Advanced Stress Management

There is nothing like relocating across the country to test the limits of a good self-care routine! In a leap-of-faith, I have decided to move from the California coast to the metropolis of Philadelphia to be with my family, which now includes a niece and nephew- twin newborns. On paper, it is a completely ridiculous decision as I love my life here and have no idea where I will live or work or well… anything. Viewed from a soul level, however, I am following the calling of my heart, and trust that, as always, all my needs will be met.

Today marks the beginning of the 30 day countdown, and I find a bit of stress sneaking through the cracks. I consider myself to be a stress management expert; I have been practicing a wide variety of self-care and relaxation techniques for the past 20 years, and practicing bodywork and Reiki for eleven years. I believe that creating health, peace, and joy is an inside job and that I am the only one responsible for my well-being. Yet as my to-do list increases, I have started to get sloppy and I am already feeling the difference in my body as well as in my mind. If ever there was a time to be 100% healthy and calm and full of vitality, it is now. So I’m going back to the basics and recommitting to myself.

I think we all know the importance of quality sleep, nutrition, movement, and mindfulness. Finding the time to pursue these virtues seems to be an issue for many of us. I’ve decided that now more than ever, these are my top priorities. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. Not acceptable! So tonight I am implementing a pre-sleep ritual of unwinding and perhaps some herbal tea to enhance rest. Ten minutes will most likely do the trick. I have been eating out more often lately, thinking it’s saving time. I’m not happy with the quality of food, however, and know how important it is to put only the purest ingredients into my body temple. I’ve realized that preparing simple, fresh, mostly raw meals (green smoothies with hemp seeds, salads, celery with almond butter, sour kraut, bliss balls (homemade nut/date/coconut treats!) are all super quick to make and energizing. I like to go for a walk along the coast at sunrise, which soothes my soul and invigorates my body, but haven’t found the time to make it to yoga class lately. This is unlikely to change, so I am committing to a daily home practice. I know even that short amount of time will do wonders for me on so many levels. My meditation practice has never wavered as I am clear that without it I am a complete mess. 15 minutes each morning sets me up for a much easier day.

As a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner and teacher, I value the healing arts immensely. I teach my students the benefits of daily self-treatment as well as the importance of receiving sessions. Lately it’s been easy for me to cut my Reiki self-care short because I am so concerned about the things I need to do. This was a big clue that I was way off track! All the things I need to do go way more easily after I’ve soaked myself in healing energy. 15-20 minutes before I get out of bed makes all the difference in the world. I have recommitted to this priority. I have also schedule myself to receive a treatment (either Reiki or bodywork) each week. I simply must find colleagues as soon as I arrive in my new home to continue this practice.

So with an investment of about 90 minutes each day, plus an extra 90 minutes once per week, I’m going to be in tiptop shape for my transition. This might seem like a lot of time to many people. I say, let’s consider the alternatives: fatigue, back pain, headaches, digestive upset, anxiety, lack of focus, and melancholy. Overall that makes me less productive and certainly less joyful and probably eats up way more time. I need to be functioning at peak performance and that means a commitment to my well-being in the form of self-care. I can think of no greater lesson to share with the babies I am moving heaven and earth to be with either. Stress happens, it’s up to each of us how we manage it.


Plan B

One of the great things about teaching a technique for healing and stress management is the freedom to go with the flow. A student in my Reiki 2 class yesterday wasn’t feeling very well. In any other type of class, she probably would have had to chose between suffering through or missing out. I saw no reason for her to do either. We were gathered together to learn more about the healing arts, and here was the perfect opportunity presenting itself for our learning benefit.

I’m still relatively new to teaching Reiki in a group setting. I spent a lot of time working on my class outlines and what I thought would be the best order to introduce the topics that I wanted to cover. I mean, A LOT of time! I won’t say that I obsessed over planning, but I certainly did pay attention to a wide variety of details. It took just a short amount of time for me to decide to chuck out all my plans, and to go with the flow. My students were needing a different course of action, and I was not about to deny them that simply because of words and times I had printed onto a piece of paper.

