I've wanted to do a blogging interview series for years. I'm thrilled to kick it off with Lori-Lyn Hurley, one of my oldest, dearest blogging friends. She's a writer, a Reiki Master and an intuitive healer. Lori-Lyn extends such beautiful, loving energy out into the world. We talked about family history, her intuitive healing business, writing inspiration, social media, pursuing one's passion, the time demands of self-employment and the one thing she would encourage you to do every day. I hope you'll enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
1. I’m fascinated by genealogy. How has your ancestry and/or family history shaped your choice to pursue work in healing and wellness?
My family and family history influenced my choice in several ways. When I was growing up, there was much discussion in my home about the fact that there was more to life, health, spirituality--more to this human experience--than one is often led to believe. I always knew the door was opened for me to explore pathways of thought and practice that felt right to me, rather than accepting what the dominant culture of the time wanted me to do or believe.
Both of my parents were college professors, but when I was in middle school, my dad took a year's leave of absence from teaching so that he could pursue a career as an entertainer. He was actually about the same age that I am now. It was a risk - but he decided to take it and pursue his dream. He never went back to teaching and he's still performing. That decision of his was a great role model for me. It showed me the power in stepping forward into your desires and doing the work you love.
I can also see some direct links between my ancestry and the specifics of my work. Even though it wasn't always spoken about publicly, my grandmother experienced profound psychic ability. I've always known that was a part of my genetic structure and family history, as was anxiety and depression. Watching family members struggle with emotional issues, and hearing stories of the similar struggles of my ancestors, inspired me to want to find a better way. Part of my passion for learning all that I can about the way the body mind and spirit works, and how we can shape and influence our lived experience -- how we can heal -- is inspired by this history.
2. As a Certified Reiki Master, can you tell us where Reiki originated and what kind of global presence it has as a healing art?
As far as the origins of Reiki, there's some confusion and contradictory information, but what is widely understood is that Mikao Usui had a mystical experience in Japan in 1922, which led him to organize Usui Reiki as a hands-on healing technique. Reiki is actually a general term that describes a variety of spiritual healing methods, and Dr. Usui's technique is formally known as the Usui System of Natural Healing or Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Dr. Usui's methods were changed slightly (for the American audience) when they were brought to the west by Hawayo Takata, and teachers like Diane Stein helped spread the teachings in an accessible way in the 70s and 80s, somewhat demystifying Reiki, in my opinion. (As much as energy healing can be demystified.)
I think we're living in an exciting time for energy work. What was once strictly the domain of spiritual seekers, shamans and mystics, is now broadening. Science is beginning to catch up with what spiritual healers have always known. Reiki is practiced in clinics and hospitals, more and more people are hearing about it and adopting it as part of their wellness routine.
I don't think the influence of nurses should be underplayed when it comes to how Reiki has spread in the western world. Doctors diagnose, but nurses heal. They know the power of loving human touch, and many nurses have been working quietly behind the scenes, and publicly, to promote the art of Reiki and bring it into the mainstream.
Even though I am trained in the Usui tradition, like many practitioners, I use the word Reiki loosely to encompass a variety of methods, both physically tangible and spiritually intuitive, that accelerate the flow of energy between the body and the emotional body, to promote healing and wellness on all levels.
It will be interesting to see how and where we go from here, but I do believe the world is catching on and more and more people are waking up to the profound power of channeling energy.
3. You have a M.F.A. in Fiction Writing and write beautiful nonfiction at your blog. Who do you read when you feel stuck as a writer?
(Well, first of all, thank you.)
When I was eighteen or nineteen, someone I barely knew gave me a copy of Sharon Olds’ Satan Says and completely rearranged my understanding of what one could do as a writer. I had an immediate visceral reaction to her work. I think I own every Sharon Olds collection in publication, and those poems are my go-to medicine when I'm feeling stuck. Her words shoot straight into my blood and remind me how to be brave. Her poems also speak to the power of the personal. We, on this planet, are living a shared experience. She can tell the story of a moment in her life and even thought I didn’t live that moment, I can get in it with her and understand.
I also reach for Francesca Lia Block, because style is liberating to me. She reminds me about the freedom of art and how magical it is to be wildly truthful and wildly creative at the same time. Her words seem to zip across the page.
4. You also have a YouTube channel. What do you like most about vlogging?
I started posting videos online several years ago when I was part of the Co-Creating Your Reality project. I felt self-conscious at first, and when that project ended, I let my YouTube channel go dormant. I recently revived it, however, because I find video to be a great vehicle for connecting and getting the word out about what I do, but most importantly, for introducing myself to potential clients and friends. I see my work as a relationship. I think video allows people to know me in a way that the blog doesn't. It's also just really fun. It feels playful to me and it definitely pushes my boundaries in a good way.
5. How has social media contributed to your practice as an intuitive healer?
Social media has given me a community. I have not only met people, but forged real, deep and lasting friendships with people I never would have met otherwise. It allows me to find other voices that challenge and compliment my own. I feel that the internet, but social media in particular, is my school, my stage and a room in my temple. Like any tool, it can be used for good, evil or indifference, but I make sparking soul connections everyday via social media and those moments contribute to my work in a big way.
In a practical sense, social media is how I advertise. (Although, I'm not crazy about that word!) I don't have the budget for ads, but I can talk about what I do on Facebook and Twitter and my people can find me and I can find them and we can, and do, have meaningful conversation and connection.
The fact that I can be sitting in Kentucky in my pajamas with my cup of coffee conversing with my dear friend in California, in real time, while we're also conversing with other people, blows me away. I mean, yes, there are also telephones, but there's just something about the wider community of social media -- the marriage of public and private -- it makes sense to me.
6. This year you became self-employed. What has been one of the unexpected gifts of self-employment?
Being able to see and be in my world fully has been a great and unexpected gift.
It actually took me a while to realize that I was in charge of how I scheduled my time. When I feel like it's a good time to go to the store, I can go. When I feel like it's a good time to sit on my porch, I can. I'm not saying that I'm living a life of leisure (I'm actually working more now than I was in my 9 to 5), but I'm in touch with my natural rhythms and the rhythms of my environment now in a way that I wasn't before.
Even I didn't realize how much of myself, my senses and the way I experience life I had deadened and muffled so that I could survive in an office environment. Self-employment has felt like blooming open. I watch the animals in my yard. I notice the way the wind moves in the leaves outside my window. I listen to the body of my home, how it moves and how it works.
I am present in my world. I'm actually alive. (It's pretty cool.)
7. How do you juggle the time demands of healing work, writing, social media and marketing your business?
Not very well, actually. That's something I'm looking at as we head into 2011.
I love my work and I have a wee bit of an obsessive personality, so it's easy for me to get out of balance and dedicate all of my time and energy to one area of my life at the expense of the other areas. I'm looking at ways to place a more of a structure on how and when I tend to the aspects of my work and expression.
At the same time, my nature is to flow without structure. I think I work best when I can go where I'm called and immerse myself in whatever it is that comes to the surface and speaks to me. I don't want to "tweet" on a schedule, for instance. I prefer to chat on twitter when the inspiration strikes.
I think there's a happy medium between lists and schedules and divine inspiration. I hope to ease myself in to that place in the coming year.
8. What’s a favorite way you like to unwind?
My favorite moment of the day comes after dinner. I often take a salt bath to release and detoxify. Afterwards, I put on my pajamas and curl up on the couch with Tracy (boyfriend) and Woody (pug) with a quilt or two and the laptop. We watch old movies or tv while I surf around on the net. That's my favorite downtime. It sounds so, well, digital, but it actually feels cozy and sweet.
9. If you could encourage everyone to do one thing every day, what would it be?
I almost hesitate to use that word because there's a lot of pressure and resistance around it, but I believe that meditation (in whatever form you choose to engage with it) is the power cord that connects you to source energy.
I talk to people every day who are struggling to find clarity or answers or awareness. We can be complicated creatures; we can make things much more difficult than they have to be. So often, the answer to everything is simply to be still. In quieting the mind and the body, you make the space for spirit to move through you and speak to you.
A small, simple meditation practice can change your life.
Lori-Lyn is a native Kentuckian who spent almost a decade in New York City before returning to her home town. She is a writer, Reiki practitioner and intuitive. She teaches workshops and works with holistic wellness clients in person and distance. She has a BA in studio art, and MFA in fiction writing and is attuned to Level III Usui Reiki.
Website: Dream Life Wellness
Blog: The Dream Life
YouTube Channel: The Dream Life
Facebook: Dream Life Studio