Here it is! Today is my 49th birthday. The first day of the last year of my 40s.And, things are good! Here are some of the things I’ve been doing since my 48th birthday:I’m working on completing my dissertation, with an eye on graduating in May.I have …

Taking a Moment

It’s been a busy Fall so far. I spent about eight weeks creating a 365 day tear-off calendar. Each page has something different on it. The theme is self care for busy people. It’s called A Moment for Me 365 Day Calendar – self care for busy people – 365 FREE things you can do in 30 seconds to balance body, mind, emotions, and spirit. 

Here’s the Behind-the-Scenes look at the process of creating this project I assigned myself.

Let me tell you, it was quite a project. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it. I mean, I’ve written lots of content before – I have been a game content writer for several years and had to write thousands of categories for board games. But, this was different. These are some narrow parameters! 

First of all, they had to be tasks that a person could do in 30 seconds. So that eliminates lots of things, like taking a bath, or doing a yoga class. I had to find short ways to accomplish the same kind of effect as those, like washing your hands and the back of your neck, instead of a bath. Or doing a modified Sun Salutation, instead of a yoga class. 

There couldn’t been any equipment needed, or special places to need to go to do the things. I did allow a pen and paper, because most people have those, or can at least think through the things if they don’t. I did also allow an internet connection for just a few of the tasks, because I figured that most people have access to the internet most of the time. 

They also had to be free, and not involve spending money. So, no real retail therapy, or making some kind of donation. 

At first, it was easy. That’s how content writing usually is. The ideas pour out fast, and need to be captured on paper quickly. The first 150 or so were like this. I also categorized by body, mind, emotions, and spirit, and made lists according to those. I listed special days that would be good for putting on the calendar, like holidays, zodiac sign changes, and seasons. Then I also added some themes, such as totem animals, planets, yin/yang, numerology, and colors. I made lists for those. 

Then, around the 250 mark, things slowed down a bit. I didn’t want to be repetitive, and every task needed a reason behind it, and some benefit for doing it. I started researching what others had to say on the subject of changing your life, and self care. I was able to bounce some ideas off of some things I read, and that helped. 

The last 20 were the hardest, but I got to them somehow. Though the stress had increased at that point, as I had a timeline to manage (this IS a calendar after all, and needs to be ready for calendar buying time). The accomplishment was short lived because there was more to do beyond the content writing. I pulled some VERY late nights!

Now, I’m proud to say that it’s done! I finished the list, organized everything in a spreadsheet, formatted it onto a document, designed the cover, and found a printer. I also started a website, a free daily email, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account for it. 

Three stores have ordered some so far. 

Why did I make this?
            Because I need it. 
I’m a busy person. With four kids, a business to run, a Reiki practice that’s growing, and volunteering once a week for JSSA Hospice, I needed the reminder that self care isn’t something to do once a week or whenever. A daily commitment of even 30 seconds can make a difference. And I know that this message isn’t just for me, it’s for other people like me. 

I loved doing this activity, actually. It taught me a lot. I learned that there are many, many ways to become present, mindful, and to value yourself. They don’t cost money, and they don’t take long. But they matter, and they make a profound difference. And now I can share this message with everyone.

So, I’m inviting you, my dear readers, to give it a try. Read the daily posts, or subscribe to the free daily updates. Maybe even purchase a calendar for yourself, or for a gift for the other busy people you know. (Use NOVPROMO as a code to save $5 per order). 

And especially, please offer me feedback. When I create something new, it really matters to me how people receive it. I want to know that it’s helpful, and that it’s really good, because I worked really hard to try to make it good. 

Thanks and love.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

The Summer Stretch

This is our first summer living in Maryland. I truly love living here. I love our neighborhood, our house and yard that is just the right size for our big family, and how near we are to a multitude of activities ranging from Washington, DC museums to a day on the beach. 

My kids are growing. My oldest will begin High School in just a month. I’ll have kids in three different schools this year, also a first. They’re developing their own interests, and with them, a desire to explore.

Which means that this summer, my kids are involved in a myriad of activities, and I’m their primary transportation method. 

My work time has been carved into pieces around driving to and from day camps, lessons, and social engagements. In between, I’ve been planning meals, and trying to discourage the kids who are home between activities from arguing or making a mess. Plus, when kids are home and I’m trying to work, inevitably, they want my attention. They want to talk about their dream last night, or the video they saw, or what their friend texted to them this morning. It’s hard to ask for silence, because I’m also keenly aware of how fast they’re growing. I care about their thoughts; I want to be there for them. I don’t want to be “that mom” who isn’t really listening, isn’t really present for my kids during this important time in their growth. 

I miss the different daily rhythm of the school year, with it’s quiet mornings and early afternoons before the kids return home with homework and stories of their day, followed by dinner, planning for the next day, and then quiet work or teaching time again. 

Yes, I am enjoying more recreational time with my family. That’s what summer is for too, right? Reconnecting, appreciating good weather and different activities that the school year doesn’t leave time for. That’s good stuff. I’m grateful for the flexibility to choose my schedule and manage my own work time. 

But, on the other hand, I have a need and a desire for silence – to meditate, or be open to the new ideas that help me more forward. I need focus and time to be productive. My work doesn’t stop when the school year does. I just have to fit it in differently. 

I’m finding myself pretty tired out, and sometimes frustrated at the interruptions, at leaving work unfinished and having to come back to it, and at the ways my energy has been pulled in many directions all day long.

I know that it’s temporary. The summer seems to go by faster than the rest of the year. The winter feels at least twice as long to me. And, I do love being outside when the weather is warm. I’m trying to breathe it all in, but even that can feel like a lot to remember when there are so many things on my todo list.

Does your summer feel like this? Can you relate to my situation?

In a moment of frustration last night, I told my husband I need a vacation from the kids and all this. He said he understands. 

I’m going to take one in two weeks. It’s called Caregiver Relief Retreat. And that’s exactly what I need. Even though I’ll be leading this retreat with my business partner, Connie, and some great colleagues, I know I’ll also get some benefit from the change in setting, change in rhythm, and a little energetic reset. 

We’ve been planning this retreat for six months. It’s in mid-Ohio, at Mohican State Park Retreat and Conference Center. It’s going to provide the kind of break that any caregiver needs – I’m talking about moms, nurses, teachers, social workers, and so many more. There will be guided meditation, yoga, nature walks, and energy healing sessions. Connie’s bringing her aura camera, and we’ll do some readings and intuitive fun stuff in the evening. We’ll remind participants and ourselves the importance of this kind of break for self-care,  because ultimately, it makes it easier to go back to giving care to those who need us. 

There are still some spots open. If you or anyone you know needs this break as much as I do, please come, and encourage them to come too. Better yet, bring them with you. Everyone is more willing to take time for self care if a friend invites them. Just click the flyer below. Let’s do this together.

Self-care is so important, and the most neglected of all. Even those who understand, preach, and teach the importance of self-care can be the worst at taking the time for their own. I hope that people will come on this retreat with me, so we can all remind each other, as we model what we teach by how we live. 

Peace and sunshine.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

Where the Lightworker Stands, and the Energy Flows

I’m on vacation this week, with my family, in beautiful Sandbridge, VA. We come here every year for a week, to slow down, get some beach time, and be together without a schedule. The weather has been gorgeous (up until yesterday and today, which are co…

Doing the Work

As my loyal readers know, meditation has been a struggle for me. 
I’ve posted about it a lot, but especially here:
Meditation Has Annoyed Me
and here:
Practical Meditation…Not
Pretty easy to get the picture, even from the titles, right?

In the post above, a year ago, I wrote about reading How to Mediate by Lawrence LeShan, followed by The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist. These were some big, powerful reads for me, and both books inspired me to learn more. After waiting a year, last week, I traveled to Connecticut to attend the 5 day LeShan Healing Seminar, to learn this little-known method of psychic healing that Dr. LeShan trained himself to do and talks about in his book The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist.

The lessons from the week were many, but most of all, I learned something about myself: 

           I’ve been copping out on meditation. 

Yes, it’s true. I’ve given myself excuses by the dozen – This kind of meditation isn’t “my thing.” I’m not the kind of person who can – or needs to – quiet down in there. I’ll get it, or I won’t, and it doesn’t matter really…blahblahblah. Anything to avoid the work of actually struggling through the noise to find the silence and just BE here.

On the second day of the seminar, I even blurted out to the entire group of thirteen people, “I SUCK at this!!” And, I meant it. My meditations for the first two days were like trying to tame a wild horse. I’d be quietly breathing for a bit. Then I’d comment in my head how nice and quiet my thoughts are. Then I’d mentally tell myself to stop commenting. Then I’d comment that telling myself to stop was still commenting. Then, a little while later, the pizza guy showed up in my head with a couple pizzas, and I looked to see what kind they were, and started to thank him, and then WHAM! I realized that I was supposed to be meditating, and the pizza guy was a big distraction (though a pleasant one) by my thoughts, and I’d have to start again. 

But, meditation is a BIG, IMPORTANT part of learning this healing method, and I was VERY motivated to learn it. So, it was time. I had to sit my butt in the chair, close my eyes, and MAKE myself make the effort to meditate. This was the sole activity for two days and I had to do it. No excuses, nothing else to be running off to do. Just this – the “calisthenics” that would build our intuitive muscles to be able to do the healing work, which we’d learn on the third day. I’m doing the work, so I can do the real work.

I guess it’s about time, right? 

By the start of day three, I was calmer. I wasn’t beating myself up anymore. I was just bringing my mind back to the meditation at hand, observing and noticing which methods (visualization, contemplation, breath counting, etc.) were a little easier for me to stay focused doing. I was seeing myself as more of an observer than a critic. And that’s progress. 

The healing method is very interesting and profound. I am looking forward to working more with it now that I’m home. 

On the last morning, we did one more meditation together. It was contemplation of a three part quotation, as it pertains to ourselves. I had a very different experience here. As I sat, thinking about my life, my path, the way I relate to myself, others, and the world, I found I was smiling – hugely. I felt so much happiness fill me. Gratitude, maybe joy too. Just so completely happy about being where I am in this journey – knowing why I’m here, knowing that the work I do is meaningful, and feeling supremely grateful for the ability to connect with and help others. 

This seminar was very beneficial to me, because learning to meditate (finally) is going to help my entire life – my healing work, my parenting, my focus…all of it. And, the healing method is one that I can work to further develop, now that I have the tools and the means to actually practice without being in my own way. 

If you need some help with meditation, don’t ask me. Hahaha! Read LeShan’s book, How to Meditate. All of the explanations of how the brain works, and the different methods we learned can be found in there.

If you’d like to experience a healing with the method I learned, please send me an email. I will offer a free distance session to the first 12 people who ask, in exchange for feedback afterward, to let me know how your experience was. Just shoot me an email.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are so welcome, always. 

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

My Zumba Meditation

I’ve been taking Zumba classes at Studio X in Gaithersburg. This isn’t for wimps, either. I sweat myself stinky and shake my tush until I’m ready to drop. The classes are drop-in, and only $5. Honestly, I only started doing it because I recognized a need for improving my fitness level. Which happened because I was trying on a potential new pair of jeans in Target and caught a glimpse of my butt in the dressing room mirror. Only it wasn’t my butt. It was my mom’s. How it got onto my body, I’ll never understand. But, at that minute, I knew I’d have to find a way to recover my own rear end. And thus, I put myself in Zumba class. 

At first, I felt pretty awkward. Seeing myself in the mirror confirmed that, yes, I am awkward. Thanks a lot, mirrored walls. The gorgeous, muscular, joyfully smiling teacher led fast-paced sexy movements that I tried to follow, while trying not to trip over myself or get in the way of the people around me who seem to know every step.

I determined to get it, and got focused. It’s really fun, actually, and I love dancing, so I felt good moving and shaking it out. During the first few weeks, after a bunch of songs, I was breathing hard and sweating. I figured it must be nearly over by now. Then I looked at the clock. It had been 15 minutes. 45 to go. Dear God.

As the weeks went by, I’ve started to learn basic moves, and get sort of familiar with some of the songs. I don’t look at the clock as soon now. Usually it’s about 40 minutes into the hour before my eyes wander there. And I look somewhat less awkward in the mirror, when I catch a glimpse. My body likes it too, and I’m starting to feel more toned, which is a good thing. Maybe my own butt will return soon too. I think there’s hope. I’ve sent out the invitation for it to come back.

And I’ve realized something more important. Zumba is like meditation. I’m talking successful meditation, too. The kind that quiets the mental chatter. Here’s why: When I’m there in class, I have to follow the teacher’s moves. The moves change rapidly, the patterns are short and varied, and involve my whole body. There’s no possibility of letting my mind wander, because I’ll miss something and end up going the wrong direction, bumping into someone, or falling on my face. I can’t be thinking about what’s happening after class, or who I need to email, what I’m making for dinner, or my kids arguing this morning. My brain simply can’t hold those thoughts and move my body in coordination with the teacher’s pace at the same time. So I become present, focused, and totally in the moment.

These are the qualities I teach my Reiki students to emulate during a Reiki session. Be present, only observing what’s happening now. Be focused on that observation of sensation and energy flow, which also keeps the left brain chatter at bay. Be totally in the moment, because that helps strengthen the intuition. 

They are also the goals of a good meditation. Just being present – not distracted by a dozen thoughts, feelings, and unnecessary worries. Being focused on that mindful presence – allowing the left brain to be quiet. Being in the moment only – that’s a serious goal for mindful living. Because, really, all we need to do is deal with what’s happening now. Any chance to remember that, to bring our monkey mind back to the here and now, and just BE here, is a good thing. 

While I’m not very good at basic silent meditation, I find I’m doing better at the guided kind, which I’ve been trying to listen to daily. But I have to change it up, because predictability tends to cause my mind to wander, and before I know it, I’m thinking of all the stupid little things that make my meditation time a big #FAIL. I find it remarkable and sort of amusing that I’m best at creating that mindful, meditative, in the moment presence when I’m giving Reiki, or doing Zumba. 

So that’s an interesting lesson. I guess Zumba is a moving meditation for me. 

I welcome your comments, as always.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt