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Ashes


I am occasionally asked, as a buddhist, why I observe Ash Wednesday and Lent. I was raised catholic and as a child, Lent was that annoying time where I’d have to give up chocolate or ice cream. I did not understand the deeper message until I was older.

As a buddhist, Lent has become a time of quiet contemplation. It is now a reminder of the impermanence of all things. There is beauty in impermanence. It allows us to better appreciate the moments, the present. It allows us to spark our awareness that all things pass away, that our moments are magical, our experience ripe with the whole spectrum of human emotion.

During lent I take time to pray and meditate each day with an intention of compassion for this planet. This year Pope Francis has appealed “to everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike” to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, “a day of prayer and fasting for peace.”

Will you join me in a day of fasting and hold the hope of peace & the end of suffering for so many on this tiny little planet we ALL call home?

Reiki

Happy now beautiful souls! It is a crisp, cold morning here in upstate NY- the perfect kind of day to cozy up with a cup of tea, good book or get started on a new blog post! I do like to hibernate a bit more in the winter. My body and mind crave warmth, comfort and seclusion. I have learned over the years to pay deep attention to my body as the body mirrors the mind. This process of understanding the mind-body-spirit connection has been made clearer with Reiki.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

So first let us take a look at what Reiki is and the science backed benefits it provides. REIKI, (pronounced Ray Key) is a stress reduction and relaxation technique where through the laying of hands, the practitioner channels Universal energy through the body to assist in removing emotional blockages, stress, and anxiety. REIKI energy balances & works on the four levels of existence: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Reiki activates the parasympathetic nervous system allowing for deeper relaxation and renewal.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) regulates functions outside of voluntary control such as the cardiac muscles, digestion and relaxation. When we are able to activate or be in touch with the PNS we can reduce stress levels and in turn reduce heart rate, blood pressure and raise our levels of joy.

Let’s look at an example. We have all been in a situation where our sympathetic nervous system (AKA Flight or Fight response) is activated like when we get cut off in traffic. A flood of adrenaline ups our heart rate and breathing. Unfortunately, this system is in overdrive with our modern way of life. We tend to respond in traffic the way our ancestors would have responded to being chased by a tiger. These constant reactions create unregulated stress in our bodies. Long term, this can have serious health effects.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

It has been scientifically shown that we can reduce the stress reaction by activating our PNS with various techniques such as Reiki. During a Reiki treatment with me, the client lays comfortably, clothed, on a massage table and is guided into a relaxed state with meditation. You will be asked to gently focus on the present using your breath to bring you back to the moment when your mind drifts. While you enjoy healing music such as solfeggio frequencies, I will first access your energy by placing my hands on your shoulders followed by hand placements at specific energetic points on the body. You may feel a subtle shift of consciousness, or release of emotion, warmth or tingling sensation as REIKI energy flows through your body. Once the treatment is complete you may feel relaxed, refreshed, or very tired.  You will be advised to drink plenty of pure water to aid in detoxifying your energetic body.

I routinely perform self-treatments to assist in healing my own health issues or dis-ease. I have found that my state of mind greatly influences the levels of pain I experience, for our body is a reflection of mind. Our thoughts precede our actions and our physicality. Reiki has helped me to slow down, to find presence, to be instead of do(ing). Now when I experience pain, I know it is due to imbalance in my overall mind-body-spirit system. I am able to actively participate in my treatment and healing. Migraines and stomach upset frequently have less to do with physical dis-ease as they do mental dis-ease. Stress and trauma can cause flareups in my IBS, fibromyalgia and endometriosis. Being aware of my mental state gives me opportunity to see the patterns of cause and effect. This awareness take time to cultivate but offers one a chance to begin healing from within.

When we learn to cultivate practice for our mental well-being our physical body follows suit. Healing modalities such as Reiki, breath work, meditation, Qi Gong all can help us become in touch with our mind-body-spirit connection. We need to heal wholly, at each level of existence in order to live a balanced life. If you would like to know more or would like to begin on a path of healing, please contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.

Namaste.

Introduction to Chakras

Chakra is the Sanskrit word for “wheel.”  These “wheels” are the energy centers of the body. They are spinning vortexes of energy situated in a column along the body from the base of the spine to the crown of the head.  There are seven major chakras and each corresponds to various glands of the endocrine system and governs the energy of certain organs.  Each chakra is associated with one of the seven colors of the rainbow and seven specific musical tones (harmonic resonance). They are the embodiment of spiritual energy on the physical plane.

Energy created from emotional responses to physical stimuli run along the chakras and “feed” our cells tissues and organs. Like our unseen breath, which nourishes the body with life giving oxygen, the unseen energy we create can nourish us or deplete us.

Try this:

The next time you experience a strong emotion, take careful note of how your physical body responds.  Does your heart rate go up? Do you feel warmth in your arms, face, or other areas of the body?

This is the emotional energy manifesting as physical sensation. Prolonged emotional responses such as anxiety will manifest physically as ulcers, headaches etc.  This is why it is important to be aware of your body’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states.

Having balanced, unblocked chakras, assists in keeping the rest of the body in balance. Based upon the location in the body, the chakras relate to certain states of consciousness, emotional function and philosophical constructs.  Lower chakras govern the more practical, physical aspects of our lives like survival, stability, trust; while the upper chakras govern spiritual aspects, symbols, and concepts.  Together, they provide the body-mind, physical-spiritual connection.

Chakras also contribute to your overall aura.


Please follow the links provided for additional information regarding the physical aspects of the 7 major chakras.

The 7 Major Chakras

Chakra 1
English Name: Root or Base Chakra Color: Red
Element: Earth
Sanskrit Name: Muladhara Vibrational Tone: “C”

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. This chakra, situated at the perineum, opens downwards towards the earth, connecting the body to the physical environment. It is associated with security, mental stability, courage, and survival. This chakra serves to ground us to the world. Energy from the earth is drawn up though the minor chakras on the soles of the feet.

Physical health problems related to the root chakra are ones affecting feet, ankles, knees though which the earth energy flows.  It also governs the spinal column, small intestine, colon, testes, and ovaries.

The main functions of the root chakra are to give us confidence in ourselves and our place in the world.

If you feel ungrounded- take off your shoes and stand with direct contact with the earth, grass sand, etc. close your eyes and feel the earth energy flow up to reconnect you to your place in the world.


Chakra 2
English Name: Sacral Color: Orange
Element: Water
Sanskrit Name: Svadisthana Vibrational Tone: “D”

The sacral chakra is located just below the navel. This chakra is associated with our life sustaining energy, the unconscious, and creativity.  It is the seat of wonder and child like fascination. Known as the emotional chakra, it governs giving & receiving, sexual energy, and change.

Physical health problems related to the sacral chakra are connected to the adrenal glands and how we react to stress. Dysfunction in this chakra frequently manifest as urinary tract issues. Emotional issues related to this chakra generally concern the ability to receive love.  When unblocked this chakra enables us to experience unconditional love.


Chakra 3
English Name: Solar Plexus Color: Yellow
Element: Fire
Sanskrit Name: Manipura Vibrational Tone: “E”

The solar plexus chakra is located at the level of the physical solar plexus and is the spot where you feel “butterflies in the stomach”.  It can be thought of as a little sun in your body. It draws energy from the sun to disperse throughout your system. It is the hub of your energy. This is where we feel power and anxiety. 

The solar plexus chakra is mainly related to digestions and stress (Ulcers).  It is the solar plexus chakra where we physically feel the imbalance quickly (nervous upset stomach, etc.) This chakra also governs the pancreas. One way to strengthen the solar plexus chakra is though stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and/or Reiki.


Chakra 4
English Name: Heart Color: Green
Element: Air
Sanskrit Name: Anahata Vibrational Tone: “F”

The heart chakra is situated at the center of the system, balancing the upper and lower chakras. It is universally thought of as the place where love originates and is associated with devotion, passion, bliss and the acceptance of the self and others.

This chakra is related to the circulatory system and how we handle stress.   Anger and frustration are components of heart disease.  By learning to release and let go of things we hold in our heart, we can begin to heal and bring balance to this chakra.

The Heart chakra is the chakra of unconditional love.   It is only when we can truly love ourselves can we then unconditionally love another.  Dysfunction of this chakra leads to the inability to have any kind of lasting meaningful relationships (not necessarily romantic.)  When balanced, the energy associated with the heart chakra brings a love of all creation without any judgment.


Chakra 5
English Name: Throat Color: Blue
Element: Ether (or sound)
Sanskrit Name: Vishuddha Vibrational Tone: “F”

The throat chakra is located at the center of the throat between the collarbone and larynx.  It is associated with communication.  The throat chakra governs speech, artistic expression and promotes increased consciousness on all expression whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.  It is our connection between the heart and head- between logic and feeling- body and spirit. Our voices can be used in many ways, and how we speak can be an indication of energy blockages in the throat chakra.

Physical issues are related to the ear, nose, and throat, as well as respiratory problems. The Throat chakra governs the thyroid gland. Symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, or plugged ears can indicate blocked energy.

Blockages may lead to withdrawing from other people, which can in turn, lead to depression. People having difficulty expressing their inner feeling may benefit from find a non-judgmental listener.  Talking out problems can remove blockages.


Chakra 6
English Name: Third Eye Color: Indigo
Element: Ether (or light)
Sanskrit Name: Anja Vibrational Tone: “A”

The third eye chakra is located in the center of your forehead just above the eyebrows.  This chakra governs insight, imagination, intuition and inner wisdom. The third eye chakra is associated with the mind and meditation.  It is though this chakra that we are able to let the mind chatter ease in to silence and allow ourselves to sit in the silence of who we truly are behind the ego.

Physical problems related to the third eye chakra are symptoms of the eyes and head such as migraines. This chakra governs the pineal gland which is responsible for serotonin and melanin production. These hormones regulate sleep.  The pineal gland is light responsive and a lack of light reduces the amount of serotonin produced which can result in seasonal affective disorder.  The colors and light energy of nature can help to balance this chakra.


Chakra 7
English Name: Crown Color: Violet/Gold/White
Element: n/a
Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara Vibrational Tone: “Aum”

The crown chakra is directly opposite the base chakra and is situated at the crown of the head.  It opens upward towards the heavens and connects us to the universe.  The crown chakra governs inspiration, idealism, and connects us to everything that transcends our earthly state. It is through this chakra, which should always remain open,  that we draw down universal energy.

Headaches can be caused by dysfunction of this chakra, usually due to denial of feeling.  Bottling up anger, resentment, and obsession (also linked to the heart chakra) can result in high blood pressure and tension headaches.

The Sanskrit name, Sahasrara means “a thousand petals”.   The chakras are represented by lotus flowers because the lotus flower begins its journey in the mud, grows through the water to reach the light and blossom into its true beauty. This is a reflection of our journey of growth through life to reach the spiritual light represented by the sun.


If you would like to book a chakra balancing session, please contact me for availability.

Namaste

Magic

There is ★𝙈 𝘼 𝙂 𝙄 𝘾 ★ in the ordinary. Being present in the moment- 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘸 -is where spontaneous joy arises.

Meditation can help us become comfortable with stillness. It gives us practice being in the moment.

Over time we begin to notice that every part of our day can become our practice. We can mindfully make our beds, prepare our food, read to our children.

We begin to live in the now, no longer dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.

We live in the ★𝙈 𝘼 𝙂 𝙄 𝘾 ★ of now.



Now to be completely honest while in the middle of writing this, I had to stop to clean up dog puke. It doesn’t get much more ordinary than that!🤣 But if we learn to laugh in these moments -when we can see the absurdity of life in all its splendor AND in all it’s hardships- we realize it is all 𝗣𝗟𝗔𝗬.

That’s the whole point of mindfulness- discovering the magic in every moment of your life- whether cleaning up dog puke or falling in love, there’s always magic to be found.

Where do you experience 𝙈𝘼𝙂𝙄𝘾 in your daily life?

Stop doing. Start being.

“Did you read that poem?” Dorrance asked from behind Ralph. “The one that starts ‘Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else’?”

Steven King, from Insomnia

How many of us rush through what we have to “do” because it is boring or tedious or we just do not feel like doing it? We are leading unmindful lives, allowing moments to rush by in a flurry of frustration and angst always thinking the next thing will be better, more entertaining, more rewarding.

When we go through our days unengaged with the present moment we have a tendency to forget our days, conversations and moments. We are so caught up in thoughts and to-do lists that “doing” becomes frustration. So we need to learn how to flow through our days in a state of being, a state of awareness.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Being comes from our authentic self; our deepest inner knowingness. It is effortless, flowing, dynamic, honest. Most of us have experienced moments of awareness, true focus and immersion into what it is we are doing. Those states of flow, when the background chatter is reduced to non-existent, we become one with our task. I experience these stretched out moments of awareness when reading, painting, or drawing. Notice these are all creative endeavors. We are inherently creative beings, which is why a flow state is so natural in artists, writers and musicians.


Through practice we can begin to experience this moments of flow, of pure being more frequently. We can align ourselves with the Universe and live in harmony.

Escape is doing. Gentle awareness is being.

In addition to mindfulness practice/training we also need to look deeply at our motivation and intention. We need to understand the WHY of our actions. When we participate in practices that encourage mindlessness it is usually for escape. We try to escape stress and unpleasantness whether from our work, families or our own minds. Incessant scrolling on social media or imbibing substances recklessly are both examples of escapist behaviors. Escape is doing. Gentle awareness is being.

We must learn to sit with our toxic and unpleasant emotions when they arise. The next time you get frustrated doing the dishes or taking out the garbage, ask yourself “Why?”. What about performing a task (that must be preformed) is frustrating? Does your frustration actually relate to the task, or is there something deeper that gets triggered when performing certain tasks?

When we can take a moment to pause and look at the cause for the frustration, we begin to peal back the layers until we reach our central motivations. For example let’s say I get frustrated every time I take the garbage out. I recognize my frustration and pause to consider why. Perhaps I have repeatedly asked my son to take the garbage out, then I’m frustrated with his negligence. This could be evidence of a deeper issue, perhaps my son is lazy and this is one more example; yet I choose to ignore the connections to avoid confrontation. Magically we have arrive back at me. If I have problem with confrontation then I am most likely frustrated with myself for not dealing with the situations; instead blame-shifting first to my son, then to the garbage.

(My son would probably give me a look if he read this as he take out the garbage 98% of the time.)

A lot of the time our frustration is because we have expectations of others that are not met. Again, the problem lies within. We cannot place unrealistic expectations on others. Life happens and sometimes it is no ones fault the expectation is not met. We need to be able to pause and see situation clearly and not through the lens of “how it only affects me”. This takes practice. In order to experience more flow in our day we must make time for stillness.

Through practices such as yoga, meditation and breath work we can begin to feel some ease and adjust to a slower pace; allowing space for gentle awareness to arise naturally. We begin to stop doing and start being.

Namaste.

Please contact me if you would like more information on how to start your own personal practices of ease and flow.