Greetings! I’ve been focused this past week on the beginning of a 40 day radical self-care journey. I’ve been documenting it on my business blog, Healing Hands Bodywork. I’ve come to realize that I don’t have the time and energy to sustain two blogs. Duh! What was I thinking anyway? Also the separation between my personal and professional life is really an illusion. I am who I am. I take my personality with me to work and I bring my love of holistic health with me into my home and the world. I invite you to join me at the Healing Hands site as I imagine the little activity that’s happening here will come to a rest. If you’re interested in self-care or even a little curious how I can review it for 40 days, check it out! I’m not yet sure where the journey will take me, only that I’ll feel better and better along the way.
Just last week I caught myself holding back on pursuing my dreams because I wasn’t ready, I needed time to settle into some changes, I wasn’t organized, and I definitely needed some time off. As I was speaking this nonsense to a friend, I heard a little bell going off in my head warning me that I was way off track. I refer to this intuitive bell as my bullshit meter as it alerts me when I’m making excuses and avoiding growth.
Seriously, when am I ever going to be ready, settled, organized, and rested enough to feel perfectly aligned with my goals and have all the resources I need to take action? Never! My schedule is always changing and so is my income. The transit system seems to take pleasure in keeping me on my toes by changing train timetables, and my sleep patterns are erratic. There is always more to be done and progress to be made. I think this is the very essence of life. I can bemoan the inconsistency, or I can relish the opportunity to partake in continuous creation.
Continuous creation is a phrase I’ve borrowed from a friend to describe the journey of living life as it is now and choosing to follow my dreams no matter what my calendar or checkbook says. Once I acknowledge that this chaos is what I have to work with, and that everything is perfectly wonderful in the moment, it seems absurd to sit around and prepare to become ready to one day step up and fulfill my purpose. I’m taking action this very minute to follow my bliss and be the best me I can possibly be. Starting now!
I was planning to write about how I adapted to The Heat and Humidity of PA summertime after being spoiled by living on the coast of CA. Last week I swore by a combination of resiliency, perseverance, and flexibility. I shifted my daily routine so I could enjoy a hike before breakfast, condensed my errands, and pre-hydrated. Best of all, I stopped complaining about the heat and began to accept it as just a temporary circumstance.
Then about a week ago the mercury shoot up another ten degrees and we’re regularly seeing temperatures in the 90’s with a heat index hovering around 100. Suddenly I no longer feel like a master of my experience but rather like a limp, soggy dishrag. I was outside for half an hour this afternoon and am now sticky and exhausted and wrung out.
Does this mean I have failed? I’m not willing to accept that! So instead I’m writing about accepting what is happening around me as well as my body’s limitations. Ok, so I can’t be out and about for more than ten minutes without needing a liter of water, but I won’t let that stop me.
What I can do is not add mental suffering to the mix. I can abstain from complaining and pushing against the heat. I can embrace the early morning hours when it’s just very warm and not scalding. I can get creative with salads and smoothies and be ok with eating cherries for dinner.
So while it’s true that I haven’t conquered my disdain for summer weather in the northeast. But I have learned to peacefully coexist with it. Let’s face it, this is what I have to work with for about 2 months. There’s no sense in dragging my mood down any further by resisting it.
Now off to the store to buy a spritzer bottle. I’m going to make an amazingly refreshing mister to carry in my purse. Maybe I’ll look for a snazzy folding fan while I’m at it a go for a whole new look.
This week my commute via Philly public transportation went from long and inefficient to ridiculous, inconvenient, and crowded. It seems that for the next two months there will be both fewer trains and fewer cars (and therefore seats) on each train. My initial reaction to this unwelcome news was one of dismay, anger, and some creative cursing.
Luckily I was able to break through this victim mentality to see the hidden opportunity in the seeming disaster on the train platform. This experience offers a great many forms of spiritual practice, all readily available for anyone wishing to extract the sacred from the mundane.
Patience, tolerance, and presence are all spiritual qualities that I wish to develop. So are acceptance, forgiveness, loving-kindness, and flexibility. And as I sit waiting for a train that is thirty minutes overdo with a few hundred other travelers displaying varying degrees of confusion and irritability, it becomes increasingly clear that this is a wonderful opportunity to practice all of these plus the queen of spiritual qualities: surrender.
It’s easy to pretend I have mastered the art of surrender when sitting on my favorite rock by the creek or on my meditation cushion in front of the air conditioner. Can I show the same level of mastery in the chaos of rush hour waiting for a delayed train that likely has fewer seats than passengers? Not today. But it looks like I’ll have the rest of the summer to practice and reach a PhD level understanding of letting go of that which I cannot control, and more importantly, cultivating inner peace no matter the external circumstances.
