Self Care: Vacations

I have had more time off work these last few weeks than I have had since I started my healing practice. Not only have I had time off, but that time off has been away from home and away from my regular routines and responsibilities. First I was in England and Wales for my mother-in-law’s funeral. Shortly after that I left on a week’s vacation that was scheduled months in advance.

During both trips I did not have cell phone reception or a computer. I had known I needed a vacation, but I had no idea how transformative stepping out of my routine — mentally and physically — would be.

I love my work. I realize, though, the best thing I have ever done for my healing business was to get away from it. I still feel relaxed, energized and excited to be back at work.

Vacations will definitely become a regular and essential part of my self-care routine.

Treasures From My Vacation

Jeri Lawson is a Healing Touch Practitioner and Clarity Breathworker in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California.


When Healers get Sick, then what?

The hardest and most difficult issue I have had to come to terms with in my healing practice is having to cancel clients when I am sick.

Having to cancel clients still brings up many personal issues and insecurities for me. I still have the unconscious belief that “Healers should not get sick.” I also hate letting people down. I hate not being able to show up. When I get sick I usually feel anger and then direct it at myself. Hard to admit, but true.

The only thing worse than being sick and not being able to show up for my sessions is showing up and getting my clients sick.

I wish I could write that with all my healing experience over the years I have overcome these nonproductive emotional responses. I wish I could say that when I get a cold I just calmly and logically notify my clients that I am contagious, and then rest all day. But I don’t, I still cycle through a harsh self-critique and then come to terms with calling my clients. I do move through the whole process pretty quickly now and the emotional charge is much less.

When I do get sick, I can also report that I always get to a place where I do take very good care of myself. I nurture my body and treat myself with compassion. This is a huge accomplishment in my personal book of “Jeri’s Lifetime Achievements”.

I am always learning.

Rock Spiral

Monthly Clarity Breathwork Circles

Mary Gaetjens
Mary Gaetjens

I have always loved breathing with other people. Right after I started doing private Breathwork sessions with Maggie Ostara, I also went regularly to her monthly Breathwork Circles. The energy of a group helped me to release on different levels than I processed in my private sessions.  When Maggie has moved to Sebastopol, I really missed her community Breathwork Circles.

So I decided to start my own Breathwork Circles in Emeryville with Mary Gaetjens. Mary and I had started trading breathwork sessions and after about six months we were so excited by our work together that holding Clarity Breathwork Circles just seemed like the next logical step.

We have been doing Breathwork Circles together for over a year now, and I am delighted at how much fun it is. I have to say I was a little nervous when Mary and I started out. Holding space for any kind of a group used to drain me, unlike my one-to-one work, which always energised me.

I found that holding a group space with Mary is extraordinary and fun. Mary is very psychic, although she thinks of herself as an empath.  I tend to be more grounded, although there have been circles when we have flipped roles and Mary was more grounded and I felt more connected to the higher frequencies. Holding such a large sacred space with someone else who is so intuitively gifted is a blast.

It’s amazing how every Circle is so different. Every Monday night each circle has it’s own special quality, weather, and phase of the moon. Every person that comes to breathe also brings their special essence with them and that is really what creates the special energy of each circle.

Sometimes everyone breathing seems to be in some kind of sync with each other and sometimes everyone is having a uniquely different experience. Some Breathwork Circles are more like a deep meditations and some are more about physical release.

We have been breathing in the same space since we started the Circles and I have noticed the space is already “set up” energetically when we get there. There have been times I have walked into our space the night of the Circle and the energy seems to lift me up, as if the invisible realms have already arrived. I really think that regular meditative work like breathwork, yoga and meditation gains a kind of energetic momentum that builds on itself when done in community at regular intervals.

If you want to try Clarity Breathwork our next circle is Monday, 3/5/12. Breathing is done lying on the floor so bring what ever you need to feel comfortable: blanket, mat, or pillows. We start the circle at 6:30, we are done by 9:30. Mary is doing a free yoga class before the Circle at 5:30. Call me at 510-601-9632 to make reservations. We keep the circle to 12 or less and we have been filling up fast so call as soon as you can.

