4 Signs you are in a Dark Night of the Soul

4 Signs you are in a Dark Night of the Soul, and what to do next

I first heard the term “Dark Night of the Soul” during a Reiki class. This is a time of major disruption in life. This can be job loss, breakups, illness, fear, anxiety, and overall feeling like you can’t take one more thing. If you are experiencing this, there is no accident. You are likely starting, or currently in a time of your life of intense growth.

What are the signs of a Dark Night of the Soul?

During an interview, I asked Psychic Development Teacher Heather of heatheryish.com, we did a deep dive into the “Dark Night of the Soul.” She shared her personal experiences with how she navigated these rough water.
Here is some of the knowledge she shared during the interview.

1. Weakening of the Foundations of Your Life

weakening of the foundations of your life

When you are going through a “Dark Night of the Soul”, it appears as if your world is falling apart. The aspects of your life that create our daily routines, such as relationships, work, home, and health began to change quickly. This results in breakups, endings, being fired or laid off, or becoming ill.

Even more uncomfortable is that major changes may happen all at once. It may feel like the sky is falling, and in your world it may be. One unwanted change may lead to another, then another.

You may find yourself suddenly with much more time on your hands because of the end of a relationship, or the end of a job. If the loss is the death of a loved one, this can feel like a chasm that is painful and you desire to fill immediately.

Why This Happens

Many spiritual leaders and coaches see the journey in to the Dark Night of the Soul as a time of transition. The choices you have made may have served you at that point in time, but not must be let go. Relationships that hinder your growth on a soul level must change or end.

Breakups, financial losses, career setbacks are emotionally painful and are powerful teachers on your soul journey. They are not meant to be easy, but they always serve a purpose of crating a major shift.

How to Survive The Crumbling of the Foundations In Your Life during the Dark Night of the Soul

Your were built to survive this challenge. Your faith has likely taught you that you can survive, and thrive in any challenge that comes your way.

Heather advised us during her interview that feeling emotional overwhelm is expected to happen. She encourages us that higher guidance from your spirit guides and your God are with you.

During the tumultuous times of the Dark Night, you can find your emotional center using meditation. Daily meditation calms your nervous system. During times of change, your Sympathetic Nervous System will be heightened. You may have trouble with appetite, sleep, and finding inner calm. Working with your nervous system through intentional meditation daily can help you find your inner calm, and create a buffer for you during this difficult time.

21 day meditation challenge

My 21 Day Meditation Challenge can help you start and continue your meditation. Course includes downloadable meditations.

2. Desire to Withdraw from Others

desire to be alone

During out interview (which you can download here), I asked Heather for some of the subtle signs that a Dark Night of the Soul is coming. She noted that in her clients, withdrawing from what’s familiar, particular from the community you’re in, is a sign that big change is coming.

Why This Happens

This kind of withdrawal may be accompanied with fatigue. You may be so tired that getting out of bed feels monumental. You previous relationships also may be draining your energy, so it is now impossible as you move through this change to connect with others.

Creating a Safe Space During the Dark Night of the Soul

As you journey through the Dark Night of the Soul, energy preservation is necessary. It may feel selfish, but your mind, body, and spirit demand that you allocate your resources to yourself.

Heather’s advice is to create your own safe place. Create space and time to heal, feel protected and to rest. How do you do this?

Creating your own safe place can start with developing and enhancing your healing rituals. Starting a daily Meditation Practice such as the 21 Day Meditation Journey helps you create a healing ritual you can return to day after day.

Reiki creates a safe place to recover during the Dark Night of the Soul. Receiving Reiki from a trusted Reiki Healer is wonderful, but did you know know you can learn Reiki and heal yourself?

Reiki creates a safe space for gentle healing. Performing Reiki on yourself daily will create a safe space through healing ritual. It is possible to do this for yourself. Learning Reiki is therapeutic as well. You learn about you Chakras, the history of Reiki, and your anatomy. What you learn in Reiki can serve as guiding lights as you navigate the Dark Night of the Soul.

3. Disconnection from Your Own Desires

Being unable to identify with your desires, your wishes, and your passions is a sign that you may have drifted from you path in life. If you feel that you are busy, doing many things, but none of them bring joy to your life, this is a sign that you are entering a Dark Night of the Soul.

Why This Happens

Failure to acknowledge your feelings, desires and needs leads to disconnection. This disconnection form yourself creates a crisis in the mind, body and spirit. Each of us has a purpose, a calling, or a chosen mission that our souls selected before we came to exist in this time. If decisions you have made have taken you away from this, you will experience trouble with knowing what it is you want.

How to Reconnect With Your Desires During the Dark Night of the Soul

Finding ways to reconnect with your desires requires quiet, reflection, and intentional healing. During our interview, Heather recommended using therapy as a way to reconnect.

Working with a counselor, such as my podcast guest, Brandi Gibson, can help you understand when you feel stress in your body. Have a listen to her episode, Stress Awareness in the Mind Body to learn how therapy can teach you to reconnect with your physical body.

My podcast guest Dr. Seleena Smith also recommends seeking help if you see 6 changes in your life that signal working with a therapist can really help. If you notice these 6 signs, it is time to ask for help.

4. Desire for a Major Change

Longing for major changes in your life may be more than fantasy. If you’ve had a dream of a career change, or longed for living in a different place, these desires may be much more than fantasy. You may have feelings of guilt about these longings, but as we learned during this podcast episode, you want to approach these desires with loving kindness.

