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. 

When Everything is Falling Apart

It can be really difficult when things don’t go as expected. It can be even more difficult to trust that what is falling apart is what holds us back. The good news is that you don’t have to figure anything out. It’s a simple matter of remaining present with whatever comes up in the moment. (Notice I said “simple” and not “easy”. They are often very different!)

I love how Kyle Cease breaks it all down in this 15 minute video.

Happy Equinox!

I find it so fascinating that this home of ours, a hunk of rock spinning around a fiery ball in vast space, manages to predictably provide us with times of equal light and darkness twice per year. 

Impressive, right?! 

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, today is the autumn equinox. Hooray! Personally, I’m happy to say goodbye to heat and humidity. Equally as wonderful, we will soon have the best display of colorful leaves here in Pennsylvania. And then they fall to the earth to decay and eventually provide support for spring’s glorious eruption of green. Which is what is happening in the southern hemisphere, where they celebrate the spring equinox today. 

This turning point of the seasons is an invitation to align with nature and bring more balance into our own lives. It could be something as simple as a breathing practice. Alternate nostril breathing brings our right and left sides (brain and body) into balance. “Square” breathing equalizes every inhale and exhale. 

It’s also helpful to consider our current imbalances when choosing strategies. If I’m feeling anxious, slightly extending my exhales could help calm me down. A slight emphasis on the inhales could pick me up when energy is low. Knowing where you are relative to where you’d like to be can inform your decisions. Putting on another sweater isn’t going to help if you’re already too warm. 

Photo by Shiva Smyth on Pexels.com

Today we experience equal lengths of day and night in the macrocosm. How can you take advantage of these cosmic energies to cultivate more balance in your microcosm? It could be time to release something that no longer serves yourself or the community or commit to something that has been twinkling in the back of your mind for some time. It could be as simple as removing some clutter or cleaning the windows so that you can think or see more clearly. 

Chances are that you’re the only one who truly knows what action (or inaction!)  will support your unique equilibrium. Take a few moments today to turn inward and inquire. “How does it get better than this?” is a great prompt if you want some help getting started.

If you have Reiki superpowers, turn on the juice during your contemplation and goal setting. It will help your thoughts and actions to align with flow of nature and your greatest good. If you don’t yet have Reiki superpowers, but would like to, learning is easy in fun. I’m teaching a beginners course in October.

Reiki and Kundalini

In the past month, I’ve had several inquiries from prospective clients wondering if I could activate their kundalini. I got the impression that they expected it to happen in a single session. 

The short answer is no. A hard no. If your kundalini is not awakened, there is a reason for that: your system isn’t ready yet. 

Reiki can be a tremendous support on this journey. Without a doubt. It can help open the energy pathways by addressing blockages caused by suppressed emotions, cultural conditioning, and limiting beliefs. It won’t, however, just blast through these blockages as they need to be integrated.

Reiki will not forcibly clear the way. I think it would be dangerous to even try. 

Kundalini yoga is an ancient technology that uses mantra, mudra, and asana to invite kundalini to rise up through the chakras to the crown for healing and enlightenment. Yogis practice daily with devotion and mindfulness. I don’t believe there are any shortcuts. 

I understand why folks are seeking a kundalini experience. I’ve had glimpses of the blissful sensations that such an activation delivers. I trust that when my system is ready to handle more, it will emerge organically. Until then, I keep up with my practice of clearing the way with Reiki and yoga. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of putting rocket fuel into a 1977 Ford Pinto. It’s more likely to explode than lift off into space. 

It’s rare that I reply “no” to a “Can Reiki do x?” question. It simply won’t bring things to you that are not aligned with your highest good such as a psychotic break or nervous system overload. 

As far as I can tell, the only way to awaken kundalini is the old-fashioned way. Practice. 

In case you’re wondering, other services I do not offer are fortune telling, past-life readings, and exorcisms. I get occasional inquiries about these as well. They are not within the scope of my practice! Other Reiki practitioners may have trained in these fields and blend the services together, as I do with massage, but Reiki itself is simply the transference of divinely-guided life-force energy. 

Reiki can flood your system with powerful, yet gentle, energy to relieve stress and pain, soothe anxiety and distress, and activate your body’s innate healing abilities. It can help you experience the best version of yourself available in this moment. If you’re interested in having such superpowers at your fingertips, I’m offering an online training next month. Get in touch and we’ll see if it’s a good match for you. 

And if you’re a Reiki practitioner with different views on kundalini activation, I’d love to hear from you too!

What the… Frog?!

Last night, I met a friend at a park to honor the new moon and to create intentions for the upcoming lunar cycle. New moons are a great time to plant the seeds for what we’d like to experience. Layering that with even a rudimentary understanding of astrological events, we can surf the cosmic energies rather than struggle against the current. 

We talked through our individual circumstances and goals as they related to the astrology and did a simple tarot reading to add another layer of guidance from the mystical realm. These particular cards were challenging to decipher, but we did our best. It helps not to take things too seriously!

As we were heading home in the near-dark night, a frog jumped across the sidewalk in front of us! Maybe that’s a common thing where you live, but this is Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in the U.S. Sure, there was a pond in the park we had just left, but that was about a half mile away, and all the times I had been in this area, I’d never seen a frog. Certainly not on the sidewalk!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you’re on the hunt for guidance, it’s easy to cling to every little occurrence. If a squirrel or cat or mosquito had crossed our path, it would not have been noteworthy. But we both agreed that a frog was such an anomaly that it held meaning. Plus, the timing was too significant to ignore.

There’s plenty of information available online about the spiritual message frogs might deliver. I’m not going to repeat any of it here; you can find it easily enough. What’s even more important is the unique meaning that frogs carry for us. Happily this unusual sighting clarified and amplified the tarot reading as it related to the new moon energies. All of these clues allowed us to craft specific and potent intentions.

I’ve written a series of posts on accessing intuition- Intuition Chronicles. While this particular incident falls more into the category of divine guidance via synchronicity, it was intuition that helped us capture and decipher the guidance. It’s simply a matter of asking for support and paying attention to what unfolds.

The more tuned in I am to what’s happening in and around me, the more I am certain that the universe is dropping breadcrumbs along the path to my greatest good. It’s helpful to remember that powerful information can be found outside the traditional intellectual approach if we’re open to it. Deeper meaning and guidance are available to all of us if we choose to slow down and receive it. I’m heading down to sit on the porch and see what surprises the world has to share with me.

Springtime!

Happy equinox from Philly, where the snowbells are rioting.

Spring has definitely sprung here and today makes it official. It’s also the beginning of a new astrological year, making it a particularly good time to get clear about what you wish to create during this next spin around the sun.

What can you let go of that is no longer serving you? What beliefs need an overhaul? How can you invest your precious life force energy more wisely?

Clearing out the old helps make way for the new. If ever there was a time to brush ourselves off and make deliberate choices about the next steps forward, it’s now!

Letting Go

I recently came across this amazing poem written by Robert Moss. I know him as The Dream Guy because his books are teaching me to access the guidance delivered through my nighttime dreams. He apparently wrote the words I’ve copied below about a dream of his own. It illustrates perfectly what I’m seeing lately in Reiki sessions and in my own life.

We’re in a tremendous transition period. As the outside world shifts and changes, we’re being called to do the same on an internal level. Clinging to outdated coping mechanisms and limiting beliefs causes great suffering. The universe is encouraging all of us to examine our choices (thoughts, words, and actions) and evaluate which are serving our highest good, which need to be tuned up or repaired, and which need to be let go of entirely.

It’s a process that requires dedication, clarity, motivation, and resilience. We must simply choose again and again to follow the soul’s guidance rather than moving toward what’s convenient, conventional, or comfortable. Sometimes they overlap, but not always. Sometimes our loved ones cheer us on from the sidelines and other times they’d prefer that we didn’t rock the boat.

I just love how the poem expresses the journey of transformation with such vivid imagery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Robert Moss, The Man with a Corpse on His Back

When you die to the old life

you must bury it well

or you’ll stumble on

with the corpse of your old self

strapped to your back.

Bury it well and do your grieving.

Set right what can be set right

with those you hurt

and those who hurt you.

Give up the souls you’ve stolen.

Reclaim what was stolen from you.

Then walk on and don’t look back.

Others will dig up your corpse.

Not only enemies and abandoned lovers

but your very best friends.

They’ll exhume your bag of bones

and lash it to your shoulders

to prove you haven’t changed.

You’ll be dragged, down and back.

You’ll need a second wake,

a second burial.

The grave-robbers will come for you

again and again

to chain you to your dead self

until you are changed so utterly

you can only be seen

by those who have changed their eyes.

You’ll vanish into the sunlit spaces

where those who cling

to the ghost of what you were

can’t find you anymore.

Rejected. Thank Goodness!

Today I received a “thank you for your application, but…” email from a local non-profit group I want to volunteer for. Or at least I thought I want to volunteer. As I’ve been waiting to learn if I was in or not, I’d begun to feel anxious about the time requirements, both for the training and the monthly commitment afterwards. I’d put several other opportunities on hold to save time for this group and felt mildly resentful about that too.

So now I feel as if a burden has been lifted! Once again I didn’t know what I really wanted and chose to pursue something that wasn’t an ideal match for my needs. In fact, had I been accepted, I can now see that one of my favorite pastimes would have been irrevocably linked in my mind to volunteering and likely forever tainted by a sense of obligation .

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

How cool is it that fate or the Universe or Divine Planning (or whatever you want to call it!) didn’t give me the thing I thought I wanted that I really didn’t? Not only that, but during my interview I was given the name of a book that actually contains the information that drove me to seek out the training in the first place. Perhaps that was the whole point!

Most magical of all, I’ve been able to see this potentially upsetting news as the gift that it really is. If it weren’t for my consistent practice of filling myself up with Reiki before getting out of bed every morning, I would have likely been sucked into a downward self-pity spiral. Instead I was able to tap into my inner resilience and wisdom.

I tell my students that Reiki always works, just not always in the ways we want it to. I had been using Reiki to support my hopes of being accepted into the program. I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, but I did get what I needed. Fortunately Reiki can see the bigger picture and has my highest good prioritized. My only job is to activate it, trust, and follow through on the steps I’m guided to take.

Whew! That’s totally doable.

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2020: The Year of Perfect Vision

Full transparency: I am borrowing this tag line from a student. But it’s just so brilliant I have to share it! 20/20 is the term ophthalmologists use to describe normal eyesight. Well, we’re taking it a step further and claiming 2020 as the year of Perfect Vision, the foundation to uncovering the soul’s calling as well as the guidance and motivation necessary to pursue it.

It’s helpful to know where you want to go before your start charting your journey. It’s also helpful to clean out your trunk so you’re not hauling around crap from the past decade on your adventure. Perhaps most helpful of all is tuning up your vehicle, paying attention to all the systems that allow it to run smoothly. Self-care, -kindness, -discovery, and -awareness are the corollary steps in creating an intentional lifestyle.

For me yoga, Reiki, and nourishment are essential building blocks in this process. No news there; you’re heard me say this 10,000 times already! Over the past year I’ve benefited greatly from several other teachings that really upped my game, and I’m very eager to share them here in the hopes others might also profit. If you’re looking to maximize your potential in the new year, you might find some guidance here.

I could spend the next month extolling the virtues of these lessons. Instead I’ll provide links to websites allowing you to do your own research. The three teachers I’m mentioning have a variety of courses as well as very generous newsletters which can be a risk-free gateway into their work. I respect and admire their contributions to personal growth and spiritual awakening and am incredibly grateful for the wisdom they’ve shared.

Sharon Blackie’s Courting the World Soul online course totally blew my socks off. I’m still digesting the amazing material of this 8 week course, which is a mix of depth psychology, mythology, and more. She has set me on a journey of discovering my roots to help find belonging in a world that generally makes no sense to me.

Layla Martin offers a free Radiant Queen Masterclass which includes simple practices for liberating the wild feminine energy that most of us women were taught very early on to lock down. She’s a vibrant teacher of tantra, sexual empowerment, and liberation from the bonds of patriarchal programming. I highly recommend checking this out, especially if that last sentence makes you uncomfortable!

I’m really learning a lot from Rick Hanson’s Growing the Good yearlong meditation program. His background as a Buddhist and neuro-psychologist reveals a fascinating intersection of east/west, ancient tradition/modern science. Understanding my nervous system better allows me to experience calm more frequently. ‘Nuff said!

Perhaps more transformative than all of the above is the time I’ve spent in nature. I just can’t get enough time amongst the trees! Sitting by the creek breathing the ki-infused air is where my deepest healing and best ideas happen. I’ve applied to a volunteer training program to further my knowledge of the local wooded treasure as well as to gain skills for sharing it with others. If you’re in the Philly area, Friends of the Wissahickon offers loads of guided hikes. Wherever you are, no doubt there is a patch of land that needs your appreciation.

And finally, I’m over the moon with my latest oracle card purchase. The Wild Unknown Archetypes is a beautiful deck and has been tremendously helpful for accessing my inner wisdom. They’ve been a big hit at recent community Reiki circles and I’m planning to bring them to this week’s event. Join us if you’re in the neighborhhood!

It’s my sincerest wish that 2020 brings you great peace, health, wealth, and happiness. Perhaps one of these tools can help you further your goals. As always, I’m available for Reiki (in person and remote) and massage sessions to get your year on track and uncover the benefits of Perfect Vision.

Reiki for Healing Self-Sabotage

This is a topic that has been recurring in classes and sessions, as well as in my own life, again and again. I’d really rather ignore the nudges to write about it, but they’ve grown increasingly insistent. I’ve learned the hard way to honor my Inner Nudge, so here we go!

It’s not uncommon to commit to a goal, make a plan to achieve that goal, actively implement that plan, and within a short period of time abandon the whole thing. I’m pretty sure we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. We might meet resistance along the way, perhaps apathy or overwhelm, or even downright self-sabotage. Often we’ll beat ourselves up for failing and begin again, this time with harsher guidelines, only to hit that same brick wall, this time with greater velocity.

Here’s the thing. If any part of me believes that it’s not safe to achieve my goals, my subconscious is going to do everything in its power to prevent me from succeeding. If I believe it isn’t safe to be creative or successful or thin, my willpower is no match for my Inner Protector. As many times as I try, as many strategies as I develop, I will never best my subconscious!

This is the point were it’s easy to give up and settle for less. But I’m here to tell you that there’s another way! The amazing healing power of Reiki can be used to uncover any false beliefs that may be holding us back from our true magnificence and shift them to support our desires.

It might sound complicated and exhausting, but really this process is quite simple. Reiki is activated by intention, so all we need do is to invite it into the process. For example, “My intention is to uncover and release any blockages that prevent me from losing weight.” Whether you’re a practitioner yourself or seeking professional treatment, from here on out the work is simply showing up and paying attention.

When the treatment reveals a memory or a belief that is standing in my way, I must acknowledge it and accept it as my starting point. I always need to start from where I am. Plugging my ears and hiding my head in the sand has never gotten me anywhere! If I’m ignoring, numbing, or suppressing the gremlins that I’d prefer weren’t there, I’m giving away my power and allowing them to call the shots from the shadows.

My suggestion for those working on releasing self-sabotage is quite simple. State your intention clearly. Turn Reiki on and allow it to flow. If you feel a place in your body where a belief or blockage resides, place your hands there. If there’s no apparent location, imagine a Reiki spotlight above your head radiating down through your crown and illuminating your head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, pelvis, legs, and feet. Feel the glow within yourself. Notice any parts that might be resisting this glow, and gently focus the spotlight there.

Notice any “yeah, but…” statements that come up. “Yeah, I want to lose 20 pounds, but…”. These are super-important clues! Pay attention. Acknowledge these thoughts. Shine the spotlight on them. Follow the thought train, and it will lead you eventually to a submerged belief that for reason xyz, it isn’t safe to lose those 20 pounds.

Reiki that belief every day until it is healed. If it isn’t True (meaning not in alignment with the perfection of your Spirit), it will eventual fade. Sometimes it helps to write it on an index card, or to find or draw a visual representation of this belief and to Reiki that. This is the process of healing the source of the resistance/blockage/self-sabotage so that you may begin the process of actually moving forward to creating your goals rather that continuing to bang your head against the wall.

While this practice is simple, it may take time. The beliefs may have very deep roots. It requires patience and persistence to reprogram our thoughts. Just as a long journey begins with a single step followed by putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly, we only need to keep showing up and chipping away at our obstacles. If there’s a history of trauma or abuse, professional support will likely be required.

No matter how long you’ve been struggling with self-sabotage, there is indeed hope for breaking the cycle. Using the tools of kindness, awareness, and acceptance boosted with the power of Reiki healing energy, the path can be cleared and the journey to reaching your goals begun. As always, you’re welcome to reach out to me to schedule a session if you’d like some support.