Self-love when feeling disconnected
energy work

How to self-love when feeling disconnected

Autopilot engaged: Feeling disconnected

“But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, 
which is really a story about what it means to be known.”

–Mandy Len Catron

Being human doesn’t always feel natural

It’s hard for some to understand that for many people, being in a body doesn’t feel good. Some people feel the body is a trap, foreign, useless, shameful, or other. Energetically, these people live largely disconnected from their physical form, as if living and directing the vessel of their physical body from the outside. It’s important I clarify I am not a psychologist and this blog is not about people experiencing psychosis. I’m speaking more to the people who feel, that to some degree, they’re living on autopilot. These people can find working excessively comforting (as a distraction from self), and/or may avoid looking at themselves in the mirror. I see many of these kinds of folks in my practice.

The importance of coming home to the body

While it is true, the physical body may have its limitations; it’s also true that it is the vehicle through which we are afforded sense experience. Through the body, we can feel, see, hear, taste, smell and know. So, if we are to find the experience of freedom, intimacy, purpose, respect, and so on – we must, by definition, do it through the body’s processing of those experiences. In other words, how does one know what freedom (or any other experience) is, if not the feeling of freedom? And it’s not just the feeling of freedom, as some sort of objective truth, it is very much a personal experience. How two people define the experience can be very, very different.

Coming home to the body starts with getting to know it

In session, I usually work with clients to identify just one way, to start, that their body either is working towards their goal. For example, if a client is feeling trapped, I might raise the question, “Can you remember a time in which you felt free? How did that feel in the body?” A response might look like spaciousness, calm, or connection. Inevitably, as sensations, these qualities can be brought back and found in the body. The simple act of inquiry can lead to many a surprising and pleasant insight!

To come home to one’s self is to love one’s self, and one’s body as an extension of this self-love

I recently read an article about how to fall in love with anyone by Mandy Len Catron in the NY Times. Catron cites a study conducted 20 years prior by psychologist Arthur Aron in which he successfully got two people to fall in love “in his laboratory” by answering a series of 36 personal questions, followed by a period of eye gazing. Catron goes on to describe her personal experience applying the method. Towards the end of her piece, Catron remarks: “I wondered what would come of our interaction. If nothing else, I thought it would make a good story. But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, which is really a story about what it means to be known.” This, for me, is the heart of coming home to the body; it’s taking the time and interest to get to know it, how it feels, what it wants and needs.

In energy work, we see thoughts and emotions as diffusing down into the physical body, creating states of health or dis-ease. To get to know the body, then, is to get to know the thoughts and emotions it holds. Truth be told, this is often what feels trapping, shameful, broken, etc — our old thoughts and emotions; and, sadly, these are often confused for the physical body itself. One of the greatest lessons we can learn is that our body is never an enemy.

Your Practice

I am sure you guessed it! Take some time to reflect on the following questions, adapted from the study for the self. If you find some of these questions too intense, I encourage you to seek out and/or work with your counselor or psychologist. If you feel like asking these questions has you ready to start changing your thought patterns and/or open up to greater possibilities, consider seeing an energy worker, such as a Reiki practitioner, to help support you in making the vibrational shift.

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Consider five things you consider a positive characteristic of yourself.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


25. Make three true “we” statements that could apply to you and the person physically closest to you in the moment; it does not matter if you personally know them or not. For instance, “We are both in this park feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with the person physically closest to you in this moment, please share what would be important for him or her to know. Again, you do not need to personally know this person to do this exercise.

28. If you were to tell a stranger something you like about yourself, being very honest this time, what might you say that you might not ordinarily say to someone you’ve just met?

29. Recall an embarrassing moment in your life. What did you need at the time?

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. When’s the last time you told someone something that you like about them? What was it that you liked?

32. What, if anything, do you consider too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Consider a personal problem, and whose advice you’d like on how to handle it. What feelings arise for you as you reflect on the problem?

To complete the practice, go to a mirror and look yourself in the eyes for four minutes. What starts to happen after minute two?



affirmations, energy work, Uncategorized

Affirmations: “How a password changed my life” (Article, Medium)

The Power of Affirmations (Positive words collage for optimists (CC))


Say what you mean

Our words carry an intention, a vibration. Our speech and our actions are often preceded by a thought. In this way our thoughts are constantly striking us like tuning forks, causing our bodies to resonate with the sound of their intention. “I love you, no matter what.” Just saying and hearing those words can be transformative as they deliver the message of acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. “You should [fill in the blank].” Immediately, before we even get to the ‘what’ of that sentence, the vibration can come in strong sending the message of rejection, shame and insufficiency. Our choice of words can have a big impact! With this all in mind (no pun intended!) I loved an article I read relatively recently: How a password changed my life.

Change your life

In the article, author Estrella writes about the bane that is constantly changing password requirements. His frustration, I think, is known by all at this point — ‘this site requires 7 letters, this one 8, this one a special character, this one only these special characters, an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a new one every 30 days — that’s different from your last 5.’ The list of requirements go on and on and on! I loved the simplicity of his new approach: Turn this aggravation into an opportunity to change your life. Let your password be your affirmation.

Intention is direction

I tell my Reiki students one of the most important things you can do is be mindful of the path — don’t let fear tactics distract you from your intention to walk the path of love. I tell them it’s like riding a bicycle or driving a car: As soon as you start rubbernecking, you’ve already started to drive off the road. So reminding yourself of what’s true for you, what’s important for you, and/or simply what you wish the world would say to you, this is one of the most important and helpful things you can do for yourself. Author Estrella used his passwords to direct his attention and intention towards forgiveness, quitting smoking, a trip to Thailand, and more. Every time he used the password, he affirmed his intention to do just that:

  • “Forgive@h3r”
  • “Quit@smoking4ever”
  • “Save4trip@thailand”

It’s such a simple technique for such powerful outcome! (If you’re wondering, yes, he successfully did all those things and more!)

Your practice

What’s something you wish the world would say to you more often? Put it in a password and let yourself hear it over and over and over again until it sinks in!

Have a success story you’d like to share? Put it in the comments!

Map of Energy Sources in Energy Work
Definitions, energy work

What is the source of energy in energy work?

If you’ve read my earlier post, you will have learned that energy work (as applies to us) is the manipulation of the human energy field. We can tonify its energy; we can deplete its energy. We can open the flow of its energy, or block its flow of energy. With what does an energy worker do this? That’s what we’re going to look at today!

Sources of energy

When it comes to calling upon the power of something, that power can be all sorts of things. It can be embodied, disembodied, or without body–you name it! Below are some of the most commonly tapped sources of energy (not an exhaustive list by any means):

Map of Energy Sources in Energy Work

Sample sources of energy in energy work practices.

Applying the White Horse Discourse

Around 300 BCE logician Gongsun Long wrote what’s now the well-known piece, the Treatise on the White Horse” (白馬論). It starts, “Can it be that a white horse is not a horse? It can.” It goes to explain that when we refine our awareness to looking through smaller and smaller viewfinders, we can start to lose our perspective on the forest from the trees. Of course a white horse is still a horse; but is not a black or brown one also a horse? Yes, of course. And yet, if I asked you, “Are a black horse and white horse the same?” then you would wholeheartedly attest–no! So, are they the same, or are they not? They’re both.

I think of this piece when I think about energy work, because I think the same could be said for energy. Let’s look at a prism:

Dispersive prism

Are not all colors of the rainbow found in white here? But if I asked you to show me white, and to show me red, you would show me two different colors, right? They’re the same in one regard, but appear differently, and act differently. Prepare yourself….

The web of life

In energy work, we use the energy source that’s most appropriate for the job (within our scope of knowledge and practice, with no doubt)- which may be a refined manifestation of cosmic consciousness. In other words, when I call on that which I perceive as “my higher consciousness,” that energy source may only be, in the prism analogy, a tint of dodger blue, which is a shade of primarily blue-green, which is a shade of blue, which is a color of the rainbow, which is a component of white light, which is a component of light, etc. Recognizing it’s all the fabric of consciousness, however, we realize there can be no energy source from which we draw energy that is not fundamentally an aspect of our own consciousness, as any perceived energy (whether it’s my superconscious or Reiki) can only be a tint of color within the spectrum of cosmic consciousness. Would you confuse a tint of dodger blue with white light? No, never. In this way, while we can acknowledge we are the living, breathing cosmic consciousness, we can’t mistake our level of awareness for that of cosmic consciousness. This is why we have energy work–to simultaneously honor our unique manifestation of consciousness, while continually opening our minds and bodies to greater and greater awareness, ever reminding us of our unity with All That Is.

Your Practice This Week

Reflect on a time you were ‘in the zone.’ Maybe you were singing, dancing, playing sports, public speaking, hiking, writing, etc. Did you have a sense of inhabiting an energy greater than your perceived “usual” self, or that something ‘greater’ was moving through you? What conditions do you think helped that sensation to arise?


For your wellbeing, please do not try doing working with these energies on your own. Always seek out a qualified practitioner; safety is key! 

Definitions, energy work, Uncategorized

What Are Energy Work Practices?

Author and inventor Dr. Lin Yutang wrote in his 1937 bestseller, The Importance of Living, “…[A]ll human happiness is sensuous happiness”(125).  He goes on to explain our capacity for enjoying the “positive joys of life” is inextricably tied to increased sensibility of our senses, and our full use of them.

To illustrate his point, Dr. Lin lists Chin’s Thirty-Three Happy Moments, suggesting that “the truly happy moments of human life [are those] moments in which the spirit is inextricably tied up with the senses”(130). You’re probably not surprised that I agree! (Why else would I start my post with this?)

Energy Work is Mundane Work

People often confuse energy work with something ‘beyond’ the ordinary, human experience. Or people think it’s something to ‘attain,’ or something mystical. Most often people think energy is separate from the body; and therefore consider the physical simply crude, unnecessary material they’re just waiting to shed to get back to the ‘good stuff.’

But, while energy permeates and animates physical matter, the physical experiences Spirit’s sublime nature. The physical interprets energy, and affects the world with energy. That’s potent stuff! Without the ability to sense, energy could not know itself. For this reason, while we are in the world, knowing we are not of it affords us a unique opportunity to care for and appreciate our vessel (the physical body), while experiencing Spirit in action.

Can Energywork Be Bodywork? (And Vice Versa?)

When we talk about types of energy work, some practices might fit under the category of bodywork, while others might be considered emotional release techniques, mental concentration practices, or in some cases spiritual or religious practice. At first glance someone with no background in energy work might think, “Hold on a minute, this can’t be right! Isn’t energy work stuff just ‘woo woo,’ waving hands in the air?” (I’m reminded of Christopher Walken’s trivial psychic skit….) No, it’s not. Remember, I defined energy work as any practice that works with our body’s energy; and if you understand that our spirit is inextricably tied to our body sense-experience, you’ll understand energy work in practice may involve the body, mind, and/or emotions.

A Short List of Energy Work Practices

What Are Some Energy Work Practices

There are countless practices that involve energy work I could name in this post today. Nonetheless, I’d like to introduce you to a short list so you can start to see that you’ve likely already been introduced to energy work, and perhaps have even been practicing it already. What makes the energy work a stronger aspect to physical, emotional or mental practice? Intention.

You’ll notice I slipped intention work and affirmations under perceiving energy. (Pretty much all the things on this mind map can be swapped from one side to the other.) I did this intentionally (ha!) as a reminder that sometimes we can learn things about what we really think or feel deep down when we try on a new, positive affirmation or intention. Resistance can crop up saying, “Yea, right! I don’t deserve that!” etc.

My today’s short list includes:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bowenwork
  • Dream work (including interpretation and lucid dreaming)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • ESP (including clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairgustance, clairsentience, claircognizance, and “medical intuition”)
  • Feng Shui
  • Homeopathy (including flower, gem and environmental essences)
  • Intention work (including affirmations)
  • Journeying (including to the Akashic records, Lower World, Middle World, Upper World)
  • Meditation
  • Pranic healing
  • Psychic awareness (including psychometry)
  • Qigong
  • Reiki
  • Rosen Method
  • Shamanism (including soul retrieval)
  • Yoga

Your practice this week:

Reflect on a time in your life when you felt most alive, connected and ‘in the flow.’ How did you feel in your body? How was the state of your mind; and what were the circumstances under which you had this experience?

Has an energy work practice greatly impacted your life or growth? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

Definitions, energy work

What is Energy Work?

Definition of Energy Work

I was so surprised when after I had been practicing energy work for 10 years, my sister (a medical professional) asked me, “What’s energy work?” I was even more surprised when I looked on Merriam-Webster online and Collins dictionary online to find no entry for the term. Again, there was no entry under the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine or on Encyclopaedia Britannica online. It’s no wonder people don’t know what energy work is, when there’s no readily available reference for the topic! So let me start by saying, if you haven’t heard the term itself, you’re not alone; and it’s quite possible you’re already familiar with energy work, having likely heard of, or experienced, one of its practices (more to come on this subject later!).

In short, energy work (alternatively spelled energywork) is an umbrella term for any practice that works with the body’s energy field.

Sapta Chakra, 1899

The seven-chakra system is just one type of mapping the main energy centers in the HEF, shown here in a yoga manuscript.

“Works” here can refer to anything from seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, draining, replenishing, moving, to an instantaneous knowing. By the “body’s energy field,” I am referring to what is also known as the Human Energy Field (HEF), aura, or subtle bodies, etc. Typically there is a shared understanding among all practices within this category that the HEF both surrounds the physical form and permeates through it. In turn, changes to the physical body can affect the human energy field and vice versa.

Understanding Energy Work

One way to understand energy work is to consider the physical form a piece of electrical hardware with lights. As you send current through the board, the bulbs light up. In other words, when you send sufficient energy through, the hardware works well. Too little current, and the bulb goes dim. Damage a wire, and no matter how much current you send through the wire, the light cuts in and out. Are you starting to get the picture? We need both a well-working physical body and both sufficient and smooth energy flow to function optimally.

But, Is the Human Energy Field Real?

For some, this concept of the human energy field is challenging, because it’s not readily apparent. To sense it takes practice, and a certain willingness to be open to what’s not readily seen or felt by the ordinary senses. I found this image taken by NASA of the Orion constellation that I thought made a good analogy. To the left, this is the image viewed in visible light. To the right, is the same image, but viewed in infrared light. Can you get a sense looking at this image of how much is not readily apparent to us in our lives? Imagine how differently life could look in different light!

Orion const IR visible

More Importantly, Is Energy Work Helpful?

Personally, when I reflect on what I know and what I don’t know, I don’t particularly care to contemplate whether something is “real” or not. I think, “Fundamentally, could I answer that question?” Unequivocally I answer, “No;” I understand my current perception sees only part of the big picture. What I can say for certain is whether I find something helpful or not. I invite you to ask yourself the same question, “How could energy work be helpful for me in learning about myself and how I experience the world?” This is a much more fruitful journey!

Your practice this week: Call up an energy worker in your area or drop them an email; and find out how they’ve found energy work to be helpful for folks. You might be surprised by the answers you get! Want to share your story? Leave a reply in the comments here!