Archive for May, 2009

Gratitude and Blessings

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

S3000001-714952It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Some will look at this weekend as an opportunity to have a picnic, BBQ or long camping weekend. I’m definitely one of those who look at this long weekend as an opportunity to relax, kick back and get together with others for a cook out.

But that’s not what it’s about, at least to my mind. Memorial Day for me is an opportunity to remember all who have served our country. And it becomes very personal.

Like many of you I have an abundance of family who have served in one branch of the military or another. My grandfather was Army, my father was Army, father-in-law Navy, I could go on and on about the uncles and cousins in various branches of the military. Thinking of each of these people puts a face to the sacrifices that come to mind.

Most of all when I think about service, I think about so many of the little boys and girls who grew up in my neighborhood and have gone on to serve.

The beautiful girl from across the street is making a successful career out of protecting the rest of us with the Air Force. The sweet, blond boy from down the block is one of our amazing Navy Seals. The ‘Dennis the Menace’ of our neighborhood, with the infectious grin and a million plots to carry out is serving with the Army. One of the boys is this very week finishing his paperwork to complete his stint with the Marines. At the same time, a boy who is so close to our family that we consider him another son is planning his send-off party as he looks forward to becoming a proud member of the Air Force in October. Of course, there’s the little boy who grew up in my house, right here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My son Billy spent six years in the Air Force, serving as Special Forces.

As an adult, when I think of my grandparents, uncles, cousins and even the friends who are my own age who have served our country it seems completely logical, appropriate and something that I deeply appreciate and understand.

Different, more complicated emotions surface when I think about the boys and girls who I have watched grow up, go on to take up a position to protect me and mine. These kids used to eat cookies in my kitchen, come to me for a hug when their feelings were hurt and offer bone crushing hugs when they were happy. I know in every cell of my being that each and every one of these kids went into service for all of what I consider to be the right reasons.

I knew each of these kids well before they left for service. They spent long hours talking with their parents, veterans who have served for years and reservists who continue to serve. None of them went into service with their eyes closed.

As they have come back to Milwaukee over the years I have been pleased to see that the twinkle is still in the eye, the grins still flash quickly and each one of them is willing to play at the drop of a hat. But it’s also easy to see that these kids have become strong men and women. They take responsibilities more seriously than many others of their age. They make decisions quickly and surely. Each and every one of them is a confident, competent individual. Their experiences have added shadows to their eyes, a few premature wrinkles on a few and definitely a bit more weight to their shoulders.

I know that each and every one of them has trained for events that I don’t even like to consider. Most of them have seen the ugliest side of humanity, which may well be why they offer a bit more compassion than some. My own son served a year in South Korea, followed by three tours in Iraq. I know it wasn’t easy for him to be so far away from family and friends. But I also know that he made strong bonds that will last a lifetime, many of those bonds much stronger than those with any family could ever be, because of their common experiences. He watched good friends die and he also watched a country begin to rebuild itself.

What I notice about these fine men and women is that they are the people I want in my life forever. Not one of them has ever made excuses for mistakes that have been made; instead they take responsibility and make a plan to move forward. Some of them may well suffer for years or longer with post traumatic stress syndrome. But I have never heard one of them express regret for their service. They joined voluntarily and they have served with excellence and pride.

To each and every one of the men and women who has served this wonderful country throughout the years, I offer my most sincere gratitude. I send blessings to all of you and your families. I salute you.

This Memorial Day I will be taking time to offer thanks and to think about all of those who have offered their time and their very lives so that I could have a long weekend with family, friends and BBQ. They must never be forgotten.

With love and gratitude,
Sandy

Women Friends

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Men, for most of my life I’ve been surrounded by men. Oh, not in the way you might imagine. They’ve just been everywhere!

I remember growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my brother was my first playmate and friend. Okay that explains one male, but for some reason the entire time I was growing up from very small throughout my teenage years, most of my friends were boys and then of course young men.

I grew up and married a wonderful man, and went on to have three sons; do you see a common theme? I chuckle when I realize that even the dogs who have shared my home since I’ve been married have all been male. Now the holistic life coach part of me says that this fact that I was surrounded by men led me to more likely continue to be surrounded by men, and I think that’s correct. Like energy attracts like energy, pretty simple, basic and true. Even now, some of my closest friends are men and I love every one of them. Still, I have to admit, I don’t understand from a personal viewpoint a lot of what makes them operate in the fashion that they do. Their brains don’t always work the same way as mine. I appreciate that, but sometimes I crave someone who does think more as I do.

Enter the women. While as I said, most of my friends have been men, I’ve always had a few very dear friends that were women and I cherish those friendships. These days I find that my life is filled with more and more powerful, smart, exciting and simply fun women. Yahoo!

Circumstances have changed. My sons grew up and I’m no longer involved in Boy Scouts and all of the largely male dominated activities that accompanied raising boys. In the past few years choices regarding the way I want to spend my time have led me to spend more and more time with women.

Changing careers was part of that shift. When I became a holistic life coach I began realizing that I was dealing with women more frequently than with men. It soon became clear to me that while I was attracted to working with men here and there, I had moved to a place in my life where I was much more attracted to the idea of working with people who shared some of my life experiences from my perspective, those who were more likely to be wired to think in a similar fashion to the way I think. I realized that I wanted a stronger connection with my own kind so to speak. It’s been interesting for me to realize how much I value the strength and the warmth of these women. They’re fun, engaging and determined to move forward in their lives in a deliberate, productive manner.

Reiki has been much the same. While it’s true that I decided to work with a man while going through my master/teacher apprenticeship, almost every one of my other connections concerning Reiki have been women. I’m not at all sure why that is. Well, that’s not true. Once again I know that is what I am attracting into my life and the truth is that I’m very grateful. That energy of excitement, contentment and gratitude continues to attract more women into my life on a continual basis. Most of the Reiki clients that I see are women. And then there are the amazing women that I have come to know and love that gather with me once a month for a Reiki share. We could not be more different in age, background and life experience. But we have come to appreciate and love one another.

For me, that’s the power of women. Politically correct or not, I believe that nurturing on some level comes very naturally to most women. I find that the lovely ladies who I am now proud to call friends actually care about one another, are pleased to see one another succeed and support one another without hesitation when a call is put out. Part of me has been surprised to realize how seamlessly women integrate personal with business.

The women that I am now proud to call friends come from all walks of life. Some are professional, with their own businesses or working for large businesses. Others go to work for someone else every day in grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Still others stay at home, raising families and taking care of the home. Age range has become much more diverse than I would have expected several years ago as well. I have friends from their early 20′ to mid 80’s and we all have enough in common to keep us strongly connected. Politics, food, sexual orientation, religion, food, hobbies, wine, food, sex, gardening and men. We talk about it all, ask questions and try to understand one another, and yes we usually manage to bring a bit of food to the situation as well while we are solving the problems of the world. I think it’s part of that tendency to nurture one another, make each other comfortable and show that we care about one another.

I so appreciate the diversity of these women. I am learning so much! I’ve found that even when we have discussions where our thoughts and beliefs are very different that the conversation doesn’t become hostile. It certainly can become lively, but it stays respectful and I always come away seeing another point of view a bit more clearly.

Of course this appeals to both the life coach and Reiki parts of me. I believe that we get what we ask for, whether it’s deliberate or not. As a holistic life coach I am very aware that every one of these friendships supports me on both a personal and professional level. That gives me confidence to expect more of the same and as I go about my day I realize that I am meeting and getting to know more women who are simply adding to the richness of my life on every level, every day. It’s easy to be grateful for all of this and to expect more of the same or even better the next day. It’s a wonderful cycle. And it’s been an awful lot of fun. 🙂

So, thank you ladies. I’m grateful and proud to call you each of you friend.

This week, I encourage you to take a look around you, notice and appreciate the fabulous gifts that you receive every day from the women in your life.

Warmly,
Sandy

Wonderful, Wonderful Day

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Saturday, May 2nd was the date for our first Reiki Healing Circle for Special Needs Children and their families and caregivers.

To begin with the weather was lovely. Here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin you don’t know what to expect in early May. Even a snowstorm is a possibility, but instead we were blessed with a day that was sunny, warm and just delightful.

The purpose of this free monthly event is to offer Reiki to special needs children, their families and their caregivers. As co-founder of this event I’ve been blogging about it frequently, posting to social networking sites and emailing people that I know. I felt sure that all of these wonderful contacts would bring in the Reiki practitioners and families to make this a success. That’s just what happened. I started getting a call here, an email there from people I had never met, we had a connection and it was wonderful.

Reiki is energy healing; as such it is not limited by distance or space. Meaning that Reiki practitioners did not have to be in the room to send Reiki to these families. Likewise, while families were certainly welcome to attend in person, they did not need to attend to receive Reiki.

In the end, there were thirteen Reiki practitioners in attendance. One Reiki level I, 4 level II practitioners and 9 Reiki masters. Several others could not be in attendance but set the intention for all of these families to receive Reiki and ‘sent’ from their distant locations. Two families with special needs children were able to attend in person, we sent distant Reiki to 3 other families. The love and energy in that room was awesome to say the least. I didn’t want to leave. Finally I did need to move on with my day, but I have to say, the feeling of love, caring and Reiki energy stayed with me for the rest of the day and the next as well.

I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the families who attended. Please know that each and every one of you will be sent Reiki from now on with love and gratitude. To my Reiki friends, new and old I send my love and gratitude. I knew you wouldn’t let me down, that you would step up to the plate for these deserving families, but I could not have dreamed of the response that was received.

I know each and every one of us participated in this event with the desire to give back to our community. We wanted to offer what we could to these very special families. But I have to say, I think we got at least as much as we gave. The hugs I received from these families were worth every second that I’ve devoted the past several weeks. In fact, just thinking about it allows me to feel small arms around my neck even now and brings tears of joy. I know I got the better end of this deal and can’t wait to participate in this event every month.

If there’s a lesson here for the holistic life coach, it’s simply that when we give from the heart, we always get much more in return. I feel humbled, honored and blessed to have been able to share the wonderful gift of Reiki with these families and with my Reiki friends. I’d say that I got an awful lot in return for my time.

Wishing you a week spent giving to others, you’ll enjoy fabulous gifts in return.

With love,
Sandy