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!

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.

New Year’s Day Intention Setting Event

I’ve been intentionally slowing down for the month of December. I realized that I perhaps overshot the mark when more than 50% of my clients this month cancelled or moved their sessions to January! I wanted to slow down and do less, but SHEESH! not that slow! I’ve since course- corrected and things have been normalizing over the past few days.

During this time of contemplation and introspection, a plan has emerged. I’ve gotten a lot of clarity about how I want to invest my energy in the new year. It will take some time to unfold, but today I’m happy to announce the first step. I’ve launched a Meetup group: Reiki Plus, Online Metaphysical Wellness Group. It’s free to join and I hope to see you there!

“Whether you’re curious about Reiki, wanting to learn more or maybe get initiated, or a practitioner (seasoned, beginner, reluctant, or lapsed), this group is for you! Wherever you are on the planet, there is space for you here. We will be meeting exclusively online.

“Together we will explore tools and applications for holistic healing, personal growth, embodied spirituality, and self-empowerment. While Reiki is the foundation of my offerings, I also “stack” complementary techniques for a synergistic effect. We’ll experiment with different metaphysical recipes to maximize your results: what I call Reiki Plus.

“Uncovering wholeness and worthiness, examining unconscious beliefs and conditioning, regulating the nervous system, and replenishing life-force energy are the goals for our events. No matter what your history, circumstances, or beliefs, I believe it’s possible to use Reiki to experience optimal wellness, joy, peace, freedom, and creativity.

“You’ll find a wide variety of events, including intention setting circles, Reiki circles, group coaching and workshops for folks already initiated, and traditional Reiki certification classes.”

The first event I’m hosting will be on January 1st. I’ll guide a body-mind-spirit centered intention-setting process. I call this the head-heart-belly approach to getting #$^! done. The idea is to get all the parts of yourself on the same side, working together as a team for your greatest good. It’s a practice I do myself every year and have shared with my local Reiki community in the past. I’m expanding the invitation to anyone who’s interested in joining.

If you’re new to Meetup, you’re in for a treat! It’s a great network of folks doing unique work. It’s easy to sign up. The notifications can get overwhelming, so I suggest you make alterations that suit the amount of activity you’d prefer in your inbox.

I have a lot of ideas about what I want to share. The easiest way to keep up with the offerings as they develop is to join the Meetup group. There’s no obligation to ever attend, but you’ll keep your options open. I’d love to have you onboard!

Slowing Down for December

Once again, nature is slowing down during these short winter days. Most of the plants are stripped back to the bare minimum and many animals are hunkered down in their dens. I feel the same impulse to stay at home and do less. When I do venture out, I’m moving slowly and intentionally. 

I’ve cleared my calendar of all extraneous events. Easier said than done, I know! I’m also looking at my daily rituals and habits and wondering which can be paused for now. At first glance, everything seems essential, but I know that’s not entirely true. Which of these tasks are fueled by “shoulds”, such as what society informs me is necessary or from my own ego, clinging to an identity that may no longer be valid?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be wiping the slate clean. Letting go of who I think I should be, who I think I am, and who I am expected to be in order to allow the truth to emerge without the imprint of conditioning. The activities I engage in will be flavored with this sense of inquiry and intention of releasing old patterns. For example, this post is still being written (obviously!), and aligns with December’s exploration and my desire to share the processes that support me. 

(I’m fascinated by how much of life can fall into the “both this and that“ category when I let go of “either this or that“ thinking.)

While I do still have responsibilities to meet and bills to pay, I’ve created a spaciousness that will allow me to slow down. The goal is to be more present with what arises in each moment in order to be more mindful of my inner landscape. Ideally, this awareness will help me let go of all the embedded beliefs that prevent me from experiencing and expressing my essential self. 

I imagine a backpack that contains all the beliefs I hold about the world. Some of these concepts were dropped in before I had the capacity to object and others snuck past my defenses when I wasn’t paying attention. It’s my hope to empty this backpack, examine those beliefs, many of which I’ve been carrying around since the 70’s, and carefully choose which to keep and which to discard. Ideally, I will be more discerning moving forward, and only collect items that align with my desires and values. 

