Committing to Myself

I began the new year with a ritual to get super clear about the changes I need to make in order to align with my desires. The more I explore the arts of spiritual practice, self-care, and redefining success to suit my needs, the more I recognize that shifting on the energetic level within myself is a much more powerful strategy than seeking external goals. 

I’ve developed a morning routine using tantric exercises, Reiki, crystals, mantra, meditation, and yoga to rewire my nervous system and engage my deep subconscious to support my efforts. I’ve cleaned up my eating habits to a level of purity I’ve only ever experienced during cleanses in the past. I’ve reworked my schedule to release everything that drains my energy and doesn’t provide nourishment, fulfillment, or pleasure.

This may seem like a lot of work, but I’m here to report that the rewards have been astounding! It seems that each of my efforts has resulted in unexpected bonuses I never could have planned. The Universe is supporting me wholeheartedly in my path of spiritual healing and recovering wholeness. I’m being met with blessings and honored with gifts that reassure and inspire me to continue on this road less traveled.

I’m reminded on a brilliant quote by Goethe, a German writer from the turn of the twentieth century.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

The experiences of my past several weeks have rectified any doubts I’ve ever experienced about these meaningful words. More than ever, I am committed to my journey of awakening and also to remembering that I have support from realms beyond. If ever there was a time to be bold, this is it. I choose to begin it now.

Won’t you join me?

 

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Redefining Success for 2018

It’s time for me to examine the goals I wish to pursue by redefining the word “success”. Enough of allowing the media, Hollywood, and Wall Street to influence my perception of success as a six figure income, superficial popularity, and meaningless (to me anyway) status. As I welcome in the new year, I’m using Reiki to get clear about what will serve me best in my quest for success. 

When I sit in contemplation about how I wish to feel and what I wish to offer in 2018, I place one hand on my heart and the other on my solar plexus, willing Reiki to flow and guide me. I consider my challenges and victories of the past year and ask for clarity about what I need to release and what I need to cultivate. I allow my heart to open and my willpower to activate as I invite guidance about achieving these desires. 

For starters, how can I deepen my spiritual connection and sense of worthiness? How do I uncover the sparkle of my inner light and extended it to brighten the world for myself, my friends, family, clients, and all beings? What resources do I need to support this goal and what actions can I take right now to start moving in that direction? What time drains, bad habits, or inefficiencies can be released?

Next I consider magnifying my physical, mental, emotional, and energetic health. How can I create more time for rest and play, for preparing and mindfully consuming  nurturing meals, for reading (both for pleasure and growth), for expression and creativity, and for recreation and connection with those who inspire and uplift me? What obligations can I surrender that will free me to pursue my unique version of success rather than conforming with society’s version?

My career falls third on my list of pursuits. While increasing prosperity is indeed on my wish list, I will only consider myself a success if my work doesn’t hamper my spiritual growth or well-being. Pretty radical redefinition, isn’t it? Yes, I long for a tropical vacation, and we’ve only just begun the winter experience here in Philadelphia. Yes, there are several courses that would expand my ability to serve my students and clients better. Without a doubt I would enjoy attending concerts, the symphony and theater much more regularly this year. Yet, none of that is worth sacrificing my health or peace of mind.

Making the commitment to pursuing personal, spiritual, and wellness development  as my primary priority seems like a no-brainer to me. Yet every advertisement I see is urging me to find meaning and self-worth through a purchase or experience that is rarely aligned with my values. In 2018, I’m vowing to continue my redefinition of success as it applies to me. I am wholeheartedly secure in the knowing that a daily Reiki practice will help me stay true to myself and optimize each moment, allowing success to flow into my life. 

It could easily do the same thing for you.

 

 

Comparing and Despairing

“To compare is despair.” I’ve heard this sentiment at least a hundred times from Jennifer Hadley, a spiritual teacher. Yesterday I experienced it with brilliant clarity in the blink of an eye. I was feeling rather victorious about completing a book challenge. I read my goal of 24 books  in 2017 and was considering expanding that number for the new year. When I went to my Goodreads app to enter my aspiration to read 30 books in 2018, I noticed that the average number entered by other participants was 49.

