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I just completed two magical weeks in Japan for two retreats: the first was a Samurai retreat in Tsushima Island, near Fukuoka, conducted by my Bushido sensei Zen Takai, and the second was a Reiki retreat that I organized to visit Mount Kurama, the birthplace of Reiki, located near Kyoto.

It was my second time in Japan; the first being over ten years ago in kind of sketchy circumstances (I went to visit an ex-boyfriend and we basically parted ways shortly after my trip). During my first visit, since my main purpose was to save a relationship I felt was slipping away, my focus was more on my ex and less on Japan, sadly. I did get to visit Tokyo and we stayed at an unforgettable ryokan (traditional inn) near Mount Fuji with beautiful gardens and onsen (hot spring baths). In spite of the drama, it was a memorable first visit. At the time, I had not started my Nihongo studies (my ex was French but his Japanese was excellent), nor my Bushido (Samurai Path) or Reiki (energy healing). As a result, this trip felt like a first time of sorts.

My sensei met me at the airport in Fukuoka with his wife and the other three participants, and the next morning we took a small plane to the island of Tsushima, which sensei lovingly calls Samurai island, because of its deep relationship to Samurai history and culture. On the first day of training, he took us to an abandoned shrine with a gigantic tree with mystical properties. We practiced in the center of a grid formed by three powerful trees. Each day we trained and meditated in a different location, one more stunning than the next.

At the end of the retreat I felt like a different person. The energy of the island had transformed me in indescribable ways. I was ready to lead the Reiki retreat the following week.

Parting ways with the team was very sad, because training together in sometimes challenging conditions really bonded us together. And yet I was excited to discover Kyoto and welcome the Reiki retreat participants. Kyoto is as lovely as I expected, and even more. Its charm swallowed me up from the first day, and aside from the exhilarating pilgrimage to Kurama Yama, the city – and my friends – really spoiled me and made me appreciate its beauty very deeply.

The visit to Kurama Yama was a little challenging and emotional – the climb was quite tiring for my participants after their international travels, though after my Samurai training I was feeling very strong indeed. The big surprise upon arriving at Osugi Gonshen, the site where Usui Sensei downloaded the system of Reiki after twenty-one days of meditation, was that a giant tree had fallen on the shrine commemorating the exact location. I had visited the site two days prior to taking the Reiki participants, and was thus prepared. I decided not to inform them of what had happened, and instead it became a vivid moment of letting go and surrender for all of us there. Nature had taken over – for me that was the essence of Shinto, at the core of Reiki.

The following days were spent practicing Reiki and seeing the sights. Kyoto is full of beautiful temples and shrines. My preference was for the less touristic ones, and on my last day I discovered one just across from where I was staying at Funaoka, in the northern part of the city.

Aside from the two retreats, I was able to meet a friend from Peru for tea and a chat about how magical and synchronicitous everything was – and I also had my first tea ceremony in kimono in a traditional house in the old part of town with one of my Bushido brothers who met me there.

When I look back on my round the world trip last year, meeting sensei for the first time and training with him face to face, I didn’t think it could get any better. And yet, the Universe constantly surprises me, nudging me to dream bigger and wider, when sometimes I limit myself with what is possible for me. With this trip, I can hear Spirit telling me: “See how beautiful life can be. Why are you limiting yourself?”

As I write this on the plane back to the Philippines, I can’t help but wonder, in the words of a dear friend, how can it get any better than this? Arigato, arigato, arigato.

Photo credits:

Kazane and Zen Takai sensei at Tsushima island by @cristomillar

Osugi Gonshen in Kurama Yama by Kazane

Piper, Kazane and Peylin at Kenninji Zen Temple in Kyoto by our lovely guide Kei chan

It’s been two months since I was urged to get a biopsy from my doctor. Ever since, I have learned a lot not only about spontaneous remission, natural self-healing protocols and practices, but most of all about myself. I have been practicing to receive (help) gratefully, as the third precept of Reiki invites us to do.

This week I sought out and received a powerful Theta Healing session from my dear friend Paulette in Peru. Theta Healing is one of many systems of energy healing (examples of others are: Reiki, Pranic Healing, Seraphim Blueprint, to name a few). As a first level Theta Healing practitioner I know how powerful it can be when used purposefully and skillfully. Part of the practice involves remote viewing and “digging”, which I thought would benefit my current journey to healing. I wanted to share what came out of my session with Paulette, with her permission.

During the remote viewing portion, I was hoping to get a clean bill of health from Paulette (a less toxic approach than radiation!). She told me that what she saw inside of me was pure white light, as if I was flooded with it, and it filled my every cell. She confirmed that this was a good sign, albeit unusual, and to keep doing what I was doing. This was helpful, because although I can feel that I am healing, there is always that seed of self-doubt that can germinate if not addressed. Mine was saying: “you are deluding yourself.” Most days, I am able to manage it, thankfully! The image of my body being flooded with light was one I could resonate with entirely, given the practices I have been diligently applying ever since that test on February 7.

Next came the “digging” part: I still had unanswered questions as to why part of my body was going rogue on me in this manner. The breast area is associated with the heart chakra, which can be blocked (hello heart disease, respiratory illness and breast cancer) when resentment builds up over time. I racked my brain to look for what resentment I was holding on to but could not come up with anything. I had a vague notion of what this could have been linked to (the Father Wound) but wanted a clarification. To my surprise, what came up for Paulette was Grief, Sadness and Motherhood. Putting that all together, I knew this was about the postpartum trauma I thought I had already processed and healed a long time ago.

Some of you already know about this because I refer to it regularly, but when my daughter (who, incidentally, celebrated a milestone into womanhood this week) was about two months old, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was prescribed antidepressant medication. As a young mother, I was isolated, far from family and friends in a small village in the Alps. As idyllic as that may sound, the reality was a sense of loneliness and lack of support for this big city girl.

The medication worked wonders - or so I thought. In a matter of months, I got my life back on track… in a sense. I was propelled out of the depression and into an office job and a divorce. The thing is, this type of powerful medication acts like a cover up and a band-aid.. Something I know now, but I didn’t know then. Cognitively, I was able to function again in society, but deep inside, I had not done the necessary processing of the sadness and grief that I needed to do in order to step into Motherhood as a ‘complete’ human being. So these unprocessed emotions were buried deep inside all this time… until they came out two months ago.

I shared with Paulette that I had also just submitted a proposal in my research class for grad school about healing postpartum depression through Reiki and meditation. All of a sudden all my questions were answered. The whys had found an answer, just when I had allowed myself to be comfortable with Not Knowingness.

Paulette and I both had to pause in a moment of awe at the infinite beauty of synchronicity, Divine purpose and Timing.

Part of me has always been wary of anti depression meds but I didn’t have a clear rationale to verbalize it. I have even felt shame for feeling this way, because I feared my clients and students on meds would think I was judging them. And yet I have no judgment - we all have free choice on how to treat our suffering. But now I am certain that this is not a good solution in the long term because mental illness always has a message and is a signpost to what needs healing.

Back when I was twenty-eight, I had none of the tools I have today - I had stopped meditating regularly as I had done in college. I would never tell someone not to take meds if that is what they feel is best for them. But now I can see in hindsight the damage it can do. Emotions are energy - they cannot be zapped by a pill. They have to be felt, experienced and processed to uncover their life-giving gifts.

For all those who are worried about me and my health… I am happier than ever, and I am also filled with light! Sending lots of love - may Eostre, the goddess of the Dawn, bless you with a million light-filled cherry blossoms!

Photo: Lorna Bondoc

On Feb 7, 2023, I visited my doctor for the first time since 2017. While having a massage a week or so earlier, I had felt pain in my breast and decided to get it checked. She immediately sent me to get a mammogram and an ultrasound, both of which I had not done since that same year. The radiologist, a friend of my doctor’s, called her right after my visit. She in turn called me, revealing that the results were “highly suggestive of malignancy.” My doctor urged me to get a biopsy ASAP. I could schedule with her secretary who she shared with her husband, a surgeon. Reluctantly, I booked an appointment and saw the surgeon. After checking me, he declared himself unable to perform the biopsy due to the spread out nature of our subject of inquiry. I needed to see yet another - fourth - specialist. All within a twenty-four hour span of time, I went to see his colleague back at the hospital, and a technician explained the procedure, quoting me a rather hefty sum of money.

By this point my head was reeling with all sorts of questions and scenarios, and my emotions were all over the place. I needed to regroup and center and find the right answers to help me process.

The next day I went to see my friend Dr Romy Paredes at the Wellnessland Health Institute in Cebu, Philippines, where I have been based since 2013. Dr Romy is a medical doctor with radical views about natural ways of healing - aligned to my own. I showed Dr Romy my results and he congratulated me on not getting a biopsy. I told him I was not planning to undergo traditional forms of treatment (surgery and chemo) and was determined to heal myself naturally, with his support. I knew I had found an ally. Doc Romy and I agreed on a protocol and I set to work on being the best student on how to heal this situation from the inside out. I was by far not his first patient!

There was another person I wanted to speak to, and this was Dr Eva Muller, a good friend from Cebu who now shuttles between her native Germany and Manila, attending to her patients internationally. Like Dr Romy, Eva is open to natural ways of healing and is well aware of my energy work background. Again I shared my story with her, and my conversation with Dr Romy. To my surprise, she asked me questions of a more existential nature, such as my relationship with Death, the community, my sense of purpose and mission and things of that nature. Thankfully, I am inherently very prone to self-reflection to begin with, but this added dimension to my life prompted even more deep dives into the meaning of life, and mine in particular. I was able to answer Eva’s questions with clarity and conviction. Finally, she invited me to consider opening this journey to my community, one thing I had not at all considered at that time.

So little by little, I started sharing a story I originally wanted to keep private, to friends and family. There was some concern of course, but mostly an outpouring of love, support, and mostly faith, that fills me with so much gratitude and joy. When I was scheduled to give a talk on meditation in my womens’ group six weeks after that day in February, I tweaked my topic to talk about healing yourself naturally. Privately, I received messages of hope and inspiration and gratitude. This is also why I am writing this piece today.

To all the people who receive a scary diagnosis that sounds like a death sentence, know that there is so much you can do and learn to listen to your body by first quieting the mind. In that sense, meditation can be a life saver. When I received that news on that day, I felt compassion for all the beings who are in a fragile mental state, unable to cope with the added anxiety or stress such a diagnosis could impart. Our bodies hold so much wisdom. Most of the time illness is there to ask us to slow down enough to listen and connect to that wisdom.

Please message me if you would like a list of the natural protocols that I have been doing now for over six weeks and that seem to be working. I am feeling joyful and light, and my lumps seem to have reduced in size. I have so much gratitude to Doc Romy and Dr Eva for their love and support and the work they do tirelessly day after day. May you always be blessed!

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