Saturday, December 20, 2014

A New Age Bracket

Today is my birthday. I started this blog eight years ago, so it's also my blogversary! 

I take some time every year to consider how far I've come in the last year, and also since I started my blog, which I consider the time of the most significant change in my career, the beginning of my spiritual connection, and the start of living my true life's calling. 

I went back and read last year's post to remind myself where I was last year. It's always amazing to me to realize just how much happens in a year. Last year on this day, we had just recently moved here to Maryland, and were in the process of trying to sell our house in Ohio. I had just launched my Reiki Awakening Academy website, and was working on learning to update it and use the ecommerce system. My kids had started new schools, and I was looking for a place to practice Reiki locally.

Since then, I'm more at home here, our Ohio house is sold, the RAA website is doing well for us, my oldest daughter started High School, and all of the kids have adjusted beautifully. My husband has made great strides in his new job and loves it. I found a perfectly suited office to rent space in as needed, and have some regular clients. I've been teaching at The Institute for Spiritual Development, and have more classes scheduled there for 2015. Seven  weeks ago, I published a new product and started a new website for it. (This is a great time to get A Moment for Me Calendar, by the way!) Over 100 have sold already, and they are carried in four stores so far. I'm working on a new line of books for A Moment for Me now. I was interviewed in US News & World Report for an article called "What is Reiki?" 

Year 44 was a great blessing indeed. 

Today I'm 45. It's funny, but I keep thinking about how on surveys and registration forms that ask you to check which age group you're in, now I'm in a new age bracket, the one called 45-55. I've been joking that I hope there are perks in this new group, like graduating to a new level of life. What awaits? Better food? Special VIP access? Secret meetings? I picture an envelope arriving with a code for a secret knock, and an address. I imagine going to that address, and knocking on the door the special way, and being granted access, but no one under 45 is allowed in. They check my ID, and let me in, closing the door firmly behind me. What wonders await inside?

So far, my body has granted me some interesting temperature modulations. I'm told that's part of it. Interesting. Especially at night when I need to throw off the covers, only to pull them on again in about 2 minutes as I start to shiver. But, I'm sure there are more enjoyable perks awaiting. 

As last year was the year of the angels, (44 is the angel number in numerology), I've decided that this year of my life is the year of perks. I'm going to put the expectation out there that all kinds of abundance is flowing into this 45th year, even better than before. I'm in! The perks of being 45 are amazing, and wonderful, and I can't wait to experience them!

And that, my friends, is how you manifest a great year.
Happy birthday, me!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Taking a Moment

It's been a busy Fall so far. I spent about eight weeks creating a 365 day tear-off calendar. Each page has something different on it. The theme is self care for busy people. It's called A Moment for Me 365 Day Calendar - self care for busy people - 365 FREE things you can do in 30 seconds to balance body, mind, emotions, and spirit. 

Here's the Behind-the-Scenes look at the process of creating this project I assigned myself.

Let me tell you, it was quite a project. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it. I mean, I've written lots of content before - I have been a game content writer for several years and had to write thousands of categories for board games. But, this was different. These are some narrow parameters! 

First of all, they had to be tasks that a person could do in 30 seconds. So that eliminates lots of things, like taking a bath, or doing a yoga class. I had to find short ways to accomplish the same kind of effect as those, like washing your hands and the back of your neck, instead of a bath. Or doing a modified Sun Salutation, instead of a yoga class. 

There couldn't been any equipment needed, or special places to need to go to do the things. I did allow a pen and paper, because most people have those, or can at least think through the things if they don't. I did also allow an internet connection for just a few of the tasks, because I figured that most people have access to the internet most of the time. 

They also had to be free, and not involve spending money. So, no real retail therapy, or making some kind of donation. 

At first, it was easy. That's how content writing usually is. The ideas pour out fast, and need to be captured on paper quickly. The first 150 or so were like this. I also categorized by body, mind, emotions, and spirit, and made lists according to those. I listed special days that would be good for putting on the calendar, like holidays, zodiac sign changes, and seasons. Then I also added some themes, such as totem animals, planets, yin/yang, numerology, and colors. I made lists for those. 

Then, around the 250 mark, things slowed down a bit. I didn't want to be repetitive, and every task needed a reason behind it, and some benefit for doing it. I started researching what others had to say on the subject of changing your life, and self care. I was able to bounce some ideas off of some things I read, and that helped. 

The last 20 were the hardest, but I got to them somehow. Though the stress had increased at that point, as I had a timeline to manage (this IS a calendar after all, and needs to be ready for calendar buying time). The accomplishment was short lived because there was more to do beyond the content writing. I pulled some VERY late nights!

Now, I'm proud to say that it's done! I finished the list, organized everything in a spreadsheet, formatted it onto a document, designed the cover, and found a printer. I also started a website, a free daily email, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account for it. 

Three stores have ordered some so far. 

Why did I make this?
            Because I need it. 
I'm a busy person. With four kids, a business to run, a Reiki practice that's growing, and volunteering once a week for JSSA Hospice, I needed the reminder that self care isn't something to do once a week or whenever. A daily commitment of even 30 seconds can make a difference. And I know that this message isn't just for me, it's for other people like me. 

I loved doing this activity, actually. It taught me a lot. I learned that there are many, many ways to become present, mindful, and to value yourself. They don't cost money, and they don't take long. But they matter, and they make a profound difference. And now I can share this message with everyone.

So, I'm inviting you, my dear readers, to give it a try. Read the daily posts, or subscribe to the free daily updates. Maybe even purchase a calendar for yourself, or for a gift for the other busy people you know. (Use NOVPROMO as a code to save $5 per order). 

And especially, please offer me feedback. When I create something new, it really matters to me how people receive it. I want to know that it's helpful, and that it's really good, because I worked really hard to try to make it good. 

Thanks and love.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shoes for Energy Healers and Earthing Fans

There's a company that makes shoes for energy healers, and those who are interested in "Earthing," or connecting energy with the earth for all of the health benefits that come with it. Earthing is real, it's also called grounding, and I incorporate it into my practice daily. 

A word on earthing/grounding:
There are many ways to get reacquainted with that people-Earth connection. One way is through a little visualization, thinking of yourself as a tree with roots growing down from your soles into the earth, then visualizing absorbing that healing earth-frequency into those roots and up into your body. (Soul to sole...hmm!) Try it. It doesn't take long, it helps clear out negative energy from our systems, releases free radicals, and also clears the mind. Make sure to breathe while doing this exercise.

Another way to stay connected with our home planet (which, by the way, is like a powerful magnet for balancing our systems), is to stroll around barefoot. I love doing that in the summer, but now things are getting rather cool and wet for an outdoor barefoot walk through the yard. 

