Self-Care, Yes, it Matters

If we’ve worked together for anything, you’ve heard me suggest… encourage… alright, I nag about self-care! Because it matters so very much. Self-care is right at the top of the list as far as I’m concerned.

Why? Because if you are not taking good care of you, you cannot possibly take care of anyone or anything else.

What does self-care mean? It means something different to all of us and it’s quite likely that it may mean something different this evening than it does at this moment. Put as simply as possible, it’s giving yourself permission to do what you need most at this moment.

For example, a cup of coffee and a stroll around the yard in the very wee hours of the morning is excellent self-care for me. The coffee feels warm in my hands even while the morning dew refreshes my feet. Taking a peek at plants as they are opening up, some showing off brand new blooms put me in a very excited and at the same time very tranquil frame of mind. It’s good for me.

Later, I pretty much need a walk. On nice days, I may need a couple. Walking, stretching my legs calms me and reminds me that I am strong and capable.

As the day winds down, I almost always feel a strong longing to spend time in the bathtub. It may be 10 minutes or an hour. Here’s the thing, it truly is a very intense feeling, my body and body are telling me to carve out time to spend in the water. I always feel like my very soul craves being near water and whenever possible, in the water.

Other days, self-care means checking off boxes that are on my list. Maybe cutting the grass or cleaning the house. Please, please, please let it be cutting the grass and not cleaning the house! 🙂

It might be realizing that concerns or worry are money related. The act of acknowledging and understanding what is prompting this feeling helps to find a solution. Perhaps cutting an expense or picking up a few extra hours at work. Also, excellent self-care if the feeling within you is good.

The very process of discernment, what is mine and what can/should I delegate? Making those decisions are excellent self-care as this brings around a calm which relieves stress.

It’s absolutely, completely, entirely alright to ask for support! We can’t do everything for everyone all of the time. It’s a gift to others as well as ourselves to ask for and allow support and caring. To share a hug, a meal or a conversation.

Self-care is about treating yourself with at least as much kindness, compassion and courtesy as you would a stranger.

Notice what your body is telling you, is it being nurtured with healthy food in the right proportions? Hear what your heart is saying to you. Are your thoughts and feeling being expressed in safe and healthy ways?

Excellent self-care is not any one thing. It is many small things. It’s making yourself a priority. After all, there’s only one like you. I know this to be true because I heard it from Mr. Rogers.

“Taking care is one way to show your love. Another way is letting people take good care of you when you need it.”
― Fred Rogers

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

Reiki Level One – Class

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

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

Serenity is offering a class for Level One Students

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

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

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

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

I look forward to sharing this Reiki energy with you.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hypnosis – Pregnancy and Childbirth

I remember a couple of hundred years ago, when I was moving through pregnancy; we attended a couple of childbirth classes where they told us to find something to focus on during childbirth. We were told that if we focused on our chosen object that the entire experience would be much easier. I don’t remember being told why it would be easier, or perhaps I just wasn’t listening. That is entirely possible. Oh yeah, I also remember learning that we should not make our partner or spouse our focal point. Good news for John as he figured I focus on him enough while screaming and yelling on a normal basis, not what he wanted during the stress of welcoming our baby.

You are probably aware that pregnancy and childbirth are completely natural occurrences. Yet I distinctly remember the horror stories beginning as soon as I told anyone that I was pregnant. Oh my goodness! I learned that I would be incredibly uncomfortable for the entire time. Morning sickness would be horrible. I was told again and again that by the time that baby put in an appearance I would be incredibly grateful to have this experience over. Really? And then there were the scary stories about childbirth itself. I won’t even go into some of the horrific stories that were shared with me about giving birth. I remember thinking that I just didn’t believe it had to be that way. I hoped to have more than one child and if the entire experience was that horrific, then even child #1 was going to have a lot of making up to mama in the years after birth.

From some of the things I heard and read it sounded as though this process was really the most outlandish, complicated and unreasonably painful idea ever. In fact, I couldn’t believe that the human race had continued if indeed this was the way pregnancy and childbirth were fated to proceed.

The truth is that I had pretty easy pregnancies. I went through childbirth 3 times, each one very different, but each resulting in a strong, healthy baby boy. I felt good during pregnancy. Yes, I experienced morning sickness; in fact, it lasted most of my pregnancy each time. But as silly as this sounds, it really didn’t bother me that much. Other than that, I felt strong and very healthy. Almost like this was a normal, human experience.

The same thing goes for childbirth and recovery. Oh never doubt that I tell my boys precisely how long each delivery took, but it was not nearly as horrible or painful as I had been led to expect, and recovery was a breeze for me.

Pregnancy is a normal, human experience. Your body will change to accommodate the baby, but you don’t need to suffer while these changes occur. Morning sickness is mostly a result of hormonal changes that your body is going through, again for the baby. Well, like all chemical changes that occur in our body, this is controlled by our mind. There’s some really good news here. Hypnosis can help. Hypnosis is a natural, easy way to deal with morning sickness and other discomforts generally associated with pregnancy. Working with a hypnotist is a terrific way to release the feelings of nausea and truly enjoy your pregnancy. After all, this is the time when you are getting excited about welcoming a new little one into your family. Because hypnosis is simply enhanced focus and concentration, it is completely, entirely, absolutely natural.

You experience hypnosis on a regular basis, whether or not you are aware. When you are so engrossed in that new book that you don’t hear anyone in the room until they tap you on the shoulder, you’re experiencing a trance. Now come back down from the ceiling and let’s explore a little bit more.

Anyone can have a good hypnotic experience. And the good news is that the more frequently you deliberately go into trance, the better you are at allowing beneficial changes to occur for you. Be assured that as your hypnotist I cannot make you do anything against your will. You will still be who you are, but hypnosis allows you to the opportunity to make some changes that allow you to live a happier, healthier life. Like moving through or simply not experiencing morning sickness. Now I say that is an easier way to move through pregnancy.

Of course, hypnosis can address other pregnancy-related issues. In fact, you name it and we can talk about it. To your benefit.

Childbirth. Are you ready for it? Let’s face it, no matter how much you are now enjoying this pregnancy, at some point that little one has got to come out. And despite the horror stories that abound, the truth is that childbirth is also a completely natural occurrence. It is entirely possible to have a fairly comfortable delivery. Again, hypnosis is a wonderful alternative to receiving drugs which can have a multitude of side effects. Now let me be clear, I would never say not to listen to your doctor, that would be foolish. What I’m saying is that if you use hypnosis, you may not need any sort of medications for pain relief during delivery. This may also save your spouse or partner from having crushed hand syndrome which my hubby insists was the result of my drug-free deliveries. But I digress…

Now, it’s important that I point out that it’s not reasonable to find yourself in labor and then decide to use hypnosis to get through this process. You really need to begin either before or during pregnancy. This will allow you to physically, mentally and emotionally prepare for the process. Be assured that when you are prepared, you will know just what to do with that focal point and it will come naturally to you. Just like this entire experience.

Hypnosis is simply one more tool that you can use to move through your pregnancy feeling better. It can help alleviate morning sickness, aches, and pains that may occur as your body is stretching to accommodate Little One. Hypnosis can relieve insomnia that often accompanies pregnancy as well as a myriad of other discomforts. Planning for your delivery using hypnosis is a very healthy choice. It is an excellent way to minimize discomfort and distress for Mom and as everybody knows, if Mama is happy, everyone else is happy as well.

Namaste,

Sandy

http://www.sandywalden.com/hypnosis/

 

 

Meditation Musing – Posture

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

Why does it matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member

Meditation Musing – Rhythms

Some form of meditation is practiced by many cultures and different cultures have developed many different ways to help its practitioners archive the desired mental state. A very common form of assistance is one that enhances the mental rhythms of meditation.

While it is unlikely that early Shamans and Holy people knew much about brainwave frequencies and functions, they early on recognized that certain beats and rhythms seemed to affect them profoundly. The easiest method of providing these beats and rhythms was with a drum and indeed, some form of drum or similar percussion instrument is found in most cultures. Meditators today have many options and technologies to help them get to that place we go when we Sit and the process of entrainment is one of them.

Entrainment is the method of using sound frequencies to lead our brain to a particular mental state by providing it with the frequencies that it will give off when in the desired state. As an example, the brains of many meditators begin to generate alpha waves when they reach a deep meditative state. These waves are timed at about 8 to 12 cycles per second. Alpha state entrainment will provide the brain with sounds in the 8-12 cycles per second rate with the goal of leading the brain into that state in which it will begin to generate brainwaves in the same range. When successful, the brain is led into that deep meditative state one is striving for.

The problem is that most brainwave frequencies are below the typical human hearing threshold, particularly of adults whose threshold usually gets higher and higher with age. Getting our brains to hear these rhythms requires more than just beating on a drum.

