Embodied Gratitude

If you’re looking for a way into a new gratitude practice or wanting to turn up the dial on your current efforts, tapping into the feeling sense is a helpful approach.

It can also help to understand why our minds are so much more easily drawn to the negative and we have to actively pursue an alternative.

I made a short video to offer support for anyone who’s floundering or whose oomph is fading. I think these super-simple tricks will make it easier to cement your practice because it feels so good.

If you’re interested in going deeper into body-mind-spirit healing, let’s connect! I work with people in a variety of ways, including intuitive coaching, remote Reiki, and Reiki classes. If you’re in the neighborhood, there’s Reiki-massage and Reiki in Philadelphia.

Reiki Q&A: How Long Will it Take to Heal?

This is a fair question and one I hear frequently. People want to know before they begin treatment what to expect and how many sessions they’ll need. I made a short video to explain why it’s difficult to answer.

If you were to ask me how long it would take to get out of debt, I’d ask for more information.

How deep in the hole are you?

What size payments are you making?

How much do you spend frivolously?

It’s very much the same when it comes to life-force energy! If you want to heal, it will likely be beneficial to stop engaging in the activities that contribute to the underlying imbalance and get involved in activities that promote balance.

Makes sense, right? I can’t say for sure how long healing will take because your willingness to participate is a variable that is known only to you.

Regardless of your degree of involvement, Reiki CAN help. There are numerous ways to proceed, depending on how much effort you want to make. You can lie back and simply receive a session, go the DIY route and take a class, or somewhere in between. I’ve got something for everyone!

Emotional Engagement for Health Relationships

I just loved this article by Emily Nagasaki, a sex expert who brilliantly straddles the worlds of science and emotions. It outlines a simple tip for communicating in close relationships to build emotional engagement.

To Build Trust, Say the Nice Thing First

An important idea that didn’t fit into my next book.

I’ve been working on the trust section of my new book (the one about sex in long term relationships), and I wrote a big section on the relationship between individual differences in temperament and a person’s ability to be emotionally engaged—emotional engagement is the “E” in Sue Johnson’s language about trust. She says that trust is “A.R.E. you there for me?” where “A” is emotional accessibility, “R” is emotional responsiveness, and “E” is emotional engagement. Questions like “Am I there for my partner?” and “Are you there for me?” are excellent starting places for assessing the trust in your relationship.

And the section just doesn’t fit in the book.

So here! Y’all have it! I think it’s interesting and helpful—or at least it was for me, when I learned this stuff!

Maybe you have a serious temperament. You’re someone who, ahem, notices what can be improved before you notice what’s already working. People might think of you as a pessimist, because your ability to notice things that can be improved can come across as if all you see is what doesn’t work.

Let’s go way, way back to my early days of being in romantic relationships. I was in college. My certain special someone had just redecorated their dorm room. When I came into the refreshed space, they asked, “What do you think?”

And I said…

Well, what would you want someone to say to you, in these circumstances?

You’d want them to say, “It’s great!” or “I love it!” or even “It feels so you!”

The first thing I said was, “The rug is crooked.”

Oh geez.

And look, when my college dating partner asked me what I thought of their new room, it’s just not true that “The rug is crooked” is what I thought of the room. I thought it looked nice. I thought it gave me some ideas about what to do with my room. Above all, I thought they looked really happy with the change, and I was glad they were happy. And all of those thoughts mattered more than rug. But I noticed the rug first, so I mentioned the rug first, thus missing a moment of emotional engagement.

My temperament is serious and analytical; I am excellent at identifying problems. I could give a lot of embarrassing examples here about times when I explained to people how they could solve their problem, and they surprised me by being angry with me for solving their problem. If that sounds familiar to you, your necessary skill is:

Say the nice thing first.

Saying the nice thing first is a crucial part of how to build and reinforce trust through emotional engagement. My partner needs and deserves praise, to know that I love and admire him, before I ask for a change, and that’s normal. It’s normal to want or even need to hear good things before we’re ready to accept critical things. Praise, admiration, and acceptance are how people build that tender, vulnerable emotional connection that characterizes so few of our relationships. That connection is emotional engagement.

So even though I still notice what can be improved before I notice what’s working, I’ve learned to say what’s working before I say what can be improved. I’ve even learned that most of the time, people don’t want or need to hear what I think can be improved, they really only want and need to hear encouragement and support. And if they trust you, they’ll come to you when they encounter a problem.

Criticism like “The rug is crooked” is just one of many flavors of non-engagement by a serious temperament. Other non-engaged first responses might sound like:

Partner A: How about we try keeping the plates in a different cabinet?

