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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Adding Momentum to the 2012 Shift: Renew, Evolve and Transcend at Skokie’s Body Mind Spirit Expo

Jul 24, 2012 12:31PM ● By Linda Sechrist

In 1986, when Steve Strickland began organizing his first Body Mind Spirit Expo (BMSE) in Ashland, Oregon, he chose to take a leap of faith and intermingle purveyors of alternative health therapies with metaphysical vendors. “Mixing the two groups was risky business then, because few people in the general public were using chiropractors, bodyworkers, Reiki or other forms of energy work,” says Strickland, who after more than three decades counts nearly 700 events in 35 states, and one in Japan, to his credit.

“I feel that our two-day expos, which bring together holistic living presenters and exhibitors—representing subjects that vary from astrology, dreams, tarot card and aura readings to naturopathic therapies, massage and yoga—have helped to shape the holistic health movement in cities across the country,” advises Strickland. His Skokie expo will inform and enlighten attendees on August 18 and 19 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts.

Strickland has been interested in holistic and metaphysical subjects since the age of 3. “By the time I was 7 years old, I could somewhat articulate my dream of finding a way to inform people about their psychic abilities and make them aware that there are other places to explore in the universe,” he recalls. The indefatigable organizer enjoys meeting the challenge of keeping expos fresh by creating original themes that reflect new trends and the public’s overall interests. This year’s BMSE Skokie focus, “Shift Yourself and Transform the World,” aligns with the message of many New Thought experts, who suggest that 2012 is the time for an evolutionary shift in personal and planetary consciousness.

This year’s expo attendees can plan ahead by visiting BMSE’s website to purchase advance tickets, print vendor expo coupons and download a customized program guide that highlights exhibits of particular interest, as well as intellectually stimulating lectures by national, regional and local speakers versed in alternative health, personal growth and metaphysics. “We want expo-goers to get excited about being able to personally connect with exhibitors, other like-minded individuals, and ideas that can enhance their life,” says Strickland, citing an eclectic sampling of six exhibitors/presenters at the Skokie event whose positive interactions with expo attendees finds them eager to set up booths each year and deliver fresh material.

Sue SimonSue Simon

“I keep coming back [as a speaker and exhibitor] because BMSE attendees show so much enthusiasm for everything from metaphysics to alternative health. As a result, I’ve never tired of answering questions about the BioMat. Its NASA-developed technology is a combination of far infrared rays, negative ion effects and the conductive properties of amethyst crystals that promote a feeling of well-being,” says Sue Simon, whose 2012 presentation contains new subject matter. “I’m going to educate people about the importance of reading labels in order to avoid toxic ingredients in products such as deodorants, tooth pastes, body lotions, make-up and bath products,” she states.

Christine SonnenChristine Sonnen

According to Christine Sonnen, founder of Conscious Awakenings, the public’s interest in self-healing through hypnosis never ebbs. “I get great personal gratification from introducing people to self-healing techniques such as Quantum Healing Hypnosis, Reconnective Healing and Reference Point Therapy,” Sonnen enthuses. In 20 years of practice, the intuitive, holistic practitioner, personal coach and workshop leader has had many firsthand opportunities to see how this self-healing therapy gets to the root cause of a problem. “I want to introduce people to their Super Consciousness through Quantum Healing Hypnosis so they can get the healing and answers they’ve been seeking,” she says.

Susan WisehartSusan Wisehart

A holistic psychotherapist/hypnotherapist who specializes in past life/between lives regression, Susan Wisehart was trained by Dr. Brian Weiss. She will present a two-hour Group Guided Past Life Regression workshop where the group will be guided back to remember a happy past life memory from a previous incarnation. “Many people have discovered and healed the root cause of mental, emotional, physical and relationship patterns that have carried over into this life through past life regression,” says the author of Soul Visioning: Clear the Past, Create Your Future.

Michele HeatherMichele Heather

Michele Heather, Intuitive Reiki Master Teacher and Indigo Child and Soul Discovery Facilitator, also focuses on the importance of connecting with the soul. Heather’s experience at BMSEs throughout the Midwest is encouraging for first-time attendees. “It’s a fabulous way to meet new people, try new things and expand your knowledge base on how to grow your spirit. It’s the one place where you can affordably meet mentors face to face and ask questions, which generally you can’t do with people you read about in books and magazines,” says Heather, whose Skokie presentation centers on Intuitive Reiki and Group Agreements.

Karen DuewelKaren Duewel

Karen Duewel, founder of Synergy is Key, is always impressed with attendees’ level of openness to alternative methods of healing. “I love that these expos attract people who are seriously looking for answers, not just ‘free stuff.’ Every year, I have a great response to my presentations on how essential oils can not only be effectively used by people to attain and maintain wellness, but also how they can help pets,” says the Young Living Essential Oils distributor.

Christmas MillerChristmas Miller

Master Psychic and Life Coach Christmas Miller, an intuitive consultant, finds that audiences are interested in how to become more conscious and proactive in decision-making. Miller, whose lecture will inform attendees about how their thoughts, feelings and actions create their reality, believes that people who know better, do better. “I like teaching people who are eager to learn more about how their perception of the world is influenced by their fears and past experiences,” she advises.

Strickland agrees that these holistic, metaphysical and personal explorations offer benefits both personal and global. “I love that BMSE attracts people that are interested in changing the world by making a conscious shift within,” he says. “It’s what keeps the fires of my passion burning.”

Location: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. For more information, advance tickets and vendor coupons, visit