Losing Mike – Celebrating Mike

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that it’s often very personal. Today is the most intensely personal blog I’ve ever shared. Still, I feel that I have to share before I can move forward in any meaningful way.

Tuesday, June 2, 1987, was one of the most amazing days of my life. At 6 am we welcomed Mike, our third and youngest son to our family. To say we were complete may be an understatement.

Fast forward, 23 years. At some point on Friday, December 17, 2010, the world stopped spinning, perhaps even wobbled, as Mike took his own life.

A very real part of me was stunned in the days after losing Mike. After all, when someone of great importance to the world dies, we usually see it on the television day in and day out. We hear it on the radio and read it in our newspapers. Headlines like ‘A Nation Mourns’ or ‘The World Says Goodbye’. It was incredibly strange not to see or hear that the lives of every person on the planet had been changed; because I feel sure that it had.

Moving forward is the only option left to any of us who knew and loved Mike. Be assured, to know Mike was to know laughter, enormous hugs, endless debates, and great fun. To have Mike in your life was to know a special sort of love.

We will never know for sure why Mike felt it necessary to end his life. He didn’t leave a note or an explanation of any sort. Family, friends, and acquaintances were all shocked. Mike suffered from Addison’s disease and we have come to believe that it affected him much more than any of us were ever aware. We may be right or it’s entirely possible that we are simply grasping at an answer that allows us to move forward. The simple fact is that we will never know for sure.

I have found that there is no gentle way of telling others that my son has died. Clearly, everyone who knew Mike was affected. The loss is no more or less profound for any of us; it simply is different for each of us. We all knew and loved Mike in different ways. While we grieve and find our own way through the mourning, I find that it’s necessary for me to celebrate every moment of the 23 years that Mike breathed life on this planet.

It’s very meaningful to me that while family and friends stormed the house offering hugs, condolences and of course never-ending food; they also came armed with stories. Mikey-isms for lack of a better term. We have gone through more tissue than I ever imagined possible as we have cried oceans of tears. But in the past 8 weeks, there has also been more laughter shared that I could have imagined possible.  Mike not only was much loved, but it’s also clear that all who knew him felt loved as well.

Memories of being pregnant with Mike have been resurfacing lately. I’m short and he was one big baby! At the end of my pregnancy, many of my maternity clothes didn’t fit, so it was no surprise to welcome this 9-pound wonder into our lives when he finally joined us.  Mike was a content, happy baby and that is pretty much the way he lived his entire life.

Our other sons were 3 1/2 and not quite 2 years old when Mike was born. Mike changed all of our worlds. While most babies wake up crying, by the time he was a few months old we knew Mike was awake because we would hear babbling or even laughing. Are you getting the picture?

As he grew, Mike spent much of his time laughing, chattering or simply expressing joy and contentment in various ways. When the boys were small they spent most of their time together. It seems that our elder sons would frequently ask me to find a way to quiet Mike. He would simply wander around humming or singing under his breath. Happy and content. Needless to say, I never did quiet Mike, it was so much fun to see and hear someone so happy.

As the boys grew, they remained close in many ways although they were and are strongly individual and independent. Mike loved to tease his brothers about being taller than either of them and often stood on his toes, even in cowboy boots to accentuate the height difference. Still, his brothers were always protective of Mike, standing up for him whenever the occasion called for it. Mike simply took it as his due. When either of them would tease him about being the baby and being a bit spoiled, he would grin and say ‘Yep!’. Quite the interesting crowd, my boys.

Mike loved playing music. Learning to play the violin when he was a little boy, he bought himself another violin just a few years ago. He played and collected guitars for a while, beginning with the base guitar. And let me tell you, he was pretty good. We thought he had sold or given away all of his guitars, but learned after he died that he still played with a small group of his friends almost every week. Surprise.

Brewing beer, making wine, pickling eggs and hunting. So many things that Mike liked to do and that he shared with family or friends.

