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

Reiki Level One – Class coming up

Are you ready to welcome the gentle vibration of Reiki?

Reiki is energy work which supports relaxation and the release of stress. As stress is released, balance is restored. Ahhhhh, don’t you feel better already?

Completely safe, Reiki supports your best overall health.

This interactive class provides plenty of opportunity to share your thoughts, ask questions and of course, to both give and receive Reiki yourself. It’s a hands-on experience.

Dress casually in comfortable clothes.
You may want to bring paper and pen for notes, though this is not required.
Water and a light snack will be provided

To register, contact Sandy.
Serenity@SandyWalden.com
or follow the link: http://www.sandywalden.com/reiki-classes/

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

Grief – Changed but Still Beautiful

Somehow I doubt that any of us would choose to be walking the path through grief and into healing. Still, life happens. More correctly, I should say that death happens. And there we are, smack dab in the middle of that path. Knowing that no matter how much we might want to, it’s simply impossible to take steps back to the time that the one we love was with us. And so we must move forward.

Today I was looking at one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry. A gift from my son Mike, quite a long time after he moved to The Other Side. It’s a fun story and I’ll be sure to share it with you another time. For now, I ask you to notice the necklace that I’m wearing in the picture. That’s the one! It’s not an expensive piece of jewelry, but because it is something tangible from one of my sons, it’s very precious to me. Each and every time I wear it, I feel as though Mike is smiling.

As I said, today I was looking at the necklace. I noticed that the color was changing and despite my efforts to clean it, there was no discernable improvement. So, off I went to the jewelry in downtown Burlington. The kind man behind the counter took a look at it and then smiled at me. He certainly knew that it wasn’t a piece of ‘fine jewelry’ by most standards but after a few words he realized it was something I prized very highly.

After a few moments of friendly chit-chat, he told the original color and shine simply could not be restored. This was a piece made of copper with a thin coat of plating. That plating was wearing off and could not be replaced. At first, I was disappointed, feeling a sense of loss. But then he said something that was just what I needed to hear. He said that in time, most likely a very short time because I wear this necklace quite a lot, all of the silver colored plating will be gone and it will be beautiful with the copper showing. He called it evolution. I loved that!

As I left the store I thought about how well this symbolizes our journey. The necklace has been something I prized as a tangible connection to my boy. It doesn’t look the same as it did several years ago – but the looks are all that is changed. The necklace is still a connection of love. It always was. It always will be.

And so we continue to take our steps, walking this path. No, it doesn’t look quite the same as it did when I took those first steps. It’s not what I expected so many years ago before I even imagined what grieving or healing might be like. It’s changing, but then again, so am I. It’s okay to notice, acknowledge and even to celebrate those changes because they are healthy and they are mine.

As I write this post, I find that I am really quite pleased with the look of that special necklace now. Like me, it’s lost some of its original shine. It’s now a much more interesting piece, as some color is wearing off and new ones are showing up, I feel as though it is really deep resilience that is showing through. A new sort of beautiful and I am so grateful.

Namaste,
Sandy

The Towel – is it Code?

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

 

 

Memorial Day

I want to take this opportunity to offer my deep and most sincere thanks to all of the Veteran’s who have served our country.

Too often we see this long weekend as simply an opportunity to gather with family and friends and throw a few burgers on the grill. I’m all for the gathering but would like to remember but I hope that we take a few moments out during these gatherings to remember those who put themselves on the line to ensure our freedom.

Thank you for all that you have given up for us. At the very least, you have given your time. You have left your family and friends behind, often you have left your job or education behind. Whether serving in peacetime or war, here at home or behind enemy lines, you have offered to give your all for your country. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice and will never see their loved ones again. A Veteran is a man or woman of honor, each and every one of you is my hero.

Mere words can never express how deep my gratitude goes. So, once again, let me simply say thank you.

With love and sincere gratitude,
Sandy

Thanks Mom!

I’m pretty lucky; I’ve got an amazing mom!

My mom married young and it’s probably a good thing she did. She’s had an awful lot of life to pack into her years of being a mom and she shows no sign of slowing down.

My mom made it very clear when we were growing up that she had very high expectations for all of us. Her expectations didn’t relate to jobs or what she expected us to earn in the way of finances. It had to do with the way we were expected to treat one another and anyone else we happened to come across. Heaven forbid if you were caught bad-mouthing someone or being nasty just because you could. While my mom gave the best hugs in the world, there was no escaping her gaze and tongue when we were out of line. As she always managed to be very eloquent there was never any doubting just what needed to be adjusted in our attitude. And then it was over, never one to hold a grudge, when something was fixed it was over. Whew! I’ve always wondered why more people don’t operate that way.

When I was growing up, my house was where everyone gathered. My parents had finished the basement of the small ranch house we lived in. There was a fireplace, jukebox, and a ping-pong table. All were welcome and my mom made sure you knew it. You were fed if she thought you looked hungry, scolded if you were out of line and hugged…well, just because she thought you should be. I won’t go into the times friends were handed sweatshirts because my slender mom was always cold, if she was cold you needed a sweatshirt. There was no point in trying to escape any of it, my mom would hang out with us and she knew what you needed, regardless of whether you knew it or not.

When I got married and had children of my own, my parents became the chief baby-sitters. My kids loved it! There is nothing they wouldn’t do for my parents. One of my sons is coming to visit next month and he has already made arrangements with my mom for doing a few yard chores. He can’t wait to hang with Grandma!

Now my mom is a great-grandmother. Those lucky little girls are learning all about being chased for a hug, playing in the dirt in the backyard and curling up in Grandma’s lap for a nap. Knowing it’s the safest place in the world to be.

My mom has been a great role-model and I suspect she will continue to be for quite a few years to come. While she retired a few years ago, she shows no sign of slowing down…I think she may have revved it up a bit, she’s on the go all the time, busier than ever.

Thanks, mom for all that you taught me. When I make my own boys crazy I point to you and tell them it’s all because of you, someone has got to take responsibility!

You’re the best and we love you,
Sandy

Why on Christmas?

First of all, if you celebrate Christmas I would like to wish you a most magnificent day! However, for a variety of reasons not everyone does celebrate Christmas, what does that say about them and how are they treated?

I happen to be a Christian so for me Christmas is a no-brainer celebration. After all, as a Christian my faith tells me that this is the day to celebrate the birth of our savior. In honor of that amazing fact, we as Christians gather together to sing praises to our God, we often exchange presents and offer good cheer to those we meet. So far, so good. I have many friends who are not Christian, no problem. I wish them a most blessed day on religious holidays that I know are important to them and they return the heartfelt wish on the days important to me. And then there are my friends who are agnostic or even atheist, no problem. Many of them celebrate the day in a totally secular manner, again that seems to be considered acceptable to most people, Santa Claus visits, egg-nog is enjoyed and the world continues to spin to everyone’s satisfaction.

Enter a young man I’ll call Jeff, okay, he’s my middle son. He was raised Catholic,  however, he has decided that’s simply not his belief system. He doesn’t rain on anyone else’s parade; he doesn’t disparage our celebration he simply doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas himself. It’s interesting what sort of conversations and interesting comments take place when he mentions this fact to others. Apparently, this actually aggravates some people, my question is why? It seems that the common thought is that he is somehow a living, breathing, unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge because he doesn’t buy or expect presents or put up a tree. Huh? While I have no problem with folks celebrating in any way they choose it seems to me that we should be just as tolerant of someone who simply chooses not to celebrate.

I’ve heard some pretty disparaging comments about this and I don’t get it. Jeff frequently asks simple but thought provoking questions, such as why so many people pretend to like one another this time of year, but can’t tolerate one another next week. Why do they spend money buying presents for these people if they don’t truly care for them? Why are people expected to overspend to show they care about one another even if they cannot afford to spend money? Do any of those things have to do with the birth of Christ? From what I understand Jeff considers this sad and more than a bit hypocritical, I tend to agree. So, there are very unkind comments about him being unfriendly, stingy or even uncaring. While I don’t know the situation regarding every person who chooses not to celebrate Christmas I happen to know this is not the fact with this young man.

Jeff is always thoughtful about the feelings of others. If he is in town for Christmas or Easter he even attends mass with his Dad and me, not for himself, but because he knows it makes us feel good. I consider that to be very thoughtful. He’s absolutely not cheap or unwilling to spend on others; he is very generous without any special occasion in mind, because that’s just who Jeff is and the way he likes to treat people. More to the point Jeff and others I know who do not celebrate this particular holiday tend to treat people pretty much the same, day in or day out. Willing to know strangers before they judge them, loyal to friends and pretty firm in their stand regarding those they dislike. Now that seems very fair to me.

It seems that Jeff had a few things to say about this himself, you can read his thoughts if you visit Walden Ponder. http://www.waldenponder.com/2009/12/christmas-comes-every-year

Today, I am celebrating Christmas with the members of our family who are in town. We will eat, open presents and enjoy being together all in the name of celebrating the birth of Christ. I’ve got to say that I appreciate Jeff and others who don’t celebrate for the gentle reminder they offer. I will try to keep his position in mind all year long, hopefully, it will be a good reminder for me to keep in contact with those I care about, offer my love and generosity throughout the year and not only on particular days. I have to believe that is the best way I can honor my own Christian beliefs and respect the beliefs of others at the same time.

For those of you who celebrate, I wish you all the most wonderful blessings of this marvelous day. For those who don’t celebrate, I still wish you all the blessings of this marvelous day. Gosh, that feels good.

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

Thank You Honored Veterans

S3000001I want to say a most sincere and profound Thank You to each and every one of our American veterans.

These incredible men and women put each and every one of us before themselves. They do it because they believe in every cell of their being that it is the right thing to do. And so they serve.

Young and not so young. I have the great privilege of knowing many of these people personally. Many in my family have served in various branches of our military. Some for a few years, others have made this service their career. All have been changed by the experience, each and every one have them have said that it has made them better people. Well, I’m not in a position to judge that, I suspect these folks were always of outstanding character.

Some of the young who are currently serving spent quite a lot of time in my home as they were growing up. It’s always a pleasure to see them when they visit. They are unfailingly modest and grateful. Let me repeat that, they are grateful to our country for the opportunity to serve. Wow, that is amazing. I don’t hear bragging from them, they share stories of the people they have met, the places they have been. There is a quiet pride and dignity in the squaring of their shoulders as they salute, shake hands or hug those who have served before them. These men and women undoubtedly represent the very best of what America has to offer and does offer to the world.

Now I’ve got to be honest, I’m possibly a bit biased. One of my sons, Bill spent six years in the US Air Force. He speaks about his time serving in terms of what he learned, and the incredible bonds he forged with others who served with him. In many ways he is closer to some of those men than most of us will ever be able to imagine. We missed him around here while he was serving far away from home, but always understood that he considered what he was doing to be necessary and valuable. To Billy, I offer not only gratitude and respect of a citizen but also the pride and love of a mom.

Each and every one of these veterans is someone’s son or daughter. Many have husbands or wives, some have children. Each has left home, leaving family and friends to serve our country. Personally, I make no distinction between those who serve at home in the United States and those who have gone to far away places. They wear the uniform with pride and I am proud to salute each and every one of them.

To all of our American veterans, from all era’s, please know that I think of each and every one of you with pride and I offer you my most sincere thanks.

With love and appreciation,                                                                                                                                                        Sandy