Facing FEAR with Confidence + Focus=Pure Joy

My husband and I went on a spontaneous adventure this weekend.  It was our training opportunity for a five-day rafting trip we are taking on the Salmon River in Idaho. It was our first time in a Fun-Yak.

A Fun-Yak is an inflatable kayak for one person that creates the perfect environment to be up close with the river, your fears, your inner will and your breath.  I saw it as an opportunity to witness my mind, body and spirit, in very fast motion.

I had significant fear about kayaking the Peshtigo and Menomonee River in high volume spring water since I would be the only person navigating my boat.

Here are a few of my fearful thoughts: What if I die on Mother’s day?  What if I become paralyzed? What if I injure myself and I’m unable to work and provide for our family?

The night before we left I had the thought: “What if this is the last time I’m able to take a shower without help?  What if I become paralyzed?”  I then immediately experienced taking a shower with a new awareness and immense gratitude for being able to do something that I typically take for granted. I saw this as a gift.  My fear based thought actually created an opportunity for me to appreciate what I currently have. I shifted my fear and actually created a state of presence and gratitude. Remember most of our fear is based on something that could happen in the future. The lesson is to recognize this and come back into the present moment.

I also felt my fear in live time as I navigated class 3 rapids in a fun-yak. My greatest fear was flipping my boat in a rapid.

We hired an experienced guide to teach us how to read the rapids and run them safely in a fun yak. He was a great teacher, repeated things multiple times in a very simple, concise manner. When you are in fast moving water you don’t have time to ponder what your next move will be.  You must be in a place of awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and what’s around the next bend. I believe this was a master’s level training course in being aware and attuned to the power of nature.

We navigated through a rapid or two and I was feeling comfortable.  We came upon the next rapid where our guide told us 75% of the people flip.  I stated clearly “I will be part of the 25% club.”  I witnessed the power of my intention, focus and confidence. It worked! I navigated that rapid and celebrated with a big WOO HOO!  My guide celebrated with me and also cautioned me not to get too comfortable because we were in a stretch of roaring rapids for four miles.

We continued onward; I was feeling strong, and confident. I believed if I didn’t flip in that rapid then I would be able to navigate the rest of the day without flipping.  I could feel myself move from cautiously confident to slightly cocky. I recognized it was a subtle shift in thought which created a lax in my attention, and the river noticed it too.

We entered the next rapid and I knew I had not positioned myself correctly to run the rapid, I questioned my ability. I tried desperately to course correct against a force of water much stronger than myself. My confidence plummeted and so did I as my fun-yak flipped and I went into the rushing water.  My body reacted with the fight or flight response as I was being tossed in the current. It happened so fast. It took a conscious effort to re-assure myself that I was okay, and to let go into the moving water. My inner dialog was my calming force  “You are okay Sus, you are okay, breathe, breathe, breathe.” As I took deeper breaths I was able to calm myself. My lesson was noticing that the first thing I lost was my confidence, the mind filled with fear and then the body and boat followed.   

It was exhilarating to experience the fear (in my body), recognize my part in creating this situation (in my mind), and riding it through bringing myself back to safety with soothing inner thoughts (using my breath).

I did a great deal of talking to myself as I ran the rapids.  I repeated the lessons our guide gave us. As you approach a big rapid you have to override the instinct to just stop paddling. The way to stay safe is to keep your eye on the smoothest path, steer your boat straight and keep paddling.

It makes me think of life and navigating any new situation. Even if the new situation is something that you really want, there usually is some fear in the unknown.  So how do you navigate fear with confidence and presence of mind?

  1. Acknowledge the fear, don’t judge it or blame it or try to hide it.  It’s real and it’s showing up to guide you.
  2. Check in and see if the fear is real or imagined based on future events. Give yourself permission to witness the ‘what if’ thoughts. Then come back to the present moment and find a sense of gratitude in what you have.
  3. Keep your focus on the feeling of the desired outcome not the fear.  What you focus on expands. This is a universal truth. 
  4. Don’t allow the fear to stop you, when you play through your fear toward your desire you will experience confidence and exhilaration.

Interested in being supported as you navigate change, rough waters, and fear?  Schedule a complimentary 30-minute Catalyst Coaching session with me today. 

Interested in your own rafting adventure contact Dale at Kosir's Rapid Rafts and Co

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Not Feeling Enough?

Why do so many of us walk around feeling deep down that we are not good enough?  

I’m passionate about witnessing human behavior within others and myself; I see how deeply people just want to be seen.  I have so many opportunities to see my clients and provide a safe sanctuary where they can let their hair down.  Sometimes literally, have you ever seen someone’s hair after a facial?  Seriously, I am privileged to witness my clients emotionally let their hair down by tapping into deep limiting beliefs and allow tears to flow, or words of frustration to be un-leached in a Catalyst Coaching session.

Why do we feel not good enough?  Why, because most of us compare ourselves to others or outside circumstances to measure our value.  So how do we change the habit of looking outside of ourselves for approval?  We make an effort to see our own limiting beliefs and we commit to learn through witnessing ourselves when we do feel conflicted, sad, angry, frustrated, and anxious. The key is to STOP judging yourself and your emotions. 

Feeling not good enough is not a bad thing it is an invitation or opportunity to listen to your self and to practice self-compassion. The first step is to be curious without judging yourself for your feelings.  Your feelings are your feelings and your gateway into self-awareness. We don’t judge children when they are learning to walk and may cry out in frustration when they can’t reach their goal. We don’t shame the child for feeling frustrated we have compassion and encouragement and understanding.  This is what we need to offer ourselves when we feel not good enough.

The second step is to recognize what you are telling yourself or believing about the emotion or situation. This step brings your unconscious belief or limiting belief into consciousness and then you get to choose if it is true? Let me give you an example about myself. On days that I’m not fully booked in my business I can slip from that balanced feeling of ‘all is right in my world’ into fear and the old story of ‘I’m not good enough’.  This creates a feeling of sadness.

My limiting belief is: If I’m not busy I’m not good enough or valuable.  When you uncover a limiting belief for yourself, go deeper and look at why you believe this.  I recognize that growing up I learned that in order to be valued I needed to be productive, and DOING.  I was not taught to value stillness, quiet, walking in nature, down time, reading for pleasure.  What was valued was how good I looked, performed, and produced. This is not unusual; remember most of us look to the external for value, until the pain becomes so great that we look for a different way.

When I feel sad I now recognize this as a signal to acknowledge myself. I look at ‘what’s right with me.’ This comes back to our human desire for being seen and acknowledged.  If we don’t do this for ourselves it will be difficult to fully receive acknowledgement from others, because we won’t believe them.

The third step is to see evidence of places where this belief it not true in addition to see how the old belief isn’t serving you. In my case I can see the evidence that I have been in business supporting my family for 19 years. Being an entrepreneur creates a situation where the person to ‘fire’ me is my client. I have many clients who have found value in what I have to offer for 19 years. 

I also see how this belief of working hard to feel valuable was not serving me. In the past I would exhaust my body into such imbalance where I would make unhealthy choices to soothe myself for working so hard and as a result I would have a low level migraine head-ache daily.

The final step is to ask your self the question what would I rather believe? 
I would rather believe:  When I work, I am present and authentic and I create a valuable nurturing service for my clients and when I’m not busy I give myself permission to nurture myself and play. 

The more that I honor my sadness and see my limiting beliefs around my value the more I learn about my true purpose and passion.  

I work with a compassionate open heart and I understand that this level of commitment takes a great deal of energy. My work is not measured on the amount of time I put in, it is measured by the amount of heart I offer.  The more that I value myself and listen to my own needs the more I’m able to impact my clients to be in that place of ‘BEING’ and receiving their gifts and talents.  

What I know is that when I’m not being kind to myself it is so much harder to be in that ‘heart centered’ place for others.  I love the lessons that I continue to learn from observing my own emotional ups and downs.  If you want support to learn how to understand the powerful messages and gifts that can be found in your negative emotions and self-judgments than schedule a free discovery session with me. OR simply ask yourself what one small step can I take right now to shift?  Remembering sometimes it is as simple as acknowledging yourself for something that you feel good about.

What story triggers you into feeling not good enough?
 Follow these steps to guide you back to balance.
1.    Be curious and witness your story without judging yourself for your feelings.
2.    Define what you are telling yourself or believing about the emotion or situation. When we name it we have the opportunity to tame it.
3.    See evidence of places where this belief it not true in addition to see how the old belief isn’t serving you.
4.    Acknowledge yourself for what is right with you.
5.    Create a new belief and take one small step towards creating it.  Remembering along your journey that you are always ENOUGH.


Thank You for reading and watching,

Susie Raymond

What Reiki has taught me...

I love this season of miracles. Watching the earth move from dormancy into new beginnings of spring. I gaze outside and see the brown, desolate earth, the trees without any leaves, the gardens empty of flowers; however, the knowing of what is under all this is what is exciting to me.  The possibilities of beauty, new growth, birth, the knowing that with April showers we will have May flowers.  As we are entering this season of  new growth, I feel inspired to share how Reiki continues to teach me to stand in awe and witness the natural ability that our body and mind have to heal when we nourish it with unconditional love and acceptance.

Reiki has become a companion, a presence, a powerful tool for me and I have a passion to share this with you. If you are interested in experiencing the unconditional love of Reiki all you need to do is ask.  If you ask me I will add it into any service I offer during the months of April and May for free.  


What is Reiki? It is universal life force energy. Reiki is a modality that increases your life force so that your body/mind/spirit are being supported to naturally heal. 

Is Reiki a religion?  No.  It is a spiritual frequency of love and light.  Do you have to believe in it to have it work?  No, however a sense of curiosity and openness is encouraged.

What has Reiki taught me? Trust. Humility. Patience. Stillness. Guidance. Pure joy. With Reiki I have witnessed and felt the divine.  Reiki has increased my confidence to share what I feel and let go of others judgment.  The ability to hold sacred space and witness the power of love and acceptance.

Our bodies are designed to heal themselves? I’m sure you have witnessed how your skin repairs and renews from a paper cut, or a burn.

What have I had the privilege of witnessing while offering Reiki? I have witnessed through Reiki remission from cancer, anxiety, infertility, sexual abuse, gout, frozen shoulder, migraines, and so much more.

What kinds of people choose to learn Reiki? I have taught Reiki to teachers, nurses, doctors, hairdressers, engineers, husbands, children, mothers, therapists, acupuncturists, philanthropists, CPA’s, college students, lawyers, doulas, handy-men, anyone can learn to offer Reiki.  

Why would you choose to receive Reiki?  Gain clarity, reduce anxiety, heal a physical ailment, reduce stress, and experience deep relaxation and healing on all levels.

Just as the earth holds the seeds of new growth and beautiful flowers our bodies have the seeds to renew. If we desire to grow it is our responsibility to surround ourselves with nourishment of unconditional love and acceptance.  This is the root of Reiki.

Health Benefits Of Yoga

Most yogis will tell you that they could never hang up their yoga mat, and with good reason. The ancient practice known as yoga delivers a multitude of physical and emotional benefits, no matter the age or fitness level of the person practicing it. 

The roots of yoga stretch back over 5,000 years to northern India but didn't take off in the United States until the Russian yoga instructor Indra Devi founded her own Hollywood yoga studio in 1947. Today, there are over 100 schools of yoga being taught in the U.S. which all generally incorporate physical poses, breathing exercises, and meditation that creates harmony between the mind and body. 

Yoga has been recognized by the American Osteopathic Association to increase flexibility, muscle tone, and strength, contribute to weight loss, maintain a balanced metabolism, improve cardio health, and much more. Those that exercise regularly may notice that yoga helps improve their performance in other forms of fitness or sports. The stretching involved in yoga can also help prevent injuries during other physical activities. In general, yoga can also help increase energy and maintain a healthy weight. 

But the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical changes. Because the practice requires breath control and focusing on the mind/body connection, many yogis experience an overall improvement in their wellbeing and emotional health. Stress reduction is one of the most noticeable benefits, as well as improved sleep and concentration. When stress levels decline, this helps maintain a healthy blood pressure range. One may also experience a decrease in chronic pain such as arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Yoga is a beginner-friendly practice, so whether you're excited to try doing challenging inversion yoga poses or you want help releasing stress, with so many varieties of yoga readily available through studios, fitness facilities, and private homes, it's easy to find the right class that matches the stage of your yoga journey and physical capabilities. It only takes one class to begin enjoying the health benefits that yoga has to offer.

This information was kindly shared by Yoga Life Daily. You can connect with them on their Facebook page.



Recently Featured in: Next ACT FOR WOMEN!

When she needed a change, Susie listened to the calling of Reiki and its healing energy. She launched her own business, White Sage Spa, to provide her Reiki services along with traditional spa services, yoga, and life coaching.



Tell us a little about your background.
I was raised in Greendale and Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, the youngest of seven children. My parents were conservative “good Catholics,” and my mom wanted twelve children; six girls were born, then finally the prized boy, and then they planned to have the seventh child. My mother was convinced she could conceive another boy, a playmate for my brother, Billy, but I was a beautiful, curly blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby named Susie. While I was the youngest, my brother was treated more like the baby of the family. I was fiercely independent and loved to roam outside with my dog, my pony, my duck, and climb trees.



My father was a banker and worked at the Savings & Loan that my great-grandfather had started. I began to model my career after his. Something with stability, longevity, and that was accepted as a “good job” by society. As a child, I remember longing to be an entrepreneur. I got my degree in Business & Marketing from UW Milwaukee. I was a resourceful, hardworking child: I began to babysit at twelve and always worked; I even ran a small business on campus as I put myself through school.

I got married at age 22 and graduated from college a few months later. I started my first career with Kohl’s Departments stores as a Management Trainee. I quickly progressed through the various Assistant Store Manager positions. As the company was expanding, I too increased my level of responsibility by moving to the corporate office and becoming the manager of customer service, store operations, and communication for over 150 stores. I continued with Kohl’s for thirteen years of growth and promotions. I remember observing my boss and thinking “His stress is so high he’s going to die of a heart attack.”  Is that what I’m aspiring to? NO!


Moving from Assistant Manager to Corporate Offices for Kohl’s


When did you start to think about making a change?
My husband and I took a three-week trip rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Our children were three and five and we left them at home with family. It was on this trip that I did some serious soul searching of what my next act would be. I knew I was attracted to natural methods of healing, but I had no education or experience aside from two of my favorite classes in college, taught by a Native American medicine woman, about philosophy and how to use Great Lakes plants for food and medicine. These were elective classes which had nothing to do with my business degree, go figure… I still have those class notebooks 30+ years later.


