Gain perspective, even as chaos swirls around, by connecting with the Earth
Check out all of that new life emerging from the upended roots of a fallen tree! Even when things fall apart, they transform and become anew. Harbingers of life. Hold on to hope and patience, dear ones. One day, this whole situation will evolve into something as beautiful and blossom laden as this old tree.
How are you hanging in there today?
I know a lot has been happening each day, and there is much to process. Many of us are working from home now, some of you might not be able to work at all, and some of you may be feeling extra stress if you are in key positions, or in the health field. The kiddos are now at home (at least here in Wisconsin), and rebellious teens may be giving you a run for your money as they struggle with social distancing and staying in. Gosh, this is a lot!
Can you offer yourself some compassion for what you are going through? We are all doing the best we can with this, adjusting as much as possible, so we can navigate through this time. Please be kind and forgiving of yourself, and those you may be sharing space with.
No matter how this pandemic is affecting you, dear one, my heart goes out to you. We'll get through this one day at a time. One breath at a time.
Did you know that today is technically the first day of Spring?
Even as the chaos of the virus disrupts so much of our modern lives, the world is still spinning on it's axis, the sunrises and sets, the birds are chirping, and building their nests, the bulbs are peaking out from the ground. Life is still moving, and abundant here on this planet. Have you taken a moment to pause, turn off the news, and your devices to listen? Have you opened your window to breath in the fresh air, to look at the sky, or listen to the rain?
If you are not under strict lock-down in your community, have you taken a moment to step outside, or go for a short walk? We are fortunate, here in Wisconsin, that we can still enjoy the great outdoors, at least for now. The bonus is that it is even easier to honor the recommendation for social distancing of 6 feet when you are outside. If you are feeling cooped up, and needing to move your body, I encourage you to get out in nature for a spell.
I recorded another short video for you all with a guided meditation to release stress, ground. This will be especially helpful if you find yourself taking on the fear and anxiety of others, and if you can't get outside yourself. I recorded it at the beach near our home, so you can take in the sounds of the waves, birds, and a little thunder at the end. I finished recording just in time! Eek! The video is just under 17 minutes, with the meditation beginning at 3:10.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the meditation. What do you notice when you tune into the Earth at this critical time? Share with us in the comments or send me an email.
If you are enjoying these meditations, and want to support my efforts, would you consider making a small donation? You can do so here. Thanks so much!
Much love to each of you,
P.S. I am still seeing clients remotely at this time. I am conducting these appointments over the phone, Zoom/Skype, or email. If you are wanting support, email, call 608-335-1934, or book online to schedule.
Free guided meditation below
The Coronavirus is all over the news, and many of us are getting updates from organizations that are taking preventative measures to minimize the spread of the virus. So here you are, receiving yet another email... I understand if you are feeling overwhelmed, or, perhaps, irritated with all the hype. I've recorded a guided meditation for you to support you in working with whatever might be coming up for you. But before we get to that, bear with me, as I briefly share some logistical pieces.
We are amping up our preventative measures at our Madison clinic, sanitizing the space more thoroughly and frequently, and, of course, continuing to be diligent about hand washing! I encourage any of you who have scheduled appointments that may be showing signs of illness, or come into contact with someone who may have the Coronavirus, to let me know in advance. We can switch your appointment to a distant session, so you can still get the support you need, and not spread germs. Or, if you are immune-compromised, or regularly come into contact with vulnerable populations, and you are wanting to be more cautious about your exposure, you can also have a remote session. I wrote a recent post about distant Reiki and what those sessions look like that you can read more about here.
Continue to use your common-sense. Remember, to minimize the spread of germs, wash your hands regularly (for at least 30 seconds), and stay home if you are feeling unwell. Support your immune system by getting plenty of rest, eating nutritious foods, and taking the supplements you need to give your body a boost. If you are Reiki attuned, now is a great time to amp up your self-Reiki regime! Receive medical attention if you need it.
