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 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,
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.
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.
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.
Navigating times of transition.
This coming Monday marks a significant day for me. It is my last day working at a part-time job I've had for the last three and a half years as a nanny for a little boy, now almost four. I started this position when Embrace Your Essence was still a fledgling, and wasn't quite able to support itself on its own yet. Leaning into my background in early education, and spending a couple afternoons a week with this little kiddo has provided great fulfillment and joy, and also given Embrace Your Essence the breathing room it needed to grow without unnecessary demands.
Of course, over this time, both the business and the child have grown and both have different needs now. Embrace Your Essence is now in a place where it is sustaining itself, but also requiring more time and space to flourish as it continues to grow. A few months ago this became undeniably clear to me, and after a conversation with the family, I've been making the transition out of nannying and into Embrace Your Essence even more fully.
Over the course of the last several months as this has been evolving, I have been doing my best to honor the process of this transition. As the precipice of change is so close, these ways of integrating and moving through have been very poignant on my mind.
As many of you may be in transition times yourself, I would like to share some of the key pieces I've been reminded of for moving through with grace.
Get yourself plenty of space. Times to be still or allow yourself to not actively be doing something gives room to integrate all the energetic shifts that are happening under the surface. Breathe. Meditate. Sleep. Gaze out the window, or lay on the grass. Though I did mention stillness, conscious, present movement can be supportive too (such as yoga or an easy walk with the intent to be with yourself and your experience). There may be many facets of your experience that need to be witnessed so they can fully move through and out of you. If we rush around, or are constantly engaged in activity, it delays the processing of these pieces. There is nothing wrong with this, just know that they will peak their head up later to receive the attention they need. You have permission to slow down, and to say no to certain things if that feels like it will give you the room you need to process.
Get support. We all need others to help buoy us up, especially when things are in flux. Turn to people you trust who can listen, who are willing to offer nourishment in the ways you need it. Eat good food. Lean into community. Ask for what you need. Look for the ways you are provided it. Allow yourself to receive from those with whom you feel safe.
Accept and allow discomfort. Transitions bring up a whole slew of emotions. Excitement, fear, grief, hope, and everything in between. All of it is valid. All of it needs to be seen. Some of it you may be more comfortable with than others. Witness and breathe into it, and cradle it. If you can, catch ways your mind may be trying to protect yourself from fully feeling everything that is there. For instance, I noticed myself continually contemplating the appropriate goodbye gift for the family and little boy. Even though I had landed on something, for at least a month, my mind kept returning to it thinking it wasn't enough. I held this though pattern with open curiosity, knowing there was something more to this, and wanting to see how it might relate to my healing. Finally, it occurred to me. A part of me felt that if I found the perfect gift to encompass all the beautiful, rich experiences we've had together over the last three years, that it would have been a gateway for all my emotions. No such object exists. I had to trust that the unfolding of each experience we shared together in that particular moment was enough. My responsibility instead, was to sit with the full range of emotions that were present for me.
Honor where you have been. In the space and cradle of support, reflect on what has unfolded within you as a result of the experience that is ending or beginning. How has/is your soul growing and unfolding? What do you have access to now, that you didn't have before? Clarity, compassion, freedom, love, awareness, truth.... Connect with gratitude within your heart for what you have received and learned that you are taking with you.
Nourish hope. With most, if not all, transitions, something is ending, so something new can begin. The presence of the unknown makes itself unavoidably clear. At various points within the transition, fear can rear its head at the mere thought of the unknown. Sit with this discomfort, and as you do, also listen for the inklings of love and support that may drop themselves like breadcrumbs along your trail. Note them, cherish them, and put them in your pocket. Remind yourself of them when fear or doubt shows up. Move slowly if you need to to trust that you are truly safe to move forward. Course correct if needed.
Transitions can be big on the surface like a job change, moving, birth, death, or shifting through different phases of life (this includes our own phases, but also when our children, parents, and significant others move through them too). But sometimes, they show up more subtly, like letting go of a habit or belief. No matter where you may find yourself if your in transition, I encourage you to explore the processes shared above and see if they feel beneficial for you. If you feel inclined to share, comment on our blog or send me an email, and let us know what transition you are in and how you are supporting yourself.
With grace and compassion,
The conundrum that vexes many heart-centered people
I was speaking with a client recently, and through our conversation it was clear that she had been aware of things that others around her didn't seem to notice. She could tell when something was up with her loved ones even when they tried to hide it, and she seemed to have a sense of what these people needed. She could see them, or really, she could feel them. She was well aware of the pain around her, and also of the beauty and love that others sometimes could not see. It became clear: she has always been an empath.
"Now that I know I'm an empath, does this mean that it is my job to save people if I know they are suffering?" she wondered.
No, it does not. We do not have to whoosh in and rescue loved ones and strangers, because of this intuitive awareness we feel in our bodies. We also do not have to completely block ourselves off from the world, and disassociate to protect ourselves. There is a middle way. A path that we can traverse where we remain connected in our hearts and conscious of what is unfolding around us, but we remained grounded in what is our true responsibility: ourselves. We remember that also applies to everyone else. It isn't always easy to practice this when have been living the majority of our lives enmeshed or detached. But with a fair dose of self-compassion, and patience, we can connect with the strength and kindness we need to navigate life fully present. We will be exploring this life-long practice, and supportive wisdom to soak in during the Empowered Empath series which begins a week from today.
If you are curious, you can learn more here.
Feel the pull to step in with us? Three spots remain available as of today. Book & pay online, email, or call 608-335-1934.
No matter whether you find yourself with empathic abilities or not, I invite you to notice if you have any tendencies to take responsibility for other people's problems, or to distance yourself from discomfort. Explore for yourself ways that you can maintain autonomy for your experience, and surrender any burdens outside of that. I'd love to hear what you notice. Share your comments below, or send me an email.
Hope you are well,
Spring invites the shedding of protective layers to allow for new growth.
Spring is on our doorstep, my friends. Do you feel your vital energy stirring within you as the daylight and glimmer of warmth in the air calls us to awaken our sleepy bones? As you invite in this freshness into your being, and shake off sluggishness, we can easily get swept up in the joy, excitement, and eagerness of what is to come, desires for connecting with the outside world, and plans to take action in your life and the broader community. Spring coaxes the fire within us. While this energy of the season can be a beautiful and important catalyst, there is an aspect of this early phase of the season that, as a culture, we often overlook: tenderness.
The buds on the trees have begun to shed the protective waxy coating that shielded them from the winter chill, but have yet to unfold. Many of the seeds within the ground are breaking down their growth inhibiting hormones that have kept them dormant, and are preparing to reach for the soil's surface, while some resilient pioneers have already extended their bright green shoots out of our monochromatic landscape. A new cycle of life is emerging. Exciting, indeed. But we must acknowledge this life is still vulnerable. Without the appropriate conditions, some of this life will not make it through the season. A couple of hard frosts, hungry critters, or a good natured but absent-minded person trampling on the young sprouts may impede the growth of these plants. There is a softness, openness, and rawness to this process. Here they are, bursting forth. Will they have the opportunity to develop the strength, the roots, and perhaps, eventually, bear fruit? Time will tell.
In the natural world, and even the human community, many of these occurrences are beyond our control. Pause for a moment. Does this bring up a helplessness in you? Breathe into this space. Especially with the conditions present in the world now, and the movements unfolding, there can be a sense of urgency, of "this needed to be done ages ago!", of our desperation for change fueling our action. The fire awakening within us is supported by this energy of spring. But if we don't acknowledge the tenderness, helplessness, or vulnerability within our experience, we can act without full consciousness and connection, without the care and support that we need to move into effective action.
So, let's take a moment to pause and reflect.
Without the support that we need, we can feel susceptible to the world around us. But if we allow ourselves to receive nurturance for what is coming forth within us, the softness and tenderness has a resiliency that can break away the barriers we had in place, and withstand the hardships.
From Verse 43 of The Tao Te Ching,
"The softest thing in the universe
Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
That without substance can enter where there is no room.
Hence I know the value of non-action."
(Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)
There you are, my friends. I'd love to hear what those questions bring up in you, and how you balance the duality of the fire and action of Spring, with the tenderness, and rawness of it. If you feel inspired to share, comment below or send me an email. Always a pleasure to hear from you.
Blessings for love, resiliency, comfort, and growth for you, and us all,
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence