Caution – Tractor Crossing

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Nan and Dave Palmer, fellow bicyclists, told us about the Long Prairie Trail in Boone County, and exactly how to get there. Never ones to let grass grow under our feet, nice and early on Monday morning we loaded the bikes on the back of the car and headed out.

The head of the trail was waiting for us exactly where they said it would be, with a nice little parking area for a few cars. We took off on our bikes at a leisurely clip. As you can see from the photographs, the trail is nicely paved, flat, and always visible for at least a mile.

Lovely trees bow gracefully toward each other over a good portion of the trail. At one point we came across a patch of birch trees mixed in with the rest. Surprisingly, there were very few other cyclists.

Pedaling along merrily, I heard a crash. I turned around just in time to see Len in the end part of a body roll.

“Are you okay? What happened?” I asked.

“I got too close to your back tire and I didn’t want to knock you over. I don’t know if I braked too fast, or turned too sharp, or what — it happened so fast.”

Good thing we wear helmets, riding gloves with padded palms, and carry a well-stocked first-aid kit. I could sew up a deep gash if I needed to. We’ve never had to use the kit for ourselves before. On occasion we’ve used it for other people we’ve come across who’ve taken a nasty spill. Gratefully, no stitches were needed.

That part of our ride was 15 miles—a little longer than the actual trail because we did a little off-trail snooping. After we got home, and just before dinner that evening, we took another ride much closer to home. We rode up to the train station in McHenry and back—it was a lovely 10 mile ride.

If you were to hop on your bike and ride somewhere today, where would it be?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

The Dog Blotter – A Tail of Woe

Laurie at the Scene of the Crime by Len Buchanan

Laurie at the Scene of the Crime by Len Buchanan

Friday, July 9. Straight-up Noon. I’m sitting in my office at HolEssence when my hackles go up. Hmmm, I wonder. What’s going on? I make my way to the back of our building and look out the glass door. There’s a cobalt blue, Pontiac Torrent parked in our small parking lot. All of the windows are down half-way, but there’s no human.

There is, however, a black and white dog with his tongue hanging out. I ask Len to check Google for the temperature outside. “It’s 85.5 degrees outside,” he says.

It’s “Sidewalk Sale” days in historic downtown Crystal Lake., It’s clear to me that someone had a difficult time finding parking on the crowded streets and decided to park in one of our spots – and leave their dog unattended on a miserably hot day.

I head to the basement.

“What are you doing?” Len asks.

“I’m getting a bowl of water.”

“Laurie Jean, you could get bit.”

“I’ll take my chances Mr. B.”

[I don’t actually see this, but I feel Len roll his eyes at me.]

I make my way out to the car, talking to the dog as I approach. He’s a bit skittish as I reach the bowl of water in through the window. He nervously takes a test lick, then eagerly laps several tongue-fulls  Wagging his tail, he thanks me.

My razor-sharp mind quickly deduces that the owner is female. She’s not only been irresponsible enough to leave her dog in a deathtrap, but she’s left her purse on the front passenger seat. I swear I can hear the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz singing, “If I only had a brain.” 

I motion Len outside and ask him to call Animal Control. An officer in a large, white panel van, amber light-bar flashing on top, pulls in. I quickly bring him up to speed. He says, “It’s obvious she didn’t leave any food or water in the car for the dog. You understand that even though she’s left the windows down, it’s at least 10 degrees hotter inside the vehicle, don’t you?”

“Yes sir, I’m aware of that. And I’m pretty pissed. Just to let you know.”

He knocks on the back doors of the closest businesses looking for the perp (that’s short for perpetrator, for those of you who are new to crime).

Not at Joe’s Barber Shop. Not at Material Girl (a fabric store). And not at Le Petit Marche (the local bakery).

The officer gets back in the Animal Control van and calls the police. An officer arrives within 5-minutes. I keep giving Hunter water. When the Animal Control officer returns I say, “I’ve given him a lot of water. Pretty soon he’s going to pee on her seats.”

“It’ll serve her right,” he says.

The police officer is parked behind the perp in the event she shows up and wants to skedaddle. His light-bar’s flashing too. The back side of HolEssence looks like a murder scene, [only there’s no blood, no body, and no crime tape].

More water for Hunter (now I’m secretly hoping he’ll pee on her seats).

The police officer asks me if want to press charges for unlawful parking when she arrives. “Damn straight,” I reply.

