Wisdom from my father.
This one goes out to my pops, Bob the Nice Guy.
Today, and all days, but, especially today, I remember him.
During his time, this kind, gentle, creative soul emanated a love that I'll be nestled within for the rest of my life. Dad modeled how to be a brave, compassionate human, spirit undampened by challenges. He believed in me, and this instilled a confidence in myself to step into the world as I have. He gave me my goofy, and sometimes ridiculous sense of humor, for better or worse. I'm sorry? ;)
There aren't words for all that I could say. Perhaps someday, I'll reach across time and space to him in the Great Beyond, capture the words in poetry like the great mystics Hafiz and Rumi, bottle them up as some elixir to share with you. But that is for another day.
What I have for you today is wisdom he shared with me often during my early decades:
"Life is what you make it."
When I muse over this, I meditate on the essence of what I want to cultivate in my life. Compassion, kindness, joy, wonder, acceptance, love. I aim to help myself and others find relief from pain in healthy ways. To delight in the unique facets of life. To laugh and marvel at the beautiful intricacies that are revealed when we pay attention.
I suppose there are some specific "outcomes" that maybe, someday, I'd like to experience, but I hold them lightly now. I know that life is more than the boxes we check off. It takes twists and turns. Sometimes it pans out as expected and sometimes not. A lot of it we can't control. But the way we choose to show up with what is given, we can. I do believe care, love, wonder, and shared humanity exist in all these moments, though sometimes it can be hard to find or access. Yet, if I trust in my ability to find these qualities within myself and the world, there will be a little more internal grace, no matter what plays out. Even during the hard stuff.
In the months following my dad's passing last fall, the prospect of Father's Day rolling around without him felt pretty grim. Around the new year, inspiration came of an epic adventure to connect with him, and let a shared dream finally come true. This gave me a light and a focus amidst the grief, a way to make a long-held vision come to life. As you read this, I am likely in ceremony, honoring this sweet soul and our shared love of mountains, land, and nature. Making a bit more magic out of this life, and if I'm going to really make Dad proud, a joke of it too. But more on that later... right now, I'm busy.
Happy Father's Day.
So it goes.
P.S. Dad would want me to share this with you. :) If you want to sing out, sing out...
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,
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.
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,
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.
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.
May we nourish our collective heart this holiday
As we honor Thanksgiving this year, whether gathered with loved ones or resting in solitude....
May we feel safe to be as we are, in our bodies, minds, and souls.
May we acknowledge the provision that life has offered us, and allow ourselves to fully receive that which nourishes and feeds our spirits and flesh.
May we shrug off with grace that which would diminish our light. Allowing it to roll off us, untarnished, and view it through the eyes of compassion and a desire to understand.
May we be fully grounded in our hearts and feel this capacity grow.
May we honor our roots, our personal ancestry, and that of our communities, country, and planet. May we remember that we wouldn't be here without those who came before.
May we honor their love, courage, and hope. The beauty they planted that has flourished through time and strengthened through adversity.
May we also acknowledge their shortcomings. The moments of misstep, and misalignment with deep Truth and Love. The old wounds, personal, and collective, that have yet to heal.
May we recognize this humanness within ourselves too. That we all have these capacities for love, fear, connection, and confusion.
May we find tenderness as we see these places where our souls and communities still ache. May we witness the pain and not turn away. May we say, "I am here with you, brother, sister, friend. We will heal this together."
May we be willing to forgive, and to practice it until we feel it in our bones.
May we have the courage to move into inspired action. Led by the heart, to offer greater healing to ourselves, our families, and the world.
May we trust that our love and joy ripples out into the universe, and serves those who need our gifts the most. May we remember that the choice to live from this place elevates us all.
We Are One.
Thank you for existing. We need you.
With so much love,
P.S. Have a blessing you would like to share with our community? Post it in the comments below.
Learning to allow in what we most long for...
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran
I would like to invite you to join me in an experiment.
Is there something you have been wishing to experience more fully in your life?
It may be to feel loved, provided for, safe expressing who you are, to play and feel delight, or other yearning of your heart.
Make note of the quality that rings most true to you in this moment.
Now, imagine you are opening a door to all the ways this can present itself in your life. Hold this with a light curiosity, surrendering (the best you can) the need to control the specifics of how and when it will arrive, and any judgment. For instance, I might ask openly, "I wonder how I'll get to play today."
See if you can notice all the ways the world around you expresses the quality you are looking for. Remember to catch the ways you express it too. If you like, acknowledge the moments in a way that feels good to you (like journaling or photography). Making note of these moments within yourself draws more energy to these types of experiences.
I suggest holding this exploration in mind for the next month, but you can do it for as long as you like. You can also switch to another quality once you feel more connected to it in your day-to-day life. See what transpires.
I'd love to hear the qualities you are choosing to play with and your experiences. Feel free to share with us by commenting below, or sending me an email.