We absolutely know that Mike realized completely how deeply he was loved and valued by all. I also believe that each and every person in Mike’s life knew that Mike loved them as well. He shared those feelings with hugs, grins, and jokes. Laughing easily and frequently. That’s who Mike was, a joyful, loving young man.

Why? Well, it’s my personal belief that we are born to learn and to teach lessons. For our souls to have human experiences. When those lessons or experiences are complete, I believe that is when we leave this life. It may be by way of natural causes, illness, accident or as in Mike’s case, by suicide. It’s entirely possible that my view may change as time passes, but this has always been my belief.

Mike was not a push-over. He stood strong and loud for things he believed in, enjoying the debate and arguing until he was sure you had to have accepted his point of view. Stubborn at times, especially when it came to talking about politics or spirituality. He was also open to hearing your point of view and would then share with great eloquence all of his reasons why you were wrong.

Classic country music was his favorite, pretty unusual for a young man his age. But we shared favorites and some of my favorite memories are recent shows we had seen together. We saw Charlie Daniels and had so much fun going to see one of Mike’s all-time favorites, George Jones. He invited me to go with him because he said no one else he knew would get why he wanted so much to see him perform. It was just flat out fun.

The last week with Mike gave no hints that he planned to go. Leaving for work early each morning and arriving home in the late afternoon. We learned later that he hadn’t gone into work at all that week, but we simply didn’t know. The evenings were spent cooking, eating, laughing and watching television. In short, no indication that anything was amiss. Again, leaving us with questions, but truly with no regrets.

I have realized how incredibly blessed I continue to be. Our daughter in law and sons each continues to be amazing. I know that each is suffering and moving through this grief in their own way as they each knew Mike in their very own special way. Each has memories that are private and some that they share. My husband is remarkable. He frequently talks about the fun he had with Mike, cooking and planning meals. How he used to sit at his computer in the living room around the time Mike was expected home so that he could serve the meal soon after Mike arrived. Hubby loved that and so did Mike.

When I share the news of the loss with others there are so many reactions, none of which are wrong of course. Some people move in for a hug, some recoil as though physically assaulted. It’s not personal at all, it’s simply the way they react and momentarily cope with the shock of losing someone so young and in such an unexpected way.

I refuse to acknowledge or accept any stigma that others may attach to suicide. In the past, I thought that it was an incredibly selfish act. I ask forgiveness of anyone with whom I ever shared that belief. I no longer hold that belief at all. You see, Mike was one of the least selfish people I’ve ever known. He hated to inconvenience anyone, always thanking others for doing anything for him and apologizing if he felt they had to go out of their way for him. In fact, he used to thank me for giving him shots when he was sick.  Not the behavior of a selfish person.

I have come to believe that suicide was simply the illness that ended Mike’s earthly existence. I don’t believe that he wanted to die. It was clear and remains clear to me that Mike truly enjoyed life. Still, there was something that was simply too much for him to bear and so death must have felt like the only alternative. Or, perhaps it was simply his time. I just don’t know and I have come to accept that until I too cross to The Other Side, I will not know.

There’s no blame, no anger, no recriminations. Simply lots of love, feelings of being blessed to have had him for the time that we did and profound sadness that he’s no longer here to share our days.

I’m not at all sure how to wrap up this one. I could go on and on – yes, even more than I have already! I guess I’ll simply offer my gratitude for having this remarkable person in my life for 23 years. I’m grateful to have the love and support of an amazing husband, incredible sons, fabulous daughter-in-law and more terrific family and friends than I can begin to acknowledge here.

I would ask you not to worry about any of us. If you knew Mike, a lovely acknowledgment or tribute to him would be to smile and laugh. Watch a crummy old science-fiction movie and enjoy it. Laugh out loud when you hear a joke and hug someone just because you feel like it. Mike would like that, it would make him smile, and Mike smiling was a very good thing

Namaste,
Sandy

Reduce Stress With Hypnosis

Are you stressed? Perhaps it would make more sense to ask, do you know anyone who isn’t stressed? Sadly, more and more people experience unhealthy stress.