What? How is that possible? Who are these people? Do they have jobs? Do they read picture books? And how can I rearrange my life to read a book each and every week in 2018? All of a sudden my victory was overshadowed by thousands of strangers and I was crushed.

I reviewed my day wondering how I could squeeze in an extra hour or two of reading. If I didn’t go to yoga class, get a massage, spend time visiting with my friend, prepare my meals or plan future ones; I could probably bang out one of the novels that’s been sitting neglected for ages on my bookshelf.

Wait a minute! What? Who am I and what just happened? I went from comparing to competition to mindless consumption to throwing my values out the window in no time at all. Is it really more important to me to achieve some arbitrary goal than to be a rock-star in the self-care world? Is it more important that cultivating meaningful connections or mindfulness in my daily life? Obviously it is not!

Luckily this round of comparing and despairing came and went pretty quickly. I caught myself before I went too deeply down that rabbit hole because despair is a rather icky feeling. My emotional radar lit up like crazy and warned me that I was off-track. I was able to reevaluate and correct my course within a few hours.

Yet I wonder how many times over the years have I lost days and weeks rather than minutes and hours? Oh wait! That’s a subtle form of comparison, isn’t it? I’m not falling for that! No doubt I’ve spent plenty of time feeling needless despair in the past, but the important thing is that I’m committed to avoiding any pointless upset from here on out. 

Welcome 2018. I can tell it’s going to be a year filled with challenges and growth and ultimately more joy. All I need to do is avoiding the nonsensical goal to win competitions I was never interested in entering.

Holiday Madness

Here we go again! Thanksgiving is still over a week away and already I’m seeing Christmas decorations in some local stores. This season can be overwhelming and super-stressful for so many of us. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the busy-ness of holiday traditions and seemingly endless to-do lists. It’s no coincidence that it’s also a season of colds and flus as we run ourselves ragged.

I encourage people to evaluate their intentions before overcommitting. Learning to say “no” is often one of the healthiest and empowering actions we can take when an activity is not aligned with our goals. Allowing time for rest and restoration is important all year long, but invaluable in the colder months of long, , dark nights. Choosing to stay home and recalibrate rather than overeating, overdrinking, overgiving, or overspending can be so supportive of health and well-being.

For those who are determined to push through and do it all, I highly recommend scheduling some healing support. Why wait till things go wrong, till the immune system crashes, the headaches descend or the low back gives out? Prepare yourself and prevent the aftermath of overdoing by making time for a massage, Reiki or acupuncture treatment, a trip to the chiropractor or hot baths, extra yoga or dance classes, or whatever you favorite mode of relaxation may be.

Make it a priority now and get it on the calendar! Save yourself the misery of getting sick or injured or suffering from stress and tension. Having two jobs, my own business, plans to travel to the Michigan tundra for a family Thanksgiving, an upcoming move to a different home, and all the other ordinary everyday stuff I’m loading up on self-care practices; including eliminating all inflammatory thoughts and foods, boosting my immune system with plant medicine, and receiving treatments from my awesome team of holistic health providers. Seriously, I don’t mess around!

If you’re wondering if a session with me would be helpful, let’s schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation. Even if you’re not in the Philadelphia area, long-distance Reiki is an excellent option to stress relief, recharging batteries, and keeping life-force energy flowing and balanced. If we’re neighbors, let’s get you on the table for a therapeutic massage or Reiki treatment! Check out my website for details or contact me to schedule.

Can You Fix Me?

I get this question a lot from clients, often when they are in great pain; either physical, psychological, or spiritual. They come seeking relief, having been sent by a friend or Google search, correctly informed that Reiki and massage are powerful, holistic healing techniques. Recently a young woman jokingly requested that I vacuum out all her anxiety. If only I could! Alas, healing does not work this way.

Human touch and muscle manipulation are potent vehicles of healing, as is the universal life-force energy transferred during a Reiki session. They can provide the nudge that the body or psyche needs to return to alignment with the Spirit. They can also offer the boost in motivation to follow through on lifestyle changes, the release of self-sabotaging beliefs, and the comfort of remembering that we are not merely broken bodies with problems struggling alone in an unfriendly universe. Reiki and massage are some of the most powerful healing tools that I’ve ever come across in my twenty plus years of spiritual awakening.

And yet it is up to each of us individually to decide if we wish to receive the many benefits these tools have to offer. We are ultimately the ones in control of our own healing and well-being. Providers like myself can offer support to our clients, but until emotions have been fully acknowledged, felt, and released there is no shortcut. Our pain is very often an indicator that we have gotten off-track. It serves the function of reminding us of our greater purpose, our true nature, and our mission in this lifetime.

My compassion allows me to dream of taking away the discomfort everyone experiences, but my inner knowing counsels that this would indeed be a disservice to the evolution and ultimate wellness of others. Being human is a difficult job. But we have been blessed with countless systems of support, transformation, and integration. If you’re wondering if a treatment with me might be helpful, please check out my website! I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation for this very reason. If you’re just not into massage or Reiki, that’s cool too. I hope you seek out one of the other alternative options so readily available today.

Reiki and Sugar Addiction

Note: in this post, I’m referring to refined sugar; products of the sugar cane plant, as well as all its nefarious aliases and chemical substitutes. According to UCSF there are 61 names for sugar! No doubt this list will continue to expand as consumers get savvier and manufacturers get trickier. I’m not interested in the naturally occurring sugars found in whole foods which will be included as grams of sugar on a product label; I am strictly interested in the list of ingredients for this article.

I’m participating in a panel discussion through Weavers Way Coop in Mount Airy, Philadelphia on the topic of sugar addiction. Event details here. I will be sharing the stage with a nutritionist and a life coach, both of whom will provide valuable information. As a Reiki practitioner and massage therapist, I’m not qualified to discuss the effects of sugar on the body. As a recovering sugar addict and facilitator of body-mind-spirit healing, I do however bring a great deal of experience and awareness of the emotional component of changing one’s diet.

I think at this point we all know that sugar is not healthy for us. No one wakes up in the morning thinking, “I’m going to eat healthfully today, where are the donuts?” In fact many of us have a plan in place to avoid sugar, pack well balanced snacks and lunches, and nonetheless end up succumbing to the sweet temptress despite our best efforts. If you’re one of those rare people who can take or leave sugar, more power to you! Perhaps you can sign up for medical testing to see what secrets your body knows that could benefit the rest of us.

This is the piece of the puzzle that captivates me:  why do so many of us fail when we try so hard to avoid harmful sweets? Yes, sugar has indeed been shown to be addictive; some claim it’s more addictive than cocaine. It’s certainly more readily available; in certain environments it’s downright difficult to avoid. Most every gathering I’ve ever been to was centered around some variation of cake. Ack! I will leave the proof of the addictive nature of sugar to the nutritionists and scientists. If you’re doubtful, check out the movie, That Sugar Film. It’s morbidly fascinating and deeply disturbing. But better to know the monster that lurks in your cupboards than to allow it to control your behavior from the shadows. Right? 

In addition to the biochemical nature of addiction, I notice that many of us (myself included) are compelled to eat sugar for emotional reasons. It can be a balm for a broken heart, a celebration, a distraction from upset, and an attempt to soothe stress. Name an emotion, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used dessert to commemorate, numb, or avoid it. The problem lies in the fact that these strategies are hugely unsuccessful! Sugar does not alleviate stress; if it did, Americans would be the most relaxed people on the planet. When we stress eat,  the result is a stimulating chemical reaction in our bodies and quite possibly guilt or shame in addition to the original stress.

From my point of view as a holistic practitioner, the path to breaking the sugar cycle involves emotional healing and being prepared for the inevitable cravings. This is where the healing power of Reiki comes in. Reiki can support us in becoming aware of our feelings, allowing them to surface, and processing them in a healthy way. It can help open intuitive pathways that guide us on the journey and connect us to the wisdom deep within. And perhaps most importantly, it can provide comfort and support in the moments we become triggered and would normally turn to a cupcake or ice cream, or my personal favorite, chocolate chip cookies, for solace.

While the process of examining, handling, and releasing emotional discord can be messy, takes time and effort, and is by no means the popular route; it has the potential for deactivating the landmines that send us running to the pseudo-comforting arms of sugar. It is certainly more effective than white-knuckling it through every party you ever attend, or relying on will power and the knowledge of the damaging effects that sugar has on your health. If you’re interested in a free 15 minute consultation or booking a Reiki session, either remotely or in person to kick that pesky sugar habit, I’d love to hear from you. Check out my website for more information about the services I offer or to contact me.

Bodywork for that pain in the behind

I’ve been working with several clients lately who are suffering from hip pain. Interestingly enough, I myself have been experiencing the same discomfort! It seems I learn a lot about my own healing by helping others. Just to be perfectly clear, Dear Universe, I am totally open to learning under more joyful and comfortable circumstances henceforth!

While my practice is soundly rooted in supporting body-mind-spirit balance, I’m focusing simply on the physical approach for this post. Delving into thoughts and beliefs about security, support, and prosperity as well as a sense of connection to the divine do indeed factor into releasing pain in the hips. So does exploring inflammation, biochemistry and diet. But that is a story for another day…

In myself and the clients presenting with hip pain, I notice an imbalance in all the muscle groups that attach to the pelvis. It’s common for hip pain to manifest in the sacro-illiac joint, which is where the spine unites with the pelvis. Sometimes it gets labelled as low back or glut pain. I believe it is the source of the expression “pain in the behind”. It can be accompanied by shooting or throbbing pain or tingling down the leg. And it can range from mildly unpleasant to downright debilitating. I’ve had many a sleepless night due to this issue lately.

So say someone has pain in the left hip. It’s easy to concentrate on the back of the body on the left side. Clearly there is tension in that area (including hamstrings, gluts, and lateral rotators) that needs to be addressed. But looking at the big picture draws me to the right S-I joint. After all we have only one sacrum and one pelvis; any imbalance affects the whole structure. Often I find the piriformis (a muscle that attaches to the sacrum and tends to be a troublemaker!) on the opposite side to be more tense than on the problematic side! Clients are invariable surprised to realize this; but I’ve come to expect it.

Let’s not forget the hip flexors. (Side note: I have no idea why, but there seems to be a good deal of confusion as to where the flexors lie. They’re on the front side of the hip and include the quadriceps as well as that other troublemaker, the psoas.) Once again the client is startled to feel stiffness, achiness, or downright pain once they’ve turned over and I’m working on the anterior side of pelvis.

It’s impossible for me to say with any degree of certainty where the trouble begins. I can’t discern which of the muscles are compensated for or trying to prevent pain. What I absolutely can testify to wholeheartedly is that the whole lot is in cahoots. It’s impossible to effectively address pain in the posterior left hip without exploring the right side as well and both sides of the anterior pelvis. I explain to my clients that my goal is to get all the muscles communicating and operating peacefully rather than playing a tug of war. From there we can begin to suggest and foster harmony and teamwork in the muscular-skeletal system.

As a holistic practitioner, this seems like common sense to me. We are not working with  two thighs, two hips, and a pelvis.  We are working with one body that is seeking balance any way it can. To support that process, it’s super important to recognize all the players and get them on the same page. While my practice exists mainly in the Philadelphia area, I’m happy to provide coaching for those who reside elsewhere. Visit my website to contact me for details. Life is too short to suffer from a pain in the behind!