Category Archives: Change

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!

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.

a fortuitous encounter

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As you get older you start to wonder, “What is my purpose?” 

About two years ago that question kept popping up for me and I began my quest for answers. I started by asking friends what they thought their purpose was. Could that purpose be aligned with your passion? Could you have your cake and eat it too?

As I became more spiritual, more doors were unlocking for me. New people kept crossing my path with different questions for me. What brings you joy? What act of kindness have you practiced today? How would you get out of your comfort zone, and what would that look like?

While I was searching for answers I was still living a life on autopilot, under a veil of grey. My life consisted of: exercising before work, going to work, dinner plans after work, watching TV before bed.

I did experience intermittent periods of vibrant color on my annual spa trips to Arizona. During these trips I signed up for sessions with Shaman and Reiki Masters, dance classes, rock climbing. Basically, anything out of my comfort zone. I was fully engaged in any and all conversations and enjoyed quality time by myself sketching or journaling. I met people who were like-minded and looking for a higher purpose, an inward connection they had forgotten all about.

Many of these trips were life changing. But I just couldn’t figure out how to translate that energy/excitement into my life at home.

Then, on a hot Sunday last August, I went to a Psychic Fair on Long Island. I arrived early, eager, and signed up for several services. The hotel’s ballroom, where the event took place, was bustling with inquisitive people who had questions and were searching out answers. People like myself. At the center of the room were the Reiki Masters. In booths around the room’s edges were Tarot Readers, Numerologists, and Psychics.

When I sat down with Gina for a 15-minute psychic reading, little did I know that my life would take a permanent course correction.

After handing Gina my bracelet (she asked for a personal item) she wanted to know if I was a Reiki practitioner. I said, “No. Why?” Gina said, “Because I can easily see you teaching and practicing Reiki.” I started laughing, because it was completely foreign to me and yet it totally made sense.

I needed to learn more about what Reiki was exactly, and began my search the very next day.