What I learned at the Waterpark: Part 2: Play

water park ride playYou might recall that I wrote a couple of years ago about an insight that arose at a visit to a waterpark around the ebb and flow of emotions even positive emotions. As I approached a recent visit to the land of waterslides I was thinking about play, as in my ability to play and have fun for its own sake. I was reading a lot about the importance of play for ones mental health. So I set an intention for the weekend, “I will play.” (I also planned on observing and evaluating it – but hey, that’s fun for me too.)

Some of the play felt very planned and regulated. In order to do all the fun things we wanted to do in less than two days we had to keep an eye on the clock and move from one thing to another to make sure we got to play the high-tech (though very physical) scavenger hunt, to spend 45 minutes at the arcade, to go to storytime in the evening, to refuel, and (oh yeah!) to enjoy the waterpark. So I would say that the play often felt very regimented and task-oriented. It was enjoyable but didn’t feel like pure play.

There was one afternoon, however, that felt like play. We had a large chunk of time and no activity we had to get to – maybe just a snack later in the afternoon and a shower before dinner. So time was not an issue. We could just experience what we experienced. We could linger over the activities we enjoyed the most. Lots of time in the wave pool – with no purpose, no focus, no reason — then extra times down our favorite slides and multiple times on the lazy river. At least an hour passed, probably more, when I didn’t look at the clock and didn’t care what time it was. I was immersed in the activity and playing – just playing. It was very refreshing.

So, I would say that this is an important component to integrating play back into our adult lives. We need open pockets of time where that is all we’re doing. When it’s play for play’s sake – no clock watching, no other immediate obligations.

If you’re like me, on your average weekend day, that’s difficult to achieve. There are so many obligations that there are only little pockets of playing that are squeezed in while looking at the clock wondering where I need to be next and when I need to switch gears to the next activity.

As I’ve been attempting to do for over a year now, I continue to block a day or half a day per weekend for fun. How is it working? It’s definitely a learning process. I will keep trying.

As an adult, how do you integrate play into your life? Please let us know in the comments below. I look forward to reading your insights!

Your One-on-One Meditation Session

meditationImagine you’re at home, seated on your sofa or your favorite chair. The house is quiet and you’re feeling really pleased with yourself for taking this time in your day for meditation. You close your eyes, focus your mind, try to find your breath, and then . . . nothing, or a lot of something. A lot of noticing that pain in your knee and the crookedness of your back. Or you can’t stop trying to solve that nagging problem with your computer. Your mind keeps asking, “Why won’t it print?!” Then you remember, “Oh, I’m supposed to be meditating. How am I supposed to do this?”

If this is your meditation practice, a one-on-one session is exactly what you’re looking for. When I work one-on-one with clients we explore what has been working and not working with their practice. Also, we uncover what they hope to achieve by meditating.

There are three main components to the first meditation session:

  1. Reviewing past experiences and the intentions around a meditation practice for you as an individual. This will vary greatly from person to person.
  2. Demonstrating and planning for your at-home practice. We review various sitting positions — their pluses and minuses and explore how to carve out those precious minutes in your day to practice.
  3. We meditate together. Honestly, there is nothing better when it comes to meditating than meditating with at least one other person. Meditating with others makes the practice much easier and often more profound. In a session, I use a guided format that aligns with your intentions and sets you up for ongoing success in your meditation practice.

Subsequent meditation sessions provide a check-in on your progress. I serve as an accountability buddy. What better way to succeed than knowing you have someone to report back to on your journey? Each session, also includes a guided meditation because with each practice we learn more about how to meditate and the workings of our inner selves.

My clients report greater mental clarity and deeper relaxation by cultivating a daily meditation practice. With on-going one-on-one sessions, they have a way to check-in on their practice and achieve a state of deep relaxation. One of my clients has reported that as her practice has grown, she has been able to be calmer in her interactions with her family and more mindful before she speaks. She says that being calm and mindful has deepened her relationship with her children!

Contact me today to schedule your one-on-one meditation session and find out what meditation can do for your life!

Reiki and Insomnia

Sleeping Girl, insomniaSometimes I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and can’t fall back to sleep. Does this type of insomnia ever happen to you? Is it a crisis for you? Do you lie in bed waiting for the alarm to go off or the sun to come up? Are your first thoughts? “I’m awake already??!! This is going to ruin my day.”

For me, that early wake up can be a gift. Sure, I’m short on sleep for the day and may need to turn in early that evening. And I may be fighting sleep at 4 in the afternoon. The gift, however, is that I get to lie in bed and practice self-Reiki for an hour. This dark, quiet time is an incredible gift. While the house is quiet and my family sleeps, I can do a full hour of self-Reiki – enjoying this self-care practice without being late for work or any other obligation.

Now you may say, “But the Reiki did not cure your insomnia.” That’s true, it did not. I was fully awake and allowed myself to remain awake – I didn’t fight it, I just engaged in a quiet activity that I enjoy. Then you may ask, “But I have chronic insomnia. Will Reiki help with that?” Yes, let’s explore that.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog you know that Reiki is not a cure-all. However, it is a powerful healing modality and one that can have a positive impact on insomnia. It does so in two ways:

  1. Reiki brings on the relaxation response.
  2. Reiki quiets the mind, which brings about greater awareness and mindfulness, which in turn allows one insight into the underlying issues that may be keeping one awake.

The number one outcome of receiving a Reiki session is relaxation. When we’re relaxed, we sleep better, our bodies heal better, we think more clearly, and we relate to each other more genuinely. My clients who have had insomnia report deep relaxation during their Reiki session and sometimes a deep sleep during the session as well. One client, named Ruth, called me the day after her first session and reported sleeping straight through for 7 hours. She continued to come in for weekly sessions for four weeks and she reported that insomnia became an infrequent occurrence.

The awareness brought about by a Reiki session can also help with insomnia. Another client, named, Abby, was suffering from insomnia that left her with 2-3 hours of sleep per night. She would fall asleep immediately at night and then wake up after a few hours, unable to go back to sleep. After her first Reiki session, she reported feeling very relaxed and refreshed.

When she came back for her second session she said she realized several things about her routine and bedroom that were keeping her awake. She had made some changes including limiting caffeine in the afternoon and (she said this was most important) turning her bed so she no longer faced a window that had a bright street lamp outside of it. She said she also placed a darker curtain over the window. So in this way Reiki helped Abby to mindfully address her insomnia.

How has Reiki helped you with sleep and insomnia?* Please share your comments below.

~Wishing you a deep, restful sleep.


*Please note: Reiki is not a cure-all. There are many factors that contribute to a good night’s sleep. What one ate during the day, the level of physical fatigue (has the body been exercised during the day?), have there been relaxation experiences during the day (we can’t expect to know how to relax by practicing once per day while in bed hoping to go to sleep!), and a calm mind that has at least some peace about how things are. There are many more, including medications and physical conditions that interrupt sleep. Please remember that Reiki is just one factor in your self-care toolkit. Though I find it to be a very powerful one, you’ll need to find the one(s) that work for you.  Wishing you abundant good health.

Working with Grief through Reiki and Connection

Recently a client who was filled with grief said to me, while she was lying on the Reiki table, “You know I really don’t believe in this.” I reassured her that it is not necessary to believe in Reiki for it to work. I then asked her what she had heard about Reiki. She said, “That it is relaxing.” Then we had our ground for agreement: Reiki is relaxing.  I went on to say, “When we are relaxed:

  • we heal more quickly
  • think more clearly
  • act more mindfully
  • and we’re more creative.”

She nodded her head in agreement and said, “I think stress is worse for your health than eating junk food.”

This type of conversation reminds me of this quote from my Creative Grief Coaching Certification program:

Learning process of grief

When we trust and believe we are more resilient, resourceful, and creative. Furthermore, trusting and believing open us to the possibility of connecting with others.  Through connection we turn our backs on shame, which is an emotion often tied with the grieving process and can cause us to be stuck in our grief.

In the Creative Grief Coaching program we have been exploring shame. It is the topic of Brene Brown’s book, “I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t),” which is filled with heart-opening stories from her extensive research on shame. The stories are often very easy to relate to and heart breaking, at times, too. As we connect with each other we find that, “It isn’t just me. Other women experience the same challenges with their bodies, relationships, and money.” Through this connection we can overcome fear, blame, and shame and work creatively in our grief process.

Reiki is a wonderful tool for our lives as we work with grief and seek ways to relax and connect.  With it we can find the way to open our hearts and connect with ourselves, others, and the universe. We can heal faster, think more clearly and creatively, and act more mindfully.

Reiki for Athletes at Northwood University

Northwood Basketball teamOn October 25th, I had the honor of presenting a workshop on Reiki to the men’s basketball team at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was a great opportunity to discuss the practical application of Reiki for athletes. The focus of my presentation was on how Reiki helps with relaxation and focus. In order to face a competitive event, athletes seek relaxation and require intense focus to create an atmosphere for optimal performance.

In addition to relaxation and focus, we talked about how when you are trained in Reiki and you’re in a situation where, for example, a referee makes a bad call during a game, Reiki can help. Imagine you’re on the bench and feeling angry about the call. Doing self-Reiki can bring about calm and allow you to refocus on your goals for the game.

Another example, was how Reiki can be combined with visualization to improve an athletic skill. I talked about how I use it for my erratic tennis serve. With visualization, I use Reiki to imagine a well-timed, accurate serve, and a ball toss that is in the ideal spot. All this brings about focus and a state of calm where my body and mind work in sync for the ideal outcome.

Each player who wanted to, received a sample of Reiki on his shoulders for about 5 minutes or less.  Here’s some of their feedback: one player said, “I still feel your hands on my shoulders and that was 15 minutes ago.”  A couple of them said, “I feel a pleasant tingling sensation on my shoulders.”  Some of the coaches received a sample treatment as well.

Reiki helps to facilitate mental clarity and focus. It is also an excellent way to facilitate the body’s healing process. There were a number of athletes at the workshop working with physical injuries. I explained that Reiki goes where it is needed but, during sample treatments, also placed hands on knees and the top of the head for two athletes who preferred that to address their acute injuries.

Reiki is an excellent tool for athletes to facilitate relaxation and focus. If you’re an athlete, please share your experience with Reiki in the comments below!


(I extend my gratitude to all those who coordinated the Reiki workshop  on 10/25/14 at Northwood University, Florida.)



Request Reiki

The nexRaised Hands for Reiki imaget time you, or a family member, receive(s) a treatment or procedure at a hospital, ask for Reiki. According to some estimates, over 20% of hospitals in the U.S. offer Reiki to patients and family members. When you request this light touch therapy from Japan you are sending a positive signal to the hospital staff that this is a beneficial therapy that should be included in their services.

In previous posts, I’ve listed and discussed some of the hospitals that currently offer Reiki, for example, MD Anderson, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the University of Maryland’s Medical Center. At Hartford Hospital, the Reiki program is in its 16th year!

If your hospital doesn’t offer Reiki or your doctor or the staff resist your request, you can simply state, “Reiki helps me to relax.” or “Reiki helps me to sleep better.” One doesn’t need to get deeply involved in discussions or debates around how human beings heal or which is better conventional medicine or alternative. Remember, you’re talking with human beings who are attempting to heal you, respect them, their practice, and yourself. You can do all of this by acknowledging what they have to offer and simply asking for a little help relaxing by receiving Reiki.

If no Reiki volunteer or staff is available, you can request to bring in a practitioner from outside. Because Reiki is non-invasive and complementary, a well-trained practitioner will be able to place his/her hands on you without getting in the way of any wires or tubes that are part of the hospital setting. Also, most nurses prefer a relaxed patient, so it becomes a win-win situation for all!

So next time you need it, just raise your hand and ask for Reiki!

How does Reiki work?

There is a certain amount of mystery around how Reiki works.  As Reiki Practitioners and Masters, we believe in universal life-force energy — the energy that is in us and all around us.  The energy that is universal and infinite. We believe that this energy is channeled through us and offered from our hands to another being who takes that energy and uses it for his/her highest healing good on a physical/mental/emotional or spiritual level.  However, for many people, that might be too much to wrap their minds around.  It may be too abstract and esoteric.  We can still have a discussion about Reiki and still reach area of agreement about how Reiki works.

Here are some possible areas of common ground:

  1. Reiki brings on the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, it enters a place where healing can occur.  When the mind relaxes, it sees possibilities and ways of being that it can’t see when it is experiencing stress.  Relaxation heals.  Reiki heals.
  2. Touch heals.  Just the act of being touched in a kind and selfless way is healing.  At the very least, Reiki works through the power of touch.
  3. Reiki is a placebo.  It brings on the placebo effect in the same way that many medications do. We believe that it is going to work and therefore it does.  (See, for instance, the work of Ted J. Kaptchuk.)
  4. Through the experience of Reiki, one “knows” how it works. To know Reiki, is to have experienced it.  It is difficult to explain at times, however, the experience of it is unmistakable.

How do you think Reiki works?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Wishing you abundant health!

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Reiki Clients Report Decreased Stress, Pain, Anxiety; Elevated Mood and More Relaxed

Yes!  Reiki works!

The Wellness House in Hinsdale Illinois has been surveying program participants about how they feel before and after healing sessions.  (Healing sessions include Reiki, Massage, Healing Touch and CranioSacral therapy.)  The overall demographic of the participants was: 85%+ Female and 91%+ Cancer Patients in active treatment.  The participants reported the following results after their healing session:

  • Stress: decreased by 60%
  • Pain: decreased by 55%
  • Anxiety: decreased by 72%
  • Mood: improved by 45%
  • Relaxation: increased by 60%

For 40% of the participants this was their first healing session at the Wellness House.

What is your experience after a Reiki session?  Is your mood elevated?  Are you more relaxed and less anxious?  If you’re a Reiki practitioner is the experience different for you after self-Reiki than when Reiki is offered to you by others?  Please share your Reiki experiences in the comments!

Wishing you abundant love and light!

Janice Lodato, MA, RMT

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My Reiki Journey

My Reiki journey began in 2001.  I was filled with stress from my work and was seeking relaxation.  I had tried a number of modalities, but was still seeking the “right” solution.  Then I saw an ad for Elaine Floriolli’s Reiki practice in Wilmington, Delaware.  In her ad she used a series of hand images that aligned in pairs in a vertical direction.  For some reason I was drawn to this ad and to Reiki.

I went to my first Reiki appointment with no knowledge of the practice or what was involved.  Trusting my intuition (for a change) I went to Elaine.  She explained Reiki to me and I eagerly hopped on the massage table ready for my session.  It was delightful and very relaxing.

Now, to be honest, here’s the part that my left brain has trouble admitting to, and I apologize to all my left-brained friends who may read this, but this is what I experienced.  During the session, I kept seeing, in my mind’s eye, angels, who were children, flying up in front of me.  Circling around me as I laid on the table.  Playfully dancing around me, flying and delighting.  I felt as if I was floating above the table.

After the session, I recounted my experience to Elaine and she smiled knowingly.  I did feel very relaxed.

The next time I went to Elaine’s for an appointment, I was exiting the highway when a hawk swooped across the windshield in the same manner the angels had.  It was unharmed and I was drawn deeper into my Reiki journey.

Wishing you light and peace.

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