Hippy-Dippy and Freaky-Deaky

I’m not a hippy – or at least, I don’t think I am. I don’t make my own clothing, nor do I wear anything hemp. I don’t smoke pot (or cigarettes, anymore!). I haven’t been to a JAM BAND show in AGES. And yet, Wednesday night, I went THERE.

Ok, by THERE I don’t mean that I was in a drum circle wearing tie-die and dreads and hemp and smoking the reefer…..instead, I just stepped outside my comfort zone and got a little more educated in the finer arts of energy healing and Reiki and unblocking chakras……sounds pretty hippy-dippy, right?

So, for those of you who are not so in-tune with your inner hippy-child, or don’t frequent yoga studios or other such establishments, you might be wondering, what the hell is reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. (for more information go here)

It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.  When Ash tested me to see what “stone” I was, I was a little skeptical. I love things like this – and, yes, I can communicate with the dead (we can discuss that later) – but there was something that was just too out there for me to get.

She had me lie down on my back, put a lavender eye-pillow (that she made for me! you can see those here) over my eyes and then she began. At first, I felt this strange tingle and I thought “CRAP! HOW ARE MY LEGS AND ARMS ALREADY going NUMB?!” and then, after shaking them out as innocuously as I could, I realized……that’s not numbness….that’s ENERGY.

ENERGY WAS LITTERALLY MOVING UP AND OUT OF MY BODY – IT WAS BEING CALLED TO THE SURFACE OR SHE WAS DIGGING DEEP….BUT WHATEVER IT WAS, I FELT IT….I FELT IT GOOD!

Ok, so why did I do this? Well, as I’ve told y’all before – we’re trying to make a baby. I want to be a mommy. And Ash thought that maybe I had some blockages in my chakras….presumably the one that has most to do with reproduction.

Good news: 5 of my chakras are open. Not so good news: 2 are blocked. And when I say blocked, I mean, BLOCKED.

As Ash moved up from the Root Chakra (that’s the bottom….duh!), she would have me visualize colors or “light” – and, once we got to the Third (Solar Plexus) and Fourth (Heart) chakras – it was like we hit a brick wall. I couldn’t see the colors she wanted me to see (yellow and then green) to save my life. I had no problem with the blue that came next (Fifth / throat) and I know I can see red – the two bottom chakras. So, what the hell does this mean?

We were surprised I guess you could say – because the chakra that most easily correlates with reproduction is the spleen (or the Second chakra).  And yet, my issues were with self-confidence, personal power and relationships (well, maybe that’s got some merit). She asked me what (and not to answer out loud) my deepest fear is? And identified that once I could claim it and release it, I could unblock that part of me.

I mean, talk about COOL! Right? So, here’s what makes this cool:

  • Energy is awesome: Within our physical being, we have the potential for so much. Our bodies are their own ecosystem and energy, while intangible, is dominant
  • It’s not a cure for things but it is tool – I mean, you aren’t going to CURE cancer by giving someone a reiki treatment, but perhaps you assist them to allow the other cures to work? Or maybe, it’s just a peace of mind thing? Either way, why not?!?
  • If you are into self-reflection and sense of self, its absolutely mind-blowing
  • It’s not permanent – just like massage or psychological therapy, this too is a process; it’s an evolution
  • Most importantly, because I said so….plain and simple. IT’S AWESOME BECAUSE IT JUST IS!

Ok, so now you want to know how to get your hands on some awesome? While I wouldn’t normally become a drug pusher (yes, I think reiki could be considered a drug – a drug of AWESOME….), but I do want to get y’all introduced to my healer – in the event you want to give this thing a go. She lives here in Charlotte – and teaches with me at Y2. She’s creative as all get-out and sweet as pie. From her own lips, “people think I’m flighty because…well, I give that impression…but I’m not. I am NOT” – and she isn’t. She’s organized and methodical and punctual and responsible and overall AMAZING.

The incredible Ashley Avilez – isn’t she just so cute?!

I found a test you can take about Chakras and thought it was pretty cool. Click here for it.

Please feel free to ping me with questions or thoughts. I have no idea if this has helped me, but I can tell you that I’ll be going back for a second session – and probably a third. I just find it fascinating and, if it helps us to bring a baby into this world, that’s an added bonus!

from my 5th chakra (throat – communication, etc) to yours…..Nama!

P.S. – also started reading again….I’ll deliver a book review soon 🙂

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Labor Day, The DNC and other Shennanigans

Another week and, still, no new books to report on – sorry. I just haven’t been feeling like myself and I hope that y’all will forgive me.

the view from across our personal pond at the house we rented.

we even had a bridge and could feed the fish!

David, Jay and the Girls playing around at Biltmore

We were in the mountains for the holiday weekend with the entire Weiss clan. Yes, all of my inlaws (not David’s mom, but all the rest), to celebrate my FIL’s birthday (tomorrow), my nephew’s birthday (the 18th), my niece’s birthday (last Tuesday) and my own (last Tuesday). Oh, and Labor Day too! We rented a house in Hendersonville and had a great time. We hit up the apple festival and the Biltmore and LAAFF; we took family photos (hoping to post some soon) and ate a TON. Like, as in, I feel like a hippo today TON.

The ONLY tractor I’ll ever ride…..

And, when it all ended yesterday, we came home to a whole different kind of circus – the DNC is here in Charlotte. While my office is open from 10-3, it’s as quiet as Church on a Tuesday at 11 p.m. I mean, its EMPTY here.

People along North Tryon Street for CarolinaFest 2012, Monday September 3, 2012. The free family-friendly Labor Day Celebration serves as the kick-off to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It features interactive expositions, family oriented-activities, live music, speakers and lots of food. DAVIE HINSHAW, dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/03/3500743/thousands-gather-for-carolinafest.html?spill=1#storylink=cpy

Most companies re-routed their employees to work in other locations – so our parking lot was EMPTY and the commute wasn’t SOOOOOOO bad. It did take me twice as long as normal and my car was one of only 3 in my line of cars that didn’t get searched. On the other hand, while this is a bit of a nuisance, it’s a great spotlight on our new home and I hope that it brings business and opportunity with it.

And, in other news:

I almost started crying when teaching yesterday. I decided to last-minute substitute my friend Melissa’s class on Monday night. Immediately prior to teaching, however, I had a really hard conversation about my own fertility (or lack thereof, so it seems) with my mom. I was bawling and had to pull myself together in order to teach. So, when it came time to talk to the class – somehow depositing some nugget of love, inspiration or encouragement, I started to cry. I talked to them about just letting thigns happen and trusting that they will. It was, in-part, my own attempt at telling myself that same message. The impetus: My mom thinks we are trying to hard – and maybe we are. But as a control freak, the fact that I cannot control how my body responds to our efforts to make a baby is PISSING ME OFF. No, really, it is pissing me off fierce.

And so, we carry on. Don’t get me wrong, trying is fun. But honestly, I’m sure we can have fun once the baby is made, too…….

My doctor at Charlotte OB is the BEST and I am glad to have him on my side – but even he thinks its time we up the ante and get “serious” as he puts it about having a baby. He’s not a “wait and see” kind of guy, which is probably why I adore him so much! He wants me to  go back for round three of the chlomid this week with a follicle scan and a blood test, while he gets me in to see one of two doctors at REACH.  I have two referrals from friends, so hopefully, between all of this and trying not to stress (huh? what’s that?!), the universe will open up and let me conceive.  Oh, and a friend is going to open my chakras – though i’m still not sure what that means (and yes, I am a yoga teacher who doesn’t get the whole Chakra thing, YET).

And, this is all I hope to share with you until there is good news – after all, this is NOT a TTC blog. (I don’t even like the term TTC….it sounds so…well…..i just don’t like it.).

So, if this helps any of you to understand why my head is NOT in books right now, I hope that you’ll forgive me. I know I’ll get back to them – and I will start tonight, so that I don’t leave you disappointed……

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Summer Doldrums

In the famous (or not) words of Fiona Appel, “I’ve been a bad bad girl…..” I’ve just been so lax on just about everything that doesn’t concern babies, yoga and my family. I really have. I haven’t been to the gym (Yoga is at the studio, not the gym) in weeks; I finally went for a walk with Jessie yesterday – and it was the first in a while. David and I had a date on Saturday night – which we hadn’t done in almost a month? Maybe more? Oh, and I haven’t read a PAGE – not ONE – in like 3 weeks? Since I put down the Jennifer Weiner book; yeah, that’s about right.

Not sure what’s going on, but I think it has to do with the end of summer, nearing of my birthday, the DNC’s approach and the chaos that will ensue, and some other stuff that I’m working thru right now. I hope it ends after a weekend in the mountains.

Yep, we head out to Hendersonville on Wednesday to celebrate my birthday, my (David’s) nieces birthday (we share a day), my (David’s) nephew’s birthday that was 2 weeks ago and my FIL’s 70th. We are taking family photos, which I’m stoked about – and my friend Courtney is doing the honors! We are going to just chillax – which is long-overdue in the Weiss household.

Speaking of my household, Gabby gave us quite scare on Saturday night. For those who might not know (not sure if I told you or not), Gabby is VERY VERY OLD. Like as in, she’s defied average life span OLD; as in she’s rotting from the inside out OLD.

Well, part of getting older is losing her vision and hearing. And, sometimes, her mind. David brought her upstairs for bed the other night and while he and I were brushing our teeth, she decided to take a walk. Not sure to where, or more importantly WHY –  but for some reason, she decided to linger near the stairs.

Next thing we know, “dunk-dunk-dunk-dunk-dunk [pause] dunk-dunk-dunk-dunk-dunk”….

Yes, ladies and gents, Gabby tumbled from the top of the stairs all the way to the bottom.  Running after her, we checked her out and, miraculously, she is fine. She was embarrassed……and it’s no fun when an old dog gets embarrassed. It’s even less fun to think that we now have to watch her ever more closely.

Here’s to hoping our dog sitter has no trouble with her this week!

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Dear Jennifer Weiner…please be my friend (Book Review)

Dear Jennifer Weiner:

I love you. I love your books. I saw you on WWHL with Andy Cohen and….yep…LOVE. YOU.

I have read every one of your books. I know they aren’t rocket-science, but even for this picky reader, they never disappoint. And, lovely friend, The Next Best Thing was definitely your next best thing.

source: amazon.com

Ruth, our heroine, is easy to love. The story you create for her is both common and unique. She’s the kind of girl – like I imagine you to be, Jen (can I call you Jen?) – that you just want to befriend. She’s slightly broken and incredibly strong-willed, muddled with self-doubt, but not self-loathing and, above all else, smart, funny and kind.

In this latest of your fun, beach-tacular reads, you uncover the “sexiness” (yeah, right) of the television industry. And you don’t mince words. You discuss, without discussing, all that is wrong with our world today – the false pretence, the inauthenticity, the over-inflated egos and kill-your-own-mother-for-the-money rat race that is clearly defined as Hollywood.

But you know what I love most? The male characters you introduced this time around. They aren’t PERFECT…but they aren’t the guys you hate, either. Dave is the kind of guy you MARRY……and I want to be his friend as much as I want to be yours (yes, I know he’s fictional and you are famous, but whatever….)

So, Jen, what’s next? I feel like I know you (I don’t) and I want to know more. Please….can we just be friends?

Love,

your loyal reader: Litterachi

Rachael’s Grades

Writing:  A

Character Development: A+ (duh)

Plot: A

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The Journey Continues | Book Review: Zion Covenant – Books 3 and 4: Munich Signature and Jerusalem Interlude, by Brock and Bodie Thoene

As promised, I’m making my way through this 10 book series – albeit slowly – and I’m finding myself both riveted and unable to read. I think I’m at that point in the summer where, unless I’m sitting by a pool, I just can’t pick up a book. It happens.

Again, the books take you thru the trials and tribulations of a series of characters and families – both “real” and “created”, all of whom are fictional – during Hitler’s rise to power. Both of these two books begin by introducing us to Leah’s daughter and her somewhat unlikely love interest.  And while their story evolves – and further intertwines the characters we’ve come to know and either love or love to hate, we learn more and more about history by following Elisa and Murph, Leah and Shimon and Anna and Theo.

What I found most riveting in these next two books, is that Hitler’s rise to power was – in fact – brilliant. His manipulation of the people was tremendous (a fact I knew), and his fear was overpowering. Even those men within the “movement” who may have disagreed, the fear was too great. I also found it interesting that these books prove that, amidst the destruction, love can and does blossom. Life begins anew in the strength and makings of those who belive it possible.  These are love stories amidst one of the greatest stories of HATE this world has ever known.

In similar style to the first two, the prose is beautiful, the story lines are riveting and the characters are well developed.  Munich Signature takes you through what happened as Hitler’s power spreads within Europe; it goes into detail about Shimon Feldstein’s escape from a “working factory” and his journey on board a ship destined for death. It give you a glimpse into the thoughts and determination of those who found their way back to life.

Jerusalem Interlude, however, introduces a whole new concept into this series:  Hitler’s influence over the Middle East. Did you know that his power even extended to the Middle East? I didn’t! I had no clue that some of the hatred we probably still experience between the Islamic Fundamentalists and the Israeli Jews was begat from Hitler’s mastery of propaganda.

As I’ve told you before, I often start to get “bored” or find it challenging to read when a series extends beyond 3 books…… So, I am going to take a break from the series … maybe read a couple different books before resuming. I will, however, finish this series and give you details as I do.

Happy reading!

Rachael’s Grade:

Writing:                                         A

Character Development:           A

Plot:                                                A

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Chapter 33: While we are on the subject of Hamlet

Ok, so I don’t know if we’ve ever been on this subject, but who cares!?

I need to rant a second – do you know anyone who likes to claim they are a good “_____________” fill in the blank with whatever religion they happen to be, but – when you drill down, they are no better than anyone else and probably breaking every commandment possible?

No? Oh, then let me tell you about someone I know that really – especially as of late – is just irking me to death. (note, I do not proclaim to be a good [fill in this blank].)

Said person likes to claim (s)he is a good Christian (for a step-by-step guide to what this means….yes, I looked it up…click here). And still, (s)he is none of the things on this list. (S)he is nasty, mean-spirited, condescending, snyde, arrogant and just plain unpleasant. (S)he sits in judgement of others and not of self and, while I can’t be sure, would wager on a lack of prayer when at church….. it’s probably more like “spouse hunting international.”

BUUUUT (s)he goes to church though, so that makes it better right?

I guess my point is – and this is NOT about religion, so much as it is about what I call “The Hamlet Syndrome.” (not familiar with Macbeth…read here. Maybe I should have too….since I directed you to the wrong story!)

You know what I mean, right? “The Lady Doth Protest to Much” and shit…..

If you have to spend your time telling people who you are and what you stand for, you are probably not being who you claim and standing for anything. Actions speak so much louder than the words we speak. So, if you want to claim to be a good anything, the first step is BE GOOD.

No, really…..just be good. Be kind. Be empathetic. Be generous. Be human.

If you have time, while you are doing or after you are done being GOOD, to go to your preferred house of worship or the gym or work or whatever you do with your time, AWESOME. If not, maybe take a step back and work on the first part – be good.

What’s amazing to me is how much I try to be good and, at times, I may fail. The difference being, that I don’t claim to be “good.” I like to think I effort towards being kind and generous, but I know I slip up. I have been known to talk about someone unkindly……more than I admit, I do it.

I also know that I try to have compassion and empathy. I try to be generous. I try to be nice and GOOD. I use the word “try” not AM because we are fluid and changing people. We grow and, hopefully, learn thru every experience.

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Chapter 32: Doing it Double-style and failing = HUMBLED

Ok, get your minds out of the gutter. We’re trying to make a baby, not catch an STD……Yesterday was a long day. (I did go home for “lunch” though….so you can giggle if you want……short window and time is of the essence people).

So, why was it long? Well, let me ‘splain somethin’ to ya…..I just really started down the hot yoga path to hell enlightenment when I was forced into doing so by my wonderfully amazing teacher, Tanner. Yes, I just called T wonderfully amazing…..because, while possibly misunderstood, he is FRIGGIN AMAZING. Yep….amazing.

So, on the path to hot yoga hell enlightenment, I stared with one 60-minute inferno class and usually ended up sitting in child’s pose for most of it. Gradually, or Johnna and T would say “slowly, slowly” I graduated to actually participating. And, eventually, I was able to rock a class with minimal disruption.

Throughout teacher training, I started hitting the 75 minute classes and then the 90s. I hit up Superflow – which I love, btw – and yesterday….I did the unthinkable….or at least for me.

I DID A DOUBLE. Not just any double, either – I did Mitch Mitch’s 75-minute Hot Vin Fast and then…..because I hate love myself, I went for the 60 minute Hot Vin Fast that Tanner taught immediately following.

And here, my friends, is where I made a mistake.

So, the class was unbelievably fully. Typically, there’s what…..35? 37? People….especially with only one studio to work within (there was Saima’s LSD going on in the other room) Yesterday, we topped out at mat-to-mat-to-wall-to-wall at 44. It was so full, T had to turn some folks away. Yup….he’s that amazing. Right? Yeah, so the typically hotter’n’hell room was even hotter – and full of CO2……

Half way thru warm-ups, I couldn’t breath, I was dizzy and felt nauseous. So, I tried to innocuously grab up my mat and boogie on out. And then…..

“HELL NO RACHAEL…..YOU ARE NOT LEAVING NOW?! AFTER 4 PEOPLE WERE TURNED AWAY (insert laughter and chuckles from the room) EVEN IF YOU JUST SIT THERE. YOU. ARE. STAYING”

Ok, maybe he wasn’t so much yelling as talking loud enough to either a) embarrass the hell out of me or b) guilt the hell out of me. He SUCCEEDED AT BOTH. So I stayed. And finished. And wanted to die but didn’t die.

The point of this little story:

Teachers are those who inspire you to do the things you cannot do; to push yourself, whether by guilt, embarrassment or just by encouraging. Teachers, true teachers – are your friends – they want what’s best for you. And the only way to get there is to actually go for it.

So, be grateful for the teachers in your life – even if for the short-term, you want to jab their eyes out and claw at their faces……

Thank you, Tanner, for being such an awesome teacher. And thanks to the class for laughing and snickering…..I needed that dose of humility. As for SOME of the other teachers who enlighten me daily to being my best self:

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