In Love with Oahu

1 Dec

Well I did it. I packed up my stuff. Got rid of some of it. Managed to fit way more essential oils and supplements into my suitcases than I imagined I could and hit the road. Only this time I didn’t quite hit the road…. because I couldn’t.  Instead I boarded an airplane and was island bound. I am in Hawaii.

Recently I hit a barren patch on my house sitting journey and was grateful to be nestled for a few weeks in the midwest in my mother’s home. In the midst of this limbo time I did what I have learned and continue to learn to do… take a step back and allow things to unfold. And unfold they did. Quite unexpectedly. As it sometimes happens on my journey, in the blink of an eye I had two new housesits on my plate which brought a quick redirection. First stop, a return to Austin for a month-long housesit. Second stop, a housesit on the island of Oahu.

I knew there was a possibility out there that a housesit could come together in Hawaii. I made a connection through an on-line gathering of a spiritual community I enjoy. They mentioned they may have a need for a housesitter in the coming months. As someone with experience with things ebbing and flowing, coming and going… I was grateful for the possibility, stayed open to it but also had no expectation or attachments that it would or wouldn’t work out.

And then one day it happened. I got the word. What do you do when someone invites you to housesit in Hawaii?  You say “Yes, please! Thank you!”

Don’t get me wrong…as much as my life has gone with the flow this past decade, I did run into my share of rough currents, resistance to change and sometimes in earnest just pure exhaustion from so much packing, unpacking and driving about. Despite the “inconvenience” of it all, my heartfelt yes quickly aligned my life in a new direction.

Also, notably so, this is my first housesitting departure where I didn’t drive my little SUV packed with the essentials of this life on the go.  As I would leave my wheels behind, I started the process of hmming and hawing over what to keep, what to leave behind and what to take along.  I was fortunate to find a spot to keep my car and remaining belongings while I am away and so now here I am!

With Hawaii’s new Safe Travels program, it was easier than I imagined to get here. I took a COVID test within 72 hours of my departing flight at an Austin Walgreens and got my negative results the same day.  From there I just needed to upload my results, complete the health survey 24 hours before departure and get my QR code.

I flew Delta airlines as I read they were tops in their COVID practices. They have updated their filter system and on my flight from Austin to LAX you could see the air from the filter circulating about like a sci-fi movie. Delta is also currently keeping the middle seat open and from LAX to Honolulu I had the whole row to myself. I slept most of the way, presented my QR code on arrival and as simple as pie I had arrived.

I met with my host and homeowner in Oahu before she left on her own flight the next morning.  She couldn’t be a more kind and generous host and I count myself lucky to be caring for her home and welcomed by her. She even left a few goodies for me to use including a great beach towel and snorkeling equipment.

Since I have arrived I have mostly been “getting my island legs,” tending to the basics and exploring some of the immediate area and territory. Even with all of my traveling experience, I still get nervous when landing in new territory. So I find I am well-served by taking my time and easing into new places.

I had the pleasure of connecting with a few folks at Unity Church of Hawaii and helped just a bit with their campus cleanup. Outdoors and masked up, it was great for even just a bit to see some new friendly faces and meet some locals. I am also fortunate to connect with the Oahu Art of Living Zoom group!  I have participated with Art of Living’s spiritual practices since I took their first course (now known as Sky Breath Meditation) back in 2007. There are regular meetups around the world for graduates and even though we can’t yet meet in person, being with the local group even on Zoom is a treat.

And just this morning… I made my first venture to the beach!  Where to go?  There are so many to choose from! As this is my first time in Hawaii, prior to my plans to come I didn’t realize that Oahu is quite small!  You can get to nearly anywhere on the island in 30 – 45 minutes! So that means, from where I am just a bit west of Honolulu, I have easy access to the whole island!

For my first beach visit I chose Kailua State Beach. Just a 30 minute drive from my current location, plus a lifeguard on duty and… it’s open! (a few locations are closed at this time), it seemed like the perfect place to start.  The drive there wound me through lush green mountains and when I arrived I felt like I landed in paradise. I mean no kidding. I have been to many places but I have never been or seen anyplace quite so lovely and naturally beautiful – from the sweet inlet of water and surrounding mountains and community to the breathtakingly blue water that enticed me like a dream.

The beach had a healthy speckling of beachgoers, enough to feel safe with others around but not so many that it felt crowded at all. There was plenty of room for and respect of social distancing in the backdrop of enchanted mountains, soft sand and welcoming waves.  I took a great walk on the beach, loaded up the sunscreen and just took it in… the unbelievableness, the unexpected oh-my of my current surroundings!

I am back at home now, always happy to be out for a little adventure but equally happy to return to that feeling of home. I feel super safe in the lovely town home community where I am housesitting surrounded with an easy feel and lush greens and palm trees.  As the coming weeks unfold, I imagine I will navigate that balance between the need and desire for downtime, rest and relaxation and the joy of exploration.

So long for now from the island of Oahu – a new little leap in life and my housesitting journey.  My best in health and happiness to all of you!

Limbocation

8 Oct

Here I am hanging out in Central Texas. I wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. But it is at least a little sweet and serene just the same. My recent house and pet sit just completed in Austin. So often on this crooked journey at the very last minute, something workable or even remarkable comes in at the nick of time to save the day. But not this time. Not so far.

After hunkering down with family for a few months, I took the leap to head on down to Texas for a house sit. In truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect in current circumstances. Wasn’t sure how long it would last and if I would find myself heading back up to the midwest with family. So I did my best to go with the flow. And flow I did… for a little bit. A great sit in Wimberley, TX. Then a long term sit in Hill Country which – due to unforeseen circumstances – was cancelled. A little shift left. A little jolt right and… I moseyed on over to rural Texas outside Austin for a bit and then a last minute miraculous sashay back to Austin. And then…. [insert cricket noise]

So here I am… on Limbocation. Still exploring options. So far my experience is similar to that of other full time travelers. The landscape has changed. Fewer people traveling. On house sitting platforms, more house sitters vying for a handful of sits.

With that said I am open… to seeing what unfolds. A new housesit? A light caretaking job? A wonderful workable work exchange? Or perhaps something else… something unexpected… If you know of any options or opportunities, at present I am available and would love to hear about them.

With that said I am open… to seeing what unfolds. A new housesit? A light caretaking job? A wonderful workable work exchange? Or perhaps something else… something unexpected

And in the meantime I am slowly making my way back up towards the Midwest doing my best to surf the rough terrain and smell the roses along the way despite the unmistakable discomfort of it all.

How is the terrain in your corner of the world? It’s always great to hear from you!

Safe at Bear Creek

28 Sep

Greetings from Texas! A few weeks ago as my rural Texas sit came to a close, I did my best to ride the current of some unexpected rearranging and landed at one of my favorite spots on the outskirts of Austin, TX.  I was fortunate to return for a bit to the location of last winter’s long-term sit set on beautiful stretches of land along a sparkling creek. Here I am hunkered down with two of my favorite kitties doing the “kittie shuffle” – you know the one… open the door, let the cat out… open the door, let the cat in… and enjoying some time and space in a peaceful and familiar setting.

Like many, these are uncertain times for me. They are heightened due to our current world and national circumstances.  But even before this all hit, I waded through years of uncertain living.  Honestly, it’s something I never fully got used to. While I might have a little more practice with the ebb and flow, when things come down to the wire it’s been a challenge for me to keep my peace and negotiate the uncertainty.

That’s why, now more than ever, it seems like a good time to practice some of the spiritual notions that have been knocking at my door this past decade and… improve in my attention to and use of them. It’s a good time to clean up some of the debris in my “inner world.” Here are a few considerations at the forefront of my traveling house sitter/pet sitter coronavirus Jedi training.

1.  Mastering My Mind. I have to admit, as much as anyone… maybe more than others… I have a very fertile and active mind.  At times this is fun and useful, but when uncertainty peaks it is at best a distraction at worst anxiety provoking!  So as my life and the world “turns up the volume” I am making an effort to pay attention to my thoughts, to indulge  “less” in mental pathways that bear no fruit, and to simple be an observer of my thoughts and my reactions to people and circumstances rather than go along for the ride!

2.  Set My Intention for the Best. While I am watching my thoughts, I am also ramping up my practice of turning my intention towards the best. When a situation comes to mind that has potential for upset, I am practicing being conscious in seeing things work out for the best and sending warm, loving thoughts to the situation. Minimally, this practice reduces my anxiety and at best sets a framework in the fertile ground of potential.

3.  Practicing Being Present. So many teachers out there remind us that presence is where it’s at!  Fearful thoughts of the past or future simply do me no good and also can limit my access to potentiality and options available. So when the uncertainty boat goes a-rockin’ in my world, I do my best to toss that aside and reconnect here in the present moment.

4.  Being Open to My Intuition. I will never forget when I was first introduced to the world of intuition and psychic ability living in New Orleans, LA. I met an interesting… yet possibly shady character at a local coffee shop who gave me a reading that blew my socks off.  Since then life hasn’t really been the same. Before then, I had never been plugged in at all to the idea that we have access to knowledge beyond our typical senses. And while my intuition and I have had our challenges along the journey, as I continue to get quieter and connect within I am making a little extra space to notice the quiet voice within.

