Denver Public Library by Michael Graves - Travel Log

posted on: October 4, 2016

In a downtown full of grey colonial and modern glass buildings, the Denver Public Library stands out like a cartoon character of whimsey and fun!  It makes sense that Michael Graves would be the architect to create something so bold and and full of crayon box features.

Denver Public Library Exterior Architecture

The fun doesn't stop at the exterior.  Check out what how the Kid's Program area ceiling was turned into a permanent circus tent...

Denver Public Library Kids Program Area 01

The real treat for me was seeing this fully wooden peg constructed mine shaft build into the top round portion of the building, which reminds Denver locals of the mining heritage that helped put this town on the map.

Denver Public Library Mine Shaft

 If you find yourself in Denver, definitely stop in and wander this fabulous public space!

Denver Public Library Exterior Architecture Detail

All photos in this post were taken on my iPhone and use is permitted with attribution from WikiMedia.

Historic Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, CO - Travel Log

posted on: September 27, 2016

While visiting other cities, one of my favorite things to do is to check out historic architecture to see what still remains of an era gone by, and the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO did not disappoint...

Brown Palace Hotel Atrium Balconies

Upon walking into the atrium, I looked up and my jaw dropped in awe.  The iron work of the balconies, the under arch sconces, the carved woodwork, but most impressive was of course the delicate stained glass ceiling.  This is one of those sites that I could spend days documenting every little detail - getting lost in the subtleties and craftsmanship.

Grand Staircase Detail in Brown Palace Hotel

It could be considered the Flat Iron of Denver, based on the extreme corner angle it takes in its downtown location.

Brown Palace Hotel Exterior Flat Iron Corner Facade

I had to grab one more detailed image of that amazing stained glass ceiling... the detail is just phenomenal...

Brown Palace Hotel Atrium Stained Glass Ceiling

All photos in this post were taken on my iPhone and use is permitted with attribution from  WikiMedia.

Everybody's Mission - Historical Research

posted on: June 23, 2016

My great-grandfather was known to many in his community as Rev. O. O. Watson, a superintendent of Everybody's Mission in Pittsburgh, PA.  To my family, he was known as Orville Ory Watson.  In my search to learn more about my great-grandfather, I've uncovered many historical mentions of his missionary service to the people of Pittsburgh, PA and to all who happened to come upon the services of Everybody's Mission along their journey.  This blog post is my ongoing curation of historical records of the timeline, mentions, and services of Everybody's Mission with links to the accounts and records as found online:

July 1911 Charter, constitution, by-laws, doctrines, disciplines, and ritual of Everybody's Mission at Pittsburgh, PA.,0,

Everybody's Mission Charter by O. O. Watson

1911 Everybody’s Mission Girl's Home: 19 Kenova St., Mt. Washington
Reference Article:
Girls Home Dedicated. Everybody's Mission Plans Rescue Work for Young Women

1912 Everybody's Mission: 1615 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

  • "Everybody's Mission; Brother and Sister Smith, Pastors, 1615 Fifth Ave.,Pittsburg, Pa. Monday, 2:30 and 7:30 P.M.,... Everybody's Mission; Brother and Sister Smith, 161,5 Fifth Ave., Pittsburg, Pa. Saturday, 2:30 and 7:30 and all day Sunday; and Monday, 2:30 P. M." quoted from "My Triennial Circuit" by W. B. Godbey
1912  Everybody's Mission: 235 Fourth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Reference Articles:

