Tracey Dawn is an Intuitive Counselor and writer. She is passionate about guiding others in building a relationship with their inner self. She provides intuitive readings, online courses, meditations and blog posts to inspire you to live your best life. Through inner work, Tracey believes everyone has the capacity to develop their intuition, harness their personal power and discover their innate sense of happiness.
Tracey and I talk about tapping into the power of being calm, and creating communities around the concept of happiness.
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I started studying psychology in high school and then followed it into university, got my degree there. Thought that's what I wanted to do was become a psychologist. But as I studied psychology in university, I just felt it wasn't for me. I wanted to do something more proactive and more pro-mental health, pro-wellness, rather than reactive.
Yeah, so I always knew that I was some sort of psychic or intuitive when I was a kid, and then growing up into being a teenager in my 20s, I was also a really strong empath, and that started to negatively affect me, because I didn't realize that I was an empath and didn't realize kind of what was happening to me as I was absorbing others emotions and problems and I started to wear it on my skin and it started to show as physical ailments on my skin and in my life.
So that was the big learning experience that I didn't really know what was happening at the time.
And then in my 20s, went to my local spiritual centre and took a set of meditation classes. That was really life changing for me because I learned how to meditate and learned how to set grounding, and how to create healthy, energetic boundaries. To really own my own energy and then have that healthy safe boundary from others and other harmful energies.
That was a really big turning point for me. I knew how to move forward and own my space. And then from that point on, I saw it as such a gift to be an empath.
And then I wanted to use my psychology from there and combine it with being an intuitive. And just learn to help people in that type of way.
How did you recognize that you had gifts as an intuitive? What were some of the things that alerted you to having psychic abilities?
Yeah, it started when I was a kid. I used to hear things people were gonna say before they said it. The phone would ring and I would know who's calling before I picked up the phone. Of course, that was before Caller ID, which takes the fun out of it now. And then, I...
A big turning point for me, actually, was in my 20s. My dad passed away from a terminally ill... He was terminally ill and had a neurodegenerative disease and that was a very heart-wrenching process to go through that with him. But when he passed away, he stayed with me in spirit. And he came back to visit me and be with me for quite a long time.
I didn't really know what was happening. I could hear him laughing. I could hear him speaking to me the day after he passed away and I thought, Oh no, I'm losing my marbles here.
You know, this isn't good! As a psychology graduate, I thought, Oh no, I'm hearing voices. I'm gonna have to go to the psych ward and get assessed for that because when you hear voices and you're a psychology graduate, you know that's not a good thing.
So I was too afraid to tell anyone. I don't feel that anyone in my family is inclined towards that intuitive psychic lifestyle. So I just felt very alone and afraid to tell anyone. Afraid that I had really gone over the deep end in my grief.
As time progressed, yeah, it was hard. Time progressed and I still would hear him talking to me and it became so real. I knew it was real.
And so, on my own, I started to research, you know, what's happening. I went to the library and started reading all these books and then went online and was like, looking online trying to just find some support with other people that had had this type of experience.
I began communicating with my dad on a regular basis. As I did that, and became more and more aware of his presence around me, I also became more and more aware that there was a load of spirits around me. It wasn't just my dad. It was a whole crowd.
And I can remember that exact moment, opening my awareness to that and just being like, Ohmygosh so there's my dad but who are all these other beings around me? And I could feel how ecstatic and happy those beings were around me, that I was finally aware of their presence.
So that was a pivotal moment for me. It was really exciting.
So again, I started, still not telling anyone, reading books and going online and I came across the term 'Spirit Guide', which I never heard before. Of course I've heard of angels, you know, in the past, but I thought angels were this kind of cherub-looking, very religious figure and I didn't think I believed in them, but all of a sudden, I'm surrounded by spirit guides and angels, so...
Anyways, I get on the computer. I'm trying to find, you know, look into spirit guides and what does that mean... came across your website, actually!
Yay! It worked.
Yeah, that was about four years ago now and yeah... I was really really happy to find your site. It gave me so many answers of what the heck was happening to me. This is real and this is a good thing. It's actually a gift. It's nothing to hide or be ashamed or embarrassed about.
