Let's face your fears... together
The days are growing darker, the veil is growing thinner. We have entered a time of inward turning here in the Northern Hemisphere. The advancing quiet welcomes our reflection, and often provides the right conditions for subtitles to bubble up from our subconscious.
Our modern Western celebration of Halloween plays with ghouls, goblins and spectres, while offering us a sugar high to face them all. While this can bring fun and fancy, we can choose to explore the theme of these celebrations in relation to our own healing to take them deeper.
(Note: If you've been finding yourself in an activated fight/flight response you may want to skip this reflective practice. Continue reading at the bold text.)
So, dear one, what fears lay present within you?
Oh boy, did you notice yourself contracting or resisting at all to that question? Perhaps that is your body's response trying to protect you from seeing these fears. I invite you to breathe with me, remind yourself that you are safe, and invite the presence of light and compassion to be with you.
What fear wants to be witnessed by you in this moment? Maybe you write it down. Continue to breathe, and observe it with curiosity. Just like with the quintessential boogie man in the closet that we realize is a coat once we've opened the door and turned on the light, so too, may we feel relief when we hold our fears with brave, loving, compassionate interest. We realize things aren't always as they seem. Some of our fears will boil down to these distortions of reality that need gentle correction.
Others may be of another variety, revealing the fragility of the human experience. Things that we may likely or inevitability face at some point: a fear of loss, pain, death, rejection, etc. These things we can run from, pretend that they are not there, or do whatever we can to try to prevent them from happening. Of course, we would do that. These fears and potential realities can be difficult, and scary. We are trying to protect ourselves. But, what if, for this moment, with me and all the other readers here with you, we breathe and acknowledge this fear and how it feels in your body. In truth, we may not ever be able to stop or change some of these fears from happening. But, we can be with our vulnerabilities with compassion. We can know that this is part of the human experience, and each of us is not alone. There are so many people out in the globe who hold this same fear. Though that doesn't take it away, somehow, for me, I find this shared humanness can be a balm for the experience.
When facing these types of "inevitable" fears, I try to remind myself of my own resilience, and tools. That no matter what I might face in the future that I have the ability to move through that experience, and ask for help if I need it. I remind myself of the times that I have faced my fears, whether by choice or life dragging me through them. I see that those experiences I've survived, and perhaps I've gained greater wisdom or tools as a result.
Sometimes though, working with our fear is something we need to do in a safe, supportive environment. We might need to untangle stored trauma in our bodies to release us from the fight/flight response. Soothing our nervous system, and coming to a place of regulation is key. If this resonates, you might find Reiki, or working with a skilled trauma-informed practitioner supportive.
No matter how you might find yourself today, remember you are not alone, you matter, and there are loving forces in the universe out there to support you, you just have to ask.
Feeling brave? Want to share with us one of your fears, or how you are feeling after sitting compassionately with them? Let us know in the comments.
Sending lots of love,
P.S. Reach out if you need support! :)
One of the things that I appreciate about Reiki is its ability to meet us where we are at in any given moment. When we are stressed or anxious it can bring calm and comfort. When in physical pain, it can provide ease and relief. When running on a lack of sleep, it can offer deep relaxation. When unable to leave the house for feeling sick and tired, it can help us move through the illness and heal more quickly. When struggling to find a way forward in work, relationships, or projects, it can offer clarity. When feeling alone and unsupported, it can reunite us with connection and hope.
Because Reiki is a spiritual and energetic modality, it can mold itself to whatever the situation requires and help bring a greater sense of balance. Reiki is flexible and transcendent of time and space. It can support us whether we are receiving in person, at home on our couch connecting over the phone, or about to go into surgery or to court. Even if we are not able to tune in due to circumstances, the Reiki still flows and brings balance. We can receive it from others, as well as from ourselves if we are attuned.
This adaptability of Reiki, and its gentle way of responding to all situations makes it one of the most grounded, practical, and compassionate tools I have ever had the privilege of adding to my tool box.
