Dance it OUT!

Bad mood? Feeling blue? Running a mental loop of resentful or judgmental thoughts? Frustrated, disappointed, jealous, or ashamed? Welcome to the human experience! There are so many flavors of feelings and life seems to provide ample opportunities to taste them all.

Perhaps you’d like to try something different and allow whatever is alive in you to be expressed. Ignoring it is nearly impossible and stuffing it down just causes future health issues. Putting on a happy face and throwing positive affirmations on top does not make the feelings go away. Some masterful folks can transmute unpleasant emotions with mantra or meditation, but a lot of people are really just bypassing them, leaving them to fester and leak out sideways or explode when the pressure rises.

What if you gave yourself 5 minutes to just FEEL it? Provided you’re not on the edge of a trauma spiral (and if you are, please do get yourself some help!), moving your body while tapping into emotional states can be fantastically cathartic. This is a fun song with a great beat! The lyrics are in Portuguese, making it easy for us English speakers to focus on the rhythm and how it invites movement.

If you’ve become estranged from your feelings, a possible step towards reconciliation would be to invite them into the dance, without any expectations of how they show up. The more accepting we can be, the more likely the parts that have been rejected, neglected, hidden, abandoned, shamed or numbed might make an appearance.

If you’re already having an enjoyable day, you can use a dance break to anchor that, drink it up, soak it in, and savor the good. And if your feelings are pretty neutral, that can also be celebrated. And maybe you just need a break from whatever task you’re doing so that you can come back to it with greater clarity and focus. And let us not forget the endorphins!

If resistance comes up, you could get radical and allow that to express itself through your movements. How would resistance move your body? It can be enjoyable and liberating to experiment. So close the curtains, lock your door, silence your gadgets and give yourself 5 minutes to feel what needs to be felt. You might be surprised at how quickly things shift when they’re allowed to flow.

If you have access to Reiki, I suggest creating a Reiki bubble to infuse yourself with healing energy while you do this. Imagine a bubble with a radius about an arm’s length surrounding you and fill it up with Reiki. If you have level 2 skills, drop in the mental/emotional symbol, and any others that call to you. Allow yourself to receive the comfort and support of this universal life-force energy while you go on about your day.

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. 

Redefining “Self-Care”

I talk about self-care a lot. A LOT! It’s an important part of my wellness and healthy aging plans and my career. It’s become increasingly popular over the years and social media is full of prescriptions for all the things you should be doing (and buying!) to practice self-care.

I’m here to propose that “should” be removed entirely from the conversation. What if self-care practices aren’t something that you do because external experts have advised you to?

What if, instead, it’s a simple practice of checking in with yourself frequently? Asking yourself three simple questions (curtesy of Kristy Arbon’s Somatic Self-Compassion work) that can help you get in touch with your inner landscape and allow your decisions to emerge from there? How do I feel? What do I need? What can I do?

What if we learned to care for ourselves the same way we would a three-year old?

Are you hungry? Let’s have a snack. What would you like? Can we find a reasonable compromise that will satisfy desires without causing harm? Can we plan to keep some healthy and convenient options on hand for the future?

Tired? Can we take a minute to stretch or move or just close our eyes and regroup? Can we do some restorative yoga at lunch and cancel any non-essential plans this weekend to enjoy some downtime?

We wouldn’t give a child a list of 20 items that have been prescribed by a self-care guru as daily requirements! Let’s not impose such rigidity on ourselves in the name of wellness. Instead, might we choose to let go of the dogma and let self-care be a practice of caring for ourselves, our needs, our bodies, and our feelings with kindness and compassion?

A revolution like this just doesn’t happen spontaneously. We need to make it a priority. Make ourselves a priority. What if my feelings matter? What if my comfort matters? What if I actually matter? How would I approach my day?

Likely some forethought will be helpful. If I have an energy crash every day at 2:00 that compels me to reach for artificial energy, I could research ways to prevent the crash or healthier ways to navigate it. It is beneficial to tuck some tricks up your sleeve in advance. But rather than bending over backwards to do the tricks just for the sake of checking off a box, see what tricks are going to fulfill your current needs. Let the tricks work for you!

What if self-care is actually a lifestyle based on self-inquiry, self-acceptance and self-compassion rather than more tasks to perform? Let’s find out!

Reiki “Snacks” for Chaotic Times

Over the years of teaching Reiki to lots of busy people, I’ve done my best to emphasize that it’s easy to make the practice fit, regardless of how crazy life may be. When engaging in self-care activities, it makes much more sense to me to find modalities that bend and flex to fit our needs rather than trying to stuff ourselves into some dogmatic box. 

