Tag Archives: Spiritual

being present

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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

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

 

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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

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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.

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.