Archive for July, 2009

Peace at Last

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

DSCF0525My father died on Friday, December 29, 2006. It was much more painful than I expected.

My father and mother divorced when I was very young. My mom soon married again to the man who raised me, the man I have always considered and referred to me as my dad.

I was raised to respect and care about my father. While I grew up in Wisconsin he lived and worked in Louisiana. Generally I saw him once a year, though sometimes it was less often. He made regular phone calls while I was growing up and I’m sure he did the best he could to build a relationship. But as you might expect it was never as close as I somehow thought it should be and always hoped it would become.

I grew up, married and had a family of my own. My father continued to call fairly regularly and to visit when he would be in the area. As he had been raised in northern Wisconsin he made visits to the Milwaukee area most years.

This was always a tough relationship, looking back I think it was tough for both of us. There’s no doubt that I could have and should have tried harder on my end. I always thought that he could have and probably should have tried more as well. Sadly, when I think about it now, I realize that I had no idea how to bring about the relationship I desired or if I even knew what I wanted. I always just sort of felt that there was something missing. Frankly, I don’t know even now if he was satisfied with the way things were either, or if he thought there should be more as well.

My father’s two younger brothers died a few years before him. After their deaths I had the strong feeling that he was much more aware of his mortality. He definitely made more of an effort to connect with me and my grown children than he ever had before. He spent a few weeks at a time in Wisconsin and made much more of an effort to connect. While I appreciated this effort, and we had some very good times, the truth is that it was often very strained. Still it was progress.

The phone call came in September of 2006. My father told me that he had terminal cancer. I knew it was now or never. We kept in touch much more frequently and I drove down to Louisiana to spend a few weeks with him. I’m so glad that I did. Still, in the manner of people who have full hearts but do not feel comfortable expressing their emotions to one another, we left much unsaid.

When I learned of his death I thought that I would be able to close that particular chapter of my life. We had cared about one another, but truly not known each other as well as we probably could have. I really believed that it would be a matter of shedding some quiet tears and saying goodbye. Wrong.

What I found out was that I cared much more deeply than I knew. I relived and experienced feelings of loss and grief from my childhood on. I thought about the experiences that we had missed out on, the fact that he hadn’t attended my wedding and had never held any of my children when they were babies. I had to acknowledge the anger and resentment that I had felt at never feeling like I was a priority in his life. I had to acknowledge these feelings and allow myself to truly feel them before I was able to let them go. Of course that meant that I also had to acknowledge my feelings of shame and guilt, I had to honestly take ownership of my part in this relationship. The finger pointing and blame game was not acceptable anymore. It was important to acknowledge and apologize for not making my feelings clear to him while he was still here.

Reiki helped me so much as I went through this process. After I went through the blame and anger I was finally able to acknowledge that someplace deep inside I had always known that my father really did love me very deeply. He simply did not demonstrate it in the manner I had somehow expected. Receiving Reiki on a regular basis and practicing life coaching skills helped me to move into a place of love and forgiveness, for both of us. To be honest, it took an awful lot of thinking about him, praying and meditating to be sure that he was aware now in the afterlife that I had always had very deep affection for him as well. Eventually, I was able to come to a place of peace.

So, here I am. More than two and a half years later I am now able to think about my father and smile. The bitterness, anger and hurt needed to be allowed, acknowledged and finally released. Now there are the feelings of forgiveness and acceptance for both of us. There is acknowledgment that few people live storybook lives where emotions and feelings are demonstrated to the expectation and satisfaction of all involved. Most of us feel that others should say or do things in a different manner to be most effective, but emotions and feelings are complicated and the should of, could of is irrelevant in the end. That’s just life.

I have no doubt that some of these feelings will resurface from time to time. Occasions of one sort or another may make me think about the way things actually happened or the way I wish they had been. But now they are much easier for me to deal with. I realize that while we both had our shortcomings, we actually did the very best that we could at the time. I have no way of knowing what was in his mind or heart in the past, but I am sure and always have been sure that he only wanted the best for me. That makes memories and resurfacing emotions much easier to allow, and to move through with love, forgiveness and blessings.