Perhaps, you have had the opportunity to see how Reiki supports you in the various scenarios of your life, or perhaps you have yet to discover this unique quality of the modality. I would love to hear the ways that you may have experienced Reiki in our comments. Were there any things that you were surprised about?
Many blessings to each of you.
Strengthen your spidey senses
An intention that commonly comes up with my clients is a desire to awaken or strengthen their intuition, so in this installment of Musings from the Journey, I thought I would share some of my tips.
Would ya know that you can approach developing your intuition scientifically? I mean, you don't have to chart or record your experience judiciously (unless you want to), but, holding the posture of a neutral observer will help you immensely. The key to tuning in to our intuition is to listen and notice.
Gather data over a period of time. Pay attention to the subtle cues you pick up on in your body and environment. In our culture, it is common to write off certain types of input we receive because we are "making it up" or "imagining things." This perspective squashes intuition like a bug, before we can even see that it may be a beautiful, rare butterfly. Now, disclaimer, not everything you experience will be information you want to take as guidance, but we want to at least open the door so you are receiving some info.
Some examples of "data" to make a mental note of: if you see something out of the corner of your eye, you feel a twinge in your belly when around someone you aren't fond of, your body feels drawn to move in a certain direction, you hear a buzzing in your ear when thinking of something in particular, your dreams, etc. There are all sorts of ways that we can perceive energy. What I invite you do to when you notice something to is to say to yourself, "Oh, isn't that interesting? I'm experiencing ______." Then you don't have to make theories or projections of what it may or may not mean. You are just making note of the data.
Flex your intuitive muscles in small ways. As part of the data gathering process, give yourself low-stakes decisions to make, see what kind of information you get, then make a judgement call. Then, see how that plays out in time. For example, when driving or biking home from an errand, ask yourself which direction to turn as you approach an intersection. Do you hear the word "left," feel a pull to go in a certain direction, see a line of energy guiding you, feel a sensation in your chest, etc.? Based on what you notice you make a choice about which direction to turn. As you continue on, maybe everything goes smoothly. Maybe you have to stop and wait for a train, or there's an accident. Maybe you pass your best friend, and pull over for a chat. Whether it goes well, neutral, or not the best, this is all giving you additionally insight into how you receive information and what it might be telling you.
Continue to intend to have awareness. Even if you aren't noticing seemingly anything at first, keep your intention open to receiving information. It is called subtle energy because indeed it is subtle. The Universe speaks to us in whispers, unless we are being really thick... then sometimes we can get hit over the head with it. I will say there have been times I've had a negative thought then I bonk my head on something... that's a cue!
There are some practices that will help you flex your subtle perception muscles: meditation, yoga, Reiki, being in nature. Practices that help you slow your thinking mind, and tune into your body are very helpful. As well as practices that get you in touch with your spiritual, energetic, and animal nature. Also, if there is an activity that you enjoy that you find you get "in the zone" with this is great! Notice how you receive information when in that kind of a space.
Over time, patterns will reveal themselves. I was not always in tune with my intuition, and when I set out to develop it, I really didn't know what to put stock in for a long time. After maybe a year or so, the meaning of one of my indicators became very clear. I had enough real-life experience and feedback by that time that helped me know that when I feel strong chills through my head, back and body that either: there is something that is being said that has truth and warrants special attention, and/or there are spirits that are letting me know that they are present.
Developing your intuition is an ongoing process. While there will be cues that become more clear in time what they are indicating, you probably won't get to a time when you've figured it all out. There is so much subtlety and nuance that it is worth coming to your intuition from a place of discernment, gratitude, and humility. Hold the information you get lightly until (and even if) the patterns become clear. There are factors can can complicate the process, like our ego! But, what I've found is that this continuous inquiry and relationship can really enrich our lives, and help us live more and more in alignment with who we really are.
