Grief to Healing

Grief is a noun. Sometimes I think about the word grief and I feel almost as though the word describes a thing, a place, a state of being. Grief. I wonder what it would look like if I could visualize it…

You’ve experienced a profound loss. It may be a person, a relationship, a financial situation or a myriad of other experiences. When we experience loss when we are faced with a profound change in our status of being. We may well feel as though we are victims. Fair enough. You are now in Grief. I visualize a sign-post designating this place.

Depending on many factors, we may spend quite a lot of time in that place without much movement at all. This is not unusual and may well be what we need at that time and possibly for a while. That’s alright, it’s where we are when we begin.

At some point, we begin movement. Healing. It can happen incredibly slowly or more quickly than we expect. We process our thoughts and emotions, we make strides along that path, through grief into healing. We are taking action. Up ahead is a new sign-post, it clearly says Survivor.

Grieving is a verb. An action word. Safe, healthy, productive grieving is taking place. So very important! As the pain is released, it makes room for healing to happen.

The Victim is now taking action, walking the path, moving forward to that new situation. The Victim is transformed into a Survivor. When I think of a survivor, I easily call to mind the image of someone who has been through something that has changed life as they knew it. They are changed, forever. The person is now a Survivor.

How would it be to deliberately continue to process thoughts, emotions, all of the aspects of grief? To continue walking that path, through grief into healing? Up ahead there is another sign-post you know.

Keep doing the work! Each step you take toward that new sign-post is an important gift of self-love that you give to yourself. And you deserve it!

Processing the hurt, finding out who you are now. Learning to love yourself in new ways and to integrate your experience. Celebrating all that you treasure from your past, appreciating your now and looking forward with joy to your future. You are evolving with every step, you are growing, you are healing.

You are a Thriver! Of course, I want to share the definition of thriver with you.

To grow vigorously; flourish.
To be successful or make steady progress; prosper.

This is you and me as well. We all begin at that same place, regardless of how we got there. Grief. As we do the work, we walk the path, together. We move at whatever pace is right for each of us. But each of us has within ourselves the ability to be a Thriver.

Namaste,
Sandy

 

 

 

Reiki and Grief

As a Reiki master/teacher, I’ve been very fortunate to work with many during very difficult times in their lives as well as when they are simply looking for a bit of relaxation.

I also have the ability to flow Reiki for my own self-care, to bring balance back to my entire system. Most often this is a gift that I cherish and deeply appreciate, the healing energy of Reiki always feels so very good to me. What I didn’t realize until I was plunged into my deepest grief, was how extraordinarily beneficial I would find receiving Reiki from others.

A week or two after my son died, one of my dearest friends, who is also Reiki, invited me to have a session. Even now, I remember driving there, anticipating the processing of emotion and beginning to feel lighter. That gift was something that I needed far more than I realized and I still appreciate it greatly.

Yes, receiving the healing energy of Reiki helped me to process thoughts and feelings that I was struggling to release. And they most definitely need to be released.

I appreciate that Reiki does not force anything, but rather allows the flow, the movement, the release that’s right for the person receiving. This was incredibly important for me then and continues to be just as important now.

Laying on that table, relaxing. Feeling the hands very lightly touch me and trusting that the Reiki energy was doing just what was right for me. I’m grateful. Grateful to be able to flow the healing energy for myself and those I care about as well as those I work with. I’m grateful for the friend who shared that gift with me as well. Reiki, the energy gift that keeps on flowing.

Namaste,
Sandy

The Contract

The words you are about to read are an excerpt from my book, The Acorn Journal: Messages of Connection from The Other Side.

I’m sharing this because Mike has been on my mind in such wonderful ways recently. You see, his birthday is right around the corner, Sunday, June 2nd. This year, he would have turned 32 years old. I’ve been thinking about all the laughter we shared over those 23 years. The squabbling, debating, playing… all of it. And I have to say, I’m so grateful for all of those years.

Mike loved knock-knock jokes, especially of the pirate variety. So, expect to see more of them on my Facebook page in the upcoming days.

As you read The Contract, I encourage you to think about the people you love, imagine the agreements that you made with them. And I hope that your heart feels both more full and lighter, all at the same time.

The Contract

My son Mike was 23 years old when he died. One day I was thinking about Mike and his short life, how much he was loved and how much he loved all of his family and friends. After much soul searching and contemplation, I made up a scenario in my head. What if…

What if before Mike was born I had the opportunity to read a contract. This contract would explain that on June 2, 1987, at precisely 6 am I would give birth to a 9lb bundle of love. As the contract went on it would explain that this hazel-eyed little boy would announce that he was awake by laughing and giggling in his crib. He would grow into a sweet, bull-headed, smart boy who would drive his elder brothers crazy by always humming or singing. He would not care about playing sports or being cool, he would be passionate about books and music. As he grew he would favor cowboy boots and flannel shirts, of the red and black variety.

As he became a teenager he would deal with Addison’s disease, but in his normal manner, he would seem to take it in stride. An intensely private person he would be very open and opinionated about how others should live their life. He would make strong friendships and he would develop interesting hobbies, brewing beer and wine and cooking, as well as hunting.

The contract would go on to clearly state that while we would be able to love and interact with this amazing person, on December 17, 2010, at some point he would end his short life by shotgun. There would be no negotiating this ending, it would be so. It would be written in the contract.

What if I had the option of signing that contract? Would I opt to learn to love this person with all of my heart if I knew that same heart would break in a million pieces on December 18, 2010, when my doorbell rang and a sheriff told me of my son’s death? Would I sign that contract knowing how profoundly my sweet husband would be affected, that I would watch him age years before my eyes? Would I sign the contract knowing that my two surviving sons would never be the same, that they would have to experience the most severe heartbreak imaginable while still in their 20’s? Would I sign that contract if it meant that we would all have to experience everything that we have in the past year?

Yes! I would, again and again, I would sign that contract! And I believe that my husband, two surviving sons, and my daughter-in-law would put their signatures right alongside mine and Mike’s. Without hesitation.

Knowing and loving my son was worth each and every moment of heartbreak. The blessings, the smiles the laughs, the aggravation, yelling, and squabbling were all blessings. And I would indeed sign that contract.

For the record, it is my belief that my soul did sign an energetic contract saying just what I’ve laid out above. That’s my belief and it may or not be yours. But I find comfort in knowing that even if I had known all those years ago how it would end, I would do it again. It’s so been worth it, at least for me.

And that gives me the strength to go forward for another day.

Namaste,
Sandy

What if…We Really Listened?

Political season is here in the United States. These days it feels particularly vicious. One person calling the other names, each trying to demonize the other. As I’ve watched, read and tried to listen, it seems to me that I’m not having much opportunity to really get to know what these people really believe or intend to bring about if they are elected.

It occurs to me that while this sort of thing is incredibly obvious in the political arena, it happens in our everyday lives as well.

What would it be like to sit down with someone, perhaps a friend or even a complete stranger? And as they share, we really listened? What if we heard the words they were speaking, watched their body language, felt their energy? What if this communication were not about judging what was being shared – but coming to understand the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of the other person?

What if you knew you would not be attacked or belittled for having an opinion that is different from someone else? What if you trusted that the person you were speaking with actually cared about how you feel? What if you knew they were interested in why you think the way you do? What if it mattered just because you matter?

If you knew that someone you were sitting down with was hearing your heart; endeavoring to understand what you are thinking and feeling, would it change your desire and willingness to share?

Would bonds form or be reinforced if we knew that others were listening not with the intention of showing us how foolish or wrong we are, or even to agree that we are rather brilliant? But rather listening to come to know us better. What if we set aside the judgment and instead intended to understand one another? What if we invited empathy into the conversation? What if we discover and relish that this is the basis for true connection.

What if…just for today, we really listened?

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                          Sandy

 

 

 

Expressing Thoughts and Feelings – Not a Competition

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 childhood 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 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

 

You are an Energy Super Hero

I was reminded by a wonderful gentleman the other day of the power we have over one another. Pull out your superhero cape; you’ve got the power too.

 

Did you ever go into a room and know that something very unpleasant was going on, even before anyone said a word? Perhaps the room felt tense or just generally unwelcoming as you entered. You were feeling the energy of at least one person in that room, possibly that of everyone in that room.

Alternately, do you know someone who just makes you feel silly happy to see them? Most of us know at least one person like that; we are truly blessed if we know many. These people share their loving energy as naturally as you and I breathe.

Sounds like superpowers to me. You have this power as well. Experiment a bit if you don’t believe me. Go into a room and smile; deliberately think of sharing loving ‘vibes’. Most likely you will quickly notice that others are smiling back. Probably approaching you, offering hugs or handshakes. You are sharing your loving energy and infecting others with it. Wahoo!!! You are using your superpowers whether you are wearing the cape or not.

You do this innately. But here’s the cool part. Now that you are conscious of this ability, you can be very deliberate about it as well. Naturally, I encourage you to use this power for good, not evil.

Take a moment before you enter a room, answer a phone call or start a conversation. Consciously align your thoughts to the vibes you want to give out. If you want to be cheery, recall a happy thought, notice that feeling, intend to share that energy with those you are about to speak with and put a big smile on your face. It will come through loud and clear. If it’s your intention to spread calm, take a few deep breaths; remember a place or occasion that made you feel calm and content. Hold on to this feeling and intend to share it with others. You’re on!

The gentleman that I spoke about earlier has come to realize this power in a very profound way. I applaud him for recognizing and wanting to share this with others. He now makes a very conscious point of starting conversations with a smile and asking for the other person to share something good that has happened to them today. I love that! He’s automatically releasing any thoughts or feelings of negativity, asking for and giving thoughts of happiness or joy. He’s not only feeding his own sense and feeling of well-being, but he is sharing that same gift with others at the same time. Well done my friend!

This awareness strikes me on all levels, particularly professionally. As a Reiki master, I always encourage my clients to deliberately release any negativity they no longer need and to allow themselves to accept positive energy as they are ready. As a Reiki teacher, I encourage my students to develop awareness of their own energy so that they offer only healthy, positive energy to others as much as possible. Of course, any of my holistic life coaching clients hear the same thing. These energy shifts may be subtle, but they influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Powerful stuff.

I encourage you to consciously put on your cape every day. Take a few moments to think about what you would like to project to others as well as what you hope to receive from your interaction with others. See what happens. Make a few mental notes, and notice that the more deliberate you are about sharing love, compassion and joy the more you receive of the same. I’m willing to bet that you will very soon realize just how much you are able to positively influence the outcome of every situation. Intend to share, focus on those thoughts and feelings, notice the results, offer gratitude and begin the process all over again.

Try this for a day or two, I bet you’ll be hooked. I hope so. Then go on, share the secret with someone else. You’ll be giving them their very own superhero cape.

Namaste,

Sandy

Giving Back

pig roast 047One of the most fulfilling experiences of my life is when I have the opportunity to give back in some fashion. I’m not alone in this feeling.

I’ve noticed lately that more and more my family, friends, clients and fellow entrepreneurs have been talking about giving back and the creative ways they are finding to support causes or charities that they feel strongly about.

I’ve heard on the news again and again that charitable contributions are way down due to economic circumstances. What I’m seeing and experiencing is actually very different. These are some of the things I’ve seen lately.

My brother and sister-in-law make several meatloaves once a month to feed the hungry in their church parish. Steve & Marge, you continue to inspire me.

Kathy Engel of Mary Kay, http://bit.ly/14H2gV is offering 10% of her proceeds to be donated to the charity of the clients choosing. Love that Kathy.

Baker’s Square, http://bit.ly/tLbEx is generously giving 10% of sales between 5-8pm for 4 days in September to WOCA, Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Jeanette organized and ran with the entire project. You rock Jeanette.

My mom continues to babysit for the great-grandchildren now that the grandchildren have grown. She insists that there’s nothing she would prefer to do, I know my niece appreciates it tremendously.

Friend Nancy volunteers once a week at the Willow Creek Ranch in Waterford, WI. Nancy assures me that she gets much more out of this time than she gives. Nancy, you always lead by generous example.

For my part, I am so excited about the opportunity to offer free Reiki today at the WOCA fundraiser, Nancy’s Run, Walk, and Stroll. www.WisconsinOvarianCancer.com. I’m also really pleased to be able to contribute $10. of each Reiki session scheduled in September to this amazing organization. I’m blessed.

My point here is that we all contribute in a way that feels right for us. I’m hearing more and more from friends, family, and clients about the pleasure they get sharing their time and talents with others. Not one of these people feels that it’s an obligation. Each of them feels that it’s a privilege to share.

I believe when we give back we get so much more than we give. It’s that simple and yet that wonderfully profound at the same time. Such a good feeling.

For this week, I hope that you find an opportunity to share a bit of yourself with another. You’ll both benefit and the good that’s generated will continue to be passed along.

Namaste,
Sandy

Reiki Basics

Reiki pronounced RAY-KEY is defined as Universal Life Force Energy. It is a technique that is used for reducing stress, increasing relaxation and assisting the bodies natural ability to heal itself. It is a natural, safe way of spiritual healing and self-improvement that anyone can turn to. It has great benefits and always creates a beneficial effect. Reiki has been known shown to work well in conjunction with other medical techniques when it comes to relieving side effects and promoting recovery. The ability to use this technique is not taught through it is transferred during the study session. It allows the learners to tap into an unlimited supply of energy so as to improve an individuals health which in turn enhances the quality of life.

Reiki was developed early in the last century in Japan by Dr. Usui as a system of healing that he practiced and taught based on his mystical life experience and by making use of his general studies. According to the researchers, Reiki is something that is original and it cannot be compared with other spiritual paths in the world at large.

Reiki is available to each and every individual on earth because its use is not dependent on anyone’s intellectual capacity. This explains why its use has been widely taught to different people of all ages and backgrounds. Reiki is not a religion though it is spiritual in nature. There is no set of beliefs that one must accept or adhere to in order to learn and use Reiki. This is so because Reiki is not dependent at all and it can work for anyone whether you believe or not.

Reiki triggers the bodies natural abilities of healing, improves and helps in maintaining one’s health. Reikis healing is effective and natural therapy that balances energies and brings about well being and health to an individual. This healing is also a system that attains and promotes wholeness of spirit, mind, and body as well. It works together with the higher self of the receiver when it comes to prompting health, emotional and psychic body.

Reiki is unique energy work whereby healing is accomplished through the touch of the hands which allows energy to flow from limitless source to the patient via the practitioner. This kind of healing involves pure energy form and desire of healing. Reiki is believed to aid better sleep, reduce blood pressure and create deep relaxation among others.

Reiki is always beneficial, absolutely never causing harm, only being accepted and used as ones higher self chooses.

I have found that Reiki has has made profound changes in my life, all for the better. This week I encourage and invite you to experience Reiki and all of it’s benefits for yourself.

Namaste,
Sandy

August Reiki Circle

Reiki CirclesGood morning,

Here we are, about to experience our August Reiki Healing Circle tomorrow, Saturday, August 8th. Wow!

When this healing circle began I knew it would be a powerful event, but I did not even begin to imagine just how powerful it would be. I’m so happy to say that this circle is growing, not just in our area, but around our country and around the world.

Just in case you haven’t heard about this before, I’ll recap a bit.

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

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

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

September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12

This wonderful experience has offered me the opportunity the meet other Reiki practitioners worldwide as well as many very special families. Most of all, it has brought to my attention and reminded me in a most gentle and profound way of the families who may benefit from the blessing of Reiki.

When you share this information with others, you are part of this circle and we will send you blessings as well. So, the simple fact that everything we think, say and do not only goes out to others but comes back to us is confirmed once again. Thank you for sending your love to this project and for sharing this information with others. I know that this is event is going to continue to grow and spread, and that we all will benefit greatly from the blessing of Reiki.

Namaste,
Sandy

July Reiki Healing Circle in Milwaukee

Good morning,

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

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

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

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

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

August 8
September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12

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

Namaste,
Sandy