Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category

Reiki Level One – Class

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Are you ready to welcome the gentle energy of Reiki into your life?

Reiki is all about releasing that which no longer serves us and welcoming balance into our lives. This is very gentle, but don’t let that fool you – it’s quite powerful. In fact it can be life changing.

Serenity is offering a class for Level One Students

Friday, June 19th                                                                                                                        10a – 3p                                                                                                                                   Oxford, WI

Participants are always welcome to share their own thoughts, beliefs and experiences and expectations about Reiki. We will discuss the history and philosophy of Reiki, all in an interactive, safe environment. The Reiki class experience includes learning about traditional Reiki hand positions as well as discussion about trusting your own Reiki intuition. Each class member will give and receive a full Reiki session.

Each will be attuned to Reiki. You will receive your own Reiki manual and of course a certificate of completion for Reiki Level 1.

To register for this class, please contact Sandy via email:  Serenity@SandyWalden.com

I look forward to sharing this Reiki energy with you.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expressing Thoughts and Feelings – Not a Competition

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

It happens quite often. Someone will be telling about a loss, a worry or fear and another will say something like ‘at least you are not going through what I am’. Pretty effectively causing the first person to feel that they have no right to feel what they do or to express that feeling. To which I respond, ‘ugh!!!!’

If feelings and emotions are not good or bad, and for the record I agree with that notion, then why is it so often than the one-up game is played? I suspect that there are various reasons why this happens, and since I’m in the mood to share I’ll do so.

Fear of being left out. Ohhhh, that feels like it a hit on the nail head. After all, if you tell me that your child-hood pet has died. This pet is the one who comforted you while you went through a tornado,  stayed by your side through illness and licked your face when your friends ignored you; I might feel that I simply have no business sharing the fact that I’m feeling really sad for no discernible reason at all. Would it be possible that I need to share what I feel but that since I don’t think my feelings measure up to yours that I can’t do it? That might make me feel left out. Is there an alternative?

How about the thought that if I’m not in more pain, sadder, angrier, more helpless or alternately if I’m not experiencing more joy, happiness, absolute bliss that I’m moving through some situation wrong? In other words, if I measure my feelings, thoughts and emotions against yours and mine are not as big, then perhaps I’m not a caring, loving, worthy person. Yikes!

If we talk about what you think or feel than its entirely possible that everything won’t be about me! That simply cannot happen, because if the focus is not on me all the time, perhaps I’ll cease to exist in some manner.

Now these are just a few thoughts that occur to me, but they all feel like they have a bit of truth to them.  You go through stuff in your life, so do I. In fact we all do, it’s the human experience. Some of this stuff is fabulous, some okay, some not so good and some is truly dreadful. You naturally have thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is happening in your life. That’s the way life works.

Are you ready for an example? My youngest son died in December 2010. My other two incredible sons live quite a distance from home. One evening I was feeling a bit low. I hadn’t slept the night before, so I was tired and grumpy in general. Hubby was at work so I had time to myself. I spoke to each of my boys on the phone during the day and enjoyed it. However, by that evening I was incredibly tired, and simply missed all three of my boys. I shared this with a good friend of mine (who is an amazing lady) and her response set me to thinking about this entire process. She apologized for sharing her own feelings of missing a child who has moved away from home. Why is that? She misses that person very much and I’m honored and privileged that she shares those feelings with me. I pray that I am supportive of her. Are her feelings any less valid because her experience is different than mine? I don’t think so.

For my money, it’s okay to experience a situation along with someone else and to respond differently. Not only is it okay, it’s inevitable. It doesn’t make us any more less loving or caring individuals if we respond differently than someone else to any given situation.  We’re simply different people responding in our personal ways. Not better. Not worse. Just individual.

Feelings and emotions are not good or bad, they simply are feelings and emotions. My hope is that when we talk with friends and loved ones that we do feel it is safe to share. The key word here is ‘share’. If we can listen and appreciate that there is great value in hearing what is being expressed perhaps we can release the need to compete. Trusting that we offer great value regardless of whether we are sharing or listening.

I have a challenge this week. Accept it if you choose, but for me I’m going to give it a whirl. The challenge is not only to listen, but to really hear what is being said to me. Without judgment. Without feeling as though I need to top it to be of value. I wonder how it will change how I feel about the people I’m listening to. I wonder if it might change the way they feel about me. Learning and growing friends, not competing. Just living, learning and growing.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

When I Grow Up I Want To Be More Like My Dog

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve decided that my dog knows quite a bit about living life to the fullest. When he’s tired, he simply heads to his favorite spot in the sun and takes a nap. When he wants his belly rubbed he comes and makes it clear just what he wants. When Indy’s hungry there is no doubt that he would like a meal. You know when Indy’s in the mood to play because he simply starts playing. Smart guy!

Because Indy is so clear about what he wants he is seldom disappointed. Indy is a brilliant life coach! He’s teaching me lessons every day and I’m doing my best to learn from him.

When I work with clients, whether life coaching, Reiki or meditation, I am always encouraging them to practice excellent self-care. While I may forget to practice this myself from time to time, my buddy Indy offers gentle reminders. If I’m a bit too serious, he reminds me that life is to be enjoyed by showing my just how much fun there is to be had in a short wrestling match.

One of the life coaching lessons I continually strive to learn better is to embrace and express certain emotions. While laughter and joy are very easy for me to share other thoughts and emotions are more difficult for me to express. Fear, anger and grief are very difficult for me to share with others or to simply release. In the past I have found that I had a tendency to stuff or simply deny these feelings. Here’s the thing, although I may prefer to deny these emotions they do still exist. The body, mind and spirit has a full range of emotions, and whether I like it or not, my body, mind and spirit will find a way to express these emotions. They are not intended to be denied, bottled up or stuffed. They are there for a reason! A full range of emotions keeps us healthy and it’s vital that we each find a non-destructive way to express these emotions.

What do you do? For me, writing is therapeutic; digging in the dirt, walking and of course being with my buddy Indiana is extremely helpful. When Indy’s sad or upset he doesn’t hesitate to come to me and indicate that he simply wants my company. Sometimes it’s enough for him to just hang out with me, other times he needs some real exercise. I have a lot to learn from my dog.

I am learning, though to be honest I am sometimes a slow learner. 🙂 At the very young age of 49, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing feelings, thoughts and emotions that I have always accepted in others easily. Life coaching, Reiki and meditation have all helped me to understand that being sad or angry is no more destructive or negative when present in my life than they are in anyone else.

This is a good time to acknowledge and appreciate not just my resident life coach Indy, but also dear friends and family. These folks not only allow, but at times even gently prod me to share as much as I feel comfortable. I’m so grateful for that. Equally as important, they do not demand that I share; they simply hold the safe space and remind me that all emotions, thoughts and feelings are welcome and safe. That’s powerful stuff and I can’t say how grateful I am.

Indy reminds me every single day that it’s okay to have a full range of emotions and to share those emotions with others. You will have absolutely no doubt when my buddy is happy, that nub of a tail wags so hard that I’ve often thought how remarkable it is that it’s still attached.

What do you do to express yourself? Do you dance? Perhaps you retreat to a private place with your thoughts…maybe writing is your thing. There are so many ways to express yourself, talk to a loved one, call a friend, laugh and or cry at a movie. Exercise or take a bath, read a book and let your emotions pour themselves out. I don’t know what’s right for you and you may not know at this moment either. If you can’t figure it out by yourself, give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

I’m going to keep studying and allowing my own personal life coach to assist me in this growth, Indy’s really quite good at this whole process. I encourage you to find discover what allows you to express yourself. In the meantime, I will continue to strive to live life more like my dog. In the moment and expressing all emotions to the fullness that is appropriate this very moment.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – Breathing

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Many Ways of meditation understand and stress the importance of proper breathing. In the Way of Yoga this process is called Pranayama and can be very complex. For most of the rest of us disciplined breathing can and should be an integral part of our practice for many reasons and these reasons bear discussion.

When talking about the disciplined breathing of meditation we are referring to slow, deep, abdominal breathing that uses the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This is the breathing of relaxation and for many reasons it is difficult, if not impossible, to be tense while breathing in this manner.

Breathing is normally an automatic process and for most of us it fulfills the function of oxygenating our blood and organs. It is believed by many that controlled breathing bridges the gap between our voluntary and involuntary body systems allowing a stronger connection between our conscious and subconscious minds. Abdominal breathing uses our lungs in a more efficient manner and the resulting muscle movement helps massage and oxygenate our organs more than chest breathing alone. Slow, deep rhythmic breathing triggers our parasympathetic nervous system and automatically stimulates our relaxation response which lowers our heart rate and causes muscle relaxation. All of these physiological changes lead to a feeling of less tension, which most of us find to be beneficial.

Many who practice martial arts as their Way believe that breathing is the key to the focus of their minds, and hence the chi or ki which is essential to their Way. Meditators also use their breathing as a focus and, when coupled with that gentle, persistent return to the Now, breathing can be the anchor that helps extend our mindfulness and helps lead the way to that place we go when we Sit.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of our meditative breathing is that of focused awareness. By focusing on and becoming aware of our breathing we are taking the first step towards listening to ourselves and our world in real time. This is called being in the Now and is the place from which all meditation must start. Many would argue that this focus and the process of being in the Now is what separates meditation from sitting quietly and thinking. Both beneficial practices but not the same thing.

When we use breathing as a part of our meditation practice the transfer from the zendo to our daily lives becomes very valuable. With the automatic coupling of focused breathing and the calm, physical and mental state associated with meditation we can defuse our own tenseness, anxiety or fear simply by taking a few deep abdominal breaths, as we do when we start to Sit. When faced with a physically demanding situation both the meditator and the martial artist can take their deep abdominal breath and focus their energy. Children are often delighted to learn that the relaxation of their minds and bodies by the application of focused breathing can provide them with control of their minds and bodies in a time and place where they have very little control over anything else.

Namaste,
Jim

Meditation Musings

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

As Serenity expands it’s Group Meditation offerings I’d like to take a few
moments to talk about how we view meditation and how our groups tend to work.

Modern science tells us of many benefits of meditation including lower blood
pressure, stress level reduction and better sleep patterns. Most of us who
practice meditation would add to the list, a better understanding of ourselves
and a generally calmer attitude towards life’s travails and petty indignations.
Some form of meditation seems to be a part of most civilizations and some
methods have been in use for thousands of years.

I was an occasional meditator for many years and mostly practiced when I felt
the stress in my life becoming overwhelming. One day it dawned on me that if
meditation could help when I was under a heavy stress load, perhaps, if used on
a regular basis, it could keep my stress load from building up in the first
place.
As I practiced on a more regular basis I began to study the different types of
meditation disciplines. I was struck, not by the differences, but by the
similarities. I also found that my own meditation technique (crafted  by 40
years of intermittent practice) fell into none of the traditional methods. And
yet, I benefit enormously from my practice.

I don’t find it surprising that humans have found such diverse ways to touch
that place we touch when we meditate. We are an endlessly creative species. And
the similarities within all these practices? Well, how many shapes can a wheel
be? They were all created to get us to that place we go when we  sit. That is
their greatest commonality.

My friend Sandy says that when she prays she’s talking to God, when she
meditates she’s listening to God. I start my meditation each morning with the
affirmation “I sit, I sit because it is what I do, I sit without thought of goal
or gain‚Äö√Ñ√π. Our respect for each other’s Way is evident and when you come to our
group your Way will be equally respected.

If you’ve never meditated before we can certainly help you find your own Way.
There’s nothing magical or difficult about it. You don’t have to sit
cross-legged on a funny cushion (but please don’t mind if I do). You don’t have
to “stop your thoughts” (unless you want to). If you do nothing but sit quietly
in a calm and supportive atmosphere you will begin to reap the benefits of
meditation.

Our groups usually meet for 90 minutes. First we typically have a short reading
and/or discussion about some aspect of meditation. We then have 30-45 minutes of
meditation, which could be a guided meditation recording, meditation appropriate
music, or guidance by a group member. We then have a short time to unwind,
discuss the day’s meditation, journal or sit quietly. Whatever the group
prefers.

We presently have our Wednesday morning group which meets from 9:30-11:00 am but
if you would like to see a group at another time or in another format, let us
know. We will be expanding to evenings and weekends as new groups form. We have
a $5 fee per session to help defray the cost of the space, tea, and water.

As these groups grow I’m excited about meeting people with techniques new to me
and those who wish to begin meditating for the first time. Who knows what we’ll
learn?

Nemaste,
Jim

Let Your Hands Do the Talking

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Do you ever suspect that your body knows things that your head isn’t in on? I’m going to assume that you are sitting there, nodding your head because now you know this happens to everyone. If not, please give me a bit more time and see how this feels to you.

As you well know by now, I’m a fan of taking time to meditate, trying to find quiet moments to listen to your heart and soul. What that looks like for one person may be very different for another. What most may think of as meditation, sitting quietly while listening to the silence, quiet music or even guided meditation helps me to learn a lot about myself, but I often have a difficult time quieting my mid to actually ‘hear’ my soul. Not to worry, there are alternative and complementary options available.

How about writing? I suggest you give yourself anything from a few minutes to a few hours, everyday if possible to simply write. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, if you don’t have anything you would care to write about, you may simply write your name, the ABC’s, or even ‘I don’t know what to write, but I’m going to see what comes out of my pen.’ Write for as long as you feel comfortable. There are those who say you should write three pages each and every day, without fail. I don’t personally feel as though I can say you ‘should’ do anything of the sort,¬¨‚Ć however, I know that when I do allow myself to write I learn some pretty surprising things about myself.

Recently I have found myself encouraging each and every one of my life coaching and MasterMind clients to write. Clearly my heart wants me to return to the practice and I do like company.  Why? Because when I do take the time to write I discover things about myself that I may or may not want to know. I have discovered anger that I had not been previously aware of on a conscious level.  Not only did the daily writing allow me to know and feel the anger, it also allowed me to process and release the anger in a much less painful way than I may have experienced otherwise. Writing has also allowed me to very recently re-discover a strong desire that I had pushed to the back of my mind long ago, sure that it could not happen. Of course if you know me, or work with me as a Reiki or life coaching client, you know that I encourage you not to worry about how something will come to be, simply to think about what and how you would like your life to look.

Writing may reveal many things to you. A few of my favorite people come immediately to mind. They are never without a pad of paper and a pen. Writing down thoughts as they occur, bits of things others may say, nudges from their heart or mind. Sometimes they refer back to these notes, often they discard them. The important thing is that they allow their hands to reveal bits that they may not necessarily mentally process on a conscious level.

I’m back to writing. It’s just for me and it feels very good. I appreciate that it’s a way for me to review what is happening in my life, a way for me to process events, good and bad, discover new thoughts and ideas. It turns out that I’m much more creative and less judgmental of my ideas when I use this process. I’m learning and appreciating things about myself. How cool is that?

This week I encourage you to write, write, write. Without expectation, without restrictions, let it flow.

Warmly,

Sandy

Vision Boards

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I love vision boards! In fact I just made four new ones the other day.

What are vision boards? They are basically a visual guide to help you manifest your best life.

Vision boards are always a surprise to me. The process is really very simple. First of all, I put on some music that feels good. It might be meditative, or energizing, depending on what appeals to me that day. Then I find several poster boards. They can be plain white or colored. This last time I used 3 different colors. I didn’t really make a decision to use colored boards; I simply laid out a variety and selected those which attracted me without thinking about it. The next step was to gather magazines, photos, and ‘things’ that made me feel good. Then the fun started.

I went through the photos and pulled out a few that I liked, some I cut up to use though I didn’t know just how I would use them at that point. Next I went through several magazines. This should be a relaxed, fun exercise. I tore out pages that attracted me for a variety of reasons. Some were simply pretty; others interesting and still others shouted at me that they showed something that I absolutely wanted to bring about in my life.

Next began the process of assembling my boards. I didn’t know how many I would create when I started so this was all a work in progress. I laid out pictures, words that I had cut-out, objects that needed to be a part of these boards. Moving everything around until it felt just right. Then I simply glued everything into place and finished off with writing on my boards where it felt right. My boards have pictures, writing, stones and words, simply things that speak to me.

When the process was complete I actually had 4 vision boards. Each one focused on separate areas of my life. One was about home and personal. Another focused on my business. A third was all about travel and the final board focused on my life coaching and Reiki business.

Now, to use these vision boards. The purpose of making the vision boards is to become clear about what I want to manifest in my life. After all, how can I bring about desired results if I have no idea what those desired results are? This process is very free flowing; I simply explored and felt my way through. For example, I want a new car. I don’t need a new car, lol, but I do want one. I’d like a convertible please. As I flipped through the magazines I pulled out pictures that made me smile when I first saw them. I wound up with pictures of 3 cars, 2 of them convertibles and one in particular is a red convertible. Yahoo! I cut each of them out, added my picture and now when I look at that board I am actually able to see myself driving those cars. It makes me very excited! I feel myself smile automatically when I look at the vision board and it makes my tummy get all fluttery, sort of like Christmas morning when I was a little girl. I know that we get what we ask for, what we expect in this life. So, I’ve decided to ask for and expect things that I want. Like a convertible.

By focusing on these boards every day for a short time, giving thought to vacation time with my husband (one of the items on one of my vision boards), allowing myself to experience the emotion that these experiences bring up I am actually bringing each and every one of these experiences closer and closer. I don’t think about them as something that is going to happen in the future. Oh no, I allow myself to experience the thoughts, feelings, smells and touches that each of these experiences brings about right now. That’s what brings them about.

I update my vision boards when it feels right. I may keep a vision board only a few days, a few months, or maybe years. It’s very exciting to look back and realize that something I originally thought of as a dream has become my reality. And of course that simply keeps the process moving along, bringing in more of what I want to experience.

The vision boards have become wonderful tools that I encourage all of my life coaching and Reiki clients to use. I also offer workshops for vision boards as I find that they are powerful tools for anyone to use.

This week I encourage you to make a vision board. Some variation will of course work as well. Consider collecting a model car that looks just like the full size car you want in your driveway and put it into a special box that you focus on every day. Any variation of this process works. It’s really all about allowing yourself to experience the reality of your dreams coming true. And then they do.

Warmly,
Sandy

Happy New Year 2009

Monday, December 29th, 2008

It’s here again, that time of year when we all make New Year’s resolutions. Actually I’m all for resolutions, goals, intentions. Let’s go for it! Only this time, I’d like to be serious about it. Too often in the past I’ve made resolutions that I knew I wouldn’t even really attempt to keep. You know the type, ‘I resolve to lose 20 pounds and get in the best shape of my life…by February 1st’. That sort of resolution isn’t really meant to work; it’s just something to say before toasting to the New Year.

As a life coach it’s very important to me that I set my goals, plan my resolutions with the intention of carrying through with them. Now that doesn’t mean to make them easy, no-brainer goals, not at all. I still believe in shooting for the stars, but I’d like to do it in a manner that I actually believe will be completely successful.

So, here’s how I plan to go about it.

1. I discover what my hopes and dreams are by doing new vision boards. I usually do one board, but this year I feel the need to do several. I will most likely do one for health and fitness, another for vacation and travel, a third for home and gardens, etc.

2. Feel and express my gratitude. I believe before I can expect to bring new wonderful things into my life, I need to be grateful for what is already making my life terrific. For instance, I’m not going to carry on and crab about a somewhat less than perfect physical body, instead I will focus everyday on how grateful I am that I have a body that functions well, gets me everywhere I would like to go, sees, hears and thinks very efficiently and generally has served me very well.

3. Spend a bit of time visualizing my goal and feeling what I will feel like when I have achieved my goal. I will picture myself at what I consider my physical optimum, possibly see myself running effortlessly, swimming strongly or biking up a hill. I will allow myself to feel the excitement of knowing that I can run, swim or bike as far as I want and feel strong, happy, pleased with the accomplishment.

4. Let it go. Release the thought with the knowledge and full expectation that this new me is becoming reality right at this very moment. One of my favorite authors, Doreen Virtue, put it something like this; when you are in a restaurant you select your sandwich, put in your order and wait for it to arrive. You know that your sandwich is coming because you have asked for it, you don’t doubt it, and you don’t keep asking the waiter for your sandwich. You simply wait expectantly knowing that it’s going to be perfect when it arrives.

5. When the dream is realized – and I believe it will be, I simply offer my thanks again.

I truly believe that everything we experience is something that we have asked for, intentionally or not. So, I try to think in positive terms. If I want to be debt-free, I don’t focus on debt, I focus on having enough prosperity and abundance to cover my wants and my needs. Focusing on the negative, the debt portion will only bring about more debt, focusing on the abundance and prosperity will bring about plenty.

So, that’s it. The life coach in me realizes that it’s extremely important to have a goal or an intention. Taking action is putting those goals and intentions down on paper, looking at them and spending a few minutes every day visualizing and enjoying the feelings of success. Again, the life coach in me is not done, I will assess and reassess, tweaking and changing as life goes on and changes.

2009 is going to be full of changes, and change can be very exciting. I hope you are going to reach for the stars, because the stars are all there waiting for you to reach out and grab them, I can see you now, swinging on your own personal star. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the remainder of 2008, and plan a fabulous 2009!

With warmth and excitement,
Sandy