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When wellness doesn’t work……

With all this time in self-isolation and social distancing, so many thoughts and themes have been running like a wild horse in my mind. Although I believe strongly that holistic health practices and wellness techniques can create a strong foundation, I feel the need to talk about, and pull some cards, on what happens when wellness techniques aren’t working. What do you do when the toolbox has been emptied and used, with little to no results? The hard truth is that sometimes, despite all our intentions to tend to our needs, there is a deeper wound that refuses to be well.

All things exist within the Wheel

I sat down to pull a card, and the feeling that kept coming up for me was disappointment. I have been working with my own toolbox of wellness, one that I have been fortifying for years, and yet it has been a true sore spot of me. Turning it over revealed the Wheel of Fortune, a card that speaks to interconnection, nothing is lost or out of place within the wheel. Within the Wheel of Fortune, all moves together or not at all. One strand pulled on the dream catcher could release a knot somewhere else, holding everything in place.

It is also the card of energetic balance and cause and consequence. This brings us back to reality of wellness not always being available, providing a gentle salve of healing. Sometimes, wellness is not available as a healer, not because we are not doing the practices right, or because we don’t care, or are unworthy. Sometimes wellness is not available to us because there is hole deep within the psyche, and the implementation of wellness techniques pokes at that hole, stimulating the trigger that we are not without pain and disappointment and worry and grief.

Sometimes, disappointment festers deep in the unconscious, not stirring or stimulated until we bring forth a practice that should bring us more into alignment. Think of it like an anti-placebo. Being so focused on constantly using wellness techniques to find balance can have an opposite reaction. Hello Wheel of Fortune…..

So much emphasis on one trajectory means that the trajectory we are trying to move away is also turning, and sometimes the dial flips. Now, I am not saying that this means that all wellness practices should be forgotten, or that something is wrong with you if you are finding yourself in this space.

I have been here in some capacity for months. If you find yourself here, you are not alone. If you find yourself feeling disappointment, trying to remedy it, and just rubbing a sore spot…you are not alone. The lesson from the Wheel of Fortune is that all movement, however well intended, often puts the spotlight and what we want keep in the darkness. We cannot move towards wellness without even subliminally or subtly shining a light on from that which we are moving away.

There isn’t a hard or fast answer to remedy this, it may just take some time. One of the only ways I know to confront disappointment or pain or negativity when I have tried other and failed with other factors is journaling. Journaling allows expression over anything-bad good, right, wrong. Journaling is the place to emotionally dump all your shit. It doesn’t always bring an answer, but it can feel good to just get it out. Other ways might be a mantra like: “I am allowed to feel this” or “This too shall pass.”

Other techniques may be watching comedy, reading books, or finding ways to alleviate the brain, and your brain’s chemistry. It may also just need to heal in due time. Disappointment, and a plethora of other emotions, almost have their own brains or personalities, resilient in their attempt to keep us within arm’s length. In the end, the Wheel of Fortune does tell us that this too shall pass, it just may be uncomfortable as hell in the meantime….

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Update to Capstone class offerings- free services now available online

I wrote in a previous blog post about my Capstone class, but I am going to readdress it here because it is important that I update my services and terms with this pandemic being as serious as it is.

We may have to be socially distant, but we can still work together

I am student at the Red Rocks Community College campus, and I am in my final class- the Capstone. The intention of this class is to transition me from being a student into the professional world of integrative health, equipped with knowledge and skills to meets clients intentionally and mindfully. The requirement for this class is that I offer 12 community hours with others, either through workshops or one-on-one sessions, using my skills and knowledge as that transition. These hours are free and are meant to highlight our strengths, and what we wish to bring to this field, to our prospective clients, and the world at large.

Because of this pandemic, it is important to put health first and foremost. These 12 hours were supposed to be face to face, but that is not an option, or a responsible choice to make right now. Now, these services are going to be done online-either through skype, google chat, or phone if you choose.