I’ve met many folks who abandoned their Reiki practices after being instructed to spend 30-60 minutes every day in self-treatment. Seriously, who has that luxury on a consistent basis? I do believe it is crucial to carve out time for ourselves and the activities that nourish us and I get that investing time in spiritual practice saves time in the long run. But let’s be realistic here! Many people are going to miss the myriad benefits of Reiki if they believe an hour is required every day. 

My philosophy is that any application, no matter how brief, is better than no application at all. Just like saving $1 every day adds up over time, every drop of Reiki contributes to wellness. I advise students to take advantage of any 5- or 10-minute gaps in their days, of time spent waiting in line or on hold with customer service, and the moments before drifting off to sleep. It’s possible to turn on the flow of Reiki while you’re meditating, bathing, exercising, cooking, or even watching TV. 

Last night in class, a student shared that her previously dedicated Reiki time had been usurped by stressful life events. As a result, she was grabbing precious moments here and there, whenever she could. She called it her Reiki Tic Tacs. Those Tic Tac breaks were keeping her going. 

I just love the analogy! Sure, it’s wonderful to enjoy a Reiki feast from time to time and really drop in deeply and soak up the healing vibes. It’s great to have a consistent Reiki breakfast where I can start my day off with a boost of energy. And just like when I don’t have time for a proper meal, I can toss a handful of nuts in my mouth as I walk out the door, Reiki “snacks” will sustain me for several hours. Popping Tic Tacs, if that’s all that’s available, can help me get through a rough patch until I can nourish myself more thoroughly.

There are many ways to practice Reiki. Take advantage of any and every opportunity to give yourself a healing dose as frequently as you can. And when life conspires to give you a solid chunk of time, take advantage of that too. Find what works for you in each moment and adapt when you need to. At the end of the day, all those Reiki snacks will have accumulated and you’ll be that much closer to your goals.  

September Special: Set-it-and-Forget-it Reiki Package

A friend recently shared about the new skincare products she was considering to combat the stubborn outbreaks she’d be experiencing. When I expressed my belief that the likely culprit was intense stress due to a major life transition, her response could only be described as “dagger eyes”. 

Clearly she knew that she was stressed, teetering on overwhelm. The thought of taking action to manage said stress would only be yet another complication in her already complicated life. Simple tasks like meal planning and laundry were already emotionally draining. There was no more room on her to-do list; even for something that would be of great benefit. 

Photo by Mizuno K on Pexels.com

It seemed obvious to me that buying expensive creams would not solve the problem considering that the problem was not a shortage of expensive creams. Her nervous system was overloaded from chronic stress, and sending out a cry for help via her skin. Other folks might get messages from digestive issues, headaches or migraines, insomnia or other symptoms of imbalance. Given that treating stress is my forte, I developed a plan. 

Reiki is a brilliant strategy for just this sort of thing. Not only does it relieve stress, tension, and pain, but also saturates the body in healing life-force energy, bolstering whatever systems have become depleted. Even better, it can be performed remotely, eliminating the need to show up for any more appointments. Clients don’t need to even make time in their busy schedules. How cool is that?!

I came up with a plan to offer 30 minute bursts of Reiki on a weekly basis, to be done on my part during working hours, but to be delivered when she was retired for the evening. (Yes, Reiki delivery can be scheduled in advance, just like Grubhub!) I frequently use this strategy to maximize efficacy by setting up the session during a time of maximum receptivity, often after the client has gone to bed. 

I created an 8-pack special so she could have consistent treatment over two months. Reversing the effects chronic stress can take time, especially when it is ongoing. It’s like trying to get out of debt without curbing spending; challenging but not impossible. It’s a matter of making more deposits than withdrawals. In this case we’d be making weekly deposits into her life-force energy account. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out and unable to see your way through, a remote Reiki treatment series might be just the thing. It’s like a subscribe-and-save deal for wellness. Contact me to see if your goals are a good match for this program. It’s the most affordable package I offer; 8 treatments for the price of 7. I provide a weekly reminder and an opportunity to amend the session’s intentions. If you can’t or don’t wish to respond, I carry on with the intention we discussed at the beginning of our arrangement. You sit back (or not!) and do nothing but soak up the energy. 

Set-it-and-Forget-it Reiki, a strategy for the chaotic modern world. Like many of the special treatments I offer, it was born of necessity. I see a need and a strategy to meet that need organically unfolds. Eight 30-minute remote Reiki sessions, designed to be delivered weekly at the time that suits you best without any effort on your part. $350 if purchased by the end of September 2022. 

Reiki Master Teacher Certification Course

This isn’t your typical certification course! It’s a 7 month journey and Personal Healing Quest designed to let Reiki lead the way. We’ll meet twice each month online, covering all the traditional material, as well as exploring our unique pathways to healing. The gaps between meetings are meant to allow maximum digestion and integration of the material and individual practice.

This course is my unique recipe, an accumulation of professional experiences for over 20 years, and constant, eclectic personal development work. Actually, I never intended to become a teacher, but my intuition was strong (and persistent!) and I’ve come to realize that it gives me great pleasure to guide practitioners. I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer and have cultivated an environment that encourages students to do the same.

The curriculum includes:

• Level 3 Reiki attunement
• Introduction to 3 spiritual healing symbols
• How to hold space and why
• Communication guidelines
• How to release blockages and limiting beliefs
• How to formulate powerful and succinct intentions
• Individual support for your self-treatment practice and personal healing quest
• How to set up, activate, and maintain a crystal grid and why
• Guidance for the development of your personal style of sharing Reiki
• How to give attunements. Even if you never plan to teach formal classes, you’ll have the ability to initiate friends and family.
• How to develop your unique teaching style and materials
• Basic guidelines for starting a professional practice

Beginning on July 7, we’ll meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 6-8pm ET through January. The cost is $777, due upon registration. Contact me with any questions or to apply for one of the 7 spots. I’ve heard it said that the number 7 signifies ”you’re on the right track; keep going!” I’d love to hear from you if this rings true.

Pursuing Happiness with ”Brain Science, Positive Psychology, and Contemplative Training”

Once again, I am deeply touched by Dr. Rick Hanson’s free newsletter. Last week’s edition was titled “Keep your Eye on the Prize” and guided us through a contemplative practice of recognizing purpose and priorities and followed up with easy, useful tips for moving in the desired direction. It’s so easy to get swept up in the busy-ness of modern life if we aren’t anchored to our goals. Here you will find suggestions for connecting with those anchors.

I’m selective in what I allow into my inbox. My time is precious and there needs to be a good return on any time I invest in reading newsletters. This is one that consistently adds value to my toolbox. This gift of a ”simple practice each week for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind” does not disappoint and I think will benefit anyone interested in actively pursuing improved quality of life. Check it out and decide for yourself!

Treating Low Back Pain Holistically

Since I was 13, back pain has been a lingering presence in my life; one I’ve learned to minimize through holistic lifestyle choices. I’ve also worked with countless clients over the past 20 years with similar issues. I have accumulated tons of experience in this area. When this nemesis reappeared with gusto last year, I had a lot of tools at my disposal, but I still frequently experienced sensations that ranged from discomfort to debilitating pain. 

I’ve learned so much on my journey. I can speak to this issue on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. While I sometimes utilize analgesics, I know the cause is not a deficiency of ibuprofen or CBD cream, so I keep investigating. I want to treat the root, not just the symptoms. Tight hip flexors, sitting too much, exercising too aggressively, one’s ability to ask for and receive support, and complex feelings related to sexuality, belonging, safety, or worthiness can all contribute to an imbalance that affects the low back. 

Relieving lumbar pain and its frequent companion, sciatic nerve pain, is my wheelhouse. Yet none of my interventions had any lasting effect. The irritation that arose from being so ineffective only contributed to the problem. Such events are quite humbling for us bodyworkers! Until I remembered… it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

Finally, I asked for help. I was pointed to a specific, often overlooked, muscle. (Thank you, Laura! <3) The moment I heard the word, bells went off in my head. It’s part of every bodywork session I provide, but I’ve rarely thought of my own sartorius muscles since, well… ever. While I religiously address all the soft tissue that connects to the pelvis when working with clients, I had left it out of my stretching routine. Given my tendency to sit cross- legged, it had shortened and began to tug on the front of my pelvis, creating an imbalance that spread through my lumbar region. 

It took a bit of searching to find a good technique for addressing this bugger. It’s not something that’s easy to get into without intending to do so. Many of the videos and articles I found didn’t really do it justice. I’m sharing the one that really did below, along with the reminder that even though we may be knowledgable about something, it never hurts to get a second opinion from a subjective and trusted advisor.

