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Reiki Training, Outdoor Events & More!

Essential Arts Calendar: There’s a lot happening in July!

Giving Reiki at the Strolling of the Heifers

Friday 7/20 3-6 Reiki Demi-sessions by donation at Chelsea Farmers Market, to support Lifelong Resilience Reiki training for Riverbend staff & residents. We believe in caring for the caregivers, and empowering elders and other community members in caring for themselves, and Reiki provides the most gentle and effective method of healing and self-care.

Sunday 7/22 10-4 Reiki Level 1 at Essential Arts Reiki Studio in Norwich, Vt. - my first class as a Reiki Teaching Intern! Start your own Reiki adventure this weekend with this life-changing skill and attunement. With this one workshop, you can start practicing right away and cultivate this powerful energy for life. $150 Still a few spots left, but register soon!

Wednesday 7/25 8:15-9:15 Meditation of Compassion followed by Reiki Q & A with Demonstration. Enjoy a quiet half-hour of meditation (any style welcome, instruction available) cultivating compassion for ourselves, others, and the planet. Then learn about Reiki and experience it for yourself! Free every Wednesday.

Sunday 7/29 12:30-3:30 Health & Wellness Fair at Vision of Light Church of Spiritualism & Healing, 10 Legion Drive, Hartland, Vt. Phil & I will be offering 15-minute Reiki demi-sessions as a team (yes, you’ll receive Reiki from either or both of us at once - your choice) for $20 to raise funds for the only year-round Spiritualist church in Vermont, which provides healing, messages and spiritual education and support every week to all who ask, and where people of all traditions and paths are welcome.

Read more about these & other events & related programs…

It’s been an amazing year so far! It has been a while since I put out a newsletter because I’ve been immersed in some pretty incredible projects, which I’m now very happy to share with you. I’ve taken my Reiki Teacher training, started a non-profit community wellness program, and been hired to provide bi-monthly programs and workshops on living in harmony with Earth & Spirit through the seasons, as well as continuing to volunteer for several local organizations. Here are some of the highlights, and keep reading for details on how you can benefit from these exciting new developments.

  • Reiki training at all levels now offered through Essential Arts!

  • Essential Arts Wellness & Reiki Retreats

  • See how Lifelong Resilience brings Reiki healing into the community

  • Come to a program in the Seasons of Magic series

  • What the heck is “bisness”?

Essential Arts Reiki Training & Healing

In June, nine years after I first started my Reiki education, I completed the training to become a Reiki Master Teacher, and now I’ll team teach as an intern through all the levels with my Master Teacher, Deb Davidson, before teaching on my own. I am beyond thrilled to be able to offer not only the incredible healing energy of Reiki but also now to pass on the ability to practice on oneself and others, to empower people in their own healing and growth, and to spread the blessings of this remarkable technology of compassionate transformation through my community and beyond.

Can you tell how central Reiki is for me in my life? I practice it as soon as I wake up (on myself), often as I’m falling asleep (with my husband or cat, whoever gets there first), and with others every chance I get. I choose the word “with” because it’s really something we do together. A Reiki practitioner is skillfully supporting and enhancing the recipient’s own natural systems of healing and evolution. That’s the magic of it, for me.

Yes, Reiki is at its Essence an energy that is active in each one of us, as the vital life force or spark of life, yet Reiki training can awaken its flow in seemingly miraculous ways, from the first Level 1 workshop, then Level 2, through Reiki Master training and even on to becoming a teacher, for those who feel called. Each level catalyzes deep transformative growth in the practitioner while always remaining gentle and benign, always customized to each individual’s needs and abilities.

Anyone can begin learning Reiki at any time, with no prerequisites like medical training or meditation or other healing or spiritual studies. In your very first workshop, you will receive an attunement that activates your own natural healing abilities and learn techniques to put into practice right away, first for self-care and then to help others.

Reiki is so generous that it does not even require us to give away our own vital energy. In fact, the more we give others, the more we receive, and yet taking the time just to offer Reiki to ourselves is one of the most powerful gifts we can offer to the world.

If you are interested in learning or advancing your Reiki skills, please let me know, as I am scheduling classes for all levels. I’d like to know which level you are interested in and generally when you are available so I can group people together in small classes at convenient times. Do you prefer weekdays, weekends or evenings?

