Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Awareness Through Movement

Awareness through movement:

I woke up thinking of a topic that brings up fear, and I tense up. I close my eyes and notice what specifically I am doing, and feel that I am squeezing my thighs while rolling my pelvis backward. I am now curious to see exactly what I'm doing, so I repeat this motion slowly, with attention, squeeze and roll back, then relax, the squeeze and roll again. 

What else participates in the movement? 

I notice that as I roll my pelvis backwards, I press my shoulders forward, as if they meet in front of my body, and I lift my chin up and tense my eyebrows. I repeat the tensing and releasing over and over again, deliberately and very slowly, small movements, and I let a sigh of relief out, a spontaneous tension release.

I take a rest and feel my body. It's easier now to relax the pelvic floor muscles, and there's flow down my legs, with occasional twitching, a pleasant feeling of something bubbling up.

I ask myself, what else? As I resume the movement of tensing, rolling and releasing, I notice how the balls of my eyes participate in the movement, tensing up, focusing in one particular point where I look at the mental image of a disturbing memory. The movement becomes a rocking between the past (past 'tense', hahaha!) and the relaxed present moment, and I continue to sigh and relax into the now, in my my body. 

Being in my own skin has just become a little bit easier. Thinking of the topic of my earlier concern, it seems now manageable.

#awareness #embodiment #awarenessthroughmovement 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Personal Updates

In case you're wondering...

Separated husband is hospitalized for a month now. I'm selling the house, sorting out finances, making runs and calls to hospital, banks, lawyers, doctors, his workplace, cleaning house, packing, sorting, throwing, crossing the town from where I live to the property home and back. Dealing with rules, laws, bureaucracy and plain shitty circumstances that are out of my hands. 

My work projects are waiting till this is all sorted out and cleared. Spending very little time on Facebook: when personal stress is hugely demanding, the world's problems fade away in importance...

When this is all cleared, I'm having a party and you're invited!


That I treat a cruel person with compassion has nothing to do with rewarding or reciprocating his behaviour, but it has to do with who I am and what I cultivate.

I don't follow feelings because there's a mix of them: "You're a hurtful, heartless asshole and I want nothing more to do with you!"; "I am so sad to see you suffer like this, can I make it better for you?"; "You dug yourself into this hole with your crappy lifestyle and attitude, now live with it!", "There have been times when you did kind things for me, and I remember them" and "I can't let you fall through the cracks, no one else is there for you, so I will!"

I follow the compass of my own compassion and try to do that which is kindest, and which I can live with after the deed. No, I am not sure, and I have doubts. I have no map for much of my choosing, checking with my feelings but not relying solely on them, and checking often with the wise and caring people in my life - friends, coaches and therapists.

When I get burned out, which I often do, since I'm still fragile after the years of distress, and while I'm still grieving for Kinook, then I return the focus of my compassion to myself and run to a yoga class (even if in street clothes and without a bra!) or do some other practice (or iPad games, or Netflix Therapy) and then spiral my care outwards again, to include others.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Tensions on the Road to Recovery

The road to recovery from trauma is bumpy when the tail end of long-term adversity hits you. Ideally there would be time out from stresses, two months in a Spa in the Alps or two years in a Buddhist monastery, followed by a steady rebuilding of resources. 

My time, attention and actions are intended to build the future that I like, and demanded by the consequences of past choices. There are tensions between what's urgent and what is important. There is tension between treating someone like the cruel, mean-willing abuser and deceiver that he has been , or like the embodiment of human suffering in need compassion.

My mind can hold opposites, but my actions can only be singular, and I must choose.

How is the future best served?

What is the kindest course of action?

Which course of action is the most fulfilling, in the long run? The most liberating? The most harmonious?

And how can the body know with clarity which choice is which, if I am to follow the pleasure principle, when tension is so intense and acute, that it causes pain?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Types of Healing Modalities

What do you know about healing methods that are not part of medical science?

There's a great deal of confusion about which is what, and all methods that are not Western science are placed in one big box.

You can categorize the disciplines and approaches in several ways. 

Complementary  methods are those that work well alongside drugs, surgery and regular medical interventions. You can seek massage therapy, see the chiropractor and receive Reiki treatments, and still take your antibiotics.

Alternative methods are those based on principles that are at odds with medical science practices, and are used instead, as an alternative: classical homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Natural therapies use nature-sourced remedies. Instead of taking Tylenol for a headache, you take feverfew tincture.

Holistic methods are comprehensive modalities that regard the human or animal as a whole, body and mind not separate but one thing, and consider all the various subjective and objective factors to health. Homeopathy, holistic reflexology (the Grinberg method), TCM and Ayurveda are holistic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Victor's Frozen Shoulder

Sometimes people come to work with me after an accident or injury.  Sometimes what brings them to me is a chronic complaint, and what transpires in a session is an accident or an injury that preceded the appearance of the particular symptom the client complains about.

Such was the case with Victor (not his real name).

Victor was an active man who, like many Canadians, liked to spend his summer weekends at his cottage, puttering about (is this a word?) - doing things, chopping wood, repairing broken bits and parts of the cottage. Victor's frustration was that for the past twenty years he had a frozen shoulder, and he could only lift his right arm up so far, less than shoulder height, so he could not do all the things that he once did and loved doing. He tried every conventional and alternative method for his shoulder, from physiotherapy to chiropractic to acupuncture and nothing helped with his mobility problem.

When he came to me, he had given up hope, and the sole reason he tried my work was because we both belonged to a business by referral organization where members were encouraged to build relationships and get to know each other's businesses. In the group where Victor and I networked, I was known as the Reiki Lady, but the fact is that I rarely work with one specific method in my client sessions, such as Reiki or Reflexology, unless it is specifically required by my client; instead, I listen to the person's story and body and use an integration of methods to accomplish change. 

Using body awareness guidance, I walked Victor through a safe re-visiting of the accident, integrating mental images and sounds with feeling body-felt sensations. Victor was able to recall bits of the event that were previously blacked out.  After that I guided Victor through an imagination exercise of envisioning his life if the accident didn't happen at all. Each session ended with twenty minutes or so of hands-on Reiki focusing on his shoulder and upper back, while Victor was following my hands with his attention and breath. 
And then the "miracle" happened: Victor was able to lift his arm up above shoulder height with ease and comfort, and without pain. He was able to resume his favourite physical activities, and was so glad that his public testimonial in front of our networking group was an enthusiastic: "It fucking works!"

For healing to take place it is necessary that the methods used are comprehensive to integrate biology with psychology. Chiropractors and physiotherapists only address the body, while most psychotherapists only address the thinking, a fragmentation that doesn't solve psycho-somatic problems. Accidents and injuries are remembered by the body, and it is at the intersection of disciplines, in integrative methods, that healing can occur.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reiki Dog

Was it a coincidence that the very same day that I was reading a book chapter about treating dogs with Reiki, was the day when my dog Dubi had indigestion? “If I had Reiki, I could help him!” I thought, and soon after that day, I went to be trained and initiated in the Japanese healing art, and I became a practitioner.
When I read the chapter about Reiki Mastery, I felt my chest open and lift up, as I imagined what it would be like to have this power of touching people and turning them into Reiki healers!

Hands treating dog with Reiki, from the book Bodo J. Baginski and Shalila Sharamon

December 1999: Following a few months of apprenticeship with my teacher Omri Blan, I officially became a Reiki Teaching Master, and went on to teach everyone that I could literally lay my hands on: my dad and my stepmom, my friends, my cousins, my cousin’s wife, my cousin’s wife mother, and of course, my dogs!
By the time I adopted Kinook, my adorable Akita-Chow girl, I was already well established as a Reiki teacher and professional healer, and the first thing I did was to squat near my dog and lay my hands on her. The first thing she did was to say: “No way, woman!” and move three meters away.

Akitas are independent dogs, a bit aloof, like cats, and given my super warm, sensual affectionate way of being, we had a bit of a personality clash – or was it cultural, Japan’s coolness versus the Balcanic / Middle-Eastern fire? If I massaged her, she would stay; if my hands stopped and beamed the heat typical to Reiki hands, she’d move away.

The years have passed, and I managed to attune Kinook to the first two levels of Reiki, using a plush toy for surrogate. I don’t have a way to know what this did for her, because she couldn’t tell me of any sensations that she felt or mental images she saw. I know that distance Reiki attunement works, based on my experience with people. One time I attuned from a distance an anorexic six-year old boy who was on his way out to the hospital: his mom, who was my student, put him in a chair for twenty minutes at our pre-agreed time, while I was in my home, using my teddy bear to represent the child. The boy told his mother of a great heat that he felt during the process; later, at the hospital, his spirits were unusually high, and he ate a great deal of food that he then kept! The doctors released him home.