I’m very much looking forward to lightening my load!

If you have access to Reiki, it can be a helpful tool for analyzing your belief system. I find that activating Reiki when I’m doing any sort of introspection helps me remain in the present moment, focused on the task at hand, without getting too caught up in memories or projection. 

Reiki also helps me calm my nervous system, reduce the impulses to run away from the discomfort, and accept myself just as I am, 40-year-old baggage and all. My go-to technique is to turn on the flow of healing energy, place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly, and state my intention. I do this at the beginning of my process and whenever I feel the urge to do the laundry, check my emails, or any the other distracting/avoiding/numbing strategies that are so familiar. I return to this hand position and my intention, allowing the Reiki to help me find my center again, as often as necessary. 

Is there just one thing you can let go of this month that is no longer serving you? I’m choosing to stick firmly to my work schedule and stop making minor adjustments to accommodate clients. There are parts of me that feel afraid that this will affect my income, but I have trust that the clients who are meant to work with me will adapt, and those who aren’t will move on, making space for new ones who are more compatible. 

I did such a good job of letting something go last year that I can’t even remember what it was! Several years ago, I stopped rushing. That’s one goal that I can recommend wholeheartedly. I allowed more time in between appointments, especially if traveling was involved. I also stopped filling up every last moment with some sort of activity. Now, when I find myself with five minutes until my next client arrives, I take the opportunity to sit quietly and meditate rather than the trying to squeeze in a chore. It’s been great for cultivating a calm feeling within me. 

I’d love to hear how you’re slowing down. Maybe next month we can truly claim to be moving like molasses in January. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! May you be safe, happy, healthy, and peaceful wherever you are. 

I’m also celebrating my 20th Reiki anniversary today! It was this day in 2002 that I received my first Reiki 1 certification (I say “first” as I’ve completed the training a total of three times over the years, being the nerdy lover of learning that I am.) from my teacher and current- day friend, Laura Bruno. Thanks, Laura! ❤ I can’t imagine where I’d be without your magic. 

Many of the things for which I am thankful, today and every day, have been enhanced by my ongoing Reiki practice. Health, relationships, career, prosperity, happiness, and creativity; each has been improved by the steady influx of divinely guided life-force energy. 

Everything except my true self is being gently transformed- all the limiting beliefs, stories held in the ego-mind, suppressed emotions, blocked energy, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. I’m basically a long-term alchemy project! Reiki is removing impurities to uncover the pure essence of who I truly am; revealing the gold that had been disguised by lead. 

In the beginning I was solely interested in pain relief and being free of the chronic discomfort that subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly!) directed every aspect of my life. Eventually I discovered the underlying mental and emotional patterns that locked the physical pain into place and began the work of exploring the psycho-spiritual realm. Over time, I began to align, step by baby step, with my soul’s purpose. I’m not saying that it was easy or pleasurable the entire time, but I was gently guided and rewarded by this magnificent force called Reiki. Knowing I wasn’t lost or alone, even when it seemed that way, gave me the courage to keep going and accept responsibility for creating the life of my dreams. 

Giving thanks is a consistent part of my daily ritual. It’s a simple way to access a higher vibration and invite more good to flow towards me. I can actually feel the energetic shift that takes place within me. This instantaneous feedback is great motivation as it feels so good!

Gratitude can be used as a spiritual bypass strategy- overriding uncomfortable emotions and shadow aspects of the self in order to feel better in the moment. That’s not what I’m suggesting here! Instead of using gratitude as yet another distraction from being present in the moment with whatever is active, it can be a useful touchstone to remind us that life is a flux of ups and downs. It’s possible to experience both grief and gratitude, anger and gratitude, fear and gratitude. There is room for it all. 

There’s always something to be grateful for, even when it might not feel that way. Oxygen. Gravity. Bees. Wifi. Indoor plumbing. Sunshine. Sticking to the basics can be an easy introduction. Next time you’re doing an inventory of that for which you are thankful, tune in to the energy of gratitude rather than merely making a mental list. That will add some oomph to your practice and open up a whole new level of well-being. 

