Forgiveness: "giving back"
I forgive you, western toilet.
One of my recent pet peeves is the term "giving back". I have also never been enthralled by the concept of volunteering or giving charity to the "poor". These concepts are based under the idea that you have more than someone else and now you are "helping" them by giving your services for free. Nothing is really free. Energy is always being exchanged and you can choose to be ignorant to that or benefit greatly from that exchange. What people may not have monetarily, they have in talent, insight, joy, wisdom, and intellect. Furthermore. you don't have to be happy, talented, insightful, emotionally balanced, or spiritually aware to be monetarily wealthy. All it takes is you knowing you are abundant in something. That "something" can be anything. Even thinking you are abundant in poverty can bring lots of money to you. Ask a drug dealer. Ask a loan shark.
So what does this have to do with forgiveness and "giving back"? Looks like this will be lengthy but take this ride with me. I knew my next post would be about forgiveness because it kept on coming up in my Reiki sessions but I wasn't sure about my approach. Well this past week I was shown the way in countless ways but especially in two special car rides. The first ride I spoke with a woman who could clearly see the value in the kind of work I do and she expressed her desire to do more than what she was doing. She felt she had achieved so much in her life and that now she wanted to "give back". Immediately, I cringed when I heard the term. If I had two words to describe what I'm doing, it would be "love reveling". The love in me meets the love in you and we revel in its magic (some call that "healing"). Back to her...She volunteers to help children who have been taken from their homes in cases of abuse or suspected abuse. I am very protective of children so I listened to her like any protective mother would, very carefully. I could sense that she really had good intentions for the work she was doing with the children but I also noticed that these kids were considered "low-income". During our conversation I pointed out that similar things are happening in "affluent" homes as well but these things just don't get reported. And because they are seen as "affluent" we assume they don't need anything we have. When we see people as "less fortunate", we think that what we have is what they need. We have been conditioned to see certain people and conditions as "less fortunate" and others as "affluent". That is exactly how a missionary can go into a country with full confidence and work to dismantle a group of people's beliefs and way of life under the premise that they are doing something "good" and "needed". I think the concept of connecting with children in those situations is beautiful but the idea that one is "giving back" brings the taste of vomit to my tongue. Some would say it is a matter of semantics but we also know that words have power. A few words can traumatize someone for years. I have been taught and can personally attest to its validity, that to forgive means to "give forward". When you forgive you are giving forward to a greater vision of what's possible. You are no longer dwelling in the past, holding onto dead weight. You have given yourself a greater picture to love and be in. So if that is forgiveness, why would you need to "give back"? If you are in such a great place in your life, why decorate a dead weight?
I briefly mentioned a missionary earlier. Would you be surprised if I told you my second car ride was with a Jehovah Witness missionary? I was. She captivated me with stories of her travels and since I love to travel and live with the people as well, I listened very carefully. While in parts of East Africa, a place I've yet to go, she helped to build schools and offer "education" to the people there. She saw the challenges they were faced with and saw true hunger and sacrifice. Of course she also went to areas that were very developed and were like any other city but we talked about the "third world" a lot. When she spoke, I could feel how confident she felt about the work she did there and how good it felt for her to "give back". I could tell she felt good that she was able to see men learn trades and even some being hired for future work. It all sounded great. After she told me about all about what the people learned from the missionaries and volunteers I asked her what she learned from the people. She told me she observed that they were very happy, intelligent, didn't complain, and were jovial regardless of their environment. This was a fantastic observation but I noticed that she didn't answer my question. She was able to tell me how great the well was constructed and the beauty of the water it held but not its taste, its feel, its origin or how it worked. People are so obsessed about being happy, smarter, and younger and there she was at the well and just looked at it. What was she "giving back" to, when she was at the well of exactly what this western world is in feverish pursuit of? Why didn't she ask the keeper of the well for a sip? Where was her cup, bucket, or bathtub? The mindset of "giving back" can dramatically block ones ability to see the wealth of knowledge that stands before them. The humongous continent of Africa is filled with wealth in its people and its land. But history tells us that people didn't invade Africa because they wanted to "give back" to the people. They came because it is a endless source of natural resources and wealth that they wanted control over. Somehow the wealth of its people became relegated to a spectacle and not worthy of the humility, respect, and love it takes to be a student.
I don't judge her in the slightest. In fact both women were full of love in their hearts and I felt it strongly and I definitely recognize their work as valuable. They both had qualities that I studied and learned from in our limited time together. I felt their worth in my experience. I shared the wisdom I have gained through doing my work, and I knew I wasn't "giving back" as I shared it. If anything I was giving to the greater vision I hold about what is possible in my interactions with them. I have shared before that I only deal with fellow presidents, queens, kings, emperors, and empresses when I connect with people. Because of this I can't "give back"; I live in an entirely new world because I gave a greater vision to myself. What if when we interacted with people that have been labeled as "less fortunate" or "poor", we chose to see their wealth? What if we sat at each others feet and became students of each other? How greater could we all be if we greeted each other with love in our hearts instead of pity? What if we didn't waste our time judging people, places or things as good or bad and instead sought for understanding? This is the vision I am giving to. This is how I have forgiven.
To conclude, I am not saying that to share your time and energy with someone in a "volunteer" capacity is "bad" but what I am suggesting is to recognize it as an energy exchange. I am suggesting that you forgo the notion of charity and realize you are giving yourself the chance to grow exponentially when you can see someone else's growth potential. I am suggesting that if you are attracted to a certain group of people, recognize like attracts like and that you are with your equals. If you then choose the see the wealth in someone you are sharing with, what will be returned to you is even greater wealth, and possibly a new friend. I suggest that you understand that what works for you, may not work for someone else and conversely what works for them, may be heavenly for you. What if you encouraged and supported them to make their own magic in the way that feels good to them? What if they did the same for you? Finally I am suggesting that you seek to learn and love than judge and change. You are neither "giving back" or "paying it forward", you are sharing in a greater vision. That is what forgiveness is to me.
For more on forgiveness go to ----->Part 2
I write about love a lot. I can talk endlessly about love, and being that this is the season of romantic love, I thought I might share a bit about the type of man I love, my kind of Boo-peice. This is for all of you who think women only like a certain kind of man or for those who think that there is no such thing as a "good" man. I am fixin' to create one right now. Don't believe me, just read.
I love a playful man, a man who knows how to have fun in any situation. There is nothing worse than seeing a grown man be serious about everything. Yuck. I find it incredibly repulsive actually. See the man I love has a set of gold teeth on hand just in case we need to make a quick fake music video. He has jokes about preachers, spiritual folks, career folks, and anyone who is a little too serious. He gets me a thong that he knows I will never wear just to dance around in it and make me laugh. He sings me silly songs when I am in the bathroom for "support" and "inspiration". He laughs while waiting in long lines. He will dance slow to fast songs, fast to slow songs, and grind to country music (ow!). I love an imaginative man. I give him a word and he gives me a fantasy. He is friends with the orange dragon that flies me around at night as well. He sees that the sky is red and that the moon smiles. He is always creating something, never without ideas, and full of magical solutions. He wakes up ready to bring something new into the world and goes to bed knowing he has accomplished it. The gorgeous world he lives in, started in his mind. I love a gentle man. His strength isn't in "fronting" or acting like he is "hard", it is in walking tall in his gentleness. His nature makes people trust him and want to be around him and because of this, he is protected. Because of this, he can protect others. Oh and his massages are painless and transcendent. I love an intelligent man. He knows if he starts quoting other people, I will not be impressed (unless it is the late, great Johnny Cochran). He knows that if he is afraid of something and doesn't address it, I will remind him of emotional intelligence. He knows that when it comes to complaining and being the victim, ain't nobody got time for that. He knows that it feels great to take responsibility for his life. He knows I love a man courageous enough to be who he truly is, no matter how "crazy" that may look. I love a courageous man. He dives into the mystery. He reads something like this and doesn't flinch. He rises to the challenge to follow his destiny. He doesn't need the armor that a large ego provides. He lets his heart lead him. He serenades me with a mediocre voice in a crowded room but his courage and focus makes it sound angelic.
I love a man who loves himself. He doesn't claim to be perfect but because he truly loves himself he likes where he is going and how he is growing. He faithfully commits to expressing who he his. He loves himself because he knows who and what he is. He loves himself so that he may truly love others.
I love a childlike, magical, kind, confident, daring, loving man because that is the only kind of man I am willing to travel this world, create, and live on a farm with.
This love-filled outpouring was brought to you by meditation, Reiki, talking with my ancestors, listening to my heart, and Whitney Houston (again). Now go out there and dare to love what you know you truly love!
My latest, greatest inspiration...
Ahhh Reiksperiences!!! Some of you may know that I just had an amazing Friday yesterday and now I want to tell you all about it. It was my first ever "Free Reiki Friday" and it was a beyond awesome screaming success. I had no clue as what to expect since I had never done anything like it before. As soon as I put out the announcement on facebook, twitter and spiritual networks, people were responding. To stay organized, I began to make a list of everyone in my little notebook. Most people didn't know what to do or what to expect once they responded but I knew experience would be their greatest teacher. After all that was the point of "Free Reiki Friday". I wanted to give people who were curious or in need, a chance to experience what I have been posting and talking about all of this time. It was also a awesome opportunity for me to gain even more experience and knowledge and boy oh boy did that happen!
How did it all happen? What did I do? I decided that I would send energy out to everyone individually because that is how I like to interact with people anyway. Sure it was going to be time-consuming and extra work but when you are doing something from your heart, time and work don't exist. I didn't know what time I was going to do it on Friday exactly; I felt my way through that part. I ended up doing it in the evening after I had some amazing carrot, ginger, kale, apple, and spinach juice. I sat down and focused on feeling the love within and started with the first person on my list. I was able to sense their presence and then I began to give Reiki to the areas that I felt intuitively inclined to go to. I am able to know where I am on their body or auric field, so if I am focusing on love or a body ache I know that and can sense the difference, and everyone was different. Some people flat out surprised me. One person had me giggling for five minutes, love was swirling all around. Another person seemed to have a serious ailment that evoked a more nurturing side of me. Essentially I was experiencing some of the many ways of love. One of the awesome aspects of doing this work is that when you give Reiki, you also receive it. By the time I was done with my whole list, I was flying high. I was giggly, giddy, and bubbling with joy. Talk about a super-charged Reiksperience.
After I was finished, I sent everyone individual messages about what I did and what areas I was drawn to. I didn't have to do it but I thought it was important and besides they gave me such a wonderful gift by simply redeeming my offer. I truly wasn't expecting that it would be as magical as it was but it also taught me a lot. One is that I absolutely love what I do and I am so grateful that I tapped into this aspect of myself. Another big lesson was learning the amount of personal responsibility you have to take to do this kind of work. Essentially I have to practice what I share. I give myself Reiki everyday but I realized it is more than that, I have to be it. That means ego and judgment have to take a backseat. What a path! What a task!...but I am willing because I truly love what I am doing and the love I am bringing forth into my being. I also learned that I really love Free Reiki Fridays. What a gorgeous treat! For those who took part, good for you, allow yourself to take it all in, leave a Reiksperience if you feel inclined, and thank you. For those who missed it, there will be more to come. Yay for Free Reiki Fridays!!
Ganesh doing his thing!
When I was younger my mother let me go to church with a work friend of hers every Sunday for maybe a year and a half. I loved it! It was a traditional Southern Baptist church equipped with a awesome choir and a hooting and hollering pastor. I saw it all as a great source of entertainment. Parishioners would "catch" the "holy spirit" and start dancing down the aisles. Random women would be releasing orgasmic cries to Jesus saying "Yes! Yes! Yes Jesus!" over and over again. Did I say I loved it?! It was fun to watch and afterwards I would probably get some fried chicken or ice cream. Life was good. I didn't like dressing up for church so I always had a change of clothes. I would strip down in the car to rid myself of those annoying dresses but other than that, I found church to be an enjoyable experience.
You see, I was never raised to have a particular religion so for me I was always studying and observing others who did. I would always go to my friends' churches whenever I was invited. My mother introduced us into Judaism by celebrating Hanukkah and into Islam by going to the Mosque. I never felt bound to any religion. The story of Jesus was simply a story about what everyone could do as a human being. I didn't understand the worshiping part. As a child I didn't know how to express how I felt about religion because I could see how passionate people were about it. I didn't want to argue or prove a point. It wasn't until I was twelve did I become more clear about how I felt. We had just moved to a new apartment and me being painfully shy at the time was struggling to make friends. Every morning at my bus stop was this Indian girl who clearly was in the same boat as me. We saw each other every morning and never spoke. Eventually someone had to introduce us and that is where it all changed for me. We slowly became friends and I would go to her house often. Her house was this amazing place filled with new aromas and images I had yet to see. She was Hindu and I was awestruck by the bindis, the colorful pictures of an multi-armed elephant, the henna designs, the curry, the altar, the man in the orange curtain... I would ask her and her brother endless questions. They would do their best to answer. I would study Hinduism in every encyclopedia I came across. I had to know more. Up until meeting her, I had experienced the more popular religions in American culture, but mostly Christianity. Hinduism was a brand new world for me and I liked it. I loved how every morning she kept her tradition and how she participated in her culture no matter what was going on outside.
Well one day three of us were talking about religion. It was her, I, and a wonderful guy who was holding a scarab beetle in his hand. We were asking each other about how we felt about it and I remember looking at her. She had to be one of the most sweetest people I ever met and at that moment I remembered how many times I heard that if you didn't believe in Jesus, you were going to hell. I couldn't look her in the eye and then say I believed in any religion that I had known previous to meeting her. So even though I was never attached to a religion, that day it became even clearer. Since then I have gone on to enjoy even more religions. I love learning and exploring other peoples way of life and observing the commonalities that we all seem to share. Yet and still, I do not ascribe to any religion. I am spiritual essence and that knowing is eternally fulfilling.
Nonetheless, when I speak or share what is in my heart, I often find my friends saying, "You are very Buddhist." or "You are more Christian than me." or "You are very Brazilian." and so on and so on. I always laugh at this and shake my head. They are perceiving me to be like them, not because I share their beliefs or culture, but because I like to connect to people on a heart to heart level. I can talk to anyone and relate to anyone. It isn't uncommon for my friends to end up on the phone with me for 2 hours and not know how it happened. One reason is because I can talk about anything and another reason is because I am truly interested in who they are. The people in my life amaze me. Their lives are sometimes difficult and stressful but they make so many amazing things happen. I see them growing everyday and it is a pleasure to know them and love them.
So why share this story? Well I was thinking about some of the fears I hear regarding Reiki and I wanted to address it. One of my friends said he doesn't "mess with that stuff". One of my friends refuses to learn more about it since he "has Jesus". And there are plenty more that are unspoken. From my story, I think it is clear that I don't carry fear about other sets of beliefs. My commitment in life is to "know" and not to focus on "believing". It is my experience with Reiki that allows me to write this, not my belief in it. Honestly Reiki isn't that special or mystical but it is at the same time; it is something that is innate in all of us but few tap into it. In fact, before it was called "Reiki" by a Japanese man, it was called something else and something else before that. For me, it is a loving energy that fills my entire being. When I share it with others, I get the sense that it first acts as a connector, connecting you to who/what you truly are. And what are we? We are spirituality. We are "life force". We are divine love. We live our lives as if we are not that. That is where I come in, I like to connect. I don't see this energy as outside of myself, I see it as a part of me. Did I take classes? Yes. Did someone "attune" me? Yes. But why? Essentially someone helped me connect to what was already inside of me and that is what any excellent teacher or healer does. And what does it feel like? Unconditional love, understanding, compassion. These feelings are constantly swirling within me now even on hard days. When I first aligned with the energy it felt like I was hugging myself on the inside and I laughed for the first month about everything. Love isn't really enough to describe it, but it is the only word I know that comes close. Is Reiki Hocus Pocus and Boogie Woogie? Try it and make a decision from there. How you connect what I have shared to your belief system is up to you but I do encourage you dig deeper. If I stopped at a Japanese man calling it "Reiki", this blog or website would not exist.
If you are curious and want to try it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give it to you as a gift for your open-mindedness and bravery. I can promise you absolutely no hocus pocus or boogie woogie, just love and compassion.
Reiki and your monthly Moonshower
Yes I am going there... So if you have issues with femininity and one of the most beautiful times of the month we experience as women, please read no further.
Today is the first day of my Moon and it has been fantastic. My energy is high and I have been creating, singing, and dancing intermittently all day. For as long as I have had my lovely Moonshower, the first magic day has always been the hardest. I have usually been groggy, ridiculously hungry, and slightly uncomfortable in the womb area. Sometimes I have found that doing ab work and letting out powerful warrior cries gave relief but the symptoms would come back a little later and these tactics aren't really mobile.
Well, this morning when I noticed my precious friend, I immediately placed my hands over my womb and gave myself Reiki. I started to feel good all over and that mushy love feeling almost put me back to sleep, but I got up and decided to get to creating. As I was creating, I realized I was feeling uncharacteristically good...really good actually. If you are a Reiki practiioner, I encourage you to try this out, if you aren't consider this incentive. So there you have it folks, Reiki MADE ME FEEL GOOD today and I didn't have to star in a weird movie with an old odd looking man to do it!!
I am sure most people have heard that in order to truly love someone else, you must first love yourself. In the past, whenever I heard this, I would always nod my head in agreement. It made perfect sense, of course, you must love yourself. I thought I did love myself ....or maybe I never even considered it on my list of things I had to do. It wasn't until after a few failed relationships I started to reevaluate this so-called love I had for myself. That statement came back again and this time I listened even harder and asked my ego to take a backseat. There wasn't any head-nodding this time, just stillness and a little shock. Maybe I didn't really love myself, but now that I know that, I am going to get on it. Yes indeedy! Let me get right on it...After marching off to get started, I realized I really didn't know how or where to even begin this love affair. Google to the rescue!
After lots of reading and searching, I started the mirror technique. I would look in the mirror for about 5 minutea, deep into my eyes and say, "I love you." It was hard at first and there were times I couldn't actually go through with it. Sometimes I cried tears of joy and sadness. It was hard to distinguish between the two. Eventually I was having near orgasms when I looked in the mirror. I still get a little excited. I am getting excited just thinking about it...But that isn't the point of this entry. Essentially, I did mantras, prayers, treated myself to good food, bought a cute dress, went on adventures, and whatever else that was recommended and I felt the love....I did, but there was still something off. The love didn't really reach me to my core and I really didn't know how to do that. I was in love with the me who lives in this material world, but the real me, I was still ignoring. So when it came down to it, I still didn't know how to love ME.
When I first became attuned to Reiki, I felt a sense of love that I never felt before. My heart felt mushy (still does) and I wanted to hug strangers and cradle them in my bosom (maybe just the babies). A love portal truly opened up inside of me and even though it was a new feeling, I also knew it was always there. I only had glimpses of it before. It forced me to go back to understanding what it means to truly love myself and all of the things that got in the way.
So what did I figure out? What has been the pathway towards true love for me?
Wait for it...
LISTENING, CREATIVITY, and ACTION. Love is a feeling but 'to love' is an action. It is something that you share. I had to realize that I truly am in a relationship with myself and looking in the mirror and buying myself nice things weren't going to cut it. I had to go deeper. I had to listen to my inner voice and give to her, honor her, appreciate all of the unconditional love she gives me. So with the energy of Reiki (which is like a love expressway), I have learned to go in and listen. I meditate and ask questions. I listen...and then I create. I create a world for myself through writing, art, and communication that echos the love I hear in my heart, the love that is given to me unconditionally. It takes a lot of trust and effort to do this, to write the words that I write to myself, to make the things I make for myself, to give to a place without any limitations or rules, and to know that I am loved for all of it. Creating my heart song is truly my greatest act of self love. It the truest love I could give myself and as I have learned it comes back and gets deeper and deeper. Love truly is a journey.
If you made it this far...hahaha... What is your greatest act of self love? How do you love yourself? Can you look into your eyes and say "I love you" without looking away?
Going within with Reiki
Reiki has truly taken me on a journey. I can’t say if it forced or facilitated my journey within, but regardless I find myself in this wondrous exploration of who I truly am. For years I have heard various spiritual teachers and messengers telling people to “go within”, “all of our answers are within”, but the concept seemed so abstract. I couldn’t understand how to go within. Where was within? One night I decided I was going to figure it out. Some Reiki teachers will say that the most important part of having a Reiki practice is that the practitioner is actively healing themselves. I deeply agree with this. I never considered how many bodies I have until I had to use Reiki on not only my physical body but my spiritual, mental, and emotional bodies as well. Before I go to bed, after I send Reiki energy out to those who have asked for it or those who may need it, I give myself a Reiki session. That night I wanted to go within and so I sent Reiki energy to that effort, not sure of what the results would be. I started by simply observing my thoughts and I began to wonder their location. They were within. I then thought of my ancestors and when I sensed them. Where were they? Within. I observed my feelings. Where were they? Within. Everything was within. My concept of spirituality, divine power, loved ones who have transitioned, thoughts, feelings, memories, all the things that comprised me were within. That meant that I am all of those things. I then pushed it a little further and sought to know something that I thought I didn’t know. If I am all of these things then I must be knowledge as well. So I began to search for this bit of knowledge that I wanted to obtain within and I found it. It revealed itself to me quite easily. Of course that was just my beginning but it has helped me demystify a great amount of teachings and information I have come across the years.
I am sharing this to inspire those who are trying to do the same and for those who never considered it as a possibility. Is Reiki a prerequisite? Of course not. Reiki is my personal journey as a healer and artist. You only need a desire and openness to know that yourself is waiting for you to “go within”. I promise that you will not be disappointed.