ASMR ~ Christmas Things

Merry Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas … or close enough. And I’ve put together a lovely bunch of Christmas tingles from decorations to holiday treats. So if you need to take a break from the holiday preparations or you just need to relax here is a video for you. Merry Christmas.

Just click the image below to watch the video.

 

Christmas Things

ASMR ~ Mystery Box Unboxing

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This week’s video was so much fun to film and I can’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to watch the video to find out. What I can tell you is that I have the most amazing and supportive subscribers and viewers. I really do feel blessed.

So if your curiosity has gotten the better of you, click on the picture below to watch the video.

DecBirchBox

ASMR ~ November GLOSSYBOX unboxing video

Here is the last of my beauty box subscription unboxing videos for my ASMR channel. I will be doing another one in the future but due to an unexpected computer purchase I will be delaying signing up for the next one until my bank account looks a little healthier.

I will still be doing show and tell ASMR videos and my weekly oracle card readings and any other ASMR videos that my gentle viewers suggest or would like to see.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

Making Widgets in a Cave

cave-828604_1280I envy people who knew, as children, exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. People, who at the tender age of ten or twelve, knew without a doubt they were going to be a doctor, a deep-sea diver or a circus performer. Me, I didn’t have a clue. Well, I did until I came to understand that humans couldn’t actually grow up to be another species. I wanted to be a horse. Seemed logical to me at the time but when that option was no longer available to me I had no idea how to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

And as I got older the answer to the question still eluded me. The only clues that I had to what my perfect career would be was the persistent image I had in my head of me working alone in a dimly lit space doing something. Although I had no idea what that something was. The best way I could articulate it was I wanted to make widgets in a cave. I know, a strange answer but I never said I was normal.

Recently, my two older sisters and I got together for a girl’s weekend and we were reminiscing about our teenage years. The conversation turned to the single time I got drunk. Amy quipped that the one time I left my bedroom I ended up sitting on a curb with my best friend looking for butterflies. I laughed but she was right. I preferred to spend my time reading or making up stories. Or hanging upside down and looking at the ceiling and imagining what it would be like if all the furniture was on the ceiling and we had to step over beams and around light fixtures to get around.

Did I mention I’m an introvert? Was I born this way or was it environmental? My best guess would be a little bit of both but that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I was always seeking alone time, quiet secluded spaces which wasn’t easy growing up in a family of seven in a small three bedroom, one bath bungalow.

And to clarify, introversion does not mean I don’t like people or that I’m shy. What it means is that what an extrovert deems normal when it comes to environmental stimulus like crowds, bright lights, noise and even visual stimulation like shopping in a large department store is draining to me. It’s like being under constant attack by sounds, sights and smells. It makes me extremely tired and withdrawn and downright cranky.

And I’m not agoraphobic. I can and do leave the house several times a week, it’s just that my forays into the world are short and usually it’s to the library or the small shops in my village. I just don’t need the same about of interaction with the outside world as extroverts do.

This brings me back to feeling that my dream job was a vague desire to make something by myself in a quiet softly lit space. Making widgets in a cave.

It would take be thirty-six years to get some of this equation right. This was when I decided to write novels. It met most of my requirements, long hours working by myself usually in my bedroom, I was creating something that was uniquely my own but as far as paying the bills I was still required to take outside work. And I love writing, three novels later I still am enthralled with the craft but it requires patience and perseverance. Writing and publishing is a process that takes years. And I was a bit surprised to feel that this wasn’t quite what I was getting at when the cave analogy bubbled up from my subconscious.

And then a year ago, I found my vocation that thing that had been calling to me for decades. Within a span of two weeks, two of my friends mentioned whisper videos on YouTube. I have no recollection why this topic came up in conversation but when I asked what a whisper video was they both explained that people would watch videos of people talking or reading out loud in a soft whispery voice because they found it relaxing. Both my friends found this a bit weird but not me.

In that same time frame, one of my nieces was watching something on her computer with her headphones on. I glanced over at the screen and it looked like she was watching a young man re-pot a plant but he was moving slowly and seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time tapping against a terra-cotta planter.

When she’d finished watching the video I asked what it was. She replied matter-of-factly that she was watching an ASMR video.

“An ARSM what?” I asked, jumbling the unfamiliar letters.

“You know,” she said, “whispering videos where people do ordinary things or role-plays that create that tingly sensation on the top or your head and makes you sleepy and relaxed.”

