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The Art of Relaxation – Getting Your Zen On

burning the candle at both ends

Burning the Candle At Both Ends

Everyone is in a hurry to go somewhere and do something—from the minute you wake in the morning until you rest your head upon your pillow to sleep. We are busy individuals. People to see, places to go. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to accomplish all we feel we must.

We push ourselves to maintain the status quo of what is expected. Some days are more challenging than others and they begin to take their toll on our mind, body and spirit. Obstinate people, deadlines and disappointments batter our psyche. The inundation of stress weakens our resistance. We succumb to the constant worries of going along to get along. The “What if this?,” the “Oh no’s” and the “You’ve got to be kidding me” scenarios increase to an insurmountable level. Only when we are at the end of our rope, drained and depressed, do we recognize our need for balance.

art of relaxation

Practical Methods of Relaxation

Most peoples first thought is to take a well-deserved vacation. Time off and away from the hectic pace. Relax and decompress in some soothing environment like the beach or the mountain terrain. Escape from reality if only for a week.

However, many of us are not that fortunate to have the capability to drop our responsibilities and/or afford the luxury of a tropical getaway. Some of us will make do with a more practical and cost-effective method such as a day at the spa—pampering galore with steam baths, massage and pedicures.

If this method doesn’t fit into the budget, one must be more creative with options. For example, this is why meditation is becoming mainstream and highly regarded as a technique for its restorative elements.

The Universal Remedy For Stress

Meditation is affordable and accessible. Two very good reasons to apply meditation into your everyday life. Meditation consists of and delivers every aspect of decompression, relaxation and peace that one could ask for.

The only problem with this suggestion is convincing certain people to give it a try and to diligently stick to a routine until they experience its valuable results. Those who snob their noses at the idea seem to think it is entirely too time-consuming. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you do not need to sit quietly for hours as a monk in training to reap the benefits.

zen meditation

Another huge stumbling block that hinders involvement in this practice is that many who have given it a whirl mention that they cannot adjust or stop their inner dialogue. They become frustrated with inner chatterings of the mind. A common theme of inner chatter seems to consist of self-critical commentary. They get caught up in the negative self-talk. Thoughts race through the brain like “I need to get laundry done, “Why can’t I quiet my mind?,” “I must be stupid or slow,” or “I’m bored.”

Now they are turned off and want to quit. However, this is the perfect opportunity to expand your consciousness and learn a life lesson about inner dialogue. Recognize what you are saying and the effect it is having upon your spirit.

Redirect those thoughts with an application of a positive nature. For example, “I am learning something new,” “I give to myself the gift of compassion,” or “Don’t worry, be happy.” This reassuring self-talk will encourage not discourage.

positive affirmations for relaxation

Restoring Your Zen

If the inner chatter enters, acknowledge it and let it go. Replace it and comfort yourself with uplifting and loving thoughts. Then return to concentrating on your breath. Intentionally breathe deeper than normal. Transmit all attention to the rise and fall of your chest. With every inhale, visualize positivity in. On the exhale, be willing to release all negativity.

Align your breath and heart rhythms. Feel the stress dissipate. Enjoy the shift of your balanced emotional state. Allow your physical being to submerge itself into the tranquility. Embrace this euphoric moment of becoming calm, relaxed and peaceful.

Can you hear the pounding surf? Can you feel the ocean breeze? Can you smell the salty air?

So if you want to get your Zen on, try meditation. It is just as efficient if not more so than an expensive vacation. You can do it at any time, anywhere and without draining your bank account. Who knew?

art of relaxation

About the Author

Kaylee is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She has been mindfully aware of and practicing her psychic abilities since she was a child. Led by her spirit guides, Kaylee has obtained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the ethereal realm and alternative modalities of energy healing. Kaylee is a shamanic healer and New Age artist.

zen master






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Meditation: A Positive and Proven Tool for Healing Your Mind Body and Spirit

meditation spiritual

The Origins of Meditation

Originally meditation was viewed solely as a Buddhist practice reserved for the monks.

Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s—the time of Aquarius—people associated meditation with the Hippies seeking transcendence.

