My Reiki Journey - Part 6: Reiki Classes vs. Reiki Practice

posted on: April 24, 2016

If you've read My Reiki Journey from Part 1, hopefully it's all starting to feel a little more familiar and less confusing now.  It seems important to emphasize how different taking a Reiki class is from making Reiki a continual practice in your own life.  Just like taking one piano class isn't going to turn you into a piano player and taking one yoga class isn't going to make your body more flexible.  Reiki is a practice that needs to be experienced frequently in order for it to be better understood.

I often hear of programs that suggest fast-track progress, but then don't emphasize the importance of self-care or the dedication to the energetic journey after finishing a class.  Based on my own Reiki journey, the work of Reiki is so much more than a methodology and set of tools.  A class is just an introduction.  It's really in the experiencing that it becomes real and understandable. Without regularly applying it into our own life, it will continue to feel difficult to understand.


While you can technically do Reiki 1 & 2 in the same weekend with certain teachers, it doesn't seem to honor the time, space, and Reiki self-care work that really promotes a deep understanding and lasting set of experiences grounded in reality.  So many energy workers and natural healers are drawn to this work because of their compassion and desire to help others, but there's also often a deep part of ourselves that needs some of the same healing we seek to share with others, and it takes time, practice, and dedication for that healing to be revealed and to unfold in a natural way.  Deep healing and self-care takes more than a weekend- it's really a lifetime of practice.

A Reiki class and attunement can truly only introduce basic concepts, methods, and possible tools for healing.  It's up to each individual as to how they actually put that into practice in their own life.  If people go out into the world after taking Reiki classes and only seek to heal others without really do their own inner work, they'll spend a lot of their own energy trying to make things happen for others and wondering why healing work feels so draining for them, rather than tapping into a much larger source of energetic support and serving as a very clear conduit and multiplier.


Thankfully, I'd done a lot of self-care and karmic work in my life before I came to Reiki.  In many ways, I felt ready for the Reiki Master level even before I started- and that's even with my own very skeptical nature, feeling unsure of what I was getting myself into.  In writing, that might seem a bit bold to say, but in my experience, it just means that I'd done a LOT of energetic clearing work before entering the energetic practice of Reiki.  That doesn't mean there isn't more ahead, it simply means I accepted a lot of my own karmic mess and dealt with it through many other methods before starting this particular part of my journey.  Most of the very dramatic energetic shifts I've had happened before I even began Reiki- so my flow through Reiki 1, and then Reiki 2 felt very effortless and fun- and that was certainly not the case for everyone in my classes.

Some people did Reiki 1 and discovered that their whole life turned inside out afterward- so they took years figuring it all out before they returned, if at all, to pursue Reiki 2.  Some sailed through Reiki 1 & 2, but hit a brick wall when it came to Reiki 3 and decided they were going to keep Reiki a personal and family practice.  There were only a couple people in my Reiki 1 class who followed the same sequence and timeline that I did- feeling as though the flow was fairly effortless, interesting, and graceful for them. I could tell from the beginning that they were either natural born healers based on the energy they had, or they had already done a lot of personal energy work in their own life.

The great thing with Reiki work is that you don't need to do it on anyone else's timeline.  If you feel called to it, it's best to treat it as a deeply individual practice that should be explored at a pace that feels right for you.  People gain nothing by rushing to the next class and trying to reach the highest level quickly.  In many cases, it seems that people who have rushed to the next class without really internalizing it and understanding it first, have also ended up taking certain classes over and over again with different instructors just to understand it better.  The instructor can make a difference, but there's so much more information that comes from practicing it regularly.

As a musican, I understand how fundamentally important practice is to refinement and developing musical flow.  As an artist, I know how much my own vision, understanding, and wisdom develops over time when consistently practicing and working on my craft.  Reiki is no different in that it is not what you learn in class, but how you practice and apply it to your daily life and your closest relationships that will make the biggest difference and provide the deepest understanding.