Back in 2012, I had the honor of reviewing some really beautiful sandals made for grounding by Juil, the company I mentioned who is directly addressing the health benefits of grounding with their shoe designs. They graciously sent me a pair of really high quality sandals (I still have them! My daughter has taken them and wore them every day throughout the spring and summer, and early Fall. That's what I get for letting her borrow them once - ha.) The shoes help with grounding via a series of copper "dots" embedded in the sole of the shoe which act as conductors for the earth-foot connection. Makes sense - that's exactly how we ground our houses - via copper.

Well, Juil recently contacted me again and said they've made some shoes for Fall, and asked if I'd like to test a pair. That was an easy question! Of course! Excitedly, I opened the box with a new pair of shoes inside.

Check them out!



The first thing I noticed is the feel of the leather. It's the softest leather I've ever touched, let alone wore. I can hardly tell I'm wearing shoes because they're so comfy. The quality is exceptional. As someone who has often bought shoes at major discount shoe stores, this was a new experience for me. What can I say?  There's a difference. There are actually wooden heels attached beneath the slip-proof rubber sole.

Then, there are those copper dots. Here's a picture of the shoes after I've worn them a few times. See the dots? They go through the sole to the inside. 

I was wondering if one could still receive the benefits of grounding through socks. So I checked the website. Apparently, I'm not the only one to ask that question, because it's covered in their FAQ section. The answer is that our feet naturally perspire, and the moisture helps the copper continue to conduct the earth energy for our feet. Right! Water is also a conductor. Somewhere in the back of my mind's science education, I remember that one. 

So yes, I wore these lovely shoes. Besides looking extremely snazzy, being luxuriously comfy, and keeping my feet warm, I really did enjoy the feel of them. Any chance to keep myself grounded is a really good idea. I'm a person who is always thinking unless I intentionally slow my mind down. So, being connected with the earth, being grounded, is really good for me. It also makes my own grounding practice faster, like grounding in bare feet outside - or almost. (By the way, my daughter is under strict orders that these aren't for sharing. I know from experience that I'd never have the chance to wear them if I lent them out even once!)

I applaud Juil for caring about our earth connection. I also appreciate they use natural vegetable based dyes instead of nasty chemicals. The free shipping is a good deal too. They're nicely packaged in a thick, drawer-like shoe box, too, which makes a great "upcycle" item for little toys, CDs, whatever needs some storage. Check out their shoes. They have lots of new designs, and they're totally worth trying.

As I mentioned, I did receive a free pair to test, and my opinions are entirely my own. No other compensation was received for my opinion. However, I was impressed enough to become an affiliate. Maybe you will be too, when you try their shoes! Order yourself a pair here!


  • Do you do grounding as part of your day?


  • Have you read the book "Earthing" or any similar manuals?
Peace and love.




Sunday, September 14, 2014

This Blessed Life

Recently, I watched this most incredible video:


I absolutely love this. And, I guess it stuck with me. Because I found myself applying this perspective to my so-called problems. If you have four minutes now or after reading this post, watch it. You'll be so glad you did.

I'll summarize and interpret some of the points that sunk into my soul here:

  • We are all part of the same energetic source, with our own individual strand of energy inside us which lets us experience everything, and also allows us to be part of the collective whole and an individual personality at the same time. (I love this so freaking much).
  • We've lived before, and will again, because that's what it is - what we are - individual experiences of the full ONEness of everything. As time is a relative concept, and not really linear at all, we might come back next time in what we think of as the past, or the present, or the future.
  • Since we are each a light strand of the Great Light, everyone else is us too in that same way. 
These three ideas were with me. Then, last night, they took me to a further point. No doubt I've lived before in a less ideal life circumstance. Maybe I lived in a country with less food, resources, or violence. Maybe I was sick, or in pain, or injured. Maybe I died young or lost a loved one early. Doubtless some incarnation of me had experiences like this. They are too common throughout history for me to not to have lived them. 

I thought about this. And I thought about my life now. 

I'm living in a really nice house, in a very nice neighborhood near a park, good schools, and good people. There is plentiful food, running water, electricity, and a car for my use. My husband has a good job, I love my work, and our four kids are healthy and intelligent. 

In light of all of the possible lifetimes I could have been living in right now, this one is on the fantastic side.

At this point, a big sigh of relief and gratitude came over me. 

Last night, my husband and I had been discussing money allocations - you know, paying bills - the dreaded and often stressful juggle that happens to many families like us. I saw my husband's frown, the one he's been wearing all too often lately. The one that says that besides this, he's thinking about stresses at work, deadlines, issues, and the things that the person in charge (him) has to solve. I felt the weight of his worry. 

And then I remembered this video. 

And, suddenly, I couldn't worry about anything. All I can do is to be so freaking grateful for my problems right now. Because, this lifetime is a relief. It's a wonderful blessing. It's fantastic. 

I'm feeling different now. Like everything is vibrating with a reason to be grateful. I can't even go into the bathroom without being grateful for flush toilets and toilet paper. I can't look at my kids without being amazed that they are so perfect in every way (even when they're messing up, yelling at each other, or being generally loud). I can't look at the fruit on the counter, the cushions on the couch, the shoes carelessly tossed on the kitchen floor, without just being grateful that I have them. 

And every time I see a stranger, I see something different now- I see a light inside their eyes. Beyond our differences in appearance, I feel a strange recognition. Because we're all living this experience. 

And now, my experience is illuminated. It's shining and shimmering with gratitude, with love, and with knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I've got to enjoy every second of this blessed life. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Forging a Path

It's my kids' first week back at school, and I'm absolutely loving the blissful quiet in the house. I've taken on new projects, and it's so much easier to concentrate without a lot of interruptions. Wow. The contrast is amazing. I'm also proud of the way they've just jumped right in with sports and activities, and getting back into the pattern of after school snacks and homework as if they never left. 

I've been working on my website marketing for my school, Reiki Awakening Academy. And I'm happy to have the help of a great consultant, Linda Stephens. One of the parts of creating an effective way to share the message of the great things we're doing at RAA is to look at what other schools are doing. 

It's kind of sad, really. There aren't many online schools out there that are doing what RAA is doing. Some websites look really fancy. They offer special certifications that sound very impressive. But dig deeper and there's no way to see how they conduct their classes, in what ways they provide support, or what the students will be required to do to "earn" their certificate. Either they aren't doing these things, or they aren't making it clear that they do. 

In looking at their sites, and then at mine, I know I need to be sure to emphasize what we're doing right. 

  • We teach in an actual virtual classroom. This provides face to face interaction, live, with the ability to see and hear each other, answer questions, present materials, show and demonstrate, give materials for download right in the class, and allow the students to view a recording of the class afterward for review. Basically, we want to provide as close to an in-person learning experience as an online classroom can be.

  • We offer unlimited, unending support afterward. All of our teachers are available to the students any time there are questions or comments. We request evaluations after every class to reflect on how we're doing, and we take everything into consideration to help us improve.
  • Our programs are deep and comprehensive. They offer a wide variety of classes, with new ways of thinking that are at the forefront of the holistic and metaphysical fields. All of our teachers take the work seriously and continually learn and reflect on their growth as practitioners and teachers.
  • Our Advanced Healing Pioneers Membership Program allows those who want to be leaders in this incredible field get together to explore the newest developments in understanding the work, as well as deeply discuss how to offer credible answers to our clients, colleagues, and ourselves.
This stuff isn't easy. I mean, sometimes I ask myself why the heck I chose this field when I already had a career, a Master's degree, and lots of job opportunities I could have accepted. I mean, just look at what I and people doing this work face:
  • Reiki and energy healing work is invisible. We can't "show" very much that demonstrates what we do. The evidence is in the experience, which is totally individual and subjective.
  • Intuitive development is the result of work, but again, the work is individual. Techniques are there, but the practitioner has to find which works best for him, and get out of his own way as he learns to receive information that subtly trickles in via the right brain from the Universe. Yeah. I know.
  • Teaching energy work by distance requires the learner to accept the fact that energy transmissions can be given and received over any distance. That in itself is a pretty big thing to swallow. (It does work, by the way). Explaining it is even more of a challenge, because many people have some massive mind blocks due to this being outside the scope of their reality for most of their lives.
  • Having an online school that offers more than what others do, and showing how we stand out, on a website among millions of websites out there in that vast world wide web of a thing, is hard enough. Then try streamlining all of the great classes, products, programs, and events so that someone who comes by for the first time can see clearly what's so great and different about us. 
See what I mean? Challenging, to say the least. 
Linda, you've got your work cut out for you. 

Every day, I'm walking the balance beam between these innate challenges one one side and, on the other side, radical amazement at the power of the work to help people's lives improve in huge ways. That's the part that keeps me going - that keeps me passionate and most of all - that tells me over and over again that I wouldn't go back for a second. 

I tell my students that it's like I was handed a super power. How can I go back to being a mere mortal, especially when I can give the super power to others and watch them light up with the same radical amazement I feel? That. It's the reason I accept the challenges and keep doing the work. 

Leading the way and setting a standard is challenging, and a little lonely sometimes. People need this kind of education. They need it done well because how it's presented sets a tone for the perception of the work itself. It all needs to be professional, credible, and clear. If you agree, if you are, or want to be able to offer healing, metaphysical, or holistic services in a way that represents a professional in any field, I invite you to join Advanced Healing Pioneers. We need you.

And, onward we go.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Summer Stretch


This is our first summer living in Maryland. I truly love living here. I love our neighborhood, our house and yard that is just the right size for our big family, and how near we are to a multitude of activities ranging from Washington, DC museums to a day on the beach. 

My kids are growing. My oldest will begin High School in just a month. I'll have kids in three different schools this year, also a first. They're developing their own interests, and with them, a desire to explore.

Which means that this summer, my kids are involved in a myriad of activities, and I'm their primary transportation method. 

My work time has been carved into pieces around driving to and from day camps, lessons, and social engagements. In between, I've been planning meals, and trying to discourage the kids who are home between activities from arguing or making a mess. Plus, when kids are home and I'm trying to work, inevitably, they want my attention. They want to talk about their dream last night, or the video they saw, or what their friend texted to them this morning. It's hard to ask for silence, because I'm also keenly aware of how fast they're growing. I care about their thoughts; I want to be there for them. I don't want to be "that mom" who isn't really listening, isn't really present for my kids during this important time in their growth. 

I miss the different daily rhythm of the school year, with it's quiet mornings and early afternoons before the kids return home with homework and stories of their day, followed by dinner, planning for the next day, and then quiet work or teaching time again. 

Yes, I am enjoying more recreational time with my family. That's what summer is for too, right? Reconnecting, appreciating good weather and different activities that the school year doesn't leave time for. That's good stuff. I'm grateful for the flexibility to choose my schedule and manage my own work time. 

But, on the other hand, I have a need and a desire for silence - to meditate, or be open to the new ideas that help me more forward. I need focus and time to be productive. My work doesn't stop when the school year does. I just have to fit it in differently. 

I'm finding myself pretty tired out, and sometimes frustrated at the interruptions, at leaving work unfinished and having to come back to it, and at the ways my energy has been pulled in many directions all day long.

I know that it's temporary. The summer seems to go by faster than the rest of the year. The winter feels at least twice as long to me. And, I do love being outside when the weather is warm. I'm trying to breathe it all in, but even that can feel like a lot to remember when there are so many things on my todo list.

Does your summer feel like this? Can you relate to my situation?

In a moment of frustration last night, I told my husband I need a vacation from the kids and all this. He said he understands. 

I'm going to take one in two weeks. It's called Caregiver Relief Retreat. And that's exactly what I need. Even though I'll be leading this retreat with my business partner, Connie, and some great colleagues, I know I'll also get some benefit from the change in setting, change in rhythm, and a little energetic reset. 

We've been planning this retreat for six months. It's in mid-Ohio, at Mohican State Park Retreat and Conference Center. It's going to provide the kind of break that any caregiver needs - I'm talking about moms, nurses, teachers, social workers, and so many more. There will be guided meditation, yoga, nature walks, and energy healing sessions. Connie's bringing her aura camera, and we'll do some readings and intuitive fun stuff in the evening. We'll remind participants and ourselves the importance of this kind of break for self-care,  because ultimately, it makes it easier to go back to giving care to those who need us. 

There are still some spots open. If you or anyone you know needs this break as much as I do, please come, and encourage them to come too. Better yet, bring them with you. Everyone is more willing to take time for self care if a friend invites them. Just click the flyer below. Let's do this together.

Self-care is so important, and the most neglected of all. Even those who understand, preach, and teach the importance of self-care can be the worst at taking the time for their own. I hope that people will come on this retreat with me, so we can all remind each other, as we model what we teach by how we live. 

Peace and sunshine.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Review and Giveaway!

Recently, I was contacted by the gracious Mary Wallace of improvedhealing.com, offering to send me one of her absolutely gorgeous Energy Healing Blankets, and some healing jewelry they make to review and one for a giveaway (yes, you read that right!). I happily accepted.

I received a package a short while later. The Healing Blanket is absolutely beautiful. It's healing energy-charged, and also embroidered. It has a gorgeous angel image design. And, as you can see, my cat, Pippy, loves it! Before I even opened it from its package, he was laying on it in the box. 



A much better view is here: 

It has a very soft energy, and is also cozy, colorful, and extremely soothing. I'm so impressed with the quality and also the loving attention that went into making this beautiful blanket. I'm absolutely using this on the Reiki table for all of my Reiki sessions with clients from now on! (Yay that it's machine washable too - bonus!)
You can get one for yourself at the Improved Healing website here (and it has free shipping, too). 

I also received two pieces of healing jewelry. This Uplifting Gaia bracelet has map jasper (shaped like Mother Earth - gorgeous), and citrine beads. I love it. It makes a great gift, and I'm happy to enjoy the good energy from mine, with much gratitude. 
How's it look?


You can view all of the loveliest healing jewelry I've seen yet, crafted with love by Mary Wallis, here on their ImprovedHealing.com website. 

This bracelet is a new item, soon to be listed on their site. If you want to get one and be "twinsies" with me, check back. Mary told me that she's making up more, and there should be a listing for it by the middle of next week.



And now....yes! Mary and William Wallis gave me a fantastic, absolutely breathtaking necklace to GIVE AWAY to one of you wonderful readers! 

It's the Wise Longevity necklace, which features onyx and adventurine beads surrounding  orthoceras with a beautiful design in the center. 
Here's a picture of the one I'll send the lucky winner:
You can see it and read the description from their website here.

I'm sure by now you're wanting to know how to enter to win this gorgeous necklace. 

Here's what to do. You will get 1 entry for EACH of the following actions (Yes, that means you can get 5 entries if you do all of them!):

On July 4, 2014 at noon Eastern time, I will put in an entry for you for each of the items above that you completed, then randomly pick one lucky winner! I'll email the winner and post the winner's name here as an addendum to this post that day!

Happy entering! I'm sure you'll love all of the websites, Facebook and Pinterest pages I've sent you to, also!

Note: my reviews are my own views, and I disclose that I received these products as a gift from ImprovedHealing.com in exchange for my review and this giveaway. Regardless, I gave an honest review of these items.

Another note: If anyone else would like me to review their healing/holistic/metaphysically-inclined book or product, send me an email. I'm happy to consider it and get back to you promptly!

__________________________________________
ADDENDUM - WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT
July 4, 2014

Thank you to all who entered this contest/ giveaway! I'm glad you had a chance to view the heartfelt creations and beautiful energy of ImprovedHealing.com. 

The winner of the Wise Longevity Necklace is....
Ida Lopez
      Congratulations!! Ida, please send me your snail mail address so I can send you your beautiful prize!  

From time to time, I'll have another giveaway, so if you're not already, please subscribe to my blog (using the box at the top right of the page), so you don't miss a post!

Love and light and a Happy Independence Day to all!
Alice

Friday, May 30, 2014

Where the Lightworker Stands, and the Energy Flows

I'm on vacation this week, with my family, in beautiful Sandbridge, VA. We come here every year for a week, to slow down, get some beach time, and be together without a schedule. The weather has been gorgeous (up until yesterday and today, which are cool, just dipping below 70 degrees, and a bit rainy). Still, it's so great to be here.

One of the things that vacations like this do for me is give me time to contemplate. I love this opportunity. I always bring along a book or two to read, which I've been wanting time to dive into. This year, I brought Energy Medicine by Donna Eden. I have been enjoying it very much, and learning a lot too. I intend to continue learning about it when we get home.

This year, I've also been contemplating two very different driving philosophies of energy healing. I've learned a bit of both, and I'm pondering the ideas of how they might work together, if they need to work together, and the ultimate effects and usability of each.

Dr. Lawrence LeShan calls them, perhaps a bit clinically, "Type 1" and "Type 2" healings. These defined types aren't at all unique to his method of healing, but the designations describe two paths to working in this scope of the energy healing field.

The first one, (he calls this Type 2), is the one which is more widely practiced. This describes any approach in which the practitioner is the facilitator, and the recipient is the one receiving the healing. Reiki is in this category, as well as acupuncture, acupressure, Energy Medicine, Therapeutic Touch, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, and most common energy healing modalities. There may or may not be manipulation of the physical body or energy field involved, either through intention or pressure, or both. I teach my students that the recipient is healing him or herself by receiving energy which helps him or her come into balance. The practitioner helps to create a "healing space" around the recipient by initiating and offering a connection to a flow of Life Force Energy. 

In this type of healing, the practitioner is able to observe the recipient's energy field, if he or she so desires, and may receive some intuitive information about the ways and places which may be off balance (and engaged in a process of self-correcting during the session). The practitioner becomes the observer of the process, after intending that the energy flow to the recipient. In this type, the practitioner and recipient are in separate roles, with the first offering and observing the latter, who is receiving.

The second type (LeShan's "Type 1") is different. Essentially, this type requires the practitioner to go into meditation, and then to intend to include the recipient of the healing in this meditative space with him or her. It is thought that when we are in this meditative state, we are connected fully with the All One energy field which is our true essence. In being connected with this true essence, we naturally will be able to experience a return to balance; a clearing, a healing, a wholeness. The practitioner intends to merge into this All One field with the person receiving the healing, so in this sense, the two are not separate, but together inside the All One energy field. There is no observing, because that implies separateness, as in, "I am over here observing you, who is separate from me." You can't observe because that makes you step out of the experience. You are just to BE in this state, and flow with it, and allow whatever happens, whatever you might experience, to occur. Then you're done. The LeShan Method is not the only method that follows this philosophy. There are others, with different names, that encourage doing the same thing. Some call it Non-Local Consciousness healing, or something of that nature that means entering into a deep meditative, altered state of consciousness.

I've read of a man who will sit in the room with someone who is ill, and go into deep meditation for hours. Then the ill person experiences healing. Also, people such as John of God and Braco seem to affect a healing process by looking at, being in the presence of, or touching the recipient. It's a presence - an energy of Beingness- that acts as a catalyst for the healing. I feel that these are also similar to the 'Type 1" LeShan Method that I learned in April.

Both philosophies are valid, and may offer beneficial, sometimes "miraculous" results. Yet, they are so different that they can't be combined together without doing one first, and then the other. I'm able to offer a healing session in which I do the meditative type first, and then switch to offering Reiki. This involves intentionally shifting from the All One state to that of the facilitator-observer. 

As a Reiki practitioner, It's often more comforting and validating for me to be in the place of the observer, because information comes in - I can intuitively tell which chakras are blocked, or where the recipient is experiencing physical or emotional pain. Then I can share these insights with the person, and get feedback from him or her on how my observations and the healing session resonate. It is satisfying on some level to have this interaction.

With the "Type 1" method, on my end, offering the meditative state healing brings me only the sort of deep, blissful feeling of being in a non-physical, flowing consciousness, and perhaps some dreamlike visions. I know that something happened, but can't really quantify it. The recipient may experience something, but I can't always be sure that what I experience correlates in any way with her or her experience, and I have no certainty or expectation of any specific results that may occur as a result of this type of healing method. My only intention is for the recipients Highest and Best to happen during the session. It takes a lot of surrender to do this. Still, I find it very intriguing, and the feedback I've received has been very meaningful when I've offered this sort of healing.


So, now I'm putting these questions out there to you: 

  • Have you experienced or do you practice either of these energy healing paths? 
  • Do you have some experience you can share about how either affected you?

I realize that learning more, and going deeper, into the understandings of energy healing, and the energy systems of the human experience (aura, meridians, and chakras), is important at this stage of my career and personal growth. I also know that doing so will help me be a better practitioner and teacher. 

So that's where I'm at, and I'm inviting those interested to follow my journey here, or to actively come with me by joining the Advanced Healing Pioneers, a new membership program, here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Feedback is Back

In my previous post, I was interested in testing out the new psychic healing method I had learned. And, I received requests from many volunteers to help me try it out and receive feedback (for which I'm very grateful). 

The sessions were good for me. They made me mediate - sometimes three times a day! I found myself recognizing when I was in "the zone" -  because this really blissful sort of happy feeling would fill me, and I'd feel disconnected from my tendency to think about stuff - I was just present, without judgement or analysis. 

They also helped me to try something totally different in practice and philosophy from Reiki. Differences included:

  • I wasn't trying to "do anything" - I was simply engaging in a sort of universal merging with the other person, asking for the person's highest and best to happen.
  • I wasn't scanning, looking for intuitive information, or trying to "sense" anything about the other person's state of balance.
  • I couldn't even try to send Reiki because in order to do that, I need to be separate from the other person. In this method, we are one and the same. So I can't be the sender, the observer, or anything that's not simply as one with the recipient and the Universal Energy (however you want to call it).
So, I was extremely curious about how these psychic healings would be on the receiving end. Here are some snippets of the feedback I received. The least remarkable experience was when the recipient fell asleep for a restful 30 minute nap. The rest of the feedback was like this (different colors and the line of asterisks indicate different people's responses):

With the healing, I saw a huge bluish light on my right side. Oval. I felt energy in different places and saw people coming in and out during the latter process.
*******************
It was very relaxing and soothing, like a Reiki treatment. I felt a lot of warmth over my face, almost like a very gentle massage, around my sinuses and eyes, and a slight tingling at my temples. I did go into a deeper meditative state, where I don't remember much, but I was alert at the 9:30 mark, like the session was over, feeling refreshed. 
*******************
My finger tips and palms began to "buzz" as they do during a Reiki session, and later I felt a bit of the same on the soles of my feet. Shortly after the hand buzzing began, I did notice my breath had slowed and I felt more relaxed; calm. This lasted for about 10 more minutes before I felt the "buzzing" fade away.  
*******************
My experience was very different from Reiki.  I felt a strong energy connection immediately as I set my intent to receive a psychic healing from Alice.  For me it was a strong hand tingling much like an attunement. Stronger than I feel in a self Reiki session.  This connection was solid and strong within the first five minutes.  Then I felt very clear in my 3rd eye, and was able to sit with memories I was seeking, much like meditation but without any effort to focus on breath or quiet mind.  These memories I sat with for a full 10 minutes, and then I felt a body warmth, and I felt a nice healing and understanding which was very gentle and loving. Then I felt very relaxed and knew the energy was wane.  This happened about 22 minutes into the session.  I knew at 25 minutes the connection was closed, and I just felt good, clear, and relaxed.

Your psychic healing session last night brought me a sense of calm and peace. I felt like I was floating outside of time. Amazing and blissful. Just what I needed at this time!
*******************
Right away I noticed some pulsing almost twitching but I don't think there was actually physical movement..but it felt like the pulsing in my feet and legs could be seen if someone looked. My feet and hands felt warm and tingling but not like the reiki sending tingle..it was like a tingle of electricity subtle but noticeable. I started to notice pulsing or the bubbling sensation in various parts of my body. Arms and legs were the most noticeable.
I remember thinking I had an alert awareness of my whole body..the tiredness was gone. It was peaceful but definitely a beautiful awareness of my body like an energy field.
The pulsing inner switching or bubbling kept occurring throughout the time in various areas but mostly my feet legs and arms.
I felt a sense of peace ...relaxation but at the same time this rare sense of awareness. I felt a sense of great well being and still feel that along with a lightness in spirit. 
Honestly this to me has been a profound stretch of time. Thank you so much for this experience. This was honestly unforgettable healing.. I have no awareness that there was a specific healing yet I know something important happened within me.!
I just feel wonderful, lighter, calm, and filled with inner peace right now.
*******************
I was getting dinner on the table and realized that I only had two minutes until the healing was going to begin. I lost track of time briefly and all of a sudden I said to my husband "I've got to go - I can feel the energy flowing already."  I was feeling warm and a sense of lightheadedness because the energy was flowing so strongly. I laid down upstairs in our room and immediately felt the loving and caring energy. It felt like I was being melded into the bed like clay, especially in my heart chakra.  Then I felt the healing energy move into my head which is where most of my troubles of been lately. I have felt like such a cloud has been in my head these past few days and it's as if I could feel it being physically moved up and swirling out if my head to be released.  I was feeling immediate relief. Then I felt the energy shift and start moving downwards in my body.  The next place I felt an immense amount of energy was in my sacral chakra. I also felt the release of bubbles in my stomach :-) then I felt the energy going into my legs down to my feet. Eventually I could feel it moving again into my sacral chakra and heart and finally into my head again (the pressure had completely dissipated). I could sense the healing was coming to an end. 
This is the first distance healing I have ever received and it felt so powerful. I am reminded again and again that Spirit is real and that the power to heal is real! It was a beautiful experience.
*******************

I'm grateful for this feedback, because it really taught me a lot about energy work! I've also been thinking about how I can incorporate this method into making the distance healing sessions I offer even more powerful, and still offering the observational reports that I include with a distance Reiki session. You see, when I give a distance Reiki session, I spend time observing the energy flowing to the recipient, and in which chakras and body areas the energy flows differently (blockages, pain, or depletion, for example). I prepare a report of these observations for my recipient, and include it in the email I send after I do the healing session. I still want to offer this, because my recipients find the observations to be very useful, along with the energy of course.

I also am aware that giving a psychic healing with this method requires a different sort of work on my part. I need to be in a totally quiet place, and can't be distracted or disturbed by any of my family members. I need to be completely immersed for this part of the session. 

So, I am going to offer an option of having both the psychic healing session at the beginning, and the Reiki session with report next, as part of the same healing session. That way, the recipient can have the benefit of both methods. They can also still receive a more personalized report and accounting of my observations about their energy flow as it was being received. I feel good about this decision. 

I've also decided to charge a little more, but not double, for the combination of psychic healing and Reiki. 
It's an option to make my services more valuable overall, but still give the person receiving a choice.

I look forward to the new experiences this will bring for those receiving healing sessions from me, and for my own growth as a lightworker.

If you'd like to schedule a distance healing session, please go to reikiawakening.com/reiki-healing

Comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Doing the Work

As my loyal readers know, meditation has been a struggle for me. 
I've posted about it a lot, but especially here:
Meditation Has Annoyed Me
and here:
Practical Meditation...Not
Pretty easy to get the picture, even from the titles, right?

