Daily Healing Ritual

I’m a huge fan of creating personalized daily rituals for healing. The act of setting aside time each day to do something, anything really, that supports health, happiness, creativity or connection can be extremely transformative. Students and clients often ask me about my morning ritual, so I thought it would be helpful to put it in writing.

For me, morning is a sacred time. I naturally wake up super-early and have worked hard to give myself the luxury of starting my workday later than the norm. I’ve learned to do the things that are most important to me first, while my energy is high and before the demands of the day can interfere. Morning rituals are a perfect match for my constitution and lifestyle. Other people prefer to use their lunch hour or evening, and that’s great too. It’s important to figure out what works best for you, otherwise it just won’t stick.

Twenty years ago I began with a simple mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga, and affirmations a la Louise Hay. That worked well for me for many years, but eventually I was led to experiment with different techniques. I began gathering tools to support my intentions and explored the myriad options available to me. Sometimes I got lost down the rabbit hole, like a kid in the cereal aisle, unsure of which colorful box to choose. Other times I rebelled against the routine and chose to improvise instead. The only thing that really matters is that each and every day I show up for myself in some way.

I still find it challenging to remain devoted to a daily practice while keeping it flexible. My needs are constantly evolving, so my ritual needs to evolve as well. By no means does this need to be a rigid process. Spiritual practices can be designed to bend and flex to fit your uniqueness rather than forcing you to conform to dogmatic tedium. There’s enough of that in our culture already; we needn’t impose any more upon ourselves in the name of healing! If it feels like a chore, you won’t want to do it. If it feels like a blessing, you’ll be eager to engage.

Another crucial element to building ritual is protecting the time to nurture, nourish and empower yourself. Being on a healing path requires us to become part guard-dog in order to stick with the plan and not get drawn into unnecessary drama. It’s not always easy, but it really is quite simple. All I have to do is ask myself, “Will this decision promote healing?”

I think of my practice as the vehicle that carries me to my destination. Obviously to get there, I need to know where I’m going. Synchronicity along with my intuition, emotions, and dreams can guide me along the way. Meditation and journaling are the tools that I use to get clear about where I’m going. And as my goals change, I can correct my course anytime.

My intended destination is a state of being. I’m aiming for vitality, inner peace, creativity, resilience, and pleasure. You might have a similar destination. Or not. The format remains the same even though this is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. The methods that I’ve chosen are highly personalized to meet me exactly where I am. I’m not wishing to lead anybody along my unique path. I’d rather inspire you to find your own.

Keep in mind that I have no dependents and have chosen an exceedingly simply lifestyle with a low overhead, which enables me to spend a few hours most days tending to my well-being. Not everyone has such privilege. Please don’t compare yourself! Do what you can with what you have. You might need to be hyper-selective in order to find the most efficient techniques. Remember that choosing mindfulness, compassion, and kindness at any moment is a gift to yourself that takes no time and minimal effort.

Alright. Now for the ritual that is currently working for me.

Before I get out of bed, I do some simple breathwork while saturating myself with Reiki. I take a few moments to tune-in to how I wish to feel that day and really let those sensations sink in. I acknowledge any worries or circumstances that could interfere and apply Reiki to them as well as to my desires. This is a short, but powerful exercise that sets me up for a truly beautiful day.

I write down my dreams as soon as I get up. I’ve been using the voice memo function on my phone to record my dreams, which tend to arrive at an inhospitable hour, and then transfer them to a journal when I’m ready to turn the light on. It’s a work in progress, but so fruitful I’m eager to continue working out the kinks (mainly my resistance to taking action when it’s so easy to fall back asleep!).

To support my goal of creativity, next I turn to Morning Pages a la The Artists’ Way. Three hand written pages on no particular topic. I follow up with another 30-60 minutes writing of a productive nature. Believe me, I don’t always feel like doing this, but I know if I put it off, I’ll get distracted and neglect it. Writers write. It’s just that simple, so most days I go straight to my desk before even steeping the tea.

By now my body is clamoring for attention. If at all possible, I head to the woods for a walk. This slot used to be filled by yoga, but I’m finding that I get greater rewards from being in nature right now. It was a struggle for me to accept this since yoga has been a staple for me for decades. I’m sure it will find its way into my daily routine again sometime.

If weather permits, I’ll bring my tea with me and drink it sitting on a log by the creek. This is incredible medicine for me and the peace and joy I experience is well worth the effort and multiple layers of gear it takes to enjoy the outdoors during the winter in Pennsylvania!