It would be great to have you breathe with us!

Jeri Lawson is a Healing Touch Practitioner and Clarity Breathworker in the Temescal Area of Oakland, California.

A Healer In The Real World

When I first started doing energetic healing work I was worried that if I was not in perfect emotional, physical and energetic balance then I would not be able to do healing work that would have a positive effect for my clients.

I also remember thinking that if I, as the healer, needed a healing then all the energy would go to me, not the client.

I have been doing energetic healing for over ten years, and it’s just impossible for me to wake up every morning in perfect balance. Even though I am very committed to being a healer and taking good care of myself, I have a life, relationship issues, sick pets, and cycles of intense personal growth like everyone else.

How do I know if I am grounded and balanced enough to do a healing?

This is how: I ask myself, “Am I open, or closed, to the energy?”

Bam. My body gives me instant feedback. Yes or no, open or closed, just like that.

The most important thing for me is to show up in my healing sessions for my clients with an open mind and heart. Even if I was up all night taking care of my sick cat, if my body says yes, then I am ready to do a healing. I gave some of the most amazing healings I can remember when my 17-year-old cat was in kitty hospice. Even though I was grieving her transition, I was open to the energy for my clients. Maybe even more so.

After every healing, I still always check in with myself to make sure I feel better after the healing than before the healing. And I also check in with the client to make sure they received what they came for.

The truth is, I get a healing from every session I give. I am in the energy and a part of it. I am so lucky to be doing this work. There is so much energy available every moment. I have found the universe is abundant and supportive beyond our wildest dreams. All we have to do is connect and be open to it.

Self Care: Exercise and Rest

A Morning Walk Around Lake Merritt

Energy work is easier for me when my physical body is in balance: flexible, strong and energized. Exercise is a crucial factor in bringing my body to this balance, and key to my self care routine.

At this point in my life exercise is even more important to my wellness than meditation. There is a stereotype that healers don’t care about the physical world including their body, but that is not the case for me and many of my healer colleagues. Almost all my Clarity Breathwork and Healing Touch colleagues are very conscious of diet, exercise and taking care of themselves physically.

By writing about how important exercise is in my healing practice, I hope you might realize how beneficial exercise may be for you energetically, whether you have a healing practice or not.

Since half of my healing practice is massage I find my muscles feel better if I work out at least three times a week. My workout generally consists of at least 20 minutes of sweaty aerobics followed by stretching. I used to take yoga, but a morning class of downward dogs and arm balancing poses was just too much for my shoulders before a long day of massage. For a long time, Bikram yoga worked well for me because it worked up a good sweat, and there aren’t any arm balancing poses in the sequence.

I’m now in an early morning gym phase, where I can choose what exercise to do based on how my body feels that day. The Elliptical Fitness Cross-trainer is my current favorite. After 20 minutes my whole body feels warmed up and so much looser. Sometimes I swim with fins, using just my legs. I don’t need to work out my arms. I picked my current gym because of the excellent hot tub and sauna and I use both after every work out. I consider the hot tub and sauna an integral part of my exercise routine.

I have been doing essentially the same job for the last 15 years and periodically I just get restless and need a change of workout routine. So, I switch my workouts about every 6 months or so when my exercise feels dull. As I mentioned, I went through a Bikram Yoga period, changed my gym several times, walked around Lake Merritt for a few months, even bought a hula hoop.

Interestingly, I thought I would need less exercise when I started doing more healings and less massages in my practice, but I found the opposite is true. Exercise really clears my head, relaxes me and opens my chakras. I feel I need to exercise now more than ever. I realize now that the more healing work I do, the more I need the physical exercise.

In addition to exercise, getting a consistent amount of rest is really important to my wellness. I personally need to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Janet Mentgen, the founder of Healing Touch, was a very busy and productive woman who taught Healing Touch all over the world. She found her physical body required 8 hours of horizontal rest on a daily basis. She did not have to be asleep during these 8 hours, but lying down, which included healing sessions since Healing Touch is frequently done on a massage table. She was very disciplined about getting her horizontal rest and if she missed a few hours one day she made them up the next.