So, Plan B it is! They came to learn Reiki and to open to intuition for guidance. It was a great joy to demonstrate just that. I set aside my lesson plans and pulled out the massage table. It was the perfect opportunity for the students to practice the symbols we had just learned on someone in discomfort. In fact, I couldn’t have designed a better opportunity for practicing Reiki if I had tried. The student receiving the impromptu session improved enough to remain with us for the rest of the day, and the others received great experience and feedback about their work. Perhaps I am the one who benefited most of all because I learned (or rather remembered!) the lesson that my students are my greatest teachers and that I am always guided to act in the highest good of all;  I only need remain present and flexible. It truly was a win-win-win situation and I am deeply grateful for the entire experience.

Taking the Plunge

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. My absence has been due to a new course of action into the realm of teaching. Please understand that I never meant to be a Reiki Teacher! I’m quite content working with people one-on-one in a quiet, dark room that feels safe and cozy. However my spirit had another plan for me and has been pulling me to step up and start sharing the work I am so passionate about in an even bigger way. I love the idea of giving the gift of Reiki to the masses; I believe everyone can benefit from the empowerment that comes from having such an amazing tool available at their fingertips. Yet as a dear friend so succinctly said yesterday while we were walking along the edge of the Pacific; I never want to be the center of attention. It’s true!

So how does an empathic introvert make such a transition? I give full credit to Reiki for this amazing transformation. Reiki has helped me develop my intuition so that I may receive guidance on how to best proceed and has also given me the trust I need to follow this guidance. Reiki gives me the courage to move forward when I’d really rather crawl back into bed. Reiki supports me as I prepare for each class, draws just the right students to me, and gives me the right words at each and every moment along the way. The healing I have experienced from years of self-treatments has encouraged me to let go of old wounds and open to my truth, as well as the strength to carry on when I feel doubt rising from within.

The journey has been long and simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating, and there is no end in sight. Yet I wouldn’t change a thing, because clearly I am right on track to fulfilling My Divine Life Purpose. Every day I am grateful that the gift I have come to this world to share is the same gift that gives me all that I need in order to do so. The more deeply I dive into the pool of Reiki, the more healing I receive and the more energy I have to offer my students. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that even during my darkest days brings me great joy, peace, and freedom. Taking the plunge to become a teacher has been both scary and rewarding and promises to be the best choice I have ever made.

Radiant is the New Healthy

Since I’ve been dwelling in the realm of energetic healing, I’ve become fascinated by how my health continues to improve. I used to consider myself to be healthy because I didn’t suffer from any major diseases. As my vitality has grown over the years by treating myself with Reiki and strengthening my life-force energy, I’ve come to realize that there is much more to being well than merely the absence of disease. I’ve come to experience ever increasing levels of radiance, joy,  and wellness that inspire me to continue along this path of self-discovery.

It has since occurred to me that many of us are unaware of the potential we possess for spectacular well-being. It is my goal to initiate as many people as possible into the healing art of Reiki. This goal is based on the belief that we all contain the capacity to create the balance necessary for health to flourish from within. Reiki can help guide us along the way by strengthening our connection to the divine, opening us up to receive intuitive messages, and immersing us in the flow of spiritually guided life-force energy.

I have witnessed over and over again the incredible results of self-care and spiritual growth. Abundant vitality can be triggered with the simple practice of Reiki self-treatments. Do you suffer from common ailments that make your life less than perfect such as achy muscles, stiff joints, frequent headaches or colds? Do you awaken feeling fatigued and dreading the day ahead? Do you yearn for freedom from food cravings and indigestion or mood swings and inexplicable irritability? Can you imagine relief from constant anxiety, worry, or downright fear about your future? Do you want to love your life rather than simply surviving it?

