake is a wonderful addition to the fields of consciousness and spirituality. The author, Tim Freke, has put together a deceptively simple guide for “waking up” and living consciously. Unlike most of the genre, the ego, with all its strengths and weaknesses, is not vilified, but embraced. For those who have failed at prior efforts to meditate and reflect, this unique approach may help them to succeed.

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