Archive for Spiritual Growth

The Number One Obstacle (and Gift) to Success and Getting More Out of Life… It’s Got To Do With Empathy!

Whether you are an employee, a self-employed entrepreneur, or run a company with a team of employees, there is a clear standout obstacle to success.  This obstacle causes stagnation.  It causes self-doubt and hesitation.  It is at the heart of distraction and falling behind on your goals.  It can create overwhelm that leads to frustration, escapism, and lack of achievement.  It can be the thing that keeps you from your hopes and dreams.

At the same time, this same obstacle is also an incredible gift.  It makes life far more meaningful.  It deepens our connections and relationships with people, places, and events.  It increases our intuitive knowing.  And, it adds richness to life that otherwise would be impossible without it.  It can also be the thing that connects you with your hopes and dreams!

What is it?

This beautiful gift and difficult challenge is Empathy.  Empathy is our innate connection with each other and with life itself, and yet it is often deeply misunderstood.  The deeper symptoms of empathy frequently go unnoticed or are felt but not associated with Empathy.

womanbusy25 We all have busy lives.  There is no doubt about that.  When busyness meets a compassionate, empathic personality, the result is often a struggle.  As an author and educator frequently feeling that I have far more ideas than time, I vividly remember hearing a first-time published author reminiscing about his journey.  It still echoes with uncomfortable familiarity even now, years later.  Maybe you too will relate…

At the release party for his new book, he said, “12 years ago, I decided to become an author.  Had I just written 2 pages a day, this party would be for the release of my sixth book.  Not my first.”

How many of us have dreams that never seem to get done?  If those dreams are so filled with joy and pleasure and possibility, why do they always seem to come last on the “to do” list?

It may sound like an over-simplification, or it may sound like excuses or rationalization, but often the underlying force behind this stagnation is empathy.   Empathy is a subtle, yet powerful force of feeling.  It pulls us out of ourselves and into what we feel.

CrisisWe feel the desires, expectations, intentions, judgments, and bias of others, and our “feeling” nature wants to live up to those external pressures.  We get pulled by the next “shiny object”.  We feel obligated to contend with the latest crisis, except one crisis is always followed by another.  It seems like we are a crisis magnet!

Now that I’ve said all that, let me be a little more complete… a little more correct.

Empathy itself is not the problem.  The problem is our relationship to our empathic feelings.

So what can we do?  We can change our relationship with our empathy.  We can make a decision about what is important, and then do something about it.

In any area of your life, you can turn the tables on your empathic tendencies.  The key is to commit.  The key is to “decide”.

The origins of the word “decide” means “to cut off” all other possibilities.  It means to make your choice the only possibility, and the only reality you will accept.

More simply, if you want to break the cycle of distraction and failure, the essential act is to choose a goal and just complete it!  Dedicate time.  Make it the priority, and go for it.  In fact, simply moving forward on your vision will start soothing the drives coming from within you.

When distractions come up, choose when you will handle them.  In most cases, you really don’t have to drop everything.  When crises arise, be conscious of their priority.  Pretty soon, the number of distractions and crises start to decrease, and as a result, we have established our position as the driving force behind our life… not the Pavlovian reactor to life.

Schedule into your day time to handle those issues, and then, have the integrity to make sure you handle them when you promise.   The mind is a powerful thing.  If you build a relationship of trust with your mind, it will know when to bring up issues and when not to.  It will know that it can trust that you are paying attention, and it will have confidence that its needs will be handled as well.  If trust is built, the mind’s screams for attention will grow less and less.

Empathy-Burnout-c-209If you want to know more about Empathy, all the ways it affects your life, and how to master it, consider attending my upcoming one-day workshop, Empathy Burnout: Survival Training for Compassionate People.


Details can be found here:

Nike had it right… Stop dreaming, stop planning, stop wishing, stop waiting for the right time, and Just Do It.

The Mystery Teachings

A Colourful Spiral Galaxy in Deep SpaceA Higher Energy grew out of a need.  Many people had a solid spiritual foundation, but they wanted to go deeper.   Serious students of healing and the Inner Path were asking for a way to accelerate their journey of embracing their spiritual core and natural gifts.  They wanted to be more effective and get even more out of their practices.

The key difference between where they were and what they wanted was the direction of focus.  If the intention and need was set externally (what can I influence, who can I do healing work for, or what techniques can I learn and use), a “glass ceiling” would be formed naturally blocking the path of progress.  Often times, the initial progress would be fast and dramatic, and then it typically would slow and stagnate as we hit the ceiling. 

However, if the intention is directed internally (what am I becoming, what is my best self, who am I really, and what limits do I impose upon myself), a powerful shift occurs.  There is no glass ceiling formed, because instead of going “up”, you are going “in”.  Instead of “learning”, you are “remembering”.  Instead of lacking in certain areas, you are already whole and learning to light up the resources that are already in place and readily available.  They are simply as yet undiscovered.

A friend, who was a Jesuit priest, once shared with me that the word “educate” came from Latin.  It means “to lead out”.  The knowledge we need is inside of us.  We only seek to remember.  We find teachers and mentors who can help us with the process of drawing out and trusting our inner knowing.  In my experience, the best mentors I’ve had didn’t give me all the answers.  They guided me in the discovery of my own truth.

In my Hawaiian Training, it is said that with the first 20 years, you become a beginner.  In the Traditional Japanese Reiki teachings, the concept of a Reiki Master is the same… to essentially become a beginner.

What this means is that the objective of the teachings is to know enough to set aside the ego, to set aside desire, and to set aside our need for the external so we can begin the path to the internal.  The quest for the Divine becomes a search for divinity.  The search for learning requires the humility and the self-mastery of being a true novice.  The teacher is no longer outside of us.  The teacher is inside of us.  The learning of spirituality is the living of life.  Growth requires change, and change requires the letting go of attachment to what we know and think and have so we can see what “is”.  It is the recognition of what we are and what we are not.  There are no excuses.

Shinpiden, the Master Level of Traditional Japanese Style Reiki is both a completion and a beginning.  It is a level of expertise and a step into the willingness, the openness, and the innocence of a beginner, supported by a lifetime of experience.

The word “Shinpiden” means the “Mystery Teachings”.  It is very apropos for the course.  The “mystery” is life itself.  To become a master is to begin learning how to really live.  To really live requires the humility to be nothing more and nothing less than what you already are.

If you’d like guidance on your journey, let’s talk and see how we can help.


The Traditional Japanese Reiki Shinpiden (Level 3) Course is March 8 & 15, 2015.  Space is limited.  For details, go to:


The Heart & Science of Bodywork


Over the Fall of 2014, I had the awesome privilege of training close to 1400 professional Massage Therapists all across Illinois in less than 4 months. In doing so, I got to meet and work with people of all skill levels, all levels of knowledge, all backgrounds, and a massive variety of views on the world of bodywork. Some were still brand new in their careers, and I was amazed to have so many attending who were 20, 30, and even a couple of 50+ year veterans in the field.

Working with these talented therapists, I was called to look even deeper into myself, and deeper into this work of healing. Teaching is always about growing – the teacher and student. With each training, the words of my mentor echoed in my thoughts, reminding me of the separation between one who is a highly skilled technician and one who is becoming, or has become, a master of their art.

There are many things that differentiate the two – a technician and a master, and the answer can be as complicated and specific as you like. Or, the answer can be quite simple, and within that simplicity resides realms and realms of wisdom.


Heart-Pages-2Time and time again, I am faced with a powerful question that refuses to allow a simple answer. What are we trying to accomplish?

As massage therapists, we know that as soon as our clients get up off the table, they are reverting back to their postural habits and re-engaging in the backward slide into old pain patterns. So, why encourage people to come spend their money if the physical results too often don’t last?

Nutritionists know that no matter how good the plan provided is, it’s not the total answer. Medical professionals know that patients resist change. So why do we do it? What are we trying to achieve?

As energy workers, we know that once the session is done, life’s stress and fears and angers will draw people back out of their optimal state. So what does this mean about the work we do?

It means people are not just what they eat, the tension and holding patterns in their body, and the state of their thoughts.

Over the years, artists and musicians have come to my trainings to learn about working with energy. Their goals often have nothing to do with seeing clients for treatments. No. They want to learn how to get more “fire” in their music, more passion in their movements, or more life in their art. As artists, they want to “move” people, to “inspire people”.

Perhaps that’s the key. Maybe people only intellectually seek “better health”, “less pain”, “improved mobility”. Maybe that’s the easy answer to distract us from the more challenging path.

When people come in for a massage, they finally feel safe. They finally get to narrow their attention to simply being in the moment to feel, and experience, and live. When people want to “eat better”, what they are really saying is I want live more. When energy moves more fully and more freely, life happens.

That’s the magic of artistry. It is helping people to really feel, and to really live once again, even if only for a moment. When that moment happens and is embraced fully, we enter into a space where magic happens. We find that place where transformation is possible. We find that place in which healing has occurred. The client truly lived in that moment and faced the choice of whether to stay or re-enter the world in the same way.

Life-350When we look at the healing arts as less about change and more about transformation and creating moments of possibility, we can no longer be just physical in our approach. Even if our technical skills are extraordinary, they fade in comparison to the results evoked by a moment created within the convergence of body, mind, spirit, and divinity entering into a unified space of feeling… of being.


This year, my goal is to focus my courses on awakening masters rather than developing skilled technicians. It is a lofty goal. It is a difficult goal. It is a goal to help move you out of what you know and think, freeing the possibility to shift into what you are. It is a goal to end the external search for knowledge and technique, by discovering how to use technique to expand more fully into possibility.

Whether through energy healing, Reflexology, Craniosacral Therapy, the shamanistic healing practices of Hawaii’s Medical Kahuna, it is all available. The path itself doesn’t matter.

This transformation will be the hardest thing you will have ever done. All of your relationships will change. You will never look at life the same way. There is no guarantee that you will complete it, and there is no guarantee that you will survive it. If you have the courage to look inside, I will guide you through this journey and have your back while you become all of who you are with no limits.

Are you willing?

REIKI: Is it the right time, place and season for you?

Reiki6Reiki is a Japanese word translated as ‘spiritual energy’.  The word ‘Reiki’ has become synonymous with a system of healing which has entered the mainstream of Western life.  You’ve all heard of it – many of you have taken one or more levels in the various lineages.


As you begin another year, perhaps it is time to open your heart and your life to this spiritual path.  Yes, Reiki is a spiritual life path, a way to heal not only others but oneself.  It is a beautiful, powerful yet simple path, a way of living in harmony with Heaven, Earth, and your Connection to all that exists.


Linda and Rick have studied several different Reiki “lineages”.  A lineage is a way to trace one’s certification back through individual teachers to the founder of Reiki, Usui Mikao.   The deeper one goes into the study and practice of Reiki, the more understanding surfaces for us to realize that the lineage is one of spirit, of an internal knowing that you are connected to the teachings and the jumon (mantras) and shirushi (symbols), and how these have been put together to show us the way to enlightenment.


In order to be an effective “healer”, one must first work with healing Reiki8one’s own life.  This is the most important thing you need to know!  In Shoden (Level 1 of the system of Reiki that we teach), you will open the door to a way of empowering yourself to create serenity in your daily life, through ancient practices of breath work and meditation.  You will experience your own life force and how this can be concentrated in your hands to offer hands-on healing treatments to yourself and others.  You will learn about the Japanese energy centers of the body and how they relate to wholeness and balance.  You will meditate upon the Reiki Precepts, the core of the teachings and the “secret” to happiness.  And, you will receive four Reiju (attunements, or spiritual blessings) to assist and support you as you move into these beginning understandings.


Reiki5After you have been practicing the Shoden level techniques for awhile, you may consider the next level of study.  In Okuden (Level 2), you will focus more deeply on your self-healing.  Tools will be offered and practiced that will awaken and resonate with your energy centers to promote spiritual growth and well-being.  These include the jumon (mantras), which are chanted aloud, and three of the four shirushi (symbols).  These practices are some of the most profound you will EVER come across, and they effect rapid progress on your personal journey.   You’ll also learn the deeper meaning of “distant” healing and practice that technique, and receive two more Reiju.


The practices of Okuden are imperative to attaining the wisdom and clarity necessary for the final level, called Shinpiden.  Therefore your teachers will remain available to you for the time necessary for you to progress through the Shoden and Okuden practices and master them.  We’ll be offering Reiki practice nights that are different from what you may usually encounter, because we will be doing the meditative work and jumon chanting as well as the hands-on treatments.  We will also offer individual guidance and counseling by appointment.


We are offering both Shoden and Okuden in the current calendar, and we encourage any of you who have been considering Reiki training, as well as any who have studied in different lineages, to give yourself this opportunity to connect with ancient Japanese teachings that are still so impactful and relevant to our Western society today.


When the time is right, we will offer the Shinpiden training on an as-needed basis to those of our students who have committed to this path.  Shinpiden takes you deeper into the mysteries of the teachings.  You will receive the final shirushi and jumon, and learn how to do reiju.  You’ll also receive outlines for that time when you feel you are ready to begin teaching this system.  Shinpiden is an invitation to becoming all that you can be – the embodiment of Reiki – for the benefit of yourself and those you touch during your everyday life.


Bonbu mo satoréba hotoké nari.

“Even a common man by obtaining knowledge becomes a Buddha.”


Shoden: February 23 and 24, March 23 and 24,  9:30am-5:30pm

Okuden: April 13, 9:00am-5:30pm


Mt. Kurama, where Usui Mikao studied

2012 – Windows of Opportunity

Door to new reality

How many times have you let opportunity go by without being ready?  Let’s face it.  We all do it.

We know something important is coming, but we let life get in the way and distract us away from what we really want or need to do.

In this momentous year of 2012, we are quickly moving into a planetary shift in consciousness.  We are being presented with another “window of opportunity”.  It is an exciting time to be alive, and we can start getting ready now! Being prepared, we can meet this opportunity with our fullest potential.

In my Hawaiian tradition, we call getting ready and “being” ready, “makaukau”, and it is an important part of living in the heart-centered space of aloha. So how do we “makaukau”? » Read more..

Voices of the Chakras

Voices of the ChakrasVoices of the Chakras

Hello again!

The live, no-cost webinar I presented on September 8, 2011 was jam-packed with very important information about your relationship to your chakra system and your spirit.

Most commonly, the chakras are presented as a sort of mechanical structure that can get clogged and blocked preventing energy from flowing freely through the meridian system.  The result is a negative impact on physical, emotional, mental, and/or spiritual health.  On one level, I believe that to be true, but I have always believed that there was so much more, and I dedicated myself to seeking greater clarity. » Read more..