There is a process in the science of sound that shows us that if we mix two tones together we will produce the two individual tones, the sum of the two tones and the difference between the two tones. For our purposes, if we hear a 200 cycle tone in our left ear and a 210 cycle tone in our right ear, our brain will be able to perceive the 10 cycle difference harmonic and react accordingly. The 200 and 210 cycle tones are very audible to our ears and the 10 cycle tone is in the middle of the alpha band and may lead the brain into a deep meditative state. Since the desired sounds are below our hearing range they are often called sub-audible tones (not to be confused with subliminal messages, which may be covered in a future blog). We could also have two drums, at two different beat rates, providing our ancient Shamans with the same results.

When sleeping, the brain generally settles into delta wave activity which is in the 1 to 4 cycle per second range. By the methods discussed above we can provide the brain with delta waves and often encourage the brain to fall asleep. Theta waves, about 4-8 cycles per second seem to lead to deeper sleep, and when sustained while awake cause a deep meditative state that is often very creative and intuitive.

Many recordings that use entrainment recommend the use of headphones for experiencing the full effect of the technology. It is important to note that if the recording was created specifically for use with headphones listening to it without headphones can be disorienting and perhaps confusing.

I have used many different entrainment recordings but my favorites are generally from Brain Sync (www.brainsync.com), created by Kelly Howell. With a wide variety of titles to choose from and free downloads to try I have always found them to provide good quality recordings that work for me. This Serenity link; http://www.sandywalden.com/recommended.php will lead you to some of those recordings we like the most.

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member

Relax and Recharge Retreat

It’s all about you!

Join us for a weekend dedicated to giving you time to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with your soul.

Your hosts Sandy Walden, Holistic Life Coach and Reiki Master, Teacher along with Melissa Heisler Personal and Business Coach are dedicated to providing you with group activities as well as one on one time.

This retreat is intended to encourage you to put yourself first as you rest, relax and rejuvenate. You may participate in meditation or yoga, create your personal vision board, enjoy a stress-relieving Reiki session, and release old patterns with PSYCH-K, journal, read, take walks or simply nap. All while sharing the company of other strong, nurturing women.

While there are many activities offered there is no fixed schedule as flexibility and serving your needs is top priority. No rules, simply opportunities.

Healthy meals and snacks will be provided.

Gathering time – Friday, October 15 @ 12 noon
Departure time – Sunday, October 17 @ 3pm

Location – Galena, IL
Cost – $300.00

For more information regarding the retreat, please contact Sandy at (414) 378.8764 or Serenity@SandyWalden.com.

Meditation Musings – Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been defined by the psychologist and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmental.  Mindfulness is also a meditation technique in which one allows thoughts, images, feelings, and body sensations to pass through the mind without reacting to or becoming involved with, those things.

If, while meditating, one notices an itch on the end of the nose or in the middle of the back the meditator recognizes the sensation and allows it to pass. Simply, ‚I have an itch‚  No attachment, no internal discussion, just ‚ I have an itch. Most of the time, after acknowledgment, the itch fades away and your mind has already moved on. We use the gentle, persistent returning to the Now to dismiss these sensations from our mind.

If you are a regular meditator and particular thoughts or sensations keep arising during your sitting you will take note of them, return to the moment and ponder them at a later time. Quite often simply becoming aware of the recurring thoughts or images can provide a very clear picture of what’s causing us to lose our center and/or grounding.

Please note the particulars of the definition cited above: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.

We practice mindfulness on purpose. We decide it is a useful aspect of meditation, we become sensitive to it and it becomes part of our life. When we practice mindfulness in the zendo and with our sangha it’s very hard not to take it out into our daily lives.

We practice mindfulness in the present moment, in the Now. The Now is the place most meditation starts but when moved into our daily world mindfulness in the Now provides us with the real context of the events and emotions we experience, not the context we impose upon them.

We practice mindfulness without judgment. We accept what is, simply because it is. As the author R.A. Heinlein once wrote, ‚the observed phenomena requires no explanation, it simply exists‚. Observing without judgment keeps us from jumping to conclusions. How many times have we made hasty assumptions about a situation or person and later discovered that if we had just kept ourselves open and nonjudgmental we would been saved a great deal of embarrassment? This same concept dispels the ‚why me?‚ and it’s not fair‚ kind of thinking. Whatever it is, it just is.

Mindfulness can be used to help us relieve stress and anxiety simply by allowing it to pull us back into the Now. Stopping the whirling thoughts helps us move to a more stable mental place. When our technological world starts to overwhelm us a return to the Now of nature can reset our physical and mental clocks from the frantic pace of today’s techno-environment to the unique tempo nature imposes upon herself. We must never forget that it’s also our natural tempo and anything else is artificial.

Personally, I think I’ll go outside and mindfully feel the breeze on my face, smell the flowers in the garden and enjoy the Now.

Namaste
Jim – Serenity Community Member

Will Reiki Cure Me?

Maybe, maybe not.

I bet you wanted more than that didn’t you? Here’s the full scoop, I simply cannot say and neither can anyone else. When I offer Reiki to someone it’s with the intention that the Reiki do for that person what is for their highest good. I simply cannot predict nor judge what that will look like.

Reiki is by definition life-force energy. Our personal energy becomes disrupted by negativity or imbalance of any sort. Thoughts, emotions, physical distress, all can knock our energy out of balance and may manifest as ailments on any level, physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. When you receive Reiki the energy flows to offer you balance once again. However, how and when you receive that energy is up to you on both a conscious and subconscious level.

When I offer Reiki to a client I ask them to intend that the energy will help them to release the negativity which no longer serves their highest good. It is important however to note that I have no way of knowing what the receiver is ready to release. If we are ready on all levels to heal then the healing may well begin. That healing may begin on a spiritual level and offer physical relief, either partial or complete. The balance that is restored to a client begins the healing on whatever level is for their highest good at that moment.

Healing has many definitions. It may the complete resolution of a problem, or it may be temporary relief of certain symptoms. For instance, I occasionally suffer from shoulder pain. While I may ask for relief from this pain during a Reiki session, until and unless I am ready to release the mental and emotional issues which manifest themselves as that pain, it will recur in time.

Am I asking for temporary relief or long-term healing? Am I willing to make the changes to my life which will bring about healing? These changes may mean respecting and loving myself enough to take excellent self-care. It could be forgiving someone who has hurt me, releasing old grievances, reducing work or family stress, etc.

When my dog Indy had his strokes, I found myself offering him Reiki to heal him on whatever level was appropriate for him. I had no way of knowing if this meant restoration to his former strong, athletic self or minimizing his discomfort and bringing him peace as he passed from this life. All I knew for sure was that the Reiki would calm Indy, and do what was truly best for him.

What all of this means is that I can and will make absolutely no promises about what your Reiki experience will look or feel like. I assure you that Reiki can never do harm, only good. While some clients report dramatic healing experiences that is not the case for everyone. Reiki will offer you restored balance and as we return to the balance which nature intended we are restored to our personal best.

I encourage you to give me a call for your own Reiki session. Then you will have the opportunity to explain to me just how the experienced has offered benefit to you.

Namaste,

Sandy

Reiki for Self-Care

What do you do to take care of yourself? You may exercise, eat right, meditate or a variety of other activities which offers relaxation and the opportunity to ‘unwind’.  May I suggest that you consider adding Reiki to your daily practice?

Reiki, defined as Universal Life Energy, is an excellent addition to your daily routine. When I teach Reiki I always encourage my students to give themselves Reiki every day. Reiki is a gentle, hands-on technique which offers balancing of your life energy. You don’t need any special equipment or tools to do Reiki. Simply your time and intention. It doesn’t get much better than that!

When you give yourself Reiki you learn to become more aware of your own energy, when you are out of balance and the subtle shifts as you come back into balance. Reiki helps you on all levels, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And here’s another wonderful detail, you don’t need to know where the imbalance is or on which level you need to heal. Because Reiki is channeled through you from our Higher Power, it goes where it’s most needed for your highest good.

You may want to spend an hour or more giving yourself Reiki everyday, or you may only spend a few moments with Reiki. What sort of time do you want to give to yourself? It’s all up to you and it’s always going to work for your benefit. Personally, I often give myself Reiki while I relax in the evening, even while I’m watching television or reading a book.

Once you’ve been attuned to Reiki, by taking a Reiki class, you will discover that it’s available to you at any time, simply hold the intention that Reiki flow and the energy flow begins. Ahhh, love that!

As always, I encourage you to take excellent care of yourself. I’d also like to suggest that you consider adding Reiki to your daily routine. It’s a lovely addition and an excellent method of self-care.

Namaste,

Sandy