The Value of Silence

Sometimes when we are driving around town running errands, heading to my mum’s house for a visit, or picking up my husband from work my daughter will pipe up from her car seat in the back and say, “Mom, can we just have some quiet time right now, please?”

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At 5 years old this kid is already wise to how wonderful and necessary silence can be. Normally we’d have music or an audio story playing, but many times she’ll specifically request that I turn the radio off and keep my own mouth shut as well.

At my very first Reiki session as a professional practitioner years ago I had quiet, soothing music playing (as I still do with sessions today). Somewhere about three quarters of the way through the appointment my playlist ended and I may or may not have gone into full on panic mode. I immediately started overthinking the entire situation, convinced that the client noticed the sudden lack of Deuter filling the room and was therefore having a terrible time. I actually nervously said, “whoops, my music stopped! Let me just fix that…” and proceeded to fiddle with my phone DURING THE APPOINTMENT until the playlist restarted. Thinking back to this I can’t help but cringe and wonder why I placed such worth in music playing while I worked.

When I had someone in for a Reiki session earlier this year a similar situation happened. For whatever reason the music cut out during the appointment unexpectedly and the client and I were left with a starkly silent room.

I kept it that way.

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What a difference a few years and some perspective can make. Where I was once afraid of lacking sounds to fill a space, I now value that absence so greatly.

Seeing my daughter not only requesting but enjoying silence already brings me so much joy. As a kid I would often fall asleep with headphones on listening to music, the bus ride to school would be full of chattering students or whatever radio station the driver felt we deserved that day, and from homeroom to last bell I’d have the voices and sounds of classroom after classroom in my ears, followed by all the varying volumes of my family and home life.

I remember all of that as an accepted constant, but I also remember the small moments in time where the act of quiet mindfulness started wandering into my life: as a tween, looking out the window and watching the snow so intently after my mother told me that if I listened hard enough I could actually hear the snow fall, and later as a teenager in psychology class learning a brief meditation instructed by my teacher as she turned out the lights and had us all lay our heads down on our desks and close our eyes.

Now as an adult I am grateful for those initial introductions to silence as a sacred opportunity. We don’t need noise all the time! We get enough of that just simply existing in the modern world.

One of my favorite things to do, and as a stay at home mom to a 5 year old this is a very rare occurrence, is sit down with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket and just be in my home.  Literally just being there. Not folding laundry while listening to a podcast, or washing the dishes while my daughter asks for more water, or strawberries, or pretzels, etc. every 5 seconds, or yelling, “ALEXA! PLAY FROZEN TWO MUSIC!” Just sitting down and leaving the quiet as it is.

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy my home when it is full of noise (just so we’re clear, I love the Frozen II soundtrack and Lost in the Woods will never not be on repeat in my head) or that when I do have some quiet time it’s completely void of noise, but when I sip my tea on my couch next to my sleepy chihuahua I am reveling in my own version of silence.

It’s enough for me for now.

 

Let’s Talk About Self Worth

What do a Reiki Master/Yoga teacher and Personal Stylist have in common (aside from both being fabulous, I mean)? Unfortunately the answer is that in both professions the issue of low self worth is common in clients. Body image woes seem to plague people from the Yoga mat to the closet and everywhere in between.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Self Worth”

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”

Surviving Infidelity (& winter)

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Happy New Year!

Winter has always been a difficult season for me. The frigid weather, the snow, the daytime hours seeming to be over before they’ve even really begun. In fact, several years ago I actually moved to California in hopes of escaping the “winter blues” I always seemed to get afflicted with year after year. It didn’t help! I moved back to Massachusetts after just a year on the west coast.

This year is especially difficult for me. I had briefly mentioned in an introductory newsletter that I came to own The Healing Center after a very traumatic event in my life. That event was my discovery of my husband’s infidelity. There are a few hundred subscribers on this mailing list, and statistics show me that many of you have likely been in this position before in some form. To those of you that have: I understand. To say it is life altering is an understatement of unimaginable proportions.

This year, in addition to my usual burden of dealing with low energy and positivity as result of the season, I am also tasked with searching for emotions and qualities within myself to assist me in my journey of recovery. Seeking out acceptance, optimism, compassion, confidence, and independence (for starters) has been the very opposite of an easy endeavor…but I have been succeeding. I have spent countless hours the past few months looking inward and allowing myself the time it is taking to accept that this event in my life does not define me.

I read somewhere once that sometimes we are taken into troubled waters not to drown, but to be cleansed. I truly believe that. During many meditations I have sat with the idea that I am the one, the ONLY one, with the power when it comes to my thoughts and feelings. Is this idea easier said than done? Of course! But it is also true. I alone have the power to choose to be happy, to choose what defines me, and to choose how I let outside factors affect me. So this winter, and in this new year, I am attempting to put those words into action. I am attempting to find myself cleansed and renewed from this—both my personal trauma, and the desolation of winter. Will I still have hard days? Will I still desperately miss the warm sunshine and green foliage? Will I still struggle to get out of bed some mornings? Yes, yes, and yes. But I am still trying, because my happiness will always be worth all the energy I have within me to supply to it.

If you have suffered (but survived!) through infidelity in your life, please take advantage of my offer of half off of a private Reiki session for you during the entire month of January ($15 for 30 minutes, $30 for 60 minutes.) Email me at info@thehealingcenterbeverly.com to set up an appointment. or call 978-338-5571. The path to healing is paved with patience, introspection, and most importantly: self-care.

To quote Robert Frost, since his last name and these words feel so appropriate here and now: “The best way out is always through.”

 

-Katherine

P.S. Check out the Classes/Workshops tab on the website to see what else THC has to offer in 2016!

Remembrance

The Remembrance is from the Sufi tradition, and I learned it from Mark Silver. Apparently, there are many names for God in the Sufi tradition, and one of those names is Ash-Shakur. The story with this name is that in the beginning there was just God. God wanted to be able to see, experience and appreciate all aspects of itself so God created all the creations in the Universe. Ash-Shakur is the name for God that means “One who Appreciates”.

I learned and practiced this technique when I went out to Portland, Oregon in February 2011 for a seminar with Mark Silver. As we leaned back (metaphorically and physically) into the Source in Remembrance and asked for Appreciation, we were amazed how easily and powerfully we received it! It never failed to fill our hearts with a sense of being unconditionally loved. And, wow what things you feel you can accomplish and experience when you are held in that place!

It’s a simple practice. First you center yourself in your body, allowing yourself to relax and focus inward. If you like, you can place your hand over your heart. The simply call on the Divine in your heart with a name that resonates for you. It might be God, Goddess, Great Spirit, Ohm or even your own name. I call on the Divine with the name Amma which to me means, Mother.

I like to picture my heart as a castle and courtyard encompassed by a wall that keeps my heart safe.

When I need support, I envision going to a back gate at the edge of my garden, and I call out to Amma asking her to join me. I envision this lovely, older lady walking up the path and coming into my garden. She comes in, sits down and over a cup of tea we talk about what’s bothering me, what I need. Her presence is so nurturing and soothing. I feel better just having her near, and the longer we sit together the more clarity and comfort I get about what’s been troubling me.  It seems to me that when I am ready to cross one of those scary bridges, she holds my hand and walks with me.

Insights, new perspectives, healing happens gently as we cross the bridge. That’s what Remembrance is like for me.  This technique is so easy, and I have been teaching it to everyone I’ve encountered since my return from Portland! It’s been an “Ah-ha!” experience for all whom I’ve shared it with.

Here’s my version of how to lean back into the Source for Appreciation and support.

1. Relax
Begin by sitting somewhere comfortable where you won’t be disturbed for 5 minutes or so. Take some slow, gentle breaths and release any tension in your body.

2. Check in with your Heart
Bring your attention to your heart center. Check in and see what you are experiencing at this moment. Trust and make space for however you are feeling – whatever it is- it’s ok. Just acknowledge how you feel and allow it to exist.

3. Connect with the Source
With your attention in your heart center, ask the Source to come forth and be present in your heart. The way we learned was to repeat a name of Source that resonates with us. For me, it’s “Mah”, but choose something that works for you. Repeat the Name in your heart a few times and gently let your heart open to receive this connection.

4. Ask for Appreciation
Share the feelings you discovered a few minutes ago in your heart with the Source. Pour your heart out to the Source if you need to. Once it’s all been acknowledged, simply ask to receive Appreciation. Keep breathing with a soft heart and allow yourself to receive whatever comes. For some it may just be a peaceful feeling, for others a vision, and for others maybe a song or words. Allow yourself to lean back and receive this Appreciation, knowing you held by the Source.

Just like any practice, stepping into your heart to find out what it needs and listening for insight and guidance about how to meet those needs, can be challenging at first. Continuing to show up for your heart, day after day, is what makes it easier to access and frees up the flow of insights and inspirations.

Check out this post on my website to download a recorded version of the Remembrance you can practice at home.