Upcoming Reiki for Self-Care Class

   

Several years ago, I realized that most of my Reiki students sign up to learn a healing technique to promote their own health, happiness, productivity, and creativity. In short, they want to live their best lives, and many have no intention of offering sessions to other people. It’s something they want to learn for themselves to balance out all the doing and giving that happens every day; the equivalent of putting your own oxygen mask on first.

Woman practicing self Reiki transfering energy through palms, a kind of energy medicine.

With this understanding, I distilled all the vital material from my Reiki 1 certification class (which thoroughly covers sharing Reiki with others) down into a 3-hour Reiki for Self-Care class. It’s the most effective, efficient, and affordable offering in my toolbox to get newcomers started on their healing journeys. I’ve done everything I possibly can to make this as easy and accessible to those who are interested.

I’m delighted to be offering Reiki for Self-Care online on Saturday, September 18, 2021, from 12-3pm eastern. We cover the basics of what Reiki is and isn’t, where it comes from, what it can be used for, and how to do so via Google Meet (a video meeting platform similar to Zoom). Students will all receive an individual attunement to open their energy pathways allowing Reiki to flow at will.

The investment is $85, with a $10 early bird discount if registered by August 18. This is less than the cost of one professional session, making it the most cost-effective way to receive frequent and consistent treatment. Space is limited and registration is necessary.

If you’re wondering why you might want to learn this amazing technique and have healing power at your very fingertips ALL the time, you might enjoy my blog, 12 Reasons to Learn Reiki, where I’ve outlined the essence of the work I’ve been enjoying for the past 18 years. I’ve done thousands of sessions, both in person and long-distance, and continue to be amazed at how powerful, yet gentle, Reiki truly is.

Apply by simply contacting me and letting me know what your goals are, and we’ll take it from there.

Freestyle Homemaking

I recently moved into my own apartment after years of sharing a variety of houses with a variety of roommates. If you can recall the last time that you moved, you know that there are dozens of necessary decisions to turn a space into a home. It’s easy to go on autopilot and simply make the same choices your family of origin or the status quo would make. Ever the rebel, I get a kick out of doing things my way.

For starters, my kitchen drawers are rather narrow and long. My utensil organizer is much too wide to fit. I did a brief search online for something suitable and found nothing. Having much bigger fish to fry, I dumped all the silverware in the drawer and called it a day. My friend who was visiting at the time agreed with me that the spoons and forks don’t need to be segregated. Over a month has gone by now, and it’s simply not an issue. (Mom, I know you’re itching to scour the Container Store or Pinterest for a more civilized alternative. There’s absolutely no need. Truly, I like it this way!)

There’s a built-in microwave above my stove. It takes up a large amount of space, particularly given the limited cupboards generally found in an urban apartment. I knew right away that I wouldn’t use it (haven’t for nearly 20 years) and that I needed to find a way to reclaim that territory. Now, it’s my tea cupboard, housing loose leaf teas and the various superfoods that accompany them. Since many are stored in tins or canning jars, I’ve unplugged the microwave to prevent accidental explosions. I’m rather pleased with this solution! It sure makes teatime more streamlines.

While shopping for a shower curtain, I noticed that an additional plastic layer is recommended for inside the actual curtain. What? Why? I dug my heels in and resisted purchasing extra, needless plastic. Maybe I’m less active in the shower than other people, but so far, not a drop has escaped. Who says you need two sheets of material between the inside and outside of the tub? Martha Stewart? The Plastic Coalition? No thank you. I’m doing just fine with one.

By far, my biggest purchase was an organic mattress that I’ve been drooling over for a few years. I spend more time in my bed than anywhere else, so it’s a good investment in my future health. The cost of the mattress itself was more than I would have spent on a traditional set up, so for the next few months, my wonderful mattress will rest on the floor until I can magnetize a frame worthy of it. I get that this might not be an option for people with mobility issues, but for me it makes a whole lot more sense than going into debt and paying interest on something that is much more of a want than a need. (You can also see the corner of the sheet that is temporarily acting as a curtain…)

Learning critical thinking skills in college was perhaps the most valuable lesson of all. I’m ever so grateful that I have the capacity to question everything, even the small things and the deeply ingrained things so I can make the best decisions for me. I can’t remember how to conjugate German verbs or do advanced math, but I am able to examine costs vs. benefits and customize my decisions to precisely suit my circumstances. It certainly made this transition easier, but also enables me to make bigger choices about my health, lifestyle, and overall value system.

It’s very empowering to lead my life from my own inner compass rather than simply doing things the same way everyone else does. Please consider joining me by thinking outside of the box. Heck, let’s just eliminate the box altogether! Start with something small, like a kitchen drawer, and see how liberating it feels. Before you know it, you’ll be freestyling it all over the place.  

Over the Hill and LOVING IT!

Today is my 50th birthday.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

As a modern, western woman, I’ve been conditioned to believe that this is the beginning of the inevitable decline of my health, mobility, cognitive abilities, productivity, and overall worth.

Well, to hell with that! I reject all this nonsense. I am choosing instead to celebrate having survived five long decades in a world whose values are so upside-down. I’m choosing to invest daily in my well-being and have adopted one of Louise Hay’s mottos as my very own.

“Happy, healthy, happy, healthy- dead.”

Meaning, I plan to enjoy myself up until the very end.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen automatically. Yes, my body requires different care than it did when I was younger. Consequences are greater for making unhealthy choices. While society would suggest that I must merely suffer as a result of continuing the behavior that suited me in my 20’s and 30’s, I’m proposing an alternative. Make different choices!

My plan for healthy aging is four-pronged. It is versatile and easily adaptable to any set of unique circumstances and value systems. I believe that if everybody started thinking along these lines, there would be a lot less pain and illness in the elder years.

  1. Cultivate life-force energy (ki/chi/qi/prana). In eastern systems, this is the foundation of health and healing. Here in the west, it’s still somewhat foreign to many. Whether or not we can see it, feel it, or measure it, there is an energy that flows through all living beings. We can enhance this flow through lifestyle choices such as eating natural foods, spending time in nature, moving our bodies, expressing emotions, connecting with loved ones, and getting plenty of rest. Reiki, yoga, martial arts, qi gong, and tai chi are practices designed to build and balance ki.
  2. Minimize toxins. While I’d love to avoid them altogether, in today’s world I just don’t think it’s possible. So I do the best I can with the options available to me. Before I put something in or on my body or bring a product (or relationship) into my environment, I determine its level of toxicity. Yes, this means passing up many things that are quite popular such as donuts and nail polish. Given my 50 voyages around the sun, I have developed the wisdom to see that I value my well-being much, much more than fitting in with an unhealthy crowd.
  3. Manage stress. While I’d also like to avoid stress altogether, I don’t think that’s possible either. Given that I live in the world, and not removed from it on a desert island or mountain top, my options are to just absorb it or take steps to actively minimize its effects. This takes consistent effort, yet I assure you that every investment in reducing stress has a cumulative impact on health and well-being. Enter “stress, disease” in your search engine if you’re curious about the specifics.
  4. Choose joy, creativity, and pleasure. Sadly, these gems are tremendously undervalued in today’s world. In addition to enhancing ki flow, taking this step also activates the connection with Spirit. For me, they are the portal to living openheartedly, compassionately, and generously. I believe they nourish the heart; both in a literal and metaphorical sense. It also tends to draw others to me who are like-minded, which activates an upward joy spiral. Building pockets of enjoyment into every day is an approach that helps me navigate the challenging times with greater ease and prolong the good times with minimal effort.

I’ve spent the past two decades organizing my life around these four principles. It certainly didn’t happen all at once. Nor was it always easy. Going against the standard motto: “work, suffer, work, suffer-decline, sick, dead” is revolutionary. Other people don’t always appreciate the changes we make as these changes can challenge their world views and often put projected responsibility back on their own shoulders. Yet, taking one step at a time while absorbing the rewards along the way creates a positive feedback loop that is very encouraging.

Pick one small change you can make today and start there. Perhaps take the money you’d spend over the next few months on soda and buy a water filter so you have access to the purest hydration possible. Or visit the farmers market for the best quality produce in your area. Go for a walk before work or own your break if it isn’t sweltering outside. If is, make a playlist of upbeat tunes and dance in your living room.

Just one thing is all it takes to begin. This is the foundation for a shift that can have a huge impact on your wellness over time. Make it something simple and easy or it won’t be sustainable. Once you get the hang of it, add another simple, easy shift. And another and another.

If all goes well, thirty years from now you can join me on the dance floor to celebrate my 80th.

Free 5 Day Qi Gong Challenge

You might recognize Lee Holden from his PBS specials. I just came across his work on Facebook. I like what he has to say about health and wellness so much that I’ve signed up for this program. While it doesn’t begin until July 19, I received a bonus session when I registered that was so enjoyable and beneficial I’ve decided to do it every day until the challenge begins. It’s simply, easy, and safe for all fitness levels.

According to his website, he has helped more than 100,000 students

  • Heal from injury and disease
  • Slow the aging process
  • Feel better than ever
  • Maximize their energy

I’m a beginner to this technique, so I’m not going to try to describe its origins, practices, or effects. You’re better off learning directly from the master! Despite my lack of expertise, I did want to share this opportunity with you as I can see the immense value. Qi Gong and Reiki both work with cultivating and balancing life-force energy. They pair together quite nicely!

Here’s a link to his blog, 8 Reasons to Sign Up for the Free Qi Challenge. I feel confident that nearly everyone can relate to at least one of these reasons! From there you can find a link to register. I hope you will. I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a try. I’ve already (after just two sessions) noticed a decrease in anxiety and better quality sleep. If you struggle with either of this issues, I think you’ll agree that 20 minutes per day is a reasonable investment to enjoy relief.

Catch ya later, I’m off to practice!

Nurturing Creativity

I am reacquainting myself with my recently estranged creative process. The past several months have been emotionally challenging for me. My capacity to read anything but fantasy novels or write anything except necessary emails disappeared. POOF! I didn’t have the energy to navigate this crisis and nurture artistic endeavors. Losing access to my spark was all the more painful as I also lost the fulfilment and pleasure that results when creativity flows.

Keep in mind that when I say “crisis”, I’m talking about first world, white lady problems. Never was my life in danger and I knew the miserable situation was only temporary. It’s too personal to go into detail, but some of my deepest wounds got triggered and I needed to invest all my efforts in maintaining inner harmony despite external circumstances. Certainly not comparable to the depth of crises others are facing around the globe; yet to me it was A Very Big Deal.

I’m not seeking pity or condolences here. It was a rough time, but now it’s over. In fact, the outcome was a huge lifestyle upgrade, and I was always able to see the silver lining. I’m happy to report that I didn’t pile on any needless suffering by judging and blaming myself or fearing that my creativity had been fatally wounded. I have Reiki to thank for this small mercy! I knew deep down that creativity is indestructible. It might go into hiding when the going gets rough, but it’s in there all along, waiting to feel safe enough to reemerge.

Clients and friends alike have told me repeatedly over the past year and a half that they’ve had difficulty accessing their creative, productive, focused selves. It’s been clear to me all along that this is a natural response to the culture of fear that has developed from the pandemic. We’re constantly inundated with messages that the very act of breathing could be deadly, and that mere proximity to other people is extremely hazardous.

Sympathetic nervous systems have been activated like crazy! And when the body is consistently in DANGER Mode, all its efforts are directed to survival. This is a useful mechanism for facing an angry mama bear, but terribly debilitating when the situation endures for months and months. When the alarm bells are constantly ringing, it’s nearly impossible to focus on writing poetry, painting, or reading literature. Obviously, these would be dangerous distractions while climbing a tree to avoid being mauled by a wild animal. The physiological response was only meant to be brief, however, and many people have been suspended in DANGER Mode indefinitely.

I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to let you know that you’re not alone if you’ve been struggling to tap into the well of creativity within yourself. It’s a perfectly natural and normal side-effect of being stuck in chronic fight/flight/freeze mode. There’s no reason to beat yourself up and add self-criticism to your troubles. I have an immense collection of tools, a deep understanding of the effects of trauma, and decades of experience helping people recover from challenges and reconnect with their passions. Despite all of that, I felt pretty helpless as the wonderful habits I’d built over the last decade shriveled up.

