There are many unconventional paths to wellness

As the warmth spreads around my knee caps, I giggle and then laugh out loud.

“That’s amazing,” I asked. “What are you doing to make my knees this warm?”

“It’s not me,” I’m told. “It’s you. It’s your energy.”

Then as Reiki Master Teacher Anne Quade finishes, I feel an indescribable joy, a joy so extreme and long lasting that later that night the dog and I had to go for a run rather than take a walk.

When Anne called the next day, she said that she expected that result.

“Your body is a great healer,” she said. “With the right attention, it can heal itself from almost anything.”

Which is why she and co-organizer, Cheri Riehl, are preparing to host the third annual Wholistic Wellness Workshop at the Elim Lutheran Church on Feb. 6.

Wellness is a state of mind, body and spirit.

This year’s title is “A Tapestry of Wellness — Weaving Your Design,” a blending, Anne says, of all your experiences to bring you where you are today.

For Anne the title holds personal meaning. She started in banking as a 16-year-old living on the East Coast and stayed in banking for close to 30 years.

She worked for Rainier Security Pacific for nearly 20 and as the vice president of sales and service in Western Washington at Washington Mutual for another seven.

Yet her deep faith and fascination with healing professions brought her to Reiki.

She was trained as a Master Teacher in 2001.

Many old friends from banking will tell her they’re surprised by her career change.

Her sister sees it differently.

“I was always surprised you went into banking,” Riehl told her. “You were destined to do this.”

Both enterprises, Anne explains, deal with energy.

Whether the value we give to money as the tangible representation of our efforts and energy in exchange for services and products or the more spiritual we apply to our souls.

I am not sure how Reiki works, only that the movement and clearing of my energy or “Ki” felt miraculous.

Anne and Cheri have filled the Wholistic Wellness Workshop with twelve presenters.

Each offers an amazing and transformative presentation on wellness, from acupuncture to animal assisted therapy (used often in nursing homes) to physical therapy, T’ai Chi and more.

One of the 12, Rae Hight, has an incredible knowledge of the workings of the mind, body and spirit, having served as a registered nurse for many years.

“I’m really proud to be 60,” she said. “My life has been like the workshop title says, ‘a tapestry,’ a blending of so much experience and knowledge.”

When you sit and talk with her, you’re struck by how much she does know about healing and empowerment.

She practiced in home healthcare from 1980 to 1993, until, she laughs, the field grew more technical.

“I’m the only nurse in the world who hates needles,” she said, “and when the industry became more technology-driven, I sought another avenue.”

That was counseling. Hight blended the two together for several years, practicing that profession from 1993 until 2007.

She blended again, merging into life coaching.

Hight says that one interviewer exclaimed over all the initials behind her name.

“It’s the tapestry of my life, all that I love to do.”

As gentle and soft spoken as she seems in person, she’s a tough life coach, asking you to examine assumptions that you hold and areas where you may be in denial.

She is blending again, offering journal writing as a way to “empower people.”

“People learn so much about themselves through journaling,” Hight said. “It allows you to put down on paper or in a visual form what is troubling you or giving you joy. It helps you to clarify and better define your life and your goals.”

Journaling she explains isn’t about writing, a practice that intimidates some people.

“There are no rules,” Hight said. “Journaling can be drawing, writing, collage building, sketching, artwork, poetry, expressing gratitudes or doodling. It’s just an expression of you and what you are feeling or thinking. Research has shown it has physical benefits of healing.”

Rae offers classes on-line and in person at her studio off Eastbrook Road near Horseshoe Lake.

Or better yet, catch her for a sample of her work at a journaling workshop at the Wholistic Wellness Workshop on Feb. 6, at Elim Lutheran Church.

The event, which would cost several hundred dollars in Seattle, starts at 9 a.m., includes an organic lunch and concludes at 4 p.m. with door prizes, all for a tiny $20.

Seating is limited to 125. Go to Elim Lutheran Church’s Web site, or call (360) 710-4922 for more information.

Mary Colborn is a Port Orchard resident.