Enjoy the ferris wheel ride of your life

ferris wheelI received a request for a Life Reading from J.J., who asked the following question:

I am here on a mission and I wonder if you get any impressions on that. I feel unsure as to what I am here to do. I do so many different things, I can’t seem to pick just one. I survived a near death experience, at which time I was told that I was here on a mission. I wonder if you can help me to more clearly define the mission. I have many natural talents, including the fact that I am psychic. 

Will I find a man who will love and be loved? Someone who cares about the spiritual aspects of existence like myself? Someone to laugh with and teach with?

The Ferris Wheel

Throughout our evolution we’ve become experts at wrapping ourselves around belief structures, socially constructed concepts and patterns of behavior. Some people are born with the gift of seeing beyond these rigid structures to a more expansive, evolved point of view. These are known as our shamans, our healers, our psychics. We are attuned to a more expansive energy that goes beyond our limited egos and we perceive time-space as a complex, interconnected matrix in which all possibilities exist at once, because we are multidimensional beings. The select few of us who incarnate with the gift of psychic perception are endowed with the capacity to uplift humanity at a time of urgent need for everyone to open their hearts and recognize universal love, compassion and forgiveness. This can often “feel” like an impossible mission, maybe too overwhelming, because so many people are in need.

The mission is realized each and every day in the way that presents itself effortlessly. You do not need to “look” for how to realize your mission, because life naturally presents it to you in each and every moment, through the people you meet, your daily interactions, right down to the conversations you have with yourself in your own head.

Imagine yourself as the center point of an enormous ferris wheel. Each cart holds one aspect of your personality, like a holographic self, that keeps going around and around this wheel of life—your life cycle on this earthly plane. All your little selves, all the parts of you, combine to form a whole and your real self is always at the center, observing it all from a place of full realization, without judgment, just simply there. Each aspect of you keeps going around – sometimes enjoying the ride, sometimes fearful, frustrated, or bored… All ages of you from infant to adolescent to adult to elder: Each one has its time and place on the ferris wheel and each one has a different perspective at each moment. The center point sees and knows all. This is who you are. Pure consciousness.

When your soul was ready to incarnate into this life, you signed up for your own ferris wheel ride and so the best thing you can do is enjoy it. Love it. Self-love is essential for the ones who wish to experience life fully without imposing limitations in the form of judgments, negative thoughts, and even so far as harboring a rigid opinion about oneself or someone else. A healer can help people move beyond self-limitation by facilitating an awakening into a more expansive consciousness.

You will attract your partner to you when your soul is ready to share your unique gifts. There is no need to go “looking” or to feel pressure to find that special someone, because he or she will appear when the timing is right in your life. In the meantime, enjoy your life and find richness deep within yourself.

“Grow a Beard”

Wizards grew long beards because they wanted their words—their wisdom—to tumble out of their mouths across their hearts and down into the earth, where the vibrational frequency of their words would be grounded into manifest reality. This is the same reason for long dresses and skirts—to allow this wisdom to flow through and around oneself, to receive from the earth and allow it to flow down as a giving back.

campfireAccept and honor yourself as a healer in your community. Allow your style of clothing to be an expression of your gifts: Find one that is all your own; your favorite colors, fabrics, patterns and textures. Take time every day to sit quietly in nature and receive. Find a balance between alone time and social time. Do not sacrifice yourself to social pressures or expectations of others. Take time for yourself to find your voice.

Campfire Stories

Be a story teller. Find people you can sit with in a sacred circle—a campfire—not a party atmosphere, but rather, a kind of ceremony where the intention is to listen and express oneself authentically from the heart. Tell your story. Let it flow freely and try not to censor what you say. Don’t be afraid of other peoples’ reactions: surprise, tears, laughter… because they are on their own ferris wheel ride and can  only understand your ferris wheel relative to their own. So, their reactions should not deter you from telling your story and letting it flow like the words of a wizard tumbling down to the earth.

