A Holistic Approach to Menopause

Well, if you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’re near or in The Big Transition. Supposedly we’re supposed to go quietly and not question the inadequate support provided by the medical community.

Screw that!

(Apparently not caring what people think and being unwilling to settle for subpar treatment is one of the bonuses of this time in life. I’ve chosen to embrace it!)

I’m offering a donation-based online class for women who’d like to look at the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, energetic, and relational components of pre-, peri-, menopause.

Over the past two decades, I’ve worked with a wide variety of middle-aged women and noticed some very interesting similarities amongst those with the most uncomfortable symptoms. Imbalance was the theme.

Now that I’m entering the portal, newly peri-menopausal (which seems to mean unpredictable and sporadic menstruation AND hormonal disruption?! Sheesh), I’m implementing all the holistic tools and tricks I’ve been gathering and have lots of ideas to share.

Come hang out with other wise women and talk about the very real issues that may not be welcome in other venues. Lots of people are uncomfortable discussing women’s health and sexuality. Rather than stifling our need to be seen and understood, we can connect with those who welcome such conversations.

Menopause! Pre, Peri-, and Full-on: A Holistic Approach

Saturday, February 25 · 11:00 AM EST, online

You’ll also find other events, including a guided chakra experience, group remote Reiki, and more in my Meetup group. It’s free to join and events are offered on a pay-what-you-wish basis.

I’ve also got a coaching/Reiki bundle in the works for menopause support. I’m still hashing out the details, and hope to roll it out by the spring equinox. In the meantime, we can have a 10 minute chat about whether Reiki and/or intuitive, holistic coaching would be a good match for you. Contact me to make arrangements. Or if you’re already onboard, go ahead a schedule yourself a session for Reiki-massage or Reiki in Philadelphia or remote Reiki, and not have to go anywhere.

Reiki, Menopause, and Frozen Shoulder: A Holistic Approach

Menopausal Frozen Shoulder.

What? Yup. It’s a thing.

I’m in a curious position, at the age 51, approaching perimenopause, and experiencing symptoms that would likely go overlooked if not for my peers’ suggestions that seemingly random events could be related to hormonal changes.

When I tweaked my shoulder several months ago, my good friend told me she endured the same misery during menopause and gave me the phrase to search online, I was shocked. But I followed up and whaddya know? Menopausal Frozen Shoulder, which I have nicknamed FroSho, is seriously a thing.

My search engine investigation indicates that nearly 70% of those who suffer from frozen shoulder are women, age 40-60. Obviously a correlation, not a causation. But it got me to thinking about two things.

One. How do I heal this painful condition with mysterious origins?

And, two. WTF? Why would a drop in estrogen or the cessation of menstruation affect the shoulder joint? (Hint: I’ve come to see that it’s much more complex that this!)

I’ll share the highlights of how I got to a much more comfortable place using a wide range of holistic techniques. You’ll see some familiar suggestions here about heat and massage, but the mental-emotional component is what really made the difference.

As with all holistic healing, it took time and diligence for me to recover. The pain faded pretty quickly, and these days only pops up when I overexert or overextend. My range of motion is gradually increasing, but still has a way to go. I no longer feel panicked about the possibility of needing an extreme medical intervention or being permanently impaired. Perhaps most importantly, I was forced to look at my belief system and ferret out a few rotten apples.  

I allowed myself to feel ALL the sensations and emotions. When the pain flared, I listened. My body was speaking to me, and to the best of my ability, I took note, and responded compassionately. I noticed which movements activated the pain and adjusted my behavior accordingly.

I’m not a complete diva, so obviously there are limits to my capacity to do so. I focused on progress, not perfection. When I realized my shopping bag was too heavy for my current condition and I was still several blocks from my home, I continued to carry it. AND I have since made adjustments so that wouldn’t happen again.

I’ve worked with clients in this same situation, many of whom felt the initial OW! and kept going with what they were doing, most likely worsening the injury. One was scrubbing the floor and finished the job. Another was giving a massage and also finished the job. We all do what we have to do, but I cannot emphasize enough- do an honest evaluation at any critical moment like this and truly decide… is this something I HAVE to do? Is it worth adding MONTHS to my recovery time and massive discomfort to my everyday life?

If it isn’t essential to your life or livelihood or the well-being of someone for whom you are responsible, can you do the revolutionary act of just STOPPING? It’s my suspicion that we’ve been so programmed to override our bodies’ messages, particularly women and even more so mothers, that many of us have simply forgotten how to care for ourselves. That begins with discontinuing nonessential activities that cause suffering.

Paying attention and responding to sensation with compassion was a huge component of my healing work.

I used Reiki every day, saturating my shoulder with healing life- force and restoring the flow of energy through the joint. Simple movements within the small range of what was comfortable, self-massage with arnica and anti-inflammatory essential oils, and heat became a part of my daily routine. I increased the bodywork I receive from once to twice per month.

There was a week when the pain was pretty intense in the first month of this episode that called for ibuprofen. That’s generally not my first response to pain as it addresses the symptoms, but not the cause, and interferes with the messages pain conveys. AND I’m not an advocate for senseless suffering. I continued my healing efforts and allowed myself to cope with the discomfort as needed. For me, there is a time and a place for pharmaceutical intervention and while it might be infrequent, I am not too proud or stubborn to take the edge of pain when I need it.

There’s nothing very radical about the physical approach I took. What was especially interesting was the exploration of the psyche; uncovering unconscious beliefs, thought patterns, and unexpressed emotions that could have been stored in the shoulder, blocking the flow of life-force and affecting my posture.

Reiki was especially helpful in this phase. It gave my the courage to honestly look within and the clarity to assess what I found. Restoring the flow of life-force exposed several ugly truths that I needed to address to allow the healing to unfold. Reiki provided the support of regulating my nervous system so I wasn’t constantly swimming in a sea of adrenaline or trying to navigate life in fight, flight, or freeze mode.  

The shoulders represent the burdens that we carry, including the “shoulds” that were downloaded through cultural conditioning. The beliefs that I should be this, but not that; I should act this way, not that way; and I should look a certain way too. When these unconscious beliefs are in conflict with our conscious values, it can create an energy of resentment that can trigger inflammation and a defensive, tense posture. Same with our responsibilities and any other burdens.  

I’m pretty familiar with my inner landscape from decades of spelunking in my inner caverns, but I was able to flush out some problematic patterns from the deep shadows. It’s not easy to admit that we carry unflattering or self-destructive baggage, but it’s a whole lot easier than dragging it around for a lifetime.

Energetically, I view the hands as the conduit for expressing from the heart, and the shoulder as an intersection through which that energy must flow. I had a long, hard look at my work as well as my creative expression, and found some areas that were misaligned.

Finally, it has not been lost on me that the number one thing I have been unable to do in this state is to hook a bra behind my back. My arm just doesn’t bend that way! Putting on coats or a backpack are a bit tricky, but I can manage well enough. But those pesky hooks are a definite no-go. I’ve spend a fair amount of time wondering if this is a factor in the correlation between middle-aged women and frozen shoulder? Along with ignoring messages of discomfort, is there an element of resentment around constrictive undergarments? Something to think about!

I think the biggest message I’d like to convey here is that we can save ourselves some suffering if we listen to our bodies, explore our misaligned belief systems, and stop suppressing anger, fear, grief, and resentment. And Reiki is the perfect tool for doing all of that.

Embodied Gratitude

If you’re looking for a way into a new gratitude practice or wanting to turn up the dial on your current efforts, tapping into the feeling sense is a helpful approach.

It can also help to understand why our minds are so much more easily drawn to the negative and we have to actively pursue an alternative.

I made a short video to offer support for anyone who’s floundering or whose oomph is fading. I think these super-simple tricks will make it easier to cement your practice because it feels so good.

If you’re interested in going deeper into body-mind-spirit healing, let’s connect! I work with people in a variety of ways, including intuitive coaching, remote Reiki, and Reiki classes. If you’re in the neighborhood, there’s Reiki-massage and Reiki in Philadelphia.

Reiki Q&A: How Long Will it Take to Heal?

This is a fair question and one I hear frequently. People want to know before they begin treatment what to expect and how many sessions they’ll need. I made a short video to explain why it’s difficult to answer.

If you were to ask me how long it would take to get out of debt, I’d ask for more information.

How deep in the hole are you?

What size payments are you making?

How much do you spend frivolously?

It’s very much the same when it comes to life-force energy! If you want to heal, it will likely be beneficial to stop engaging in the activities that contribute to the underlying imbalance and get involved in activities that promote balance.

Makes sense, right? I can’t say for sure how long healing will take because your willingness to participate is a variable that is known only to you.

Regardless of your degree of involvement, Reiki CAN help. There are numerous ways to proceed, depending on how much effort you want to make. You can lie back and simply receive a session, go the DIY route and take a class, or somewhere in between. I’ve got something for everyone!

Holistic Tips for Clearing Your Energy

I get so many requests for and questions about releasing toxic or negative energy. If you’re even remotely empathic, it’s likely that you absorb energy from other folks, environments and situations. It can feel heavy, slimy, icky, and downright gross!

One way to start off the new year on the right foot would be to create healthy energy hygiene habits. I find spending time in nature, under the sky, amongst the trees, and by running water to work magic for me!

Since that isn’t always practical, I made a short video of super-easy techniques anyone can use to clear out unwanted energy.

I misspoke when I mentioned “dry brushing”. The Reiki technique is called “dry bathing”, and is just what it sounds like. Getting clean without water. Anyone can do it!

If you want some professional help or guidance, I can do that too! There are a variety of ways this could happen, depending on whether you want to simply lie back and let me do the work, or learn how to do it yourself. A popular approach is to get a session (remote Reiki or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia) to do a deep clean, followed by a Reiki class or intuitive coaching so you can do the maintenance yourself.

Can’t You Just Fix Me?

I get it. I understand why folks frequently ask me this question and why they’re disappointed with my response.

No. I can’t fix you.

You’re not broken.

Maybe a bit dented or rumpled or worn around the edges, but I promise, you’re not broken. Your body and psyche may have experience some neglect, abuse, misuse, or trauma, but your soul is indestructible.

Very often the complaints that clients bring to me are the messages their souls are sending, pleading for attention. These aches and pains, neurosis and upsets, are a call for help. I can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away; nor would I if I could! When we ignore these messages, they usually become louder and more insistent in the form of greater discomfort or dysfunction.

What I can do is help you to receive the messages and begin to correct your trajectory. This might be as simple as giving yourself consistent care in the form of treatment or learning how to give yourself Reiki healing energy. Either of these approaches will likely reveal the next steps- things like getting more rest, better nutrition, honoring your feelings and needs, or expressing yourself.

Those are steps you’ll need to make yourself. I can support you along the way and provide nurturance, comfort, and guidance in a variety of ways, and I’ll be delighted to do so.

If your health or life need a makeover, Reiki is an excellent tool to have in your toolbox. But the willingness to make the necessary changes is beyond my sphere of power. That’s up to you.

I can show you the path, but it’s your responsibility to take each step.

Let me know when you’re ready to begin. Wherever you are in the world, you can receive remote Reiki or intuitive coaching. We can also do Reiki-massage or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia.

Cultivating Wellness with Reiki

I like to compare health to a bank account. Many of my students and clients find this analogy to be useful for understanding the benefits of Reiki. In the same way that we grow financial wealth by making more frequent or larger deposits that withdrawals, we can cultivate wellness wealth by accumulating life-force energy. Reiki is a safe and reliable method for amassing health credits.

Instead of relying solely on medical professionals to detect problems during annual checkups, there’s much we can do every day to boost the immune system and overall wellness. The body already knows how to be as healthy as it is able, and we can support its endeavors by giving it the energy necessary to do so. Reiki is a powerful, yet simple and safe, way to help all the body’s systems function more effectively.

Life-force energy (called ki, qi, chi, and prana in other cultures) can be cultivated by lifestyle habits such as eating natural foods, spending time in nature, getting enough sleep, and expressing creativity. I view each of these activities as a deposit into a wellness account.

Conversely, chronic worry and stress, consistent consumption of processed foods, over-giving, and being excessively sedentary can be viewed as withdrawals. Sadly, western culture generally steers us towards a ki deficit by overvaluing productivity and busyness and undervaluing rest and relaxation. In order to optimize wellness, we can take steps to offset this trend towards ki debt.

Granted, there may be factors beyond our control such as genetics, accidents, injuries, illness, and pollution. While we may not be able to change these circumstances, we can do everything within our power to minimize their effects and give ourselves the best possible chance to enjoy the optimal levels of health and wellness available to us.

Given that I far from perfect in my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and have some chronic health issues that require extra attention, I turn to Reiki to fill in the gaps. Reiki is an ancient healing method, commonly defined as spiritually guided life-force energy. It is easy to learn and complements all other treatments. I know of no other modality that is pleasurable to receive, universally beneficial, and has no negative side-effects.

Reiki is not limited by time or space and therefore can be offered remotely, to be received from the comfort of your home as well as in-person. There are many ways to experience a treatment. Additionally, anyone can train to become a practitioner in a short period of time. During initiation, energy channels are opened, allowing access to this universal energy. Afterwards, making daily health deposits is as simple as inviting the Reiki to flow.

Consider investing in your wellness account consistently. Rather than waiting for an unwanted diagnosis, you can actively pursue the best version of health possible for you. Filling up you ki tank, either as a client or practitioner, is one way to do so with minimal effort and expense. It’s never too late to take steps to cultivate or preserve vitality and health.

Message me if you’d like some guidance on how to get started.

1/1/23 Bring it on!

Here we go! A new beginning. I’m heading out to get my boots muddy while the masses are still asleep. But before I go, I wanted to extend an invitation to welcome more good into your life.

Gratitude is an amazing practice. It’s a powerful way to shift my vibration and attract to me more of what I want. (Worry does the opposite!)

Can you find 10 minutes today, to start your new year off with an intentional action of creation? Rather making a dry list of the usual suspects, my suggestion is to really dig deep, to tap into your inner realm, and savor the feeling of gratitude. Turn it up! Let it loose. Roll around in it. Drink it in.

You might not see immediate results. But done on the regular, this works magic! It’s not a tool for bypassing troubles, fears, or pain. (Although that might be suggested by law of attraction misunderstandings.) Nope, this is not an either/or situation. It’s a both/and situation.

I can experience both pain AND gratitude. Gratitude for the pain is probably a leap in the now, but might become apparent in hindsight. I’d suggest starting with something easier if you’re new to this.

Gratitude for my happy place by the creek comes easily and effortlessly.

Gratitude for the sun and air and rain that allows plants to grow and animals to thrive. Gravity. That’s a good one! I don’t often think of it, but without gravity things would be somewhat challenging!

So this is not an invitation to escape your problems, but to offset the effects of stress and chaos. Yes, the mortgage needs to be paid and the children need to be fed. Rinse and repeat. Why not raise your vibration, feel as good as you can about yourself and your circumstances, and deliberately influence your future while chopping wood and carrying water?

There’s still time to sign up for my NYD Intention Setting event on Meetup today at 3 EST. I have a juicy plan lined up and Reiki standing by to enhance the process.

Intention Setting

Instead of making resolutions to change your behavior this year that fizzle out in mid-February, I’d like to invite you to try something different, an approach that addresses the reasons for that fizzling.

Setting a goal without getting in touch with your deeper desires, values, fears, or unconscious beliefs won’t have much oomph to it.

Getting to know your “why” (why you are planning to do this thing and what the overarching benefits are) and your “why not” (why you aren’t already doing this thing and the feelings around that) can help preempt self-sabotage. Add in some flexibility, reasonable expectations, and an embodied experience, and you have a lot of oomph on your side.

I’m hosting a free event online on NYD where I’d lead us through this process. Doing this kind of work in a group can be fun and helps us to take ourselves less seriously. Details and registration here.

I’ve also made this short video to get the inquiry started. Grab a cup of tea and a notebook, find yourself a comfy spot where you can have 10-15 minutes to look within and get clear about where you want to go.

I’ve already done my process. I realized that all of my goals fell under the umbrella of “self-compassion”, meaning that if I were unconditionally kind to myself, all of the other shifts would happen automatically. Sweet! Now I only have one goal to focus on, but a variety of options for how to practice.

If you’re anything like me, you need some sort of balance between structure and flexibility. Too much rigidity = rebellion. Too much freedom = chaos, Netflix, and potato chips. 🙂 Balance seems to be a moving target for me, but giving myself the opportunity to experiment is very empowering.

My next tip is to set the bar low. Make agreements with yourself that are doable and set yourself up for success. It’s unreasonable to expect that you’ll go from zero to sixty in a minute. If, for example, you’re wanting to begin a meditation practice, aim for 5-10 minutes per day with the option of working your way up. Committing to lengthy sessions right off the bat is a recipe for trouble.

Finally, bring out the big guns by activating your imagination, emotions, and 5 senses by envisioning yourself having, being, or enjoying your dream. Feel it. Make it alive in you, and drink it in. Make an imprint, a sort of mental snapshot, in your mind.

I hope you find this helpful! I am always amazed at what I learn about myself when I do this process. If it seems like too much effort, you’re invited to borrow my intention and opt to be kinder to yourself in the new year. Can’t go wrong with that!

The Value of Self-Compassion

I’ve already chosen self-compassion as my theme for 2023. I’m guiding a group on New Year’s Day in my Meetup group, and figured I should do my own work ahead of time. I chose the solstice for my introspective inventory of what’s going on in myself and in my life and what I’d like to call in for next year.

What came up for me is a desire to be 100% on my side, 100% of the time. I saw so clearly how I sometimes reject my feelings when they are uncomfortable or inconvenient and how very unkind that is. I had the image of shoving a lollipop in a little girl’s mouth with the intention of stopping her tears. NOT how I want to be responding to my own emotions!

I made short video of a process that I use to cultivate compassion. It’s so simple! And we don’t often see it modeled in our culture, so it might seem completely foreign. I feel confident that everyone can learn how to do this with some practice.

If this resonates with you, you might be interested in an upcoming event, an installment of my Holistic Wellness series, which will focus on self-compassion. You can learn more and sign up here. If that’s not your thing, I hope you’ll at least take the exercise from the video out for a few spins and see how it lands for you.