It’s been a busy week of connecting and participating in community via the web. I’ve enjoyed a Reiki circle, a yogini prayer ritual, a dance party, an energetic healing ritual, meditations galore, amazing Kundalini yoga classes, an active imagination journey, monthly astrological and energetic updates for April, a play date with my favorite kiddos, a chat with a friend on another continent, a chat with a friend and neighbor who might as well be on another continent, more chats with friends and family, and surely I’m forgetting several other events.
It’s amaaaazing how interconnected we can be these days. I’m so appreciative for all the quality content available from all over the world and the access I have to spiritual and sisterhood communities regardless of my inability to leave the house.
It’s also overwhelming. My nervous system just can’t handle all this connectivity all the time!
Today, I’m taking a break and unplugging. Allowing time to turn inward and acknowledge the array of emotions and spectrum of energy within me that needs to be sorted, processed, some of it released, some of it integrated, much of it welcomed and tended to with kindness.
You might not be able to step away from your electronics for an entire day. I get that. Yet there’s likely something you can dial down, some information you can let lie, a website or two that could be safely ignored, or a brief time out from constant social media connection that would benefit your mental and emotional health.
I’d love to read about how you’re managing this constant barrage of engagement. Just not today.
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.
I get this question a lot. People want definitive answers before committing to a session. My short answer is, yes. Every session helps. Each step we make towards improving our health and wellness counts. 98% of my clients leave each and every session feeling better than when they arrived.
And… it’s really not quite that simple. I liken healing to getting out of debt. Will one payment help reduce your credit card balance? Sure. Will it eliminate the deficit that has been accruing for decades? Maybe, but probably not.
It’s the same with massage and Reiki treatments. The results depend on so many factors that it’s impossible for me to predict with absolute accuracy how long it will take for any particular issue to be resolved. The intensity and duration of any discomfort is an important consideration as well as lifestyle choices. Activities, thoughts, and behaviors that add to or detract from the underlying imbalance most definitely play a roll. Willingness to let go and embrace change will certainly enhance the efficacy of every treatment, as will efforts to cultivate and preserve the body’s physiological relaxation response.
Consider the goal of being debt free. The degree of debt, income, spending habits, savings and gifts must all be calculated. It’s much the same in healing. Are you making more deposits into your health and wellness account than withdrawals? Are you reducing your harmful spending habits? Are you willing to take on extra work to boost your healing income?
These are all investments beyond the scope of any one treatment. So while yes, one session will help, it’s ultimately your participation in the process that will speed your arrival at the finish line. I’ve seen clients experience tremendous progress through making healthier choices on a daily basis as well as clients who remain stuck on a plateau if receiving bi-monthly treatments is their only contribution.
There’s no right or wrong here. I’m happy to help clients maintain their health when seeing me is the only effort they are able or willing to make, and I enjoy supporting those who wish to take more active roles and rely less on my efforts. There’s a place for everyone in my practice. But if you want to get better faster, you’ll need to get involved and start making frequent deposits into your health account.
As the year draws to a close, I’m receiving a lot of calls and emails about choosing my health insurance package for next year. While I am indeed grateful for the ability to seek medical care should I need it, I’m more interested in the steps I can take every day to insure my optimal health and wellbeing.
For me, that’s spending time in nature, being with the trees and flowing water. Drinking my tea outside at sunrise allowing myself to be still and quiet and present with my intentions and feelings. Choosing organic and sustainably produced foods from the farmers market and making the time to prepare and enjoy nourishing meals. Setting healthy boundaries to protect my down time and peace of mind. Engaging in meaningful and uplifting conversations and reading material.
And my latest project- learning to have fun, since I’ve managed to take really good care of myself in an overly serious and chore-like manner. So tomorrow night you can find me wearing silly glasses and a tiara (it’s Halloween after all!) turning in the wrong direction and stepping on toes and having a blast with my neighborhood contra dancing community.
