A Healing Recipe for ALL the Things

Healing is an alchemical practice of transformation. We dream of what we want to create without being attached to it while simultaneously making space for our current situation and being willing to release that which stands in the way.

If we’re particularly intrepid and devoted, we might choose to surrender entirely to our soul’s plan and simply follow the breadcrumbs.

The plan is essentially the same, no matter if I’m working on a knee injury, an auto-immune condition, wonky hormones, anxiety, accessing inner strength and guidance, spiritual awakening, or cultivating peace, joy, and prosperity. (I know this because I AM working on all these things!)

It’s rarely (if ever!) a linear path where 2+2=4. It’s more like M.C. Escher’s “Relativity”.

I have developed a basic recipe that captures the complexity of this equation. (Yes, a recipe for an equation, because that’s how un-logical healing is!)

Compassion+intention+non-attachment+nourishment-energetic drains/blockages=optimal wellness.

Each of these elements varies from moment to moment and person to person.

Optimal wellness for me is built on the foundation of my lineage, history, constitution, beliefs, circumstances and resources. Yours will likely be very different from mine.

If we break it down into segments, it can be easier to approach. These segments aren’t actually separate stages of the journey as everything is intertwined, but it can be helpful to look at it this way for easier understanding.

Compassion. The basic art of being kind to ourselves, no matter what. Easier said than done!

Intention. What is the destination of this healing journey? It might take some time and effort to sort through the “shoulds” of what society, family, religion, school, and the advertising industry have led you to believe are the necessary accomplishments of a successful human.

Non-attachment. Allow yourself to want what you want without clinging to it. Goals tend to change slightly (or entirely!) as you begin to move towards them. Often we gain insight and wisdom along the way, perhaps acceptance or forgiveness, and maybe a good dash of humor or humility that changes our perspective. This is why it’s important to hold the vision loosely and allow it to unfold organically.

Nourishment. I’m not talking about eating delicious home cooked meals, although that could certainly be a factor. I’m talking about spiritual nourishment.

For me this can look like sitting by the creek, reading a good book on the porch, lingering in bed when I don’t have to get up right away, laughing with my niece and nephews, meditating, or a playful hour with colored markers. The common factor here is that none of these activities can be labeled as “productive” or “profitable” outside of my healing journey and require a devoted mindset to carving out the time to make them happen.

Prioritize the journey. This means I need to keep my intention in mind when making decisions and say no to things that would derail me. There are a thousand reasons to deviate from the plan, but very few of them are as important as the healing journey itself. It helps to remind myself frequently about the original desire, or to put it another way, why I’m on this path in the first place.

Navigate the obstacles. They will present themselves without any effort on your part- all you need to do is make a plan to move towards your preferred destination and see what emerges. I call them the “yeah, buts”. Yeah, I want that, but… xyz. They often expose limiting beliefs about scarcity and unworthiness.

They will be tasks, relationships and thoughts that drain your energy and block your progress. AND they are another form of breadcrumbs, showing you what needs your compassionate attention.

Some of these things might be easy to release. Many of them will require some introspection and TLC as they are actually wounds coming to the surface for healing. If we push them away or try to skip over them, we miss an opportunity to alchemize coagulated emotions or integrate fragmented parts of ourselves.

All of this requires not only the willingness to stay put and face the seeming obstacles attached to our desires and abilities to nourish ourselves, but also the skill to interrupt survival and coping mechanisms. This is where nervous system regulation comes in handy. It’s the key that makes the other steps manageable. It’s practically impossible to do any of the above work if your mind is screaming “DANGER! EVACUATE! DANGER!” at top volume.

I made this video outlining some very simple steps to turn off those alarms when they aren’t needed. Let’s face it, most of the time we aren’t in mortal danger. Yet biology stimulates this overblown response and it’s crucial to have a plan for dealing with it.

By far, the easiest way I know (and believe me, I’ve spent 30 years looking for the easiest, simplest, most effective solution to my own struggle with chronic pain and anxiety) to support us on our healing journeys is Reiki. That’s why I’m offering a Reiki 1, Healing for Yourself and Your Loved Ones class that begins May 4. If you’re interested in the way of self-empowerment in order to maximize your wellbeing and connect with your inner strength and wisdom, I’d be delighted to have you aboard.