It's a gift and how to use that gift.
That's such a cool... you know, that's such a cool moment for me to actually kind of shine a light on for a second. Because as you were telling that story about that moment that you became aware that, Oh wait a minute - there's a lot of something around me. You know, it's not just this one connection with my dad but there's actually some other kinds of spirits around me and they're ecstatic that I've noticed them.
When you were saying that, I flashed back to that moment for me, just for an instant, I was back in time and I remember that moment, that idea that, they were like, Oh yay! He can finally see that we're here, kind of thing. And how expectant they were for that to happen. So that took me back for a second and then I remember, everything that you've said about psychology and studying sort of the more clinical, academic route.
I had all of that conflict in myself as well. How can I be both these things? How can I be somebody who studies this and even takes it seriously, but also, I'm talking to people that aren't here. My whole impulse to put that out into the world was really... I think that at the time that I did it, I did it for myself, never thinking that anyone else would really run across it.
So to be here all this time later and to hear that you came along and found that, and that, there was so much comfort to be found in someone else saying, Yeah, this is happening to me too but I've decided it's okay. You know what I mean?
So I kind of want to say to everyone out there, who has whatever that is that they're hiding from everyone else that they think they're going to be judged over, I think sometimes you really do have to just be the person who's willing to raise your hand first so that other people can coalesce around you or whatever.
And that, if that's where you are in this moment, whatever it's about, just know that there's someone like what you're saying, who's gonna come along and see that and immediately be mired in it and connect with you.
It's the fastest way to not be alone in whatever it is that you're experiencing. Does that make sense?
Yeah, definitely. It's a big reason why I'm doing this - to help other people who are in that state, and let them know they're not alone. And help them to see that it's a gift.
Yeah you talked about the empath thing. About how being an empath, and absorbing toxic energy, started to manifest as illness for you. I hear a lot of people talking about being an empath in a way that's almost like a victimhood kind of thing. I get it.
I'm not saying that if you feel victimized by that, or overwhelmed by that, if you're in a state in your life where you're like, Ohmygod, I just feel like I'm being bombarded, I get it. I think that's a natural progression of awareness in that area.
But what was it, really, that allowed you to stop feeling victimized by that and to feel more empowered by it?
It's definitely being aware of my own energy and what my energy feels like. So that I can then be aware when someone else's energy is in my space. And then having a daily routine of grounding myself, setting up my boundaries, doing what I need to take care of me, for the day, so that I go out into my life...
Because we tend to avoid people if you're an empath. I think a lot of empaths like to stay at home and are introverts. It's just easier that way. But you can't stay home all the time. YOu know, you gotta go to the grocery store, sometimes you have to go to the airport where it's really busy. Being on an airplane can be tough.
So you need to have those tools to go out into the world so that you can handle it appropriately. And in that way too, you can build on those gifts because it IS a gift. Once you can harness it, you can start to move forward and grow with it and use it and be grateful that you have it.
Well, you and I were speaking right before we started recording about the climate in the world at large right now. We're speaking in July 2018, for those who are listening from the future. It's just really a disgruntled energy is the way that I described it to you, that I was absorbing. And I thought it was so timely because we set up this scheduled meeting so far in advance, not really knowing the week that I would've had, going into this conversation with you.
I love how things work out in a meaningful way time-wise, because you are someone that, your energy is very calm. It's something that I've always noticed about you. It's a way that you're very different from me. You have a stillness about you in your voice and it's very attractive and safe.
It's one of the reasons why I wanted to have you come on and have you talk about the work that you do. Because you do, sort of, represent something that I instinctively felt like we needed to hear and to think about.
So I was really drawn to this blog post that you wrote called 'Why Being Calm is a Superpower'. I struggle not to react to things in passion and anger. I'm always trying to dial myself down.
So tell me about this concept of being a calm superhero. Give me some advice.
Well I think everyone struggles with not reacting. Because I think that's the quickest and most natural way to react. It's a lot of what's happening around us, especially right now as you mentioned. It's just a really turbulent, chaotic time in our world unfortunately. It's really hard to watch the news and be aware of what's going on in the world.
So to be a calm superpower, it came to me. Superhero movies are everywhere right now. I don't know how many they made but they're just everywhere. And they're all so powerful and fast and strong and this and that, but what about being calm? I do believe that is a superpower. I think it's actually more difficult in such stressful times than to react.
So it does lean on a lot of meditation principles. But it's basically having that peaceful centre. So not immediately reacting to what's happening around you. It's choosing your reaction. So creating space between something that's happened and your reaction. Creating space in there, deliberately choosing how you want to react rather than instantly flying off the handle and reacting.
Because those reactions, they can also be physical reactions that you feel in your own body, right? So not only might you be putting out harmful energy into the world - you might also be harming your own body if you have high blood pressure, you've got a knot in your stomach, you clench your fists, you're sweating. The typical road rage. You picture someone on the crazy freeways that I visited a couple months ago in California. You've got that crazy road rage. That could also be harming your own body.
Yeah. You know, it's interesting that you mention right there, I think that that's actually... I've gotten much better, you know, than I was, say, in my 20s. I'm almost a completely different person in my ability to not react immediately and to take my time and really process my thoughts.
For anyone who struggles with firing off a text or whatever it is, one of the things that I do is, I write it in a separate application first. I rehearse and edit. Anything that I send that I feel like might be provocative or... I'm just very, very careful. Go through and look for warning signs of, don't use 'always', don't use 'never', talk about your feelings as opposed to accusing the person of their actions and all this kind of basic 'don't blow people up' kind of tools that we...
They're pretty popular! Most of us have heard these lectures before.
Even still, one of the things that I noticed when I have one of those interactions where I'm like, Okay, I've got to respond to this but I need to do it in a way that's not gonna escalate and all that good stuff.
I had one of those happen recently with a family member and the thing that I noticed and immediately was so regretful of is how it made me feel, physically, for the rest of the day. You know what I mean? I was like, That really sucked. It was not worth it. To have that interaction at all.
I used to be able to go in and out of that energy and sort of blow it off and fling it away. You brought such a good point up about the fact that when you do that, you're actually sort of releasing it into the world, right? You're sort of polluting the world with your own negativity. You're just heaping on, right?
Yeah. And you're adding to it. They're setting the bar at a certain level and you're just meeting them there.
I have to say that, I have this general rule about a radical lack of attention, which is, you know, the more someone is acting out, the less you respond to it. There's something very powerful about saying nothing.
What's interesting is, when you say nothing, and you choose to kind of come from a place of complete stillness, like I'm just going to be a statue here.
One of the things that I've noticed is, it doesn't disrupt your physical energy to just NOT react. You know what I mean? And, actually, it's a little shady because not reacting to people can actually make them more angry. So just be aware that you can be...
Don't do it from a place of passive-aggression. Do it from a place of, You know what? I don't want to feel that way.
The lesson for me in having that interaction was, you know what, it takes a toll on me. And there were so many things that I gave up for the rest of the day: my ability to concentrate, my ability to work productively.
I actually had to delay recording because things come through in your voice. You can hear it right now that I'm smiling when I'm speaking. You can hear that. I thought, I can't record, 'Hey! Welcome to my Show!' while I'm in this toxic cloud of... ugh!
I really do value the idea of being peaceful and being non-confrontational and trying to find the barrier. You talked about boundaries and I think that one of the things we're all struggling with right now is, when do you choose to act? Or, when do you choose say something or react to something, versus maybe being passive.
Do you have any thoughts about that?
Well I think it's important to take your time. I know I'm a big thinker, so if I'm in an altercation with someone, I like to step away and reassess my thoughts. It could also be the introvert in me.
So I also wanted to mention, because you said earlier there's a lot going on in our world right now and the energy is really intense and it's turbulent. So there's some spiritual leaders that say that you should only focus on what makes you feel good and only focus on what makes you feel joy. If something doesn't make you feel good, then to redirect your attention elsewhere.
I just want to say that that's something that I personally don't agree with. Because there's a lot going on in our world that needs positive change and I think it's really important that if something doesn't make us feel good, of course don't absorb it.
We know as empaths and highly sensitives - don't take it into your energy field. But be aware of it so that you can make it better. So that you can make it more beautiful. You can affect positive change. I watch the news personally. I like to know what's going on in the world even though some days it's really difficult. Some days I'll read it instead of watching it, because I find that a little easier on my system to read it.
I do think it's important to know what's going on because there's a lot going on right now. We need to help be the positive change.
I agree. I really do.
I think that that's a hard thing to manage is the thought of, avoiding the shadow versus bringing light to the shadow. As professional intuitives, often advise other people who are getting into this work to be aware of the fact that people aren't bringing you their celebratory issues. They're bringing you their darkness. They're bringing you stuff that they are troubled by.
So you really do have to have an ability to go into the shadow. To be the archetype, in the Tarot it's the Hermit, I call it the Lantern-Bearer. Where you are the person who helps guide people back to the light. The light doesn't need your light as much as the shadow does.
I was having a discussion with someone about the concept of avoiding the news versus me, like yourself, I want to be aware of it. And I feel empowered by knowing what's going on. I would feel more in danger by being disconnected from it.
I said to her that the metaphor to me of the shadow that we're up against is that we all kind of have our little individual candle. And if you bring your candle in, you light it. If you vote, if you speak your mind, all those candles lit collectively DO drive away the darkness.
I know it's a really hard thing for people to decide on. Because sometimes, like you said, the most sensitive people in the world are often the ones that have the most walls up. At some point, they just decided, you know what, it's just simpler for me to just close it all down and just shut it all off.
And so I understand that. I'm very compassionate towards people who feel that way, but I do want to encourage people, like you said, find a way to refocus the energy, or to filter the energy, for instance, reading versus watching, I know for myself, I have certain news sources that I find more calm, less likely to have ads everywhere, less likely to be clickbait.
For me personally, NPR's website because it's strictly just the story, you know, not a lot of chaos going on visually. Once you identify you have those certain sites, what I'll do is, even if I see a ticker running across the screen of some sensational thing that's just happened, I'll go to NPR and search for it and see what their version of it is. Because I know it's going to be a little bit more the tone that I want.
I think that's one of the ways that you can mitigate that energy someway. Or you can have some intention around it, like, I want this story that I want on my own terms.
And my own time.
And my own time.
Like, I don't want to deal with that right now because you have a baby and you might be doing something with your child and you're like, Ugh, I can't process both of those things simultaneously. You might want to come back later when you're able to sort of sit down and focus on it.
The other piece of advice that I've heard from people before is to picture things as if you're looking at them through a window. That's a little bit of a clairvoyant kind of exercise. But to meditate on something as if you're standing on a door, outside a door looking in to where it's happening. And if you picture there being a window between you and the thing, then it creates an energetic barrier, or filter, in some way.
It just kind of takes it away from you a little bit. It reminds your more primitive brain - this is not mine. I don't have to have a fight or flight response to this.
Yeah, and I would add that, we should really be looking at our whole life that way, as it's through a window, as like a movie playing out in front of us. We are in the background as the observer just to not get too attached to so many things in our life that's going on.
I think that's a great exercise.
Your website is called CreateYourHappiness.com and the concept of happiness is kind of ephemeral. It's a hard thing to pin down maybe. I think it's one of those things that we all feel like, we know it when we see it. Or it's this thing that we're aiming towards but we've never really spent time defining it.
So I was wondering, how do YOU define happiness as a concept?
Happiness is such a trendy word right now. I feel like everyone's on the search, on the pursuit of happiness and there are multiple definitions of happiness and it means different things to different people. It is kind of hard to pin down.
How I look at it is, there are essentially two types of happiness. There's the short-lived happiness that you get when you accomplish something. Maybe you meet a new partner, you fall in love, you buy something, you get a new house. Those are things that are new and exciting. And then it kind of, there's a drop off at some point after.
The other type of happiness I believe is building a relationship with your inner self. Which is essentially your soul, your spirit, your Higher self. There's lots of different words for it, but that's the true part of you that existed before you were born, that will continue to exist after you die, and it's your real true self.
So everything I do, the meditations I've created on my website, the blog posts I create, everything is essentially about building a relationship with your inner self. I believe when you do that, you develop your intuition. You come in to your sense of personal power, which is so important. You start to learn how to control and harness your emotions. Everything really falls into place when you can tune in to that innate sense of happiness.
And have it with you at all times.
I provide some meditation exercises that help you drop right back into it so you can tune in to that long lasting happiness that is a constant. Part of living this lifetime, we know is guaranteed that there will be heartbreak, there will be heartache, there will be pain. That's just something that's gonna happen.
So I don't want to say that it is all roses and rainbows and everything's going to be happy all the time. Because that's not true. We need to learn through these difficult, challenging experiences. But then as a result of going through those, it's looking at the situation and, how can I create my life now that this has happened to me?
So going back on my example of my dad passing away, it was very life-changing for me because after that happened, I felt like a different person. Like a more refined version of who I am.
It's like I hit a fork in the road. Who I was before wasn't going to be continuing forward in the same way because I was a different person. I had a choice - what do I want to create? What do I want my life to look like now that I've had to go through these couple of very difficult years?
So it was like, one side of the fork was creating anger and bitterness and resentment. I'm sure some people create addiction. Those types of things can go down that side of the road.
And then on the other side of the road was choosing to make my life better because of what happened to me. I wanted to create something beautiful and to help other people go through what I went through. And create just a better life as a result of what I had to endure and as a result, happiness follows all of that, of course.
So it's creating that long-lasting happiness, creating the life that you want is really a big part of doing what I'm doing, why my website's called Create Your Happiness.
You know, of course there's someone listening right there who feels the absolute opposite. There's someone who the back-in-time version of yourself and she is at the fork. And she feels terribly unhappy. She feels miserable. She's had the rug pulled out from under her. She's overwhelmed by all the energy coming at her.
What do you do first? What do you say to her? What advice can you give her... What do you do first to just kind of start to turn that around? Because it's gonna be a journey to get there, but if that's happening right in this moment, what's one thing, or a couple of things that she can do to change it?
Yeah, well first, you're not alone.
Everyone needs to go through something like this in their life. Unfortunately it's part of living and it doesn't make it feel any better in the moment. It still hurts so much. But you're not alone.
Second, to take care of YOU.
I'm such an advocate for self-care. I think it's so very important. Self-care looks different for different people. Maybe that's having a nice warm bath with candles. Or maybe it's reading a good book, having a glass of tea. It can be really anything but whatever makes you feel good in your own skin. Takes care of you.
I think that's really the first couple of steps to take and start there.
So tell me about the happiness tribe.
Yes! I'm really excited about the happiness tribe growing. It's really great to see.
I've just been wanting to collect a group of people who are like-minded in this topic and who want to learn more about who they really are. They want to learn how to develop their intuition and control their emotions and harness their personal power and create this collective of people.
There's a sign-up on my website and I send out a weekly newsletter about all these topics we've been discussing. And then also this week, I've just created the private Facebook group which I'm really excited about.
So we've got a Happiness Tribe group on Facebook and our mantra is 'A rising tide lifts all boats.' Meaning, together, by sharing information and collaborating with each other, we elevate the collective, as well as ourselves.
So the Facebook group is really about collaboration. Sharing information about books that you've read, insights you've had, experiences you've had, asking questions of the group, and just sharing amongst each other and finding that sense of community. I'm really looking to build a community around this topic.
So, you mentioned, the girl who's going through the very difficult time right now, I would love if those types of people could join us in the Happiness Tribe and feel safe and feel like they're not alone. And that they can ask any questions.
Maybe someone's going through what I mentioned earlier, where all of a sudden, you're hearing all these spirits talking to you and you're feeling like you're crazy and you can't tell anyone. I'd hope those people, too, would join our group and feel safe in sharing and learning about what's happening and how to use it and see the gift within it.
I think it's one of the true silver linings of social media. There's so many things in the news right now about how toxic social media is. But you're reminding us of something which, at its most basic, unhappiness is a sense of isolation. It's feeling alone in whatever it is you're experiencing.
I know, speaking to a lot of you who are emerging as intuitives, that, feeling like there aren't other people that you can talk about that with. Feeling like there's no one in your immediate world that you can confide in is one of the most negative parts of that experience. It's one of the most daunting things.
The cool thing about our technology is it does allow us to be with potentially thousands of other people who really do get us. And who really do want to answer your post about, What do I do? I feel like everything is sort of imploding on me, and I just need somebody to give me some advice.
People love to give advice. Believe it or not, even though we do this professionally, I've noticed it's an impulse in everyone to want to feel a sense of being able to save someone else from those emotions.
Like, by giving advice, by offering some words of encouragement, or whatever, and people are so timid about posting their pain, as opposed to the highlight-reel of how groovy their life is, you know?
If you've ever done it before, if you've ever put that post up that says, 'Hey, I'm really struggling with something. What do you guys think?' It's amazing how the impulse of people to flock to that and to weigh in on it.
So you've created something that is a very private, safe, environment where people are vetted to sort of come in and have those kind of conversations. Of course we will link to that in the show notes so everyone can find it.
Even though the world is such a crazy place right now. It's chaotic and everything else. Running parallel to that is amazing things we can do online and with social media. And that we can now gather and create a collective community online and find each other around the world and feel like we're not alone.
So I think it's interesting that those two things are running parallel at this time.
So what do you hope to contribute to the greater conversation about personal development and spirituality and happiness. What do you hope is your legacy?
Okay. Well definitely that you can create your life. That's really where I got my title, Create Your Happiness, from. So I'm a big advocate of goal-setting. That's something else that I talk a lot about on my website is, 10-year goals.
So picture your life 10 years from now. And if you haven't done that, it's so important to picture exactly the life that you want to have and dream big! Picture what your family life will be like. Your house. Where you live. Your job. Go over every aspect and imagine the life that you want to have.
And then from there, trickle it back to where you are today.
I provide a bunch of tools on my website about how to work toward those goals. So, we can't control what happens to us. We can't control the circumstances in our life. But we can control how we react. And then choosing to create your life, create your circumstances that you can control. And move yourself towards the life of your dreams.
Because you have the power to do that.
We didn't just come here to allow everything to happen to us. You know? We came here to learn and to love and to explore and I just want to help people be more playful in their life. And to enjoy themselves more, and to see that we came here to have fun. We came here to enjoy ourselves.
It doesn't need to be so serious and stressful, even though there are serious and stressful things going on around us.
So you have a free meditation on your website that I imagine is one of these tools. Tell us about the free meditation.
Yes so I created a 10-minute guided visualization meditation. For those who aren't familiar with the term 'guided visualization', basically it just means it's an audio clip of my voice. I'm walking you through exactly what to do, exactly what to think about. And it's using your imagination to do certain tools and exercises, like create a grounding and set an intention.
Versus, I feel like there's a stereotype of meditation that, you know, you sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and you try to not have any thoughts. I think to a lot of people, that's quite intimidating because it is so very difficult to get our mind to stop thinking thoughts. It's near impossible to do that.
This is a very friendly beginner type meditation and I walk you through everything. And then at the end, I walk you through how to set an intention for your day. So ideally it would be great if you use this meditation on a daily basis.
I ask that people bookmark the page and keep it on their phone or computer so that they can access it all the time, and create an affirmation and intention. So just thinking about, for each day, what do you want to create? Do you want to create that you are grateful today for everything that you have? Or do you want to create that 'I am successful' or 'I have loving friends and family'.
The possibilities are endless. And you can really check in with your goals to create those intentions. Or I can just fly off the handle for the day of what you want to experience that day. But that begins to start the process of creating your life and creating your happiness. Moving with intention. Moving into a place of creating your day as you would like to experience it.
That sounds awesome. And 10 minutes sounds like a small investment, especially for somebody that is struggling, you know?
Tracey, I always love your energy when I speak with you. It's been a true pleasure to capture our conversation, now that we can share with everyone else. So one more time, just tell everyone where they can go to find you online.
Yeah. It's www.createyourhappines.com is my website. I hope to see everyone there!
That was great, Tracey. Thank you for coming on the show.
Thanks so much for having me.