It’s incredibly difficult to overcome the hardwiring of the nervous system when plunged into survival mode. Sometimes you just need to ride out the storm and wait for a sunny day. Please trust me when I say, when that day comes, you will also be able to rekindle a friendship with your estranged creativity. It is waiting patiently for you. And it will rise up like a phoenix from the ashes when the time is right.  

Breaking Habitual Cycles

I’m not sure if it’s a cosmic influence on the collective, the recent article about Meghan Markle using Reiki for ancestral healing, or something else altogether that has triggered the convergence of requests I’m receiving. For the past week, almost every session has been focused on surrendering the bonds of the past and breaking habitual cycles.

Students and clients alike are choosing to let go of what weighs them down. Reiki is a tremendous resource for removing energy blockages, releasing suppressed emotions, exposing limiting beliefs, and supporting positive lifestyle shifts. Letting go of what no longer serves you is the first step in creating the life you desire. It’s as simple as setting the intention and letting Reiki do the heavy lifting.

If you desire to experience a sense of sovereignty, spaciousness, freedom, and security that comes from the inside out, Reiki can help. It can also help attract the experiences that will reflect this sense from the material world. Aligning with the energies we wish to draw to us can be difficult if we’re trying to go it alone. White knuckling through shame spirals and scarcity programming is nearly impossible to sustain long term.

Why not support yourself on your journey with a safe, yet powerful, technique? You could receive sessions from your own home with virtual Reiki, visit a practitioner’s office for a hands-on experience, or even take a class so you have access to this healing energy at will. Simply taking the first step in the direction you want to go will change your course drastically over time. Today is a great day to begin!

Happy Green Saturday

Walking through the woods this morning, I was enchanted by the multiple shades of green. In addition to all the oxygen provided by the plants, I also notice a healing sensation in my heart whenever I’m amongst trees. In the traditional chakra system, the heart center is represented by the color green. Green also refers to ecologically friendly choices, such as walking rather than driving.

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

I was on my way to the farmers market to buy… yup, greens. The freshest, most vibrant leafy greens are to be found on Saturday mornings straight from the farms. I make this trek whenever possible not just to get the best quality produce, but to support local farmers financially with a different kind of green and protect the environment by choosing green agricultural practices.

Buying organic foods benefits my health, but also the air, water, earth, and all sorts of critters by preventing toxic chemicals from being sprayed and eventually consumed and making their way up the food chain. Supporting local businesses helps spread prosperity in the community rather than lining corporate coffers.

Finally, I head to my studio, where I will see several clients today. Offering therapy that comes from my heart and hands (an extension of the heart) and the universe itself, without any chemicals, in exchange for heartfelt gratitude, and cash.

There’s a good chance that I’ll pop out on my break to get a juice from the local shop. I’m sure you can guess what color it will be! Celery is said to have numerous health benefits and gives me a nice little energy buzz.

Saturdays have always been one of my favorite days, but not for the conventional reasons of sleeping in or not having to punch the clock. My musings on the trail this morning helped me to hone in on how I’ve precisely aligned the day with my values, so many of which are green.

And now the question is, how do I spread this energy into the rest of the week?!

Synchronicity Alert

Yesterday my plans were shifted by consistent inner nudges to head to the local food co-op. Not the one closest to my home, but the one that generally requires a bus ride unless I’m feeling super energetic. I wasn’t and I just didn’t feel like going. OK, truth be told, it was hot. I turn into a bit of a princess in the summertime and tend to reverse hibernate in the afternoons. Yes, I know mid- May is not summertime, but tell that to the thermometer!

When it became clear that I was not going to be able to concentrate on anything, I surrendered. Maybe one day I’ll skip all the resistance and immediately acquiesce to the inner nudges, but it will mostly likely be in the winter!

As I stepped off the bus and started walking the half block to the co-op, I heard someone call my name. It was a former coworker who I haven’t seen in over a year. How he recognized me from behind is a mystery. Maybe it was my glamorous hair. 😉 We stopped to have a chat and it was lovely to catch up and hear that he and his massage business are doing well.

I figured this friendly collision was the agenda of the inner nudge and went on with my day. That evening when I got a call from a former workplace (not the same that he and I shared, but one he had remembered and even inquired about) asking if I’d be willing to do a house call for a client confined to a wheelchair, I declined knowing that both chair massage and traveling to people’s homes is just not my thing.