It is important to address some key things about my services and these modalities I will be offering:

  • They are FREE- Completely free. No bait and switch or you have to enroll in something. Just free. That is because I am a student and this is requirement I need to fulfill this Capstone. If you would like to stay in touch afterwards, I would love that, but that is not a requirement.
  • You need to be 18+. 17 and under is considered a minor, and I don’t do any work with minors or children.
  • Everything is confidential. Nothing is shared from our conversations. Again, this is more about my transition, the work I do, and my strengths and weaknesses.

It may seem like not the right time to talk about some of themes around holistic health, but I think this is an opportune time. We are all facing collective limitations, forced to sit at the throne of the self in ways we have not had to do so before. We are facing the stress from other people’s actions, and uncertainty of what lies ahead. For those reasons, I think it is an opportune time to talk about ways to practice stress management simply, but effectively. I think it is important to still set goals for the self, and empower the self in order to meet others, and these circumstances intentionally and with purpose.

Connection and intention go a long way, even during these uncertain times

I hope to work with you and be of service where you need during this time. I also really need the hours, so your presence is greatly appreciated. I am looking to work with about 6-7 people, doing about 2 hours worth of services between us. That gets me to my needed 12 hours, but also presents adequate time to discuss and open these conversations. This is on a first come, first serve basis.

If you would like to work with me, please email teaandtombstones@gmail.com. Thank you so much. I wish you love and security during these uncertain times. XOXO

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Foundation Cultivation workshop

I have another offering for my Capstone- a free workshop inspired by the very heart and soul of Tea and Tombstones. There is so much said about stress management, goal orientation, mindfulness, and self-empowerment. These are incredibly important towards living in a more whole-hearted way, but if there are internal feelings of instability, doubt, or fear, all the stress management in the world means that you are walking an uphill battle.

Cultivating a strong foundation is stress management, mindfulness, self-empowerment, and beyond. It is all of these things because it is a focus on grounding the self to harness prosperity no matter the situation, It is moving through feast and famine grounded and awake.

The topic of grounding is extensive in its own right, but I am happy to host this workshop to start this dialog and create intention around this space. This workshop is free, comes with a booklet that I wrote, and some other goodies to take home. If you are in the Aurora / Denver area, I hope you will join me. Please email me at teaandtombstones@gmail.com for any additional questions, or to join this workshop.

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Capstone – final class

The morning is bright and cold, presenting the edge of the winter, and the rolling in of Spring. I am in the final semester for my Integrative Health Professional Associates degree, and the layers of emotions are palpable. I am ready to be done in so many ways, but I am grateful that I decided to go back to school, and use the knowledge I obtained to further myself and my business.

I decided to go back to school in 2017, shortly after I learned that a local community college provided an Integrative Health Professional degree. I wanted these classes to aid my tarot readings and my platform. I wanted these classes to be a verification for others that when I offer spiritual council that comes through the downloading of my cards, that there is more to the process. There is a backing of both spiritual and scientific research. There are layers of understanding, which allows me to give layers of council through my readings.

The Capstone is a semester-long project, and it is all about focusing on my transition out of an academic setting, and into a professional setting. I am leaving the threshold of academia and moving into the space of the community, ready and able to serve others. There are still other classes that I want to take, and more information I want to attain for myself, and for my platform. However, I am ready for step to take on wings. I have worked hard and long to get here, and I am so grateful that the cards led me here.

So, if you are in the Colorado / Denver area and you would like to take part of my journey with the capstone, please look to the flyer I made below. If you are looking for sessions that focus on stress management, goal-orientation, self-empowerment, or cultivating a strong and wild foundation then email me. As these sessions fulfill a needed requirement for my Capstone, they are free. Yes, FREE! The only thing that I ask of you if you join me in one of these sessions is to provide honest feedback for me. That is how I grow.

Here is the flyer, and if this sounds like something that would interest you, please reach to me. If you are not in the Denver / Colorado area, I may provide some Skype / online sessions down the road. One of the requirements is that the majority of my services need to be in person, face to face, a physical extension of me within the community. However, so far Tea and Tombstones has operated across the technological miles, and I still want to meet those who may need these services the most where I can. If you would like to be considered for a online / Skype session, please email me and when I offer some of those, I will reach out to you.