Partner B: Here’s the history of why the plates have always been where they are.

Not malign, not even saying no, just… not emotionally engaged. Partner B is engaged with the history of their kitchen storage, rather than with Partner A’s interest in changing it. All Partner B has to do is engage with the idea of moving the plates beforethey reminisce about the origin story of the plate storage. Because it is actually true, isn’t it, that your partner’s feelings matter more to you than where you keep the plates.

This can be as simple as:

Partner A: How about we try keeping the plates in a different cabinet?

Partner B: (with curiosity) You’d like to move the plates?

Or:

Partner B: (with affection) Remember when we found those plates at that second-hand shop? I love those plates.

Or even—gasp!:

Partner B: Sure. Which cabinet would be better?

Sometimes “the nice thing” means you talk about the feelings people have before you talk about anything else. Does your partner want to tell you all about their success at work today? Start with, “Look how excited you are! I’m excited, too! Tell me all about it.” That’s emotional engagement.

Does your partner want to tell you how they want to rearrange the furniture in the bedroom, because they keep bumping into things? Start with, “Definitely, I don’t want you getting hurt!” Emotional engagement. And then you help them move the furniture however they like and they will soon recognize what you already knew—that there was no better arrangement possible and actually you need to remove some stuff.

These engaged responses are never insincere. Just because you have a critical, analytical awareness of things doesn’t mean you don’t also have a kind, affectionate awareness of those same things. You’re just choosing to say the kind, affectionate things first, so that your partner feels the warm glow of emotional engagement and your relationship is strengthened. Once the emotional engagement is reinforced, your partner is much more likely to be ready and willing to hear your important ideas about solutions, because they feel more trusting.

Even when the stakes are far higher than moving furniture, I keep a rein on my critical analysis. If I’m worried about money, I start with honest praise and gratitude for the ways we have stayed on budget together. Only then do I say that I wonder aloud if the budget we decided on was too ambitious, or that I notice that our timeline for certain expenses has changed and I’m worried, but here’s a potential solution. (A secondary necessary skill for serious people: When you do present a problem, always accompany it with a potential solution.)

Saying the nice thing first can be effortful, I’m not going to lie, and it is definitely not efficient. But efficiency isn’t the “e” that will keep trust strong in your relationship. Engagement is. Take the time to engage warmly with your partner before you try to problem solve, explain a situation, or contradict a person with whom you hope to sustain a satisfying long-term sexual connection. Emotional engagement prevents disagreements from escalating into fights, which ultimately both saves time and preserves and even reinforces trust.

That way, you can use entirely efficient language when the building is on fire or someone broke a bone, when it’s an actual emergency. The well-established trust between you makes abrupt communication acceptable when it’s necessary.


Say the nice thing first, because it’s honestly true that your partner matters more than any problem that pops into your head or any reluctance you feel about novelty or transitions. Build emotional engagement, to have trust that lasts.

And use your knowledge of each other’s traits to increase your admiration for each other. Never use temperament as a weapon, never criticize or judge someone for their temperament, and never judge yourself harshly for having the temperament you were born with. And also, never use your temperament as an excuse for hurting someone or for letting trust break down in your relationship. Living with temperamental differences is just a matter of developing your communication skills, which all of us are capable of learning with practice. None of us are doing it wrong, all of us are doing it differently; none of us are perfect, we are all doing our best. When we turn toward our differences with kindness, compassion, and, yes, admiration, temperamental differences can enhance emotional engagement and trust.

Holistic Tips for Clearing Your Energy

I get so many requests for and questions about releasing toxic or negative energy. If you’re even remotely empathic, it’s likely that you absorb energy from other folks, environments and situations. It can feel heavy, slimy, icky, and downright gross!

One way to start off the new year on the right foot would be to create healthy energy hygiene habits. I find spending time in nature, under the sky, amongst the trees, and by running water to work magic for me!

Since that isn’t always practical, I made a short video of super-easy techniques anyone can use to clear out unwanted energy.

I misspoke when I mentioned “dry brushing”. The Reiki technique is called “dry bathing”, and is just what it sounds like. Getting clean without water. Anyone can do it!

If you want some professional help or guidance, I can do that too! There are a variety of ways this could happen, depending on whether you want to simply lie back and let me do the work, or learn how to do it yourself. A popular approach is to get a session (remote Reiki or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia) to do a deep clean, followed by a Reiki class or intuitive coaching so you can do the maintenance yourself.

Can’t You Just Fix Me?

I get it. I understand why folks frequently ask me this question and why they’re disappointed with my response.

No. I can’t fix you.

You’re not broken.

Maybe a bit dented or rumpled or worn around the edges, but I promise, you’re not broken. Your body and psyche may have experience some neglect, abuse, misuse, or trauma, but your soul is indestructible.

Very often the complaints that clients bring to me are the messages their souls are sending, pleading for attention. These aches and pains, neurosis and upsets, are a call for help. I can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away; nor would I if I could! When we ignore these messages, they usually become louder and more insistent in the form of greater discomfort or dysfunction.

What I can do is help you to receive the messages and begin to correct your trajectory. This might be as simple as giving yourself consistent care in the form of treatment or learning how to give yourself Reiki healing energy. Either of these approaches will likely reveal the next steps- things like getting more rest, better nutrition, honoring your feelings and needs, or expressing yourself.

Those are steps you’ll need to make yourself. I can support you along the way and provide nurturance, comfort, and guidance in a variety of ways, and I’ll be delighted to do so.

If your health or life need a makeover, Reiki is an excellent tool to have in your toolbox. But the willingness to make the necessary changes is beyond my sphere of power. That’s up to you.

I can show you the path, but it’s your responsibility to take each step.

Let me know when you’re ready to begin. Wherever you are in the world, you can receive remote Reiki or intuitive coaching. We can also do Reiki-massage or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia.

Cultivating Wellness with Reiki

I like to compare health to a bank account. Many of my students and clients find this analogy to be useful for understanding the benefits of Reiki. In the same way that we grow financial wealth by making more frequent or larger deposits that withdrawals, we can cultivate wellness wealth by accumulating life-force energy. Reiki is a safe and reliable method for amassing health credits.

Instead of relying solely on medical professionals to detect problems during annual checkups, there’s much we can do every day to boost the immune system and overall wellness. The body already knows how to be as healthy as it is able, and we can support its endeavors by giving it the energy necessary to do so. Reiki is a powerful, yet simple and safe, way to help all the body’s systems function more effectively.

Life-force energy (called ki, qi, chi, and prana in other cultures) can be cultivated by lifestyle habits such as eating natural foods, spending time in nature, getting enough sleep, and expressing creativity. I view each of these activities as a deposit into a wellness account.

Conversely, chronic worry and stress, consistent consumption of processed foods, over-giving, and being excessively sedentary can be viewed as withdrawals. Sadly, western culture generally steers us towards a ki deficit by overvaluing productivity and busyness and undervaluing rest and relaxation. In order to optimize wellness, we can take steps to offset this trend towards ki debt.

Granted, there may be factors beyond our control such as genetics, accidents, injuries, illness, and pollution. While we may not be able to change these circumstances, we can do everything within our power to minimize their effects and give ourselves the best possible chance to enjoy the optimal levels of health and wellness available to us.

Given that I far from perfect in my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and have some chronic health issues that require extra attention, I turn to Reiki to fill in the gaps. Reiki is an ancient healing method, commonly defined as spiritually guided life-force energy. It is easy to learn and complements all other treatments. I know of no other modality that is pleasurable to receive, universally beneficial, and has no negative side-effects.

Reiki is not limited by time or space and therefore can be offered remotely, to be received from the comfort of your home as well as in-person. There are many ways to experience a treatment. Additionally, anyone can train to become a practitioner in a short period of time. During initiation, energy channels are opened, allowing access to this universal energy. Afterwards, making daily health deposits is as simple as inviting the Reiki to flow.

Consider investing in your wellness account consistently. Rather than waiting for an unwanted diagnosis, you can actively pursue the best version of health possible for you. Filling up you ki tank, either as a client or practitioner, is one way to do so with minimal effort and expense. It’s never too late to take steps to cultivate or preserve vitality and health.

Message me if you’d like some guidance on how to get started.

1/1/23 Bring it on!

Here we go! A new beginning. I’m heading out to get my boots muddy while the masses are still asleep. But before I go, I wanted to extend an invitation to welcome more good into your life.

Gratitude is an amazing practice. It’s a powerful way to shift my vibration and attract to me more of what I want. (Worry does the opposite!)

Can you find 10 minutes today, to start your new year off with an intentional action of creation? Rather making a dry list of the usual suspects, my suggestion is to really dig deep, to tap into your inner realm, and savor the feeling of gratitude. Turn it up! Let it loose. Roll around in it. Drink it in.

You might not see immediate results. But done on the regular, this works magic! It’s not a tool for bypassing troubles, fears, or pain. (Although that might be suggested by law of attraction misunderstandings.) Nope, this is not an either/or situation. It’s a both/and situation.

I can experience both pain AND gratitude. Gratitude for the pain is probably a leap in the now, but might become apparent in hindsight. I’d suggest starting with something easier if you’re new to this.

Gratitude for my happy place by the creek comes easily and effortlessly.

Gratitude for the sun and air and rain that allows plants to grow and animals to thrive. Gravity. That’s a good one! I don’t often think of it, but without gravity things would be somewhat challenging!

So this is not an invitation to escape your problems, but to offset the effects of stress and chaos. Yes, the mortgage needs to be paid and the children need to be fed. Rinse and repeat. Why not raise your vibration, feel as good as you can about yourself and your circumstances, and deliberately influence your future while chopping wood and carrying water?

There’s still time to sign up for my NYD Intention Setting event on Meetup today at 3 EST. I have a juicy plan lined up and Reiki standing by to enhance the process.

Intention Setting

Instead of making resolutions to change your behavior this year that fizzle out in mid-February, I’d like to invite you to try something different, an approach that addresses the reasons for that fizzling.

Setting a goal without getting in touch with your deeper desires, values, fears, or unconscious beliefs won’t have much oomph to it.

Getting to know your “why” (why you are planning to do this thing and what the overarching benefits are) and your “why not” (why you aren’t already doing this thing and the feelings around that) can help preempt self-sabotage. Add in some flexibility, reasonable expectations, and an embodied experience, and you have a lot of oomph on your side.

I’m hosting a free event online on NYD where I’d lead us through this process. Doing this kind of work in a group can be fun and helps us to take ourselves less seriously. Details and registration here.

I’ve also made this short video to get the inquiry started. Grab a cup of tea and a notebook, find yourself a comfy spot where you can have 10-15 minutes to look within and get clear about where you want to go.

I’ve already done my process. I realized that all of my goals fell under the umbrella of “self-compassion”, meaning that if I were unconditionally kind to myself, all of the other shifts would happen automatically. Sweet! Now I only have one goal to focus on, but a variety of options for how to practice.

If you’re anything like me, you need some sort of balance between structure and flexibility. Too much rigidity = rebellion. Too much freedom = chaos, Netflix, and potato chips. 🙂 Balance seems to be a moving target for me, but giving myself the opportunity to experiment is very empowering.

My next tip is to set the bar low. Make agreements with yourself that are doable and set yourself up for success. It’s unreasonable to expect that you’ll go from zero to sixty in a minute. If, for example, you’re wanting to begin a meditation practice, aim for 5-10 minutes per day with the option of working your way up. Committing to lengthy sessions right off the bat is a recipe for trouble.

Finally, bring out the big guns by activating your imagination, emotions, and 5 senses by envisioning yourself having, being, or enjoying your dream. Feel it. Make it alive in you, and drink it in. Make an imprint, a sort of mental snapshot, in your mind.

I hope you find this helpful! I am always amazed at what I learn about myself when I do this process. If it seems like too much effort, you’re invited to borrow my intention and opt to be kinder to yourself in the new year. Can’t go wrong with that!

The Value of Self-Compassion

I’ve already chosen self-compassion as my theme for 2023. I’m guiding a group on New Year’s Day in my Meetup group, and figured I should do my own work ahead of time. I chose the solstice for my introspective inventory of what’s going on in myself and in my life and what I’d like to call in for next year.

What came up for me is a desire to be 100% on my side, 100% of the time. I saw so clearly how I sometimes reject my feelings when they are uncomfortable or inconvenient and how very unkind that is. I had the image of shoving a lollipop in a little girl’s mouth with the intention of stopping her tears. NOT how I want to be responding to my own emotions!

I made short video of a process that I use to cultivate compassion. It’s so simple! And we don’t often see it modeled in our culture, so it might seem completely foreign. I feel confident that everyone can learn how to do this with some practice.

If this resonates with you, you might be interested in an upcoming event, an installment of my Holistic Wellness series, which will focus on self-compassion. You can learn more and sign up here. If that’s not your thing, I hope you’ll at least take the exercise from the video out for a few spins and see how it lands for you.

Icy Beauty

We had some crazy cold temperatures and frigid wind last week. It hasn’t risen above freezing yet, so the gorgeous effects have been preserved. Happily it’s gotten less cold; enough so that it no longer hurts to breathe, and I ventured out today. I documented some of the sights for you to enjoy if 28F doesn’t sound like fun to you.

I actually found myself overdressed once I started moving. I suppose the second wool sweater was a bit too much, and ended up peeling it off and carrying it home. I seem to be more warm blooded than most and have a pretty hearty constitution. I find the cold to be invigorating! And it keeps the crowds down, which is a bonus in my eyes.

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you’re warm and toasty. May you be peaceful and full of joy.