Now it’s time for breakfast. I’m all about solid nutrition and nourishment from real food and love to enjoy a simple, yet hearty meal. At the table. Without any screens. Radical, right? But this sets me up to have steady energy and a stable mood, so most days I am able to resist the pull of my smart phone.

I used to think that if I was lucky, I’d get some time in for reading before work. I’m now recognizing that books (whether for inspiration, entertainment, or learning) are a great benefit to my creativity. If I’m unable to carve out time in the morning, I feel somewhat off, so my next upgrade is to secure time every day to indulge my inner bibliophile, especially with material that engages my imagination. Let’s face it, I don’t need any more practice being serious!

Yes, this is generally a four hour process. For me, it is my calling, my healthcare, my hobby, my passion all rolled up into one package that I have the blessing to enjoy each and every day. It’s taken two decades to build the lifestyle that gives me exactly what I need to be joyful and well. Each and every step along the way has been necessary to get me where I am today, and I couldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t decided I was worth the effort and taken a series of baby steps that got me going.

Whatever your path, wherever you’re beginning from and going to, you can benefit from taking one small action today to support yourself. It could be as simple as three mindful breaths or turning off the TV. Because you’re totally worth the effort. So why not give yourself the best possible chance to be as healthy and happy as you are able?

So Long 2020!

Here in Philadelphia we are experiencing very gray and rainy skies today. A friend just texted to say how perfect the weather is for the last day of 2020. It does seem rather appropriate!

I’m hearing fervent hopes that 2021 will be better. While I have no idea what’s going to happen in the outer world, I’m determined to cultivate more peace, love, harmony, freedom, and joy in my own little bubble. From there it will ripple out.

So, what’s the plan?

I find it helpful to look back over the year every New Years Eve and take inventory. What’s working? What’s not? What needs to be repaired and what needs to be let go? What victories do I have to celebrate? What changes do I have the power to make that will improve my circumstances and relationships?

While eating more cleanly and setting aside time for creative projects might seem somewhat meaningless in a world that on some levels resembles a dumpster fire, I still aim to maximize my comfort and well-being. When my tank is full, I’m better able to contribute to others.

If I focus my energy on the improvements which are in my control, not only do I feel empowered (which is a much better feeling than despair!) but I also give myself the best possible opportunity to create a different future.

So long, 2020. It’s been real. You’ve inspired me to take a close look at my life and ask, how does it get better than this? And you’d better believe that when my heart answers, I’ll be ready to take action.

Ask Rick: What Can I Do To Minimize Holiday Stress?

I found these tips from Dr. Rick Hanson’s newletter to be very doable, simple and quite effective. “Slow down, do less.” Good advice for most of us during the season of cold, long nights. I’ve copied it below in case anyone needs some gentle guidance.
In your body, keep engaging the balance to the sympathetic nervous system: the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Potential ways to do this include long exhalations, relaxing the tongue, warming the hands, and relaxing the body as a whole.

In your emotions, keep turning to the small positive experiences available during the holidays: for example, decorations are pretty, oranges smell good, it’s fun to go sledding, kids are cute, and it feels sweet to make others happy. Then take a dozen seconds or more to savor the positive experience so that it can transfer from short-term memory buffers to long-term emotional memory, and thus really sink into you.
Take care of your body, emotions, thoughts, and actions.
In your thoughts, beware “shoulds” and “musts.” The things we do during the holidays are only means to ends: goals such as happiness, love, sacredness, generosity, and fun. If the means get in the way of the ends – as they so often do at this time of year – it is time to lighten up about the means. Keep coming back to simplicity inside your own mind as an end in itself: the simple truth that in this moment, each moment, you are actually basically alright; the simple fullness of being in the present, not regretting the past or worrying about or planning the future.

In your actions, slow down and do less. Keep coming back to your breathing as you look for gifts, do dishes, wrap presents, or visit friends. Don’t let others rush you. Be kind; cut others slack; this time could be stressful for them, too.

One last thought would be the reflection that the practices of thought, word, and deed that lead to sanity during the holidays sound like a pretty good way to live year round!

Reiki for the Election, the Follow Up

You might have heard about the recent US presidential election. 😉 And that Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular, were spotlighted while the country waited for the results. It felt like we were in one big pressure cooker!

This post isn’t about politics per se, but about the spirit of community and how taking action in ways that align with values can feel empowering. That spirituality and everyday life need not be compartmentalized, but can be integrated for greater purpose and well-being.