Coping vs. Healing

Understanding the difference between coping and healing is important for those of us on the holistic path. We don’t often see folks modeling a balanced, integrated approach to dealing with challenges. Coping is very popular in our culture- just turn on the TV for a few minutes and you’re sure to see an example. Or ten.

In my experience, coping comes in a variety of flavors, all of which lean towards checking out of difficult or unpleasant situations. Numbing, distracting, and suppressing are all members of the coping family. If you’re anything like me, you have a wide array of options to choose from, many of which have been perfected over the years.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and place for coping. If you’re in over your head and need a break from overwhelming emotions, sensations, or circumstances, checking out might be the healthiest option available to you in that moment. Sometimes our sanity or survival relies on our ability to put our heads down and slog through whatever crisis lies ahead. There’s absolutely no shame in doing what you need to do to get through the day.

And… coping doesn’t address the source of the problem, so its effects are, at best, temporary and unsatisfying, and often come with undesirable consequences. Reserve coping strategies for the times when there are no other options. Do what you need to do and let’s talk about a plan for treating the root of the problem when the resources to do so become available.  

Healing, or treating a symptom, disease, disorder, malady, or pattern means correcting any imbalance that contributes to its existence. This means looking at belief systems, thought patterns, unexpressed emotions, habits, repetitive movements, and energy flow to see what can be adjusted to support the healing process.

Not nearly as much fun as frozen margaritas and brownies, I know! But immensely more effective and with no queasy regrets the next morning.

OK, great. But now what? How do we actually go about it? I have a lot of ideas, some of which will resonate and others that will likely evoke a … meh… reaction. Depending on your personality and constitution, you’ll either be drawn to the deep end or the gently sloping end of the pool. There is no wrong way to approach healing. The right way is the one that works for you.

Becoming more mindful of what’s actually going on under the surface is a crucial step on the journey. For those of us with unprocessed trauma in our systems, this can stir up some messy, sometimes overwhelming feelings. It is wise to enlist the support of a professional before poking around in your darkest corners if you have difficult, violent, or upsetting experiences in your past that have not been assimilated. Get yourself some guidance before you begin exploring the inner labyrinth.

Efforts that can be applied to healing include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-compassion
  • Prioritize your needs and desires in order to make space for them
  • Set boundaries
  • Honor those boundaries!
  • Regulate the nervous system
  • Make space for your emotions and the accompanying energy
  • Move your body in a way that feels good
  • Slow down/do less
  • Practice being present with yourself no matter what
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Explore and inventory your limiting beliefs and decide which are keepers and which need to be released.
  • Meet every seeming obstacle as an opportunity to heal what lies beneath it.
  • Get lots of support

Reiki is an amazing tool that can help with all of the above activities. It regulates the nervous system and provides an infusion of healing life-force energy, giving us the motivation and capacity to face whatever comes up and deal with it accordingly.

If that sounds like something you’d like to have available at you very fingertips, I’d be delighted to have you in my upcoming beginners Reiki class: Reiki 1, Healing Yourself and Your Loved Ones. We gather online for four sessions, starting on May 4.


Three Simple Ways to Manage Stress

Managing stress is my number one strategy for being happy, healthy, and creative. It’s my long-term plan for healthy aging and what keeps me sane in a chaotic world.

Let’s start with what I actually mean by “managing” stress. I’m not talking about avoiding it altogether. As if! While I do make targeted efforts to minimize external stressors (by saying no to voluntary tasks that don’t bring me joy and being mindful about the amount of sensory stimulation I expose myself to), it’s not possible to avoid it completely. Certain kinds of stress, such as some challenges and physical exercise are even beneficial.

I’m also not talking about tropical vacations or spa days. These may or may not be helpful in managing stress, but they are too few and far in between to be relied upon. If you experience stress on a daily basis, you need a tool in your back pocket ready to go at all times.