Taking a Reiki class gives you the tools you need to promote your own wellness. These changes occur gradually through implementing lifestyle shifts that support physical/mental/emotional/spiritual balance. I know of no greater technique for fostering this process than accepting the simple and powerful gift of Reiki. Find a teacher near you and begin the journey to sheer radiance today. Information on my upcoming classes may be found on my website. Commit to this journey and watch as miracles unfold along the way..

Revealing Secrets

Last week I told someone about the upcoming Reiki class that I was excited to be teaching. (Actually, I told everyone who crossed my path as I could hardly contain myself, but that’s not entirely relevant here!) This woman looked at me with a surprised expression and said, “You’re not going to reveal your secrets, are you? You’ll just be creating competition.” All I could do was smile and explain that I wasn’t at all worried about that because the world needs lots of healing and as more people are willing to share this gift, the more accepted Reiki will become.

It’s easy for me to forget that many people engage in a world that feels competitive. They see resources as limited and believe that there isn’t enough good for all of us. It’s easy for me to forget because that is soooooo not my reality! I live in a world that is abundant, where we can all have everything we need if we only allow it. I choose to believe that by initiating as many Reiki practitioners as I possibly can, I will enhance not only the environment in which I live, but also my own personal prosperity. The more people who are exposed to the idea of Reiki healing, the more who are open to exploring the possibilities and the potential client base expands due to this.

Who couldn’t enjoy more well-being, peace, joy, and love in their lives? Everyone, right? There are so many people outside of my social circle who could benefit from Reiki treatments or training. The more folks I am able to recruit to spread the word of this healing potential, the greater the demand for energy healing, the more calls I get for people wanting sessions. It’s my fantasy to attune as many people as possible to at least the first level of Reiki practice to increase the positive experiences of us all and to infuse this planet with unconditional love and compassion. How could that possibly not benefit all of us, myself included?

Ding, Ding, Ding; We Have a Winner!

Today my client told me that earlier she had been sitting at her computer when her back started aching. The work she was doing was important, but not urgent, so she got up and did some stretching rather than powering through. If we had not been 15 minutes into a massage, I would’ve started turning cartwheels! I was so happy to hear that she was beginning to tune in and listen to her body’s messages.

As a bodyworker it is a huge goal of mine to promote self-care. Yes, I love helping people release pain and stress, but the work I do is way more effective when it’s backed up with mindfulness and lifestyle shifts. There’s only so much I can do in an hour to help someone who abuses his or her body for 40 or 60 or 80 hours in between sessions. I think of myself as an eraser: I can help give someone a clean slate, but it’s ultimately up to them what gets scribbled on it when they leave my care. It is a true joy to watch someone take responsibility for their own well-being. Our bodies give us the clues we need to thrive physically; we just need to listen.

The Unwelcome Messenger

My clients often tell me how much their pain medication is helping them. As gently as possible, I do my best to clarify that most pain killers are doing just that- killing the pain. They help us to feel less discomfort, but that is not at all the same thing as healing. In fact, in my eyes, it’s often counterproductive to healing, because it gives us a false sense of well-being and allows us to overlook the message the pain was meant to deliver. Shooting the messenger does not cancel out the message.

That’s right; I see pain as a messenger. It often brings a statement from the higher self. Sometimes pain indicates an imbalance either in the body or psyche. It is a clue that something is out of whack and needs to be addressed in order for vitality and complete health to emerge. Pain can also be a signal that a lifestyle change is in order or that a repetitive movement needs to be altered. It is sometimes the only way to convince a person to slow down and rest.

The body is asking for attention when this unwelcome messenger arrives. The one thing I know for certain is that the message is not “I need more ibuprofen”. I’m certainly not suggesting that people suffer through their injuries without pharmaceutical assistance. There absolutely is a place in healing for pain relief. It is my hope, however, that people will consider after taking the pill that a symptom still needs to be addressed. Don’t ignore the cry for help merely because the pain has been dulled. Dig deeper for the source of the pain and take steps to regain balance. Your long term well-being depends on it.