1920's "The Road to Ruin- A Tale of Two Men" by Robert Booth
God's Missionary Standard, August 2009
"One day, a few people from Everybody’s Mission1 in Pittsburgh knocked on the door of great-grandparents home and invited them to come to church. Louis didn’t go, but Dorothy did and she was converted. Dorothy and the Mission began to earnestly pray for her alcoholic husband who was on the road to ruin. They prayed for several years without seeing any results. I wish I knew more details about the event, but I do know that Louis William King got gloriously saved. My grandmother tells the story that their home was instantly transformed. The alcohol was gone, the dysfunctional systems were gone, life was dramatically different.  
Everybody’s Mission began to work with this family, and even trained Louis to preach, using him at the Mission. The Mission also had a preaching point about 25 miles away in Clinton, PA where they sent my great-grandfather in 1921. Lives were changed and the message of Holiness was spread throughout that little community. While he was there, Louis felt led to start the Tri-State Holiness Association Camp Meeting, otherwise known as Clinton Camp in 1925. The camp has been instrumental over these many years in the salvation and sanctification of many. I am grateful that my great-grandfather found God and he got off the road to ruin. Otherwise, one can only wonder how the story would have ended for my family.....Several key ingredients helped my great-grandparents find Jesus. First of all was the fervent praying of the Chris- tians from Everybody’s Mission. They didn’t give up even when Louis made no move toward God for several years.  They kept on praying. We can’t give up even when we don’t see any positive steps being taken in the lives of the people that we are praying for. We must fight harder and pray longer for our communities in which we live and minister. Time is of the essence—keep praying! 
Secondly I find it interesting that the folks developed a personal friendship with my great-grandparents. They did- n’t just invite them once, they kept on coming back and getting personally involved in the lives of my family. I am grateful they didn’t give up. The Mission’s staff taught my great-grandparents what it was to be a Christian and that made all of difference in their lives." 
1930? - Advocate, Volumes 83-85, Advocate Publishing House, 1988.  "Thomas felt the call to the ministry.  He was the first licensed by "Everybody's Mission" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Rev. E. G. Marsh from God's Bible School was asked to lay hands on Thomas and commit him to the work of the Lord."'s+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEINjAC

Spring 1930 -  Thomas E. Hermiz Accounts of Everybody's Mission...
 Passing The Torch Article in Advocate Dec 1988
Click to Read Full Article from Advocate Dec. 1988,
Archived at Wisconsin Historical Society 

"The Trials & Triumphs of Thomas E. Hermiz"
Thomas E. Hermiz Autobiography:

"It was after moving back into Pittsburgh proper, on Fifth Avenue in the Soho area, that Ibegan to attend Everybody’s Mission on Chatham Street. 
Two great blessings came into my life as a result of attending Everybody’s Mission. One was the fact that here the Wesleyan teaching of entire sanctification was clearly taught; the other was the fact that through attendance at this mission I became acquainted with God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I later went.

While others have resisted a call to preach and go away to college or Bible school to study for the ministry, I was just the opposite. Once I sensed that God wanted me to preach I was anxious to go away to some Bible school and study the Bible in depth. Off and on I would attend various meetings and conventions of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I attended many of their youth rallies especially. I aspired to attend their Bible school at Nyack on the Hudson. However, when I sent in my application, I was rejected since I did not have a high school education. This greatly disturbed me, and I felt somewhat rebellious in my heart. But I never stopped loving the Lord and continued to study the Bible and was faithful in my devotions.

I had quit working at the foundry and was now working in a wholesale drug house in Pittsburgh. I formed the habit of reading the Bible on my knees before going to work. About this time when I was having this struggle over not getting to go to Bible school, I was reading in the Psalms. This particular morning I was reading Psalm 32 on my knees. When I came to the 8th verse something happened to me, for it said, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eyes.” It was all I needed. Something within me gave way completely to the will of God. I have never had a controversy with God since then. There was a difference in my life as the Spirit of God seemed to take a new control of my will and affections. God filled me with His Spirit that day. Even those at work seemed to sense something different about me, though they had known me as a born-again Christian for about a year. I seemed to have gained poise as a result of this experience.

Answering the Call to Preach

I had sensed a call to preach for some time and at the time I shrank from it. However, with the hunger to know and understand the Bible I began to wish to pass on to others that which I was gaining in Bible knowledge. This was one reason I was so eager to go to Bible school. As I became established in my faith and Christian experience, I was also having opportunities to speak at young people’s meetings, at cottage prayer meetings, at missions, and once in a while at street meetings.

A year or two before my conversion I had an interesting experience with a street meeting. It was Saturday evening, and I had gone to a movie on Butler Street. It was still early, and I knew there was another movie house several blocks up on Butler Street. So I started walking in that direction. About half way between these two theaters I came across a crowd of people on a corner. There was hymn singing and testifying. This attracted me, and I stood watching from a sense of curiosity. As they were about to close the meeting, they asked for a show of hands for those who wanted prayer. A number raised their hands, and so did I. Then I went on to the second movie. This, as far as I can remember, was the first time I had ever made such a move toward God, and I’m not sure that I fully understood what I was doing. Several years later I found out that this group, mostly young people, was from the Northside Christian and Missionary Alliance on Arch Street. I had the privilege of going out with this group in street meetings and doing some of my first preaching.

