Life is a fast moving train and a slow tedious crawl and everything inbetween

Life is a fast moving train and a slow tedious crawl and everything inbetween

Life is a fast moving train and a slow tedious crawl and everything inbetween


The outside world and my life seem sometimes to be this iron horse of a steam engine train with tons of raggedy, rattling  boxcars adorned with urban art that flashes in color as the train speeds by noisily with its mournful whistle.

The removal of the Confederate Flag from the state capital in South Carolina to the SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage throughout the country has both energized and enraged various citizens depending on their beliefs and values. As for mine, I cried tears of joy 2 weeks ago seeing this basic civil right finally available to beloved friends and family. The flag? Hell yea! Rep. John Lewis, renowned civil rights leader spoke emotionally and eloquently of being on the receiving end many times of that symbol used to represent hatred of people of color and to strike fear into their hearts and also the hearts of any allies of equality.

It is amazing and so hopeful that these events have occurred! We also have much work to do in continuing to eliminate systems of oppression and privilege.

In my personal life, in any given day, I am creating environments of healing. Often in very challenging places and circumstances. With the dying. In prison. Today, in a shelter. Sometimes in a yoga class. With a Reiki client. Teaching a workshop. Delivering a training. Sometimes there is as much suffering in a Reiki client or workshop participant as there is in a shelter or prison. There is always pain and suffering. It can be alleviated. People can heal. And there will continue to be more suffering. More dying. More pain.

So while life can be a fast moving train, the work of healing oneself, others and the planet, the work of making the commitment and living it to create a more just and equitable society, of creating a place of connection and community that is relational is long, slow, hard, fucking tedious and often frustrating work.

And so I come home sometimes with a heavy heart and knots in my stomach from the witnessing of suffering. I practice mindfulness as a living prayer in many ways.  I walk my dogs. I listen to church bells and watch children play and hear their sing song speech and laughter. I observe trees and the life they support. I come to my yoga mat and meet my own suffering that I often neglect and distract myself from in my work with others. I breathe and move and stretch. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I sigh. Sometimes I yell at the top of my lungs. I dance ecstatically with no rhyme or reason. I write. I walk in my garden. I listen to my daughter’s music with her. I rub my son’s head. I love my husband in my gaze and countless other ways!  I sing a lot. I become lighter and hope, joy and often absurdity emerge. And I remember.

Inbetween the fast moving train of daily life and the slow tedious pace of social justice and community building is Grace. Grace that holds the oppressor and the oppressed. The healer and the one being healed. The child riding the bike in my neighborhood and the woman in prison separated from her child. Grace that is all encompassing and free for the taking. When I can remember this in my mindfulness practices, I am humbled to the core, grateful beyond measure for my life and how it shows up in each moment and here I can be grateful for the chaos that is all of humanity. May we all find peace in this inbetween space.


Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen, B.A. Political Science/Sociology, is a Certified Music Practitioner, Sound Healer, Reiki Master, and Registered Yoga Teacher with a trauma informed/social justice framework. She has 20 years experience of working with some of the most amazing people on the planet; hospice patients and their families, patients in a variety of health conditions, survivors of sexual abuse, adults with mental illness and most recently, incarcerated women. Rachel is also passionate about supporting and working with caregivers to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. Locally, Rachel teaches Creative Movement at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Regionally and nationally, she teaches and presents at conferences and retreats, weaving live music, yoga, and creative movement into themes of compassion, self acceptance, and transformation. Rachel is committed to engaging people from all walks of life in the healing arts to create healthy, diverse, and joyful communities.