Are You Grieving for Your Lost Health?

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When I was feeling my worst, I was doing all I could just to keep my head above water.  I went into crisis mode.  On top of feeling terrible and being exhausted all of the time, I really had no idea what was causing my flares of pericarditis.  So I was living in fear.  I was afraid that I would walk too much and have chest pain again.  I was afraid that too much stress from school and home life would cause me to flare.  I never knew when or where I would be when I’d flare and it made me feel paranoid.  I always had to be prepared, so I routinely kept my prescription of prednisone in my bag in case I needed a higher dose.

I was talking with a good friend of mine the other night who is currently living this reality.  He doesn’t have pericarditis, but his illness is no less mysterious or maddening.  In talking with him, I was reminded of a counselor I saw during nursing school.  She was in training to become a licensed counselor, and she had an office on campus at the community college I was attending.  I remember time and again going in and talking with her and just voicing my frustrations with the way that my whole world had been suddenly turned upside down.  I spoke of my fears and the unpredictability of my illness.  I spoke of not recognizing my own body, because I had gained so much weight from being on steroids.  I spoke of my dismay that after a year of struggling with recurrent bouts of pericarditis and even a second hospitalization, that none of my doctors could offer me any answers.  All they could tell me to do was to take prednsione to suppress my immune system and prevent the inflammation around my heart.  One day, as I was really struggling, I went to talk to my counselor.  She pointed out the fact that I was grieving my lost health.  It was a light bulb moment for me, because I had never thought about it like that before.  She was right.  I WAS grieving for my lost health.  My mind was having a hard time accepting my new body and the restrictions that came with it.  It was difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that I had been healthy, had exercised regularly as part of my work, and had eaten healthy as a long-time vegetarian.

When I realized that I was grieving, and my counselor went over the stages of grief with me, oddly enough, I felt a great sense of peace come over me.  It made me feel normal about how I was feeling.  I could see that the ups and downs of anger and sadness and back around again were part of my grieving process.  Knowing this allowed me to release expectations I had for my emotions through this time.  I began to accept my emotions, and I was more open to allowing them to flow.

So I ask you, the one dealing chronic illness, are you grieving for your lost health?  Are you grieving for the life you feel that you have lost?  If so, know that it is normal and OK, and that it is better to feel your emotions and release them as they come up than it is to keep them locked tight inside your chest.  We sometimes think that we’re doing ourselves a service by locking our emotions up so that they can’t spring out and consume our hearts, but the reality is that if we allow ourselves to feel our feelings as they come up, in whatever form they appear, we will be able to heal much more quickly.  Emotions that aren’t expressed get trapped in our bodies and lead to more pain and dis-ease.

It was the most challenging time of my life.  I felt so alone and helpless.  I looked for silver linings as best I could and I pushed through my exhaustion so that I could be present for my son.  I wondered if I would ever regain my health. I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable in my own body again. I wondered if I would always have to be fearful that things I did might cause a flare.

I write this on the other side.  I have gained perspective on life and on my health challenges that I would not have gotten had I never gotten sick.  I have experienced a total transformation of self that was brought on by my years of illness.  I was asked to take a more balanced approach in caring for my body, mind, and soul.  I was asked to tear down the beliefs I held about myself and my life that made me feel bad.  I was asked to reexamine the way I was treating myself and how I was showing up for myself.  My illness caused me to turn over every rock so that I could find all of buried thoughts and beliefs that were holding me back in life.  I was shown what was important in life.  I was taught to not sweat the small stuff and to appreciate everything and everyone I have in my life while I have them.  I was taught the delicate nature of life.  I was taught that there are no guarantees in life and so we should make the most of every day.  What is it that you might learn from your own challenges?  It helps me to look for lessons in challenges now, because I see how perfectly my illness was placed in my path to expand me to heights I didn’t know were possible.  It has made me trust the process now when things aren’t going the way my mind wants them to go.  Even when I can’t see the full picture as to why something is happening, I live with a great sense of trust that the Universe always has my back.  The Universe (or god, source, higher power etc) always has your back too.

Above all, I was taught that self-love is the key to life.  The love we hold for ourselves trickles outwards from us, so that we can love each other in a more balanced, non-judgmental and unconditional way.  How much do you love yourself?  Do you find ways to show yourself love every day?  Self-love involves loving all parts of ourselves.  That can be the tricky part.  It’s easy to love myself when I am happy and laughing.  I have a more difficult time loving myself when I lose my temper or raise my voice in anger.  I am learning and growing just as we all are.  We’re all works in progress, and that process never stops.  We just keep expanding.  We keep learning how to respond to life vs react.  We keep learning to keep an open mind and open heart with how we approach ourselves and others.

If you’re reading this, you survived another day.  Just keep being gentle with yourself in whatever life circumstance you’re in currently.  Your illness may be requiring that you slow down for now, get the extra sleep, limit the stressors in your life, give yourself some extra love, and put yourself first for a change.  Can you see the ways that your body is crying out for more love?  Notice the shift when you view your own illness this way.  When we take care of others when they are sick, we don’t get mad at them and their bodies for needing more care, right?  We don’t curse at our friends and family and make them feel guilty for being sick.  So then, why do we treat ourselves that way?

I went from a time when I was really ill and wondering “why me?” to now when I realize that facing a complicated illness like Lyme Disease and not just surviving it, but thriving beyond it is one of my superpowers in this life.  This is why we humans must be careful with the labels that we place on things, because sometimes it is difficult to know “good” from “bad” when we’re in the thick of it.  I’ve said it before, but I went from calling my illness “the worst thing that ever happened to me” to “one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

Know that it might take more love and care than you have ever allowed for yourself before, but that we can all rise up above our challenges and see brighter days ahead!

Part of my soul’s purpose is to help others navigate through their own illnesses and challenges in life using  the perspective I’ve gained.  If you’d like some personalized support and guidance, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  My favorite thing is combining the healing power of Intuitive Reiki with Joy Coaching to help others move through their chronic illness with more support than I had during my own healing journey.

Thanks so much for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Much love!

Watch the video for Michael Franti’s song “Once a Day” HERE  This is what Michael Franti posts about this song:

“‘Once A Day’ is about unexpected moments in life. Some days we have unexpectedly beautiful moments and others that are unexpectedly challenging. Last year I had a really challenging moment when my son was diagnosed with a kidney disease called FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis). We thought it would break our family apart, but moving through the initial tears, made us realize life is precious and that we need to hug, kiss and be close to each other every day and through that we could ‘rise up’ and face his illness together. I hope that Once A Day brings inspiration to anyone in this world who is going through challenging times. Through music, dance and gratitude for this life we can all ‘Rise Up’!” –Michael Franti

Blogging for a Year!

I have been officially writing on this blog for 1 year today!  It is said that a lot can change in a year.  My life is living proof!  Over the year that I have blogging, so much has happened.  Just from a blogging perspective, a lot changed once I made the decision to start sharing more of myself and my story with other people this way.  I think the biggest thing I learned is that my story is a powerful one that can inspire others on their own journeys.  The other thing I learned is that we can truly rewrite our stories if the old version is causing us strife or disempowering us.

It is a very humbling thing to have someone read your first blog post and reach out to you saying that your post gave them hope on a day when they were feeling suicidal.  I decided then that if my writing did no more than give that one person hope on their own journey, it would be enough.  Through this blog, I have reconnected with old friends, reconnected with family, and made new friends.

Prior to starting this blog, only those closest to me really knew my story.  Because of my depression, struggles in my marriage, and illness, I kept a lot to myself.  I now see that I was sort of holding myself captive by staying so closed in.  I am a Gemini and a communicator by nature, and to be otherwise makes me feel a discord with myself at the soul level.  Writing here has opened me up in ways that I had really been craving, both with myself and with other people.  I have found that opening myself up to this level of vulnerability and authenticity here has also opened me up in the same way in real life.  There’s a lot of power in sharing, because you no longer feel like you have anything to hide.  You realize that more often than not, people reach out to you commiserating and saying they’ve felt the same way.  You realize that all you have kept inside was nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, by sharing all of it, you can help a lot of other people navigate their own lives.

I thank all of you who have been reading along on this journey of mine!  I now have 50 subscribers to this blog who receive a notification every time I publish a new post.  Thank you all for subscribing!  It lets me know that my words are resonating and not just falling silent once I press the publish button.  In 1 year, I have had 1,047 visitors to my site.  I have had 2,214 blog views.  In 1 year, my blog has been viewed from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Philippines, Sweden, Ireland, Serbia, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Botswana, Japan, Russia, Belgium, New Zealand, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Croatia, Brunei, South Africa, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Austria, Monaco, Nigeria, Ukraine, Thailand, and Switzerland!!  The internet has really connected us all more than we normally even consider in our day to day lives.  How amazing that my words can be read in so many different places all over the world?!  Thank you to everyone who has read my words near and far, I hope that they inspire you in some way.

If you would have told me last year this time what my life would look like a year from then, I would not have believed you at all!  Absolutely everything has shifted for the positive in my life!  At the beginning of the year, as I had been dealing with negative health effects of the stress of my job for a while, I had an inspired idea that left me unable to sleep.  On thinking of what would make 2018 my best year ever, I thought that it would be epic to quit my job, start my own healing business, and travel to Australia (my life-long dream destination) and Hawaii all in the same summer!!

Friends, since May, I have done all of those things!  I am amazed at the unfolding of my life!  I couldn’t be more grateful for all that I have experienced this year, and for the fact that I still have 5 MORE MONTHS of this year still to go!  I see the divine hand that has led me on this path and it has been even better than I could have imagined because of the added bonus of growth and insight that has come from my experiences.

We usually walk around feeling very stuck in our lives.  We think we can’t leave jobs because we’re worried our business won’t work out, so we usually don’t even try.  We say we can’t travel because we don’t have the money.  We give ourselves one good vacation a year, because it’s like a weird, general social norm in the US to work more than we play.  Everything is still evolving for me on this new path, but just the feeling I have to be so connected with my higher self on a daily basis has been worth it.  Let alone the amazing places I’ve seen and the people I have met.  Australia you guys.  Wow.  I am in real love with that place!  I plan to post more about it, including a slideshow of my pictures, but so far, I’m mostly still at a loss for words for that experience.  My sister and I were able to have our first family vacation together with our families in Hawaii.  I spent much-needed time meeting, and then snuggling with my baby niece.  Plus, tons of snorkeling!  My son got to snorkel in the ocean for the first time.  I saw a few sea turtles, an eel, dolphins plus thousands of tropical fish!  Ah, I could get used to having at least two epic vacations a year!

I’m in a place of trust and it’s causing me to release all of my old doubts about myself, my old beliefs about what is possible in life, and my old beliefs about lack just to name a few.  I’ve gotten more committed to meditating and checking in with my higher self about every decision from what I eat to what I do.  I have had so many inspired ideas come to me in the time since returning from Hawaii.  Following through on those ideas is connecting me with more amazing people and opportunities.  I’m looking at life in a whole new way that has given me a sort of freedom that I have never experienced before.

Life is truly is what we make it.  If we want more adventure, we’ve got to look for ways to incorporate more adventure.  If we want more travel, we need to travel.  If we want better health, we need to start meditating daily and connecting with our higher selves, so that we can follow the guidance from within needed to heal ourselves.  Drown out the outside influences of your life that make you neglect to listen to your own intuition.  Turn off your TV, stop listening to people who haven’t been living their dreams, stop letting outside people and things influence you more than your own heart. When you connect with yourself in this way, you will find amazing ideas, people, situations, and opportunities begin to appear in your life in perfect timing!  I have had so many things happen in the last week and a half that I can’t keep up with it all as far as writing it all down to share.  I see how every seemingly little thing is by design and it’s really beautiful!

I’ll share an example.  One of the things I have written and read aloud every day since a workshop hosted by Jake Ducey that I attended in November as part of my larger Chief Aim is “I am a part of a thriving community of healers and artists.”  Earlier this week, I got the inspired idea to create a gift basket focused around “Healing Arts” for the Center for Spiritual Living’s annual fundraiser this year.  My idea is that the basket will showcase the work of various healers and artists in my town, so that people will realize what is available to them right here.  I am donating a Distance Reiki session to the basket, and after several contacts, I have secured multiple gift certificates for various forms of healing including Reiki, Sound Healing, and a How to Create Sacred Space & Crystal Grid Manifesting session, a painting, and a cool pyramid made of shungite that is a very healing stone.  In two days, I reached out, connected with, and met several new people, and learned about new healing modalities offered in my area.  This is how life can work when we are in the flow.  Our inspired ideas (the ones where you get excited to your core) happen on purpose!!  When you start following them like I have been doing, they lead to amazing things for you and others around you!  They even help you manifest your desires!  In my experience, inspired ideas lead to all that I am seeking to manifest in my life and more!  Whoever wins this basket is in for a serious treat!!

On this journey I am on, I would get nowhere if I compared myself or my journey to others, because they are not me.  Even when our journeys look similar, they are not the same, and they are not meant to be the same.  We are all here to shine the light that WE have, not dim our lights, or try to blend our lights in with everyone else’s.  I understand that conformity was once an act of survival, but at this level of the game, conformity is killing us all slowly.  The key to this game is to live our joy, so that we can match the frequency of all that we wish to manifest.  I know that life can discourage us, especially when the energy is such that is bringing our old patterns and beliefs and anxieties back to the surface for healing.  Even in such time, we are all being taken care of completely.  You will know that you are aligned with your higher self when your thoughts and words start showing up as things and people in your reality.

Once you find a way to tap into that magic, life glows like it’s radioactive.

I’m living it right now! We each have something we came here to do.  What did you come here to do?  Are you doing it? Are you working towards doing it?  What is stopping you?

I am starting a meeting group locally centered around the book “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer.  My idea is that everyone who comes to the meetings will have read the book and are willing to surrender to the flow of life more.  I will share my story and ways that I have surrendered and what that has created in my life.  After that, we will meet on a weekly basis to discuss what has shown up for us in our lives and how we have flowed with it and what doors that has opened for us.

I just had the idea that it could be really fun to coach people in this way!  It could take place via phone and I would share more details about how I do this and what has shown up for me, and I could provide individualized support for you as you begin to allow more flow in your life.  You don’t have to change every area of your life to live this way.  Even focusing on one area where you’re currently dissatisfied would make a huge impact.  My coaching would mean 1:1 support, as well as all of my intuitive insights about you and your journey that I receive during the time that we work together.  If this resonates with you, please read the book, and reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!  I’d also love to hear from people who are currently living this way!  Please leave comments down below!

Thank you for reading!  If you liked this post please like and share it.  Much love!

Love Yourself to Change the World!

After seeing this image on the Instagram feed of @iambeardgod, I felt prompted to share and write more about it.

If loving yourself is all you do to help the planet, know that it’s enough. If we all love and accept ourselves fully, we show up in the world as complete people with more to give. It allows us to connect with people and our environment in a more complete way. If you skip this step, no amount of donations to charity or acts of kindness will be enough to counter-balance your disharmony. Erase selfish from your vocabulary. Self-love should not be optional, as it is a fundamental part of your foundation. It’s not a good idea to build a house on a cracked foundation. ❤️

A Night of Inspiration

Last night, my son and I went and saw his favorite band, Imagine Dragons live.  The tickets were his birthday present this year.  As a bonus, Grace Vanderwaal was opening for them.  I love singer/songwriter-type music and Grace, so I was excited! Little did I know how touched I would be by the entire show.

Grace Vanderwaal

As I wrote about Grace in my Instagram post (you can follow me at peaceful.jellyfish) earlier today, “If you’ve never heard of Grace Vanderwaal, her music career started and blew up when she got the golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent when she sang and played ukulele for a song she had written herself, “I Don’t Know My Name”.  Grace went on to win the competition.  She was 12 years old at that time.  My son introduced Grace to me last year when he showed me her performance of “I Don’t Know My Name”.  I cried.  I’m not sure why, but when I see her perform, I cry.  I cried last night.  Maybe it’s because her soulful voice and lyrics are much beyond her years and strike a chord in me, or maybe it’s because I love the way she followed her bliss to learn the ukulele and sing.  Maybe it’s a combo of both.  I am in awe of Grace.  She’s now 14 years old and she’s opening for bands like Imagine Dragons for two sold out shows in Los Angeles.  She felt a calling to learn the ukulele and sing and she pushed to have her parents get her a ukulele against their judgement.  She did not listen to people who questioned her dreams.  She did not stop at just learning how to play the ukulele, but went even further by competing and winning a national talent competition.  How’s that for determination and bravery?!  And at TWELVE YEARS OLD!!  We can all learn a lot from Grace.  I am so grateful to have seen her live.  She’s a beautiful old soul.”

Imagine Dragons

Next up was Imagine Dragons.  I was moved to tears several times by what the lead singer, Dan Reynolds, had to say.  You could feel the genuine love pour from his heart as he spoke about issues such as equal rights and support of the LGBT+ community, not allowing our minds to be put in a box and instead seeking freedom for ourselves, and also about the problem we have in this country of making depression a taboo subject.  Wow.  To say the least, his compassion was touching, especially given the fact that I, too, hold these issues close to my heart.

Here is a video of what Dan had to say regarding depression: (it comes in between the music). I am so glad that I happened to be recording when he said this, so that I can share his very important message with others who need to hear it.

 

 

If you’ve been reading along on my blogging journey of almost a year, then you know that I’ve spoken about my own history with depression.

What Dan had to say last night reminded me of how far I’ve come. He made me think back to my years of depression with a lighter heart. I realized that while I don’t feel as much of the stigma associated with my history of depression, that there are others out there who do. The people currently struggling with depression need those of us who have been there and gotten through it to speak out. We need to show them that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and that more people close to them than they can even imagine have been affected by severe depression and have come out on the other side, the side with the light at the end of the sometimes very dark tunnel.

Please join me for a Facebook Live July 23, 2018 at 0900 PST USA on my Peaceful Jellyfish Facebook Page.

I am going to share more of my story about how my severe depression, suicidal ideation, and also the depression and suicide within my group of friends and family has impacted my life.

Catch the replay of my FB Live video HERE!

I would love it if you could join me!

As I have said before, though our journeys may look different, we are all human and so we all struggle with the same emotions and baggage. At the heart of it all, we are all the same, none “better” or “worse” than the next.

Tonight, I dug a little deeper into Dan Reynold’s history and found that he has been struggling with the pain of an autoimmune disease for years and has finally gotten his health back. It made sense then that he joyously ran around the stage in just shorts, so grateful to be alive and no longer in pain. Dan and I share the connection of a past filled with severe depression, chronic illness, and pain.

I don’t think an understanding deeper than that can exist between two humans.

Can you also relate? How comforting is it when you hear that others have been through what you are going through?

Please share your own story in the comments below or email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com, because I’d love to connect with you!

I also discovered that Dan is Mormon which makes it even more impactful that he speaks so strongly of equal rights for the LGBT+ community. Up until quite recently, the Mormon church as a whole completely shunned people who were LGBT+ so that many were forced to leave their families behind after being disowned, or keep their orientation a secret and marry someone of the opposite sex. Many young people have taken their own lives because the stress of losing family and/or living against their heart was too much for them to handle. I was happy to hear Dan speak out. We all deserve equal rights.  We all deserve love.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Also, please pass on to anyone you know who may benefit from hearing mine and Dan’s messages regarding severe depression in our lives. Thank you!

 

My Adventure into Reiki and Joy Coaching

Benefits of Reiki (1)

After experiencing the healing energy of my optometrist, his wife and daughter a few years ago (yes, my optometrist and his family are AMAZING people!), I began to be urged to pursue training in energy healing of some kind, so that I could have that same ability to make people feel better.  As I began to speak of this to friends and family, multiple people mentioned Reiki by name.  Then, throughout 2017, I was getting message after message in various forms to become a Reiki Practitioner, which I took as a sign, so I worked to get my Reiki I and II certifications. Upon working with my life coach, doing some free-form writing, and focusing on my passion for life, the words Joy Coach were born.  And thus I was sent catapulted into a new life, closer and closer to following my soul’s purpose.

I believe that aside from being a way to wake us up, that we experience the challenges that we do, so that we can triumphantly overcome them and use our experience to help other people.  Sometimes helping other people is an active role, and sometimes helping can mean following our bliss to living our best life and showing others what is possible.  It’s why I started this blog.  To connect, and share, and show other people that they CAN heal and get their life back.  In fact, after a big, overwhelming challenge like chronic illness, you have the ability to get an even better life back than you had before you got knocked down, because with newfound health after illness comes immense, newfound joy and gratitude for the things that you used to take for granted.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a form of energy healing that came into existence in the 1920’s in Japan by Mikao Usui. Broken down, Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is Rei = universal and Ki = Life energy.  So essentially, Reiki is the life force energy that flows through everything.  Everything in our Universe is made of energy, including you and I.  It’s our limited five senses that perceive things as either solid, liquid, or gas.  Reiki is something that is passed down from Reiki Masters that can be traced back to Mikao Usui.  As someone attuned to practice Reiki, I can use a light touch, laying of hands method directly on or hovering just above a person, or as a distance healing to anyone anywhere in the world, to act as a conduit for more life force energy to be passed through me to the person, animal, or thing that I am sending Reiki to.  The idea of distance Reiki can be a tricky thing for people to grasp since most of us have spent our entire lives believing only what we can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.  But there is a lot more to this world that what our five senses can perceive, and that includes the energy.  Various forms of energy healing have been practiced for thousands of years.  Essentially in sending you Reiki energy, I act as a conduit through which energy can be passed, so that your body is able to heal itself.

I have a lot to write yet about alternative therapies that have made my life better since the days when I was very ill from Lyme Disease.  Suffice it to say for now that in my own experience, it has been alternative therapies that have helped me heal the most thoroughly, body, mind, and spirit.  So, I am really excited that I can be a conduit for the healing energy of Reiki for others.

Distance Reiki

I am focusing my efforts on using distance Reiki on the people I work with, because not only is Reiki just as effective if done at a distance as it is in person, but that means that people already working around illness and/or multiple doctor’s appointments can receive Reiki in the comfort in their own home anywhere in the world!  You don’t have to worry about fitting an appointment for Reiki with me in around your busy schedule.  Though it can be beneficial to set up a time when you can relax and really allow yourself to receive the energy.

What can Reiki do for you?

Reiki is a very calming therapy known to help alleviate stress and anxiety, which are things that affect us all.  The energy goes where it is needed by the person, animal, or thing (like plants for example) for their highest good.  It has been shown to help with chronic pain, faster healing after surgeries, to help alleviate symptoms created by chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, skin problems, broken bones, fatigue, sore throat, flu, insomnia, and impotence, and can help make other therapies more effective.  Reiki has been extensively studied and is showing up in hospitals as the health care industry begins to realize Reiki’s potential for aiding in healing without the side effects that many medications deliver.  (See article about Reiki in Hospitals HERE.)  With my background as a Registered Nurse on an oncology unit, when I first began this journey, I became very interested in how Reiki could be of benefit to those making the transition from this life.  When I began to research, I found countless articles on the subject of using Reiki with hospice patients.  (like the one HERE)  Reiki can also help to raise our vibration during our awakening process.  Reiki energy can remove blocks of energy in our bodies and can clear and strengthen our seven chakras, ie energy centers in our bodies.  Reiki can also clear blocked energy in our auras which can prevent physical ailments before they even occur.

My Experience with Reiki

For myself, I have noticed that as I continue to practice Reiki on myself, I am able to fall asleep faster and sleep better at night.  I also notice stress affecting me less than it used to.  My mind is calmer.  I have used Reiki to effectively relieve my own headaches.  I have also noticed less blocked energy in my heart chakra which has opened me up to feeling more love for myself and others.  My connection with my higher self has gotten a lot stronger, so my intuition and sense of trust in what I receive from it has been heightened.  I find that it has also positively affected my throat chakra as I notice myself speaking up for myself more in situations where I would have remained quiet before.  Recently, I used it prior to being out on a boat in the ocean all day to snorkel with whale sharks, because I am prone to seasickness even with medication, and was surprised to find that I never felt sick!  In many ways, I believe that I was primarily guided to Reiki, so that I could use it to further heal myself.

Reiki energy always helps in some way, and never hurts because it is guided by spiritual consciousness which is always guiding us to our highest good.  As the vessel through which the energy passes, I do not control where the energy goes once I pass it onto you, but can get a lot of information about where the energy is needed during the session.  For instance, I can intuitively pick up on the fact that someone I am treating has a headache, or has had issues with a certain area of their body.  I used distance Reiki to treat someone recently, and was able to pick up on the fact that they possibly had a headache, sinus congestion, and itchy eyes at time of our session.  After the session, the person reported that I had been right, and that their headache, sinus congestion, and itchy eyes had gone away following their session.

Joy Coaching

I am very excited about Joy Coaching!  It’s basically my version of life coaching.  Through my life experiences, I have found that following our joy is what we are here to do.  I know it sounds simple, but in this busy world, it is easy for us to stay so focused on our to-do lists, work life, and family life that we can forget what it is that even causes us joy.  So, along with Reiki, I am also setting the intention to help people along their own journeys to live their lives with more joy.  I encourage you to start thinking about and making a list of  the things that bring you joy in life.  I mean the things that make you feel childlike and most alive in the moment. If we all start doing things daily that bring us joy, we will collectively make the world more joyful!  All we can control in life is our thoughts, our actions, and our response to what shows up for us.  I hope to spread more joy while actively living my joy, and sharing my perspective on life and how to better handle the challenges that many of us face.

The intuitive, joyful guidance I can offer you is much more than just making a list.  I have seen my unique perspective and guidance on a person’s life challenges take weight off of their shoulders and bring new life to their eyes.  I once went to a workshop and in doing the exercises with the person beside me, I shared bits and pieces of my health journey as I offered my perspective on the chronic health issues that his wife was dealing with at the time.  At the end of the workshop he told me that meeting and talking with me had made going to the workshop worth it.  It was an eye-opening experience for me, and it gave me a larger glimpse of my soul’s purpose.  I often experienced the same kind of responses from my patients in the hospital.  Hearing such things as “that’s the best advice anyone has ever given me on this issue.”

I am very intuitive and have a way of knowing what information people need to hear when they need to hear it.  I have been known to send people articles, book recommendations, and links to my blog posts that I just felt urged to share with them, and they have later told me that it was exactly what they needed to read at that time.  Much of the time, after connecting with someone, I begin to say things that really resonate with them that they find helpful, and/or life affirming.  As I have said before, we are all manifestations of the divine in human form.  Often when I write here, I tap more into my higher self and that divine guidance than I do my mind.  I choose to write posts as I am intuitively guided to do so, and I find that the words flow so freely through me that they do not feel like my own.  I write as I go, and edit very little after a post is written.

It is my passion and soul’s purpose to share and use my past challenges to help guide others through theirs.

If you’re feeling the weight of challenges in your own life, or you just feel like you could use some intuitive, joyful guidance and healing…

Reach Out To Me for Distance Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching!  

I love connecting with people, so please reach out at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com and share your story with me!

I referenced definitions of Reiki as well as the ailments Reiki can help heal in part from the book called “Reiki: The Healing Touch First and Second Degree Manual by William Lee Rand in this post.

Thank you for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it!  Much love!

The Invisibility of Chronic Illness

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I consider myself healed and healthy now.  These days, I do not think about my days of chronic illness unless I am thinking about ways I can use my experiences to help other people going through something similar.  No doctor has ever deemed me cured from Lyme Disease and the other tick-borne infections I was diagnosed with, but at this point in my life I do not feel that I need anyone else to tell me that I am cured.  After all, it is me who knows the pain and suffering that I endured, and so it is me alone who knows that reality in contrast to how I currently feel.  And I generally feel AMAZING!  Because I have come to know how powerful our minds and our thoughts are, I have come to realize how curing and healing it is for me to think and live my life as if I am cured.

When I open up to someone about my days with chronic illness where I could not walk to the mailbox, or when I was dealing with severe depression that made life feel so so hard, they are always surprised.  I hear things like “I can’t imagine YOU being depressed!”  Well, there is no one way that chronic illness looks.  There is no one way that depression looks.  Being someone who has come through both chronic illness and depression, the way that I now move through the world is a direct result of knowing first-hand, the stark contrast of what true dark and true light are in this life.  Nothing can be labeled as “good” or “bad” because the Universe (God, Spirit, The Creator) is always giving us what we need to grow and evolve.  For example, in 2009, if asked, I would have labeled my illness as “bad.”  Today, I am telling you that I would label that same illness, and all that went with it, as “good.”  Everything is relative to our perspective.  Sometimes, as we are living through something, we lack the perspective of the bigger picture because we are so focused on the moving parts.  But, as our life shifts, often we can glean lessons learned and life perspective gained.  And it strengthens us as people.

I was speaking with someone in the throes of chronic illness this past Sunday.  As we talked, I was reminded of how misunderstood I felt in the thick of my illness.  While I was about 40 pounds over my usual weight because of the prednisone I was taking daily, and had the classic prednisone “moon face”, and hump on my upper back just below my neck, to everyone else, I appeared “fine.”  After all, I was not riding around in a wheelchair, I was not hobbling around on crutches, I was not carrying around an oxygen tank, and I was trying really hard to live my life normally and just do what I needed to do.  I met a lot of new people during that time in my life, mostly because it is then that I went back to school for Nursing.   I remember feeling the disappointment of having not gotten off of the prednisone in time to lose the extra weight before meeting all of those new people.  It felt odd to me that people would be meeting me for the first time while I was living in a body I didn’t recognize as my own.  I was not able to do so many of the things that I had been accustomed to doing.  I felt nothing like myself, yet only those closest to me even knew the contrast to how I had looked and lived before.  And even they couldn’t REALLY understand what I was going through at the time.  So in a lot of ways, my illness felt invisible, and a lot of the time, also felt invisible.  The real me felt buried under layers of fat and tissue, doctors appointments, and pills. The real me felt stunted by the pain that would come seemingly so randomly that I was afraid to do anything that required any amount of exertion.

So, I heard the pain and saw the tears of this person in the throes of illness recently who expressed how misunderstood she was feeling, and I was transported back to that time in my own life.  When I was dealing with serious gaps in my memory, I’d have people say things to me like, “yeah, I forget things all of the time too.” As if their occasional forgetfulness compared to my level of constant brain fog, so dissimilar to what I had been used to that I spoke it out loud.  Or in times when I was dealing with a chronic fatigue so severe that my body forced me to choose sleep over studying or doing other things that I wanted or needed to do, and people would say “yeah, I get tired too.”  Even my doctors tried to downplay my fatigue by attributing it to having a baby and being in nursing school.  And it made me want to SCREAM!  I felt completely unheard, misunderstood, and alone in my suffering.  I did not want them to “fix” anything for me, I just wanted to feel heard and understood, or at least I wanted my concerns to not be downplayed by others or equated to the normal struggles someone faces in life. It’s like everyone around me had suddenly forgotten that I had just been living a “normal” life without illness, so in fact I did understand the level of forgetfulness and fatigue that was just typical of being human vs what was stemming from the havoc that multiple types of foreign organisms were creating in my body. I had cared for my baby for 6 months prior to getting ill, so I knew the contrasts of varying levels of fatigue.  And prior to going back to school for Nursing, I had been a student who had earned a Bachelor of Science.  I knew how tired being in school full-time made me feel.  Living was not new to me, illness was.

Above all else, I wanted to be seen and heard.  We all want to be seen and heard.

And that is exactly what is lacking for so many people challenged with chronic illness.  Their well-meaning friends and family tend to either want to “fix” things for them and stand by wishing that things were different, or they downplay their experience and just how hard it feels.  Most people are not equipped to handle the emotions of someone walking through the flames of chronic illness.  It makes people uncomfortable.  They don’t know what to say.  They don’t know how to act.  So they pretend that everything is fine. Or they distance themselves from the person. Or they get stuck in the wheel of repetition where they ask how and why this could have happened to the person.  But none of these approaches are actually helpful.  

My time spent dealing with my own chronic illness for all of those years coupled with my years of experience of being a Registered Nurse working in the hospital has given me a unique perspective.  Not only do I understand first-hand what it is like to live with chronic illness, where rather than dreaming up the next travel adventure and plotting miles to hike, I was scheduling doctor appointments and tracking the number of pills I needed to take in a day.  But, as a Nurse, I also understand that my struggles were not dissimilar to the challenges faced by countless others.  As I have written before, we really are all the same.  As a patient, I wanted to be seen and heard.  I did not want people to fix me or my problems.  I did not want to hear about others’ woes of a normal amount of exhaustion, or normal times of forgetfulness.  I wanted to be seen and heard and comforted and loved.  As a Nurse, I have been able to use this knowldge to be there for my patients and to hold space for them without trying to “fix” anything.

I was lucky enough to be put on call for work this past Sunday, and was able to make it to the morning service at the local Center for Spiritual Living where Reverend Barbara Leger was a guest speaker.  The part of her talk that really moved me was when she spoke of a dream that she had where she saw a little baby in a high chair who was screaming and pounding the tray.  When she asked him what he wanted, he said “ice cream,” so she gave him ice cream.  In the day that followed, news was flying all around the TV of the events in the US on September 11, 2001.  At one point, she saw a man’s face on the TV, she asked her friend who it was, and they told her that it was Osama bin Laden.  In that moment, it clicked with her that he had been the baby in her dream.  The point that she made that moved me to tears was this:  we are ALL seeking comfort and love.  ALL of us, regardless of who we are.  Reverend Leger urged us to go into our day finding ways to be love in the world.  To let go and forgive ourselves and others so that we can be the love that we came here to be, because the world needs more love.

From where I am now on my journey, if I had a magic wand that could go back in time and erase the pain and suffering that I experienced because of my chronic illness, I would not use it.  The level of gratitude that I currently live with is far more valuable than the moments of being pain-free that I would be trading it for.  My loss of health is what causes me to want to live so fully.  It’s what causes me to so fully enjoy the people and experiences I have in my now while I have them.  It prevents me from sweating the small stuff in life.  It drove me to become a Nurse, so that I could use my experience to help other people.  And essentially, it is what has driven me back to the knowing within of who I came to this world to be.  

As Abraham Hicks says often, “you can’t get sick enough to help sick people get well, and you can’t be poor enough to help poor people become prosperous.”  

“There’s a tendency to come from a place where you see suffering and then feel unique and maybe unworthy about you being extracted from it and having all these blessings.  And when you feel that way, you are not a perpetrator of more blessings.”  — from Abraham Hicks: Don’t Suffer Anymore, Just Believe!” on Abraham Hicks Pure Joy YouTube Channel HERE

Adjusting ourselves or how we operate in the world with the false notion that it will help others if we dim our light is not helpful.  Nor is it helpful for us to try to make someone else change how they are operating in the world to suit us.  It will never make anyone feel better to live this way.  Trust me, I’ve been blessed with the contrast in my life to try all approaches on both sides.

Offer your love to someone going through a tough time.  Be there for them.  Listen to them.  Offer them a hug.  That’s all they need from you.  And isn’t that refreshing?  That you don’t need to find solutions for them?  Or empty promises for a better tomorrow?  Just be there, being you, and allow them to be there, being them.  No more, no less.  

I was able to do this for my friend on Sunday.  I knew that they were having a rough day before we spoke, because they had texted me earlier.  But I approached them with my full energy, because I was having a wonderful day.  And I knew that I could not make them feel better if I brought myself down to their energy level.  I listened.  I offered suggestions when asked for them.  I held space for this person to feel the way they were feeling.  I commiserated with them on how difficult it is to live with an invisible illness.  I offered them my current perspective.  They got inspired.  They felt heard and seen.  And THAT’S where the magic happens. I saw some of the heaviness in them lift.

I feel called to use the experiences that life has given me to help others on their own paths to healing.  I do not believe in coincidences.  I believe that everything has happened in my life to get me to this very moment with my perspective and my skills, so that I can be the love and light in the world that I came here to be.

If you or someone you love is struggling with illness, and you are ready to take full responsibility for the health of your body, mind, and spirit, I am here to support you on your journey.  Luckily, with technology, we have computers and phones that will help us connect regardless of where you are in the world.  My intention is to support you as you learn to view your dis-ease as a valuable teacher and precursor to living your life with more joy and gratitude than you have ever known before.  Reach me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com.  I’d love to hear from you! 

From the other side, I can tell you that you can heal.  You cannot get your old life back, but you can get one back that offers you more gratitude and appreciation for all that you have and all that you are.  Be well. 

If you liked this post, please like and share it!  

Listen to Michael Franti’s “Everyone Deserves Music” HERE

Following my Joy All the Way to Australia!

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Ever since I was a teenager, I have been drawn to Australia!  I have been dreaming of traveling there for my entire adult life.  For many years, I dreamt of traveling to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef.  In college, I remember watching documentaries about Australia and the Aboriginal People there in the library some evenings.  I even tried to scheme ways to study abroad and take marine biology classes at James Cook University.  Unfortunately, the college that I attended was not open to creating a study abroad program with James Cook, so I graduated college having never studied abroad.  Life happened, I graduated college and jumped into a really cool internship with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where I lived in a remote spot in the Alaskan backcountry for a summer studying seabirds amongst the brown bears.  After that, I jumped into piecing together my life and work along the way.  You know how that goes.  I had an amazing time traveling the United States as a nomad living from my car and camping, hiking, and backpacking for my various Wildlife and Fisheries field biologist jobs, so I am definitely not complaining in the slightest with how I have chosen to live my life.  But, there has always been a part of me longing to see Australia.  And this June, I am making my dream come true and will be traveling to Western Australia (from Perth to Broome) to experience the wild places there for myself!

Maybe you have read along during this blogging journey of mine and have come to know a bit about my health journey.  But in case you’re new to my blog (Welcome!), I’ll sum it up by saying that shortly after having my son, my life was completely disrupted when I abruptly lost my health (read Lost: Part 1 HERE and Looking for the Map: Part 2 HERE) to an unknown cause.  For a number of years, my life was turned upside down as I sought answers and healing from many different practitioners and specialists with no success.  I could still taste the freedom of the very active lifestyle that I had been so graciously blessed to live, yet I had a hard time doing the basic tasks of living in my day-to-day life.  It seemed surreal, and I felt beaten and broken many times as I was going through it.

What I have learned along my journey is that our health is our number one asset.  And we need to be grateful when we have good health, and appreciate all that our bodies afford us to do.  Because not having our health usually means that we don’t have the ability to use our bodies to do the things that we enjoy the most, or we don’t have the energy we need to do the things we love.  We need to do our best to treat our bodies well, so that they’re better able to function and serve us on our journeys.  But, our souls know that sometimes the best things in life come to us, and from us, when we have experienced a complete loss of health and/or a near death experience.  It is from this place that I have gained a sense of gratitude for all that I have and experience in this life.  I see the world through a completely different lens now.  And for this perspective, I will be forever grateful.

I have also come to realize that the whole purpose of life is to experience JOY!  It’s not about all of the material things. It’s not about achieving some status or ranking.  We are meant to follow our bliss.  In THIS moment.  We are not supposed to wait to live our joy.  We are not supposed to put it off for another day, or save it for retirement.  We have to fill our lives with joy now while we’re able, because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.  If you are doing what you love, you are living your purpose.

But, going to Australia isn’t the only way we can experience joy.  Each one of us has different things that bring us joy.  For me, I have learned that my joy comes from simple pleasures like spending quality time with my son, hot baths with coconut oil and bath salts, a morning routine of yoga, affirmations, and positive videos, hiking in beautiful places, and reading on a boulder next to the river.  My joy also comes from getting to know new people, sleeping under the stars, jumping off rocks into lakes and rivers, traveling to new places, and boogie boarding in the ocean to name a few.  It is important that if you want to live life with more joy, that you start consistently doing things that bring you joy.  What can you do today to live more joyfully?

It could seem sad that it’s taken me 20 years to make my way to Australia and fulfill a long-time dream.  But, just like everything else in my life, I see how this experience is showing up for me in divine timing.  I am going to appreciate every minute of the experience in a way that I would not have when I was 18.  I am choosing to leave my nursing job that has been causing so much stress that it has led to health problems, and I am taking a leap into the unknown while I put my health and my joy FIRST.  It is empowering and liberating!!  It feels amazing to put my health first, especially since I have usually been one to put everyone else’s needs before my own.  Can you relate?  I feel like I am finally making the most important stand for myself in this life.  Not to mention how exhilarating it is to know that I will be in Australia in less than 20 days where I will be on an adventure tour hiking, sleeping under the stars every night, getting to know new people, jumping into swimming holes, snorkeling with whale sharks, abseiling into red rock canyons, seeing and exploring new places, and seeing all kinds of new plants and animals!!!!  Excitement doesn’t even touch what I am feeling!  What brings you joy?  How often do you do things that bring you joy?

If you’d like guidance on how to follow your intuition to more joy in your own life, contact me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it!  Thank you!

Watch Xavier Rudd’s video for “Follow the Sun” HERE.  Xavier Rudd is an AMAZING musician!  If you ever have the chance to see him live, take it!  Xavier is aptly from Australia and doesn’t make it to the US very often.