What I am talking about is working with the stress that occurs in your life to prevent the potential damaging effects on your body and psyche. It’s not so much the stress itself that’s the problem, but the way your body instinctively responds to it, specifically via the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn (or the 4 Fs) mechanism. When you get stuck in a perpetual state of hyperawareness and survival, you’ve got all the ingredients necessary for chronic pain, fatigue, tension, anxiety, depression, illness, and burnout.

Why? When your primitive brain perceives a threat, it responds by preparing to run away, attack, hide, or … (insert other survival strategy that would have made sense to a cave dweller, but is not so much helpful to a modern day person) to survive. It deliberately shunts life force energy to the extremities, the heart and lungs, and senses. Digestion, detoxification, cellular repair, elimination, fertility, sexuality, focus, clarity, creativity, and all systems that are not essential in a crisis go offline. It’s not a problem when this happens occasionally, but many of us live in this state of having nearly all our energy usurped for action that never actually occurs.

Learning how to activate your body’s natural antidote to the 4Fs will allow you to experience more ease, vitality, joy, and peace despite outer circumstances. You can learn to become the eye of the hurricane rather than reacting to every dumpster fire that those around you might be starting, fanning, or lamenting. (I’d enjoy having more company here in the eye of the hurricane! There’s plenty of room for you in here.)

Popular culture would have us believe that turning to alcohol, comfort foods or social media is such a remedy. This is a myth. While there’s nothing wrong with mashed potatoes, wine or Instagram, in general, these are tools for distracting ourselves and have absolutely zero impact (make that zero positive impact) on how your body metabolizes stress hormones. They might make you feel better for a quick minute, but the 4Fs remain unchanged.

Instead, I’m inviting you to try something different. Something somewhat radical. Something that will actually help you feel better, not just feel less.

  1. Notice. The first step is paying attention to your inner landscape, so that you can recognize when one of the 4Fs gets activated. This means slowing down, tuning in, and developing a relationship with yourself so that you can recognize when the survival urges kick in. I’ve yet to meet anyone who learned this growing up, so it will take a bit of practice. Believe me, having access to this early warning system is immensely beneficial.
  2. Breathe. Breathing into your belly and gently extending your exhales sends a signal to the nervous system that you are safe. Adding an audible sigh is even more potent. Unless you’re in a business meeting, that is! Getting fired is unlikely to help your stress level.
  3. Shake. This is what animals do in nature, but generally we humans are too self-conscious to allow this impulse to manifest. It might not be appropriate in the situation you find yourself in, but as soon as possible, make your way to a private space, such as the restroom, and shake it out. Start with jazz hands, turn it up, let that movement spread to your arms, into your shoulders, neck and head. Let it flow down into the hips, let your knees jiggle, and and maybe lift and lower your heels, letting them thump on the floor. Keep breathing and keep shaking as long as time allows or until you feel a shift in your body.

Once you’ve turned off the alarm bells, it’s much easier to move to the next stage: prevention. Now that you have a strategy in place for dealing with stress in urgent situations, I’d suggest a follow-up; creating a daily practice to build up your resilience, a preventative strategy to minimize the amount of time you need to recover from an activated 4F situation. There are lots of ways to do this, and the only “right” way is the one that works for you and is enjoyable enough to keep you coming back.

Massage, Reiki, meditation, mantra, yoga and nature are tools that give me tremendous benefit. You might already have some tools ready to go or a list of things in your head that you’ve heard about and would like to try. Once you get out of the chronic survival mode that 21st century living seems to inspire, you’ll have a much better chance of following through and implementing any plan you make.

If your plate is overflowing and you just want to lie back and receive some nourishment and healing, that’s exactly what I do for my clients. Reiki and gentle massage are both incredible remedies for chronic 4F activation. You could schedule a remote Reiki treatment from anywhere in the world or a Reiki-massage or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia if you’d like some support managing stress and moving beyond survival mode. Or get on the mailing list to be informed about upcoming classes and learn how to heal yourself with Reiki.

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!

Holistic Tips for Clearing Your Energy

I get so many requests for and questions about releasing toxic or negative energy. If you’re even remotely empathic, it’s likely that you absorb energy from other folks, environments and situations. It can feel heavy, slimy, icky, and downright gross!

One way to start off the new year on the right foot would be to create healthy energy hygiene habits. I find spending time in nature, under the sky, amongst the trees, and by running water to work magic for me!

Since that isn’t always practical, I made a short video of super-easy techniques anyone can use to clear out unwanted energy.

I misspoke when I mentioned “dry brushing”. The Reiki technique is called “dry bathing”, and is just what it sounds like. Getting clean without water. Anyone can do it!

If you want some professional help or guidance, I can do that too! There are a variety of ways this could happen, depending on whether you want to simply lie back and let me do the work, or learn how to do it yourself. A popular approach is to get a session (remote Reiki or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia) to do a deep clean, followed by a Reiki class or intuitive coaching so you can do the maintenance yourself.

Can’t You Just Fix Me?

I get it. I understand why folks frequently ask me this question and why they’re disappointed with my response.

No. I can’t fix you.

You’re not broken.

Maybe a bit dented or rumpled or worn around the edges, but I promise, you’re not broken. Your body and psyche may have experience some neglect, abuse, misuse, or trauma, but your soul is indestructible.

Very often the complaints that clients bring to me are the messages their souls are sending, pleading for attention. These aches and pains, neurosis and upsets, are a call for help. I can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away; nor would I if I could! When we ignore these messages, they usually become louder and more insistent in the form of greater discomfort or dysfunction.

What I can do is help you to receive the messages and begin to correct your trajectory. This might be as simple as giving yourself consistent care in the form of treatment or learning how to give yourself Reiki healing energy. Either of these approaches will likely reveal the next steps- things like getting more rest, better nutrition, honoring your feelings and needs, or expressing yourself.

Those are steps you’ll need to make yourself. I can support you along the way and provide nurturance, comfort, and guidance in a variety of ways, and I’ll be delighted to do so.

If your health or life need a makeover, Reiki is an excellent tool to have in your toolbox. But the willingness to make the necessary changes is beyond my sphere of power. That’s up to you.

I can show you the path, but it’s your responsibility to take each step.

Let me know when you’re ready to begin. Wherever you are in the world, you can receive remote Reiki or intuitive coaching. We can also do Reiki-massage or in-person Reiki in Philadelphia.

Online Reiki 1 Certification in January, 2023

Are you looking to activate your personal power? For optimal well-being, happiness, creativity, abundance, and connection? Why not start the new year off with a bang and give yourself a helping hand? Reiki is a potent tool for dismantling the blockages that prevent us from experiencing our best possible lives. You could have limitless access to this healing energy with minimal cost or time.

Hidden beliefs, unconscious triggers, cultural conditioning, and outdating coping mechanisms can sabotage even the most sincere resolutions. Reiki can help us love and accept ourselves exactly as we are and support our efforts to be more peaceful, compassionate, and integrated. No need to keep white-knuckling it or banging your head against the wall. Instead, try cultivating balance from within.

Photo by nicollazzi xiong on Pexels.com

This is a simple, yet powerful, modality that can assist you in aligning desire and intent; body, mind, and spirit; head, heart, and gut so that all your parts are working as a team, rather that a bunch of rogue elements fulfilling personal whims at the expense of the greater good.

Join me for a series of four online classes in January. No experience or special skills are necessary. Anyone can learn Reiki and benefit quickly from consistent application. It’s the easiest, safest, most magical method I’ve discovered in 25 years of spiritual practice and personal development work. Whatever therapies, remedies, or potions you’ve got going on, you can add Reiki for amplification.

If you’re wondering what the heck Reiki is, I’ll attempt an explanation. Keep in mind that words don’t really do it justice. Just like kissing, one authentic experience will be more informative than volumes of books! But I know that’s not very helpful, so here we go. Reiki is a holistic technique for healing that relieves stress. It activates the body’s innate restorative abilities by flooding the system with universal life-force energy. Once we are no longer chronically depleted, overwhelmed, or barely existing in survival mode, we have so much more power to create change in our lives. One of my students described her experience as stepping off the hamster wheel. I think that’s a great metaphor!

If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends or spread too thin, taking care of everyone else besides yourself, or simply going along just to get along, it would be my great pleasure to introduce you to a different way. You can find details about the class here. If you’re interested in applying, just send me a message and we’ll see if it’s a good match for you.

