Celebrating International Womens’ Day

In honor of International Womens’ Day, I wanted to share my appreciation and gratitude for some very wonderful women who have shaped and nurture the woman I am today.

First, my mom, Kathaleen Lustig. She taught me to be self-sufficient, responsible, polite, creative and considerate of other peoples’ needs. She put many of her own dreams on hold to focus on being a mother and homemaker, but encouraged me to work hard and succeed in whatever path I chose. Mom also was a good source of support when I chose to breastfeed my daughter, despite having very little experience doing so with me or my brother. She is never critical of my parenting choices and lets me know that she thinks I’m doing a great job as a mother. She is also the strongest, most courageous person I know. Several years ago, she had a near-fatal medication interaction. She fought harder than anyone I have ever seen to come back from life support and has made a truly miraculous recovery, both in body and spirit.

I also owe much gratitude to my paternal grandmother, Mildred Lustig. From a young age, she told me to focus on my education and I never forgot her words during the years that I worked full-time and attended college part-time to get my degree. She also introduced me to modern art – Picasso and Miro in particular – and took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA, which were life-defining experiences.Grandma expressed unconditional love towards me up until the last days of her life. She’s been gone from us for nearly 25 years now, and yet I still feel her very close to me in spirit.

I also express my appreciation to Hawayo Takata and Chiyoko Yamaguchi – the two women in the history of Usui Reiki Ryoho responsible for making the practice more accesible for others and living in accordance with its principles. Takata practiced and taught Reiki in the United States during a time when there was deep anti-Japanese sentiment and prejudice, and was responsible for transmitting the practice from Japan to the West. Yamaguchi practiced Reiki in Japan with only family and friends, but her valuable interaction with Reiki teachers from the West allowed us the opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese Reiki as it was taught in the 1930s. Both women are a reminder to me that dedication to spiritual practice can have far-reaching effects beyond personal benefit.

And finally, my gratitude to my wonderful women friends from all walks of life – single women, married women, career women, stay-at-home moms, entrepeneurs – all of whom have added depth, richness and inspiration to my life. They make me laugh, cry, and amaze me with their brilliance, strength, insight and determination. They support me on the low days and celebrate with me on the good ones.

I would not be half the woman I am without all of these amazing women in my life – past, present and future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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