Posts Tagged ‘Lessons’

The Towel – is it Code?

Monday, August 13th, 2018

I went out to the patio early in the morning with my cup of coffee in hand only to discover a towel on the arm of my chair. An old stained towel, to be clear.

It’s standard operating procedure for my husband and me to spend a couple hours each morning out on the patio drinking coffee whenever the weather is fairly comfortable. Early in the morning, the world is rather magical. There is dew on the grass and the birds provide all the music. It’s a time that is special for both of us.

But yesterday was different, remember the towel I talked about a few lines up?

For the longest time, my hubby has laughed just a wee bit when I go walking through the dewy grass in the morning. I swear that the plants are calling to me and I feel a need to take my coffee cup and visit each of them. Saying good morning and encouraging them to be well. It’s okay if you think this is silly, I love it. What makes John chuckle is the fact that I return to the patio with grass clippings on my feet. And then the dance begins. You know, the hopping around, waving my feet in the air so that the grass will dry and fall off. After all, there is no way I’m going to walk back into the house to refill my cup with grass on my feet! This is pretty much the routine almost every morning. John has suggested remedies for this problem. Wait until the grass dries to take my stroll – not gonna happen. Keep a water bucket to rinse the tootsies off after my walk – nope, the toes still need to dry. How about a towel? – yeah, that would probably fix the problem… but still I don’t do it.

Yesterday, I went outside to find this old, stained but very clean towel on the arm of my chair. I loved it!

This about much more than a way to dry my feet and keep my kitchen floor clean. This was hubby’s way of saying loud and clear ‘I love you’. This is his way. He notices and takes care of things that matter to me or that makes my life comfortable or easier.

He’s not the guy who does big things. He’s never sent me flowers at the office or made public declarations of his affection. But he notices things and takes action.

Recently I got in the car and found that he had put a bottle of water in each of the doors of both cars. He doesn’t drink water when we are on the road, but I do. He was thinking of me. This was ‘I love you’.

Now don’t get me wrong. We’ve known one another for almost 40 years and there are absolutely plenty of things he says or does that make me crazy. If you’ve got five minutes and a cup of coffee, I’ll tell you all about it. Those things seem to come to mind very easily, very quickly.

If we’re not careful, it can be the crazy-making that we notice and focus on. This morning, I simply want to acknowledge and appreciate that those crazy-making traits are balanced by the heart-filling behaviors that are quiet and deliberate and very meaningful.

Yeah, that towel means a lot to me. It’s stained because he knows it would really bother me to keep a new towel outdoors for my feet. But it’s clean because he knows that is also important to me. He knows these things because they matter to me and he has decided that makes them important to him as well. That too is saying ‘I love you’.

Louis Armstrong says it so well in his song ‘It’s a Wonderful World’. He sings a beautiful line:

I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you

 

What does someone you know say or do to let you know that you are loved? How are you expressing those feelings for others? You are loved.

As for me, that towel will stay right where it is for quite some time. And each time I wipe my feet, I will remind myself that this guy I’m still crazy about, loves me.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

The Acorn Journal: Messages from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time…

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Hello, my friends,

Today’s message is incredibly personal. I’m sharing because this is something that I imagine all of us have dealt with or will deal with at some point in our lives. At the very least, it’s probably a point of curiosity and discussion. I’m talking about communication of some sort with someone who has died.

No, I’m not asking you to set aside your belief’s whatever they may be. I am simply asking you to consider having an open mind. To consider that perhaps, just perhaps someone who has left the planet earth is as close to us as our own heartbeats. Because I believe this is true.

My youngest son died seven years ago. Such a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, even now. I remember so very clearly having conversations with people almost immediately, about feeling confident that Mike was still around, in a very different way of course.

So, I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me when we began finding acorns at our lake home. It soon became very clear that these acorns were in fact, messages from Mike. I began keeping a journal of these occurrences and my thoughts and feelings when they were discovered. I needed to be sure that I wasn’t imagining things.

