Today, on the morning of my 12 year Reikiversary, my orchid gifted me with this bloom. Nature, along with many amazing humans, have been my teachers. This beautiful plant hails from my homeland of Puerto Rico and has taught me about patience, paying attention, presence, non attachment, and death. After the first time she bloomed, she didn't again for 2 years. About 6 months ago she flowered again. Her flowers only last 8-12 hours and smell glorious, so if you miss it you may have to wait years and I was ready to do that. However, these last couple of weeks, weeks of hardship and beauty, have been adorned with more flowers. Teachers that make you pause and smell them and enjoy their beauty because you will never see them again, and that what is hard will pass and so is what is beautiful, it is all temporary so be present for it.
12 years ago I received the blessing of my first initiation into the Usui Ryoho Reiki lineage by Valina Jackson, a beautiful powerful Black woman and healer who showed me what Reiki energy healing could look like in tandem with traditional mental health treatment. She embodies how this modality can be a vehicle to be of service when working with our most vulnerable populations, primarily women of color mothering and struggling with addiction, homelessness, trauma, formerly incarcerated, and other mental health challenges. This was my first gateway.
The women that I worked with at the time held those stories and experiences in their hearts and bodies. I wanted to serve and support in a way that did not pathologize, but rather could lovingly hold and witness the suffering. To be an ally to transform and help unburden, not to fix them, because we are not our experiences they were capable of healing themselves. However, our experiences can contort us into a version of ourselves we don't recognize, and we have to kill a part of ourselves to survive. I worked with people whose pain brought them back out into the street, back to jail, back to the numbing of their addiction, and into the grave. I also saw people bring healing into their lives with courage, love, and compassion and accessed the part of themselves that felt worthy of living, being loved, and capable of contributing to the world. They were all my teachers. This is how it began.
Over the years it became clear that my work was to meet people at the gateway of life and death and at the crossroads of other life transitions be they Saturn Returns, break ups, weddings, parenthood, loss, trauma, birthdays, or any time you encounter not knowing... or knowing but needing support in facing it to bring healing.
I want to dedicate this Anniversary to my teachers:
Since my first yes to this path with Valina Jackson, I grew in my Reiki work and became a Reiki Master Teacher in gratitude to Dr. Richard Curtin; Julie A. Hannon who first initiated me into the medicine path of the Q'ero paqos of Peru through Four Winds; Alberto Villoldo founder of Four Winds; Marcela Lobo who birthed the 13th Munay Ki/Rite of the Womb; The Q'ero Paqos/Shamans from whom I recived Earth Keeper Rites (Pascual,Chino,Juan); Mallika Dutt who transmitted the 13th Munay Ki/Rite of the Womb to me; Maria Da Silva who transmitted the Rite to Heal Ancestral DNA; Cacike Jorge Esteves and Valerie Tureiary who have been teachers and guides on my journey as a Behike and discovering the wisdom and medicine of my Taino Indigenous ancestry; Courtney Gray and my Kilombo Novo Capoeira Angola family who embody the resilience and wisdom of the teachings of those who survived the transatlantic slave trade and liberated themselves from slavery. Showing up where their medicine is needed and committed to sharing this practice to support our collective liberation and emancipation from mental slavery; Angie Buchanon, a Pagan Priestess and teacher who initiated me into the lineage of Death Midwifery through Earth Traditions; Lula Christopher a community Elder in the Dagara tradition, one of many whose shoulders I stand on that paved the way for me to do this medicine work in community and is showing me the way of the medicine she carries, and all the other teachers who shared a song , prayer, or way of being that grew me. Thank you to the plant teachers that allowed me to access the wisdom inside myself and showing me more than I thought was possible.
Thank you to everyone who has come to me in their most vulnerable moment, at a crossroads, because of illness, to celebrate life, officiate your wedding, to bring balance, be in ceremony, because you are grieving, death of a loved one, the birth of a child, because you lost a pregnancy, to make medicine from your placenta, and bless your home. Thank you for having trust in my hands, prayers, and heart. Thank you to my Ancestors, guides, and all of the benevolent Universal forces for keeping me safe, showing me the way, and guiding me towards my destiny. I am open and a grateful student.
Ache, Hahom, Aho, Amen!
Blessings to every corner of your life!
When you walk your path, sometimes you step in stuff. Now that I have your attention, I am not going to get in the messiness of life and challenges as teachers, blah blah blah. This post is about inquiry and sharing a little bit of my process. What does it mean to walk in your medicine or your medicine path? I use this term the way people use the term a calling. This can be super specific like those folks who knew at 5 years old they wanted to be a teacher or really open like the folks who know how they want to feel in their life work, but the specifics or the how haven't become clear to them yet. And calling/path isn't necessarily always related to the work you do( get paid for). What I am really referring to is about how you want to be in this world and what contributions you want to make to it with your existence.
This is a question I ask myself often. At different junctures of my life it has meant different things. There have been times when the answer resulted in big life changing decisions like job changes, enrollment in a program, a journey with a teacher, ending of relationships, or big risks of time and resources. Other times and ,more often it happened this way, it was the whispers to my soul. The empowered yes or no to an invitation, witnessing my magic and mystery , the readiness to look inside with curiosity, compassion, and courage. Or not feeling "ready" but doing it anyway because I know it was time.
In action, this has looked like the work I have dedicated myself to. One of my closest friends in the world summed it up perfectly, you are a Life cycle support. I want to be with people when they come into the world and watch the moment a person becomes a parent; to unite beloveds in matrimony; to offer energy healing at moments of crossroads, illness, and transitions; to share what I know with the next generation of students; to hold ceremony when the moon cycle calls for it; to perform ritual when the occasion requires it; to gather ingredients and make medicine; to hold sacred space and presence for those who are dying and those they leave behind; and to sing the songs, share the food, and say the prayers that connect us to All of Our Relations.
May the thing that inspires you reveal itself to you, may it sustain you, may you have infinite time and resources to do it beautifully. This is my prayer for all of us.
I have the privilege ,not without sacrifices, to do this work of being a Medicine Woman. I would not change a thing. Well....maybe I can play with my title. How does Life Cycle Support Technician/Engineer sound to you? Blessings to every corner of your life.
I have had the privilege of walking with people on their healing path for over a decade now. One of the most frequent inquiries revolves around what to do when you feel the weight of negative energy in your body, relationship, and physical spaces. This sometimes includes conversations about the use of plant allies like sage, palo santo, sweetgrass; resins like copal, frankincense, myrrh; or the myriad of mineral allies like stones, quartz, and crystals.
What I want to emphasize is that we are all interconnected and carry our own healing medicine. When inviting these allies into our life to bring balance, health, and healing, what are the accompanying things that we are doing to bring the changes we want? How can we hold compassion and radical self-love when we are in a space that feels heavy?
My invitation to you is to remember that you are magic and these are allies to aid, but cannot magically make suffering disappear. You can smudge your home and self everyday, fill an altar with all of the stones and deities, but they cannot do their job if we are not willing to examine and make changes in the behaviors, beliefs, and relationships that bring suffering. Our plant and mineral allies work WITH us in relationship. The magic, the medicine, and the healing lives inside of you. Hold that smudge stick and healing stone knowing their medicine is activated with your magic and loving heart. Blessings to every corner of your life.
First installment we talked about sitting with the space we are creating, Second we accepted the invitation to slowly sift through the "what was that" and the "why am I still feeling..." with compassion and patience. How did that work out for you? I ask with no hint of sarcasm and the loving presence of a comrade who has also been going through the purge in solidarity.
This Eclipsing and Retrograding cycle among many things so far, has gifted me with the unlovable, vulnerable, scared parts of me to come to the surface. (FYI: Astrological portals opening don't give an eff that you aren't ready or thought you worked that issue out in 2012) but I have also found treasures. I have experienced reminders that this path I am on was written in the stars. I accessed reminders of my strength, humanity, and capacity to love.
It has made me think about what loving me as I descended into the underworld has been like? My usual super chill about life demeanor was accompanied by an unrecognizable creature: cranky, emotionally raw, and a little reactive. She was a stranger to myself and others (not that this is a "bad" part of me, but clearly a part that needs more attention). Those folks close to me who rely on me to anchor them when they are experiencing turbulence freaked out a little. Those who I wanted to love and comfort me were out of communication range because they are on their own soul pilgrimage and it broke my heart.
What has liberated me and brought me back to myself was love. In reality, no one had done anything to hurt me. Did I want to be seen, understood, held, and loved better? Emphatically yes and am not giving up on that need. However, loving and tending my tenderness because I had no other choice, helped me have a breakthrough in transforming a story that needed to be released. This experience brought me back home to me where I can, with clear eyes and loving heart, not take things personally and see the lesson and the gift. Well for now, because let's keep it real and in the moment.
Love has also allowed me to see what suffering looks like in my family and their own personal journeys of grief, transitions, and uncertainty...with more compassion. Love reminded me that healing requires time, space, radical trust, and not getting attached to an outcome. It showed me that spirit will align things in divine order as long as we keep doing our inner work. When we are exhausted and lose our way and are all set with the inner work, love will love us anyway.
May we recognize Love and allow it in, may we share it abundantly in the places that need it, may we embody it in all that we do. May Love set us free.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself cuz (insert your truth)
~writing that email and sending it while I'm crying...
~shopping while I'm lonely
~social media trolling and not doing my work
~smiling and pretending I'm not grieving
~saying yes to things I don't want to do
~eating out of boredom
~beating myself up (still) for a decision/conversation/relationship from 5 years ago
~blaming my ex/parents/children/job/errbody for all of your suffering
~contorting yourself to the point of not recognizing yourself
~lying through your teeth in order to be "nice" or keep the "peace"
....is bad for my health.
Thank you Ice Cube for that wisdom and inspiration today.
Yesterday we talked about sitting with the empty space that is created and what is revealed when we shift things around. To observe inside of yourself what it feels like when you are letting go of something...or even what it feels like in your body the moment you decide to make that change. Sometimes it is the big things like a move, a relationship entering or leaving your life, a job change, a healing, parenthood, or a death. Sometimes it's having the courage to say I have a dream I want to work on it and say it out loud and be witnessed.
Other times it happens moving the furniture in your room and finding a corner full of dust, that missing shoe, a picture strip of you and your ex that ripped your heart out, and a favorite book you thought you lost. Sifting through the dust that accumulated because of that deep sadness that sucked out all of your energy and motivation to do more than the minimum, that shoe that was flung off after an incredible night of dancing with all of your soul, that ex who was such a wonderful teacher and reminded you that Only You can set your value and worth...so your fly self could no longer tolerate the whackness and you moved on, and that book that always shows up right on time to give you the perfect word swaddle your heart needs because books do that.
Beloveds, don't rush it. Let the Retrograde slow you enough to notice the details and learn the lessons before moving forth...so you can move forth lighter, brighter, clearer, and stronger. You got this!
As you are in reflection and assessment during this period of eclipsing and retrograding, you are invited to purge and eliminate things that aren't in alignment with what you want. To slow down and notice the details. You are making space in your life for the shower of blessings after sometimes showers of tears, and it can feel lonely. Sometimes the cleanse in your space, be it your physical space or change in relationships, leaves a void. A ginormous, cavernous void that echoes and feels cold. This is normal. It can also make you feel light and have beams of sunlight blasting out of your heart chakra and flying on moonbeams of possibilities. This is normal. Sometimes both in the same day...normal too. Don't be in a hurry to fill it. If you move to fill those spaces in your life too quickly we might accidentally fill it with a thing that fits that spot/role/relationship, when if fact we need time to explore, to be with our tenderness, grief, ambivalence, freedom, and get clarity before making moves. Give yourself that gift, every inch of your life is sacred.
Tomorrow I celebrate 11 years as a practitioner. 11 years of witnessing people's suffering, heartbreak, dreams, transitions, miracles, losses, life, creation, and death. I have looked in people's eyes while they share their stories with their words and the things unsaid. Each interaction is a gift. When I began this Reiki journey, I was initially drawn to it because you can touch people without touching them. At the time, I was working with women who had long histories of trauma where they were touched in ways that hurt them through years of physical and sexual abuse.
What I learned was that this would also be helpful to people who were getting cancer treatment. Some of the side effects of radiation is that your skin hurts. This I learned because my grandmother in Puerto Rico had breast cancer that came back very aggressively. I traveled to see her for what I knew would be the last time. She talked about not being able to rest or relax because everything that touched her skin hurt. I remember the feeling of powerlessness of seeing someone you love so much in pain but wanting to do something.
At that point I was early in my Reiki practice and only had shared it with friends and family for things like headaches, backaches, stress, nothing this serious. Here I was experiencing the declining life force and deep suffering of someone I loved who I knew was dying. I had to connect with the part of myself whose purpose was to bring comfort and trust Spirit to work through me. This was when the miracle happened. I began to give her Reiki and felt the energetic shift of her body relaxing. As I worked on her with my eyes closed, I heard her breath deepen and soften. I opened my eyes and noticed that she had fallen asleep. She and my family would talk about her not being able to relax enough to really sleep. I watched her breathe. I watched this beautiful woman whose petite body had birthed 5 children and loved many more. Who had the cutest raspiest voice and laugh. Whose strength and spiritual fortitude survived tragedies but still taught hope. She slept for a little over 40 minutes. I remember her waking up almost surprised that she fell asleep and said she hadn't felt relaxed in such a long time. We held our gaze as she expressed her gratitude for the experience as tears rolled down her cheek, I cried with her.
Her suffering became a teacher for many lessons. Among them, was the power of energy healing. We now have scientific evidence, testimonials, and hospital departments that "prove" Reiki and other types of energy healing is an effective complementary therapy to cancer treatment. Over the many years after my grandmother passed I have walked with many on their cancer journeys. To celebrate its remission, to accompany them through treatment, or to bring comfort at the end of life. But it was my maternal Abuela who showed me the first miracle of proof and possibility of this work. I will forever be grateful and she will always live in power through me as a carrier of her bloodline and in spirit as my ancestor.
Happy New Moon
So much has happened since my last post and it has been a testament to what it means and what happens when you create sacred space in your life. Since I last posted I have transitioned to becoming a full time practitioner, began working with more medicine people, became ordained, started a training to expand my knowledge in supporting coming of age girls, and enrolled in a Birth and Bereavement Doula training. I have really invited spirit to guide my life and to trust that the universe will provide. Thank you to all of the angels (on the earth side and in the spirit realm), ancestors, and spirit guides that continue to support this choice. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and learning about the ways You create sacred space in your life. So plant those seeds party people to be blessed by the nourishment of Grandmother Moon tonight. Until soon... AsheAmenNamaste <3
As I just celebrated my birthday and the Fall Equinox I feel so blessed to have finally completed my website to share this dream of mine with whoever wants to receive it. I have had those dream seeds in my pocket for some time now, and am planting them in some ridicoulously fertile soil.
I want to say yay to my Divine Self for showing up to make this happen and share the wealth. Bring on the blessings universe!
So what blessings are you manifesting?