There are excellent options for dealing with everyday stress.  Exercise immediately comes to mind. Meditation and Reiki, of course, are other powerful methods to calm the mind and allow the body to relax at the same time. Both are incredibly effective and as you well know, I’m a huge fan.

Reiki has changed my life and I’m incredibly grateful. Likewise, regular meditation has made some changes that I did not expect, but which I’m very grateful to now be experiencing. However, there are of course other alternatives.

Almost everyone who comes to me to experience hypnosis brings up stress in their lives.  Work stress, stress from school and of course this time of year many people experience incredible stress from dealing with the holidays. Hypnosis can and does help.

While in the hypnotic trance, you sub-conscious and your hypnotist have a little chat. Your conscious mind may be fully aware of the conversation or it may be relaxing to the extent that it has simply handed things over to the subconscious for a while. Be assured, that everything your hypnotist says to you, you will be able to remember if that is what you choose. While experiencing hypnosis, you will not go to sleep. The hypnotic trance is instead a state of heightened focus. So, rather than sleeping you are more aware of what your hypnotist is saying to you than at any time. This intense focus on the hypnotist and the suggestions that you are being given is why hypnosis is so effective.

While experiencing hypnosis your hypnotist will give you suggestions. Rest assured these suggestions will work for you only if they resonate with you. For instance, I am absolutely not interested in becoming a lion-tamer. Nope, not me, not for any reason. In fact, I’m opposed to the entire practice for ethical reasons. Because I am so adamantly opposed, believing that the practice is cruel and unethical, my hypnotist would never be able to successfully give me a suggestion to be a lion-tamer.

However, I am not at all opposed to taking a nice walk with my canine companion, Indy. So, if my hypnotist were to give me a suggestion to take a 30-minute walk with my buddy every day, knowing that that activity is enhancing my physical health and allowing me to release stress at the same time, then by golly, that’s just what I would do.

The suggestions would be more detailed and full than that representation, but it’s important to note how very effective they are. If the person being hypnotized wants the suggestions to be effective. The power, the control is always, always, always with the person being hypnotized, never with the hypnotist.

So, can you reduce your stress with hypnotism? Yes, you can and I highly recommend doing so if you are not having success managing stress on your own. Hypnotism can help you.

This week, I wish you a stress-free seven days of peace, calm and holiday joy. And if you’re feeling stressed, just give me a jingle and we can talk.

Namaste,
Sandy

Energy and the Penny Wall

What you are looking at – if you are looking at the picture here, is a Penny Wall. Well, that’s what I’m calling it anyway.

A few days ago my friend and fellow Serenity Community member, Andrea Lange asked me if I had ever stuck a penny to the wall using only my energy. While I’ve had some interesting experiences in my life I had to admit that up until then I had never thought of sticking pennies to the wall. Have you?

So, I asked her what we were using to adhere these pennies, some shiny, some dull to this wall in the hall between our offices. Her response shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Energy and Intention. Do you dig that or what!?

Okay, I thought I would give it a try. Picking up a penny, I pressed it against the wall as hard as I could. As soon as I removed my finger the apparently un-energized penny fell to the floor with a quiet but very distinct thud. Oh. Maybe there’s more to this than I had considered. Andrea only chuckled a little bit; she’s a very kind and gentle woman. We chatted a bit more. Andrea’s instructions were simple, she asked me to intend that the penny easily sticks to the wall. See, feel and believe that my energy was flowing through me, through the penny and into the wall. Know it would stay there if that was my intention.

On the second try, my penny stuck. I was so excited I’m sure many of you heard me shout and perhaps felt the earth shake a bit as I jumped up and down in absolute glee. To say I was absolutely delighted by the energetic penny would be something of an understatement. Andrea stuck her penny to the wall and we both went home.

