The Longest Night

Today is the winter solstice for those of us in the northern hemisphere. It’s commonly known as the shortest day, but to me the longest night seems a more fitting description.

A series of coincidences, AKA divine interventions, placed a friend and I in the woods at sunset and I was able to snap a pic of the final rays of light.

It was spectacular and magical to be in nature at such an auspicious time. But the real magic happened when I got home and turned inward. The universe is encouraging stillness, quiet, and contemplation. Oddly, our culture encourages the opposite, but I prefer to flow with the natural energy rather than fight it.

Today is also a turning point as tomorrow, and each day thereafter for the next six months, there will be a little more light than the day before. It signifies a time of hope for many as spring has always followed winter. In the meantime, let us embrace the cold, dark nights as best we can.

Happy solstice!

Fire Cider Cold and Flu Remedy, by Rosemary Gladstar

Really great tips here about staying healthy this winter! This video inspired me to get some fire cider brewing. Somehow I’ve ended up with four different batches; two include turmeric for some extra anti-inflammatory kick. I’m still a few weeks out from completion, but very much looking forward to having an extra potion in my medicine cabinet this year. Thanks Laura!

Laura Bruno's Blog

Our friend, Martha, posted this video on Facebook and David shared it with me. It combines a lot of things I’ve learned from various people along the way, including what the herbalist I apprenticed with in Seattle called “the triumvirate of herbs: garlic, onion and ginger.”

I also made a truly yummy antibiotic this summer when I had that cracked, infected tooth: apple cider vinegar, raw honey and many, many cloves of garlic. It turned out to be a terrible remedy for an infected tooth, due to the acid-sweet combo, but it certainly clears up any cold or other illness that wants to hitch a ride. (My teeth all healed, btw, through major energetic work that blasted the lurkers in there, but that’s another story.)

In addition, we keep oil of oregano on hand for sniffing, inhaling from a pot of steam, or taking internally in the event…

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Dance It Out

Feeling tense, frazzled, stressed, anxious or overwhelmed? Utilize the body-mind connection to upgrade your internal chemistry.

1. Stop doomscrolling. You can always come back later. Nothing has changed in months anyway, it won’t hurt to take a break.

2. Decide you want to feel better.

3. Take action.

Today I used Pandora Radio as an Oracle. What music will help me lift my vibration? When everything seems to be going wrong, music is the perfect remedy.

I offer this song that got me moving and endorphins flowing. If you need some relief, it might help you too. Get your groove on and let the mind go quiet. You might need to purge some thoughts first, preferably in a journal where they won’t cause any damage but can be released from your head, where they can also cause damage.

https://pandora.app.link/AygsquO7klb

I’m Doing Great! And it’s Freakin’ Hard Work.

Lately I’ve been hesitant to share that I’m doing quite well when so many others are suffering greatly. I’ve concluded that it doesn’t help anyone to hide my light, nor do I wish to tell lies or half-truths. So, when someone asks with genuine interest, I don’t hold back.

I’m doing great!

Somewhere in between withholding and gloating there is a middle ground, and that’s what I’m aiming for. Most of the time I hit the mark, but I occasionally still struggle with a strange, misplaced guilt. Who am I to be experiencing such freedom, peace, and joy?

Here’s the thing. I’ve invested great amounts of effort and finances in my wellness. It hasn’t happened by default or simple luck. Every day I make choices that are often inconvenient and spectacularly unpopular.

Choices like prioritizing rest and quality nourishment. Meaning that I regularly say no when people would prefer that I said yes. That I decline invitations for drinks or meals that would not serve my highest good. That I’m unwilling to engage in conversations that are draining or toxic in nature, and that I have deactivated my Facebook account.

The most heroic endeavor, however, is allowing myself to feel all my emotions. Rather than suppressing, avoiding, or numbing, I turn towards the unpleasant reactions.Sitting in meditation when I get triggered and welcoming the totality of the feelings that arise is one of the most important commitments I’ve ever made to myself. This helps me avoid dragging yesterday’s the wounds into today’s interactions.

Protecting my energy field from debris that I might absorb from others, monitoring my thoughts and releasing those that aren’t aligned with my calling, and keeping my heart open through it all requires diligence. Sure, there are times I want to crawl into bed with a pint of ice cream and the remote control. Since I now know such behavior only delays the inevitable, it’s much less appealing.

Yes, I know the world is a crazy place. I am not exempt from what’s happening out there. Being super-sensitive, I’m also aware of the intense cosmic energies. Yet given the choice to embrace my superpower of feeling deeply or opting to feel less, courtesy of self-medication, I choose feeling deeply.

When I’m hiding from my emotions, I have no chance of doing well. The best I can hope for is getting by. When I numb any part of myself, all of me gets numbed. There’s no such thing as selective anesthesia for the psyche.

So… sorry, not sorry, I haven’t posted in ages. It’s because I’ve been busy doing great.

Reiki for Pets

People are often surprised to hear that Reiki is an effective healing treatment for their beloved pets. All living creatures, including animals of every variety, are imbued with life-force energy. This energy can be imbalanced, blocked, or weakened through less-than-optimal conditions (such as poor-quality food, lack of exercise and fresh air, or inadequate attention) as well as through injuries, stress, and disease. Reiki is a non-invasive, holistic technique for fostering optimal wellness in animals as well as in their human companions.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes a simple one-off treatment is all that is needed to offer assistance through a challenging event such as travel. Other critters benefit from a cluster of sessions to support recovery from a surgery, illness, or disruptive situation such as the addition of a new pet. Some creatures might need consistent support to help balance out end of life issues or chronic illness.

Luckily for us all, Reiki can be administered from afar. There’s no reason to schlep the poor darlings to an office, which would likely further traumatize them and counteract any positive effects. While some practitioners might make house calls, the expense can be prohibitive. Any Reiki provider with a level two certification has been trained to use sacred symbols and the power of intention to deliver healing to wherever it is needed. No matter where your pet is, Reiki can be received with ease.

Caregivers are usually relieved to learn that they need not try to coral their pets or force them to appear in a video meeting! They only need to provide a picture of the animal, along with his/her name, location, and ailment. Reiki does the rest. It’s not necessary to get animals to do anything specific; as most pet people know, it’s nearly impossible and stressful all-around to even try. They are eager recipients who instinctively recognize the value of Reiki.

The most economical approach would be to take a beginners’ level Reiki class. In a short amount of time, anyone can learn to deliver healing energy. There is no special skill or constitution required. A Reiki Master Teacher will perform an attunement which opens the energy channels, allowing the student to access this limitless, universal energy at any time. You can literally have healing available at your very fingertips! If your pet has a serious health condition or is otherwise nervous, anxious, or simply unwell, this approach allows for daily treatments on a minimal budget.

If adding yet another daily task to your to-do list triggers a feeling of overwhelm, you’ll likely prefer to hire a professional to do the job. That’s what we’re here for! While my experience so far lies mostly with dogs and cats, there are no animals that are off-limits. When it comes to remote treatments, we needn’t worry about stings, bites, or scratches. If it slithers, swims, flies, crawls or gallops, Reiki can help support your pets’ optimal wellness.

Making a Difference

I’m being nudged to share a newsletter that I recently received from Oren Jay Sofer, subject line: Can any of us make a difference? (Spoiler alert: we CAN!)

It’s a sweet and refreshing message, followed by an announcement of an upcoming communication course. While I haven’t taken “Say What You Mean”, I recently completed a different program of his which was incredibly helpful.

Without further adieu, I’ve copied and pasted his email below.

I’ve had a few conversations with close friends lately about the state of our world. 

While life offers so much to be joyful and appreciative for, and while humankind has made genuine progress worthy of celebration, the affects of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and income inequality are heavy. 

It’s hard to know what to do and easy to feel overwhelmed. 

Sometimes, when I feel stuck by the complex, daunting nature of the problems we face collectively, I remember a story I heard once as a kid. 

One day, after a big storm, a child was walking along the beach. The shoreline was scattered with starfish—thousands strewn up and down the beach, as far as the eye could see. 

Soon, the child came upon a neighbor, patiently picking up the starfish one at a time and tossing them back into the ocean. She watched, puzzled, and then asked: “Hey, what are you doing?” 

 “They’ll die out here. I’m helping to save them.” 

“But—there are so many,” she stammered. “How will you ever make a difference?”

The neighbor paused. She bent down, picked up a single starfish, looked at it, and gently tossed it back to the ocean. “There. To that one starfish, I just made all the difference in the world.” 

The child’s eyes lit up. She picked up a starfish, and threw it to the sea.

None of us have the power to change the course of history. No one can control the future. But we can make a difference in one another’s lives. Every generous act, every kind word, every patient breath makes a difference. 

One area we can all change in life is how we communicate. 

Think of the times when someone has really listened, offered a few words of appreciation, encouragement or reassurance. This can make the difference between sinking into despair and finding the strength to go on. 

Even when there are difficult things to say, we can find a way to speak with courage and love. 

Each year at this time I offer a special, live, 12-week online course, Say What You Mean. We go through my book chapter by chapter, learning how to make a difference in our world – one starfish at a time.

I invite you to join me. Every class includes time for questions and coaching. There are CEs for therapists and other mental health professionals, nurses, teachers, and many others. We’ve even set up discounts for those who register with a friend or small group, and scholarships for anyone who needs one.

If you want to learn and practice together, I’d love to see you there. You can learn more and sign up on my website here

Hope you can join me, 

Oren

Grateful for the Simple Things

Last week, my brother sent me a text with a picture, saying that my nephew wanted me to see it. Since neither of them generally initiates contact with me, I was especially delighted. Since I was having a difficult day, it was especially heartwarming.

Allow me to introduce Captain Theo and Rosie. 🙂 I dare you not to say, “Aw…”!

A friend declared this a “cuteness explosion”, and I couldn’t agree more. Somehow the dining room background just makes it all the more precious. I’m sharing this here for anyone who needs a pick-me-up. It’s a good reminder that the simple things in life can be the most uplifting.

I am grateful. ❤

Upcoming Online Reiki Certification Classes!

Teaching Reiki is one of my absolute favorite things. It’s up there with chocolate, laughing, books, and trees. It’s a true joy to introduce students to this magical practice and help empower them to participate in building their own health, happiness, and creativity.

Reiki is a holistic technique that stimulates the body’s innate healing abilities by activating the relaxation response. It balances body, mind, and spirit, integrating and harmonizing all aspects of ourselves for greater wellbeing. It can be used to reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and pain and to promote digestion, sleep, immune system function, detoxification, and recovery from illness, injury, and medical procedures. What many people don’t know is that it can also be used to align folks with their goals and release limiting beliefs that get in the way.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Over the years, I’ve used Reiki for critters, plants, food, finding parking spots, electronics, and finances. Actually, it would probably be easier to list the things that I haven’t Reiki’ed! That would be a short list: people who don’t want to receive it for whatever reason, and … well… I guess that’s about it.

Sharing this gift with people who want to optimize their wellness, joy, peace, pleasure, comfort, and productivity makes my heart sing. I get a wonderful Reiki buzz just thinking about it! Which is why I’m super-excited to announce some upcoming online classes.

I’m offering Reiki 1 & 2 Certifications, back-to-back, on Wednesday evenings beginning in September. Reiki 1 is the starting point; no experience or special skills are necessary. It’s possible to follow up immediately with level 2 training for those who are feeling the pull. Some people prefer to pause in between. Anyone who has taken a level 1 training before, even with another teacher, is eligible for my level 2 class.

I’ve also crafted a 3-hour Reiki for Self-Care course, distilling the most essential material for those who are only interested in treating themselves. This is the simplest and most affordable route for being able to access powerful healing energy at will.  

I particularly enjoy the personal interaction of teaching, so I keep classes small to personalize the content and answer all the questions. Over the years I’ve learned that breaking a workshop into several segments helps students to digest and retain information. Recently I’ve really come to appreciate the online format, as it allows for greater comfort and convenience for everyone. I’ve put a lot of energy into maximizing class structure for your benefit. You just need to show up with an open mind; I’ll do the rest.

Learning to use Reiki for myself, as well as my clients, nearly 20 years ago massively shifted the trajectory of my life. Getting in touch with my calling and finding the courage and motivation to follow my own path has empowered me in ways I never could have imagined before I began. I want everyone to have the same opportunity to do so! You can find details here. I’m offering an early bird special, so have a peek soon if you’re interested.

Affirmations Work!

Last night I started using a new affirmation that I borrowed from Lee Harris, a channeler and intuitive who offers a helpful energy update each month. I’m really enjoying his online Abundance Upshift program. Exploring and upgrading belief systems is a good portion of the work we’re doing; hence the affirmation.

“I allow myself to receive in unexpected and surprising ways.”

These words really resonated with me, so I decided to take them out for a spin. I repeated them several times aloud before bed and copied them into my journal this morning. I find repetition to be helpful for getting new ideas lodged in my mind. Science tells us that creating new neural pathways is possible, but does require some consistent effort.

So… I went about my morning and suddenly felt the urge to get myself to the woods. Since I moved, almost two months ago, I haven’t explored opportunities for hiking in my new neighborhood. Happily, today my mood, energy, schedule, and the weather all collaborated for my benefit.

I walked to the closest trailhead. Meh. It just didn’t feel right, so I continued along the sidewalk. The next entrance pulled me in, and I soon realized I had found the field designated for dogs to run freely. Not having a four-legged friend myself, I turned back around, hoping to find a quieter and less crowded spot. It was at that moment that I crossed paths with a client. When I explained that I was scouting out the new neighborhood, she invited me to join her.

Now I not only have company and good conversation but am being shown around by someone who knows the area well and is able to offer suggestions about which trails to take to get to a variety of places. My own personal tour guide! Unexpected and surprising.

After she peeled off to return to work, I took her advice, but soon got pulled in another direction. I found myself at an intersection occupied by three ladies. When I looked closer, I recognized two of them! Oddly enough, I had no idea that they knew each other! This might not seem like such a big deal if you live in a small town, but I’m located in Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in the US, and hiking in the country’s largest urban park. Running into one familiar face is a rare event for me; three is simply magical.

I was delighted! Unexpectedly and surprisingly finding friendly faces really brightened my day and strengthened my resolve to keep using this new affirmation. I was reminded that abundance can appear in multiple forms. Friendship and connection are certainly some of my favorites!

I’m curious to see what else will happen as I continue to become aligned with the energy of receiving in unexpected and surprising ways. You’re invited to join me and report back when the miracles begin to appear. 😊

Shield Essential Oil Blend

In December 2019, my intuition demanded (yes, my intuition can be quite bossy!) that I purchase allspice essential oil. I had no idea what to use it for, so I did some sleuthing online. Turns out it’s an antiviral. How’s that for prophetic? I made a blend with other antiviral oils to make a spritzer for purifying the air in my office and enjoyed a winter without any ailments. In March, I began to diffuse it constantly in my office and mixed it with grain alcohol to make a simple, non-toxic hand sanitizer.

Since then, I’ve often though of Thieves Blend, a product of Young Living, similar in nature to what I concocted. I prefer not to support multi-level marketing companies, so I resisted buying any, but the story of its origin kept popping into my mind. Apparently thieves used this combination of herbs and spices to protect themselves while robbing homes of the dead and dying during the bubonic plague with great success. By “success”, I mean they remained healthy despite the obvious occupational hazards. As far as I know, there are no natural remedies that produce criminal superpowers!

I’m delighted to discover that Mountain Rose Herbs, a company I admire for their commitment to quality natural products grown organically and harvested sustainably, has an affordable alternative. You can diffuse it, add several drops to hand soap, or make your own non-toxic hand sanitizer. (The fact that I label a product “non-toxic” is meant to convey that the commercial option is very much toxic.)

Purchasing the oils individually can get pricey, which is why I haven’t brought it up before. Shield Blend contains five potent, pure essential oils: clove (a cousin to allspice), lemon, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme, for a very reasonable price. As this is an independent business, and not a global empire, you can expect to pay for shipping. I’ve found that it makes sense to stock up on several items at a time, as this makes the fee more palatable. It just so happens that they’re having a sale on tea now. I’ll have to reign myself in because their selection of herbal blends and caffeinated teas is simply amazing.

(I’m assuming that if you’re reading my blog, you believe in holistic, natural healing methods. It is beyond the scope of my mission to prove that essential oils have medicinal power. I did a quick search online and learned that the mechanics of this antiviral property are based on the ability to break the fatty membrane of viruses, rendering them useless. I’m aiming to preach to the choir here, and point believers to a useful product, not to convince any skeptics. I just don’t have the interest in doing the research that such a feat would require.)

If you’re a tiny bit curious or your gut is chiming in with a “yes”, it’s a minimal investment for a risk-free therapy. At the very least, taking action to prevent illness is subject to the placebo effect. The power of intention and the mind-body connection is often as potent, sometimes more potent, than medical treatment. It sure beats doing nothing and fearing the worst.

Please note that I don’t get any kick-backs for this, or any other products or services I recommend.