Coronavirus is a mirror of ourselves if we choose to accept the gift of perspective. This time of lockdown is a pause. It is a time for people to look inside, to see society from outside our normal daily lives.
Easter weekend. The first rays of the sun shine through the blinds. My family is still asleep, and all is quiet, a strange quiet. We have not prepared for work or school for several weeks. We are inside, ordered to stay home. “Social distancing”, a phrase new to our vocabulary and our lives. I miss my friends. I miss being around children all day at work. Humans are social. It is hard to live at a physical and mental distance from each other, the feeling even more poignant during this holiday. read more
I struggle with a hypermobility syndrome, most likely hypermobile EDS. Most of my joints move beyond a normal range of motion, causing injury and chronic pain. I also have gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and eye problems. I have made a list of some of the ways EDS affects my life. I especially struggle with severe chronic pain. I want to help raise awareness of this syndrome for better medical treatments and public understanding.
1. My bendy joints help me to move.
My joints are flexible, and I have always enjoyed stretching and yoga. It is easy for me to get up and down from the floor. I am quite comfortable sitting in lotus for meditation. My hypermobile ankles give me a good, strong kick when I swim. Swimming is one of my favorite exercises, soothing my sore body.
2. Sports injuries are a constant struggle for me.
My hypermobile ankles and feet hurt when I run. I have suffered countless sprains because of the weak connective tissue in my ankles. Sometimes I sprain while walking around during my daily life. I have undergone complicated ankle surgery that left me still in pain. I have spent years in physical therapy. But I can rock a pair of crutches! Ehlers Danlos means that some days I walk and look normal, other days I have to use crutches or a cane to get around. read more
Where does all this war come from? Why do we hate each other so? In the Bible, Jesus taught his disciples about the Father’s kingdom, a kingdom of Love. In the kingdom of Love, Jesus said we must learn to even love our enemies. At the end of Jesus’ life, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant to try and protect Jesus from violence. Jesus corrected Peter and responded in peace by laying his healing hands on the servant’s ear.
Jesus taught us to show love by healing the helpless, bandaging the bruised, washing the wounds of the world. As we recognize our oneness, we spread sacred Reiki healing around the world. We are all brothers and sisters, beloved children of the Creator.
The Creator is Love. God is the definition of love. God is an infinite ocean of love. Each of us is only a droplet in this ocean, reflecting the light of the Source. We become perfect when we embrace ourselves in that love, give voice to that love, embody that love on this physical earth.
War is the opposite of love. War is the opposite of God. Why do we divide ourselves in war? Why do we mourn our fallen soldiers, then go on and create more war? Why did my Christian community teach me to love war as I was growing up?
My heart cannot understand all the praise my family gave to war. My heart grieves the adoration my church gave the military and hi-tech weapons. There is big money, and greed, tied up in US weapons manufacturing. The masters or war sell this to the churches as “patriotism” and “pride”. My church taught me that the United States only fights “just wars”. They said that war is how we free the victims and the oppressed.
Yes, for sure, God’s heart is for the victim and the oppressed. But war creates oppression, not solves it.
Still, there is hope. I think of the American churches who welcome Syrian refugees with open hearts and homes. This New York Times Article is a great example. I think of the Quaker churches who have always preached peace and nonviolence. I think of the churches who have declared themselves sanctuaries. They are housing Latin American immigrants caught in political wars. Each of these churches flow as bright droplets of light in the ocean of Love. They understand the teachings of Jesus and the heart of God.
I am grateful to my childhood church for encouraging me to read the Bible. There is so much beauty and love in its pages. There is theological explanation of the human condition. There is grace for the many mistakes of imperfect humans. We are all learning to trade darkness for light, greed for charity, fear for hope.
The Bible teaches me that we must tame the war inside ourselves to stop all the war outside.
On this Memorial Day, I hold my Bible and I read the hope of Isaiah. I share the prophet’s hope that someday the whole world will beat their swords into plowshares. Someday we will practice war no more. Someday we will have no more fallen soldiers and refugee victims. I hold out my hands of peace and I pray for Reiki healing over this war-torn world.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore. read more
I want to walk, to dance, to run. I want to count my steps in miles run through forests of moss and mist, not in painful hops from my couch to my car.
Healing is so much more than medicine.
“The X-ray shows a distal, non-displaced avulsion fracture of the 5th metatarsal,” the medical report says. “You tore a tendon and broke your foot,” the doctor explains to me.
Breaking is so much more than medicine.
Yes, I understand the medical jargon. I have done this before. I know that the X-ray means weeks of bone healing, months of soft tissue healing. Hopefully I can at least walk soon. Crutches are never easy. I have used them through so many sprains, fractures, joint surgery. But they never become easier. I don’t want the crutches, I want to run, I silently plead with the doctor. But the X-ray, and the pain, tell the truth.
I am terrible at sitting still. Crutches make me slow down and sit still. Just be. Listen inside to who I Am. To learn that there is poetry even in the pain.
I found my way into Reiki and natural healing through my earthly body which bends and breaks easily. Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Connective tissue disorder, the doctors say. So many labels for my lifetime of strains, sprains, tendonitis, and fractures, the constant chronic joint pain that has accompanied me since childhood on this earth journey.
But the modern medical system can’t put a label on the spiritual parts of my aching body. How do you label a spirit stronger than its earthly body? I don’t want to break, I want to fly. Reiki helps me to find balance. The splint holds the bones in place while Reiki and prayer hold my spirit in place.
The hardest part is drowning out all the noise of the world around me, and my own inner chatter, to listen to the healing voice of the Holy Spirit. I hold my broken foot in the healing power of Reiki. I gently massage the joints, feeling the heat flow through my hands, and the healing blood flow through my veins. I hear the Holy Spirit singing healing over me. I remember the songs I have learned from the trees through the years.
Healing is so much more than medicine.
Breaking is so much more than medicine.
I was a serious runner when I was younger. I smashed 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons as I pressed toward the legendary 26.2 miles. I celebrated a 25 mile training run through immense pain. I ignored my body’s cry to stop. I tried to outrun the pressures of grad school. I ignored my spirit’s cry to stop. My ankle quit completely as I limped into a first aid tent, not able to complete the marathon.
I spent eight years healing from ankle injuries after that. I tried so hard to run, but there were times I couldn’t even walk. Months of crutches. Years of heartache. Breaking.
There were doctors who told me I would never run again. I did not believe them. I used Reiki to heal my spirit. I used lavender and Epsom salts to heal the physical pain of walking. I kept pressing on toward my goal.
Then last January, God sent me to a wise physical therapist. She helped me take one pain free step, then another. I worked hard on the exercises she assigned, months of baby steps back to running. Soon I ran for one minute. Then five minutes. Then a half mile. Finally the mile.
The mile! My spirit was flying. Oh how I celebrated that moment. Healing is so much more than medicine.
In my excitement I took things too fast. On New Year’s Day, eight months after that first mile, I ran a 10k. I celebrated the accomplishment, but my feet ached from the effort. That week, I stubbed my toe and my battered foot bone cracked. My will to reach my goal was yet again stronger than my joints. Mind over matter rarely works out well for me.
So now I am enjoying time in the pool. I can still walk in the support of the water, still swim, slowly. People say that swimming is the closest human movement on earth to flying. Water is spiritual. I think of all the stories of healing water in the Bible. The angels stirred the healing waters at the pool of Bethesda, the house of grace. Jesus healed a paralyzed man there. I listen inside to the Holy Spirit as I swim and move and fly. I pray for the water to heal me.
I listen to the wisdom of my body, the wisdom of I Am, the healing that is more than medicine. Through Reiki and the healing of the Holy Spirit, soon enough I will run. Again.
We are marching for a better world! A world in which our daughters will grow up to be seen as powerful contributors to society, not just a pretty body for men to grab. A world in which our sons will know that showing compassion and empathy is a truer sign of strength than being the top boss. We are marching for a world in which people experiencing disabilities are fully included in society rather than being mocked by the president of the United States. We are marching so that Muslims, and people of all religions, can live in peace, rather than live in fear that the president will order them rounded up and registered. read more
Dreamers, broken lovers, and the ocean
Hello friends. It has been a long time since I have written on this blog. Life is an unpredictable, twisting journey. I have walked down a spiritual path of many tears over the last couple of years. I moved across the country, leaving winter for spring, leaving the frozen prairie for the wild forest and ocean. I moved away from my Reiki practice as the Holy Spirit led me to reach out to the evangelical church of my childhood.
Through tears and love, I wrote what I heard from the heart and voice of Jesus. I put into words his burning gaze of Love and Social Justice. But with the American church’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump in the election, I threw my hands up in despair. My pen weeps over my old conservative Christian community. They have disowned the Holy Spirit and embraced ego, greed, and hatred.
But I still find Jesus among those who are broken, those who are seeking healing for themselves, their communities, the world. Jesus calls out to those whom the church has rejected, just like he loved those whom the Pharisees rejected. I have friends in the communities of Progressive Christianity, Universalism, the New Age, the Environmentalists, LGBTQ, the broken lovers and dreamers. I am finding a new place in these communities and in my Reiki practice.
This blog and my Reiki is dedicated to all these wanderers and mystics who are struggling in this ego-driven, competitive American society. Life is so much more than the next promotion, the next fancy vacation or house or car. Our spirit bodies transcend this realm of appearances.
I do find so much joy in my move back to the Pacific Northwest. There are many spiritual seekers here. The portals of light and healing are open over this beautiful place. I hear the songs of the Holy Spirit in the trees and the ocean. People love and protect God’s precious environment.
I took a trip to the ocean recently to breathe in the salty air and heal my winter- ravaged lungs. The weather was sunny, but the waves were high, wild, and majestic from a morning winter storm. I wrote a poem while watching the waves.
My spiritual practice is like the waves ebbing and flowing. Even the chaos of life’s storms creates beauty.
Namaste friends, new and old. I am excited to start again on this journey of spiritual exploration and healing with you. Please let me know in the comments if you have something to add or a story to share. Contact me about doing a Reiki session.
May the love and peace of the Holy Spirit heal you and bless you today.
The ocean and the sky
To sing a song of healing
The ocean is wise,
of human folly,
The ocean will heal us
if we let her.
But we must also
We have polluted her patience,
treaded on her tenderness,
broken her bravery.
keepers of the deep Mystery,
weep salty tears
Do we hear their cry?
When will we listen?
To the ocean?
To the whales?
To the song of time?
When will we breathe
Or will we let time
on our planet?
A streaming cascade of gray droplets clouding my eyes.
How will the mist rise
from the valley of hardship
Clouds hide behind white orbs
and green crysalides.
for wings of spirit
with clear sight
of heaven and earth.
the Doctor says.
Thick black glasses
on his white hawk nose.
Thin black pen
on the white chart paper.
Slim black hand
on the white clock. read more
Art like a child
I love to make art with my preschoolers. We turn dot stickers into colorful bugs, collage paper and foil into swimming fish and mermaids, paint and toilet paper tubes into binoculars. We create with imagination, with abandon, with fun, with love.
There is healing in creating art like a child. Children delight in the process of art: feeling the paint squish between their fingers, smelling the scented markers that leave bold lines and shapes on rainbow paper.
Most importantly, children create without judgment of self or others. As an adult, I have been taught to make things perfect, to judge whether my creations are good enough. There is healing in creating without judgment, loving myself by loving the works of my hands.
Art, and life, is a process, not a product.
Understanding through creating
I majored in music in college. I flowed in beautiful sounds with my clarinet, collaborated with others to create fantastical symphonic worlds.
Sadly, that world is full of judgment and competition, a striving for technical perfection that can destroy the creative process. I had a wise professor who saw this and challenged me to defend the meaning of the music. “Why do you play and how will that change the world?” he asked me in my master’s thesis.
The answer is two-fold. The act of creation, without judgment, is an act of self-reflection, self-understanding. Little children know this when they delight in their work. Adults experience this when they flow in art, so totally absorbed in music, writing, painting that they lose track of time and the outside world and learn new things deep in the imagination.
The act of creation is also connection in the outer world with others. When I give a recital or create a picture or a poem that brings joy to another person, I have changed the world in a small way.
Art for art’s sake.
A world full of pain that I can’t fix
Watching the news can be exhausting. So can interacting on Facebook and surfing the web. We have so much evil in the world, and our modern technological entertainment tends to dwell on this, if not glorify it. It is good that we have intelligence in the war against injustice, but it can get overwhelming.
My empathy heart bleeds at every story of violent death or innocent wrongful conviction, every report on the endless wars overseas or the war against the poor back here at home, every statistic of a great shopping season or another percentage of families fallen into unemployment and hunger.
It’s all too much to bear and causes me pain. One powerful way to help with this pain is to create art. Unplug the stream of violence and chaos and create beauty.
I write. I write a lot. I blog, I have a fantasy novel in the works, a social justice spiritual novel, numerous short stories, poetry, and children’s books. I don’t know if anyone will ever read all this, or whether I write for myself, as a way to understand the world. I write from my imagination, like a child. I write to heal my world, inside and out.
Friend, won’t you join me on this journey of process and understanding? Dust off your pen, paintbrush, or piano and revel in the process like a child.
Heal through art. Together we can change the world.