When she explained this I knew exactly what she was referring to, I just didn’t know it had a name or that other people experienced the sensation. I remembered watching Bob Ross on our public TV station painting his happy little trees and being lulled by his soft voice and the sound of his brushes scratching on the canvas. (Little did I know that most ASMR viewers and creators call Bob Ross the grandfather of ASMR).

bob-rossI would also get a tingly feeling on the top of my head followed by a pleasant drowsiness like the moments right before you fall asleep. I also liked to watch golf tournaments because of the quiet way the commentator spoke; it was my favourite way to fall asleep on a Sunday afternoon. I thought my reaction to these two TV programs was just another weird thing that I did, this time to calm myself or to relax. Turns out I’m not the only one.

So I turned on my computer and searched ASMR on YouTube and settle down to watch the queen of ASMR, Marie from Gentlewhispering. I think my first video was Maria folding towels. Just watching this everyday activity, done with slowness and care, while she talked in a quiet calming voice created a reaction just like when I watched Bob Ross. The top of my head tingled and I felt sleepy and relaxed.

It doesn’t take a lot of equipment to make these videos, just a camera, a fairly decent recorder or mic, basic video editing software, a computer and a YouTube account. Although it does take more time than you think to film, edit and upload the final product not to mention finding a time when it is quiet so that the audio isn’t full of outside noise.

It wasn’t long after discovering ASMR that I recorded my first video and I was hooked. Not only was I making widgets in a cave, it was the exact feeling I was trying to describe when I would say this. I love making these videos because of the creativity involved, the challenge of learning how to use all of the equipment and also the helping nature of these videos plays into my desire to nurture and help people (I’m a Reiki Master and certified Reflexologist and spent several years working in the wellness and spa industry).

Now the medical profession poo poos the possibility that these video can actually help people with insomnia, chronic pain or anxiety to find relief and sleep because there has been no scientific studies to back up these claims, but I was disagree (and so do the millions of people who watch ASMR videos). Even Dr. Oz showcased ASMR on his daytime show and supported the idea especially since it is non-addictive, drug free alternative. And I recently found an article on Oprah.com suggesting watching ASMR to get a good night sleep.

ASMR is still in its infancy and is still developing not just as an art form but as a healing tool so for now it may not have hit the mainstream acceptance but I also remember when I first started incorporating Reiki into my wellness practice. No one had really heard of it and one of my regular clients really wanted a treatment but she had to speak to her priest first to see if it would be okay and to reassure her that I wasn’t practicing some kind of devil worship. Her priest gave her the okay and she became a regular Reiki client. And now several years later, everyone has heard of Reiki and even western medicine has embraced the benefits of this healing tool.

For now, writing and making ASMR videos are my vocations rather than paying jobs but I am content for now because it is just as important to me to feel I am fulfilling a soul desire as it is to have them be my means of income. And the biggest lesson I’ve learned from becoming an ASMRtist is that your intuition will guide you to what you are here to do, the trick is to understand the difference between when you want it to show up and allowing Divine timing to unfold naturally. For me it took decades to find my cave and the widgets I needed to make because I needed to wait for YouTube to be invented, for the technology to be created that would allow everyday people the ability to create, edit and upload videos and  for the  ASMR community to be established.

So if you experience ASMR or you are just curious you can check out my YouTube channel, Wise Woman Whispers or if you wanted to explore other ASMRtist just type ASMR into the search box on YouTube. And remember to wear your headphones when listening.

Feathering My New Nest

 

An African Violet growing on the kitchen window sill

An African Violet growing on the kitchen window sill

I have moved so many times in my life that I can unpack and set up my home in three weeks flat. That includes scrubbing down every cupboard and countertop, and washing all the walls and floors. I don’t care how clean my new space looks on the surface; I need to do a deep clean before I unpack partly so I know it is clean to my standard but also to remove the previous owner’s energy. And by touching every wall and surface I get to know the feel of the space.

Once that is done, I will unpack the things I need for daily living but the finishing touches I leave for at least two months. Knick knacks and treasures stay in their boxes and pictures lay against the wall waiting to be hung.

Feathers in an old jar, poppy seedpods in a vase and a silver tea service

Feathers in an old jar, poppy seed pods in a vase and a silver tea service

I didn’t always do this. In my earlier moves, I was in such a rush to make the alien space I was moving into with its odd smells and unfamiliar sounds feel safe and familiar that I would slap up pictures and artwork and arrange my treasures willy-nilly just to banish the strangeness to the corners of the room. Quickly putting out my things so I could see and touch the familiar like a security blanket.