You might have also heard that Philadelphia’s mail-in ballot count was highly contentious! The media mentioned it once or twice. 😉

Here’s the insider scoop. This year, Pennsylvanians were allowed to register to vote by mail without needing to provide a reason such as poor health or travel. Unsure of the course of the pandemic and utterly devoted to democracy, many of us did so. After hints of the postal service not being able to handle the volume of this unprecedented event, many made a plan to hand them over directly at official drop-off points.

Well in advance of election day, two of my friends and I donned our masks, and walked to the neighborhood location. We were surprised to see a line of people waiting to vote early at the polls as well as a steady stream of folks dropping off their mail-in ballots.

It was AWESOME!!!

Reports from other neighborhoods and on other days made it clear that this was the norm. Signs continued to pop up all over the place, encouraging people to VOTE, make a plan to VOTE, to reach out to all our contacts and encourage them to VOTE. The neighborhood was already plastered with “Hate has no home here”, “Black Lives Matter”, and “Biden/Harris” signs, so it was pretty crowded out there.

The community as a whole was enthused and engaged in a way I’ve never seen. One of my clients told me that she and her husband were so committed to voting in person on election day that they bought hazmat suits. As people of color, they felt strongly about their votes being counted.

I continue to get teary when I recall the collective fierce determination that was so heartening it was palpable.

What’s this got to do with Reiki? Fair question! Back in September, some of my students and I offered Reiki with the intention for justice to prevail during the entire election process. You can read about that here. We were excited to be able to contribute our efforts to creating a more harmonious and equitable future for our country.

No, Reiki did not win the election for the Democratic party. The people had already made their choice overwhelming clear. You could not have visited this city without knowing which way the cards would fall. Reiki couldn’t have overridden the obvious choice of the vast majority, but I do believe it supported the process of counting those ballots.

I don’t know why, but state law says mail-in ballots could not begin to be counted until election day itself. There were HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of them! It took days to count them all, as you probably know. The whole world was watching us.

It was INTENSE!

And Reiki was helping to hold the space, ensuring that every vote was counted. Now I’m certainly not claiming credit for turning the tide of the election. I know other spiritual groups were actively engaged in flooding the election, the country, and the swing states with white light to support the highest good of all. Grassroots campaigns had been laboring industriously for months and it would be impossible to list everyone who made great strides behind the scenes. It was most definitely a collaborative effort.

Holding the vision for justice, peace, equality and harmony helped each of us to be doing something proactive while so many were feeling utterly helpless. I can think of nothing more just that ensuring that every vote was counted. Which is exactly what happened.

When the results were finally reported, it triggered hooting and hollering and corks popping on my quiet little block and a massive dance party in the streets downtown. Relief flooded through my body like a wave.

We have a lot more work to do to see the changes through, but we all rest a bit easier here in the City of Brotherly Love. Won’t you consider joining us in whatever way you can to to keep the scales of justice moving towards balance?

Wishing You Peace

Here we are at the beginning of another holiday season. These can be rough times for some of us. All the faux merriment imposed from the media can feel like a lot of pressure and make isolation or loneliness seem even darker. The competition to post the shiniest selfies on social media can weigh down even the most cheerful folk.

I’m here to remind us all that however we’re feeling is ok. Judging ourselves harshly for the way we feel just increases our suffering needlessly. Please be kind to yourself especially today! If you’re able to find one small thing to feel grateful for, no matter how simple or mundane, it could really help shift your mood.

If that’s just not happening, I offer this video of laughing quadruplet babies. It’s just darling. Cracks me up every time.

Wherever you are and however you’re doing, I wish you the peace that comes from within and allows us to accept ourselves exactly as we are. Laughter and gratitude are simply two of the many portals to get there. May you find your own way when the time is right.

Change Me Prayers

“Change me, Divine Beloved, into One who honors my emotions. Let me have my feelings without judgment, and then release them. May I feel deserving to say no when needed. Show me how to be kind and loving to the child inside who needs care.”

This little gem comes from Tosha Silver’s book Change Me Prayers. It resonated with me deeply this morning and intuition tells me that others can benefit from these wise words as well, so I’m sharing them here.

My emotions are all over the place these days, and I hear the same from people of all walks of life. I’ve observed that the simple practice of noticing and accepting whatever comes up without attachment, denial, or aversion contributes tremendously to my ability to return to peace with greater ease.