My Reiki Journey - Part 5: Reiki 1 Case Studies

posted on: April 17, 2016

The most common question after "What is Reiki?" and "How Does Reiki Work?" is "What is the Evidence of Reiki Healing?"

Lots of love from #NYC #lovewall

Reiki 1: Self-Healing Journey

Through the daily self-care practice following the attunement of Reiki 1, I was able to witness a new level healing in myself, and started to witness some additional healing in my family members who received hands-on Reiki healing sessions as well.

Faster Recovery from Illness & Better Immunity
For my self-healing, I noticed that my recovery times from bruises, cuts, allergies, flu, and cold were much shorter than they had been in the past.  I was able to use Reiki to help relieve minor headaches and to restore my energy after being in an energetically draining environment or interaction.  I became less sensitive to environmental agitators and allergens that had previously knocked me out energetically and became better able to control random surges of anxiety before they had any inhibiting affect on me.  New York City can be an energetically brutal place, especially when you live in the middle of Manhattan - so being able to restore and regenerate your own energy regularly is very important to living here successfully.

Greater Level of Compassion, Acceptance, & Understanding
My interactions and reactions in difficult situations became much more calm and centered with less frustration or anger entering my body and spirit at an emotional level.  The reactions of other people's emotions didn't seem to affect me as much as they once had.  I didn't feel any less sensitive to their energy, but I did feel much less triggered or reactive.  Things that used to upset me or frustrate me became tiny blips in the course of my day, rather than massive setbacks.  I gained some of that ability from meditation before practicing Reiki, but being able to deal with it in the energetic realm, rather than in my mind or body, helped me better recognize what was and wasn't mine to carry away from each situation.

Healing of Forgotten/Ignored Damage From Past
I achieved a new level of healing with previous trauma that I had completely forgotten about.  After receiving sessions from other practitioners who all highlighted the same two core areas that exhibited blocks, I became more aware that parts of my body had stored emotional and physical trauma at an energetic level, even though I had long forgotten about incidents and made peace with them at a mental level.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, I had already done quite a bit of self-healing work through learning meditation, yoga, and tapping, but I reached a new level through Reiki that I had not achieved with other methods because of what could be sensed in very specific areas of the body.

This #streetart on Stanton St brightens up a metal security gate during closed business hours. #NYC #les

Reiki 1: Insights from Hands-On Practice on Others

When I practiced Reiki 1 on others through my Reiki classmates, willing practice clients, and family members, I gained insights and information about their bodies or spiritual being that were surprising to me and to them.   Here were a few things that I experienced when working on others after Reiki 1 attunement:

• Sensed ancestral support & relationship information for several different classmates
One person's energy revealed that they were serving as a parent and support system to their parents- confirmed by the person, and another person's energy revealed that they were receiving direct support during a difficult situation in life from a deceased grandparent- confirmed by him.

• Sensed elemental and/or color qualities of people's energy during attunements
One person had an air/white quality to their being that I could sense even with my eyes closed- she confirmed feeling that element strongly for herself, another person had a very purple aura which I couldn't see with my eyes but could feel in my mind's eye, and it turned out to be a color that resonated strongly for that person on many different levels.

• Sensed scar tissue, energy blockages, and scattered energy during Reiki sessions
On three different people a feeling of "grey/cold" ended up revealing old scar-tissue areas based on telling each client where I sensed those feelings and their response all revealing old major injuries and scar tissue areas.  On a couple practice clients, a feeling of release was felt by myself and the client in certain organ areas of the body after 10+ minutes of holding an area.  For a family member, a 20 minute hands-on session helped relieve scattered energy from dealing with a stressful situation, which made it possible to return to the situation with more clarity, focus, and emotional calm.

• Mediumship & spiritual awarenesses while not conducting Reiki sessions
In a very surprising moment while interviewing a potential office assistant, I became a medium for an interviewee's deceased family member.  All it took was one mention of the family member, and suddenly the deceased family member's energetic presence, laughter, and a confirmation message for the interviewee were being shared with me as mental images and mental thoughts.  On top of that, I was also able to hear energetic emotional blocks and openings in someone's intention much more clearly even when they would try to cover them up with a tone or inflection.  The truth and reality in many matters became much more transparent without needing confirmation from individuals.

• Stronger level of spiritual connection with God (and the greater energetic body)
Feeling connected to a much larger supporting energy during Reiki sessions, and being able to witness very real and physical changes has provided so many life-enhancing benefits, but most of all, an awareness and witnessing of the infinite possibilities of healing beyond current scientific understanding.

If you'd like to read more about my Reiki Journey, try starting from the beginning at Part 1: Skeptical Curiosity, or going backwards to Part 4: Observing Outside Energy, or head to the next post Part 6: Reiki Classes vs. Reiki Practice

Finding What Frees You - Gratitude Journal

posted on: April 11, 2016

Here's what's real and vulnerable for me, every single year I'm in business for myself as a photographer and independent creative small business... 
Gone fishing

There are some amazing photographers out there, some who spend exponentially more time on their images than I do, some who are in higher demand than I am, and some who have all of the right ingredients but still struggle more than I do.

We can argue better or worse with regard to talent all day long, but at the end of the day, the biggest question for me is not one of comparison to other creatives in my field, but most often, can I keep turning this dream of living as an artist into a reality this month, the next month, and through the end of this year? 

Every day I have to ask myself, how much do I want this? Is this really the work I want, the life I want, the way I want to invest more of my time and energy each day?  

There are weeks and sometimes months when I will question myself and my path every single day. It happens most often in the space between when I've finished a large project, but haven't yet secured my next big project. In these moments of project voids, I may spend every minute of free-time exploring other options. The reasons for exploring other options often have less to do with a passion for something else and more to do with the mitigation of anxiety or risk of financial strain.

No one said this life would be easy. In fact, everyone knew how hard it would be, which is why they encouraged me to do something "safer" with more "stability." All I heard was "chain yourself to a desk" and "let someone else decide how you should work."  Even though I have plenty of experience taking risks and moving through the space of unknowns, there's always the lure of something "easier" and "safer."

Then I remember what I have now, working for myself, working as an artist, that I didn't get when I worked full time for someone else.


The feeling of freedom means everything to me.

I will sacrifice so many other things to have freedom in how I work, who I work with, what methods I use in my work, where I work, and how I value the work I do. This is the driving force that lights my fire when I start to feel it sizzling out. It is the fuel that energizes me to get up and get dressed, even when there's no where to go; simply because I am free- even in those moments of anxiousness and insecurity, I am free to choose how I want to make the most of my day, my time, my energy, and my life.

I am free to spend my day prospecting for a new client, or free to be inspired with a visit to an art gallery. I am free to act on fear of failure and explore other career options, or I am free to get lost in the wonder of a spring landscape coming to life. I am free to develop my technique and my craft, or I am free to sulk in despair and self-loathing. I am free to express these feelings through writing, or I am free to let them stew in my mind like a drugged mouse in a maze.

On the good days, I choose to use my freedom for the highest good of my artist development and for the gratitude of all that the universe has gifted me with. On the bad days, I forget how much freedom I have to enjoy life in ways that don't even require expense to my bank account. Luckily, the more years I have as a freelancer, the more I've learned how to turn all of the "free days" into good days.

Freedom is not easy, but it is always worth fighting for. A seed could just as easily remain in the ground, unnoticed and unrealized, but when it does the work and pushes through the creative dirt of freeing itself from everything that holds it back, the end result is the most beautiful expression of life and existence.  

Do you need to work for yourself to have this freedom? Absolutely not.  

For some people, freedom is a high level of specialization that requires being part of a larger system in order to experience freedom at an individual level. For some, freedom is not thinking about ideal clients, not thinking about invoicing, and not needing to worry about where the next paycheck will come from. For some people, freedom comes from not having to be responsible for anyone else.

Find your own sense of freedom. Find what makes you thrive. Find the flow of ease and simplicity in your life. Find what matters most to you- that which provides you with the freedom you seek. It's different for everyone, but you'll know it when you've reached it because it will feel freeing in the ways that reduce your stress and release your anxiety.  

Allow room for your sense of freedom to change over your lifetime, not just once, but many times. It may be freeing to own your own business when you're single, but more freeing to work for someone else when you have children. It may be more freeing to have a company contribute to your retirement account and to have set work constraints that you don't take home with you at night, than to think about how you can grow your business even when you're going to sleep at night. There's no right way to experience freedom- because it's just as varied as we are as individuals- and as varied as each stage of life.

Do not let anyone else tell you that their version of freedom is better than yours. Choose it for yourself. Find what frees you, and make the most of that freedom in every area of your life.

Manhattan's Unwritten Rules of Foot Traffic

posted on: March 29, 2016

Have you ever felt like a New Yorker was angry with you but you had no clue what you did to warrant that treatment?  You probably broke one of the unwritten rules.  Eventually you learn what those rules are by breaking them enough times, but if you live here long enough, you can easily forget that these rules aren't understood by everyone, which then puts you into the category of an angry New Yorker who gets pissed off at people don't know the unwritten rules.  Here's a quick and easy guide to help prevent getting run over or scoffed at by a New Yorker...

Love is: carrying your kid's backpack and holding their hand to cross the street.   #loveis #nyc #greenwichvillage #eastvillage #loveit #gooddad #luckykid #observingstrangers

New York's Unwritten Rules of Foot Traffic:

1. Walk on the Right Side of the Sidewalk
We treat sidewalks like streets for feet in NYC and since we don't drive on the left side of the street, we also don't walk on the left side of the sidewalk, unless we're passing someone who's moving too slowly on the right.

2. Speed Walking IS Normal Walking
New Yorkers are almost always in a hurry during the day going from meeting to meeting, and if it's after dark, they're in a hurry to get home.  If you're not speed walking, you might as well be obstructing the sidewalk because now we have to find a way to pass you on the sidewalk without getting hit by an oncoming speed walker.

3. Never Stop in the Middle of a Sidewalk, Street, Staircase, or Doorway
You could actually be seriously injured if you don't abide by this unwritten rule.  Because we're in such a hurry and we expect everyone to follow the unwritten rules, there's a potential to be accidentally pushed, shoved, or knocked over if you choose to stop in a place where people expect you to keep moving.  If you MUST stop to look at your phone, map, or anything else, find the nearest wall or pillar and plant yourself against it, OUT of the stream of moving foot traffic.

4. Stand to the Right on Escalators
If a New Yorker is in a hurry, they expect to be able to walk up the left side on an escalator with room for two.  Much like passing you on the sidewalk, they expect people will be standing on the right and making room for those in more of a hurry on the left.  That means keeping your shopping bags in front of you to make room as well.  If you stand on the left side of an escalator and someone yells at you- it's going to be your fault because you were inconsiderate of those who are in more of a rush than you are.

5. Let People Out Before You Go In
This is a general rule of thumb for occupancy reasons, but especially important when subway doors open or there's major foot traffic in and out of a building.  Always let people come outside before you head inside, besides, it makes you look really nice and friendly when you hold a door open and let someone else out first.  Don't expect a New Yorker to hold a door for you, though, they may not even see you there.

6. Always Make Room for Others on Sidewalks
You want to stand next to your friends to talk to them while you're walking together, but if you're on a 2 person sidewalk, and that means taking up the entire sidewalk together- you're creating a hazard that forces other people to go into the street or to just stop in front of you because you decided to hog the sidewalk.

7. Beware of Bicyclists
Despite the bike traffic rules that are often ignored and dismissed by bikers, as a pedestrian, you have the ability to stop faster than they do at full speed, and you will inevitably encounter bicyclists going the wrong way on a One Way street.  Always look BOTH ways before crossing a street, no matter what the traffic sign says, and keep an eye out for bicycles, not just cars.

8. Obey Crosswalks
Just because a New York resident looks to be dashing across an intersection at a red light, doesn't mean it's a good idea for a visitor.  Visitors are often on sensory overload in the city and tend to miss the subtle things an experienced New Yorker is highly attuned to when dashing across red lights.  This is one case where it's not wise to follow the lead of a local.

Managing Change - Gratitude Journal

posted on: March 21, 2016

I've talked about managing change A LOT over the last couple years.  Change is difficult, complicated, messy, and stressful- especially when it's a change we feel is "forced" upon us from an outside source, which is why it so often feels easier to stay in familiar patterns.  Even when we're choosing change for ourselves, there are still the mishaps and accidents that come with learning how to do things differently.  It confronts hard-wired habits with deeply grooved expectations for how things are "supposed to go" and asks us to go "off-road" into unknown terrain in the dark.

An interstellar lobby experience. #art #interiordesign #space #jupiter #interstellar #design #architecture #nyc #greenwichvillage #manhattan

I decided I needed to gather all of my interviews and posts around managing change into one place so that it would be easier to reference for anyone who's going through something big and is worried about what's on the other side.  Almost all of the fear that comes with change is about the unknowns.  One thing I've discovered is that:

The "fear of change" is actually harder than making real changes.

Fear of change creates static frustration because it traps our forward moving energy that wants change into a backlash of doubt that creates a little tornado which can sometimes do more damage than just making the transition.  Change is usually on our horizon because our energy wants to move in a different direction for growth but when our mind or body resist that forward momentum, we create this internal friction of frustration.  This friction causes stress, illness, and disease (dis-ease) in the body because we are fearful that change might mean a complete abandonment of everything that we've known and come to trust.  In reality, it's just a process of letting go of what no longer serves us, and finding new things that serve us better.  We must be willing to trust that by letting go of one thing, we free a hand to grasp something much better.

Once we've fully accepted the path of change and transition, we can more easily start moving in action with much less resistance or friction.  If we approach changes in our life as opportunities for growth and learning without any attachment to an outcome of success or failure, we find ourselves able to expand in ways that can't be conceived of if we are attached to a singular outcome.  It's also important to approach change as a temporary process and as something that can happen gradually, it doesn't have to be all or nothing right away.

The jobs and problems of tomorrow are not even being taught in the colleges of today.  We can only teach others based on what we as a society have previously experienced, proven, measured, or understood so far, but in order to evolve, we must be willing to move beyond what has already been understood in order to enter deeper into areas that are full of unknowns.  Evolution and innovation requires risk takers, experimenters, and adventurers who are curious and not afraid of these unknowns.

My hope is that through sharing my various experiences of taking risks and having them work out for the better... that you, or someone you know, can more fully step into that place of not knowing what's next and trusting that it's for the best....

Stories of Shift: I choose this:

TEDx Talk: What Would You Attempt If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

Starting Over In New Markets:

Anne Ruthmann on Fast Track Coaching with Dane Sanders from Dane Sanders on Vimeo.

My evolution as a professional photographer:

Fresh Rag: Business wisdom after 10 years in photography:

Tips for Managing Transitions:

Letting Go of Expectations:

Not Knowing What You Want To Be When You Grow Up:

Deciding To Take A Sabbatical From Business:

Ways I've Saved My Business & Life:

Ways to Recover from Business Burnout:

Embracing Depression:

I'm grateful that my experiences have allowed me to share so much in places where it can help others.  Are there any changes you're work through right now?  What's helping you move more easily through those transitions?

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