It calmed me down to have my things out in the new environment but in not considering the personality of my new abode, how the energy and light flowed through the space, where it got stuck and the air stuffy or how I would use the space every day I would inevitably have to go back and rearrange the wall art and displays and sometimes even the furniture layout and function of a space.

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Birthday cards in inexpensive white frames

 

If you want to have a great relationship with your house and make it feel like a home you need to spend a few months getting to know each other. Then and only then do I place my things out in locations that both honour the treasures and the home, creating a harmonious new union.

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Vintage clock and glass votive holders on the mantle

So for the few months I was learning about my new space, getting to know its quirks I started watching beauty gurus on YouTube. My discoveries on beauty and the modern young woman is a blog for another day, but what I noticed with the majority of these bright young things is that their spaces were beautifully decorated with the same design esthetic, soft grey or white walls, white lacquered tables, white or grey tailored sofas, lots of silver or rose gold to add sparkle, fresh flowers and gleaming pristine kitchens. These spaces all looked like they came ready-made out of the pages of a design magazine.

I remember being in my early twenties and setting up my first apartments, the thrill of picking out furniture and accessories, cookware and towels, although it would be several years and apartments later that I could afford to buy new. But I remember adopting the latest trend in home design from top to bottom. If a home reflects who you are, in your twenties you are still relatively fresh out of the package without much life experience to shape your taste in the space you call home.

When you are older you have more memories, experiences and a clearer understanding of who you are down to what you prefer as opposed to what others would have you like. I’m sure that if I were twenty-something today, my space would look just like all those fabulous young YouTubers right down to the granite counter tops in a kitchen that is never used except to make a salad or tea.

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Vintage prints and modern plaque

But in my well-worn skin, I like my spaces to feel comfortable, cozy and relaxed. My ideal design esthetic is an English country home where the décor pieces have been handed down for generations, telling stories of the lives of the people who inhabited the home, of furniture that is slightly threadbare giving the whole place a feel of benign neglect where dogs are welcome to snooze on sofas with slightly sagging cushions and where there is always something delicious simmering on the Aga in a kitchen that is more utilitarian than sleek.

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Home-made Lemon Meringue pie cooling on the counter

 

So dear readers, whether you are in your twenties or, like me, inching every closer to fifty, what does your current space look like? Does it reflect your authentic self? And what is the style of decorating that resonates with you?

A New Place – A New Garden

The Garden Goddesses are smiling on me yet again, sending me gifts and the ability to garden to my heart’s content despite what appeared to be my very limited options this spring. I recently moved to a lovely small town but the place I am renting is a three-story condo. There is no yard or garden, just a very long narrow balcony that faces East.

My Suburban Garden

My Suburban Garden

Since moving to the Fraser Valley, I’ve had access to a small suburban garden where my landlady (who happens to be my sister) gave me permission to remove some of the sod to create a small veggie patch. I also had the sheer joy of collaborating with Jenn Stack with the help of my older sister, Cari, in reviving a large neglected farm garden at Stack Family Farms.

Stack Family Farm Garden

Stack Family Farm Garden

After my recent move, much to my delight, my nieces and sister have taken over the city garden and planted veggies and their favorite raspberries and pumpkins. And the last time I’d spoke with Jenn she was tackling her garden on her own. Gardening really is contagious.

So with a twinge of disappointment, I surveyed my new garden area. I always love a challenge and it’s been decades since I was limited to terrace gardening. I had resigned myself to the fact that because of the space available and that it only received morning sun I would only be able to plant a few flowers, and as far as veggies, it would have to be lettuces and a few herbs.

But then the Nature Spirits and Flower Faeries heard my call. On move-in day, our landlady (not my sister this time but just a lovely) mentioned the town had a community garden and for a mere 25 dollars a year residents could rent an allotment. But there was a long waiting list so if I wanted a chance to have a small plot to dig in I need to get on the list and fast.

I called the next day and was told the lady in charge of the allotments was on holiday for a month but she would call when she got back. After a month I didn’t hear from her so I figured having an allotment wasn’t in the cards, at least for this year.

My Balcony Garden

My Balcony Garden

I told myself to be grateful for the space on the balcony that I did have and I started filling planter after planter with sweet peas, bachelor buttons, cosmos, geraniums and tall grasses to block the ugly view of the neighbouring apartment’s garage. And then the call came. At first there was only a half a plot available which I quickly agreed to take and then a few days later I was told I’d been assigned a full 20 feet by 20 feet garden space.

My Community Garden Plot

My Community Garden Plot

So now I have two gorgeous garden spaces, each with its own purpose and beauty. And I have come to appreciate that my balcony is in deep shade from one in the afternoon as it is only May and the temperature is well into the mid-twenties.