We need your story.

If telling stories heals you, then it will heal the world. It is a possible mission, simple, really. Just keep showing up. Don’t hide. Your minor health problems will subside because you will stop repressing yourself out of concern for other peoples’ opinions and reactions. This has been holding you back and this has been the source of your discomfort.

Grow a beard and let it flow.

If you would like to request a Life Reading, please click here. Find me on Facebook @ParamaWilliams

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Radical reform: How and why I created The STAR Method

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I vividly remember the day one of my first-grade students, a boy diagnosed with childhood depression, came into my classroom with a sullen expression and announced, “I hate school.”

I empathized with his feelings.

After a decade of teaching in a variety of settings, I had realized that schools were highly stressful places. Outcomes that were measurable by filling in bubbles and marking checkboxes seemed to be paramount to everyone’s health and happiness.

I had learned, with a sense of despair, that the education system was failing our children.

As a full-time special education classroom teacher and consultant in public and private schools across the US, I have taught in a variety of settings to students of all ages who are diagnosed with moderate to severe developmental disabilities and learning disabilities; including autism, dyslexia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). I hold a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Special Education. My jobs in Special Education have been demanding and, at times, exhausting.

One of the most notable features of participating in the education system was the high degree of stress that I observed in my colleagues and students. Teachers came to work frazzled, fatigued, and bogged down with endless paperwork. Students exhibited stress, anxiety, frequently came down with colds and other sicknesses, and held negative attitudes towards learning in general.

I developed my own routine for staying healthy, fit, and energized while holding down a challenging full-time job. By the time I started working in Special Education, I had already become a Certified Massage Therapist and Yoga Teacher. I continued to study and practice a variety of holistic modalities and techniques extensively. I was determined to use the tools I had learned to maintain my own health and wellness and manage job-related stress.

I would wake up by 4:00 AM every morning before school to do my morning exercises: meditation, yoga, deep breathing, jogging, swimming…. By the time I arrived to work at 7:45 AM, I had sweated my butt off, expanded my lung capacity, and found my inner peace for the day.

As I personally witnessed how my students were detrimentally impacted by high levels of stress, I started to use proven, therapeutic techniques with them in the classroom. As a Certified Massage Therapist and Yoga Teacher, I found practical ways to integrate my background in health and healing into my teaching curriculum. To help my students relax and concentrate better, I taught them simple breathing exercises and physical movements that were proven to improve academic performance. I offered yoga classes to my colleagues after school in the multipurpose room. I received encouraging, positive feedback and support from my school administration.

The STAR Method began to take shape as I applied practical stress management techniques in my own classroom and leveraged my Master’s degree studies to dig deeper into the current research. I discovered very little educational policy and scholarly research to support stress management training for teachers. Yet, my own anecdotal experience in the schools clearly indicated that job-related stress was a problem for teachers and administrators. The STAR Method was born out of what I consider to be a largely ignored aspect of educational policy: Our schools should not be stressful places.

Teachers are required to manage their students’ behavior through approved behavioral interventions and techniques, but are students learning how to manage their own behavior? Are teachers being trained to effectively manage their own stress, so that our children are spending most of their day with peaceful, calm, balanced, healthy adults who can mentor them properly?

With the expert guidance of my graduate degree advisor and co-author, I published my first article about The STAR Method in 2006 in a peer-reviewed online journal, Teaching Exceptional Children, entitled “Stress Management for Special Educators: The Self-Administered Tool for Awareness and Relaxation (STAR). I originally published The STAR Method as a program to help schoolteachers manage stress, prevent job burnout, and increase self-awareness of the impact of stress in their professional lives.

I used The STAR Method in my classroom and offered training workshops to other teachers and professionals within the education system. I endeavored to share the tools and techniques of The STAR Method on a regular basis with my students and colleagues. During this time, I became enthralled with the idea that all schools should have quiet rooms for meditation and ample, clutter-free spaces in which students and teachers could learn stress management techniques, like yoga and therapeutic touch.

