Saturday, April 9, 2016

Finding Clarity through Spiritual Coaching

     Spirituality means different things to different people.  For some, spirituality means connecting to the Self--self-realization.  For others, it may mean connecting to a Higher Power.  In spiritual coaching, we attempt to meet the client where they are with their personal beliefs and help them find ways to cultivate peace, mindfulness, and a stronger sense of Self.
     It has been said that relationships are the classroom of the spirit.  It is through our relationships that we learn some of our greatest life lessons.  On the outside, these relationships may seem trivial or minor.  Yet, they form a road map--a road map of the soul.  Often, others treat us the way we treat ourselves.  So, by cultivating and growing a relationship with the Self, we learn to cultivate better relationships with others.  This is why many people are turning to Spiritual Coaching.  In becoming self-realized, we learn that we don't just give and receive love from others.  We learn that at our core we ARE love.  Once we recognize that, we then learn to be in a constant state of love no matter the circumstances.  In this state of self-realization, we begin to see that we do not have to be defined by our outward relationships.  Thus, the focus shifts from stressful, dramatic teenage relationships to mature, supportive adult relationships.
     As spiritual beings living a human experience, we sometimes struggle with finding balance.  Spiritual Coaching can help you find balance by bringing you into alignment with these 5 important practices:

  1. Developing a daily practice
  2. Developing a system of self-care
  3. Cultivating forgiveness
  4. Cultivating gratitude
  5. Developing a vision
With these five keys, the door to self-realization opens and leads us to a path of wholeness and connection.

Find these and other programs at:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reiki: From Crisis to Calm

     One of my programs at Seattle Healing, Hypnosis and Reiki is called From Crisis to Calm. (check out all of my programs and classes here:  I call it that because when I encountered Reiki in the mid-90's, I was a mess.  I was in a bad place with my relationships, career, spirituality, and most of all myself. Learning Reiki brought me back to a sense of wholeness.  It didn't happen overnight.  However, within a relatively short amount of time, I began to see changes.  Changes in the way I carried myself into the world--changes in my attitude.  I was letting go of old fears and hurts.  The pattern of self-loathing I had learned started to turn into a pattern of self-respect.  So Reiki became the base on which I built my life.  When I began to practice Reiki, I had no idea how it would affect my life.  It somehow, without my realizing it, began to unravel the tangled mess that was my life.  It did so in a most gentle way and into the process taught me five of the most important life lessons I would ever learn.
     One of the keys to mastering Reiki is following the Five Principles.  These principles have a lot to teach us--not just about morality but about the way we live daily.  Through the practice of following and meditating on the principles, I learned about gratitude.  Until I discovered Reiki, I had never thought much about gratitude and the way it works in our lives.  As I began to learn the power of gratitude, I began to see more opportunity--more potential--open up in my life.  As I became grateful for the little things, I began to see the big things show up.  At first, I didn't realize that I had so much to be grateful for.  So, I just started by saying "Thank you! Thank you for all of the good things in my life."  Slowly, I began to see more "good things" show up.  I didn't know how to list them; but, I sure knew them when I saw them.  I, also, started to get clear on what was good for me and what wasn't. Thus, I was able to make wiser choices--choices about the opportunities that my gratitude was creating.

Just for Today--I will be grateful

     Another gift given to me by my Reiki attunement was the gift of a daily spiritual practice.  As I learned more about spirituality and mindfulness, I began to include Reiki in my meditation time.  I began to just sit with the energy.  Eventually, I found other masters and practitioners who practiced Reiki in different ways and I began to learn those as well.  However, I always relied on the energy of Reiki to "guide" me to what was next.  Over the course of 20 years of practice, It am still learning and using Reiki meditation as the foundation for my daily spiritual practice.  So, I teach that Reiki isn't just a healing modality, it's a spiritual practice.  It has a daily practice of mindfulness built right into the system.  It is through this process that I learned to listen.  As, I practiced daily, I began to find clarity surrounding my life.  Through meditating with Reiki I found a strong daily practice that guides me to clarity and I still practice it today.

In stillness, we find direction.