Once this class is over, I will add the modalities that have impacted me or my clients the most to my paid offerings. I am so excited to meet and work with you at the start of this new threshold. The full list of modalites that I am offering is:

  • Earthing / Forest Bathing
  • Meditation / Breathwork
  • Herbology
  • Wellness / Spiritual council and coaching
  • Journaling
  • Crystals
  • Creating a healing space through the use of symbolic messaging, music, or aromatherapy if applicable
  • Organic gardening

Reach out to me at teaandtombstones@gmail.com if you are in the Denver area and would like to schedule a session. We will first go through some details to determine which modalites would be best for your needs, and move forward from there. I am humbled by this opportunity to meet with and work with you. Til’ then, many blessings to you.

Stay Wild, Ashlie

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My Spread Pricing and Why I Don’t Charge Per Hour

I wanted to do and write something a little bit differently today. More specifically, my intention is to show a little bit of my process behind certain aspects of my business. Many, if not most, tarot readers charge based on time spent for the reading. There is nothing wrong with this, but I personally have never liked to charge that way. A big reason why is because of my first reading as the client, not the reader.

I like to charge based on number of cards pulled as opposed to a set price per hour. Time can be a good factor to set the value, but I don’t personally like to be controlled by a timely starting and stopping point.

I went to see a tarot reader long before I knew how to read tarot. To be fair, I had not done my research into the type or reading, or reader, I wanted. I simply had some cash and showed up at a store in Denver. I also had not taken the time to consider what I wanted, and more importantly needed, from my reading. What was the underlying purpose? What would I do with the information given to me? How could I be vulnerable and hear both the good and bad the cards may bring forth? I asked myself none of these question. (I would like to spend a whole post on the etiquette between reader and client, but I digress….)

So I show up at a store, cash in hand, ready for my reading. I asked if anyone was available to read for me. A woman was, and although I do not expect or want an overly fluffy or lovey-dovey reader (that is not my style), this woman was cold and not very friendly. We went to a section of the store, that was separated by nothing more than a divider. This made my walls go up. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or needed from my reader, but I knew I didn’t want every customer walking by to overhear what I considered, and still do, a sacred conversation.

I told her a little bit about what was going on with me, and she started to pull the cards. And she kept pulling… and pulling…. and pulling. She must have pulled over thirty cards from her deck. I say this not because I question or despise the way another reader works with her cards. (I also want to make it clear that many, if not most readers do not read this way. They are inviting, informative, and value the shared energetic experience.) I did not feel like this reader valued my presence. I say this because the majority of the reading was spent shuffling and looking and shuffling and looking. I could not tell you a single card that was pulled because she didn’t talk very much. The last five minutes of a fifteen-minute reading was spent with her asking a few more questions, and then giving some small suggestions, and that was it.

Those fifteen minutes cost me $20.00, and although I recognize that is not the most expensive reading ever, it was still a lot for me at that time financially. I left feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, and more confused than before. I would have preferred it if she had pulled one card for me and had deeply gone into the meaning of that card, and how it could relate to me and my situation. As a reader, I don’t not believe more is more when it comes to number of cards. As a client, I know it’s not. A couple of years later, when I started developing my website, writing spreads, and determining my prices, I knew that I didn’t want to make anyone as my blessed client feel like they had been overcharged and under-served.

My pricing starts at $10.00 for one card, and goes up in $5.00 increments for each additional card.

But, I wrestled with the way to price my services and my spreads. What was fair to the clients, but still honored and valued the heart and soul I put into my work? I finally decided that I wanted to charge based on cards that I pulled. This means that my one-card readings (still thorough and written with love) are not charged the same way that my five-card reading does. Here are some of the main reasons I decided to charge this way (I feel the need to preface here that this is what works for me and the way I operate as a tarot reader. I am not saying that others who price or charge differently than me are doing it wrong. Different strokes for different folks):

1.) I don’t like being rushed for / by time and numbers: By removing the constraint of time, I personally feel more free to spend as much time as needed going into the messages that I download from each card. By removing the layer of time from my readings, I feel less confined by time.