I would also be remiss not to mention that the way each person receives intuitive information and what it may mean is individual. Just because chills means I'm onto truth or spirits for me, doesn't necessarily mean it is the same for you. This is all about getting to know your body with it's (extra)senses for the unique instrument that it is. The more time you spend tuning in and "practicing" the better trained your ear will be to when things are resonant, or out of tune.
So, anyhoo, that's what I'll leave you with for today. Do you have reliable intuitive signals, or experiences you'd like to share? Perhaps, you have questions that I can address in another article. Leave them in our comments.
Where are the little glimmers of light and beauty?
March of 2020 I was signed up to take an ancestral healing training with shamanic practitioner Debra Morrill. Shortly before, the Covid outbreak hit, and, like so many other things, the class was postponed until it was safe to reconvene. While we waited, Debra and my teacher Ana Larramendi, her host, suggested that we go on a shamanic journey to connect with one of our ancestors that had survived a pandemic in their time. Since we all were here, no doubt at least one family member had made it through similar times. Now, about two years into the pandemic of our era, I've been reflecting on the wisdom that came from that journey.
I was led to a woman in France during the bubonic plague. She lived with one or two other people, and I could see that in time one of them would succumb to the Black Death while quarantined away in a separate room. My ancestor kept to herself as the sickness spread around her town.
When I asked what helped her move through those times, I saw her going out into her garden behind the house. Looking up at the sky, the sun radiated down on her face, the light and warmth melting away some of her preoccupation, burdens, and grief. In that moment, she was alive and she could feel. She bent down, plucked a vibrant strawberry, and delighted in its sweet juices. As the Black Death spread around her, these visits to the garden kept her connected with enough light and enjoyment to sustain her through those years.
I planted several strawberry plants in my garden the spring after I did that journey. It was too late to truly enjoy their fruit that year, but I grew other things in the meantime. By June of 2021, the strawberry plants had established themselves. I would step out each morning, my shadow cast over the leaves, crooning as I gently searched for tender, ripe berries. Inevitably, I would find a few. Then I would stand eyes closed, slowly savoring the sun-warmed crimson flesh as the morning sun glimmered through the trees on my face.
These moments, and moments like these... snuggled with my kitties feeling their steady purr and poofy fur, laughing at a silly comedy, feeling snowflakes land on my face, receiving a small act of kindness or shared humanity from a stranger or friend, these seemingly small things have helped sustain me, and tap into resiliency. While there has been so much constriction, challenge, and loss over these last two years, there are still little glimmers of beauty hiding under the leaves. We just need to take a moment to pause, look, and allow ourselves to receive it.
What has helped sustain you during these times? What has brought comfort, relief, or even joy? Share with us in the comments. If you haven't found much of these qualities in your life lately, how can you make space for it to enter, even amongst the struggle?
With lots of love and care,
Navigating the ups and downs of life.
As I write to you, friends, it's pouring outside. How timely that I have finally sat down to write to you on this topic and mother nature matches her mood to this title.
As of this summer, I have been practicing Reiki for twelve years! Over this decade plus, I've moved through plenty of ups and downs in life, and one of the things that I am continually grateful for is the presence of this divine energy in my life. Shortly after I finished my training in 2009, my mother had a massive stroke (she fortunately made a significant recovery). During that period, I gave Reiki to myself and my mother everyday. I also regularly received Reiki from others. Despite the dire circumstances, I felt a sense of knowing that all would be okay. Somehow, the Reiki helped me navigate that time with an awareness and calm I didn't realize I could access during such a crisis. It also helped me be more present and supportive of my mom.
Fast forward to today, as we continue to move through our own personal and collective challenges, I am reminded of what a safety and strength Reiki is to me. Leaning into daily self-Reiki and receiving from others helps me to ride the waves while the maelstrom rages. I can't control the outcome, and make the winds quiet nor the waves cease to roll, but the Reiki helps me stay balanced enough to steer my boat through these waters, and keep from capsizing until calmer waters return.
Do you have your own story about how Reiki has helped you move through a difficult time? Share your story in the comments.
Or perhaps, you need some support navigating the waters of your life right now? If so, I'm here to help. I'm seeing clients remotely over the phone or Zoom, and returning clients in person on select days. Book online to schedule a remote session, or email me to schedule an in person appointment.
No matter what is unfolding in your life right now, dear soul, please be loving and kind to yourself, and know there are compassionate energies all around available to support you.
With much love,
Who are the beings that support you?
Today, and all days, I would like to acknowledge and give thanks to the many nature beings that support me. Lake Koshkonong, the surrounding springs and marshes, and Wingra Creek. Steady oak, maple, shagbark hickory, black cherry, mulberry, paper birch, red and white pine, hemlock, ash, cottonwood, poplar, and norway spruce. Yarrow, mugwort, tulsi, solomon's plume, blue vervain, sweetgrass, cedar, sage, lavender, hyssop. The beings of our garden, raspberry, strawberry, honeyberry, little blue stem, rose, Solomon's seal, violet, motherwort, dandelion, cleavers, daffodil, tulip, those awaiting emergence, the wriglers and crawlers in our soil, the stones, moss, fungi, and the many potted plants, and seedlings growing by our patio window. The sun, moon, and stars, the clouds, and weather patterns that pass through. I give thanks to the birds going about their spring rituals whether they be song, migratory, or predatory. The squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, and butterflies. The muskrats, beavers, deer, and fox. I give thanks to the plant and animal beings that have given their life to feed and sustain me. To the wood, and stone beings that create and hold us safe, and warm in our home. To the remains of ancient beings that have been harnessed as fuel or objects we use often. Of course, to my beloved furry friends who share life, home, and companionship with us. Sweet Mother Earth. To all the beings, spoken and unspoken. I give thanks to you, dear ones.
Who are the beings of nature that support you? Perhaps, you find them out your window, in your yard, or a park. Along a walk in your neighborhood, or your commute.
I invite you to choose one of those beings that you feel drawn to. Carve out some time today to be with that plant, tree, animal, stone. Acknowledge their aliveness. What happens when you recognize this being's consciousness, knowing that they are more than just an object? Offer your thanks for their beauty, presence, joy...whatever feels genuine within you. Then, allow yourself to open to their love and appreciation for you. Yes, you personally. What if this being already knows you? Enjoy feeling this care, and reciprocity. If you feel inspired, leave an offering of flowers, herbs, song, or tend to them with care. If you aren't sure what to offer, ask from your heart what is appropriate. Practice listening.
As we deepen our relationship with Mother Earth and all the beings we share this planet with, we grow in our knowing of how to live in harmony, and respect. These feelings go both ways. Generous blessings of healing and magic line the path when we show up willing, genuine, and open to learning.
Please share with us, who are the nature beings that support you? What did you notice when you offered gratitude to a specific being, and opened up to receive in return?
With love on this Earth Day,
Over a year into pandemic life, its time to unplug....
How has the spring been unfolding for you thus far?
I've been noticing some collective themes during this phase of pandemic life:
One of my beloved friends recently compared these times to her experience running a marathon. She said, right now it feels like being on mile 22 with the end in sight, but there's still a ways to go. The pain and exhaustion of what we've been through is catching up with us. We know we can make it to the end, but it still feels so far away.
So here I am to tell you, my friends: "You can do this. We can do this. We've come this far. Catch your breath if you need to. Refuel. Then keep going. We'll get there."
What kind, encouraging things can you cheer yourself on about? We've all, no doubt, have tapped into our own unique flavor of resiliency over the last year. Pause for a moment to acknowledge how you've come all this way, despite all the challenges. Even if you're wiped, or your heart is aching, there is still something within you that has helped you get here. Can you acknowledge one to three qualities that helped you navigate this crisis?
Now, to tend to those tender, tired parts of us...
There is so much information, and opinions we've been bombarded with. It's a LOT of input, and we've not had much space to process. My invitation for you is to turn off and step away from the screens. Log off social media, turn off the TV, computers, and radio. Give yourself some time to just be. Lay on your couch. Take a nap. Go for a walk without your devices. Meditate.
What do you notice arising within yourself when you aren't absorbing more information? Witness whatever is here with compassion. Imagine you are airing yourself out, allowing your feelings to be carried up and out to the heavens by the wind. Cry if you need to. Or, scream, or yell, or sing. Move your body. Do an interpretive dance, or shake it out. The sillier you look the better. Offer your feelings as food and compost to the earth as a give away. Listen to the birds going about their spring time activities. Notice the buds on the trees, and the little sprouts emerging from soil after the long winter. Nurture seedlings on your windowsill. Take a bath.
While it is important to stay connected and informed, this time of silence, and reconnection with our bodies, and noticing is just as, if not more, important. Give yourself permission to exhale. We have a lot of resting to do to recover. This is only the beginning. Allowing yourself little windows of time to do this will take some of the edge off, and lessen the amount of processing you'll need to do later. If you need a professional to give you permission to slow down and rest, consider this it!
Alright, that's all I'm going to say for now. Feel free to leave a comment to share with us how you are doing, then go unplug!
With love, and breath,
Become the Medicine
As others conspire for tumult, I invite you to join me in purifying our hearts, minds, and bodies, and holding a vibration of peace.
I've created a 30 minute guided meditation for us to get grounded, radiate our light, and maintain a frequency of peace and compassion in our communities and country. After the violence at the Capitol last week, and the upcoming inauguration I felt called to create an offering that would help us transmute the destructive energies that are arising. Meditate with me to find your own inner peace despite the turmoil. If you feel steady and grounded in your light, and called to be of service, join me in forming a figurative circle of light around our state and national capitols. While we cannot control the actions of others, we can be a healing presence that inspires others to awaken, and shift course if they are ready and willing. Together, we can be the medicine.
Share this meditation freely and widely. I offer it in service.
From my heart to yours.
Hi Dear One,
Whew! What a year! I'm letting out a big exhale, and looking forward to the ritualistic pause that so many of us take at the end of the year. We certainly have a lot to reflect upon, and continue to process. I imagine we will be doing so for several years. I've been holding with great curiosity what future historians will say about this period. What will it be like for us to hear their 20/20 perspective by then? I suppose time will tell. No matter what, we have changed. The world has changed. My heart hopes it is for the better, though I know that the direction we take is still up to us. Will we integrate the wisdom, compassion, and humility we have cultivated, or will we boomerang back to the old, disconnected ways of being when given the chance? The choice will still be there for us, when it is safe to ease back into in-person relating, traveling, working, etc. May we bring the threads of goodness from this time with us as we move forward.
What is on your heart today? I'm here with a listening ear if you wish to share tales of relief, heartbreak, gratitude, loneliness, exhaustion. Wishing you greater space to feel all that's there, a balm for any tender or raw aspects of you, and lots of deep, nourishing rest.
The support from each of you during this pandemic era is something for which I am incredibly grateful. This community kept me going (on many levels) this year. I am deeply appreciative of the loving words offered, just because, to check in, and share. For how you all adapted with me to these times, enjoying remote sessions and classes, wearing masks, and doing our part to stay safe while doing this work. The trust that you have vested in me with your well-being is not something I take for granted. Your support, referrals, and generosity has kept my business steady during these uncertain times. Embrace Your Essence will be able to continue to help others touch into the depth of their being and heal into 2021 and beyond. When I was running on reserves this year, your warmth, kindness, and generosity renewed my hope. I don't fully have the words to describe this yet, but to move through these hard times together, while still buoying each other up was a real gift. The fabrics we have woven to catch each other in our web of connection this year feels so meaningful and profound. Thank you for your care, and letting me have some place in your life (and inbox).