The next day our pennies were still stuck to the wall. Oh, this was getting even better! So, as I saw clients during the day, I invited them to stick their pennies to the wall. Following the instructions Andrea had shared I encouraged them to use their energy, their intention to feel, see and know the pennies would adhere, easily and totally effortlessly. I should have been taking pictures of the looks in the eyes as one person after another easily placed their penny on the wall.

All of this has a point you know. It’s a visual example of what we can and do accomplish each and every day with our intentions, using our energy. We move through life, thinking one thing and another. Having expectations that are positive or perhaps less than happy. Each of these thoughts, intentions, worries, fears, and expectations has an effect on our lives. The Penny Wall makes that pretty clear.

I think I’m going to take some fabulous colored pencils into the office and ask clients to sign and date their pennies as they put them on the wall. Just a little reminder that our energy, our thoughts, our intentions create our world.

I’m not speaking specifically about life coaching, Reiki, meditation or any other form of energy work today. In fact, I’m talking about all of these things and more. I encourage you to simply take a moment to think about how you would like your life to unfold today. What would make you happy? Allow your thoughts and feelings to flow easily, what feels good to you? Take one more look at the Penny Wall. When I tried to attach my penny using force it fell to the floor. When I gently held it to the wall and asked for it to stay, it did.

No nagging here. The coach is going for another cup of coffee and an apple. I just wanted to share my energy and intention with you. I intend to have a fabulous day; perhaps I’ll put another penny on the wall. If you would like to add yours, come on by. There is plenty for everyone.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation Musings – Changes

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community Member

 

We Sit.
We Sit because it is what we do.
We Sit without thought of goal or gain.
We Sit.

This is the beginning of my morning meditation and has been for longer than I can remember.

This is the Way I was taught, many years ago. Meditation is something I do because I am a meditator. It requires no other justification. I am a meditator for reasons even I don’t understand. I know only that it is a part of me. It is what I do.

However, while this attitude is wonderful and embraces meditation as a pure practice, the fact of the matter is that my Way is not the only Way and many people would like to have a reason, a goal if you will, for doing something on a daily basis. Even if the reason for Sitting is simply to enrich the spiritual aspect of one’s life, many people feel that if they invest several hours a week in a practice they should get something more out of it.

And, yes, even as I speak the words, I understand that if I have no other purpose my meditation completes me and that is a goal and/or gain.

So, let us move from the ideal to the practical.

True meditation, on a regular basis, often brings insight, patience, and balance to one’s life. Just sitting quietly in the Now can cause one to see and feel things in ways that most non-introspective people don’t understand.

When we have made that connection between our conscious and sub-conscious mind by using meditation there are many places we can go and things we can do with this connection.

After the phrases mentioned above my meditation turns to my affirmations, those things I wish to emphasize in my daily life. Experience has taught me that affirmations should typically be short and positive in their wording:

“I live a life of kindness and compassion.”
“I recognize and accept that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering.”
“I enjoy making healthy choices.”

Affirmations of this nature can remind you of what you want your life to look like and when you start or end your day with these positive statements they often stay with you as you move out of the zendo and into your world.

When someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of reacting with anger and outrage, your remembrance of the fact that you live a life of kindness and compassion is an antidote for the negative emotions you might otherwise feel.

When faced with the unexplained actions of someone close to you, remembering that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering might help you in your search for the true context of the actions that puzzle you.

If, when ordering food in a restaurant, you are reminded that you enjoy making healthy choices, it becomes easy to order a salad rather than a burger. It’s been my experience that if I’m going to argue with myself about such a choice I might just as well make a good choice, and even if I choose the burger I’m doing it mindfully and the next time I will most likely make a good choice simply because I’m aware of what I’m doing and know that making healthy choices is better for me.

And so, after a while, the affirmations become a part of you.