I wondered if perhaps this client would want to take my upcoming Reiki class, thinking that would be a great match for someone housebound and recovering from a stroke. It wasn’t till this morning that I put two and two together! I know someone who does home massage! Someone whose path crossed mine the very same day! Someone the universe nagged me until I couldn’t do anything except appear in his line of sight.

I have no idea if this massage therapist is a good match for this client. But I have no doubt that it’s my job to connect the two and allow the natural flow to take over from there.

I’m writing these words in case they may inspire someone to heed the nudges within as well as a reminder to myself that I have a role to play in the web of life that often is unclear until hindsight kicks in. (Also, because the nudge told me to tell this story!) Until omniscience awakens, it’s simply my job to go where I’m led and pay attention.

I can do that. Even in the summer.

Massage Doesn’t Have to Hurt!

Recently I was talking with a friend who’s also an occasional client. Many moons ago we did a series of three massages over the course of a month to treat shoulder pain which had been plaguing her for years.

“To tell you the truth,” she said quietly, with a sheepish look on her face, “I didn’t think the gentle work you did would be effective. As it turns out, it was exactly what I needed to experience a deep healing.”

We have this erroneous belief in our culture that a therapy needs to be aggressive to produce results. That somehow the more painful a treatment is, the better the outcome will be. I’ve heard reports of clients not returning to me, or others with similar technique, because “it didn’t hurt enough.”

True story! It didn’t hurt enough. Which begs the questions, how much should it hurt? Or what is the origin of this mistaken belief that causing pain is a realistic strategy for releasing pain?

Pain, or even the hint of possible future pain, stimulates the fight/flight/freeze response which activates a sequence of physiological reactions, including the tensing of muscles. Tense muscles tend to pull joints and the skeleton out of alignment and impede the circulation of blood, which delivers oxygen and removes toxins. This is a recipe for more pain!

Perhaps in some extreme cases, this might be beneficial, but in my experience as a giver and receiver of massage for nearly 20 years, gentle touch produces much more beneficial results. Creating a soothing, relaxing experience can alter the body’s chemistry, promoting healing as well as circulation, and allowing muscles to soften rather than contract. A type of somatic trust develops organically, with the body learning that it will be comforted and acknowledged rather than attacked and punished. Think “ahhhhhh….” vs “OW!

While we might be able to force a muscle to temporarily release under duress, it’s indeed possible to cultivate long lasting healing with a more gentle approach. If you’ve shied away from bodywork due to upsetting experiences in the past, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you were hurt and even more sorry if it prevented you from seeking further treatment.

While many massage therapists will disagree with me, there are plenty of us who are willing to work with you in a pain-free setting. A simple inquiry will help you discern who is a good match for your needs. And if you’re wondering why your aggressive therapy isn’t producing lasting change, you might want to switch it up and try a different approach.

Massage. It really doesn’t have to hurt!

12 Reasons to Learn Reiki

Reiki has a growing reputation for successfully supporting cancer and surgical patients. Yet it has many additional uses. Taking a Reiki 1 class is an easy, affordable way to gain instant access to healing, cleansing, renewing life-force energy. All at your very fingertips! As the ability to practice is transferred from teacher to student during an initiation called an attunement, it’s not dependent on any special skills or specific lifestyle. You don’t need to be psychic, enlightened, or identify as a “healer” to practice Reiki.

While many clients are content to receive professional treatments, many others desire more consistent relief. I’ve compiled a short list of the most common reasons for doing so that I hear from students. If you can relate, you might consider signing yourself up for a class! It will reduce your dependence on a practitioner, enabling you to receive healing on a daily basis.

Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern on Pexels.com
  1. Managing stress and anxiety. Aside from the fact that these maladies are highly unpleasant, they’ve also been linked to an increasing number of life-threatening diseases. Relaxation is becoming accepted as much more than an indulgent practice available to the likes of Hollywood divas frequenting day spas, but also as a wise investment in one’s health.
  2. Reducing chronic pain. Relieving stress reduces inflammation, which in turn reduces chronic pain. While arthritis, for example, might not be curable, many people with this diagnosis are able to reduce, or even eliminate, the pain with consistent treatment.
  3. Healing trauma. As if enduring a traumatic event is not terrible enough, it has long-term effects on the nervous system, causing survivors to live in a state of near-constant fear. Repeated activation of the physiological relaxation response can rewire the hair-trigger alarm systems of those struggling to acclimate to life after trauma.
  4. Releasing limiting beliefs. I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t pick up any limiting beliefs in childhood which prevent them from living their greatest, most joyful lives. Statements that begin with, “I never…”, “I always…”, “I’m just the type of person who…”, “I’m too this or too that” become ingrained in the subconscious, preventing us from pursuing our dreams. With diligent application, Reiki can help us rewrite our inner scripts and uncover our true power.
  5. Recovering self-esteem. For anyone who has developed a sense of insecurity due to past experiences, it’s hardly news that this way of being can be debilitating. By connecting folks to their deeper selves and inner knowing, innate self-esteem that has been fragmented or covered up can be reclaimed, allowing for greater personal freedom and contentment.
  6. Cultivating clarity. Often students don’t know exactly what they are seeking but do have an acute awareness that something is missing from their lives. Reiki can help put them in touch with intuition, a sense of knowing that is much deeper than the intellect. For those who feel stuck in health, career, or relationship, developing clarity can reveal the way forward.
  7. Healthy aging. There’s a common misconception in our culture that everything just starts to fall apart after age 40. Sadly, this is coupled with a sense of resignation and hopelessness. I’d like to argue that neglecting and abusing one’s body does cause increasing damage, and for many people, 40 years is the tipping point when such mistreatment can no longer be sustained. Reducing toxicity and inflammation while stockpiling life-force energy can go a long way to promoting better health through middle age and the elder years.
  8. Support through a difficult time. Relocation, new parenthood, death of a loved one, divorce, and other big life changes are highly stressful. Reiki can provide comfort through challenges that might not be avoidable, but don’t need to be downright incapacitating.
  9. Letting go of unwanted emotions. Resentment from old hurts can be a consistent drain of one’s energy and trigger undesirable coping mechanisms such as overdrinking, overeating, overworking, etc to numb the pain. Letting go of justified anger can seem impossible without external support. Yes, someone might have done something careless or even cruel in the past, and you might have suffered as a result. And at some point, you might choose to stop any needlessly suffering despite the damage that was done. Reiki can help find the inner resources and resilience to let go so that you can move on.
  10. Frustrating or inadequate results of medical treatment. Many people show up in my office after having run through the gamut of medical tests and procedures that simply haven’t provided the desired relief. Because Reiki works on the mental, emotional, spiritual, and energetic realms in addition to the physical body, it can often foster balance where modern medicine is unaware that balance is lacking.
  11. Enjoying optimal health, happiness, and productivity. While Reiki isn’t a magical cure-all, it does help everyone access the greatest health available to their unique selves. Sure, I remain sensitive to wheat products and susceptible to type 2 diabetes despite my daily practice. That’s unlikely to change in this lifetime. But within these parameters, I enjoy the best health possible for me. Experiencing optimal health goes a long way to being happy and productive. It builds a strong foundation upon which we can then layer creativity, connection, vitality, and success.
  12. Discovering and aligning with your soul’s calling. Once all the above concerns get sorted, it’s so much easier to hear the still, small voice within guiding you toward the plan your soul has for you. When there are fewer distractions from aches and pains, petty grievances, unnecessary triggering of the fight/flight/freeze response, limiting beliefs, outdating coping mechanisms, debilitating insecurities, and upsetting negative self-talk, there is so much energy freed up to explore our heart’s desires and innate talents which are keys to uncovering our unique mission for this lifetime. It’s in there somewhere, and Reiki can clear out the muck that stands in the way!

I could keep going, but this seems a good place to stop. If you have any questions about your specific needs, I’d be happy to set up a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation. Chances are I’ll say, “Yes, Reiki can help with that.” It’s a rather miraculous technique that continues to surprise me even after almost two decades of practice. If you’re interested in signing up for an online class, I’m offering Reiki 1 in a 4 week series beginning May 25, 2021.