2.) Discussing the cards from intuition: I could take one hour to discuss one card if my intuition keeps downloading meaningful content. I could take less time with more cards. With no time limit, I feel able to discuss each download clearly and without rush.

3.) Gives you financial options: Because my spreads are based upon the amount of cards I pull, I have many different spread options available on my website. You can choose the spread that works for you and for your budget. As mentioned, I have been in the place where $20.00 was my grocery limit for the week. I believe tarot is medicine, but I also believe it shouldn’t put you in the red. No matter the spread you choose, you will get my soulful intention to provide the best tarot reading I can.

4.) Telecommute makes time commitment harder: Because I do readings exclusively out of my home right now, time commitment to readings is not so black and white. Often, during a reading I pull the cards, write down initial notes by hand, and then take some time (outside, in meditation, or by journaling) to really let my intuition start downloading. It doesn’t always get channeled so immediately. So, I don’t have to start a timer or take note when I started or stopped. This again makes me feel less pressured by time, and more able to just read the cards and write.

5.) Quality over quantity: More cards does not mean a better reading. More time does not mean a better reading. Say it with me: more does not mean better. As I said in my story above, I would have preferred a $20.00 with only one or two cards, as opposed to a reading that had half the deck, and little to no detailed insight from particular cards. One card can really anchor you into clarification, or speak to your needed questions. Throwing down card after card after card may not always provide the most insight.

No matter as a reader, or a client, the main focus is in the value of each energetic experience. If you do not see what you want or need on my website, reach out to me. My prices are set by the cards I pull, but we can collaborate to create something of utility that honors both energy and budgets.
Photo by Ikhsan Sugiarto from Pexels

Hopefully, this provides some clarity to the way my pricing is set on my website. If you have any questions, or if you have a certain price point but don’t see a spread that fully covers your needs, no worries, shoot me an email at teaandtombstones@gmail.com and we can get a spread that fits your price point and your needs. Thanks for reading. Much love to you!

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Breakdown of the 12 Karmic Laws – The Great Law, The Law of Cause and Effect

We all know about the understood universal energy of Karma, even making memes and jokes that Karma is a bigger bitch than any of us ever could be (and there may be some actual truth to that statement). I have been thinking a lot about karma ever since the beginning of August. The Phoenix reversed is sending a message that it is time to really look at the karmic cycles we moving through, and the ones we are stagnant in. August is presenting an opportunity for each of us to really look at what in our actions, choices, or surroundings is holding us back from ascending on our hierarchical ladder of self.

The Phoenix is an invitation to provide for yourself and rise past Root Chakra

There are 12 Karmic Laws, and I want to devote a blog post to each of them. There is to much to say about each law for one post. So, we will start with the first law: The Great Law, also known as the Law of Cause and Effect. This is perhaps the most well-known law. This law basically means what is says. The energy you put out into the universe (including sub and unconscious energy) comes back to you.

Because of cause and effect, because the energy includes sub and unconscious energy, this law is often defined and perceived as a message of: if you are positive, positivity comes back you. If you are negative, negativity comes back to you. I respectfully disagree with this statement. Yes, there is something to be said about constantly looking at the world through a dark lens. There is something to be said about those people who constantly choose to exist in the darkness, and never wish to be honest about themselves so they can move into the light. We all know someone like this, and they are perpetuating a karmic cycle because they keep choosing a dark path, and then complain there is no light.

Where I take issue with this blanket statement of positive versus negative is 3-fold

1.) The Universe does not work or flow in only black or white: The Universe, the collective unconscious, Goddess and Gods do not exist in a state of either good or bad. There are layers of perception, action, emotion, and process. Sometimes the hardest things to do are scary to us. Sometimes the worst things for us, about us, are easy. Cause and Consequence is not a simple singularity that keeps a tally of every positive or negative aspect of ourselves. Cause and effect is more based in patterns, and a willingness to try and be courageous for change.

2.) It is impossible to be positive all the time: There is no way that we can have only good days, hold only good vibes. Why? Because that is not normal. If you can have a good day and have only good vibes during tragedy, that is not living and feeling into the dynamics of expression and emotion. Loss, death, heartbreak, rejection, insults, grief and more are going to bring out negativity, and that’s okay. It means you are human. The patterns come in how you handle it, and how you choose to let it define you.

3.) I believe it comes down to where this energy resides on your inner spectrum: Simply put, the life experience is going to move us on the spectrum with each day. It is going to move us further towards love, or further towards fear. I believe this is where the karmic cycle takes root. You can have a negative emotion, but still come from a place of love. You can keep perpetuating a smile to avoid having to deal with deep fear or sadness. In the end, I believe karma comes down to where the life experience consistently moves you on the spectrum.

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Know Your Limits: All About health

One of the biggest blessings in my life has been the blessing of health. I have been blessed with a healthy body and very few major health issues in my 31 years. For this I am incredibly grateful. The worst health issue I have had to deal with was a kidney stone. It was the worst pain of my life. Ever. What was worse was that I knew I needed medical attention, and I was alone. My family was on the other side of town, and I could not wait for them to get to me and then take me to the hospital.

So I drove my car to the nearest Urgent Care that took my insurance in Colorado rush hour traffic. I was in so much pain that I wasn’t sure if I would pass out. I called Grizzly and asked him to just stay on the phone with me. I would tell him the exits I passed so he knew where I was on the road at all times. It was so bad that I almost pulled over and called an ambulance. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I cannot afford that kind of car ride. I knew if I did call an ambulance I would be looking at an immediate price in the thousands of dollars. I did not have that kind of money, so I drove on.

Other than that horrifying incident, my health has been quite good, which admittedly is something I take for granted. Other than slight allergies or the common cold, the last few years have been incredibly good to me. Even my healing process from getting my wisdom teeth out at the late age of 31 went so well that I was barely swollen, the holes closed quickly, and I wasn’t ever really in bad pain.

However, the last week has been a recall on all that bright, healthy energy that I have taken for granted day after day. It first started with chest pain, nothing major but enough to feel it. I assumed that it was due to poor posture (I slouch a lot. I also hug my shoulders close to my neck a lot, something I didn’t realize I did until I started following Adriene Mishler’s yoga videos on Youtube). I kept going with my lifestyle, living off of hummus and snap peas, yogurt and granola, finding time to cook a few meals during the week. I wasn’t drinking enough water, and stress in many areas of my life has been higher lately.

The pain consisted, but I ignored it. I assumed that my body would take care of it, let me recover without taking any part in the healing process. The pain slowly morphed into a lump in my throat (like when you swallow a pill that doesn’t immediately go down). I kept swallowing and swallowing to see if something was stuck, but the annoying feeling persisted for so long that I knew it wasn’t food or a pill. There was now tightness in the chest, a lump in my throat, and then the worst of it came…..

Yesterday I was sitting at home with Grizzly, looking forward to a slow day of movies and nachos. I was ready to do nothing but relax and enjoy my lazy, Sunday haze. In the late afternoon, I was silently screaming in my body. I was so annoyed and anxious about my health that my body was tensing. I felt jittery and unable to sit still. Worse still, I started to slowly feel like I was losing my breath. I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs, and when I focused on my breathing I kept feeling the grasping strain of trying to get more air in. I ended up calling my mom who had earlier in my life dealt with some similar things. Everything sounded similar to her situation: acid reflux and heartburn.

I did not know that heartburn could feel as serious as it did, and still does. I was almost in shock. Dragging myself up and into pants, Grizzly drove us to the store so I could buy some medication. The whole time I just tried to quiet my mind, but it wasn’t helping and I was starting to get scared. With the medicine purchased, on the way home I was trying again to just calm the fuck down. In my attempts I also broke down in tears. I started quietly apologizing to my body, apologizing for almost a whole lifetime of not taking the adequate time to put better and healthier habits in place. I apologized for making my body carry years of stress. I apologized that I always just assumed that my body would heal me. Now I needed to heal my body.

Today is a better day. I woke up feeling like air was in me. The lump was still there, but I took the OTC medication and started doing some yoga. I have an appointment to see someone for a follow-up, and I started to meal plan healthier meals. What I told myself today while I sat in the shower was that I embrace this path, and my limits. I cannot keep acting like my health is something I can ignore because it has been so good. I cannot keep interrupting symptoms in my body to keep to my daily routines. I need to release an old Ashlie, one that was unwilling to focus on the body and afraid to handle the needs of the body. I am choosing to learn from this experience.

