Be Open… or Not.

One of my classic B-isms: Not everything is for everybody.  Reiki is such a strong example of that.  It’s subjective.  It’s situational.  It’s suited for some, or from some and not for others, from others or between others.  Like a massage—what feels good for me might not be what you need.  Or choosing a meal from a menu—you and I probably don’t order the same thing(s).  And it’s all good.  You don’t have to like what I like.  I don’t have to find peace on the same path where you wade through yours.

I met with a first-time client this week.  When I tell you that animals pick up on and respond to our energies, this family could be the textbook case.  The matriarch of the family presented some specific questions and issues she wanted me to address with her companion animal.  Before I could explain to her that Animal Reiki doesn’t necessarily work that way (your animal is not filling out a questionnaire or being hooked up to a lie detector), she then changed all of her questions and purposes.  Her energy was like a bouncing rubber ball, pinging off of every surface, sometimes with grace and sometimes with force, trying to communicate what she thought we needed to attain from our time together… I wonder why your cat is an anxious little guy?!

I share this anecdote as a lesson: Be open.  Or not.  Reiki, like anything else, doesn’t suit every being or every situation.  But if you do want to try giving or receiving energy work in Reiki or in another capacity, please exhale and let it flow.  Energy work is not to be micro-managed (and this is coming from the queen of micro-management!).  There’s an openness, an exchange, a flow that needs to be accessible for the energy to work its magic.  It’s not for everyone.  There are some days that I, as a practitioner, am not in the best head-space to give or receive either.  Like I said before, it’s subjective.  But it’s damn powerful.  So don’t focus on feeling “ready” or looking for the right time, place, set and setting—just be open.  Be open to the magic, to the possibilities.

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Labels

As an intense, Type-A lunatic, you would think that I’d like labels.  But the truth is, I don’t.  I barely read them on tangible items, just a scan because, in true Denise-fashion, I know exactly what I’m looking for.  Although I have to say, even when I was a little girl, the toothpaste label bothered me—why do we have to call Poison Control if we ingest something that we’re supposed to put in our mouths?  Perplexing.  Glad I’ve found a better option…

As for things without printed labels, like people for instance, labeling feels so prohibitive.  If I call myself a vegan, can I look at a cannoli without your judgement?  If she’s a bitch, is there a moment when she’s acceptable in your world?  And days… does it have to be a good day or a bad day?  The pressure we put on ourselves for this party to be epic or this workshop to be a record-breaking success can really ruin the moment.  I’m all for setting substantial goals and crushing them.  I’m a manifest-er.  I make stuff happen beyond others’ wildest dreams (and also far from others’ dreams, but back off—they are my dreams!).  But enough with the labels… for me.  I’m just going to Be Here Now.

And come to think of it—rabbits get labeled too.  They get wrongfully labeled as good starter pets or easy to take care of.  Some breeds get labeled, often accurately.  My Lionhead thinks he’s a lion.  I have the bite mark on my thumb from yesterday to prove it.  Other breeds get mislabeled, like the Ruby-Eyed Whites (REWs), otherwise known as Big White Bunnies (BWBs).  Those literal labels aren’t wrong but the misconception that their eyes are “scary” is ridiculous!  Those eyes are gorgeous, precious and those REWs are the best pets ever.  They are like puppies without the outside walking.  They are playful and robust.  But wait… am I labeling?  Nah, I’ll label this describing.  Stereotyping actually, because there are some shy BWBs out there (yes, Chloe and Portia and Vanna White, I’m talking to you).

So I guess what I’m saying is, read the label.  And if it sits right with you, go with it.  But don’t be fooled by the label.  Go deeper than the label.  Make your own label.  Find people, places and things whose labels match your goals and purpose.  That’s how we reach some next level beauty.

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Harley

Sweet Sugar crossed over the Rainbow Bridge not long after his surgery and injury.  Needless to say, his family is gutted.  Over the course of working with Sugar’s transition, I’ve become rather close with Sugar’s momma.  Turns out, we have a ton of things in common beyond our bunny love.

This past Wednesday, I received an email about a domestic rabbit in great danger.  I have to leave out some big details to protect the innocent here.  But, in short, this rabbit was left to fend for him/herself in the road of a residential neighborhood for the last month or more.  A neighbor was told that the rabbit had “turned wild” and is “smart enough to stay out of traffic.”

Late Thursday night, the rabbit was brought to safety by a concerned (and brave) neighbor.  But now the scramble began on my part—who can foster this rabbit?!?!  I turned to our private Facebook group for adopters, volunteers and supporters of our cause on Friday morning.  I posted a brief version of this little one’s story and the only picture I had of him/her.  Just a few minutes after posting, I received a text message from Sugar’s mom, asking if she and Sugar’s dad could help by fostering this new rescue.  Compelled by all of the love and support they experienced in their time of need, they wanted to give back in the biggest way possible.

I sprang into action, full-on Metatron mode.  Finder brought the bunny to me (and a $50 donation… some people are just downright beautiful) as I readied a dose of Revolution, rugs, hay, and other supplies.  I loaded the bunny into my carrier and buckled him/her in, as he/she was digging up the blankets in the carrier, meant to keep the ride comfortable.  He/she settled down soon, as I told him/her all about his/her new destination and how he/she would never be in danger again.  Ever.

I arrived and Sugar’s mom had everything ready for her foster baby.  We popped him/her out of the carrier, administered the dose of Revolution (didn’t see one flea or anything on him/her!) and you can tell by my pronoun usage throughout this story that I wasn’t able to determine gender—bunny was just too stressed!  We will find out on Wednesday when Sugar’s mom takes foster bunny for a checkup.  Bunny has the markings of a Dutch rabbit and the coloring of a harlequin; fittingly, Sugar’s mom named him/her Harley.

Harley took to devouring hay, salad and pellets almost immediately.  I wish we got video of how he/she jumped all four paws into the water bowl in his/her crate.  Harley seems healthy thus far, amazing considering what this rabbit has been through.  Harley is definitely happy.  I was lucky enough to witness Harley’s first bunny-flop in his/her foster home—the ultimate sign of feeling safe and loved.

Sugar’s family: we could not have saved Harley without you.  You are truly special people.

Goodbye, dear friend.

Omitting names to veil the identities…

I became friends with J. during the summer of 2014.  Timing is everything, right?  A few years prior, when I was in search of an acupuncturist, L. gave me J.’s card… but I never called.  I don’t know why.  Then, in the summer of 2014, I started practicing yoga at the studio which was in the same building as L.’s massage/Reiki space.  There, I befriended D. and J.  Besides adoring them both in a professional capacity, D. a vivacious teacher of yoga and meditation and J. a skilled, attentive acupuncturist, we bonded in a sisterly way—my spiritual sisters.  J. is the one who also introduced me to Young Living, the oils that have at some times saved and at all times enhanced my life; D. and I are Reiki sisters, training under the same master.

Last summer, J. and her husband adopted two wonderful rabbits from the Long Island Rabbit Rescue.  They couldn’t have picked two more different rabbits.  Lilah, now Laila, is a diminutive white rabbit, tiniest ears I’ve ever stroked.  Rupert, now Rufus, is large in size and personality, brown in color.  They were to be bonded, but J. stopped bonding sessions early last fall.  I didn’t know why.  Sessions were going great.  Inconsequential now.  Rufus and Laila happily live side-by-side.  They are healthy.  They are gorgeous.

As fall and winter 2015 chugged along, contact with J. was sporadic.  I sensed she was “going through something” but when I asked, offered an ear, a shoulder, whatever, I was quickly shut down.  So I minded my business outwardly and inwardly created some stories as to what was going on.  Bottom line though, we hadn’t known each other long.  Maybe this was just her way.  I’m used to people floating in and out of my journey.  I’m used to be the connector, the initiator, so this wasn’t all that alarming to me.

When the calendars turned to 2016, the disconnect ramped up.  D. and I would joke: “Is she mad at you? Is she mad at me?  Who pissed J. off and now she’s not calling us back?”  I still had my acupuncture appointments.  We would still talk during the whole treatment.  Sometimes, J. would cry.  But again, she would not let on, not even a morsel, of what was up.  I had no choice but to shake it off.  It wasn’t about me.  And no matter what angle I tried, she wasn’t letting me in.  I respected that and minded my own business.  I did, however, squint when she wouldn’t take pre-payment for treatments anymore.  But, as we often do in our egos, assumed it was something I did—maybe she was hoping I’d stop making appointments?

On June 29th, I got a message that changed the game here.  M., who manages the space where J.’s office is housed reached out to me, asking if I’d heard from J.  She hadn’t been at work for the entire month.  Now I knew for sure the lack of communication wasn’t anything I or D. or anyone said/did/whatever.  Something was up.  I called D.  We hatched a plan.  After D. taught her class that evening, we would show up on J.’s front steps.  And we did.  My heart was pounding so profoundly as D. rang the bell—I imagined it bouncing out of my chest, cartoon-style.  J.’s husband answered the door.  I held my breath.  D. did all the talking—I think.  Moments of silence until we heard J.’s voice from inside the house say, “Let them in.”

Turns out, J. was battling a recurrence of a cancer that she had a few years prior, before I knew her, over this year of slipping away from us.  By the time she let us in, which I firmly believe she had no intention of doing until we ambushed her, the cancer was winning.  She couldn’t walk, sit up or smile.  She was embarrassed, angry, tired.  She shared some of her journey with us that evening, as D. and I sat on her kitchen floor (after I checked on the bunnies, of course.  They are both doing wonderfully.  J.’s husband is a saint, for her and for their animal-family members).  No one knew what was going on.  It wasn’t just D. and I shut out.

I firmly respect that choice.  I saw glimmers, as people started to find out what was going on, of the “You have to try…” or “You should be…” well-intentioned input from others that J. and her husband simply did not want.  And I don’t blame them!  These are two smart, well-researched, capable people.  They knew what they were doing and choosing at this point.  And sure, there are some who think it was “wrong” for J. not to tell even siblings of hers what was going on.  But I think she was right, as long as that’s what she wanted.

As the summer bounced on, I saw J. a few times.  I texted her every other day but rarely got a response.  On Thursday, my text read, “Would you like a visitor today?”  On Friday, J.’s husband responded and we decided I would come visit on Saturday, yesterday.  I spent a nice chunk of my day there.  It was as lovely as it could be.  We laughed.  It wasn’t all laughs though, but I’ll respect my ultra-private friend and keep those details to myself.  While we were on the couch, J.’s husband mentioned that the rabbits needed their nails cut.  My outstanding mentor and rescue director dropped everything she was doing and drove the 45 minutes there to give Rufus and Laila a little spa day, nails, grooming, snuggles.

I left, saying I love you and I’ll see you soon—all intentions to drop by Sunday or Monday.  An hour or so after I left, I got incredibly tired.  I attributed that to being drained from the day, an energy dump from an emotionally-trying afternoon.  Shortly after that, I got a phone call from M.  J. passed away.  Somewhere over the rainbow…

We shared dinners, lunches, yoga classes, Young Living meetings and knowledge, bunny stuff, acupuncture sessions… and above all this, love.  J. is a true trailblazer, an inspiration.  My lesson, one of my many treasured take-aways from our short, yet deep friendship: Follow your bliss.  If you aren’t happy at your job, in your relationship, in the chair you’re in, whatever, get up and change it.  Don’t wait.  Don’t “but what if…”  Don’t do what anyone else thinks you should do.  Do what makes you feel alive.  Do what makes your heart sing and your soul crave more of that thing.

I just love you J.