Comparing Reiki to Psychic Reading
Reiki, Self-Care

How Reiki for Situations Can Be More Helpful Than a Psychic Reading

Comparing Reiki to Psychic ReadingPhoto: Dawid Zawiła

The Benefits of a Psychic Reading

Getting a helpful psychic reading can feel reassuring, easing, or empowering. There is nothing better than hearing you’re on the right track, or that things will be smooth-going ahead. Certainly learning of potential pitfalls can be empowering as it enables you to plan ahead and make appropriate adjustments and preparations.

The Limitations of a Typical Reading

What we see is only as clear as the lens through which we see it. That can mean two things when it comes to your typical psychic reading: (1) The clarity of the reader; and (2) The clarity of the intention for the reading.

Clarity of the Reader

If you’ve noticed, we are a product of our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical habits. How we do or don’t cultivate our habits impacts the way we meet and see life. You might think of this place of meeting life as a vibrational resonance. Some people talk about “lower vibrational” and “higher vibrational” resonance.  You can think of lower vibrational resonance as the ‘frequency’ of fear, survival, and the power-over paradigm. Higher vibrational resonance largely speaks to the attunement to love, abundance, and the power-with paradigm. Each person has a kind of natural frequency within this spectrum based on their conditioning, self-awareness, and self-cultivation habits. For this reason, clarity of the reader will always be a factor in any industry or practice– doesn’t matter if we’re talking psychic reading, Reiki treatment, or car repair.

Clarity of Intention

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”32″]What if there were another possibility better suited to your desires that you weren’t even aware of to ask about?[/perfectpullquote]

This is where I really see the difference between a typical psychic reading and treating a situation with Reiki. As a psychic reader, an individual is coming to the situation from the place of their limited consciousness, Ego. If a psychic reading were like opening a box to see inside the future, here we’re talking about going in for a reading and asking the person we’re entrusting to give us that reading to open the box and tell us what they see inside. But… what if there were more than one box?

Often, a psychic reader will open the box containing the ‘most-probable’ outcome based on current conditions and factors. But what if it were more helpful to open a box that contained a less-likely outcome, but an outcome that better suited your personal hopes/dreams? What if it showed you a possibility that exceeded your expectations or hopes, that you hadn’t even considered inquiring about? This is the power of Reiki.

Go Beyond the Ego

When we channel Reiki, we take up the egoless lens of Universal Light-and-Love. We channel Reiki for the highest and greatest good of all, in support of the individual’s personal intention for treatment. This means, in effect, that Reiki then sorts through the boxes of possibility and probability to open the most relevant one. And even better, it sorts through the contents of that box to highlight the most helpful insights relevant to the intention for treatment. In effect, Reiki is your best Executive-Assistant-meets-Triage-Nurse.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”32″]Reiki is your best Executive Assistant meets Triage Nurse[/perfectpullquote]

Take Response-Ability

The beautiful thing about treating situations with Reiki is the realization that we don’t have to change the situation to change how we feel about it. We can positively impact a situation by starting with making internal changes, and/or taking personal action.

Reiki can be so helpful for learning our place of response-ability in a situation, in highlighting the most benevolent outcome for all. It won’t do the work for you; and it won’t deny anyone the right to their own free will or choice. For this reason, it’s one of my favorite Reiki techniques to use for treating anything as big as “my life” to as specific as a “the current forest fires in the Pacific NW,” to “my upcoming job interview,” etc.

Want to Try It?

Book a treatment! Even better, learn how to do it yourself. In my experience, Reiki is a tool that never wears out, and never stops being helpful!

Peacock Animal Totem
Energy Work, Reiki

Animal Spirit Guides: How and Why to Work with an Animal Ally

“All things on Earth Mother and all things in the Universe are capable of being Spirit Guides. Why? Because the Spirit of the Creator is in all things.” Source: Manataka American Indian Council

Peacock Animal Totem
What’s an Animal Ally?

What a great question! Some would say that an animal spirit guide is the same as a power animal or animal totem. They’re not. If you’re not Native, the terms and ideas of “power animals,” “animal totems” and “spirit animals” do not apply. For us, we can think of it like inspiration – the mirror of qualities within us ready to be birthed, or released– an invitation to expand our understanding of ourselves and the great unknown. It may be interesting to learn the Manataka differentiate between animal allies, naming those that come into our life as a:

  • Messenger guide
  • Shadow animal guide
  • Journey animal guide
  • Life animal guide

Depending on how long an animal ally’s support is needed and in what way — through mirror or contrast — an animal inspiration may be considered to be any one of these four types of guides.

How do Animal Allies Show up?

During Reiki sessions, it’s not unusual for me to call in a guide for clients. This is especially true when we are navigating self-limiting and outdated thought patterns and beliefs. I might start with feeling out, does the kind of guidance needed feel like plant, mineral, or animal? Other times, I might just ask for an animal specifically. If animal medicine is what’s most helpful, an animal ally will arrive. It never ceases to amaze how eloquently they embody and mirror what is needed!

Some folks find their animal inspiration simply shows up, and keeps coming up. Perhaps you keep seeing red-tailed hawks, or people keep mentioning them to and around you. You finally think, “Hm! What is it about red-tailed hawks??” Then you might go online and find an article like this on Red-Tailed Hawk Alliance.

Lady Bug Power Animal

Learn about Your Animal Spirit Guide

When an animal guide shows up, the medicine they offer is their way of being. Our job is to listen, to watch, to study, to embody their medicine. What do you notice about this animal’s physical nature? Emotional nature? Social behavior? Think about it like a scientific study. Here’s a sample of questions Home Science Tools suggests when exploring lady bug, for example:

  • Where did you find the most ladybugs? Were they on leaves, on tree bark, in the grass, on flowers, or somewhere else?
  • Were they in groups or by themselves?
  • Based on where you found your ladybugs, what kind of home do you think a ladybug would like? Describe it or draw a picture of it.
  • Did you see any ladybugs eating? What were they eating?
  • What can ladybugs do to protect themselves? Do they have places to hide?
  • Do ladybugs have wings? Can they fly? How far do you think they can fly?
  • Do all of your ladybugs have the same number of spots? What do you think their spots are for?
  • What color are your ladybugs? Why is that a good color for them?
  • How many legs do they have? Do you notice anything special about their legs?
  • What do their heads look like? Do they have eyes? Do they have antennae?

In addition to reading about the animal’s physical nature, I’ll also often google, “[name of animal] animal totem” to get a good list of impressions and current appreciation of an animal’s medicine. This is not to say that someone else’s experience is ‘right,’ or even the right interpretation for you. So, rather than thinking of this information gathering process as ‘truth’ gathering, I invite you to think of it as an exploration of ways of being. What resonates for you? What in what you’ve discovered feels supportive, inspiring and opening to you? Go with it! All the other stuff? Don’t worry about it!

Reflect on Your Animal Ally

After information gathering, you might imagine shape-shifting into your animal. For example, were you working with ladybug, what would it feel like to shrink down, feel all these new legs, your antennae, hard shell, to flap your wings, etc? Notice what doing so changes about your breathing, your posture, emotions, and thoughts. Remember, what you’re exploring is a new way of being; so have fun with it! See what it’s like to break out of old habits and try something different, even if only for five or ten minutes. Once you get a baseline for how you might feel differently incorporating this ally’s medicine; then you might recall that experience in different situations. For example, how might you respond differently at work if you were living lady bug medicine? What about at home? etc.

It can help to keep pictures around of your animal spirit guide to remind you of its medicine and your intention to expand your experience. It’s easy to get wallpaper for your smartphone lock screen or for your desktop that features your animal. You can also print some images out to put around your home or office. Every time you see your ally, you reinforce your connection to the medicine.

Thank your Animal

As with anything or anyone, it benefits all to share appreciation. This might look like donating time or energy towards a cause working to protect or support your animal ally. Googling “[name of animal] conservation” should give you some great starting points for this. You might also consider offering a personal, heart-felt thank you at the end of meditations with your animal, or before bed; wishing all beings be well, all beings be happy.

Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction
Energy Work, Reiki, Self-Care

Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction and Energy Work

“Breathing is massively practical,” says Belisa Vranich, a psychologist and author of the book ‘Breathe,’ …It’s meditation for people who can’t meditate.” –Source:

Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction[wproto_divider style=”gap”]What I’m Reading: Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction

NYT article, “Breathe. Exhale. Repeat: The Benefits of Controlled Breathing

Author’s Key Points

Breath: An Essential of Energy Work

Did you know controlled breathing is also an important part of energy work? In qi gong, breath is considered the second of three essentials to energy work practice. As far back as 168 BCE the Chinese had already been documenting breathing techniques for health (see: 卻穀食氣, Que Gu Shi Qi). Of course, it’s not just breathing for breathing’s sake that makes the practice essential. It’s about integrating the body-mind-spirit through breath, intention and movement/posture. I love this quote from a pupil’s Qi Gong Master on the subject, “movement without breath integration has limited health benefits and practice without mind is a waste of time.”

Energy Work Breathing Techniques

Countless ‘schools’ of energy work also employ mindful breathing techniques to facilitate the shift into altered states of consciousness. Coupled with intention, the breath can also direct different energies into the body (such as Heavenly energy, Earth energy, or the Rays, etc). In Reiki, we regularly use the breath to move Reiki energy through more powerfully. We can blow Reiki symbols into the auric bodies and/or chakras; and/or we can channel Reiki through the breath when we ‘beam’ Reiki into the aura. If you’re interested in exploring the world of energy work and breathing techniques, here are some starting places for you:

Set Your Compass, then Breathe

You can learn to breathe and to breathe mindfully; but to what end? Without a compass setting for your practice, meaningful progress won’t be far in my experience. This is where studying with a teacher or within a system can be helpful if not essential. This is also why I like to teach energy work as a hybrid course with Reiki. In my opinion, it is not enough to know we can effect change with intention and practice. We also need to know why we want to do so. What are we hoping to co-create in this world through our words, actions, and exchanges? It’s this rectification of paradigm, I believe, that facilitates the necessary internal shift(s) that move us towards a more meaningful and peace-filled life.

Why and when do you breathe mindfully?

Has mindful breathing helped you in your life? How? I’d love to hear about it the comments. (PS there’s an excellent version of the Mindfulness of Breathing practice on the Insight Timer for anyone with that iPhone/iPad app, “Anapanasati Breathing Meditation,” by the Samahita Thera Forest Sangha.)

Forcing positive thoughts

Why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy

“…emotions like sadness, guilt, grief and anger are beacons for our values. We don’t get angry about stuff we don’t care about. We don’t feel sad or guilty about stuff we don’t care about. If we push these emotions away, we are choosing not to learn about ourselves. We are choosing to ignore our values and what is important to us.” Source: A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy – The Washington Post

Forcing positive thoughts

What I’m reading on Positive Thinking

Article: “A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy,” Washington Post

Article’s Key Points

  • The “tyranny of positivity” is leading to a (largely) fundamentally-avoidant cultural dialogue
  • Emotions are “beacons for our values,” including our sadness, guilt and anger
  • Pushing away [negative] thoughts and emotions only serves to have them come back magnified
  • “…emotional agility is a skill set that builds on our ability to face our emotions, label them, understand them and then choose to move forward deliberately.”

What about Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking?

In energy work, we talk a lot about the importance of positive thinking when it comes to applying the Law of Attraction (i.e. the world reflects back what we project). The idea is if we are to attract what we want, we have to project and feel what we want. A lot of folks confuse this with forcing positive thinking, and positive emotion. But there’s a huge difference between forcing positive thinking/emotion and cultivating *positivity*. This is one point I’d like to clarify from the article.

The way out is through

Cultivating positive thinking: It is safe to feelSo many of my patients and students come in deeply desiring “to be rid of” what feels uncomfortable and unpleasant. They want to “get rid of” their anger, their sadness, their guilt, etc. When we force positive thinking in these cases, we stuff the unpleasant. Or, we dissociate from our being, so as not to feel the unpleasant. But what happens to the ‘unpleasant’ in these cases? It compounds, because it’s not being dealt with. Now we carry the weight of the last time we felt this unpleasantness, our resentment for having it at all, and the frustration of not having dealt with it already, etc. Multiply this compounding by each time this emotion or story arises. Each time we stuff part of our experience, or dissociate from it, it makes our negativity seem that much more real, and that much more insurmountable. But the good news is, you don’t have to get over it. You can move through it.

Feel the emotions, listen for the needs

In the system of Nonviolent Communication, emotions simply reflect needs being or not being met. They’re reflections, not entities. So, to cultivate positivity would be to hold in compassion where we feel sad, angry, guilty and afraid. To listen to what needs are not being met and to what values we hold dear. Through listening, we open the door to serving our values and needs. I see time and time again in Reiki sessions ‘negative’ emotions and thoughts simply dissolve when tended to with love and willingness to understand. This is Law of Attraction in action — being the embodiment of love, staying in the frequency of what you want.

Need help?

Sometimes we can need support to take that first step or even to persevere in the face of discomfort. Reiki can be an excellent support on this journey in helping to create a space of unconditional love and illumination. To book your local or distance treatment today, visit Black Pine Holistic Healing’s online scheduler.

treating plantar fasciosis with acupuncture
Acupuncture, Energy Work, Reiki

Treating Plantar Fasciosis with Physical Medicine, Acupuncture, and Energy Work

Plantar Fasciosis: The New ‘Plantar Fasciitis’

Perhaps you’ve heard of plantar fasciitis? Well, doctors have found that it’s not always inflammation (i.e. “-itis”) that causes this heel pain. Overuse and degeneration can lead to poor circulation and tissue death of the plantar fascia. For this reason, the condition is now mostly referred to as “plantar fasciosis.” Here’s what natural sports podiatrist Dr. Ray McClanahan has to say on the subject:

Physical Medicine for Plantar Fasciosis

Proper Foot Positioning

Correct Toes (see: adjacent image) are the product mentioned in Dr. McClanahan’s video. I purchased a pair quite a while ago to try for correct toe positioning (not for plantar fasciosis) and I love wearing mine; however I do have to say I have a hard time finding shoes wide enough to accommodate them in the toe box. They’re made of silicone and are overall quite comfortable. They are, however, silly expensive. I’ve seen some similar products on Amazon. If anyone tries another brand and likes them, let us know in the comments please!

Metatarsal SupportMetatarsal Pad for Plantar Fasciosis

As Dr. McClanahan also mentions, metatarsal pads might be helpful in increasing circulation to the area. I’ve had these (see: adjacent image) in my shoes for the last two years and haven’t had to replace mine yet. I stuck them right onto a pair of Superfeet insoles, that way I can switch them out into any shoe I use (rain shoes, walking shoes, etc) without having to purchase multiple pairs. It’s important to remember that if you wear slippers, you’ll want keep these in there too. (No cheating!)

Acupuncture for Relieving Plantar Fasciosis

treating plantar fasciosis with acupunctureYou might remember my piece on acupuncture and moxibustion for treating heel pain. The acupuncture group achieved an effective rate of 97%, higher than the drug group which came in at 76%. Acupuncturist for the 1984 Olympic Games athletes, Whitfield Reaves, suggests most uncomplicated cases show improvement with a treatment plan of twice a week for three weeks.

Energy Work for Treating Heel Pain

“Are you serving as the ‘shock absorber’ for others?”

Holistic nurse, Maureen Minnehan, says it quite well when she writes:

“The emotional component of [plantar fasciosis/fasciitis] can be reflected in the statement ‘I don’t dare!’ …They have a huge fear of what might happen if they ‘let go and let fly’ with themselves. Also, they feel frustrated, conflicted, and irritated about what’s happening in their lives. So they sit and seethe. …If you are the ‘shock absorber’ and feel angry or ‘inflamed’ about it, this thought pattern, repeated often, can inflame the plantar fascia to ensure you ‘get the message’ through your body. If you have plantar fasciitis, chances are you’re not able to exercise until the inflamed tissue heals. This [italics] makes [end italics] you take care of yourself.”

So how do you care for this pattern? Start with caring for the anger. I find Reiki quite helpful in creating a safe space to be with and listen to this important emotion’s message. What do you need that you haven’t been honoring?

Take up an affirmation practice

Root Chakra Affirmation Mala

Louise Hay recommends a statement like, “I move forward in life, with joy and with ease,” for any kind of foot problem. As an extension of the Root Chakra, you might also consider related affirmations to the expression of safety, security, and self-worth/belonging. Examples might include those listed in Liz Simpson’s book, The Book of Chakra Healing:

  • “I am taking responsibility for my life. I can cope with any situation.”
  • “My internal mother is always here for me, protecting, nourishing, and soothing me.”
  • “I deserve the best that life has to offer. My needs are always met.”

For any affirmation practice, it’s best to repeat the statement as often as possible, ideally no less than 324 times a day. This practice is enhanced by using a mirror while reciting, connecting with your inner child as you speak your new and improved truth.

Ground Daily

It can be helpful to remember you don’t just have to be the ‘shock absorber;’ you can be the lightning rod, grounding what’s coming at and through you into the Earth. Fellow Reiki practitioner Katalin Koda has some great techniques described in her article, “The Grounding Cord Exercise and 8 Other Ways to Ground and Center.”

Need help?

If you’re in the Seattle area, come on in for a full assessment with Melissa. She’ll look at your complete picture and recommend the best appropriate treatment. Melissa also conducts distance Reiki for anyone seeking energy-work support outside the Seattle area. For those unable to afford one-on-one treatments, community acupuncture clinics offer an affordable treatment option in a group setting (often $15-40/treatment). To find a clinic near you, search by state on POCA’s site.

Why I learned Reiki: A Story of Spiritual Growth

Why I learned Reiki: A Story of Spiritual Growth

Why I learned Reiki: A Story of Spiritual Growth“Many of the people who talk about spiritual growth, spirituality, or spiritual will often draw a blank when you try to pin them down for a definition of it. I was one of them. I used to think it had something to do with miraculous happenings, telepathy, synchronicity, a feeling of oneness with god/universe/spirit, etc. Then I heard the best definition of spiritual growth and intuitively realized it was correct. The definition is this: Spiritual growth is emotional growth, being spiritually advanced is being emotionally mature.” — Steve Gray, Tien Shan Chi Gung

What is “Spiritual Growth”? Why do we need it?

It’s true, there is no firm answer for this question. And yet, many people have an intrinsic knowing of the need for it. It’s as if they find an inner calling that says, “Hey! Get moving; we’ve got work to do!” I really appreciate Gray’s comment that spiritual growth is emotional growth, as this has been my experience as well. However, I would not limit it to this.

Most of my Reiki students find my classes because they either (1) recognize they are ready to grow spiritually (e.g. to pursue greater truth, release perceived limitations, or deepen connection to Spirit/God, etc) and have been searching for the right springboard, or (2) have found managing their boundaries and emotions (whether their own or those of others) challenging if not overwhelming and exhausting. These folks are the ones looking for an energy work practice that will help them feel safe and learn to manage healthy boundaries. You could say that I came to Reiki for the latter. So, while I didn’t intend to learn Reiki for spiritual growth at first; I can definitely say it was the inevitable outcome of this practice!

What does it mean to be “emotionally mature”?

The inescapable nature of emotions

up against a wallGrowing up I had recurring nightmares of drowning– for decades. It became so bad over the years I would start to notice in the dream what was about to happen. There I’d be approaching the beach, no matter which town I was in, and I’d know. “Oh boy, here we are again.” I’d turn around and I’d see the wall go up — 40 or 60 foot brick wall, inescapable. Suddenly there’d be no one else on the beach, and I’d see the waves starting to swell higher and higher. With no where to go, no escape, all I could do was wait to be consumed and drown. It was a helpless and hopeless feeling. Here were my fears coming at me: overwhelming, massive, drowning.

As you might imagine with that experience, I had learned nothing of how to deal with my emotions — how to *feel* emotions. It was simply either feel nothing, or be annihilated. This may seem hyperbolic or ‘dramatic’ for those who don’t have this experience. But, I can tell you from my practice, *many* people have this challenge — of learning how to feel their emotions, without feeling paralyzed at the (perceived) terror of what might happen if they do:

  • What if I allow myself to really feel my anger, and I can’t control it?
  • What if I allow myself to feel my grief, and the crying never stops?
  • What if I allow my emotions to matter, and others get upset at what I have to say?
  • What if I allow my emotions to matter, and I have to start making real change in my life?

For sensitive folk (like empaths, Indigos, Blue Rays, etc), the pain of these considerations is real, and the weight of the possible consequences, heavy. So how do we deal with it?

Learn to Surf

I can remember the first time I had a different experience in the water. In the dream, I was in the ocean, just off the shore. I was with a friend who said to me, “I’m going to teach you how to surf.” This was the start of a whole new way of relating to water (and to my fears). It was Spring 2004, and I had just become friends with the woman who would be my Usui Reiki Master, Shoshannah Beck. After two quarters of qi gong training, my extrasensory perception was opening up. I was becoming yet more sensitive to energy – and still had no real resource to feel safe with it. Working with Shoshannah, I learned many things that helped give me the confidence to be in and with my emotions.

How Reiki can help

Reiki level oneFor me, Reiki has helped my emotional maturity in what it has revealed to me about my truths, and about what can come out of the practice of presence, surrender and trust. I often describe Reiki as the great illluminator — shining light on the areas in our life ready to be transformed. The more I practice, the greater my ability to surrender to love and peace in my inner world, and see that reflected in my outer world. Each time I receive an attunement (this is a raising of your energetic vibration, much like resetting your body’s natural frequency) I find more is revealed to me about where I am not in alignment with love. As any good guide or teacher, Reiki doesn’t do the work for me — it says, “Here you go! Now run with it!” It’s always up to me how to respond: I own my growth at every step of the way. It’s a powerful thing when we experience ourselves as the agent of our change!

What’s your experience?

Have you had a Reiki attunement that’s powerfully impacted your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! If you haven’t had an attunement and are interested in learning more, I encourage you join us for the upcoming 7-week Reiki and Energy Work class, Reiki IA: Awakening (register by 10/11/16).


Reiki, Self-Care

Suicidal: Honoring the Crisis of Self

suicidal: honoring the crisis of self

Are you feeling suicidal?

If you reading this right now, feeling like you wish you weren’t here, or actively wishing to end your life, know that I love you– just as you are. I hear you are feeling a lot – perhaps numb, hopeless, helpless, overwhelmed, angry, or sad. Bitter, envious, jealous, or empty. There’s room for all of that. Plenty of room for all that you’re feeling. Breathe. Cry. Scream. Talk. Most importantly, talk to people who care about you, who care for your well-being. People are waiting to talk to you, hoping to talk with you, to hear what you are going through and to be with you through this seemingly impossible time. If you’re feeling depressed, despairing, or feeling suicidal, know that 24/7 you can chat with someone online or talk on the phone (1-800-273-8255) with just such a person who’s been waiting for your call.

To hear David’s story of hope, skip to 1:30:

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I’d be remiss to not speak up on this occasion. This year I’ve been reflecting a lot on the subject. I looked at the statistics today; and the CDC reports that in 2014 roughly 4% of the US population age 18 and older had suicidal thoughts in 2014. That’s one (1) out of every 25.

In my personal experience, I’ve known two who have succeeded and and a number of close friends who have either considered it heavily enough to check themselves in, or attempted and failed. It weighs on me to know that if you head to the bookstore, there are few and far between options for support when you’re feeling either like you don’t want to be here or actively wishing you weren’t. At Barnes and Noble I found nothing. Half Price Books, nothing. Third Place Books, nothing. There were plenty of books on cultivating happiness, plenty of books on depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, and even books on cutting. But nothing for those contemplating suicide. How is this possible?

Feeling Suicidal: A Crisis of Self

Going online, I found some resources on Amazon and through the library; but the majority of these were academic– intended for study, not for those needing assistance. Wow! You can imagine my relief when I found a resource at the library, Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and Comprehending the Urge to Die, which addresses this very point. Author David Webb writes (p6):

“The lived experience of suicidality is chaotic and confused, full of ambiguity and doubt. Anger, fear, and other passions are also tangles with the paralysing hopelessness and helplessness. All of this and more must be spoken of. The dispassionate, scholarly voice has its place, but by itself it cannot adequately capture and articulate these essential elements of the suicidal experience as it is lived.”

Yup! What a breath of fresh air to find his book, and perspective. Webb, who had attempted his own suicide before deciding to complete the world’s first PhD on the subject, in his book dispels the common myths people hold around suicide. Casting the light of spiritual self-enquiry onto the experience, Webb maintains suicide is not a mental health issue, but a crisis of self. I couldn’t agree more.

If you’re feeling suicidal, or wanting to understand the experience more in-depth, I highly recommend picking up his book. He’s clear to state his book is “not a self-help book with a ‘cure’ for suicidal feelings in seven easy steps. …Instead, this book invites you to honour and respect your suicidal feelings as real, legitimate and important.”

A different perspective

Another book I’ve found interesting on the subject is “Suicide: What Really Happens in the Afterlife? / Channeled Conversations With the Dead.” The authors share stories from mediums of those they’ve channeled, and their experience upon successfully having committed suicide.

From an energy work perspective, it’s interesting to see the overlap with my practice and the feedback the mediums received. In Reiki, we have a technique to treat past life trauma, including that of a suicide. In such cases, I have seen that while clarity and creating the possibility of a new outcome can be helpful for clearing the emotional overwhelm, there is still the learning to be learned. I think of Michael Bernard Beckwith who puts it like this (I’m paraphrasing here), “If this situation never changed, what quality would I have to birth within me to be OK with it?” This seems to be confirmed in Klimo and Heath’s book in which they suggest suicides reincarnate into the same conditions (even if different circumstances); there’s no skipping lessons. What’s more interesting, is I have also experienced their description of successful suicides who reincarnate into this life with the same conditions, and as such, experience suicidal ideation–  also have at the same time a certain knowing that trying [again] would be useless.

Cultivating connection

Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, we can all agree that if someone is feeling suicidal, they need help– now, here. I have found this is very hard for people — knowing how to connect with people when the stakes are high and emotions are heated. It’s easy to alienate.

The biggest thing that alienates, in my experience, is people not knowing how to empathize. They go straight into reaction. By and large, we haven’t been taught to listen, to really hear how someone is feeling and listen for what they need. So what do we do? We counsel, we try to ‘fix it,’ we shut down. We one up, we go into our own stories. Oh, man. It’s heavy enough for someone feeling suicidal to hold their own difficult feelings and stories; they don’t need to add yours to the pile!

How might you communicate to someone you love that how they feel matters to you, and in such a way that allows them to hear you? Ask. Ask how they are feeling. Ask what they need. Ask how you might help. Ask if they’d be willing to hear more ideas on what might help. Tell them you love them, and if it’s the case, that you don’t know what to say; but that you want them to know from the bottom of your heart you’re here for them. You’re listening.




reiki for depression
Reiki, Self-Care

Reiki for Depression: An Opportunity to Reframe Your Experience.

“Reiki for Depression: Patients dealing with the symptoms depression may benefit from participating in Reiki sessions.” (Source)


Article on Reiki for Depression

Reiki for Depression

Author’s Key Points

  • According to the WHO, depression affects approximately 400 million people around the world
  • In addition to working with your therapist and primary health care provider, Reiki can help as an adjunct therapy
  • Benefits of Reiki for those feeling depressed include better mental and physical balance, relaxation, stress-reduction, connection, all while helping to restore a client’s sense of control in their life.
  • Relevant research on the healing method shows Reiki aids in relaxation, reduces the symptoms of depression, and may reduce postoperative depression.
  • Reiki is best served when used in conjunction with other therapies, with multiple treatments over an extended period of time leading to long-term symptom improvement.

In my experience

My clients challenged by depression find Reiki can be encouraging in helping to reframe their experience. In other words, what if you were able to see the same situation in a new light? As a non-forceful energy, it’s encourages us to grow, while providing the support to do so. But it will never do the work for you, ha!! With Reiki, you are always in charge of your healing. All Reiki does is illuminate the areas and stories ready for healing. In this way, it’s like the best cheerleader — letting you know all the while that, “You can do this! You’ve got it! You’re doing it! You are your agent of change!”

Learn to treat yourself

The best part about Reiki is that while it’s helpful to see someone for care, you can also learn to do it yourself for self-healing– treating your body, mind, emotions, intentions and situations in your life. I decided to learn Reiki myself when I became good friends with a Reiki Master/Teacher in San Francisco, Shoshannah Beck (she’s now in Australia). Everything she said just made sense to me– so I thought, “Well, let’s do this already!” Now, 12 years later I use Reiki every day. I use it while driving or on the bus, I use it on my pet, I use it with clients, on my body, thoughts, emotions, objects, situations, in my communications, on the trajectory of my life — you name it! Want to try it for yourself? Come join us for an introductory 7-week course in energy work and Reiki healing. Enroll online; the next course starts April 27th.

Inspire Others

Has Reiki helped you manage your depression? I’d love if you’d share your story in the comments! ♥ Thank you!

Aging: Will yourself younger
Energy Work, Reiki

Redefining Aging: Can we will ourselves to feel younger?

Redefining aging: Can we will ourselves to feel younger?

Is aging just a state of mind?

I really enjoyed this article, What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?, published on The piece focuses on the studies of psychologist Ellen Langer in which she investigates the effect of recall and perception on various ailments (including old age, cancer, colds, diabetes, weight loss and eyesight). Spoiler alert: Majorly awesome things happen in our physical being when we change our perception of it. The author cites Langer in saying, “If people could learn to be mindful and always perceive the choices available to them…, they would fulfill their potential and improve their health.” That’s definitely what energy workers would say!

Perception is based on conditioning

In energy work we’d say our thoughts can shape our emotions, and our emotions can shape our physical state of vitality or dis-ease. (See: Langer’s studies for great examples.) What I find so fascinating is that our beliefs about ourselves aren’t the only things that can influence our wellbeing; our belief about things outside of ourselves can also impact how we are affected by them. At first this might not seem so novel; but when you really think about it, it’s kind of mind-blowing. How many ways do we let our belief about what’s ‘really going on’ directly impact our perception of what’s going on?

Will can be as strong as medication

study that came out last month on antidepressants indicates “[p]eople’s expectations about how effective their antidepressant medication is going to be almost entirely predicts their response to it, such that giving patients a placebo pill [i.e. inactive substance] as active therapy during an 8-week period results in very similar reductions in symptoms….” The article goes on to write, “Placebo effects have already been proven to work on the immune system. But [Langer’s] study could show for the first time that they work in a different way — that is, through an act of will.”

Willing to grow young thru thought and recall

Italian neuroscientist, Fabrizio Benedetti, suggests it may be possible that “the placebo responses in the immune system are attributable to unconscious classical conditioning.” If that’s true, there’s hope for us yet! There are countless therapies available to assist in changing your conditioning and to reassert healing. Top contenders that come to mind for me include meditation, affirmations, Reiki, counseling (if you’re interested more in application than discussion, look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and hypnotherapy.

Your practice

Want to challenge your definition of aging? Consider reading the writing of author Ellen Wood. Through her personal experience reversing the clock on aging through affirmations and the Law of Attraction, she encourages others to do the same with books titled “Growing Younger with the Law of Attraction” and “Think and Grow Young: Powerful Steps to Create a Life of Joy.” She also has a blog, Talk Back with Ellen Wood. I met Ellen while I was living in Taos, NM – and I can tell you her enthusiasm is contagious!


Reiki decreases anxiety post-heart attack

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety | Reiki Energy Work for Everyday People.

Reiki supports relaxation and decreased anxiety after heart attack

Heart Attack (aka Myocardial Infarction)

20-Minutes of Reiki: A whole lot of good

In a small 2008 study, researchers compared the effects of Reiki (light-touch energy work they call “relaxation therapy”) to those of classical music on post-acute coronary syndrome (ACS) inpatients. In the study, patients had to have had an ACS episode within 72 hours before receiving 20-minutes of treatment (either Reiki or classical music), or simply participating in a control group of minimal distraction.

How Reiki relaxes the body

So, what did the researchers conclude? “Reiki increases vagal activity and decreases anxiety in patients after ACS.” In specific, they found Reiki significantly:

  • increased high frequency (HF) component of HRV
  • increased respiration rate interval
  • reduced reported anxiety
  • increased sense of relaxation

What is the HF component of HRV?

The HF component will decrease during periods of time pressure or emotional strain; so seeing Reiki’s ability to increase this is consistent with the participants’ experiencing less anxiety and more relaxation.

What is ACS?

Acute coronary syndrome  is an umbrella term for conditions in which the blood supplied to the heart is suddenly blocked, such as is the case in heart attack or unstable angina.

Energy work and the Heart

Energy Center Lao Gong in the Hand

Energy center, Lao Gong, in the hand is a point along the Pericardium (heart protector) channel.

They say many healthcare providers die from complications to the heart because they tax the organ’s energy so extensively, in caring for others and especially in channeling its energy through the hands as is the case for many bodyworkers including massage therapists. While I can appreciate the sentiment, I think it’s notable to also reference Louise Hay’s work in which she references coronary thrombosis as a condition of “feeling alone and scared,” a manifestation of feeling, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” In the same book, You Can Heal Your Life, she also lists heart attack as a condition of “squeezing all the joy out of the heart in favor of money or position, etc.” Unfortunately, these sentiments are not uncommon to many individuals, especially those working such demanding jobs/hours as do healthcare providers.

Anxiety and the Heart

In Chinese medicine, we believe when the heart is balanced, one experiences joy. When the heart is unbalanced, one experiences anxiety about big-picture concerns. It’s not surprising then, to hear Louise Hay’s mapping of these conditions to thoughts like, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” More importantly, understanding Reiki’s effect to quell anxiety is an important finding when it comes to caring for folks post-heart attack (or other ACS episode). It means supporting the heart energetically, and reducing overall stress on the body. This is no small detail, as stress can affect heart beat regularity and, indirectly, this population’s risk of arrhythmic sudden death after myocardial infarction.

Your practice

Consider treating yourself to care. What would deeply nourish your heart’s sense of joy, connection and love? How does it feel to allow yourself to fully receive support? Some of my favorite things to recommend for body-based heart support include Reiki, Watsu or floating. What are some of yours? Share in the comments!