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Christina Merkley: My Right Brain Journey

clip-rightbrainA few posts ago I shared my left-brain journey. Now I’m going to share my right-brain journey. Not as a narcissistic exercise or true confessions but rather to hopefully be of help and service. To give equal attention and merit to the right-brain sides of us, which often gets short shrift or even derogatory treatment in our left-brain dominant world.

If you aren’t sure about the distinctions between left and right brain, see my previous article on this topic here.

Basically the left-brain is the rational, logical and linear side of us. While the right is the emotional, intuitive and embodied side.

babyfaceThe Early Years:
Let’s go waaayyyyy back, like to the moment of birth, LOL. I just seemed to be born with an extra layer of sensitivity. The family folklore is that I was born silent, so the doctor went to give me a little slap to make sure all was ok … and I cried out before his hand reached me. Story of my life … the observer who can feel the vibes in the room as they physicalize.

Like many people who eventually carve out careers as Process Professionals, I was a ‘sensitive’ child. Or at least that is the not-always-so-nice word used to describe me … ‘you are too sensitive’, ‘stop being so sensitive’ etc.

It was only much later, thanks to Elaine Aron (whom I met in San Francisco as she was researching her breakthrough material: The Highly Sensitive Person) that I would come to appreciate and more thoroughly understand this trait that 15-20% of the population is estimated to have.

Is This All There Is?!:
clipdeskjobFlash forward to post university … where I found myself at the tender of age of 24 all set up with a government admin job and home ownership (the definition of success in a provincial capital).

Supposedly great, but I was dreadfully unhappy … “is this all there is?” I appreciated the stability my government job brought, especially financially, but the thought of doing that forever felt deadening.

I craved travel, adventure and also what I can only describe as mysticism (although at that time that word would have been completely foreign to me).

While working full-time, I signed up for two public night courses: comparative religion (based off of Houston Smith’s work) and dream work (based off of Gayle Delaney’s work).

Both helped me explore my quickening inner terrain. Synchronicity often winks in my life as I would meet both of these authors just a few years later. Attending Gayle’s dream group in Mill Valley, California and helping with some research (a big thrill after reading her books from afar) and Houston Smith of all people gave the speech at grad school convocation!

welcometoSFWelcome to California:
In 1993, while on vacation, I met a man on who lived near San Francisco, California. And my silly (maybe wise … it’s a toss up!) 25-year-old self quit her government job, liquidated her assets (at a loss of 50% due to exchange rates … ouch) and moved to the U.S. to be with the man-of-her-dreams and attend grad school (I had discovered the world of Organizational Development and put my chips behind it as my future hedge).

While grad school turned out to be a decent bet, the man-of-my-dreams did not. So I began grad school in a potent state of emotional bereavement and culture shock. Once the initial trauma wore off, The California Institute of Integral Studies in the mid-nineties was an amazing place (delightfully right brained even within the more left-brained biz department).

I absolutely LOVED my OD classes and basked in the range of extracurriculars available: classes in dream work, lectures by alternative luminaries Stan Grof, Brian Swimme, Rick Tarnas and Joanna Macy to name a few.

I worked on campus employed by the wonderful Dean of Students, Cathy Coleman (dining at her Thanksgiving table with husband Ralph Metzner of Timothy Leary fame).

And also attended several Native American sweat lodges.

The older I get the more I appreciate the impact all of these people and traditions have had on my psyche and my own mission.

Enter Graphic Facilitation and Other Adventures:
group-discussion-lgI’ve written much about my journey with Graphic Facilitation over in my left-brain story, so I won’t go into it so much over here on the right brain side. Yes, while interactive-visuals is often considered right brain by most people’s standards (given it has shapes, coloring and doodling), I consider it left brained (given it should also include linear, rational logic too).

