mental health, reiki, sound therapy, wellness

My Experience with Reiki and Sound Therapy

Not sure how I have not written about reiki yet, but I’m going to rectify that right now! Last year my daughters and I started attending reiki sessions at the Minnesota Reiki Center. http://mnreikicenter.com/ We weren’t at all sure what to expect, only that it dealt with energy healing.

Our reiki practitioner, Jill Thiel, runs the center out of her home in Minneapolis. We were each captivated by the experience… From the beautiful gardens that make up her front yard to the inviting environment she has created in her artful reiki space, to Jill herself–she looks like a mermaid and is easy to talk to.

Jill explained reiki is different for everyone. And having had multiple sessions now I can say it varies from experience to experience. For me, it is deeply restful and rejuvenating. My daughter, Lara, looks more serene and peaceful after a reiki session than at any other time. Lara loves to ride her horse after a session because she feels they have a synergy they don’t have at other times.

Sage, my other daughter, is quite curious and talkative during her reiki sessions. At first this alarmed me, as I thought she was to be silent like in a massage or a prayer. Jill assured us everything was fine, “The reiki flows either way”. I certainly believe her. With sixteen years experience and tremendous insights she has shared with the girls and I, Jill knows reiki.

Not only that, but Jill also incorporates sound therapy into her sessions. Oh. my. goodness. When I am laying on the table and Jill plays her crystal bowls, I feel as though the sound is circling my whole body on a cellular level. It is intense. I have had tears streaming down my face for reasons I don’t fully comprehend. I do know when I am done I feel balanced, restored, and grateful.


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aromatherapy, mental health, parenting, wellness

The Good, the Bad, and the Brave

I have not blogged in a long, long time. I understand this to be a no-no in the world of blogging; but life does not follow such constructs.

The Brave: One of my daughters has been undergoing treatment for severe mental health issues. Hers is not my story to tell. I will say, as the mom, this has been an exhausting and scary experience. I often got asked if I was “taking care of myself”. The honest answer was no, which brings us to…

The Bad: While I knew I would be in a better position to support my daughter and family if I was at my strongest; frankly, it was all I could do to keep up with managing her treatment and staying afloat… Fortunately I seem to be exiting that basic survival stage and moving back to…

The Good: My several month hiatus was not completely devoid of self-care. My beautiful mama gifted me a Raindrop Technique massage for my birthday. In November, I finally got over to The Tree of Life in Plymouth and blissed out to this wonderful experience.

If you are unfamiliar with Raindrop Technique, it is a gentle massage using a layering process of nine different Young Living therapeutic essential oils. The application begins on the reflex points of the feet, and then is applied to the spine. It is designed to bring balance to the body’s energy centers using a combination of reflexology, aromatherapy, and massage techniques. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.

At the end of my session I received an iTOVi scan. A small, handheld scanner, the iTOVi uses galvanic skin response to measure changes in the electrical conductivity of the skin. It generates a signal that represents the vitamin, supplement, or essential oil you are scanning for. Then your body responds by changes in resistance measurement of the skin. The iTOVi ranks the products by how much change occurs and a report is generated to show you which products bring your galvanic skin response to its most optimal. I find it to be a magical device that my mom and I then went on to co-purchase. I’ve used it on friends, family, babies, even animals!

Happy (belated) New Year


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mental health, parenting, wellness

All the Feelings

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I haven’t posted in a while. I had a draft started about turning fifty, which happened earlier this month. But since then one of my daughters has gone to the hospital, and it just doesn’t seem important or relevant anymore. The gist of it was “I don’t feel fifty” and “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be getting older”.

Instead, my days are spent glued to my phone, in case my daughter or someone from the hospital calls. Researching the internet for resources and answers of how to best support my child. Mental illness is a horrible thing. I wish it did not exist. It very much does. The adolescent programs we have been using are bursting at the seams. Anxiety. Depression. Eating disorders. Addictions. Self harm. Trauma. The list goes on.

It is hard to be a teen, period. Coupled with these illnesses it is down-right scary. I know parenting teens is difficult. Parenting a teen with a mental illness is terrifying. I so want to do the right thing. In all honesty, I want to take it away, fix it. But I can’t do that, and according to my favorite author, Glennon Doyle, trying to fix other people’s pain is like stealing their happiness; both are sacred. All I can do is hold space for my daughter and her beautiful, strong spirit.

That and try to take care of myself, so I’m not a train-wreck next to her. I have been doing an abysmal job of this, which is another reason I haven’t written. Didn’t seem appropriate to get on my “nurturing self and others” blog and talk about how I don’t have the energy/desire to even get out of bed, let alone do one of the many self-care practices I know would help.

I did meditate once yesterday. I also scheduled a therapy appointment for myself. I have amazing supportive family and friends, whom I’m eternally grateful for. So yeah. That’s where things stand. Not a glowing, rosy picture, but one filled with infinite love and a sliver of hope for brighter days ahead.

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mental health, wellness

Zero or Ten

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My mental health has been (and still is!) an arduous process. Anxiety, depression, and addiction are deeply seeded in my family’s DNA. I know these disorders are prevalent in our society as a whole. I am using this entry as a means of making this issue clearer in my own mind. If feelings or problems are not your cup of tea, you may want to pass this one by. I will get back to posting about gardening and parenting soon.

Anxiety has been my primary disability for years. I operate at a heightened state of alert that does not allow me to inhale or exhale fully. A lot of my self-care continues to go into attempting to let go of this ever-present tension, and remembering to breathe to get oxygen to my brain. (I wish I was jesting.)

I tend to be less self-aware when depression is creeping back. For me, it often surfaces as trying not to feel. I will sleep a lot or numb-out on social media. I am an optimistic and busy person by nature, so anxiety is easier for me to accept than despondency.

Self-awareness of my addictive tendencies has allowed me to side-step the chemical dependency many grapple with. However, I am a compulsive person. As a compulsive eater, I have found sugar to be a very effective mode of numbing feelings. I made a vow to adopt a clean-eating life-style a couple months ago; so that is no longer an option when I am feeling the need for escape. My latest compulsions are essential oils and podcasts… not all compulsions are negative!

So I am coming full-circle back to self-care. It is interesting, self-care is easier for me when I am already feeling good. When I am most down, most in need, it is the most difficult for me to implement. Case in point, last night I was at the center our family frequents for therapy. My daughter had an appointment, and I was considering taking a bio mat session. My thinking went, “I don’t want to waste a bio mat session when I have such a severe headache.” My daughter pointed to the bio mat poster in the office that listed “alleviates headaches” as one of its uses. I had the session and felt better. My point being, it is so easy to snowball in the downward spiral. When I am low, I don’t want to do anything, however that is exactly the time I need to take steps to help myself.

I feel I vacillate between attempting CONTROL (anxiety) and attempting ESCAPE (depression). There is certainly much I have little control over and escaping feelings is a loosing battle. Yesterday the words that kept swirling in my head were surrender and release. I often joke that I am a zero or ten girl–all in or all out. It is very difficult for me to “just be”. My current goal for myself is to surrender. It is a work in process, but awareness is a good starting point.

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