You can ignore the ”for runners” qualification in the title. I am not, nor ever have been, a runner, and found this stretch to be very helpful. It might be the missing link in your search for freedom from back pain too.

Intuition Chronicles: The Price of Not Following Through

Welcome to Intuition Chronicles, my records of intuitive messages received and the results of following or ignoring them. I’m sharing them here for the purpose of illustrating the practice of learning to trust intuition. Yes, for most of us it is a practice. And tracking internal nudges is one of the foundational exercises I suggest for my Reiki students who aspire to be intuitive adepts.

Me: What’s up with this fatigue that doesn’t fade no matter how much sleep I get?

Intuition: Vitamin D. (My guidance isn’t always this clear, but I often do have a sudden, inexplicable inner knowing in the form of words or phrases. The key, and reason for the journal I keep, is learning to recognize it.)

Me: Maybe I should have some tests run before I buy a supplement. (I tend to second- guess my instructions. Keeping track of the price I pay for this lack of trust helps me better recognize future messages as the blessing that they truly are.)

Two months later, a bill close to $1200 from bloodwork being carelessly sent to an out-of-network lab, one missing vial of blood that would have been tested for Lyme disease, having to read my own results in the online portal as the doctor didn’t bother to follow up, and a massive reminder of the value of listening to my intuition: I’m deficient in vitamin D. 

Me: #$^%

Intuition: 

(Fortunately intuition doesn’t gloat.) 

Two days later, after purchasing a $25 bottle of vitamin E drops at the health food store, I feel much more energized and commit to listening to my inner guidance moving forward. Again.

I’m not at all proposing that people don’t get medical treatment when it’s called for. But in this case, there would have been zero risk to buying a simple vitamin supplement and seeing if it worked its magic. Society has conditioned me to place my trust in the medical industrial complex rather than my gut. This particular episode was rather costly and therefore an excellent reminder that my soul always steers me toward my greatest good. 

When “magnesium” came up three times in two days recently, I didn’t think twice about doing my own research online about the signs of deficiency and excess, best sources, and dosages. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post about deciphering synchronicity with intuition.) No need to learn this lesson twice!

Learning to trust my inner wisdom is an invaluable resource when it comes to cultivating health and wellness. I have no doubts that my intuition will steer me toward a medical doctor if that’s ever the necessary course of action. It’s my job to keep listening and to act on the information I’m given. Ideally without expensive detours. 

Calling All Reiki People for an Online Equinox Practice

Reiki Squares, an Online Self-Treatment Group

Come together with others on the Reiki journey. We will explore a variety of techniques to uncover worthiness and wholeness and promote optimal wellness. We join together to know that we’re not alone in following our healing paths and to witness one another’s challenges and successes.

We will begin by establishing Community Guidelines to provide an emotionally safe container. This is an essential foundational layer for these trauma-informed sessions. While we welcome all aspects of ourselves, including the wounded and traumatized bits, we leave the stories and specific experiences for individual sessions so as to not re-traumatize one another during the gathering. Given that most Reiki devotees are particularly empathic, it especially important to protect everyone’s sense of emotional safety. 

Once the guidelines have been established, we’ll proceed to the practice. The format will vary based on a theme that Pamela intuits each month. Energetic hygiene, grounding, centering, shielding, and self-compassion will be common building blocks. We will often tap into cosmic energies based on the current astrological report for maximum potency and utilize a wide array of complementary modalities that support our efforts. 

Reiki Squares is the result of nearly 30 years of spiritual and self-empowerment immersion and has been designed to enhance Reiki practitioners’ efforts in an affordable package. Doing our individual work together supports one another and helps to validate our efforts. Choosing a path of freedom, creativity, and dedication to the highest good of all is a noble journey that is made easier with companionship. Coming together online allows everyone to join from the comfort of their own spaces, surrounded by their favorite accessories. 

Participants are encouraged to bring whatever tools they commonly use- journals, candles, crystals, herbal teas, essential oils, and fuzzy slippers are all welcome. However, no props are required; all you need is to show up with a willingness to participate. It doesn’t matter how long ago you received your Reiki attunement, nor how frequently or infrequently you’ve tapped into the healing energy. Once initiated, Reiki is always there for us. No matter your level of experience or devotion, you are welcome here. 

Our next gathering in on the Equinox.  Sunday, March 20, 2022, 5-6:15pm EDT. Zoom link will be provided upon registration. $17 fee.

Sign up for my Reiki Tribe newsletter if you’d like to be informed of future Reiki Squares gatherings and other events designed to support Reiki practitioners.