Alan Manoukian, Shamanic Healer

Alan Manoukian is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and shamanic practitioner in the Bay Area. Coming from a lineage of both Huichol and Armenian healers, Alan has trained with a variety of teachers, mentors, and medicine people from around the world since 2011. He integrates aspects of Medicine Theater and Mythology in his individual and group sessions. For more information, please check out

How to Have as Much Stress as Possible!

by Mike McGarry

Nothing better than stress, right? Well, OK, maybe not. Just about everybody in our modern world has too much stress and would like less.

Stress can often arises our busy lives. Since we juggle keeping up with school, working long hours at our jobs, maintaining meaningful relationships, and more, who can blame us? It causes us worry, panic, and even physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, and more.

Stress is a normal part of modern life, and one that is quite challenging to eliminate altogether. But there are definitely things we all do that cause us to have even more.

In this post, we decided to take a playful approach to this important issue. As promised in the title, below you will find a list of 100+ things that genuinely can increase your stress. While you may get a chuckle here and there, a somewhat more sobering assessment would be to note how many of these you actually do on a daily basis—we all do at least some of these sometimes!

If you are honest with yourself, how many of these stress-causers play a role in your life?

1. breathe in frenetic short bursts and gasps only
2. keep you muscles locked in tension
3. wear uncomfortable clothes and footwear
4. slouch
5. avoid exercise
6. avoid stretching
7. pursue torpor as ongoing physical state
8. stay inside as much as possible
9. eat junk food
10. eat fast food
11. consume high fructose corn syrup as much as possible
12. gulp food down while distracted by other things
13. skimp on sleep, getting your pep from energy drinks
14. smoke
15. use illegal drugs
16. never drink water
17. never eat fresh fruits & veggies
18. never eat organic
19. complain
20. worry
21. be consistently late
22. underestimate the times of trips
23. underestimate the effort in tasks
24. plan poorly, if at all
25. be unprepared
26. routinely fear the worst
27. actively imagine all the terrible things in life that could happen to you
28. give full credence to any half-baked apocalyptic scenario of doom that you encounter
29. see yourself as a victim of circumstances
30. overestimate threats
31. overestimate risks
32. overvalue pain
33. undervalue love
34. underestimate your inherent fortitude
35. underestimate the people in your life
36. look for the bad in people
37. look for the depressing in situations
38. be painfully serious about everything in your life
39. don’t laugh—unless it’s in bitter sarcasm
40. don’t smile
41. pride yourself on your suffering
42. interpret your pain as something that isolates you from others
43. be impatient
44. be judgmental
45. be dogmatic
46. be perfectionistic
47. be dismissive
48. be suspicious of anyone who is joyful
49. be suspicious of innocence
50. be suspicious of genuine warmth
51. avoid eye contact
52. avoid open-ended curiosity
53. avoid wonder
54. don’t adjust what you say or do in differing contexts
55. blame
56. hold grudges
57. forgive no one ever
58. be defensive
59. be easily offended
60. remember pain
61. remember unfortunate chance events
62. forget fortunate chance events
63. forget favors
64. forget joy
65. take responsibility for nothing
66. don’t show anyone your true feelings
67. make people guess what’s important to you—don’t tell them! let them figure it out!
68. lie
69. don’t trust
70. don’t be vulnerable with anyone
71. maintain a persona completely different from who you are
72. misrepresent yourself to those who would accept you
73. suspect the worst of everyone else’s motives
74. interpret interpersonal ambiguity in a way that is specifically hurtful to you
75. avoid all conflict
76. be passive-aggressive
77. cheat on your lover
78. cheat on your income tax
79. cheat in your academic/professional life
80. keep no track of your finances
81. be penny-wise and pound-foolish
82. have a job you hate
83. have a daily commute that you hate
84. bottle up your feelings
85. practice denial (there’s no problem with that river in Egypt!)
86. in romance, use arguments as the only means of generating passion
87. feed boredom with distractions
88. feed loneliness with gratification
89. avoid silence
90. appreciate nothing
91. be grateful for nothing
92. focus all your happiness outside of yourself
93. focus all your dreams outside of the present moment
94. pine for circumstances utterly unlike those in which you find yourself
95. play lots of video games
96. see lots of action movies
97. watch lots of TV
98. listen only to loud intense music with a room-rattling beat
99. pursue adrenaline-drenched thrills
100. shove an electronic device in your face as soon as you wake up in the morning
101. walk through the world with your face buried in an electronic device
102. give alternative reality a level of attention never given to actual reality
103. avoid time in Nature
104. never look at the sky
105. never look at flowers
106. never smell flowers
107. never listen to birds
108. never listen to flowing water
109. never hug
110. never get a massage
111. avoid children at play
112. completely ignore the inevitables of life
113. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having a human body
114. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having human emotions
115. hold on to any philosophical/religions messages that make you feel bad for having ordinary human imperfections
116. attach excessive undue importance to round numbers (age, salary, weight, etc.)

This post was originally posted here.

Mike McGarry is one of the Directors of the East Bay Healing Collective. He facilitates the Monday night Heart of Light meditation each week.

The Serenity Prayer

The original “Serenity Prayer” is attributed to theologian-philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971). It appeared in oral form some time in the 1930s, and by the late 1930’s, other authors were attributing it to Niebuhr. Niebuhr himself did not publish it until 1951.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

A later version of Niebuhr’s:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

In 1941, an AA member brought the prayer to the attention of AA co-founder Bill Wilson (1895 – 1971), and the AA staff liked the prayer so much that they incorporated it into their program. AA always cites Niebuhr as the author. Other twelve-step programs have adopted it as well.

Both of the version above are given in what we might call “prayer form” (“God, grant me the serenity …”) but the entire piece could be said in “affirmation form” or “blessing form” (“May I have the serenity …”) The Serenity prayer has analogs in other traditions, including in a passage of Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva.

Mike’s Version of the Serenity Prayer

I have reflected on this prayer for several years, and over time, I have expanded it. I felt it was very important to add the word “responsibility” to the prayer, and I wanted to balance this proactive responsibility with a deep sense of acceptance, mirroring the balance of the original. I say this version every day. I am presenting here in “blessing form” but it could also be written in “prayer form.”

May I take deep responsibility for all the consequence of my actions, both intentional and unintentional.
May I take deep responsibility for my emotional states.
May I take deep responsibility for everything I control and everything over which I have some sort of influence.

May I accept complete surrender in all those aspects of life in which I have absolutely no control or influence.
May I cultivate tremendous trust and acceptance wherever my control and influence end.
May I relax into the deep vulnerability of human life.

And between what I control and what I do not, what I influence and what I do not, may I have the wisdom, the courage, and the insight to know the difference.

About the author: Mike McGarry is one of the Directors of the East Bay Healing Collective. He leads the Monday night Heart of Light meditation.


Aaron Strong, Infinite Empathy Massage & Bodywork

Adam Strong
I specialize in the relaxation of the muscles and other tissue by the response of the nervous system. Through methods, knowledge, and techniques both modern and practiced for centuries, the body can find a balance and promote healing and well being.

Life Path, and Why I Offer Massage:

Welcome, I’m Aaron Strong.
Earlier in my life, I completed six years of military service and manual labor that left my back in intense pain. Due to the pain, my breathing was inhibited, my energy drained, and as a consequence my mood and emotional states suffered. While heavy doses of prescribed medications help numb the pain, traditional therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, tui-na, and shiatsu have restored damaged muscles and provided healing beyond pain-relief. When I dedicate time for myself to receive these therapies, my energy is restored, I am able to work further toward my goals, and my whole emotional state is uplifted. The healing I receive from massage inspired my journey to become a California Certified Massage Therapist.
I was born and have lived most of my life here in Oakland, among an array of diverse communities. Since childhood I have enjoyed making music as a hobby. After my military service, I earned a degree in Sound Engineering from Ex’pression College. In addition to offering massage services, I am currently a freelance sound engineer, helping underground Bay Area musicians produce independent music. I play the harmonica along with a selection of other instruments. I am currently working on integrating my massage practice with my sound engineering skills to provide sound therapy and sound acupressure.
As a parent to an energetic ten-year old, I spend much of my free time on Dad duty, which requires physical strength and energy in itself. Traditional healing and massage therapy help me restore my damaged muscles, breathe properly, release stress, and find a sense of wholeness and harmony that awakens my energy and creativity on a spiritually holistic level. I am a better parent, musician, and healer when I take time for my own healing. Ultimately, my aim is to expand access to this kind of massage therapy healing to all others who can benefit from it as I do. The act of dedicating some time to our own health and relaxation, allowing us to then interface with ourselves and others from a place of calm compassion, may be a simple yet powerful step in the overall movement toward a more holistically healthy world.


Jenny Brav, EFT and Integrative Bodywork

Jenny Brav
EFT and Integrative Bodywork

Jenny Brav

Jenny Brav’s Radiant Wholeness Healing Sessions are aimed at helping her clients heal old trauma, overcome blocks, and shift habitual patterns so they can live a whole and integrated life. She specializes in helping people struggling with anxiety, grief, trauma, and burnout. The work is multi-dimensional, and impacts the physical, emotional, and spiritual/energetic realms to effect profound transformation. Jenny incorporates a number of different modalities in her work, including Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or tapping), acupressure, Hakomi somatic psychotherapy, matrix reimprinting (a derivative of EFT for working with trauma), shamanism, energy clearing and intuitive healing. For more information, see:, and

Dawn Constantine, RN

Dawn Constantine has been on an adventure of discovery and awareness with individuals and groups for over 25 years as a Registered Nurse, Lay Midwife, Empirical Herbalist, Master Reiki Practitioner, Massage Therapist, Home Schooling Mom, Shamanic Celebrator, Meditation Guide, Conscious Colors Aroma and Sound Therapist and Clarity Breathwork Practitioner.

Dawn offers a somatic approach to the wisdom of Non-duality.
She holds space with gentle compassion offering Personal and Group Journeys with Breathwork, Sound Healing, Somatic Experiencing Sacred Cacao Ceremony, Meditation, Movement or something even better….

Contact Dawn for more information or private breathwork sessions
at her website or on Facebook

Reed Kolber, CMT, RYT

Reed KolberHoneycomb Healing is a bodywork sanctuary for people of all backgrounds and bodies who are ready for a collaborative and co-creative healing journey. The modalities of Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Swedish and Sports Massage are woven together with spiritual support and empathic guidance through the energies of change and transformation that emerge from the work. I weave and blend those skills with the intuitive wisdom continually emerging in me as a person who’s come back from a near-death experience and found life again in the hands of great healers who educated my body and spirit wordlessly through their touch.

For me, bodywork has been an incredibly empowering modality in my own life that has allowed me to dive deeply into the layers of who I am and what’s important to me- and to gain the strength and will to integrate that into my body, my consciousness, and now my work in the world. This holistic approach to healing is an important container for sensitivities and traumas which inspires me to practice nonjudgmental presence for my own life and to share it with you as well. My offerings are for every body, every soul, every grief, every pain, every hope, every possibility of healing, and every invitation to witnessing. As a guide and a counselor, I offer you my hands and my heart and invite you to enter with me into the sacred temple of your own body’s healing wisdom.


Reed Kolber

Brent Johnson • Sound Healing

Brent_Headshot_Mail_ChimpBrent offers Private & Group Sound Healings in San Francisco, San Rafael & Berkeley.

I utilize the sound and spirit of ancient Peruvian instruments, and a few from an eclectic mix from around the globe in order to help align you in whatever way you may need.


Adam Baraz • Bodywork

Adam-BarazMy massage career began in 2005 at Esalen Institute.  In 2007, I received certification in Acupressure/ Chinese Medicine at the Berkeley Acupressure Institute. In 2008, I moved to Kauai and completed a 700-hr training in Presence-Centered Structural Integration (based on Rolfing) at The Pacific Center for Awareness and Bodywork. I have completed a combined 1,000 hours of clinical bodywork training from four massage schools. In 2009, I moved to Boulder and completed my BA Degree in Mind-Body Psychology at Naropa University.  I am in my second year of a three-year Somatic-Experiencing (SE) Trauma resolution training. I am also involved in a yearlong counseling program with InterChange Counseling. I am a dedicated mindfulness meditation practitioner.  My father is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock.


Adam Baraz
510. 859 .3130
Samadhi Bodywork
2811A College Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705


Oren J. Sofer • Nyāniko

Oren-Jay-SoferOren J. Sofer, also known by his Dharma name Nyāniko, is a teacher and practitioner of Buddhist mediation, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Somatics. He has practiced meditation in the Theravada Buddhist tradition for the past 16 years, beginning his studies in Bodh Gaya, India with Anagarika Munindra and Godwin Samararatne, eventually becoming a long-time student of Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Ven. Ajahn Sucitto.

In 2010, he founded and organized the East Bay Healing Collective to support a local practitioners’ network and offer classes and healing work in an accessible and affordable way for the community. For more about my work visit­

The Clear Dharma Meditation Group is a warm, intimate gathering ranging in size from 8-15 folks. We’ve been meeting weekly for over a year and a half. It’s a great place to practice meditation with others, get some guidance and support, and build community.

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