Did you know that being calm, happy, and laughing gives your immune system an extra edge? Your body is more able to fend off any imbalance or "invaders", and make repairs when you are not in fight or flight mode. If you notice fear or anxiety starting to bubble up for you, it is a opportunity for you to tune inward, and practice diffusing the fear. I've recorded this special guided meditation for you that you can use no matter what you are feeling. The intent is for it to air out these feelings, and help us connect with stability, love, and compassion within. Consider it some extra love for yourself, and your immune system. I hope it is supportive for you. (I'm sure this goes without saying, but this meditation is not meant to be a substitute for the appropriate preventative measures, and medical attention.)
The video is just under 45 minutes, with the meditation beginning at 3:52. We begin by noticing what is, and offering compassionate witnessing for ourselves. At 18:15, we dive into our heart and kick up our immune system. Of course, I recommend that you carve out the time to do the whole thing, but if you can't, go as long as you can, perhaps setting a timer so you can come out of it when you need to. A little bit of meditation is better than none.
Once you'd done it, I'd love to hear what you think. How did you feel after the meditation? Share with us in the comments or send me an email.
Sending you all lots of love and compassion as you practice discernment and self-care during this time. And, hey, why not use this as a good excuse to watch your favorite comedy? Your immune system will thank you.
You are resilient,
Want some additional energetic support at this time? Email, call 608-335-1934, or book online to schedule.
What happens when we go beyond putting out fires.
Over the last couple years, as the decluttering practices of Marie Kondo, Japanese tidying expert, have become mainstream, many of us have been going through our closets, refolding clothes, and asking ourselves, "does this spark joy?" Going through our homes like this can bring up overwhelm, and all sorts of emotion, but as we go through the process, there comes to be more space available, more peace, clarity, and hopefully joy. :)
Now, I am not writing you to nudge you to go organize your closet! But, hey, if you feel inspired to, big props to you!
Instead, I invite you to imagine your body, or energy field as a house. Take a moment, and close your eyes, breathe, and tune in. What does your "house" look like, and feel like on the inside and outside? Can you move around from different areas? Does it feel chaotic, distracting, or perhaps there is peace, and comfort? Are you bumping into boxes with who-knows-what inside? Perhaps there are things that you stuffed down in the basement or the corners of your closets that you hoped never to look at again. Maybe you are hanging onto a bunch of your aunt Milda's stuff. Check the walls, have you memorialized that hurtful thing that person said to you in fifth grade, or do you have some graphic picture you are looking at day in and day out? Make a note of what your energy seems like in this moment. Trust your instincts.
Receiving Reiki is one way that we can clear, bit-by-bit, and tidy our energy. Oftentimes, it starts out by putting out that fire in the kitchen, which, in this metaphor, may translate to releasing intense physical or emotional pain you are experiencing. Once the crisis has been averted, we start to get to those things that are impeding our daily functioning, like all those dishes on the counter, or those boxes in the way of our path through the house. With our health this may look like getting better sleep, more ease in making healthy choices, or feeling less stressed. Eventually, we get to a point where life is flowing more easily, without major drama impacting our functioning. (That doesn't mean that life stops happening, but that when crisis come up, we have the reserves and attention available to tend to them without getting caught in the drama.)
Here, we need to keep up with maintaining our chores or the clutter will start to build up again. The same with our energy, if we stop once things start to feel good, and we do not continue with self-care, and incorporating the wisdom we've learned, eventually we become burdened again.
However, the beautiful thing that happens when we continue to tend to our houses and energy, we not only maintain the flow and organization that keeps things humming in life, but we start to get to those boxes that are tucked away. Those boxes that are filled with things you didn't have time to deal with when it happened. Those things you inherited from your family, but don't fit who you are. The things you've been hanging onto out of obligation or familiarity. You can finally reach that hanging on the wall with those painful words, and take sucker that down, and burn it in the most epic bonfire of your life! The energy in those "boxes", and "pictures" take up space. Once we finally have the time to sit with them and air them out, the stuff we don't want to hang onto will dissipate. In the process, we also uncover the nuggets, the gifts, and wisdom that were tucked away in there, and we can elevate the beauty in them. Of course, we don't do this all in one go, we do it bit-by-bit so we can safely honor our feelings, and experience, and integrate what we need to in a sustainable way. This whole process frees up all this space, so your innate nature, peace, ease, and joy can more readily radiate from within you.
No matter where you are in your energetic tidying, Reiki will meet you in cleansing the next layer with gentleness. Because we all know, sometimes it's hard to do these things. If it was easy, we would have done it already. We might be overwhelmed doing it all on our own, maybe we are scared to see what is hiding out in those boxes, or we've been looking at that wall hanging for so long we've come to believe it's true. Dear one, you don't have to do it alone, it can be done in a safe, gentle, manageable way, and no, that B.S. line is not true.
So where are you in your energetic tidying journey? Share with us in the comments or send me an email. If you want help in the process, reach out. I'm here for you.
A little known bonus of Reiki
Many of you are already aware of the many benefits of Reiki. Because it helps our being move towards balance, it can help us find relief from physical pain, recover from illness, or injury. It can support us in acknowledging and honoring our emotions. Receiving Reiki can bring us into greater contact with our essential essence within, a sense of peace, and clarity. These are just some of the blessings we may experience as a result of receiving Reiki.
But did you know that you don't have to be physically present with a practitioner to receive Reiki? This is one of my favorite qualities about Reiki. It makes this healing art even more versatile. Though science hasn't specifically studied the mechanism of what is happening during a distant Reiki session, principles of nonlocality and entanglement may be what is at play. I often say, distant Reiki is comparable to prayer. With your intention to receive, and my intent to hold space for you, we tap into a reality that transcends time and space. You are able to receive the Reiki directly, and instantaneously, though we may be miles apart. When receiving distant Reiki, your experience is essentially the same as it might be in person. The only difference is not feeling the physicality of my hands, nor being in my treatment room. :)
There are certain contexts when having a distant session has its advantages over an in person session.
Now, let's say you want to try a distant session, or keep it as a back up option for when you can't make it in person, what does that look like? You will choose your preferred way to communicate with me, either over the phone, Skype, or email. In the case of phone or Skype, you call me at the agreed upon time, we discuss your intentions, and how I can support you. Then we spend the remaining time doing Reiki. Generally, clients stay on the line, and I let them know when I have finished. We spend the last few minutes sharing what was experienced, and processing. If you choose the email option, you let me know your intentions ahead of our appointment time. Then I send the Reiki for however many minutes we agree upon, and I email you after with what I noticed. You can reply back at your convenience with your observations. Ideally, clients find it most relaxing if they are able to find a calm place to lay down while receiving so they can tune in. But this is not necessary to receive the benefits, such as cases where you have a meeting, test, etc.
Given the flexibility and accessibility that distant Reiki offers us, I find it to be a beautiful blessing. It means that in times when we may need support the most, but the limitations of our physical world would otherwise keep us from getting to the clinic and laying on the treatment table, we can still receive the healing love of Reiki.
Do you have questions about distant Reiki or how it would look in a specific situation? Post your questions in the comments or send me an email. If you think distant Reiki might be supportive for you, we can set up an appointment. Otherwise, I invite you to keep it in mind as a back up in case you need to call in sick or cancel because of snowy roads.
A meditation on reciprocity.
Hello Dear One,
I wanted to do something a little different for this month's e-letter. Below you will find a free guided meditation to tend to your inner world. It is about 20 minutes, and meant to be accessible for anyone, no matter how much experience you have with meditation. With it being the holiday season, we touch on the theme of reciprocity. I hope you find it nourishing and supportive. If you feel inspired, I'd love to hear how the practice lands with you.
If you are celebrating these next few weeks, I wish you a Happy Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Year, Tuesday, Wednesday...! ;)
P.S. A little reminder, I will be away from the clinic Dec 21–Jan 6. See you all in the new year! Much love.