Time for My Meltdown

This morning a lady arrived for her weekly massage and announced, “Time for my meltdown!” I was surprised at first, because generally speaking a meltdown is a traumatic and dramatic event. Then it hit me- she was referring to the feeling of melting from the inside out. I couldn’t help but to smile at this beautiful concept. Meltdown = rubdown + enhanced inner peace. What a lovely way to describe the work I enjoy doing!

Yesterday, I gave a Reiki/massage combo to a sweet young lady who was having a stressful day. I started off with some balancing Reiki to move any stuck energy out of her mind and body, and could feel her sink deeply into the treatment. Afterwards she told me that she had been worried about having a breakdown on the table. While this is not uncommon during bodywork as emotions often get stirred up and pushed to the surface for release, it is often uncomfortable for clients who are shy about expressing heavy emotions or crying in front of others. She confided in me that instead of a breakdown, she had been able to release all the gunk she had been holding onto without the tears or upset. She instead had a meltdown!

When it comes to stress, the psyche runs the show, but the body pays the price. We get worn down by incessantly thinking that there’s never enough time to do what we need to do, that we’re running in place, that we always need to be on guard. These feelings weaken our energy flow, making our immune systems vulnerable, and creating an opening for illness. Gentle, nurturing touch and energy healing helps people let go of the thoughts and emotions that are the true source of most of the discomfort and pain in the body. Creating a safe, compassionate space for people to relax and restore is a surefire way to enhance health and well-being. How lucky am I that I get to be a facilitator of this beautiful process!?!?

Relaxation? None for Me, Thanks. Part 1

Relaxation? I don’t think so!

Often when I share my explanation of Reiki (a technique for stress relief and relaxation that also triggers the body’s innate healing ability) with others, I am met with a surprising response. Many people claim that they aren’t interested in relaxing; it just isn’t for them, or they don’t have the time, or they tried it once and it didn’t work, or my personal favorite, life is just stressful, period. Having experienced firsthand the wide-spread transformative power of a lifestyle that includes stress management, I continue to be mystified by this train of thought. I’m not talking about seeking enlightenment by meditating in a cave in the Himalayas, but rather everyday well-being, peace of mind, and a sense of contentment that reaches into all areas of life. Relaxation is a practical, sustainable, effective goal that can be obtained without sacrificing commitments or day to day activities.

I’ve tried listing the benefits of stress reduction that I have personally experienced or witnessed in my friends or clients: improved hormonal balance, digestion, and immune system function; diminished pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety; enhanced focus; and a greater sense of overall well-being, just to name a few. Simply put, all bodily systems function with greater efficiency when relaxed than when remaining in constant fight or flight mode. I continue to explain that the advantages of a healthier now will be reaped in the elder years with greater mobility, memory, and independence. Still, the blank stare of disinterest usually remains.

So I began to ask myself, what is it that people actually want? What do they truly desire? After only a few moments observing mainstream media, I notice that we’ve been programmed to desire wealth, success, beauty, and romance. Whether or not these goals are truly our own doesn’t seem to matter. It’s what Americans are being encouraged to seek. After some deep contemplation, I believe that all of these objectives may be supported through the use of relaxation techniques, especially Reiki. Of course there are countless ways to reduce stress (yoga, tai chi, meditation, bodywork, acupuncture, time spent in nature or with loved ones, creative expression, and many more). Naturally one should choose the path that is most aligned with one’s own values and interests, but for the purposes of this article, I shall focus on Reiki as the method of relaxation along with the results I’ve personally witnessed.

