the Big Apple: juicy (and sometimes rotten)…something for everyone!

PART ONE – SETTING THE SCENE

When I was new to Boston (nearly 30 years ago), I wanted a Massachusetts Avenue address – and then a “foot” in the Back Bay. All towns have their “it locations” – and I’ve lived and worked (specifically had shops) in a few: Harvard Square & Newbury Street, to be specific.

big city in lights

big city in lights (from last time in NY)

Now in a region – or country – there are also “it locations,” where “everything” seems to happen…and New York City is one of them…not just for New England, but for the U.S. (and the world as a whole, for that matter). So whenever I go to “The City” (and I’ve been many times), I brace myself for the best and the worst life has to offer. Nothing can prepare you for what really happens.

One thing I’m always reminded about is how well dressed (and clean) people stand out from the otherwise squalid environment of urban gloom and grime-covered pavements. It’s like everyone is living on an old movie set that was abandoned by the folks who’d built it, years ago. Of course, there’s new construction and opulence, but the primary feel is one of human overgrowth and decay, kept vital by new blood and throngs of people (from all walks).

Empire State, from the subway

emerging from the subway, into the skyline…the Empire State building

Into that “milieu” – and during a dreary, snowy day – I arrived, by bus this time, because I wanted a change from the mammoth undertaking of transporting a whole Expo display, loading in, setting up, interfacing with a relentless flow of onlookers, and later breaking down…only to make the long drive home (in the middle of the night).

I wanted to travel light, so everything had to fit into a backpack and a miniature-sized, rolling suitcase. This time I’d be doing “Crystal Readings & Wellness Sessions,” which is how I’d billed my Healer offerings for the Awaken Fair (their 2nd time in New York, and my first, with them).

I’ve worked with a lot on individuals – for 60-90 minute minimums – but here I’d be doing 15-30 minute sessions. It’s like “speed dating” for the New Age. But I surprised myself – adapted really well to the format – and I actually like it. You really can make a difference in someone’s life in just a quarter of an hour…by transporting them inward, and forward…and lending them some concrete (or stone, in this case) tools that serve to push their process forward.

Awaken Fair Healers

poster of Awaken Fair Healers

I wasn’t selling anything (but my services) – and because I was being nomadic – I needed to bring the best, but the smallest, of all the key stone varieties I have. On retrospect, I could probably have made due with fewer stones – but I wanted the full gamut, to have all my options open – plus, it filled the table nicely.

I’ve collected a good number of emails from my last to forays to New York – and a smattering of Facebook and other, longer term contacts – so I reached out…saying “I’m coming”…and encouraging folks to pre-book.

I even contacted a fellow Crystal worker [Kufunya Ife!], and asked if she could find me a “gig” [we knew each other in the music business] – and she did(!) – with a shop on 14th Street (Aum Namaste). The owner there was impressed with my credentials & web presence, and booked me for a few hours that Saturday (before the main event, which I’d originally come for, on Sunday). It turns out that I ended up working with a comparable number of people (say, a half dozen each) – both days – including some work on other practitioners (which is always a treat).

Aum Namaste

Aum Namaste shop

I won’t get into the particulars – or my technique – I think I lay that out pretty well on my Services page (on this site)…check that out for some more background…or shoot me any questions you may have [I like that, at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com].

PART TWO: THE SHOPPING

What’s a trip to New York without some shopping!

Before I got lucky with that Saturday booking – and knowing there was no way I could bus down there first thing on Sunday (I would have had to have left by 4am!)  – I decided to make the journey early on Saturday (at the more civilized hour of 9am), so I could “have a look around” during the day.

I secured a place to stay with some friends – we’ve been meaning to connect for awhile – so thank you Arthur and Lisa…we had some great quality time that night, and first thing Sunday morning.

Rock Star Gems

replete with product (and possibly colored Citrine)

But there were some places – looming legends – I had to check out. I’d heard customers make mention of them, and had to see for them for myself, to learn what the excitement was all about.

So I walked from 31st St. to 28 St., to Rockstar Crystals – or actually, I walked by it – ’cause there was no store front! I realized they were upstairs, and walked by the door guy (who greeted me, asking where I was headed), and took the elevator up (one floor). Tremendous splendors awaited me behind the bolted, buzzer’d door.

It’s only one room, and not a very big one at that. I introduced myself immediately to the “boss on duty” (she had a younger woman assistant, too) – taking out my card – and inquiring as to whether they do wholesale. “No,” she was curt, didn’t even take my card. “Well you just blew that” I said to myself, vowing to look, but refusing to buy.

Rock Star shelves

shelves and shelves of product

It shouldn’t be that hard to be nice to people – but in New York, everyone’s bracing for offence – and studiously unimpressed with whomever you are. So I proceeded to look around, rebuffing her handing me a tray (since I wasn’t going to purchase anyway). We later, connected, on some level…but it seemed like “the damage had been done.”

The prices wowed me – many of them higher than mine – and as I often experience among others’ retail wares, I found myself wondering “why should this be so much, and that so relatively less?”

I have a strong, internal logic in my own pricing. If a tag’s high, there’s got to be a good reason. And I can explain it. But then again, I’m not “just an employee” – I’ve been the one selecting every one of my pieces – and I’ve also been around this stuff for 28 years!

Most people price merely as an equation of what they paid, using a standard percentage markup. I think that lacks imagination (but maybe makes up for it in practicality). Being into the metaphysics of what I’m selling, it’s not as simple as that. Crystals aren’t just a commodity, an object to be “moved,” like tennis shoes, or a jar of beans.

Apatite heart

gemmy Apatite heart

“How harmonious is the shape, color, texture – does it stand – are there others out there like it? Can I replace it easily?” These are the types of questions I ask myself. “Would I be willing to part with this for less?”

Anyhow, and conversely – “could I sell this if I bought it for this much?” – the shoe was on the other foot. I had to wonder if the prices I was looking at could work for my customers. Still, I often buy retail (yes, with sales tax!).

If a stone is awesome enough – even if it’s expensive, I’ll buy it anyway – I’m “omnivorous” like that. I consider myself an archive of Power Stones – collecting the best I can find for my classes and private work – it’s an added value to my Inner Circle.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t have exceptional stones for sale too – I certainly do – ’cause I “know” (that inner knowing), that not everything is meant for me. I have to be a conduit – not just a repository – for awesomeness. To that end, I have a new webinar series I’m starting, it’s called “Why it’s Awesome!” But I digress.

Rhodochrosite display

huge Rhodochrosite display

Rock Star is completely and utterly replete with inventory – rolling drawers, bins and trays – even acrylic cases bolted to the ubiquitous metal shelving units. I’m just now forgettings something heavy I’d wanted to get (chunks of blue Quartz). I was totally wowed by the sheer volume of Rhodochrosite – more in one place than I’d ever seen – but no “must have” pieces. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Still, I did manage to overcome my resistance to spending, and put together a modest collection (augmented by New York’s healthy, nearly 9% sales tax). A deep, semi-gemmy Apatite heart, and a perfect pigeon-blood Ruby crystal (ideal on the 3rd eye) came home with me (along with a few other items). I do shop with certain customers in mind, bringing their interests with me on these capers.

Astro Gallery

walking up to the Astro Gallery

Then I walked uptown – a good little distance (the city blocks aren’t short) – to 5th Avenue, where the upscale Astro Gallery of Gems has been since 1961. What a breath of fresh air, relative to the ubiquitous $1 pebble bins of most vendors’ crystal displays!  It’s great to see people valuing their showcasing opportunity (and their specimens) so highly. Yes – not all crystals cost nothing, and yes – many of them are worth more than cars.

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster (25K)

They’ve got everything from a Lapis table top at 20K to a good selection of high end jewelry. Some of the staff knows more than others, but that’s true anywhere. And they were all nice – polite – and professional (even friendly, imagine that!).

We got into some intrigue around the pricing of a Sugilite – there was a mixup in cost calculation, and the weight was not measured correctly, at first  – but the boss on duty made good (to the best of his ability), and we had some vigorous banter about the behind-the-glass museum pieces (of which there were many!).

I ended up getting a bigger batch than I had at the other place – niceness pays off – and have had them mail it to me. They even gave me subway directions and ran after me, after they’d forgotten to give me my credit card. It felt good to be well received. A bit of good will goes a long way – from customer to seller – and vice versa.

museum quality pieces

museum quality pieces

A new acquaintance can grow into a trusted contact, when it becomes clear that everyone knows what’s going on, and you’re willing to meet them halfway.

TROUBLE AHEAD – LEARNING OPPORTUNITY

I was originally going to share only this last segment, as the full (and only) content of my blog. It was going to be called “Wish I could help (what to do when you can do no right)!”
I’d had such a wonderful weekend in New York – two days of readings – first at a shop, and then at a wellness fair. Great neighbors, beautiful clients, right up ’til the end. That’s when I bit into a bad apple – if it’s fair to say that – and got schooled.
Sometimes your hardest experiences have the most to teach you.
my Crystal Session table

my Crystal Session table

It was going nicely, at first. She stopped by my table and asked what I did – then she went and booked a half hour session – saying that she’d liked my honesty, and was really disappointed by the reading(s) she’d gotten from others (even there).

I did tell her (in advance) that what I do is to inquire as to where she’s at, and that we’d use the crystals to move her along in the desired, positive direction. She liked the idea of holding the crystals. Seemed like a pretty straightforward session coming up.
I can’t give you particulars (without breaching client confidentiality) – it was interesting (her story), but it doesn’t really matter here and now – so we proceeded into the first of several meditations I had planned. I asked her to close her eyes – she opened them immediately – I inquired as to why. She said it was due to her bag, coat, and whatnot…what with all these strangers…which was an understandable concern. So I offered to secure the bag to her chair.
Celestite heart

Celestite heart and cluster

It wasn’t that, it turns out. But things were moving quickly. We’d been talking for coming up on 10 minutes, and I encouraged her again, to close her eyes. She was getting antsy, asking me when I was going to “do something.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant – maybe she thought, as a magician – that I’d make some big revelation, or cause a breakthrough by osmosis. That’s not how I work. I invite people into a shared, sacred space – and together we find things out – together. I don’t work on people – though I can (as with the dead or inert) – I prefer to work with them.
So I pushed the issue a little bit – saying it was key to letting go of the current reality, and making room for new potentialities – that she close her eyes. Maybe it was the “if I can give you even 2 seconds of trust, this whole session will have been worth it” that turned her off.
She snapped, and stormed away, coming back hurriedly to scratch her name off my emailing list.
Smoky oval...beautiful color and energy

Smoky oval – the forgiveness stone – beautiful color and energy

Woah – I felt bad – like I didn’t give her what she’d come for. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what that might have been (that I could have done, to meet her expectation). Doing sessions with certain folks can be like a game that’s rigged – they want something, they don’t tell you want it is, and when you don’t deliver – they get upset.

