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.  

Online Reiki 1 Classes

I am delighted to announce the next round of beginners’ Reiki classes. If you’re interested in reducing stress, anxiety, tension or pain; cultivating the greatest wellness available to you; accessing intuition, clarity, focus, and creativity; releasing unwanted habits, stuck emotions, or limiting beliefs; and basically living your best life possible, this could be for you!

Over the past year I’ve really come to appreciate the benefits of hosting classes online. Not only does it make them more accessible, but it allows for shorter, more frequent meetings without sacrificing convenience. This seems to promote retention and assimilation for many students. Plus, no need to forfeit the blissed out feeling by getting in the car to drive home!

Four Tuesday evenings, 6:30-8:30 pm, eastern time

May 25, June 1, 8, & 15, 2021

$225 investment. $25 off early bird discount through May 14.

Contact me to register; space is limited for more personalized approach and greater connection.

Anyone who has taken Reiki 1 with me may sit in free of charge, space permitting.

Are You Thinking Too Much?

Answering for myself, yes! Lately I have been finding myself in frustrating and unproductive thought loops much more than I’d like. Today, a message from Dr. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and meditation teacher, turned up in my inbox. Just when I needed it!

If you could use a break from perpetual overthinking, you might enjoy his blog post, Rest Your Weary Head. It’s full of simple, yet powerful tips for breaking the cycle. And if you need the CliffsNotes, just extend your exhales. It’s the easiest way to calm the nervous system down. Long, slow, full exhales are fantastic hacks when you need to bring it down a few notches quickly.

If at all possible, though, I highly recommend checking out his blog. I find his work to be easily accessible (meaning you don’t need a PhD to follow it!) and immensely beneficial. I’ve you’re wanting a more thorough intervention, I very much enjoyed his book, Hardwiring Happiness. A daily meditation practice has contributed greatly to the sense of peace I experience most of the time. It also helps me notice when I’m thinking too much and motivates me to intervene so I can return to the peaceful place. For me, the rewards are definitely worth the investment!

Reiki Special Offer

First-time clients almost always ask me how often they should receive Reiki treatments. Of course, the answer is different for everyone. For people seeking to supplement a healthy lifestyle, once per month is often a good maintenance program. People who are ill, working through trauma or serious emotional issues, exposed to extreme stress (anyone?!), and/or engaged in deep spiritual or personal growth generally benefit from more frequent applications.

As part of my ongoing efforts to make Reiki more easily accessible, I’ve decided to offer a special package for long-distance and virtual Reiki sessions. Through the end of June 2021, you may purchase a series of seven hour-long treatments for the price of five. That’s almost 30% off! This seven-pack offers a tremendous amount of support for those experiencing major transitions, such as new parenthood, returning to the workplace, relocation, or recovering physical, mental, or emotional health. It can also provide consistent tune-ups for those on a lifelong wellness journey.

You’ll have 12 months from the date of purchase to receive all seven. Some people like to dive deep and go with weekly treatments and others like to space them out. It’s entirely up to you! You also get to choose if you’d like to connect by video, phone, or simply email me your intentions and remain unplugged for the hour. This time is for you, so we will tailor the series and each session to fit your needs.

Contact me if you’re wondering if Reiki is a good match for you, or to make a purchase and schedule your first treatment. Regularly $90 each, this special offer of seven sessions is only $450. In addition to saving $180, this investment in your wellbeing is designed to encourage you to get the assistance you need for whatever you’re going through. Observation suggests that many are going through Big Stuff lately and Reiki and I are here to help.

Refreshing Your Self-Reiki Practice

I’m often asked how one can get back into a self-treatment practice after a lapse. The simplest way is to bring your palms to press against one another in front of your heart center and invite the Reiki to flow. You could then recite the Reiki principles, sit quietly with a hand on your heart and one on your belly or anywhere else you feel drawn, or move through the traditional series of hand positions.

Reiki will always be there for you once you’ve been attuned by a Reiki Master Teacher. Luckily Reiki doesn’t begrudge your neglect and will begin to flow when asked. You might not feel it strongly at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it will seem, and the more relaxed and receptive you’ll become. You needn’t do anything more than apply this healing energy in the way you were taught, no matter if it was months, years, or even decades ago.

Another option is to get a treatment from another practitioner, setting an intention to help you ease into a routine. Sometimes just saying your desire out loud can be powerful, and having another person witness this awakens a sense of accountability. Experiencing the benefits of a treatment, at your own hands or someone else’s, can activate devotion to a self-care routine.

Yesterday I provided a long-distance Reiki treatment for someone who wanted to begin a daily self-care practice. She had taken a class years ago, but never followed through in real life. We collaborated on how to best support her goal and the result was a phone call during which I guided her through a series of hand positions, layered with affirmations, while simultaneously delivering Reiki. Somehow she managed to stay awake from this double treatment and reported a deeply relaxing and inspiring experience.

You could also retake the training if that feels helpful. I’ve received a lot of benefit from doing this myself. Even with the same teacher and the same material, I had a very different experience as I was in a different place, with a different level of understanding. As the curriculum is far from standardized, different teachers might provide entirely different content. It’s not at all necessary to repeat a class since Reiki itself can teach you everything you need to know once you’ve been initiated, but I enjoy learning, and fellow geeks will probably understand that I did it for fun as well as knowledge!

Finally, you might consider renewing your attunement. While the attunement you received during class never wears off or goes bad or gets stale, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have another. It’s rather like jumpstarting a car! If you feel the need for a powerful intervention, this is the way to go. I offer refresher attunements as a stand-alone service that could also be combined with a treatment for a super-relaxing double feature. Since Reiki isn’t limited by time or space, this can be done remotely or virtually, depending on your preference.

You have many options! I’d suggest starting with a self-treatment using the hand positions to lay the groundwork for establishing a habit of providing Reiki for yourself daily. Even ten minutes makes a big difference when done consistently. Then if you still find yourself wanting more, consider a treatment, class, or refresher attunement. There’s no shame in getting support from the professionals. That’s what we’re here for!