In the post above, a year ago, I wrote about reading How to Mediate by Lawrence LeShan, followed by The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist. These were some big, powerful reads for me, and both books inspired me to learn more. After waiting a year, last week, I traveled to Connecticut to attend the 5 day LeShan Healing Seminar, to learn this little-known method of psychic healing that Dr. LeShan trained himself to do and talks about in his book The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist.

The lessons from the week were many, but most of all, I learned something about myself: 

           I've been copping out on meditation. 

Yes, it's true. I've given myself excuses by the dozen - This kind of meditation isn't "my thing." I'm not the kind of person who can - or needs to - quiet down in there. I'll get it, or I won't, and it doesn't matter really...blahblahblah. Anything to avoid the work of actually struggling through the noise to find the silence and just BE here.

On the second day of the seminar, I even blurted out to the entire group of thirteen people, "I SUCK at this!!" And, I meant it. My meditations for the first two days were like trying to tame a wild horse. I'd be quietly breathing for a bit. Then I'd comment in my head how nice and quiet my thoughts are. Then I'd mentally tell myself to stop commenting. Then I'd comment that telling myself to stop was still commenting. Then, a little while later, the pizza guy showed up in my head with a couple pizzas, and I looked to see what kind they were, and started to thank him, and then WHAM! I realized that I was supposed to be meditating, and the pizza guy was a big distraction (though a pleasant one) by my thoughts, and I'd have to start again. 

But, meditation is a BIG, IMPORTANT part of learning this healing method, and I was VERY motivated to learn it. So, it was time. I had to sit my butt in the chair, close my eyes, and MAKE myself make the effort to meditate. This was the sole activity for two days and I had to do it. No excuses, nothing else to be running off to do. Just this - the "calisthenics" that would build our intuitive muscles to be able to do the healing work, which we'd learn on the third day. I'm doing the work, so I can do the real work.

I guess it's about time, right? 

By the start of day three, I was calmer. I wasn't beating myself up anymore. I was just bringing my mind back to the meditation at hand, observing and noticing which methods (visualization, contemplation, breath counting, etc.) were a little easier for me to stay focused doing. I was seeing myself as more of an observer than a critic. And that's progress. 

The healing method is very interesting and profound. I am looking forward to working more with it now that I'm home. 

On the last morning, we did one more meditation together. It was contemplation of a three part quotation, as it pertains to ourselves. I had a very different experience here. As I sat, thinking about my life, my path, the way I relate to myself, others, and the world, I found I was smiling - hugely. I felt so much happiness fill me. Gratitude, maybe joy too. Just so completely happy about being where I am in this journey - knowing why I'm here, knowing that the work I do is meaningful, and feeling supremely grateful for the ability to connect with and help others. 

This seminar was very beneficial to me, because learning to meditate (finally) is going to help my entire life - my healing work, my parenting, my focus...all of it. And, the healing method is one that I can work to further develop, now that I have the tools and the means to actually practice without being in my own way. 

If you need some help with meditation, don't ask me. Hahaha! Read LeShan's book, How to Meditate. All of the explanations of how the brain works, and the different methods we learned can be found in there.

If you'd like to experience a healing with the method I learned, please send me an email. I will offer a free distance session to the first 12 people who ask, in exchange for feedback afterward, to let me know how your experience was. Just shoot me an email.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are so welcome, always. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

The kids with my Grandma Goldye
Last week, the family and I went to Cleveland to celebrate Passover with family. It was the first time I had been back since we moved to Maryland six months ago. In the weeks before the trip, I had had two nightmares about moving back to Cleveland - in the second one, Evan had told me we needed to move back for three months, and I had flatly refused, telling him to take the kids and let me stay here for the time he'd be there. That's how much I love living here in Maryland. 

When we were there in Cleveland last week, we went to see our Cleveland house. It's sold, by the way, finally, and we are scheduled to close the sale at the end of this week. So it's empty, and ready for a new person to have a life there. Even driving down the street was surreal for me. We lived in that house for fifteen years. We had all four kids while we lived there. My oldest is now in eighth grade. It was the only home my kids knew until six months ago. Walking in the door, walking around the house, I had two very distinct questions come into my mind, as if a deep confusion was going on under the surface. 

The first question was, "Is this a weird dream? Will I wake up in my bed in Maryland if I shake myself out of it?" The second question to surface was, "Have the past six months been a weird dream, and am I back home now?" I answered both questions, as if speaking to a frightened child, with reassuring answers about why I was there, and that we would be going back to Maryland soon, where we live now. But the uneasy feeling continued. 

Shortly afterward, we went back to my parents' house, where I had lived between breaks in college, and for four years after graduation, before getting married. It also, was my "home" for those years. This was the first time that my husband and I had spent the night there together as a married couple, and we've been married for seventeen years. When we lived in Cleveland, we all ate dinner as a family every Friday night, usually at my parents' house. Being back there, and especially sleeping there for a few nights, was another one of those confusing feelings for me, under the surface. I heard my inner voice, "Where is home? This was home. Am I home?" This poor, confused little me inside my head was really having a time of it. Again, I reassured this little voice with images of my new home in Maryland, and the date that we'd all be back there. 

Several times during the trip, I caught myself talking to the kids and using the phrase "we'll go back home" but referring to my parents' house, because that's where we were staying. But once I used it referring to the Cleveland house, and once I also used it to refer to our Maryland house. I felt odd each time.

On Wednesday, I left for a five day seminar in Connecticut to learn the LeShan Psychic Healing Method - something I had been waiting a year for, and was very excited about. So I flew out of Cleveland, and spent five days and nights in a retreat center. I had a room there, of course, and all that. The seminar was intense and deep. I have a lot to think about, a lot to practice, and new tools. (Side note - if you want to know more about what this method is, read The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist by Lawrence LeShan.)

Yesterday, I flew from Connecticut to Baltimore, and then took a bus back to Gaithersburg, where I gratefully arrived back here, "Home" now. This is where I live. This is home. 

But my roots feel a little unsteady. It left me thinking about how long it takes, and what events need to happen, for the place you live to settle in deep enough that one can say the word "home" and it comfortably relates to the place that person resides. Most of all, I wonder how long it will take for me to be able to say "home" and have that deep, comfortable knowing where I mean. 

I want the word "home" to resonate as here in Gaithersburg. I LOVE our house here. (We're renting for now, though I hope to buy this house eventually if we have the opportunity). I love the area, the opportunities, the new friends and associates, all of it. It feels so much better to me energetically than the years we struggled in Ohio. I want this place to be the one that resonates when I say the word "home." 

Selling our house - being done with the closing and all - should help. Also, we still need to get MD driver's licenses and plates for our cars. That should help too, I think. 

I have a place to practice and teach Reiki. I have been teaching here, making contacts, and have some events lined up to go to for business networking and stuff like that. We have new doctors, eye doctors, dentist, and library cards. We have a new bank, and checks with our new address. 

Energetically, I really need to be here all the way. Home is where the heart is. 

"Be here now." This concept is a part of cultivating the full presence that helps in all energy work, and in mindfulness that is essential for being effective, confident, and balanced. 

I'm working on that. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Putting a Price on Healing

During Mercury Retrograde (finally over as of yesterday, thank you), we are called to think about things. Reflect on our life, our business, our relationships, all while communications and plans are disrupted so we can do that. Ha. 

And now it's a New Moon. That's the time when we should set our new plans, goals, and dreams in motion.

Seems that I've been given the opportunity to do both - big time - and now I'm here to report on it. It was a lesson that was put right in my face. (Thanks again, Universe.) Here's the way things went down:

A couple weeks ago, I received a newsletter from a copywriter who I've followed for a while. In it, she detailed some serious emotional blockages related to her unfortunate childhood. I felt moved to write her back, encourage her to stop being limited by her past, and go for her dreams. I also mentioned that some Reiki healing can greatly help with releasing those painful past experiences, and allowing yourself to move forward. 

She responded that she was curious about Reiki, and could we talk on the phone. I answered that of course I'd be happy to speak with her. We set a time. We spoke yesterday. 

It was not what I had expected. 

She asked me some questions about Reiki, and I explained. She seemed enthusiastic. That is, until she asked me how much a distance Reiki session costs. I told her $50 or 5 sessions for $200. There was a pause.

"That's ALL?" 
I answered yes.
"Why on earth do you charge so LITTLE?" She asked in an astounded tone. 

I explained my rationale. An in person Reiki session is about the same cost as a massage. A distance session doesn't require me to travel anywhere or prepare a massage table with a sheet. So it's less. 

Then she told me that she simply can't understand how something that could help change someone's life, help the person heal from years of baggage and turmoil, could be priced so low. She went on to say that it must mean that I don't value my own services. She also told me that she had gladly paid $4,400 to attend a program designed to teach you how to think.

She also said that she was no longer interested in my services. She advised me strongly to raise my prices by about five times what they are. She said that charging as little as I do means that I'm telling the world that I am not offering something anywhere in balance with its value to those who receive it. 

I told her I would be happy to accept more money, and assured her that affordable doesn't mean not powerful. It was apparent, though, that this wasn't really the right connection for either of us. I thanked her for her advice, told her that I hope she finds what she needs, and we got off the phone. 

About an hour later, she blogged about our conversation

I spent a good, long time thinking about this. I asked myself:

  • Am I undercharging?
  • Am I undervaluing my work?
  • Am I holding myself back? 
  • Does my work have a perceived low value?
I really pondered this. I searched inside myself. I tested my feelings about charging more. I tested my feelings about her reaction. 

I came to a conclusion that some people think that if they pay a lot of money for a solution that says it will resolve their issues, that it will take the problem away for them. It must be the best if it costs so much more than the others. But that says a lot more about the people who think that way than it does about the people who charge the highest fees. A friend (and one of my clients and professional associates) from Facebook who I asked for some feedback added, " I will also say that paying a huge price tag and getting little results is often more palatable to the ego than being presented with an actual solution for a very low price.  It's a way that the ego appeases us by pretending we are doing "big" things to solve our pain or problem."

I think that I agree with that. And, also, I think that it's another reason that she was not a good potential client for me. 

In answer to my question to myself about my pricing, I feel that my fee for distance healing is affordable, but that doesn't mean it's not powerful. I know from experience that the distance healing sessions I offer are received in powerful ways, with life-changing results, by those who accept them. But I like that they are affordably priced. I feel comfortable with the price point where it is. 

I guess that I know what it feels like to struggle to afford something I feel I need, and I also know how it feels to be grateful to afford something I feel I need. I think it could be harder to fully receive a healing session if you're thinking in the back of your head how hard it was to pay for it. So that's another thing. 

I can't measure the value of a Reiki session. Priceless. That's about it. So I have to set a fee that feels comfortable for me to offer. 

My Practical Reiki classes are also affordably priced. I used to charge less, and I realized (after my friends and students alerted me) that the fee was too little, because it did have a lower perceived value. ("Dollar Store Reiki" is not what I offer!) So at the time, I raised it to a number that felt more in balance with how I felt and how I want it to be perceived. Let me say that I am completely confident about my Practical Reiki training's value. It's outstanding. It's priceless. I could easily charge double for it and deserve it. Although if I did, some people would struggle to save to receive this training. But, I could justify the price because it is seriously excellent and allows one to immediately become a practitioner, if desired.

But, the other side is that it's really easy for me to teach, doesn't take a lot of time to learn, and I want it to spread far and wide. I want there to be a million people using Practical Reiki in five years' time, because I trained them or someone I trained (or their students trained) did. Practical Reiki is a straightforward, unplugged method of energy healing that anyone can learn, regardless of previous experience.

Then, I asked myself about the value of my time spent teaching. That was a good question, and I felt a slight disconnect was there, so I have slightly raised the fee for live classes (compared to recorded), and offered an add-on for a private hour on Skype with me for Q&A to those who take the recorded version. I also include the books with the live training. That adjustment feels in alignment with my values, and feels like a quality offer.  

It's true that some people undervalue themselves, and undercharge for their services. The opposite is also true. And, it's true that some people take advantage of the fact that there are people out there who actually go looking for the most expensive option, and charge accordingly for their services. I can't be in integrity with myself if I try to be one of the people who raises my fees to target those who want to pay top dollar. So that's good for me to know also. 

I am grateful for the lesson from this past Mercury Retrograde, and ready for the New Moon to take my goals, plans and dreams and energize them into being. 


Comments and feedback are very welcome.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Zumba Meditation

I've been taking Zumba classes at Studio X in Gaithersburg. This isn't for wimps, either. I sweat myself stinky and shake my tush until I'm ready to drop. The classes are drop-in, and only $5. Honestly, I only started doing it because I recognized a need for improving my fitness level. Which happened because I was trying on a potential new pair of jeans in Target and caught a glimpse of my butt in the dressing room mirror. Only it wasn't my butt. It was my mom's. How it got onto my body, I'll never understand. But, at that minute, I knew I'd have to find a way to recover my own rear end. And thus, I put myself in Zumba class. 

At first, I felt pretty awkward. Seeing myself in the mirror confirmed that, yes, I am awkward. Thanks a lot, mirrored walls. The gorgeous, muscular, joyfully smiling teacher led fast-paced sexy movements that I tried to follow, while trying not to trip over myself or get in the way of the people around me who seem to know every step.

I determined to get it, and got focused. It's really fun, actually, and I love dancing, so I felt good moving and shaking it out. During the first few weeks, after a bunch of songs, I was breathing hard and sweating. I figured it must be nearly over by now. Then I looked at the clock. It had been 15 minutes. 45 to go. Dear God.

As the weeks went by, I've started to learn basic moves, and get sort of familiar with some of the songs. I don't look at the clock as soon now. Usually it's about 40 minutes into the hour before my eyes wander there. And I look somewhat less awkward in the mirror, when I catch a glimpse. My body likes it too, and I'm starting to feel more toned, which is a good thing. Maybe my own butt will return soon too. I think there's hope. I've sent out the invitation for it to come back.

And I've realized something more important. Zumba is like meditation. I'm talking successful meditation, too. The kind that quiets the mental chatter. Here's why: When I'm there in class, I have to follow the teacher's moves. The moves change rapidly, the patterns are short and varied, and involve my whole body. There's no possibility of letting my mind wander, because I'll miss something and end up going the wrong direction, bumping into someone, or falling on my face. I can't be thinking about what's happening after class, or who I need to email, what I'm making for dinner, or my kids arguing this morning. My brain simply can't hold those thoughts and move my body in coordination with the teacher's pace at the same time. So I become present, focused, and totally in the moment.

These are the qualities I teach my Reiki students to emulate during a Reiki session. Be present, only observing what's happening now. Be focused on that observation of sensation and energy flow, which also keeps the left brain chatter at bay. Be totally in the moment, because that helps strengthen the intuition. 

They are also the goals of a good meditation. Just being present - not distracted by a dozen thoughts, feelings, and unnecessary worries. Being focused on that mindful presence - allowing the left brain to be quiet. Being in the moment only - that's a serious goal for mindful living. Because, really, all we need to do is deal with what's happening now. Any chance to remember that, to bring our monkey mind back to the here and now, and just BE here, is a good thing. 

While I'm not very good at basic silent meditation, I find I'm doing better at the guided kind, which I've been trying to listen to daily. But I have to change it up, because predictability tends to cause my mind to wander, and before I know it, I'm thinking of all the stupid little things that make my meditation time a big #FAIL. I find it remarkable and sort of amusing that I'm best at creating that mindful, meditative, in the moment presence when I'm giving Reiki, or doing Zumba. 

So that's an interesting lesson. I guess Zumba is a moving meditation for me. 

I welcome your comments, as always.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

A New Way to Share Love on Valentine's Day

Yesterday, I was perusing Facebook, and looking at all of the Valentine's Day posts that were flowing through my news feed. Then I saw a post by an acquaintance that said "So far the worst Valentine's Day yet. Yaaaay." It sounded like he needed to know that someone cared, so I left a little response, saying, "Aww. Hugs. Because you are a very cool and important person. And I see that." And his response was, "Well thank you. I guess maybe not worst. One compliment can change a lot. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone."

It got me thinking. Valentine's Day is nice for those who have a special someone. Even friends who will be your Valentine and keep you feeling included. But, if you're not feelin' it, Valentine's Day can rub in your face what you're missing.

My kids didn't have school yesterday due to a snow day. However, the weather had turned sunny and warm, and they wanted me to take them to Starbucks for a treat. I started wondering how I could brighten the day of those who feel lonely on Valentine's Day. And I kept thinking about hugs.

Human touch. So many people are talking these days about how it's important, yet has become a neglected thing in our busy western culture. And I tell my kids that hugs are magic. Because they are.

I'd seen videos on YouTube about "Free Hugs" - essentially, a guy is holding a sign that says "Free Hugs" and walking around a city. People come up and hug him, and smile. You know what I next thought, right?

Yeah, I thought it. And then I couldn't stop thinking it. I wanted to hold a Free Hugs sign. And stand outside Starbucks in the sunshine, hugging people. I realized I'd have to ask my kids what they thought of it. Because, first of all I don't want them to think their mother is a weirdo and be embarrassed. They need to buy in. Then I thought about them holding the sign, and I wasn't so comfy with that. Random adults hugging my kids...feels a little wrong. Kids hugging my kids...ok. Old people hugging my kids...ok. (Why the double standard? I guess because it just seems that old people need lots of love and the grandparent thing seems different. Social mores are weird. I know.) Me hugging anyone...ok. As long as no one is copping a feel. Then it's not ok. This series of thoughts gave me some serious pause. What could my kids do that would make me feel ok? Hand out little hand-decorated hearts. Yeah. That felt ok.

It was time to ask them. I called them all to the dining room table for a meeting. I was actually nervous and couldn't say it for a few minutes, which made them impatient. Then I took a deep breath and told them about my idea, and showed them the "Free Hugs" video on YouTube. At first, they said it was weird. "Can't we just go to Starbucks and have our drink, and that's it, Mom?" But then Eli said he thought it might be nice. And Sari agreed. I asked Arin if she would decorate some hearts. She said she would. And Rayna asked if she could film it. So she was in. We made a poster. Now it's really happening! What will people think, how will they respond if we do this? I guess we'll find out, won't we? said my inner master of worry. Yep.

We got our materials together and we went. First, I bought the kids the drinks and food they wanted. It was gorgeous outside so we got settled at a table out in front of the Starbucks. I didn't get myself anything to eat or drink, just watched them enjoy their snack. Then I started holding up the sign.

Some employee of Starbucks came outside and asked to see the sign. I guess they were afraid it said "Don't go to this Starbucks! They made my drink wrong!" or something like that. She was very relieved when she saw it said "Free Hugs."

Then some people looked, smiled and kept walking.

But then someone came over and hugged me. Arin gave her a heart. She said thank you. Then others did. And pretty soon, we all felt really happy and awesome. Eli wanted to hold the sign. When we saw four little girls about his age (10 or so), he held it. They consulted each other and giggled. I think one of them wanted to hug him. He turned really red. Then Sari said, "That's my Brother!" in this sort of threatening way, and they opted to hug me instead on their way into Starbucks. Eli was disappointed about that for about the next six hours.

One person bought me a cappuccino and brought it out to me. Another bought me a gift card and brought it out to me. One woman with a camera took my picture with the sign. Two women who hugged me said we should come to their restaurant that night, since they had newly opened. I said that sounds nice.

When we got home, Eli edited the video footage we had and made it into this really great montage memento of our day. The kids all said how great it was and asked when we could do it again. I'm glad my kids are open minded. We all were feeling the love.

That night, we went to dinner and tried to get into that restaurant the ladies had mentioned. It was packed. They had open tables but were not seating, in order to try to let the overwhelmed kitchen get caught up with orders. I guess this is typical for a new restaurant learning the ropes on the fly. So they wouldn't seat us. As we walked out, we saw the women I had hugged. Turns out they were co-owners of the place and they greeted me. I told them what happened, they immediately insisted on finding us a table. We had a nice dinner (though yeah, a long wait for the food). See what hugging can get you? My kids did. And I guess that's a nice lesson on Karma.

Please enjoy and share the video. Maybe we can inspire a little more love in the world.