You don’t have to try to live a life of kindness and compassion, it just happens. And when you engage in thoughts or activities that don’t reflect this pattern you recognize it and realize that you are acting in a manner that is not normal for you. This often leads one to contemplate, perhaps in the next meditation session, why you reacted in such a manner and, when coupled with the gentle persistence we use in meditation, could allow you to identify a larger issue or situation that might need to be dealt with.

There are many sources for meditations that use a variety of affirmations. The easiest is your own mind. Decide what your affirmations will be and recite them to yourself on a daily basis during your meditation. If your desired affirmations are common you might be able to find a generic meditation recording that will allow you to absorb them as you listen. If your affirmations are unique to you or your situation you might wish to find someone who can make a recording that is tailored to your specific needs.

When I craft a custom meditation for a client I always start with an interview, either in person, by phone, or via email. Questions are asked in order to understand what the client wishes to accomplish with their meditation. I am also searching for phrases, attitudes or experiences that will help me craft the message in a way that makes the most positive connection possible. I explore when and how the client meditates, including what they are usually doing both before and after Sitting.

Once this interview is completed I create a recording that is specific to the information gathered. A custom meditation typically has three components: the affirmations, background sounds, and brain entrainment beats.

Affirmations have been discussed and often the client provides some or all of the affirmations, they need only be tweaked to place them in a short, positive manner. While affirmations can be made sub-audible, or subliminal, recordings provided by my label, Indigo Sangha, usually have audible vocals

Background sounds, usually nature or environmental sounds, are crafted to help the listener relax and connect with themselves in a comfortable manner.

Brain entrainment beats are designed to help the meditator move into a receptive frame of mind, usually leading them to a mental state that helps make the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind. If one meditates in the morning, after hearing the affirmations, the mind might then be led to an active, engaged state. If meditation is done at night, before bedtime, the mind might be led, instead, to a sleep or pre-sleep state. Entrainment beats can be audible or sub-audible and their construction is determined by information gathered in the initial interview.

It should be noted that this process only suggests to the brain that it go into these states. It is still necessary that one be receptive to the entrainment and a proper time and place should be provided. Entrainment beat recordings should never be listened to while driving a car or operating machinery.

Whether one uses generic or custom meditation recordings the technology should always be seen as an aid to our Way and not a substitute for proper practice or contemplation. Even with the use of this remarkable technology one should still remember that the process of being mindfully in the Now is what separates meditation from all other activities.

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member

Open House – Welcome!

I want to take this moment to invite one and all to our Open House!

Monday, November 15th
3-7pm
13825 West National Avenue
New Berlin, Wi 53151

Your Hosts

Serenity
Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance – WOCA
Café of Life Chiropractic
New Berlin Chamber of Commerce

Also Featured
Mary Kay Cosmetics
Shorewest
ANEW
Insight
Miche Purses
Tupperware

…and more

This will be a great opportunity to sample services, ask questions and learn about wonderful services and products.  Some of the services and products featured will be:

Life CoachingReikiHypnosisAnimal ReikiMeditation
Vitalistic Chiropractic Care – Cosmetics & Skin Care
Spiritual Coaching – Biofeedback – De-toxifying Footbaths …and so much more!

Wrap up your holiday shopping with the purchase of products or gift certificates.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday.

Namaste,
Sandy

Hypnosis – Will It Make You Quack Like A Duck?

I’ve always been fascinated with hypnosis. I suspect too much time watching old B movies when I was a kid gave me some interesting though way off the mark ideas.

As years went by I learned bits here and there about hypnosis. I learned that hypnotherapy was a valuable and very real option to help one improve their life. Everything from weight loss to stress management. But I still had some thoughts and ideas about hypnosis that were very inaccurate. Maybe fun to think about but not even close to reality.

Wanna quack like a duck? That’s the first thing I wanted to ask anyone who questioned me about hypnosis when I began learning about it. Of course, the actual fact is that I can’t make anyone quack like a duck, sing like Sinatra or play football like Favre unless it’s something that they want to do already. Hmmm…perhaps I should make that just a bit clearer. If deep down you are willing and would like to quack like a duck then you will do your best rendition of quacking when asked to do so under hypnosis. Will you sound just like Donald Duck or a mallard? Probably not, but you would quack away to the best of your ability. Again, only if it is something that you choose to do.