If you have taken Reiki training but it’s been a while, you may want to start again with Level 1, or you might feel ready to advance to the next level following the training you’ve already received. Your intuition will guide you, and if you’re uncertain just let me know and I’ll support you in deciding.

Everyone can do it, and it can’t do any harm, so there’s nothing to worry about. You can’t do it wrong, you can only get better and keep learning and refining your skills. Once you have it, you’ve got it for life. That said, it’s entirely up to you whether you feel called at this time to pursue your Reiki practice. Trusting your own intuition is your first lesson, and it’s free! And for me to honor and support your choice is your second lesson about Reiki, because the ethics of this practice require consent and honor everyone’s freedom to choose at all times.

The third lesson I’ll give you today is a homework assignment, if you choose to accept it. You can cultivate and experiment with the healing energy in yourself at any time; Reiki just accelerates and amplifies it many times over. You can hold your hands a few inches apart and quietly sense the energy that builds there, either right away or with practice. You can also place your hands gently on any area of your body where you feel pain or tension and allow your natural healing energy to arise and soothe that area. You might just get a taste of what it can feel like to practice Reiki!

Meanwhile, I will continue to see clients for healing sessions in Norwich, Randolph, Chelsea and other locations (I have a travelling Reiki table), so let me know also if you’d like to schedule a time to receive Reiki and see what it’s like before you learn to do it yourself. You can even find me at events like the Chelsea Farmers Market and Vision of Light’s Health & Wellness Fair (see the Calendar on page 1). Even Reiki practitioners need support - we’re not expected to do it all, even for ourselves. I too receive Reiki and other energy work frequently besides working on myself, and I’m happy to support you with Reiki whether you are a practitioner or not.

I also still offer a Meditation of Compassion group every Wednesday morning 8:15-8:45 followed by a Reiki Q & A and demonstration until 9:15, so stop by the Essential Arts Studio in Norwich and join our small group at 289 Main St., Rm. B211 in Norwich, Vermont.

Finally, I love volunteering at Bayada, WISE and Gifford Medical Center, working with hospice clients, supporting women and others affected by gender-based violence, and supporting in-patients as well as staff at these three organizations. I am committed to caring for the caregivers as well! Again, we don’t need to deplete ourselves to help others, and in fact, the best way to help others is to be well ourselves, and to model self-care. It may seem paradoxical, but it works - try it!

If you want another homework assignment, try just doing things more slowly and mindfully, leaving a little space in your schedule instead of rushing and filling up every minute. You may notice tension or guilt arise around this powerful practice, so just be compassionate with yourself for wanting to do so much or feeling pressured. You might feel fatigued when you’re in slow gear, which is probably a sign that you need to rest more, which is not lazy or unproductive - quite the opposite. You’ll be much more effective when you feel rejuvenated by a nap or meditation or a walk in Nature or the company of a good friend. Just remember that electronic stimulation may be an enjoyable distraction, but it’s not really the deep relaxation we all need to re-energize. Adrenaline takes its toll and isn’t really more effective than resting well and feeling refreshed, and the same is true with caffeine, delicious as that coffee or tea may be. Just a few deep breaths can even be quite restorative. You probably already know this, so here’s your friendly reminder!

Contact me at connect@essentialarts or 802-685-7752. I would love to hear your questions and discuss what options are best for you at this time.


Essential Arts Wellness & Reiki Retreats - coming soon!

Envision a long, leisurely weekend in the gorgeous Green Mountains of Vermont, enjoying a rejuvenating immersive retreat with a select small circle of people who share your passion for sacred beauty, spiritual growth and holistic healing. Whether receiving Reiki and other natural, traditional healing arts treatments in individual sessions, sharing a transformational healing ritual, or studying Reiki at any level, let the luxurious surroundings and caring, professional support and guidance lift you to new heights and empower your deepest wellbeing and evolutionary growth.

I would love to hear about your interest in Wellness & Reiki Retreats for individuals, couples, women, elders, caregivers, Reiki practitioners and other holistic healers. A percentage of retreat proceeds will support local community wellness programs for marginalized and under-resourced populations. See the following article for more information on these programs.


Announcing the birth of a nonprofit sister organization to Essential Arts ...

What if everyone could enjoy the benefits of Reiki and other natural and powerful wellness practices and techniques, no matter what their income, age or health condition? Integrated Community Resilience is a new nonprofit program designed to bring healing and wellness support to people in our community who would otherwise not be able to access it.

Lifelong Resilience is the pilot project of Integrated Community Resilience, and we have just completed Phase 1 of this new program with success beyond our expectations. A small team of three, we have served the residents and staff at Riverbend, a residential care facility in Chelsea, Vermont, with Reiki treatments and wellness support in a sharing circle format on Tuesday mornings for three months. Over sixteen visits we provided 130 Reiki demonstrations and treatments to 33 recipients who received from one to thirteen sessions each.

It’s hard to say which has been more popular, the Reiki sessions or the circle time. The sense of community among residents and staff has grown stronger and more caring, and they’ve gotten to know each other better from coming together once a week and sharing their wisdom and challenges. Sometimes we picked a topic and gave each person a turn to share, and other times the conversation was more spontaneous. While we did teach some wellness techniques that can be practiced on an ongoing basis, I know I also learned so much by listening and being with these extraordinary people, and the members of our team, Adriana Boulange and Charlie Goldensher are also deeply grateful to have become acquainted with some of the most fascinating people in our community.

We hope to continue and expand this program, at the request of the participants. They are eager for Reiki training, which I can now provide, thankfully, and it is also our intention to support and teach other generations and populations as well, perhaps working next with young people through SafeArt in Chelsea, right down the street from Riverbend, and introducing them to the elders and others who would appreciate their company and have so much to offer. There are also many other wellness support providers who can offer skills, techniques and activities to the folks at Riverbend from acupressure to Zumba and much more. Our local librarian, Elizabeth Morrison from the Chelsea Public Library has already joined us for a Tuesday morning circle, and is creating a program to help the residents access large print and audio books and other materials through the library, beginning with some books on Reiki from the Chelsea PL collection and Interlibrary Loan.

The ICR team has also been making appearances at the Chelsea Farmers Market, offering Reiki by donation on five Fridays throughout the summer. The remaining dates are July 20, August 10 and September 7 from 3-6 p.m. on the North Common on Vt. Rte. 110 in Chelsea. It’s a great way to introduce people to Reiki and our organization in a relaxed, casual setting with both produce and prepared foods, kids activities, music and craft vendors, and to raise funds to continue Lifelong Resilience.

Another fundraising goal this summer is to compensate Gwen Hallsmith in some small measure for the generous contribution of her time helping ICR get started and her support going forward. As the Executive Director of Global Community Initiatives, our parent organization, Gwen has helped with everything from the planning of this project to guidance on nonprofit procedures and opportunities to managing the grant funds we received from the Chelsea Health Center Wellness Fund that have made the Lifelong Resilience project possible so far.

Phase 2 of Lifelong Resilience will be funded by a crowdfunding campaign so we can keep the program going while waiting for other grant applications to be approved later this year. We’re excited about offering Reiki training to members of the Riverbend staff, then to residents, so they can practice it for self-care and to support one another. You can make a donation now on the Integrated Community Resilience website, and you’ll be hearing about this campaign very soon.


Seasons of Magic

Like the New England weather, this program has taken quite a turn over the last several months, transitioning from a series of guidebooks and coaching to live programs, with the Facebook group still functioning but at a quieter level. You can now celebrate the seasons in sacred connection with Earth and Spirit at Vision of Light Church of Spiritualism and Healing every other month, when I’ll be offering a service and workshop around sacred seasonal topics. The most recent program, in June, was a Flower Communion with a workshop on Permaculture, Biodynamics and Sacred Geometry. This series is part of the Sacred Earth Path programming track offered by Vision of Light, alternating with Kelly Chesley’s monthly “Herbal Wisdom” programs.

I think Seasons of Magic will still become a series of guidebooks, but they just are not all getting written this year, with all that has evolved in the meantime! I’ve found it’s wisest to go with the Divine guidance I receive even if it means changing strategies midstream. I am very grateful for the nudges, downloads, synchronicities and sometimes lightning bolts my Guides send me when I need them, which is pretty much all the time. As a dear friend of mine says humorously about a life of sacred service, “Don’t ask me, I just work here!”


Bisness: the Business of Isness

You may have noticed that I have both profit and nonprofit projects going at the same time, and you might even wonder, Isn’t that some kind of conflict, or can they work together? If so, I’m glad you asked! You see, playing with business models is kind of a geeky passion of mine, which has surprized me probably more than anyone. But it’s really pretty cool to shape systems of economics so that they serve the real people in our communities better than the old models of the 20th century, some of which are still rather medieval despite their high-tech appearances.

For starters, I realized that my work is much more than business, which literally means busy-ness, and that’s the last thing I want to base my life around. Being busy is no standard of productivity or effectiveness as far as I’m concerned. Does that sound heretical? It wouldn’t be my first foray into that realm, I assure you. I’m just plain unorthodox, though I also love history and tradition. I’m also an avid student of paradox. Go figure.

So if business isn’t about being busy, it becomes more about simply being. Notice that our species is actually named human beings, not human doings, as many wise teachers have pointed out, and certainly not human busy-bodies. Thank Goodness.

The art of being has been called “isness” and I see “bisness” as the Business of Isness. We no longer need to separate our deepest and most authentic selves from our work, and in fact, to do so can be disastrous, as well-demonstrated by a quick look around the world. When we create a life of service to the world and all beings, human and non-human alike, we are offering all of ourselves, the best of ourselves, and developing ourselves continually to meet the changing needs of the world around us even as we continue to unfold our own natural evolution.

What does this have to do with economics? It creates a more ecological economy, one that serves not only people but the planet and all Her creatures, as well as taking better care of ourselves. By relinquishing the need to simply be busy, we create so much more space for creativity to arise, for our natural talents to surface and for more meaningful connections with other people to emerge.

The “business of isness” or “bisness” can be for-profit or non-profit. It can be a buying cooperative or employee-owned company, a B corporation or an L3C. It doesn’t really matter so much what the structure is as long as it is based on a solid foundation of ethics, service and personal responsibility, including responsibility to one’s own wellbeing.

Money is not the problem. Nor is it the solution! At least it’s not the only problem, nor certainly the only solution. News flash: It’s okay to make money, even if what you’re doing is helping people and the planet. Especially if you’re helping! If you don’t need any money, then fine, don’t charge. But if you happen to have expenses, as I do, without an unlimited personal supply of resources, then income is helpful. And if you spend it mindfully to support the local economy, skilled artisans, environmentally-friendly companies, fair-trade products, ethical businesses and mutually beneficial transactions, then why not bring in even more income to invest in these helpful ways? It's up to each of us to find the right "sustainable scale" for our personal economy based on our own goals and values.

In my for-profit business, people pay me directly for services they receive. In my non-profit program some people pay for services that serve other people who need them and can’t afford them. It’s basically that simple. No bad guys anywhere, just people helping and getting help, each according to their own need and ability. Works for me! And it seems to work for others too. I’d love to hear your questions or comments on this topic. Let’s not be afraid to talk about it. When we release the shame and fear around money that has been part of cultural conditioning we can create really beautiful and empowering ways to do bisness. Or to be bisness. Or both.

In my August program and workshop at Vision of Light, "Bearing Fruit," we’ll explore this topic of “bisness” as “hard work and soft work,” relating the third Reiki principle, also tying into the summer season and the Celtic holiday of Lughnassad with the Permaculture principle that corresponds to the saying “Make hay while the Sun shines.”


Essential Arts August Calendar: Looking Ahead

July 30 - August 3 Horse Sense at VerShare Summer Camp. For several years I've led a group of 8-12 year-olds and their counselors on field trips to visit and learn about horses, while also learning more about ourselves through mindfulness training, dowsing, horse awareness and more. This fun free camp for local kids fills up quickly, but your child may be able to sign up for a waiting list.

August 12 "Bearing Fruit" program during regular service with workshop after potluck lunch at Vision of Light Church of Spiritualism & Healing, where we'll explore topics around work, prosperity and abundance on a spiritual path.

August 18 Railway to the Moon Steampunk Festival in Bretton Woods, NH, for an old-fashioned train ride up to the most gorgeous views in the White Mountains and some new-fangled old-time fun with a whole cast of Steampunk characters and activities. We'll be there as the Amazing Madame Snapdragon & Dashing Sir Reptitious, and we might even be offeirng Reiki...

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