View surrounding my community garden plot

View surrounding my community garden plot

Geraniums Blooming on the Balcony

Geraniums Blooming on the Balcony

I should know by now, if what I desire is in alignment with my highest good then whatever it is flows into my life with no struggle on my part. Sometimes it requires hard work and effort but never frustration or setbacks. The Universe and Garden Faeries for that matter really do want to co-create with us in the most beautiful way possible.

So, I guess The Rolling Stones were right;

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need.

The Mean Time: Embracing the Slow Vibration

clock-590293_1280Isn’t it curious that we desire our lives to be a constant upward progression of positive and pleasant events? We want our lives to unfold in ever increasing abundance, accomplishments, and success. But if you are over twenty you have enough experience with this thing called life to know that’s not how it works. Life is more like an EKG of a healthy heartbeat, a repeating cycle of upward peaks followed by downward troughs. Perhaps our hearts understand the rhythm of life better than our minds do; that there is a wisdom to these downtimes when nothing appears to be happening, when all our goals and dreams seem to stagnate. Whether or not we choose to embrace these meantimes and in between times is another matter altogether.

I am currently participating in a seminar series held by, spiritual teacher and empathic healer, Matt Kahn. A couple of weeks ago he presented a new way of looking at life’s downtimes not as a negative but as a gift from the Divine and part of our normal and healthy cycle of existence.

He says:

“So many of us have intuition about what’s ahead in life’s plan and we want what’s up ahead in a chapter of our existence where it is not time to receive it. We want to be high vibration when life says ‘no it’s time to be slow vibration, slow down let’s learn from these lessons, let’s integrate  these insights’ so that when you get to that point of your journey you will be able to handle and receive it.”

And while I understand these deep truths my first and only reaction to the slowing down has been resistance. I ignore the pull of slowing down by working harder, doing more, sending out more query letters and resumes and writing more daily pages. When these efforts don’t pick up the pace of my life, the inevitable frustration, anger and depression would set in.

Instead of resting and reflecting and allowing silence to percolate the deeper more uncomfortable feeling to rise up and be released I would distract myself with books, bingeing on Netflix and constantly checking emails and my Facebook page. I would grasp for anything (even cleaning the grout in the bathroom) to avoid the inconvenient and uncomfortable feelings that persisted.

And then my life would move forward in its own time and in circumstances that I hadn’t anticipated or planned. You’d think as a garden, one so connected to the cycles of the seasons, I would have made the connection that in life so in our human experience.

As Matt explains it;

“Slow vibration by comparison is not as pleasurable as high vibration . . . but be that as it may, blossoming as a flower might be more outrageously pleasurable than a seed underground that has to explode in every direction in order for that flower to blossom but it is necessary for one to create space for the other.

I’ve recently moved to a new town. I’ve unpacked the last box and placed the final stick of furniture in its place and now . . . and now, I find myself in a slow vibration, again. It is early spring, the in between time of the seasons and like spring I too am in between jobs, in between book releases, figuring out the lay of the land in a strange town and getting used to the unfamiliar sounds and feelings of a new place.

I still have moments when I reach for the chocolate and watch yet another episode on Netflix but this time, more often than not, I walk towards the silence and just see what arises without judgement or fear. Last week, I put in the first veggie crop in my new place and as I sprinkled carrots seeds and pushed onions sets into the warm soil it reminded me that I too have been put into the seed phase again, a time to strengthen my foundation and put my energy into expanding in all directions deep below the surface so that when the time comes I can head into the light and bloom extravagantly.

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The Enchanted One – Book Tour

 

This week is the book tour for my current release, The Enchanted One.  I’m giving away free ebook copies and one signed book so head on over to these great bloggers and enter to win.

Book Tour Schedule:

January 11

http://lifebooksandmore.blogspot.com

http://thewritersrevolution13.blogspot.com

http://thepleasureofreadingtoday.blogspot.com

January 12

http://silenceisread.blogspot.com.tr

julkbearreads.wordpress.com

January 13

http://authorcandyodonnell.blogspot.com

semishort.blogspot.com

January 14

quetzdomain.wordpress.com

http://aone-clickaddictsbookblog.blogspot.com

January 15

http://booksshelly27.blogspot.com

http://authorsandralove.blogspot.com

January 16

http://revengeofthefeels.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Triple-A/471916489621936

January 17

http://lynnromanceenthusiast.blogspot.com

http://sweet-n-sassy-book-a-holics.blogspot.com