Let Go of Old Patterns by Uncovering the Gift of the Experience


The end of the year is a natural time for reflection.  Although time is an arbitrary invention we use to organize ourselves, it can serve as a helpful tool for evaluating our life direction.   

What would you like to leave behind in 2018, as we move into a fresh new year? 

Important note: what you resist, persists.  So I’m not asking what you want to avoid or run away from.  That never works.  Everything is energy.  Your fear or strong dislike of something actually binds you to it energetically.  You can run away from the person or situation, but you will simply attract the same energy in a different person or situation until you transform that dynamic within yourself.

So the real question is, what inner change are you willing to make in order to let go of that worn out pattern and make space for something new?  Fed up with people not honoring you?  Become more clear with expressing your boundaries.  Had it with a mundane, monotonous daily existence? Begin listening to your heart and discovering your passions.  Sick and tired of superficial relationships?  Choose to become more open and authentic. 

When you embrace the gift of the unwanted pattern or experience, you release your resistance (aka attachment) to it.  The gift is whatever it is meant to teach you.  For example, if you don’t feel respected by your boss, the gift is learning to respect yourself.  If you start respecting yourself, you will either speak up or obtain different work that is in alignment with your newfound self respect.  However, if you leave your job just to avoid the situation, without making the inner shift of self respect, you will find yourself in the same scenario at a new workplace. 

Whatever you’re ready to let go of, be sure to uncover the gift, the lesson, of the situation first.  When you can truly appreciate the experience for what it taught you, you become free of it inwardly and the transformation then happens outwardly. 

Just remember, you can’t cheat energy.  If you’re telling yourself you appreciate the lesson but you don’t honestly feel that way, the energy won’t shift and you will remain stuck. 

Every day is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, yet it’s easy to tell ourselves, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”  It’s easy to take time for granted, assuming there will be another day.  There’s no guarantee. 

When I first moved back to Hawaii, it felt like every day was a vacation.  I could walk to the beach any day and enjoy wading in the refreshing cool turquoise water.  Every day was sunny with temperatures in the 80s.  It didn’t take long for me to start telling myself, “I’ll go tomorrow.”  Then, “I’ll go next week.”  One day I realized a whole year had gone by without even one visit to the beach.

We take time for granted like this.  We get caught up in the small details of everyday living and miss out on the bigger picture.  365 days is ample time to see what direction we’re heading and to evaluate if it’s where we want to go. 

Do you feel more joy, peace, growth or awareness today versus January 1st this year?  Yes?  Congratulations - honor the transformation you created this year.  No?  It’s ok.  Perhaps you needed to fully experience what you didn’t want in order to finally be ready to make a change.  You can use your frustration or discomfort in any situation as motivation to change. 

Take a honest look at this year before letting it go.  Your life is a reflection of your energy and of the choices you make in each moment.  Becoming aware of how you’ve invested your time and energy in 2018 empowers you to keep going that way or to change direction and explore fresh possibilities in the upcoming year.  There’s still time left this year to shift within and create an opening for new, wonderful experiences in 2019.

Embrace Imperfection: Mistakes Are Essential For Your Growth


To all you perfectionists out there, I have bad news: It’s impossible to be perfect throughout this human experience.  You are going to mess up sometimes. 

There will be little mistakes and also big ones.  Guaranteed.  Add one more to the list of life’s certainties:  death, taxes AND mistakes!  Since it’s inevitable, why not accept it?  Take it one step further and even embrace it!

What if you could shift your perspective to see mistakes as being not only natural, but also an essential part of the growth process?  What if the whole purpose of being human was to learn through trial and error? 

If you always did everthing perfectly from start to finish, the chart of your life would be a flat line.  No growth.  You would not be much different from a machine.  Everything would happen as you already knew it would.  There would be no spontaneity, no surprises.

Where’s the fun in that?

The thrill of being alive comes from the unexpected.  Taking a step and not knowing where it will take you.  Sometimes it will lead you somewhere amazing.  Other times you will fall flat on your face.   Expect that.  It’s part of the growth process.  

Once you accept that there will be missteps, it’s much easier to pick yourself up after a fall and have a laugh about it.  Then the next time you will step around or try walking in a different direction.  That’s growth!

Isn’t growth part of your life purpose?  Everyone is so different and yet the underlying essence of whatever you’re trying to achieve is growth.  Whether you want to grow your bank account or grow your heart to love more, you have to experiment through trial and error to break the barrier of where you’re at now and level up. 

That seeming failure gives you fresh insight that was inaccessible before that experience.  It’s not enough to intellectualize something and live in your head.  You learn through the visceral experience.  Who are you going to trust more: the doctor who got the best exam scores but hasn’t had contact with patients, or the one who also did a couple years of residency?

 It’s not really a mistake if you learn from it. 

Turn lemons into lemonade by embracing mistakes graciously and growing from the experience.  Your life will be transformed!


Empowerment Through Being Vulnerable


People waste a lot of energy to avoid becoming vulnerable.  Our ego tricks us into equating emotional openness with defenselessness, which terrifies us.  So we learn to create an impenetrable wall around our heart and get accustomed to a harsh existence in the fortress of a cold, safe mind.

The problem is, our minds aren’t all that safe, are they?

A fearful mind can be your greatest tormentor, perceiving imaginary threats around every corner, keeping you stuck while convincing you it’s protecting you.  

In actuality, the mind and the heart need each other. Rather than being adversaries,  together they can provide a system of checks and balances.  The mind gives definition to the self, providing focus and direction for the heart’s flowy expansiveness.  The heart humanizes the cold logical mind, creating opportunity for connection by softening its rigid isolationism.

So how can you embrace vulnerability and open the heart to express your true self without feeling exposed and powerless?  

The key tool is self compassion.  Self compassion is acknowledging your own suffering and feeling warmth, caring, and the desire to help yourself in some way.  

The easiest way to develop self compassion is to become mindful of when you feel bad, whether it’s from a mistake you made or the way another treated you, and then respond to yourself the way you would to someone who’s dear to you.  In this way you develop your own inner source of support, which lessens the need of acceptance from others.

Having nothing to defend or hide is true freedom.  The power to forgive and accept yourself strengthens you.  You feel empowered to express who you really are, quirks and all. 

When you are comfortable being your authentic self, you create a space for others to move into authenticity.  People feel relaxed and more open in your presence.  When you lay down your weapon and armor, others realize there’s no reason to continue wearing their heavy gear.  They’re relieved to set it all down. Vulnerability allows us to move beyond the typically unsatisfying surface relationship with others and connect deeply through our shared, beautifully flawed humanity. 

Underneath our ego masks we all long to be truly seen and appreciated in our uniqueness. Vulnerability and self compassion are tools to liberate you from the stifling imprisonment of perfectionism.

Karma is Not Punishment

Relax.  Karma is not your enemy.  It’s not out to get you.  Karma is impersonal.  It’s simply energy.  Karma is unresolved energy that you carry around with you.  Regardless of whether you’re aware of it or believe in it, the energy of karma attracts experiences and people in your life that will reflect this energy back to you so that you can resolve it once and for all.  


You will carry karma until you receive the gift of awareness it offers you.  This clears the karma.  Most people get the “gift” after many repeated and often uncomfortable experiences of the karma being played out in their interactions with others.  The good news is that there’s another way!

Clearing karma is one of the benefits of a past life regression.  People sometimes ask what’s the point of going back over a life that’s already over.  Realistically, you can’t possibly learn everything about the human experience in one lifetime.  So we come back to learn more and also to try to fix and complete what was unfinished in previous lives.  Past life regression is one way to have guidance through the process because we tend to have blindspots that we won’t see on our own.

You can also clear karma on your own inwardly, without having to go through the painful experience of living it out.  This requires a high degree of self honesty and self compassion. 

To clear your karma with someone:

1) Review your past experiences with the person.   Find what the lessons were that you needed to learn from that experience.  For example, maybe a lesson was to not lose your Self in a relationship and to hold healthy boundaries or maybe it was the opposite, how to be more open and connect authentically.

2) The lessons are the gifts of that experience.  Understand that in acknowledging the gifts of that experience, it doesn’t condone other people’s wrong behavior.  You’re simply recognizing that we are each responsible for our own lessons.  You only need to focus on your lessons.

3) In recognizing the gifts of that experience, you clear and release the energy (karma) between you and the other person through the power of forgiveness.  You forgive them for however they hurt you, recognizing that’s their lesson to learn and they will learn it in their own way and timing, perhaps not in this lifetime.  In forgiving them, you free yourself from the burden of heavy, negative emotions.

