My Body, My Friend: Finding the Spiritual in my Toes

two friends having teaThis article also appears on the Huffington Post.

“Is it possible to find the spiritual in the body?” a reader of my blog asked in response to a post on body image. My first reaction was, “No way. There’s nothing spiritual about my toes.”

However, I continued to explore this: Could it be that the spiritual is in this body? There were a lot of thoughts in my mind that disagreed with this, e.g.: “The body is of this earth. It’s banal, temporary, and dirty. It’s a vessel for the soul which is all that is spiritual. It serves a purpose and is not spiritual. It gets old, it dies and therefore cannot be spiritual.”

These thoughts went on and on and were reinforced by some things I was reading. For instance, there is a school of thought in the self-help community that “the body keeps score.” This is meant to be helpful in terms of letting people know that, or become aware of, how you live your life and the thoughts that you have are impacting your body and your body can tell you a lot about the life of your mind.

Though when I reflected on this – the body as a referee of my life – it felt incredibly negative and dualistic. My body vs. my mind and my body is the judge and jury and will sentence me to . . . illness and, of course, death at some previously undisclosed point.

So none of this was entirely ringing true: the body as a vessel or the body as a referee. Could I find in my body, even in my toes, the spiritual?

What if my body is spirit in the same way as my soul? Why do I cling to this dualism (tri-ism?) of mind-body-soul?

The truly troubling trend in all these thoughts seemed to be an antagonism toward my body. Then I had a thought: What if I befriended my body? What if, rather than seeing her as a scowling referee, I saw her as a friend (an old friend in my case) who wants to tell me something?

Perhaps she’s that very dear friend who wants to have tea with me and tell me something true. Perhaps she wants to speak to me with deep honesty. It may not be easy to hear. These truths she holds and wants to share with me may be surprising or difficult to accept and, yet, I must hear them.

Maybe she wants to tell me that those work choices that I continue to make, the ones that round my shoulders and hang my head, are not the right ones for me. Maybe this will be difficult to hear, but she is a dear friend who is on my side, who wants to share with me the truth of what is.

Perhaps rather than thinking of her as a means to end, I can see how she makes “it” all possible. She makes this life possible. She makes the joy of being here with others, of being in a conversation and relationship with others, sharing my gifts, writing these words, eating beautiful food, and connecting with nature, she makes it all possible.

I was in a meeting one day at work, and a colleague was speaking with such honesty and kindness and as I listened to him and watched his face move, I thought about how his spirit was being expressed by his body. How the reason he was able to share that truth and beauty was because his body was there and allowing / facilitating the expression of his words and soul.

So I offer to you this approach in this journey to the spiritual in the body: think of your body as a friend. She is here for you and makes this complicated, beautiful life happen. Be kind to her, offer her tea and biscuits, and listen carefully to her wisdom. She has a beautiful story to share with you.

Wishing for you a deep spiritual friendship with every aspect of who you are.

Helping to create wholeness with Reiki

My family received so many wonderful cards this holiday season that I enjoyed reading and re-reading. There was one card, however, that really stood out for me personally. It was from the Wellness House in Hinsdale, Illinois, where I offer Reiki sessions to cancer patients and their families.  Here is the story that was inside the card:

“It was November 22, 2013 when the snowstorm hit . . . CANCER

It stopped me hard and fast along my journey.

I was blinded by the frosty winds of this unprejudiced disease.

But, YOU gave me a compass that guided me to find a new path, albeit untrodden.

The heavy snowy blanket of pain and fright suffocated me.

YOU lifted it; helped me breathe and embraced me with a warm coat lined with comfort and peace.

My boot, no longer fitting me, left me motionless and frozen.

YOU gave me new ones, providing me with strength and purpose once more.

My hands were frostbitten, as the gloves I once wore were now tattered from anxiety and bewilderment.

YOU mended them and with your healing touch, you restored my hands so that I may heal again.


YOU are Wellness House.

But what is Wellness? WEllness is having a healthy life encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

What a perfect name for such a special place; and it is because of this special place that I was able to be truly present with my children and family during this snapshot of my journey. Those of us entering the Wellness House may have had cancer, but it does NOT have us. We enter through these healing doors fragmented and we leave whole once again.”  by Gaile Sabaliauskas

With my offerings of Reiki, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of helping each person who I encounter at the Wellness House feel whole once again.

Wishing you all love, light, peace, and wholeness!

The importance of practice

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” ~Martha Graham

We are accustomed to hearing about the importance of practice in areas of music, dance, and sport.  Practice, though, is vital in all areas of our life.  In many ways the act of daily living involves practice.  We practice how to relate to others — photo(1)family, friends, coworkers.  As parents, we practice how to parent with mindful words and actions.  At our workplace, we practice our craft over and over again through the repetition of the tasks that we complete on a daily or weekly basis.  Even driving or walking is a practice — we do it repeatedly and gain greater skill in it by doing it over and over again. Keep thinking about this — anything we do is a practice and we gain skill through the act.

Reiki is no different than any of these other aspects of your life.  The practice of it intensifies and hones our experience of it.  With practice we gain skill and mastery.  This however is not a physical skill, it’s a spiritual skill. Your skill with Reiki is a skill in a spiritual healing practice.  It is not something that can be measured with a stop watch or a more complicated musical piece being played. Reiki practice leads to mastery. It starts with daily self-Reiki and moves to Reiki for others.  These must be done consistently and frequently.

As Martha Graham stated, “Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.” A musician, dancer, or athlete must practice his or her craft, so too must a Reiki Practitioner practice Reiki because of his or her desire for the highest healing good.


Pamela Miles Mainstreams Reiki

Last week, Jonathan Fields posted a video interview with Pamela Miles as another inspirational installment in his Good Life Project.
Watch the Video Here

Pamela is a dedicated and gifted Reiki Master who believes in the importance of teaching Reiki not just offering Reiki sessions. She carefully describes Reiki as a spiritual healing practice and compares it to meditation. I often describe the body as a healing machine. Pamela says, “Our bodies are remarkable self-cleaning ovens.” So true!

As a Reiki Master of Masters, I was really impressed by her use of mainstream terminology to describe the practice. As you watch the video notice how she never uses the term “attunement” or the term “universal life force energy” and she never describes herself as a “channel”. Also, she positions Reiki as primarily as self-care practice.

I really enjoyed this interview and learned so much that I will integrate into my future class proposals. What stands out for you in this interview? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing you light and peace!