Rafting the Grand Canyon

I began to allow my mind to play with possibilities of a next act. I didn’t know what it would be but I created a list of desires, keeping in mind that I was the main breadwinner of the family. My husband was a stay-at-home dad who worked part-time on weekends and evenings.

One day, my brother invited me to look at a day spa with him. He is a massage therapist and was looking to rent a room in a beautiful spa on the North Shore of Milwaukee. I walked through the spa and immediately felt this was a business that excited me. Within six weeks of that day, my brother and I went into business together. I remember a conversation with the Russian esthetician who we inherited with the business. I naively stated, “You know, I’ve never had a facial or eyebrow wax,” to which she arrogantly replied, “I know.”

I remember thinking, I may not know this industry, but I have a passion to learn it and I do know is how to run a business, manage people, and excel in customer service—while always being willing to learn. It was very scary to take the plunge but because my brother and I made the decision so quickly, there wasn’t much time to overthink it.  In hindsight, this was a gift. I prepared by taking a three-month professional leave of absence from my corporate job in order to continue to provide health insurance for my family and provide a safety net to see if I could support in this new venture. My husband was very supportive and for many years helped with weekly operational tasks.


The early days: My brother is on the left, my husband on the right

During this time, I went back to school to become a licensed esthetician through the Institute of Beauty and Wellness and found out that I really enjoyed being in the treatment room and working one-on-one with clients. At that time in my life, I prized myself on my ability to multi-task and so I did it all. I managed all aspects of the business and offered facial services too.

Our most intriguing service was Reiki, healing energy touch, offered by a woman in her 70s. She worked on an on-call basis, which took a lot of coordination with scheduling—not a very efficient way to run a business! The businesswoman in me wanted to make Reiki more accommodating and the spiritual muse in me was intrigued with the idea of learning to do Reiki myself. Still, my overwhelming thought was, “Who am I to offer Reiki? I don’t have magic healing powers.”

As any Reiki practitioner understands, the Reiki energy and healing is independent of the practitioner. The Reiki flows through us for the client’s highest good and purpose. As Reiki practitioners, we are commissioned to be clear, conscious conduits and invite our own ego to step out of the way. I was certified to Reiki level I with Nancy Retzlaff in October 2001 and went on to complete my Reiki Master/Teacher certification in Sept 2008, at the age of 45, with Laurelle Shanti Gaia and Michael Baird at Infinite Light Centerin Sedona, Arizona.

During this time, I chose to dissolve my business partnership with my brother and move into my next act.


What is your next act?

I am a Reiki practitioner with my own business, a Healing Center I named White Sage Spa. I worked with a life coach specializing in holistic business owners (Jaya Savannah) and structured my services to reflect inner and outer beauty along with wellness.

I offer Catalyst Life Coaching, Emotional Empowerment workshops, anti-aging facials, Reiki services & classes, Raindrop therapy (a balancing massage from Lakota Indian tradition using essential oils), and even officiate weddings, occasionally. I work in a beautiful shared space with other solo-wellness practitioners who offer services including massage, acupuncture, nutrition, and counseling.


Credit: Abigail Kathleen Photography

It wasn’t until age 47 that I had the courage and confidence to begin teaching Reiki. Reiki is an amazing self-healing tool that was the catalyst to my own journey in the importance of self-care. During the early years of running a business with my brother and raising two daughters, I strove to balance being a working mother and wife and business partner. Yet I was not the balanced zen-like healer I aspired to be. I recognized the stress and dysfunction in my business relationship with my brother. The grounding energy of Reiki led me to see the imbalance within me and harness courage for my true next act. Since then, I have become a Reiki master and teacher.



Reiki students

I have continued to up-level my education. At age 52, I completed an additional coaching certification with the International Institute for Emotional Empowerment and am also a teacher/mentor to others going through this certification process. I now understand that coaching/teaching and modeling self-love are my life’s purpose. It fills my heart to watch my clients make choices toward their desire vs. what they think someone else wants them to do.

I teach and model a life of balance and self-care. As I take care of myself at a high level, it allows me to hold space for others to learn the benefits and gifts available to each of us through the consistent act of self-care and nurturing. I’m in a business where I hold a safe and nurturing space for individuals to experience their own inner and outer beauty. I believe one of the greatest ways to teach others is through modeling the joy and happiness that flow naturally when we listen to our own needs versus living a life reacting to what we believe others need. I have lived both ways and I know the gifts that are available to each of us when we honor our desires through consistent self-care.



Coaching session

Why did you choose this next act?  

When I evolved my business from a bustling multi-faceted seven-room spa to a simple one-woman show, some folks asked, “Why would you downsize?” I looked at it as simplifying and stepping into what made me happy—not what society was telling me to do. i.e. bigger, better, more.

It was a great opportunity that excited my heart and spirit. I remember thinking,

“This is one of those meaningful points in life where I either take the risk and go for my desire or stay on the safe path that is draining my life force and happiness. I’m young and if it doesn’t work I can do something else.”


Teaching a workshop

What challenges did you encounter?

The most overwhelming challenges were rooted in poor communication with my business partner/brother. I chose to dissolve the business partnership with my brother because we were not in a healthy relationship. I could see and feel the dichotomy of being in a healing business—attempting to present a calm, healing environment—while raging inside at the dysfunctional relationship that my brother and I were engaged in. Knowing that he would not be easily persuaded to leave the business, I took a huge leap of faith and sent a certified letter to him suggesting that he buy me out, I buy him out, or we sell the business—because I could no longer be in a healing business with a partner whom I was not in a functional relationship with. Reiki taught me to increase my faith and let go, trusting that the outcome would be for each of our “highest good.”

This was a very scary time since I was the main breadwinner for our family. I loved the healing industry that I was in, however, I recognized that if I didn’t shift to take care of my own needs, I would burn out. My husband was 110% supportive of me separating from my brother. He’d watched the toll it took on me to not only run the business but also to navigate the various roadblocks that were created by having a non-communicative/non-supportive partner. The biggest challenge was that when my brother and I went into business, we never created a formal business agreement outlining what would happen if we wanted to dissolve the partnership. If I’d taken the advice of my lawyer friend who encouraged us to create a legal document of partnership prior to beginning the business, this would have made dissolving the business easier.

My brother was initially shocked by the letter. He hired a lawyer and we began the negotiation process. We continued to run the business together and kept the conflict completely confidential from our staff and our family members. We came to an equitable solution within four months, where I paid him a sizable amount of cash to buy him out. Even though this put my husband and me in a financial crunch, it was a situation where I knew my freedom far outweighed the cost.

My brother continued with his massage practice in a different location. Years later, when I re-structured my business into multiple practitioners working collectively, but not as my employees, I welcomed my brother back in to rent a room. During those years I had learned healthy boundaries and how to use my voice. While I recognized that I could not be in a business relationship with him, I was open to having him work adjacent to me, running his own business. I’m happy to report that our relationship is better today than ever.



With my brother Billy at a family party

Reiki helped sustain me. The Reiki prayer has been my daily practice to stay focused and grounded:

“Just for today do not get angry, don’t worry, be grateful, work hard and be kind to all living creatures. This is the secret of inviting happiness, the miraculous medicine of all disease for the improvement of body and soul.”  ~ Mikao Usui


What did you learn about yourself through this process?

After completing my Life Coaching certification in 2009 with Patty Jackson, I took a long look at what made me happy. I recognized that I love working with my clients, both one-on-one and in groups. What I was tired of doing was supporting all my employees and managing all the tasks involved with little time for myself. Hence the shift to my own one-woman business.

I launched my original business believing it was my job to support and take care of everyone. As I transitioned this business into my own solo practice, White Sage Spa, and continued on my personal journey by becoming a Life Coach, my greatest lesson was in learning the importance of taking care of myself and trusting that others have what they need to take care of themselves.


What advice do you have for women seeking reinvention in midlife?

Get clear on what you desire is and why you seek this desire. Whatever you choose, recognize why you are choosing it and visualize how you will feel while you are living your new re-invented self. Listen to your heart/gut as your main guide and be aware of making decisions from fear vs. love.


With friends (Patty is second from right)

What advice and resources do you have for those interested in Reiki?

Focus on the aspects of the business that you are talented in and don’t hesitate to hire strong support people to help in the areas that you are not strong.  Create a team and empower your team to create for the highest good of all concerned.

If you have an interest in learning Reiki, first recognize who you are learning this for.  Many Reiki students have a big heart and desire to offer Reiki to others. The foundation is that Reiki is a self-healing tool. We must nourish ourselves before we can effectively transmit healing energy to others. Reiki will create deep transformative healing for you and all that you work with. It is important to understand that the Reiki is flowing through you, the practitioner, and is not dependent on your ability. We all have the ability to channel this Reiki love and light energy. Anyone can learn Reiki.


Teaching Reiki

I have attuned three children and their mothers. Attunement is the sacred practice of aligning the student’s chakras to be open and to receive and send the Reiki energy to all.  Ironically, the children understood and got out of their own way easier than adults. Why? The doubting-ego voice is not as loud at age 10 as it is at age 40. As you search for your Reiki/Master Teacher, be sure you connect with them on some level. I do not recommend being certified for Reiki via the Internet. I think it is important to have a group experience, a teacher you can reach out to with questions, a community to come back to for Reiki shares. If you are searching for a teacher, get clear on what your expectations are and ask questions. You will always be energetically connected to your Reiki teacher so be sure that this connection feels good to you. I also recommend waiting a minimum of 30 days between each Reiki certification level.