4) You forgive yourself for allowing yourself to get hurt or for hurting orhers.  You’ve always done the best you could with the level of awareness you were at.  Forgiveness is a much higher frequency than anger, fear or resentment.  Forgiveness can come when you feel empowered from the lessons you learned and so you can trust yourself to now make more joyful, fulfilling choices.

Karma points you to the areas where, through clearing, you can feel even better and develop more of your potential.  Once you begin to view karma in this new way, as a tool for your growth and healing, maybe karma can even become your friend.



Resistance is Futile: Learn to Go With the Flow


We’re taught that happiness comes from having the power to control our lives.  While it’s true to an extent, this approach has its limits.  The desire to control everything, originating from a fearful attempt to create outer security, is unhealthy and unsustainable.  Not everything in life is within your control.  The inability to accept this truth inevitably leads to daily frustration.  You end up constantly trying to fortify your sand castle against an ever-changing tide.

In this physical world, change is constant and unavoidable.  There are cycles to everything in nature.  As much as we try to divorce ourselves from the natural world, we are still physical beings to whom the laws of nature apply.  Humans, in our arrogance, believe we are the superior force in the world and that we should continue to seek ways to control and exert our dominance. 

This disconnection and lack of harmony with the rhythms of the natural world creates imbalances within our own body, mind and emotions.  We want it our way all the time and we resist what is.  The truth is that the greatest security comes not from constant control but from developing the ability to adapt to any situation. There is a time to take action and there is a time to allow or just be. This cycle, act/relax, act/relax, is sustainable like the heartbeat or the breath.  There’s flow.

When you are in tune with the world around you, you can discern the right time for action and the right time to accept or reflect on What Is.  In this way you become aligned with the greater cycles of the Universe.  Being in the flow allows you to work smarter, not harder. You learn to when to push and when to let go.  Inevitably you discover that the Universal stream can carry you further than you could go by your own efforts, often to vaster shores than you knew existed.

How to Live Life On Your Own Terms


Can you ever truly be happy if you don’t know who you are and what you want?  After spending countless hours on work, responsibilities at home and basic survival needs, how much time do you allot towards self discovery? How would you feel if at the end of your life you look back and realize that 90% of your time was wasted on things that don’t even matter to you now?

The first step to living life on your own terms is to identify what your core values are and to prioritize them.  For example, my core values are 1) Freedom 2) Purpose 3) Growth. Knowing my core values gives me a tool to utilize when making life decisions.  Years ago I made a big decision to become self-employed.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I love it.  It satisfies all of my core values. Therefore I am continually willing to embrace the risk.  Someone else may prefer to work for a company because security is one of their top values and so that’s the right choice for them.  The key is to know your priorities so that you choose wisely and authentically.

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to core values.  Your lifestyle should be a reflection of your personal values.  That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to discover who you are and what you want.  Otherwise you will likely find yourself living life by default, by someone else’s priorities: your parents, your partner or society.

The next step is to question every piece of your life to see if it fits into your core values.  Leave no stone unturned.  Living life on your own terms requires looking deeply within to separate what’s genuinely you and what’s societal programming.  Do you really want to work all those extra hours in order to pay for a fancier car?  Or is there an unconscious belief that a fancier car = societal approval = self esteem = happiness?  When in reality, perhaps working less hours = less stress and more freedom = happiness. 

Having the courage to let go of what doesn’t truly belong in your life will free up space to create a new, more fulfilling life experience.  All the energy that was getting drained  on inauthentic activities will become available for you to harness for your health, wellbeing and happiness.  It will open the door to greater passion, purpose and confidence from being the navigator of your unique life journey.

Reiki Is My Super Power


My Reiki student says she tells her kids, “Reiki is my super power!”  They are young, active boys but once she gives them Reiki at night they quickly fall into deep, peaceful sleep.  It got me thinking that Reiki is indeed a super power.  It can transform your health, emotions and outlook on life in miraculous ways. 

Good news - Reiki can be your super power too.  You don’t need to be from planet Krypton or be an Amazon or get bitten by a radioactive spider.  Reiki is available to everyone.

Remember how everything seemed magical when you were a kid?  The world was full of never-ending possibilities and exciting surprises.   At some point you were told, “ Grow up.  Life is hard work.  No pain, no gain.”  So you left behind your childlike wonder, imagination and optimism in favor of “the school of hard knocks” in a “dog eat dog world.”