Eyebrow raised, he looks at me askance and says, “Maybe you’d better go inside, in the event of an altercation.”

I know full well he’s concerned I’m going to scold the person who’s responsible for this.

Inside HolEssence I pace, looking out the treatment room window where I can observe, without being seen.

Len says, “Mrs. Kravitz, what are you doing?” (Remember Mrs. Kravitz from years ago? She was the nosey neighbor on Bewitched).

“I want to see what’s going on. Ohhhhh, here she comes now!

I see a fashionably dressed young woman (early 30’s) sheepishly approach the car, tail between her legs. I can read lips well enough to see that she’s saying, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t intend to be gone that long.”

I see two officers not taken in by sorrowful eyes—probably batting behind her dark sunglasses—and coy pout.

“Way to go, fellas!” I mentally shout, as I jump and fist-punch the air!

I see each of them hand her a piece of paper. The policeman is undoubtedly giving her a ticket for unlawful parking. The Animal Control officer is handing her some type of citation – hopefully there’s a fine associated with it. 

The squad car pulls away first. The perp’s vehicle is next; followed by the Animal Control van.

As they’re driving away I shout to Len, “Oh crap!

What is it now, Mrs. Kravitz?

“I didn’t take any pictures!” I wail; knowing full well that Kathy Drue, Jeff Stroud, and Terrill Welch would have had her mug shot and fingerprinted by now!

So even though I didn’t catch the real-time action, the photo is of the crime scene—the parking space, the sign that clearly says the parking is only for HolEssence customers, and the water bowl I used to quench Hunter’s thirst.  

The moral of the story?

Never be afraid to take a BITE out of crime!

Listen with your heart,  Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.


I can see from the tag on the dog’s collar that his name is “Hunter.” He looks to be half Dalmatian and half French bulldog. Without my glasses I can only make out a 708 area code. That means the city – as in Chicago. We’re at least 1.5 hours north by car.

Reiki for Health, Healing, and Life

Laurie's Reiki Hands by Len Buchanan

Laurie's Reiki Hands by Len Buchanan

What is it?
Reiki is an ancient healing art thought to have originated in Tibet thousands of years ago. The Japanese word, Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) consists of two syllables:

Rei —  “Universal”
Ki — “Life Force Energy”

The word Reiki refers to the energy itself, or the actual practice of healing with the energy. Simply put, Reiki is the method of channeling healing energy through the practitioner into the recipient. It is important to understand that the energy does not come from the practitioner; rather through the practitioner for the good of the recipient — energies needed to heal oneself, loosen internal energy blockages, reestablish mental and emotional equilibrium, and revitalize the body and soul.

Reiki is versatile in that it can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or combined with any other type of intervention to treat almost any disease, the most common being stress-related disorders. Research shows that 90% of all illness stems from stress in one way or another. Reiki helps to relieve the body of stress and triggers the body’s innate ability to balance and heal itself naturally. Reiki can be used for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. It is a ‘hands-on’ method of energy work, although Reiki energy can be sent as ‘distance healing’ also. 

How Can It Help Me?
For healthy individuals, Reiki is a simple, effective way to relax, relieve stress, and restore energy.  For those with acute or chronic health problems, Reiki is a valuable complementary therapy. Reiki blends well with interventions such as medications, surgery, acupuncture, chemotherapy, and psychotherapy. By enhancing a person’s sense of well-being and helping their system to regain balance, Reiki can strengthen the benefits received from other health interventions. 

How Does Reiki Work?
Without conscious intervention by the healer, intelligent healing energies flow through the healer to the recipient in exactly the right amounts to precisely the right places in the recipient. The healer’s job is to “get out of the way” — to keep the healing space open, and to watch and listen for signs of what to do next. The Reiki energies are multi-dimensional and can heal the root of a problem on whatever level it may exist — body, mind, or spirit. Because it is a channeled healing, the Reiki practitioner’s energies are never depleted.

The energy flows out the palms of the practitioner’s hands, and the recipient’s energy does not flow back into the practitioner. The Reiki practitioner can stay in one place projecting the energy on or towards the person who is receiving it, but typically moves around the body. While the Reiki energy fills and surrounds the recipient’s body with its gentle vibrations, if there are parts that require more balancing of energy (called energy blocks), the Reiki energy naturally focuses more in those places.