But I knew that this wasn’t enough.

There was something missing.

For years, I couldn’t figure out the missing piece; regardless, I kept on trying to help.

One of my jobs was in a public school as a specialist for preschool children with multiple disabilities, including autism. Many of my students exhibited severe behavioral problems; for example, when they were upset, they would frequently hit, scratch, and bite themselves or other students. As a Special Education Teacher, my school district required me be certified in “Physical Restraint Training” so that I could learn how to properly restrain my behaviorally challenged students before they injured themselves or someone else.

At the time, it seemed like a good idea to me: I wanted to be sure that my students were safe in my classroom. But on the first day of training, I was horrified.

I learned that these techniques were adapted from those used in psychiatric wards and high-security prisons.

In the most severe cases, I would be required to follow an exact procedure that involved me and at least one other fully grown adult holding my preschoolers’ tiny bodies face-down on the floor with their hands restrained behind their backs. As stated in the training manual, I would be required to hold my students in this position for as long as it took to calm them down.

I thought to myself, “Holding a child face-down on the ground and pinning their hands behind their backs is supposed to calm them down?”

To me, it seemed like a humiliating, disempowering, brutal, and potentially harmful thing to do to any child, especially to a tiny preschooler. I later learned from further research that “Physical Restraint Training” is currently required by law for schools nationwide as an approved method of behavior intervention.

The instructor of the training session that I attended was a portly, middle-aged man who had used the restraint technique numerous times on emotionally disturbed high school boys. I approached him and asked, “So, let me get this straight. You’re telling me that I am supposed to flip my preschool kids onto their faces, pin them to the ground—the same exact way you do with your fully grown, adult students—and the goal of this technique is to calm them down?”

He replied curtly, “Yep.”

I excused myself from the training session and made a phone call to the supervisor of the Special Education Department in my school district.

“I don’t agree with this approach,” I said, “I refuse to treat my students this way, under any circumstances.”

“But—you are required to be certified in ‘Physical Restraint Training’. You have to comply with this district’s policies,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“If you don’t complete the training, then you will be held personally liable for any injuries that happen in your classroom…. This school district will not be held responsible,” my supervisor told me.

This was the galvanizing moment: I realized that our education system had failed our children.

I realized that the modern-day education system was frantically busy trying to force round pegs (our kids) into square holes.

The next day, I signed my resignation letter and quit my teaching job.

I had reached a point of no return. I was unwilling to compromise my integrity in order to keep my foot in the door of a stable job that required me to harm children. I emancipated myself and walked off the plantation. I was completely checking out of what I now believe to be a failed system. I walked away and started investing my time and energy into something new and different. But I wasn’t giving up: I was preparing to follow a higher calling.

I radically transformed my life over the course of the next few years. I used The STAR Method every day and recorded notes in my journals about how the exercises were impacting my life. I expanded my vision for The STAR Method to include more tools and techniques. I practiced, developed, and refined a series of physical exercises and meditation exercises to include in The STAR Method.

I designed and completed a wellness retreat in which I maintained a vow of silence for one year. During this retreat, I meditated daily. I reflected on my halcyon days as a graduate student and first-year teacher, when my naive optimism led me to believe that modern-day schools were places where children could go to learn how to be healthy, happy, peaceful, and self-empowered.

One day, I had an epiphany.

I realized that I couldn’t change a failed system from within the failed system.

I realized that I had to create an entirely new system: A radical reform.

The STAR Method that you now hold in your hands is the first instantiation of this new system. I have since written and published my vision for a holistic, experiential learning environment called The Farm School, located in a rural setting where children can learn how to be healthy and thrive in a self-sustaining community.

I moved to Central America, where I write, teach, travel, and offer seminars.