There’s no pleasing some people. But I still have a lesson to learn.
What if someone can’t close their eyes? They’re that vigilant that they can’t let down their guard for two seconds (never mind one)! I should be able to adapt – not be stuck on my own eight track recording – that being able to “go in” (as I conceive it) is a prerequisite for “doing the work.”
Maybe there’s another way. I should research, ask around. Try something new, for times like this.
milky quartz - nurturance - compassion

milky quartz – nurturance – compassion

But that works for everyone else! I’d never come across this level of resistance before. I’m realizing how compliant most people are with an exercise designed to soothe and relax them. It’s like: most of us know what’s good for us, we just need an opportunity to listen, to take it in…receive.

The whole thing was triggering too – ’cause I’m a child of an alcoholic – so (back then) there was a perpetual guessing game as to what her motivations, needs, and desires were (my mom). I gave up early (trying to figure it out). It’s hard enough – as a child (and an adult!) – to get in touch with what you’re really feeling about something.
It’s devastating when you have to prioritize where someone else is coming from before you’ve even had a chance to identify where you, yourself, are coming from. We are not mind readers – maybe that’s why I never became a psychic – I try to deal with what’s presented, and to dig a little bit, but gently. As a stone guy, I like to deal with the tangible, as much as I’m into Metaphysics.
Labradorite - imagination stone

Labradorite – imagination stone

I do see a continuity between the manifest and the unmanifest. And I’m happy to traverse the veil to explore – what’s inside vs. outside, past vs. future, real vs. imagined – these are all fair game. But when there’s an inner storm raging so fiercely that I can’t get in – or won’t be let in – all bets are off.

Folks like that will do what they do. They need a different type of professional. I mean, if someone comes to me with a broken arm – I can’t tell them to will it back together – I’ll shew them off quickly to the ER.
Still, I can’t help but to replay (now, as then): “Was I not sensitive enough to her cues? How else could I have approached her? What did I do wrong to provoke her outburst? Maybe we can rewind, and try this whole thing over again, only doing it ‘right’ this time?”
How many times had I said that same thing, as a child. I looked at her email address (this failed client) – still legible through the scribbles – and let it go. She didn’t want me getting through then – it’s best that I not trouble trouble by trying to get in touch with her now – let it be.
another session - feeling it

another session – feeling it

You can’t fix everyone – not everyone wants to be “fixed” – maybe there’s something about the way they are right now, that’s working for them. What I have to offer is not for everyone. I and those who need me are best served by not chasing down those who dislike or don’t connect with me – even if they had at first – ’cause people change their minds.

I just noticed an “Unsubscribe” from my newsletter – someone who’d registered for not one – but two of my free webinars! I’d spent two hours presenting, baring my soul to them -albeit anonymously – and I no longer deserved to have their email address.
I’ve had people attend my events, and later tell me that’s not what they’re looking for. Like many avid entrepreneurs I know, I am passionate about serving those who want me to serve them, and we simply can’t get caught up in everybody else’s drama.
Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid, if perforated

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of “sickness in health” – where the interior has been compromised – but the shell and structure remain quite solid, if perforated

Still, I take this all with a grain of salt, and as a learning opportunity. You have to take the “bad” with the good – just like a visit to the big City – absorb what enriches, nourishes, and improves you. So I am grateful, not just to my progressively moving clients (and the helpful staff at the shops I visited), but to everyone and everything else…you are all welcome in my world.

Like they say “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” Or if you believe in Reincarnation, what kills you might actually make you stronger, or better for the lesson it taught you…in the next life. Since we have no tangible guarantees of an afterlife, it behooves us to take our schooling seriously, and use it to improve our game here and now…while we’re still on the court.
____________________________________
About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals since they were “revealed” to him, back in the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. He’s built on his now intrinsic knowledge – through experience – working with clients and buying & selling ever since. In addition to this Blog, he issues periodic newsletters, leads Meditations & Workshops, and presents at metaphysical Expos. To reach him, and get his updates, please email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.
Advertisements

I’m sick, and I’m well (the Lessons and Gifts of Illness).

Let me confess, I got a cold. Worse than that…a strep/flu…all wrapped up into one. It’s still making its way through my system. But it’s not as bad as all that. I mean – so what(?!) – I’ve had Cancer before (twice). How bad can this be…

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid.

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of “sickness in health” – where the interior has been compromised – but the shell and structure remain quite solid.

And yet, people belly ache about their seasonal illnesses all year long. The common cold – in spite of what people claim about vaccines being effective [I’m not convinced] – this complex of viruses (if that’s fair to call them) impacts just about everyone in the northern hemispher. And I think it’s emblematic of all diseases, though fortunately, it’s not a commonly fatal (or chronic) malady. 

I thought I’d transcended all that. With the parting of ways I’ve had with Sugar, and anything (chips or nuts) that come in a bag [the rancid oils are harmful]…it’s been literally years since I’ve really been hit by anything like this. What usually happens, is that the symptoms try to get a grip on me, but their effects are weak, and the real deal never fully takes hold. Just a few month ago, everyone in my family got some bad bugs, but I wasn’t touched at all (even though everyone was coughing all over me). Funny how immune we can be sometimes.

I’ve become smug in my healthiness. I might be in the best shape I’ve ever been in, not just physically, per se – in terms of musculature – but thoroughly, from the inside out. I listen much better than I used to, to my Body and Spirit. I mind what I’m eating, set aside time to exercise, and stay on top of my self care quite steadily. Basicly, I’m in a lifelong training to be “a Soul Wisperer.”

So it’s humbling to be “brought down” like this. It’s always a learning experience, though. Illness has much to teach us. The first questions for me become: “what have I done wrong? How could I have avoided this?” 

Chrysocolla - combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Chrysocolla – combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Self-blame is cruel, and worsens the cycle of the illness. Self reproach definitely makes it worse. At some point, some serious self-forgiveness is necessary to interrupt the cycle. You have to break that downward spiral…the chicken and egg of negatively overthinking your situation. 

When a stone breaks - it loses its original value - but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

When a stone breaks – it loses its original value – but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

But let me sit with the badness, for a moment. When you get sick, your body – the rock on which you stand daily – falters. Of course it’s worse with a more serious (or chronic) illness…you lose faith and trust in you. That basic tableau – within which everything happens to and through: you – it’s no longer what you’ve come to expect, it’s not reliable, dependable. The rules of engagement have somehow changed, and it doesn’t seem very fair.

No, indeed – the Russian Roulette of illness and Death are not fair – our goal is to hedge our bets with prevention and treatment.

Taking this statement further – many of believe we live in a universe governed by a benevolent G*d, but whether jealous our merciful – G8D cannot give us our way 100% of the time. We are each the center of our own reality, but in fact, we are all peripheral to the greater REALITY (and thus, not particularly entitled to any special treatment). This is a bitter pill to swallow, but the sooner we make peace with it, the sooner we can have a more balanced and ultimately respectful view of The Creator.

So back to our compromised self. Being sick is a very damning state to be in – because as a body – if you can’t count on your own being, what can you count on? Your weakened state throws everything into question. You become alienated from a generally beautiful, provident world, and a mostly functional (and otherwise healthy) body. 

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark?

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark? Yin and Yang swirl around one another.

Don’t think for a minute that I look at the world with rose tinted glasses. I’ve seen some of the worst, and I do believe we live in Heaven and Hell simultaneously. But like the glass half full or half empty, I believe you can view the same situation in a more positive or pejorative light. 

For some – and I spent a decade like this (at least) – everything can seem worse, like you’re living in purgatory (at best). And being sick definitely throws you back, deeper into that dungeon. I do believe – especially when I listen to the news (about atrocities committed here and abroad) – that for many, life on this planet, is hell on earth.

Back to me, and my immediate answers about what might have contributed to my current situation. One theory, is that I left the fan blaring on me while I slept sweatily last week, and it destabilized my aura (wreaking havoc on my overall metabolism). More than half the people I spoke to agreed that this could well have been the culprit.

The symptoms also began the night after I had Chinese food from a restaurant I like, but don’t totally trust the cleanliness of. I do believe that germs from an unusual source can tip the scales. A variety of causes can conspire to make you sick.

A third theory is connected to the fact that I tend to overeat. Too much (of even healthy food) can backlog – with nutrients going bad, getting “caught in the filter” – which then require cleansing (or evacuation), through the illness

Amber & Jet are light density power stones - and because their weight is less than their size would suggest - they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Amber & Jet are light density power stones – and because their weight is less than their size would suggest – they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Worst case scenario – if the raw material (of what you’re eating) is not that healthy – “the backlog” can result in the inexorable growth of pathological tissue – chronically (or fatally) complicating cellular function, a prime example being inflammation, and of course: Cancer.

Whatever the “real” cause of your situation – and, as stated, there can be several – and while disease can often be a fluke of chance (certainly it’s always an unwanted guest with destructive intent) – disease is also, and very often (to its credit) – a healthy response to an unhealthy situation.

Let me pause, and draw attention to “the fluke factor” – bad luck (remember?) – s**t happens. In as complicated a world as we live in, lightning bolts (and tornadoes) do strike. Yes, there can be “favorable” conditions and standing out in a field may be riskier than being in your car. But when that wind starts to blow, can’t nothing stop it.

Every natural disaster reminds us how little control we ultimately have. And disease, ultimately, is a natural disaster. So you have to “give unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s” – let go and hold on simultaneously – try that on a hang glider!

All and still, just as there are (seemingly incontrovertible) Laws of Physics, a great deal of what happens around, and to us…is logical.

What else is your body supposed to do, when you treat it so? We’re too busy to cook or make proper food. We’re too busy to take any time to stretch, or work out (as much as our body may want, or need to). It’s no wonder your physical person develops a grudge and wants to “get you back” for your neglect. All it’s looking for is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T (like the song).

Nirvana Quartz - like Elestials - represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Nirvana Quartz – like Elestials – represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Every time you don’t listen to your Soul, you’re stacking the deck against you.

And we’re all willing to take the hit – whatever treatment or sick time (later) we need – that’s somehow “worth it” to get those things we need from our paycheck. Well guess what, your paycheck won’t always be there, but your body always will be – and once it’s gone – none of that other stuff will matter anyway. People need to start paying attention, doing everything they can before they get sick (not just after, when it’s often too late).

