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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bullying: Healing from the Wounds of Past and Present

Tonight’s podcast with our guest, Parul Shah, will delve into the topic of Bullying and PTSD.  Every day in this world a bully affects the physical and mental wellbeing of all age groups- this is not just a “child thing”, it is a human thing.

As a child and young teenager, I was the victim of several neighborhood bullies.  Most of them ran in packs of two or more, as that was the source of their power.  When the bullies entered the playground area, I ran as fast as I could to try and get away – to no avail.  The bullies were always stronger and faster than me. I did the best that I could to fend off punches to minimize the physical “damage”.  However, these experiences were much deeper than the wounds I sustained.

Growing up, I always felt different and more sensitive to the energy of the world around me but could not articulate this to anyone.  I now know and accept that I am an empath who is affected by both the positive and negative energies of the Universe in which we live.  I was painfully shy and introverted all the way through my college years.  The bully is also unique in that he or she can pick up on this sensitivity and view it as a sign of weakness (or easy target for lack of a better description).  Some are physical bullies, and others exert their power using fear tactics.  Let me explain what I mean.

As a teenager, us neighborhood kids came face-to-face with a family of five brothers and sisters who were either bonafide psychopaths or sociopaths – I kid you not.  I remember playing a game of strikeout when said family of five arrived on the scene carrying machetes. As soon as we saw them in the distance, the freeze response kicked in and we all cowered in fear.  I immediately became short of breath and could not speak or move.  The oldest boy started chopping our pop cans in half with the machete.  He then took out a Bic lighter, and started to ever so slightly burn off the ends of my cousin’s hair.  These kids never resorted to all out physical violence- just terrorism.  And it worked like a charm.

As the years passed, I took up martial arts to not only defend myself, but also to “toughen up” my exterior.  Up until a year ago, I was always in flight or fight no matter what the situation.  I viewed any exertion of power as the bully coming to get me again. I just did not have a clear picture of the emotional turmoil that these childhood foes created.  I have discussed my healing journey at length in this forum, so I am only going to share a recent wonderful experience that happened the other day.

As you all know, I am a reiki master practitioner and have a daily practice of self-healing.  I found a guided meditation for practitioners that included distance healing.  Reiki energy spans the Universe, and one does not have to be in the same room as me to receive its gifts.  I have sent reiki to others in Canada- it works, and it is real.  During this meditation, I visualized myself as a 13-year-old boy face-to-face with the usual neighborhood nemesis’s. I was in a gangway being beaten by pack of two.  I sent this 13-year-old healing reiki energy that came back around to strengthen my resolve in present day.  However, I did much more than that during this distant session.

Not only did I send my younger self reiki, I also sent it to the bullies of the past and present day.  It was in that moment where I realized that those individuals also needed to heal from their wounds.  I firmly believe that bullying is a learned trait from the product of the environment in which one was raised.  By sending them distant reiki love and light, I was also forgiving them for what they had done.

Earlier today, I was conversing back and forth with Parul who shared these words of wisdom that I leave you to ponder: “I believe in the openness of forgiveness and healing- that’s how we grow.”

In health and wellness,


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Let’s Talk About Love

Every day we are inundated with the latest and the greatest from social media . . . Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on.  Although I do not spend an inordinate amount of time on these outlets, when I do- I see something disheartening: Social Media has become a major platform that continues to feed the division in our Country.  Most notably along political ideology.

As I read the feeds I consistently find people I know strongly voicing his/her opinion about the hot button topic of the day.  Granted, we live in a free country that provides us the gift of free speech, where everyone has the inalienable right of expressing an opinion or be passionate about a cause.  However, when I look at a post or a tweet- I “listen” between the lines.

What I hear are voices that cry out in distress to the point it is making a person ill over the discontent in the village, state, country, and/or world in which he/she lives in.  It is fine to take up a cause, but at what cost to our health and quality of life?  How many friendships/relationships have been lost?  Please do not misunderstand me, I love the social media platforms as they have done many wonderful things to bring together groups of like-minded people who have created movement(s) to make this world a better place to live.  I belong to such groups that have helped me to grow as a person.

From now on if you ask me who I supported in an election, I am going to respond with: “I supported me, and the circle most near and dear to my heart” – whether it be a person(s), animal, or movement I believe in.  My goal is to do so in a way that gives me the freedom to improve the quality of life of both myself, and those in my circle.  Given all this- Let’s talk about love.

My vacation last week was all about noticing and following the universal signs.  Our adventure this year took us back to Door County, Wisconsin- leaving behind the stress and fast pace of city living.  On our way into the Door, I saw a billboard that read “Come See the Door County Sled Dogs”.  My first thought was “Now this is interesting”.  At the first chance I had, I searched for and found their website to see what this opportunity was all about.

The Door County Sled Dogs is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 charitable organization that is dedicated to the rescue of the Husky- both pure and mixed breed.  They also provide public education to all who are interested in learning more about the responsibilities of caring for the Husky when brought home as a member of the family.  During the winter months, the team provides sled rides on Milwaukee County Park properties.

On the day of our visit, by universal chance, the owners of the Sled Dogs brought a team to the Education and Discovery Center for public interaction/photo opportunities.  For me, it was the most awesome and healing experience to hug and be “kissed” by these loving creatures while posing in front of the camera.  People, young and old- came out that day for an interaction that brought joy, happiness, and laughter to all who participated.

My point in telling you this story is this: While the Door County Sled Dogs organization might not be able to change the state of local, national, and world affairs on a grand scale- they are able to change the quality of life for those rescued animals, as well as the “circle” who gathered and are interested in their welfare.  At the end of the day what matters most is how this organization is making this world a better place to live in a gentle, loving way.  Click on the link (Door County Sled Dogs) to learn more.

We all have something we are most passionate about.  Sometimes this can entrench us in a bitter battle and place us at odds with others who hold an opposing view.  When this happens, take note of how this affects your wellbeing.  Ask yourself “Is it worth it?” or “Can I do it in a different way?”  On the morning I first sat down to pen this post, I received yet a second universal sign in the form of a tweet which is apropos to this discussion:

“Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate.  Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love” - Simon Sinek

Sending you Reiki love and light,


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Feel Your Way to Emotional Healing

Reiki Practitioner

Ever since I received my attunement as an Advanced Reiki Practitioner (Level 3) this past March, I have truly felt a spiritual shift.  I always knew that I was sensitive to and absorbed the energies of others as well as the environment, but not to the degree that I realize it now.  It is hard to explain this, but I am going to give it the old college try (as this is a new, emerging concept for me).

Sometimes when I enter a room full of people, I can immediately cut the negative energy with a knife.  Even deeper than that, I can become highly aware of when someone in said room is having an anxiety attack as I begin to have a similar experience. This becomes quickly overwhelming to the point I must leave the area.  As a reiki practitioner, I am a conduit of healing energy for both myself and others which necessitates being grounded.  Lately,  I have been confused and out of sorts making it hard to stay rooted on solid ground.  So, what does one do to resolve this issue?

I have written extensively about my journey through the PTSD world and the modalities I have used to stay balanced (acupuncture, chiropractic care, reiki, massage therapy, exercise, nutritional support, yoga etc.).  A trusted confidante recently told me that to this point I have only managed, and not emotionally healed from this injury.  Reason being:  I am not allowing myself permission to truly feel my emotions because the energy(spiritual) work/exploration that I do is blocking this aspect of myself.  How so?

Along the road to becoming a holistic practitioner, my mind has been telling me that I should develop this persona of a super-fantastic, well-grounded healer- devoid of, or shielded from the emotions of the past (such as anger, fear, resentment and so on).  Otherwise, who would seek the services of a person who becomes emotionally “forward” from time to time?  When my mind is made up on something like this, I usually go all in with what is presented to me (ALWAYS REMAIN GROUNDED/SHIELD YOURSELF FROM TRIGGERS, TIM).  For example, the news outlets are big triggers for me, so what did I do?  Well, for the past 6 months or so I avoided watching or reading anything media related- therefore, I can stay grounded for the people I work with.  My stance is that if I become unhinged, I will end up falling into the rabbit hole of rage once again.

