Christina Merkley: My Right Brain Journey

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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!


Welcome 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.

It was at this time that I studied Alchemical Hypnotherapy, Voice Dialogue, and began to work with Family Constellations.

In the hypnotherapy studies I learned Past Life Regression protocols and made contact with many of my own past lives.  Many had a theme of being a male or female helper of one sort or other: mother figure, herbalist, wise woman, shaman, monk, priest and the like. From all sorts of times and locations around the world.  Most were more progressive than the power structures that surrounded them and suffered unfortunate ends with trauma imprints that peculate into this lifetime. Samskaras as the Indian tradition calls them.

Law of Attraction and Channeled Guidance:

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.

And, in 2009 I had a ‘contact’ experience with what I have come to understand were 5th Dimensional light beings. On a bright spring afternoon while sacked out on the couch watching one of Regina Meredith’s interviews on Conscious Media (she’s now with Gaia TV)  little black and white light orbs appeared in front of me which morphed into rainbow ships or bird like creatures. And communicated with me for about 20 minutes.  You can read more about this experience and the further explorations it provoked, here.

Enhanced Creativity:

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’ took on a life of its own and I’ve come to understand that they represent higher vibrational beings who are routing for humanity to pull out of our negative vibrations and myopic actions.

It’s All About Frequency:

My SHIFT-IT work is ultimately about moving my client’s set vibration or frequency to a higher place. Whether I’m doing that in traditional corporate settings in Strategic Planning or Team Development, or with the individuals who engage me as their Coach, or through the graphic maps and painting painting that I produce.clip-frequency

My Right-Brain has taught me that it’s 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-kundaliniWhile I did not recognize it at the time, all of these inner pursuits were raising my subtle energy called Kundalini. Everyone has kundalini, also named chi and prana. However for some of us, kundalini gets disturbed from its coiled resting place at the base of our spine, and begins a journey of consciousness expansion in our mind/body/spirit. While I did not actively pursue Kundalini (I vaguely knew what it was) it found me nonetheless. And I’ve been in its grip every since.

A good grip to be in, but not without its challenges. The consciousness expansion started subtly, with increased sensitivity to light, sound and touch. And with the art streaming through. Then with increases in intuition and synchronicity in my own life and in the lives of my clients.

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.

Ayahuasca: Master Plant Teacher

green-ladyfaceIn 2012 I had my first plant medicine ceremony.  Ayahuasca is a plant medicine from South America. Its actually 2 plants, cooked down into a ‘brew’.  Let me be intentional about what I write here, as use of ayahuasca is expanding in our modern world, for good and for bad.

I am not someone who is into ‘drugs’ and I drink alcohol very moderately.  I am into psycho-spiritual development not psychedelic kicks. I researched ayahuasca for years before I participated in my first ceremony (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 find that a wide range of possibilities can occur, most involve a lot of purging (from both ends). I was prepared to endure this sort of experience with the hopes that I would ‘go to the next level’ in my inner healing.  What I wasn’t prepared for, and didn’t realize was on the list of possible outcomes, was a dynamic kundalini rising.

On my very first ceremony, Ayahuasca opened my kundalini like that woman in Denie’s class all those years before.  And I’ve been in dealing with that opening ever since.  For more on Ayahuasca, read my fuller article here.

If you are sensitive person (like I am) I recommend that you be very, very careful about who you sit with and that they understand you are a sensitive.  From experience, I suggest you only drink a quarter of what a regular dose is.  You can work up from there if need be.  You can’t tone down Mother Aya once you have engaged with her, so great respect for her and your own sensitivities are needed.  DO NOT take ANY plant medicines if you have a history of mental disturbance including bipolar.

And don’t expect to have a kundalini awakening on your first go (or on any go for that matter).  And know that kundalini is not glamorous like much pop culture makes it out to be. Its a serious psycho-spiritual process that will KICK YOUR ASS and require you to process out any unresolved emotional, mental and psychological baggage (I’m still engaged very thickly in my own processing over a decade later).


Living With Active Kundalini:

Since 2012 I’ve been living with consciously aware active kundalini. As I wrote earlier, kundalini was already subtly active in my system before Ayahuasca, although I wasn’t consciously aware of it. Ayahuasca is a ‘magnifier’ … its helps you SEE what is going on with you and helps you with your blocks.

Mother Ayahuasca brought my Kundalini Shakti  and my subtle energy system into my conscious awareness.  She accelerated my awareness and showed me where the physical, mental and spiritual blocks are in my body-mind system.  Kundalini Shakti is working away on them as I go about my regular life as best I can during this dynamic process.

In my case, after rising rapidly, my kundalini process slowed at my throat (my 5th chakra).  From 2012 – 2015 it churned away in my throat, jaw and mouth regions. And helped me learn how to better express my authentic feelings and thoughts in both writing, art and speech.  Eventually Kundalini reached my brow (the third eye, or 6th Chakra area).

Along the way I had many interesting phenomenon, including a lot of spontaneous movements in my body and hands (called Kriyas and Mudras). And spontaneous tones and sounds coming out of my mouth and creating various kinds of vibrations.  Also paranormal experiences (i.e. bouts of seeing astral creatures and beings and being visited by dead folks who want various kinds of assistance or want to provide assistance to their descendants, my clients).

In 2017, I journeyed to South America for my 49th birthday and to do 3 more plant medicine ceremonies. After 20 years of being a Process Professional, I was at a crossroads.  I had helped midwife the Graphic Recording / Graphic Facilitation niche onto the world stage and it was now off and running at fast clip beyond the early group of us who were doing it back in the day.

I felt a sense of mission completion and wondered if I ‘was done’ and if I really wanted to take on another life assignment. As the first one was amazing but a LOT of work!

With plant medicines, you always work with an ‘intention’ to focus your experience.  My intention on my first ceremony was ‘whatever you think is for my highest good and next steps’.

Mother Ayahuasca’s answer was to pretty much immediately raise my kundalini up my spine to my throat and burst through my brow with internal explosion of great light and heightened sound.  In short, I had reached Makura Point in the Indian tradition and rapidly entered into the next phase – activating the brain centers en-route to Bindu.

For the next 6 hours a parade of my deepest fears flashed before me in a seeming endless procession. The experience lasted 6 hours and was pretty much terrifying.  The group leader and the Ayahuascero were more scientific people rather than spiritual unfortunately.  So I did not receive any guidance or real integration support. I was left to my own devices to integrate what had happened.

I assembled resources from different angles to help with integrating this extremely powerful experience: Bonnie Greenwald, Kat CourtneyJoan HarriganTara Springett and Kendra Jonas (via Melody).

While I have deep respect for Mother Ayahuasca and the other plant medicines, I’ve put a hold on my use of this tool to focus on my current kundalini process.  I personally feel that while many leaders and groups facilitating ayahuasca experiences are well meaning, they don’t have the individualized or follow up protocols worked out at this point in time for Westerners, especially those who are sensitives, like myself.

I would urge you to be very careful about the use of plant teachers (because if you are reading this you too are probably sensitive).  There are other ways to work with the plant spirits that don’t involve digesting them.  See Eliot Cowan video below for more info.


Intuitive and Psionic Abilities:

Some people, and I am one of them, experience various kinds of paranormal experiences and abilities when their Kundalini rises.  I have always been intuitive, however my ability to connect to ‘innate intelligence’  has increased exponentially over the last decade.

While I am primarily a clairsentient and claircognisent (I feel and I know), I have also had bouts of clairvoyance where I see auric colours, grids and astral and other beings.  These gifts come in handy in navigating my own life and also in my work.

With the changes in my own energetics I’ve studied a myriad of systems and techniques including BodyTalk, Matrix Energetics, Energetic Synthesis, Heart Centered Psychopomp and Depossession and Systemic Constellations. And am particularly moved by Paul Selig/The Word.

In a way, I am a channel, I just don’t do it in the usual way of a medium though. I channel through my Visual Skills, my Facilitation and my Coaching and through the kundalini transmission that runs through me.