One of the first things I learned was that after my breathing got under control, I almost felt silly for being so afraid. I felt silly, like I had been overly dramatic. I couldn’t believe what I was saying to myself. I was telling myself that I was silly for getting so anxious over the feeling of NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE! When did I become so harsh towards myself? When I tell my body to shut up and never have a problem, and if it does then I am stupid for following along? The Daughter of Pentacles is double-earth and all about the body and the sense. The Bat reversed is all about releasing to begin again. I had been ignoring some of these messages within my body for a while, but I cannot avoid them any longer. This process is not really about healing some acid reflux, although I would love for that to go away. More than anything, this is a healing process of learning my limits, and letting my body be loved, completely and with attentive intention.

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Struggling with Dolphin Energy

There is a lot of information I gave about Dolphin energy in the monthly newsletter. I wanted to share and showcase how beautiful the energy is from the Dolphin, one of most touching and joyful animals in the animal kingdom. They overflow with compassion, intelligence, and happiness. This makes them a strong animal spirit to be sure. They also represent finding joy through communal means. Finding joy in your “pod” means to reach out and connect with others who are important to you. Finding joy with others means reaching out and sharing experiences with those who elevate you, motivate you, or support you.

Also mentioned in the newsletter is the fact that the Dolphin is reversed, or out of balance. In the guidebook to this deck it says that out-of-balance Dolphin energy means underestimating your own power. So the energies presented are healing, blessings, community, joy, and an underestimation of one’s own power. How do we take these words, and find real-world applications. That is, of course, the best way to make sense and use the energies.

One of the first things that I personally noticed was that it was hard for me to find communal energy because while I am extremely extroverted with those I know and love, I am by default an extroverted introvert. My social network of close and personal friends, mentors, or supporters is actually quite small. I do not write this as a bash or insult. I personally need so much time to myself that I often find many social situations difficult to navigate. I have many acquaintances, mostly through school. These people are also dear to me, and many could potentially bloom to a deep and close friendship.

But as an introvert, I often choose to spend my time in my creature comforts. Books, video games, dinners at home, are all healers for me. Writing, spending time with Grizzly or my cats, spending time outdoors in the solitude under the sky, these are all healers for me because they allow me to take a breath and recharge myself. I need these situations often. So when April first started to unfold, I felt like I wasn’t fully understanding Dolphin energy. I thought that taking control of my power meant that I had to just go out and start engaging with everyone socially.

There is a slight truth to this. Understanding your own power means putting it into action. My understanding of it means to reach out to others, to those whom we love, those who may need us, and new people who cross our path. What it does not mean (in my personal opinion) is to suddenly become someone you are not. I am not going to start joining every group that may have a seed of interest. I am not going to start going out every night, forsaking those needed healing moments that I mentioned above.

If you are an introvert, like me, what Dolphin energy provides is the fluidity to feel into certain situations that have been calling us, but we may have been passing up. Dolphin energy calls on us to bless ourselves in our solitude so we can best serve the social situations that we are a part of, or choose to engage more fully. If there is something that you have been wanting to do, feel into it. See if it is still ringing out in your body. Do you want to join a group, volunteer with an organization, or connect with a friend? Do you want to heal a connection with someone to have a more wholesome relationship?

If the answer is yes, Dolphin energy shows that your power is great, and as you feel into it, it will provide a needed energy reception. The only thing is you need to be ready to receive. If you are not, it may be best to wait until you feel fully ready to open to vulnerability and receive the energies that come with situation. Above all, remember that engaging with something that you are not ready to deal with may do more harm than good. Again, feel into it. See where your body and your heart is guiding you. Dolphin energy does not mean that we must be emotionally open all the time, forsaking the needs to ground down. It means to be fluid and be open when necessary.

If you would like to read the free newsletter, you can download it under the FREE OFFERINGS tab. Thank you so much. Stay wild wolfling!