So What Is Reiki, Anyway?

“So what is reiki, anyway?”

That’s a question I hear all the time, and the canned response I give is, “it’s an energy healing technique that reduces stress”. This is a deliberately vague response that doesn’t do much to explain what people experience when they’re on my table.

The truth is, it’s very difficult for me to describe a typical session because each one is as unique as the recipient; even one person’s experience will vary from session to session.

When I give a client reiki, I am setting the intention that pure, healing energy will flow through that person into the areas where they are ready, willing, and able to receive it. I physically feel the areas of the body that respond most eagerly, but I’m not directing the energy myself. If you were to think of reiki as an energetic fueling station, I’m just the pump.

Some clients fall asleep, others see colors in their mind’s eye, or feel energy traveling through their bodies. Others have thoughts and memories flashing through their minds as their energy field sorts and defragments. Some sense the presence of passed loved ones or angels, who have come to assist with their healing. Sometimes there are tears, other sessions are light, fluffy and relaxing.

Regardless of the specific experience, all of my clients feel lighter and more peaceful when their session is up. So what’s really going on here?

I believe people respond so positively to reiki energy because we are energetic beings (remember Einstein taught us that energy equals matter, accelerated). Imagine that you’re granted one full tank of energetic fuel every morning when you wake up. As soon as your feet hit the floor, your engine is revving as you plan your day, choose an outfit, bathe, dress, prep meals, and so on. Now, if we all stayed in the present moment, we’d have plenty of fuel to get around and then some. But we often take long, painful drives down the rocky roads of our past, and venture out into the most far reaching corners of our imagination, as we dream up worst case scenarios for the future. Those road trips burn serious fuel! And they don’t leave much energy for cell repair, and other self-healing activities your body needs to perform to maintain homeostasis. By day’s end, we are usually running on fumes.

Think of reiki as a free refill on that fuel. It offers an opportunity for you to receive, replenish, and recalibrate.

With that said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Most of my clients leave with homework assignments. While we share this space, your energy field tells me a story about where your mind, body, and spirit need more attention. I share this feedback with clients to empower them to address situations in their lives that are draining their energy. This is so important because, again, thoughts and emotions are just energy. The more invested you are in a thought, the more likely it is to manifest physically. This is a wonderful thing when you have healthy thoughts! But holding onto negativity eventually leads to physical illness.

Reiki is a tool in your holistic first aid kit that you can use to understand yourself more intimately. It offers opportunities, insights and a chance for your body to shift from flight-flight-freeze into rest-response mode, where it does its very best work.

If you’ve never experienced a reiki session, my suggestion is not to limit yourself to scientific measures of it’s efficacy, because that misses the mark. Instead, I invite you to suspend judgement, absorb these words, and just notice how they make you feel; your body is a natural truth detector, if you notice its signs.

One of my favorite quotes is by Arthur C. Clark, science fiction writer and futurist: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Reiki does feel a bit magical! And that should not be equated to ineffective or lacking value.

My best attempt to define reiki is this: it is a realignment of body, mind, and spirit, providing a platform for your body to speak. My job as practitioner is to deliver the reiki energy, and objectively share the messages your body sends. Your job as recipient is to interpret and act on those messages as you see fit.

What does your body have to say to you?

XO,

Andrea

Big News for February!

boxesHello and Happy New Year!

I hope this note finds you restful and recharging, in preparation for the energy of 2018. The winds of change are picking up, and they’ve blown right through The Haven Shoppe. Beginning February 1st, we’ll have a physical space of our own, devoted to your healing. 5620 Business Ave in Cicero, NY will be The Haven Shoppe’s new home! This tiny, sweet room shares space with Core Pilates & Yoga, the energy of which is in perfect harmony with holding private healing sessions.

This is a space that’s been carved out for us through pretty magical means, if I do say so myself. I remember the sign I received during my very first yoga class at this location, but I didn’t know what to make of this bit of knowledge until now. To explain, I need to back up a couple years to a conversation I had with my friend, Kathy. I was describing to her my newly found love for hawks, following an incredibly vivid dream where my Native American spirit guide transformed himself from bird to man right in front of my eyes and offered me his help and guidance (I know – I can only hope these brow raising conversations don’t carry over the cubicle walls at the office where we work). One day shortly after, she reached down between her car seats for some music and came up with a Native American Drum Beats cd that she had never seen before. She had no idea where it came from but since it displayed a big hawk on the cover, she decided to gift it to me. I fell in love with every track on that album and used it regularly during reiki sessions for friends and family (still do).

Anyway, fast forward about six months to my first hot yoga class at Core Pilates & Yoga; the small and unassuming room at the front of the hall was then occupied by a marriage counselor. As I lay sweating on my back at the end of class, I settled into savasana – final resting pose – wondering if I fit in here or if I should try someplace new. In that very moment,  a song from my hawk cd began to play. I would have fallen over if I wasn’t laying down already. I knew immediately my guides were confirming I’d found my new yoga tribe. That was exactly two years ago today.

As luck would have it, theroom at the front of the hall became available for rent, just as I began looking for a physical space for The Haven Shoppe.

I am so grateful and excited to hold sacred space for you in a place devoted to your personal healing, introspection and learning on your soul’s journey.

Stay tuned on social media for lots of photos as we transform this humble space into your healing sanctuary. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you in this way in the years to come.

With Love,

Andrea

With Love and Gratitude: Free Gift!

giftIn honor of friendship and self-care, The Haven Shoppe is offering a Stress & Anxiety inhaler absolutely free, with all Etsy purchases, now through Christmas. 

 In addition, you may also enjoy 20% off your entire Etsy purchase using coupon code SHOPSMALL, through December 25th.

 When you have a moment, please visit ETSY to take advantage of these incredible perks. May your holiday season be joyous and peaceful!

 With Love,
 Andrea

How To Capture Your Creativity

lightbulbEvery month for the past year and a half, I have sat down to write to you, my dear reader. This past August, I found myself absolutely stuck, with no inspiration, unique insights or clever bits of wisdom to offer. I told myself I’d just skip a month, so that’s what I did. But then September came, and I was still coming up dry;  and now I was more stressed about it than ever. The guilt of reneging on my self-imposed obligation nagged at me terribly. But the more I grasped at ideas, the more they eluded me. I decided the best thing I could do was surrender. I asked any good ideas that might be buzzing through the area to please consider landing in my head. Then I let go.

Hours later while folding laundry, inspiration took pity on me and tapped me ever so gently on the shoulder: I could write about the sheer fact that I have nothing to write about! It was an interesting concept – surely I can’t be the only person who’s found themselves in a productivity slump – but I couldn’t come up with any meat to flesh it out. Since the idea found me as soon as I decided to stop chasing it, I stuck to that approach. Maybe I could weasel a few more details out of my hard-to-get idea by relaxing into unknowing even further. I prepared myself an Epsom salt bath with lavender oil, my favorite rose quartz, and a cup of mint tea. Before my fingers had a chance to prune, I knew every point I wanted to hit in this blog.

So why did I experience more creative output the less I focused my efforts? The answer lies within the brain. When you experience stress, your body prepares for fight, flight or freeze. All of your brain’s energy is focused on keeping you alert, and out of harm’s way. Remember, your brain doesn’t know why you’re experiencing stress – maybe you missed a deadline, maybe you’re being chased by a lion. So any departments not critical to keeping you alive (like your creative center) promptly lock their doors and hang up their ‘closed’ signs. In short, your angst about being stuck is what’s keeping you stuck.

To make things worse, we live in a society that endorses the concept that you don’t deserve leisure time unless you’ve earned it. In the case of a creative block though, I propose going against the societal norm, and relaxing your way toward creative productivity. Invent a relaxation ritual for yourself that you can do whenever you’re feeling stuck. For me, being in water, combined the aroma of lavender relaxes me deeply, eases tension, and soothes my aches and pains. It’s important to note that I didn’t take the bath in order to get the ideas I was seeking. I took the bath with the intent to relax, and surrender to the fact that I was presently out of ideas. In doing so, the ideas came.

What de-stresses you every time, without fail? If you have a relaxation ritual up your sleeve whenever you find yourself stuck, you’ll actually begin to associate an enjoyable experience that goes along with your creative block. Imagine saying, “I can’t think of any new blog ideas. I guess I’ll have to lock my door, turn off my phone and spend an hour in the tub sipping tea”. Boohoo!  You’ll begin to perceive getting stuck as an opportunity to pamper yourself instead of a reason to punish yourself. You’ll be amazed to see that your creative block lifts, as a happy byproduct of this compassionate, self-care ritual.

Happy de-stressing!

With Love,

Andrea

 

 

 

 

Soul Bonds

feather mandalaI’ll never forget the day I met my best friend Karen. It was in Levine’s Social Psych grad seminar. He had just asked a question and this girl to my left began talking.

What she said seemed so out there that I thought: “WTF! This girl is in the wrong class!” For a moment I was convinced that this girl had stumbled into the wrong classroom and just hadn’t realized it yet.

I’m a visual thinker. Upon first listen, my brain reacted to her words with a moving image. In my mind’s eye, I saw a baseball flying overhead as if hit out of the park. It was about to land in the exact spot where she sat.

What she said made no sense. It appeared to have nothing to do with our research readings but everything to do with a philosophy class. But five minutes later, my brain had a different reaction: “OMG! Who is this girl. I need to get to know her!” Next class I got a chance to speak with her after class and invited her for coffee. She was previously engaged but told me to give her a call.

I could never reach her. She never called back and she was always busy after class but she always seemed interested in meeting up for coffee. It was sadly, puzzling. After three months of trying, I decided that I would invite her one last time before giving up on the idea of getting to know my classmate.

It was on this last invitation that we met up after class for coffee. From that day, we became fast friends.Silvia

We had this psychic connection that was hard to explain. She would have these intricate, hilarious dreams that were sometimes prophetic. How the hell she could dream what Dr. Botwin would say to us in class the night before I’ll never know but she made me laugh.

Less than 10 years after this grad photo was taken, Karen passed away suddenly due to health complications from her MS treatment. She was 46.

I’ll never know what made me stop working at 9:30pm to drive 45 minutes to see her that night. I have rerun different scenarios with the outcome her still being alive if I had just…many times. It was the last time I saw her alive. Now she just shows up in my dreams with guidance/answers to my prayers.

-Silvia Montoya-Gomez

Sinus Relief Is Just A Breath Away!

Hello and Happy June! 

Here at The Haven Shoppe, I’m still hard at work creating new products to address your requests! This month I’m very excited to introduce you to my new nasal inhalers, just in time for allergy season.

These inhalers are made by placing several drops of my essential oil blends onto an organic cotton wick. The organic wick really puts these inhalers in a league of their own (cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet). The result is an effective dose of aromatherapy in a safe, toxic free way. And they last for months! Simply hold the inhaler to one nostril while holding the other closed, and take a nice, deep breath. You’ll feel the instant calming and clearing effects within seconds.

Now through July 9th, you can visit www.thehavenshoppe.com for a 20% coupon code applicable to ALL items in my Etsy shop.

Enjoy this much awaited summer season! 

Finding Your Purpose

I sat on the deck crying. It had been 8 months since Mom passed away and I was still in a dark place. It wasn’t just the immense grief that held me there. I felt as though my purpose in life had disappeared. For years I had defined myself as Mom’s caretaker as she battled the disease of Alzheimer’s. Now with her gone, I felt alone and adrift. Questions churned in my mind. Why am I here? What is my purpose?

I know I’m not alone. Almost everyone struggles with these questions at some point in their life. So, why exactly, is a sense of purpose so important to all of us? I believe it starts with a need to feel worthy. You want to feel you’ve done something ‘important’ in your life, that you’ve somehow earned the blessings that have come your way.

So you attach yourself to roles and places and goals and things in order to define your purpose and prove your worth. All you have to do is be a good Mother, lose 30 pounds, own that convertible or win that award to lead a purposeful life. And, when you’re in the zone making steady progress, it feels pretty damn good. Even better when the moment of triumph actually arrives and you watch your last child graduate from college, check out your lean body in the mirror or look out the window of your new corner office. You feel worthwhile, proud and on top of the world.

But a sense of purpose is a slippery fellow. Soon the luster of your accomplishment fades. Doubts of your worthiness begin to creep in, leaving you bewildered, restless and wondering what it’s all about once again. To escape these feelings, you frantically search for something new to hang your hat on, something to become your new mission in life.

That’s exactly what I tried to do after Mom passed away. I felt clueless on how to proceed, so I ordered books that promised to lead me to my new purpose and soon discovered a common thread among them. All I needed to do was have a burning desire for change, do intense soul searching and be willing to get out of my comfort zone. Huh? It seemed daunting, but I figured it was worth a try. So I kept journals, meditated, ate healthy, prayed and had many talks with my inner child. Yet, I continued to flit from one thing to another, never really feeling I was good enough at anything to make it my new purpose. In other words, I continued to flounder.

Hence back to me on the deck, crying, and the moment I realized I had everything birdbackwards. As I sat there lost in negativity, I happened to notice a sparrow on the bird feeder. I watched her for several minutes as she nibbled on a seed and suddenly had a thought that would forever change my definition of the word ‘purpose’.

Feeding a bird is purpose enough.

Its simplicity struck me and I sat a little straighter in my chair. Could it really be that simple? At first I tried to resist, but, by then, I was too damn tired, so I leaned into the idea and continued to watch the sparrow. Before long, I began to feel inklings of hope and well being. I WAS worthy and had a purpose, no matter what my day held.

I held on to that thought and began to claw my way out of my depressed state. I reminded myself every day that there was a sparrow that did not go hungry because of me, which opened me up to see all the other important reasons I was still alive.

I now believe the whole idea of ‘finding’ a purpose is really just an illusion and, even more importantly, the notion that your worth is dependent on any person, place or thing is a bold face lie. Stripped to its core, your purpose is simply to be who you are, exactly as you are, at this very moment in time. The search is unnecessary, for the path is already laid and every second of your life is inherently filled to the brim with possibilities. You really don’t need to do anything more than relax into the flow and remember these simple truths. You are worthy. You are good enough. Not sometime in the future, but today…right this instant.

This does not imply you shouldn’t dream big, set goals or take amazing leaps of faith. Actually it’s quite the opposite, because the minute you stop attaching your self-worth to the outcomes of those endeavors, the whole world opens up to you. Most of what holds you back from trying new things is the fear of failure. Once you realize that failure is just another experience and has no bearing on your worthiness, things become a lot less scary and you feel more empowered to reach for the stars.

Coupled with self-acceptance, I believe kindness is the other magic ingredient in living a purposeful life. Whether it’s smiling at a stranger or holding someone’s hand as they leave this world, every act of kindness causes a ripple in the pool of life that has far reaching effects. I used to think that for kindness to count it had to be something huge and involve a lot of self sacrifice. If I wasn’t actively saving the rain forest, feeding the poor or finding a cure for cancer then I just wasn’t doing enough. I now realize this is not the case. Some days, providing a single seed is perfectly enough.

It’s your turn now. When you wake up tomorrow, take a deep breath and tell yourself what an amazing human being you are, with a very special purpose, which is yours alone. Then throw open the blinds, go out in the world and just be your authentic, glorious self. And watch the Universe smile.

Much love and peace to all of you.

The Magic of Unicorn Poop

unicorn.jpgWhile going through some old papers, I came across this birthday card from a dear friend. Once I finished laughing, I realized there’s meaning in this little fable.

The word ‘magic’ is tossed around quite a bit these days, usually in reference to circumstances coming together more perfectly than you could have ever imagined. But magic also involves stepping right into a steaming pile of ugly reality sometimes – the ‘unicorn poop’ experiences, for the sake of this analogy.

Unicorn poop comes in all different forms, from losing a loved one, to screwing up at work or getting your heart broken. Any experience that feels traumatic and unwelcomed fits the bill. Whatever the scenario may be, let it be a comfort to know that these events are carefully and lovingly designed to trigger what I refer to as a ‘spiritual growth spurt’. They open the door to lessons that really can’t be earned through easy times.

Your struggles are, in fact, skillfully disguised blessings, concealing great opportunity beneath that crappy veneer.  They are also a sure sign that some serious magic is about to unfold, because big, beautiful change is almost always preceded by upheaval. If you can, try taking a step back and observing your situation objectively. Ask yourself why your soul might have requested this situation for the sake of its own growth.  What opportunities for lessons, or new revelations do you see?

The good thing about our trials is that they force us to see the world from a new perspective, allow us to put our faith into practice, and show us just how much strength we can rally, when we need it.  While none of us enjoy these inevitable missteps, they undoubtedly gift us with some of life’s most invaluable lessons.

With Love,

Andrea

Blooper Reel

Muscle Butter Outtakes

Last month, I introduced two new products, Warming and Cooling Muscle Butters. I decided to create a video introducing the butters because,
well, that’s Marketing 101, but also because I saw an opportunity to walk my talk.

Day in and day out on social media, I encourage you to
take risks; to pat your silly fears on the head and then shove past them to accomplish your goals. I realized the idea of creating a video for you made me
highly uncomfortable! I’ve become quite cozy hiding behind my daily posts, sharing disembodied wisdom from a safe distance. In my defense, there was a time when sharing written content absolutely terrified me, too. But I’ve moved past that now, thanks to  your blessed receptivity. Yep, it’s time for me to push past my comfort zone once again, and you’re just the bunch to help me do it.

The creative process is not glamorous – at least mine isn’t. It’s challenging, scary, elusive and exasperating. Sometimes ideas flow effortlessly,
but often they do not (I have 35 unused takes of muscle butter video to prove it). But we never see that side of marketing; all we’re exposed to is the sparkly, fabulous finished product.

So why not bring a little balance to the beautifully staged world of social media and share some unpolished, imperfect, realistic footage for a change. My intention here is to outwit my worst fear of making a fool of myself and get that out of the way, straight out of the gate. I present to you my blooper reel in all it’s awkward glory. I hope it inspires you to take a scary step toward your own goals.

Here’s to supporting each other as we flip our fears the bird. And speaking of birds: the hawk is one of my spirit animals; we go way back and he always appears to me when I need encouragement. He’s graced us with a cameo in this video.
With Love,
Andrea

Essential Oils for Skin Healing

Something magical happens once word begins to spread you’ve become an gaspareAromatherapist. Opportunities to empower and soothe the discomforts of those around you seem to come out of the woodwork!
I chose to obtain my Certification in Aromatherapy with the intention of enhancing my small business. While the certification has been invaluable in advancing my startup, perhaps the most rewarding experiences are those I never saw coming. One of my favorite stories is when my friend came to see me because her sweet little boy’s fingertips were all cracked and red from eczema. The winter weather was causing his sensitive skin to chap. Determined to avoid harsh chemicals, she asked if I could suggest an alternative to over-the-counter creams.
I quickly whipped up a gentle batch of lavender and frankincense, safely diluted with organic jojoba in a (spill proof!) roll-on bottle. Little Gaspare was able to apply the oil himself, and he was so excited. Here he is using his very own custom blend like a total boss! Such a sweetheart. Mom also used this blend on his diaper rash and it disappeared in 24 hours – amazing!
My Aromatherapist certification has helped me to hone my blending skills and safely share natural remedies with my clients. More importantly, it’s allowed me to bring comfort to my loved ones and help them to live healthier lives with these miraculous oils. This has not only enriched my life, it’s created a beautiful ripple effect that brings healing to my little piece of the world.

Would you take a moment to share with me your health opportunities that you’d like to see a natural remedy for? There are essential oil blends to support just about every malady under the sun! I’d love to bring your ideas to life with new Haven Shoppe products. Simply email info@thehavenshoppe, or drop me a line via the Contact tab of my website. I look forward to hearing from you!

With Love,

Andrea