Reiki and Memory

Reiki is really helpful for cultivating our ability to remember. It supports the deactivation of our survival response, also called the fight/flight/freeze mechanism, which blocks access to our ability to think clearly or retrieve memories. When we’re not perpetually stressed, memory can come back online.

What’s even more interesting to me, is that Reiki (more specifically the mental/emotional symbol taught in Reiki 2) can help cement new memories.

Many years ago, I heard someone (can’t remember who, but the impression is of a doctor or researcher) say that part of the problems we face in the chaotic, fast-paced world is that we are just not paying attention enough to what we’re doing to actually make new memories.

Can you relate?

I can! Especially now that I’m wearing reading glasses. I haven’t yet gone looking for them while they’re on my head, but they do get misplaced sometimes.

So for those pesky, maddening experiences of not being able to find your keys or wondering if you left the iron on at home the moment your plane takes off for a distant land, there is hope.

I had a scare a few years ago when on a hike with a friend. I was certain I’d return and find my apartment burnt to a crisp. It didn’t really matter than in my decades of adulting, I’d never ever left a candle burning or the stove on, I was freaking out.

Of course, I got home and everything was fine. But for weeks, every time I went somewhere, I was worried about having forgotten to turn the stove off.

It didn’t matter that every time I came home, sometimes immediately and inconveniently because I just couldn’t deal with the discomfort of not knowing, never ever did I find what I feared to be true.

Then I realized that I was not creating new memories of turning off the stove or oven, blowing out the candle, or locking the door.

A new strategy arose. One much more effective than circling back each time I went somewhere to double check my home.

Before I leave, I stand at the stove, check all the knobs and say, “off” while taking a mental snapshot of the stove indeed being off. This same technique can work for any situation. “Keys”. “Glasses”. “Candle”. Whatever.

A week after I started doing this, my out-of-the-home panic diminished greatly and about a month later I didn’t need it any more. I had effectively cured my paranoia. I only do it now if I’m going out of town or some unusual circumstance has me out of my routine.

Anyone can do this. It’s simply a matter of turning your attention for just a moment to that which you’d like to remember. If you have Reiki super-powers, use SHK to stamp your memory in deep. If you’d like to have Reiki super-powers, get on my mailing list to be in the know about upcoming classes.

Success Rate of Healing Treatments?

Last week a potential client asked me what my success rate was.


I really had to give that some thought! I am 100% successful at delivering Reiki and/or massage to the clients who request it.

But that obviously wasn’t what she was looking for. She wanted to know how many of my clients were relieved of their symptoms, but that’s not a question I can accurately answer. I’d estimate that 95% of the time, people feel better when they leave my office. What happens after that is generally out of my hands.

Imagine you were seeking treatment for insomnia. Reiki and massage are both fabulous at calming the nervous system so people can fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. I can do my very best work, you’d feel calm and rested when we parted, but you could go home and drink a pot of coffee before bedtime. You probably won’t sleep very well, but you still received many of the wellness benefits anyway.

Holistic healing is a lot like not drinking a pot of coffee before bed. Or getting out of debt by curtailing spending and taking up a side job. All of our choices are affecting our progress.

My clients who switch to decaf after lunch experience tremendous results. Those who rely solely on me while continuing to drink coffee at bedtime get temporary relief.

There’s no judgment here. Anybody can get a session and feel better. Those who want to continue feeling better work with me. We become a detective team, exploring the options that they face every day to pursue or decline wellness.

Success rate? Here’s a more accurate question, one I wasn’t quick enough to express on that phone call. Are you willing to adapt your behavior and make healthier choices that support your goals? Your response is directly correlated to the success rate you can expect. And my services will mostly definitely support you in the process.

Whether or not you’re wanting to participate in your wellness pursuit, gentle massage and Reiki treatments can promote vitality, peace, calm, creativity, and health. Schedule a session without any guilt or shame about your habits. We don’t have to discuss anything you don’t want to!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Healing Session

I recently had a chat with my friend’s husband. He said he doesn’t get massages because the relaxation doesn’t last. As soon as he returns to work, the stress is waiting to pounce.

Fair enough! I appreciate honest feedback and it gives me a chance to address an issue that is likely common, but generally unspoken.

First, I want to point out that the health benefits of massage and Reiki remain even after the peaceful feeling wears off. Just like all deposits to your bank account are important, even if that money flows out immediately, so do all deposits to your wellness account help.

I can get nerdy and talk about nervous system regulation, neurochemistry, oxytocin and healing touch. I’ll just say for now that every investment, big or small, towards your health counts.

Second, there are ways that you can plan your session to get the most out of it. Why not set yourself up for success as much as you possibly can? It’s an act of kindness toward yourself to protect the yummy, relaxed sensations that massage and Reiki are famous for.

Here are some ideas:

  • If possible, schedule your treatment on a day off or after work. Many of us practitioners have evening and weekend hours. Sure, there is no punching out for parents or caregivers, but do your best to choose a time when you’ll have minimal responsibilities.
  • Give yourself some time afterwards so you’re not rushing to your next appointment.
  • Leave your phone on silent mode when you leave.
  • Avoid the news, emails, and social media for as long as possible.
  • Tell your people in advance that you’ll be unavailable for a few hours except for emergencies. Define what an emergency actually is!
  • Have a meal prepared, or at least planned, so you’re not wandering the grocery store aisles or the GrubHub menu in a foggy, hungry state.

And if none of that is possible, know that the relaxed feeling is just the tip of the iceberg of the benefits of massage. The majority of the benefits are much more subtle. The reduction of stress chemicals in your bloodstream, the boost to parasympathetic resilience, the increased circulation of the lymphatic system and blood, enhanced assimilation of nutrients, detoxification… I’ll stop there or else we’ll be here all night.

Third, an interesting point is that when you get bodywork on a consistent basis, you’re training your body and mind to relax more easily and quickly. There’s a sort of knowing that happens on an unconscious level for the folks who visit me regularly, that when they step into my office, the magic is already happening. It’s like a Pavlovian response- seeing the massage table triggers the benefits before the actual session begins. Clients frequently comment on this. So much so that I’ve considered adding a “napping” service to my menu so people can take a break from the real world.

Finally, I’ll wrap this up by saying the wellness effects DO last and we can work together so that the tangible effects do too. It’s always wise to engage in stress management. Not to make it miraculously disappear, but because we deserve some support in a stressful world. No treatment is going to erase the stress from our lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the moments of relief that are available to us.

If you’re ready to schedule a massage or Reiki session, I’m here to help!

Reiki and Crystal Grids

I have a lot of fun getting creative with my Reiki practice.

Most people think of Reiki as a treatment- something that happens on a massage table in a spa-like environment.

But that’s only one of it’s expressions. Reiki is spiritually-guided life-force energy. It can be applied anywhere and everywhere to support our goals and desires.

Recently I activated Reiki to open myself to my inner wisdom and connect with a sacred symbol. A downward facing triangle emerged. A few days later I was inspired to make a crystal grid for prosperity and while wondering how to set it up, I was nudged towards the triangle I had downloaded.

It’s not the typical grid format and while pondering the solution, I was guided to create a ring around the edges with a necklace. And finally to use these green citrine crystals I bought ages ago in a Reiki class.

I charged all the stones with the intention of receiving prosperity and fit them into the triangle shape intuitively. I placed the necklace around the triangle and voila! A unique crystal grid, perfect for my needs.

I followed all of this up with a Reiki Healing Attunement, which my teacher, Laura Bruno calls one of the most powerful ways to create change. It was already pretty potent, but what the heck? I tend to use all the tools at my disposal.

I’ll charge this up everyday with more Reiki and my intentions. I find I’m more likely to engage with a practice that is personalized and creative than following some prescribed protocol.

How can you spice up your Reiki practice with something fun and enlivening?

Reiki as a Mystical Practice

Lots of people recognize Reiki as a fantastic tool for healing physical, mental, and emotional issues. It’s even being used in hospitals and hospice to reduce pain and meds, speed recovery, and promote comfort.

And… for those of us who are on a spiritual path, wanting to go deeper and experience belonging and awakening in mystical ways, Reiki can also provide a key for us.

For starters, it can help us be present with whatever is arising. Staying present (vs. distracting, avoiding, numbing or procrastinating) is a necessary skill that is made much easier when our nervous systems are regulated and our minds are calm.

It can highlight what needs to be released, processed or integrated.

It can help us access our inner wisdom and power and sense of innate worthiness.

When we become more grounded, more centered, more aligned with our essence, the way forward becomes clearer. Breadcrumbs appear at just the right time.