Work, our job, our “have to’s” excuse every mistreatment of our own primary (and personal) system. And yet, if we pause, and take care of ourselves – others, and we ourselves – tend to think we’re being selfish, self-indulgent…the worst…we can’t justify the down time! 

And also – by behaving like this (taking time out to take care of ourselves) – we’re likely/surely bound to become indigent…because there’s no money in self care. There’s only money in “other-care” – taking care of everyone else – that’s what pays (and has any moral currency). That “other” you’re servicing can be your boss or a client – heck, even (or especially?) “the man” – as you pay your taxes and comply with the prevailing laws of the land.

Would you still be doing what you do if there was no money coming in from it? If the answer is no, you have some serious answering to do to your inner self. We pay the price for our compromises.

And then there’s “the children” – the primary conservative force in our world (if you think about it) – why would we take risks or not tow the line…when we have to look out for, and provide for them…children first (remember?!). 

People even avoid Divorce on account of children. Not to say that they’re not (in addition to saving a primary relationship) worth it, but to demonstrate the fact that self denial (for many reasons) is woven into our own very individualistic and narcissistic (in other ways) culture

Nephrite Jade - particularly water worn by nature - is the ultimate emotional soother.

Nephrite Jade – particularly water worn by nature – is the ultimate emotional soother.

It’s like: we’re being goaded to take care of ourselves – in ways that make other people money (like through cosmetics, sports clubs, the clothing industry) – but not necessarily in ways that may cost nothing, but still achieve the desired effect of personal, lasting gratification, or satisfaction. 

They say the personal is political – it’s true – the world feels more holistic (to me) if you can see how you connect beyond your self, right out into the Universe (another benefit & practice of my Crystal Concentrics Meditation). 

Maybe there’s nothing you can do about it – your problem, or the world’s problems (or so you think) – but be honest about what you could really be doing (but maybe aren’t), the ways in which your hands feel tied, how you’re stuck, and how that may be impacting your health and well being (never mind that of the planet).

Why can’t it be simpler – you just “got a bug, got a disease” – it’s not your fault at all, and there’s nothing you can do but fight it. This is the medical, strictly physical perspective. And it has its place. Car’s shocks are gone…fix ‘em…don’t ask about the bumps you keep driving over (which caused the damage in the first place), or “why me,” or “what’s the bigger lesson here.” 

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety - it represents the unknown - and the unknowable...an important factor to consider...and be in the presence of.

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety – it represents the unknown – and the unknowable…an important factor to consider…and be in the presence of.

Suit yourself – however shallow or deep you want to look – if everything happens for a reason (“the Fluke Factor” aside, though even that is an omnipresent reality to contend with) – I think it behooves us dig a little: explore the metaphysical context of your situation. I’m saying (on top of all the types of factors already explored): it could be evil spirits at work; it could be your own past lives catching up with you; the possibilities are limitless.

There’s also “the Fog Factor,” which is that it may not be for us to ever figure out what’s happening, exactly, and why.  

In any case – I’ve gone off on a few (relevant) tangents – I want to bring the conversation back to my own process…regarding the illness that’s come front and center…into my life. I’m banking on it’s being metaphorical for you and your own experience of illness, which could be more than informative…I’m hoping educational…in helping you think about (and hopefully improve) your own situation.

The purpose of this Blog is to be relevant, to apply, and to be of more general utility beyond my solo journey and meanderings.

What I realized – especially early on – is that the illness is not the only game in town. When it first was settling in, I saw it coexist, and in context, relative to the rest of me (which was not in duress). 

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health - impenetrable - allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health – impenetrable – allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Holding a larger sense of healthiness and positive continuity, makes being sick more tolerable…gives one hope…and gives you a sense that even if not in the moment, you will overcome. Yes – your throat may be burning, or you may have a tumor – but there are another x-billion cells doing just fine…let their voice be heard. 

I’m remembering my Crystal Meditations, in which we take time to center into the body – that really helped me to acknowledge and get in touch with those other, healthy cells – and call them into play, see and acknowledge them for the good job they’re doing maintaining my overall health. 

My spiritual practice of being with Spirit-apart-from-Body also helped, because I could know that the Spirit was unscathed by what I was going through – damaged, hurt, concerned, for sure – but somehow (also) immune to it all. 

I had to have Faith that “this, too, shall pass.” Even now, a week in [which is how long it’s been taking me to finish this blog], while the unproductive cough has sunken deep into my lungs – my capacity to write an account of my experience is an act that will survive the pathology – and I like the way that demonstrates our eternal capacity to recover and/or transcend. Again, the Power of the Word.

Look at how much more Anne Frank has impacted people in death than she was able to in life. Not everyone can look forward to such a posthumous “reward,” but by being in the moment, doing the best she could with what she had (and grappling with the demons that presented themselves at the time)…she created something more valuable than she could know in the moment.

Basalt - one of the more ancient of stones - here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

Basalt – one of the more ancient of stones – here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

I’ve never been one to painstakingly plan and strategize – I, too, put one foot in front of the other – try to make for the steadiest footing that makes sense (and feels right, in the moment). My vibration is very steady – though I see what a flash in the pan I am, on the grander scale – which is why I like the Stones…they go on forever

Indeed, while we are so very fragile – and can sometimes be challenged to find any part of us that is steady and sound – Power Stones are there, if we allow them to be…an extension of ourselves (and Creation)…that is solid and eternal

Some people use Religion for solace – and I do too – it surely has its place. And I’ve argued elsewhere that the two are not incompatible. But what I like about the mineral world, is that it both precedes our human experience, and it will outlast us…making it somehow more elemental than anything we could dream up (through our various cultures). By associating with the mineral world, we borrow some eternity, draw from its strength, and share in its capture of Life & Creation energy. 

So have I used crystals to get well? I mean, isn’t that the point, to use them for our service? Yes, and no. Crystals are not tools, like guns and scalpels, created exclusively to do our bidding. That is a beef I have with “the literature,” which seems to suggest as much. It’s the whole Biblical thing about us having been given dominion over all things earthly. Yes, that may seem so – and is a power that we have – but it’s also a responsibility, which people don’t tend to grasp, or hold onto as well. 

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz - the intrabody neural communicator - facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz – the intrabody neural communicator – facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Everybody wants the easy part, the quick fix, which is why I don’t give “crystal prescriptions” – “you have this problem, take/use that.” It’s more complicated than that. And also, I’ve had a major breakthrough, in terms of understanding how Crystal energy work is not, nor should it be compared with Medical work.

Indeed, this is also why I don’t believe in gem elixirs – because I don’t think they should be ingested – that is the role of other substances (herbs, medicines, food). An important distinction must be made between physical treatment and metaphysical treatment. They are not, nor should they be, compared or used in the same way (or for the same purposes). 

Crystal Energy is meant to be seen with the Eye – interpreted and working through the Mind, or Imagination – and looped through the Body via Touch (the cycle).

Science is the wonderful art of identifying and working with the recurrent, visible laws of Nature. But not all such laws (of the Natural World) are consistent, measurable, or tangible. The metaphysical world may never be quantifiable in the same way, which is why I have no agenda for bringing Crystal energy into the mainstream, through scientific justification…can’t be done…and shouldn’t be. 

In the metaphysical world, the law is often that there is no law – that we can see and perceive tendencies and subtleties – but that Reality is relative, subjective, untamed. We can coax it, shepherd it, but it goes its own way, in its own time. The myth of control has been debunked.

Wet Sugilite - 'the other purple stone' - symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision.

wet Sugilite – ‘the other purple stone’ – symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision

I take my remedies (and there are many): steams, elderberry, lomatium root, food grade vitamin C, echinacea, cranberry juice…the list goes on…and they all did their thing (heck, even aspirin helped!). But in the absence of a trusted Crystal Healer, I had to rely on all the previous work I’ve done with Spirit, to tide me over, and give me strength in my weakness

I feel too many (most?) people reject, or pass over the potential of working with a true energy healer – because they want the tried and true – and don’t want to take chances (or make changes). I notice they mostly don’t want to look at “their stuff,” or do the hard work of going through the valley to get to the other side.

My work ultimately has to be demonstrating why and how it’s worth it (to work with Crystals). Alas, I have not trained someone else to take my reins, or do what I do (yet). But I’ll keep on keeping on. Bit by bit, these blogs (and my eventual books and other publishing projects) – as well as the events I host (live and online) – as well as my showcasing at Expos, will together put my footprint on this important area of human endeavor. 

giant DT elestial closeup - these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom - you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

giant DT elestial closeup – these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom – you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

Were it a bigger, life threatening illness (this pesky cold/flu), I would have wanted to have some energy work, for sure. Being very independent, and untrusting of authority per se, there are very few folks I’d trust or want to work with (or “on” me). I’m leery of generalizers and “false prophets.” So my memory and source work with Crystals has had to carry me through, until such time as I can work the gears and have the Soul energy flow again, unfettered (and uncomplicated). 

It’s helpful to know – it flows here, right beside me, through me – even when I don’t see it, or feel it (cause I’m so busy feeling crummy). I’m reminded again of the response a spiritual leader gave my son, when he (my boy) confessed that he’s not sure he believes in G8D: “that’s okay” he was reassured: “G8D doesn’t mind” (the assumption being that G8D is always there, whether you see him/her, or not). 

Our role is not to question or even to seek the Universal Life Force (per se), but rather – to simply let it be (it’s all around, and within us)…to let it flow through us. Stop trying so hard. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t “have it” already. 

Independently from applying meaning or causality to your illness – to have it “make sense” – we often hear folks saying their illness (regardless of the cause or outcome) has taught them something, and for that they are grateful.

Malachite - "the emotive" - demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling - and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Malachite – “the emotive” – demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling – and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Had I not gotten those 2 bouts with Cancer, I would have never changed my diet or thought patterns, which I think would have done me in the third time around. Hitting a dead end forces you to make a turn, take a new path. Being sick now – and stuck somewhere without Internet – has enabled me to capture these words in a way that feels more relevant because I’m actually going through some real discomfort (and an extraction from my element) in the moment. My hope is that you’ll be able to make some sense from this collection of thoughts.

Our journey is laden with lessons and gifts. We just have to see them for what they are, or can become. Gloom and doom will never spawn life, for you or others. That is why I have to assert: “I am sick. And I am well.”

To review – I have explored some of the things that happened, which “put me at risk” – as well as the lessons to be learned, including a discouragement of self-blaming. It’s good to correct your course, and know where you’ve gone wrong, but beating yourself up about things will not fix them.

I’ve discussed the Fluke Factor (of chance) and the Fog Factor (of uncertainty), as well as the need to connect the microcosm with the macrocosm. Avoidance does not really serve you, nor do excuses, however good they may be at distracting you from your path. Try to see the good within and around you, and draw strength from both.

The world does not revolve around you, but you should certainly hold your place in the merry-go-round. Reach out and seek healing, from allopathic and alternative sources, they’re all here to serve you. Know that there are limits to control, and that ultimately, our fate is in the hands of forces much larger than we can imagine. 

Enjoy Life while you’ve got it!

**********************

About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for over 25 years – inducted into working with them through a supernatural experience – but building on the knowledge and evolving it through sharing…via in-person and virtual offerings, including an extensive social media presence…and a growing, written record of his thoughts and observations. Feel free to reach out to him, and learn more about his Awareness, and how it can help you. Email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.

Expo/Festival madness – the view from across the table

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of 'the table'

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of ‘the table’

What’s it like for a vendor at the shows you go to? I thought you might like to know, since the minority of us are standing on “this side of the table.”

Most of you (readers) are on the other side of the table… browsing like bees – going from flower to flower – exhibitor to exhibitor.

Yours is the choice. It’s a buyers’ market. If a vendor’s display (and selection) doesn’t suit you, you’re movin’ on!

I thought it would be enriching if you had a glimpse into what “we” go through. Hence, me writing this particular Blog. But a story is never just a story. It’s all about what we learn from it – or wish to convey (or “teach”) – through our experience.

NYC at night

rolling in to NYC at night

A few weekends ago was a textbook example (for me), of what it’s like to showcase at an Expo. Part of what made the experience particularly special – for me – was the fact that it was the first such show I’ve done in New York City.

I’d been there before, to wholesale to shops – 20 years ago – and also to perform, as a musician (more recently)…but this was different.

You can be sure it crowded my mind for weeks, leading up to the event. I bought new product – specifically to fill out my inventory for the occasion – I wanted to impress!

That entails selecting, buying, transporting, unpacking, pricing, photographing, and the uploading (to the web) dozens of specimens (cause that’s what I try to do with everything I get…put it through my inventory system). I also decided to overhaul my display M.O. as well – so I purchased velvet trays and pads – as well as a carrying case.

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, in my hotel room

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, packed into my hotel room

I laid out all my flats and boxes in advance, choosing only what would fit onto the two dollies I was bringing.

I had a 6-foot-wide by a 9-foot-deep space to fill. That’s an odd dimension, and took some advance planning.

The organizers had promised to provide a 4-foot table, which turned out to be a 6-foot table. That would have been good news for some folks, but not for me, ’cause I’d mapped out every square inch in advance.

I figured it out, though. It helped that I had gone to Costco, and purchased an actual 4-foot table, as well as a 6-footer – of which I’d already had two – but this newfangled one folds in half (which is nifty).

The goal is to streamline and to simplify, going forward – to make your life easier – because you can be sure challenges will come up, unforeseen. Like how was I gonna unload into the hotel from a busy downtown side street?

If registration as a vendor was required before I could even load in, who was going to watch all my stuff (or my car!)? And where, exactly, was I gonna fit an oversize vehicle (my full sized passenger/cargo van is about 7 feet tall) in a city than can barely accommodate “normal” driving machines?

the view from the 18th floor - where the Expo happened - looks the same as it did 70 years ago

the view from the 18th floor – where the Expo happened – looks the same as it did 70 years ago

Enter the brilliance – and generous response – which came from my asking my friend Nigel to come along. I’d reserved a 2-bedroom suite, on account of my family coming, but it turned out they couldn’t leave town. So I offered my bro from the music world the opportunity to have a weekend in the city – to do whatever he wanted – which he did(!)…so long as he could help me load in and out. He even drove us part of the way back (what a blessing)! We’d been meaning to catch up for months, so that was just fine by us, and it turns out he made some great connections of his own (at the Expo) that weekend.

I’ll only mention in passing that the hotel didn’t have my reservations (I’m finding this out at 11:15pm, after we’d just rolled in) – or that when Expedia lopped off my 4th night there, I ended up paying more (for the 3 nights that I did stay there) than I’d been on the hook for originally (for 4 nights!).

Snafus – things you can’t anticipate, and couldn’t begin to include in the price of your product – but they’re costs nonetheless…the cost of “bringing Crystals to market.” I hope buyers recognize that we vendors absorb these myriad tangible – and emotional costs – wishing (sometimes fruitlessly) to make them up on the “back end,” with some big sales. One of my fellow vendors reported more in sales to one big customer than all his others that weekend, combined!

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

As we were pushing my 10 large bins out of the freight elevators – on the 18th floor (a bellman had gruffly sent us ’round the back when we tried to load in to the main elevators) – a different group of exhibitors was loading in too. They asked us what we were selling.

“Crystals” we replied.

They were not pleased – since after having been told there were “only 2 Crystal vendors,” there turned out to be about 4 major vendors – and another handful of exhibitors with meaningful crystal displays.

It creates an atmosphere of competition for everyone (when there’s already lots of folks selling “the same thing”) – which can be healthy – and good for you buyers. But everyone selling sees their earning potential drop. It also hurts our (needed) margin when buyers get to pit us against each other for the lowest prices.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the end buyer’s benefit (hello: I’m a retailer) – but part of my mission in telling this story (can you tell?) – is to demonstrate the types of liabilities & costs we encounter at every turn (as vendors).

Fortunately, everyone was selling something a little different. And everybody had their unique strengths. But without an unlimited audience passing through, there’s only so many dollars to go around. If they don’t spend it with you, they’re spending somewhere else!

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

I got one “insult” (that’s how I heard it) – “you’re the most expensive crystal seller in the place” – from someone who’d just walked away, after making a purchase (from me!).

He and his wife had come by and hammered me on pricing earlier, but then walked away – even after I dropped the total (on just 2 pieces) lopping off 20 bucks – which turned out to be a whopping 22% discount!

Most vendors are stretching it, to give you 5-10% off. I’ve seen it, cause I’m a buyer too (and they know I’m a dealer).

I enjoy giving breaks in general, but in particular when someone’s really enthusiastic, and buying multiple pieces.

I was actually rattled by that experience, though (and that doesn’t usually happen for me). A buyer from the previous day came by (very happy, with his new necklace, which he’d gotten from me ), and I confessed (after saying something nonsensical): “I’m a mess.” I drove 4 hours Thursday night, and then we loaded all my stuff up to the room, going to sleep way after midnight.

Friday, I set up from 10am till 3:30pm, just taking things out and organizing them. That’s over 5  hours on setup! You couldn’t tell me to set up any faster. Some things take the time to “do right.” I didn’t just lay bins out, or put out jewelry boxes…I took everything out…and put all into play with that new velvet-pad display-system I mentioned earlier.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I was also excited to put out my new Crystal Energy Zones poster – which I’d created specifically in time for this particular Expo. It condenses the various Chakras down to 4 key areas, all all of which are pertinent to the human body. These are “populated” by the 29 varieties of power stones I find essential to working with our own energy system [email me at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com to get your copy].

The place was open to the public from then (3:30pm) till 10pm on Friday. That was another 6.5 hours on the floor – and I had just one meal throughout (and one bathroom break) – from start to finish! I’m a big eater, but you can be sure my stomach shrank to accommodate the long intervals between meals.

I wish I had photos of them all – there was the African sorghum meal – the Chinese Indian dish – and even raw coconut (which tided me over each afternoon).

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor there)

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor right there)

On Saturday, the hours were 10am till 9pm (count ’em: 11 hours); and Sunday was 11am till 7pm. With the long drive home to Boston looming ahead – after a 2 hour load out (that turned Sunday into a 16 hour day) – I had earned the right to reach the end of my tether.

Fortunately, this guy’s friend – whose sweater I’d complimented – offered (and delivered) a 5 minute Chi Gung massage session right there, with us standing in the aisle. It was heavenly, actually, and revitalized me…mostly to receive positive energy from someone who wasn’t trying to undercut the value of my hard work and display efforts.

I take this thing quite seriously – I’m gonna share with you a blog soon about the life cycle of a crystal: how it gets into my possession, as well as what it goes through before it gets into your possession. You’d be surprised by the number of hours (and dollars) that goes into developing a selection the likes of which I’ve been showcasing at events lately.

I was vindicated that after having frequented all of those other vendors, those prickly buyers returned to me because guess what – they didn’t find what I had elsewhere – and they ultimately came to appreciate the value of my pieces (though they wouldn’t admit that).

Quasi - with his new pieces - for embedding in a pendant

Quasi – with his new pieces – for embedding in a pendant

At other shows, my average sale is $30-50, but this time it was $50-100. That’s not because people are buying a dozen $5 stones – or three dozen dollar pieces – I don’t carry those. My pieces start at about twenty bucks because too much less isn’t really worth the time I put into them. My niche is to shoot for a cut up – just over the average – including both the stones I acquire & the collectors I’m aiming to attract.

I’m catering to folks who’ve been around, who’ve seen most of what’s out there, and are searching for more – for special – for unique. And that doesn’t have to be big and pricey. Take for example, my new friend Quasi’s purchases: a small Polar Jade piece (with its own type of texture) & a family of DT’s floating together like Herkimer Diamonds (which came from Morocco). He makes pendant breast plates, and these were just right for him.

"galactic mountain range"

“galactic mountain range” prase Quartz

Alternatively, I also sold some very special, more expensive pieces. Take for example this rare, crystallized, green Prase Quartz I called “Galactic Mountain Range.” Coincidentally (and happily), I sold another, single “point” of this material online that weekend.

But that was about as expensive as I expected to go. Most people – except those in the know, who were really curious – didn’t even notice my Ethiopian Opals (which run even higher in price range).

I barely have any Crystals that can fetch over a G. And that’s on purpose. Yet I saw some items pushing over $1000 mark – even stretching into the several thousands – at other booths.

One visitor even complained (regarding another vendor) – about an item that seemed way out of proportion in price – relative to smaller pieces of that same material. To the vendor’s defense, I’d have to say that larger pieces are sometimes more rare, and cost more than their aggregate weight in smaller stones, because it’s hard to find that variety in larger dimensions. All and still, it was oddly reassuring to notice that “fault” can be found with every vendor. Nobody’s perfect.

I do have a pet peeve – though – about strange, incongruous pricing. I try to have an internal logic behind the price of every single piece I carry. If you care to know, I can explain it to you (for any and every item I carry).