What are you most grateful for today?

There’s No Such This as “Just” Anxiety

I get so frustrated when clients come to me with chronic pain, discomfort, or uneasiness which doctors have labeled as “just” anxiety. As if anxiety isn’t real and therefore the effects of anxiety don’t matter. GAH! (Post edited to remove a lot of creative cursing!)

Recurring headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, pain, inability to focus, and skin irritations can all result from anxiety. These conditions are no less problematic than those with medical origins. To suggest that anyone should just resign to living with such challenges because they result from anxiety rather than disease is absurd.

Anxiety produces a very real physiological response that can disrupt all the body’s systems. I’m remembering a time when a friend and I went for a hike. We were having a lovely time until suddenly I thought I might have left a pot simmering on the stove. It didn’t matter that I have never done any such thing or that we’d be gone for two hours and if there was to be a fire, the damage would have already been done.

There was no logic-ing my way out of the racing heart, nausea, and muscle tension that ensued. It’s an understatement to say that I was flipping out. And when my friend refused to join me in panic mode, claiming fatigue as an excuse not to rush back, I could feel my blood pressure rising and intense anger building. (Insert image of The Incredible Hulk!) My body responded immediately with a sympathetic nervous system (AKA stress) reaction that was not helpful (and fortunately not necessary as the stove was indeed off) but very much real.

It took some time for my system to reset itself, but I eventually calmed down. Imagine experiencing a similar state of panic as a common occurrence. The body would be constantly challenged and would suffer very real physiological consequences. I’m sharing this example to illustrate the power of the body-mind connection; it’s not an accurate depiction of chronic anxiety at all, but hopefully gets my point across. This stuff is real!

If you’ve had an experience of being dismissed by the doctor from whom you sought help, I’m so sorry. This is where western medicine fails a lot of people. If the problem can’t be found with a microscope or scan, it’s considered irrelevant. Just because thoughts and emotions are outside the range of the average MD’s practice doesn’t make the situation imaginary or hopeless. Looking outside the box can provide answers that aren’t always visible from inside the system.

In addition to (thankfully) rare anxiety attacks like the one I described above; I experienced a low-grade, consistent anxiety for years. Probably decades, but I was pretty good at ignoring it in my youth and liberally applying numbing and distracting strategies as I got older.

As my spiritual practice evolved and I became more capacitated to sitting quietly and tuning in to what I was feeling, I often noticed an uncomfortable energy residing in my solar plexus that I came to label as anxiety. It wasn’t the flipping out kind, but it was ever-present and kept me from living my best life. Once I discovered its presence, I was able to treat it with Reiki and self-compassion. With consistent efforts and the invaluable practices of slowing down and saying no to opportunities and invitations that didn’t resonate, I’m happy to say that it’s mostly absent. It appears upon occasion with a message that I’ve made a decision that isn’t aligned with my values, and when I correct my trajectory, it fades automatically.

Anxiety doesn’t need to be a lifetime sentence. In addition to prescription medications, there are a wide variety of complementary and alternative holistic options. It’s one of the most frequent complaints I hear from Reiki students and clients, who report relief with consistent treatment. Psychotherapy, meditation, herbal remedies, flower essences, aromatherapy, enjoyable movement, EFT, nutrition, and yoga are just a few of the strategies besides Reiki that can have effective results. Sometimes the shift comes from reevaluating a relationship, living situation, or career.

What if anxiety is the body’s way of telling us something is off and requires our attention? Ignoring such a message can have destructive consequences over time; like taking the battery out of the smoke detector to stop the noise. There are lots of ways to treat anxiety, and likely one that suits your personality, lifestyle, and resources. I’ve gone the DIY approach myself, and guide others who wish to follow this same path, as well as those who seek professional help from a Reiki Master.

One thing is for sure- it’s not going to magically disappear. Nor will the symptoms. If your doctor has let you down, please seek assistance elsewhere. That might be as simple as looking up “breathing exercises for anxiety” on the web or scheduling a long-distance Reiki session. Such an easy step might be adequate to calm down enough so that you can figure out what the next steps are.