It doesn’t really matter what type of insurance you invest in for yourself. Knitting, baking, painting, gardening, hiking, writing, singing… I could go on for ages! But I do encourage everyone to empower themselves by taking action (or stillness, as might often be more helpful!) to promote your health rather than relying on a doctor to “fix” you once things begin to fall apart.
Experiencing pain seems to be a requisite affliction of the human condition. While I remain intrigued about the myriad causes of pain, I’m especially fascinated by our ability to respond to it in such a wide variety of ways. We have so many choices available; all of them valid and useful at times. It’s my intention to choose the one that will offer the greatest healing.
I’m quite adept at shutting down to avoid pain as well as at distracting myself from it. I’ve managed to tune out chronic low back pain for decades by reducing my ability to feel sensation in that area. I’ve numbed my heart to protect myself from further disappointment and rejection. I’ve even managed to create strong barriers that keep me separate from the anguish and hatred that exist in the world. While these strategies have indeed reduced the amount of pain I experience, they simultaneously keep me separated from the highs as well as the lows life has to offer.
Given that I yearn to experience joy and peace and love, I’ve begun to challenge the above behavior. I’ve designed a full spectrum self-care routine that provides comfort during times of need. These are healthier strategies that support overall well-being, yet still attempt to create distance between myself and pain. While it is indeed important to be gentle with myself when facing upset, this is merely a step on the journey of healing, not the destination. So connecting with a girlfriend (or 7! Yup, it was a trying week), buoying my spirits with inspiring music or books, visiting my happy place in the woods, and seeking out the world’s best taco recipe are all helpful and uplifting activities, there is another layer of work to be accomplished afterwards to fully integrate my entire being.
This is the layer where healing occurs. As difficult as it might sound, and as elaborate as our society’s rituals for avoiding this are, I’ve come to believe that it’s necessary to fully experience pain in order to heal it. Being completely present, vulnerable, and open-hearted is the path I’m choosing to take whenever I am able. This allows the energy to continue flowing and quite often the intensity of pain subsides as a result. It most definitely prevents me from burying it inside myself, only to have it emerge later on as disease or disability. And it absolutely enables me to connect fully with my humanity and become even more compassionate towards myself and others.
Having access to unlimited, spiritually guided life-force energy in the form of Reiki is indeed a huge blessing. While I continue to use Reiki to ease a headache, to soothe a wounded heart, and to optimize my experiences on a daily basis; the support it provides for me while being challenged by pain is truly invaluable. Now that I’ve chosen the difficult path of going through the pain rather than around it, I’m seeking all the support I am able to muster. And bursting with gratitude that the power of Reiki is available at my very fingertips.
If you’re interested in obtaining support on your healing journey, consider receiving Reiki treatments, or learning it yourself. While it isn’t the only means of staying present to what is true for you and allowing the energy to continue flowing (rather than denying, avoiding, or stuffing it down), in my experience it’s the most gentle and easily accessible route. Details may be found on my website if you’re interested in learning more.
I’ve been invited to participate in a panel discussion with other holistic health care providers on the topic of healthy aging. I’ve decided to write a series of blogs to gather my thoughts in preparation, as well as to share my knowledge on this universally relevant subject with you all. As my passion and primary source of health care is Reiki, focusing on Ki (life-force energy) seems like the obvious starting point.
Keeping my Ki balanced and flowing is my plan for aging gracefully. Just as a flashlight begins to dim as the battery fades, my own energy diminishes over time unless I make an effort to replenish it. This doesn’t mean that my body is doomed to fall apart gradually; I merely need to care of it properly and recharge frequently.
There are countless ways to top off our tanks. Fresh air, deep rest, natural foods, adequate hydration, and being in nature are all essential ingredients for nurturing ourselves. Activities which bring us joy (dancing, painting, gardening, making music, etc.- you know what works for you!) are excellent ways to energize ourselves. The key to success here is in prioritizing these activitiesand carving out time in our busy schedules. Furthermore, we must protect this valuable time fiercely as there will always be dozens of reasons to choose busyness over self-care and joy.
Reiki is a holistic energy healing technique that super-charges our batteries. It can help clear out any blockages, reestablish balance and flow, and flood the recipient with universal life-force energy. This supports the body’s ability to remove toxins and ensures that all organs and glands are supported with Ki and can function more effectively. The immune system is thus enhanced and our resistance to disease is boosted. Perhaps most importantly, stress is released, rerouting precious energy back to necessary functions and facilitating our bodies’ innate healing ability.
While gray hair, bifocals, and a slower pace might be an expected outcome of passing years, there is absolutely no reason to assume that we are incapable of enjoying health and productivity. Just as a flashlight’s brightness can be restored with fresh batteries, our vitality and well-being can be restored by practices that connect us with Ki, which is abundantly available. Choosing to recharge our batteries on a daily basis is an invaluable habit that will serve us well as we age.
Seeking support from a Reiki practitioner or teacher can amplify the process even further. It matters not what route you take; just that you start on the journey. Ki is key in maintaining vitality and wellness over time. Nourish yourself from within and reap the rewards both now and in your later years.
If you’re interested in scheduling a Reiki session, please visit my website for more information. As energy is not limited by time or space, Reiki can be sent remotely through the practitioner’s intention, with the aid of Reiki symbols, to anywhere a recipient may be. We call this powerful technique Long-Distance Reiki, and it is a service I am delighted to offer. Check it out!
Any inner emotional demons can be released on the dance floor, simply by setting an intention and moving the body. Especially when there’s a full moon with accompanying eclipse during the change of seasons! Ability and fitness are of no consequence. And contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is not at all necessary.
I’m a big fan of 5 Rhythms, a style of conscious dance that is loads of fun. This is a form of free-style dance and according to the official website, “a dynamic practice to both workout and meditate in the same breath. Practicing them helps us become attuned to the underlying patterns in our everyday existence.” It’s an opportunity for creative expression as well as releasing stress. And I will repeat that it is FUN!
It’s not necessary to take a workshop or a class. I dance in my bedroom all the time. Just one song can change my mood from grumpy to sweet or angry to peaceful. I learned last night that you don’t even need music! The facilitator gave a room of 60 joyful participants a theme and a count and before I knew it people were jumping, bouncing, and twirling without a song. It was crazy and beautiful and here it comes again… great FUN!
Of course, music does make it easier. So fire up your iTunes or Pandora or burn a mixed CD and give it a try. Think about what you’d like to surrender, what you wish to create, and let the rhythm move your body. Apparently Isabelle Duncan said that as long as one finger is moving, you are dancing. Give it a try and let me know how you feel afterwards.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned on this journey of self-care is one of not getting lost in the world of technology. I think we all know what it’s like to sit down in front of a computer to do one quick thing and not emerge for an hour or more. When my schedule is tight, I keep a strong focus on my priorities, which means not getting distracted by electronics, especially in the morning before I meditate.
The challenge lies in the fact that I use my smartphone for a lot of self-care practices. Music for yoga is stored in there, as well as my brain booster apps, affirmation meditations, and my idea list for this blog. I often check the weather on my phone before heading out for a hike, and it’s very tempting to see what’s happening on Facebook. Yet I know what’s down that rabbit hole and that I can easily get sucked into scrolling through status updates and loss track of time.
Since I value the convenience my gadgets provide, I’m disciplining myself to use them intelligently. Many days I have plenty of time on the train to respond to messages. On days that I don’t, I actually schedule time for electronic communication and do my best to stick with it. This means checking email and Facebook two, maybe three times a day and not 4oo. This simple strategy really helps keep me on track and allows me the time to focus on my goals without getting waylaid. It also improves productivity because I’m not rushing to get back to what I “should” be doing or multi-tasking.
Just as I schedule time for working on my website or newsletter and time for exercise, rest, or creative projects, I’ve come to an awareness that social media and other communication needs a time slot. While I do wish to remain in touch with friends and clients near and far, I’m not willing to sacrifice the supportive practices I’ve developed over the past six weeks. This technique helps provide a healthy boundary that prevents surfing the web from overtaking my precious downtime. Basically I’m using my gadgets to support my goals rather than letting them use me.
This morning I find myself procrastinating. I know I’ll feel better on my yoga matt and most definitely I’ll feel like a new person after practicing. Yet I’m dragging my heels. I felt into this resistance and there’s no substance to it. It’s not a message from my body saying “rest” or from my heart saying “listen”. It’s actually a stubbornness arising from my inner three year old who is stomping her foot and saying “You can’t make me!”.
Funny, that’s not where I thought I was going two minutes ago when I sat down to write this! But I’m going to roll with it and acknowledge her presence. So it seems there is a message after all! I could easily override this sweet child and Just Do It. I was ready to ignore her, but the willingness to tune-in to my resistance seems to have opened up the channels of communication.
So what I’m going to Just Do, is sit down and receive what she has to say, show this girl some empathy and really hear her. I’m guessing she needs some reassurance that her needs are important and that I care. I will take the time to do that and explain my reasons for wanting to do yoga; that it is a gift I offer myself because I love how it makes me feel, not because someone told me I have to do it. Or because I need to do it in order to be worthy of approval. It’s not an assignment needing to be accomplished to please anyone else.
As I’m sinking into this awareness I notice the resistance is melting away. While I still plan to have that conversation, I’m astounded by the realization that I often do put pressure on myself to get my self-care activities done so I can cross them off my list, boost my ego for having done so, and move on to the next seemingly necessary achievement. Once again, I’m reminded that intention is everything, and that just like anything else, self-care activities can be distorted to feed the ego or distract myself from the real job of expressing kindness to myself and others.
Be loving. Just Do It. Everything else appears to be questionable!
Helping others is guaranteed to blossom in my heart. Countless times I’ve gone work tired or grumpy or out-of-sorts in one way or another and after giving someone a massage, I felt uplifted. Usually it’s the “before and after” contrast in the client that does it; one short hour later and they’re feeling relaxed and experiencing less tension or pain than when we started. I hope I never stop appreciating that.
Last week I was travelling home after a long day at work. The train was 30 minutes late and crowded. So crowded we couldn’t even get in. The attendant kept saying “move back”, but there was nowhere to go and the people who had space to move back into couldn’t hear him. It was frustrating and uncomfortable and it didn’t seem like there was an end in sight. Of course this slowed things down terribly and we were even later getting to the station.
I was in quite the mood by the time I finally got onto my connecting train and sat down. I overheard a conversation in front of me; four young people wondering if they were on the right train. I decided to be a good Samaritan and asked where they wanted to go. It took about two seconds for me to see they were NOT on the right train. I was able to help them sort out a new plan and send them on their way. I realized my mood had totally shifted; gone was the irritable, tired woman struggling to get home. Hello cheerful do-gooder, helper of naïve college students.
This incident was such a brilliant reminder of how acts of kindness, even small ones such as giving directions, can transform the course of a day. I’m sure I would have had a much more somber evening had I not chimed in to help. I had another opportunity yesterday while waiting for a bus. I had just pulled out my book when the man sitting next to me on the bench started a conversation. I went with the flow and had a nice chat with a stranger, who I’m guessing doesn’t have a lot of people to talk to. Again, I felt uplifted afterwards.
Living in a city it’s easy to find ways to be of service; holding doors, helping carry baby strollers up and down steps, giving up your seat on a crowded bus, putting a quarter in an expired parking meter, and smiling at people are all relatively easy tasks and don’t take much time. They’re also all great investments in feeling better about yourself. I’m all about getting involved in win-win situations, and being of assistance when you’re genuinely able to give without expecting a return reward can be a great reward on its own.