Bidden or Unbidden

 Bidden or unbidden
The day ends
Bidden or unbidden
Breath comes
Bidden or unbidden
Dreams appear
Bidden or unbidden
Fears arrive
Bidden or unbidden
Tears come
Bidden or unbidden
Despair is here
Bidden or unbidden
Grief alights
Bidden or unbidden
It is all here
Bidden or unbidden

April 6, 2020

1000 Hands

Reflecting on Reiki and its physical sensations during this time of isolation. May you all be well. Sending Reiki to you daily.

Raised Hands image

After a Reiki session my client said to me, “How do you do that? It felt like you had a thousand hands. I knew that you had moved and yet it felt like your hands remained where you had been touching me before. How could it be that I felt your hands – like 1000 hands?!”

Many clients have told me the same thing, especially after I move from the ankle hand position, that the sensation of my hands remain long after I’ve moved to the next position. And when I have received a Reiki session, I often have the same experience. I know that the practitioner is no longer standing by feet, for example, however, I feel that they are still there.

What causes this 1000 hands sensation?

We are energetic beings. When we connect to Reiki energy during a session, our energetic bodies continue to draw on the energy of the universe even after the practitioner’s hands have moved on to another part of the body.

I have heard some practitioners explain it differently. They say that there are other beings present in the room who “take over” offering the Reiki as the practitioner moves on to another hand position. Though I don’t fully reject the possibility of that (and I often imagine the loving presence, during a Reiki session, of my teacher, Libby Barnett and the lineage of teachers before her) I think that something else is going on.

I think something unembodied is at play.

It is indeed the invisible energetic force – Reiki — that is being accessed by the recipient and that continues to be drawn upon even after the physical hands of the practitioner are moved.

To explain it through angels or spirit guides continues the belief and perception that hands, or touch, are necessary for the transmission of Reiki energy. Indeed, that is not the case as is evidenced by the effective use of absent or distance Reiki.

So the next time you’re in a Reiki session, [my hope is that this is not too far in the future] sink deeply into the table, feel the support of the earth, connect with universal life force energy, and your soul’s highest intention and perhaps you’ll feel the 1000 hands. If not, know that Reiki is there for you and always presented for your highest healing good.

What’s your experience with the 1000 hands of Reiki? Please share your experience in the comments below.


Please know that I continue to send daily Reiki for healing and peace for you and wider world.

We’re a Touch Starved Culture

stack of hands

During my Reiki 1 class at Kripalu Center, my teacher, Libby Barnett, when asked whether we directly touch the recipients of a Reiki session or hover in their energy field, responded,

“We’re a touch-starved culture. There are benefits from the direct touch in addition to the Reiki.”

She went on to talk about how touch is regulated and minimized in schools, for instance, and how that impacts connection between students and teachers. She discussed how touch relates to emotional intimacy in our families. As a social worker, she knows a lot about this subject and her authority and wisdom became deeply ingrained in me and all of her students that auspicious week in October 2001.

But now, here we are in isolation. I haven’t seen a client in person in 17 days. I shut down my in person practice a week before the shelter in place orders for Illinois in order to practice physical distancing.

I’ll make an assumption here, that you, as someone interested in, or a practitioner of Reiki, dearly miss the hands-on practice of Reiki.

My heart is with you.

My heart grieves with you the loss of touch.

I invite you to put your hands on your heart.

To feel the energy that is in you and all around you.

That is Reiki.

Do this every day, multiple times a day. Notice your breath. Notice the warmth from your hands. Appreciate the physical touch.

You are safe.

You are calm.

You are Reiki.


Please know that my daily distance Reiki is being sent to you and the wider world for healing and peace.

How do you stand so still?

Bamboo Trees, Morikami Gardens
Bamboo Trees, Morikami Gardens

At a Reiki Clinic a few years ago, a recipient sat up from the table and said to myself, and my fellow practitioners, “How do you stand so still?!” We all laughed and I said, “It’s the Reiki.”

And, indeed, it is the Reiki that allows us, as practitioners, to stand so still during a session.

When I learned Reiki levels 1 and 2 in October 2001, at Kripalu in Lenox Massachusetts, standing still was one of the lessons for me.

I remember one of the students in my class advising me about using soft knees and modified yoga poses to assist in stillness.

This was enormously helpful and, even now (18 years later), I share those techniques with my students as we practice offering Reiki to others during a level 1 class. Also, as new students, trying to stay with the same hand position for at least 2 minutes can seem daunting, so having a steady base in ones feet and legs is essential.

However, is there more going on for the practitioner during a Reiki session? Is her stillness more than a mindful practice?

As a practitioner, when offering Reiki, the energy is flowing through you to the recipient. This is universal life force energy. It is universal and infinite. It cannot be depleted. You won’t use it up as it goes to your lovely client.

In this process, you, as the practitioner, enter the state of receiving Reiki and all of its calm-producing benefits.

This calmness helps one stand in stillness. Being in this state also brings focus to the mind and heightened clarity and greater awareness of sensations.

Some people have described offering Reiki as being in a trance-like state.

Trance is defined as a “half-conscious” state and I would say that in my experience, it is that way. When I’m offering Reiki, I often “go someplace else.” I am physically present in the room, aware of my surroundings, of my client and her state, and of the healing that I am facilitating, but I’m also in a completely different state than I am in my day-to-day life.

I am calmer, clearer, with laser focus — and I can stand absolutely still — and when I move from hand position to hand position, I do so smoothly and easily.

So the answer to, “How do you stand so still?” is, “Reiki!” It allows the practitioner to enter a trancelike state that facilitates focus, stillness, and heightened awareness. Ask any Reiki practitioner and they will be able to tell you their story of stillness and peace.

Hope to see you soon at a Reiki clinic, class or session to experience the peaceful trance of Reiki!

Essential Oils

Essential Oils and Diffuser
Nebulizing Diffuser from Organic Aromas

Several years ago, my daughter and I had the pleasure of attending an essential oils class with Lynn Palmgren of Palmgren Acupuncture, in Oak Park, where we sampled different oils and blends and found the right ones for us. It was fun and insightful, but what was truly amazing was that the next morning:

Our house had the lovely aroma of lemon throughout it!

What a treat to wake up to this pure clean scent!

Over the years, I’ve tried different oils and recently received a diffuser and oils from Organic Aromas.*

This diffuser is so lovely and looks beautiful in our home.

But what I really love about it is the intensity of the scent. No water is used with this diffuser and so it is just pure essential oils being sent into the air. We have been using the lemon for a clean and uplifting feeling and the lavender for the end of the day to encourage unwinding. Both diffuse easily and the amount can be controlled with a dial on the diffuser. (We also enjoy the changing colors of the LED light. This can be turned off with just a touch, if you choose.)

Another great aspect of this diffuser is that it’s easy to clean! It just takes minutes to clean and because you’re not using water in the diffuser, so there is no build up of minerals, which makes cleaning even easier. (You can check out this video for specific instructions.)

Aromas are a lovely add on to a Reiki session as well. For my clients without a sensitivity to scent, I have sometimes been adding in a lavender-based blend of oils to the diffuser and running it on a low setting during the session.

A number of my clients have mentioned that the scent helps them to focus their mind on relaxation and stay in the present moment.

I hope you’ll give essential oils a try. They integrate beautifully into your home and healing practice and provide so many benefits.

Wishing you abundant love and light!



*Please note that I received the Organic Aromas diffuser and oils in exchange for reviewing and posting about it. The above statements are true and accurate regarding my experience with their product.


You sought peace and
No more depression.
Spirit said:
Go here
Be free
and we went there
a place
of freedom,
and spirit.
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.

Things that don’t make sense

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!

What’s your Superpower?

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.


Interview with Alison Kelly

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.