Christina Merkley: My Right Brain Journey

A 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 acutely feel the vibes in the room.

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. And what a gift sensitivity actually is.

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 job and home ownership (the definition of success according to those around me).

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, excitement, depth and 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 rapidly accelerating inner realms. 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 becoming a research assistant on one of her books (a big thrill after reading her books from afar) and Houston Smith of all people gave the speech at my 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 Organizational Development 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, all 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 New York 911:

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 multiple gigs but in late August all of them 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 and a plane I would have likely been on.

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 in taking my meditation and energetic practices more seriously and devoting consistent time to them.

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.  In many of them I was a male or female helper of one sort or other: matriarch, herbalist, wise woman, shaman, monk, priest, priestess 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. I sure hope I don’t meet a similar fate this lifetime!

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 create my coaching and training practice and to assist my clients in shifting their professional and personal lives with the methods too.

I also began a collaboration with The THEO Group of trance medium Sheila Gillette. I brought her and THEO into some of my courses and eventually we co-build several courses together which we jointly offered for several years and they continue to do so.

And, in 2009 I had my first ‘contact’ experience with light beings.  You can read more about this experience here.  Over the years I have had three experiences that I retained conscious memory of.  These experiences have had a profound effect on me and my understanding of the bigger picture and greater community we are all embedded in, whether we are aware of it or not.

It has taken many years to come to terms with these experiences, state them publicly and stand in my dignity about them.  I am grateful that I have been such a grounded, left-brain person, as I feel this has enabled me to treat these experiences with the pragmatism and practicality that they deserve. My course Practical Energy Work collects together much of what I learned and integrated during this initiatory period of my life.

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 began painting.

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 interacting with humanity from other dimensions, with some choosing to embody on Earth at this important time.

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 raise our vibration and come more from our hearts and souls.  Its actually imperative that we do!

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. I was particularly influenced by Vancouver medical doctor, Gabor Mate’s work. See Nature of Things episode here.

If you research ayahuasca you find that a wide range of possibilities can occur. I was prepared to endure the usual intense 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 possibilities, was a kundalini awakening. For more on Ayahuasca, read my fuller article here.


Living With Active Kundalini and Its Enhancements:

Since 2012 I’ve been living with 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’ . It boosts what is going on within you which helps you see and experience it.  And it also helps you with the things that are standing in the way of full realization.

Ayahuasca accelerated my already existing Kundalini process.  She accelerated my awareness and honed in on the particular physical, mental and spiritual impediments that are in my body-mind-psyche.

Always an empath, my intuition and subtle energy awareness has accelerated.  I am primarily a feeler (clairsentient) and a knower (claircognizant) however I sometimes see (clairvoyant) and hear (clairaudient).

In my case, after rising rapidly, kundalini stopped at my throat (5th chakra).  From 2012 – 2015 it worked away on my throat, jaw and mouth regions. Which helped me to better express my authentic feelings and thoughts in both writing, art and speech and reduce inhibitions in expressing my truth.  In 2016 Kundalini Shakti moved to my brow (the third eye or 6th Chakra area) to then work on my mental perceptions and on my ability to sense subtle energies in a variety of ways.

All along i regularly experienced spontaneous movements (called Kriyas and Mudras) and still do to this day.  My hands are particularly active especially in the palms. I occasionally make spontaneous sounds and toning.  For the most part this is controllable.  This phenomenon is particularly active during meditation and body/energy work, when in nature and when I work with groups and individuals.

I don’t fully know all that these movements are doing however I do know that energy is being moved within me and around me and its seems to be catalytic.  Some of my clients have experienced increased prana and kundalini within their own systems.  I’m not claiming transmission, I’m just reporting what some have reported to me.

Another thing that is happening in increasing frequency is visits from the deceased. Those I know and those I don’t know.

The ones I know are my own deceased friends and relatives.

The ones I don’t know are either connected to land that I’m on or passing through (sacred land or land where trauma resides) or they are deceased people connected to the to clients I’m working with.

Sometimes the deceased seek my assistance with their own predicaments and blocks – SHIFT-IT for the dead! Sometimes they are confused, or OCD, or in need of compassionate assistance including transitioning to their next phase.

Other times they are sending messages and offers of extra support and love to their loved ones who are my clients. And they often boost the energy for my client’s vision and mission that we are drawing out – some extra help from the other side! Just because they are gone from the physical doesn’t mean they don’t know what is going on with you – they do.  And want to offer their support and encouragement and clean up any unfinished business that might be getting in your way.

I do not do formal mediumistic sessions. This phenomenon happens spontaneously in my regular coaching and constellation work. I’m increasingly a magnet for them. Its a fascinating part of my work that I enjoy as it teaches me so much about love, dying and continued existence beyond the physical body. And helps my clients with these kinds of insights too.

In 2017, I journeyed to Peru for my 49th birthday. After 20 years of being a Process Professional, I was at a crossroads.

I had helped midwife the Graphic Recording / Graphic Facilitation field into the mainstream world and across the globe and it was now off and running at fast clip.

I felt a sense of mission completion and wondered what was next.

