Moving with the Shift

I don’t know if you guys feel it, but we are collectively moving into a time and space of a Great Shift.

Whether you look at the dance of the planets, the Sun, moon and stars in the sky, read and watch the news, or just tune into a feeling of restlessness or expansiveness in your chest that’s waiting to be let loose, there’s definitely something amiss. Whether it’s old rules, old identities, old relationships or old beliefs, anything that we’ve been holding on to that no longer suits the version of the person we are now is coming up for review. The uncomfortable situations many of us are finding ourselves in are simply powerful questions that life is bringing to the forefront of our awareness. At the root of it all is one form or another of the question, “Is this really what you want for your life?” If the answer is no, life is presenting us with situations to help us let go and shift ourselves into a life of alignment.

I’m going through this myself, as I find myself shifting away from identities I’ve let strongly define me in the past. As a critical care nurse of 12 years, being a “healer” was a huge part of who I thought I was. But with the awareness and experience that I’ve gained over the last several years, it’s become apparent to me that the only person who can truly heal someone who needs healing is themselves. Every medical intervention I provide to my patients is only a temporary band-aid to buy them time to align their mind, body and spirit.

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Our awareness of an experience is multi-dimensional. By the time we have a physical awareness of an experience, information has already gone through several energetic levels of awareness. There’s our etheric body, our mental body, our emotional body, and our physical body. Our guidance and higher aspects are always trying to connect and communicate with us to send us messages of love, encouragement and support. It’s become more and more evident to me that physical diseases are just symptoms of the human disconnection from spirit and the divine. By the time my patients come to the hospital, critically ill, it’s because they’ve missed all the other levels of communication and signs that have been trying to guide them or flag them that something is not aligned in their life. Physical manifestation of illness or disease is usually the last ditch effort by spirit to communicate with us and get us to listen. 

And that’s why I’ve been feeling a change of calling to direct my service to help reconnect people to higher and deeper levels of awareness, communication and connection. Instead of focusing on helping people when spirit is in its last ditch efforts to communicate, when the physical body is grasping at straws in desperation, I want to focus my efforts on a more playful experience to empower people to thrive instead of just survive. I’m tired of offering people temporary bandaids. I want to help people empower themselves to connect with their own inner healer instead. But it’s so hard to let go of something that’s been an integral part of my for the last 15 years.

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The realization that I wanted to become a nurse 15 years ago was a form of spiritual awakening in itself. Even though I had several family members who were in the medical field, I didn’t really have any strong inclinations to follow them. It wasn’t until I read an article about Florence Nightingale that I felt my heart crack open and I burst into tears and just felt a need to quit a marketing job that I wasn’t passionate about to pursue a nursing degree. It wasn’t the paycheck that called me to be a nurse(that’s hard to believe these days in the Bay Area, I know). It was simply and profoundly a sincere desire to serve and help others in a meaningful way.

Becoming a nurse wasn’t easy. I had to quit the only stable job that I had that provided me with benefits, which I was blessed to have, considering I wasn’t able to finish college after getting pregnant and having my son at a young age. I didn’t have significant savings to support my young family, but I had the generous support of family who provided us with a place to call home, military education benefits from my mom’s service in the Air Force, some financial help from my dad and the motivation to look for scholarships and grants. I also took advantage of Divine timing. San Jose State University started their first accelerated nursing program and I was able to finish my nursing degree in two years instead of three. When I finished my last clinical rotation in the ICU as a nursing student, my preceptor told me I wasn’t ready to be an ICU nurse. But I knew and trusted what felt right in my heart. After I passed my board exams, I sent out applications to several hospitals, one of them to to an ICU. I totally bombed my first interview, which I wasn’t too upset about and counted it as experience. My second interview, however, I aced, simply by being me. And as luck would have it, I was accepted into the last batch of the New Grad Critical Care program at my current hospital (it’s rare for Bay Area hospitals to train new nursing graduates in critical care these days).