At Everybody’s Mission I was being used from time to time. In the summer I had the opportunity of speaking to the young people. I suggested that we go out in the yard for our meeting since it was a nice evening out. The Mission was a converted dwelling at that time on Chatham Street, across from a YWCA. So I stood on the porch and preached salvation, and because I did so want the passersby to get the message, I preached as loudly as I could. The board of Everybody’s Mission was in session in an upstairs room of the mission. They also heard me preaching and decided to give me a license to preach. (This was the summer before I went to Bible school, and a year later they ordained me when I was home for the summer. In my ordination at Everybody’s Mission I had the distinct privilege of having in attendance Rev. E. G. Marsh, professor at God’s Bible School. He happened to be in the area of Pittsburgh and was to bring a message at the mission. Brother Watson asked him to lay hands on me and offer the ordination prayer, which he did. Later, when I transferred to the Churches of Christ in Christian Union, this ordination was fully accepted. Former students of G.B.S. will especially appreciate this fact of Brother Marsh’s involvement.)

I have already mentioned that by attending this mission I became acquainted with God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. At that time it was possible for the school to have many of the stu- dents work their way through school right at the school. So I sent my application in to the school in the Spring of 1930. What a thrill it was to receive a letter of acceptance as a work student!

The Sunday before I was to leave for Cincinnati, Rev. O. O. Watson, the Superintendent of Everybody’s Mission, asked me to preach in the afternoon service, which would be a sort of a farewell service. On Saturday evening before this I was eating at a Syrian-Lebanese restaurant on Wylie Avenue. My father and I frequently ate there. Several others were eating there, and I began a conversation with two men who were sitting at this long table. Both were either Syrian or Lebanese. I witnessed to them and told them of the fact that I was preaching the next afternoon at this mission, which was fairly close. The one was very attentive and interested, but the other was a skeptic and soon started an argument on evolution. I felt that my witness had gone down the drain. However, the next afternoon, to my surprise, the more receptive gentleman walked into the mission. I have no record of what I preached on that afternoon, but I felt let down. 
After I preached, Brother Watson opened the service for testimonies. Several testified and
again I was surprised to see this Syrian gentleman stand to his feet. In my mind I thought, “Well, like so many from Bible lands, he has some opinion to give” (Oh ye of little faith!). His testimony went something like this: He told of our conversation of the night before in the restaurant; then he said, “I went to the rooming house where I stay; I took a bath and casually laid on my bed. I began to think of our conversation at the restaurant with Thomas. I began to think about God and tears began to come to my eyes. I got on my knees and prayed and gave my heart to God, and now I feel so much better.” To say that I was amazed is putting it mildly! Where I felt a failure and defeated in my witness the night before, the Holy Spirit had taken over and blessed the little effort I had put forth. It was a great lesson that I’ve had to learn many times."
1931 Everybody's Mission: 64 Chatham St, Pittsburgh, PA

October 9, 1931 - Pittsburgh Press - Mission Convention Opens

February 10, 1934 - Pittsburgh Press - Church Activities: Rev. Harvey Loper

1937  Everybody's Mission Mention in Except from U.S. Steel News, Page 27

February 19, 1941 Everybody's Mission Mention in Rev. Ory O. Watson Obituary:

Everybody's Mission mentions outside of Pittsburgh:

  • 1878 Rochdale, United Kingdom. "The Salvation Army first commenced its work in the town of Rochdale in 1878.  They took over the local Theatre for four Sundays, but after the third they were not allowed the use of it any longer due to the damage that had been caused by those in attendance!  They moved to the Wash House and continued from there.  After three changes of leadership, Captain Polly Perkins and Lieutenant Marion Smith closed the work down - in 1878!  The converts joined with the 'Everybody's Mission'.  Eventually the members of the mission appealed to General William Booth to open up the work of The Salvation Army in Rochdale again, and if he did so, the members of the mission would become Salvationists and stand by the Army.  So it was on Sunday 12th March 1882  The Salvation Army 'opened fire' in Rochdale.  The first premises, or 'Citadel', was the Old Rink on Castlemere Street.  This spacious building was packed night after night with many experiencing conversion. " Quoted from:
  • 1915 Weymouth Twp, New Jersey. "Everybody's Mission Church: A large group of residents wanted a Pentecostal Mission. These families included the Josephsons, Clemensons, Seelmans and Richerts, among other. They built their meeting house in 1915, east of the Episcopal Church. Meetings were officiated by visiting ministers, and sometimes by their own members, including the Clemensons and Josephsons. Everybody's Mission held services for a number of years, but as families moved away and others joined the Lutheran group, the church fell into disrepair.   About 1961, an active Lutheran group (Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dorothy) which had been meeting at Everybody's Mission Church suggested purchasing the rundown Episcopal Church from the Diocese of New Jersey for a token price of $100. The Lutheran group was active and began to maintain the building. They first added a new roof, which was needed as the former one had been installed in the 1930's when I was in college.  Weymouth Township received a grant from the state in 1993 to rehabilitate the Mission as a landmark. The grant covered the expenses involved in moving the structure behind the Municipal Building and making improvements to it. A basement was dug and a new roof installed. The windows were also replaced. Although constructed of pinewood, rather than cedar, the building remained structurally sound, with no termite damage. On July 4, 1993, the building was dedicated and named the "Grandmom Seelman Youth Center". Scouts and other groups now have a permanent place to hold their meetings." Quoted from:

  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "By 1904, Michaux had saved enough money to open his own seafood and poultry business as a well as a dancing school. There he met Mary Eliza Pauline, an orphaned older woman whom he married in 1906. 
        Five years later, the prosperous entrepreneur built a 3-story home off Pinkett's Beach at the foot of Ivy Avenue, where the childless couple began raising two of Michaux's younger sisters. He also began embracing the influence of his wife's increasingly passionate religious convictions, including her missionary forays into the poorest, roughest parts of town to kneel and pray at the feet of drunks, prostitutes and other sinners. 
        Not until a lucrative government contract drew him to Hopewell in 1917, however, did Michaux erect a small white-frame church for his wife, who named it "Everybody's Mission." Within a year he was ordained in the Church of Christ (Holiness). 
        "He loved her - and she told him what she thought God wanted him to do," says historian Lillian Ashcraft-Eason, who grew up in the church before making it the subject of a book and a College of William Mary doctoral dissertation. 
        "And like everything else Elder Michaux did, once he decided to do it he did it with a lot of passion." 
        That zeal helps explain why - following the end of World War I and their return to Newport News - Michaux and his wife spent 3 months preaching on the street with no more shelter than a sheet of canvas. 
        It also sheds light on how fast the church took shape, moving in 15 months from a rented storefront to a new 3-story structure housing not just a sanctuary but also offices, apartments, a grocery, a cafe and a savings bank aimed at members. 
        Most of these people were "poor, propertyless and without formal schooling," Ashcraft-Eason says. And they came to Michaux as much for material help as his grasp of the Gospel." Quoted from April 29, 2013, Newport News article "Newport News preacher redefined the black church" written by Mark St. John Erickson
  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "By 1917, Lightfoot had become a prosperous businessman, working out of Newport News, Norfolk and Petersburg, VA and securing large government contracts.

    Continuing his success, Lightfoot opened an additional business in Hopewell, Virginia, where both he and Mrs. Michaux later moved since the seafood business had become so lucrative.

    Although Lightfoot traveled to Hopewell mainly for business purposes, God had another purpose for his life – that purpose was to make Lightfoot a “fisherman of men”. So God spoke to Lightfoot through the book of St John 4:35-36 which states: “Say ye not there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth, recieveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he the reapeth may
    rejoice together.”

    Thus the Elder began to preach in Hopewell, Virginia in a little mission church called “Everybody’s Mission”, which the Elder had built himself. Before reading St John 4:35, 36, the Elder was not convinced that the Lord had called him to preach: therefore, Mrs. Michaux taught the word, and guest ministers preached.

    Later, the Elder, himself, began to preach, secure in the knowledge that God had truly call him. By early 1919, Hopewell’s population had declined speedily, due to the cessation of World War I and the inevitable collapse of the seafood business: consequently, the Elder and his wife returned to Newport News, Virginia, still a thriving, growing town.

    Arriving in Newport News, Virginia in 1919, the Elder prayed to God for several month concerning the course God would have him take. Desiring to be absolutely certain that God was leading him, the Elder-like Gideon of Old- Put out a “fleece” to God, saying, “God, if you will give me 150 souls in Newport News, I will know that you want me to begin a work here” God accepted the “Fleece”; the evidence is history."  Quoted from
  • 1917 - Newport News, VA. "The church that was built had a small, white frame. The DuPont Company donated the land for the church. The church was interracial, nondenominational, and evangelical. She named it “Everybody’s Mission.” This church was very successful in its nightly worship service, conducted by visiting elders and Mary Michaux.
    At his wife’s insistence, Michaux began attending church again on a regular basis. To him religion and business were not in harmony, according to his experiences that were rooted in the Protestant tradition. However, in 1917 and in 1918 he was licensed and ordained in the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A, receiving counsel from Elder W. C. Handy, a Church of Christ preacher, advising him on scriptural interpretation, pastoral duties, and church doctrine and practices. As an ordained evangelist, he had the authority to pastor Everybody’s Mission, and the church became a Church of Christ affiliate."
  • February 26, 1921 - Newport News, VA. "From the ministry of Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, a flamboyant evangelist, who soon after his conversion in 1917, had been impressed that he was to become leader of a new church.  This dream was destined to become reality on February 26, 1921, when-refusing reassignment in the Church of Christ (Holiness)-- Michaux established the Gospel Spreading Tabernacle Building Association with his own Everybody's Mission of Newport News, Virginia, as centerpiece." quoted from A guide to the study of the holiness movement.'s+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEIQTAF

  • 1932 - Detroit, MI. "Robert Ramsey, who runs Everybody's Mission on Grand River Avenue, Detroit."  quoted from the Michigan Christian Advocate, Volume 59, Issue 8, p. 17's+mission%22+pittsburgh&dq=%22everybody's+mission%22+pittsburgh&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6xLWQ17rNAhWCYiYKHSY3DI8Q6AEIRjAG
  • December 1936 - 375 Green St., Spartanburg, South Carolina.  "Charles H. Williams who organized mission and is now in charge is originally from Washington, D. C. and is an employee of Southern R. R. Shops, having been transferred here.  While he lived in Washington he was associated with Dr. E. A. Martin who has a mission known as "Everybody's Mission."  When Mr. Williams moved here, Dr. Martin sent him seventy-five chairs, a piano, stove, and $25.00 with which to establish a mission in Spartanburg. The mission has no building but rents an old store, paying $5.00 a month rent.  Present membership, 38; present head of mission, Charles Henry Williams, Box 52, Drayton. Records: Hattie Helms, Secretary, Snake Rd, Spartenburgh, S.C. Custodian: Willis Brown, Drayton."  Quoted from WPA Survey: Church Records Form

  • November 28, 1958 - 1292 Franklin Avenue, Franklin, PA. "Mr. and Mrs. J. Alfred Fullerton put the finishing touches on a large scenic mural which they recently completed on the wall at the back of the sanctuary in Everybody's Mission, 1292 Franklin Avenue. The painting will be dedicated at special services Sunday at 2:30 p. rri. (News-Herald Photo) - ' "  Dedication Of Painting Set For Sunday at Mission A large 14 by nine and one-half foot religious mural, painted by a husband and wife evangelistic team, will be dedicated during special services in Everybody's Mission Sunday afternoon. The mural, which covers the John 1:14 and the two hymns,! "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" and "Rock of Ages."
  • Date Unknown. Chicago, IL. "Chapter III
    Choosing a Life Work 
    EMINENTLY practical in all matters of 
    business, Mr. Cook knew that in the bat- 
    tle against ignorance and wickedness 
    " the sinews of war " are as needful as in any 
    other campaign; missions need money as well 
    as faith and consecration, and he kept on 
    down town, extending the mail-order busi- 
    ness so that there might be no financial short- 
    age on North Avenue. He recalled young 
    Bent from Wheaton, and the two worked to- 
    gether harmoniously for several years. Out 
    of business hours Mr. Cook continued his 
    Sunday-school teaching and mission work. 
    Everybody's Mission grew and prospered. 
    In the course of time it seemed advisable to 
    get away from the rather undesirable environ- 
    ment. A lot was leased on a street near by 
    and a building erected, chiefly at Mr. Cook's 
    expense. There was a large attendance every 
    Sunday, between three and four hundred 
    " regulars," though the enrollment was much 
    Without aid from any church or society, 
    Mr. Cook maintained and financed this school 
    until churches were organized in the neigh- 
    borhood and able to take over the work. Be- 
    sides Everybody's Mission, he organized 
    and superintended the North Avenue Mission, 
    the Lake View Mission and the Lake View 
    Union Sunday School. Much of the time for 
    ten years he superintended two schools, and 
    some of the time three schools, each Sunday. 
    Superintendents and teachers in modern 
    Sunday-schools can have little understanding 
    of the difficulties Mr. Cook had to meet and 
    master in carrying on his work for the under- 
    privileged people of Chicago during the re- 
    construction period immediately following 
    the great fire. All were poor, many were 
    illiterate, some were embittered by their 
    losses. Saloons and gambling dens preyed 
    upon their scanty resources, leaving them 
    robbed of money and wounded in self-re- 
    spect. Naturally, these destructive agencies 
    feared and hated the work which the missions 
    were doing, and, as has been said, they now 
    (54) "quoted from Memoirs: David C. Cook, the friend of the Sunday School"

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 and practicing regularly that it becomes real and understandable. Without regularly applying it into our own life and in sessions with other people, 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 into 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.

NYC'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?

My Reiki Journey - Part 4 Observing Outside Energy

posted on: March 13, 2016

Once I felt like I had mastered my own energy better, and had a better sense of what was and wasn't "mine", it became easier to recognize when things happening in my body were coming from an outside influence.  This is truly the most challenging part of energy work- really recognizing and understanding what energy is originating from within or just visiting during certain circumstances.
(Did you already read Part 3 - Managing My Own Energy?)

The big question that everyone asks about Reiki is "HOW does it work?!"

"I'm invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me..." Glenn Ligon Inv#0201

While science doesn't have a definitive answer to this question yet, I think the answer lies somewhere in the research behind these kinds of questions...
At a scientific level, we know that these things are observable, measurable, and related even though we still do not understand exactly "why" or "how" they happen.  This is a lot like Reiki- we can observe certain changes in bio-energy over time, but I can't tell you exactly why those shifts happened or what exactly caused the movement.

There are forces unseen, like the wind, a fragrance, sweltering heat, or an electric shock, which affect our lives and shape them in ways we cannot control. #believe

It wasn't until I started doing Distance Reiki while studying Reiki 2 that I really started to experience the many different ways we can be energetically linked, and what kind of information can be transferred during those energetic exchanges.  Likewise, the amount and type of information I receive can be as varied and unique as the person I'm working with.

With hands-on Reiki, most of the sensations and information I receive tend to be physical in nature: heat, pulsing, density, pressure, coldness, tingling, pain, etc.  When I work hand-off in the energetic field or with Distance Reiki, I tend to get more mental impressions like images, colors, elements, phrases, words, or even a song that seems to be unique to the person I'm working on.  Many Reiki practitioners adopt a practice of silence and not mentioning the sensations they experience, because often the next question might be "what does that mean?"  Usually those are the questions that clients need to continue investigating on their own, because the answer is somewhere in their own body or lived experiences.

Life is not a matter of choosing the right door.  It is a matter of living with whatever door we have chosen and making the most of it. #randomthoughts

Unfortunately, energetic sensations don't come with reasons attached.  I don't know "why" someone's left knee feels like it's on fire, and they might not even know why, but if we both sense an unusual level of heat, than we both know that "something" is happening there.  Experiences and feelings can be deceptive as well because we may not experience the same sensations.  There have been times when a client experienced a lot of energetic movement in the form of tingling, while I felt nothing, and vice versa.  What we do know, is that Reiki is "working" for the highest good of the client, even when we don't exactly understand what's happening.  Just as scientists still don't understand exactly how gravity works, but it doesn't mean that gravity isn't working or is any less a force of nature.

... Have you ever stepped into a place and felt a "bad vibe" even though everything looked beautiful and perfectly fine on the surface?  Have you ever had a "gut feeling" about someone that you didn't have any explanation for?  Do you trust those feelings or do you write them off?

(Continue to My Reiki Journey Part 5: Reiki 1 Case Studies)

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