I participated in another plant ceremony with the intention of ‘whatever is for my highest good and next steps’.

This time the kundalini pushed through my brow all the way to my crown (7th chakra), piercing Makura Point.  Since that time I’ve been in an ongoing Upper Process, which continues to unfold my consciousness particularly in non-dual ways (unity).

While I have deep respect for Mother Ayahuasca and the other plant medicines, I don’t have plans to ingest plant medicine again. From my personal experiences I feel that Ayahuasca is too intense for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). I made it through the accelerations that she provoked, however it wasn’t easy and I could have damaged my subtle energy system, even beyond repair.  I was extremely fortunate I didn’t.

If you are interested in Plant Spirit Medicine where you communicate with rather than digest, I do recommend Eliot Cowan’s work, see interview below.

Divine Feminine and Embodiment:

My kundalini process is shifting my identity and how I am in the world.  Not easy to be in a role in front of the room either in-person or online while my interests and passions are morphing due to my awakening.

Here are a few of the people who have assisted me (either directly or indirectly) with my transition: Karla Kadlec, Bonnie Greenwald, Kat CourtneyJoan HarriganTara Springett Dani Antman, Kendra Jonas (via Melody), Paul Selig, Igor kufayev, Lucia Renee,Tantra Maat, Meg Archambault, Pamela AaralynLeslie Temple-Thurston Ali Storm, and Pamela Wilson.

In order to understand and cope with the changes in my energetics I’ve studied a myriad of additional systems and techniques including BodyTalk, Matrix Energetics, Energetic Synthesis, Heart Centered Psychopomp and Depossession Mediumship and Systemic Constellations.

Lately, in the nick of time, I have also discovered that lo’ and behold I have a body!

Like many of my clients (and our culture at large) I’ve been disassociated from my body and have in essence been going through life as a ‘head on a stick’.  The masculine principle of mind has been lopsided in me.  Now the feminine principle of heart is gaining momentum.

Kundalini is literally opening my heart into devotion, grace and love (4th chakra).  Softening me and aligning to the Divine Feminine and the mother and grandmother archetype even though I have have no children of my own.

After a few decades of working ‘at the wall’ and then ‘at the tablet’ and took an unfortunate slip down some stairs which cracked my back.  My tall body really suffered. The repetitive motions of lettering, drawing, standing and sitting and the injuries from the fall have taken a toll.  I’m in a journey of reclamation to gain fluidity of motion and enhance core strength and posture (1st chakra).

In essence I’m be required to ground myself in a much deeper way, become WAY more physically present in the NOW and to create a proper foundational base for myself and the next phase of my work.

Bigger Picture: What’s Really Going On Here on Planet Earth?

Finally, we get to the big picture. All of my personal development is embedded in the larger picture of Planet Earth during this crucial time for the human species.

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

Given my varied access to people and organizational systems from across the globe, I have a very unique vantage point. And since 2001 thereabouts I have been wondering, just what the heck is going on?!

The good people I work for and with are often embedded in very sick systems that aren’t ultimately supportive of human beings and our precious planet. Its a deep kind of crazy.  Wetiko.

My awareness that something is REALLY OFF has lead me down some provocative paths: Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald ,Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, Ray McGovern, John Pilger, Bill Binney, Daniel Sheehan,   Annie Jacobson, Jon Rappoport,  Catherine Austin-Fitts, Daniel Sheehan, Anneke LucasSphere 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.

My clients  (many of them fellow Process Professionals) are positioned around the globe in many different types of systems. And they are asking questions too! Most of us are pretty darn frustrated about the state of the world and its current power structures. So we do our own personal development work and we do our best in our professions to be of service to change.  Not easy when many systems are corrupt and twisted to the whims of few over the needs of many.

My job is to help those who seek my assistance. I hold space and use my big toolkit of approaches to help my clients awaken even further and to clarify and carry on with their unique missions.  We all have a piece of the puzzle in this shift that our species and our planet is going through. Its game time!

Helping You to Make Your Shift:

My work continues to morph.  I still teach Beginner and Advanced visual skills.  I will probably teach these useful skills to some extent or other for the rest of my life.

However now that Working Visually has gone mainstream, I’m increasingly able to focus on my baby: Visual Coaching.  Using visuals with individuals, partners, couples and small groups.  And more deeply to assist the individual awakening process via Visual Satsangs and Practical Energy Work.

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 I offer public and private courses through my SHIFT-IT School.

As the issues in our world increasingly accelerate, my contribution is Free Process Groups and Free Individual Coaching to help individuals find their way through these massive shifts. So my work is available to anyone should they care to partake of it.

clip-smiling-laptopStill Reading?!
Only certain people read this far. You are one of them.

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 making you lean in or lean out, haha.

For those that resonate I sincerely hope my story is of use to you and perhaps validates your own in some way.  Perhaps in my story you feel seen, understood and in good company. 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. And, its important to actualize for your own soul reasons too no matter what anybody else is doing.  We are playing both an individual and collective game.

I’m here if you sense I am right for you.  Wishing you all the best in your SHIFT!

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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