It's funny the things that appear out of nowhere
when you weren't even looking for them, only to discover it was exactly what you were looking for, like the sunshine on a rainy day or a new friend. Such was the case this past March. A sudden opportunity arose in a kaleidoscope of key events, which resulted in being able to co-rent an office in downtown Ketchikan for my longtime dream of hanging a shingle as a healing-arts practitioner. Many sweet things occurred during this transition time and continue to. The former office occupants were also wellness practitioners, one of which is a student of my teacher. During a fortuitous spring break when my teacher was in town, I decided to book an energy-work session with his other student for the first time. It was during this session that I realized how far away the last two years had taken me away from this work because of it not being supported by an important person in my life at the time. Receiving the energy work was like returning home, full of purpose and joy once again as I realized this is where the emotional gold is, this is how I want to connect with people once again.
Three years ago, for a year, I ran a chi-gong workshop at the Ketchikan Library on Thursday nights and worked with a few clients online and out of a room in my home that had a separate entrance. I have been informally studying with two chi-gong masters back in Michigan for four years now. I am also a practitioner of Soto Zen Buddhism zazen (sitting meditation) seriously for about 11 years or more, having practiced at The Aurora Dharma Temple in Marquette, Michigan while in graduate school. I also got the chance to travel with my teachers to a three-day retreat at their teacher's Ryumonji Zen Monastery in Iowa. Since the fall of 2011, I have been teaching sitting meditation at the University of Alaska Southeast here in Ketchikan as a tenured humanities professor. Before graduate school, I explored guided meditation techniques with a doctor of hypnotherapy who led me on many past-life regressions. While in graduate school, I worked with a life-coach who opened up the world of guided meditations into future-self progressions. Both of these profound arenas taught me the value of what I could bring back to better understand my present life in order to work with my current challenges at the time.
All of these experiences over decades of exploring psychotherapy, meditation and Zen Buddhism, life coaching, and chi-gong, and earning a bachelor's degree in psychology, has found me self-actualizing as my own life-coach, spiritual guide, and energy worker now. Along the way, I've become a Universal Life Church minister as well and will be conducting my first wedding this summer! I'm excited to begin this next chapter because there is nothing more healing than working with others in becoming whole and well again as we all continue to work with our human flaws and what might be difficult to accept or let go. Healing isn't always about fixing things, but is often about how we can shift our perception, our approach to, or our relationship with the reality of our circumstances. It is when we can get beyond the "good" and "bad" part of our judgment that we can begin to see the nature of our being. But don't I know how much of a struggle that is. And so I would like to end with one of my favorite quotes that is always present in the Inside Dharma, "The Buddhist Newsletter Serving the Inmate and Ex-Offender Sanga": "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together" (Lilla Watson, Aboriginal activist).