Grace

What if we were able to view our struggles as Grace?

I know that might seem like a crazy question to ask. You may be thinking “How could she ask me to look at my struggles my pain, my suffering as grace?”

…and 15 years ago, I would have agreed with you.

My perspective has shifted. It did not happen overnight but through a process shedding the ideas, beliefs and constructs I had learned to believe about who I actually am.

From where I’m standing now I can look back at every perceived struggle, every bit of pain and suffering; whether it was spiritual, physical or mental, and see it has been Grace. Every decision I’ve made for good or ill has led me down the path my soul required I walk in order to learn the lessons needed in this lifetime; to live with an open heart and not one filled with fear.

When I release the need to view my struggles through the eyes of victim-hood, and instead, the through the eyes of a student being guided by a master teacher, I am better able to release my attachment to outcomes and remove my expectations from situations of which I have no control over; moving through my days in a state of flow, not constriction.

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In doing this, I am also better able to forgive others. When we forgive ourselves for misguided judgment it becomes easier to forgive others. We learn that we are not perfect and neither is anyone else. We are each learning day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.

I am not the person I was yesterday. You are not the same person you were last week . Each new choice opens us to the pure potentiality of our experience.

We begin to hold ourselves and others to a standard of GRACE, not perfection.

Namaste

Intention

in·ten·tion
/inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/

noun

  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
    “she was full of good intentions”

2. MEDICINE; the healing process of a wound.

I have realized that the power of intention can have a dynamic impact on your life, but never more so than in these last couple months. I have experienced a tremendous shift of energy in my life purely due to my intentions. Over the course of the next month I will share how setting an intention daily has opened me to new experiences and opportunity as well as how intention can help you shift, not only your perspective, but your life.

Now a little about the first definition of intention and in the next blog post we will take a look at the concept of intention as medicine and it’s healing effects.

Merriam-Webster defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way; what one intends to do or bring about; and the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered. I am sure most are familiar with the concept of setting an intention but how does it work?

Manifesting intention has to do with the power of thought. Our thoughts are energy. Every thought we have puts energy out into the world gently influencing the nature of existence and our view of reality.

Here is a simple example. We have all woken up grumpy at some point and decided it would be a miserable day, everything that can go wrong does go wrong kinda day…. that is intention in action. Our first thoughts in the morning sets the tone for the entire day.

I am far from a morning person. Yet, I recognize that if I am grumpy every morning because I have to get up earlier that I would like to, in order to get to work on time, it will be a miserable life. Grumpy mornings lead to grumpy commutes, grumpy work days which turn into weeks, turn into years. Is that really how I want my life to be? Complaints every day because I have to wake up at 5:15?

HELL NO!

So what to do? We make a CONSCIOUS CHOICE to be grateful every morning. If we wake up, AWESOME, that means we are still alive! YAY! BE GRATEFUL! That simple.

Waking up grateful does not ensure a perfectly happy day but it is a first step in realizing we can INTEND how our day will go. Try it for a week. As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, be grateful for something. Actually say “I am grateful for _________.”

Want a simple suggestion to start with? Try “I am grateful for my breath.” Notice if this allows you to be more mindful of your breath during the day. Do you find yourself breathing more deeply, more diaphragmatic breathing?

Take note of any subtle shift in awareness that may occur.

…and I’ll be back to see how you did and tell you how setting an intention in the morning change my life in 1 short month! Until then…..

Namaste

Fool(ish) Musings

Today we will take some time to think about “the fool’s” journey through life. This theme is represented in literature with works such as “the Epic of Gilgamesh” and ”Alice in Wonderland,” among many others. Joseph Campbell, an American writer and professor, described it as the archetypal hero story.
These themes are prevalent in our lives as we grow from child to adolescent to adult, gaining insight and experience along the way. We begin our journey as the uneducated novice (infant) bound in pure awareness, with no sense of self – hence, the fool.
Our modern language has negative connotations associated with the word FOOL; however, when examined through experience, we see that societal trappings and norms unencumber the fool. The fool experiences life in all its splendor, tasting experience for what it is. There is no shame, no guilt – only pure being.
As babies, we have no sense of self (as in self-consciousness); purely instinctual beings. Our whole experience is based upon survival- cry to be fed, changed, consoled. All our energy is concentrated in the root chakra. As we grow, we develop a sense of separation, of otherness. It is at this point our energy moves into the sacral chakra. We experience the partition based on sex and slowly become aware of the power sex and sexual identification has in our lives. Like the fool/hero on the journey, we must come to understand that power is limited, controlling, and lacking Love. If our karma in this life allows, we move into the third chakra, some of us developing a stable sense of self, or we become lost in the anxiety of trying to fit in. Most people are living through the energy of the lower 3 Chakras.
Progress moving the energy upwards becomes difficult due to our physical plane of existence constantly telling us we need more to be happy, loved, and fit in. Beings stuck here are trapped by instant gratification-always seeking outside of themselves.
The fool/hero, however, can move beyond the physical plane of power after some time. This shift can happen gradually, or some trauma can rend open the heart instantly, allowing the experience of the power of unconditional Love. This subtle energy will enable us to bridge the gap between the lower and upper chakras.
This Love can assist us further on our foolish yet heroic journey. It allows us to see the world for what is in pure Love. It invites gracious speech and action and opens our intuition to allow a depth of understanding: everything is exactly as it should be every moment.
This is the most difficult pill to swallow. War, greed, and suffering are all intrinsic parts of human existence, and they are the opposite side of the coin of Love, compassion, and empathy.
At a point in history, we began to see everything as duality (Eve eating the apple/Gilgamesh and Enkidu), and we lost the pure taste of awareness.
Those whose karma is ripening for awakening feel the “something not quite right” in how we are told to experience life.
The fool’s/hero’s journey is never straight, and it is a crooked path with many missteps and falls along the way.
Take time to look at your life from the perspective of storytelling. Can you identify early life moments where energy stagnated in the lower chakras?
In working with these ideas, we must remember that we are most likely not fully awakening in this go-round, and we are the fool – just beginning to open our eyes to the light of truth. This is a journey of many lifetimes, unpredictable and long.
With this realization, which cannot be intellectualized, we begin to see the face of god in everyone we meet. No one is better than us, no one less than us. All god, all one; All beings are moving toward the light in their way, in their own time.
The person that cut you off on the highway is god; the megalomaniac, hell-bent on persecuting other beings, is also god. It is all energy in form and all one. Ram Dass says, “ it is all grist for the mill.”
Everything we meet is the path.
Namaste

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.

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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.