If you have the desire to learn Reiki, follow your heart and do it.  The mind might be saying, “Who am I to offer this healing touch?” Remember that Reiki is available to all.  The more Reiki practitioners we have in the world, the more unconditional love will be shared.

Recommended books:  
A Modern Reiki Method for Healing by Hiroshi Doi
Reiki Best Practices by Walter Lubeck and Frank Arjava Petter
The Book of Chakras: Discover the Hidden Forces Within You and Chakras and Their Archetypes: Uniting Energy Awareness and Spiritual Growth by Ambika Wauters
F.E.E.L.: Feel Every Emotion as Love by Michelle Bersell

Recommended schools/teachers:
The International Center for Reiki Training
Infinite Light Healing Center
And of course, I teach as well! Learn more here.



With my husband and kids

What’s next for you?

My next act is continuing to teach the benefits of self-care and balance through one-on-one coaching and group workshops and to continue to attune others to Reiki so that our world will become a kinder, gentler place to live.

See Original Blog Post on Next Act For Women

Connect with Susie Raymond
Email: susie@whitesagespa.com
Phone: 414-352-6550
Website: www.whitesagespa.com
Facebook Page

See the world through the eyes of love!

See the world through the eyes of love!

Dear *|FNAME|*, 

These are my silly prescription sunglasses that I’ve had since April.  My intention when I ordered these was two fold; one to remind myself to see the world through the eyes of love and two, to hopefully bring a smile to anyone who is looks at me.  A heart is a universal symbol of love.  Through my heart shaped sunglasses I feel as if I’m sharing my intention of love and acceptance.  Wearing my heart glasses is just one small way that I am choosing to spread the message of love. 
During these turbulent times where the battle between love and hate is being played out in our world, and there is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness I would like to remind you of Mahatma Ghandi’s words ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’. 
When you model kindness, consideration, and acceptance in your daily life it not only feels good, you are teaching by example.  Another benefit is when you treat others with kindness and respect it will be reflected back to you, feeling lighter and less stressed as a result. How do you want to choose to see the world through the eyes of love?  Sometimes it takes courage. It took courage to let go of what others may think of a 50 year old woman wearing heart shaped sunglasses and allow strangers to laugh at/with me.  Thankfully the playful, loving side of me out weighed the part of me who was concerned about being looked at as foolish.
I encourage you to look for opportunities to be foolishly kind, considerate, and loving to a complete stranger. You can make a difference in someone’s life and you will instantly feel your heart grow when you do. 

Spreading Kindness,
Susie Raymond
Catalyst Life Coach, Esthetician, Reiki Teacher

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Permission to Play!

How easily do you claim time to play?  Do you incorporate play into your weekly schedule? Are you working for the weekend? Is an upcoming vacation the only thing allowing you to stay sane?   When playtime does roll around are you able to let go or does the monkey mind keep you caged in?   I’m happy to report that my chaotic life circumstances have settled, I have shifted my shit, and I am feeling a sense of balance in my life.  

Here is the funny thing, on my day off, I had a very hard time giving myself permission to play.  A gorgeous afternoon, my pool was sparkling, and yet my monkey mind kept me busy with tasks inside the house. I was stuck in my old pattern of ‘getting my chores done before I could allow myself to play.”   I know the value of balancing play with work. I gave myself permission to play for 90 minutes, and told myself I could tackle tasks afterward if needed.  I set a timer and went outside.  I checked the timer after 20 minutes, laughed at myself and went back outside. When I heard the timer beep I was happily splashing in my pool.  I turned the timer off and played the rest of the day.  

I saw and felt the benefits in just being vs. doing.  I let my monkey out of the cage and my spirit was filled up with fun, joy and sun. The act of setting the timer, temporarily soothed my mind that believed that the tasks were the priority.  The first 20 minutes I battled with myself:  “Is it okay to play?” When the 90 minutes was up I had shifted from the ‘doer’ and gave myself permission to ‘simply be.’  

Benefits of play: Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can energize you and will increase your capacity to navigate life’s muck.  Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.

Fostering an attitude of play, daily, takes practice just like exercise. Remember ‘play is an attitude’ more than an event or location. It is the practice of allowing ‘you’ to be present in the moment and simply being vs. doing. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best. Now, turn off your screen and go play, I’ll be waiting for you…

Susie Raymond, Catalyst Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breathwork guide



How to navigate life's muck with grace...

In the last few weeks I have been commissioned to hold compassionate space for a number of people in my life going through major trials. As I have been called to hold others at a high level of support I recognize old unhealthy habits.  In putting others before myself I have forgotten about my own needs. Instead of judging the emotions that appear to be negative I recognize them for what they are and allow them to signal a shift.

After spending the morning supporting others I went home feeling stress, anger and frustration. With an afternoon free I decided to dedicate the second half of my day to myself. I committed to spending time outdoors and disconnecting from electronic devices. Moving from one thing to another led me to believe I had everything under control when in reality I had fallen into the chaos of everyone else’s shit and had forgotten to pause.

While re-grounding through spending time outdoors, I finally had a moment to pause and recognize how overwhelming life had been lately. The methodic practice of weeding my garden put me in a meditative place allowing me to take a step back and recognize that although I chose to support others, I must not allow their needs to come before mine.
The insight that I received:  “I’m the only one who knows what it feels like to be going through what I’m going through.  AND I’m the only one who knows what I need to take care of myself right now.”

I noticed that even though I can’t change the circumstances I can change my thought patterns. And when I change my thoughts and turn to actions of self-care my energy begins to replenish. 
Recognizing that you are in a bad place and not taking any self care action to shift your sh*t will leave you in your own pile of crap! 
Remember, you are the only one who chooses your thoughts.

Simple steps to shift your story:

  1. Awareness of emotion:  “What am I feeling?”

  2. Acknowledge the emotion: “I’m feeling angry and helpless.”

  3. Ask yourself what would I rather feel?  “I’d rather feel calm and compassionate.”

  4. What one action/thought can I take to shift from anger and helplessness? “I can stop re-playing the story in my mind that is creating this feeling because it’s keeping me stuck in the anger and helplessness.”  The awareness to stop playing the story over and over in your mind is a big step.   

  5. I can ask myself : “What one action can I take to be more compassionate right now?”

  6. Listen to the answer to the question:  “I will turn off my electronic devices, soothe myself with weeding the garden, and shifting my mind to the present task of pulling the next weed.”

  7. Commit to taking that step and witness how your emotional energy changes.

I invite you to pause right now and think of an area in your life that is causing you stress or discomfort and remember you are the only one who knows what if feels like, and you are the only one with the power to shift it with your own awareness and permission to take a step toward a different feeling.
I would love to hear your story on how you shifted your sh*t through awareness and self care.

Susie Raymond
Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breath work Teacher

How I shifted the "should" to "want"

What stops me from writing a blog and sharing a part of me? The belief that my mind/ego/lower self has created: “What do I have to share?” “Who am I to blog?” Recently I experienced my mind judging what I plan to write and shutting me down before I even began. Have you ever had a desire and then your mind talks you out of it with some dialog that boils down to “you're not good enough, who are you to go for your desire?”
I got to battle with this over the Fourth of July weekend. I was contemplating freedom and all that it means to me and at the same time I was not allowing myself to be fully free to enjoy the time off of work, the time with family, the time just hanging out in my kayak. Why? Because I had this pre-determined commitment to myself to blog weekly.  My desired commitment to share became a heavy obligation and the little voice inside my head kept saying “what are you going to share? Who will read this?  You aren’t good enough.”  I call this little voice my ‘lower self’ or my ‘ego self’.  It is not a bad thing, it is a part of each of us, it’s our human experience.  I’ve built a relationship with my ego and I dialog with it. I’ve learned to not judge it. However sometimes it gets the better of me. These thoughts stopped me from writing.
My commitment to these blog posts is to only write when I feel inspired, and my desire is to write weekly.  However my inspiration to write does not follow a calendar.  So the pressure to ‘GET ‘ER DONE’ from the ego completely blocked the inspiration of the heart. 
I got to look at how I choose to navigate that choice between “I have to write a blog.” And “I want to write a blog.” 
We all have situations in our lives of things we have to do and things we want to do. When you give yourself permission to be free, to enjoy the moment, to be present you begin to notice details in life that create a richness of life. You are nourishing yourself with a sense of freedom in your thoughts. How do you nourish the act of giving yourself permission to be present? I will answer this in my next blog post, "permission to play!"
My commitment to myself and to you regarding this blog is:  I will write only when inspired. If it feels tried or hard I will step away and trust that it will feel easy and joyful. I will trust in the timing of each of my blogs vs. a hard and fast schedule.
Think about anything that you might currently view as hard, or that you’re resisting and ask yourself the following questions…

  1. What am I currently believing about myself that is making this task hard?
  2. Is that belief really true, and what would I rather believe?
  3. What one thing could I say/think/or do for myself to help me believe the new truth?
  4. What one small step can I take to move in that direction?

I welcome any feedback or comments on these steps and how they have helped you. I have to laugh at myself. Over the weekend as I was feeling stuck, I started multiple different blogs, nothing felt right. Now I just ‘GOT ‘ER DONE’ in less than an hour.  Why, because I allowed the heart to speak without the judgment of the mind. Your heart is holding the answers.  When you feel stuck, quiet the mind and ask the heart “What is the desire?”
Sending you big blessings. May you find a moment today to simply be, and notice your heart's desire.  

Susie Raymond
Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breath work Teacher

Life feeling unpredictable? Lessons from the river....

Greetings from the river, 

I am fortunate to have a beautiful flowing river in my backyard.  A few weeks ago I took my second kayaking trip of the season.  The river was running high and the current was strong.  I was mentally and physically up for the challenge of guiding my kayak upstream.  I settled in and began to paddle with equal strength and effort on both sides of the boat. I intended to stay along the right bank where the current was lighter. However the current had a different intention for my boat.  As I paddled with focus and strength the current pulled my boat to the far left bank. 
The lesson from the river:  Sometimes life’s current is stronger than our will and intent. For example recently in my personal life, I learned a friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, another friend’s husband left a 30 year marriage, and another friend’s husband passed away at age 54. 
So I asked the river….”What do I do when the current of life becomes so unexpectedly unpredictable?” The answer was simple, “notice what you notice, be present with what is and gentle with yourself. Remember to look around, you may see a gift even in hardship.” In that moment I noticed a beautiful aroma that I had never experienced before.  I noticed some beautiful wild yellow river irises along this side of the shore.   
When life’s current takes you into scary waters; how can you use this wisdom from the river to get you back into the flow?

  1. Breathe – yes I know we all breathe all the time, however when you take time to notice your breath it will create a bridge and guide you to feeling grounded when life feels unpredictable.

  2. Be present-notice the little things with a sense of gratitude. If you are grateful for someone in your life, tell him or her.

  3.  Acknowledge emotions with gentleness and feel them. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, scared. Let go into the current of the emotion. Stuffed emotions create dams, and the emotion can become far more destructive.

  4. Nurture yourself with an activity that is soothing and the awareness that you deserve it.

  5. When your mind goes into worry and/or fear, switch it to wonder.  I wonder how this is going to work out.  This simple word switch has power to lighten the mood from fear to trust.

When I turned my boat around I had an expectation of going downstream with ease. Instead a strong upstream wind hit my face and I realized it would not be an easy float downstream. This created a perfect opportunity for me to be present and focused. Letting go of what I could not control however still moving forward with intent and will in the downsteam current of life trusting in this process with a sense of wonder.  If you find yourself in unexpected circumstances I trust that one or more of these suggestions will help you to feel grounded and centered.
Be well,
Susie Raymond, Catalyst Life Coach, Reiki Teacher, Esthetician, Breathwork guide

5 Steps to take when feeling stuck

I intend to send weekly blogs on observations and life lessons that I have learned
and continue to share with my clients through catalyst life coaching. Through my
blogs, I will share lessons on how to navigate normal human emotions to guide you
to feel grounded when things feel shaky and move you toward more joy and ease.
If you like what I have to offer you, I invite you to share it with friends via
facebook, google+, and feel free to forward this email or link to a friend.
For this first blog, I will re-iterate a lesson from the river that I wrote about
recently. So for some of you, this may be a bit like a summer re-run. However, I
have added a few action steps for you to practice as you paddle upstream. I look
forward to sharing the second lesson from the river next week.
A lesson from the river....

I live on the Milwaukee River and I chose to go on my first kayaking trip of the
season, upstream to the dam.  The water is quite high from the rain, the current
looks strong and enticing.  I mentally prepare my body prior to easing into my
boat.  I dip my paddle into the river and say hello to an old friend, marveling at
the river's changing personality with the seasons. 

I’m paddling upstream:  My mind is very focused on each stroke of my paddle,
physically working super hard, feeling my body responding to the will from my
mind, my spirit is delighted to be on the river my senses are heightened by the
force of the spring currents.  A thought flashes through my mind:  “Wow this is
hard to paddle upstream, sort of like life.”  “Sometimes you don’t have a choice
you must paddle upstream to get to your destination.”  Then my higher self-asks
:  “Really is that true?”  I challenge myself when my mind creates these
limiting beliefs.  For example the belief:  “Life is just hard and you have to work
hard to get where you want to go and you don’t have a choice.”  Really is that

I’m in my kayak relishing how alive my body feels to be working physically hard
against the current and I realize.  “No, I always have a choice.  I could have
chosen to go downstream however that would have involved a different choice of
parking a car downstream and hauling my kayak back home.”  I chose to put my
kayak in and paddle upstream.  I delight in the challenge of asking my body to
work against the current and I will savor the ease when I turn my boat
downstream for the return trip.

When life or a project feels hard and overwhelming what can you do?

1. Honor your capacity.
2. Give yourself permission to rest and refuel when you feel fatigued.
3. Ask yourself what is one small next step I can take, and take it!
4. Acknowledge yourself for taking the step. Yes, it is a good practice to pat
your self on the back.
5. Celebrate what you have done and experience the joy.

I celebrated my efforts as I turned the kayak into the flow of the current and
allowed my body to simply rest as I closed my eyes and drank in the sun and
floated with ease. Remember in all situation you too have a choice of “how” you
navigate your journey even when it feels challenging, take a step, and as you see
your vision, down steam, you will move towards it easily.

-Susie Raymond

Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician,

Breath work Teacher