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

I don’t price based on a blanket markup – as I imagine most people do – particularly wholesalers, who can’t be bothered with sorting through their lot (that’s our job, as retailers).

I price each piece based on a variety of factors. There’s size, color, texture, rarity (even within its type). Purchase price, replaceability, and personal “wow” factor all matter.

All these variables come into play…but this internalized list (the “axes of analysis,” as I call it) goes on and on! It would be hard to capture in words. There’s ultimately no substitute for the years of experience I bring to my pricing (and selection!).

The competitive vibe among sellers is actually something a lot of us have been overcoming (especially at the bigger shows). It’s so petty when venues block healers from reaching their audience, or sharing what it is they have to offer.

For all intents and purposes – if they did “open the gates” – the new arrangement would have every promise of creating a win win situation (for all of us). But no, we all want to be gatekeepers. “If you want to buy or be well, you have to come through my portal.” Sounds like Religion (but I won’t go there).

Papaya Quartz

Papaya Quartz

I find that it breaks the ice – with all but the most negatively minded people – when I buy from them, even at retail (though I certainly prefer – and merit – wholesale pricing). I’m an omnivorous buyer, I go for the good stones, wherever they may be (and whatever they cost).

I love the light hearted comradery that happens “on the floor.” There’s a sense that we’re all in this together – and that when we’re travelling from afar – we’re at the mercy of the organizers (who are ultimately “responsible” for bringing people through the door).

Indeed, there’s a little bit of an “us vs. them” feeling amongst the vendors, relative to organizers. It shows up in how we react towards the space we’re given; or even down to how the electricity is served up.

Our electricity kept getting unplugged…and had to be taped to the wall. It was a little annoying to have paid nearly $200 for access to a socket that was already there in my own booth space. And it wasn’t even that professionally set up (the wall plate wiggled). Three different sellers were being fed off of one outlet. Shimmying it tighter to the wall was the only method by which we could “stay juiced.”

Hospitality matters too – and shows up in areas such as making a special food line for us vendors – vs. relegating us to fending for ourselves (as if we were in the wild), amidst the throngs of festival goers.

Jewelry show display bins

Jewelry show display bins

Back (a bit) to my pricing philosophy and perspective. Some people think that because one person’s selling a bunch of tumblers in grab-bag-baskets for a couple of bucks each, that they’re not making a good margin of profit. Think again – they’re making as good a margin as anybody – and those nic nac accessories and non-rock, “shiny objects” that fly off the shelves…they’re there because they’re easy markup items. I was offered a few, to carry, but I declined…saying “I’m just a rock guy.”

Please don’t think that because some rocks sell for $1 to $3, that all rocks cost – or should cost – that amount. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on purchases I have no guarantee will ever sell. That’s what you do when you’re really into it.

Be driven by the product, not the cost. There are more important things to life (and Crystals) than the numbers. It annoys me to no end when people just look for the price tag, and then drop the piece, as if it has no other intrinsic worth than the dollar sign sticker which is stuck to it.

blues and greens - from Turquoise and Amazonite - to Crysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

blues and greens – from Turquoise and Amazonite – to Chrysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

Another pet peeve I have is when people come up out of nowhere – as they did specifically at this show, searching for Shungite – and ask “do you have such-and-such?” Just ’cause somebody’s written a book about it recently – extolling its virtues – doesn’t make it the best thing since sliced bread!

When it’s revealed that I don’t have it (whatever it may be…”Natural-ite” was another favorite…that made me laugh), they disappear again. Never mind that I have some of the best specimens of the key, classic varieties (and some hard to find rarities too) right there for the viewing, which they’ve completely overlooked. That just shows me they’re into the trends, and have no real depth to their interest in Crystals.

As I was packing up, after the close of the show, a woman walked up and asked casually “can you explain about Crystals, and what they do for you?” lackadaisically. I’m like (in my head): “really, you can’t seriously care about the truth of the matter, never mind what I have to say about it.”

pendulums galore

pendulums galore

Back to pricing – I have a pricing paradigm that I’ll share with you sometime too – it’s a way for you to understand better what you should expect to get for under $10 (as a retail buyer) – between $20 and $40; $50 and 90; over $100 – and over $200.

Another insider tip on my M.O. – if I don’t believe in it, or even get it – I don’t carry it (which I suggested above).

Take pendulums, for example. I don’t use them, but I know many who do. And I appreciate their aesthetic, as well as how helpful they can be (if you are into it). So I buy the best I can find – but not an overabundance of them – and I do display them.

Aqua Aura point(s)

Aqua Aura point(s)

Another variety I don’t use personally – but recognize the power of – is the treated Aura Quartzes. Precious metals are powdered, and fused to the surface of Quartz in a vacuum, at high temperatures. I’ve noticed they can become quite brittle – but they’re oh so pretty – and have a special, different, and larger than life aura.

My mainstay are real specimens  – including polished pieces – which I don’t necessarily consider “worse” than rough minerals.

I had a couple of people call me “hard” because I couldn’t go down indefinitely on the price of a standing Amethyst mini-cathedral. I’d rather hold onto something – wait for someone who appreciates it – than give it away beneath cost (or at a price that really doesn’t respect the piece).

Having been in the business 25 years, I know what will and won’t come around again.

Enough of my bellyaching! I don’t want to lose your ear – you’ve indulged me this far – but to get what we go through, you really have to understand this psychological tug of war that’s going on between us and folks who really don’t get it.

I had this same experience in the music business, where folks think you’re just “playing.” They don’t see your doing years of rehearsal, schlepping, late nights, driving tired behind the wheel, banging on doors for gigs. It ain’t easy work, but (somehow) we keep at it – we actually love it no matter what!

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

To tell you the truth – it’s self sourcing – energetically. I could be around Crystals (and all of what that entails) every single day, all day. Some of my best stretches have been spent exactly that way!

But you know the other reason we do it (and put up with all the BS)? It’s the folks who do get it, who recognize what you’re doing (and what it takes to deliver what you’re delivering). They make it worthwhile.

When I thought all was lost (that Saturday), and that I had no hope of recouping my expenses (never mind my product cost, or the worth of my time), I had a handful of good people come through. I’d just met them – for the first time(!) – and that carried me through.

Take also, for example, these encouraging words from a colleague afterwards: “You had a terrific display (and at least three attendees remarked to me that your crystals were of much higher quality than anything else at the show)! I think you really brought something special to the floor.” Feels good!

Or, from an elder, old time friend and fellow Crystal energy worker, based in NYC: “So good to see you again, I’m so proud of you. You have a great collection. And I like that you honor Earth Mother’s gifts.”

What else can I say?

What’s Love got to do with it? Crystals and the Heart.

broken heart

jasper heart – broken – and repaired (in appearance)

Crystal & Healing are two words that tend to go together all the time. And surely most of us carry around a broken heart, or at least a wounded heart – from failed & troubled relationships – including messed up childhoods. This creates all kind of mixed emotions, and the Heart Chakra (energy center located right there in your rib cage), can be a complicated place.

One color – Green – is often associated with that place we call our Heart (according to the preponderance of chakra charts). I’ve added Pink as its logical companion. Isn’t that the color we most often associate with things lovey-dovey (in the West).

SQR - gemmy rose egg

gemmy Rose Quartz egg, unparallelled in color

The distinction I make between Green & Pink is represented by two stones: Rose Quartz & Green Fluorite (which, in its rough, chunk form, looks just like a green version of pink Quartz). Rose Quartz represents Unconditional Love, the opening of the heart – that vulnerable “first love” vibration – also experienced by the lucky few who’ve had a first hand experience of The Divine…and feel that way towards G8D. It is innocent – not judging – and infinite.

best cluster

large cluster of perfectly colored green Fluorite

Unfortunately, most of us lose touch with that Being Love feeling, and are caught up more in its unavoidable companion (at least for humans): Relational Love – how we connect with those around us, with our Self, and with our Spiritual guides and cohorts. Money, at least in the U.S. – is green – and represents our commercial relationship to the world. So as you can imagine, Green Fluorite is a complex stone, given the variety of connections it ‘watches over.’ I think of it mostly in terms of its spiritual role, which is enhanced by its clarity, translucency, or “gemminess.”

IMG_5823

trio of matching, high grade octahedral blue Fluorite

Some people are just not green people, they relate far more to blue, and for them – although this aspect of the heart chakra remains green in color – they’d connect more easily with Blue Fluorite, a rarer, and wonderful form. So you can choose your Blue Spirit world or your Green Spirit World, but blue generally belongs higher, in the throat chakra and beyond.

heart shape a

naturally heart shaped, river worn Nephrite Jade

There are a number of other Aspects to what I call “the Heart Complex” – which are fortunately reflected in other, related stones – which ‘reside’ around “the big two.” Jade is directly beneath – and interestingly, appears not only in shades of green, but also in blue and gray. Jade is the great Emotional Soother – it’s surface is most like human skin (especially when naturally worn) – and it somehow “makes everything okay.”

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz, Madagascar

attached, twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

Above “the big two” one could place Milky stones, particularly Milky Quartz (though there are other varieties – specifically some Calcites and Verengita – which is like a white Onyx or Alabaster). These represent most bluntly: a mother’s milk…compassionate…nurturing (which is a bit different from soothing).

IMG_4924

pair of matching Malachite spheres

Next, beneath the Jade, come Smoky Quartz and Malachite.

Malachite can be a mixed blessing, because it’s an Emotive. The black represents opening, and the green represents the heart, so it’s an opening of the heart…helps feelings come up…not always an easy prospect.

But then, there is the Ultimate Forgiveness stone: Smoky Quartz, here to make everything okay – not by soothing – but by whisking away the negativity, transmuting it into some other place and time. It’s hard to get angry with Smoky Quartz around – I have a large beaded necklace of it – simply can’t get upset while I’m wearing it!

broken, dark Smoky

broken tip, but perfectly colored Smoky

So there you have it – the overarching duo of Unconditional & Relational Love – surrounded by other Heart Aspects: the expression of Feelings; Soothing; Compassion & Nurturance; and the power of Forgiveness…all important nuances coexisting in the Heart Chakra…and given voice and language through Crystals.

How they are configured, and ‘used’ to treat and enhance people’s experience, is the field of the ‘Crystal Healer,’ of which I am one. This arrangement is of my own ‘making’ – the choice of stones that participate in this important energy sector (of the human body) – have been selected and inter-related by me.

CC logo pink n blue text

If you would like to learn more about how to dwell and explore the Heart Complex – through Meditation, Personal Sessions, or Live & Virtual Learning Opportunities – please contact Kyle Russell via email, at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com.

 

twin, or 'couple stone'

twin, or ‘couple stone’

PS. what about Romantic Love? It exists within the personal experience of these various energetic “pulls,’ but can be represented by “couple stones,” or twins…which do not pertain (or reside) directly in the Heart Chakra…but may be meditated on, or worked on, with Crystals that fit this description (as pictured here). Similarly, multi-point conglomerations (not necessarily clusters) can represent families, children, etc.

different heart-shaped stones will evoke different experiences of Love...this one is Tiger Iron...and is all about grounding your love, having a strong center of gravity, to not stray or be swayed wrongly

different heart-shaped stones will evoke different experiences of Love…this one is Tiger Iron…and is all about grounding your love, having a strong center of gravity, to not stray or be swayed wrongly

What stone can be used to attract love? That’s an interesting question, and not an easy one to answer. I believe that working with the other stones, and all that they “conjure” in the human breast, as well as approaching your life holistically, with an eye to balancing your energies, and more importantly…letting Universal Energy flow maximally through your being, and without snags…THAT is the way to open yourself up most easrily to receive Love into your life.

A good variety of these mentioned stones are also accessible at the For Sale items page at www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals, or by request, with interest, to the email above.

Crystal Meditation vs. Crystal Workshop (why, and what’s the difference?)

What’s the point of a Crystal Meditation (or a Workshop)? You might say: “I can do this all on my own, and I have everything I need – I know how to read – I bought the books!” Sure – have at it – but two things make doing an actual Crystal Meditation (or Workshop) with me, well worth it.
mystic light, emanating from a crystal point

mystic light, emanating from a crystal point

First of all, I have my own approach – I’ve sourced all my information intrinsically, “from on high” (no, not channelled, per se) – and from experience. I have actually been working with Crystals for 25 years! I don’t read “the books,” so you’re not likely to hear what you’ve heard before.

In fact, I take issue with a lot of what’s been written. It’s too generalized, simplistic, and fantastic (in the literal sense of that word). If I can’t feel it myself, or understand it – because it’s seemingly arbitrary, contrived, and poorly explained – then I don’t want to go there.

I have something unique to share. Whichever way you connect with me – including online – which is a major priority for me…to deliver some virtual content & value…but more on that developing saga (of reaching out to a bigger audience through the Internet) another time.
the power of collective upliftmentWhether on the Web, or in person, the key is interaction. That’s the second thing that makes taking either a Class/Workshop, or doing a Meditation worthwhile…the people!
My knowledge doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it comes out more with others (than on my own) – and everyone attending has a lot to contribute, too. I’m always amazed by people’s observations – what they’re going through – and what they’re learning. We all have a lot to teach one another!
Those are two strong “why’s.” Now let me tell you more about the “how” of what’s involved…
In a Crystal Meditation, I begin without any stones: for us to remember we’re biological beings – with minerals “inside” us – but we’re impermanent, mostly liquid (water…blood…bodily fluids).
We’re floating, here only for a time. And filled with our own concerns – “busy mind” – which we want to calm and center, ground and “space out” (ie. make receptive to new and deeper experiences).
Perhaps we introduce an intention, or a question, for you to go in and research, or cultivate the answer to, and maybe bring forth into your consciousness. We invite your Soul into the common space of the group, for this out-of-the-ordinary opportunity. Sacred safe-space is key – no judgements – no criticism.
People may share what they’ve come up with, or what’s come up for them…
diamantina laser polarity

diamantina laser polarity

Then comes 1 (or more) guided meditations including Crystals, because they’re what makes this a Crystal Meditation, after all!

The fact that I’m leading, makes it a Crystal Concentrics (my brand of) Meditation, as well.

We explore themes, in the context of the chosen Power Stones, which serve to focalize our thoughts and energies. Some may be held – or you can hold your own Crystals – and we go through that (and share again).

Topics have included Grounding, Sickness, Reconnecting with Spirit, and more. The list could go on and on. What we’re not doing here – is a prescribed program – going from a A to Z in a set curriculum. We don’t offer certifications or grant titles – making you a Master of this – or that.
This is another distinction of the Crystal Concentrics way. It’s not linear – so, in keeping with the name – it has to do with circles: moving outward, cross referencing, interconnecting. Most of all, it’s a process, a process which does not end. It evolves, like a ripple in a pond…spreading out, dissipating…and then starting again elsewhere – just like the movement of our Souls, through this – and other lives, planes, times, and places.
the Cosmology of Crystals

a sample presentation of the Cosmology of Crystals

 

Finally, and this does not happen every time, we might create a layout, or even a portal, to galvanize several energies at once, including the power of our collective presence and consciousness.

We have evoked “The River of Life,” “The Cosmology of Crystals,” and “The Pillar of Light” (an energy source for healing, and a passageway into the sublime).
All of this in an hour and half!
More or less time could be taken – depending on the circumstances.
Online, for example, may be more of a “get-down-to-business” scenario…since there’s less time for meet-and-greet. But it could end up similarly – as I’m new to it – and haven’t explored all the possibilities yet.
In person certainly has its advantages, but because of our efforts, and the Crystals themselves – which work so powerfully with the archetypes of our minds – it is actually possible to have every bit as powerful experiences virtually, as you can live. The imagination is a powerful landscape, and you can travel there easily, with or without your body.
grounding Hematite

grounding, superior specimen of Hematite

I do not advocate for an “out-of-body” lifestyle, though. To the contrary, most illnesses of mind and body are worsened (or even brought on) by dissociation with the physical. And I totally understand that trauma can leave you wanting to leave your body (or be anywhere else).

Ultimately, you have to take care of, and be in your body. Otherwise, what’s the point of being here(?), when there are other levels of existence (and non-existence) to get to.
Important, life-changing choices have to be made, and individual, one-on-one sessions, are where I explore that work (and any particular challenges you may be facing in that area). The beauty of private work is that you get all of the attention: the entire time is spent on your process. Nobody else shares. Nobody else’s needs matter (in that period).
Group meditation and the workshop environment may not be for you if you’re grappling with your own issues consumingly. They may be clouding your capacity to be in community. At the same time, it can be liberating to be in the company of others, and to levitate from your own well – see a fuller landscape – and appreciate anothers’ perspective.
Moving on, you might also ask: “Now the Crystal Concentrics Workshop – how is that different from – and why would I want to participate in one of those, instead of (or additionally to) the Crystal Meditation experience?”
The Workshop definitely incorporates Meditation, and all of the elements discussed above. It takes twice as long, though, because there’s a whole different aspect, that is unique to it. The educational, instructional piece, is what makes it stand out.
the Chakras as I-statements

the Chakras as I-statements

People want to know about the bigger picture, not just the specific energies employed during one Meditation (valuable as that may be). They want to understand how all (or most) of the major varieties (or one specific variety) of Power Stones “works,” and is interrelated with the others. For that reason, I introduce paradigms: frameworks that quantify, or organize our ways of thinking (and feeling) about the full spectrum of Crystals.

Which concept can (loosely) hold, or allow for the interpretation of the whole of the mineral “kingdom,” as it relates to the human bodily (and ethereal) energies?
Another question we might ask is “How, with thousands of varieties out there – can we (without getting all Scientific about it) – group into a smaller number of categories, the astonishing multiplicity of Crystals in existence?”
Even a single stone has so many attributes – by what means can we judge, or place it – on a variety of continuums for description, simultaneously?
All these are the types of queries we address in my Workshops.
To find out more, really, you should simply attend. Rest assured, that no two events – be they Meditations or Workshops (I call them Workshops, and not Classes, because they’re more participatory than “just a class”) – no two meetings will be identical.
There’s no “I heard that before,” or “there he goes again,” because I strive to approach every happening freshly. Even repeat guests cannot have been to every event – as I have – so if I can not be repetitious in myself, I’ll always move forward. That way, I can be sure to keep our experiences new and different.
As always – to get these updates & more (’cause my work is not only my Blog – I have newsletters, and numerous other Links for you to check out) – please email me at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com.
To see my actual Calendar / Schedule of Events, click here. I hope to see or meet you soon! I’m happy to share with you the adventure of this work!
Regards,
Kyle Russell
Founder of Crystal Concentrics
and Power Stone Crystals

What is a “Crystal Reading”?

mystic light, emanating from a crystal point

mystic light, emanating from a crystal point

I offered a venue-owner my services as a “Crystal Reader,” which brought up – even for me, the next logical question – “what is a Crystal Reading?”

Mention Psychic Readings – and people generally know what you’re talking about – even if they haven’t necessarily had one.

According to Wikipedia: “A Psychic Reading is a specific attempt to discern information through the use of heightened perceptive abilities; or natural extensions of the basic human senses of sight, sound, touch, and instinct. These natural extensions are claimed to be Clairvoyance (vision), Clairsentience (feeling), Claircognisance (factual knowing) and Clairaudience (hearing)…and the resulting statements made during such an attempt.”

There is no such entry for “Crystal Reading” – which speaks to that fact that no one (“out there”) really knows what a Crystal Reading would consist of – though I’m sure some of you can imagine (and I’ve met several folks who do their own versions of this). I actually do them (being an innovator of the form) – and will tell you what my own Crystal Concentrics Reading consists of – so read on please.

revelations of a Crystal Ball

revelations of a Crystal Ball

One might ask: “do Crystals tell the reader something about the person?”

Could this be facilitated by an archetypal (or real) Crystal Ball? I know a few that could probably do the job, in the right hands. Specifically, I’m finding that Selenite spheres are quite powerful tools for scrying. 

Let me pull back, though, and ask: “Are Crystals used, like Tarot Cards – or an Astrological chart – as a kind of map of a person’s makeup (revealing their past)…or does it open a window onto their destiny (leading forward)?”

All good questions. Here’s how it works…from my perspective. Again, I can only speak for myself – ’cause I don’t come from an existing “school of thought,” or an institution – nobody’s trained or certified me…but I have my sources.

You see, I’m 25 years into this. I had a revelatory experience during the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. Since then – the knowledge simply appeared – almost fully formed, in my mind. Certainly, I’ve worked on it, honed it…developing through experience, my own higher understanding of this subject.

Clearly, as well, there’s an existing field out there. With so many modalities available to choose from (even within the Crystal Healig medium), it’s important for each practitioner to represent their own services’ qualities & the benefits thereof. This is mine, and here I go.