Why Reiki??

The following is an excerpt from the handouts I provide in level 1 Reiki certification. I’m perpetually updating class notes to reflect the ongoing downloads and updates that inform my own understanding. If you’ve heard talk about Reiki and have been curious but hesitant to try the waters, this could help nudge you one way or the other.

“You’re in the right place if you’re interested in optimizing your wellness, uncovering your innate wholeness, finding and following your calling, soothing aches and pains, finding the well of peace and joy deep within, healing trauma, releasing limiting beliefs, spiritual awakening, or personal growth. Reiki can be used for all these goals by cultivating balance, removing blockages, and strengthening vitality.

“It is my intention to provide a basic understanding of what Reiki is and how we can use it to improve health, happiness, and productivity. I invite you to be curious about all the possibilities Reiki has to offer. Experiment when you feel guided to do so. There are NO limits! If you have an idea about how to use Reiki that I haven’t mentioned; try it! Reiki can do no harm.”

My next online beginners class runs on Thursday mornings in October, 10am-noon ET. There is still room for a few more compatible students to join us. I don’t have a formal application process. Just message me with a little bit of information about what you hope to get from this class and we’ll see if we’re a good match for each other.

Solstice Yoga & Reiki

Release into the Summer Solstice with Yoga Restoratives and Reiki!


magical trees


When my friend and colleague invited me to join her in offering a summer solstice event, I did my happy dance. What a delightful way to honor the rhythms of nature while inviting balance into our own systems. Restorative yoga is one of my favorite practices as it is deeply calming and soothing to my often frazzled nervous system. Adding Reiki into the mix is like the icing on the cake!

Esther will guide the class through a series of asanas, or yoga postures, while I provide deeply nurturing and healing energy for each participant. This will be our second collaboration like this; last year was a huge success and everyone left feeling super-relaxed and at peace. It was a great joy to watch as stress visibly melted away and smiles began to emerge organically.

I hope you’ll consider joining us on the evening of June 20 if you’re near the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. I hope you’ll find a meaningful and healthful way to celebrate the solstice wherever you are, and perhaps include these practices in your own way.

Register here and we look forward to seeing you then!


Full Tank

I’m noticing a tremendous improvement in the quality of my life as I begin each day with Reiki. I fill up my tank with healing energy every morning, which gives me the juice I need to honor my value of showing up in every moment with gratitude, kindness, and non-judgment. I’ve become more accustomed to feeling joyful and remembering my wholeness, which allows me to quickly notice when I’m out of alignment.

The moment I begin to blame, criticize, judge, or disapprove of myself or another, I can feel my mood begin to plummet. I recognize this as a warning that I’m leaking my precious life-force energy and disconnecting from my True Self, my sense of purpose, and my divine mission to be a loving presence on this planet. The fuller my tank, the easier it seems to be to notice when I get off track.

The fuller my tank, the more I have to share with those who cross my path. Rather than offering up my last crumb, I’m able to give from the overflow of my ki (life-force energy), knowing it can easily be replenished from an unlimited source. When I’m running low on ki, I’m no good to anyone and my crankiness can only bring others down. Just like the airline attendants have been telling us for decades: put your own mask on first, and then you’ll be better able to assist your neighbors.

Reiki is but one of countless ways to energize myself. I find creative expression and time spent in nature to be almost as uplifting. Yoga, dance, music, prayer, inspirational reading, video chats with my niece and nephews, preparing and enjoying meals made from whole foods (meaning real/unprocessed food, not the store!), connecting with kindred folk, and being of service to my community all contribute to my sense of fullness. So can simply sitting on the porch while enjoying a cup of tea, the birdsong, and a gentle breeze.

It seems to me that it doesn’t matter how we fill up, only that we do it frequently. What I love about Reiki is the ease and simplicity, as well as the fact that it’s always available, no matter where I am, what time it is, or what I’m doing. Anyone can learn Reiki in a short period of time and have access to this healing energy for a lifetime. If you’re interested in experiencing this seemingly magical gift, I’m here to help.