     Furthermore, Reiki taught me about self-care.  My Reiki Master taught that you should give yourself Reiki everyday.  This, of course, folds seamlessly into a daily practice.  However, if it is the only part of your daily practice that you get for the day, make it happen.  Five minutes of Reiki is better than no minutes of Reiki.  Once you develop a routine for this, it becomes easy to slip into your day.  I, sometimes, Reiki myself to sleep if I've missed my regular full self-treatment.  Life gets busy.  A sound spiritual practice should be about lifting you up. Not oppressing you, or making you feel guilty or pressured.  In Reiki, self-care can involve meditation  practices or it can be as simple as putting your hands on your heart and breathing.

If you are to care for others, you must learn to care for yourself first.

     One of the joys of Reiki is that the energy always works for the highest good.  Reiki just knows where to go and what to do.  As my practice of Reiki grew, I started seeing shifts in my attitude.  Old hurts and resentments began to disappear.  Feelings of anxiousness surrounding past events, old relationships and old behaviors--all of it began to disappear. I would only realize later when the issue came up that there was no longer an emotional charge surrounding the story.  For example, I no longer felt paralyzed by certain fears or jealousy or old traumas.  I began to understand forgiveness. When you let Reiki into your life and begin to pursue it as a spiritual practice, you become filled with a sense of compassion--compassion for others and yourself.  Through this, we can find forgiveness for ourselves and others as well.  Holding on to old hurts doesn't serve anyone.  It only decreases the joy we feel in our lives.  So, it is through my daily Reiki practice that I found  the power of forgiveness.  

Compassion leads to understanding.  Understanding leads to forgiveness. 

     Finally, Reiki helped me to cultivate a vision.  By practicing Reiki everyday, by learning self-care, and trying to live by the Reiki Principles, I began to find clarity.  I began to realize that Reiki was pointing me to my vision--my purpose.  My calling began to manifest.  I realized that I am a healer and teacher.  As my life became more joy filled and I learned to make better choices, I chose opportunities that lead me to finding myself and my purpose.  I found training and classes that furthered my knowledge and skills as both healer and teacher.  Ultimately, all of these came together to form the crux of the work I do today which is helping others find their own truth through teaching, healing, and transformational life coaching.

Cultivate and feed your vision daily.

     I can honestly say, without these five gifts: gratitude, a daily spiritual practice, self-care, forgiveness, and a vision, the chaos that was my life would never have turned into the calm that I feel today.  Not only is my life less chaotic today, but I have the tools I need to handle it when chaos and crisis happens.  Furthermore, I get to help others do the same. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reiki II; Deeper into the Light

     In the western tradition of Reiki, we often refer to Reiki II or Second Degree, as "Practitioner level".  When I initially learned Reiki, that title was a little confusing.  However, it is not a complete misnomer.  For anyone desiring to open a Reiki practice it is a logical next step.  Yet, that is not the only reason for wanting to take your Reiki to the next level.
     Second Degree, is, also, known as Okuden.  This has been translated to mean "the deep inside" or to transmit in depth".  The essence of Second Degree is that it takes your practice to the next level.  This level takes you deeper into the uses and understanding of Reiki.  Not only does it enhance your treatments for others, it enhances them for yourself as well.  Through my personal practice of Reiki, I have come to understand it as a way of life--not just a healing modality.  In fact, I never personally established a Reiki practice.  Although, I have spent a lot of time using Reiki to treat others, I found my personal journey with Reiki to be much more beneficial to me.  I spent many years at Level II.  I found that at this level, I was able to heal others and myself while deepening my relationship to Reiki.
  In fact, with the guidance of my Master, my self-treatments turned into something different.  Using the three Sacred Symbols that I acquired at this level and the Second Degree techniques, my personal practice flourished.  I developed a new understanding of what it means to be connected to Divinity.  My intuition began to grow and become stronger.  I could feel in my hands where healing and energy were required.  When I sat in meditation, I could feel the energy around me and moving through me--even stronger than before.
     Furthermore, the more I practiced and used Reiki, the more focused I felt the energy become.  It was, also, as if I had more control over the energy.  I likened it to being like a laser.  I seemed to be able to concentrate the energy more effectively.  The Reiki energy seemed to be telling me where to put my hands, for how long and what to do with them next.  Thus, I began to change as did my view of the world around me.  It was a gradual process--so gentle and loving.  Yet, it changed me at my core.  It deepened my connection to everything.  It was at this level that I truly began to understand the limitlessness that Reiki holds.  Coming to understand the symbols and their many uses can take a lifetime.  Thus, only those who have a calling to teach really pursue Reiki beyond this level.
     Looking back on my life with Reiki, I realize that it was at this level that Reiki sank into my heart and soul and I began to know:
Reiki is a Way of Life!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Reiki I; The Journey Begins

