You sought peace and
No more depression.
and we went there
A place without our
bodies and our pain.
We went someplace else
and came back
by Janice E. Lodato
Elsewhere is a reflection on a Reiki session where a client sought freedom from depression.
Last year, my word for the year was actually a phrase. It was: “This is the year of doing things that don’t make sense.” This may seem silly or illogical or risky but for me it led me to do a number of things that didn’t make sense, but brought me a lot of joy.
For instance, I attended a Reiki retreat at a time of the year when I had neither the time nor the funds to attend. It was an amazing and transformative experience. I also made some of the closest friends that I’ve had in a long time. These are women who are truly my tribe. I can be 100% authentic with them. Infinite gratitude to Rachel Goldberg for coordinating the retreat and making the financial hurdle an easy one to overcome.
Two other examples from last year were: 1. I ran a 25k trail race. In some ways this made sense. I’m a dedicated runner and logged over 1,000 miles in 2018 – the same as in the previous two years. However, I was woefully undertrained for the hills and trails and risked injury. It didn’t make sense to tackle this, though this accomplishment is one of my proudest of 2018. 2. My family and I adopted a second dog. This did not make sense, however, she has lit up my life and is a joy to be around. At 9 months old, she has a lot to learn, though her exuberance is a breath of fresh air in our house.
So for 2019, when I hear that voice in my head that says, “This does not make sense.” I will continue to pause and note that: this is probably what I should be doing and I need to find a way to make it happen.
I’m also selecting a word of the year for 2019. The word is, RESPECT. I want to be aware of when I am not being respected and when I’m not respecting myself. I want to be aware of respecting others and making sure that aligns with a respectful state for all — keeping respect in balance. For instance, a week ago, someone was asking me to provide some information that I preferred to keep confidential. He insisted and so did I. Later when I reflected on the interaction I saw this as an instance where this person was not respecting my boundaries. In order to uphold my word for the year, I will continue to stand my ground in situations like this and demand respect for what I want and what I need as a strong individual.
Other ways that respect will manifest itself is in realizing some long-term resolutions that I’ve ignored in previous years. For instance, I’ve wanted to write more and start my book project. I will do that in 2019. Also, I want to teach Reiki classes to larger groups of people in order to spread its goodness into this world. I’d also like to enhance my foreign language skills, take on a physical challenge, and travel, travel, travel.
What’s your word or phrase for the year? Please share it in the comments!
Wishing you abundant love and light in 2019 and always!
Awhile ago, I was leading a meditation group. At the beginning of the session, I asked the participants why they wanted to learn to meditate. There were the typical answers of seeking improved concentration, peacefulness, and mindfulness; however, there was one woman who said she wanted to learn to sit still. She described how sitting still is a real challenge for her. Working in finance, she is expected to sit for many hours a day, which is really difficult for her. Her colleagues often comment upon her fidgetiness.
As we got to know each other more, I learned that this bright young woman was a creative powerhouse. She could innovate at home and at work almost constantly and was sought out by all who knew her for her keen problem solving skills. Things did not linger on her to do list as she was on-the-go throughout the day making things happen.
Our sitting sessions were difficult for her and so I modified them to a walking meditation practice that allowed her to meditate in motion. She savored coordinating breath with movement and was able to focus her mind on that singular place of breath and step.
Even with that success, however, she still longed to sit still. She said to me, “Will I be able to do sitting meditation next?” And I replied, “You’re training your mind and will be able to translate that into sitting.” But then I hesitated because I wanted to point something out to her and so I ventured, “What if not sitting still is your superpower?” She looked at me puzzled, and I said, “Think about it for awhile and let me know next week how that might change things for you.”
She returned to our meditation sessions regularly and we continued our discussions on reframing her view of her hyperactivity. She noticed that by not resisting her physical energy but rather by accepting it and harnessing it she had greater peacefulness and mindfulness.
When she felt fidgety at work, she would go for a short walk. She also moved to a standing desk and eventually a treadmill desk. Then she started to explore the possibility of a career as a personal trainer — an area she had always loved. And eventually, she was able to sit for short periods of time during meditation.
This experience made me think:
What if we looked at the things that people sometimes don’t understand about us and harness them as our superpowers? Rather than resisting them, we make them into an asset.