However, my trusted confidante explained that I need to in a systematic approach, feel each thread of emotion, and then decide what I want to do with it. This type of analysis will allow me, without judgement, to sort through future triggering events and make the most appropriate and peaceful resolution with respect to my feelings. Once I make this part of the fabric of my being- my friend said the spiritual work will flourish. The moral of the story for this healer is: Allow myself to be human, experience all the emotions life throws my way- And, in the face of adversity always have the courage to take the high road.  

Speaking of those who recently took the high road, a colleague and friend of mine who is from Canada recently related such an event about her life.  Paramedic Natalie Harris from the Province of Ontario, has been writing a blog about the trials and tribulations of her battles with depression and PTSD- which is an incredible story.  In fact, this past January, Nat released a book titled Save My Life School that I highly recommend any current or future first responder, their significant other or spouse- should read.

In her latest post titled So What I Jerseyed a Girl in Walmart? - Nat specifically makes the point of my blog post about working through emotions and taking the high road when faced with a trigger from the past. I have provided the link to her blog in both this paragraph and the right column of my page.  Thanks, Nat for inspiring me to put the pen to paper on this topic.

As the universe always has my back, I leave you with a new Zac Brown song titled Roots which is all about being grounded.  Until next time-

Take care and be well,


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Forge a Purposeful Life in the Present

One trap that I frequently find myself falling into is dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future.  I know that I am not alone in this adventure because it is a time-honored part of our human nature.  However, what good does it do to fret about things that are already in the rearview mirror?  Even better- why all the angst about something that may never come to fruition?  Ah, the ping-pong effect of the monkey mind- it’s enough to drive one bat s**t crazy (pardon the expression).  So where am I going with all of this?  I’ll show you.

All too often we hold on to: hurt, sadness, grudges, perceived wrongs against us- the list is endless.  What purpose does it serve to still be angry about something someone may have said/done to us in high school (it happens)?  How many times have you heard about a family/friend feud that lasted for decades because of what turned out to be a small misunderstanding.  Some of the best years of our lives have been misspent because we drew a hard line in the sand.  This serves no great purpose other than to deplete our vital life force energy.  Always remember that the past is just that, and is often unchangeable unless we are willing to reach out and blur the lines on the beach.  What about things that are yet to come?

A purposeless routine that my monkey mind likes to do is create scenarios about future events.  I cannot tell you how much sleep I have lost during this exercise (I average 5 to 5 ½ hours as it is).  For example, the night before a staff meeting, I often visualize that said meeting is going to go a certain way- a person or persons is/are going to say something that leads to an argument.  Additionally, my brain almost always creates a negative outcome for the event, and as a result- I toss and turn all night.  And you know what?  99.999% of the time my little “play” was not even close to being accurate.  Do not get me wrong- planning for the future is a necessary part of life otherwise we would never have any goals, aspirations, or progress as individuals, the nation, and this world.  Forecasting the stock market trends is paramount to a healthy economy, not a negative scenario about trivial matters.  However, it is in the present where we can forge a more purposeful life.

It is often said that we are not granted tomorrow, so live as if it never comes.  Our lives are not measured in 24 hour increments, but rather by each tick of the clock (+/- one second).  A common scene that I encounter as a firefighter paramedic is the sudden cardiac death.  One second, a person was enjoying a quiet evening on his/her backyard deck, and the next- transitions from this world.  This passing of life happens in an instant, which leaves very little time to rectify the past or plan for the future.  We must learn to live a purposeful life on a moment by moment basis.  So, how can we do this?

One of my other occupations is that of a personal trainer/health coach on the campus of a local community college.  One of the greatest blessings that I receive as a trainer is to work with clients from all walks of life whom are my constant teachers and inspirations.  One of my newest clients is a retired healthcare professional who now devotes his time to helping children in Middle Eastern nations.  He described his post-retirement years as “the last great lap around the track” that he wants to make the most of.  He further related that our mission as an inhabitant of this Earth is to commit to a life of service to others.  I found that to be one of the most profound statements that I ever heard in my life, and I am honored to have crossed paths with him in this lifetime. 
To me, a purposeful life calls us to do what motivates, inspires, drives us to do the greatest for the common good of humanity.  Be it volunteering, donating to charitable causes, participating in an all village cleanup day, or mentoring the next generation the best way we can.  Our job is to prepare the next ones in line to make the future their own by improving on what we have started. To do this we must live in the present because as the saying goes “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”.  

Stay grounded, stay purposeful- and don’t let the monkey mind get the best of you.  Until next time.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Heal Through Loving Compassion

     Several weeks ago, while in a deep relaxation during a kundalini yoga session I had the following dream.  I was on the USS Arizona Memorial and was sitting cross-legged in front of the wall that contains the names of those who perished with that ship on December 7th, 1941 – a date that will live in infamy.  While fully absorbed in this scene, I saw my younger self of no more than the age of six months come crawling up beside me. We looked at each other, then at the wall- repeating this pattern two more times. On the third time, I told my younger self to “Heal with Loving Compassion”.  At that moment, our instructor brought us out of the deep relaxation and I was left to ponder the meaning of this statement.  It was not until this morning as I sat and penned this post that it all came together on the first day of this brand-new year. 

      We were all placed on this Earth and given the ability to write our own narrative to leave an indelible mark on humanity.  Good or bad, right, or wrong it is our own unique journey to take.  Robert Frost wrote “Two paths diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.  Every January 1st, we make resolutions and set goals to help chart a new course on our journey to make this world a better place to live- or at least try to do so.  However, as it so often happens (as in years past), by the time February rolls around these resolutions have fallen by the wayside. 

     It isn’t that we did not want to carry these goals through to fruition, but rather life has a tendency of derailing our efforts (i.e. the obligations of daily living).  Inevitably, we become our own worst critic, beat ourselves up, become discouraged- and before you know it this cycle repeats itself in another brand- new year.  Let’s face it my friends, we can become our own best enemy on the road less traveled, but this is where heal through loving compassion enters the picture.

     When I first began to contemplate the meaning of this statement I thought it meant I needed to heal the world through loving compassion.  However, on this day of enlightenment-  January 1st, 2017, I realized that I must give loving kindness to myself, which in turn will allow me the honor and privilege of doing good works for others who are destined to cross paths with me in this lifetime.  2016 was a great year for me and towards its close I received my Reiki I and II attunements.  Not only can I provide Reiki for others (Level II), but even more importantly- I can give healing treatments to myself (Level I)- aka loving compassion.

     One of the first things the reiki student learns in class are the Five Reiki Principles which provide valuable guidance to one’s journey through life. I will leave you with these words of wisdom so that when life gets in the way of your new year’s goals- you can heal through loving compassion.  As you read and learn these precepts- remember that TODAY can become EVERY DAY.  You’ll figure it out.   I promise.

Happy New Year!!!!


The Five Reiki Principles

Just for today, I will let go of anger.

Just for today, I will let go of worry.

Just for today, I will count my many blessings.

Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Just for today, I will be kind to every living creature.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Life is Short- So Spend It Wisely

Christina Grimmie (google images)
     On June 11th, 2016, Christina Grimmie- a Season 6 finalist on The Voice was shot and killed while signing autographs after a concert in Florida.  As of this writing, the assailant (who killed himself) has been identified without a motive given for the attack.  I am sure that as the days unfold, the reason for this senseless killing will be uncovered.  However, at the end of the day no matter who says what about whom, one thing remains certain- life is short, so spend it wisely.

     Our time on this Earth is a precious gift that should not be wasted sitting on the sidelines watching life pass us by.  We are given an opportunity to chase our dreams with what should be the sole purpose of making this world a better place to live before we leave it.  Often times I have seen or heard others incessantly bemoan their fate, while simultaneously pointing a finger to cast blame elsewhere.  Heck, I was one of those people who did just that, and can’t help but think how this served no good purpose.  One might say I lost many life points along the way.  However, all was not lost.

     Two years ago it was the stark reality that I suffered from PTSD that awakened the healing spirit within and brought me to my senses.  No longer will I point the blame, as I control how I react to what happens 100% of the time.  If there are bumps in the road, I will learn and grow from them- never to cast shadows on someone else.  Most likely on the morning Miss Grimmie woke up, she never thought it would be her last day among the living.  Yet at the tender age of 22, her music left an indelible mark on this world as well as the following she gathered along the way.  Surely, she made a difference in at least one person’s life by giving them hope through her voice.  Her mission to better this world albeit short, was accomplished.

     One of my favorite Zac Brown Band pieces titled “Lance’s Song” emphasizes the point of chasing your dreams because you never know when your time is up.  Lance (a musician and a friend of the ZBB), was returning home from a gig he played at a small venue, fell asleep while driving, and was killed.  Zac penned a most beautiful and thought-provoking tribute to a friend.

     Two individuals, from different genres had the same dream of changing the world with their music.  The question remains- What will you do?  Let the world pass you by, or heal it through the power of your dreams?  I leave the answer up to you my readers, but I choose the latter.

In health and wellness,


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Finding Solace on the Neon Road

     It is the year 2016 and once again We the People must endure another contentious election cycle in the race for the White House.  I find it particularly disturbing this time around as the theme seems to be grown adults fighting with each other as if they are on a grade school playground.  No matter the political ideology you will find: name-calling, finger pointing, and even pouting.

     This childish behavior has pushed Americans to the point of fist fighting during political rallies.  I am not here to make commentary, but rather to highlight the fact that this nonsense is heaping more stress on an already stressed-out nation.  Who do we trust?  Will this be a choice of the lesser of two evils?  Ugh!!!  It just boggles my mind and begs the question- What does one do to remain balanced?  My thoughts now turn to the Neon Road.

     The song titled Neon Road appeared on singer-songwriter John Stewart’s 1997 album titled Rough Sketches.  The lyrics pay homage to the once great American highway known as Route 66- aka Will Rogers Highway or the Main Street of America (2015).  Route 66 once stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, California for a total of 2,448 miles (2015).  In the song, Stewart evokes memories of contentious or controversial (stress-inducing) times in American history, such as WWII:

“It was 1945 and we were living through the war. In the words of Harry Truman, “Give’em hell, then give’em more”.

    It is interesting to note what the narrator of this story did to reduce his stress levels.  He jumped into his Fairlane with the top down and cruised the open road with a care free attitude looking for that simpler way of living.  My mind now transports me back to the summer of 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait.  I was stationed at Fort Irwin- 40 miles outside of Barstow, California.  Believe me when I tell you that it was very stressful- day after day, waiting to find out if my number would be called to the Middle East.  I had become way too familiar with insomnia, and I think all during that time did as well.

     As it would happen, Main Street (old Route 66) ran right through the middle of Barstow and out into the open air of the Mojave Desert.  Many times I found myself jumping into my Geo Metro with the 2-60 air conditioning (roll down the two windows and go 60 miles per hour), and drove 30 miles to Victorville just to spend the day at a mall.  The round trip was well worth the time, as the anxiety I felt just melted away.  I always look back fondly on those days in Barstow where I truly learned to be of independent means.

     Getting back to our present day conundrum- Stewart aptly wrote in reference to the days after WWII:

“We had honor, we had promise, we had dreams of better days.  Yeah, but somewhere in the short strokes, we got lost along the way.”

     From where I sit, we as a nation still seem to be lost and really need to find our way back to when we were truly united in the cause of humanity.  In the grand scheme of things, most of what will happen this political season is out of our control, and destiny has already been shaped.  It is during times such as these that our spirits can be shaken, but that should not deter us from remaining grounded to Mother Earth.

     Not everyone will have the opportunity to travel on what was once Route 66 to use the experience as a stress-reducing agent.  However, find something you enjoy (be it exercise, a day at the beach, watching the sunset) that can create the illusion of the top down on an old Fairlane, and take solace on your own version of the Neon Road.
In Health and Wellness,



U.S. Route 66.  Retrieved from Wikipedia on May 21st, 2015.

Lyrics to Neon Road. Retrieved from on May 21st, 2015.