You’re probably wondering how receiving Reiki treatments could possibly make you more attractive. While I do believe it’s true that inner beauty outshines all else, that’s not what I’m referring to here. While I have observed that many people seem to glow with luminosity following a treatment, still, there’s more. Many of us, myself included, are prone to stress eating. This is the compulsion to use food (very often junk food, fast food, sugary and trans-fat laden food-like substances) in order to numb stress or provide emotional comfort. It stands to reason that if one is not feeling stressed, this particular urge will be diminished. Once I got in tune with my food needs from a physical hunger standpoint rather than an emotional one, it became easier to make better choices about what I put in my mouth. Healthier food means fewer toxins, and excess toxins have been linked to … cellulite! Who doesn’t want less cellulite?

The same follows in regard to excess consumption of alcohol. It is not uncommon for people to reach for a bottle of wine or beer, or even something stronger, to soothe frazzled nerves at the end of the day. Along with the empty calories consumed, I’ve noticed that the results of heavy drinking can include bags under the eyes, unpleasant body odor, bloating, and sallow skin. No stress, no urge to medicate it with booze, or recreational drugs, for that matter. What about frown lines? Diminished with a sense of inner peace. Posture? Improved with lessened tension. Smile? Radiant, and freely shared. Also, I always have fewer aches and pains after a treatment, thereby eliminating that excuse to skip my exercise routine. Already, Reiki has caused weight loss, lovely skin, graceful poise, and a cheerful nature. In my eyes, this relaxed person I have become is much more attractive than the scowling, sluggish, hung-over, slouching grump I used to be quite often. Therefore isn’t it obvious that Reiki makes people more beautiful?

Next, let’s examine the potential for Reiki to help us attract a desirable romantic partner. I know that I personally am more attracted to someone with a calm, peaceful presence that an irritable, or angry person. Receiving healing energy sessions helps me to get in touch with the serenity that is natural to my Higher Self, and allows it to radiate forth. Being less cranky prevents me from repelling kind-natured, sensitive individuals who would undoubtedly make generous and thoughtful partners. Increased contentment and decreased complaining will do the same. Being centered in a relaxed state makes me a nicer person, and helps to motivate people to be nicer to me, which is a lovely self-perpetuating cycle. I am automatically friendlier to strangers in the grocery store or library, thus increasing my opportunities to attract that special someone. Reiki has effectively reduced symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps, and I probably don’t need to explain how that can benefit my level of desirability! People are naturally drawn to loving, peaceful individuals, so Reiki will help attract wonderful new people into my life and improve my existing relationships too. While I have not yet met Mr. Right, I am quite certain that Reiki will help me do so when the time is right.

So how does Reiki make me more successful? It seems very clear to me that when I was stress-free employee, I performed with more clarity and efficiency. As my immune system was boosted with every treatment, illness was more easily avoided, and attendance enhanced. I became more cooperative and got along better with colleagues as stress-free healthy employee. People were more willing to collaborate with me on projects, and we accomplished more while working harmoniously. In my experience, these qualities were noticed by management and eventually rewarded with promotions more quickly than a grumpy person was. In my private practice, when I am relaxed, I am better able to focus on my client’s needs, more fully present, and a better channel for healing energy which better enables me to serve their highest good, thus increasing their rate of return. As a writer, when I am calm and peaceful words flow seamlessly, almost as if they are being channeled from a higher source.

Entrepreneurs can also benefit from a relaxed way of being. As I become more comfortable in my body, intuitive signals become clearer and divine guidance is more easily accessible. Gut feelings about opportunities, people, and investments are enhanced as the sixth chakra becomes more open. My former employers who managed their stress well were more pleasant to work for than others who let pressure build up and eventually explode. This trickled down into the workplace, reducing staff turn-over and the related training expenses. Also, employees were more enthusiastic, less resentful, and felt no urges to steal from the company as a result of bitterness or entitlement. All of this adds up to a healthy foundation which contributes to a successful business. Everyone, no matter their place in the hierarchy of the company, will achieve greater rewards when operating from a state of calm.