For instance, perhaps people tell you that you’re thin-skinned. Instead of trying to be a tough and callous individual, you accept your sensitivity and use it to relate deeply to others. You create appropriate boundaries to protect yourself and yet are able to guide those in your life with your insightfulness.
What is your superpower? I encourage you to identify it and nurture it. May it grow and help you bring a shining light to this world.
I had the the pleasure of sitting down with Alison and talking about her experiences with Reiki sessions and classes. She shares about how Reiki transformed her grief and how she has a steady client base after taking my level 2 class.
Last week, I was honored with an award from the women’s running group that I’m part of and my immediate reaction was, “I don’t deserve that.”
There is a pattern in my thoughts, and maybe yours too, one that says:
“I don’t deserve to have that chocolate cake because I didn’t run today.”
“I don’t deserve to get that promotion at work because what I do is not technical.”
“I don’t deserve to live in my dream house because I’ve made bad choices in the past.”
“I don’t deserve to have fun and be proud of my running because I’m not fast.”
This all made me realize that I need to eat my humble pie. Not in the usual way that expression is used but rather in a metaphorical way, where my pie is made of an excess of humility to the point of making my world view that of being a person of lesser status.
You see the pattern, the one that says – I’m not enough, I’m not worthy, I’m less than – it gets in the way. It blocks the things I desire from entering my life.
This pattern is one that I’ve been trying to turn on its head by changing my thoughts to:
I deserve that chocolate cake.
I deserve that new blouse.
I deserve the gift from a friend.
I deserve that recognition at work.
How might my life be different if I faced my day by recognizing my innate worth? As Maria Shriver says in her essay, I’ve Learned that I Deserve, “It’s not selfish or arrogant. It’s a way to be kind and loving to yourself.”
If I started there – feeling empowered by all that is good – I might more easily fulfill my needs and those of others.
Will I get everything I want and need? Indeed not. Life will still throw injustices and hard times my way as it does to everyone else, but I’ll face it all – the good and the bad – with the strength and power of my worth – because I deserve to give and receive love and all the gifts of the universe.
I’m so pleased to be featured on the Creative Grief Studio’s blog! There is an interview posted there about my experience in the Creative Grief Studio’s certification program and the opportunity to win a free copy of my e-book. (Entries must be received by May 7, 2018.)
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my students and a fellow Reiki Master, Nancy Paul, of Lyrical Healing. She shares her experiences using Reiki in her body-centered therapy practice and about the ease and effectiveness of Reiki classes!
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my students, Yolanda Anderson, about her Reiki class experiences. She shares how she was drawn to the class and how the five Reiki precepts guide her day-to-day life.
A few months ago, I attended a meeting at the Polsky Center at the University of Chicago. It was a gathering of people from the University and entrepreneurs from the community. We were there to talk about the development of a new center for innovation.
During the lunch break, I spoke with an entrepreneur who runs a business creating healthy skincare products. She told me about her dream of outreach to the community in terms of training local people in the manufacturing of her product.
She also shared her story of how she started her business. Several years ago, when her son was young, he had severe eczema. To address his skin condition, she started experimenting with different lotions and oils and crafting them from scratch at home. At the same time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
These two events led her to make a radical shift in her life. She left her corporate job and created a business around manufacturing and selling the healthy skincare products she had created for her son.
When I expressed my awe about her story, she said, “Oh, it just happened.” As our conversation evolved, I asked her if she was interested in sharing how she made that shift from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur and again, she repeated, “It just happened.”
I left the conversation fully impressed with all that she had accomplished, all that she had planned, and completely amazed by her humility. But it was more than humility, I think. Like many of us, she was not recognizing the amazing things she had accomplished.
She had done so much, achieved and created and succeeded and I was in awe of her. It made me think about how often we focus on what we have not done rather than what we have accomplished. We come to the end of the day and see the list of things undone and focus on those rather than seeing: “Wow, there were so many things that I did today. I did X, Y, Z, . . . And I did them with calmness and compassion and awareness.”
I am much happier with my day when I take note of what I have done and achieved that day, even the little things. Focusing on the good, on what’s done, helps me feel peaceful and whole.
As we launch into this new year and pause to reflect on the one completed, let’s remember all that we have done and all that we continue to do each day – even the little things, even the things that we do with ease. Those things count and deserve celebration because you are enough. You are whole and complete right now, just as you are.