Changing Your Relationship to Shame

Wowza! This Being Well podcast fascinated me. I very much appreciate Rick Hanson’s work (neuropsychology meets Buddhist meditation), and the dynamic between him and his son, Forrest, is endearing and inspiring.

In my work as a Reiki practitioner and teacher, I am consistently reminded of the detrimental effects of shame on our well-being. I see a link between a variety of chronic illnesses and feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and feeling oneself to be somehow wrong or unacceptable. Their discussion addresses many issues, including that of failing to live up to standards, perhaps societal or familial, that we haven’t consciously accepted and may even disagree with.

It’s my hope that you will find some relief from the burden of shame and its origins. Shining the light of awareness on it contributes to its immediate diminishment. Perhaps you will find their words as comforting as I did.

Felt Sense Prayer

I’m really enjoying this free 40 day mindfulness meditation course with Jack and Tara. I’m finding it to be a good review, and it’s also beginner friendly. In the episode I received today, Tara shared an essay. She didn’t reveal the author and I haven’t been able to find it via my search engine. I don’t know who deserves the credit, but it’s so wonderful that I want to share it anyway. It’s a love note from the body and accurately reflects what I see daily in my Reiki practice. I hope it encourages folks to heed the messages our bodies are constantly trying deliver.

I am the pain in your head, the knot in your stomach, the unspoken grief in your smile.
I’m your hot flashes, your fragile low back, your agitation, and your fatigue.
I’m your high blood pressure, your elevated blood pressure, your fear of challenge, your
lack of trust.
You tend to disown me, suppress me, ignore me, inflate me, coddle me, condemn me.
You usually want me to go away immediately, to disappear, just back into obscurity.
More times than not, I’m only the most recent notes of a long symphony, the most
evident branches of roots that have been challenged for seasons.
So, I implore you. I am a messenger with good news, as disturbing as I can be at times.
I am wanting to guide you back to those tender places in yourself, the place where you
can hold yourself with compassion and honesty. I may ask you to alter your diet, get
more sleep, exercise regularly, breathe more consciously.
I might encourage you to seek a vaster reality and worry less about the day-to-day
fluctuations of life. I may ask you to explore the bonds and the wounds of your
relationship. Wherever I lead you, my hope is that you will realize that success will not
be measured by my eradication, but by the shift in the internal landscape from which I
I am your friend, not your enemy. I belong. I have no desire to bring pain and suffering
into your life. I’m simply tugging at your sleeve, too long immune to gentle nudges. I
desire for you to allow me to speak to you in a way that enlivens your higher instincts for
My charge is to energize you, to listen to me with the sensitive ear and heart of a
mother attending to her precious baby. You are a being so vast, so complex with
amazing capacities for self-regulation and healing.
Let me be one of the harbingers that lead you to the mysterious core of your being,
where insight and wisdom are naturally available when called upon with a sincere heart.

Intuition Chronicles: A Dream Directive

I do my best to capture messages from my dreams, but sometimes it’s difficult. Yesterday morning I woke with a fragment of a song. It felt very familiar and I could hum the melody, but the only word that came through was “water”. I eventually was able to categorize it as new wave music from the 80s but that wasn’t enough for the search engines. I put it to simmer on the back burner.

Today I woke with some actual lyrics that led me to Talking Heads, “Take Me to the River”. Well, that’s clear enough! I have the morning free, am overdue for a visit to the woods, and the heatwave is in a temporary reprieve, so this assignment is actually doable.

My usual trek is a 2 hour long loop that would have me home just in time for the online meeting that I’m hosting. Of course, I’d be hot, sweaty, and verging on hangry while chatting with my friends about the somatic self-compassion training that we’re taking. Ummmm… that won’t work! I’d be a shining example of someone who didn’t listen to her body’s need nor act with compassion toward herself.

Still determined, I recalled an alternate route that would Take Me to the River, not my usual spot, but still compliant with my mission, and get me home in time to have a quick shower and breakfast. “And bring your iPad”, my intuition chimes in. So here I sit on a rock, typing up my experience while still in it, drinking my mate latte from a mason jar, listening to the water rush by and a chorus of birds. 

As I’m sitting here, immersed in the healing vibes, four yellow butterflies flit past me. As I haven’t seen any like these yet this season, I suspect this was the ultimate goal of my excursion. Intuition is urging me to receive the message of “four yellow butterflies” through the lens of my own personal lexicon. While that’s a no-brainer for me to decipher, it would be challenging to explain by keyboard. I’ll just say that my efforts were rewarded with a deeply personal and significant indicator of how to proceed in a challenging matter. Thanks to a melodic snippet stuck in my head when I woke up!  

If this is something that appeals to you, I’d suggest keeping your phone by your bed, ready to record information (melodies, lyrics, or whatever!) that peeks through the dream veil. I’d also suggest turning on airplane mode to reduce electronic smog emissions and turning down the screen brightness so the light isn’t too jarring in the middle of the night. It will help your attempts at capturing and deciphering the message when you’re awake for real. It’s a small investment to make for potentially large rewards. 

Options on the Reiki Menu

Reiki helps to correct any type of imbalance, and it can be fun to think of choosing the goal of a session as if from options on a menu. A sense of humor can be very helpful in the healing process! Sometimes my clients come up with comical names for the type of treatment they desire. One asks repeatedly for The Reboot; a session devoted to resetting the nervous system and activating the relaxation response. She finds it incredibly recuperative given the intense demands of her career.

The Deactivator is also popular, especially for those recovering from trauma or dealing with chronic pain. It helps to break the uncomfortable cycle triggered by hyper-vigilance and near-constant sympathetic nervous system (AKA fight-flight-freeze) activation. Occasionally folks ask for The Activator when they’re feeling stuck or blocked and can’t seem to get motivated. Kinda like all-natural, energetic uppers and downers with no negative side-effects!

Over the past couple of years, most of my work has been centered around The Fill ‘er Up treatment. People who have become depleted energetically, physically, and emotionally seem to  be developing bizarre symptoms such as rashes, digestive upset, or severe joint pain as the tank runs dry and there just isn’t enough energy for the body to do much more than survive. Physiological systems begin to break down and mysterious ailments pop up. 

Photo by Pixabay on

For the past few months, there’s been an emerging trend that stems from The Fill ‘er Up. The Flush and Fill; the perfect remedy for those who have experienced the emotional equivalent of running a marathon in a toxic waste dump. So many of my clients are empathic and tend to pick up unwanted energies as they go about their days. When tanks are already low, there are few resources available for protecting personal boundaries or lugging around accumulated burdens, and eventually the body and the psyche begin to suffer. Burnout looms on the horizon.

Reiki can transform any and all energies that do not belong to us or that have worn out their welcome. Breaking free from the heavy loads that are outdated or not even ours to bear is incredibly invigorating. I don’t know of any other therapy that is so simple, so gentle and so powerful; certainly not any that can be received from the comfort of home or in a practitioner’s office; or learned in just a few hours for those who desire frequent application. 

If you’d like to learn how to give yourself daily Flush and Fills, consider taking a Reiki 1 class. I am offering one online beginning in July, and others are teaching in-person classes. If you can’t stand the idea of adding one more task, no matter how wonderful the results, to your to-do list, that’s what we professionals are here for. If you’re already a practitioner, simply set your intention to transform anything that is not aligned with your highest good to that which is, and proceed with the hand positions you’ve been taught. Whatever your desired degree of participation (or lack thereof!) is, Reiki has a niche just for you.

Happy Solstice, Everyone!

It’s the longest day of the year up here in the northern hemisphere, and I’m taking advantage of the late sunset. I’ve come out for a hike after work; soaking up so much needed nature therapy and feeding many mosquitoes.

It’s also the first day in the zodiac sign of Cancer. Happy birthday season to all my fellow crabby friends! How many ways can you find to celebrate over the next month?

Reiki Master Teacher Certification Course

This isn’t your typical certification course! It’s a 7 month journey and Personal Healing Quest designed to let Reiki lead the way. We’ll meet twice each month online, covering all the traditional material, as well as exploring our unique pathways to healing. The gaps between meetings are meant to allow maximum digestion and integration of the material and individual practice.

This course is my unique recipe, an accumulation of professional experiences for over 20 years, and constant, eclectic personal development work. Actually, I never intended to become a teacher, but my intuition was strong (and persistent!) and I’ve come to realize that it gives me great pleasure to guide practitioners. I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer and have cultivated an environment that encourages students to do the same.

The curriculum includes:

• Level 3 Reiki attunement
• Introduction to 3 spiritual healing symbols
• How to hold space and why
• Communication guidelines
• How to release blockages and limiting beliefs
• How to formulate powerful and succinct intentions
• Individual support for your self-treatment practice and personal healing quest
• How to set up, activate, and maintain a crystal grid and why
• Guidance for the development of your personal style of sharing Reiki
• How to give attunements. Even if you never plan to teach formal classes, you’ll have the ability to initiate friends and family.
• How to develop your unique teaching style and materials
• Basic guidelines for starting a professional practice

Beginning on July 7, we’ll meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 6-8pm ET through January. The cost is $777, due upon registration. Contact me with any questions or to apply for one of the 7 spots. I’ve heard it said that the number 7 signifies ”you’re on the right track; keep going!” I’d love to hear from you if this rings true.

Remember Who You Are

I joined a mindfulness meditation group tonight for the first time. The teacher shared this sweet poem with us at the end, and I just had to pass it along. May we all remember the wild innate selves breathing under all those should be’s.