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I’ve spent the last 12 years working the hardest I’ve ever worked and rewarded on so many levels for my efforts. I’ve learned so much about the power of compassion, caring, and connection through interactions with everyone around me. I’ve learned so much about humanity’s capacity for such depth and breadth of feeling and strength by being a witness to my patients, their families, and my co-workers go through deeply life changing situations. I’ve also learned a lot about my own personal strengths as patients, families and co-workers have repeatedly thanked me for teaching them the value of calmness, patience, softness, communication and TRULY SEEING a person in every interaction. I’ve faced the scariest and grossest situations ever and I’ve been able to share, laugh and cry through them all with the most amazing people.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Partly as an homage to a huge part of my life that’s helped shape me into who I am today. In part, to mourn its dissolution, transition and evolution into the version of me that’s calling me forward. Partly to let you know that we’re all in this time of transition together. I’m deeply in it too and trying to figure things out. Also, in part because typing all of this stuff out right now has helped me realize that when you get that feeling and you know, YOU JUST KNOW and life will open up and part the sea to help guide you to where YOU KNOW you need to be. I just unknowingly gave myself proof and reassurance that it will work out exactly the way it needs to if I follow my heart, because I’ve been SO SCARED to let go! I love my job, my co-workers, my patients and their families, and all the ways that my job has always provided for me and my family all these years. But my heart is calling me to shift my focus and evolve to integrate and embody the new level of awareness that I have now . And I have to listen. And do the work. And so do you. All of us do.

So, going back to the shift… I’m surrendering to it- letting it move me, moving with it, moving into it. I’m still working up to the point where I can fully let go and jump off the cliff. But even if it’s baby steps or just one step at a time, it all adds up. It all counts. I’m moving myself to where my heart wants to be. It’s calling me to be free.

Shift. Who’s coming with?


Charmaine Illenberger
Speaking of being seen and heard...

So the Soul Explorer Spotlight series is totally a thang now! I just finished my second episode last week and it feels so good to open up and have these conversations with inspiring people despite the learning process of figuring out falling iPads and the technical difficulties of the internet.

So, what is the Soul Explorer Spotlight, exactly?

The Soul Explorer Spotlight series holds space for individuals to truly allow their authentic selves to be seen and heard sharing their stories and their truth of who they're realizing they are. We are all in the process, not of finding what was lost (because we're not lost. We are all exactly where we need to be), but to uncover, unfold, and unravel the mysteries of the essence of who we've always been- just waiting to be discovered. This series of intimate conversations highlights the different journeys we take to explore our heart and soul's calling and where it leads us. It honors the uniquely different ways that we can choose to show up for life, for each other and for ourselves so that we can discover and strengthen the connection through our differences and realize that underneath it all, we are all truly One and the same. We were never alone.

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I'll be figuring out a better process and play with different tools for upcoming episodes, so bear with me as I play and figure it out. But I'm always immersing myself in the connection these wonderful conversations bring. I hope you find yourself doing the same as you watch them.

Episode 1- I kick off the Soul Explorer Spotlight series with this introspective conversation with Katrina of On the Way to Wellness. We shared our epiphanies and A-ha moments as well as our questions and doubts . We shared our moments of growth and breakthroughs as well as our wounds and struggles. We basked in the sense of connection and encouragement we found in each other that stemmed from our feelings of isolation as we started on our journey of soul exploration. We also reflected on the growth we’ve experienced since we started putting the pieces of the puzzle together as we went over her most recent Soul Profile update.

Episode 2- I get up close and personal with Ayla Rose, director of Innerstanding at Live Lotus Yoga Studio. In her service to the community she’s brought together, she’s provided me with the only sense of “church” I’ve had with a group that I’ve felt deeply at Home in. This was crucial for me as it provided me with a sense of belonging when I felt alone in the “craziness” of my thoughts when I first started exploring my spirituality.

Charmaine Illenberger