I discovered that I most enjoyed Graphic Facilitation performed in Strategic Visioning and Planning settings. I liked the organized left-brain of good planning coupled with the more creative right-brain exploration of the inspirational vision.

clip-ingredient-xIt was here in Strategic Planning that I became increasing curious about ‘ingredient X’ … why was it that we could do the exact same process with different people but the results would vary? Some clients made fantastic progress and some didn’t. Increasingly I became interested in motivation, momentum and resistance. Which is where my right brain journey really took off …

Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole:
It was the late 1990s and I was traveling the globe as a Graphic Recorder with my base in San Francisco. My roommate had turned me on to Sanaya Roman’s work (Living in Joy, Creating Money and Awakening Your Lightbody) and I was just beginning my explorations into coaching and what would eventually become my SHIFT-IT work.

lawofattractionsmWhile helping a woman interested in becoming a Graphic Recorder, I was introduced to the concept of ‘Law of Attraction’ (via the work of Abraham-Hicks) and also to a mysterious psychic/mystic named Seva. She claimed some interesting things about me and predicted my future path, most of which has indeed occurred (more on that later).

In 2000 I donated a kidney to my father. In preparation for and recovery from the operation, I worked for several months with a nutritional and energy worker named Denie Heistand, aka The Body Electrician.

While attending one of Denie’s workshops a fellow attendee had a kundalini awakening during one of the class exercises. While I was in no rush to experience the same it did make an impression as my first introduction to the energetic power that lays within us.

Light Body and Law of Attraction Explorations:
By 2001 I had launched my own independent facilitation practice, Make Your Mark. The 911 attacks occurred later that year. I had been scheduled to be in New York for several weeks that September but in late August all of those gigs fell away (my left brain self was concerned about the business loss but my right-brain whispered to ‘just trust the process’). Later I felt very lucky to have been steered completely clear from the East Coast.

clip-yogaposeHorrified by the scenario that unfolded, I returned that very day to my dusty meditation cushion and my neglected Light Body practices – compelled to do my part to help connect to light during those dark times. 911 was catalytic to waking me up to a bigger picture. And to changing the application of my skills from corporations to smaller businesses and individuals, where I felt more chance of change and true heart can occur.

Back to Canada I Go:
By the summer of 2002 I had returned to Canada and began the creation of what would become SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc. I deepened my study of Law of Attraction (listening to the full catalog of Abraham-Hicks recordings … which took several years). And used their focus and manifestation techniques to not only focus my blossoming coaching and training practice into being but to also assist my clients in shifting their professional and personal lives too.

I also began a collaboration with The THEO Group and trance medium Sheila Gillette. Over time I involved THEO in my online classes and in-person coaching groups and was asked by Sheila to help her create online options for delivery of her 5th Dimensional material. For a few years I designed and co-lead two THEO programs which they continue to offer.

clip-inthenews-smConcurrently many interesting right-brain things happened. I went further down the rabbit hole with alternative media, particularly Regina Meredith’s Conscious Media Network (eventually rolled into Gaiam TV) and Kerry Cassidy and Bill Ryan’s Project Camelot … and the myriad of specialty guests and whistleblowers in their interviews (lots of discernment required).

And, in 2009 I had what I refer to as my ‘contact’ experience. On a bright spring evening while sacked out on the couch watching one of Regina’s interviews, little light orbs appeared in front of me. You can read more about this experience and the further explorations it provoked, here.

XinaMerk Art:
By this time, I had used visual methods in my process career for fifteen years, but funnily enough never self-identified as an ‘artist’. Suddenly I devoured documentaries and books about various creative people, artists and painters and felt compelled to move beyond the colored markers and wall size paper of my trade into acrylic paints on canvass.

xinamerk-art   xinamerk-art2
My ‘XinaMerk Art’ (website coming soon) took on a life of its own and I’ve come to understand the subconscious attraction to my kooky little spiral people … they are about the higher vibrational beings who are routing for humanity to pull out of our negative vibrations and myopic actions. My right brain is always WAY AHEAD of my left-brain in comprehending things.

It’s All About Frequency:
My SHIFT-IT work is ultimately about moving my client’s set vibration or frequency to a higher more satisfying place. Whether I’m doing that in traditional corporate settings in Strategic Planning or Team Development, or with the private individuals who engage me as their business and/or life coach, or through the viewing of a graphic chart or painting.

clip-frequencyMy right-brain has taught me that it’s not really about the words (or pictures) that are drawn out … it’s more deeply about the symbols, archetypes and beliefs that are evoked underneath. Everything has a tone or mood to it. And it behooves us as companies, people and the world at large to get that tone to as grounded, neutral and integrated a place as we can because we attract from the frequency we inhabit.