     My Reiki master, Barbi Lazonby, used to say that treating yourself with Reiki was like giving yourself a big hug.  The essence of Reiki is love.  From a point unknown, from a source unknowable comes this amazingly powerful energy.  Energy that can transform your life and body.
     Reiki I, or First Degree, also known as Shoden, is a powerful  first step.  It serves as a foundation.  Upon completing his 21 day meditation on Mount Kurama, the first miracle of Reiki states that Usui Sensei stubbed his toe in his haste to get down the mountain.  When he sat down and applied Reiki to the injury he found it was immediately healed.  So, one of the first teaching of Reiki is that we work on ourselves first.  At all levels, Reiki is available to use on anyone.  However, the fundamental teaching is to use Reiki for our own healing and enlightenment first.  As we transform, the world around us will be transformed.
     In First Degree, we also learn that Reiki affects us on all levels--physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  Through self-treatment and daily practice, we are able to heal traumas and transform toxic thoughts.  We can break old behaviors and form healthy, new thoughts.  Even at it's most fundamental level Reiki is a life changing experience.  The joy of this is that it is so gentle and so subtle.  Sometimes, we may not even be aware of the depth of change that is occurring until after the fact.  So, when applied with intention and mindfulness Reiki becomes limitless in it's ability to transform us and we see this transformation begin with our first attunement.
     One of the important aspects of the first attunement is that we signal to ourselves that we are ready to make a fresh start.  We are ready to take our health and our life into our own hands.  First Degree is an invitation to leave all old, outmoded ways of thinking behind.  It is an invitation to a new beginning.  We begin to examine ourselves.  We are asked; What are the things that no longer serve us?  What is our body telling us about our behaviors? What can we change in our life that will help heal us?  Simply, by placing our hands on our body and letting the energy move, we begin to find answers, healing, and transformation.  One of the joys of Reiki is it's simplicity.  If it hurts, touch it.  If you are stuck, confused, or just in a funk, give yourself a treatment.  Soon, you will find the answers you need.
     The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu said, " The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."  First Degree, Reiki is that first step.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Life with Reiki

     Nearly 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of taking my first Reiki class.  I loved it. I used Reiki everyday.  I used it on myself, my food, my pets, my family and friends--anything that moved got Reiki.  After, a few months, I realized the value that my new found path held.  So, I delved into Second Degree.  Learning some of the advanced techniques of Reiki took me even further along my journey.  I soon realized, as my Master had taught me, that the more I used Reiki, the more I connected to it.  Many years passed, and I came to use Reiki more and more.  Until, eventually, I realized that it had sneaked into and permeated nearly every aspect of my life.
     During those years of using Reiki, I had continued learning and studying other healing modalities--crystal healing, aromatherapy, etc...Just about anything that fell onto my path.  Yet, what I found was that Reiki was always there.  It augmented all of those other techniques.  So, I would always return to it as a constant in my daily practice.  It was truly at the core of all that I did.
     As time went on, I realized that I wanted more.  I realized that I wanted to share what I knew about Reiki on a deeper level.  So, I pursued Mastership.  I wanted to teach.  And, I did.  I taught Reiki in the same fashion that I had learned Reiki--as a healing modality.  That was what people wanted to learn.  In fact, for many years, it was the only thing that people seemed to know about Reiki.  They had come to know it as a "healing technique".  As I taught,  I realized that not everyone was getting the same thing from Reiki that I did.  So, I stopped teaching for awhile--thinking perhaps it was my teaching style or maybe I had missed an element in learning to teach.
     So, I began to research and meditate.  I just sat with the energy.  I returned to what I knew about Reiki.  I knew that IT would show me the way.  What I saw in my study of Reiki was that many of us in the West were struggling with the same issue.  So, as more and more students began researching (some even going to Japan), more knowledge became available to all of us.  This only fueled my love of Reiki.  Then, I realized all of the things that I was learning about Reiki had been taught to me by my Master.  She, just taught them in a very subtle way.  So, I jumped right into all of this "new" knowledge.  I wholeheartedly began to incorporate it into my own practices.
     Thus, a new way of Reiki was born into my life.  It took me a few years to pull all of the pieces together.  However, what I realized was that I had come full circle.  My life with Reiki was reborn with a new and deeper understanding of the Art of Reiki.
     This "new" path only echoed what I had known to be true for so many years.