To find out more about Janet Mentgen’s self care advice check out an excerpt from Janet’s keynote address given at the Australian Holistic Nursing Conference in 1995 Path of Healership: The Importance of Self Care for the Healer. Click here and look under “General” to download the pdf. In it you will find also find Janet Mentgen’s 7 Principles of Self Care for Healers.

Janet’s quote below sums up the importance of self care for me:

“We cannot be a spark in someone else’s life if our spark has gone out”
Janet Mentgen RN, BSN, CHTP/I, HNC, Healing Touch Founder

Self Care: Scheduling

On the Beach
Beach Time

Taking good care of myself is the most important thing I can do to keep my healings effective and my sessions energized.

It’s so crucial for me to not over work. I enjoy my work so much it does not feel like I’m working, so it is important that I tune into my needs regularly.

To do this, I ask myself two basic questions every work day that let me know if I am taking care of myself (and therefore my clients).

In the morning, I look at my healing and massage sessions booked for the day and I ask myself, “Am I excited about my schedule? Am I looking forward to every session booked?” If not, my schedule needs to be adjusted.

At the end of the day, I ask myself, “How do I feel? Do I feel happy and satisfied or do I feel drained?” After my sessions I expect to still feel inspired. It’s OK to feel tired, but not drained.

If I do feel drained I immediately block out some time for whatever I need to feel restored. This could mean a weekend away, a day off, or a morning for meditation. It could mean scheduling a healing for myself with another practitioner, breakfast with a friend or time in my art studio.

Even though my life can get out of balance fairly quickly, tuning into my needs with these questions keeps me from burning out, losing my enthusiasm or getting sick. I’ve been using these questions for the last 15 years to keep my healing practice grounded, and I plan to keep  asking them for the next fifteen years.

A Healing Community

Here I am recieving a healing from HTP Julie Bergum.
Here I am receiving a healing from CHTP Julie Bergum in 2004.

Community is an essential factor in my success as a self-employed healer. As a Healing Touch Practitioner, I have a local community of active Practitioners to call on for my own self-care and to refer clients to when I am on vacation. I also belong to the Healing Touch Program (HTP),  an international association for professional development that supports me in growing my business and provides me with resources for learning to become an even more grounded, present, and effective healer.

Many years ago I realized how important community was as a self-employed business owner when I had a massage client who was a chef in a stressful, high-pressure restaurant. She worked long hours and professional cooking was very hard on her body. Being a chef is a very physical activity.

She finally quit that job and started her own catering company. She did very well right from the start, was always busy and could choose her clients and schedule. Yet in just under two years after she started working for herself she went back to full-time restaurant work. I couldn’t believe it. Why did she give up her successful business?

When I asked her, she told me she found working for herself to be too lonely.

I realized then how important my friends, family, colleagues, and community were to the success of my business and my overall sense of well-being.

So, as a self-employed healer, I belong to several healing communities. The Healing Touch Network of the East Bay/San Francisco is one of them. We meet quarterly on the first Monday of each month in Lafayette, California. Healing Touch Practitioners attend from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to share a potluck dinner and catch up on Healing Touch events in the area. There is also a talk or presentation on a related healing subject. We support each other on all levels: personal and professional.

I am always incredibly inspired by these meetings. I learn what other Healing Touch Practitioners are doing in their practice and which hospitals, clinics, and hospice facilities have Healing Touch available. This is valuable for my clients when they are interested in finding Healing Touch for themselves, friends and family who may be staying in local medical facilities.

As I mentioned above, I also belong to the national Healing Touch Program (HTP). HTP has a worldwide Healing Touch Conference every year that I am planning to attend next year. Every year I attend the Healing Touch regional conferences and this year we will be in Santa Barbara. The Healing Touch Program is a great resource for staying connected with the current healing trends and learning new skills. It’s also really a fun weekend.

HTP also has a free online periodical, Energy Magazine that I think is the most interesting and relevant energy periodicals published.

Another very important benefit to being connected to my healing community is that I am able to refer my clients. When I go away on vacation, or get a cold and can’t work with clients who have a compromised immune system, I can send them to another local Certified Healing Touch Practitioner in the San Francisco Bay Area and I know they will be in good hands. I can’t imagine the responsibility of feeling like I was the only person who could help someone feel better during a long round of chemotherapy.

I’m so grateful for my Healing Touch community. Without my community support, I know being a solitary healer would be stressful and lonely. I wouldn’t be able to truly help my clients in the best possible way.

Community helps me realize I’m not alone. Today there is a whole consciousness shift in the world and people are opening to the potentials of energetic healing that is inherently available to all of us. I’m very excited to be a part of this community and this awakening.

Breathwork Circles In Emeryville, California

A Space to Breathe

Breathing in a group is a wonderful way to experience Clarity Breathwork for the first time.

Mary Gaetjens and I hold monthly Clarity Breathwork Circles in Emeryville, California. Our last Breathwork Circle was last Monday, and even though it’s now Friday, I’m still feeling the deep connection and healing energy that the circle created.

Facilitating these circles with Mary is as profound and as powerful as breathing in the circle.  I am always amazed at the breakthroughs, insights and transformation that happen each month. Breathing in a group creates an energetic space that is incredibly supportive and consciousness changing. Breathing in a group is also a wonderful way to connect and be in community with other people who are committed to their personal growth.

In my Breath practice I regularly have private sessions that take me to profound states of higher consciousness and keep me emotionally, physically and mentally balanced in my daily life. Yet I have also found that breathing in a group gives me access to energies and supports me in ways I may never have experienced otherwise.

We invite you to check out our Circle! Our Clarity Breathwork Circles usually meet the first Monday of every month. The next Circles are scheduled for October 3rd, November 7th and December 5th. The circle starts at 6:30 pm and is over at 9:30 with plenty of time to integrate your experience after the Breathwork. The exchange for each circle is $35.00. Call Mary at 510-393-7671 or myself at 510-601-9632 for directions and to reserve a space.  We do limit the number of monthly participants to 12.

“Healing Yourself With Breath” A Guided Clarity Breathwork Session by Ashanna Solaris

A Guided Clarity Breathwork Session CDThe great thing about having a blog is sharing the ideas and practices that have made such a difference in my life. This guided meditation is one of those gifts.

I have listened to this CD hundreds of times. I still hear Ashanna say the perfect affirmation at the perfect time for the perfect breathe and, even though I know better, it feels like I never heard her say it before that moment. It’s an oracle breath session; I receive guidance and insights, as well as feel clear, centered and more focused afterwards.

This CD has also guided me to heal my physical body. I was hit by an SUV in a cross walk several years back. For months after I would feel my back “give out” in the middle of the day. To rebalance and energize my back, I’d put on this CD and breath for 15 minutes. I start with Track 4 for these shorter jumpstart sessions. Just 15 minutes of breathing helped me relax my muscles and rebalance my spine so that my body felt strong. Then I could work comfortably until the end of the day. It was quite remarkable.

Healing my own back injury made me realize that breathwork is a powerful modality for healing back and spine issues.

Click here to order Ashanna’s” Healing Yourself with Breath”. This CD also features the incredible harp music of Lisa Lynne. Click here for more of Lisa’s music and CDs.

I also have an article on the Clarity Breathwork website about how Clarity Breathwork and the CD “Healing Yourself with Breath” changed my life and healed my migraines.

Self Chakra Connection

Doing the chakra connection on yourself is a wonderful way to ground and center in the morning. It is also helpful to release the stress of the day and prepare you for sleep. At night you can visualize the hand positions and slowly breathe into each position as you make your way up the body.

I recommend that you hold each position one to three minutes or until you feel a “shift.” A shift may feel like a pulsing between your hands. If you are holding your foot, it can also feel like your foot “expands” or “fills up.” You may also experience a shift as the sudden impulse to change to the next position.

I many times feel energy as “warmth” or “fullness.” Energy and energetic shifts can feel quite different from one day to the next.

You may not feel anything at all and that is fine. The energy is still connecting in your body.

I suggest you set an intention for the highest good for yourself as you start the connection and stay as present as you can during the hand positions. Enjoy!