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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner

Calling A Spade A Spade: Grounded Tools for the Spiritual Realist

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Have you noticed an increase in challenges in your life and the lives of your loved ones lately? Have you gotten hurt in a situation where you gave deeply and sincerely and didn’t receive anything back? Clearly, the world is becoming a more challenging place, with confusing plot twists and deceptive characters. As in all moments of challenge in life, we are being tested to the limits of our capacity to hold center and stay focused on what is true and meaningful.  While the challenges in the world gain momentum, we have simultaneously an opportunity for growth and for realizing our potential to stay afloat, stay thoughtful, and stay reassured, despite all the BS.

From a (sidereal) astrological standpoint, the earth is approaching a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Jupiter’s debilitation sign, and Saturn’s own sign in 2020. I know what you’re thinking: “english, please!?” What this means in plain terms is that the most powerful positive planet that we have workin’ magic for us, Jupiter, will be deeply compromised and in a pressured position in 2020, under the thumb of Saturn, the bringer of difficult hard-knock lessons. Saturn will be feeling particularly strong in its own sign. So this will be kind of like watching a movie where the bad guy is super-duper strong, unhindered, and is enjoying a heyday of misery-causing hijinx, while the good guy is in bed with a migraine, incapacitated and moaning. What a scenario… 

Vedic scholars and Jyotishis of the world are all speculating on what this important moment suggests, and the general consensus is that it shows a low point in dharma, or righteousness, on the planet. We are seeing evidence of this all around, with climate difficulties skyrocketing, negative people in important power positions politically, a whole generation glued to their iPhones, etc. You might feel it in your own life too, as an increase in pressure or stress, and a feeling of the bad guys winning!

I’m not speaking of this to be bleak or negative. I bring it up only to arm you with the knowledge and acknowledgement of what is. Accepting what is, I find, is one of the most powerful practices of all. Calling a spade a spade is the doorway to accepting said spade, which then leads to right action around said spade. Right action is what the stars show us is lacking on our little planet right now.

Identifying Your Achilles Heel

Saturn is a planet that, while bringing challenge, rewards discernment, grounding, and efforts to improve ourselves and our situation. In order to prepare yourself for the Saturnine challenges that lie ahead on our collective human road, you might ask yourself, “where am I susceptible to negativity?” Do I tend towards anger? Do I take things personally? Is my diet out of whack and affecting my health? 

We each have an achilles heel, and this is the opportune time to work on that place where we are susceptible to careening off-balance. With clients lately I have been discussing these things & bringing them to light to be worked on. It’s much easier when you name your achilles heel vs. hiding it, or hoping it will magically go away.


One particular achilles heel to be aware of is over-openness. I work with this one a lot in my practice because it is a trademark of spiritual, empathic types, which make up much of my clientele. Our energy fields as sensitives are more open and porous than average, which gives us strong gifts like intuition and the ability to feel what is going on with other people beneath what they present. 

This openness functions as an amazing gift when it is coupled with boundaries, realistic thinking, and detachment. However, when it is paired with naivete, a lack of discernment, and attachment to outcomes, it is a disaster waiting to happen! 

Grounding & Protecting Your Sensitivity

My recommendation as a Spiritual Realist to all of my wonderful, spiritual, openhearted brothers and sisters out there is to develop the qualities that protect your sensitivity and work on releasing the tendencies that make life difficult. Perhaps you can ask yourself:

Where am I not fully realistic?

Where do I try too hard to please others or seek other’s approval?

Where am I in wishful thinking rather than seeing what is right in front of me?

Where am I attached to a specific outcome or desire to control an outcome?

Where do I let others walk all over me?
Where do I not ask for what I really need?

Where do I sacrifice my needs for someone else’s?

Where am I too open/available?

These questions may help you see areas of life where you are trapped in what my mentor Jonathan Bessone calls the “undercommitted client/overcommitted healer” dilemma. While he mostly teaches healers about this challenge, this applies, I find, to spiritual people in general and the challenge we face with accepting that not all people want to receive our love and transformational intention. We tend to lead with our hearts, want the best for others, work hard to deliver the best to others, and often this goes to the point of overextending our love and care to people and situations that cannot and do not want to receive it, that may even reject our love and leave us feeling empty and confused. If you find yourself in this dilemma and are asking yourself “what else could I have done? Did I do enough?”…You may find that if instead you really feel what’s going on, the inquiry may reveal that the opposite is true. You may have tried too hard, given too much, and allowed your care and good intent to get in the way of reason, boundaries, and healthy discretion about the person or situation you were trying to give to.

Reelin’ it In!

Imagine pulling all of the energy you’ve over-given back to your core. Absorbing this energy of your own love, your own transformational intent, and really nurturing yourself is a skill that all of us well-meaning world-helpers need. When we come from a core of self-love, self-respect, and realistic awareness of the people and situations around us, we can attend more gracefully to life’s challenges without losing our energy and getting beaten up in the process. 

To learn more about how I help spiritually-oriented people achieve grounded fulfillment in life, please contact me at to schedule a free clarity session!

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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner