We been pickin cotton…

We been pickin cotton for ya – Under master’s hand.

We been pickin cotton for ya – master says we can.

We been pickin cotton for ya – Throats dry with bleeding lips.

We been pickin cotton for ya – We hopin for a sip.

We been pickin cotton for ya – No water for our lips

We been pickin cotton for ya – masters’ got a whip.

Yes, those lines they run deep that runs across my face.  But it’s those lines run down my back that my people like to trace.

We been picking cotton for ya – One day we be free.

We been picking cotton for ya – Now let’s let it be.

These words, the first time I heard them, gave me soul-vibrating chills.  The impact – wow, the impact – was breath-stealing, gut-wrenchingly powerful.  I did not read these words in a book – nor a website.  They were not obtained in a typical manner – in a way that would be believable to many.  Several months ago I dreamt of the woman who would later give this song to a friend during vision.  It was explained in my friend’s vision that this was a slave song – the words needed to be transcribed and passed on to me.  While powerful & extraordinary, the purpose of this left us confused.  Why had we been gifted a slave song?  What was the meaning for us & how were we to apply this to our lives or lessons? Or, was it for us at all?

What follows is more than a story but a depiction of the ever-expanding interconnected web of my life.  More than a description of a single session, it illuminates how the lives of others get woven into the fabric of my own.  The way people find me is simply amazing and represents the definition of Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ – our interconnectedness to each other & all that is.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ is a Lakota Sioux phrase translated to mean “all my relations”, the meaning of which reflects the belief regarding our interconnectedness.  It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, rocks, rivers, mountains, weather — AND Creator.  Central to its meaning is that I cannot exist without you and you cannot exist without me.  Everything we do has an effect on others and on our world – seems pretty simple & straight forward.  But, like most simple things, this is complex, contains layers and traction…once a connection is forged, others are opened, and still others and others and others and….you get the point.  You can get lost in these rabbit holes!

Sometimes the power of this concept hits me like a ton of bricks – sometimes synchronicities make it hard to deny our interconnectedness.  Delilah (not her real name) has been coming to see me for about 6 months.  I could tell you a whole different story about how we crossed each other’s paths and the signs that pointed her in my direction…but I’ll spare you.  Delilah is very in tune with her being and, for this reason, her sessions normally consists of an energy “tune-up” to help with grounding, balance or clarity and maybe a little shamanic healing work.  I received a notification yesterday that she had booked an appointment for today – I love these surprise appointment messages!  Delilah emailed as well to let me know she could come early if it worked out for my schedule.  I responded that I had an appointment before hers & that I would most likely need all the scheduled time. HA!  It’s a pretty good sign a session is going to pack a punch when the Creator starts rearranging shit on you!  Not more than 30 minutes after I responded to Delilah’s email, did the client scheduled before her message me to say she would only have time for 30 minutes.  I guess it was going to be possible to see Delilah 45 minutes earlier than expected.  I love these twists and turns…

I have a confession – I woke up today not feeling very capable.  Not feeling very strong.  Not feeling confident in my intuitive or healing abilities.  I confessed to a friend that I always get excited when I have a session with Delilah but the excitement is usually followed by fear.  Delilah is the ONLY person I see in which this irrational fear comes into play.  My fear is she will discover I’m a fraud & that I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing.  Shiiit…my cover is about to be blown…

Delilah was in the waiting room as I walked the previous client out of session.  She is always a beautiful sight – oozing with intelligence, independence and a courageous spirit.  Today was no different but, as she hugged me tightly in greeting, I could feel her tension.  She began talking as she shrugged out of her coat & fell heavily into the chair.  As she spoke about the heavy energy she felt surrounding her, she appeared more vulnerable & sensitive than I had ever seen her.  She admitted to feeling weepy often in the previous week and that she was having difficulty with certain familial relationships.  An exploration of this topic felt cold – I was getting nothing from Spirit.  Though she appeared confident this was what our work should center on, she began telling of recent difficulties with her boss & the frustration this caused.  A few years earlier she had done healing work surrounding this person and had discovered their past life tie in which he had been an abusive controlling husband or father.

As our consult continued it became clear Delilah would receive a combination of Reiki, Shamanic healing and ThetaHealing® while on the massage table. I continued to ask questions as a way to dig down into the heart of the issue – she exclaimed with clarity that the slave/slave master dynamic was a new past life relationship that needed to be explored.  Now we were getting somewhere.  As an afterthought Delilah looked at me wide-eyed as she suddenly remembered a message from Spirit she needed to pass on to me.  “I’m supposed to remind you of the boat”.  My head jerked up as my breath caught in the throat and my heart pounded like a war drum.  I looked at her and said, “You need to hear about a dream I had several weeks ago.  I think it’s for you.”

I am in the passenger seat of a 4×4 vehicle with my husband and a close friend.  We are driving on flat land looking for the perfect camping spot.  We stop at an amazing space right on the ocean — there is no beach to speak of.  The land just morphs into the depths of the ocean.  Suddenly I find myself on a slave ship – we are in the middle of our voyage.  I am standing looking overboard contemplating throwing myself out.  To jump out of the ship means certain death – I weigh my options.  Desperation lies in staying … and going. 

Like a scene from a movie, we suddenly cut to me crouched in a cage made of bamboo.  Not a permanent enclosure but one constructed in such a way that I can be seen from all angles and contained until it was time to move me.  I realize I am a slave at auction.  In an odd way, I feel safe contained in my cage. 

As I look around, I notice across the way another cage.  Here sits another African woman in wait.  Although her head is down, her eyes are directed my way.  Her stare is intense, soul reaching and pleading.  The intensity of her stare – not fear – wakes me from my dream.  My thoughts raced.  “She needs my help.  What am I supposed to do for her?”                                                       

     As soon as morning arrives, I call my friend to relay my vision & to inquire if she had a similar experience.  I am not surprised to hear we dream traveled together. 

I WAS surprised to hear her visit with the African woman was much more relaxed & casual – even fun!.

I go on to tell Delilah that my friend called the afternoon after this dream to tell me the slave woman was with her.  They were talking but there was no indication of what she needed or wanted – I just needed to know she was there.  Again, a few days later, I receive a call from my friend.  The tone is much different this time –  the woman had gifted a slave song.  No explanation other than, “pass this on to Randi.  She will know when the words will be needed”.

The week following the dream, I felt the African woman’s presence wholly and heavily.  There was little to no communication – just the cold hard pleading stare.  It is, as I am relaying this dream and the after events to Delilah that she crumples into tears in front of me.  Good – this is the trail.  I have found the missing link to this puzzle.  I ask Delilah if she thinks this African woman was her in a past life.  All she can manage is to shake her head yes.  We have been lead to the story that needs to be healed.

As I settle Delilah in for the healing work, I talk about my time in West Africa studying the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  I ask if she has always felt a strong connection or emotion regarding the slave trade – her answer does not surprise me.  She says the strength of the slave spirit has always tugged at her heart.  As I tune into Delilah’s energy field, I ask for the Creator’s guidance to take over.  As I become the conduit for the healing, I am inundated with impressions.  As I establish connection with Delilah, my hands to her shoulders, I see her as the slave woman being whipped, beaten and abused.  I see her being choked as my hands are on the back of her neck.  But most prominently, I see her current boss – he was her slave master.  In this lifetime, and past lifetimes, he has been scared of her… of her power… of her strength.

As we work on finding and changing beliefs surrounding attachment, I see the slave woman’s spirit detach from Delilah’s physical body and get lost.  We cannot continue meaningful work until this lost part of her soul is integrated back into her being.  I explain what I see to Delilah and receive consent to proceed.  As we begin the process of soul retrieval and integration, I see the African woman from my dream approach the left side of the table.  In my mind’s eye, I see she has approached Delilah on the left side of the boat.  Delilah has been grasping the edge, contemplating her jump overboard.  The woman holds out her hand and says “Come with me.  You no longer have to endure this – you no longer have to stay here.”  Though, letting go of the boat means certain death to Delilah, she is coaxed to unclench her grasp and step overboard.  As Delilah steps over the edge of the boat, their two spirits ascend above the boat and swirl around and around each other until they become one.  Finally, their Spirit settles peacefully on top of the water and they float in serene freedom.

After our session has concluded and we are easing ourselves back into this time and space, Delilah looks at me and says, “I didn’t tell you this before. Earlier in the week I was working with a Quantum Healing technique.  I found myself in slave quarters where a woman was up on blocks being whipped.  I approached her from the left, held out my hand and said “Come with me.  You no longer have to endure this – you no longer have to stay here.”

I cannot make this stuff up.

Instant chills.  Tears.  And, relief that today was not the day that she discovered I’m a fraud.  HA!

I like to view my life as a web that I am the center of.  This is neither egoic, nor self-centered as we are each the center of our own circles.  In keeping in mind Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ, it’s easy to see how my dream intersected with another – how our shared dream was a message for yet another – and how going forward, the soul retrieval for Delilah will impact the people in her own life. Every action we take, that is motivated by love, leads to connection.  I believe connection is one of the greatest joys of life – to witness or experience the masterful design that takes place to ensure certain souls connect is awe-inspiring.  THIS is what I live for – this is why I open for the Creator to work through me.

What does the song mean to me now in the aftermath?  This whole experience & all the takeaways are multi-layered.  Intense.  Deep.  Simply put – and not to make lightly of the atrocities of slavery – aren’t we ALL pickin cotton?  Aren’t we all under a Master’s hand of some kind – addiction, fear, anger, or disconnection – that we are trying to free ourselves of?  Aren’t we all suffering in our attempts to free ourselves?  Don’t we ALL need the reminder that though we have scars we can trace & memories we can relive, that at a certain point we just need to drop it and let it be?  Let it be so we may move forward in love.  In connection.

**The word “master” was deliberately NOT capitalized.  We are slaves to noone – noone is our master.

UPDATE – April 28th, 2018:

My husband and I traveled to Maryland for his best friend’s wedding.  The morning of the ceremony, I headed out to explore as Matt was getting prepped and ready for the day.  The wedding venue was located less than 10 minutes from North Point State Park.  At the point of the peninsula, the Chesapeake Bay & Potomac River intersect.  This was my destination for the morning.

Untitled As I arrived in my nature-y surroundings, I felt myself relax into the experience.  I drove at a meandering pace throughout the whole park before settling on a place to park.  As I drove there were soft sandy beaches to my right & sharp jagged rock keeping the water at bay to my left.  I parked in a location that allowed access to the beach AND the marshy area where the cranes, egrets and heron were flocking to.  Even in Iowa, I gravitate toward these birds.  It is a personal challenge to get as close as I can without them flying away – these birds like their privacy & to be allowed within a close proximity is a great honor.  I feel a kinship in this way.

I am strolling along the marsh, mind blank & soaking in the energy of the birds & the place – all is perfect.  Suddenly, I am halted.  My body vibrates.  I am covered in chills.  My Spirit eyes survey my surroundings. In that moment I feel the slave woman with me again.  She is here to remind me we were here in another lifetime together.  To hammer in the importance of inter-connection.

And, to assure me I am not a fraud.  😉

Reset & Renew

That day we’ve been looking forward to after the long cold winter is upon us… the first day of Spring.  In the Midwest, we know this is usually just a date on the calendar & the realities of winter may linger for several more weeks.  Even if Spring IS just a date to mark time, it is still hope…the promise of renewal, growth and new beginnings.  For several weeks I’ve been planning my garden, outdoor gatherings & adventures and feeling my body respond to Spring’s approach.  As we wipe our eyes of sleep, regain our hunger for life and emerge from our winter siesta with clarity, vigor & excitement, we may take some time to pause & reflect on what we want to accomplish in this new season & make plans to prepare ourselves.

Spring is a time to move forward in fresh new & positive ways.  A time for clearing the past, healing the present and planning for the future.  It is the time to plant new seeds, plan new beginnings and explore new paths – a time for roots to develop.  In ancient times, rituals were performed during the Spring Equinox at the moment the Earth crossed the Equator – the moment that marked the days & nights being the same length.  The phrase “spring cleaning” derives from these rituals which entailed the cleansing of old energy out of homes & temples to make room for the new being ushered in.

Spring Equinox is much more than our days growing longer – symbolically, it is our cue to examine the balance we have in our lives – physically, energetically, emotionally & spiritually.  Additionally, the increased light shines to illuminate old patterns with new awareness – it helps us wake up to what is not working & what we need to shed so we are able to walk forward.  Personally, I have had experiences over the winter that have shown me what I need to shed, what I need to work toward & where I need to grow.  The longer days & warmer weather have been helping me gear up…but, this year, I am aware I need to find ways to support & reinforce the transitions I sense coming in.

I have been reflecting on the Raindrop Therapy I offer and how this is a perfect modality for helping the body & Spirit make transitions.  This particular treatment humbles me in a deeply moving way.  I have described that it feels as though I am washing a person’s soul clean.  The deep reverence & profound love I feel while giving Raindrop Therapy is indescribable – I feel honored & humbled to be in service to the person.  I often feel transported to another plane of consciousness – I see & work on the physical body but am acutely aware I am also working on their Spirit.  With each application of oil & with each stroke, there is a prayer directed for the person’s highest and best.  The prayer that what is no longer needed is released to enable the person to walk forward lighter of Spirit & stronger of body.  To be set back on their path – the path that leads them to realize their Creator/Spirit/God-given gifts in service to others.  I have been moved to tears on occasion when I feel the technique washing the Spirit clean, healing on a profound level and being in the awareness that none of this actually comes from me – but thru me from the Divine.

Spring is often thought of in conjunction with Easter for Christians.  While I am not a devout Christian, the religious significance of washing another’s feet has been quite impactful.  During the Last Supper, the night before his crucifixion, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a display of his honor and servitude.  Before Jesus’ display of service, a job normally delegated to the lowliest of slaves,  the disciples had been arguing amongst themselves as to which of them was the greatest.  There was no slave present to wash their feet & not a one of them thought to wash the feet of another – pride, ego and fear at play.  To see their leader take the role of the lowliest slave is recorded to have been quite the shock!  To increase the impact of his action, Jesus told the disciples, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

Whoa!  Is it any wonder I feel all of this when I hold another’s feet in my hands?  In the last several months what was once a knowing has morphed into a deep assuredness – my healing is my gift to give away.  I witness this in each session I lead – each time I see a client react or hear them exclaim to the lightness of spirit they feel.  Raindrop Therapy has opened my path as a practitioner in many ways.  Every time I perform a session for another, I also feel lighter and that my soul has been washed.  I can think of no better way to prepare myself or anyone else for a transition or reset.   Seems to me, Spring is the perfect time…

Other ways to “reset” your body & spirit during the transitioning season

  • Create a health or life plan
    • List what you would like to clear out of your past or within yourself
    • List the things you would like to see happen in the new year
    • Include GOALS with action items to keep you focused
  •   Cleanse or fast
    • Cleansing and fasting have been used throughout history for many reasons but the common theme is ridding the body of excess waste, debris & disease.
      • A cleanse of fast may rejuvenate & enhance vitality of the physical body
      • Spiritually, they are used to attain greater awareness & clarity
      • In the energetic & emotional body they may aid in releasing resentments, judgement and stagnating energies
**If you plan to fast or cleanse, consult a healthcare professional**
  • Bathing & scrubbing the skin with a loofah or body brush to remove dead skin cells & wash away toxins
  • Daily exercise that builds strength & endurance while providing a cleansing sweat
  • Other body & energy therapies aimed at moving energy through, in & around the body & auric fields





My Journey Thru Reiki

I am frequently asked how I got started in my spiritual-based business – was I always able to do what I do?  How did I know it was the right path for me?  The answer is always the same – it all started with Reiki.  I stumbled onto the healers path after being intrigued with conversations friends would have about how incredible Reiki energy felt surging through their bodies.  At the time, I had also newly embarked on a path to spiritual self-discovery.  I had no idea what THAT even meant much less what impact Reiki would have on my life.

In the haziness of a true newbie, I completed the first two levels of Usui Reiki.  Because I was such a baby on my spiritual path & didn’t know a thing about Reiki, I did not fully understood the concepts I was taught, I had little to no experiences during the attunment processes but, MAN, I sure felt that energy flowing within and out of me as I performed my first few treatments.  My hands vibrated and I dripped sweat from the intensity of the energy coursing through my body.  I was a believer & these were my clues that Reiki flowed freely & easily through me.  I sporadically used Reiki on myself, friends and immediate family but did not feel the need to pursue further classes.

A few years passed and I found I had stumbled my way into massage therapy school.  I discussed with an instructor my wishes to advance my Reiki practice & explained personal struggles were making me question that decision.  She suggested a “Reiki redo” to reset the energy & to experience the upgraded energy Holy Fire Reiki would provide.  She explained Holy Fire Reiki consisted of a higher vibrating energy than the Usui Reiki I had originally taken.  I eagerly took her advice and took Holy Fire Reiki I, II & Advanced Reiki Training (ART) classes through her.  In Usui Reiki courses, the instructor interacts with the students directly to ignite and open the flow of Reiki energy in each student.  During the course of the Holy Fire Reiki I & II weekend, I came to find out that this was a major difference between Usui & Holy Fire Reiki.  In Holy Fire Reiki, the instructor begins Experiences, Placements and Ignitions with a semi-guided meditation but backs away and allows the spirit of Holy Fire to direct and lead the experience that is necessary for the individual.  It is incredible to hear others tell about their experiences and realize everyone gets exactly what they need to heal.

My Holy Fire Reiki I & II weekend was magical.  I had a very profound and healing dream the night before the first class.  I think I would have been happy if that was all that I experienced.  During the Holy Love Experience divine love is installed into each person’s soul more deeply and clearly.  It is said to induce great love and feelings of being deeply cared for and nurtured.  During this experience, two beloved friends, who had each passed away too young, came to guide me on a path along the river.  We wandered the river’s edge until we broke through a tree-lined path to a wide open prairie at the top of a bluff.  Situated in this secure location was a small rustic cabin.  Warmth emanated through the lights shining behind curtained windows and the billows of smoke escaping the chimney.  As we approached, a man casually stood on the covered front porch.  He smiled a kind greeting and ushered my friends & I through the door.  As we entered we were greeted by the warmth of all those crowded inside, each present to offer their support, love and guidance on my path.  Herbs hung drying from the rafters, mortar and pestles in mid-use were on the table and a concoction brewed on the stove.  The intense and pure love that emanated from this place was breathtaking, confirming and soothing.  I had found my home – my soul – my safe haven.

A few months passed before I was able to take the Advanced Reiki Training class.  Diving timing is a funny thing you don’t recognize until the moment you are in it…or later – it will never cease to amaze and delight me when I recognize these moments.  The ART class was held less than a week after I had completed my vision quest.  I was still swirling with the new energy, messages and visions I had collected during this quest – many of which made no sense.  The experiences during the ART class caused many of the floating pieces to fit together & connected dots.  The Healing in the River of Life Experience was conducted to release all that needed to be released through the Holy Fire.  The flames of the Holy Fire do not burn, but sooth, purify, heal, guide and empower the individual.  During this experience the spirit of one of my newly discovered animal guides merged into my being and we became one.  At another point, I saw the heavens and Universal knowledge open to me.  I reached my hand up into the starry knowledge filled sky and saw a funnel implanted into my being.  The funnel extended from the heavens into my Crown chakra, through my core and out thru my hands and feet.  As this was happening, I felt the Universe fill and flow through me as I was laid upon the Earth.  When I was comfortable with my body pressed upon the warm Earth, my hands were gently lifted and Amethyst crystals were inserted into my palms.  The ART class was one of the most empowering, fulfilling and inspiring classes I have yet to take.

At this point I was still not convinced I wanted to be a Reiki Master. I had been told early on that the only reason to go onto this step would be to teach.  And I was NOT into that idea…at all.  I opened my massage therapy & spiritual healing practice and was content with the growth of my personal Reiki practice & the frequency with which this service was used.  At some point I came to realize I was ready for my energy practice to advance.  A thriving Reiki Center in another city had been catching my attention.  I was intrigued by the idea of a full-time Reiki center and wanted to meet the owner & hear how she was creating a community around this modality.  I reached out and was invited to visit for a day.  The night before this meeting I had a vision dream in which the ancestors were connecting and discussing my life path with me.  I woke up foggy but excited by possibility.  At my chiropractic visit that morning, the doctor asked about the woman in green.  I laughed and said I didn’t know what he was talking about. He went on to explain that she was there that day helping him with the adjustment & that she was definitely there for me.  Whoa!

At the Reiki Center, the owner, Mary, and I visited for quite a while before she offered  to do a Reiki treatment.  I snagged the opportunity.  Mind you, while I had always been able to feel the Reiki coursing through my body as I treated another, I had never received a Reiki session in which I felt or experienced much.  (*This is a reflection of how closed I had been prior to this day & in no way a reflection of the abilities of the practitioners I had received from.)  During the course of the session, a guide presented himself to me & showed me a sacred object I was to create.  I was blown away by the images, colors and sensations I felt all throughout the hour-long treatment.  When the session was complete, the owner looked at me with wide eyes and said “Thank you so much for allowing me to share this session with you”.  I inquired what she had seen and she explained she rarely saw anything but in this session she had been overwhelmed with the beautiful deep emerald-green of my heart and the expansiveness of it.  In addition, she felt a warm & loving female presence associated with the color.  My lady in green had made her presence known in a most magical way.  I knew in that moment I had found my Reiki Master.

I blindly signed up for the next Reiki Master class Mary was offering.  At this time, I was not aware that the Holy Fire energy had recently experienced an upgrade to its intensity & purity.  This newest upgrade was called Holy Fire Reiki II.  At the beginning of the first day of class, our instructor let us know she had just received this newest upgrade and would be passing to us the highest & purest form of Reiki available.  I felt fortunate to have bumbled my way into another Reiki upgrade situation – we are so guided and taken care of when we are following our soul’s purpose!!  During Day 1 of the Master class, the Pre-Ignition experience is conducted to get the student ready for the Reiki Master Ignition.  It works by removing any energies that are incompatible with the Holy Fire energy and opens the space where the Holy Fire energy will be located.  During this exercise, I found myself floating on my back in a river being washed and cleansed.  A female guide stood on the shore beckoning me to come forward.  Upon leaving the water, I sat with her on the riverbank and felt the sand sifting through our fingers and toes – scrubbing the last of what no longer belonged away from my being.  At this time, I became aware of the sky opening up and God’s hands coming down to offer me a healing.  As I looked up, I saw God’s face and recognized the source of all love, compassion and empathy.  It was powerfully humbling.

In the almost two years since I received my Reiki Master designation, I have experienced varying degrees of shifts and growth in my Reiki practice.  While they feel like subtle shifts, they have a huge impact on my clients and me.  Reiki sessions don’t take as long, my body temperature is regulated, my sight and intuition has opened to allow me to follow instructions of the guides that come through, the flow of the Reiki is even, consistent and strong, and my clients are experiencing amazing sensations and seeing amazing things themselves.  I attribute this to the upgraded Holy Fire Reiki II energy – it is truly amazing.

In October 2017 I taught my first group of Holy Fire II Reiki students.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up teaching.  In total transparency, my reason for advancing to Reiki Master was the allow me access to Karuna Reiki training.  However, the Universe is always trying to lead us to the opportunities that align with our soul’s purpose.  There is the saying, “When the student is ready, the teachers will come”.  This works in reverse also – “When the teacher is ready, the students will come”.  I had several people inquire about the possibility of me teaching them Reiki and I knew if they were asking it was time to teach.  I told myself it only had to be for one group of students and stepped out of my comfort zone and planned a class.  I was totally shocked with the joy & ease I felt in the space of teacher.  The pride I felt in witnessing the learning, connections and successes of those students.  I, again, stumbled into the right opportunity.

This past December (2017), I received attunement & certification in Violet Flame Reiki. This certification intrigued me because I had only heard about the Violet Flame through clients who work with it.  History purports healers in the time of Atlantis worked with this energy but their egos grew large and they abused the knowledge of the Violet Flame for self gain.  For this reason the Violet Flame was taken away until it was reintroduced in 2012.  The purpose of its reintroduction & use is to increase the power of traditional Reiki in preparation for the higher Universal vibratory levels we are now experiencing.  As the protector of the Violet Flame here on Earth, St. Germaine works in conjunction with Ascended Master Kuan Yin to oversee the healers who channel this energy – safeguards to ensure proper use and handling of this energy.  This unique energy is meant to be used in removing, transmuting and cleansing negative energy from the physical, mental and spiritual bodies and prepare those stuck in negative patterns for ascension.

We now come to the present and what might be coming next in my Reiki practice & services.  Several months ago, I awoke from a dream vision in which I was told to seek out Holy Fire Karuna Reiki certification.  I have been in contact with my Reiki Master and this class is coming soon.  I am super excited!  There are plans to teach more beginner classes & schedule my first Advanced & Master Reiki classes in 2018.  I have had persistent thoughts about a few other classes that have not yet been mapped out.  I have ideas for shares and a few unique opportunities for those who already practice Reiki but I am not rushing any of this.  2017 was a year of intense activity and doing – I am determined to allow 2018 to be the year of rest and allowing divine timing to guide my actions and decisions.  

It took years for me to recognize my path as a healer – I did not have the confidence or belief that I was worthy of this gift for quite a long time.  I questioned how it was that I could be so incredibly broken and have the ability to help others put themselves back together.  The confidence came after the disbelief was washed away during a nervous breakdown.  This fissure in my being absolutely debilitated me for a solid month.  The raw emotion was horrible but the outcome has been incredible.  I am deeply and honestly grateful to have gone through this experience and come out on the side of light.  It was this experience that cracked me open & drained me of massive amounts of self-doubt, negative self-worth, anger and the hatred I directed back toward myself.  It pushed me from being who I thought I was supposed to be into the light of who I am.  I did not recognize the person that was born of this experience but I felt at ease & joyful.  To get to that point, I HAD to cry.  I HAD to heal.  Without Reiki, I don’t know what would have happened.  Reiki not only aided in my personal healing, it helped forge a personal connection with the Creator & my true self, healing gifts and life purpose.

Learning & receiving Reiki has been a life-changing experience — each class and session has added something to my practice – extra layers, greater understanding, and new depths to be shared & experienced.  Reiki has been about much more than broadening my education and awareness – it has been a healing journey.  I no longer find it ironic that my clients and I share similar family histories, core wounds and spiritual gifts.  I have trust in God, the Universe, the Source of all that is – I recognize those who need what we have are lead to us on their own journeys to self-discovery.  In this understanding, I can be truly appreciative of the struggles of the past, in the present and those yet to come.  Because of these struggles I grow personally.  Because of these, I expand the group of those I can help.  And, in that small way, I am helping others heal and grow.

The Tree & The Wind

The wind swooped down to the ground where I stood.  Face to face, it playfully cajoled and invited me to ride on its tailwinds.  Without hesitation, I grabbed hold of a new adventure.  We blew in and out of valleys – up and around mountain peaks while we laughed & played with the trees.  I held on without fear or reservation – allowing the wind to be concerned about the logistics of our adventure.  In the intangible arms of my new friend, I knew my role was to sit back and ride the warm and comforting currents.  As the novelty faded and boredom set in, I wondered if I could control the direction and strength of the wind.  I suddenly found myself back on the ground gently coaxing the wind into a box to be harnessed and stashed away for another time – another reason.

In a state of wonder the next morning, I relayed the experience to a friend & elder.  She was delighted by the news and exclaimed she would like to take the opportunity to remind me of the teachings of Tree and the Wind as she guessed it would have a different impact and meaning after this journey.  She reminded me this teaching had been channeled through her by an Ancient & guide, Metekeequa.  The complete teaching is relayed in the following:

Teaching of the Tree and the Wind by Metekeequa 

Channeled through Jamie Paige

Right now, members of the group seek answers to many questions.  I will tell a story that will help you.  The tree and the wind will teach them.  Tell them to pick up their writing sticks and look at the tree.  Listen to the wind.  Write about the tree and the wind.  Many are struggling with hard decisions.  It is working on your health.  The tree and the wind can help.

The tree needs to be studied.  It started out small.  But it spread its branches as it reached for the sun.  Now it stands proud.  Its whole life it stayed in one place.  It did its work.  The birds made their homes in it.  The aphids made its leaves shine.  It stands before you, proud.  It is proud of living its life in one place.  Do you hear it?  It is telling you.

The wind was a traveler.  It started here and never stopped moving.  Tree and Wind used to play with each other.  Wind would tickle Tree’s leaves and make it laugh, until one day; Wind decided it had to leave.

Tree was sad but Wind said, “Don’t be.  I will return for visits.  Someday I may even stay.  But for now, I must look and explore.  I am not happy in one place.”