For me, it’s very important to remember that my memory is selective at best. My thoughts and emotions at the moment have always colored my memories and they always will. I can’t change the past, so I choose to appreciate and be grateful for the lessons I have learned. I choose to live in the moment. At the moment I choose to feel good. I choose to forgive myself and others. I choose to love. I choose peace at last.

I wish you a day of forgiving and allowing yourself to be forgiven. I wish you a day of love and blessings. I wish you a day of peace.

Warmly,
Sandy

Attitude Adjustment

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I seem to recall that in the 80’s the phrase ‘attitude adjustment’ was used again and again. I’m not sure why it went away.

In the real estate world, I’ve learned that agents, buyers and sellers say that everything is location, location, location. I’m convinced that in the real world everything is attitude, attitude, attitude.

This is proven to me again and again. One of my favorite clients just announced that she has just completed her best fiscal year ever. She isn’t devoting more time to her business, she’s still the most devoted wife and mom and her church isn’t seeing any less of her either. What’s changed? Her attitude! She expects to bring in more abundance and prosperity, in all facets of her life. And she is doing just that. We continue her coaching sessions and she has added Reiki to her sessions as well as she has also discovered that self-care makes her more relaxed and more productive as well.

On a day to day basis life happens. We always have two options regarding any situation, no matter how dire or fabulous the situation may appear at first glance. We can celebrate the good, or positive aspects of the circumstances or we can bemoan the negative. This applies in all circumstances.

Yesterday, just about every bit of electronics that I own broke down or mal-functioned in some way or another. I couldn’t seem to find the directions to forward calls on my cell phone, then a few hours later it crashed altogether. No cell. My son had completely crashed and reconstructed my laptop less than a week ago, all cleared of viruses. Yesterday it was struck by another virus. It kept going down. For the life of me it seemed that I wasn’t able to figure out how to work the DVD player or the VCR. Two options. Get frustrated and upset, which wouldn’t have solved any of the above. Or enjoy a cup of tea and read one of the books I have around from one of my favorite authors. Guess which I decided to do.

Today, I am assured that the cell phone is covered under insurance and my virus protection found the virus for my computer, isolated and removed. Getting upset yesterday would have made me feel lousy and it wouldn’t have changed the situation. In other words a rotten attitude would simply have resulted in a rotten evening. Instead I enjoyed my book very much, and the tea eventually became a relaxing glass of wine. A quiet evening spent doing one of my favorite things with the dogs. Just what I needed. I woke up refreshed and relaxed today. In fact, I felt so good that I decided today would be more of the same. The only electronic time today is spent writing this blog. :)I am feeling blessed and grateful today.

We are always with the options of attitude regarding our circumstances. It’s that simple. My step-father, the man I’ve always called Dad, broke his neck and became a quadriplegic at the age of 29. He and my mother decided that wasn’t the end of life. He recovered enough to come home and raise children. She went to nursing school, something she had wanted to do all her life. They used the opportunity to benefit all of us, in fact my dad still refers to each day as a bonus. My parents are amazing life coaches.

This doesn’t mean that there are not frustrations, aggravations or grief in our lives. However, we have the choice to move through these emotions and reach for a slightly better feeling every time we experience them. Attitude counts.

I would encourage you to stop several times a day, notice how you are feeling, what sort of thoughts are going through your mind and what words are coming out of your mouth. If they are harsh, unkind or simply negative I would encourage you to take a few moments. Think and feel your way to a slightly better feeling, a slightly kinder approach. Adjust your attitude and I’m willing to bet your entire life will become just a little bit better.

I wish you a fabulous day and it will be if you choose to see it in just that way.

Warmly,
Sandy

Another Lesson from Indiana

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Indy and DukeI’ve written here about my buddy Indiana before. He’s the charming, good looking, friendly and ever so clever boxer dog who lives with my husband and me. Indy will be five years old in just a few weeks, so he’s now officially a middle-aged gentleman in the boxer world. All my life I’ve had the privilege of living with dogs and they have always had so much to teach me. Indy is no exception.

Recently our son Jeff who lives in Los Angeles decided he really wanted a dog to keep him company. He’s been raised with boxers and really missed Indy, so he adopted a boxer that he named Duke. Duke is a big, beautiful boy, friendly and very mellow, somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. The rescue wasn’t sure of his age as they had no idea where he originally came from. This dog seemed perfect to live with Jeff and so they went home together.