Over the years, there have been thousands of studies done on the benefits of this woo-woo fad. Who knew?

As of late, western medicine has begun to get on board with claims of stress-reduction and as an effective method to manage fear and anxiety.

Wow! There really must be something to it! So…why aren’t more of you actively participating?

I am not saying that meditation is a magic bullet. There is no such mystical one shot treatment, not even in pill form. But with the amount of research showing favorable results, what’s stopping you from giving it a try?

What Is Meditation?

Some people think that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness. Different meditation programs approach this in different ways, all bearing positive benefits to better oneself.

What began as an Eastern faith devotion has spanned and spread to all countries, cultures and creeds. The meditation discipline has expanded to all people searching for a calm mind and a relaxed body.

Do You Meditate?

Have you ever noticed that when you ask individuals if they participate in a daily meditation practice, you receive one of two reactions. The first is a wide-eyed look of enthusiasm accompanied by the affirming head nod. The second and polar opposite response is the agonizing deep sigh, followed by the eye roll or the glazed over look.

You can immediately sense that these people are fearing a lecture on the benefits. They obviously have a preconceived notion to the concept; they know little to nothing about the subject and choose not to broaden their knowledge concerning it.

For those in the latter category who appear to have an aversion to the concept, theories and techniques of meditation, would be inclined to change their opinion if they opened themselves to the experience and gave it a chance.

I am not referring to attending one class, session or workshop. I am not suggesting that you read a book or a hundred books on the topic. Educating yourself about meditation is fine, but to receive the benefits, you actually have to do it!

Schedule Some Time For YOU

When I say give it a chance, I am saying that you must be committed to the practice of mindfulness meditation. You absolutely have to structure your schedule to incorporate the necessary time allotment designated for meditation in your daily routine.

This takes planning. Expecting quiet time to miraculously appear is unrealistic. You have to block these moments of meditation the same way you do breakfast, lunch and dinner. Find an arrangement that works best for your busy day. Be honest with yourself—especially if you are one who uses the excuse that you have no time for meditation because you are always playing catch up and running from here to there. It would probably suit your needs to begin your morning with 15-20 minutes of meditation. This will manifest a centered and calm tone throughout your day.

With a dedicated practice you will eventually experience the benefits. Look for results in about 4-6 weeks. You most likely will notice that you have become more tolerant and compassionate toward incidences that previously would have sent you into a tizzy.

The Effort is Worth the Reward

I relate this to dieting. It is so difficult to stay committed to a weight loss program, but once you step on the scale and see that you have dropped those unwanted pounds—well, it’s motivation to stay the course and keep up the good work. You are reassured that the effort is worth the reward.

You may slip up while on your diet. You could fall off the wagon and cheat with some chocolate cake. That’s fine. The same applies to meditation. You may miss a couple of days but you must get back to it. It will eventually become a habit you will not want to break.

At this point in your practice you may be inclined to incorporate another section of time (15-20 minutes) for meditation before bedtime. This will ensure a good night’s rest.

On your journey toward your goal, you are feeling more and more worthy, whole, confident and capable. You have discovered the profound changes available when you become mindful. Learn to trust your newfound wisdom and have it propel you to the next level of enlightenment.


Misconceptions of Meditation

What Meditation IS:
  • A process of transformation directing your attention in a clear and calm way
  • Developing Awareness and strengthening qualities such as compassion and kindness
  • Expanding your wisdom about yourself and life
  • Provides mental and physical health benefits
What Meditation IS NOT:
  • Something to fear
  • An excuse to do nothing
  • A self-induced trance
  • A practice solely for hippies and monks
  • Conflicting with your religious beliefs
  • Requiring hours of silence per day
  • Impossible

Physical Benefits of Meditation

1) Lowers high blood pressure*

2) Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety and panic attacks*

3) Decreases tension related pain (tension headaches, ulcers, muscle and join problems)*