For a while Tree felt sad, mad and lonely.  Sad because he missed Wind.  Mad because he felt stuck here and could not move.  Lonely because he had no friends.

Slowly though, Tree awakened.  He noticed new birds making houses in his branches.  He got to know them very well.  They thanked Tree for being such a good tree.  Soon Tree began to realize his importance.  He felt proud and made lots of new friends.  Every so often Wind would blow in.  Those were good fun times.  There were lots of memories.  And Tree was happy to be a tree and he hugged his friend Wind and then watched him go.  And Wind was also proud of himself.  He had become stronger and was happy his friend Tree was happy.  And life went on with both of them being happy.

Now all you have to do is decide who are you are most like.  Which teacher is yours?  Therein lies your answers.

Some of us are speakers. Other of us learn by watching.  Listening.  At the fires many of us are there.  But you are not listening to us.  We are not invited in.  It is all you have to do.  We are there to protect you.  To help you learn.

Whoa – Jamie was right.  Although I’d heard the message of this teaching before it was more impactful as it hammered points home and broadened my perspective on topics like grounding, centeredness and balance.  I hadn’t been ready for the messaging until now – the dream was the sign.  But what had changed?  What shifts had occurred within me to be shown the power of the wind (and myself) in such a potent dream?

What had changed?  What experiences had I recently had that I could relate to the lessons of the wind?  As you’ve been informed before, I’m not generally known for my willingness to hear and comply to Spirit’s wish until it gets really loud, insistent and hurts.  I had felt a shift about a month before the dream that had been so subtle I wasn’t sure it had really occurred.  It felt soft & gentle – like a soft breeze brushing lightly against my skin.  The change made itself known after I had attended an event with a group of friends.  While standing in a circle talking, my attention was grabbed & I was made aware of a person from my past who holds no love for me.  In the past, the awareness of this person would have felt like a destructive gale force wind but that day, in the gentle breeze, her presence was a mere observation.  At the end of the day I thought about it, about her, and realized there was little feeling to root me – to get me stuck – it just was.  I had been the tree suffering in my attachment to the situation – she had merely been the wind, the experience that brought change, pushed me to grow and broadened my awareness.

The tree needs to be studied.  It started out small.  But it spread its branches as it reached for the sun.  Now it stands proud.  Its whole life it stayed in one place.

I am a tree.  I started out small – young, inexperienced, sheltered from possibility, only seeing what was directly in front of me.  I spread my branches as I grew, learned and awakened to new experiences and, ultimately, realized life held more than what was in front of me – more than I could see or imagine.  As I tried to apply this teaching to my life, I was stuck on how I could have gone to college, spent months in West Africa, lived in the Houston-metro area for years, earned my Master’s degree, etc. without ever moving from “my spot”?  I could stand proud in all I’d done because my trunk had grown wide, my branches extended and the leaves of my existence colored the world but, what had been going on under the surface?  As much as my outside world changed the core of who I was remained stuck in old beliefs & thought patterns – I had refused to look within.  Old and stagnant beliefs & thought patterns had created a wobbly and weak root system.  One huffy-puff-puff could blow it all down…and did repeatedly.

In my baby steps onto the path of self-examination – to strengthen my roots – the most prevalent message I received was that I needed to work on getting grounded.  In reflection, I see I had been a chaotic wind operating in reaction mode – a gusty, sometimes, dangerous wind without direction.  Getting grounded was essential for me – thru this process I discovered who I was, who I wanted to be, my purpose, and how to shed the thoughts & beliefs that were no longer serving me.  Grounding brought me focus, clarity, safety, stability, self-worth, confidence and knowingness.  As I got REALLY good at grounding, I became argumentative, stubborn, cocky and unwilling to change.  In this state I learned to fear the wind and any change it may bring.

Situations of the same nature have repeated themselves often in my life over the last 4 years.  I misinterpreted these as challenges to the lessons in grounding when there were really opportunities to learn about centeredness.  The phrase “grounded & centered” is thrown around a lot – but I had only contemplated the grounding and neglected to investigate the nature of centeredness and its benefits.  I came to weakly understand & view centeredness as the next step past grounding.  Grounding provided me with roots, the backbone and the place to come home to when I needed to remember my place in the world.  Centeredness provided me the ability to navigate the winds of change in my life WHILE having a strong foundation and knowledge of my core being and beliefs.  I came to view centeredness as the tenuous balance point that existed between the Tree and the Wind.

The dream, teaching and introspection prompted me to question myself & another mentor & elder.  I broached the topic relaying my dream, telling the story of the wind & tree and, finally, asking, “Can the Tree be grounded AND centered?  I think so. But, what about the Wind? Can it be grounded & centered as well?”  This lead to a long discussion but ultimately ended with her asking me to think about my answer to the question, “Is it better to be grounded or centered”?

Through conversation and introspection…and more introspection, I have come to understand the question at the end of the teaching.  Now all you have to do is decide who are you are most like.  Which teacher is yours?  Therein lies your answers.  Ultimately, the question isn’t asking which you identify with or have an allegiance to – it is asking you to discover where you are out of balance.  The answer points you to look in the direction of the opposite.  Because I have strong tree tendencies, I have challenged myself to examine life through the eyes of the wind.  I work to release, allow and accept change, chaos and disorder to sweep in, rustle my leaves and examine my growth opportunities without judgment.  I challenge myself to remain caring but unattached to outcomes or relationships.  My challenge has come in realizing I am the wind in the lives of others -recognizing I must hold fast to who I am, not forgetting myself to appease another while offering love-filled space so they may navigate their own lessons & growth.

Now, when I recall the details of the dream I have a different perspective.  I realize what a big step it was to be consciously aware that I was separate from the wind and the trees we blew through.  My thoughts were on neither – I was just along for the ride until I decided I was done & wanted to explore the possibilities regarding the malleability of the wind.  I harnessed the wind not to trap it but to prove I had passed the wind’s test – that I could face it with ease, confidence and authority.  I’ve entered a new phase.  I will bumble, I will fail, I will make slow and steady strides but I can guarantee one thing.  I will recognize when I’m off-balance & I will know which teacher I need to seek – the Wind or the Tree.

Holding out my hand

I’ve always seemed to struggle with conflict & knowing when to walk away or stick around – and the feelings that come with either choice.  I don’t recall a time that I’ve ever been able to walk away in peace, love..contentment?  Likewise, I don’t recall a time when I’ve been able to stick around without resentment.  Obviously, work has been necessary in this arena.

All year, throughout a class I’ve participated in, I’ve been searching for & praying for balance.  As tends to happen with me, this is a prayer that slipped out – shocking myself.  Because it shocked me, I couldn’t even begin to understand this request but I continued with that prayer.  I mean, it must have slipped out for a reason, right?  As the year has progressed, I’ve been thrust into situations that have required me to reflect on the reasons balance has been so hard for me to achieve, examine my action & reactions in moments of perceived conflict and attempt to understand so I may heal whatever lies at the core of this.  Needless to say this year has been confusing, illuminating, joyous, heartbreaking and such a blessing & relief.

I experienced great internal & outward struggle through encounters with another student in this course.  So much anger was triggered within me that I decided I needed to walk away – but, damn! if that anger didn’t follow me as I turned to leave.  I spent months working through the emotions, pinpointing areas within ME that needed the work, working on compassion for HER…and saying numerous prayers for both of us.  I don’t know what the turning point was, but the anger was suddenly mostly gone.  I could see her & talk to her with little negativity toward her or within myself.  Here was my proof I had made the right decision to walk away.

But, did I?  What a shock that THIS would be my next struggle!  I felt pretty peaceful for a brief amount of time…and then bam!  The prompts I’d been receiving to reach out became insistent.  In fact, LOUD!  “You are the one that can help her.  You have information to help her move forward.  You need to share”.  Ugh…and per the us(ual), I pretended I didn’t really know what that meant.  But, really, per the us(ual) I just didn’t want to listen!

I prepared for ceremony on a cold evening and knew I needed to pray for & request guidance regarding this situation.  My sacred circle formed & my guides came forward to speak to me one by one.  The Chief spoke clearly – not to be ignored NOR his meaning misconstrued.  “Do you think I liked everyone that I lead into battle?  Do you think I got along with all I lead?  No!  But I loved them all.  I knew my place & my place was to assist ALL my people in bettering themselves, learning about themselves and always reaching my hand out to help them up when they were down or falling behind.  That is what a good leader does.”.   Mother Earth came forward so full of love & compassion I thought my heart would burst open as the tears flowed freely.  She stated, “Do you think I would ever let one of my children suffer if I knew there was something I could do to prevent it?  No.  I want all my children to be happy, to heal and to succeed.”

The message was clear.  Turning my back was not the right decision.  Why?  Because I had healed enough to offer my hand instead of my back.  As I was praying for balance all year, I was unaware that my heart and throat were not only healing, but expanding as well.  Expanding in compassion, love and appreciation for all.  Expanding in communication, messaging…and leadership.

The day after holding ceremony, I did reach out my hand to this woman.  We had a healing conversation regarding our miscommunications and misunderstandings.  And, I was able to share information that promised to help her step out of confusion and into greater understanding.  I left this conversation with a deep sense of relief and peace, knowing I had made the right decision – knowing I had listened to the guidance given.  It was another step closer to becoming the ME I’m meant to be.  The me who realizes I can no longer take steps forward if my back is turned.

I’m still learning a whole lot of stuff.  Like, when IS is appropriate to walk away?  When is it appropriate to re-open a door if you’ve walked away for self-preservation or healing?  And the words? What are the right words to use in these moments?  It’s confusing & painful as hell sometimes but then a moment of clarity hits, a flash of understanding fills you and you realize, THIS is what makes the journey worth it.

Healing Spaces

A dear friend of mine recently requested a healing session – Reiki, Theta, Shamanic practices or whatever was needed to help her through an uncomfortable situation.  As I do with most appointments of this nature, I meditated to discover methods that may be used, topics I may need to read up on, and to identify underlying issues that might need to be dealt with in the course of our time together.  I make note of all I see & hear but realize ultimately this might all change in the moment.  This particular meditation was incredibly detailed – the herbs needed in the smudge mix, the underlying beliefs to be identified, tools to be used, the right time of day and, unexpectedly, the ideal location. And, just like that, a shift occurred in my practice.

I messaged my friend a bunch of information she needed to prepare for the session the next morning.  We both spent the remainder of the day preparing. I packed the necessary tools, I performed the necessary energy clearings for myself & her, sent out intentions, prayed, asked for guidance and slept.  The next morning we traveled to Palisades-Kepler State Park together.  We gathered our belongings and walked out to a sandy overlook in the river & established ourselves to face the East – to witness the rising sun that would usher in a new day & illuminate all we needed to see for the success of this session.

I’ve experienced some magical sessions & moments, but this was unlike any other.  It didn’t “sizzle & pop” with electricity like others.  The visions & messaging didn’t surprise me & I didn’t hesitate or question any of it.  This session was quietly & peacefully extraordinary.  I felt the spirit of many beings surround us to support the session, clear & compassionate messaging and a deep maternal love radiating from both our beings and the Earth around us.  I felt safe and protected despite our conspicuous location.

I like to practice without many physical tools – they are nice to have but I don’t want to become dependent on them.  This “purist” mentality prevents me from attributing properties or meaning to certain stones, oils, etc. which could get me stuck in a mindset.  This mentality helps me remain humble in the knowledge the work being conducted is coming thru me from the Creator – my role is only as conduit & witness.  As a physical being, messages guide me to use certain tools in specific areas for specific reasons that I may never receive an explanation for.  Frustrating?  Yes, at times.  But, I absolutely trust and honor this connection with the Creator and know that when healing energy is coming directly from the Big Guy no physical tools are needed.

In my ponderings on that day, I have come to realize I have been practicing out of balance.  While I may not have strong attachments to the tools I use, I was pigeonholing the sessions into my office space.  Not all session are the same – not all sessions require the same tools – and not all sessions need to take place within four walls.  In addition, not all energy need come solely from the Creator – what about the energy of the Earth Mother?  Her strength & energy is often overlooked and taken for granted.  The steadfast constant love of a mother often is.

What have I learned?  What has changed?  I have been reminded to be receptive and open to the possibilities – to honor the uniqueness of each person and session that is conducted.   And, in all ways & aspects of my life, to wisely use what is available & being offered wherever I am.  The sessions have become more reverent as more of Mother Earth’s energy and maternal love flows – it is gentle, gracious, and deeply moving.  It is love and compassion & it is steadily becoming familiar.  It is right where I need to be.


Transitions.  All sorts of transitions have been taking place all around me…and within me.  I think I’ve mentioned a few times how difficult change can be for me.  My daughter’s high school graduation & her move away from home to attend college afforded me the opportunity to view change differently.  Change doesn’t have to mean an ending – how did that get in my head anyway?  I’ve started to think of change in terms of transition instead – a new phase, a new opportunity to experience a new season of life.  I think it’s been working – my daughter and I have both handled her transition surprisingly well (i.e., minimal tears & that’s a BIG deal for both of us!).

I began working part-time in July as a homemaker – going to people’s homes and helping with light cleaning and running errands.  Normally, these are elderly people who just need a little assistance to remain independent in their homes.  I absolutely fell in love with Bob (not his real name) the moment I met him.  And I fell further when he asked me an hour after meeting him if I’d ever seen a screw that had been taken out of a person’s body.  I see the humor in a lot of things & the fact that we recognized that quality in each other straight away was gratifying & hilarious.  This set the stage for my time with Bob – I would clean as fast as I could so we would have time to chat about life.  He lead an amazing life – deep sea diver off the shore of Japan shortly after Hiroshima was bombed, the life-long medical issues as a result of those dives, the death of his wife of 50+ years, finding his new wife on eHarmony, and on & on – always with a smile & humor.   I cannot remember the last time someone has entered my life and impacted me in the way Bob has – I loved the contrast of what could have looked like a hard life due to medical issues and the way he talked about it all & took it in stride & did not let those times dictate his life or change his disposition.  My time with Bob was energizing – he taught me how I want to live the rest of my life.  My weekly services are no longer needed as Bob has moved & even though his transition was not a death, it left me feeling empty for days.  Ugh – transition.  *sigh*

My grandmother has had a rough year – so many times close to her own transition…or so we thought.  She was afraid of death – of the sins she’d be judged for, the unknown & what it was going to feel like.  Grandma Fran journeyed home Sunday afternoon – her big transition!  As much as you expect the passing of a person you’ve seen decline, it’s a bit of a shock.  You get knocked off center a bit.  I’ve only known life WITH her in it…now, I transition & recalibrate to life WITHOUT her.  Granted, our time together in the last year wasn’t plentiful or of a quality ideal to either of us.  And while I think a part of me had already said goodbye she was still a constant in my life.  A rock for me in my early life – a source of strength and protection that I clung to as a child.  My sassy & stubborn confidant during my teen years – a “slave driver” when I wanted to earn some cash…and someone I could always laugh at & call on her ridiculousness.  We appreciated each other’s attitudes & stubbornness…but she always knew I would bend to her wishes.  And I loved that about us.  I love that I loved the qualities in her that were challenging & that I learned so much about life through our interactions.  I learned how to love the tough off of someone & not take offense at harsh words hiding all the love in a person’s heart.  I learned that what is said is often not what is meant & that sometimes you just have to know the heart of the speaker to know the meaning.  These unexpected gifts, that I had reserved for our relationship alone, are meant to be carried forward as I transition into life without her.

So, yea, change disguised as transition can still suck.  But, I am beginning to appreciate the aspects of self I become aware of & learn about when in this phase of life.  I’ve been wondering if change/transition happens more as you get older or if my extreme fear of change blinded me from seeing it happening in front of me?  How much did I miss by not honoring and appreciating endings as new beginnings & the opportunity for growth?


Lately, I’m being triggered left & right – above & below – inside & out.  What the hell is happening to me?  Where did the Zen go?  Truth is there has been a heck of a lot of change around here & we are in the midst of waiting for the major change of my oldest child’s move to college.  Ugh – I’m sitting in my least favorite position of “no longer & not yet”. It’s a space I don’t tolerate well – it makes me spin out of control.  I would prefer to “rip it off like a bandaid” & proceed with life — none of this waiting shit.

Obviously, I’m feeling some (LOTS) of anxiety and I’m looking outside myself for the source.  And, holy shit!, there are a lot of people & situations I want pin this on.  I’m knocked off balance – and it’s YOUR fault.  It’s YOUR fault I feel like you are squeezing me into a corner, snatching up every opportunity, sucking the joy from things I was looking forward to & damn!, can you just be real?  Life is messy – why isn’t your life messy? Where’s the dirt?  Where’s the darkness?  Lay it out there – let’s examine that shit together.  NO – I don’t want you to tell me you are sending me “love & light”, I don’t want to read your “blessings” to me, and I sure as shit don’t need to hear that “everything happens for a reason” or any other meaningless platitude you are going to spew.  Blech! Let’s get real here – just for a minute, please.  It’s me – not you.

I’ve recently enrolled in a year-long modern shaman course.  Before I proceed though, let’s get this out of the way:

  • No, I don’t believe I will be a shaman at the end of this year long study.
  • No, I don’t believe I am a shaman in training.
  • No, I don’t believe I’m a native american.
  • No, I’m not living in spiritual fantasy land.
  • And, YES, this course is absolutely necessary for my personal & professional growth.
  • If you have more questions or assumptions about this, let’s talk.

So, yea, I’ve committed to this modern shaman course.  It ALONE has knocked me off balance.  It’s not all new – I perform some of these techniques already but there’s still a lot of new material to ingest.  I LOVE information & get mentally overwhelmed when I can’t consume & integrate it as quickly as I want.  (Notice how patience isn’t a virtue of mine?)  And then there are the other participants & their stories and experiences to sit in witness of.   I learn an absolute shit ton from them alone.  I absolutely appreciate these people & their willingness to share.  But….there’s that yucky sticky side of myself that doesn’t want to hear it.  Not because I don’t care – but because I don’t want to judge & compare myself.

We ALL have a core wound – an emotional/psychological wound that is at the heart of most our issues & struggles.  It’s not like there’s a “good” one to have – they all suck.  Mine happens to be worthiness. While I’m thankful, grateful & appreciative – I don’t always feel worthy.  Because I don’t feel worthy, I compare myself to others – what makes them worthy & not me?  They must be better, more gifted, more approachable, more and more … while I feel less and less.   And when I compare – I judge.  I hate that.   This spiral is out of control when I’m not centered & grounded – like right now.  The chaos in my life at this time is an abundantly fertile breeding ground for my judgment.

I often “joke” & compare myself to the ancient healer/crone that lives outside the village .. far enough away that it’s inconvenient to get to but close enough when it’s necessary. I’ve recently been challenged to examine this belief.   And examine I have.  This is my comfort zone – I like being an outside observer – I love my own space & energy – I don’t like getting caught up in other people’s stuff (I get caught up in my own just fine) – and I can’t compare when there is no one else around.  I’ve set myself up in the village so I can participate when I want & avoid the things that knock me off balance.  Ironically, I’ve set myself up in the physical space of “no longer & not yet” – even though it’s my least favorite energetic space.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m on the verge of a growth spurt- a breakthrough.  The anxiety portends this.  The extreme confusion, the spiraling, the defiance — the attempt to control & dictate instead of trust & release.  I’m not a fan of this space but I’m beginning to see the blessing of this place.  I need to make peace with it.  I need to come to accept & love this place – just as I need to learn to love & accept myself .. as is.  This is the space of possibility, creation, necessary endings, new beginnings, hope & faith.  It is the space of change….where growth happens.  It is messy & where life is fully lived.

I will probably remain on the edge of village – it’s where I go to recharge, it’s a boundary that protects us both, it’s where I’m am peace & my sanctuary.  However, I will begin the process of meeting people halfway between my house & theirs.  I will work toward living in my worthiness, without judgment nor expectation.  I will work toward this balance – that’s my word.

Standing Rock: Answering the Call

In the conscious haze before sleep, Raven Woman takes me by the hand and leads me to a beautiful vestige.  We stand on the bluff overlooking a distant encampment – I smile, knowing I’ve returned to my home.  I am at peace as I survey my surroundings.  Standing to my left is a familiar Native American elder – he is weathered, proud and full of sacred knowing; he is concerned but not afraid; but, more than these, he is relieved I have found my way back to this place – to him.  For a moment, I step out of my body and catch a glimpse of these two old friends from a distance – the older wizened chief & and the even older crone.  He acknowledges me with respect and a question in his eyes – a question he never asks but plainly states.  He explains his people are sick and tired – they need healing so they may continue their fight.  I nod my understanding and say I will come.  As I am making this promise, I awake into the present knowing I have been called to help the people – my people.

I experience the familiar tingly rush that follows a spiritual encounter.  The feeling washes over me and settles into my being as fear.  Crap – there is no denying what this means. Yet, I try.  I try to deny it.  I try to interpret for hidden meanings all the while knowing I have to go.  My weathered friend comes to me several times over the next months with the same request. I try to appease him with distance healings even though I know more is being asked of me – more is required.  During a sacred ceremony he comes and crowds the space around me.  He sternly exclaims “it is time to stand!  It is time to get up now!” and I can no longer pretend I don’t know what to do.  I have to listen to the call.  I have to travel to Standing Rock.

And still, I drag my feet.  I deliberate as the weather turns colder.  I have every manner of excuse.  And the whole time I know I just really need to stop making excuses.  I need to set the fear aside and move into action.  I need to realize I am worthy, I am skilled, I am full of spiritual gifts and power – even though I am white.  And there it is.  An unknown fear & hang-up appears.  I am white.  Huh…I am white.  I let this obvious truth settle within and realize I have to come to terms with the race & heritage I represent in this lifetime.  I have to come to terms with the guilt I feel for the color of my skin.  And I begin to wonder if THIS is part of the call – the need to heal from guilt and shame.

I acknowledge the shame I carry and move toward an understanding and acceptance of my whiteness.  I tell myself I have to be able to accept this without apology – especially, within and for myself.  I am reduced to tears many times in the days and weeks that lead to my departure. At some point I am reminded of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy and the validity I feel calms my Spirit.  I am reassured that I will be recognized by those who follow traditional ways.

When the Time of the White Buffalo approaches, the third generation of the White Eyes’ children will grow their hair and speak of love as the healer of the Children of the Earth. These children will seek new ways of understanding themselves and others. They will wear feathers and beads and paint their faces. They will seek the Elders of the Red Race and drink of their wisdom. These white-eyed children will be a sign that the Ancestors are returning in white bodies, but they are Red on the inside. They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again and reform the idea of the white chiefs. These children will be tested as they were when they were Red ancestors by unnatural substances like firewater to see if they can remain on the Sacred Path.

I am also reminded of the medicine wheel and its representation of life – the seasons, stages of life, stages of understandng, and the different races – the black, red, yellow AND white. Remembering the representation of the white race in this sacred manner continues to empower and validate.  I know at this point I AM needed as a white woman to answer this call.  The white section of the medicine wheel is where I stand in my power – standing & approaching life from this place is my contribution to balance and harmony.  This is my place of power – this is what I bring to the communal table for the healing and benefit of all.

Do you understand?  We all come from and possess a place of power – the thing that makes us special, unique and needed.  The little aspect of self that is not duplicated or replicated in anyone else – the aspect of self that leaves a void or creates a gap if we are not willing or courageous enough to stand up and occupy the spaces we are meant to fill.  We don’t look to fill this space from our ego or for our personal gain or gratification.  We look to fill this space with humility and out of necessity to create wholeness in others.  Like a medicine wheel, giving is a circular process – when in balance, we are in a continuous process of giving freely and receiving openly…with no expectation.

The call, as it were, was not so much about what I would do once I got to Standing Rock but about receiving the message and acting on it without doubt or fear – acting out of blind faith and trust in divine protection. Of honoring my promise and verifying my commitment to Creator & Creator’s journey for me – the willingness to act for the highest and best of all involved and being comfortable with not understanding the reasons.

Months after the initial call & eventual journey to Standing Rock, I still reflect and gain further insight. The call and experience detailed above was just a practice run – I WILL be called again…and again….  Creator KNOWS my resistance, fears and need for explanation and reassurance.  This experience was not simply a test of the strength of my spirit and commitment to Creator – it was a journey of proof bathed in reassurances and evidence of divine love and protection.  I thank Creator for being easy and preparing me for what is to come.  I am grateful for the opportunity to torture myself, doubt divine communication, and the special kind of heartache and pain that only comes from willfully refusing to hear. And, finally, I am grateful for the sweet moment of surrender…

It begins as I drag my heavily burdened heart to the vehicle and strap into the driver’s seat with tears in my eyes.  It continues in the simultaneous moment my vehicle starts and my tears dry.  It gains momentum as I pull out of the driveway and feel a calm steadiness settle within. It accelerates with every mile traveled and every burden shed.  In the moment of total surrender the truth is illuminated – I am not in control.  My heart and Spirit are light and I tell myself to savor this moment – remember the feeling of release – the feeling of being Spirit-lead.  Soon enough the only heaviness to be felt in the vehicle is the weight of the items needed to establish and sustain me at Standing Rock.  

Do no harm

I have been composing this post for well over a week – both in my head, and pen to paper via the keyboard.  I have a multitude of words..yet, none feel right.  As a newer massage therapist, I am developing my philosophy of care and really learning about the broken healthcare system through experiences my clients have shared.  I have never doubted the atrocious care my friends or clients have received though; it has been hard to visualize the experiences.  Hard because a small part of me still bought into the myth that the healthcare system should make us well.  That healthcare providers are compassionate listeners without bias or judgment who will doggedly search for a diagnosis and treatment. That we, as patients – needers of care – could discuss our needs and feel safe, trusted and believed.  While I KNOW this isn’t the norm, I still hoped and believed it could be true. That is, until I witnessed the broken system in action…and continue to. I have journeyed beside one of my dearest friends as she has experienced all the brokenness our healthcare systems has to offer.  And I am angry.

I would love to share the details of these horrific experiences, but they are not mine to share.  I would love to present a timeline of the appointments, tests and condescending commentary of the healthcare workers that have “helped” her during her illness.  If I could share, you would not read about a single healthcare worker who listened to her, their patient – a patient who, by the way, has had an extensive patient care, research and health education career.  You would not find evidence of a single test run for the diagnosis she has handed them over and over and over again.  You would not see a treatment plan. Ultimately, you would see only judgment, neglect and abuse where care should have been. I am disgusted.

And, I am sickened.  Sickened that the healthcare system we, as Americans, are mandated to carry health insurance for has done nothing but ignore a visible illness or injury.  Has literally danced around the source of illness and skipped right to expensive treatment options that will absolutely not work until the problem is addressed.  Sickened that the healthcare system that is in place to take care of us when we are ill, injured or otherwise NOT healthy has created psychological trauma and depression because they refuse to listen, examine or investigate.  Sickened that each of the Hippocratic Oaths has been so shamelessly dishonored by the very people who vowed to uphold these ideals.

But, I am also saddened.  Saddened for the doctors and nurses who did care once upon a time.  Who saw each new patient with excitement and were ready for a challenge and a new learning opportunity.  Saddened that egos grew, spirits were broken, and apathy set in.  Egos grew to the point that the possibility that a patient knows THEIR BODY better than a “professional” sounds absurd!  Spirits shattered to the point that compassion for self and others has been driven out and replaced with apathy.  Apathy, the occupier of these now empty shells of caregivers.

Even through the anger, disgust and sadness, I pray for these providers.  I pray they rediscover what originally called them into the healing profession.  For courage to walk a new path if this one no longer calls or feeds their soul.  For humility, ears that hear and hearts that feel & lead.  But mostly, I pray for their patients to experience no harm at their hand or mouth.  I pray for the ability of patients and their partners to advocate for proper care and the confidence to squash neglect and abusive treatment in its tracks.  I am hopeful.

I will not forget my friend’s horrific ordeal.  As much as I can’t stand to witness the effects of this illness or the psychological abuse she has endured, I am infinitely more thankful I can be here for her.  I am meant to witness this and, in an odd way, I am grateful for the front row seat & all I have learned.  I have made the following vows to myself for the benefit of all current and future clients.  If I find myself in the position of not believing a client, I pray my friend’s face will appear in my mind’s eye to interrupt the judgment and push me back into my place as compassionate caregiver.  If I find myself in a position where I can’t understand or treat an issue, I pray my ego quickly steps aside so I may research or make a referral – because the care I offer isn’t about ME but those who seek it. If I discover apathy living where compassion once resided, I pray I recognize it before I cause harm to another.  I pray and strive to ensure compassion and love remains at the center of my philosophy of care.  I am prepared.