Garden Hose - A Reiki Analogy by Laurie Buchanan

Garden Hose - A Reiki Analogy by Laurie Buchanan

An Analogy
Consider whenever a person goes outside to water the garden. They turn on the water tap, pick up the hose and focus the nozzle of the hose toward the garden. The person is not usually concerned with the water running out, or with the possibility of anything foreign coming in through the sides of the hose. The person does not worry about anything coming back up through the nozzle because the water pressure is too strong. While this person could just let the water run and it would work its way to all parts of the garden, they enjoy directing the water to their favorite plants, then possibly the balance of the garden. However, if there is a part that is in greater need than the rest of the garden, the water will accumulate more there and balance the entire garden’s water content.  And it is usually obvious where these spots are, as more water gets absorbed there than elsewhere.

The water can be thought of as the Reiki energy. It comes from a source outside of the Reiki practitioner, and seems to have no limit to its availability. The hose is like the purified Reiki channel that is opened within the Reiki practitioner. It is pure and strong and nothing can penetrate it. The energy flows out the palms of the practitioner’s hands, (the nozzle, as well as other chakras in the body), and the recipient’s energy does not flow back into the practitioner. The Reiki practitioner can stay in one place projecting the energy on or towards the person who is receiving it, but typically moves around the body, starting with the recipient’s head (just like watering the favorite flowers first). While the Reiki energy fills and surrounds the recipient’s body with its gentle vibrations, if there are parts that require more balancing of energy (called energy blocks), the Reiki energy will focus more in those places. The end result is a balancing of the energy in the recipient — body, mind, and spirit.

Reiki Session by Len Buchanan

Reiki Session by Len Buchanan

What to Expect
Every practitioner is slightly different in their approach. During a Reiki session at HolEssence the client lays fully clothed on a Reiki table that is lightly heated in the fall and winter months. The head and neck are comfortably supported by a pillow, and the legs are elevated a bit to insure that there is no pressure on the lower back. The client then enjoys a somewhat cocoon-like effect that is created by:

– A lightweight blanket
– Comfortable stereo headphones softly playing Reiki-specific music
– An eye pillow

This ‘cocoon’ serves to diminish, if not eliminate, any outside distractions — providing the client with the opportunity to simply ‘float away’ during the session. The treatment room is filled with our gentle Signature Scent—a proprietary blend of essential oils specifically designed for profound relaxation. 

During the session my hands are placed in specific positions slightly above, or very lightly on, the recipient. Breathing becomes slower and more comfortable as the recipient moves toward a deeper state of relaxation. The client may encounter a variety of responses. Some people feel a sensation of warmth from my hands. Others feel a soft wave of subtle pulsations flowing throughout their bodies, or a sensation of tingling or humming energy; while others feel somewhat like they are floating. Some people simply fall asleep.

After a Reiki treatment people generally experience contentment, greater mental clarity, feelings of deep relaxation and greater vitality, encouraging a return to wholeness and well-being. What every person agrees with is that Reiki is very comforting and relaxing. 

A few other things about Reiki…
There are few limitations to Reiki, but there are some things that Reiki will not do. Reiki, by design, can not do harm to anyone or anything. Reiki can not change the course of an illness when death is imminent. It can, however, smooth the transition for the dying person and even their family. Reiki cannot violate free will. A person is free to refuse the benefits of a Reiki session if they choose, consciously or subconsciously.

Reiki is not faith healing. The belief in Reiki by the recipient is not important for it to work. Belief in Reiki, or lack thereof, does not validate or invalidate its effectiveness. Reiki is not a religious belief, principle, or dogma as it encompasses all systems of thought, but the results can be spiritually uplifting. A single person or organization does not own Reiki, and there is not one particular ‘right’ way to practice Reiki.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. 

Butt Weary!

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You thought there’d be an Energy Medicine 101 class today, didn’t you? Well, I’d like you to play a little hooky and join us on a bicycle ride that we took yesterday – July 5th.

You see, I needed a reward. A big reward! I kept my butt glued to my desk chair and wore my busy-bee blinders all weekend working to meet a deadline – the one where I had to recreate 113 of the pages that are on the dead hard drive (no we haven’t heard anything yet). I met the deadline and the material is winging its way to my editor at UW-Wisconsin as we speak.

A cause for celebration! So whip out your bicycles and join us as we fly along at a brisk pace. Remember to bring along some water because this is a ten mile ride.