Reiki IS a way of Life!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Light

     When I was young, going to school was quite challenging for me.  So, my Mom took on the job of trying to make the mornings as cheerful as possible.  When I woke up, she would be really excited about the day.  I would eat breakfast.  As the time crept closer and closer for me to leave, I would feel this wave of anxiety come over me and I would start to cry.  That was when my Mom would break out in song.
     She would sing, "Oh, Let the Sunshine In."  A simple little song that has stuck with me my whole life.  In all honesty, I thought it was something that my Mom made up.  I only ever remember hearing the chorus.  After some research several years ago, I found out that it is indeed a real song.  However, to me it was a magical incantation that taught me to fight back the dread and fear that I felt every morning. 

"Oh, let the sunshine in
face it with a grin
smilers never loose
and frowners never win.
So, open up your heart
and let the sunshine in."

 That was the magic that got me started in the mornings.  I kind of joke about it now.  Yet, the truth is, from childhood to now, when I'm facing a daunting task or challenge, I return to this practice.  When, I'm stressing out about money, work, or just life changes, I find myself humming this tune. Over the years, it's almost become automatic.
     Moreover, the great thing about this little ditty is that it can be sung, chanted, or spoken like an affirmation.  After a little research, I learned that this song is actually a religious song.  It talks about how smiling and being happy keeps the "devil" away.  I, personally, don't believe in such a being.  However, I do believe that there is negativity.  I, also, believe that like attracts like.  So, when we get caught up in a negative pattern, it grows if left unchecked.  So, teaching me this song, was my Mom's way of teaching me to reign in that negativity.  Just that small portion that I knew seemed magical.  Obviously, my Mom had no idea the impact this one little song would have on my life.  
     However, it wasn't just about the song.  It was about how she taught me to stand up tall and talk to myself encouragingly.  Fortunately, I have always had a very active and powerful imagination.  So, as we performed our morning ritual, I would envision myself standing in the sunshine.  It would shine straight into my heart and spread throughout my body.  I never really told my Mom about what I was seeing in my head.  However, it worked and made the mornings a little more bearable.  Even now, when I start to sing the words or just say them in my head, my posture changes.  My attitude begins to shift and I just know that I can handle whatever needs to be handled at that moment.  It wasn't until later that I discovered that this little trick had a name.
     Furthermore, I discovered that it had several names--visualization, affirmations, visioning, and creative visualization just to name a few. No matter what you call it, to a six year old it was magic.  You see, all of those mornings spent singing and self-talking taught me about the Light.  Not just the light of the Sun, but the Light with a capital L.  More importantly, I learned how to call upon this Light--shifting my consciousness from fear and negativity to positive thoughts and empowerment.  You see, this Light was not just sunshine.  Yes, it came from the Sun.  However, it was powered by Divinity.  I really don't know if I figured that out on my own.  Maybe my Mom told me that.  Either way, somehow I knew.  I knew that it was not ordinary sunlight that I was standing experiencing.  More importantly, I knew that the Light was there to protect me and guide me.  I developed a trust in this Light.  To this day, that trust has never been broken.  There have been times when I have forgotten about it or not listened or just straight up ignored it.  Yet, when I return to it.  It's always there just as loving and protective as ever.
     Furthermore, this Light taught me that my fears were not founded in reality.  They were forged from doubt.  When you shine a light on something, things become clearer.  The shadows that plague us begin to disappear.  We can then see the truth of the situation.  Author and teacher, Richard Seaman uses the phrase, "Hold it up to the light."  A teaching I identified with while taking one of his classes.  He further explains this in his book, Spiritual Reliability. 

"For the purposes of my teachings, 
holding something up to the light means
to expose or reveal the truth about something
and to bring clarity to a situation."

This thought resonated with me very deeply.  It reminded me that I had been doing this my whole life.  What started off as a simple form of encouragement, turned into a life long technique of self-empowerment.  Since I had practiced this technique from childhood, I believe learning other forms of visualization came easily to me.  
     More importantly, it taught me that when you invoke the Light, you are connected to Divinity.  When you are connected to Divinity, you live an empowered life.  You pause, you breathe, you listen.  Then, when the Light has revealed all that you need to know, you act. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Reason For the Season

     Yule, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Winter Solstice, there are so many ways to celebrate this time of year. Houses fill with tradition and merriment.  The excitement of the season crackles in the the air as thoughts of loved ones fill our hearts and minds.  In almost every culture around the world, people gather in some way to celebrate the miracles that this season offers.
      In ancient times, tribes and communities gathered to celebrate the longest night of the year.  To some it seemed that the sun was drifting away from the Earth.  The people would gather and hold all night drumming and dancing vigils hoping to call the Sun back.  Often, a great feast was prepared from any foods that were not able to be kept over the winter months that were yet to come.  Fearing for their survival, winter rations were meted out in the hope that no one would go without.  Even though, the winter months were a lean time, survival of the tribe came first. In later times, as humanity's survival became less threatened by bleak winters, the celebrations continued.  Some well known examples of this are the observances of Saturnalia by the Romans, The 12 Nights of Yule by some Germanic tribes, and Christmas by the Christians.
     During Saturnalia, a sacrifice was made at the Temple of Saturn and a public feast was held.  Private gift-giving took place.  Masters reversed roles with the slaves allowing them to be "king for a day".  Eventually, this observance became a week long, almost carnival-like celebration.  Lucian, in The Saturnalia, has one of the priests of Saturn declare,

" During, my week, the serious is barred; no business allowed.
Drinking, noise and games and dice, appointing of kings and 
feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping of frenzied hands,
an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water--such
are the functions over which I preside."

   Thus we can see, cloaked in all of the merriment and festivities the remnants of the ancient tradition of reaching out to others and sharing what we have.  
     The Germanic tribes also had a similar practice.  In his book, Teutonic Religion, Kveldulf Gundarsson writes,

" Twelfth Night should be, as is traditional everywhere,
marked by feasting, partying, and making lots and
lots of noise at midnight."

   The final act of celebrating this festival actually falls in the first week of January and is a feast known as the Feast of Thunar.  With the coldest parts of winter yet to come, this feast honors Thunar (also known as Thor).  Gundarsson explains, " Thus, at the Feast of Thunar, we hail the Thunderer for driving back the darkness..."
     This also speaks to the ancient tradition of calling the Sun back as the days will begin to grow longer.  Also, it is from this tradition that we draw many of our modern symbols.  The use of evergreens as wreaths and the yule log come from this tradition.  Many believe that the use of a tree is an extension of the yule log practice. Many of these practices were adopted later by Christians and a have remained in use to this day.
    Moreover, according to some Christian traditions,  Christ was born at this time.  Upon his birth, tradition holds that three wise men arrived bearing gifts. Thus, perpetuating the tradition of giving to the less fortunate.  As the story goes, Christ was born in a manger to "common" parents who didn't have money or hold a high station in society.  So, only a few people recognized the significance of this birth. Thus, there is some conflict surrounding the actual time of Christ's birth.
     Furthermore, some historians have suggested that the date of December 25th was assimilated by Christian writes during the reign of emperor Constantine.  This date had previously been associated with a Winter Solstice festival celebrating the sun god.  The writers of the time associating Jesus with the Sun as mentioned in Malachi 4:2 as the "sun of righteousness" replacing the previous solar deity with Christ.  Thus, assimilating all the associated festivities into Christianity which included feasting and gift-giving.  Again, carrying on the most ancient traditions of caring one for another.  The act of community sharing it's abundance to best serve the people.  So, it is in modern society that we see some of these same traditions being carried out.  All of these rooted deeply within humanity's beginnings.
     So often, I hear people say "remember the reason for the season."  I say the reason for the season goes far beyond any one religion or any one tradition.  The Reason for the Season lies within our humanity and our ability to care for one another.  As this season celebrates one of humanity's oldest characteristics--compassion.