When we’re connected to the divine within and to a sense of belonging, it’s easier to surrender to the flow of life and to set boundaries.

When we’re comfortable facing the unknown, we gain tremendous confidence and courage.

When we don’t need to know all the answers or figure it all out, we can show up every day for spiritual practice and allow our awakening to unfold organically without striving, clinging or forcing.

Reiki is a resource that can be woven into your prayers, meditations, spells, and incantations. It’s simply an energy; one that can be used to enhance and deepen that work that you’re doing.

It has been the tool that has been most transformative and nourishing for me on my decades long spiritual healing journey. Devoting time to being with myself and cultivating a soul-lead lifestyle has been a portal for spiritual awakening and connection with the divine.

My clients and students often report mystical experiences without having the vocabulary to describe them. The lack of descriptive words makes them no less real. They express a feeling of time being suspended, going on magical journeys, and feeling more at home than they knew was even possible. I have no way of measuring, but I suspect some people go into a theta brainwave state, which is deeply healing, and/or have pineal gland activations.

If you’re interested in journeying down this path with me, you’d be most welcome in my upcoming Reiki 1 class. We meet online 4 times, beginning May 4. Or, if you prefer a more receptive route, schedule a session and I’ll be the transmitter for you while you can catch up on some rest.

Simplified Self-Care

While I was on the shiatsu table yesterday, I was astounding how everything hurt. Every spot he touched was sore, achy or tender.


I’ve been healing both a shoulder and knee injury over the past several months. Many of my efforts seemed to aggravate one thing or another and I came to the conclusion that they both just needed rest.

However, my spine and hips are not loving this plan! They haven’t been getting the movement they need and stiffness has settled into my joints.

The practitioner helped me to see how I was looking through an “all or nothing” lens. I’d chosen to do nothing since the everything approach wasn’t working.

It’s important to point out that choosing rest is a valid option on any healing journey and often not a challenging task. But I’d conflated rest with sedentary. While I walk frequently, there’s not a whole lot of range of motion involved in that activity.

He suggested one simple exercise. Just one. One that I’ve done for decades because it is so beneficial. But he suggested doing it several times throughout the day. Each and every day.

Each session takes less than three minutes, so there’s absolutely no reason for me to not follow through.

It sounds exactly like the advice I offer to people who suffer neck and shoulder pain from hunching over a computer for hours at a time. In order to off-set the imbalance of a chronic posture, it takes multiple applications of a counter pose.

And by adding in just one exercise, I’d clearly be able to track the results, be they negative or positive.

It’s a great example of how we sometimes can’t see the obvious solutions, even especially when we have a degree of expertise in the arena. Getting another’s perspective can help us see what might be hiding in plain view.

It occurred to me that someone else might need to hear this little reminder. What is one baby step you can take today to get you closer to your goals? One simple thing, perhaps mimicking my morning/noon/night self-care schedule that will add up over time.

Rather than getting overwhelmed at ALL the things that could be done and therefore doing none of them, pick the easy thing, or the enjoyable thing and make a commitment to yourself. Maybe even set an alarm or reminder on your phone.

The best self-care is the kind we actually do! Simplifying things helps make it doable and that’s half the battle right there.

Tosha Silver on How to Deal with Difficult People

Ooooh! This is fabulous.

Here’s the gem if you don’t want to spend 7 minutes watching this video: “Oppositional energy strengthens the problem.”

Meaning if I can soften my response to someone who isn’t behaving the way I want them to, they don’t need to be as committed to their course of action.

Tosha uses gratitude, which can be a big step in certain situations. Perhaps acceptance or neutrality might be an easier entrance point until gratitude muscles get built up.

Either way, it’s a big change from the inner fuming that is so popular in our culture!

I have a bit of an issue with labeling people as “difficult”. Really it’s just behavior that doesn’t conform to my preferences. I’d prefer this was called “How to Deal with Difficult Situations.” Does that make me difficult?

A Healing Recipe for ALL the Things

Healing is an alchemical practice of transformation. We dream of what we want to create without being attached to it while simultaneously making space for our current situation and being willing to release that which stands in the way.

If we’re particularly intrepid and devoted, we might choose to surrender entirely to our soul’s plan and simply follow the breadcrumbs.

The plan is essentially the same, no matter if I’m working on a knee injury, an auto-immune condition, wonky hormones, anxiety, accessing inner strength and guidance, spiritual awakening, or cultivating peace, joy, and prosperity. (I know this because I AM working on all these things!)

It’s rarely (if ever!) a linear path where 2+2=4. It’s more like M.C. Escher’s “Relativity”.

I have developed a basic recipe that captures the complexity of this equation. (Yes, a recipe for an equation, because that’s how un-logical healing is!)

Compassion+intention+non-attachment+nourishment-energetic drains/blockages=optimal wellness.

Each of these elements varies from moment to moment and person to person.

Optimal wellness for me is built on the foundation of my lineage, history, constitution, beliefs, circumstances and resources. Yours will likely be very different from mine.

If we break it down into segments, it can be easier to approach. These segments aren’t actually separate stages of the journey as everything is intertwined, but it can be helpful to look at it this way for easier understanding.

Compassion. The basic art of being kind to ourselves, no matter what. Easier said than done!

Intention. What is the destination of this healing journey? It might take some time and effort to sort through the “shoulds” of what society, family, religion, school, and the advertising industry have led you to believe are the necessary accomplishments of a successful human.

Non-attachment. Allow yourself to want what you want without clinging to it. Goals tend to change slightly (or entirely!) as you begin to move towards them. Often we gain insight and wisdom along the way, perhaps acceptance or forgiveness, and maybe a good dash of humor or humility that changes our perspective. This is why it’s important to hold the vision loosely and allow it to unfold organically.

Nourishment. I’m not talking about eating delicious home cooked meals, although that could certainly be a factor. I’m talking about spiritual nourishment.

For me this can look like sitting by the creek, reading a good book on the porch, lingering in bed when I don’t have to get up right away, laughing with my niece and nephews, meditating, or a playful hour with colored markers. The common factor here is that none of these activities can be labeled as “productive” or “profitable” outside of my healing journey and require a devoted mindset to carving out the time to make them happen.

Prioritize the journey. This means I need to keep my intention in mind when making decisions and say no to things that would derail me. There are a thousand reasons to deviate from the plan, but very few of them are as important as the healing journey itself. It helps to remind myself frequently about the original desire, or to put it another way, why I’m on this path in the first place.

Navigate the obstacles. They will present themselves without any effort on your part- all you need to do is make a plan to move towards your preferred destination and see what emerges. I call them the “yeah, buts”. Yeah, I want that, but… xyz. They often expose limiting beliefs about scarcity and unworthiness.

They will be tasks, relationships and thoughts that drain your energy and block your progress. AND they are another form of breadcrumbs, showing you what needs your compassionate attention.

Some of these things might be easy to release. Many of them will require some introspection and TLC as they are actually wounds coming to the surface for healing. If we push them away or try to skip over them, we miss an opportunity to alchemize coagulated emotions or integrate fragmented parts of ourselves.

All of this requires not only the willingness to stay put and face the seeming obstacles attached to our desires and abilities to nourish ourselves, but also the skill to interrupt survival and coping mechanisms. This is where nervous system regulation comes in handy. It’s the key that makes the other steps manageable. It’s practically impossible to do any of the above work if your mind is screaming “DANGER! EVACUATE! DANGER!” at top volume.

I made this video outlining some very simple steps to turn off those alarms when they aren’t needed. Let’s face it, most of the time we aren’t in mortal danger. Yet biology stimulates this overblown response and it’s crucial to have a plan for dealing with it.

By far, the easiest way I know (and believe me, I’ve spent 30 years looking for the easiest, simplest, most effective solution to my own struggle with chronic pain and anxiety) to support us on our healing journeys is Reiki. That’s why I’m offering a Reiki 1, Healing for Yourself and Your Loved Ones class that begins May 4. If you’re interested in the way of self-empowerment in order to maximize your wellbeing and connect with your inner strength and wisdom, I’d be delighted to have you aboard.

Coping vs. Healing

Understanding the difference between coping and healing is important for those of us on the holistic path. We don’t often see folks modeling a balanced, integrated approach to dealing with challenges. Coping is very popular in our culture- just turn on the TV for a few minutes and you’re sure to see an example. Or ten.

In my experience, coping comes in a variety of flavors, all of which lean towards checking out of difficult or unpleasant situations. Numbing, distracting, and suppressing are all members of the coping family. If you’re anything like me, you have a wide array of options to choose from, many of which have been perfected over the years.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and place for coping. If you’re in over your head and need a break from overwhelming emotions, sensations, or circumstances, checking out might be the healthiest option available to you in that moment. Sometimes our sanity or survival relies on our ability to put our heads down and slog through whatever crisis lies ahead. There’s absolutely no shame in doing what you need to do to get through the day.

And… coping doesn’t address the source of the problem, so its effects are, at best, temporary and unsatisfying, and often come with undesirable consequences. Reserve coping strategies for the times when there are no other options. Do what you need to do and let’s talk about a plan for treating the root of the problem when the resources to do so become available.  

Healing, or treating a symptom, disease, disorder, malady, or pattern means correcting any imbalance that contributes to its existence. This means looking at belief systems, thought patterns, unexpressed emotions, habits, repetitive movements, and energy flow to see what can be adjusted to support the healing process.

Not nearly as much fun as frozen margaritas and brownies, I know! But immensely more effective and with no queasy regrets the next morning.

OK, great. But now what? How do we actually go about it? I have a lot of ideas, some of which will resonate and others that will likely evoke a … meh… reaction. Depending on your personality and constitution, you’ll either be drawn to the deep end or the gently sloping end of the pool. There is no wrong way to approach healing. The right way is the one that works for you.

Becoming more mindful of what’s actually going on under the surface is a crucial step on the journey. For those of us with unprocessed trauma in our systems, this can stir up some messy, sometimes overwhelming feelings. It is wise to enlist the support of a professional before poking around in your darkest corners if you have difficult, violent, or upsetting experiences in your past that have not been assimilated. Get yourself some guidance before you begin exploring the inner labyrinth.

Efforts that can be applied to healing include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-compassion
  • Prioritize your needs and desires in order to make space for them
  • Set boundaries
  • Honor those boundaries!
  • Regulate the nervous system
  • Make space for your emotions and the accompanying energy
  • Move your body in a way that feels good
  • Slow down/do less
  • Practice being present with yourself no matter what
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Explore and inventory your limiting beliefs and decide which are keepers and which need to be released.
  • Meet every seeming obstacle as an opportunity to heal what lies beneath it.
  • Get lots of support

Reiki is an amazing tool that can help with all of the above activities. It regulates the nervous system and provides an infusion of healing life-force energy, giving us the motivation and capacity to face whatever comes up and deal with it accordingly.

If that sounds like something you’d like to have available at you very fingertips, I’d be delighted to have you in my upcoming beginners Reiki class: Reiki 1, Healing Yourself and Your Loved Ones. We gather online for four sessions, starting on May 4.


How to Regulate Your Nervous System

Why am I always talking about the nervous system?

Because I see it as an important key to being healthy and happy. A lot of us spend a lot of time in the disregulated state where it’s nearly impossible to feel good or get anything meaningful accomplished.

If you’re exploring your inner world through meditation or any of the healing arts, you’re likely going to run into some protective mechanisms that will activate your survival response, AKA sympathetic nervous system.

This is a very useful response if you need to lift a car off someone trapped underneath or run away from an attacker.

If you don’t need heroic strength or speed, it can cause very uncomfortable sensations in the body, such as anxiety, tension, or even panic attacks. It absolutely erodes your health over time.

For those of us who live in the modern world, stress is unavoidable. However, we can learn to navigate it so that it doesn’t derail our peace of mind or transformational endeavors.

I’ve assembled some simple and doable tools can help you stay present when your inner judge, perfectionist or bully, suppressed emotions, or unprocessed trauma come to the surface. Staying present is the key to healing and integrating these energies. The alternative is avoiding them, which only delays their emergence, usually until a stressful moment causes a very inconvenient eruption and/or meltdown.

Haven’t we all “been there, done that” enough already?!

I made this <10 minute video to demonstrate some super-easy ways to deactivate the alarm bells and impending panic when things get stirred up. They work wonders! No Reiki is required to utilize these techniques, but they do pair quite nicely with Reiki if you’ve been initiated.

If this sort of self-care and healing work interests you, you’d be most welcome in my upcoming Reiki 1, Healing for Yourself and Your Loved Ones class.

And if your brain is going to explode if you have to learn one more thing and all of this seems just too much, consider booking a Reiki session. Let me and the healing energy do all the work while you lie back and rest.

It’s possible to cultivate a different way of being. It requires some consistent effort to reprogram your operating/nervous system. I can’t imagine any other effort that is more important than taking good care of yourself and cultivating the greatest possible wellness.