Motivation for Practicing Self-Care

A new friend recently asked me how I motivate myself to do all the practices that keep me well. He finds it hard to believe that I prioritize spending time every morning tending to body, mind, and spirit. It all feels like a chore to him even though he sees the value in putting in the effort to influence the inflammation and mood disorder that plague him consistently.

My short answer is, I’m motivated by a desire to avoid pain. Secondarily by the desire to actually feel good. Because I know that when I regularly tend to myself, my baseline hovers between content and joyful, and I like it there! I wish I had some lofty, awakened, altruistic piece to add, but really it’s the age-old strategy of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure that fuels my efforts. 

Decades of experimentation have revealed a personalized formula that is consistently reviewed and adjusted, but more or less ongoing. I meditate first thing in the morning because it gets me in touch with my deepest self and internal wisdom. It feels good to experience this connection while starting my day off intentionally. I like to spend a few minutes reading something inspirational to elevate my mood. Currently, “The Four Agreements” sits on my coffee table, next to my journal, where I flush out all the thoughts, helpful and unhelpful, onto the page to clear my mind. 

This sets the stage for creative writing, which is my current challenge in terms of motivation. When I make the time to express myself, a wonderful sense of purpose and joy emerges. My body needs some sort of activity to prevent pain and potentially enjoy pleasure. I have chosen a “movement” practice, often dancing or bouncing, sometimes yoga or hiking, because that sounds a lot more inviting than “exercise”. Just that word brings up dread! And to top it off, I nourish myself. I’ve come upon the perfect combination of macros that works for me and keeps me satisfied and stable for several hours. 

A good part of making all this happen is the devotion. I’ve decided that these efforts are valuable, and designed them to fit into my life in a way that best suits my needs and availability. I’m a morning person, so I load up on the yummy stuff that allows me to coast through the day, and rest in the evening when my energy drops. This isn’t a good plan for everyone, but it totally works for me. Your plan should work for YOU! 

Another piece of the puzzle is planning. Breakfast doesn’t happen but looking in the cupboard at the last minute and wondering how mustard and noodles can become a nourishing dish. I keep myself set up for all these steps, which is why the book, the journal, and the pens are all within easy reach and my tea kettle gets set up before bed. Today I managed a visit to the farmers market before before work so I would have a stocked frig and the opportunity to do some food prep on my day off.

So we have devotion and preparation as two key elements. The third is Reiki. My daily Reiki practice is intended to heal and support myself. This helps remove any blockages so that I can remember why I go through all these steps every day. To FEEL GOOD. It also helps me when the resistance arises- not to squash it, but to investigate and then compassionately tend to the parts of myself that have other ideas about how to best use my morning. There’s often a negotiation that ensues, with younger aspects of myself demanding freedom. They get their say, and often a promise for downtime or screen time later in the day, and I allow my mature self to make the decisions.

Another helpful factor is setting the bar reasonably low, AKA setting myself up for success. My movement commitment is an easy 10 minutes. Once I get going, I usually continue longer than that, but having such a doable goal makes it much easier to begin. If I faced an hour-long goal, it would feel oppressive and I’d likely make all sorts of excuses to avoid it altogether. 

Now, there are some other items on my to-do list that don’t respond to this same strategy. Things I don’t actually want to do are an entirely different story! I think it’s important to acknowledge this. If there’s something you continually aren’t doing, there’s a good chance you’re just not into it. Is it negotiable? Often we carry the “shoulds” from cultural or familial programming and once we realize that this “should” isn’t in alignment with our own desires, it can be liberating to let it go. 

Other items might be obligatory. Like vacuuming. UGH! I don’t like vacuuming one bit. But I do enjoy having a clean floor, so I focus on the end result and offer myself a reward (a leisurely walk or a hot bath, for example) for accomplishing the less-than-pleasant task. 

To sum it all up, I don’t really need to motivate much because I like pleasure and dislike pain. Over time, I’m made consistent baby steps and created the circumstances to move in that direction. Meditation was first. The rest followed, bit by bit. Most of my good habits were developed on an average of one per year. That’s both doable and has an amazing cumulative effect when you keep at it. It’s not to hard to keep at it when you are enjoying the rewards and have Reiki on your side. 

Happy Reiki Day!

I’m so excited to be on the receiving end of a remote Reiki session today!!! A few weeks ago I’m was feeling pretty worn down and recognized that I needed some extra support. I remember listening to a podcast where the woman being interviewed recommended getting LOTS of support, not just the bare minimum. I chuckled to myself, and thought, hmmm… that’s what I’ve been doing! Just getting the minimum to keep going and relying, over-relying actually, on my self-care routines.

It took me a few moments to figure out what would be the most helpful. The idea of dragging myself to yet another appointment, potentially trading working hours for relaxation, didn’t resonate at all. Even trying out a new-to-me bodyworker in the neighborhood didn’t float my boat. These things are so subjective! 

I’m not sure why it took so long for me to figure out that thing that would help me the most is the thing I most often recommend. Didn’t see the forest for all the tree, I guess. 🙂 I booked a long-distance session with my teacher, Laura Bruno, who happens to live 1,000 miles away. No worries. Reiki can travel. And it can bend time, so I’ve set up my session so that she can do it during her working hours, and arrange for it to arrive at 10pm. When I will be off my feet, no longer tending to busyness or business, tucked into bed and maximally receptive. 

Even we caretakers need some caretaking. I seem to have taken on the role of the caretakers’ caretaker, as I have many clients who are in heavy duty caretaking roles. They come to me for support when they get depleted, or better yet to prevent getting depleted. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I need to keep my own tank full so I can keep operating. And tomorrow morning, I will wake up with a full tank, magically restored while I was resting. 

How does it get better than that? 

Give it S P A C E !!!

I had a heck of a dream in the wee hours that triggered some old emotional wounds. I woke up suddenly and unexpectedly with strong feelings of shame, hurt, and resentment coursing through my veins. Not the most pleasant wake-up call! And after an hour of tossing and turning, I decided to claim it as an opportunity for healing.

As I sat in meditation, I suddenly felt that my apartment was too small, much too small to contain these very big feelings. I hastily rearranged my day, threw my travel mug and a few hard-boiled eggs in my backpack, dug out a scarf, hat, and gloves and headed to the creek.

There is something quite magical about being near running water for me. I find it much easier to exhale. And exhales were what I needed to regulate my nervous system that was edging into the red zone. I knew that if I wanted to have a chance to be with the emotions, I needed to stay out of fight-flight-freeze activation. Once that alarm gets pulled, it takes time for me to reset and dig myself out of survival mode.

The chilly air (hooray for autumn!), the brisk walk, and the majesty of nature all supported my goal, and I was able to sit and breath by the water, allowing the emotions to flow. To my surprise, the entire episode passed pretty quickly because I gave it the space it needed. In the past, this level of intense upset would have sidetracked me for days. Today, it was more or less settled in an hour. I was hope in plenty of time for my 11am meeting, which turned out to actually be at noon, so I had an hour to spare and try to capture my experience in words.

Calm returns!

It’s really helpful to have a plan for moments like these. Rational thinking often isn’t available when we get triggered, and it can be hard to figure out a strategy when we’re IN it. Knowing what helps calm you down in advance can be a blessing. For those on the inner journey, doing the work of excavating the caves or exploring the labyrinth, it’s essential.

Movement, sound, breath, nature, and prayer are all tried and true emergency responses. Taking a few minutes on a daily basis to design and refine a protocol when you’re on even ground is a solid step towards saving time and distress when stuff comes up. Building on a foundation of mindfulness and compassion can provide advance warning and the motivation to face challenges head on.

If you have Reiki superpowers, you can use them to help yourself stay centered and willing to meet challenging emotions. For me, it helps to take the edge off and more easily navigate upheaval. The more calm I am, the more likely I am to find the courage and energy to stay put rather than turning to a distraction for artificial relief. It’s a simple as placing a hand on the belly and the other on the heart and thinking “Reiki on”. Let the energy flow and support you on your journey.