It's Like I Had No Choice

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(if you came from Facebook and read the first part of this story, jump down to Let’s backtrack to 2017)

I’ve never been married, had a child, or experienced many milestone birthdays, but my excitement for tomorrow could only be explained on the level of one of those days some look forward to their whole lives. Tomorrow is April 14th. It marks the start of my journey into becoming attuned: my initiation into the realm of channeling Reiki healing.

Reiki Healing is the sacred process of channeling the Universal Life Force to heal another. The words REI + KI are Japanese, think: QI or CHI in Traditional Chinese Medicine or Prana in the Yogic tradition.

Its so powerful and works on the subtler levels of the body that touch is not necessary, rather healers can work on the energetic body which is larger & surrounds our outer physical shell. It will not be me doing the healing, but opening myself to receive healing from the Goddess; to become a channel for the healing to pass through me to another. If the receiver is open to the practice (although they do not necessarily have to believe in it) it will work. The biggest relief? I as a guide/channeler cannot do it wrong. What a relief to hear that!

And so tomorrow marks the start of the next phases of my journey inward and my journey outward*.

Not only will I be able to provide more service to my community through Reiki healing, but I will follow a path my grandmother was on and perhaps pick up where she left off. I am frequently shown signs that I am making the right choices, with a growing interest in the energetic, psychic, & intuitive arts . From the people I surround myself with to the discoveries I make in my own meditation practice - I know I am protected, safe & supported. A soft, loving voice saying ‘I See You. Keep Going. Don’t Stop.’

And so I’d like to share with you a short little story, as to how this all came to be. How this opportunity to be welcomed into this sacred realm of healing was so organic, it was like I Had No Choice.

Lets backtrack to 2017. It was a normal day unlike no other, checking my emails when a sub request came in. Teacher seeking 5:45am coverage the next day. Immediately my first answer was a big fat HELL NO. It’s not that I didn’t want to teach, but I was afraid. Reflecting on how I once overslept to teach an early morning class, the thought of causing such a big disservice to my community created lots of apprehensions.

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And yet, something was pulling me to try again. You may not know what these forces are that call you to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, but SOMETHING in me wanted to teach this class.

Class was awesome, saw wonderful students and a beloved fellow leader, John DeGood, who I don’t get to see quite often. After class he strongly and lovingly suggested that I attend another local teacher’s class (Leticia) who taught at a neighboring studio. He shared how our teaching styles were similar and perhaps I’d find a new connection with her. I was excited at this prospect, and so as soon as he left I looked up her schedule.

This teacher’s schedule overlapped with mine and so I never got to take her class, but lo and behold the studio had an 8am class which was perfect to get a practice in before I taught again at 12. Leaving with a sense of accomplishment for not only getting up on time, but also finding a prospect of a new connection in my life, I drove to Yoga House & Wellness Center excited for class.

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This class was also awesome and the teacher by chance was someone I knew, Angelique, who was also subbing that day. I took the class in their main building at Royal Fitness, a gym in Barrington. I was all buzzed up from the morning’s events and so I decided on a whim to sign up for a gym membership. I’ve never liked gyms, never cared for weights, but I thought what the hell! This day has been so random, why not join the gym.

When I applied for my gym membership, the woman registering me was kind and we chatted for a bit. She asked what I did for work, to which I replied ‘I’m a Yoga Teacher!’. Her face lit up - they had an opening for a job at the yoga studio next door. One week later, I’m hired. Two weeks later, I meet Zoe who was running (and still runs) the studio.

Zoe and I began a working relationship, her being one of my managers at the time. She heard I was leading Yoga Nidra around our community and suggested we team up and add Reiki into the mix. I was open to the idea, but really had no inclination of what Reiki healing was, how you did it or how it would work in the Yoga Nidra practice.

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In our second event together, there was a moment. She and I locked eyes and there was an unspoken ‘Wow.’ The vibrations in the room were so strong, she didn’t have to hover closely to people’s bodies. The energy was so palpable that I felt it without really knowing what she was channeling. That day marked the start of our committed partnership: to spread this practice to as many people as we could because this combo was fucking magic.

Fast forward half a year later and she and I began planning our first retreat - my first retreat not associated with a yoga studio. There were nerves, thoughts like ‘am I worthy?’ & ‘will anyone show up?’ . But those little inner knowers, soft & distant whispers, they calmed me and told me: KEEP GOING.

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And so we listened. And our retreat sold out. More Yoga Nidra & Reiki Healings sold out. And we planned another retreat. And we planned more workshops. And tomorrow she is attuning me. I am her first student she will attune and she is gifting me this initiation of no charge. I share this detail to emphasize how wildly connected Zoe is. She was first attuned over 20 years ago, but held her teachings close to her heart until she knew she was ready. Well, now is her time and I am blessed to be her first student. She sees me and sees that I am ready, and we will enter into the next phase of our spiritual partnership.

I know in my heart that she is the reason why I subbed that random class, went to that random yoga studio, signed up for that random gym membership, landed that random yoga job, met this random woman who became my manager and realized fairly quickly that none of these things were random, but PERFECTLY in time.

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All the puzzle pieces continue align and I see this path so clearly that these are synchronicities rather than coincidences.

My most recent reminder came last week. As I was watching TV, a strong pull moved me from my seat and into my office, to a book. A book of my grandmothers which my mom had given me after cleaning out our garage. I don’t know what told me to pull out the book and hold it, but I did. It was a black book, no cover, but on the binding it read The Complete Illustrated Book of The Psychic Sciences by Walter & Litzda Gibson, originally published in 1966.

I held this book in my arms, literally clutching it and hugging it. I felt weak, collapsed on the floor and started to sob. I felt a soft message come through. She said ‘I’m so happy you found it.’ I knew this message came from my grandmother who passed last summer, hence the overwhelming amount of emotion. She was with me in that moment and I know she is so proud of me.

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I spoke to my mom the next day to share with her this story, both of us sobbing. Through tears, she laugh-cried and shared how important that book was to her and it is no coincidence it was in my hands this week. What a special moment!

Just as I had to get up and grab that book.

Just as I had to teach that 5:45am class.

Just as Zoe and I had to lead our retreat.

We joke that it is as if we had no choice.

Now of course this is a cosmic joke, because we believe in our hearts that we chose this path.

I am remembering where I have been.

Here I am - picking up where I left off.

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My intention of sharing this post is to not only voice my story, but to encourage you to listen to those little whispers. Psychic messages are not loud. They are usually not always clear. You need to open yourself up to receive them & trust when you are being pulled to someone, something or somewhere. You never know where it will lead you.

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I’d like to dedicate this post to all of the great healers & guides who have passed through my soul’s life. I feel blessed & grateful to know each of you & thank you for your teachings.

*May you rest in Peace Mike Fabi & may your 🌀 Journey Outward 🌀 continue beyond this physical lifetime.

What the Hell is Presence?

I’m sitting here on my cushion, eyes closed, reflecting on how the hell I’m supposed to ‘be present.’ C’mon man! Be in the Now. Be With. You got this.

I’ll start by closing my eyes and look at my third eye. That’s what all the yogis talk about…I think…?

Ouch. That gives me a headache. How do people do this?

OK - that’s too much…how about I relax my eyes.

Wait…now I forget how to relax my eyes.

Let me just open my eyes. That works, too.

Go away Saturn…I love you but your cute cat self is too….

…..distracting. Back to eyes closed.

How long has it been? It has to be 5 minutes by now…

I think I want Kombucha…

Continue mental rant ….

Sound familiar? If you have meditated even once you know the feeling - flittering in your mind like a pinball in a machine from thoughts to thinking in an instant. Am I doing this right?! What am I supposed to be doing? Is it even working?!

It’s easy to get all defeated, make excuses for how you ‘can’t meditate’ or ‘sit still’, but lets be real...ANYTHING can be done with proper tools. The best part about life is that ANYTHING can be learned and we’re blessed with living in the Information Age - yes YouTube!

Having access to a wealth of information at your fingertips is great and awesome, but what matters is your COMMITMENT to using it. If you’re willing to give up the lies that you ‘can’t’, here is a crash course with three points in PRESENCE - one of the greatest outcomes to a meditation practice.

First - Presence is different than ‘The Present’

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The present is a moment in linear time - like Past, Present, and Future. The truth is you are ALWAYS in the present moment.

You can’t ever transport yourself back to the past, or hyper-blast yourself to the future. You are always in the present. But here is the caveat: you can be in the present and thinking about what that rude person said to you at Wegman’s 3 weeks ago and what you wished you replied back with; you can be in the present and be thinking about how awesome your life will be once you overhaul that annoying facet of your life you can’t wait to change. You can be in the present thinking that you’ll be happy when…..

You can be in the present moment, while simultaneously being no where at all! So what does all this talk about ‘being in the present’ mean anyway and how does it actually help you?

Well, if you move on from the fact that you are always in the present, the next step is tapping into something different: presence - or what I call an embodied state of being within the present moment. Presence is to be in your body, experiencing life viscerally - with feelings and sensations!

Acknowledging that there are spontaneous thoughts arising and dissolving.

A tool is discernment: recognizing when you have thoughts versus when you are caught up in thinking and making the choice to turn. Discernment is a spiritual gift and it looks and feels different than judgement. Its about getting real with yourself (from love) and acknowledging something like when you drift away, which happens!

One of the greatest harms you can do in your meditation is get angry with yourself for thinking. Start to get comfortable with the fact that the brain thinks - and that is OK!

Second - Thoughts and thinking are two different things

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Thoughts are spontaneous and arise and dissolve. They most likely do not follow a linear story line and are random pop-ups of reflections, reminders, and memories among many other categories. Sometimes a thought will pop into my head and I’m not gonna lie - I wonder, where the hell did that come from? 😹

I hear so many students say they can’t meditate because their brains are too busy and they can’t quiet the thoughts. This is so sad to hear because our goal of meditation is not to stop the thoughts! That is a big undertaking that realistically will only result in feelings of failure.

I’m not sure where these misconceptions came from, but I want you to know that finding presence is possible no matter what you think the inner workings of your brain are like.

So if thoughts are spontaneous and do not follow linear lines, thinking is that inner dialogue, the stories we continuously create around what we believe we’re experiencing.

For example, a thought may arise that you need to move the laundry to the dryer before work. This thought could arise and dissolve. Often what happens though is this thought becomes entangled with other related thoughts, and we transition into thinking.

Remembering that you need to move the laundry over turns into thinking about the detergent costs and how you may want to switch to a cheaper brand and how that STUPID lady at Wegman’s just really got you pissed when you were there to buy detergent and ugh…why didn’t I reply with this clever remark. And bam - you’re in the rabbit hole.

Now the rabbit hole is not bad. It’s not wrong. It’s not a place you need to feel guilt about entering into! Shit happens, the brain is just doing its job, go easy on ‘em! But you DO need to discern when thoughts turn into thinking and come back to your anchor: the thing that brings you back into presence.

This takes practice (which is why I’m grateful I have many lives to give it a go) and it leads me to my next point:

Have an anchor to return to

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An anchor is a tool you actively use to return to embodied presence within your body. If you’re caught up in the world of thinking you need to return to something.

When thoughts morph into thinking and become distracting (which they often do) return to something else your body can sense like your breath or even better - your actual physical body!

Meditation studies have shown that focusing on the body is much more effective than focusing on your breath for newer students. Breath practices are very subtle and harder to ‘feel’ whereas the physical body is much more tangible.

Your anchor could be body awareness like a self-guided body scan, a guided meditation where you follow the audio, pranayama or a breath control practice, star gazing or looking out of a window, or closing your eyes and watching the colors, patterns and shapes shift and morph.

Whatever you choose, you return to that place time and time again. Even if you need to return 10,000 times in 5 minutes, the practice is working, because you are practicing! Don’t give up!

My intention is to provide tools for anyone who is interested to enjoy the gift of meditation with some ease. For more on this I’ll write a blog post soon about my morning ritual.

If you’d like to join for in-class instruction, come out for my Meditation Foundations workshop on Tuesday January 29th at 5:45pm @ SHINE Power Yoga Maple Shade.