Embracing the darkest time of the year.
Here we are... we have entered the darkest, coldest months of the year. I will admit, this is one of my favorite times. Perhaps, it's because I'm part Norwegian, or that I'm a bit crazy. ;) But as I look out the window, I feel embraced by a blanket of clouds, and imagine nature is saying, "Dear one, rest with us, daydream with us, relish the quiet. Replenish your reserves. Soon we will be exuberantly moving again, but, for now, rest."
For many, perhaps you, I know this time of year can be trying. Especially if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or, frankly, don't enjoy the snow, and cold. This may be a time that you hope to get through as soon as possible. I get it. We are all wired differently. No matter what your feelings are about fall and winter, I invite you to explore with me how we can make the most of it.
Imagine what is instinctive for us to do (or not do) this time of year. What knowing is carried within your bones, and tissues? Knowing passed down from your ancestors, who at some point were living closely with the land. The instincts of the human animal within you. Outside of the pressures, and expectations of our culture, what feels natural for you this time of the year?
Though we live in a culture with electricity, and technology that is ever-changing and grasping for our attention, our instinctual roots run deep. We often are so distracted by the buzz of modern society that we forget that these roots inform so much of who and what we are.
How can you honor the shift that is natural for us to make this time of year?
Perhaps you may remove some things from your to do list so you allow more time for rest and sleep. You may replace certain activities with more contemplative ones like meditation, or journaling. Meaningful community connections may draw you, much like the hearth fire and stories our ancestors would share helped them remain tightly knit and nourished during the winter months. Cherished daylight hours may beckon you out for movement to balance the dark.
No matter what you choose to include, surrender, or shift this season, I encourage you to contemplate what will nourish you, help you integrate the past year, and support you in feeling full and ready to face our next season of activity that will come in the spring and summer.
I'd love to hear what insights come forth, and any shifts you decide to make this season. Feel free to comment below.
P.S. Does receiving healing and energetic support fit into how you would like to be nourished this winter? Email, or book online.
The Empowered Empath begins Oct 1st, 2019. Join us for this life changing series!
Are You an Empath?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you may be an empath. Being empathic is the intuitive ability of feeling the energy around you.
Most empaths I know are highly compassionate and loving people. They want the people they love (and, frankly, let's face it, everyone on Earth) to be happy and healthy. Many of them want to serve others in some way. But if they haven't learned how to navigate life with their empathic gifts, they can feel too overwhelmed, exhausted, or confused to show up in life the way they want to. Some struggle with maintaining healthy boundaries and even knowing what that looks like. Others can go from feeling heavy and down around the Eeyores in their lives, to walking on air when around people radiating joy. If they haven't learned how to work with their sensitivity, they can feel like a human yo-yo.
As an empath myself working in a service/caring profession, I know how important it is to have the skills to work with this ability. After years of honing it, and ongoing practice, I know that it is not only possible to live empowered as an empath, it can feel really good (even when the tough stuff comes up). You can show up even more fully for yourself and others in really profound ways. I have pulled together all my tried and true tools and wisdom in a way to help you, or the empath in your life, find relief, tap into that inner strength, and keep your heart open. I offered this series before in May of 2018. This time, I've incorporated an additional class: "Immune to Energy Vampires" to support us in navigating interactions with narcissists, as unfortunately, this is an all too common relationship trend for empaths.
The Empowered Empath
Essential wisdom and practices to move freely, and compassionately with your gifts
What is an Empath?
Tues Oct 1st
Know & Love Thyself
Tues Oct 8th
Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries
Tues Oct 15th
Immune to Energy Vampires
Tues Oct 22nd
Being an Empowered Empath
Tues Oct 29th
Each class will include time to share and practice with other attendees, gain insights about how you operate as a unique empath, and resources to maintain these skills and practices at home.
Class is open to eight participants.
Cost: $125 for all classes. Must be paid in advance. Your space is held once payment is received.
Call 608-335-1934, or email to register.
The Empowered Empath Refresher
Open to anyone who has attended the one of Embrace Your Essence's empath classes (The Empowered Empath, or "I Know How You Feel") or explored this topic with Sarah individually.
Revisit the essentials for feeling free, loving, and centered as an empath. Just in time for the holiday season!
Purify your energy, solidify your boundaries, and nourish yourself. We will return to the practices that support us the most.
Limited to eight attendees.
Tues December 3, 2019, from 5:00-7:00pm
Call 608-335-1934, email, or book online to register.
Have questions? Please don't hesitate to reach out!
If you feel inspired to jump in, I look forward to working with you!
P.S. There is still time to sign up for the group Reiki II class that begins on Sat Sept 14! Two spots are left. Register by Sept 6th to attend.
Celebrating my Reiki beginnings.
The summer of 2009 was a turning point in my life. I was teaching at a child care center as I prepared to enter my last year of college studying education. Over the couple years leading up to that time, I had become disillusioned by the education system. More and more, it felt like the path I was following was squelching my soul. I still loved kids, and teaching, but something wasn't right. It wasn't until one really rough day at the center that summer, that I hit my breaking point. I finally garnered the courage to throw in the towel on pursuing becoming a public school teacher. I was ready to find a new path.
As I had always I wanted to be a teacher, letting the idea of that go, left the field wide open for me. I had no idea what else to explore, so it felt like I was starting from scratch. Fortunately, this felt liberating and exciting, rather than terrifying, as my soul was feeling relieved at being free. As I dove into self-exploration, personality tests, and career matching quizzes, I found myself drawn to holistic medicine, and ecopsychology, two areas of study I knew little to nothing about. I checked out every book I could from the library about different healing modalities and perspectives to help me determine my path. As I did my research, synchronicity was unfolding.
I continued to teach at the child care center while I sifted through my options. Two days that summer, I worked with a substitute teacher who did Reiki for horses. I felt so connected with her, and her stories about Reiki fascinated me. Reiki was something I had only heard about weeks before while scouring my library books. After one of our conversations, she encouraged me to take a class with her teacher Mary Preuss. Huh, I thought. The idea hadn't crossed my mind, but maybe it's worth taking a look. When I found Mary's class schedule, there was a Reiki I class offered a couple weeks before I would head back to school in the fall. It was good timing. Why not? I figured. I might as well try it out. I had nothing to lose.
So, it was ten years ago today, on Saturday August 15, 2019, I attended my first Reiki class. Little did I know, the profound experiences I would have that day would change my life forever.
Class began for our small group of three with an introduction and history of Reiki, before we prepared to be attuned to the Reiki energy. (For those of you unfamiliar, an attunement is a sacred ritual which helps harmonize your personal energy with the Reiki energy, so you can access it more readily.) Mary started leading us through a guided meditation. I had very little experience with these at the time, and felt a bit like I was making things up. She instructed us to imagine the three Grand Masters of Reiki forming a triangle around us. If we were ready to take this next step of being attuned, would we please say so.
In my mind, I said, "I am ready." Instantaneously after—I felt a huge surge of energy flow through my entire body! It was as if someone had dumped an enormous barrel of water over the back of my head which then filled every nook and cranny of my body! It felt amazing!
Again, I said, "I am ready." Not a second later—again—another full body surge just like the last! It blew my mind! "This shit is real!!" I thought. I had felt small currents of energy in different areas of my body when doing yoga before, but it was nothing compared to this. The call and response nature to this experience, blew my analytical mind out of the water. I could not understand how it happened, but I had no doubt in my mind it was real.
Shortly thereafter, we each received our attunements. I remember sitting there afterwards in awe, because my hands felt like they were air conditioners. It felt as if there was cool energy flowing out my palms.
In the afternoon, we began practicing Reiki on each other. Being in a small group, one person received while the rest of us worked on her. During the first session, I was working on my classmate's leg, and I felt this deep heaviness in my heart. I didn't have any idea how to offer Reiki at the time, so I was imagining breathing in her energy and out mine. (Please, do NOT do this at home, folks!) As I was doing so, I quietly asked my teacher if it was normal to feel things in your body while giving Reiki. She sort of nodded, and shrugged, suggesting that it was possible. I continued as described, while the heaviness in my heart persisted.
Then, all of a sudden, I was out of my body, watching myself from behind, as I started to pass out on top of my classmate! My teacher quickly pulled me aside, and I came back into my body. She sat me down, and guided me in grounding my energy. I sat on the couch for several minutes as I tuned into my feet and tried to collect myself.
Eventually, I was ready to bring myself back to the session. It was getting towards the end, and our teacher said we could return to any area we thought might need it. I went to her heart. A few minutes later, we finished the session, and shared our experiences with each other.
My classmate began, "Well, first of all, someone fell on top of me..."
I sheepishly laughed, and raised my hand, "Yeah, that was me."
She went on sharing her experiences, and ended with, "Whoever came back to my heart at the end, thank you. You have no idea what is going on in my personal life, but I really needed it."
Her words struck me profoundly. That feeling in my chest... was a glimpse of what she was experiencing. I couldn't believe that there was legitimacy to what I had perceived. It was eye opening.
After that day, I decided to move forward and complete the full Reiki training over the next several months. My life began to make a 180. As things aligned, I made plans to graduate early with my degree, while I came back for Reiki training on the weekends. It was over this time, with other experiences like the one with the heaviness in my chest, that I realized I was an empath. I had been all my life, picking up on people's feelings, and other subtleties. But it took the Reiki attunement to bring this truth out for me to realize it. What followed was a crash course in learning how to take care of myself as an empath while I did this work, so a) I wouldn't take people's stuff home, and b) I wouldn't pass out on top of anyone else. ;) My record has been clean since!
That was only the beginning, ten years ago. What has followed has been such a beautiful unfolding of healing, connecting more deeply with the Reiki energy, experiencing life's mysteries, and coming to know you all. I feel, without a doubt, that finding Reiki is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
As I celebrate this milestone of a decade with Reiki, I want to thank each of you for joining me on this journey. Whether we have known each other for sometime, or just recently connected. Whether it's been a deep dive, or light, sweet check-ins. Knowing and working with you all has enriched my life so much, and has made me a better person, practitioner, and teacher. It has allowed me to live out a dream, and I wouldn't be here without you. For this, I sincerely thank you.
Anyway, I could keep gushing! As many of you know! ;)
May the next decade bring even more fun, beauty, excitement, and rich, deep, soul connection, for each and every one of us!
Are you ready for a new beginning?
For those drawn to the Reiki path, another round of group Reiki I training will begin in early 2020. For those of you ready to jump into Reiki II, there are three spots still available for the class starting on September 14th, 2019. Let me know if you are interested! For more details, visit our Reiki Training page.
Empaths, I will be offering the Empowered Empath Series on Tuesday evenings this October. I will be sending out an announcement with the full details within the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!
Have a beautiful rest of your summer!
Listen to your inklings and you just may save a life.
Last Wednesday was one of those rainy days where it gently, and consistently pours throughout the day. I've always been fond of the rain. There is something about it that invites reflection and comfort for me.
After receiving a liberating and joyful Alexander Technique lesson with my friend and colleague Xochi John, I had a short window of time before my next client. There was a break in the rain, and something was subtly beckoning me outside for a stroll. I debated the amble as I wouldn't have enough time to make it to the woody savanna that I like to visit. It would have to be a short jaunt around the creek behind our office, then right back. Maybe my time would be better spent integrating the lesson with a brief rest on the couch, I contemplated. I let my hesitations go, put on my coat, and ventured to the creek.