For starters – while I use cues (how you present yourself, what you say) – I don’t pretend to read minds or know the name of your first dog, the street you’ve lived on, or what illnesses you’ve had. There’s no “hide” – but there’s certainly some “seek” – my questions are key, they set the stage for my understanding of your issues.

golden rainbow Calcite sphere

golden rainbow Calcite sphere

To facilitate my openness to information, a Crystal Ball is certainly conducive, but not required. Any type of power stone could help, but truly, attentiveness and caring are prerequisite.

I will say this, though. What’s great about any sphere – is its omnidirectionality – suggesting its capacity to pick up on everything, from all directions…including the past…or the hereafter.

non-clear stone spheres

non-clear stone spheres

Not all such pieces have that ability, ’cause when you get into the different (non-clear) varieties, you invoke other energies – intrinsic to those stones – and not really pertinent to that “receiver” aspect most available through clear orbs.

So if a Crystal Ball is not a prerequisite, what is? The inquiry. It’s everything. So is the interpretation. Together, they are ultimately “the reading!”

stock image of a Psychic reading scenario

stock image of a Psychic reading scenario

As mentioned earlier, the questions which come up may include – “what is challenging your Spiritual Journey” – or even “what’s present for you these days…emotionally…or in your body?”

Some people are less attuned to their internal world, and respond better to an open ended question like “what’s happening in your life right now?” That lets them choose what direction they want to go in – what they think is important to reveal – what’s really concerning for them, in the moment.

The more avoidant a person is, the less likely they are to truly benefit from this (or any) therapy. You have to want to get down and dirty with your own “stuff.” If you are unwilling to walk in the dark, you are less likely to get to the other side of the tunnel, where the light’s coming through.

The magic – on my part – is both in the follow up questions (to find out more), and in the interpretation: what does this all say, or mean about you? Where is it pointing? What kind of help, energetically, do you need right now?

Based on my assessment – which can take more, or less time – it’s possible to determine what Crystals may be helpful in representing, or facilitating your process.

Obsidian wands - one backing the other - in clearing the way forward

Obsidian wands – one backing the other – in clearing the way forward

We’re looking for a way to either to cope with what’s currently going on, or to move you further along, towards your own desired destination.

Sometimes (often!) we all need some support in thinking through what it is that we really want, never mind navigating the often complex Rubik’s cube of how to “get it.”

I call myself a Personal Growth Facilitator & Spiritual Advisor, because we’re not just talking about logistics. There are many professional coaches out there to help you with that. We’re not doing talk therapy, either (though conversation is certainly therapeutic).

I will address your Soul purpose, or the particulars which may be coming up. Talking is the easiest way to communicate so much, in not a lot of time. So it’s not to be avoided.

The added layer, which makes this work so unique, is the additional use and involvement of Power Stones.

Broadly, it’s helpful to consider the personal benefits of this work, in general…which you can learn about through my List of Benefits link.

small assortment of power stones

small assortment of power stones

Returning to the particulars of a Crystal Reading session: a tabletop layout can be selected (by me) from a “doctor’s bag” of goodies – Crystals that run the gamut, energetically – but which are selected  (and arranged) for their relevance to your situation.

It’s not a prescription – “go buy this, or do that” – I’m actually opposed to that type of simplistic problem solving. I don’t believe possessing a certain variety of stone can necessarily make your world better – though that certainly happens all the time, for me and for others – so I wouldn’t discount that. I’m just saying that the Crystals are only part of the puzzle, and your issues go deeper, and lie separate from the earthen world. Most people’s situations took a lot of combined factors to create – there’s no reason to believe that all that can be undone by one single action – or crystal.

What I encourage instead, is the consideration of an inventory of vibrations that are helpful to witness, or take in, given the circumstances you’re facing. By contemplating certain Stones and ideas, you’re able to gain some needed perspective on your life. From there, options and opportunities will present themselves.

The grouping is a lot smaller than what might be chosen for a full layout in a private, individualized session (which I do, as well). The Crystal Reading is really meant to be an introduction – to how Crystals can be seen to connect with your reality – and how they can be used to bring out and conceptualize (maybe even galvanize) some of the dynamics at work in your life.

When I’m working long distance, it might be necessary to draw for stones afterwards, on reflection, and to send the person getting the reading a picture of them.

Fenster or Skeletal Quartz

Fenster or Skeletal Quartz

What’s an example, specifically, of how this might actually happen? Sure.

A person facing illness needs to begin seeing that fact (or that interpretation) in a non-self-deprecatory way. It’s so easy to turn judgement onto oneself…as if the disease hasn’t already done a “good” enough job of that…you have to be strong (even as you’re feeling weak)!

You need to be able to externalize your sense of weakness – as can be done with a Fenster Quartz – which is strong, but yet fractured.

Diamantina Quartz, tapered laser

Diamantina Quartz, tapered laser

You may need to draw in (or mimic) strong life energies – for strength – which could come from a Herkimer Diamond Quartz, or a reverse facing wand, using one like this pictured ‘Singing’ or Diamantina Quartz laser (which is “facing” forward).

There are so many tools – not only in shape – but in content, which represent the many energies we need to call upon.

high quality Rhodochrosite chunk, polished to show its color gradations

high quality Rhodochrosite chunk, polished to show its color gradations

Perhaps the seminal cell-division “fertility” stone Rhodochrosite, may become necessary (though I don’t really bring it out lightly, as its use makes more sense in a larger – and individualized – treatment plan). Rose Quartz or coral Stilbite might do, but it all depends on the circumstances.

Suffice it to say, the possibilities are limitless. Our imagination, desire for progress, and the number (and quality) of Crystals within our grasp will all set the very broad stage for what’s possible through these Readings.

A Crystal Reading can lead to future work together – you and me – or to recommendations for other practitioners or self care options. You’ll come away with a new way of looking at yourself and your potential. Ultimately, I can talk about it till the cows come home, but the best way to find out what a Crystal Concentrics Reading can do for you, is to book one (or invite me to an event you know about, where I can offer them).

Email CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com…I’m looking forward to The Inquiry!

Crystal Pricing – it’s in all the eye of the beholder

Boston Mineral ClubPART ONE – the principal of it

I joined the Boston Mineral Club recently, and overheard one of the elder gemologists say “unlike in most industries, there’s no standardized system for pricing minerals.” A lightbulb went off for me. Of course, I thought – that’s so true!

Diamonds may have a ‘universal’ price code – but even there – you can find a lot of variation in cost-for-product…and if you’re not an expert yourself, who can you trust?

Folks you know – folks you’ve seen demonstrate their knowledge, experience, and selection – you can (and should) trust them. And trust yourself, over all. If you think it’s worth it (to you) – and you have the money – they go ahead and buy it…without any regrets!

question mark diamond

question mark diamond

But who really knows what a Crystal is worth? If there was some ONE person who knew it all, it wouldn’t be much of a game anymore. It’s ultimately “all in the eye of the beholder.”

The Seller is the gate keeper – the ultimate “decider” – but every one has their bottom price. Unlike mainstream shop attendants, most dealers have the flexibility to give you a break. So play with them…bargain. Worst thing they can say is “no!”

I’ve done that plenty myself – making preposterously low offers – it can’t hurt. But I never question people’s prices – especially in front of others, or on Facebook – I think that’s a big no-no.

I asked one such naysayer “why would you want to ‘yuk someone else’s yum’ – I mean – if that’s what they’re charging, it’s their business (after all), and if someone’s gonna pay what they’re asking, then more power to the both of them!”

a decent sphere - like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere - should cost over $100

a decent sphere – like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere – should cost over $100

I’m not into the high end, jewelry or gem stone business, preferring minerals. I do specialize in finer specimens, but within the (I think) more modest range of $30-$200.

I think of that as “affordable” – and that if you can’t spend that type of change on something that really matters to you – then perhaps you should find a cheaper hobby.

Amazingly, a lot of people think that is a lot to spend. I don’t know what that says about our economy, people’s living conditions, or our priorities. People are spending $50 a week on coffee and donuts…so it’s hard for me understand why they can’t seem to find the same amount for something that’ll last forever…and give them satisfaction many times over.

I feel like I’m holding the torch solo – sometimes – for people respecting the value of good Crystals, and the effort that goes into finding, and presenting them in a way that truly honors their special value.

Aragonite 'sea horse' floating cluster

Aragonite ‘sea horse’ floating cluster

The reason my prices aren’t what you’ll see at a local rock shop (or gem show), is that I am neither. This is a boutique operation. Every piece is hand picked because of some unique quality, and my prices reflect that TLC.

A wholesaler I met with recently said “I can’t go there – I can’t look at individual pieces – everything has to get marked up by weight only.” How could I compete with – and why should I be compared to – folks buying directly from the source?! That’s not my place in the pecking order – my ‘ecological niche’ is post miner, post international shipper – serving up that special sauce for retail buyers with great taste.

All and still – and excuse me for tooting my own horn here (if I don’t, who will, aye…though you may want to look at my Buyer Testimonials) – but I’m pretty confident that I have a broader variety of true power stones than most operations I’ve seen out there – be they online or in person – mom and pop or major importer.

Every time I leave a gem show or wholesaler – I thank my lucky stars: I get to walk away with the good stuff – while they’re stuck with literally tons of 2nds and 3rds…stuff I wouldn’t even want to give away…but their margin (hello, everybody’s got ’em) takes that into consideration. Plus, they have volume on their side.

Have you seen some of the truly high grade stuff displayed at Museums, and even Gem Shows? It’s on sale for really big numbers? People are asking $800 for a pebble here, and $4000 for a cluster there. Try complaining to those guys about pricing.

I’m the little  guy, here. How is it fair that I should occasionally get grief for charging the cost of a good meal on arguably outstanding product?

worthless lot I returned

worthless lot I returned

Let me tell you a little story about unreasonable pricing. There was a guy I bought a whole parcel from recently, for $140 online. I failed to get dimensions, trusting the source – but when I got it – the little ‘puddle’ was worth $30, maybe. There were tiny points that looked huge in the photos (which is why every piece I sell online is photographed ‘in-hand’ – to show relative size). Others were broken. The Citrine was all irradiated (undisclosed by the Seller), and the ‘Lemurians’ turned out not to be. He didn’t even have an “All Sales Final” clause, but he wouldn’t take them back! I put them in the mail and said “don’t even refund me – keep the money as a cushion for yourself, or give it to a charity – I could never accept this overpriced garbage.” The black Tourmaline was all I wanted to hold onto, but to do so would only suggest the legitimacy of any part of the transaction.