Witnessing all the parts of myself is essential for reclaiming wholeness. I cannot be whole if I’m rejecting any aspect of myself, including inconvenient or uncomfortable emotions. I’ve spent decades and loads of money and energy avoiding grief and anger only to discover it controlling my behavior from the shadows. Now I’m choosing to face it head on and allowing it to flow through me.

It is my hope for all of us to cultivate and enjoy inner calm despite the turmoil of the outer world. Tosha’s book, and this prayer in particular, are simple tools for spending maximum time feeling as serene as possible. Why not give it whirl and see what happens?

Repeat Numbers, Signs and Manifestation

This super-helpful article came across my radar today. I’ve heard from a lot of clients lately who are seeking guidance via a sign from the Universe. Repeated numbers can be a potent message from a higher power, and these are some great tips for how to interpret the message. I especially love the accompanying affirmations!

Laura Bruno's Blog

So many clients book sessions after seeing number sequences, signs and other synchronicities. They want to know if they’re “crazy” for believing in things not yet seen based on repeat numbers, dreams or coincidences. I usually say something like, “No, you’re not crazy, but interpretation is key. Let’s explore.” I include here the most frequent number “meanings” I encounter, based on 17 years as a medical intuitive and synchronicity guide. Individual results can vary, as the whole picture remains important, but this list will give you a good start:

Repeating 1’s tell you to watch your thoughts because you’re in a manifestation gateway. If you like your thoughts, great! If the 111’s occur with negative thoughts, explore your fears to see if making adjustments now will troubleshoot and strengthen the overall feeling of your intention. If you seek liberation, joy, or success, lean into those feelings as primary rather than…

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Reiki for the Election

Last night in my Reiki Master Teacher certification class, we had a lively discussion about how to offer Reiki to the upcoming election. This was the final class in a 6 month program that just happened to coincide with unprecedented global turmoil. These students have had an education in how to manage stress and build resilience that I never could have offered without the challenges presented by such intense external circumstances.

Reiki people have a great advantage during crises as we have access to healing energy at our very fingertips. Yet we were all feeling some level of distress, dismay, and overwhelm about the climate in this country that recently reached an all-new low. I wanted to explore how we could take action and restore a sense of empowerment and peace internally and expand it outwards.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

So what does “Reiki’ing the election” do? For starters, it’s not a substitute for voting or any other civil responsibilities you are inspired to take. It’s also not a guarantee that your candidate will win. Reiki works for the highest good of ALL, and while those of us present last night were in agreement of what we thought that should be, we really don’t have access to the full picture.

As with using Reiki for any goal, we came to an agreement that we needed to release attachment to the outcome.

What constitutes the highest good of all is information beyond our clearance level.

That’s a job for a higher power.

Our conversation led us to a list of core principles that we chose to focus on; the contribution we wish to make to the foundation of the country’s future. It was an animated conversation and amazing to watch as they became inspired to participate politically, but on an entirely different plane.

These are the ingredients we added to our Future of America Soup. We did a short practice, intending for these ideals to become inviolate for all inhabitants of this country. The image that came to me was a crop duster, spraying the essence of these ideals from coast to coast.

Truth

Justice

Peace

Courage

Awakening

Unity

Integrity

Liberty

Please won’t you join us? Reiki is fueled by intention. If you haven’t been trained in Reiki, you can still participate by visualizing the future you’d like to experience and sending loving energy from your heart. If you have been attuned, simply add your Reiki intention and any symbols you have.

You don’t need to choose between involvement and serenity. This is one way you can have both. And incredible soul medicine as well!

Book Recommendations for Sanity during a Global Crisis

I’ve had a bit of extra time the last several months to indulge in one of my all-time favorite pleasures. Books! I’m dropping the titles of a few that have been significantly meaningful below. Please consider shopping at your local bookstore, perhaps Big Blue Marble if you’re in Mt. Airy. They need your support much more so than the richest man on the planet.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’d rather spend my time reading them than writing about them, but I will say that these gems have provided me with tools that have contributed greatly to my mental and emotional wellness at a time when the world seems very opposed to such things. Taking a break from the news and social media to attend to your inner landscape can be remarkably empowering.

  • Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Rick Hanson, PhD
  • Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender, Tosha Silver
  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael Singer
  • The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron
  • If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging, Sharon Blackie
  • The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence, and Imagination, Robert Moss
  • Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko- pa Turner