In 1992 I started practicing my own private spiritual ritual. At the time I was working long hours at a high stress job. I had high blood pressure and had been on medication to control it for several years. I often lost my temper at work and was very impatient with my boss. I felt unappreciated, unloved and unloving.
I didn't feel that I really had enough time to add this to my life -- it was typical for me to work 12 hour days, often 7 days a week. But I decided I could get up 10 minutes earlier than normal and devote those 10 minutes to meditation. I began simply.
I had an extra bedroom that I used as a guest room. I decided that would be my meditation room. Each morning when I awoke I would go into my special room, light a candle, read from a guided journal (The Essene Book of Days), allow my mind to wrap around what I had just read and then write down my thoughts.
Within about a week of starting my daily ritual, I realized that I felt more peaceful at work. My co-workers started commenting on the change in my energy and asking what was making the difference. I hesitated to share with them that I had begun meditating -- this was, after all, an engineering firm.
I do remember, however, one week in particular when we had seemingly impossible deadlines at work. In the past, I would have been frantic trying to pull all the pieces together. Surprisingly, I was able to sail through it effortlessly. At the end of the week one of the engineers came into my office and said, "Carol, I don't know what you are doing, but I want to thank you. You took the week from hell and turned it into a joy for all of us."
It was at this point that I realized the power of my daily spiritual ritual. Not only was it having an effect on me, but it was also radiating out from me and affecting my co-workers. It was clear to me that MY attitude and MY energy had an effect, negative or positive, on everyone I interacted with. I began to see the importance of achieving and maintaining a state of harmony and inner peace -- and the ripple effect created harmony and peace in my outer environment.
I gave notice on Christmas Eve of 1993 that I would be quitting my job and really didn't know what I was going to do to support myself. I just knew that I needed to do something "healing" for myself and for others.
I had recently gone through a Reiki attunement and loved the idea of giving people Reiki treatments. I was talking with my Reiki Master and told her, "I wish there was an affordable place where I could occasionally rent a room to do Reiki treatments."
She said, "Carol, call this woman right now and tell her just what you told me."
I called the number she gave me, feeling rather foolish doing so, and said to the woman who answered, "Alexis told me to call you and tell you that I am interested in renting a room occasionally to do Reiki treatments." The woman on the other end of the line immediately said, "Could you come over to see me this afternoon?"
We made an appointment to meet at a healing center in Pleasant Hill called Reunion. Audrey Trammel met me at the door and we sat down to talk in the small entrance room. She told me that she had just been "gifted" with this healing center. The couple who ran it were moving to Michigan and they wanted to give it to someone who would continue to operate it.
"Would you be interested in running this center with me?" she asked.
I looked at her in disbelief and said, "Absolutely not! I would be willing to rent a room from you occasionally, but I don't know anything about running a healing center."
I'll never forget what happened next. Audrey took my hand and looked deep into my eyes and asked, "Would you please go home and meditate on this before you give me your answer?"
Well, I was stunned, but agreed to do as she had requested. I went home and entered into a deep meditation asking to be shown my next step. The answer that came through was so loud and clear: "You've been asking for a place to do your work. I am giving it to you on a silver platter and you are turning it down! Wake up!! Say YES!"
I called her the next morning and told her that I would give it a try. On March 1, 1993 we opened the Reunion Center of Light. We had two healing rooms, a small bookstore, a small workshop space and four practitioners including the two of us. Audrey was also a Reiki practitioner and a massage therapist. We decided that we needed a newsletter and the previous owner had given us a database with her mailing list of 500. So I agreed to be the editor and publisher of our newsletter that we called "The Beacon." In the first issue we told about our new Center and invited people to come to an open house. By June we had grown to 12 practitioners and expanded to 7 rooms. By December we had grown to 32 practitioners and had expanded to 9 healing rooms!
Audrey and I were perfectly matched in skills and talents and for the next three years the two of us ran the center. It provided me with the perfect environment to shift from my corporate job to a new spiritual focus and served as an incubator for my spiritual transformation.
To supplement my income I also started working as a Macintosh consultant. One of my clients, a public relations firm, often called on me to troubleshoot their Macs. On one of my visits the owner of the firm said to me, "Carol, I'm not sure how you do what you do when you are here but we've all noticed that from the time you arrive to the time you leave, this office becomes so peaceful. It is usually quite chaotic but when you are here everything quiets down. He chuckled and said, "We've thought that it might be worth our while to hire you to just come sit in our office."
Of course, they didn't hire me to do that and I doubt that I would have wanted to be hired just to SIT in an office. However, I've come to realize that when we take the time to bring ourselves into a quiet sacred space with Spirit, we open ourselves to Grace and unlimited possibilities. Just 5 minutes a day can make a difference in how we move through our day. In giving this time to myself each day, I had tapped into a level of calmness, introspection and peace that profoundly changed my life as well as my environment.