They bonded instantly and became best buddies. The problem is that Duke couldn’t get over the noise and constant activity of LA. The poor guy actually started loosing his hair. After consulting a behaviorist, veterinarian and trainer who each independently told Jeff that Duke was clearly not going to adjust to being an urban dog, Jeff decided to re home his buddy. So, he made arrangements for Duke to go to Texas to live with his elder brother Bill and his wife Felicia. The only problem is that they could not take him for 3 months and Duke clearly could not stay in LA, his stress level was just escalating.

Road trip! Duke and Jeff made their way across the USA to Milwaukee. Duke is going to hang with us until Bill and Felicia are able to take him home in a few months. All of this is well and good, we were pretty sure Indy would be happy to have a friend for a few months as he’s always done well with doggy company. But Duke has little or no experience with other dogs, so we really didn’t know how this would go.

I should have known that I could trust the dogs, particularly Indy to handle the situation perfectly. From the moment Duke walked into the yard, Indy reined in his normally exuberant behavior, walked over to Duke and in their silent language invited his new pal to stroll through the yard with him and look it all over. Duke was only slightly hesitant. Indy was calm and patient, luring him when Duke was shy and playing a bit now and then when Duke showed a bit more interest.

This has been going on for a few days now. I’ve been walking them together each day so that Duke is more comfortable with me when Jeff leaves and to of course reinforce his training and give them both needed exercise. The life coach in me is pleased and somewhat surprised to see that the doggy training continues between the two of them regardless of what I do. They walk on opposite sides of me, but Duke is still watching Indy and taking all of his cues from him. In the house they are also learning about one another. Indy continues to lure his new friend into the occasional game of chase or tug, exhibiting patience that I did not for a moment expect from him. Meal time is interesting as well. Duke is a big boy; a bit underweight and not filled out yet. As such he eats considerably more than Indiana. They get separate bowls and when Duke is finished he invariably heads over to Indy’s bowl. He will gently and politely put his face near the bowl. If Indy is done he will back off and let Duke finish the food. If Indy is not done he simply pushes Duke away with a short growl that says ‘not now buddy’ and Duke quietly goes about his business.

I refer to the coaching lessons that they are both teaching me; because it strikes me that they are teaching me every moment that I watch them together. Indiana is a terrific life coach to Duke. He is patient but he also clearly has expectations. He will lure or invite Duke to do certain things, if Duke accepts they work on it together, like playing with a tug toy, a totally new experience for Duke. If Duke refuses, Indy simply walks away without taking it at all personally. He simply tries something else a bit later. What a great life coach! Indy offers, suggests, provokes just a little bit. Then he waits to see the results. If they are pleasing he lures and asks for a bit more. If the results are not successful, he tries something else. Have I mentioned that I think my Indy is a bit of a genius? lol

Both dogs are of course receiving Reiki everyday. It’s simply part of the daily routine around here. I strongly believe that Reiki is much of the reason that Indy has made such an amazing physical recovery from his stroke a few months ago. I can only imagine how it has helped him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Of course I want Duke to enjoy the same benefits as much as possible. He’s a very special dog and deserves to know the love and benefits of people who care about him very much. Reiki is part of that experience while he’s involved with this family.

Once again, I’d like to thank the animals in my life for the simple yet profound lessons that they teach me again and again. They keep the lessons easy and straightforward. That’s greatly appreciated and I will keep applying these lessons learned while I work with my own holistic life coaching clients.

This week I encourage you to take a bit of time. Observe the animals in your life. Maybe they’re your pets, or even the squirrels and birds in the yard. It doesn’t take long to realize they are all teaching us and if we pay attention we can learn an awful lot.

Warmly,
Sandy

July Reiki Healing Circle in Milwaukee

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Good morning,

I’m so excited that we will be holding our third Reiki Healing Circle tomorrow, Saturday, July 11.

Each month I have been blessed by meeting new Reiki practitioners. Each month we have had the honor of sending Reiki to more families. What an incredible feeling. If you haven’t read about this before, I’d like to explain a little bit.