I asked myself over the weekend, “Laurie, would you still work this hard on the manuscript and the articles you write if you knew that you’d never, ever be published?” Would you like to know how I responded? “You’re darn tootin’ I would!” I’m not reserving joy for the destination; I’m fully enjoying the journey.

I hope you enjoyed the ride – we sure did! More importantly, I hope you’re enjoying the journey.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

Whine and Cheese

While I haven’t actually thrown myself on the ground, or kicked and screamed, Len just asked me, “Laurie, would you like some cheese with your whine?” In other words, I’ve been fussing, whining, and generally belly-aching.

When we contacted the Geek Squad Recovery Team to find out the status on the potential recovery of the data on my dead hard drive, they said they hadn’t received it yet and that they’d send us an email with a status once they did. In other words, “Cool your jets, lady.”

A person can only clean so much! After that, I apparently throw my pent-up energy into whining. I said I didn’t believe it. Len said, “You know how you’ve threatened to record my snoring? Well, I’m going to record your whining.”

“Yes, thank you very much. I’d like a glass of merlot and some blue stilton cheese with crackers …”

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
– Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Alphabetically Speaking

By now you are aware that my hard drive is in the “Geek Squad Hospital” being “extracted.” There’s no photograph today because EVERY bloomin’ thing (and I do mean EVERYthing) is on that hard drive. I wasn’t going to post today, but as I sat here tapping my foot, I started to think about an up-and-coming set of posts that have been simmering in the back of mind.

In the fall I’d like to go through the alphabet and post ONE topic per letter, for a total of 26 posts. I’ve thought of some topics that might be of interest, but I’d like to know YOUR thoughts as well. I’m gathering this information now so that I can do the writing and photography for each post.

In the following list, if there’s something other than what I’ve suggested — please let me know.

If I’ve provided more than one topic for a letter — please let me know your preference.

If there’s no topic listed for a letter, please provide one (or some)

A – Angels
B – Blessings, Belief, Balance
C – Clairs (clairvoyance, clairaudience, claircognizance, clairsentience)
D – Divinity, Dreams
E – Elements (earth, air, fire, water)
F – Faeries, Feeling, Freedom
G – Grounding
H – Heart
I – Inner Sanctuary
J – Juicing
K – Kirlian Photography, Karma
L – Life Lessons, Labels (as in how we categorize each other)
M – Manifesting
N – Numerology
O – Other Side (as in “Heaven”)
P – Paranormal (phenomenon)
Q – Quiet
R – Radiesthesia (the art & science of the pendulum)
S – Spiritual vs. Religious, Sound
T – Totems (animal, insect, bird, or fish spirit guides)
U – Unity
V – Vitamins
W – Water, Writing
X –
Y – (In a previous post I’ve already talked about Yin-Yang)
Z – Zen


The Language of Energy Medicine

Consultation by Len Buchanan

Consultation by Len Buchanan

Today’s class is setting the stage for Energy Medicine 101 by defining some of the terms we’ll be using throughout this semester:

Allostatic load was coined by Bruce McEwen in 2000 and refers to the physiological costs of chronic exposure to the neural or neuroendocrine stress response. It’s used to explain how frequent activation of the body’s stress response—essential tool for managing acute threats—can in fact, damage the body in the long run. Allostatic load is generally measured through a composite index of indicators of cumulative strain on several organs and tissues, but especially on the cardiovascular system.

Beliefs are something that we embrace heart and soul; that we accept as truth. Beliefs can revolve around our self or others and can include a number of things such as faith and identity. Depending on the belief, it can be either limiting or empowering.

Disease is pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.

Dis-ease is the result of an imbalance. For example, too much or too little cholesterol may cause health problems. In addition to physical imbalance, dis-ease can result from mental or emotional imbalances such as blocked feelings, suppressed emotions, and negative thinking.

Energy Medicine is a holistic philosophy that teaches, “I am responsible for the creation of my health. I therefore participated, at some level, in the creation of this illness. I can participate in the healing of this illness by healing myself, which means simultaneously healing my emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual being.” – Caroline Myss

Healing in the widely accepted meaning is to cure symptoms—for that seems to be what medical doctors do in their practice. In the context of Energy Medicine, healing is the process of bringing aspects of our self that are out of balance, back into balance again; the return to greater wholeness. There is an ideal form each of us has, this ideal form being the highest and clearest expression of who we are. Pain or disease comes from any deviation between the person’s current form in the three-dimensional physical world and this ideal form. Healing, then, is to assist the body back to its natural state of homeostasis—the ideal balance between all major parts of our being—body, mind and spirit.