Once in a while you catch a glimpse of that magic in a child’s eyes or when playing with your dog.  You feel nostalgic and think, “How nice to be so free.”   

Reiki can free you from your prison of societal programming.  You are entrapped by the belief that nothing happens without your endless hard work.  This belief keeps you constantly pushing ahead, trying to achieve more, yet feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle.  When you are channeling Reiki, Reiki is doing all the work.  You are simply the conduit for the energy to flow.  Through Reiki you become healed or feel better yet it was effortless- magic!  Once you are attuned to Reiki, there is an infinite supply of this universal life energy to draw from, always available to fill you up - magic!  

After a Reiki session clients sometimes comment that they hadn’t felt this way since childhood.  They forgot this feeling, lightness, joy, inner freedom, hope.  Re-awakening that feeling inside someone - if that’s not a super power, what is?

How to Be Happy: Trust the Heart as Your Compass


We humans are funny creatures. We often run from the things we most desire and chase the things that don’t truly fulfill us. If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that we all want to be truly seen, understood and loved for who we are inside. When we are appreciated for outer things like achievements or looks, it gives us fleeting fulfillment as well as pressure to continue to produce more in order to receive further recognition. It’s a tiring and endless cycle.

When we feel comfortable to open up to someone and they easily understand and enjoy the essence of who we are, we feel joy. What a relief it is to be appreciated by simply being ourselves and not having to “do” anything. This type of genuine connection may seem like pure luck. In fact, the key to experiencing it more is to open our hearts.

As children our hearts are fully open and often unprotected. After a few (or many) hurtful and often confusing experiences, the instinctual response is to shut the heart tightly, construct thick protective barriers and move into the security of the intellect. The intellect feels safe because there are clear rules and parameters. 1+2=3. Using the intellect, the formula for fulfillment appears simple: Just figure out which actions are needed to create which results. So we follow the formula and achieve our goals yet somehow it leaves us feeling empty.

We are unique beings.  Logic doesn’t unlock the door to what makes us special; only our heart knows what lights us up inside.  How could society’s cookie cut norms perfectly fit the one-of-a-kind puzzle piece that we are?  When we engage in life from our hearts, we will experience the cold world coming alive again.  We will reawaken our childhood wonderment.   We will realize that life is not uncaring; we had simply shut down the pathway to the love, joy and passion available through the heart.

The heart and the intellect aren’t adversaries.  Utilized together, they form a powerhouse for our success and fulfillment.  Let the heart be our compass and the intellect be the navigator.  The heart points the way to our happiness.

Dreams Are a Tool for Self Awareness


“The dream is a series of images, which are apparently contradictory and nonsensical, but arise in reality from psychologic material which yields a clear meaning.” -Carl Jung

Perhaps you have little time to read books or attend workshops.  You find meditation to be a struggle.  Yet you have a strong desire to know your Self deeply, to uncover the blocks that stand in the way of your fulfillment.  Then why not explore dreamwork?

Dreams are a fascinating tool for examining your own psyche, for bypassing your critical conscious mind to discover hidden treasures in your subconscious and superconscious minds.  During the day you may be blocking the subtle inner feelings from your emotions and intuition and instead favor your logical conscious mind.  In this way you can accomplish a lot, yet have a nagging feeling that something you can’t seem to place is missing.  

Without the restriction of the analytical mind blocking it, all that you haven’t been willing or able to look at can come up through dreams.   This is a gift!  Dreams are the pathway to the deep wisdom that lies submerged under all the daily activities.  Don’t disregard dreams as nonsensical.  They simply speak to you in a different language than you’re used to, through abstract sensory expression, much like art.

Similar to art, you understand a dream’s meaning by how it makes you feel.  Your feelings are the clues to the insights hidden in a dream.  As you focus on the feelings evoked through the dream, contemplate on if that resonates with your everyday life.  Perhaps in your dream you were trapped in a cave.  In what area of your life do you currently feel trapped?  Have you been ignoring that feeling, telling yourself it’s not so bad?  What wisdom is your dream pointing you to realize?

Dreams are a wellspring of self knowledge, which can propel your healing and personal growth.  They happen automatically every night.  Why waste this precious resource? 

You might be one of those who think you don’t dream.  Scientific research shows that we all dream.  So it’s just a matter of improving your recollection.  The easiest way is to keep a pen and notebook by the bed to record your dreams.  Don’t get out of bed when you first wake up.  Instead, grab the pen an notebook and write down any impressions from the night, even if it’s just a feeling or one image.  By doing this consistently, you will train yourself to remember your dreams and see improvement over time.  Happy dreaming!

Emotions Are Keys for Healing Yourself


Emotions are the unsung heroes of the psyche.  Perhaps you've been thinking, "If only those pesky emotions would leave me alone, then I could have peace of mind.  I could easily become the master of my Self.  It would be so much easier to focus my mind and be in control. "  

Sure, emotions are at times inconvenient and unpredictable, but they also are what make us gloriously human.  Take away all our emotions and we are basically limited edition, inefficient flesh and blood robots.  Not only do emotions color and contextualize our experiences, but they also can serve as powerful instruments for self-healing.

Emotions are a diagnostic tool.  Emotional pain can signal that something in your life is out of balance, much the way physical pain does.  If you place your finger on a hot stove, pain tells you that something is wrong and to move your finger.  It'd be a much bigger problem if you just took a painkiller but left your finger on the stove.  Pain can be a useful indicator that a change is needed.  

If you frequently experience emotional pain, it could be signaling to you that your thoughts or your actions are not aligned with your heart's desire.  We think outside events cause our emotions.  If someone slapped me, I might say, "You made me sad because you slapped me."  But if she slaps my friend, my friend could say, "You made me angry because you slapped me!" The reality is that no one and nothing can force us to feel a certain way.  Our emotional responses are connected to the thoughts or beliefs we hold inside.

If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, rather than stuffing them or projecting them back at someone, we can begin to notice what thought or belief underlies the emotion.  The more we are willing to sit with an emotion, the more empowered we become to know what we need and to know what's not working for us.  As you find a healthy outlet for your emotions, allowing them a path to flow, they lose their power over you, becoming valuable tools for your journey of self awareness.


Are You Trading Happiness for (Imaginary) Security?


Many people have been shaken this year by the seemingly relentless barrage of disasters and tragedies.  The constant reminder that misfortune can happen anywhere and anytime pushes some people to try even harder to control their surroundings to create a sense of security.

The reality is that no matter how hard we try to secure our situation, it can all be gone in an instant.  The company where you’ve worked for 20 years can suddenly go bankrupt.  The house where you planned to live your whole life can be demolished by a natural disaster.  The person you love and trust the most can die suddenly.  

I’m not trying to depress you!  Quite the opposite.  In fact, the recognition and acceptance that everything in the outer world is temporary can free you.  So many people feel trapped in their life circumstances, afraid to leave because it gives them a false sense of security.  Unhappy relationships, unfulfilling jobs - how much of your time or energy is wasted in the name of “security?” 

The desire for security originates from fear.  Do you want fear to be the director of your life?  A feeling of security can only come from an inner place.  It is awareness that regardless of circumstances, which are outside of your control, you can choose your state of mind, which is completely within your control.  

All of the energy that was once used towards trying to maintain this illusion of security can now be placed towards your happiness.  A fulfilling life is its own kind of security.  No matter what happens, you will feel peace from the knowledge that you did not waste this precious life.

Facing Darkness and Allowing Light In


This is an intense, challenging time we live in.  It's easy to look at the many tragedies in the world and feel fear or despair.  Heavy emotions are uncomfortable and can give us a sense of powerlessness, so we tend to avoid our dark thoughts and feelings.  Yet it is only in facing this darkness within that we can find inner peace.  

Common ways that we avoid our feelings are through denial or distraction.  In denial, we may try to put a happy face on and tell ourselves, "It's not so bad" or "Things will get better."  There's nothing wrong with a positive outlook as long as you are not using it to repress your dark feelings.   It's called spiritual bypass when you use a spiritual concept to avoid facing emotional pain.  Wounds can fester for a long time this way, keeping us from the peace we seek.

Distraction is a seemingly innocuous defense mechanism that keeps us busy but gets us nowhere, like hamsters on a wheel.  We fill up all our days, doing more so that there's no time to feel.  We convince ourselves that if we don't focus on it, it doesn't exist. This tactic doesn't make it go away; in fact, it exhausts us to keep running from ourselves. Although it's true that it can be detrimental to wallow in heavy emotions, there's a healthy balance point between drowning in darkness and avoiding our feelings.

Confronting the darkness within gives us empowerment.  If we act as if our own feelings aren't important, how can expect anyone else to value them?  By no longer running from our feelings, we are telling ourselves that we matter.  

How can we face dark emotions when they seem overwhelming?  First, let go of the notion that emotions need to be fixed.  Resist the urge to try to solve whatever situation triggered the emotion. Simply sitting with the emotion and experiencing the sensation in the body allows it to begin processing.  Second, notice if the feeling wants to be expressed.  If so, allow it to flow, whether through tears, a sigh or scream, or through writing or movement.  Finally, send love to the part of you that's hurting - whether it's from sadness, anger, fear or any other dark feeling.  Love is the most powerful healer.

Honoring all of our feelings in this way releases them or lessens their intensity.  Often what we fear outwardly is a reflection of our own darkness.  We build our walls but it never gives us a sense of security because the true source, our own shadow self, hasn't been addressed.   As we begin to face the inner darkness, we allow light to enter, the light of inner peace.

Integration, Not Separation, Is the Path to Transformation


Our societal preoccupation with competition and being a winner creates intense self judgment and separation.   We learn to label some parts of ourself as "good" and others as "bad."  We are taught to "Be strong. Highlight strengths.  Eliminate weakness."  This approach may be effective for becoming a better competitor, but at what cost to our wellbeing?  

Shame, judgment, self loathing, fear of failure, unhappiness, disconnection, inability to nurture ourself.  These are the effects of this win/lose approach to life.  We want to show off our "good" qualities and hide or suppress our "bad" qualities.  We think others will like us more this way, yet we feel like a fraud, afraid of our "bad" parts getting discovered.  Because of this, we may keep people at a comfortable distance, yet part of us yearns to connect more deeply and authentically. This separation exists not only with others, but within our self.  Ironically, by cutting ourself off from the "bad" parts, we diminish our life force and reduce our capacity to develop into our highest potentiality.

Self esteem based upon success and outer gratification is precarious and exhausting.  We get stuck in the endless race of trying to prove our worth to our self and others through our accomplishments.  We get drained trying to control outer circumstances to ensure our success.  The way out of this trap is through self love and compassion.

Clients sometimes ask me to assist them in getting rid of their "bad" parts using hypnosis.  Here's what I tell them:

All of your parts are good.  A lot of them were established during childhood when you had less resources and wisdom to develop them.  Then they got labeled as bad and you locked them away in the deep inner recesses of your being where they never received any nourishment.  Then they got beaten down with judgment and criticism.  How can they get better that way?  

Everything grows with love.  Imagine two bosses.  One always cuts you down.  Despite your best efforts, nothing is ever good enough for him.  The other one is very supportive.  When you make a mistake, he shows you how you can improve in an encouraging way. Who are you going to work harder for?  Of course, the suppotive one.  In fact, he builds up your energy, whereas the other guys weakens you and you become less effective.

We don't realize that our self criticism doesn't make us better.  It weakens us.  Self compassion doesn't mean pretending like we did a good job when we made a mistake.  It means changing our inner dialogue from, "You're such an idiot!  You're never going to get it right!" to something like, "Ok, let's figure out what we did wrong and fix it.  Everyone makes mistakes.  The important thing is to learn from them."

With the right inner nourishment, all of our parts can develop into their highest potential. Our "embarrassing awkwardness" becomes quirky charm.  Our "overzealousness" matures into passion for life.  Our "nitpickiness" transforms into thoughtful attention to detail.  As we accept and integrate all aspects of Self, we discover wholeness and peace within.

Uncovering the Power of Your Shadow


The process of healing is ultimately a process of becoming balanced and whole. Oftentimes it seems like what we want is just out of our grasp.What if the answer were right under your nose? What if your greatest gifts were right below the surface, the ones you couldn't see? This is the power of the shadow.

What exactly is the shadow?  Carl Jung coined the term "shadow." He defined the shadow as "everything a person refuses to acknowledge about himself." Although everyone has a shadow, it is obviously different for each person and varies greatly with the values and culture we are raised in.  Jung believed that the shadow is the seat of our creativity.

As we grow up we begin to separate and label parts as good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable.  The acceptable parts remain in our conscious awareness.  The unacceptable parts comprise the shadow and become hidden.  Determined not to show these parts to others, we either spend a lot of energy keeping them hidden or we forget we have them entirely and instead project them onto others.  The energy used to hold this shadow down creates a pressure cooker inside.  Our fear gives this shadow strength and power over us.  We are no longer free.  We must now act carefully so that this ugly part is not exposed to the world.  Because of this internal pressure, when situations are challenging this shadow will lash out with a force doubly strong, all of its ugliness amplified and exaggerated.

If the shadow has become totally hidden and unconscious, we find ourselves attracting whomever we need to mirror back our disowned aspects. There is a saying, "what you resist persists." Although our shadow may be hidden to us, its energy is carried within us and magnetically draws people with like energy into our lives.  If we want to stop drawing these people into our lives, we need to own that quality within ourselves.

Perhaps as a child you cried at night, afraid of the boogeyman in the closet.  Your mom or dad came into your room and turned on the light to reassure you that it was safe. As adults what we don't realize is that the bogeyman we are so frightened of is just a neglected part of ourselves. We can shine the light of awareness onto these shadow parts and watch them transform before our eyes.

In each part of ourselves that we have overlooked or disowned, there is always a gift hidden beneath the dark exterior. With shyness, there may be the gift of introspection. With anger, there may be the gift of strength or passion.  Just recovering all the energy that is used to conceal the shadow is a gift in itself.  Releasing the fear of identifying with this "bad" part diffuses its energy so that it no longer controls us. Now we can better manage this aspect and use it in appropriate situations.  By summoning the courage to face each of these parts, we become stronger and more confident.

One of the greatest gifts of reclaiming your shadow is freedom from judgment of self and others.  You recognize your vulnerability as well as your strength.  You see your naïveté as well as your wisdom. You realize you have the capacity to be any quality in addition to its total opposite. This awareness awakens compassion and releases judgement, both within and without.


As a hypnotherapist, clients see me because they want to change or heal some aspect of themselves and their lives.  Oftentimes people think the solution they're looking for is to get rid of a part that is unacceptable.  In fact, the solution is the complete opposite. Just like in physics, this energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Underneath the unacceptable behavior is a valid need.  While in hypnosis we access the part that is creating the behavior, for example smoking or getting stage fright. Once we address this part and discover its needs, we can come up with new positive behaviors to meet those needs. That part that was once disenfranchised can now be integrated.

Despite the fact that it's been hidden from us, the shadow is easy to uncover once we are willing to face it.  To get started, here's a couple of simple exercises taken from the book "Dark side of the Lightchasers" by Debbie Ford:

- Begin by listing all the people who really get under your skin.  This may be people you know personally as well as public figures.  Notice what specific traits of each person really bother you.  With each trait on the list, think of a time when you behaved the same way or think of a situation in which you would be capable of feeling the same way.  Sometimes you will need to break it down to the very base underlying emotion.  For instance, you may not feel capable of murder, however you can think of a time when you were enraged or when you hurt another.

- Make a list of all the parts you don't like and find at least one gift hidden in each part.  For example, if you were raised believing that people should be humble, your shadow may be a showoff. Gifts of being a showoff may be not being afraid to speak up, or the ability to demonstrate self-confidence.  If you have difficulty finding the gift in a particular trait, ask a friend to help. We each have our own unique blinders.

The point isn't to become the opposite of who you are or what you value.  You don't have to fall in love with all of your parts, just own them and see their value.  By recognizing you are also the opposite of what you identify with, you become balanced.  In recognizing you are every trait, you become whole.  When you are balanced and whole, you become free to choose how you want to be in each moment and act with awareness.   

Reiki is a Winning Lottery Ticket


I love to travel the world.  It's amazing how regardless of what country I'm in, when I meet a stranger and say I do Reiki, invariably they say "I'm a Reiki Master too."  This isn't  happening in wellness centers or health food stores, but on airplanes, trains or busses.  Obviously everything is energy and similar frequencies are drawn to each other through resonance.  Still, it always surprises me, because in my world of frequency it seems like everyone does Reiki!

Even more surprising to me is the percentage of these Reiki Masters who don't use Reiki at all - not even on themselves!  In my mind this is like having a winning lottery ticket and just framing it and hanging it on the wall.  Why wouldn't you cash it in?

Afterall, Reiki is so simple to use.  I've even taught kids Reiki.  Once you are attuned, it requires no effort except the intention to connect to it and a gentle resting of the hands on or above the body.  Reiki does the rest!  It doesn't even require my full attention.  I give myself Reiki when I'm driving or watching Netflix.  No matter where I am or what I'm doing, I always have Reiki with me.  And Reiki gives and gives endlessly, as much as you want.  There is an infinite supply of this Universal Energy.

Everything is energy, therefore working on the energetic level is extremely useful.  If I have a headache or sore muscles, I give myself Reiki.  If I'm tired and need to be refreshed, I give myself Reiki.  If I'm sad or nervous, I give myself Reiki.   

The best part about Reiki is that it feels incredible.  The more you practice Reiki, the clearer your energetic system becomes.  As a result, you become more sensitive to the energy and it feels even better!  

It's too bad that many people don't believe in working with energy despite the fact that they use and believe in all sorts of unseen energy frequencies  - radio waves, electric energy, kinetic energy and so much more.  Imagine if everyone just tapped into Reiki and had this tool for their personal healing.  There would be an abundance of health, happiness and peace accessble to all.  That's my idea of a winning lottery ticket.

Is Past Life Regression Real?


When people  ask if past life regression is real, I generally respond with "How do you define real?"  Afterall, there are many intelligent people who now posit that we may be living in a virtual reality.  You may have powerful experiences when you are dreaming, but then you wake up and say, "Oh, that was just a dream.  It wasn't real."  But who's to say that when your body dies, you don't awaken into an expanded consciousness state and say the same thing?

We often consider consensus reality to define what's real.  If science has proven it, if other people can validate it or if enough people all agree upon it, then we consider it to be real.  But remember, consensus reality once agreed that the Earth is flat, that it's impossible to fly or talk to someone across the planet or many other things.  Science, technology and consensus reality evolve over time. 

You have an inner reality that others often aren't privy to - the world of your feelings, thoughts and inner senses.  Only you have direct access to this world, so others can't validate it for you.  This inner world can be reached through many means, including meditation, energy work and hypnosis.  You explore this inner world to discover your own inner truth.

Past life regression is a method for exploring your own inner truth.  Rather than focusing on whether or not past life regression is real, instead I suggest you ask, "Is past life regression useful?  Can it help me in some way?"  Isn't that the true benchmark for how we choose to spend our time, energy and money?

Past life regression can give you insight into the greater you by helping you understand the dynamics of your relationships, release unhealthy patterns, discover hidden gifts and talents, gain new perspectives.  What could be more real than that?

What Led Me To Do This Work?

Clients and students often ask me how I ended up doing this kind of work.  When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, I doubt any of them say hypnotherapist or Reiki Master!  As a child, I certainly didn't know this profession existed.  I used to say I wanted to be a baker when I grew up.  For this, I am periodically teased by my family, because as an adult I don't really enjoy cooking.

I wasn't raised in any spiritual tradition.  As far as I know, my parents are atheists.  In fact,  in college I was one of those condescending atheists who secretly looked down upon people who believed in a Higher Power.  I believed in logic and science.  I didn't have passion about any subject, so I chose to enroll in the College of Business Administration.  I didn't like numbers, so I chose Marketing and International Business as a double major.  All very logical.

I was hired for an internship that led to a job in my field.  I graduated from college and was doing what I thought I wanted to do except......it was so empty.  I had always used logic to lead me in life, but without the heart, without passion, it leads to numbness.  What was the purpose of my life?  What was the purpose of spending all day sitting at a desk under artificial lighting in front of a computer screen, enduring office politics, making this company some money and then watching the clock until it's time to leave?  Get home, feeling exhausted, watch tv for a couple of hours to decompress and then go to bed just to start it all over again tomorrow. 

My existential crisis led me to meditation.  Although initially it was difficult to quiet my mind, one day it just clicked.  I fell in love with meditation.  I would meditate 3 to 4 hours a day after work.  During meditation I began to feel energy and it felt wonderful!  This led me to get Reiki training.  All the meditation and energy work created a big spiritual awakening.  Sometimes during meditation I would slip out of my body and explore the cosmos; other times I would spontaneously go into my past lives.  These profound experiences shifted my awareness and understanding of what's possible and why we exist.  

I found my passion for life: to help others awaken consciousness and heal themselves.  Since then, life has been an exciting adventure full of growth and purpose.  I love helping people to become empowered to live a fulfilling, joyful life.  Certainly I don't mean to belittle the business field.  If it's your passion, that's great!  We're all unique beings.  The key is to find what makes our heart sing and to live our lives from that space.