by Mitch Rustad
She's strutted her musical stuff in the world of theater in her 20s and became a highly sought after spiritual healer, lecturer and life coach in her 30s and 40s. But Aleta St. James really hit her stride in her 50s, when she became a media sensation--network divas like Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer tussled for interviews with her--by giving birth to healthy twins, a few days shy of her 57th birthday.
Despite a bevy of biological, medical and societal roadblocks, St. James never gave up or doubted herself. “If you don't listen to others negativity, you can really do incredible things,” says St. James, author of Life Shift, a comprehensive guide to breaking through emotional blocks and creating optimum health and wellness.
With energy medicine being such a hot topic these days--even Oprah is paying close attention to its healing potential--St. James down with us at her healing studio in New York City to talk about her unique approach to creating greater joy, health, and wellness in your life. Here are excerpts from that interview:
Many in the LGBT community have suffered childhood traumas or feelings of rejection. What's your approach to healing very old but still painful feelings?
Simply feeling different at a young age can cause deep emotional blocks that can last for years. I've noticed this block often working with my gay clients. Often, the feeling of being different, and not accepted at a very basic level at an early age, can close someone down and as a result, it feels impossible to find support in this world. So you don't take the risks you need to build a happy life--going for the job you really want, feeling good enough to attract a healthy relationship--these are common issues but I notice it even more in my gay clients. It's important to identify energetically what you're emotionally still holding on to. What usually needs to be healed is self-esteem and worth, and reaching an acceptance at a deep level of self, both spiritually and physically.
Hopefully you can get to the point where you stop protecting yourself from rejection and open up to love and support from the right people. These old barriers and blocks keep support and love away from you, even if it feels like they keep you safe.
I've heard a lot about bodywork being especially helpful in healing old wounds? What kind of treatments can help dissolve emotional barriers?
Deep tissue massage can get right into areas of tightness and tension, which also where fear and anger reside in your body. Acupuncture is really great because it gets your energy flowing again. Reiki is also good, and so is rolfing. I've found that Yamuna body rolling is amazing and more and more available around the country. Yoga is fantastic for moving energy. These are simple tools that can keep negative energy moving out of your body and align yourself back into a state of health and wellness.
My own healing modalities include a combination of touch, breath work, guided meditation, color, light and sounds, which in concert help release emotional blocks at a subconscious and cellular level.
What are the limits of positive thinking when it comes to creating health and happiness? It doesn't always work for me!
In Life Shift, I explain that we have four bodies-the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, so even though we may be trying to think positively, it's not always effective because the emotional and physical body are housed in our subconscious. It only takes 33 1/3 seconds for the subconscious to accept an idea, and then it logs that idea as fact, or that feeling as real. That's why weeks, months or years of hurtful experiences get imprinted and housed in us and need to be released.
So before positive thinking can truly be effective, it's more important to discover the negative feelings and thoughts that are housed in our physical and emotional body. Otherwise all the positive thinking in the world will just get sabotaged. If you're thinking that you're powerful and healthy and can do anything you set your mind to, but still hold on to deep feelings that you're not enough, or that you're powerless because of something that your parents or peers in school did when you were young, you won't really believe that it's true.
What do these blocks or negative feelings actually feel like? How do you even know they're there?
You can literally feel them in the body. You can feel the anxiety in your stomach, or feel short of breath, or when you suffer from excessive worry and anxiety; these are imprinted in the cells and organs of our body. Until you release these traumas or experiences, all the positive thinking in the world isn't going to endure. If you think positively and manage to achieve a goal or make lots of money, but deep down still don't feel worthy of it, there's a good possibility you'll lose it. Your conditioning of lack will make you so uncomfortable you'll yearn to get back to normal, even if that means a worse situation. Why? That's what your body knows and expects. People might want to be in love, but the minute the right person shows up, they will push them away or mess it up. They still don't feel worthy of that love.
How does one get past this powerful comfort zone or conditioning stored in the body?
Everything in life is energy, your feelings, thoughts, etc., so it's about creating an energy shift. I approach it through the energy tools of breath, color, meditation, and then using affirmations and visualization to bring up what you're really feeling and thinking, and help release it, so you make room in the body energetically to allow the actual goals and changed you're dreaming about into your life. You'll stop blocking or sabotaging yourself.
So old traumas can literally run your life?
Of course they can, and do! But for many people you're not even in control of it because usually you don't know it's happening. You can be energetically stuck at 12 years old even if you're actually 42 or 52 or whatever age. How can you accomplish goals or live your dreams when you're emotionally stuck in childhood? You may still excel in one area, but can't get arrested in the other. You have to clean out your emotional and physical self, which can be done through great nutrition, detoxing, active and guided meditations, therapy, etc.
What's your recipe for happiness?
Have a sense of humor. Shift and remove negative energies from your body as quickly as possible. Practice gratitude and appreciation and see your cup as half full, not half empty. Also, practice forgiveness, belief, faith and trust in yourself, and know that when one doors closes, another opens. This will put you in a state of high vibration and get the joy flowing.
"Simply feeling different at a young age can cause deep emotional blocks that can last for years. I've noticed this block often working with my gay clients."