I don’t know if it’s yard sales, volume sellers, or rock hounds who can offer great selections for under $30 – but if they’re out there – have at ’em.

As I say to some folks: “you can find another stone like this out there – but you won’t find this one anywhere but here, today.”

One of the favorite claims made (and I hear this one a lot) is: “I have one just like that” – or better yet, with additional glee: “and I paid $4 for it!” Awesome, I’ll say: “show me a photo of it.” And they disappear into the ethers.

You know what they say about opinions…

it's just a $3 tumbler - right(?) - wrong: it's a hand polished Celestite, worth a lot more

“This is just a $3 tumbler – right?” Wrong: it’s a hand polished Celestite, worth a great deal more.

Sometimes what I buy costs me more than someone else may have found it for. I’ve heard braggadocio like “I can get that for this amount.” I’m like “cool, let’s talk, maybe I should be buying it from you!” Again, the magic vaporization trick.

Some folks just like to hear the sound of their own voices…

In addition to my markups reflecting the considerable time spent choosing ‘greats’ from lesser pieces, they reflect miles driven to faraway places (you know the price of gas!); hours spent sorting through what’s been gotten; the cost of storage bins; display boxes…this isn’t an overhead-free business.

I see plenty of shop owners buying keystone, and charging a standard markup, but that doesn’t do justice to specifically selected stand-outs. And that’s not even taking into consideration a piece’s metaphysical attributes!

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a 'local rock shop' with a price tag of $150 more than I'd sold a similar piece for

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a ‘local rock shop’ with a price tag of $150 more than I’d sold a similar piece for

I also find myself in stores scratching my head – “why the heck are they charging so much for this?” Tell me that hasn’t happened to you! And yet…they must have their reasons.

Sometimes a rock is just plain worth more, or the seller has put a premium on it, they just don’t want to part with it for less. That’s their prerogative.

Again, you do have choice. You can buy anywhere. Let me repeat, this time for all vendors: “if you want this stone, from this source, this is what it’s going to cost you.”

PART TWO [optional] – the nitty gritty (behind the scenes)…fine print details

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on…it’s here for no other reason than that I like it

I’ve covered some important ground, so far, but I want to address (in this Blog) some more topics that have come up through feedback from customers and the curious. They’ve inquired about pricing on my For Sale page: www.Facebook.com/PowerStone.

As you can see, I have more to say than will comfortably fit on a Post or Comment, so here goes. I so love the flexibility of being able to ‘stretch out’ in my Blogs.

Facebook iconTo begin with, the question: “to price or not to price?” Why I never used to, and why some people still refuse to do it publicly (like on Facebook)…is for a bunch of reasons.

Unlike on one’s own site – mine is www.CrystalConcentrics.com, but I haven’t yet launched my new shopping cart system…it mostly just hosts my blog) – Facebook is (pretty much) an open book. That means that any and everybody can comment (and they often do).

Heckling on price or steering customers elsewhere happens, and it’s not cool. That’s why, even though I used to publish a range (“under $50” or “under $400”) – I have always urged people to “DM” me – that is, direct message me for details.

“DM” is my own challenge to the generally accepted “PM” or private message abbreviation most commonly used. Although I have this request on virtually every item description, I’m astonished that people still prefer to Comment with questions, instead of writing me directly, as I’ve requested. The result – regrettably – is that I don’t notice their outreach till months later, if at all.

Moving on: wholesalers (even from other countries) have been known to come in and try to undercut you to the interested party, or separately message them, trying to steal the sale. Also not cool…and it doesn’t serve anyone, in the long run.

I learned this lesson the hard way – a LONG time ago – when I had 2 retail stores selling international clothing and jewelry. My suppliers started opening up direct-to-retail shops in the neighborhood. What happened? The bottom fell out of the market (for me and for them).

Jewelry show display

Jewelry show display

Sure, I want to get buyers the best possible prices, but after awhile, know that if the margin becomes too slim, it becomes pointless even to carry the product (never mind photograph it, post it, talk about it, etc.).

Remember, all vendors also have to have a huge amount of money tied up in inventory – to stay stocked – so they’ve got to believe in their product (and the pricing they’ve chosen).

In my case – you’ll also have to take into consideration that when I walk into a private healing session with a client (or a class) – sporting thousands of dollars in stellar material – that stuff will never be sold. It’s being held strictly for therapeutic purposes. It’s like water being tied up in the glaciers, never being turned over, even for the price that was paid. Think of all that capital out of circulation.

I can’t sell any one piece for less that I think it merits. That being said – you should know that my regular customers sometimes enjoy major discounts – as much as 30-40% off! It’s, ultimately, about making the sale – having product move, in the larger flow of Life energy – and creating the space for new and different items.

One more factor the Buyer should account for: privately held collection pieces not earning for the Seller. One wholesaler I met doesn’t have that problem – he saves nothing – but I can’t think of many who can resist holding onto some precious Crystals for themselves.

How do you even begin to price a giant elestial double terminated quartz(?!)

How do you even begin to price a giant Elestial double terminated Quartz(?!)

In all fairness, you (or I) really have no idea what the Seller actually bought the merchandise for, or what their overhead may be.

Just today, I bought some pieces Retail, because they’re that special. I was willing to ‘overspend’ because I know those pieces have their ‘rightful owners’ out there, and I’m their steward (until such time).

I can’t speak for others – but I spend a lot of time dealing with product – I take photos of everything; have paid for a sophisticated in-the-cloud inventory system; and have many other time and material costs which are incurred (behind the scenes) to bring you the best selection I can.

I am prepared to sit on an item if it doesn’t sell (cause it’s that good) – and if it does go (especially if it’s unique) – I may have a real struggle trying to replace it. So sometimes, it’s better to hold something until the right buyer comes along. Thankfully) they are out there. I am so grateful for the discerning customer!

Volume, which is the lifeblood of wholesalers, is not the prime motivator of this metaphysical retailer (though it is for some). If you have a storefront, and lots of folks coming through, you want to move as much product as possible. My goal here is to focus on quality over quantity, and to match the buyer with the right stone for them, regardless of price.

I take extra time talking or emailing with people – to make sure we ‘get it right’ – and that’s part of why I have a 100% satisfaction rate. When a total stranger (online) makes an inquiry – I do ask for their email, to followup – and build the relationship. If they refuse to share that with me [I’ve never abused someone’s contact information], chances are: they won’t be that great to do business with. Another way of thinking about this is – what if someone walked into your store with an invisibility cloak – and balked at you asking them to remove it before talking to them?

As stated, valuation is not a rigid science – costs can change over time. I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for outdated pricing (“but in November, you said this cost such-and-such”)…especially if later, I find that the piece has become that much harder to find (or sudden abundance lowers the price it can command). Not posting exact numbers used to give me the flexibility to bargain, too – if it made sense – or I’d just hold out for my highest asking price.

purple Flourite bowl

unique purple Flourite bowl

Having been in the business 25 years, I’ve seen a LOT of rocks, from what’s in the shops, to gem shows…a great gamut of retail and wholesale offerings. I’ve even sampled what the museums are sporting (though I’m sad that it’s always behind glass)! I’ve got a pretty good sense of what is out there, what’s not likely to come around again, and what’s a fad.

Yes, even in the crystal world (or especially?), there are phases and fashions. New finds get milked (become all the rage, like Fluorite bowls – a purple example pictured here – were “happening” just a few years ago…and then they’ve disappeared since. Am I gonna charge more for something like that? You betcha.

New Age names & qualities (like the “Auralite 23” phenomenon) get slapped onto pieces that had otherwise gone unnoticed. These in particular – end up fetching a ridiculous premium – but oddly, I find myself liking (and buying) them regardless. If it’s worth it, it’s worth it.

I have priced pieces for the long run, not just based on what I paid for them. I have to take into consideration what I estimate their long term value will be…mindful of the current market, but also of its future.

pair of Saphires

blue and yellow Sapphire

I do get some surprises, at times. Because much of my stock has been accumulated over 10 and 20 years, even my pricing can get out of date.

Take for example these Sapphires (pictured left and available here, on Facebook). I don’t even know what I paid for them – an I was willing to basically give them away – but now, they apparently fetch upwards of $50 a gram(!), currently.

Some vendors are in a hurry for turnover – others like attracting the lowest bidders – not me. That’s part of why I don’t do auctions. I’ve held some stones a quarter century, and don’t mind holding them some more. I’m really not comfortable ‘giving them away’ to someone who doesn’t truly appreciate their value.

That can happen after I’m gone. But if I have anything to do with it, I’ll have all my inventory properly codified and transferable, so anyone can know from looking at my archives what these pieces should sell for.

I passed up the 18 carat Gold bracelet I once wanted, and any big rings, for this diversified investment in a different kind of earth bounty. I give thanks to Mother Earth, Gaia and “the G*ds” – however you want to call him, her, or them – for giving me the eye (and occasionally, the full wallet) to have come this far in my collecting. I’d like to think what’s happened up till now is the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

As you can see, I value my time and inventory highly. The reason I’ve taken so long in writing this Blog post – days, probably, over it’s various incarnations – is that it really matters to me what you, the reader, think. I have to present every angle I can think of, to make sure you can see my nuanced perspective (and become as informed as possible).

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

My mission now, is to share and to educate, so that more people will appreciate the worth of Crystals – not just for their rarity (or beauty) – but for their unique energetic qualities (even if that lends a financial boost to their price tag).

I boast a piece’s metaphysical merits only when I have personal experience indicating this would be appropriate, as opposed to some others’ making claims, attributing to them a laundry list of supposedly scientific and magical attributes.

Ours is a fine line – the metaphysician sellers’ – between what is, and what is imagined to be. Sometimes how we feel matters most. I just want to be wary of the “Emperor’s Clothes” syndrome – where everybody believes something just because everybody else believes in it – or some “master” went and put it down on paper. That feels spurious, and not sufficient basis for a shared belief.

There are treasured varieties out there that I just ‘don’t feel’ – but again – I won’t ‘poo-poo’ another’s gig. If it’s working for them and their customers, then as I’ve heard said: “who G*d bless, let no man curse!”

———————————-

blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

Hope to connect with you, email: CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com

Facebook Pages:

http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals (strictly For Sale items)

http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentric (new modality, inspirations, and personal collection pieces)

Facebook Profile: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentrics

Facebook Group 1 (for New Englanders):                                       http://www.Facebook.com/Groups/CrystalsNewEngland

Facebook Group 2 (for chronic rock spenders):                                       http://www.Facebook.com/Groups/Gemoholics Anonymous

Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/CrystalsPower

Twitter: @CrystalsPower