Remember who you are.
Not the shape others have put on
you, not the story they handed you,
not the lies or needs that were
pressed into your psyche.
Not even your own imagined ideas
of what you should be.
But the real you, the wild innate you
that is breathing under all those
should be’s, all those untruths.
Remember the feel of it, the shape of
it. Let it inhabit you, like golden
weeds rewilding the concrete.
Brigit Anna McNeill

Reiki. Hands on or off?

Hands-on Reiki is a popular service in my practice. A lot of new clients are surprised to learn that it’s an option. Apparently many practitioners use a hands-off approach. That might be the protocol in their lineage, absurd state regulation or personal preference; I can’t say for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Reiki practitioner who operated exclusively hands-off.

I find that resting my hands gently on a client during a session just feels right, but then again, I’m a massage therapist and quite comfortable touching people. Clients report that the connection provided by intentional touch adds an additional element of healing to the wonderful healing qualities of Reiki. I suspect that might be oxytocin, AKA the love hormone, at work. At least in part.

Of course there are times when touch is inappropriate- such as when working on the pelvic floor, sunburn or rashes, or a client’s aversion. These situations are easily accommodated and the practitioner can hover their hands above the body, or beam the energy from across the room (or globe, but that’s another story!).

For those who are touch-deprived, or merely find it comforting to feel the warmth and added reminder that a caring, nurturing person is nearby, hands may be gently placed on the body. You can always ask the practitioner what their policy is before scheduling a session. I primarily practice hands-on, unless the client prefers hands-off, or there’s another reason to avoid contact.

Let’s face it- we need all the healing benefits we can get these days, and if simple human contact is of benefit to you, please know that you can have your Reiki and touch too.

Intuition Chronicles: Pay Attention! Reiki Can Help.

Accessing one’s intuition is a highly desirable ability. I believe these inner nudges are the soul attempting to guide me toward the highest good. Alas, I’m not always paying attention! No doubt lots of messages are simply overlooked while I’m busy doing something terribly unimportant.

I’ve been using Reiki for years to amplify my capacity to receive and interpret the guidance that comes to me. It’s a simple practice, which makes it easier to perform consistently. All I do is state my intention to intercept and understand intuitive messages, activate Reiki and the symbols, and place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly. Sometimes I feel guided to use the traditional hand positions, sometimes I’m led to leave my hands palm up in my lap, allowing the energy to fill and saturate my aura. Some days I only have a few minutes, other days I’m able to marinate for half an hour or more. 

Other practitioners appreciate more elaborate, even ritualistic, protocols. One of the great things about Reiki is that there’s tremendous room for personalization. You can experiment and find a style that works for you. The essential ingredients are intention plus Reiki, but all sorts of garnish may be added. Anything that helps keep your focus or sparks the imagination can be of benefit. 

In addition to this simple daily self-treatment, I’ve begun asking for guidance from my dreams. Before I go to bed each night, I ask a question for which I’d like an answer. (A burst of Reiki here does wonders too!) The challenging part is capturing whatever images, characters, circumstances, or songs filter through upon waking. It’s much easier to turn over and go back to sleep! I’m getting better at recording whatever fragments I can, and interpreting them intuitively in the morning. 

Last night I asked for guidance about window coverings to prevent the upcoming summer sun from baking my apartment. I woke up around 4am (I’m working on cultivating more time-appropriate delivery, but really, who am I to question my soul’s methods?) with the words “occiput” and “clavicle” in my head. Huh? I dutifully made a note and fell back to sleep.

As you might imagine, I was unable to apply any useful interpretation of these words to my shopping dilemma. Skeletal anatomy and curtains share no symbolic connection that I can discern. However… a few hours later I was trying out a free trial period of an online exercise program, and the teacher used these exact words several times! Ding, ding, ding! It didn’t take a huge leap of faith to accept this seeming coincidence as confirmation that the program would be helpful to me. 

If I hadn’t been paying attention (and committed to the dreamwork process), I would have missed this opportunity. I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep my body happy and healthy, but it isn’t always clear what will help prevent chronic pain rather than triggering it. This unique and timely message was easy to decipher. Clearly wellness is infinitely more valuable than the window treatments! (Besides, that particular guidance will arrive with perfect timing too.)

Accessing intuition is part having an antenna extended, part willingness to slow down and pay attention, and part detective work. I guess humor and humility deserve a mention as well! Things don’t always happen according to my preferred timeline. It helps to remember that my soul has a higher perspective than my intellect. The more I practice, the easier all the steps become, and the more I am able to trust the voice within. But none of it matters if I’m not paying attention.

How to Apologize and Why

Wow! Brene Brown hosts this amazing podcast that I found to be helpful, humbling, informative, and inspiring. Apologies fall into the realm of holistic health and emotional well-being, so I wanted to share it here.

It’s a lot to digest, so you might like to break it up into chunks like I did. It’s taken me a week to listen to part one and the first five minutes of part two just blew me away. I feel confident it will not disappoint.