How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

You get a jar, and YOU get a jar…

EVERYBODY GETS A JAR.

Disclaimer: this post is a bit of a far cry from what I usually write about, though its still rooted in the ideas of cleansing and mindfulness. It’s not about Reiki. It’s not about Yoga.

It’s about putting things in jars.

Okay, correction: it’s about putting EVERYTHING in jars. If you have already rolled your eyes and decided this clearly is not what you are into, then hear me out. I have cherries in a jar in my fridge right now that are perfectly sweet, with just the right amount of bite to them. They taste extremely fresh… and I bought them over three weeks ago.

Three. Weeks.

That is why I wanted to write about this, because I, personally, am someone who buys grapes or those expensive organic cherries for an arm and a leg and then only manage to eat five before they’re destined for the compost. Yet, here I am. Enjoying those ridiculously priced cherries to the very last one. All because I put them in a mason jar.

I have been putting dried goods in jars for years (please enjoy the photo below of my prized pantry from 2015 as proof) but it never occurred to me that the same principle could be applied to produce. I happened upon the Instagram page of @brownkids and learned of TheJarMethod that they created. After reading about how long they made their food last, and how much money it saved them, I was immediately on board.

 

How Jarring Produce Created Less Stress in My Life

 

I am always in search of new ways to make my life feel less cluttered and less stressful (both physically and mentally). I definitely cannot label my home as truly “minimalist”, but that’s the ideology that I tend to lean toward. I value order and organization, and the more complicated a space appears, the more stress and lack of control I feel. I learned early on that it’s not enough for me to just do massive cleaning/rearranging sprees every month or so to feel centered and chaos-free; I have to implement systems and consistently maintain them.

Some of what I do these days stemmed from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2015. If you haven’t heard of this book, in a nutshell consider it an interesting approach to clearing out all that does not serve you in your life (at least in terms of physical possessions). Some ideas that have stuck with me are seemingly simple ones, but they have had a lasting impact. For example, I remove all of the little sticky labels from all of my produce as soon as I get home. Oddly enough, that small act creates a little bit of calm. Seeing bananas in the basket just looking like bananas, without the visual clutter of barcodes or brand names, somehow elicits a peaceful feeling within me. Following that same vein, I remove strawberries and blueberries from their plastic containers, and scallions and spinach from their bags. After they’ve all been washed and patted dry, I put them all in their own jars and then they find their home in the fridge. I chop up the scallions first, but other than that it’s a pretty straightforward process. This is my course of action for ALL produce now. Lettuce: jar. Medjool dates: jar. Tomatoes: jar. Everything gets a jar (I wasn’t kidding).

How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

Aside from the fact that I am saving my family money and creating less food waste by keeping our food fresh longer, I also just like that I can see all of our food so clearly. Less distractions = less ugly in the fridge. Less ugly in the fridge = more room for happiness. How much more cleansing can something get?

Marie Kondo tells us in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that we should remove things from our lives that do not bring us joy. It’s easy to apply that idea to things like a wardrobe or old knick-knacks, but who knew it would have just as strong as an effect on food packaging?!

Taking part in this new routine has really reignited my belief that small acts of mindfulness can restore us in ways we didn’t even realize we needed. Am I a stress-free, radiant, homemaker goddess as a result of this? Perhaps not (yet), but the difference it has made in my life is undeniable.

What small acts are you willing to do to create less chaos in your own life?

 

How Putting EVERYTHING in Jars Created Less Stress in My Life

Recharge (with Style)

Let’s try an experiment.

I want you to look at the word I’m about to write, and take note of what first comes to mind when you see it. Ready? 

This magical word is: self-care

What did you see? Did you envision yourself getting a pedicure, reading a book in the bath with lit candles around it, or maybe getting a luxurious massage? In this day and age, the term “self-care” is often synonymous only with activities such as those…but why?! Those are all fantastic examples of self-care (I would practically kill for some alone time to read a book without constant interruption), but let’s not forget that tending to the needs of your body and mind can also just mean closing the bathroom door on your kid so you can pee in peace for once, or choosing not to answer any of those 57 emails until tomorrow when you’re ready to, or even as simple as taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day, the act of taking care of ourselves comes in many shapes and forms. It’s about creating a sacred space for you to cultivate healing of your mind, body and soul, whatever that may look like.
Continue reading “Recharge (with Style)”

The Act of Letting Go & Not Fainting

At my last yoga teacher training weekend a couple of weeks ago, our class was asked, as homework, to think of a person who has hurt us, and see if we can arrive at true forgiveness after considering our role in the situation, as well as the ignorance involved from both parties. We were asked to look at it objectively with discernment, and ask ourselves if we can take responsibility for what is ours, and release what is not.

Are you still with me?

Suffice it to say that literally no one was comfortable with this assignment. Nobody. Who wants to revisit a difficult situation, and then look for where YOU were wrong?! Yeah, no thank you. Still, I gave it a try.

I had a couple circumstances that immediately came to mind, but I settled on the one that felt still somewhat unresolved to me. This option is not nearly as emotionally difficult as the other I could have chosen, yet somehow it seemed infinitely harder for me to really admit my fault in it. That lead me to question why. “What exactly am I resisting here? The idea that I was wrong?” But I was wrong! For parts of it, I was extremely wrong. Yet looking at the problem from this perspective changed things considerably, and I am not good with change. I’m getting better (yoga has helped me with this quite a bit) but I am still very much a creature of habit, who feels the urge to control everything whenever possible. Unless I am the instigator of the change, I tend to only see it as a frightening wrench in my carefully laid out plans. This usually results in my anxiety arriving to take over. Good times.

I made a genuine effort with the assignment, and eventually came to feel like I had made a small bit of progress. At the very least it forced me to let go of some (likely misplaced) anger I was holding onto. A meditation I use when teaching Reiki includes the instruction of “letting go what no longer serves you”, and I think I had failed to practice what I preach in this regard. I chose not to share my experience in class, mainly because of the complex emotions I have associated with it, but listening to other people sharing was really eye opening. It was heavy. I cried (what else is new). If you are reading this and feel like doing something super uncomfortable but potentially productive, I urge you to revisit a painful situation of your own, and see if you can gain a new perspective on it after accepting responsibility for what is yours, and letting go of what is not. Can you arrive at true forgiveness for the other person? For yourself?

One other aspect of this particular weekend that was intense for me was the chant that we normally do. I feel a strong connection to this chant (it is called Śrī Guru Pādukā-pañcakam if you’re interested) and I practice it on my own frequently. I took a couple of recordings of the class doing it in the past so that I can sing along in the car or at home.

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My teacher had asked me to lead the chant during one weekend, and while it was a little nerve-wracking, I enjoyed it because it just meant that I got it started, and then the whole class chanted together as one. On this most recent weekend, however, things were different. Marc (my instructor) pulled me aside before we began a long meditation, and asked if I would lead the chant again. I agreed, thinking it would be the same as last time.

Marc led us into a quiet meditation, as we all laid on our mats with blankets covering us. He came over to me after awhile and let me know it was time for the chant. I started to get up into a seated position and quietly asked him if I should ask the rest of the class to do the same. He said no.

I was confused, but not panicked yet. “So… he wants me to sit up, but everyone else will chant lying down. That seems strange, but okay.” I sat up with the words to the chant in my hands, and then finally, after probably a century, realized that I was meant to chant BY MYSELF. To the room of nearly 20 people. If you don’t know me well, let me explain to you that I have extreme social anxiety. I’m doing better with it lately, but regardless I was honestly shaking with cold sweats.

It’s funny how you can come to find what you are truly passionate about when you are faced with something so scary. Through this experience I have learned that I am really and truly passionate about chanting, because I managed to put those feelings of impending vomit and fainting to the side, due to how badly I felt the need to perform the chant. I began with the traditional opening of “sadgurunath maharaj ki jai”, and then went through all five stanzas of the chant in Sanskrit clearly, without faltering. I felt so much lighter afterward. So much happier. So, hi. My name is Katherine, and I am a devotional chant nerd.

This chant in particular is translated to English to read as though we are worshipping someone’s sandals…I can see how that seems very odd. The sandals are just a metaphor, though. They represent those of us that have walked the path before us. With this chant we are honoring that path, and its traveler. When I first learned this in class, it resonated with me immediately. Each time I practice this chant, I devote it to someone new that has walked the path of yoga (or life in general) before me. I never run out of people to choose from. I am learning from everyone around me, all the time, and to me that is worth honoring.

So there is my wrap-up of my latest YTT weekend. The usual tear-shedding, but thankfully no embarrassing loss of consciousness episodes to speak of. I have only 3 weekends left (1 next month and 2 in May) and I’m excited to finish, but also trying to properly savor my time in this experience while it lasts.

Namaste.

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There’s No Crying in Yoga

This past weekend was another yoga teacher training session for me and lo and behold, my floodgates finally opened and tears spewed from me like bats out of hell. I have already expressed that heart openers/backbends affect me greatly, so really it was only a matter of time before this deluge happened, yet I was still overwhelmed and beyond embarrassed.

On Saturday we were yet again working on urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) and my instructor asked me if I’d be willing to volunteer so he could demonstrate the ways for a teacher to help align a student in the pose. I believe my enthusiastic response was, “not really”. He asked why and I explained that heart openers in general are difficult for me. Not letting me off the hook, he pressed further and asked if I meant they were physically difficult, or difficult in an emotional way. I said the latter. Even as I said that and finally agreed to do the pose, I felt myself tearing up. I was so hoping that would be the extent of things. Continue reading “There’s No Crying in Yoga”

Heart Openers

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.” -Rumi


 

I had my monthly Yoga Teacher Training weekend several weeks ago. While every training weekend leaves me feeling renewed and full of new material for introspection, this most recent one involved an experience that I am still working through internally.

Continue reading “Heart Openers”

Reiki Share Monday 9/25

Happy almost Autumn, friends!

I have had a few inquiries about whether or not I would be holding any Reiki shares or clinics anytime soon. Having recently moved my practice to Aligned for Life on Rantoul Street, and my fall semester of school starting up, I haven’t had much time to plan those things out. Luckily, I have friends with similar passions! My friend Marco Aurelio Vinci is a yoga teacher as well as a level 2 Reiki practitioner, and has graciously set up a share for us to host together at Bright Day yoga studio in Wenham (details below). All levels of practitioners are welcome, and from all lineages. It is a beautiful space, and the perfect spot to begin the new season with healing and great company.

Continue reading “Reiki Share Monday 9/25”

Reiki I & II Start Dates

Happy Spring!

For those of you that did not see my last update, I am now practicing out of Aligned for Life Chiropractic on Rantoul Street in Downtown Beverly. I feel fairly settled in now, and am ready to start offering certification courses again. I will be teaching both Reiki 1 and 2, with upcoming start dates for both listed below, as well as continuing to offer private Reiki sessions. I’m excited to spend this spring and summer meeting new people, and introducing them to Reiki!
Reiki I

Are you interested in learning more about the healing energy work of Reiki, and incorporating it into your life?

This first level course teaches the history and principles of Reiki, and focuses on self-care as well as giving Reiki to others (including people, places, pets, even plants!). You will receive a partial attunement, learn the benefits Reiki has to offer, discover how to apply them to your own life, and acquire the ability to facilitate your own spiritual and personal growth. Students receive a certificate of completion after the final class.

Reiki I is taught in a weekly 60 minute class over the period of 5 weeks. Cost is $150, to be paid in full at the first class. Payments can be made by cash or check (made out to Katherine Oregel), as I do not accept cards at this time. (Please inquire about a payment plan if needed!) Classes can also be taught on a one to one basis, click here to inquire.

Upcoming dates for 2017:

Option 1, Tuesdays at 7:30pm: 5/23, 5/30, 6/6, 6/13, 6/20

Option 2, Sundays at 10:00am: 5/21, 5/28, 6/4, 6/11, 6/18
Reiki II

Have you completed the first degree course and feel called to continue your Reiki journey? This second degree certification course will deepen your Reiki practice and build upon the self-care foundation learned in Reiki I. Students will receive another attunement, learn about the three Reiki symbols and their uses and meanings, become versed in the Reiki principals and precepts, delve into the ethics and legal aspects of a Reiki practice as a profession, and learn about distance Reiki, among other valuable components. Students receive a certificate of completion after the final class.

Reiki II is taught in a weekly 60 minute class over the period of 6 weeks. Cost is $180, to be paid in full at the first class. Payments can be made by cash or check (made out to Katherine Oregel), as I do not accept cards at this time. (Please inquire about a payment plan if needed!) Classes can also be taught on a one to one basis, click here to inquire.

Upcoming dates for 2017:

Sundays at 10:00am: 7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/6
Please click here to sign up for a class!

Private Reiki Sessions

I am available for 30 minute ($30) and 60 minute ($60) private sessions by appointment weeknight evenings (Monday-Saturday, excluding Wednesdays) and all day Sundays! Email me to set up an appointment.

Take care of yourself!

Katherine

New Practice Location

Hi there!

It has been awhile since I’ve had any significant news, as I’ve been focusing on school, and my Reiki practice took a bit of a smaller role in my life. As this semester is coming to a close and I feel more confident in my studies, I am excited to announce that I will be offering Reiki services again in Downtown Beverly!

Continue reading “New Practice Location”

So Far, So Good

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Happy Fall–my 2 year old’s pumpkin masterpiece

Hi, long time no see!

I am 3 weeks into school, and so far I am loving every minute of it. Right before the semester started, I switched my major from Nutrition to Biology, because I felt like I would have more options if I stuck with something broader. Although it was an extremely last minute decision (I finalized everything the day classes started) it was the right one. The classes I am now taking are so much more appealing and interesting to me, and I am more excited about what the future can hold with a Biology degree. It usually pays to listen to your gut instincts.

One thing that has not had a smooth transition into my new school schedule, is my self-Reiki practice. I have always struggled with staying diligent with my self-Reiki, and these past few weeks have made it even harder to stay on track. It’s funny how taking care of ourselves often falls by the wayside just when we need it most!

Luckily, last week I managed to get focused enough to actually meditate and give myself Reiki two separate times, and after both sessions I felt like I had just woken from some deep and peaceful sleep. I was calm, I was relaxed, I was happy.

Why am I not doing this more?!

While THC was still on Cabot Street and I was teaching Reiki I, I always made sure to reiterate to my students how completely important their own personal practice is, and here I am not practicing what I preach. Take it from me when I say that even if you feel like you don’t have the time, or you just keep forgetting, or you have something better to do…   Make the time. Schedule yourself in your calendar so you will remember. Put your well being at the top of your list. You won’t regret it. Whether that means giving yourself Reiki, reading a book, taking a walk, or catching up on those episodes of Grey’s Anatomy you missed! Whatever your self-care looks like, make it a priority.

On that note, I will return to my homework and my screaming toddler. I hope you all enjoy your Autumns, and take care of yourselves!

-Katherine

Approaching Summer

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Hello!

I haven’t checked in in awhile. It seems like I suddenly had many things on my plate once Spring arrived, and I’ve been trying to catch up ever since!

After rearranging some things relating to childcare for my little curly-headed toddler, I have permanently moved the Reiki Share to the first Monday of each month, and the Reiki Clinic to the last Monday of each month. These were previously held on Tuesdays, and I’m hoping that those interested in either will still be able to participate despite the change!

Another new item at THC is the Book Club! We have already had a couple of meetings, and are on to our second book. We are currently reading The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel, and we meet once a month on Wednesdays. The next meeting date is TBA, so please email me if you’d like to join us!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know that after the end of this August I will no longer be renting the space at 83 Cabot Street. I am going back to school (finally!) this fall, and the time that I’ll have to dedicate to Reiki will be slim for awhile, so continuing to rent that fantastic space just won’t make sense. For established clients of mine, I will be offering home visits for Reiki sessions on a limited basis. I want to be able to keep doing what I love, even if it’s on a much smaller scale! After I have gotten some momentum going with my schooling and feel more confident in taking on a rented space again, I will do so and keep you all in the loop. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to find another amazing spot somewhere on Cabot or nearby.

On a lighter and more exciting note, Christine Eaton of The Mindful Gallery will be holding a great mini-retreat at The Healing Center on Sunday August 14th! Mark your calendars now; more details will follow. It should be a fun way to begin to wrap up the end of summer, and my time on Cabot.

Last but not least, the Spring Special I have going on ($10 off a private Reiki session through the end of Spring) will continue until I leave 83 Cabot at the end of August. My availability remains fairly flexible, so please email me to make an appointment if you’re in need of some Reiki!

That’s all I’ve got for now, so hopefully I’ll see some of you soon.

Take care of yourself!

Katherine