I am honored to be the co-founder of Milwaukee Reiki Healing Circles for special needs children, their families and caregivers. This monthly event is entirely free of charge. While we are happy to welcome all who are able to attend in person, it’s important to remember that Reiki is not limited to space or distance, so we are just as happy to offer Reiki to those who are far away. Likewise, Reiki practitioners of all levels are invited to participate. If possible in person, if it is not possible to participate in person, we invite you to send Reiki.

Our healing circle is held at 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 10am to 12 noon on the second Saturday of each month. We ask that special needs families who would like to participate in person please register for this free event by calling my co-founder Sally O’Brien at 414-257-1931. Alternately, simply email me at Serenity@SandyWalden.com to have your family added to those who are receiving at a distance. Each special needs family will receive Reiki for 15 minutes. Again; please remember that Reiki is healing energy, there are no space or distance limitations. We are happy to send to anyone who would like to receive. This is an on-going event. Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested in participating, either as a Reiki practitioner or as someone who would like to receive Reiki.

Future Reiki Healing Circles will continue to be held the 2nd Saturday every month, beginning at 10 a.m. Dates for the remainder of 2009 are below.

August 8
September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12

When we offer Reiki to others healing and blessings are not only received by those who are present, but also by all involved. When you have shared this information with others, you are part of this circle and we will send you blessings as well. So, the simple fact that everything we think, say and do not only goes out to others but comes back to us is confirmed once again. Thank you for sending your love to this project and for sharing this information with others. I know this is going to be a fabulous event and that all will benefit.

Namaste,
Sandy

July Reiki Healing Circle in Milwaukee

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Good morning,

I’m so excited that we will be holding our third Reiki Healing Circle tomorrow, Saturday, July 11.

Each month I have been blessed by meeting new Reiki practitioners. Each month we have had the honor of sending Reiki to more families. What an incredible feeling. If you haven’t read about this before, I’d like to explain a little bit.

I am honored to be the co-founder of Milwaukee Reiki Healing Circles for special needs children, their families and caregivers. This monthly event is entirely free of charge. While we are happy to welcome all who are able to attend in person, it’s important to remember that Reiki is not limited to space or distance, so we are just as happy to offer Reiki to those who are far away. Likewise, Reiki practitioners of all levels are invited to participate. If possible in person, if it is not possible to participate in person, we invite you to send Reiki.

Our healing circle is held at 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 10am to 12 noon on the second Saturday of each month. We ask that special needs families who would like to participate in person please register for this free event by calling my co-founder Sally O’Brien at 414-257-1931. Alternately, simply email me at Serenity@SandyWalden.com to have your family added to those who are receiving at a distance. Each special needs family will receive Reiki for 15 minutes. Again; please remember that Reiki is healing energy, there are no space or distance limitations. We are happy to send to anyone who would like to receive. This is an on-going event. Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested in participating, either as a Reiki practitioner or as someone who would like to receive Reiki.

Future Reiki Healing Circles will continue to be held the 2nd Saturday every month, beginning at 10 a.m. Dates for the remainder of 2009 are below.

August 8
September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12

When we offer Reiki to others healing and blessings are not only received by those who are present, but also by all involved. When you have shared this information with others, you are part of this circle and we will send you blessings as well. So, the simple fact that everything we think, say and do not only goes out to others but comes back to us is confirmed once again. Thank you for sending your love to this project and for sharing this information with others. I know this is going to be a fabulous event and that all will benefit.

Namaste,
Sandy

Independence Day

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Independence Day. It’s important to me to remember that the 4th of July is much more than burgers and watermelon. Now I love the parades, picnics and the fireworks, but there is a reason why we have these celebrations.

We celebrate the birth of the United States of America. I feel honored, blessed and proud to be an American. This nation offers so much opportunity for me and my family, just as it has for generations before me. As a nation I believe that America is strong and generous. Oh we’ve stumbled from time to time, no doubt about it. But when we pull together, work together in a compassionate way to build one another we all grow and become stronger.

This week my message is very short. I simply want to offer my gratitude and thanks for the opportunity to be an American.

Wishing you all a wonderful Independence Day,
Sandy