Not only am I a Reiki Master teacher and practitioner trained in the traditional Usui system, I am a social worker, counselor, and educator by profession/background, which has provided me with extensive experience in serving and teaching others. I was fortunate to receive training from the Centre for Living with Dying in San Jose, CA to work with those experiencing the effects of trauma, grief and loss and have much experience in this regard. I've also taken many trainings and workshops with a number of spiritual and holistically-oriented teachers, many with a special focus upon native american philosophies and wisdom. And I'm a practicing photographer, as well (see my Emanations of Love page).
I studied Reiki levels I and II with Fran Brown, who learned Reiki from Hawayo Takata, the phenomenal woman who brought Reiki to the west. Reiki level III and Reiki Master training were completed with Jeanine Sande, a remarkable Reiki Master who studied with Arthur Robinson (who learned from Iris Ishikuru, another of Takata’s students). When seeking a Reiki practitioner and/or teacher, it can be important to know that a person has studied traditional Reiki as it has been handed down for generations. I practice Usui Reiki, named after Sensei Mikao Usui, who founded the energy healing system he called Rei Ki (translation: Universal Life Force Energy). After studying ancient Tibetan texts and meditating extensively atop Mt. Kurama in Japan, Usui re-discovered the keys to healing by laying-on of hands.
There are many forms of energy work in the world; Reiki is simply one of them. I was naturally drawn to Reiki because of my own innate resonance with hands-on healing, and because it is a simple system that is thorough, extremely effective, and guided by basic values of respect and integrity. I have practiced Reiki on myself each day since the early 90’s, and can truthfully say that it has enhanced my life in a multitude of ways, and promoted an on-going expansion of consciousness that has led to many opportunities for growth and transformation.
The true beauty of Reiki is that anyone can learn it and practice it on themselves and others, including their pets. I believe we would be in a much healthier society if more people realized they could take control over their own health, and could become partners with a variety of healing supports, rather than dependent upon a medical system that in many ways seems to have become too large and self-serving, too focused upon symptoms and pharmaceuticals, rather than partnering with those seeking support to heal themselves and achieve vibrant health.
In addition to practicing Reiki on self and others for over two decades, I have also trained in several holistic disciplines, including work with Native American teachers Laynee Reyna, Sonne Reyna, and Kachinas Kutenai. Through them I learned much about the beauty way and the good red road, as well as about ceremony and healing, and deep respect for the Earth and all life forms. I am eternally grateful to them for trusting me with this knowledge and for guiding me in the ways of honor, humility and integrity.
I have also been most fortunate to work closely with another dear friend and phenomenal artist, teacher, and guide, Mary Saint-Marie (www.marysaintmarie.com), from whom I have been blessed to experience so much of value, especially in working with the concept of Holy Sight – the gift of seeing self and others in our absolute highest potential.
Since moving to Whidbey Island in 2008, I have practiced energy work from our enchanted home sanctuary space on three gorgeous and utterly peaceful acres just outside the small town of Freeland.
For those who may wish to know more about my background...
While obtaining my Master’s degree in Counseling back in the 80’s, I was truly fortunate to work with some visionary professors, particularly Jim Beggs, who offered groundbreaking opportunities for exploring guided imagery, breathwork, meditation, stress reduction techniques, and intensive journal work with Ira Progoff’s transpersonal process (see At a Journal Workshop by Ira Progoff). During this time (while living in the S.F. Bay Area), I read and studied on a wide variety of holistic, eastern, and indigenous philosophies and practices, facilitating a number of groups with teens and adults in a variety of settings.
I founded and ran The Sanctuary Healing Arts Center in Gilroy, California from 2000 – 2008, where I practiced and taught Reiki, as well as running women’s spirituality groups. In 2001, a book that I edited and co-wrote with phenomenal colleagues and friends, The Ways of Spirit: 30 Visionaries Share Philosophies, Paths and Practices. While now out of print, copies can still be found through Amazon.com for those who may be interested.
And beyond the world of Reiki, I worked for over 20 years in social services (child welfare), running youth programs and a family resource center, then retired and went on to direct two non-profit organizations. Prior to that I was an art teacher, followed by deeply meaningful, illusion-shattering work with refugees (so many beautiful, resilient adults and children) from many countries around the world back in the early eighties, when so many people were forced to flee their homelands from the ravages of war and genocide (sadly, this is still happening today ~ when will humans realize that violence begets violence, and the only way to have true peace is to make peace first within ourselves, then walk the talk and practice the golden rule).
Another reason I value Reiki so much: it does truly promote inner peace and a harmonious world view.
I am always following new dreams and visions. My husband, Erick Westphal, and I do much volunteer work in our community, and we are active as mentors with a number of young people. We also co-created a colorful photo book about Whidbey Island life, called Whidbey Magic: A Quintessential Photo Collection of Whidbey Island Life. We share a passion for photography, hence the creation of our book, and our on-going creation of photo art for display and sale. My most recent work is a series of portraits called "Emanations of Love".
A few years ago I was honored to train my daughter, Ariana, in Reiki I, II, and III. I have trained four Reiki Master Teachers: Shirley Jantz of Langley, WA, Janice Thomas of Bellingham, WA, and Heidi Merkins and Francine Trevino, both from the SF Bay Area. I currently have an intern, Summer Ewart, who is an incredible energy worker. It is always an honor and a privilege to share the gifts of Reiki with others.
Thanks for your interest in Reiki. It is an honor to serve you.
Namaste ~ the spirit in me honors the spirit in you