It felt soothing to get outside, and take in the happenings of the creatures out and about. As I passed under a bridge, I saw a family of ducks skimming along. The mother leading the way with the fuzzy little ducklings scuttling behind in a row, two by two, rotating who was in the front. I stopped to admire them for a bit, and counted nine little ducklings. Gosh, they were adorable. They found a patch of vegetation, scattered to their posts, and began to feed. I carried on.
I reached the turn around point for the path, and saw a muskrat swimming along. The furry one eventually disappeared from sight as it neared the bushy plants draping over the edge of the waterway. I relished in gratitude to work so close to this haven for wildlife, and began my return trip on the other side of the creek.
After passing under the bridge, I eventually came upon the family of ducklings again. They hurriedly darted among the watery weeds feeding further along the shore. I checked my watch; I still had enough time before my client would arrive, so I decided to wait and bit longer and watch them. They didn't seem to notice me, though I was only about 15 feet away on the edge of the bike path. These poofy little beings were so eager to eat, it's as if I existed in a completely different dimension outside of their reality. Their ease allowed me to marvel in how adorable they all were, without fear of startling them.
Then, all of a sudden, I realize something is awry. The mother frantically darts back and forth squawking. She is searching for something. The little ducklings move to the side. One, two, three...eight. There are only eight! Where is the ninth?! I hear a little, "peep, peep, peep," but can't see the other duckling anywhere.
The mother seems to have found her lost little one. She plunges her head into the water trying to pull her beloved up with her beak. I can see the small orange beak break the surface for a moment, before it plunges back underwater. Again, the mother attempts. And, again, to the same effect. Frantic desperation fills the air. The mother, unable to help her little one, quickly shepherds the other ducklings away to the other side of the creek, shielding them from a similar fate.
I cannot see the little duckling from where I am standing. I move to the edge of the creek where I saw the mother's urgent attempts. There, shrouded within the weeds, I spot the little duckling's head pointed outward, completely underwater, yet only a mere couple inches from the surface.
I crouch down, and lean in to gently scoop up the little one, but it is dreadfully tangled. I am able to lift it enough so it's head is out of the water, but if I let go, it will sink again. I must work at freeing it. As I carefully pull the plant matter from its right wing, the mother realizes I am holding her baby. She flies from the other shoreline straight toward me, her alarm shrieks ringing in the air. She lands in the middle of the stream, and becomes quiet, though vigilant.
By now, I realize there is something from below weighing the duckling down. I reach deeper, and feel a woody stalk that was laying horizontally, wedged over the little duckling's foot. As I raise the stalk from the depths, the duckling now has enough wiggle room to free itself. It darts out of the mess of weeds in my hands, runs along the shoreline, then zooms through the water reuniting with its mother. Salvation! They rejoin the eight siblings, and go back to feeding in a more sheltered spot of the creek.
I burst into tears, overwhelmed with emotion. Waves of feelings and sensations moving through me, which I am unsure if words exist to describe. All I know is that this experience was as much of a gift to me as that little duckling, and its mother. After letting the reality of what's just unfolded settle a bit, I head back into the clinic to prepare for my next client.
A couple hours later, I have another short break, and decide to go out and see if I could check on this duck family I now feel inexplicably close with. At the far end of the creek, near Lake Monona, I spot them. Again, feeding along the rocky shore. All nine ducklings and mother. They all seem to be moving about just like normal, happy ducklings. My heart smiles. They are all okay. We are all okay.
As the ripples of this experience have had sometime to soak into my consciousness, I feel the layers of meaning and lessons so intertwined, gently peaking their heads up. The possibilities that arise when we listen to the inklings we have. How something larger than ourselves sometimes uses us to be "guardian angels" for others, guiding us to be in the right place at the right time. The life-saving power of being present, aware, and seeing what is; had I just continued walking, or not taken a closer look, I would not have noticed that little duckling trapt underwater. That having an outside perspective, and the right tools for the job is essential; no matter how much that mother tried to save her beloved, she didn't have what was necessary to untangle the little one. When we move from a place of connectedness, love, and willingness, knowing that we are a part of the whole—not a separate, outside observer—miracles can happen. Yes, sometimes it may come down to "little old me" or you to act, there may not be anyone else there to swoop in. So many universal lessons to contemplate.
Finally, on a personal note, I know this experience is an incredible gift, and sign. I have been diving deeply in recent months, healing core layers of wounding of my inner child. A part of me that was so tangled in thoughts of illusion and darkness, that attempting suicide seemed the only way to be seen in my pain. Fortunately, I too, had guardian angels. My dear childhood friend Mikaela's love, and witnessing pulled me out of the depths at that time, and I have not been caught in that seemingly inescapable grasp since. But there were remnants of that pain that still needed healing. Over the last decade, I have nurtured trust with this ten-year-old me, and offered her healing with the gift of Reiki, and other support I have uncovered on this journey. In the process, those wounds have dissolved, bit by bit. Now that I am an adult, I have the right tools, I know I have friends "in the light" I can call upon, and, damn it, young Sarah, I see you, just like I saw that little duckling, and I will never leave you tangled in darkness again. I love you. This experience was a sign to me of the progress I've made, and, perhaps most moving for me, a completion of the cycle; gratitude for my life that was saved, and the gift to return the favor, and free another from a similar fate.
Dear friends, thank you for reading my story. I hope it offers some medicine for you, which will no doubt be unique to your own life. If you feel inspired, I would love to hear what this evokes within you. Feel free to comment below.
No matter where this finds you today, may you know there are "angels" around every corner, and if you need someone to walk with you, all you have to do is ask.
With so much love for you,
P.S. Okay, Brené Brown... How's that for daring greatly? I'll admit, I was tentative about sharing my personal note, but I hope that in the sharing it has been helpful for some.
P.P.S. I will be away from the clinic June 22–30, 2019 to rest and recharge. Please reach out to me before if you need support, otherwise I will be getting back to you when I return at the beginning of July.
Remembering our humanness is where our freedom lies.
Spring is upon us here in the Midwest. After the twists and turns of this past winter, I hope all of you are getting a chance to welcome the return of light and warmth.
Today, I want to speak to the trend of valuing productivity, efficiency, busy-ness, and impeccable performance that we've been seeing in our culture for some time. How do you notice these themes showing up for you in your life? Do they effect the expectations you have of yourself, and those that others have of you?
Many of the aforementioned qualities are valuable things, of which our society is well aware. But what happens when we forget to hold these values in relationship with other qualities? What happens when those values hold dominion over others like connection, rest, play, and humility?
As our culture has become more rooted in productivity and performance, and our fascination with technology has grown, I wonder if, on a certain level, many of us have forgotten what we are. Many of us are trying to stay competitive so we work long hours without rest or nourishment. When we feel grumpy, sick, or impatient, frustration with ourselves mounts because it gets in the way of our "to do list". I mean, "Why can't we just get over it already?!" So we often push through the feelings, tiredness, or pain, hoping it will clear up on its own. We tell ourselves, if only we do better, the "problem" will go away.
If you find yourself grappling through a similar process, I'm here to remind you today that you are NOT a robot! There is so much more to you than how much you can accomplish, and how "good" you are at what you do, and how few errors you make. We are not designed to be productive. We are meant to live.
We are human. To be human is to be dynamic. We feel. Some days we are in a funk. Some days we feel so much joy we think we might burst. There are days where we can fly through the things we wish to accomplish. There are days when we lay on the couch and binge watch Netflix, or just goof around with the kids, eat pancakes, and nothing gets done.
I say all this, so you remember its okay to go easier on yourself. Maybe we are more efficient, and effective, when we allow ourselves the room to experience the messy, and beautiful aspects of life that don't fit neatly into our box, that sometimes throw the whole agenda askew. Perhaps, it's worth finding out.
How are you going to embrace your humanness today?
P.S. Share about your experience with productivity, expectations, and honoring your humanness below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence