During our Reiki II Okuden class this past Sunday, we practiced a technique for scanning the energy above the body. One student beautifully described her experience as feeling like she was resting her hands on the recipient’s energy field. She didn’t feel like she was using any effort to hold her hands above their body, and as the energy shifted, she would then feel her hands drop into the flow of its movement. Her lovely description gave me a moment to reflect on how hands-on healing with Reiki really is all about resting our hands on the energy.
As with many beginners, when I started my Reiki journey almost 15 years ago, I had this need to feel like I was doing something “more” than resting my hands on or above the body. It took me a little while to trust that the energy, in its infinite wisdom, would flow where it is most needed. As I learned more and more to enjoy simply being in the fullness of the energy without the distractions of too many bells and whistles, my experience and the experience of my clients grew deeper and more fulfilling.
While navigating these stormy weeks that will transition into spring, I realize that the noise of the rain, ice, snow and wind is the beginnings of nature’s flow of energy becoming full once again. As the weather settles, Mother Earth will once again become filled to the brim in her mud-luscious state, and life will quietly and magically emerge. The flowers will seemingly bloom overnight, the air will be full of their perfume and animals will gear up for the active cycles of the year.
Last weekend I also watched the sweetest film called Dare to Be Wild. It is based on the true story of Mary Reynolds, the Irish woman who, against all odds, won the 2002 Chelsea Flower Show. As she came up against each obstacle, in her own way she would stay present in her faith and higher vision until something would start to flow in the direction of her dream. One of the main attractions of her landscape design was the use of the mystical Hawthorn tree. The night before the judging, she is found whispering to the Hawthorn tree, asking it to bloom in time. In Celtic tradition, the Hawthorn tree is known for not only protecting one from negative influences, but also “fertilizing” one’s deepest wishes. It is a tree known for beckoning the spirits of the faery realm, reminding one to let go of the logical mind and experience the mystical side of life and nature itself.
Despite the cold winter weather this week, there is a rumbling of new life beneath our feet.
As we prepare to enjoy the onset of spring’s beauty and become more active in the world, what wishes are you fertilizing?
In what ways does your life already feel full and leave you in a state of gratitude?
How are you staying present with that fullness as you encounter any obstacles, and trusting in the flow of the great river of life?
While it’s easy to point out the things that aren’t working or to make a long list of what we “should” be doing, when we rest our focus on the energy of how we want to be and feel, life transforms into a magical journey!
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
As we step through the doorway to this new year, what keeps coming to mind more than setting goals and resolutions is the question of what you want to feel and experience in 2018. The goals, wishes and resolutions will always be there. As humans we are wired to have desires as we experience the contrasts of living in a three-dimensional world. We are also biologically wired to focus more of our attention on what isn’t “right” in our lives than the positive anticipation of what we are creating, shifting into, and changing for ourselves and the world. For example, if you decided to eat healthier in 2018 is it because the doctor said to or because you want to feel more energized and focused? If you want to save more money, is it because you feel financially insecure or because you to feel more appreciation for what you already have? If you are seeking a life partner, is it because you feel alone or because you have love you want to share and experience more deeply? For each of these questions, the answer could be both. However, choosing the latter will shift you into the vibration that aligns and fully supports you in the process.
In some instances, the changes we desire call for immediate and full on transformation to activate the sustainable momentum one needs. I find in many cases though, the changes and goals we desire are more lasting when we take the pressure off and create space to enjoy the process along the way. For some people, jumping with both feet in is the way to go, but for many, that can be a shock to the system and back fire. So perhaps instead of jumping into yoga class at 6 am every day when you aren’t a morning person to begin with, you try one class a week after work or on the weekends. And then after a couple of weeks, you attend two classes. And then, maybe that fun dance class on Friday evenings makes its way into your weekly routine. It becomes fun and fluid instead of a shock to your mind, body and spirit which in turn has you giving up on week 2.
Putting more emphasis on the results when deciding to make a change will only lead to a sense of failure each step of the way. When you focus on what feels good and make a little more room for it each day, then it becomes a full and satisfying experience.
What is the energy you want to ignite for yourself in 2018?
And in turn, what is that focused energy asking of you?
Is it asking you to surrender certain attachments? Jump all in with passion and momentum? Move forward but with ease so you don’t feel overwhelmed?
And in turn, how does this energy contribute to the shifting of the greater consciousness of the world? As you feel healthier and more focused, do you have more energy to be present for loved ones and your community? As you become more financially prosperous, are you inspired to contribute to a cause you believe in? As you release attachments to certain things, are you finding ways to give them to people who could use them?
The middle of winter, even in warmer climates, gifts us a time to journey within and reflect on the spirit and energy that longs to emerge with the growing sunlight over the next six months. Now is the time to anchor it in and ignite its qualities from within. When we take just a few minutes each day to remind ourselves of what we want to feel and experience, then each breath, each action, each small step will unfold with ease, joy, and mindful awareness.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
I’ll never forget my first day of ballet class, when I was attending the college dance program at SUNY-Purchase. My teacher, Gayle Young, yelled out in his southern drawl “Jean Bromage, you look like a duck! You are rocking back and forth on those ronde jambes like a duck. Quack! Quack!” I was soooo humiliated, I went back to my dorm that afternoon questioning everything I had worked so hard to achieve up to that point, not to mention the realization I would endure the nickname “Duck” for the next 4 years. During that time though, Gayle became one of the most inspiring teachers I’d ever encounter in my life. I quickly came to appreciate his wisdom, musicality, lyricism, and, well, even his sense of humor.
In the version of the Reiki Precepts I use when teaching, there is a line that says, “Please appreciate everything and show gratitude.” This line is frequently translated as “Be grateful,” or “Show gratitude.” However, what I love about this translation is that it asks us to “appreciate everything.” In my recent Reiki 1 Class, we discussed offering up a prayer of gratitude to the future during those times when we are so deeply challenged it is difficult to appreciate our experience in the moment. It is an offering of trust we put out into the Universe that says, “I know this might suck in the moment, but I also know that somewhere in the future, as my sense of wholeness is restored, I will discover reasons to be grateful.”
For me, this Reiki precept invites us to take our attitude of gratitude to a whole new level, looking beyond the surface of everything in life to recognize the essence of love that exists within. No matter how muddled our connection to the vibrancy of life may become at any given time, or how hurtful a situation may seem in the moment, underneath it is a constant current of love flowing through and available to us.
The deeper my connection with Reiki through my daily practice, the easier it is becoming to experience love held within even the densest of feelings, and see light behind even the darkest of moments. This is where we learn to extend compassion to ourselves and others, and allow it to hold us over when we don’t have the answers or solutions to life’s problems.
This year has brought great loss and sorrow to many people and their communities, and as a society we are experiencing a tremendous amount of fear in the collective consciousness. Even if we don’t actively engage this fear, we can feel its presence as it permeates our culture. However, held within the heart of this fear is an essence that is always ready, willing and able to make any given situation whole once again. This essence carries the truth of who we are and returns us to a state of gratitude whenever we are ready receive it.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
This past weekend I had the honor of standing by one of my Reiki sisters during the initiation ceremony of her shamanic name. Witnessing this beautiful ritual held for her and the other shamanic practitioners was truly magical. As it was held outdoors, nature also participated with a gorgeous butterfly appearing as the ceremony got underway, and bumble bees landing on people’s shoulders throughout as if they were soaking in the energy of this sacred gathering.
Rituals like this are specially planned to both ignite and celebrate the energy around someone transitioning into a new phase of life. From graduations and weddings to baptisms and funerals, ceremony has been used to honor the different stages of life since the beginning of humanity.
In between these pivotal moments, though, are the smaller rituals we practice on a daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal basis that anchor the bigger picture into our lives. The morning cup of coffee, workout, or meditation is a daily ritual that can set the right tone for one’s day. For others spending time with their children or pets when coming home becomes a ritual for letting go of their day at work.
Whether they are daily practices or momentous ceremonies, rituals create space for us to acknowledge the sacredness of life, and return to the heart of what is most important to us. They reinforce our intentions while simultaneously helping us to surrender our attachments to the outcome. They help us to align with our most authentic nature and mindfully approach each day fully awake to the energy we want to activate.
When we consistently show up to our daily rituals, there comes a point when we start to feel “in the flow” of co-creation with the Universe. Working with ritual for manifestation is more than having positive thoughts and sending out wishes into the Universe. It’s about being in the felt sense and mindset of how we want to be and what we want to create, while allowing for all the unknown components we are unable to see or understand to align for our highest good.
What are your daily, weekly, and seasonal rituals? How do you show up for them? Do you savor them, or do you often find your focus somewhere else? I invite you to take inventory of your daily routine and reflect on the consciousness you bring to each activity. When you start your day with a specific action, does it reinforce a certain level of productivity and focus that you otherwise wouldn’t experience? Do you start feeling as though you have plenty of time to get everything done? Do your interactions with others go more smoothly? The time we allow for this doesn’t have to be long. Even a 5-minute daily ritual carried out with clarity and consistency will affect sustainable change for the better.
While the big vision is important, the real power for transformation lies in consistently showing up each day with clear intention. Mindfully engaging in the activities that frame your days, weeks, and seasons is one of the most effective tools for staying true to the higher vision for who you want to be in this world.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
This week started off with a spirited charge from the lunar eclipse on Monday. Even though it couldn’t be seen in North America, it’s energy could be felt by many. With the archetypal theme of Aquarius coming through, this lunar event opened a window to allow a higher vision to come into focus and presented a spark of inspiration to propel us forward in alignment with this vision.
While eclipses are magical in that they act as a portal into multi-dimensional awareness both in our awake and dream states, they can also simultaneously dredge up old fears, emotional wounds and grief that need to be cleared for the alchemy of an eclipse cycle to take place. The hermetic principle of correspondence applies here. “As within, so without. As above, so below.” An eclipse is like a chiropractic adjustment for the soul or higher self so that we can align our inner world with that higher vision the universe or divine source is holding for us. When we decide to make a change in our lives or to manifest something new, it is already a done deal on a higher dimension. Our job is to clear away the energetic, emotional and physical debris that prevents the higher vision from manifesting on the three-dimensional plane. When we tune in to the energy and wisdom an eclipse cycle offers, we are given a chance to dance with life in a magical and playful way, as well as experience deeper shifts in our lives.
If an eclipse cycle does indeed trigger some buried patterns that need to surface and transform, do not be surprised if your body doesn’t also respond. Headaches, nausea, insomnia and back or neck issues can kick up around an eclipse as well as life circumstances being in sudden upheaval. As we lean in to these experiences, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, and look within to what the higher self is revealing, we can begin to clear our inner debris and more fully embody this new consciousness wanting to shine through. This past week, as my own body went through some physical upheaval, I recognized some long-buried fears rising to the surface. In the recovery process, I could feel a clearing in my body making room for a higher vision I’ve been mapping out. As I leaned into the discomfort, I felt a whole new level of love and appreciation for how my body and my higher self can work in conjunction.
Not every eclipse cycle needs to have dramatic effects on one’s life, but as we observe what is coming up for us in these weeks around the eclipse, they become a queue from spirit to look within to see what wants to shift or transform. August itself is a magical time of year. Summer is coasting along and there is a release as we sense the gentle beginnings of the year’s unwinding. It is also the beginning of the harvest season. These next 10 days leading up to the big solar eclipse, a once in a lifetime event for many, are an opportunity to experience a little magic at play, opening the heart and mind to observing the symbolic language of the universe and giving the linear mind a summer vacation. If you have a question or decision to make about something, begin to look for answers from what may seem like random places. It could be a song about that question playing on the radio, or someone casually mentioning something that leads to an answer, or an unusual animal crossing your path that holds a symbolic key. I remember a cricket flew through the window of my 3rd floor apartment one summer evening and sat on my bookcase, playing its music for me. As I turned off my TV and sat on the couch listening to his beautiful sound, I was so grateful for this animal’s gentle reminder to stay centered in my heart.
The week ahead will be a great time to find some stillness and tune in to your own inner subtleties, as well as the subtleties of the world around you. The space underneath the surface of everything is where most of life transpires, and when we allow our sensitivities to tune in to that space, magic begins to happen. Think of the eclipse as a booster for developing that intuitive awareness. While the lunar eclipse offered us higher vision awareness, the solar eclipse will then be asking us to anchor that awareness into our physical world and to cultivate the courage to live in alignment with that vision. The vision could be asking you to make small changes in your life, or it could be asking for bigger inner and outer shifts. Either way, the most important way we can benefit from this lunar cycle is to live in the present as fully as we can, because as we do, we allow the process to unfold with ease and become a joyful adventure.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Having just returned from camping at Yosemite National Park, I am still feeling the energy of this special place settle into my being. The waterfalls coming down from the moutaintops have been at their fullest in decades, and there is still much more snow waiting to melt its way down into the valley.
There was a strong sense of both renewal and relief everywhere as we hiked past the Merced River and up the trails to the waterfalls. Nature was coming alive with a fullness not experienced in quite a while. As the waters roared in the places where the rocky base of the mountains meet the river, Mother Nature was clearly expressing her power as any mother bringing forth new life must do.
As we approach Mother's Day this weekend, we honor the women who, whether they were ready to or not, stepped into the fierceness of what it means to bring new life into this world. It takes a courageous heart to offer sustained love and nurturing to another who is not necessarily able to give back in the same capacity. It also takes wisdom to know when to offer nourishment, and when to step back and allow this life to grow into its own uniqueness and power.
We each have the mother archetype within us, whether or not we've physically given birth. When we fully embrace self love, self care and self nurturing, it naturally emanates exponentially to those around us. Who knows for how many generations the mother archetype has been celebrated as self sacrifice until there is nothing left to give. In actuality, when the authentic power of the mother archetype is fully engaged, we experience a state of self love that is so strong it in turn makes us capable of unconditional love for another. This is the wisdom that the great mother within longs for us to experience.
Whether you will be spending time with your mother this weekend, missing your mother, estranged from your mother, coming to terms with a challenging relationship with your mother, or enjoying being celebrated as a mother, may your day be full of beauty and graced with the love of the great mother that resides within each of us.
Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Over the past few weeks, in between these final blasts of winter, we’ve enjoyed some beautiful spring weather. While walking through the park one day, I could feel the thaw taking place both within and without. My body felt warm, but there was a residual tingle of frostiness felt on my skin. Small, leftover patches of snow were melting and merging with the soil, offering it much needed moisture to soften and prepare for the grass and flowers to grow.
These weeks of transition from winter into spring have many ups and downs. The wind becomes bitter and harsh while the sun grows stronger along with our yearning to spend more time outside. The weather changes drastically from day to day and even hour to hour as Mother Nature begins her annual birthing process.
It takes tremendous energy and momentum for new growth to take place, and at the same time it takes tremendous surrender. As the seed pushes its way to sprout and break through the soil, the snow is simultaneously surrendering its frozen form, helping to nourish the earth and support the new plant growth. In observing this wild time of transition in nature, we too are invited to surrender our frozen ideas and visions on how life should be and embrace what we can’t control as a pathway to new growth in our lives. Showing up for our self-care activities and practices offers us the space needed to soothe the ego from its fear, worry and anguish over the unpredictable chaos of life, and to cultivate the fertile muddy soil needed for sure and steady growth. If we allow the ego’s frozen hold over us, which perpetuates our suffering, to gently melt like the snow into the earth, we then empower the part of us that can observe from a place of love and allow for new experiences to blossom in our lives. While pain and chaos are a part of the human journey, if we allow it to meld with our overall experience of life, it then transforms into the colorful beauty that blossoms as the healing from those experiences takes place.
Planting our seeds of intention and planning for what we desire are important aspects to manifesting a meaningful and joyful life, as well as co-creating the world we want to see for ourselves and others. However, when we allow the mind to let go of its preconceived notions on how life “should” be or how others “should” be, we allow the things we can’t control to transform into the nourishment that supports us in living in alignment with our most authentic and true nature. In turn, just as the soil softens in response to the snow melting, creating the mud needed to support new life, when we release the ego’s grip over us, the world around us begins to soften. How we experience the journey of life becomes a beautiful gift, even during our moments of doubt and confusion. We dissolve the labels of who we are or who we think we should be, recognizing that the light and the shadow aspects of ourselves are one, working in tandem to support us. In turn our whole, healed and most authentic nature can thrive and express itself in beautiful ways within the confines of our human journey.