That’s a pretty important fact. Here are a few other pertinent and often misunderstood facts about hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

* Anyone with a normal mind can be hypnotized. So much for the theory that ‘my mind is too strong to be hypnotized’. That simply isn’t true. In fact, anyone who is able to follow simple directions and focus their mind for a short period of time is capable of being hypnotized.

* We go easily into hypnosis all the time. Did you ever arrive at a destination while driving and not remember some or all of the route? You were most likely involved in highway hypnosis. You were intently focused and simply chose not to notice outside events. In the event of an emergency, you would have reacted accordingly, someone pulling in front of you or stopping suddenly. It is a light trance.

* You cannot be hypnotized against your will. This one is a very big deal to me. After all, I don’t want anyone putting me into a trance if I choose otherwise. You are fully capable of resisting and simply not going into trance if that is your preference.

* A hypnotist cannot, simply cannot, let me repeat that one more time just for the sake of clarity, can not make you do something that is against your will. For instance, if you do not want to rob a bank, if that is not something that you would choose to do, perhaps you are morally or ethically opposed to this suggestion, then rest assured this is not a suggestion that any hypnotherapist can give you that will work. Just not the way our brains work, hypnosis or not. And may I say I am very grateful for that!

Learning about hypnotism, and working with clients using hypnosis has been wonderful for me and I hope for them as well. Each time I work with a client using hypnotherapy I am amazed one more time at how hypnosis can help us to make our world a happier place.

Being hypnotized feels great. Not much different than the way I feel right now typing this blog. There are several levels of trance, but I want to assure you, that you are always able to come out of hypnosis any time that you choose. You can’t get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis. Another fact that made me very happy. For instance, if you were to be under hypnosis, or in trance and your hypnotherapist walked out of the room and simply didn’t come back, you would have nothing to worry about. You would either gently fall asleep and take a nap or you would easily come out of the trance and be able to simply go about your business.

Needless to say, I will have lots more to say about this topic in the future. I have recently added hypnosis as one of the services available in my business, Serenity. It’s truly my pleasure to use hypnosis as one more valuable tool to work with clients to achieve their very best life.

So, no worries. When we work together with hypnotherapy, you don’t need to be concerned. You will not leave the session quacking like a duck. Unless of course you really want to quack like a duck. Let’s talk.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation Musing – When is Meditation?

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community member

The physical benefits we derive from meditating are very impressive but few of us can spend a significant amount of time at this practice and not have it touch our spiritual nature. Stilling our minds, feeling our heart beat and listening to our breathing directly connects us with that most wonderful and complex creation, the human creature that is us. Moving through our lives with a meditative attitude, developing the equanimity that allows us to observe without becoming attached to, or repelled by, our experiences, allows us to marvel at the complexity and depth of the world around us. For many of us the experience can be a connection to whatever we perceive as the Highest Power of our universe.

It is easiest to envision meditation as someone sitting with their legs crossed on a cushion with their hands arranged mystically saying special words. In actuality, meditation is a state of mind and not a location or activity. When one understands that all meditation starts with being mindfully in the Now, then the obvious corollary is that any activity that involves being in the Now can be meditation.

The parishioner who kneels at the altar and prays the Rosary is meditating if they are mindfully considering their prayers and actions as they do so.

My friend the gardener, who finds her connection, peace, and tranquility in the soil is meditating when she kneels down, focuses her mind and begins to commune with nature as she plants, weeds, cultivates and encourages her flowers to grow.

The runner who submerges herself in the pace, rhythm, and breathing of her exertions, if she is being mindfully in the Now, is meditating.

The cook, who mindfully prepares food for his household is meditating if he is in the Now and paying attention to the moment as he handles his ingredients, considers the tastes and flavors he is combining and creates something more than nutrition by putting a significant portion of himself into his preparations.

By extension, one could argue that the line worker in the factory would be meditating if he is in the Now and being mindful when he attaches the widget to the gizmo as it comes down the production line.

Watching a sunset with the right attitude is definitely meditation.

One of the most traditional Ways makes extensive use of walking meditation. The technique consists of being mindfully aware of yourself and your environment as you perform that most basic of activities, walking.

So, if meditating brings us closer to our Highest Power then it makes sense that carrying our meditative attitude outside the zendo helps us connect our daily world with that Highest Power.

On a recent beautiful fall day here in Wisconsin, I chose to remove myself from the urban area I live in and spend the day in a not too distant forest. After a few hours of walking through the brilliantly colored trees and fields that are autumn here, I felt drawn to sit for a few moments and experience the Now. As I listened to the sounds, smelled the aromas and felt the wind and sun on my face I composed myself, took three slow deep breaths and opened my eyes to look at the forest.

I felt a surge of energy and was filled with a wonderful sense of peace and serenity. I remember thinking to myself “This is my connection to my God and my Universe”. I was Meditating.

Namaste
Jim – Serenity Community Member

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

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

Crossing Guard, Life Coach

The other day I was on my way to work, a short jaunt from Milwaukee to New Berlin. For some reason, I took a slightly different route than was typical for me. I’m so glad that I did.

As I approached the middle school I noticed that the crossing guard that is usually there was in fact not there today. Instead, there was a man I had never seen before. I swear this man simply exuded happiness and joy. It was in his entire being, his simple presence almost shouted in a most cheerful way ‘Happy, Joy, Fun’. Interesting. He wasn’t doing anything all that different than what many crossing guards do; it was the look on his face I think that made the difference.

This gentleman was using both arms to wave to folks driving by. Not in a frenzied, lunatic way that you might imagine as I say he was waving with both arms. Nope, he was simply sending a smile and a greeting to everyone. This man was offering his love to each and every person who happened to be lucky enough to pass him by.

As a life coach, I encourage each person I work with to think thoughts that make them happy, to offer a smile even when they don’t quite feel like it. I ask my life coaching clients to make a deliberate effort to offer peace to the world through their body language, their words, and their energy. This man had all of this down pat and it made my day better to simply see him.

Such a simply wonderful gift. You and I can offer this gift to others as we go through our day as well. It makes a powerful difference to the way I feel if I muster a small smile when I’m feeling glum. I feel just a tad bit better. Hmmm, that’s worth taking a step further. It turns out that offering a smile and a kind word feels even better to me and when I receive a kind word and smile from someone else I remember it for hours and hours. These are such simple, small steps. Practically no effort at all! But it feels so very good.

When I offer a smile and a kind word, I feel better and so does the person I shared with. The life coach in me says that it’s very important to keep this lovely energy going, keep spreading it around. I like to encourage my life coaching clients and even many of my Reiki clients to do a bit of homework. I ask them to make it a point to catch themselves when they want to offer a word that is less than kind when they begin to think a negative thought or get irritated at something that is happening in their world. At that moment, I ask them to make a deliberate offering of peace and love to the situation or people involved. If they can’t quite muster love, I ask them to offer peace and calm. This homework is to continue for a full week.

When we chat about this deliberate offering of peace,  I hear how the clients became more and more aware of their thoughts. As the week went on they more easily noticed their tone of voice, how they held their body and they became very aware of the words they were speaking. This awareness led them to make deliberate choices. They began to ask themselves if offering the words they were going to say would help or hinder the situation and then spoke accordingly. My coaching clients tell me that they find themselves less stressed, feeling better and being more patient with others. Nice, very nice.

All of this is what this wonderful crossing guard does for me each time I see him. He puts me in mind of the cheerful flowers that bloom in my yard. I now find myself deliberately taking that route so that I have the opportunity to share a cheerful smile and a wave in the morning. It feels pretty darned good. This wonderful man is acting as a life coach and I very much appreciate the continuing lesson. Thank you, sir.