4) Increases Serotonin production that improves mood and behavior*

5) Improves the immune system*

6) Increases energy and quality of life*

7) Reduces aging and promotes longevity*

8) Helps with having restful sleep*

9) Improves breathing*

10) Reduces inflammation*

Mental Benefits of Meditation

1) Helps to effectively manage stress, fear, panic, anxiety and depression (reduces cortisol)*

2) Improves emotional stability*

3) Creativity increases*

4) Happiness increases*

5) Gain clarity and peace of mind*

6) Helps you feel more connected*

7) Increases your attention span*

8) Increases awareness*

9) Enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance*

10) Better decision-making and problem solving skills*

11) Gives an appreciation for life*

How To Meditate: A Brief Exercise

If you are still in doubt and not wanting to buy what I’m selling, I suggest you try this experiment.

This will only take a few minutes. Find a relatively quiet environment. Sit or lay down. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Deeply inhale and exhale. Feel grateful for the air in your lungs. Inhale and exhale. Repeat. Feel blessed for being alive. Inhale and exhale.

Congratulations, you have just participated in mindfulness meditation.


Physical Benefits of Meditation
  1. Barnes, Vernon A., Frank A. Treiber, and Harry Davis. “Impact of Transcendental Meditation® on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure.” Journal of psychosomatic research 51.4 (2001): 597-605.

2. Solberg, E et al. “Stress Reactivity to and Recovery from a Standardised Exercise Bout: A Study of 31 Runners Practising Relaxation Techniques.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 34.4 (2000): 268–272. PMC. Web. 13 Dec. 2015.

3. Bakhshani, Nour Mohammad, et al. “The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Perceived Pain Intensity and Quality of Life in Patients With Chronic Headache.” Global journal of health science 8.4 (2015): p142.
4. Bujatti, M., and P. Biederer. “Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique.” Journal of Neural Transmission 39.3 (1976): 257-267.
5. Infante, Jose R., et al. “Levels of immune cells in transcendental meditation practitioners.” International journal of yoga 7.2 (2014): 147.
6. Dunlop, Julie. “Meditation, Stress Relief, and Well-Being.” Radiologic technology 86.5 (2015): 535-555.

7. Hoge, Elizabeth A., et al. “Loving-Kindness Meditation practice associated with longer telomeres in women.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 32 (2013): 159-163.

8. Martires, Joanne, and Michelle Zeidler. “The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia.” Current opinion in pulmonary medicine 21.6 (2015): 547-552.
9. Cernes, Relu, and Reuven Zimlichman. “RESPeRATE: the role of paced breathing in hypertension treatment.” Journal of the American Society of Hypertension 9.1 (2015): 38-47.

10. Gerbarg, Patricia L., et al. “The Effect of Breathing, Movement, and Meditation on Psychological and Physical Symptoms and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Inflammatory bowel diseases 21.12 (2015): 2886-2896.

Mental Benefits of Meditation
  1. Taren, Adrienne A., et al. “Mindfulness meditation training alters stress-related amygdala resting state functional connectivity: a randomized controlled trial.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience (2015): nsv066.

    2. Lee, Yu-Hao, et al. “Improved Emotional Stability in Experienced Meditators with Concentrative Meditation Based on Electroencephalography and Heart Rate Variability.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 21.1 (2015): 31-39.
    3. Lippelt, Dominique P., Bernhard Hommel, and Lorenza S. Colzato. “Focused attention, open monitoring and loving kindness meditation: effects on attention, conflict monitoring, and creativity–A review.” Frontiers in psychology 5 (2014). Ramesh, M. G., et al. “Efficacy of Rajayoga Meditation on Positive Thinking: An Index for Self-Satisfaction and Happiness in Life.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 7.10 (2013): 2265. Pickert, Kate. “The art of being mindful. Finding peace in a stressed-out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently.” Time 183.4 (2014): 40-46.

6. Hutcherson, Cendri A., Emma M. Seppala, and James J. Gross. “Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness.” Emotion 8.5 (2008): 720.

7. Bueno, Viviane Freire, et al. “Mindfulness Meditation Improves Mood, Quality of Life, and Attention in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” BioMed Research International (2014).