I am fascinated by the potential for a cultural revolution. By “revolution,” I am not referring to a violent one with torches and mobs of angry people. What I am proposing is a peaceful, quiet revolution—a subtle, yet powerful one—enacted from within our own hearts and minds.

A transformation from within must find its expression in the outer world.

Indeed, I believe that a cultural revolution is imminent. I believe that we are ready for something radically new.

I believe that radical reform is the only thing that can change the course of humanity, now standing at a crossroads between two radically different worldviews.

Now, I wonder: Which path will you choose?

The STAR Method: How to Heal Using Therapeutic Touch is now available on Amazon. Click here to download the ebook onto your Kindle reader.

My vow of silence is a radical experiment for world peace.

When I decided to take a vow of silence for one year, I really meant it. Four months into my year-long vow, I got angry at my husband and blurted. Determined to practice silence for one full year, I started over from scratch. Six months later, I have successfully maintained my vow. With only two months left, I have experienced so much benefit from this practice, that I am considering the option to extend my practice beyond one year.

I have dedicated my vow of silence to manifesting world peace. This means that it is a conscious practice. I’m not just doing it as a novelty or a personal experiment. I really believe that world peace must start with me. It must. Peace doesn’t happen “out there.” It has to happen from within myself, because everything I perceive comes from my own mind. I overlay my interpretations onto everything I experience. That means that the entire world originates from my own heart. If I see violence in the world, it must come from me. That means I have to change it. It is my responsibility.

When I broke my vow of silence out of anger, it was a conscious choice. It was motivated by anger and fear. I admit it. I know that by speaking angry words, it can only come back to me in the future as something negative. I accept that I made a mistake and that I must move on with determination to perfect myself. Why? Because that is the only way I can create a world where I perceive perfectly happy beings.

I realize that this is a radical perspective that contradicts the worldview I was raised in and the worldview that the majority of people operate in. But this doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If I’m right – that world peace starts with me – then I have to prove it to myself. I am determined. This is not just a little experiment. It is a radical self-transformation motivated by the desire to change the world.

My vow of silence—a radical experiment

When I decided to take a vow of silence for one year, I really meant it. I’m starting from scratch because I lost it last weekend. I just couldn’t control myself and I blurted. I am determined to practice silence for one year. This means that it is a conscious practice. I’m not just doing it as a novelty or a personal experiment.

I really believe that peace must start with me. It must. Peace doesn’t happen “out there.” It has to happen from within myself, because everything I perceive comes from my own mind.

I overlay my interpretations onto everything I experience. That means that the entire world originates from my own heart. If I see violence in the world, it must come from something inside me. That means I have to change it. It is my responsibility.

Last weekend I broke my vow of silence. It was a conscious choice. It was motivated by anger and fear. I admit it. I am a human-becoming-spirit-being. I know that by speaking angry words, it can only come back to me in the future.

I accept that I made a mistake and that I must move on with determination to perfect myself. Why? Because that is the only way I can create a world full of perfectly happy beings. I realize that this is a radical perspective that contradicts the worldview I was raised in and the worldview that the majority of people operate in. But this doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If I’m right – that peace starts with me – then I have to prove it to myself.

I am determined. This is not just a little experiment. It is a radical self-transformation motivated by the desire to change the world. My one-year vow of silence has been extended to September 22, 2013. And I will extend it for as long as I need to. I am learning.

Why would anyone take a vow of silence for one year?

I have taken a one-year vow of silence, meaning that I will not speak with anyone … for an entire year. I know, you’re asking, Why would anyone want to do something like that? Good question.

I have been preparing for this since 2008 by practicing with month-long vows of silence every few months.

Inspired by Baba Hari Dass and other masterful teachers, I have made this commitment because I believe that if I want to see peace in the outer world, I must cultivate peace within myself first.

Many of my friends and family members find it difficult to understand why I choose this practice. One can imagine the many benefits. But only by committing myself to the practice can I learn, grow, and realize these benefits for myself and the people around me. I have to try….