Kundalini Awakening:
clip-kundaliniSince my contact experience in 2009 my journey with frequency has decidedly increased. With all the processing of outer and inner energies over the years, my own personal vibration is shifting in physical and other ways and I’ve been looking for answers as to what is going on and how to best flow with it.

The energy increases started subtly, with increased sensitivity to light, sound and touch. And with the art streaming through. Then with increases in intuition and empathic connections in my client work.

Always intuitive and tapped into dream land given my dream work background, I waded deeper into shamanism … at least the more easily accessible Shamanism that a white woman from Canada can (Michael Harner, Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman) … my apologies to First Nations friends who feel traditions are being usurped (I hear you).

These practices helped me with the various consciousness terrains I was encountering and how to journey within them. Then, what further boosted the activation of my kundalini was my use of ayahuasca in a facilitated shamanic setting.

green-ladyfaceAyahuasca is a plant medicine originating in South America. Let me be intentional about what I write, as it’s going through some interesting twists in our modern world.

I am not someone who is into ‘drugs’ and I drink very moderately – as I prefer natural states of consciousness. I researched ayahuasca for quite some time before I participated (with skilled support). I was particularly intrigued with Vancouver medical doctor, Gabor Mate’s work with ayahuasca aiding people with severe trauma as an awareness tool for healing. See Nature of Things episode here.

If you research ayahuasca you’ll see that a wide range of possibilities can occur. Thankfully my particular experience was profoundly moving and inspiring. I’m well aware that is not always the case.

I connected with the earth elementals (on the ground and in the air) and then experienced my breathing settling into a deep rhythm (my whole body being deeply breathed). Then experienced ecstatic states as waves of powerful energy coursed through my body.

clip-yogapose2It began in my hands (which makes sense to me given their use in my creativity). Then my arms and torso began to move in spiral movements. Eventually very palpable thick almost liquid feeling energy moved up my spine, through my belly into my chest and into my heart area. Finally settling in my throat area with numerous sounds, sights and insights happening.

I was having my kundalini opened like that woman in Denie’s class all those years ago. And it was a transcendental experience, one of the highlights of my life to date.

The Dance of Kundalini Unfoldment Continues:
After the ayahuasca I found to my surprise (and consternation at times) that the spontaneous body movements (known as kriyas) continue. Sometimes they can be spaced out as far as 4-6 weeks. Other times it’s several a week. On the odd occasion more than once a day.

Usually the kundalini kriyas happen at night (and also during meditative and bodywork sessions). The kundalini announces itself with a feeling of physical and emotional pressure and then tingling, usually in my hands. Then the tingling progresses to spontaneous movement in my fingers, hands and arms (often of a bilateral nature … meaning it switches back and forth in sides of the body).  This movement can be become very fast and dramatic at times (as long as I keep breathing and going with it it seems I am fine).

Often the kundalini stays just in the arms, but in more involved episodes it spreads to my torso, legs and feet. With a whole lot of ‘quakin’ and shakin’ going on’ to quote a colleague.

chakraRecently the energy has been working deeply in my 5th chakra/throat area, accompanied by throat clearing, buzzing teeth, and spontaneous humming and toning. And then fixated above my palate in the upper nasal regions. My apologies to the therapist office next door, they really must wonder what goes on over here.

Third Eye Opening: The kundalini is also opening my 3rd eye and crown chakras regions. My subtle sight opened for three weeks in 2014.  And then stopped.  Which I am grateful for.  Suddenly I could SEE the things connected to the energy I have always felt around me.

Some of the things I saw (orbs, amoebas, various kinds of  creatures, etc) were lovely and felt either benign or positive.  Other things that I could witness around me felt much more negative (siphoning of energy, astral visitors, etc).  I learned to not take things at face value according to how they look (cause there were a lot of strange-to-me things I witnessed) but to even more deeply FEEL into what I was seeing.  What is its energy?  Is it from what I would consider a positive or negative source?  And I learned that I could ‘command my space’ if I needed to (basically tell em to buzz off if I didn’t like what they were doing).

It Ain’t Glamorous But Its Cool:
When I began my consciousness explorations I thought that kundalini energy and opening up one’s sixth sight would be a glamorous and exciting experience.  However, now that its happened to me (and continues) it is exciting but also unsettling.  I’m having to reorient my beliefs about the world and myself.  And change my work.  Working in the same way is not possible when I now know there is a whole other world around us (the energetic world) that we can’t see but is there nonetheless, populated with all kinds of various energies.

I have heard that some people’s kundalini is a fast and spontaneous process done in one fell swoop. Mine however is a slow process of initiation, turmoil then integration. Then more initiation, turmoil and integration. Rinse and repeat.  Its an amazing, awesome experience however its also A LOT of hard inner emotional work.  And surprisingly physical too as my body has to adjust to a different kind of energy now running through it.  And my psyche has to go through changes in identity.

Emerging Interest Areas:
In late 2013 I began studying a consciousness based healthcare methodology named BodyTalk.  And I’ve been weaving it into my private coaching practice with great results ever since (despite being aghast at some internal dynamics going on within the company that birthed the field and separating myself from them).  This methodology has acted as a useful bridge between the modalities that I already use with my  coaching clients and my new energy work driven by my kundalini awakening.  I’ve also been training in the esoteric arts of energy shielding, space command, energy clearing and entity and etheric implant removal.

I have also been, like so many of us, struggling with the current state of the world and the underlying unhealthy mindsets and paradigms that drive it.  As I stand right smack in middle age (50 is staring me in the eye) I’m galvanizing my energy to do what I can to help shift things.  I am extremely fortunate as my work attracts fantastic people from around the world, many of whom are Process Professionals working within corporations, NGOs and other influential systems or creating their own countering businesses and systems.  I want to continue to create programs that will educate, motivate and inspire them (you!) to use your skills in service of the LIGHT.  To do your part in the transitional phase we are currently in — together we can help shift humanity to a higher, more compassionate and wise place.  I believe this is why I am alive at this time and I believe, if you are reading this, this is why you are here at this time too!  We need to fulfill our service missions to raise the energy here!

New Course Coming: Practical Energy Work
Fall 2015, after a hiatus of five years, I’m once again offering a right-brain course in my course line-up.  Practical Energy Work (title of my new course) picks up where I left off with Law of Attraction and manifestation principles. And weaves in new content about attachment theory, trauma, meridian technologies and energy work.  A solid course for my left-brain crowd to learn more about the power of their right brain and how to access it effectively.  And how to direct multi-brain energy in their work and lives.

clip-smiling-laptopStill Reading?!
LOL. Are you still reading? I’m assuming only certain people have the interest or fortitude to read this far. Thank you for doing so.

For some readers, this is ho hum stuff (been there, done that, got the tee shirt).

For others, this is OUT THERE stuff … and this tale is either intriguing you or making you run the other way!

For those that resonate I sincerely hope my tale is validating, that perhaps your own journey is reflected in some of what I write and you feel seen, understood and hopefully less alone. It’s you that I wrote this for. It ain’t easy being green as Kermit so wisely said. But it is valuable, needed and heroic.  Please keep going!!!

Wishing you all the best in your own uprising!

Christina Merkley

The SHIFT-IT Coach

© 2017 Christina L. Merkley


Yes thanks, please do, I just ask that you keep it completely intact (as is) and include this blurb with functional links:

Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Energy Work. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other Process Professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com and www.visualcoaches.com

Posted in Inner Work, Notes From Christina, Xinamerk Art
5 comments on “Christina Merkley: My Right Brain Journey
  1. Thank you, Christina! Reading your unfolding story connects me to you and to that which is bigger than ourselves. I so appreciate your vulnerability and strength – the candid and real. You are an inspiration!

  2. Jeff says:

    I loved reading this. What a profound journey and you share with such courage and clarity. Thank you for your gifts to the people around you.

  3. Leigh Murray says:

    I ready the whole thing! I fee so fortunate to have found you and look forward to the work. Now that I know more I realize how deep this can go.
    What an amazing journey you are on.

  4. claire says:

    Your art is amazing and your words flow as beautifully as your craft. inspiring through your blog!

  5. Bianca says:

    amazing story, thank you so much!

    i wish to enroll as possible it will be in your Energy Work Course and Visual Coaching.

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