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Inner Light Wisdom

Date: 1/30/2017 8:30 PM PST

While meditating recently, a beautiful image of a steaming cup of tea came to me.  Breathing deeply into my lower hara center (the place 2-3 finger widths below the navel) I was contemplating the difference between self-worth and self-esteem.   We hear these terms used interchangeably in the world of self-development, but there is a different dynamic around each word.

The practice of Reiki works with three energy centers (the lower, middle and upper hara centers) and the yogic tradition works with seven main energy centers (Chakras 1-7). However, as our healing process and spiritual awakening begin, the lower energy centers (lower hara in Reiki and Chakras 1-3 in yoga) are emphasized.  Just as the tree can only grow as tall as its roots reach into the earth, our own awakening can only go as far as we are anchored into our connection with the earth and our personal power.  So much of our culture emphasizes what is happening in our external world that we often times forget to place value on how we feel about ourselves and our life experiences. Over time this conditioning leads to our personal power getting lost. It is no wonder that as people begin the self-awakening process, they lose interest (and patience) with tabloids and mainstream media.

In working with the Chakras, the lower three anchor us into our bodies so we can fully receive the blessings of life while simultaneously expending our energy to co-create with the universe. Chakra 1 which embodies the element of earth is where our personal energy rests, coiled at the bottom of the spine. Its Sanskrit name is Muladhara which means “root support”. It is where we house our energy and personal power, and own our self-worth. Just as a mountain stands tall and unmoved by what the elements do around it, when we fully own our self-worth, nothing can undermine how we value ourselves. As children, some people experienced their self-worth being worn down because of situations that stirred up fear for their safety. Children are vulnerable because of their need to rely on others to care for them and feel loved. When their sense of safety or feeling loved is threatened, a pattern of compromising their self-worth can develop. Fear is also an emotion associated with Chakra 1. In the system of Reiki, one of the first precepts we reflect on asks us to not worry or, in other words, not allow fear to have power over us. When we step onto a path of self-awakening and healing, the greater the experience of our whole and complete self, also referred to as the Higher Self, the more our self-worth can be expressed with ease in everyday life.

As I reflect on that image of the tea cup in my mind’s eye, I think of the cup itself representing Chakra 1. It is made of material from the earth, and it is the vessel that holds the tea. Chakra 1 holds the space for us to have and experience the blessings of life. The actual tea held within the cup represents the element of water embodied in Chakra 2. Chakra 2 or Svadhisthana, which means “sweetness”, is the energy center where we embrace the pleasures of life such as the indulgent aromas and tastes we find within a delicious cup of tea! Chakra 2 is where we begin to let go and relax into the present moment, taking in all that is good about life with a sense of appreciation. In the practice of Reiki, another precept we reflect on is a statement about gratitude and appreciation.

When we move up into Chakra 3, Manipura, we are connected with the element of fire, the spark of passion that inspires us to be seen in the world. Manipura means “sparkling jewel”. When we heat the water to make tea, we create steam. Chakra 3 is where our self-worth finds its outward expression in the form of self-esteem. It is the energy center where our power is expressed in a healthy way, neither relying on the acceptance of others nor needing to have power over others in order to keep its fires stoked. Without first anchoring self-worth into our being, self-esteem cannot be sustained. Our energy and power dissipate as quickly as they are attained. We are unable to set healthy boundaries, as we compromise our time, energy and money to please others, feel accepted or gain approval.  

The Japanese system of Reiki doesn’t work with the Chakras. However there are energetic and conceptual overlaps between the two systems. In Reiki we have the Joshin Kokyu ho which focuses the breath, and hence the mind, on the lower hara center in order to stay grounded and keep our inner fires stoked. Just as chakras 1-3 work in conjunction, Joshin Kokyu ho keeps us grounded and helps us sustain a balanced flow of energy in the physical, emotional and auric layers of the body.

