Healer Stokes Fires of Self-awareness and Relationships
Nearly everyone has a relationship they’d like to, ahem, adjust, perhaps wrangling with a romantic partner, sorting out sibling situations, still feeling frustration over family foibles, or maybe handling conflict with a co-worker. But transforming relationships starts with making changes in ourselves, says Crystal Stokes, who has offered transpersonal/spiritual psychology and coaching in Santa Barbara since moving here three years ago. Locals can get a taste of what that’s all about in a one-hour workshop this Saturday, June 30, at 2 pm at Yoga Soup.
Creating Authentic Relationships draws from tools founded in cognitive behavioral psychology, as well as personality typing to aid in shifting the energy in relationships toward agency, acceptance, and authenticity.
“People come into a workshop with a relationship in mind, but we always start with ourselves,” Stokes said earlier this week over the phone from Vancouver, B.C., where she was on a personal retreat following a weekend workshop. “For some people, that’s source/spirit/God – depending on your belief system. But what does that really mean? How do you define that authenticity? Normally, we do that by saying what it’s not: ways we’re living that are not authentic, by putting up a mask, defending ourselves, or acting in ways to please others. That creates a sense of restriction and tightness, with something that’s not right.”
But the exploration doesn’t stop with the intellectual definitions, Stokes said. “There’s also your relationship to your body, as in yoga. Is it an object that you beat into submission or something you are always trying to fix? Or are you one with it as a manifestation of your reality?”
The workshop begins from source within the body and moves outward, Stokes said, first to relationships to others, whether those who are currently close or in the past, including lovers, to the community and the world at large.
It sounds like a lot for one hour, but Stokes has a method to the madness which begins with a guided meditation, followed by a series of prompts, questions she will lead the group through. “It may just be for ourselves, or if there’s time we may share the replies, but either way they take you on a journey from what is not working to what you want to have, to how to make it a reality. So when you leave, you have an action plan in mind of ways to start building an authentic relationship.
Still, cramming all of that into one hour might seem next to impossible, and indeed it helps if participants undergo a version of the Enneagram personality test on her website (www.crystalstokes.com/enneagram-test) before coming to the workshop, which was adapted from the Stanford Inventory by David Daniels, who was Stokes’s teacher and mentor when she studied in Palo Alto.
“Knowing the common challenges, dominant ways of experiencing life, the primary emotions – all of that colors how we relate to ourselves and others,” she explained. “The Enneagram also helps with being present, mindfulness. If you don’t live in the moment yourself, experiencing what’s happening, it’s hard to connect. How can you create intimacy with someone else in a way that’s authentic and substantial if you’re not present yourself? That’s partially why I like doing this work in yoga studios.”
Meanwhile, of course, the work itself is never-ending.
“It’s really just getting the ball rolling,” said Stokes, who in her private practice synthesizes Eastern and Western elements from transpersonal psychology, functional fitness, holistic nutrition, Eastern health and philosophy, wildlife conservation, meditation, and mindfulnesss. “It’s a long journey, which is one of the things we will talk about. It’s not something you just do once. But we’re going for more than an awakening. You want to not only have the ‘a-ha’ realization, but also get ready to take charge. I’m like a catalyst, one who gets people hungry to connect with their own desire again.”
(Admission to Creating Authentic Relationships with Crystal Stokes is $10 in advance, or $15 on Saturday. Visit www.yogasoup.com.)
Going Green: a Breath of Healing
Center of the Heart’s Center for Spiritual Living’s Breathwork & Energy Healing Group gets together form 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, June 30, when Heather Green and Satya Colombo co-lead a healing workshop to provide the tools and inspiration to “keep shining bright and strong through the times ahead” in these times of great shift in consciousness on Earth. In sacred circle, attendees will be guided lovingly through Energy Healing and Breathwork practices who weave together and illuminate teachings to strengthen and support people navigating the complexities of modern living. The Breathwork practice is an ancient high technology for healing, awakening the soul, and releasing stuck energy and emotions. Practiced while laying down and set to an inspiring soundtrack, the gentle two-stage Pranayama breathing meditation is easy to integrate into daily life and offers palpable effects on mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The practice can help dissolve stress, anxiety, and overwhelm; clear your mind and calm your emotions; result in deeper sleep, reduced pain, and overall improved health and vitality; and revitalize your connection with your spirit, self, and Universal Life Force.
Los Osos-based Green, of Teal Healing, is an intuitive, animal communicator, and energy healer for humans and animals, who is the author of For the Love of Horses: An Animal Communicator’s Guide to Helping Our Horses and Healing Our Lives. Colombo is a healer, teacher, and intuitive adviser to artists and innovators whose work and life purpose involves cultivating a greater connection to the magic of the Infinite. Admission is $35 in advance, or $40 at the door. Bring a pillow and blanket to get cozy, and pen and paper if you wish to take notes. Info and reservations at www.meetup.com/Center-of-the-Heart-Santa-Barbara-UC-for-Spiritual-Living.
Mantra for Mindfulness
Awakened Presence is the title for the next gathering hosted by Jim Dreaver, a Santa Barbara-based nonduality teacher and practitioner who is also the author of End Your Story, Begin Your Life and the new book We are Beautiful as We Are: Mastering the Shift from Ego into our True Power. The meeting, slated for 7 to 8:45 pm on Monday, July 2, at a private home on Verde Vista Drive in Santa Barbara, has as its centerpiece focusing on the mantra “Only now is real, everything else comes and goes…” that Dreaver employs to shift into the space of awakened presence, where the heart is open, the mind clear, and self-doubt and suffering end. In that space, which Dreaver calls “true meditation,” participants examine where they are not yet free, where they still get emotionally triggered or caught up in our ego “I,” the “story-teller” with its judgmental and limiting thoughts, beliefs, and “stories.” The shift is realizing that those things come and go while the pure awareness watching our ego is always here.
Dreaver maintains that most anyone using the “practice” can awaken within a year or less. For more details, visit www.jimdreaver.com, or call Dreaver at (310) 916-4037. Phone 563-4904 for reservations and directions to Monday’s meeting. Admission is by donation, all are welcome.
Wendy Cooper‘s Intuitive Arts of Santa Barbara’s next gathering is a group reading during which Cooper will lead participants in a meditation to prepare for receiving and giving an intuitive reading. She will then perform an intuitive reading for those present, and give each an opportunity to provide intuitive feedback for one another. The 10 to 11:30 am MeetUp on Saturday, June 30, takes place at Unity of Santa Barbara’s Bride’s Room at 227 E Arrellaga St., and costs $30. Details at www.meetup.com/The-Intuitive-Life/.
Amber York‘s monthly Santa Barbara Cuddle Connection MeetUp gets together at 7 pm Saturday, June 30, at Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute, 516 N. Quarantina St. The Platonic Touch therapist, who offers also healing bodywork and facials, kicks things off with a series of ice breakers, greetings, and a meditation before presenting safety guidelines for emotional, physical, and psychic security that includes demonstrations and exercises. Then the skills are implemented within everyone’s individual comfort zones as participants engage in (or refrain from) platonic touch with one another. Admission is $20. Event repeats every last Saturday of the month. Info and optional RSVP at www.meetup.com/Cuddle-and-Connection-Santa-Barbara.