From this, one can deduce that earning power will be increased. But this is not the only way Reiki can contribute to someone’s overall prosperity. As discussed earlier, I have experienced a lesser need for the comforts of alcohol and junk food consumption. These savings add up over time. Better quality of sleep has reduced the need for reliance on caffeine and the daily $4 fix. Let us not forget compulsive purchases. Shopping therapy was not uncommon when I was feeling a general dissatisfaction with my life and needed distraction from chronic stress. We’ve all gone on spending sprees that we couldn’t really afford in an effort to feel better about ourselves or our lives. When I chose to invest in a monthly or biweekly Reiki treatment, the compulsion to numb tension and temporarily escape disappeared as serenity replaced the vague sense of aloneness.

Also, as I continue to get in touch with my spiritual self and find comfort in divine communion, nature, and the simple things in life, I no longer feel the need to keep up with anyone else and purchase unnecessary gadgets or furnishings or expensive clothes. The savings of becoming more fully aligned with my Higher Self continue to accumulate, and I have been able to decrease my workload and enjoy a great deal of free time as a result. This makes me a wealthy woman, in my eyes, even if I don’t have an incredible fortune.

While it is true that the most obvious benefits of any relaxation practice, particularly Reiki, are heightened sensations of peace, joy, and belonging; the secondary benefits stemming from these conditions spill into every conceivable aspect of life. Happy, peaceful people not only tend to be healthier, physically and emotionally, but they are more productive at work, more loving in their relationships, more savvy in their investments, take better care of their bodies, and age more gracefully. Whatever your goals in life, you can rest assured that Reiki is a tool to help you achieve your heart’s desire. Why not seek out a practitioner who can support you? Or take it one step further, and take a Reiki class so you can enjoy the benefits on a daily basis and share them with your friends and family. Reiki is truly a universal instrument that offers each of us exactly what we need.

Knowing better

I’ve come to notice that when I deliberately choose to do something that I know is not in alignment with my values, the consequences are harsher for me than if someone else engages in that same behavior, but without the knowingnes. The difference, it seems, is that not only am I absorbing negativity or toxins from the action, but I am a separating my mind and body from my spirit. It is this splintering that is the most damaging to our well-being.

Reiki, and especially my daily self-treatments, helps guide me to my highest good. It opens me up to receive messages about how to  achieve my goals. Quite often I get a message during my meditation that a certain habit or behavior is blocking my progress.  The most recent example was when several months ago I realized that my morning mug of black tea with agave nectar and almond milk was interfering with my energy field. Well, I was quite attached to the ritual of my morning cup of tea! I carried on, despite the intuitive guidance. Nothing drastic happened; there was no illness or catastrophe that resulted from my impudence. Yet each sip was infused with a hint of guilt because I knew I wasn’t making the decision to pursue my highest good. So now, not only did I have the original deed on my conscience, but the added weight of self-criticism. I believe it was the latter that was more injurious than the former.

Eventually I decided that enough was enough. I wasn’t yet ready to forgo the habit, but I chose to love and accept myself while enjoying my tea. And do you know what? A short week later, I really had no interest in having it anymore. It was easy to replace my morning drink with a cleansing cup of warm lemon water. I had no cravings or withdrawal pains. It truly was miraculous. I brought my mind, body, and spirit back into alignment where they all began working together to support my highest good. Now that I am caffeine-free, I am noticing better quality sleep and more energy throughout the day even though I am naturally waking up earlier. My intuition knew that by letting  go of this seemingly harmless habit that I could accomplish more of what was really important to me. Giving up the judgement and guilt was the key to creating a healthy energy flow and the subsequent ease of making the shift.

Negative thoughts and feelings block our ki (life force energy) as well as our internal guidance. Our spirits know that we are perfect, whole, and complete just the way we are. When we behave in ways that deny this truth, it interrupts the flow of energy that keeps us healthy and vibrant. Simply being kind to ourselves, no matter what our current choices are, creates a shield of dignity that enhances our well-being and motivates us to be truer to ourselves. It might seem ironic, but self-acceptance truly seems to be the magic that produces transformation.