Health as defined by the World Health Organization is “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition has not been amended since 1948. Another definition, perhaps more in keeping with the times is, “Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis.” Buddha said, “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” Similarly, Caroline Myss said, “Your biography becomes your biology.”

Holistic is an approach that emphasizes the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  

Homeostasis is our body’s inborn equilibrium. It occurs when all aspects of our being—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—are integrated and working together in balance.

Hope is the expectation of something desired; belief in a positive outcome.

Hopelessness is being destitute of hope; it’s the emotion of despair.

Noosphere denotes the “sphere of human thought.”

Wellness is more than mere physical health. It’s the quality of being healthy in body, mind and spirit; usually the result of deliberate effort. It’s an approach to health that emphasizes prevention of illness as opposed to focusing on the treatment of disease. As defined by National Wellness Institute: “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Every one of us can relate to this list of terms in some way. We’ve probably all embraced a belief that’s either empowered or limited us. Most of us have personally been affected by disease or dis-ease, or know someone who has. We all resonate with either hope or hopelessness—maybe both. Do you agree with what Buddha and/or Caroline Myss said as it relates to health?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Energy Medicine 101

Laurie Teaching by Len Buchanan

Laurie Teaching by Len Buchanan

Last semester in the University of Life we discussed the different lessons some of us are here to learn. This semester I’m offering Energy Medicine 101. Class topics will include: 

– Setting the Stage (definitions)
– Healing versus Curing
– The Master Key to Healing
– The Difference between Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine
– A Look at Different Energy-Based Therapies—What they Can and Can’t Do
– Death is Not the End

I’m not a physician. I’m a Holistic Health Practitioner, board certified with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). In this context, my specific area of focus is Energy Medicine. My training and approach have been greatly influenced by three leaders and teachers in this field: Barbara Brennan, Donna Eden, and Caroline Myss.

Over the next weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts as they relate to Energy Medicine. That doesn’t mean I’m right. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong. It simply means they’re my thoughts. If you share the same mind-set; fantastic! If you don’t, that’s fine too. Either way, please feel free to speak up and share what’s on your heart and mind.

So batten down the hatches and prepare to take on water because we start Energy Medicine 101 the day after tomorrow. Bring a sharpened No. 2 pencil, a fresh tablet, and be sure to ditch your gum before entering class.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Abundance and Prosperity – The Difference

Abundance & Prosperity - The Difference

Abundance & Prosperity - The Difference

I’m getting ready to share “Attracting Abundance,” an annual class I present at HolEssence. One of the first things I define is the difference between abundance and prosperity:

 Abundance is something that brings a return value to the heart. It benefits your inner self—body, mind and spirit—with intangible dividends. Examples include love, peace of mind, health, wellness, wisdom, integrity, respect, quality relationships, joy, gratitude, humor, a positive attitude, and contentment—being satisfied. Abundance is inner wealth.

Prosperity is something that brings a return value to the wallet and/or bank account. It is on the outside of self and has tangible dividends. You can touch it, hold it, drive it, live in it, wear it, swim in it, take it to the bank, or deposit it. Examples include money, jewelry, real estate, cars, boats, recreational vehicles, collections, and investments. Prosperity is material wealth.

I’d like to share with you an affirmation that I use. I am open to receive spiritual abundance. I am open to receive financial prosperity. Thank you, and so it is.


Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

The Power of Perspective

Perspective by Laurie Buchanan

Perspective by Laurie Buchanan

Our perspective is the lens through which we view life. It impacts the way we experience people, places, and things; and has a direct correlation to how we respond to life’s ups and downs. In fact, our perspective creates our world. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay wrote, “What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. I believe that everyone, myself included, is responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings.” By changing our thoughts, we can change our life.

In my experience I know this to be true. That’s why I’ve chosen to let go of errors of the past, to forgive myself and others, to fill my world with joy, and to live a life of gratitude—regardless. It’s been said that enlightenment is letting go of everything we believe that’s not benefiting us. With thankful heart, I accept the peace of enlightenment.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.