By Crysta Coburn
Chakra Balancing with Sharon Marie Lawlor
I have heard much about chakras. They are associated with certain parts of the body, specific colors, and stones. Recently I learned that, chakras sometimes become blocked. In order to learn more about the importance of having chakras in balance, I turned to local healing arts practitioner Sharon Marie Lawlor of Tranquil Being, where I experienced a chakra balancing session.
Tranquil Being is located away from the frenetic energy of downtown, on Ann Arbor’s west side. On my visit, the surrounding area was peaceful and verdant (especially after generous spring rains). Lawlor greeted me warmly, and we chatted about the process and what I might expect. As with other forms of energy healing, every experience is unique to the individual. Some feel warmth, bursts of emotion, the resurfacing of memories, or other images or sensations.
The chakras are, from bottom to top: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Lawlor told me to think of the chakras as a flow of energy. If one chakra becomes blocked, the flow is interrupted, which can manifest in a myriad of ways, including physical pain, fatigue, and feeling “emotional, unbalanced, or ungrounded.” According to Lawlor, when aligned, we feel more “ease, grace, and alive.” Balancing the chakras is “smoothing out the energy” so there is easy flow again.
Since Chakra balancing is not a body massage, it is done fully clothed, though, like a massage, I laid face-down on a comfortable padded massage table with a blanket overtop. I immediately felt warm and cozy. Peaceful music played in the background.
Lawlor placed stones associated with the seven chakras along my back. About halfway through, I turned over onto my back, and Lawlor placed a cloth over my eyes, which made it easy to lie peacefully and immerse myself in the experience. Lawlor started with the root chakra and worked her way up to the crown, placing her fingers lightly on each spot as needed and utilizing sound healing with the gentle chime of Tibetan singing bowls. Lawlor said she feels “guided” while her clients are on the table, and draws on the many energy healing techniques she has learned in her fifteen years of study.
During the experience, I felt isolated spots of intense warmth while Lawlor moved from chakra to chakra, and I saw flashes of colors and the occasional fleeting image behind my closed eyelids. I also felt profoundly relaxed, supported, and connected to the world around me.
Upon arrival, I had said that my body felt like a tightly coiled spring, and I struggled to relax, often feeling restless. After the experience, I felt like that spring had unwound, and I felt more grounded in my body. Lawlor shared that her goal as a healer is to “help people tap into their own power,” and I did feel more focused and in tune with my personal goals in the days following our session. I also slept a solid eight hours that night, which is unusual for me.
Lawlor was a great listener and knowledgeable about multiple practices. She genuinely wants to help her clients meet their goals and become their best selves. This was a wonderful session that opened up my mind to new knowledge and a refreshing, peaceful experience.
To learn more or make an appointment with Lawlor, visit tranquilbeing.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (734) 761-8753.
Handcrafted Fairytales and Branislava Dragovic
Branislava Dragovic was raised in Belgrade, Serbia and emigrated to the U.S. in 2006. “I first lived in Los Angeles for about a year, and I didn’t feel like I really fit in, so I moved here to Ann Arbor with the hopes of continuing my studies in literature and language,” she shared with me. “Soon after I arrived in Ann Arbor I connected with some people from the U-M Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, and through them I met my future husband. Actually, on one of our first ‘dates’ we ended up at Crazy Wisdom drinking tea and playing chess!”
It was in Ann Arbor, via the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor (a Waldorf school) which her children attend, that Dragovic was introduced to needle felting. “Waldorf early childhood education has an emphasis on storytelling, fairytales, and imaginative toys made of natural materials (including felted wool),” she said. “Experiencing this led me to rediscover the fairytale spirit of my childhood and inspired me to start creating small pieces of art for my children.”
Dragovic is self-taught, “learning from various books on needle felting and other techniques.” She is also unscripted with her creations. “My pieces start with a vague idea, and I just start working with my hands and see where it goes. I often end up with a piece that is completely different than I thought it would be!”
Her creations are delightful and warm my fairytale-loving heart. The little animal-people and fairies holding hearts are so sweet, and the mother holding her child is perfect as a gift or decoration for a child’s room. Each figure comes with a hoop for hanging; they are not intended as toys.
“I make my needle felting pieces from natural materials like Merino wool, which I buy at a local small business here in Ann Arbor,” Dragovic added. As for inspiration, she said, “My creativity is inspired by the people around me that I love and feel a connection with.”
But she expresses her creativity in several ways. “My favorite way to express my creativity is through my needle felting work, and other crafts, including wooden peg doll characters, watercolor (a new passion of mine), and beeswax candle-making.” Dragovic is also passionate about theatre. “I have been fortunate to be a part of two recent productions at The Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea: Diva Royale, a world-premiere play by Jeff Daniels; and All My Sons, a classic by Arthur Miller; both directed by Guy Sanville. I am also excited to continue further theatre education this summer through Michael Howard Studios in New York, with British voice coach, author, and theatre director Patsy Rodenburg.”
In addition to selling items in her Etsy shop LuMiVa, Dragovic’s creations “can also be found at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor store (located in the Lower School) and FOUND Gallery in Kerrytown.” Dragovic also has a terrific photographic eye and maintains a great Instagram account @rudakovic80 where you can find many of her most recent creations.
Find Branislava Dragovic and her creations online at etsy.com/shop/LuMiVa and www.instagram.com/rudakovic80.
Local energy medicine specialist and creation coach Christine Fodor became interested in alternative health therapies after she “had many health challenges starting at a young age.” She told me, “Western medicine just gave me drugs and no real solutions. I began searching because I knew there had to be something else out there. I found energy healing and alternative health therapies which really helped me. I thought to myself, people need to know about this stuff! So I began to study for myself and then share with others.”
While Fodor is certified in several modalities, I was particularly interested in Access Consciousness®, which I had not heard of before. As Fodor explained, “Access Consciousness® is a set of tools and questions to help you become more aware, conscious, and change things that you haven’t been able to change so you can live a greater life. Some of the tools include the Bars®, Facelift, and Body Processes. These are hands-on modalities to help the body shift and change.”
As for what these processes mean, Fodor elaborated, “The Bars® are 32 points on the head that represent different areas of your life and when touched release old thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that can limit your life and living.” This is called getting your Bars run and can be a very relaxing experience, “like you just had a great massage,” with life-changing results.
The Facelift, more physical in results and technique, “rejuvenates and reverses the appearance of aging…. It’s a nurturing and relaxing way to look and feel younger without surgery or injections.” Fodor said, “For me it feels like a whole body lift, or lifelift, with more energy and vitality.”
As for the Body Processes, there are over 50 that “facilitate the body to change and transform and invite healing.” Some of the “popular ones” that Fodor teaches are Correcting Vision, Functional Body Balance, and Zero Sum of Trauma.
Fodor was introduced by a healer friend to Access Consciousness® years ago, but she didn’t follow it. “Years later, [another] friend started using it with me, introducing me to … Access Consciousness® tools other than just the Bars®. The Bars® is one of the hands-on modalities in Access Consciousness®, and one of the most valuable in my opinion, but it’s the other tools that can be used in everyday life that made an impact on me.” She noticed an immediate change and began studying in 2012.
Now, she told me, “Access Consciousness® tools for me is an everyday all day way of being. Those who use the tools in this way usually change their lives for the better. It’s like positive thinking and the power of now with living meditation and lots of fun and more laughter.”
With several disciplines in her arsenal, Fodor is in a position to really personalize a client’s experience. “With all sessions, I wait for that specific day and time with my client to choose the type of session or modality for what they are asking to help, change, or create. And some clients already know that they would like a specific modality. Sometimes in a session we talk and do clearings, sometimes there is silence and a deep meditative state. We follow the energy for the best and highest good in the moment.”
To learn more or make an appointment with Fodor, visit renewalhealth.net, email email@example.com, or call (248) 444-7408.