5.  Practicing Refraining from Judgement. This topic has flirted with me many times over the years. And I would practice it from time to time. But now more so I seem to realize that judgment of others and myself really cuts me off from all the good, the flow, and limits me.  I’ve come to imagine it like I am floating down a stream and judgment is like grabbing for the branches along the way. It just blocks me and stops things up. So for my own freedom and peace of mind, I am making an effort to practice being mindful of my judgments.

6.  Spending More Time Connected to Spirit.  In addition to my favorite spiritual practices, lately I am simply taking more time to get quiet and connect with my heart and the Divine.  As so much rattles in the world around me and the uncertainty of my own life, more and more access to the infinite seems to be where it’s at. It’s the place it “makes sense to me” to park my car, reroute my address, build my home.

And of course, I call all of this practice… because that’s what it is!  I am simply just paying a bit more attention to these things daily and reaping the small waves of gentle benefit that come my way in restored ease and peace.

Where in the world are you and how is your Jedi training going?  I’d love to hear from you!

Back to the Basics

30 Aug

I am here in the Texas countryside towards the end of my current housesit.  In the midst of everything going on in the world, I’m glad to have been hunkered down for a bit caring for two sweet kitties and a whole mess of plants in the Texas heat.

As time lingers on and the world and the US face many challenges, I have to remind myself to make an extra effort to get back to the basics. For me, these are the practices, the way of life that best supports my health, wellbeing and my mental and spiritual health, development and growth. 

As we’ve been sailing through these unexpected seas for a while, I certainly have had my moments when I wanted to crawl back into familiar territory and habits that don’t necessarily serve me.  While of course it does my spirit some good to have some lighthearted breaks and treats, it also does me a world of good to continue to build my foundation on those things that truly nurture me and support an unshakable foundation when so much seems to be crumbling around us.

Reiki has been and continues to be one of the steadfast pillars in my foundation. I find sometimes in the midst of all that is happening I get restless or frustrated and want to settle things “my way” instead of leaning on my spiritual resources. Of course time and experience remind me how uncomfortable this can be and instead to lean more heavily on the steadfast ways that have served me as I have wandered around some of this planet over the past decade.

As a Second Degree Reiki practitioner, sending distance Reiki is a big part of this. This is the same healing energy experienced in a hands-on Reiki treatment but it can be sent anywhere and to anyone regardless of time and space. I remember one time I was driving with a friend who was having painful sinus issues. As she was the one driving I couldn’t very well give her a hands on treatment at the time so I asked permission to send her Reiki. She agreed and immediately she noticed her sinuses start to loosen and drain. Recently I sent Reiki to a friend who had financial and personal challenges stacking up and needed to move forward. The next day she had a breakthrough. I have to smile remembering reconnecting with a friend who is also a Reiki student. I told him I would send him some Reiki and immediately began to do so.  “Are you sending now?” he asked as he took note of experiencing that “Reiki energetic feeling.” “I am!” I replied!

As a traveling house and pet sitter, I also rely on using Reiki to clear the energy regularly and repeatedly of the places I visit.  All homes, all places are filled with the thoughts, history, and chaos of the moment and the times. I clear the energy because it helps to support a more harmonious living circumstance and honestly, just makes things feel better!  It’s also a great foundational tool to support improved mental health, emotional health and any challenges or changes that may need to happen or be addressed in the home or space.

I remember when I was just starting out in Reiki. I was crazy sensitive in the wake of slowly tapering off the anti-depressant Paxil to the tune of extreme withdrawal challenges. I had picked up a little gig working for a friend in their tent at a festival. So many people… all that energy was a big challenge for me especially in my circumstances. My Reiki teacher encouraged me to clear the energy of the tent over and over again while I worked. I was skeptical at first. But in earnest, it made a difference and made working possible in my still pretty fragile state.

I also recall one housesit some years ago where something about the energy of the place just didn’t feel right. It was palpable. I couldn’t sleep at night. My Reiki teacher encouraged me to clear the energy regularly and I did. I was there for a while and with regularly clearing the house felt great and I slept like a baby.

Would you like to explore Reiki energy in your world? A distant treatment can support mental, emotional and physical health as well as challenging circumstances and situations. Clearing the energy of your home can support a more peaceful and harmonious environment.

At a time when many of us are still spending more time at home and there are a whole slew of challenges about, I would love to support you with Reiki.

For a limited time I am offering the following Reiki treatment options:

Distant Reiki
• $35 for a 45 minute treatment
• $60 for a 20 minute treatment four days in a row.  A treatment four days in a row in Reiki is very powerful.
• $108 for a 45 minute Reiki treatment four days in a row.

Distant Reiki Home Energy Clearing
• $25 for a 30 minute energy clearing of your home or selected address

Reiki Sample
• $35 Distant Home Energy Clearing (15 minutes) and Distant Reiki Treatment (30 Minutes)

If you’d like to know more about Reiki please follow this link. It shares a bit more about my practice and experience as well as some helpful links.

If you’d like to schedule a Reiki appointment or have questions, please email me directly at gypsywomancafe@gmail.com.

These are unusual times. But also a useful time to practice shifting our attention, taking our time, going within to explore new pathways for living.

House Sitting Escape

12 Jul

In the midst of my midwest coronavirus detour hunkered down with family an opportunity recently came my way for a new housesit. So I took a little leap and here I am in Texas Hill Country enjoying some new scenery, peace and respite on a lovely property.

I was chatting with an old friend the other day who had many questions about house and pet sitting. It occurred to me that many folks out there with a heart and spirit for travel may not realize how possible and viable house and pet sitting is as an avenue to travel. So whether you’re ready for a coronavirus diversion, if even just in the next town, or you’re not ready to travel yet but your heart and soul could use a little future travel planning and daydreaming, read on!

Before I started house and pet sitting I had done quite a bit of travel relying often on work exchanges via personal connections and the website helpx.net. I had always been curious about house and pet sitting but hadn’t yet taken the leap and honestly, wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to “get my foot in the door.”  But it was certainly on my mind.

A few years ago while living in Asheville I met a full time traveling house and pet sitter at a local meet-up group. She was generous enough to share her experience. It was so helpful to simply have a conversation with a real person who was doing it and to be reassured that yes, it really was possible and accessible.

I didn’t jump in right away and continued with life as usual. Then over a year ago life “gave me a push” as it sometimes does. My apartment unexpectedly flooded and I had to hit the road. Sometimes in the midst of uncertain times lies an opportunity to take a leap and do something new. For me, this led to my latest adventures in house and pet sitting.

Whether you’re a full time traveler or simply curious about embarking on the occasional diversion, house and pet sitting is worth exploring.

Choose a House Sitting Platform, Join and Set Up a Profile
Some people may be unaware that there are many house and pet sitting websites where you join for a modest fee and have access to apply for house sits all over the world. Typically homeowners post their house and pet sitting opportunities, interested subscribed house sitters apply, and the chosen house sitter cares for their home and pets in exchange for a place to stay. There are many sites out there including Trusted Housesitters, Nomador and HouseCarers

After you choose and join your site, you begin with setting up a profile. When I set up my profile, there were a variety of things I paid attention to:

  1. I chose photos that reflected my experience caring for others including people and animals. I also selected photos that reflected my experience traveling.
  2. In my written profile I highlighted all of my personal and work experience that demonstrated I was a reliable and trustworthy professional. I also focused on all of my experience caring for pets and animals and caring for houses.
  3. I shared information about me that was unique and distinct.
  4. I included external references as the system allowed since I didn’t yet have any reviews within that house and pet sitting community.
  5. I took my time writing my profile to present myself well.

Diving In!
After I set up my profile, getting started was as simple as applying for sits. I had received some advice that it can be helpful when you’re just beginning to apply for local sits to get your foot in the door. This may make a homeowner more comfortable plus you have the possibility of meeting them before they leave which is often appreciated.

When applying for sits I did my best to present myself well, address the homeowner and their pets personally and by name, and highlight my enthusiasm and the ways I felt I was a match for their needs.

I was fortunate to find a wonderful two-week sit for a sweet little dog in a laid back coastal town as my first sit. From there for me, things continued to flow. I applied for sits that felt like a match for me with homeowners, home and pets plus responsibilities. I chose locations that weren’t too far from my current sit. As I got additional sits and started receiving internal reviews, it made it easier for me to apply for sits with more applicants and be considered as a contender.

When you apply for a sit, some home owners may choose to interview their top candidates.  When discussing the opportunity on the phone or Skype, I would do my best to have some prepared questions, to learn about the temperament and needs of each animal, and be thorough in my responses and inquiries.

As I continued with my house sitting journey, an important piece of the puzzle was to leave the house in great shape, better than it was left to me, with a little token of my appreciation, often a note with some flowers or a plant.

It’s fair to mention that of course house and pet sitting has been impacted by our current national and worldwide circumstances with COVID 19. House sitting websites do currently have opportunities, but for now those numbers are certainly reduced from the typical fertile field.

What Now?
So how about it? Do you want to hit the road? Maybe even just a safe escape to a nearby location? If you’re ready to jump in now or down the road, follow this link to save 25% on a Trusted House Sitter membership.

Whether it’s in the coming months or future plans, house sitting is a wonderful opportunity to be of service to home owners and their pets while offering you an opportunity for a little escape or adventure. Full time travelers and part-time explorers alike can benefit from the opportunities of house and pet sitting.

How about you, what are your house and pet sitting stories, adventure and advice?  If you’re curious to know more, feel free to ask any questions about house and pet sitting!

Wholeness

22 May

Greetings from the midwest as the Coronavirus journey continues! Like many of you out there, I am shifting through an unexpected set of life circumstances at this time. In an effort to relate to what’s so in my life in a way that serves me, I am doing my best to expand and adjust my way of thinking and not get lost in my own mind or tripped up on the intense world of emotions out there out in plain sight and hiding in some unexpected corners.

In the past weeks I’ve tuned into a handful of zoom meetings and youtube videos in an effort to keep myself tuned to a positive channel.

Here are few of my “favorite hits” and resources from recent weeks!

Krishna Das Chai and Chat Series
I love this series of little snippets of Krishna Das having tea while answering questions from selected curious minds. If you’re unfamiliar with Krishna Das, he is a well-known Kirtan Artist and loved and respected worldwide for his soulful chanting and humble, fun and down to earth nature. What I love about these videos is I feel he is the real deal sharing simple earnest truths from his journey. I love the vibe of his talks, the information shared and the way I just feel better after I’ve relaxed in them for a bit.

The “I” of the Storm
This is a book I am reading with an online Unity Church book group. We’re just a few chapters in, but already it is assisting me is shifting and developing a new point of view. The heart of the message of this book is that nothing is against us. The journey so far supports coming from a place of wholeness, outside of our automatic beliefs and meaning that we assign in this world of opposites, and living, making choices and viewing our lives from this lens.  He refers to this as the “I” of the storm.  A worthwhile read and a great lens for strengthening new muscles and adjusting points of view!

Creative Mornings Acts of Wholeness by Katherine Wintsch
Creative Mornings is an international meetup group in cities around the world that supports gatherings of creative folks – which is all of us!  They recently shared this video in their regular email offerings. It’s a fresh light story of a professional woman’s journey of needing to totally reevaluate her life when it was broken and not working. She shares some wonderful metaphors and her own experiences reminding us to start within in assessing what we need to make our life work and build out from there.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Reiki Master
Maureen has a distinct intuitive gift and offers numerous light-hearted and fun reminders of how we can stay tuned to joy in our lives no matter what our circumstances.

The unmistakable theme of all of these is wholeness. In my experience, it’s easy to get lost in feeling fragmented and tripped up. There are so many distractions out there that invite us into that!  I found all of these to be like signposts and simple reminders that it needn’t be so.

How about you? What beacons of light or simple joys are helping you stay connected in a positive way?

Thanks for tuning in!  Here’s wishing all of us wisdom and grace as we continue this journey!

 

 

 

Finding Your New Normal

20 Apr

Hey there! How is everyone doing out there? Here I am, in many ways I imagine, just like you doing my best to hunker down, lay low, play it safe and stay sane. I imagine also like you, my life has been rearranged in ways I wasn’t expecting. My living circumstances and location have changed. My surroundings have changed. My lifestyle has changed. And some days this is all okay. And other days it feels like everything just might come crumbling down. I have had my good days and I’ve had my bad moments and days.

As I was wading through some really intense emotions that I just didn’t know what to do with, I had a bit of a breakthrough. I needed to let it out. I got out my journal which had been neglected for nearly a year and wrote… and wrote and wrote. And I got out my drawing journal where I occasionally do a bit of colorful abstract meanderings, sharpened my colored pencils and just sort of went at it and… I feel a bit better. In the midst of all of this, I feel I’ve “figured out” a few things… so this is how it all looks to me.

Our lives have all wreaked havoc and our external “normal” has been stripped away. While this is uncomfortable and challenging, the opportunity here isn’t to get back to “normal” but to shift from within to a new normal. Let’s face it, our “normal” lives, while we were used to them and their familiarity, didn’t always work and left certain essential aspects of ourselves out in the cold. With our normal stripped away, it actually grants us an opportunity to disentangle from the trappings of that pattern that weren’t serving us and reconnect within to some of our inner lights that have been disconnected, forgotten, neglected or cast aside. I saw in myself all the large and small ways I had kicked important elements of myself “off the boat” for a variety of reasons – I didn’t have time, I felt I wasn’t good enough, I was more worried about making money. I was even ashamed of certain aspects of myself or too worried about what other people thought, so I ignored them or tossed them aside.

But here’s the deal, when we’re not being ourselves our lives don’t fully work. And while sometimes this may present a challenge as we feel people in our lives or society at large demand that we be a certain way, it truly is our life’s journey to become more aligned with who we really are. So as our normal is stripped away, it’s an opportunity to connect within to what feels true, soft, real for each of us personally and allow it – give it just a little breathing room to be. Through this experience we can transform from the inside out into a new normal.

Some of us may be feeling trapped, but perhaps the real trap is the myriad of ways we have cut ourselves off from our authentic selves. Access to freedom comes in reconnecting to ourselves and what is true for us if even in small ways.

So how do we do this?  I imagine this is a distinct journey for each of us, but here are few of my thoughts…

  1. Do something you love just for the joy of it. Not because it will get you something (recognition, approval, money, success) or that it is expected of you but simply because it’s a joy for you to do it. Let that be enough.
  2. Start a daily journal. It doesn’t have to be anything prolific or fancy but just a place where you can come daily to write down what’s so for you on this day. And if it inspires you, get yourself something cool, beautiful or fancy to write in.
    • Here’s a link to a pretty spiral bound notebook for journaling.
    • Here’s a great journal to revisit and chronicle your life called This Life of Mine by Anne Phyfe Palmer.
  3. Explore keeping a visual journal. This doesn’t have to be much, you can get a spiral bound blank sheet notebook and some colored pencils without much expense. Then just show up at the page daily or from time to time without judgement and just let it out.
  4. Support your journey with Young Living Essential Oils. I have to tell you, these oils have been a life saver in assisting me with moving through and transforming the emotional challenges and rocky roads that have come up recently along the journey. Favorites include Young Living Stress Away, Lavendar and Valor.  If you’re curious about these you can read more here and feel free to reach out.

One additional note of something I recognized in myself… it’s easy to blame those around us for any challenges or for feelings trapped. We’re all human – I know I am!  And truly some circumstances may work better than others or not be a fit for us. But as a starting point, I am seeing my own access to greater freedom comes from not looking outside but instead looking inside myself and beginning, one day at a time, to continue the journey of setting myself free as a launching point to a better “reality.”

Those are my musings for now from my temporary respite in the midwest. Wishing all of you the best in your own journey of excavation and finding your new normal!

Trust Reiki

18 Apr

I started practicing the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition of Reiki more than 15 years ago now. I was introduced to Reiki in a synchronistic passing with a neighbor on Carrollton Ave in New Orleans, LA.  “You should try Reiki” he suggested and it was as if a little bell rang in my ear. “Yes I should!” I thought.  A few weeks later I saw a Reiki flyer at the local yoga studio which connected me with a class by Reiki Master Elizabeth Ohmer Pellgrin.  And so my Reiki journey began.

I’ll be honest with you, my beginnings with Reiki started off a bit choppy. My body was so wracked with the depth of recent challenges and a lifetime of “holding on tight” in the midst of traumatic circumstances that when I gave myself Reiki my body practically convulsed and the energy was met with my own habitual resistance.  “Trust Reiki” Elizabeth encouraged and I did, continuing with my daily practice. “I am turning into a gloworm” I joked as I noticed a palpable shift in my body and being with regular self Reiki treatments.

I was fortunate to become part of a vibrant Reiki community. We met regularly for group treatments in various circles all over town. I made new friends and connections and Elizabeth was a steadfast support in my journey. I felt swept up and supported in a whole new way that formed the beginning of a new foundation.

A few years later when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and we were dispersed everywhere, Reiki was there. I met up with Elizabeth in Austin, TX  for a private second degree class. I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table in my temporary Austin abode excited and enchanted by the new leg of my journey.

Elizabeth shared the story of asking her first Reiki teacher, Ken Bower, the difference between first and second degree. He said, “Honey, first degree is like driving a Volkswagen. Second degree is like driving a Lamborghini.” Elizabeth said “Ken, how can you compare something as spiritual as Reiki to cars?”  He smiled and said, “You’ll see!” About two minutes later he pointed to a fancy car Elizabeth had never seen before. She raised her eyebrows and said “What?” He smiled and said “THAT’S a Lamborghini” as it sped off like a jet!

With second degree I began to support myself and others in new ways. A few years later when I took a leap and left the United States and began an unexpected international adventure, Reiki was there.  As someone who was very sensitive and still challenged by simple and day to day things, Elizabeth encouraged me to send Reiki to those in our community not only to support them, but to support me. Amazingly, as I began to devote more time daily to the practice of sending Reiki to others, my own challenges and discomforts lessened.  It felt like through sending I was becoming aligned with that energy and the more I stayed there, the better I felt.

I had the opportunity one year to attend the Northwest Reiki gathering at Breitenbush in Oregon.  I loved not only meeting and connecting with other Reiki practitioners and learning from the wisdom of the Masters, but also soaking in that energy for a weekend. I was at a crossroads in my work life at the time and I’ll never forget, after bathing in Reiki all weekend I just KNEW what I needed to do. In my “ordinary life” the choice that it supported may have seemed like a risk, but after a weekend of Reiki it felt like walking on solid ground.

As the years have gone by, Reiki has been my refuge, as I lean thickly and heavily on my daily self hands-on practice and hearty distant practice. As my New Orleans community has dispersed and grown, we still stay connected via a second degree Facebook group.  In this group we share our own Reiki requests and those in our community and send Reiki regularly. This daily devotion has become one of the pillars in my life and where I turn to provide a foundation for myself in the midst of ordinary life as well as crisis and challenges.

I am someone who has experienced a lot of upheaval and challenge. This includes physical and mental health challenges and challenges from the past. I had my apartment and all my belongings destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and then once again all my belongings were destroyed a few years later in a leaky storage unit in the hot humid city.  This launched me on an unexpected five year extravaganza abroad filled with interesting but also challenging twists and turns living in Europe and Asia. And in the past few years, my North Carolina apartment flooded, which began my house and pet sitting tour of the United States which has lasted over a year now. Through it all, Reiki was and continues to be there. My steady practice lays the stones that one by one support the building of an unshakable home no matter what is happening in my life or where I am.

In the midst of new challenges and in the wake of my journey and experiences, I hear the words of my teacher and the many teachers among her and before her. Trust Reiki.

Refuge

21 Mar

For over a year now I have been on the move, roaming about the country as a full-time house and pet sitter. Honestly, it’s been a time of uncertainty for me and the flexibility and change has been a way for me to stay in the flow as I continue to explore… what now and what next. I’ve been hanging out in the Austin, TX area for the past six months or so fortunate that the sits in the area have kept coming. It started with a few months in a community just outside Austin and then extended to a wonderful respite caring for two kitties on a beautiful stretch of land on a creek on the outskirts of the city limits.

More recently, I was settled for a bit in a suburban South Austin neighborhood until… you guessed it… coronavirus. Not a good time to be a housesitter. My clients were on an extended trip abroad in Southeast Asia and, as can be expected, they made a decision to come home early. Because of their travels and the risky airports they had to fly through on their way home, they were understandably asked to quarantine for fourteen days and so I had a quick window to pack up myself, prepare their home, and redirect my life for the short term.

As I am sure you can imagine, the housesitting world is quite shut down right now. My standard housesitting websites that are regularly a bounty of options if not in the neighborhood at least in the region are simply not available. I am fortunate that my mom offered for me to stay with her and so earlier this week I once again packed up the SUV and trekked from Austin to the midwest.

So here I am hunkered down in my mom’s guest bedroom surfing through some of my regular life of tending to my remote work. And like the rest of us, doing my best to stay informed while keeping that balance of not “too much.”  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t taking a toll on me. Like I am sure many of you out there, I feel anxious, nervous and overwhelmed while also simply doing my best to stay centered and at ease.

As a full-time solo traveler for much of this decade and a remote worker these past years, it would be fair to say that I have some experience with isolation. At times it can be joyful and satisfying. At other times a bit trying and maddening. Over the years I’ve done my best to appreciate the opportunity in it, seek the joy in it. That said, I can’t deny that yes, while our current circumstances are temporary, there is an unmistakable ring of confusion and anxiety in the air that makes it challenging for me to just sink in and enjoy the time.

That said, here are some of the things that I regularly lean on when the world around me feels confusing or I feel disconnected or off-kilter.

1. Reiki.  Ah Reiki. I have been practicing Reiki for nearly 15 years now. It’s a regular part of me and my life and its flow through my world is akin to breathing now. With my years of travel and someone who lives with and is healing from at times paralyzing anxiety, it has been a necessary and extraordinarily useful ingredient in making my way from point A to point B in the world and overcoming challenges and moments day to day that have me at times feeling stuck, overloaded and stopped. Regular doses of Reiki for myself and others are an important fuel that forms the basis of my daily life.

Would you like to try Reiki?  Reiki is something that can be done from a distance. Just for fun, for this coming week, I will offer four 15-minute distant Reiki treatments for free. Would you like to be one of them? Simply contact me in the next couple of days and lets set that up. If you’d like to learn more about Reiki, visit my page on Reiki.

2.  Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I have been chanting this almost daily for nearly a decade now. It’s so simple. I keep doing it because I can’t deny that when I chant things shift and I feel better. Have a little time on your hands? Try chanting for ten minutes. Here is a link to a video to show you how.

3.  Young Living Essential Oils. I have been using Young Living Essential Oils for over a year now. I love how they can shift my mood, support my health and deepen my spiritual practices. I am leaning heavily on Thieves oil at this time. The history of this oil goes back to the plague when thieves used this combination of oils to protect them from illness. I’ve had some amazing experiences with Young Living Thieves oil myself including stopping a severe reaction to mold in its tracks. Follow the link if you’d like to learn more. And feel free to reach out with questions.

4. Ho’oponopono. My trusted Reiki teacher just reminded me today of this prayer and Hawaiin practice. It can be used for others, for ourselves, current circumstances and those from the past. Surely we can all use a little forgiveness at this time for ourselves and others.  I know I can. It goes like this: I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.

Well, that’s all for now from coronavirus in the heartland. My life once again recently rearranged.  I’m in it with all of you… laying low, watching some movies and doing my best to stay centered and connected with powerful tools and practices.

Back in Texas

10 Oct

I’ve been in the Austin, Texas area for about a month now. I have to admit that my landing has been a little less than elegant. A series of car issues and just a feeling of “adjustment” have had me feeling not quite on my feet.

I lived in the Austin area for a few years in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Known as an “evacuee” at the time, it was a powerful and transformational period for me. Returning almost 15 years later is quite a trip. Austin has, shall we say, exploded! Honestly, it was a bit of a jolt to see the maze of new highways, strip malls, building and shopping developments in the town I lived in and called home for a bit. As I’ve been here a while longer I have had glimpses of the town that I loved and the place that for a little while felt like “home.”

One of my favorite places to return to has been Unity Church of the Hills. This church was a bit of a refuge for me when I lived here post-Katrina. It’s where I first heard Gary Renard speak (author of Disappearance of the Universe) which had a major impact on my spiritual thinking. It’s where I went to a sound healing session and got my first truly deep restful nights sleep in the wake of the upheaval of hurricane Katrina. Years later, with new ministers at the helm, the church is as dynamic and alive as ever. Their message is so gentle, powerful and loving. It is a great community to take a dip in while I am here.

Black Tourmaline

After a year of traveling and house and pet sitting in the US, while in many ways I am so grateful for the diversion and new scenery (and still want more of it!), I am also a bit exhausted from the constant change and travel. More recently here in Austin I have found myself in need of a bit of an “attitude adjustment.” Stumbling upon a few friendly reminders like “laughter yoga” and the importance of laughter for health and even a “chance encounter” with a powerful healing stone, black tourmaline, to lift off some of the negativity (in myself and the world at large) have made a difference.

Some of the people I turn to for wisdom and advice talk about this time in general as one of great change and spiritual shift. Perhaps even an inner revolution of sorts. Can you feel it? I know I feel that myself, my world and the world are being rocked in a deep way.

When “the going gets rough” I turn to my favorite trusted resources to help smooth out the ride.

Young Living Oils Lavender and Valor

  • Young Living Essential Oils  These oils are my constant companion, especially when things feel a bit rough. Valor and Lavender (among many others) are a few big hitters that bring some groundedness, soften some of the anxiety, and restore a bit of equilibrium to my mind, body and being. Would you like to learn more?
  • Healthy eating.  Wow, it really makes a difference. I have to be honest, when I am stressed or feeling a lot of emotional intensity I want to run for comfort food. But I do my best to make good choices in times of stress. Eating a healthy base makes such a big difference in my body, mind and mood. It’s critical. Recently I’ve been revisiting the site of Kris Carr (https://kriscarr.com/), cancer survivor and wellness guru. I’ve especially loved reading about her meal planning tips (https://kriscarr.com/blog/kris-carr-crazy-sexy-meal-plan/) and exploring some of her recipes!
  • Spiritual Nourishment. I have to say, I love God. And for me spiritual nourishment, connection comes in many forms. My daily reiki practice. My buddhist chanting practice of Nam-myoho renge kyo. Time in nature. Being inspired by the beautiful music of “Celebration” at Unity Church of the Hills. It’s all good. And for me, it’s all needed, helpful, useful and inspiring. What do you turn to for your spiritual nourishment?

When I feel like I am in the dark, I also appreciate pulling a few cards. Sometimes this means a tarot reading from my own deck or a professional reading. I also enjoy getting a quick burst of insight from Collette Barron Reid’s online card ap (https://www.colettebaronreid.com/). I am amazed at how often her cards deliver a morsel of wisdom that helps me refocus, regroup, realign in way that is meaningful and helpful.

Here’s wishing you a little peace, wisdom and laughter wherever you are in the world, whatever your journey!

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