Monday happens to be the Winter Solstice, and the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. On this darkest night of the year, these planets will appear close to each other in the southwestern sky just above the horizon in the hour or so following sunset. This will be the first time we will be able to view Jupiter and Saturn this near each other since March 4, 1226. The next conjunction of this kind won't come again until 2080. If you are available, find a spot without trees or buildings blocking your way to watch the sunset and linger for a while. Bundle up, gather your lovies, a blanket, warm drink, binoculars or telescope if you have them, and marvel and wonder. While you're looking up, think of all of us around the globe who will be soaking it in along with you, and perhaps those who have watched centuries before, and yet to glimpse it in the future. For more info on viewing, check out this article from Scientific American. Fingers crossed for clear skies!
Sending lots of love, and wishes for your peace, health, and fulfillment this holiday season and into the new year.
Receive the blessings of your ancestors, and remember those we've lost this year.
This period, from the end of October into November, is known cross-culturally as a time when the veil between the physical world and the nonphysical is thin. For thousands of years, humans have used this time to connect with ancestors and the spirit realm. Perhaps you already celebrate Samhain or Día de los Muertos, and know the significance and balm of reconnecting with our loved ones lost. Given the year we have all had, where we have been tested on numerous levels, and so many have passed, the healing potential of these practices seem as poignant as ever.
My invitation to you, over the next couple weeks, set aside some time when you can be in intentional reverence or contemplation. Think of the ancestors you would like to recognize. These may be cherished ones you have known who have passed, others who were estranged, or family further back on your ancestral line. How would you like to acknowledge and honor these souls? Perhaps you pull out some photographs, and light a candle, make a family recipe, watch a movie you loved to share, or engage in an activity this person enjoyed. If you did not have closure with this person, you may be called to write a letter to them, expressing how you feel. Seal it up in an envelop, leave it out on an altar, and then bury or burn it after a short time. You'll know when. If you had a particularly challenging relationship with one of these individuals, honor your experience by allowing your feelings to flow. Are there any lessons you learned as a result of your relationship with them? If you haven't already, are you ready to forgive them? If not, what to you need to move closer to forgiveness, so you can heal? No matter who you choose to acknowledge, you may find expressing yourself with a poem, drawing, or song cathartic. Trust what feels appropriate, reverent, and healing for you.
Even if the details of the stories may have been lost to time, we all have had ancestors that survived pandemics as well as times of uncertainty, and unrest. Their strength, wisdom, love, and resilience still lives on in your bones, your DNA. You can call on these compassionate ancestors and ask them to guide you, be with you, and offer you strength to continue on during these times. As you invite these energies, focus on the blessings. If you notice any of their unresolved pain or struggles activating within you, witness it with compassion, and remember it is not yours, and therefore not your job to carry it on. Breathe these burdens down into the Earth with love, freeing yourself and your family line from these energies. As you connect with these ancestors, who knows what kind of insight and healing may emerge for you.
Finally, you may feel called to incorporate a ritual in remembrance of the many who lost their lives this year due to COVID-19, violence, or other causes. Create space for mourning within your personal world and communities. We have been through a lot, and though you have survived if you are reading this, many have not. Let us offer them peace on their soul's journey, and healing and comfort for their loved ones (which may include you). If you are in the thick of grief, remember to lean on the support of those around you. The Reiki and I are here for you too, if you need it.
. . . . .
As you take this time to honor the departed, please share with us in the comments how you celebrated them, and what the experience was like for you.
Lastly, with the election just around the corner, I ask you all to join me in holding intentions for peace, fairness, integrity, safety, and compassion for all Americans as we exercise our right to vote, determine the results of the election, and await the next term.
Take good care,
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence