prioritizing your life, notes from a waiting room


This past year my life has been in a constant state of transformation. Sometimes easy, other times painful. I have been struggling to live and thrive in two very different worlds: Corporate America, and Healing. For months I’ve been asking the universe for clarity. Where should I focus my energy? How do I start a business? What is the most effective way to network?

Then I received an unexpected answer: All you have is your health, and timing is everything.

The universe can reset your life in an instant. In my case, it was a phone call. I was stunned to receive a message from my doctor on Monday morning, asking me to return for additional scans. My only priority from that moment on was getting an appointment at the imaging center. I dropped everything and headed uptown.

Sitting in the waiting room, in my ill-fitting beige gown, I wasn’t worried about work, my social responsibilities, or to-do lists. My primary focus was my health. It was ironic to be staring out through an enormous window at a beautiful view of the Hudson River on a warm, sunny, clear day, surrounded by women who looked as scared and uncomfortable as I felt.

Why can’t we find answers when things are moving along fine? Why should it take something as monumental as a health crisis to force you to reevaluate your life.

It suddenly struck me that these test results would determine whether I would return to my usual routine, or if my life would be forever changed.

After two hours of stressful examinations, I received a clean bill of health. There were moments, dark moments, when I truly believed the outcome was going to be very different. As I started getting choked up, the nurse said, “I bet you’ll have a glass of champagne when you get home.” I was very grateful, and I knew how lucky I was. Judging by the long faces of some of the other women there, life was going to be drastically different for them. It was heartbreaking.

Walking out of the building, I vowed not to waste this experience. Afterward, I came up with a few daily practices to keep me on track. I hope you find them useful as well:

  1. Nurture yourself: Tune in, not out. Pay more attention to how you feel, how much sleep you’re getting. In what areas can you make improvements? How can you implement those improvements? Monitor burnout, eliminate long hours at the office, delegate more, and participate in activities that make you happy.
  1. Reimagine your thoughts: Pay attention to negative thoughts and comments, then steer them away. By shifting your outlook, everything can change. Pick up the book A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen. For me, it was a game changer.
  1. Get moving: Staying active is essential for mind, body, and spirit. Commit to walking 30-minutes a day; slice and dice it anyway that works for you. Take time to decompress while listening to good music—it can be energizing and it’s good for your soul.
  1. Laugh: Surround yourself with people that bring out your best. Life is supposed to be enjoyed, not taken too, too seriously. Try a hula-hoop contest with friends. You may look ridiculous, but you’ll have a great time.

Here’s to a healthy and happy life!

being present



How did you make out last week meeting new people? Was it fun, did you learn anything new?

I kept busy all week engaging people in conversation. Monday evening, while waiting for takeoff from Chicago to New York, I chatted with a pleasant woman sitting in my row. On Tuesday, while riding the elevator, I introduced myself to a neighbor I often see at the gym but had never spoken to before.

At a stressful doctor’s appointment, the receptionist had me cracking up and went the extra mile to get me in sooner than expected. An hour later, I was helped by an equally lovely person at the Apple store. Although the store was busy, he patiently answered all of my questions. (I tend to ask a lot of questions.)

It’s fascinating who comes your way when you’re kind and put yourself forward.

My focus for this week is about being present. I know, what does that mean? Is it different for everyone? You’ve heard people mention it before, but usually it feels like a throwaway line instead of an opportunity to learn something.

How many times have you been out with friends and you’re there, but not really there? The stress of juggling calls, commitments, and endless errands, while staying connected, that leaves little time for focus or fun.

Have you found that you’re the most present while on vacation? On past spa vacations, phone use was restricted to designated areas. It surprised me how freeing it was to be disconnected from all of my devices. Conversations were richer, laughing out loud came more naturally, and connecting with others was simpler.

Below are five of my tips for living in the moment. They can be useful in everyday life, not just when on vacation.

1. Dinner With Friends: Take in the ambiance, savor the delicious aromas, read the menu instead of scanning it. (I’m a big scanner.) Engage them in conversation, by listening, and not always waiting until they take a breath for you to speak. Don’t be too timid to interrupt or to probe. As conversations go deeper, you’re apt to give and receive more.

2. Mindful Eating: Eating slowly, while focusing on your food, this enhances the flavors in your meal with the added benefit of improving digestion. I tried a Mindful Eating class while on a spa vacation and was amazed at how delicious my blueberries were once I ate them slowly, one at a time, instead of shoveling in three at once. (In the land of full disclosure, while visiting a test kitchen last Monday, I was popping the most delicious bite-sized blondie’s into my mouth, two at a time, and I went back for seconds.) We’re not aiming for perfection; life is to be enjoyed.

3. Try Your Best to Avoid Haste: Instead of rushing everywhere, allow yourself a few extra minutes to enjoy the route you’re taking. It’s still summer for a few more weeks. Flowers are in bloom, and you may pass by a beautiful garden if you slow down and take the time to look around. Rushing everywhere, and I’m guilty of having done this for too many years, this leaves little opportunity for unexpected surprises along the way. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

4. Get Outside of Your Head: Mishaps are more likely to occur when you’re inside your own head instead of paying attention. Here are some telltale signs that I’m not paying enough attention: accidentally spilling full glasses of water on my nightstand; walking around my apartment aimlessly (I usually wind up in my kitchen, not sure why); leaving home without my phone–I usually realize quickly what’s happened, but instead of getting angry with myself, I course correct instead, get out of my head and start being present.

5. Do One Thing At a Time: I’ve found multiltasking to be more mindless than mindful. I rarely do all the tasks well. It would probably take less time on the whole if I accomplished one task and then moved on to the next. A perfect example is reading an email while talking on the phone. The person on the other end can hear the typing, so they know you aren’t fully engaged (which is, let’s face it, kind of rude), and it takes a couple of tries to comprehend the email let alone send a coherent reply. Multitasking, for me, is a losing proposition.

For next week, try paying attention to whether you’re present or not. Course correct when you feel yourself slipping. And please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how my tips are working for you.

Enjoy your journey. xoxo B

warrior wednesday

How did your week go, trying to incorporate my five tips into finding more happiness and fun into your schedule? Were any new activities more exciting than you expected? Were there challenges trying to find time, or any pushback from your family and friends about trying to make time for yourself?

On Wednesday night, I created a relaxing environment by lighting my favorite vanilla candle, I dimmed my lights and played soft jazz music in the background (since I live in NYC there were a few sirens as well).

Looking over my lengthy list (see below) it isn’t surprising that I wasn’t able to accomplish everything. Although I was able to find time to work on my blog and business, I missed out on my evening meditation practice, Qi Gong only happened once, and I wasn’t able to make yoga on Saturday morning due to a splitting headache.

Missing activities that reduce stress and increase creativity impacted my week more than expected. I was more tightly wound than usual when last-minute projects rolled in and I had to figure out other ways to tap into “the zone” since I didn’t make it to the gym (my temple for creativity) during the week.

Being perfect isn’t the objective; making time for yourself and having fun is. This is a work in progress. We’re all a work in progress. Good luck with the week ahead and drop me a line to let me know how you’re doing.

xoxo. B

Activities planned for the week:
• Meditation: 2x a day
• Dinner plans with friends: 1x
• 7-hours of sleep: 7x
• Qi Gong: 3x
• Yoga: 1x
• Work on my blog: 2x
• Work on my business: 1x
• Go to the gym: 4x

What I accomplished:
• Meditation: 1x a day
• Dinner plans with friends: 1x
• 7-hours or more of sleep: 4x
• Qi Gong: 1x
• Worked on my blog: 1x
• Worked on my business: 1x
• Gym: 1x

putting yourself out there


A great exercise for getting out of your comfort zone is talking
to three new people a day. This can happen anywhere and be a lot of fun.

For example, you could engage a stranger in elevator conversation by asking
about the weather, while waiting on a long line at a bookstore or coffee shop, ask
for book or coffee recommendations. Waiting has now evolved from a tedious task
to an exciting new adventure. You might learn a few new facts, pick up some
new book ideas and who knows,
 maybe you’ll even get a date out of it.

Remember, what you put out into the universe comes back to you. Lighten up,
have some fun and let the world unfold around you in unexpected ways!

5-steps to having fun and feeling great

Do you ever feel like your life is moving too fast and there aren’t enough hours in the day?

I sure do! I lead a dual life, graphic designer by day and healer by night.

The challenge of working full-time, making time for a spiritual practice, and building a business is a daily balancing act. Some days run smoothly while others are “hair on fire” days. I try to remember it’s about the journey not the destination. Sometimes that’s easier said then done.

I am trying an experiment over the new few weeks to find better balance and structure while having fun and feeling great. I hope you guys find it helpful as well.

My 5-step game plan:
1. Find a quiet spot with a journal to get your “Zen” on
2. Create a list of activities that bring you joy and  add some structure
3. Mark your calendar with your new activities (you can give them fun code names)
4. Keep a journal of how you feel during the week
5. Review your list

Drop me a line and let me know how it worked for you. What activities were you able to add  or remove? Were you able to get back into the flow of your life instead of working against the current? Stay tuned for progress reports over the next few weeks.

a new path



Getting out of your comfort zone and opening up to new experiences can be simple and fun. Try taking a new route once this week. This could mean getting off at a different subway stop, turning down a different street or even trying a different market than you normally visit.
The possibilities are endless.

This could result in a solution to a problem you’ve been mulling over,
your creative juices start flowing, you discover a new store, a new street,
run into an old friend or find a beautiful  garden.
You never know where a new path can take you.

cold hands, warm heart


Joanna polled students to see who had physical responses while performing Reiki. Were anyone’s hands vibrating or getting warm?

I thought, Why wasn’t I feeling anything? Joanna confided in us that, when she was a student, it had taken longer for her than her classmates to start feeling or seeing anything. I had faith it would happen for me soon.

Throughout the month-long break in December, I worked on getting my certification for Reiki Levels 1 and 2. During the holiday season, with many people away, I enlisted the help of friends.

Chair sessions are part of the certification for Level 1. I found a quiet spot in an area of the office with low traffic and large comfy chairs. I wondered what people thought as I would walk by with a different person each day; it made me chuckle each time.

One friend had crackling energy in her head, while another had energy that flowed smoothly. One of my friends had energy so strong that I wasn’t quite sure I could contain it. It was all very exciting, and fun.

My craziest chair session ever involved a Reiki Master. As we stood several feet apart, before the session began, a current of energy ran from her head to mine. Her body was electric, particularly her feet.

We were given a protocol to follow for table sessions as part of certification for Level 2. I decided to do sessions after hours either in my office or an adjacent conference room, because of the glass walls neither had the privacy I would require.

I transformed the space into an oasis: soothing music, lavender eyeshades, a comfy table, a fleece blanket, and pillows. I wanted the experience to be as relaxing as possible.

I was honored to give many friends their first Reiki session, and we all had a blast. Many fell asleep. Some even snored. I could feel energy surge in a few, while in others it just flowed along. Everyone felt soothed afterwards, and they volunteered to help me with future certifications.

I completed certification for Levels 1 and 2 before the Master Program began the first weekend in January. I felt great going into that weekend.

During our first clinic, we were instructed to tap into our intuition rather than the protocol from Level 2. As a graphic designer, I know how to go into “the zone” when I’m blocked. So I started applying the same technique to Reiki. Once I removed expectations and trusted my instinct, my gifts slowly started to reveal themselves.

I approached a table session with my friend Rachel with an open mind and heart. As I allowed myself to be guided around her body, I released any expectations for the session.

I normally have ice-cold hands, but as I lightly placed them on Rachel, they slowly started heating up on certain parts of her body. My arms began to sweat and I feared I would burn her skin. As I was “pulled” around her body, I couldn’t move in certain spots until her energy was moving freely; it was fascinating and encouraging.

Each session ends with a Q&A with your partner. Rachel commented on the heat from my hands as well as my uncanny ability to find areas of stiffness resulting from previous injuries. I was truly a vessel, and ecstatic that my gifts were finally emerging.

open mind, open heart

Multi color pastel(crayon) pencils for children(kids) used for d

In addition to Joanna, there were five teaching assistants rotating in and out of our classes. I loved hearing about their journeys, fears, and how Reiki transformed their lives. They were a consistent presence, and I asked a million questions throughout each weekend.

We were Joanna’s rainbow class, and she predicted we would gel quickly.

It felt like a social experiment, sharing experiences with people so different from myself. I learned to be open-minded, to refrain from snap judgments.

It was an eclectic group, 28 in total, ranging in age from 22-74. Some of their occupations included: yoga instructors, nurses, a psychologist, even a fashionista. I learned something from everyone.

Jeff, a middle-aged man, was painfully shy and self-conscious about his glass eye. But he didn’t let his disability stop him from pursing his dreams, often driving hours to class. I loved his dry and witty sense of humor.

Sara, a 30-year-old nanny, first came to class angry and cried, often leaving the room. As she became honest about her inner struggles, her anger was slowly replaced with happiness. Everyone was rooting for her.

Cathy, 74 years old, had a passion for nutrition and self-care. She brought recipes, and mentioned my poor posture on numerous occasions. The importance of enough sleep was another of her hot topics. Cathy was a vessel of information.

I met three amazing, gifted women who would become life-long friends. Rachel focused me on prioritizing my personal life. Catherine encouraged exploring other modalities. Michelle advocated going with the current, not against it.

When we performed group Reiki sessions together, there was something familiar, as though we’d done it together, before. Perhaps in another lifetime? It was a powerful experience.

It was a snowy Sunday, during a table clinic in class, while I was practicing on a friend, when one of my gifts was revealed to me.

new year, new me

santanyc On a Saturday night, in the middle of December, I headed out to Long Island for my friend’s annual holiday party. As I took the train from Penn Station I was secretly hoping to run into my treasured and trusted psychic/healing posse.

I was in luck, since most of them were at the party and each provided different information for me. Pat, a spiritual healer, gave me a prayer to ground and surround myself in white light. Diana, a psychic, showed me how to pull energy across my sinuses and out through my ears (I would need to figure out how to do that discreetly in class). I felt ready and healthy going into the New Year.

Reiki 3, the Reiki Master practitioner program, began the first weekend in January. It was a little unnerving to commit to a four-month program. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I have a bad track record of sticking to things.

I was excited and nervous when I woke up that morning for class. Leading up to that weekend, I was having some secret and serious doubts. Am I doing the right thing? Am I crazy to spend so much money on these classes? Do I want to become a healer, and what does being a healer mean? Is this going to change my life for the better?

As I hung up my coat and grabbed my name badge, I looked around the room for a familiar face, any familiar face. I was ecstatic to see that a friend from the previous classes had decided to take the leap of faith as well. I have to confess, I was pitching her on signing up with me. It’s always fun to have a buddy.

I noticed a few other familiar faces, but the rest where strangers. I hoped they soon would become friends.

Class began with an overview from our fearless leader Joanna, followed by commentary from each student. Some cried when they spoke of their struggles, others were funny and a few painfully shy. Surprisingly, there were commonalities in the stories.

I’m typically a guarded person, especially with strangers, but I followed everyone’s lead and went a little deeper with my story. I told them that I was searching for answers beyond my current career as a graphic designer, and that I want to help people.

My walls were starting to come down, and it felt right. Intuitively, it felt right.

a fact-finding mission

opencenterMy reading over the phone with Gina provided me with more detail. That not only was Reiki part of my new path, but also that I had been a healer in a previous life. I know, totally crazy! Over the years I have become more open-minded to the workings of the Universe, and I accepted what Gina told me wholeheartedly.

That night I went online and looked up Reiki schools in Manhattan, and came across an accredited one at the Open Center. Because I was new to this, I felt an accredited program would give me structure. And hopefully I would meet like-minded folks whom I could connect with as I began this journey.

I asked the Universe to send me “obvious” signs that I was on the right path. I was also thinking of booking another spa trip to Arizona. The next morning I ran into a friend of mine at work who said, “I could really use a Reiki treatment,” and then she mentioned the name of the spa in Arizona.  I stood there, speechless. In my life up till then, I’d met three Reiki Masters and each of them spoke about the Universe sending signs. I knew I was on the right path, and away to the spa I went.

The morning of Reiki 1, I woke up with a cold and felt awful. In a way it was a blessing because I had no stress when I walked into class, really the unknown. I then met Joanna, who ran the program, and instantly I knew she was the perfect teacher for me. She was warm and funny, but also quite serious when she needed to be.

During class, Joanna explained that Reiki tends to bring stuff up, so we shouldn’t be surprised if we wound up getting sick after that weekend. I was sick with multiple sinus infections for the next three months.

Change is hard, and for me—as much as I try to embrace it—I find it can be scary at times. For me, and, I think, for anyone. Throughout the weekends of Level 1 followed by Level 2 a few months later, I was uncomfortable and more than a little scared of the unknown. In the past I have quit things too early, but I was determined to follow this through. This was very much out of my comfort zone, this was very different from my life in Corporate America.

I did make friends and did find in the class the sympathetic and open-minded people I’d been hoping to meet. With diligence, good humor, and zeal, over the next few months I achieved my certification in Reiki Levels 1 and 2. I was extremely excited and I couldn’t wait to begin Level 3, which was supposed to be a very different experience and last four months instead of just one weekend for each level.

My journey of becoming Reiki had truly started.