Why This Happens

Experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul is a sign that major change is coming. Changes in your home, career, personal life and yourself are coming. Embracing that change is eminent makes this easier to accept.

Embracing the Changes That Come with the Dark Night of The Soul

During this time of transition, educate yourself abundantly. Reading, taking courses, listening to podcast and reading blogs that support your journey through the Dark Night of the Soul will help you embrace these changes and grow from them.

Reading has helped me through my own Dark Night of the Soul. Reading as a therapeutic intervention is known as bibliotherapy. I have a list of recommended books that I have found inspiring and helpful.

Thriving during the Dark Night of the Soul

My wish for anyone who is in a dark time is that this time will serve to help you heal, progress, and grow. Accept the signs that you and your life must change. Use this time to learn meditation. Learn Reiki to heal yourself. Understand that as you progress on this journey, it is for a purpose.

Reiki in Medicine

Reiki can be used in medicine. Reiki can, and should be offered along with traditional treatments.

Check out the video, Reiki in Medicine.

Check out the YouTube Video Here

Reiki for Fatigue

woman lying on blue textile

Reiki has been shown to improved Cancer Related Fatigue1

A small study performed at the University of Calgary with 16 patients sought to measure if Reiki treatments could improve Cancer Related Fatigue. The study showed high compliance of participants (inferring increasing interest in complementary care).  This study compared prescribed rest periods with Reiki sessions in patients being treated for cancer. The overall results show that repeated Reiki treatments helped to improve Cancer Related Fatigue.1

Reiki for Anxiety

love people woman relaxation

“REIKI IMPROVED PAIN…ANXIETY BY 59.8%²“

Anxiety can be crippling. Anxiety attacks are a culmination of chronic stress that causes the autonomic nervous system to shift form a “rest and digest” mode to a “fight or flight” mode. When the autonomic nervous system maintains too much sympathetic tone, anxiety is one of the results.

Reiki creates immediate relaxation. During a Reiki session, but client and practitioner feel a sense calm as the Reiki energy is channeled. The setting is usually calm, allowing for surrender to an inner sense of peace.

Medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment commonly cause anxiety. Most of my new patients are anxious to be at a new clinic meeting a new doctor. They are also nervous about possible diagnosis.

Reiki is an amazing way to alleviate anxiety. My Reiki clients find anxiety resolves quickly. I use Reiki for my own feelings of anxiety.

Reiki for Pain

food love people woman

  1. Tsang, K. L., Carlson, L. E., & Olson, K. (2007). Pilot crossover trial of Reiki versus rest for treating cancer-related fatigue. Integrative cancer therapies, 6(1), 25–35. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534735406298986
  2. 2. Vergo, M. T., Pinkson, B. M., Broglio, K., Li, Z., & Tosteson, T. D. (2018). Immediate Symptom Relief After a First Session of Massage Therapy or Reiki in Hospitalized Patients: A 5-Year Clinical Experience from a Rural Academic Medical Center. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 24(8), 801–808. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2017.0409

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4 Signs you are in a Dark Night of the Soul

4 Signs you are in a Dark Night of the Soul, and what to do next

I first heard the term “Dark Night of the Soul” during a Reiki class. This is a time of major disruption in life. This can be job loss, breakups, illness, fear, anxiety, and overall feeling like you can’t take one more thing. If you are experiencing this, there is no accident. You are likely starting, or currently in a time of your life of intense growth.

What are the signs of a Dark Night of the Soul?

During an interview, I asked Psychic Development Teacher Heather of heatheryish.com, we did a deep dive into the “Dark Night of the Soul.” She shared her personal experiences with how she navigated these rough water.
Here is some of the knowledge she shared during the interview.

1. Weakening of the Foundations of Your Life

weakening of the foundations of your life

When you are going through a “Dark Night of the Soul”, it appears as if your world is falling apart. The aspects of your life that create our daily routines, such as relationships, work, home, and health began to change quickly. This results in breakups, endings, being fired or laid off, or becoming ill.

Even more uncomfortable is that major changes may happen all at once. It may feel like the sky is falling, and in your world it may be. One unwanted change may lead to another, then another.

You may find yourself suddenly with much more time on your hands because of the end of a relationship, or the end of a job. If the loss is the death of a loved one, this can feel like a chasm that is painful and you desire to fill immediately.

Why This Happens

Many spiritual leaders and coaches see the journey in to the Dark Night of the Soul as a time of transition. The choices you have made may have served you at that point in time, but not must be let go. Relationships that hinder your growth on a soul level must change or end.

Breakups, financial losses, career setbacks are emotionally painful and are powerful teachers on your soul journey. They are not meant to be easy, but they always serve a purpose of crating a major shift.

How to Survive The Crumbling of the Foundations In Your Life during the Dark Night of the Soul

Your were built to survive this challenge. Your faith has likely taught you that you can survive, and thrive in any challenge that comes your way.

Heather advised us during her interview that feeling emotional overwhelm is expected to happen. She encourages us that higher guidance from your spirit guides and your God are with you.

During the tumultuous times of the Dark Night, you can find your emotional center using meditation. Daily meditation calms your nervous system. During times of change, your Sympathetic Nervous System will be heightened. You may have trouble with appetite, sleep, and finding inner calm. Working with your nervous system through intentional meditation daily can help you find your inner calm, and create a buffer for you during this difficult time.

21 day meditation challenge

My 21 Day Meditation Challenge can help you start and continue your meditation. Course includes downloadable meditations.

2. Desire to Withdraw from Others

desire to be alone

During out interview (which you can download here), I asked Heather for some of the subtle signs that a Dark Night of the Soul is coming. She noted that in her clients, withdrawing from what’s familiar, particular from the community you’re in, is a sign that big change is coming.

Why This Happens

This kind of withdrawal may be accompanied with fatigue. You may be so tired that getting out of bed feels monumental. You previous relationships also may be draining your energy, so it is now impossible as you move through this change to connect with others.

Creating a Safe Space During the Dark Night of the Soul

As you journey through the Dark Night of the Soul, energy preservation is necessary. It may feel selfish, but your mind, body, and spirit demand that you allocate your resources to yourself.

Heather’s advice is to create your own safe place. Create space and time to heal, feel protected and to rest. How do you do this?

Creating your own safe place can start with developing and enhancing your healing rituals. Starting a daily Meditation Practice such as the 21 Day Meditation Journey helps you create a healing ritual you can return to day after day.

Reiki creates a safe place to recover during the Dark Night of the Soul. Receiving Reiki from a trusted Reiki Healer is wonderful, but did you know know you can learn Reiki and heal yourself?

Reiki creates a safe space for gentle healing. Performing Reiki on yourself daily will create a safe space through healing ritual. It is possible to do this for yourself. Learning Reiki is therapeutic as well. You learn about you Chakras, the history of Reiki, and your anatomy. What you learn in Reiki can serve as guiding lights as you navigate the Dark Night of the Soul.

3. Disconnection from Your Own Desires

Being unable to identify with your desires, your wishes, and your passions is a sign that you may have drifted from you path in life. If you feel that you are busy, doing many things, but none of them bring joy to your life, this is a sign that you are entering a Dark Night of the Soul.

Why This Happens

Failure to acknowledge your feelings, desires and needs leads to disconnection. This disconnection form yourself creates a crisis in the mind, body and spirit. Each of us has a purpose, a calling, or a chosen mission that our souls selected before we came to exist in this time. If decisions you have made have taken you away from this, you will experience trouble with knowing what it is you want.

How to Reconnect With Your Desires During the Dark Night of the Soul

Finding ways to reconnect with your desires requires quiet, reflection, and intentional healing. During our interview, Heather recommended using therapy as a way to reconnect.

Working with a counselor, such as my podcast guest, Brandi Gibson, can help you understand when you feel stress in your body. Have a listen to her episode, Stress Awareness in the Mind Body to learn how therapy can teach you to reconnect with your physical body.

My podcast guest Dr. Seleena Smith also recommends seeking help if you see 6 changes in your life that signal working with a therapist can really help. If you notice these 6 signs, it is time to ask for help.

4. Desire for a Major Change

Longing for major changes in your life may be more than fantasy. If you’ve had a dream of a career change, or longed for living in a different place, these desires may be much more than fantasy. You may have feelings of guilt about these longings, but as we learned during this podcast episode, you want to approach these desires with loving kindness.

Why This Happens

Experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul is a sign that major change is coming. Changes in your home, career, personal life and yourself are coming. Embracing that change is eminent makes this easier to accept.

Embracing the Changes That Come with the Dark Night of The Soul

During this time of transition, educate yourself abundantly. Reading, taking courses, listening to podcast and reading blogs that support your journey through the Dark Night of the Soul will help you embrace these changes and grow from them.

Reading has helped me through my own Dark Night of the Soul. Reading as a therapeutic intervention is known as bibliotherapy. I have a list of recommended books that I have found inspiring and helpful.

Thriving during the Dark Night of the Soul

My wish for anyone who is in a dark time is that this time will serve to help you heal, progress, and grow. Accept the signs that you and your life must change. Use this time to learn meditation. Learn Reiki to heal yourself. Understand that as you progress on this journey, it is for a purpose.

5 Things To Know about Mindfulness

5 Things To know about mindfulness

5 facts to know about mindfulness.

Curious about mindfulness? Let’s talk about some of the basics of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment, without judgment. It involves paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental and accepting way. Mindfulness can be cultivated through meditation, yoga, or Reiki that focus on awareness and acceptance. It is often used as a stress-reduction technique and has been shown to have positive effects on mental and physical health.

Mindfulness is simple to practice once you understand what is involved. It is a practice that you can easily integrate into your life, with some guidance and training.

#1 Is Mindfulness the Same as Meditation?

Mindfulness and meditation are not the same. Mindfulness refers to the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment, without judgment. Meditation is a specific technique or practice that is used to foster mindfulness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. While mindfulness can be practiced in many ways, meditation is one way to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be practiced during meditation (Mindfulness Meditation for example). This is what is known as a formal Mindfulness Practice.

You can practice mindfulness informally. This is known as being in a mindful state. Mindfulness in the moment can help calm and center the mind. Mindfulness can also enhance everyday experiences such as meals.

Mindful eating is one easy way to make an everyday activity mindful. In the podcast, Mindful Eating with guest Health Coach Lisa Airhart, we discuss how slowing down, focusing on the meal, the setting and truly enjoying your meals can lead to a healthier relationship with food.

Mindfulness meditation is now my personal favorite way to practice meditation. It’s as simple as setting an intention on what your focus will be, settling into the meditation, then completing the meditation.

Focus Points for Mindfulness Meditation

  • Focus on the Breath
  • Focus on the Body (Such as the Body Scan)
  • Focus on the Mind

#2 Can I practice Mindfulness without Meditation?

Mindfulness is a state of being It can be practiced during a Meditation. It can also be practiced outside of a meditation session. Mindfulness during activities such as walking simply means keeping the focus on the current activity. We all have thoughts that stray from the activity we are doing. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed, agitated, and discontent.

One my my favorite mindfulness practices is Mindful Walking. You can try this here.

This is the power of mindfulness, that it can be done at anytime and any place. The key is to learn mindfulness as a discipline, making it apart of your daily healing practice.

#3 How Does Mindfulness Change the Brain?

Practicing Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that can be long lasting. According to authors Danial Goleman and Richard Davidson, “mindfulness strengthens the brain’s ability to focus on one thing and ignore distractions.”1

The authors were able to demonstrate through research that mindfulness can improve focus, improve memory, and decease distractibility.

A regular mindfulness practice also lowers the threshold for reactivity. Regular practice reduces anxiety. Engaging in mindfulness trains the brain to shift away from the “Fight and Flight” in which stress hormones are elevated, to “rest and digest” mode. This is when the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged. The body prefers to operate in a “rest and digest” mode to allow for healing and recovery.

#4 What Conditions Can Mindfulness Help With? What is it Effective?

Mindfulness, in particular, Mindfulness Interventions can improve anxiety. Many treatments for anxiety, such as medications, can have side effects. Psychotherapy is a corner stone for treating anxiety, but is not always accessible or affordable. Mindfulness can be a healing modality available to anyone and has been shown to be effective.2

People living with chronic pain often have few treatment options to help them cope with pain. Mindfulness can help those living with chronic pain learn to separate themselves from the emotional reactions to the pain. Although this does not eliminate the pain, it can help with coping with the pain.

Many people trying to find relief from insomnia complain of being plagued with worries or racing thoughts when they try to fall asleep. Learning mindfulness can help train your brain not to get caught up on repetitive thoughts. This allows for natural relaxation and easing into sleep.

Similar to a regular meditation practice, mindfulness is a tool that can alleviate many conditions with few risks.

#5 What is the Best Way to Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is best seen as skill. Initially having an instructor for guidance can help you develop confidence in your practice. After training, you don’t need any tools to practice mindfulness.

I like guided meditations as there is no pressure to try to sort out what the goals are of the meditation, but I’m moving towards practicing mindfulness because it is a simple practice. My favorite is simply to count each breath and note my thoughts, emotions during that breath.

  1. Goleman, D. & Davidson, R. (2017).  Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes your Mind, Brain, and Body. New York, NY: Penguin Random House
  2. Zhang, D., Lee, E., Mak, E., Ho, C. Y., & Wong, S. (2021). Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review. British medical bulletin, 138(1), 41–57. https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldab005

3 Ways to Become More Resilient to Stress

Resilience is the ability to recover from injury, setback, or trauma.  While it’s easiest to avoid anything that causes harm, it’s impossible to avoid everything that can harm you.  Illness, emotional upset, trauma, loss and anger are apart of life. In this article, we will explore three ways you can increase your resilience to stress in all forms.

While you have no control over the world around you, you have complete control over yourself. You can prepare your self for life’s challenges long before they cross your path.

I think of resilience as a savings account of energy.  You are free to use the currency in any way, and while its in savings, it can accrue extra interest depending on the environment.  When it’s time to make a purchase (a major life change, a birth, a death, a move, a new star, and ending for example), the funds will be used. 

person putting coin in a piggy bank
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

If the account has a low balance, it may go into the red once the inevitable stresses of life hit.  A negative balance in your Resiliency Bank will draw form other accounts.  The available accounts to draw from are the mind, body and spirit.  

You can make deposits into your Resilience Bank all the time!

four rock formation

#1. Resilience to Stress Using Meditation

Many people turn to meditation during times of stress, or when they have many questions about life. Many feel that meditation is only needed for a short period of time.

Meditation is fantastic during times of stress. Being able to stop the hectic pace of life even for 3 minutes is better than continuing forge ahead without taking a break.

Making deposits to your Resilience Bank before stress hits allows you to increase your resilience stress even more. When your life get’s stressful, it is possible you may not have time to stop and meditate. Stress often accompanies major life transitions, such as a birth, a death, a new job, a move, a marriage or divorce. Even if the transition is something you’ve hoped and prayed for, you will undergo many changes that are out of your control.

Making daily meditation a practice that comes to you naturally is a way to make automatic deposits to your Resilience Account. Having a high amount in your Resilience Bank assures that you will have more resilience to stress when it inevitably occurs.

Your daily meditation practice can be accessible, easy, and rewarding.

Start you Meditation Journey Today with the 21 Day Meditation Challenge at Healing Arts

#2. Resilience to Stress Using Mindfulness

brown field and blue sky

A formal meditation practice is an excellent and guaranteed to increase your resilience to stress. Mindfulness, either a formal meditation practice, or as an informal practice also increases your resilience to stress.

Mindfulness is a deceptively simple way to increase your resilience to stress at any time during your day. I am a full time physician, seeing patients in a hospital owned clinic daily. My days can be busy, often leaving very little time for me to pause and meditate. Practicing mindfulness during my day, such as setting an intention with my patients, creating healthy boundaries, and performing mindful hand washing help me increase my resilience to stress.

crop masseuse performing reiki massage

#3. Resilience to Stress Using Reiki

Reiki is a holistic healing modality that allows for energy to be channeled into the mind and body for healing. If you are new to Reiki, feel free to check out my primer on Reiki here.

Reiki treatments on a regular basis can help you stay rested, prevent disease, and stay healthy. Many people seek Reiki during times of illness and emotional distress. Reiki is healing at these times, but consider staying with Reiki even once you feel healed.

Practicing self Reiki is an easy way to receive Reiki at any time. If you already are a Reiki Healer, I have created a 9 Minute Guided Reiki Session that can be used to conduct short sessions with no need for a timer.

Conclusion

Investing in your Resilience Account with Meditation, Mindfulness, and Reiki is worth your time. Need some inspiration? Check out my program here!

Happy Anniversary!

Healing Arts is one!

One year ago, I relaunched my website with a new name and new look.  In the past year, the gifts I have received in return have been beyond measure.  I am so excited for the future of Healing Arts and what’s coming next.

When I first created my online space, my hopes was to have a creative outlet for writing while continuing to develop my healing skills in Reiki and medicine. The online space has evolved to a podcasting platform, social media presence, and most of all creating amazing connections with other individuals.

I created a podcast thanks to the encouragement of two other entrepreneurs, Lisa Airhart, the health coach (upcoming podcast guest) and Stacey (owner of Stacey’s naturals).  Having believed for many years that no one would want to  hear my voice.

Art of Healing Podcast

Shine Your Light

photography of forest
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

What I have learned is that if you have a calling in your heart to share your gifts you need to share it. Your fear is not real, and it’s getting in the way of letting others that need to hear what you have to say. Recording my first podcast I found gave me butterflies and at the same time to be liberating. When I received my first positive feedback, I was amazed that anyone took time to listen.

My advice to anyone who wants to start sharing your healing gifts with the world but is afraid to share: 

  • People are searching for you.  Don’t make it impossible to find you.
  • When you don’t share your gifts with the world, you’re depriving the world of your love and light.   Not to put pressure on you, but do you want to prevent humanity from moving forward? By keeping your wonderful gifts to yourself, you may be doing this.
  • Don’t worry about negative judgement.  The average person is thinking of themselves, and even if they don’t like or appreciate your work, will simply not respond to you.

Step Into the Light

If you are in The Healing Arts such as Yoga, Meditation, Reiki or other similar healing modalities, or if you were in traditional medicine such as a physician, nurse, or therapist and you are looking for a platform that is safe to share your message, I personally invite you to be a guest on my podcast. I understand the feeling of being nervous of putting yourself out there, but in the past year that I stepped outside of my comfort zone I found the rewards to far out way the risk.

Feel free to send me a comment below with your contact information if you would like to be a guest on my podcast. I believe you will find this will be a safe space to step into the light.

Rest, Renewal and Resilience

As we finish up with the winter months and the days get longer and brighter, we take notice of what could use some refreshing. Now that there’s more light shining in your house you start to notice dust in the corners. Similarly, I think most of us are starting to notice areas of neglect as we’ve been in survival mode getting through the winter.

This is an excellent time to focus your attention on rest, renewal, and resilience. Examining the quality of your rest, finding ways that you can renew yourself, and increasing your resilience are always to assure your health and wellness. Let’s discuss some simple ways we can do that.

Physical Rest

Over the years I’m often surprised at how often I’m communicating to my patients that 5 to 6 hours of sleep is not enough for most of us. Honestly, I am guilty of this as well, often sleeping 6 hours a night and letting distractions keep me awake. Recently I got some simple, effective advice. I participated in my friend’s Cherie’s Reset program, a part of her program Edge of Becoming. I quickly discovered that my own tendency to not sleep enough hours could be dealt with very simply by making a few simple changes in my habits. What this means for me is concentrating my use of computers to certain times a day so that I’m not online in the evening.

Allowing for adequate time to sleep has a major impact on health.  “Shorter sleep duration, measured by wrist actigraphy over a 7-day period, was prospectively associated with increased incidence of the common cold following experimental viral challenge.¹” In women, sleeping an average of less than 6 hours per night has been shown to lead to “cognitive decline and increased risk of cognitive impairment, including dementia” ².

If you have become accustomed to short sleep out of habit or necessity consider looking at your schedule now. I suspect that although you feel there are many obligations that require you to stay up late or get up early they’re not nearly as necessary as you feel they are. Deciding that you can sleep in an hour or go to bed earlier is simple and I would encourage you to do this.  Ideally, you should attempt to alter your schedule so that you can allow for up to 7 hours of sleep at night at the minimum. 

Mental Rest

Much like physical rest, mental rest is necessary. No matter what you vocation is, likely it involves mental tasks that heavily tax your cognitive system.  Taking short mental rest during the day through meditation is my go-to. I have been studying to become a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Instructor. I am studying the details of mindfulness meditation as a daily practice.  Meditation should be accessible and easy to perform.  Simplifying meditation to its most basic aspects, in my experience so far, has greatly increased the meditation experience.  I often recommend tools to assist with meditation, such as music, nature sounds, or aromatherapy.  Mindfulness meditation emphasizes attention, intention and attitude for the meditator.  This means that the focus is continuously drawn inward.  I am now meditating in pure silence for about 10 minutes a day.  My meditation practice consists of this simple sequence:

10 Minute Mindfulness Practice

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes
  2. For the first 5 minutes, practice deep belly breaths, focusing the attention on the breath entering the nostrils traveling to the chest.  Follow the breath back from the chest to the nostrils.
  3. Reset the timer for 5 minutes
  4. This time, practice counting and breath:
    • Inhale and count 1
    • Hold the breath for a count of 1
    • Exhale Counting
    • Inhale and count 2
    • Hold the breath for a count of 1
    • Exhale, counting 2
  5. Continue until you reach the count of 10, the count backwards.

I enjoy this meditation because of the simplicity.  No complicated techniques.  No need for complicated visualizations.  It’s truly an effective, no frills meditation practice.

Digestive Rest

DigestiveI rest, or bowel rest, is a term we commonly use in medicine to indicate that someone is going to have a period of time that they are not allowed to eat due to a medical condition. Bowel rest is a very important therapeutic tool to use in acutely ill patients. In patients diagnosed with serious illnesses such as pancreatitis or blockage in the bowels, bowel rest or refraining from food or drink can allow the digestive system to heal.   Intermittent fasting, which reminds me bowel rest uses medical care has been shown to have numerous health benefits including weight loss improving diabetes, and decreasing inflammatory markers. It can also be used in your everyday life.   Many patients ask me about doing a fasting regimen or detox. This is very individualized, so depending on the patient this might be a good idea for them but also this needs to be approached carefully. Overall I would recommend discussing with your physician or care provider before taking all the detox are fasting regimen.

There are many health benefits to having extended periods of fasting throughout your regular schedule of digestive rest. This means eating dinner early and eating breakfast later. The digestive system does a lot of work whenever you eat. It requires extra blood flow to contract its muscles to digest and move the food through your system. Having periods of fasting, basically not snacking mindlessly can improve your sleep, mood, and help prevent unwanted weight gain.

Renew

As a Reiki Master,  my favorite tool for renewal is a session of Reiki that I do on myself. I try to do a Reiki session on myself for at least 9 minutes a day but I will perform sessions up to 45 minutes a day if time is available. I can feel the cells in my body renewing themselves as the energy flows through my hands. Because I’m in a mindful state while I’m performing Reiki I can feel all of the stress of the world melt away. Even when I’m doing longer sessions it really doesn’t feel like it’s lasting for very long. I’ve been very fascinated with the after effects of Reiki on myself over the years. Sometimes I completed a session and felt 20 years younger and full of energy. Sometimes I’ve completed a session and I needed a nap. In any case, Reiki is intelligent healing. The energy goes where it’s needed and when it’s necessary. Its such a simple healing modality, but with time and practice, it can dissolve so much stress and worry.

Resilience

There are times in life where we simply can’t avoid challenges or avoid unnecessary pain. There will be times where we simply have to go through what’s coming ahead of us. This is where resilience comes in.  Resilience is the ability to heal and recover from trauma or injury  Resilience requires healing on all levels including physical, emotional, mental as well as spiritual. The body can best heal and recover when it has everything it needs including nutrition, rest, fluids, and spiritual support.

Resilience improves with improve self-care. It is worth your time and energy to rest, renew, in order to achieve recently ends.

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1.Prather, A. A., Janicki-Deverts, D., Hall, M. H., & Cohen, S. (2015). Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sleep, 38(9), 1353–1359. https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4968

2.  Chen, J. C., Espeland, M. A., Brunner, R. L., Lovato, L. C., Wallace, R. B., Leng, X., Phillips, L. S., Robinson, J. G., Kotchen, J. M., Johnson, K. C., Manson, J. E., Stefanick, M. L., Sarto, G. E., & Mysiw, W. J. (2016). Sleep duration, cognitive decline, and dementia risk in older women. Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 12(1), 21–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2015.03.004

Chronic Pain and the Chakras

In the podcast from February 22, 2021,  I discussed my philosophy on how chronic pain relates to the human biofield in the form of chakras. In this blog post I wanted explore this topic more in-depth, addressing some specific chronically painful disease and the relationship with the energy body.

Pain serves a purpose.   Pain is a protective mechanism that helps us remove ourselves from danger, stop some sort of assault be it real or imagined, or bring the mind’s attention to one particular part of the body.  Pain is the body’s way to speak to the mind to ask for help. 

When assessing pain, I feel that it is important to make every attempt to examine what other issues are coming along with the pain. Traditional Western medicine tends to focus completely on the mechanics of the chronic pain. I have found that shining a light on the emotional issues that occur with the chronic pain can speed up the recovery process.

“One in 10 adults in the general population report chronic widespread pain with possible sociocultural variation.”

Mansfield, K. E., Sim, J., Jordan, J. L., & Jordan, K. P. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of chronic widespread pain in the general population. Pain, 157(1), 55–64. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000314

Root Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

The root chakra is associated with the ego, stability, and feeling rooted and connected. I’ve often noticed individuals develop back pain around the times that they feel threatened in career, home, or anything related to basic survival.  In my medical practice now I remain very aware that individuals presenting with back pain are often having stress and realized associated with basic survival and safety. 

Having the realization that lower back pain is likely occurring at a time where there is emotional stress related to survival doesn’t necessarily fix the problem but I do like to acknowledge this with my patients as their experiencing pain that at least muscle spasm in this area likely relates to emotional stress. While addressing the pain it is important for the patient or client to be aware of the emotional issues going along with them and to start addressing those.

Sacral Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

The Sacral Chakra is associated with the reproductive organs in both sexes.  Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by a number of issues in both men and women. In women, chronic pelvic pain is often associated with reproductive diseases such as fibroids, endometriosis, or scarring from pelvic inflammatory disease.  Chronic pelvic pain in women can often be crippling and lead to extensive medical workups that often don’t produce a clear diagnosis or clear treatment. Chronic pelvic pain is emotionally taxing, and can be made worse when women must face undergoing frequent medical procedures.  

 I had been a practicing physician for many years before I studied Ayurveda and Yoga. I began to observe the association of chronic pelvic with a history of sexual trauma, sexual abuse or other sensitive issues.  Once I became aware of this, I found it much easier to gently ask my patients if they had a history of sexual abuse.  I’m saddened to find out that often it does. I highlight this issue because it is important to understand that buried emotional trauma related to sexual abuse maybe related to chronic pelvic pain

Men can often suffer from chronic pelvic pain in the form of prostate disorders. This is most impactful in men over the age of 50 or 60 with a history of prostate disease such as prostate cancer. Knowing that there is a strong association of sexual trauma and pelvic pain, men with pelvic pain need to be addressed in a sensitive manner concerning this topic.

Solar Plexus Block and Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain in the solar plexus frequently relates to digestive disorders.  Although irritable bowel syndrome is not classically diagnosed as a chronic pain syndrome there’s a strong component of abdominal discomfort or pain with this disorder.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be classified as either being constipated irritable bowel syndrome or IBC or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome is a poorly understood disorder which is characterized by dysfunction in the muscles, chemical receptors, hormones and overall motility of the digestive tract that leads to changes in elimination of waste, nausea, and generalize abdominal pain. Anyone can develop irritable bowel syndrome but to be properly diagnosed other disorders such as celiac disease, food allergies, or tumors need to be ruled out so often referral to a specialist is required.

I have noticed in my clinical practice a strong association of stress and anxiety with irritable bowel syndrome. Many of these individuals freely admit that their irritable bowel syndrome is made worse in times of stress or depressed mood. It is interesting to note that many of the medications used to treat depression or anxiety can often help irritable bowel syndrome. Medications that raise serotonin levels or dopamine levels may help some individuals. 

The solar plexus chakra is associated with personal will, freedom, and motivation. I suspect that an individual with IBS may feel that they don’t have the freedom that they need in life or that their personal drive is being suppressed. This isn’t a clear medical diagnosis that can be treated with a prescription but just like the other issues I do feel that it’s important to acknowledge this.

Heart Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

The heart chakra is associated with the emotions of love, belonging, and gratitude.  Because of the vital organs in this area, we don’t typically think of chronic pain in this area.  It is possible to have chronic pain from angina, a recurring painful condition from blocked arteries around the heart that lead to pain from ischemia. 

A thorough work up is required since chest pain could be life threatening. Medical science does teach us there’s a strong association with heart attack and developing clinical depression in the months after a heart attack. Many individuals often have chronic angina related to blockages around the heart after a heart attack. Again, I do feel that it is important to acknowledge this relationship although fundamentally treatment would need to be aimed at keeping the arteries open in blood flowing to the heart as much as possible.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Throat Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

Individuals with blockages in the neck that leads to chronic pain will often develop neck pain along with tension headaches.  The muscles of the neck connect to the jaw. Clenching the jaw at night, also called bruxism, is a common response to stress.  This occurs during deep sleep.  Normal bodily sleep responses are disengaged, and muscles that should relax will begin to contract uncontrollably.  Individuals with bruxism often wake up with headache and neck pain.  

After a thorough physical exam and a diagnosis is made this is one area in the body or holistic remedies could be highly beneficial. Focusing treatments on stress relief, relieving muscle tension, and particularly using a regular meditation practice can help reduce the development of chronic tension in the neck.

3rd Eye Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

The third eye is located in the head at the same place that the pituitary gland. Likely energetic blocks in the third eye will cause some sort of headache. The most common type of chronic headache most people think of as migraine headaches.  Other types of recurring headaches include tension headaches, cluster headaches, or chronic daily headache.

Migraines can be a crippling condition that deeply impact quality of life. Blockages in the third eye in my experience as a Reiki practitioner are also some of the most difficult to diagnose because for most of us without focused intention we simply are going to remain blocked in the 3rd eye.  When working with Reiki clients dealing with major blockages in the 3rd eye, I typically recommend a Mindfulness Meditation practice daily for at least 5 minutes.  

7th Chakra Block and Chronic Pain

The 7th Chakra, or the Higher Self, is made of pure energy.  This energy center is located outside of the body.  This is the energy center that connects us to something bigger than ourselves, such as a deity or universal life force. I relate an energetic block in this area to chronic pain likely leading to diffuse painful syndromes such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome and maybe even acute pain syndromes related to kitchen a viral infection. In terms of these conditions I’ve noticed that when pain is severe it becomes an integral part of the person’s life. The pain that is experienced often shuts out other aspects of  life and becomes the whole of their existence.  Starting a personal healing practice of some kind often helps to open up energy flow in this area.  A good starting point is a personal meditation practice.

Chronic Pain is not fun to discuss, but is is important. If this topic has helped you, please share with your friends, family and loved ones.

The Best Gifts are Free

We usually think of winter in North America as the Holiday season. Gifts are exchanged as part of Christmas traditions to show gratitude, affection, or unfortunately, to keep from hurting someone’s feelings.

2020 has been an difficult year in so many ways. Many people are struggling financially due to the pandemic. Many do not have income at this point. Many people are grieving the loss of family and friends. Many are serving as caretakers and are overextended in their roles, unable to provide adequate self care.

I am witnessing suffering on many levels as a doctor and Reiki practitioner. I see that this year, the most important gifts are not material at all. We all love a store brought gifts, but in this time of social isolation I believe the best gift we all have to offer is our love and support. Here are some simple ways you can share your gifts:

Ways to Share Your Gifts

The Most Important Gifts to Give:

  • A phone call with someone you haven’t’ connected with recently
  • Teaching someone by phone how to use video technology to stay connected
  • Running an errand for someone quarantined
  • Offering your services for free if you are a Reiki healer, especially for distance Reiki
wrapped with ribbon gift box placed on table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

 I found that the guests best gifts I have received from others were rarely material. they were time spent, attention, or simple recognition or what I was going through. if you’re feeling like you have nothing to give you might just want to stop and have a look and make sure that’s true.

Offering my services as a physician to help others understand their medical issues is often one way I can help. although I feel like this takes no effort sometimes simple advice can help people go a long way. As a Reiki practitioner, I found that offering distance raking particularly to hospitalized coronavirus patient can bring so much ease to the family and the person going through it.

 If you’re considering learning reiki, please sign up for my newsletter period I will be making available a Reiki course online where you can start your journey and develop your skills as a healer. this is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself and for others.

As an email subscriber you will have access to my blogs, podcast which could be found at this link, email newsletters, and also I am active on social media at the following links. I hope we can keep in touch because I am very excited that soon I will be releasing my first course for those that want to learn Reiki in the comfort of their own home. Next paragraph on my website you can also find resources such as ebooks that will hopefully be helpful to you and your own journey.

My Journey to Reiki/How Reiki Found Me

My experience with Reiki is what lead me to start this blog.  As I’ve been composing my thoughts, and trying to decide what content I should post about Reiki, I forgot I should share my story of how Reiki found me.

I read a beautiful post  at My Journey to Reiki that reminded me that as excited as I am about Reiki, I should remember why I am so passionate about Reiki.

I found Reiki through yoga.  I had started practicing yoga in my home while in medical school.  Due to time and finances, it would be over 10 years before I attended an actual yoga studio.  A very dear friend of mine told me about Yoga Home of Therapeutics  and the owner Sara Alavi.  I went to my first class after a devastating break up.  I was emotionally distraught and suffering from burnout at work .  I attended yoga class with Sara for a few years.  After a wonderful class, she told me she was teaching a Reiki class and I might like it.

Attending yoga at the studio had done so much for me that I didn’t even hesitate to sign up.  After signing up, I forgot to research what Reiki is, and when I arrived for my Reiki 1 attunement, I had no idea what to expect.

My experience during my first attunement was like nothing I had experienced.  Keep in mind, if you decide to take a course in Reiki, everyone’s experience is individual, and every experience is beautiful.  I assumed prior to the attunement that only gifted individuals could see auras, or have empathic abilities.  As I felt the internal changes of the attunement, I didn’t realize that soon I would feel some of the same.

As a physician, I’m used to interacting with people.  I am used to dealing with people when times are good, when they are bad, when they are scary and sad.  I’ve always tried to approach patient care with the “Golden Rule”, do onto others…

After my Reiki 1 attunement, I was so happy to have this tool to heal myself.  I still had a lot of sadness, and my pressure at work was ever increasing.  I felt that Reiki would be a wonderful addition to my self care tool box.

So when I saw my first patients after my first attunement,  I was completely shocked that I was seeing something.  Every patient had a glow.  They were all different, and constantly changing.  I didn’t always see  this with every patient.  My left brain, traditionally trained physician brain sought a rational explanation.

After many exhaustive Google searches (yes, even when I prefer my patients not to consult Dr. Google) I started to understand this glow was the patient’s aura, or subtle body.  I continued to treat myself with Reiki on many days, sometimes just for a few minutes, and as time passed, I became more comfortable with this new sensitivity.

Seeing auras is wonderful, but like with any new tool, I am still learning when to work with this.  I did notice my empathy was increased.  As I saw patients, I could listen to their stories in a much more clear manner.  I could sense their suffering beyond what the labs and x-rays told me.  I could hear better why they came to see me.   Although I had intended for Reiki for my own healing, it was already helping my patients.

My Reiki level 1 and 2 training were wonderful, and for the next year, I wasn’t sure I would pursue more training.   I was very fortunate to discover Kelly Schwegel  as a guest speaker on a podcast.  I scheduled  a healing session with her and eventually became a member of  Kelly’s Inner Wisdom Circle.  Kelly  holds Reiki certifications through the Inner Wisdom circle and I was able to get my attunement for Reiki 3 and Reiki Master.

Some very cool things have happened since I embraced Reiki.  I love that I can sense auras, or that I can tap into my intuition when I’m working with a patient with a difficult diagnosis.  The self healing I have with Reiki is why I hope readers will become attuned to Reiki.  There are so many ways Reiki infuses itself into your life.  Its a wonderful meditation to perform Reiki on yourself as you fall asleep.  Or to send Reiki to a future situation like a family member’s upcoming surgery.  Or to send REiki to yourself in the past during a loss of a loved one.

My hope is that if you are wondering if you should let Reiki find you, you will.  You may go on to be a Reiki Master with a full practice.  Or maybe you Reiki will help you put your baby to sleep at night.  But if you are wondering if you should sign  up for that Reiki class…you should  There is nothing to lose, and love to gain.