While breathing deeply into my lower hara center and visualizing this beautiful cup of tea, I could feel the gentle flow of energy moving through each of the chakra centers. There was such a buoyant quality to it that I started laughing. I realized that in many ways, self-esteem is like the frosting on the cake. As our self-worth grows stronger and develops, the sweeter our own life experience becomes and the more inspired we become to share our joy and passion with world in meaningful ways.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 10/4/2016 9:49 AM PDT



While I was in San Francisco this summer, I spent an afternoon in one of my favorite places, the Japanese Tea Garden.  When I arrived, it was a mob scene because of a special free admission that day.  As a result, finding a quiet spot to meditate was a bit challenging.  However, as I took in the beauty while walking around, I instead found that quiet space within myself.  Eventually a bench on the outskirts of the garden, behind the gift shop, presented me the opportunity to meditate in solitude.  As I gently dropped my eyelids and focused inward, the expressions of nature resonated all around me.  While the wind rustled the leaves in the trees, the sun melted the cool presence of the fog, and the scent of the earth merged with the residual vapors in the air.  In this moment of observing these subtle interactions of nature, I contemplated how the wind can’t exist without moving the leaves and the leaves can’t exist without directing the wind.  The sun can’t help but evaporate the fog, and the damp earth’s aroma naturally infuses the atmosphere around it.
  
And so it is with our human journey that we cannot be in this world, taking up space, without effecting others.  In considering this, the question arose as to how one’s most true and authentic nature can effect change.  How can simply being in our truth without filtering it to please others, or without using that truth to judge others be a powerful way to create change?  To exist fully in our truth, to anchor it into our being without needing words to explain it, holds a great deal of power, and the second we begin to compare and contrast that inner truth with the world around us, it’s power begins to diminish.  It takes courage to be fully present and embody our highest truth, no matter how vulnerable it makes us feel, and yet when we are unwavering in the light of that truth, a deep and profound transformation takes place both within and all around us.  We begin to act and respond to the world from that place of truth with neither the need to justify it, nor the need to impose it on others.  Just as the wind can’t control how a leaf will succumb to its force, we cannot control the response of others to how we present our most authentic essence.  But when we present it from a place of compassion, we experience less resistance in life, and a greater certainty that being true to ourselves will lead us to our greatest state of happiness and inner peace.

Being in a compassionate state is not a result of empathy or taking on the suffering of others.  Authentic compassion comes from the non-dualistic mind, the inner part of us that understands our truth does not need to fix anything or to make the truth of another wrong.  Authentic compassion reaches for an outlet of expression without attachment to an outcome or response, gently asking us to trust that the power within that state of being is enough.  Once we are able to experience this, all that is left is to remain centered in that state of authentic compassion and be a loving presence no matter what transpires.  

As we consistently show up to our Reiki practice, we are invited to experience deeper states of this unwavering compassion.  The Reiki precepts and meditation practices assist us in cultivating compassion within our daily lives.  The more we return to this state of being, the better able we become to hold space for others to discover this inner truth for themselves, in a way that is just right for them.  This allows for the veil between our spiritual inner knowing and our human personality to lift, enabling the two to merge.  

I often times talk about how the heart is where the self that is connected to spirit and the self that is connected to earth blend.  When we breathe fully into the heart, we allow that union to integrate even more deeply, and our state of compassion grows stronger with each exhale, creating space for its expression, despite the vulnerabilities that may appear.

Towards the end of October, spiritual traditions around the world celebrate as we enter the darkest weeks of the year and the veil lifts between the spirit and earth realms.  This is the time when ceremonies are held to take off the masks we wear when interacting with the world, and allow for the vulnerable space in our hearts to bring forth our deepest wisdom that longs to be fully expressed. This is also the time when the ancestors are honored for their generations of wisdom that holds space for us to be here today, in our truth.  

As we  prepare in mind, body and soul for nature’s quietest time of year, let us meditate to not only listen to what spirit has to say, but to breathe courage into our hearts to allow our state of compassion to be ever more present as we move through each day.  In doing so, not only are we effecting the world around us, but holding space for others to also effect the world from their most authentic state of being.

To fully and completely be in this world is to know and honor the truth of who you are and your unique gifts.  Holding a sacred space for their authentic expression returns to us the inner power, strength and resilience that carry us through our suffering and our joy, our self-doubt and moments of clarity, our grief and our reasons for celebration.  It is what enables us to inspire transformation without effort and effect change without resistance.  It is what it means to be in an unwavering state of unconditional love for yourself and the world.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 4/5/2016 6:00 PM PDT

I was recently browsing through a home magazine and noticed a short article about planting wild flowers in one’s garden to attract certain critters to help with pollination.  It isn't just a flower’s color that attracts certain species of butterflies, bees and moths, but also the shape and texture.  The flat shaped flowers tend to attract butterflies while the cone shaped flowers with multiple layers of petals attract bees.  The more wild and unkempt the garden, the more likely they will take up residence as well.

I found myself amused by this bit of information and how all that these flowers need to do in order to thrive is simply take root and be, and the world around them takes care of the rest.  Not that growing into a flower is a totally effortless process.  As a flower stretches toward the sun, exhibiting its beautiful color, shape and texture, it is simultaneously reaching its roots deep into its dark history in the soil from where it pushed through the surface.  As part of our human nature, we often times prefer to ignore the shadow aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to our own history, and mainly focus our attention on “reaching for the sun” by achieving what we think will make us happy.  Yet, when we do this, the aspects of the shadow self and its history will continue to show up as a mirror in our lives over and over again until we integrate it and appreciate it as a part of who we are and what makes us unique.  



There is the Buddhist concept of the lotus flower not being able to bloom without the mud to anchor its roots.  If we don’t integrate the different aspects of the shadow self and draw nourishment and wisdom from our history, we will continue to find ourselves unable to live fully rooted in the present and appreciate ourselves for who we truly are.  An Echinacea flower doesn’t look over at the rose and think one is prettier than the other.  It simply grows into its environment as nature programmed it, thriving from its butterfly visitations, while the rose is over in its own space hosting the bees that enjoy its nectar.  As humans, the more we appreciate ourselves for the natural gifts and presence we bring to the garden of life without comparing ourselves to others, the more we offer ourselves the opportunity to thrive in a way that is just right for us.  

Years ago my Reiki teacher offered me an affirmation that I use to this day as a reminder that in the end, simply being myself is enough.  I use it during my personal Reiki practice whenever I find myself overwhelmed by the things I think I “have” to do.  This affirmation is simply I am loved.  I am enough.  How often do we take a moment to consider that just being us is enough?  And in being so, do we trust that life can and will draw us to the sun to be nourished and shine?  We don’t have to earn our worthiness or deservingness to shine in our unique light.  It is already bestowed on us and as we recognize it for ourselves, we will recognize it for others as well.

The Sanskrit word “Namaste” means the divine light within me recognizes the divine light within you.  The more we honor this true divine beauty held within our own unique human nature, the more we can honor it in others.  In turn, just as a flower seed in the ground can’t foresee a butterfly coming into its life before it blooms, we will discover an unexpected pollination of blessings we could have never imagined as we allow our true and colorful nature to blossom.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 2/16/2016 10:48 AM PST



I recently watched a documentary about Massimo Bottura, the chef owner of Osteria Francescana which is one of the top restaurants in the world.  Bottura’s ingenuity and creative stance has cultivated a culinary language of its own with dishes such as Oops! I dropped the lemon tart.  Two things struck me throughout the telling of Bottura’s story.  The first was his desire to return to the traditional foods of his childhood while engaging his own child like imagination to transform the food into an abstract work of art.  His famous deconstructed lasagna goes so far as to highlight the crusty edges, something that so many fondly remember as the best part of their mother’s lasagna.  The second thing that struck me was Bottura’s willingness to dance on the figurative edges of life and take risks as both an artist and a business owner.  His culinary genius is fueled by his ability to step back and observe the human relationship to food with fresh eyes, and his success is owed to his persistent exploration of the creative realm.

People frequently shy away from the “crusty edges of life” because the vulnerability that arises when exploring unknown territory can feel too overwhelming.  Instead, we shut ourselves off from creative expression altogether, fearing it will cause us embarrassment or lead us down a path of failure.  We prefer to remain safe on the well paved paths, confining ourselves to what is sensible, as we are conditioned to do as a society.  We don’t allow even a little bit of space in our lives to consider or explore the part of the self that longs to bust through the hard layers of the ego and bring forth something unique.  Even our school systems are structured to teach students how to pass exams instead of teaching them to question, explore and deconstruct what they learn in order to excavate new concepts and make new discoveries.  We aren’t taught the tremendous value that comes out of trial and error or failure, so we don’t even take small risks or explore anything off the beaten track.  

For over a decade, whenever I have shown up for my practice, reiki has consistently invited me to take on the role of a compassionate observer for myself and others, leaving judgment at the door, even when experiencing strong emotions around any given situation.  In return my own creative experiences have opened up to a whole new level of awareness and understanding.  Being in this space of a non-judgmental, compassionate observer in life doesn’t come naturally.  The human brain is hardwired to focus on our worries which are misguided “what if” stories drummed up by our unhealed past.  However, when we breathe and lean into our pain, sorrow or grief and observe it with an open and loving heart, we can move past our fears and allow a greater vision to take over.  The ego is asked to take a time out from its negative mental chatter and space is given for a higher perspective to shine through.

Practicing compassionate, non-judgmental observation cultivates an overall sense of curiosity in life.  This curiosity is what assists us in remaining open hearted even when we are navigating unknown terrain and feel raw and exposed.  We become the caretakers of our hearts for those uncomfortable moments when we experience vulnerability, hurt, disappointment, or fear.

Artists, scientists, philosophers and leaders who have propelled society forward throughout the ages did not shrink from the challenges that the unknown edges of life presented.  They weathered them and looked deep inside the crevices of the unknown to discover something new, never judging but always exploring with a childlike curiosity.  This process isn’t something specially gifted to a select few.  It is available to anyone willing to partake.  We just have to be willing to stand on the edge, lean over and take a look. 

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 11/25/2015 2:15 PM PST


One aspect of the holidays I’ve never outgrown is that underlying sense of magic as we approach the winter solstice.  As a child I was always looking for reasons to believe in the stories of miracles and mystical characters rather than trying to prove them simple figments of people’s imagination.  To this day, the contrast of the lights and candles against the darkness of winter as well as the warm spicy aromas of the season against the bitter cold return me to that inner child who anticipates magic and miracles.  

There is a recent post on Upworthy about a mom in California who was inspired to lend a helping hand after seeing photos of Syrian refugee families struggling to carry their children as they walk hundreds of miles to safety.  She started collecting baby carriers from members of her community and soon so many people jumped in to be a part of the cause, she was able to travel to Greece with ten other moms to personally deliver tens of thousands worth of baby carriers to refugees arriving on boats.  The beauty in this story is that instead of allowing her consciousness to fixate on the horrific aspects of the situation, she put her empathy, rooted in her love for her own family, to positive use, inspiring a resourcefulness that helped complete strangers on the other side of the world.  Reading this post reminded me of the story of the Magi who, guided by spirit, took a leap of faith and journeyed from the Far East to Bethlehem to deliver gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh to a child born in a stable, recognizing him as an incarnation of Christ.  To me, these treasured gifts of that time in history are metaphors for the unique gifts that are seeded in each of us which create their own miracles through acts of kindness like this woman’s.  

As the darkest day of the year approaches, the natural world invites us to journey inward to connect with our own creative ingenuity and discover the myriad pathways that can birth its manifestation into the world in order to heal, inspire, and propel humanity into its light.  Just as the Magi faithfully followed a star in the dark night sky to present the gifts they had to offer, spirit invites us to awaken to our own inner genius and allow its own magic to transpire and unify with the greater whole of life, the great light that resides in every sentient being.  

There is a vulnerability that requires courage, but more importantly a detached sense of curiosity, in order to present one’s inner gifts to the world, even when its purpose is to serve the needs of the greater good.  We risk judgment and ridicule, but when we fully embrace our sense of connectivity to the greater whole, a higher love removes the weight of fear.  Honoring a call to share with the world that which generates personal joy and fulfillment to serve a higher purpose is one of the greatest acts of compassion one can experience in their lifetime, as the process carries them to the deepest levels of connection with the authentic and loving nature of life.  To share this inner magic with even one other human being will have made this earthly journey all the more worthwhile.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 10/22/2015 9:43 PM PDT





Every year in October, just before the leaves peak in New York City, Central Park becomes a rest stop for the birds migrating back to South America for the winter.  During this time, binoculars and high tech cameras are everywhere with bird watchers behind them, quietly and patiently focused on getting a glimpse of these colorful but quick moving creatures.

As I was cooling off after a run one afternoon, I watched three birds dancing in the air in a pattern I had never seen before.  Their swift dives and smooth, swooping turns were magical, not unlike a miniature Quidditch match.  As their dark grey wings expanded, a beautiful bright yellow plumage was exposed.  After observing them for a few minutes, I determined that their dance was indeed likened to a Quidditch match, only the Snitch was a flying bug they were catching for lunch.

When I observe these beautiful birds stopping by every spring and fall, there is a childlike urge inside that wants to chase them to get a better look as they fly around; but then I recognize it is better to remain still, like the bird watchers, and allow the action to come to me.  Quietly observing this colorful flutter of activity creates a quality of peaceful, focused, stillness in the heart center that also comes about through other practices such as meditation, Reiki and yoga.  No wonder bird watching in Central Park has become such a popular activity that transcends both age and culture, as revealed in the HBO documentary Birders. 

Fall is the time when Mother Nature produces her one last flash of outward beauty and color, while simultaneously preparing to retreat into her heart center for the winter, reminding us that we too can find stillness in the midst of activity anytime we choose.  For a long time, I used to feel a bit nostalgic during the autumn months, as many people do, but in recent years I’ve learned to embrace this time of retreat into the darkest days of the year.  This is when our natural rhythms are given a chance to slow down, and in the stillness a renewed inspiration is allowed to shine through.  When Arianna Huffington gave a talk about her book, Thrive, she discussed both the practicalities and the wisdom around connecting with this inner stillness.  Backed by the scientific studies she includes in her book, she emphasized meditation and sleep as necessary ingredients to being focused and productive, but also for improving relationships and discovering greater meaning in our lives.

As I prepared for the first weekend course of this year’s Shinpiden (Reiki III) program, I reread a section from a book on Chinese medicine that describes change and transformation as being sourced from deep within, a different approach from western medicine which is about cause and effect.  While outer circumstances and energetic forces can resonate with the process of transformation, the actual change is internally initiated.  When we connect with this stillness that lies at the heart of everything, we begin to discover that the external flutter of activity in life frequently takes care of itself without any real exertion on our part.  And when we do direct our outward focus on the elements that resonate with what we value most in our hearts, the manifestation of what we desire becomes a joyful process.  The transformations that help us thrive will ultimately come about with ease and grace, without the ego trying to chase it down.

In the Reiki precepts, the practitioner is instructed to morning and evening place their hands in gassho (prayer position) to center the heart and mind.  As Arianna gave her talk, she led the audience through a one-minute meditation, anchoring everyone in a place of peace and self-compassion, exhaling fear and worry with each breath.  She reminded them afterwards that this space is available to them anytime, as well as being a powerful way to begin and end the day.  She also addressed people’s fear that if they unplug and let the mind become still, they will drop the ball and miss out on success.  In actuality, when we allow the mind to experience stillness for even just a few minutes, we begin to gain clarity and operate more effectively.

Overcoming any fears of the dark quiet stillness within offers us the opportunity to find renewed inspiration, as this is the space where the mind and body can ultimately recalibrate.  Anahata, the Sanskrit word for the Heart Chakra, means unstruck or sound made without two objects striking.  The heart is where we find unity with all of life, where we find our equilibrium to just be and allow life to take care of itself.  It is where we surrender and let go of the ego and all its attachments so we can begin to see our lives more clearly.  Without stillness we cannot experience the joyous dance of life.  Without darkness we cannot take pleasure in the colorful textures of the world around us.  Without emptiness we cannot appreciate the fullness of life, just as it is at any given moment.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 9/9/2015 9:41 AM PDT




Fifteen years ago I found myself sitting on a yoga mat for the first time.  I remember that day clearly because the teacher came up to me and sandwiched my heart between her hands.  I almost broke down right then and there before the class had even begun, as I felt a wave of unconditional love and compassion wash over me like a tidal wave.  At the time, I was emerging from a painful period in my life and in that moment I could recognize everything was going to be okay.  I remember Elena declaring at the beginning of each class that we are all perfect and complete in this moment, just as we are.  I had never heard such words before let alone contemplated being perfect, whole and complete at any given moment because the inner critic voice of my ego was always drowning out such a concept.  Little did I know that this brief moment of compassion offered to me was a flash of what was yet to come as I began to heal my life and eventually become a Reiki teacher in order to help others.

The other day a young man in college reached out to me regarding a paper he was writing on PTSD.  He was researching alternative therapies and knows that I am a Reiki teacher.  He asked me what I would say to those critics who claim that Reiki is illegitimate.  I was so grateful for the question because I am surrounded by clients and students who are transforming their lives for the better and sometimes forget that there is still controversy over what I do. 

When Reiki was introduced to the west some important aspects of the practice’s purpose and meaning were lost in cultural translation.  The practice of Reiki in Japan began as a series of tools to assist the everyday person in experiencing greater happiness and inner peace which would in turn generate greater health and wellbeing.  While some of the tools taught to students in the west involved meditation and breathing exercises, the real focus of attention was with the hands on healing techniques.  As a result, Reiki healing is what people often times think of when they hear of Reiki.  They envision someone placing their hands on another and “doing the healing” to them which is an outside-in versus an inside-out approach.  It also does not allow the recipient the opportunity to take responsibility for their healing process which can be disempowering.

In reality, the role of a Reiki “healer” is to be a compassionate presence for the recipient to be able to discover the whole, complete and healed self within.  Whenever I finish a session with a client, I always say to them “Good work today!”  They will sometimes say to me, “But you did the work.”  I remind them that my job is to hold space for their own innate healing process to unfold and their job is to remain open and relaxed in order to allow this to happen.  While it may then sound like a simple and easy task for a Reiki practitioner, it is not.  A Reiki practitioner who is most effective  has made a commitment to stay true to their own healing process in order to remain a clear and open channel for both the flow of energy and to support the relaxed state of the client.  When this happens, there is an ego detachment on the part of the Reiki practitioner regarding the results so that the healing can naturally transpire for the client’s highest good. 

Reiki is not a replacement to therapy or medical care.  Reiki is a practice that holds up a mirror to remind a person that there is a part of the self that is indeed already whole, healed and complete no matter the state of their mind and body.  When they can recognize and relate to that whole and healed part of the self, they can then begin to experience the possibilities of its expression on other layers of their being. 

In quantum physics they have discovered that subatomic particles exist simultaneously in every potential state until they are observed.  Once they are observed, they behave in alignment with the observer.  What Reiki practitioners or teachers do for themselves and others is observe the whole and healed self within that is in alignment with their most authentic and true nature.  The more that part of the self is honored and observed, the more the healing process can fully manifest.  This is why we hear of examples of spontaneous miracles that science cannot explain.  BUT it is also why we can on the other hand experience profound wisdom and wholeness even when a person does not fully recover from a health challenge. 

Unfortunately energy healing practices such as Reiki are critically analyzed from the perspective of linear thinking and energy does not operate on that plane.  It instead transcends it, reaching into the layers of life that one cannot necessarily experience on a tangible level.  Those that choose to experience life from the mind alone will never understand the legitimacy of a practice such as Reiki.  But for someone who is even mildly curious and open to the possibility that there is a transcendent energy source that connects all of life, Reiki holds unlimited potential to transform a person’s state of being.

The human journey is one that is filled with both joy and pain.  When there is pain there is an opportunity to allow a part of the ego to shed its layers, letting go of its hold over us and our emotional attachments in life.  It is through this process that we discover the depths of human compassion that relieve us of our suffering.  When we bridge the human self to the complete self we are reminded that our pain and suffering are not who we are.  This in turn allows us to discover the gifts held within the challenges we face, and find out that underneath it all we have strengths we never knew we had and new perspectives on life we would have never attained otherwise.

What happens in our lives is much more out of our control than we’d ever like to admit to ourselves, and so there is a human tendency to insist on proof or a guaranty that everything is going to be okay.  When we begin to recognize the part of us that is complete and whole, the ego that insists on those guaranties in life fades into the background, allowing for a more powerful experience of life because we are free of any attachment to the outcome.  When this freedom takes place, the greatest potential for happiness and healing can then transpire.

So for those who refuse to validate the practice of Reiki, I challenge them to ever so slightly crack open the door to possibility.  My students and clients who are undergoing chemotherapy, psychotherapy and other medical treatments are not looking to me to “fix” them.  They are becoming active participants in the dance of life and recognizing that while they have challenges, their challenges do not define who they truly are.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 8/5/2015 8:46 PM PDT


Last week we had the pleasure of enjoying a July blue moon.  Despite the extreme rain that day, the moon peaked out from the clouds dressed in a crystal blue aura when I arrived home later that night.  I was so grateful to spend a few minutes connecting with her beautiful light.  Since I was a child, I have loved looking up at the night sky.  Its silent, nurturing presence serves up a soothing elixir at the end of a busy day.  Whenever I take a moment to check in with the moon, my mind immediately surrenders and my awareness becomes fully centered in the heart.  I found it so ironic to be standing on a New York City street corner, experiencing this inner peace despite all the noise from the bars and traffic.  

These moments I take to look up at the moon and breathe with gratitude have cultivated an inner oasis where I can let go and connect with who I truly am no matter how my day has gone.  They provide a reminder that no matter how harsh and chaotic the outer world may seem, underneath all of it is an infinite oasis of inner peace, joy, love and gratitude one can access 24/7.  

It is so easy to get caught up in and carried away by the doing of life – “should do,” “have to do,” “if I don’t do” – that we forget the physical world is just a microscopic fragment of reality.  There is a vastness within and it’s only when we quiet the mind that we can enter that special oasis.  This is the space where inspiration and a sense of wonder exist.  It is where compassion resides and healing takes place.  It is where that sense of oneness with everything creates the ultimate state of bliss.  The more often we give ourselves time in this space, the more we can embody love, compassion and grace in our daily lives, gently softening the rough edges of the things that stress us and weigh on our hearts.  Taking just a few minutes each day to connect with the energies of one’s unique inner oasis can produce significant and profound shifts in one’s daily life, and the easier it becomes to slip in and out of that oasis anytime, anywhere.  



Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 5/6/2015 9:41 AM PDT



As spring has been serving up her beauty in unusual timing this year, blossoms have emerged against the back drop of trees that have yet to bud.  It is as if Mother Nature has decided to leisurely serve up a seven-course meal instead of the usual buffet that seems to magically appear out of nowhere.  With a much cooler start to the season than in years past, I wonder if the trees that are first to bloom thrive with the increased sunlight while others need the encouragement of warmer temperatures and water in order to sprout.


Nature’s pacing this year provides us a reminder that we are each unique and as such have different needs in order to flourish in life.  Some of us need more sleep while others more protein in their diet.  Some need quiet solitude in order to feel replenished, while others to be surrounded by lots of people and activity.  And our needs change as we change throughout life.  One of the greatest gifts my personal reiki practice has given me is the opportunity to look inward each day to look, listen and feel for what is needed for my highest good at any given moment.  Our daily lives can become so outwardly focused with juggling work, school, appointments, taking care of our families, that we become conditioned to ignore what the inner self needs in order to thrive.  In the practice of reiki, the precepts ask us to “morning and evening bring our hands into gassho” (prayer position) to either meditate or do reiki self-care. Making the time to breathe deeply for a few moments each day, offers the mind a chance to recalibrate, the heart a safe space to find expression, and the higher self a channel through which to guide us with its wisdom.  It is during these moments we can begin to clearly recognize what is needed to experience the joy and grace that are always available to us.


Because so much of our culture asks us to look outside ourselves to find the answers to what we need, this idea of seeking answers from within can seem uneasy, impractical or even a bit crazy.  We may be afraid that what we discover will make us stand out as different from others.  We may also be afraid to express our needs out of fear of seeming weak.  Yet when we move through life fully aware of our distinctive nature and what it requires in order for us to feel well and happy, we operate in an empowered manner that honors our needs and appreciates what makes each of us unique.  


I leave you with this quote I read recently by Ram Dass:


“That when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘you’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees.  Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

Date: 12/3/2014 8:27 PM PST



Over the course of this year, I’ve heard so many people talk about how everything in life seems crammed in.  There is the need to work longer hours, while still taking care of family and home life, and then there are the multiple ways we communicate via text, email, and social media that constantly divert our attention.  While the digital era has made life easier, it has also made heart centered communication and human connection more challenging.

I was recently talking to a friend about how life in New York City feels like an overstuffed walk-in closet.  Everything one could ever need or want is there, but we are so crammed in both physically and mentally, sometimes there isn’t enough space to see and appreciate what we have.  While NYC does have its own unique dynamic, I suspect many who don’t live here feel the same way.  In a modern, fast paced lifestyle, it’s very easy for the mind, body and spirit to mirror this and become like that overstuffed walk-in closet.  We’re constantly thinking and worrying about what’s next or getting overstimulated by messaging and social posts, and so our being does not get a chance to calibrate. 

When one cleans out a closet, there is a physical and emotional feeling of freedom and lightness.  Sometimes there is also a sense of gratitude due to all the wonderful things from the past that are rediscovered.  Perhaps this is why more and more people are turning to practices such as meditation, reiki, yoga and other disciplines that require the mind and body to surrender to the present.  They offer space for the “inner walk-in closet” to get cleared out.  The more regular the practice, the more fully one can return to center when life does get chaotic.  Taking the time to quiet the mind and calm the heart is one of the most empowering things you can do on a daily basis, and all it requires is you and a clear intention.  It allows us to move through life with more grace and take pleasure in and appreciate all that is good in the here and now.

With the onset of winter and shorter days, we have many holidays that celebrate light.  This is a great time to light a candle, quiet the mind and allow spirit to shed light on all the great gifts that reside within us.  I invite you to do this simple meditation I’ve written:

Inner Walk-In Closet Meditation

Read this meditation a few times before you begin, so you can remember the steps.  You can take as little as a few minutes to do this meditation or as long as a half hour or more.  Try doing it several times over the course of a few weeks and see how it evolves. 

Find a place to sit quietly in a chair or on a meditation cushion, or you can lie down on the floor.  You may wish to light a candle, burn some incense or play some soothing music.  Gently close your eyes and relax your facial muscles.  Take some slow deep breaths, expanding your lower abdomen on the inhale, allowing your body to release and relax on the exhale.

You see before you a door.  Take a few moments to examine the door, its color, texture and design, as well as the details of the doorknob.  As you do so, a light begins to stream from the gap between the door and the floor.  You turn the knob and find yourself stepping inside a walk-in closet.  Take a few moments to adjust to the light and look around you.  Are there boxes, books or clothes?  Or are there a lot of objects piled up inside?  Is it neat and organized or cluttered and in disarray?  Is it empty, or is it overstuffed and in need of purging?

As you look around, a box of some sort catches your eye.  You open the box and look inside.  Take some time to connect with what is in the box.  It could be an actual object or it could be something abstract like a color, sound or word.  What does it mean to you?  Is it something connected to your past?  Or does it remind you of a forgotten desire?  Does it symbolize something you’ve been trying to release from your life or does it represent advice for a challenge you are trying to overcome?  Or is it reminiscent of a happy memory?  It could be something that reminds you of a lost loved one or of someone you’ve wanted to contact.  The possibilities are endless, so take your time and connect with what is inside this box you have uncovered and what it means to you.

When you are ready decide what you will do with what is inside this box.  Will you use it or throw it away?  It may be time to release what is in there or it may be time to connect with the thoughts, feelings and ideas it inspires.


When the time feels right, take a few deep breaths, imagining you are stepping out and closing the door to the closet for now.  You can always return whenever you need to take inventory of your life or to empty out the mental and energetic clutter.  Gently open your eyes and write down any details you wish to remember.

Posted by Jean Bromage | Post a Comment

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