Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I talk a lot about the follow-up steps after a Reiki session; paying attention and taking inspired action. (My most recent post about this, You Don’t Need to Know How, can be found here.) Healing isn’t usually something that just occurs voila! in a treatment and then you’re all done, âś”. I suppose that might happen occasionally, but more often than not, we are given directions to the next step on the journey of recovering health and wholeness. It’s then up to us to follow through. Or not.

The perfect circumstances in my own life have aligned to illustrate this. I’m sharing it here because I am often greeted with blank stares when I tell clients to watch for insights and synchronicities that occur in the days following their sessions. Generally these hints turn us in directions we are unlikely to have found on our own. Yet if you don’t know what to look for, it can be easy to miss them.

Here’s my example.

I yearn for a sense of belonging. It’s been an elusive experience in my life, partially because I’m an introvert and have some peculiar habits, a ridiculously early bedtime and a very low tolerance for superficial conversation. This is compounded by frequent callings to up and move across the country every 8 years or so. While I have occasional glimpses of belonging, most of the time I feel like a misfit. I don’t see that changing, but I would enjoy being a part of a larger community of misfits. 🙂

A friend mentioned a teacher/author that he appreciates and so I followed her blog, bought her book, and happened to be sitting in front of my laptop when an invitation arrived from her. An online class, the description of which used different language, but essentially outlined a way to grow a sense of belonging wherever you are. Yes please! But completely beyond my budget given a recent out-of-pocket root canal and dental crown. But a 50% scholarship was offered, I applied, and was accepted. Some might call this grace. I call it Following the Yellow Brick Road.

Wait, there’s more! During this online class, we were given an assignment to learn the history of the land we live in, as well as the native flora and fauna. Well I couldn’t tell the difference between an oak and an elm tree and all those little birds pretty much look the same to me. A search of the library’s catalog showed nothing helpful and I hadn’t yet made it to the local bookstore when I received an email from a colleague inviting me on a hike organized by the group that maintains the wooded area near my home.

I’m not able to attend this particular hike, but when I signed up for the group’s newsletter, I was alerted that they are soon beginning the next round of volunteer training. A training that covers the history of the woods I so love to visit and the native flora and fauna there as well. Ding, ding, ding! I filled out the application, and was delighted to receive an email containing the training dates, which by some miracle (or grace or Follow the YBR magic) align with my somewhat impossible schedule.

The next day I received another email inviting me to schedule an interview with the volunteer director on one of the next several Saturdays. Saturdays are my busiest workday. I have appointments scheduled every Saturday for the next 10 weeks. But this coming Saturday, I have nothing booked in the afternoon and therefore am able to easily make this interview. This is exactly what I mean! I never could have planned this. I’m just following the road that is emerging before my very eyes.

I haven’t yet been accepted into this program. I might not be. I might not even want to be. I’m in a curious place of non-attachment, recognizing that if it’s meant to be, it will be. If it’s not meant to be, it has at the very least opened my eyes to the possibility of divine intervention through the unlikeliest of methods: email! All I know for sure is that I’m going to the interview and will keep following the clues as they appear, clearly showing me the way on The Yellow Brick Road.

All I need do is pay attention and take inspired action. Period. I don’t need to see the big picture, or even know where the next turn is. Obviously this doesn’t absolve me from making plans for my next vacation or paying my bills, but when it comes to healing it’s become crystal clear to me that I’ll be shown the way. Every single step!

New Moon Intentions

Yesterday we were gifted with the energy of a new moon, a time when the cosmic energies are supportive of planting the seeds for that which we’d like to harvest. I recognize the vast wisdom of astrology, but have yet to learn the language. Currently my bandwidth is fully occupied with other pursuits, so I turn to The Power Path School of Shamanism updates for a user friendly, fully digested version of what’s happening in the universe.

Here’s what they have to say about this month’s new moon energies:

“This moon supports expansion, freedom, practicality, a higher sense of intuition and beauty, and an increase in your inner awareness of what you want, what you can have and what you deserve.  This is the “proactive change” growing teeth and getting grounded in something substantial as you anchor a new vision or a new project.  
“This new moon also initiates a time frame of preparedness for what is coming in the future. It is not too early to get thinking about your goals and desires for the months to come. And, whatever you can get rid of that is no longer useful during this new moon time will make space for what you really want.
 
“This is a social time where you can share your visions and get support. Celebrate change, progress and all the aspects of your life that are on the move to something better, bigger, grander and more balanced. Be sure to take some time for self care as your emotional and physical health is a major component of being prepared for the future. If you have some clarity about what you want, this new moon is also a great time for actually making a concrete list of what is clear to you and how you plan to go about manifesting it.” 

I had the great joy of hosting a small gathering of people in my office last night. We joined together as a community to witness one another’s intentions and share a layering of energetic tools to support our goals. I’m all about stacking practices- a term I use to describe the combining of a variety of techniques to maximize outcome.

Keeping the quality of the astrological forecast in mind, we used the powers of awareness and connection, sound vibration (via my amaaaaazing crystal bowl), Reiki and all its potent symbols, grounding aromatherapy (cypress, cinnamon, rosemary- yum!), and a deck of oracle cards to offer concrete wisdom about how to proceed. (Forgiveness was the beginning point according to the group reading. Isn’t that always the case?!) All of this was amplified by the dynamism of intention, further amplified by the group’s combined efforts.

The invitation is clear. At the very least we all have the power of intention and the influence of the mind-body connection. Stack this with the understanding of the currents of the new moon energies and every tool you have at your disposal, and take a few moments to align yourself with the future you desire. Our vibration is constantly influencing our experiences, why not make the effort to influence them in our preferred direction?

Reiki fail?

For months now I’ve been spontaneously waking up before 5 am. Since I’ve been using Reiki to break this super annoying pattern and failing miserably, I know that there’s a bigger plan beyond what I can see. As I tell my students, Reiki always works, just not always in the way we want it to! I trust the intelligence of this universal life-force healing energy much more than I trust my own thinking. My thoughts often lead me astray!

This week my self-care, spiritual, and personal growth practices all converged to show me the colossal wisdom of Reiki and my own shortsightedness. It’s a lovely story of how the universe has conspired to give me exactly what I want despite my continued resistance to receive it. The complexity of several different factors intersecting perfectly blows my mind and lends credence to my belief in synchronicity, divine guidance and divine timing.

Last month’s meditation in Rick Hansen’s “Growing the Good” online program focused on motivation. That certainly got my attention as I was just wrapping up the 12 week studies in the book, “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity“, by Julia Cameron. Given that I’ve spent the last year intending to open to my innate creative flow, this book was a no-brainer, and linking creativity with motivation was incredibly helpful. As was the choice to delve into the humorous yet profound “You are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero, as I’m building my own business and have a burning desire for more freedom and autonomy as well as prosperity.

Throw in the practices I’m learning about dream tending from Sharon Blackie in her online course “Courting the World Soul” and a dietary detox revealing greater levels of energy, I grew closer to my epiphany. But it wasn’t until I had a medical intuitive session with the amazing Laura Bruno regarding the healing of a longstanding pain in my foot that the breakthrough broke. In addition to some practical remedies, Laura suggested that I make a verbal commitment to a project that I intend to complete in the next 2-5 years. As I did this… ding ding ding!! The alarms in my head went off and everything fell into place.

I have three different books simmering inside me that I just can’t seem to find the time or motivation to begin. With the exercises in the books I’m reading, the meditation, harvesting the messages in my dreams, breaking the hold that sugar has over me, and making this commitment to myself and the projects I desire to create; it was infinitely obvious that the universe/Spirit/Reiki/intuition/whatever you want to call it was giving me the gift of an undisturbed, quiet hour every morning to devote to my creative urges.

Once I stopped wasting this precious time lying in bed cursing my biorhythms and feeling sorry for myself, I began to see this for the spectacular blessing that it is. Since then I’ve been jumping out of bed after recording the fragments of dream memories and doing what absolutely needs doing to sit my butt down and write for an hour. I have no idea of where it will lead, but the energetic rewards of being devoted to my goals and allowing creativity to flow, feel fantastic! And quite frankly, that’s good enough for now.

Happy side effects: I’ve not had any sensation in my foot since I made my commitment to using this morning time for writing. My body was trying to tell me something for a long time and I just wasn’t getting the message. I vow to learn to speak her language to save myself the time and hassle of painfully unheeded communication. I am also finding myself so productive in the mornings that I’m able to get to the woods more frequently for creek therapy and sunshine. Win, win, win!

Celebrate the Small Stuff

This morning while at the shoe repair shop, I saw a woman write “shoes” on her notepad and immediately cross it off. Risking being nosy, I asked if she just wrote the errand she’s currently running on her to-do list just to mark it as completed. She sheepishly admitted that she did. We enjoyed a moment of camaraderie uncommon amongst strangers.

I shared my strategy (thanks to my college roommate’s dad, I believe) to circle and star the accomplished tasks. In a world of seemingly never-ending to-do’s I believe it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate each and every little thing rather than jumping right to the next errand.

I’m rewiring my brain to notice all that I’ve achieved rather than constantly scanning for the next dozen things that need doing. The result is that I feel more relaxed. Lest you think that’s an airy-fairy, wu-wu goal; taking a break from chronic stress has a physiological response that promotes a healthier immune system, better quality sleep and digestion, less pain and muscle tension, lower blood pressure, and feel-good neurochemistry.

Yes please!

In addition to learning not to sweat the (negative) small stuff, I’m choosing to celebrate the (positive) small stuff every chance I get.

Promoting resiliency and maximum well-being is well worth the effort!

Shoes***

Curtains ***

Frame for diploma***

Bank***

Emails***

Meditation***

Lunch***

Blog***

Correct glaring error in title of blog***

Yoga

Reiki for Climate Crisis- an Invitation

In support of tomorrow’s climate strikes, I’d like to present an additional opportunity to engage for those of us attuned to Reiki. It’s hard to strike when you’re self-employed, but I am totally cheering on the activists who are.

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t feel heartbroken about the condition of the planet we live on and the failure of the powers that be to protect it. Not only does it not feel good to reside in such a state of despair, it’s detrimental to my health and does absolutely nothing to foster change. I’ve chosen instead to offer Reiki to the earth on a consistent basis. This feels like I’m doing something productive, which gives me hope and a sense of empowerment.

Photo by Tomas Ryant on Pexels.com

If you have Reiki powers, I encourage you to join me, at your leisure, from wherever you are. It’s really quite simple and you can spend as much or as little time as you’re able. I teach my students that 3 minutes of healing is better than none. And the effects are cumulative, so multiple bursts will add up over the course of a week. Three minutes a few times per day comes to an hour per week, which is often easier for me that finding a solid one hour block of uninterrupted time.

You may be wondering how one single person can affect a problem that is so huge that it is literally global. I’m reminded of a quote by the Dalai Lama, a man of great wisdom and compassion. “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” All action produces a result. What the actual result might be is beyond my pay grade. Reiki goes where it is most needed, so really it’s just my job to offer it up and trust. I imagine it might help spark an idea for an inventor, an impulse for someone to bring reusable bags or water bottles or bike to work, or shine the light on the truth for a policy maker.

If you’re willing to participate, all you need to do is set the intention to send healing energy to the climate crisis and invite Reiki to flow. It might help focus your intention to look at a world map, hold a ball as a surrogate for the globe, sit outside and feel the Reiki streaming from your hands into the air and feet into the earth. Use a picture of polar bears or sea turtles or a forest or the ocean, or anything that resonates with you as a visual representation of what a healthy planet looks like. If you have Reiki symbols, activate them! This will amplify the power, but even if you haven’t been initiated to level 2, you can share healing energy available to you, which is powerful and infinite without any symbols.

Perhaps when you’re finished you could spend a few moments opening to any insight or inspiration to lighten your own carbon footprint. Can you consume fewer resources, produce less waste, or drive less frequently? Think about how you spend your hard earned dollars and the message you can send to manufacturers through the choices you make. Speak up to store managers and cashiers, your neighbors, colleagues, and family. Invite Reiki into your decision making and conversations and allow it to guide you to share your truth with kindness and firmness and clarity.

Practicing Reiki altruistically does not exempt us from taking action. It can however, point us in the direction of the most powerful steps and keep our hope alive while offering Mother Nature some support. She doesn’t need us, but we do need her! Reiki for the climate crisis- what could be more important?

Dream Message

“Give it up. Stop!” This is the message I received in a dream last week. Yes, lyrics from Tom Petty’s song “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. What can I say- I went to high school in the 80’s and pop music was my primary language. A most effective message from dreamland as it stuck with me when most dreams fade upon waking.

As I’ve been asking for guidance through my dreams, it seemed really important to listen. I teach my Reiki students that intuition is like a friend. If you don’t answer the phone, she’ll eventually stop calling. While I’m courting dream guidance, it would be prudent to actually heed it!

Give what up? was the obvious question. Caffeine was the answer that came loud and clear. @#$%

Naturally, I negotiated.

Really! So silly, I know. I decided to cut back from 2 or 3 cups of green tea down to one. That seemed a reasonable decision.

Then a few days later the headache began. My response? I forgot all about the dream and increased my caffeine intake as that often helps resolve the problem for me. But this headache lasted for three days. That’s unheard of for me. This morning, Day Four, it lingered on. As I sat quietly contemplating on the patio (with a cup of black tea no less! Hey I’ve been miserable for the past three days, don’t I at least deserve a few sips of comfort?), I remembered.

It became quite clear that my body was telling me, YELLING at me, demanding that I give it up- stop! I had failed to heed the gentle warning and now I was receiving the message the hard way- through pain.

So I took one last sip, and poured out that delicious tea. Now I’m drinking a rooibos latte and enjoying it greatly. I’m confident this blasted headache will fade as the caffeine exits my system. I will allow myself a moment to grieve over an old friend who won’t come around here no more, and then I will celebrate a new level of reduced inflammation, deeper sleep, and greater clarity and creativity.

And that’s totally worth it.

Instant Inflammation

A few weeks ago, when I was visiting family in Michigan, my brother invited me to the county fair with him. He was going to purchase a steer and a hog at the 4H youth livestock auction. I decided to go for the experience of witnessing something so very outside of my urban reality. And for the funnel cake.

Funnel cake has always been my favorite fair food. It’s a very rare, nostalgic treat that I know has negative consequences. If you’re unfamiliar with such delicacies, it’s basically fried dough with powdered sugar on top. The batter drops through a funnel, creating a haphazard pattern in the hot oil, no doubt vegetable oil from the 1990’s. (Vegetable oil might sound healthy; I assure you, it is not! It’s likely a blend of GMO corn, GMO soy, and GMO canola oils, high in omega 6 fatty acids, and a precursor to joint inflammation.) It comes with 18 napkins to help soak up the greasy residue.

The full scoop is that after surveying the food arena, there was no funnel cake to be found! I was all revved up for something decadent and ended up choosing a caramel apple. Then on the way out, by some miracle or devilry, I spotted the jackpot. I got my precious funnel cake even though I wasn’t hungry anymore.

After approximately 3 bites, my knee began to ache. It continued to stiffen and swell and even throb a little. This is the knee that I had injured (likely a meniscus tear) about 18 months ago. It doesn’t bend completely, but hasn’t bothered me in over a year. A few bites of a triple inflammatory (vegetable oil, wheat, sugar) and poof! It regressed fantastically. And stayed that way for nearly a week!

I’m here to implore you to consider what systemic inflammation you may be experiencing due to dietary choices. Wouldn’t you like to know what it feels like to have greater mobility and less pain? Do you really get so much enjoyment out of doughnuts that it makes the subsequent suffering worthwhile?

I never felt better than when following the elimination diet recommended by Dr. Alejandro Junger in his book “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself”. If that sounds too daunting, perhaps begin by taking just a small step and replacing one sugary fried dough product with something more wholesome. Every step towards reducing inflammation is a step in the direction of optimal health, freedom, and greater quality of life.

I promise, once you begin to experience life with less pain, you won’t even miss that funnel cake. After this epiphany, I certainly won’t ever eat one bite ever again.