I also believe that I am not special. That all human beings have this capacity if we pay attention to and follow it. The more you do, the more it grows. I now teach people how to do this through my Practical Energy Work and other spiritually oriented programs.

Bigger Picture: What’s Really Going On?

In my Strategic Planning career (see my Left-Brain story) I literally drew pictures for corporations who are household names in the banking, medical, high tech, chemical and agriculture industries.  And many of my current students and clientele are embedded in corporate, governmental and not-for-profit settings both nationally and internationally.

I have a very interesting vantage point on the global world. And for some time I have been wondering, just what the heck is going on?! As the good people I work with are often in very sick systems that produce things taht are good for human beings and and precious planet. Its a deep kind of crazy.  Wetiko.

My quest for truth has lead me down some pretty interesting rabbit holes: Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald ,Chris Hedges, Annie Jacobson, Jon Rappoport,  Catherine Austin-Fitts, Daniel Sheehan, Sphere Being Alliance  and Steven Greer / Unacknowledged. Among many others as these are only a few.  Also see my post on A Graphic Tool for Galactic Visioning.

Process Professionals (my clients) are positioned in important places around the globe. My job is to help them awaken even further and to equip them with tools and community.  So they are nurtured and are able to do their awakening work where they are planted. We all have a piece of the puzzle in this shift that our species and our planet is going through.

Working with Others:

My journey continues, I’m not done yet.  I continue the steady journey to Bindu (Realization). Don’t know if I will get there this lifetime or not, but I’m giving it a valiant go!

My work continues to morph.  I continue to teach Beginner and Advanced visual skills (for use in all sorts of Process Work with groups and/or individuals).  I probably will teach these useful skills to some extent for the rest of my life.

However now that Working Visually has gone mainstream, I’m increasingly able to focus my time and energy on my baby: Visual Coaching.  Using visuals in Process Work with individuals, partners, couples and small groups.  And am pushing the envelope into all sorts of deep processing techniques that help people (and our world at large) shift.

I’ve have been pleasantly surprised to find that some of my existing Organizational Development and Graphic Facilitation network are intrigued with my Right-Brain journey and skills. It has opened up more ways that I can be of service to them.

Also, as i have bravely shared my experiences publicly, others who have had similar experience have found their way to me for support and education.

In my private coaching practice I handle a wide range of Left-Brain and Right-Brain topics with a fascinating international clientele (I work both in-person and online). And offer public and private trainings and retreats through my SHIFT-IT School.

clip-smiling-laptopStill Reading?!
Only certain people will 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 The Frog so wisely said. But it is valuable, needed and heroic.  Please keep going.  Our world needs you!!!

I’m here if you sense that my help is a next step for you.  Wishing you all the best in your SHIFT!

Christina Merkley

The SHIFT-IT Coach

9 comments on “Christina Merkley: My Right Brain Journey

  1. Tracy Wideman on

    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 on

    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 on

    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. Bianca on

    amazing story, thank you so much!

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

  5. Nancy Lown on

    You are amazing, Christina! I’m in awe of all you’ve done since our CIIS days. I admire your bravery and courage in doing this work which our planet needs so badly! Thank God for you!
    With all my love and best wishes always, Nancy

  6. Sharon Hoyland on

    Loved reading this Christina, as I ponder what my focus is for 2020.

    In my reading for this year, I was directed to “be teachable”, figure out what I want to learn on my spiritual path and find a teacher. That drew me to check out what you are up to. So fabulous..I will always remember that you are the one who let me to LOA.
    I am in Victoria in February and I would love to connect with you?
    Wishing you an amazing year ahead! Sharon

  7. Christina Merkley on

    Sounds good Sharon. I look forward to connecting. The Practical Energy Work Kit is a good one for some really useful practices that connect one to their larger being (it’ll be in the New Years Sale next week). When we talk I’ll fill you in on the Systemic Constellation offerings that are coming this year (both online and in-person). Great modality for seeing and working with one’s next development. Plus I’ll be doing a really special online program involving a 5D channel most likely in a few months time. As 2020 is requiring ‘all hands on deck’ for the souls who are here to aid in humanity’s big ol’ shift. xo

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