Namaste,
Sandy

In Reiki the Only Absolute is No Absolutes

The first time I experienced Reiki it changed my life. Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Well, for me it was just that. I had been experiencing severe shoulder pain for quite some time.

I vividly remember being on that Reiki table and as the hour neared ending I was getting very concerned, actually, I was preparing to be angry. You see, at that time lying still for a period of time usually ended with me being in quite a lot of pain. I had gone through two shoulder surgeries which resulted in my shoulder operating properly but left me with chronic pain. Visits to my doctor had led me to believe that I would simply need to live with this pain, nothing else could be done.

The pain was not all that had led me to seek Reiki. At the time I was experiencing stress from several fronts and really was not being successful in releasing that stress on my own. My son Jeff advised, implored, nagged and generally badgered me to try Reiki as it had helped him with stress. Finally, I caved and went to check this out for myself. And if I admit the truth, I wanted to have a reason to ask Jeff to be quiet.

During our pre-session chat, I asked questions, I wanted to know just what Reiki was going to do for me. The practitioner that I was visiting was very patient. She explained that Reiki is Universal Life Force Energy and that it would assist me to release negativity which no longer served my highest good. She went on to explain that this would assist me to heal on whatever level I was ready. Despite my many questions, or more accurately I might say that despite my badgering her to tell me precisely what to expect, she simply smiled and told me that my experience would be unique for me. She could not and would not tell me absolutely what to expect. Okay, I decided to give it a whirl.

That first experience was unlike anything I had ever encountered. As I relaxed, my mind quieted, bit by bit. I felt myself becoming calmer and I thoroughly enjoyed the downtime. However, as I said above, as the session neared its end I found myself becoming a bit nervous about the pain I knew I would experience when I got off the table. The shoulder pain I continually experienced was worse when I was still for an extended period of time. I fully expected to be in quite a lot of pain when I got up from the table. Imagine my surprise when instead of being in pain, I felt better than I had in quite some time. What happened? What was this Reiki that I could feel so much better? Had Reiki achieved this miracle? Would Reiki accomplish this calming effect each time I went for a session?

So many questions filled my mind and I asked each and every one of them after this first session. What the Reiki Master who was my practitioner told me, quietly and gently was that Reiki had allowed me to calm and relax and I was healing to the extent that I was ready. While I accepted that response, it didn’t feel concrete enough for me. So I persisted. I began reading books, visiting websites and questioning anyone and everyone I knew who either offered Reiki or had gone for sessions.

Eventually, I came to accept what I had been told after my first experience. No matter what the level of the Reiki practitioner, from Reiki level one to Reiki master, the Reiki which flows is offered to the recipient by the practitioner, but the level of healing is up to the recipient. There are absolutely no absolutes when discussing Reiki.

There have been times when I have been profoundly moved while receiving Reiki, tears of emotional release have flowed. Other times I have wanted to giggle I have felt such joy. Deep relaxation is not unusual, nor is it an odd event for my mind to flit from one topic to another. The only constant is that I now know, Reiki is flowing from practitioner to recipient and it is entirely up to the recipient to use in the manner which serves their highest good.

Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Reiki works on all levels, but it’s not for me to say to what degree at any given time. The intelligent energy of Reiki works on the level which we are prepared to accept. I find it exciting and reassuring that I do not know just what will happen. For me the trust is everything.

I know that Reiki only works for the highest good. I know that Reiki works on the level that the recipient is ready to accept. I know that Reiki is complementary with all medical treatments, that it can never do harm. What will that look like to me or to you? I can’t say for sure. That’s why once again I offer when working with Reiki, there are absolutely no absolutes.

I encourage you to experience Reiki for yourself. The experience may simply offer you an opportunity to relax and recharge…or it may change your life.

Namaste,
Sandy