Time went on and these experiences have continued. This was both an intensely personal experience and something that I wanted to share with the world. When the time was right. Well, it feels as though the time is right and so The Acorn Journal: Messages of Connection from The Other Side, One Acorn at a Time… has now been published and is available on Amazon.

https://smile.amazon.com/Acorn-Journal-Messages-Connection-Other/dp/1544750749/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514493082&sr=8-1&keywords=the+acorn+journal+sandy+walden

This is my story and yes, it continues. Because life does not end when we take our last breath, it simply transforms. I hope that reading my story reminds you that those you love are with you. Always. I hope that you share your own story of connection with me. I would love to hear it.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness Matters

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Forgiveness is something that I think is often misunderstood and because of that, often overlooked or put on the back burner. However, it’s my firm belief that before healing can happen forgiveness must begin.

So, let’s talk about forgiveness.  First and foremost offering forgiveness is not, absolutely not condoning the incident which offended or hurt you. That’s really important, so I will repeat it. Forgiving does not mean saying that what occurred was alright! What forgiveness means is that you no longer feed energy into the pain, hurt; resistance and you allow healing to begin.

Ahhhh, we’re getting to the meat of the matter right off. Healing. That’s what forgiveness is all about, at least in my mind. Here’s how I see it.

Let’s create a scenario. Let’s say that someone has said something truly hurtful to me, hurtful enough to wound me deeply. Ouch! While I am hurting I find that I withdraw my energy. A bit like a turtle may pull his head into his shell to prevent further injury. Perhaps I go over the words, again and again, feeling the wound, reliving the words each time. It hurts!

As time goes by, I may well find myself becoming angry. Anger is not a bad thing, it’s simply an emotion and there are real and valid reasons to feel anger. For one thing, it’s got a higher vibration that the desolation and depression that I was likely feeling just one paragraph ago. It’s normal, reasonable and completely human to feel anger. But what to do with it? If I keep feeling it but do not express the anger, it can become very toxic. Stuffing the anger can actually make me sick, physically, and emotionally. The simple fact here, it is healthier for me to find a safe way to express that anger. When I feel the appropriate, healthy way to begin to release the anger, it’s a bit like pulling the plug in a water-filled tub. The resistance, strong energy begins to dissipate. Perhaps the turtle once again considers sticking his head out of his shell.

This is all part of the forgiveness process. I forgive so that I feel better. Simple as that. When I decide to forgive, and yes, for me it is often a very deliberate, conscious decision, I begin to feel better. That easier, more gentle feeling makes way for healing.

In the scenario painted above, I have been hurt. The words that were spoken may or may not be valid. Finding a healthy, safe way to release the resistance, the energy that is my anger, allows me to determine the truth or falsehood of the words spoken. That feels a bit better. Regardless of what I decide, I am still hurt by the words that were said to me. There’s work for me to do.

I begin by honestly acknowledging to myself that I have been hurt. For me, that can take a bit of work as I would really prefer to pretend that I’m too tough to be hurt by others. Not so, the truth is that I am as human as the next person. I’ve been hurt, I’ve gotten angry. Both acknowledged and felt. For me, the next step is to look for a blessing in this situation. This part really irks some people, and I get it, really I do. But I do believe that there is a blessing or a lesson if you prefer,  in each and every happening, even those which hurt us deeply. Again, returning to the above scenario, I would ask myself what the blessing or lesson looks like. Perhaps there was truth in the words expressed to me; can I learn from the words? Or it could be that the hurtful words were totally bogus, perhaps the lesson is that the person who uttered these falsehoods feels safe enough to express themselves to me. It could simply be that this person is not good for me and I need to say away from them. Maybe, none of these fit, I will search until I find what resonates with me.

Finding a blessing allows me to feel somewhat better; I begin to feel stronger as forgiveness begins. The energy that doesn’t feel very good, the resistance begins to be released, and healing is starting to happen.  That’s what forgiveness is, healing. The hurt, anger, bitterness energizes me in a way that feels pretty crummy to me, but finding a blessing, learning a lesson, deliberately deciding to look for a truth allows that icky energy, that resistance to begin to go away. Remember that water filled tub I talked about above? Well, the plug isn’t all the way out, the tub isn’t empty. But the trickle has begun and it feels good. That’s what forgiveness is about, feeling better. And beginning to heal. This has not one thing to do with whether or not the person was justified in saying what they did. Not for one moment would I condone deliberately hurting someone with an untruth. But if the words were true, I can learn from them. If they were false, then I have taken the time to find the blessing, to learn a lesson.

Another little phrase that causes a lot of trouble is ‘forgive and forget’. I’m not a fan at all. My dog teaches me a very simple lesson about that because animals offer unconditional love. They get hurt, but they learn the lesson, forgive and move on. If I’m out walking with Indiana and he keeps walking in front of me, there’s a very good chance his foot will get stepped on. He learns the lesson, forgives and walks alongside me. But he doesn’t forget! He remembers that if he walks in front of me his toes will get smashed.

We can take a lesson from this. If forgetting serves us well, then we will forget in time, easily and effortlessly. However, if the words brought a lesson that we can use, by all means, keep it in your memory. Again, let’s return to the original scenario. If the words spoken to me were hurtful for the simple reason that person has their own ‘stuff’ to deal with, then I will likely remember and not put myself into a position to be hurt by them again. However, if the words were true and helpful, I may well remember them, learn from them and recall them when they are again helpful. Forgive; yes. Forget; only if it serves your best and highest good.

I’ve spoken about hurtful words because that seems to me to be the most common wound. But wounds come in all sorts. It could be the wound of a relationship that has ended, the death of someone you cared about, a car wreck or any number of other scenarios. The work is the same. It’s a step by step process. No one size fits all here. There is no timeline. The process may be very fast, a matter of moments, or it could be over years. Whatever is right for you is right.

What are you holding onto? Is there something that you are ready to begin healing from? Big or small, forgiveness is done for you, and it begins with that first step. When you are ready to begin healing, forgiveness is part of the process. And the turtle once again pokes his head out of his shell, going on about his life, wiser and more prepared to live today.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

Just What Do You Deserve?

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Probably the most common theme that I hear in my office, is the idea that the person is not deserving of the best life has to offer. This feeling seems to recognize no boundaries. I hear it from women as well as men. Young, middle-aged and elders. These people seem to think that they must put themselves last – always.

What some of these people think they do deserve is something less than others. A woman I know was very concerned. After all, she believed very strongly that when one is faced with an argument or conflict of some sort,  that there are two choices. Be kind or attack. As she is a very nice woman, her typical response has been to be kind to others, at her own expense.  I got the call from her when she wanted to discuss her most recent behavior. She had stood up for herself! She was direct and straightforward, realizing that she deserved to be treated with respect and appreciation. This is where we all stand and shout ‘wahoo!’.

An incredible person recently offered this thought. Is our body a vessel or host to our spirit? If you answered yes, keep going with me. If my body is host to my spirit, then my spirit is my ever-present guest. How do you treat guests in your home?  If you’re like me, you always offer guests the very best. The pretty little soaps in the bathroom. The best chair at the backyard fire. The finest cut of the entree served at dinner.

If I’m always offering the best to others, but refusing to accept quality for myself, I am treating my own guest very badly. This fascinating concept rang true for me, so I began sharing it with my clients. What I am discovering; to my absolute delight is that it rings true for others as well.

So, does this mean that I advocate being out for myself regardless of effects or ramifications to others?  Nope, not at all. It does mean that I believe in treating myself with the same sort of appreciation and respect that I offer to others. And I encourage my clients to do the same. It feels good, in fact, it feels terrific!

A very nice side-effect of treating myself with the same appreciation, respect, and kindness that I offer to others is that I don’t feel short-changed when I do something nice for someone else. Nice bonus, huh? Think about it for a couple of seconds and I’m sure it will make complete sense to you as well.

If you are always putting others before yourself, you are being short-changed. It’s completely natural and reasonable that resentment would build and that anger is likely to follow. Let’s circumvent this entire situation by simply bringing a bit of balance to the situation. That means acknowledging that you deserve to expect and receive the best that the world has to offer. I encourage you to expect that from now on.

Balance isn’t all that difficult when we practice. If need be, you may want to think of yourself as Spirit, after all, that is an integral part of you. What does your guest deserve? Offer the best to your Spirit, your ever-present guest, and everyone will benefit.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

 

Reiki and Healing

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Reiki, pronounced Ray-kee is a modality of energy healing. If your response is ‘huh?’ then you’re in good company.

Reiki has been around for quite some time, but only in recent years is it becoming better known and widely accepted.

Energy is of course a very real part of each of our lives. The electricity which turns on our lights is energy. We may not see it, many of us don’t quite understand how it works, but it is there and very effective. Reiki energy is similar in that it is not something that can be seen; however the effects can be felt.

Generally, when one receives a Reiki treatment, you will lie fully clothed on a massage table. The Reiki practitioner moves around your body, gently laying their hands on about twelve positions of your body. During this session, the gentle energy of Reiki flows through the practitioner to the recipient. This allows your own energy to balance and that balance allows healing. Ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere aren’t we? It’s all about the healing.

In the most simple and straight forward terms, Reiki allows your body, mind and spirit to release negative energy. This may be fear, pain, despair, etc. As these less than helpful energies; these toxins are released you are able to re-balance and welcome healing. Our body, mind and spirit are able to heal themselves when we release these barriers.

There is a plethora of research supporting this healing modality. http://tinyurl.com/3hk8u7u This research simply reinforces my own beliefs and more importantly it supports my own experiences with Reiki; as a Reiki master and teacher as well as someone who continues to benefit from frequent Reiki sessions. I smile when friends or family tell me that ‘there must be something to this stuff’, because the well respected Dr. Oz tells of his own trust and confidence in Reiki.

As someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I appreciate that Reiki has helped me and continues to help me to move through this grieving and healing process. I do believe that the process has been a bit more gentle due to receiving frequent Reiki sessions.

I’d like to be clear; this is not something magical that has taken away my pain. Rather, the Reiki has helped me to move through my pain in the way that is best for me; a little at a time. It’s helped me to become clear about what I feel, to understand what this loss means to me, to forgive myself for not keeping my son alive. While on that Reiki table I’ve shed many tears, but I’ve also felt relief, lovely, healing relief. I’m someone who tends to express my pain or fear in physical terms. Shoulder pain, migraines or an aching back. I’m grateful that Reiki is safe to receive under any conditions. It is safe to use regardless of what medications I may be taking or medical treatment I may be receiving. That offers me reassurance and additional comfort and encourages me to continue giving myself daily Reiki as well as to receive Reiki from other practitioners.

There’s something quite wonderful about being touched by another human being. It offers connection and bonding. However, it’s important to note that Reiki can be offered at a distance as well. After all, it’s energy and energy is not limited to time or distance. This means that I am able to send Reiki to my surviving sons even though they live far away from me. Like the prayers that I offer, I know that they receive the energy in the way that is right for them. I also sit down and intentionally send Reiki to my son Mike who took his life in December of 2010. As a mom it heals my heart to know that I can still offer him something quite wonderful and healing. Of course I would prefer to have any of them on a chair in a room with me or on my Reiki table. But I am blessed to know that the Reiki is just as healing in whatever way it’s received.

I continue to offer Reiki to others and I’m grateful for the balance that it brings to their lives. Gently, sometimes a little at a time, sometimes the balance comes more rapidly. I will also continue to give myself Reiki sessions and to receive Reiki from others. If this life is about learning and moving forward; as I believe it is, then I want to be able to learn, heal and move forward as easily as possible. Reiki helps me to do just that.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Live What We Believe

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Somewhere around the age of three or 4, people as a whole are pretty amazing. I am privileged to know a man who recognizes and appreciates just how amazing his 3 or 4-year-old son is, day in and day out.

I see this gentleman every week and I’m always impressed with how his eyes literally light up when he speaks about his wife or his 2 children. His daughter is just a baby so she delights him just by cooing and breathing.  His son, on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of fish. This man regularly shares the wisdom and the absolute joy that he receives from just playing with his little guy.

Apparently one of their favorite things to do is to play ball. Positioning themselves on their long drive, the little boy would hit the plastic ball, aiming at the tree waaaaaaaay down at the end of the drive. Dad would smile and cheer him on.

Recently all of this changed. A few weeks ago, we experienced some windy days. I don’t mean Dorothy and Toto flying off to Oz sort of windy, but pretty hefty winds just the same.  You guessed it; this man and his little boy were out playing ball. The wind was at the little boy’s back so when he hit the ball the first time and it whacked the tree at the end of the drive the man wasn’t the least bit surprised. Still, he cheered his son, encouraging him to do it again and again. Which of course, the little boy accomplished easily.

Fast forward to their next play time. The man and the boy, outside playing ball, normal weather. Still, the little boy expects to hit the tree at the end of the drive just like he did last time. And he does. Again and again. Naturally, the man continues to whoop it up, so excited for his son that he is continuously hitting his goal, the tree.

About a week or so later, it occurred to the man one day. That freaky wind that carried the ball so easily was no longer blowing. Still, his incredible little boy was regularly hitting the tree at the end of the drive. This is even more exciting! The man, however, is more clever than many might be in the situation, and he doesn’t tell his son that it was the wind that made that amazing hit possible in the first place, he simply keeps encouraging success and celebrating every hit.

No one told the little boy he could only hit the tree with the wind behind his back. So, for him, it was the simple truth that he could hit the tree. He proved it to himself and simply continued living that truth.

In 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man to prove an old truism wrong. It was believed that the human body could not run a mile in 4 minutes or less. That truism had been proven again and again since we began recording such events. But on that special day, Mr. Bannister broke the old record and made a new truism, of course, the 4-minute mile could be run and several other men accomplished the same feat in that year.

All of this matters because as human beings we are always programming ourselves. We read newspapers and yes, sometimes even books. We listen to television and radio; we speak with family, friends, and co-workers. Learning what we can and cannot do.

This is one of the reasons why life coaching and hypnotism are so very powerful. We spend part of each and every session talking about the way you talk to yourself. What words are coming out of your mouth? What ‘truth’ are you telling? We believe what we hear frequently, otherwise, TV ads wouldn’t sell us on the belief that one toothpaste is vastly superior to the other brands on the shelf. How many of us have researched our toothpaste? Not me, still I believe that one is better for my little pearlies and so I buy it regularly, even keeping back up tubes available, because I have come to believe what I have heard.

We all do it, it is human nature. This is very cool because it means that we can teach or program ourselves any way that we choose. We’re doing it anyhow, so why not do it with deliberation?

I strongly encourage my life coaching clients to speak kindly to themselves, to be deliberate in framing their words and phrases. Because it matters what they say. Not only do others hear and come to believe what words they utter, but they hear and believe as well. Repetition does that for us.

Same goes when a client is experiencing hypnotism. We share a long, interesting conversation before the actual hypnotizing happens. At least I find it interesting. I want to learn as much about the clients’ true beliefs and desires as possible. Why? Because when they are experiencing a hypnotic trance, I’m going to offer suggestions to change the clients’ life in one manner or another. If these suggestions are accepted by the client, they will become their new truth. If you’ve ever listened to a hypnotist, you will have noticed that these new truths are repeated over and over in ways that the client prefers.

For example, if I were hypnotizing myself (and I do) to release unnecessary concerns about something I would tell myself something along these lines. ‘I release concerns regarding…as I trust that all is working out as it should.’ ‘I feel more calm, more at ease regarding…feeling better and better.’ In no way would I be lying to myself, that would be totally unacceptable, I would simply be introducing a new truth. Easing into feeling better, more calm, releasing concern that is not needed. That would form my new belief and I get to relax because after all, we do live what we believe.

One of my favorite people in the world frequently tells me that I frustrate her. She tells me that everything always works out for me and that my life is just silly easy, especially compared to hers. It makes me smile, which pushes her buttons, makes me smile more…you can see where this is going I’m sure. I’ve always shared my belief that life works out well if you expect it to do so. Just that simple. And it turns out that so far my life has worked out beautifully, and I expect that it will continue that way.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had bruises and bumps, just like she has. The difference is that she believes the bruises and bumps will be hard, painful and difficult. Guess what? She finds the normal ups and downs of life to frequently be hard, painful and difficult.  I too have experienced pain and would not be surprised if life tosses a bit more my way from time to time. The man difference is that I absolutely, firmly believe that the pain will be lessened as time goes on and that I will learn from it, coming out a stronger and for me, this is the key, a happier person. That’s my belief and for my life up to this point, it’s always worked out just that way.

What do you believe about your life? How can you change up your belief just a little bit to make today better? Are you willing to see yourself hitting the tree at the end of your drive? I bet you can.

I encourage you to believe that you deserve success in whatever way you define success. This week I encourage you to believe that you deserve to be happy. This week I ask you to know that you live what you believe. Because my friend, you do.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – Posture

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

There are many thoughts about the posture one should take when meditating with many Ways presuming that their Way is the only correct method. For many of us, most of these “correct” ways are not practical or possible but we still meditate and we still derive benefit from our meditation.

Why does it matter?

Unless one sees meditation as a form of penance or punishment a primary aspect of our posture and position is to be comfortable. Most of us find it difficult to Sit for long periods of time if we are not comfortable. Trying to hold an uncomfortable posture can certainly be a distraction if our purpose is to remain in the Now. Most of us find little benefit if our meditations center around “I hurt Now”. Few of us would find it a beneficial mantra.

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, generally credited with bringing Zen to America and the author of the seminal book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, tells us that we Sit with our legs crossed as a way of minimizing the duality of our body. When we stand or sit as in our normal manner we have a left side and a right side. When we sit with our legs crossed we have the right foot on the left leg and the left foot on the right leg. This is intended to merge the right and left sides of our bodies, facilitate the connection between the right and left sides of our brain, and remove or minimize our dualistic perceptions of ourselves. When we sit in a crossed leg position we are also creating a tripod stance, generally thought of as the epitome of stability. This stability of posture is thought to help provide us with a stability of mind.

Most Ways tell us that we should Sit with a straight back or spine, generally as a way to encourage or facilitate the movement of our energy (ki or chi). This emphasis on posture and head positioning can serve other purposes for the student of meditation. One purpose is to provide a focus for the mind, that is, to occupy the mind with the task of monitoring posture in order to keep the mind in the present moment. Another purpose is to allow the Master to see if and when his students allow their posture to change, usually indicating a loss of concentration or wandering from the Now. At this point the Master corrects the student in whatever manner he uses, returning the student to the Now.

For our purposes, let’s move from the ideal to the practical.

Meditating in any posture is much better than not meditating at all. Most of the meditators I know sit in a chair and many of them derive great benefits from their Sitting.

Keeping the back straight does allow energy to flow through the body efficiently but it is also the optimal position for the use of our lungs. By sitting up straight we allow ourselves to take maximum advantage of the benefits of abdominal breathing which provides maximum blood and organ oxygenation and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, activating a “relaxation response” in the body. Probably just as important is that our bodies have developed the way they have for a reason and when the human spine is properly positioned we actually use gravity to help support us.

The position that we use when we Sit can often become a part of our practice and arranging ourselves in a particular way at a particular time can be a signal to our body and brain that we are about to meditate. When I Sit at home I sit with my legs crossed in a large cushioned chair. When I Sit in the zendo I sit with my legs crossed on a meditation cushion. This is the Way I have learned over many years. More importantly, to me, is that I do many things when I sit down. I do only one thing when I sit with my legs crossed. I Sit.

Serenity is our zendo and we are located at 13825 W. National Ave. Suite 100,
New Berlin WI 53151. If you are in the Milwaukee area and would like information about our Meditation Groups or are interested in our New Meditator workshops, or would like one-on-one meditation coaching please contact me at jbarrett10@wi.rr.com. We also appreciate constructive comments or subject suggestions for this blog.

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member

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 – Serenity Community Member

Teaching Reiki

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Twice a month I hold Reiki classes. One full day to teach Reiki level one and another to teach Reiki level two. You will always find the scheduled Reiki classes on my calendar. However, I’m also happy to hold classes to accommodate the schedule of anyone who is interested in learning Reiki and receiving their Reiki attunement.

I remember when I was growing up that I thought I was destined to become a nurse. That’s what almost all of the women in my family did, they went into nursing. Seemed like a good idea, but a part of me balked at the idea, all of those bodily fluids I suspect. While I thought I was supposed to go into nursing, another part of me wanted to be a teacher.

Well, that’s simply not the way the cookie crumbled. For one reason and then another, I traveled a different path. It’s been a bit twisted, I even doubled back on more than one occasion and the truth is that I stumbled and even fell more than once. Still, it’s been interesting, fun and mostly fabulous.

Eventually I found that the path brought me to Reiki. Once there, I found myself wanting to experience the blessings that come with Reiki more and more. Marvelous! Of course, this led me to continue practicing and learning until I had become a Reiki master/teacher. Ahhhh, that felt very good. Now I was not only able to share this blessed healing energy with others, but I was able to share the gift of Reiki in still one more fashion. Being a master, teacher I now had the ability to pass along the Reiki attunement which ‘switches on’ one’s ability to channel Reiki.

Again and again, I have heard others refer to me as a healer. Again and again, I remind myself and them (very gently of course) that I am most certainly not a healer. The energy of Reiki is healing and allowing the receiver of the Reiki energy to heal themselves. I am simply the channel, a bit like the faucet in the kitchen. The water does not come from the faucet, but is channeled through the faucet, see my point?

It recently occurred to me that becoming a Reiki master/teacher was what I was intended to do, at least in part. I know that more is coming. I suspect that the part of me that thought I was supposed to become a nurse was the part that knew I would be offered the opportunity to share this healing energy with others at some point in my life. The little girl who wanted to become a teacher is satisfied each and every time I discuss Reiki with others, and most specifically when I teach and attune others to Reiki.

When you take one of my Reiki classes it may be a bit different from what you experience with other teachers. We all have our own style of course, which is why I encourage you to learn with as many as opportunity allows for you. When I teach it’s really not about me lecturing you, it’s much more interactive than you may expect. I’m excited and very interested in your Reiki experiences and I am happy to share mine. We learn from one another in the most wonderful way. Of course, I will teach you what I have learned about the history of Reiki, traditions and the beliefs which hold true for me. Mostly, I will encourage you to trust, allow yourself to be guided by your own intuition, your gut if you will. You already have most of the answers; I will do my best to teach you to learn how to listen to those answers.

You will be encouraged to experience, question, and share. Each of us takes a unique journey; we all have very different experiences with Reiki. If there is anything at all that I hope to teach you when you take a Reiki class with me, it is that once you have been attuned with Reiki, you have it, it can never be taken away and will never dissipate no matter how much or how little you use it. First, last and always, it’s about trust and intention. If you intend that the Reiki be offered with love and for the highest good of the receiver, the Reiki will do all of the rest. You may be a newly attuned Reiki practitioner or someone who has been Reiki for years when you offer Reiki it is all the same.

Teaching Reiki gives me more reason to smile. It’s simply one more wonderful blessing in my already silly happy life and I am grateful to be able to share this with others. Reiki does the teaching; I’m just along for the wonderful ride.

Namaste,
Sandy