I’ve never been particularly good at multitasking. The very idea of doing several things simultaneously suggests not paying full attention to any of them. This tends to make me feel anxious as it seems there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all well. I can feel adrenaline surging and my nervous system rebelling. I’ve vowed to reduce, if not completely eliminate, multitasking from my daily life whenever possible .
So what to do when there’s more to accomplish than my schedule will allow? I go to the woods. Sounds counter-productive, I know! Yet when I rise with the sun in order to beat the summer heat, I’m able to achieve many missions with a single task. Being amongst the trees, and better yet next to a creek, I am super-tasking. I am filling all sorts of needs at the same time. I am in a sacred temple, an art museum, a psychotherapy appointment, a meditation retreat, and an exercise class.
I’m excited to explore other opportunities to accomplish multi-level goals with one simple activity. Surely they are countless other options to expand my awareness and flexibility to receive multi-benefits from mindful choices. Feedback is most welcome here. How do you super-task?
Recently I moved to a new neighborhood in Philly which requires an epic commute to get to work. Depending on train connections, or lack thereof, I leave home anywhere between 75 minutes and two hours before my first appointment. The absurd part is that it’s less than ten miles away; there just aren’t any direct approaches via public transit.
The first time I mapped it out and realized how early I had to leave to greet my first client, I almost cried. Nearly two hours! I thought of all the things I would need to give up in order to make that happen. I couldn’t imagine myself rising before the dawn and figured it would be my spiritual practice and Reiki self-treatment time that would suffer cuts. Life had really handed me a basket full of super-tart lemons.
Shortly after this dismal realization, I had a breakthrough. I could take my practice with me. There is absolutely no reason that my meditation needs to happen on my favorite cushion in front of my home altar. There is nothing to keep me from taking my show on the road, so to speak. I can easily flow Reiki while riding the train. I am able tune-in to the moment while waiting at the station. I can bring my awareness and peaceful vibes with me wherever I go and share them with my fellow passengers.
I’m so pleased that I was able to shift my thinking from that of scarcity (not enough time) consciousness to abundance (now I have a great deal of time!) consciousness by simply being willing to see things differently. Not only do I have plenty of time for spiritual practice, I have been gifted the bonus of dedicated time to read or listen to any of the vast number of podcasts I’ve been wanting to check out for months. Suddenly I find myself delighted that I have room in my life for things I enjoy that I hadn’t managed to make space for previously.
Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I realized my commute is actually a blessing in disguise. I have learned to embrace my new schedule and have begun to tackle the stack of books gathering dust by my bed. I have come to appreciate that the Universe recognizes what I truly want and finds interesting and surprising ways to give it to me. Lesson learned:there’s nothing more refreshing that lemonade on a hot, humid summer day. Especially while waiting for the train. 🙂
I am often asked this question by potential Reiki clients. Usually they are disappointed by my answer. In short, no, I cannot heal anyone. Reiki is not a magical cure that cleanses people of accumulated negative thoughts, emotions, habits, or lifestyles in an hour or less. It cannot make anyone less resentful of an unsupportive partner, rearrange our overburdened schedules or bank accounts, or erase anything else that creates tension in our lives or bodies. The power to create that level of transformation is the within each individual.
So, you might be wondering, why I have the nerve to call Reiki a healing energy if it doesn’t actually heal people. In my experience, Reiki gives people the extra energy they need to heal themselves, should they be so willing. It floods the recipient with universal life-force energy, which overcomes the depleted, overstressed condition of the mind and body and over time builds a reserve of energy to draw from in challenging times. It creates relaxation which can give us the space we need to remember that we are more than our problems, our troubled relationships, or our disharmonious environments. As we get back in touch with our true identity as eternal beings, we have more clarity to make healthy decisions and create changes.
I often use the analogy of Reiki being the gasoline we put in a car. It does give us the energy necessary to go where we want to, yet we are still in charge of navigating and driving the car. I can give a client a wonderful respite from her anxious thoughts and support her nervous system to disengage from constant fight or flight activation. But once she leaves my office, it’s up to her to make new decisions to support this peacefulness. She must then choose to behave differently, or her energy will once again become depleted. Reiki will most definitely support people in healthy lifestyle transitions, but they must absolutely display a willingness to cooperate because Reiki will never interfere with a person’s free will.
I have experienced tremendous healing courtesy of Reiki. I have invited it into my everyday life to help me navigate life’s challenges. I have opened my mind to change and have allowed myself to become filled with this life-force energy. I know for a fact that it always supports me in making healthy decisions and gives me the clarity to notice the not-so-healthy ones. Whenever I then choose to act on this information, I am rewarded with greater peace and vitality. I’m still the one driving the car, but I have an unlimited source of fuel to go on my life’s journey. Reiki is indeed a healing energy if we but allow it to show us the way.