8. Hasenkamp, Wendy, and Lawrence W. Barsalou. “Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks.” Frontiers in human neuroscience 6 (2012).

9. Crescentini, Cristiano, and Viviana Capurso. “Mindfulness meditation and explicit and implicit indicators of personality and self-concept changes.” Frontiers in psychology 6 (2015).

10. Capurso, Viviana, Franco Fabbro, and Cristiano Crescentini. “Mindful creativity: the influence of mindfulness meditation on creative thinking.” Frontiers in psychology 4 (2013).

11. Barnby, Joseph M., et al. “How similar are the changes in neural activity resulting from mindfulness practice in contrast to spiritual practice?.” Consciousness and cognition 36 (2015): 219-232.

About the Author

Kaylee is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She has been mindfully aware of and practicing her psychic abilities since she was a child. Led by her spirit guides, Kaylee has obtained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the ethereal realm and alternative modalities of energy healing. She applies various techniques with clients such as Intuitive Reading, Aura Cleansing, Chakra Balancing, Sound and Crystal Therapy, Meditation, Reiki, Shamanic Counseling and Spiritual Life Coaching.





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Meditation For Beginners

Meditation 101:

A Lesson in Meditation for Beginners

meditation for beginners
Have you contemplated learning how to meditate
or are you new to the practice of meditation?

The reasons why you meditate or begin to meditate may vary. You may want to relieve stress, achieve more relaxation, the increased ability to focus, or you may seek a closer connection with yourself, the world and other worlds. You may be seeking enlightenment, a transcended state of insight, peace and love.

You may have seen the 2010 film Eat Pray Love. Unfortunately most of us don’t have the luxury to endlessly travel the world without a job and be on a permanent vacation to find ourselves. That movie was great for bringing values of enlightenment into our cultural lens. It brought to our conscious awareness how expansive meditation can be to our being, but we cannot base our own meditation practice on Julia Roberts’ idyllic fantasy.

Unrealistic expectations aside, adding meditation to your life can seem overwhelming.

You inevitably may begin to think of reasons about why you cannot or will not meditate. You may think that you are too busy. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t know how to meditate. You don’t know what type of meditation to participate in or if it will align or conflict with your values and beliefs.

As a meditation instructor, I have heard all of these factors (excuses) continuously over the last four years while teaching classes. These are the most common reasons that have been relayed to me of why people do not meditate. However, I believe the biggest reason is fear, specifically fear of the unknown.

It still blows my mind how many people have misconceptions about practicing meditation. These have included beliefs that meditation requires lots of time, the practitioner needs substances to induce a trance-like state, that meditation is for hippies, or even that it commits you to a certain religion. All of these are myths!

meditation for beginners

Overcoming Excuses of Meditation

*You Don’t Have Time to Meditate*

It is hard to imagine that sitting still is going to help you while you are thinking about the hundred things you should be doing. In all actuality, you may have a hundred things to do but at some point you are going to make time to sit down and flake off with a bag of potato chips and Netflix, but you won’t make time to meditate and learn a practice that you can incorporate beneficially for the rest of your life.

You may think that you don’t have time do anything else other than your current responsibilities. With a little time management and awareness of how you are using your time, you will discover at least fifteen minutes per day that you could devote to meditation. If you don’t even have fifteen minutes, I’m certain you have five. Try this Five Minute Meditation exercise.

You can literally expand the space-time continuum with meditation, helping to make more enriched moments for yourself. Meditation will change your perception of reality, which will improve how your mind and body handle stressful situations. Not making meditation a priority is not making yourself a priority.

*You don’t know what to expect or how to meditate*

Instead of mindlessly scrolling and trolling on Facebook and thinking you are helping yourself to relax, take those minutes and find a quiet place to sit or lay down. Close your eyes and focus on feeling your breath and feeling gratitude for being alive. Congrats, you have just meditated and helped yourself through the process of active relaxation.

*You don’t know if it will align or conflict with your values and beliefs*

Just because you participate in a meditation that has roots in a certain religion does not mean that you have to become a member of that religion or that it conflicts with your values and beliefs. Meditation is a beautiful practice that seeks to identify common aspects and ideals of life that are shared between all religions and cultures. Some of the prevalent meditation themes or teachings include the infinite, the eternal, transcendence, existence, nature, mother earth, energy, discipline, empowerment, peace, awareness, requiescence, release, faith, love, and compassion. These are universal philosophies.

*You don’t know what type of meditation to participate in*

I will provide a list of the main types of meditation below that are prominently practiced all around the world. Read the descriptions, benefits and challenges of each type and see which ones speak to you. Often times if you take a meditation class or listen to a meditation CD, they will combine many of these traditions and techniques. Some types of meditation are more challenging than others. A preconceived notion is that meditation involves a trance-state or ingesting substances. These practices are not needed to enhance your spiritual development.

 Popular Types of Meditation

guided imagery meditation

Guided Visualization
Guided Imagery Meditation

Country of Origin: United States

Associated religion: None; Psychology and Music Therapy were founding fields

Pros: Ultimate benefit for stress relief; Good mental and physical relaxation; Increases spatial intelligence (ability to visualize with mind’s eye); May promote creativity in life; Requires little effort, time and discipline; May promote bodily healing

Cons: Difficult to do without guidance or an instructor; May be challenging if you struggle with imagination

Guided visualization meditation is a technique that uses the imagination to envision relaxing images and scenes that elicit a peaceful response from the mind and body. It is often used in combination with music and/or touch to make it more effective. This is an easy technique for beginners as it requires little formal teaching or discipline.

mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness and Lovingkindness Meditation

Culture of Origin: Tibet

Associated Religion: Tibetan Buddhism

Pros: Provides great awareness; Increases your ability to focus; Teaches discipline; Can become a peaceful way of life; Can help you develop more compassion for yourself and others; Allows you to see the world with new eyes

Cons: Requires a lot of practice; May be uncomfortable if experienced in the traditional sitting posture; Difficult to maintain balance between the “mundane” and “supermundane.”

Mindfulness meditation, also known as Vipassana, is formally practiced in a group or ‘Sangha’. This practice will teach you to shift your focus between different levels of awareness. For example, the feeling of your breath, the sensation of your body touching the chair you are sitting on and the sounds of the birds singing outside. This active recognition of sounds and feelings we typically ignore can build deeper consciousness and inner awareness, allowing you to access your innate wisdom.

Mindfulness has been extensively researched and has been shown to be beneficial with numerous ailments, diseases and health states. It has been known to help practitioners experience the world in a new and heightened way. It can also teach you how to acknowledge pain and discomfort in a more neutral perspective. Mindfulness also involves a practice known as lovingkindness, which will instruct you on how to better love and value yourself as well as others.

body scan meditation

Body Scan Meditation

Pros: Extremely effective for mental and physical relaxation; Good for the beginner; Can quickly stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms

Cons: Difficult to do without guidance or an instructor; May temporarily cause increased perception of pain, discomfort or tension in the body that you were ignoring

Body Scan Meditation is a form of Mindfulness meditation that has been adopted as its own technique in the West. It helps to expand your awareness of the mind/body connection, release stress/tension and quiet the mind. Body Scan meditation is particularly effective in relaxing the physical body and breath and increasing focus and concentration. It can be practiced on your own once you understand the technique.

zazen meditation

Zazen Meditation

Culture of Origin: Japan

Associated Religion: Zen Buddhism

Pros: Teaches mental and physical discipline, resilience and good posture; Increases your ability to focus for long periods of time

Cons: Can be uncomfortable, even painful; Extremely regimented; Not easily practiced by a beginner meditator

Zazen meditation is the act of sitting in a straight posture for a long period of time. It requires commitment and dedication to this art, which has been a staple in Japan’s Zen Buddhist tradition for thousands of years.

Zazen is traditionally followed at a temple but can be done on one’s own. Practice and experience are required to do well because of this technique’s heightened discipline. It teaches you to acknowledge and overcome discomfort and/or pain that may arise by reacting with neutrality rather than restlessness.

kundalini meditation

Kundalini Meditation

Culture of Origin: India

Associated Religion: Hinduism

Pros: Clears and balances the chakras (body’s energy centers); Can provide rapid life change; A moving and profound mystical experience

Cons: Can have diminished effectiveness if you lack imagination and visualization skills; May be overwhelming if you are not completely ready for change and transcendent energy

Kundalini or “coiled” describes a dormant energy that is thought to rest at the base of your spine, curled like a sleeping snake, waiting to be awakened. When this life force energy is awakened, you may experience a tingling or electric feeling up your spine and a heightened sense of awareness of the world around you. You may be more sensitive and open to be influenced by others emotions. Kundalini meditation can help you cleanse and balance your chakra energy centers, clearing your channel from the earth to the divine, increasing your connection to all things.

transcendental meditation

Transcendental Meditation

Country of Origin: India

Associated religion: Hinduism

Pros: Accesses pure consciousness; May achieve an absence of mental boundaries; Can provide a transcendent experience and enlightened visions

Cons: Difficult to maintain focus on mantra; More involved than Mindfulness or Zazen; Not focused on your life, emotions or purpose; Begins to delve into trance-like states rather than self-development; Focuses on ‘rising above’ rather than working with the mind in its current state

Transcendental Meditation is a practice that became popular in the western world in the 1960s. It involves silently repeating a mantra, which has been said to remove the mind from problem-solving mode, consequently allowing it to reside in a state of free flow. The repetition has been thought to allow the person’s mind to transcend normal realms of thought. Practitioners believe this allows them to passively observe his or her own thoughts without judgment and that this may provide enlightened visions. The goal is to have an out of body or transcendental experience, rising above the boundaries of this reality.

qi gong meditation

Qi Gong Meditation

Culture of Origin: China

Associated Religion: Taoism

Pros: Focuses on regulating the breath; May balance energetic meridians and life force energy; Can heal specific physical areas of pain and discomfort; Increases awareness of self and society

Cons: May involve movement; Doesn’t connect the circulation of life force energy with the emotions

Qi gong is a meditation of that uses breathing and movement to cultivate a state of passive awareness, which teaches us how to let go of things we cannot control. It allows the mind to empty of scattered thought and focus on small motions and feelings in specific areas of the body. It involves harnessing, strengthening and balancing the body’s life force energy and sending it to places within that need healing. This practice describes life force energy in terms of moderation, flexibility and constant nurturing. Qi gong meditation has been prescribed by both Eastern and Western physicians and is popular in traditional Chinese Medicine.

About the Author

Kamaira Philips, Bachelor of Music (BM), is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She is an operatic soprano, an intuitive energy healer and modern shaman, a meditation instructor, a certified EMT and a scientist. Kamaira is researching topics related to immunology and alternative medicine at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and at the UNC Program on Integrative Medicine.







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Five Minute Meditation

Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, nervous and unfocused?

Try this five minute meditation exercise.

It will definitely help you calm yourself and get centered.

five minute meditation

Five Minute Meditation

Take a seat and sit up straight.
Feet on floor, shoulder width apart.
Place your hands on your thighs, palms up.
Begin by focusing on your breath.
Take deep cleansing breaths.
Inhale slowly for a count of four,
pause for a count of two,
then exhale slowly for four,
hold for a count of two.

Visualize an immense ball of healing white light emerging under your feet.
Draw that energy upward into your calves and then your thighs.
Allow this light into your hips, waist, and solar plexus area (stomach).
Feel any knots in your stomach release.
Welcome this warmth into your chest, back, shoulders, and neck.
Move it into your throat.
Let the ball of light travel to your face and penetrate your crown chakra (top of your head).
Experience all tensions and worries dissolving.

You may perform this meditation at any time or any place for relaxing results.

I like this technique because it is quick and easy, but most of all effective.

About the Author

Kaylee is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She has been mindfully aware of and practicing her psychic abilities since she was a child. Led by her spirit guides, Kaylee has obtained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the ethereal realm and alternative modalities of energy healing. Kaylee is a shamanic healer and New Age artist.