In the years towards the end of her long life, Kinook had chronic pain, a knee that kept getting in and out of her joint, throwing her structure off balance, as she compensated for that leg; and she had back and hip pain, difficulty sitting down and coming up off the floor. And just like that, one day Kinook accepted my Reiki hands on her; at first her head was up and her ears were perked as if she was listening to the sensations in her body under the warm touch of my hands; then later, towards the end, when she was sixteen, she’d fall asleep under my hands. I did all sorts of things to manage her pain, mostly diet and supplements, but that was not enough. When pain kept her up and panting, I’d put my hands on Kinook’s back, feeling her body’s response to my touch; soon her breathing would slow down, and she’d lie on her side and sleep peacefully.

Reiki was good for her, and when she really needed it, she accepted the treatment. And it was good for me, because nothing is worse than helplessly watching a loved one suffer, feeling unable to help. Instead of helpless I was helpful, and at the wee hours of the night or in weekends, when there was no-one to call for help, Reiki kept saving the day for both of us.

Communication for Healers

I have worked with the healing arts since 1999, since my first Reiki attunement and training. I called myself a healer, facilitator, lightworker, and a variety of other names that tried to describe my work of service for others. I’ve taken dozens of workshops, seminars and programs to boost my professional skills, and at the same time, following my desire to work for myself and not a boss, I took business, marketing and communication training.

I got tired of wasting my talents and skills because of poor business and communication skills, and be left close to poverty with my un-actualized strengths. And I am tired of seeing the same in my fellow healers. This is why I want to share with you here a few points that I am finding valuable and might help you in your work:

  • -        Focus on BENEFITS! The greatest mistake healers make is listing a long list of modalities, titles and levels acquired when promoting their healing work. Nobody cares how many levels of Reiki Grandmaster you’ve accomplished, and they won’t give you their money for it! People have problems and pains, and they will pay for those able to solve them. Stop listing the titles and start listing the benefits!

  • -        CLEAR YOUR LANGUAGE! Honestly, there’s so much confusing gibberish going around that makes no sense to anyone reading it! Speak with purpose: what’s your point? What do you seek to accomplish with your communication? This is particularly meant for your promotional communication. Nobody will pay you money to “experience deeper levels of the self” because they don’t know what the heck that means. “My Reiki often puts to sleep even people who suffer from insomnia” sounds like a CLEAR BENEFIT that some would gladly pay for.

  • -        OBJECTIVE thinking! Healing arts are often sadly discarded as pseudo-science because healers make false validations that lack objective evidence. Healing talent plus poor communication equals zero clients. I’ve lived it and I know it. There are two types of language, POETIC and OBJECTIVE. Not everyone speaks poetry. If you want to be of service to scientific minds, learn to speak the precise, objective language that they speak!

  • -        NICHE! Who are the people that you like to work with? “Everyone and anyone” is vague and not a niche. I’ve done it (my Reiki classes are good for everybody) and it didn’t work. Find a group of people that you relate to easily and enjoy working with them, and talk to them in the language that they understand! For example, one of my niches for coaching are artists. I love working with artists, as I’m a visual artist myself (what, didntcha know?!): artists are sensitive, they share my love for beauty, and they are in the habit of investing time and money for learning, which means they are likely to invest time and money in learning with me! One of my favourite coaching clients is a voice-over artist who has been bidding her services to a higher league of prices since working with me. That’s an example of BENEFIT for my NICHE! So, who are you serving and what do they get out of it?

  • -        LISTEN! Guys, this is a biggie! Most healers go out on the social media to shout out their promotion, and rarely ever they ASK QUESTIONS about their targeted audience. To sell your much needed service, you must learn to put yourself in the shoes of your intended client! What is it like to be them? Where do they hurt? What do they need? HOW TO LISTEN is one of the most valuable skills that I have acquired in the past few years as a healer, therapist and coach, and I wish I could teach this skill to you here in this post, but it’s an embodied skill, something that can only be learned in person because it involves FEELING. I guarantee you two things: that you cannot sell your healing arts sustainably without actively LISTENING TO YOUR CLIENTS; and that listening to your clients will create the TRUST needed so that they hire your services.