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!

This is What 'Self-Care' REALLY Means

I’ve written a lot about self-care over the years. I talk about it frequently with students and clients. I practice it non-stop. Most of the time it’s not at all glamorous. Often it involves chopping vegetables on a Saturday morning, doing my bookkeeping on a Friday night, saying “no” to invitations that don’t spark joy, NOT buying that awesome tote bag that’s 60% off, getting up at 5 am to pursue my dreams, and going to bed early so I’m not cranky when I do that.

When this touching article by Brianna Wiest came across my radar once again, I decided to share it. She makes very good points about the toxicity that is so rampant in our society and the importance of choosing to go another route. Particularly this: “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.” So here’s what Brianna has to say. I hope you find it helpful.

“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.

It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.

If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.

It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.

It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.

It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.”
-Brianna Wiest

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!

Health Insurance

As the year draws to a close, I’m receiving a lot of calls and emails about choosing my health insurance package for next year. While I am indeed grateful for the ability to seek medical care should I need it, I’m more interested in the steps I can take every day to insure my optimal health and wellbeing.

For me, that’s spending time in nature, being with the trees and flowing water. Drinking my tea outside at sunrise allowing myself to be still and quiet and present with my intentions and feelings. Choosing organic and sustainably produced foods from the farmers market and making the time to prepare and enjoy nourishing meals. Setting healthy boundaries to protect my down time and peace of mind. Engaging in meaningful and uplifting conversations and reading material.

And my latest project- learning to have fun, since I’ve managed to take really good care of myself in an overly serious and chore-like manner. So tomorrow night you can find me wearing silly glasses and a tiara (it’s Halloween after all!) turning in the wrong direction and stepping on toes and having a blast with my neighborhood contra dancing community.

It doesn’t really matter what type of insurance you invest in for yourself. Knitting, baking, painting, gardening, hiking, writing, singing… I could go on for ages! But I do encourage everyone to empower themselves by taking action (or stillness, as might often be more helpful!) to promote your health rather than relying on a doctor to “fix” you once things begin to fall apart.

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?