What the… Frog?!

Last night, I met a friend at a park to honor the new moon and to create intentions for the upcoming lunar cycle. New moons are a great time to plant the seeds for what we’d like to experience. Layering that with even a rudimentary understanding of astrological events, we can surf the cosmic energies rather than struggle against the current. 

We talked through our individual circumstances and goals as they related to the astrology and did a simple tarot reading to add another layer of guidance from the mystical realm. These particular cards were challenging to decipher, but we did our best. It helps not to take things too seriously!

As we were heading home in the near-dark night, a frog jumped across the sidewalk in front of us! Maybe that’s a common thing where you live, but this is Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in the U.S. Sure, there was a pond in the park we had just left, but that was about a half mile away, and all the times I had been in this area, I’d never seen a frog. Certainly not on the sidewalk!

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When you’re on the hunt for guidance, it’s easy to cling to every little occurrence. If a squirrel or cat or mosquito had crossed our path, it would not have been noteworthy. But we both agreed that a frog was such an anomaly that it held meaning. Plus, the timing was too significant to ignore.

There’s plenty of information available online about the spiritual message frogs might deliver. I’m not going to repeat any of it here; you can find it easily enough. What’s even more important is the unique meaning that frogs carry for us. Happily this unusual sighting clarified and amplified the tarot reading as it related to the new moon energies. All of these clues allowed us to craft specific and potent intentions.

I’ve written a series of posts on accessing intuition- Intuition Chronicles. While this particular incident falls more into the category of divine guidance via synchronicity, it was intuition that helped us capture and decipher the guidance. It’s simply a matter of asking for support and paying attention to what unfolds.

The more tuned in I am to what’s happening in and around me, the more I am certain that the universe is dropping breadcrumbs along the path to my greatest good. It’s helpful to remember that powerful information can be found outside the traditional intellectual approach if we’re open to it. Deeper meaning and guidance are available to all of us if we choose to slow down and receive it. I’m heading down to sit on the porch and see what surprises the world has to share with me.

Using Reiki as Travel Insurance

Reiki is a handy tool for all sorts of things. Most people know it as an alternative healing modality, but it can also be used for cultivating ease, abundance, harmony, creativity, connection, and so much more! It’s not effective for creating that which is not aligned with the soul’s purpose or manipulating others, but all authentic needs and desires can be supported with this energy. Recently I used it as a form of travel insurance.

The moment I booked my airline tickets, I began applying Reiki for A Smooth and Easy Trip. It was a lot more productive than worrying about all the undesirable outcomes travelers have been experiencing lately. Using visual aids helps me to focus my attention, so I drew a map and created a crystal grid of sorts. I spent several minutes every day saturating it with Reiki.

I think what actually happens when using Reiki to support preferred outcomes is that it brings me into alignment with that which I desire and removes barriers within myself to receiving or experiencing it. Basically, it helped me become someone who is a vibrational match for smooth and easy travels, and enlists the universe’s aid in making it happen.

Every leg of my journey was simply perfect. I was guided to leave much earlier than logic suggested and took a Lyft to a train station based on a gut feeling, even though I could have walked to a closer station. Every other plan I considered for getting to the airport triggered a “meh” feeling that led me to keep trying out options. Eventually this particular idea felt like a “YES!” clicking into place internally.

I arrived at my first destination on time and easily retrieved my rental car. I spent two lovely days with a dear friend enjoying wonderful company, delightful weather, fantastic meals, and nature. I joked that perhaps my “smooth and easy” intention included the forecast even though I hadn’t specifically tuned into that. She smiled mischievously and confessed to working some weather magic herself. (It helps to have friends with Reiki skills!)

Happily, her efforts covered the next stage of my trip: a ferry across Lake Michigan. I really loved this journey! The temperature was ideal for spending a bit of time up on the deck, allowing the crazy wind to blow off all the outdated and stagnant energies that our visit had loosened. Just what I needed before navigating urban traffic in an unknown city. Not my favorite thing, but it went well enough.

The first day at my next destination was rainy, yet this was also perfect. It seemed like the weather was suggesting that we do all the indoor activities such as viewing art (even better when your friend is an enthusiastic curator!) and shopping for souvenirs and chocolate. That freed up the following days to check out a gigantic flea market, spend time in nature, and dunk myself in Lake Michigan. BRRR! It all worked out better than if we’d tried to plan the specifics.

Perhaps the most amazing factor was my return flight arriving 25 minutes early and walking to the train platform to find one ready to depart. I got home an hour earlier than expected! Funny, I’m just now realizing that I had left an hour earlier than necessary at the beginning of my trip. Somehow that hour got returned to me in the end when I was able to enjoy it rather than pacing the living room anxiously.

If I had set my intention for “flights being on time”, I might have missed out on this getting- home- early bonus. I chose “smooth and easy” because that allows for change without disruption or discomfort and the possibility of unforeseen upgrades. It didn’t matter to me if flights were on time if I got to where I was going with minimal stress. And I did!

If you’re interested in having Reiki super-powers that help you go with the flow and enjoy the optimal wellness, creativity, and joy available to you, consider taking a class. Anyone can learn Reiki in a short amount of time and have a lifetime full-access pass to spiritually guided life-force energy. It certainly comes in handy when traveling. Really, this stuff works!

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. 

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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.