P.S. I want to acknowledge those of you who might have a fear of doing this, because it might "prove" that you are not able to get what you want. First, remember our intention in doing this is not to pass judgment on ourselves or others. Our purpose is to see if we can stretch what we allow into our experience of life. Second, you may want to try "loosening" your idea of what it is you want. If it is something very specific, i.e. "I want so-and-so to do this thing for me, in this specific way, at these times," see if you can figure out what that action means to you. Perhaps it is about being appreciated, getting justice, being safe, etc. Once that becomes clear, if you are willing to let it come to you through other avenues (besides this person, for example), you may be surprised what is already there for you.
During my work with clients over the last month, I have been noticing a theme that many (including myself) have been facing particularly strongly—our relationship with the unknown.
The uncertainty, of course, is always there. Though some of us may be becoming more aware of its steady presence as we face weather extremes, the upcoming elections, or the unique details of our personal lives.
The question is, as we remember that we are part of larger systems unfolding on a course all their own, how are we relating with ourselves?
Are we freaking out with anxiety, fear, rage, or sadness? Are we scrambling for control, some way to escape, or blow off steam? Are we able to access a sense of faith, and able to ride the waves that are washing in? Maybe you vacillate between these realities depending on the moment.
No matter what your experience is, I would like to invite you to offer kindness, and compassion for yourself. We all want to be safe, loved, healthy, and happy. When we sense these qualities may be in jeopardy, it is natural to respond in effort to preserve them. We all have this instinct.
Sometimes, I wish I had a book that could tell me the details of everything that is to come, and the best way to face it. I would reference it in these times of uncertainty, and share it with you all. But, alas, we all know no such thing exists.
Yet, as I look to the trees during this change of season from summer to fall, it is as if they are guiding, "Gather your resources. Soak in all the nourishment you can. Let all the goodness you have encountered infuse into your being. Fill up your reserves—the deep wells within you—with all the love that has freely washed over you. This has been there, and still is (in case you had any doubt), just like the light from the sun that shines indiscriminately on all of life on Earth.
Then, my friends, shake off the empty shells. The vessels that once were vehicles of life that are now hollow. Shed the old skin, the fading coat, the crumbling leaves. Let the winds of change carry them effortlessly away. You don't need them any more. They served their purpose. Honor them for what you experienced through them. Then let them rest. They will be renewed in their own time in this web of life."
I look to the trees, and this I remember.
What unknowns are you facing right now? How are you working with them? Share your experience with us below, or send me an email.
Wishing so much love, freedom, and trust for each of you.
P.S. Tired of facing the uncertainty alone? Reach out, and we'll walk the path together.
Things are not as they seem.
In the Land of Smoke and Mirrors, do not believe everything you think.
The thoughts a barrage of unworthiness, hatred, fear, despair. Taunting us with a seemingly unending list of evidence proving this dark, grim reality. The haunting visuals, words, and feelings, can echo in our minds.
My friend, do not fall prey to these specters of your mind.
Moving through our darkness, and the themes it takes at different times of our lives, please, my friend, remember: things are not as they seem.
The show these parts of our mind create, with their lurking shadows, distorting flashing lights, and ominous voices, can distract and confuse, paralyze or enrage.
Please, my friend, remember, this is just a stage.
If nothing else, remember that this is not real.
Call to the light. Remember that it exists.
Sometimes, looking up, seeing that the light is still there, amidst all the confused mess, is enough to beam us out, and give us a wider perspective.
Other times, it may be like traversing through a dark, slippery cave, seeking the crack where a small glimmer of light enters. As you feel your way through the shadows, my friend, remember, that things aren't as they seem. Take your time, remember the light. Remember that love exists. Follow your nose to fresher air, and trust that I am here with you. Though it may seem it sometimes, you are not alone.
When you've made it to higher ground and fresher air, when the tenuousness of your journey has passed, breathe.
Perhaps, pause, look back, and see things for what they really are.
As the superfluous special effects begin to deflate, and special lighting dies down, do you see the man behind the curtain, the boggarts, the path through the "fun house" more clearly?
What was this elaborate, convincing, and even painful display all about?
Underneath it all, you may notice a small kernel of truth. A need. A longing. An ache for love, acceptance, peace, belonging, healing, safety, freedom, to be seen. A call to receive something that a part of you may have been needing deeply for so very long, a part of you hidden in shame, and a vulnerable hope that its need may actually be met.
Now your path is more clear. Learn to invite in this love, compassion, and awareness. Trust that you are worthy to receive it. You are.
If you are traversing through darkness, your Land of Smoke and Mirrors, or know someone who is, you do not have to navigate through it alone. Reach out to someone who can help you remember what is True, to call out Illusion, and feel your way back to your connection to light. I'm no stranger to these lands, and would walk through it with you in a second if you ask. I've got my torch bright and blazing and at the ready to help us find our way through.
With so much love for you,
P.S. If a thought feels like sh*t when you think it, it doesn't contain fundamental Truth.
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence