The Wheel Of Fortune

April 30th, 2024

The Wheel Fortune X
By Bonnie Tarantino

One day, when Lucia was in nursery school, she came home and said, “Mom, my teacher is an astrologist. You should be friends.” If you happened to know Lucia at age 4, this will not,in any way, surprise you. Sure enough, during drop off’s and pick-ups, Mrs. Kathy and I began to share our interest in metaphysics, forging an easy friendship. At this time, we lived in a little town called Hasting on the Hudson in NY, and I just loved…LOVED this town. Hastings was right outside of New York City, and my family was all nearby. On top of being a completely walkable hill town, it also boasts of being filled with writers, artists, and musicians who spilled out from the big city for a quieter, creative life. We lived there in 2001, and on 9/11, when the towers went down, the town all walked down to the park on the river, gathered, prayed, and rooted for the countless boats as they assisted with the evacuation. Not long after this sad day, Scott fed up with NY, decided that he wanted to take a job in Maryland. I in no way wanted to leave my family, NY, and especially this wonderful town. I turned to Mrs Kathy, the astrologist, and asked her to do my chart. Over herbal tea, a trampoline, and screaming kids, she asked me my birth date and hour and showed me my stars and planets on a little wheel with the constellations mapped out. This wheel looked strangely like The Wheel of Fortune.

She began, “You may not feel this right now, but it is your destiny that is moving you down Maryland. Your work is there. You are going to work in a university system and bring yoga and reiki to healthcare workers. This is a big deal. This is your path unfolding. You may not even feel ready to do it, but the right people will come along to help you with your kids, and you are ready.”

Several weeks later, Mrs.Kathy went on a weekend retreat. While there, she met a lovely woman named Sheri. Sheri just happened to be from Baltimore and had just taken a job as the Director of the clinic for the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland. Shari also just happened to be married to an orthopedic surgeon. Mrs. Kathy, fresh out the stars of my own chart, realized she was, in fact, the catalyst for my destiny.

With their hand on the great wheel of fate, Sheri and Mrs Kathy swapped numbers. That Monday, Mrs. Kathy ran out to me during the drop-off, waving the paper in her hand. “It is all going as planned! You are going to be just fine!” When I arrived in Maryland 8 months later, Sherri was one of the first calls I made. Several weeks later, over lunch, we hatched a plan. I would come to work for her and bring yoga and reiki to the clinic.

My first yoga class took place on a cold night in October of 2002 in a conference room in the basement of Kernan Hospital. Week after week, I would cart my supplies down the elevator, throw out garbage, move the tables and chairs, and lay mats down on a somewhat dirty floor. One day, on my way to my car, I saw this old greenhouse on the property. I walked over to explore it more fully. Attached to the greenhouse was a cottage filled with boxes. I inquired as to who used the cottage, and as it turned out, it was the center’s storage space and even had electricity, a bathroom, and heat. I asked if I could convert it into a yoga studio, and somehow, the wheel started turning again. People at the center volunteered to help clean out the space, more supplies were ordered, and there I taught several yoga classes a week and began offering Reiki treatments and trainings.

One day, after teaching a masters-level reiki class, I had this big idea. What if I had the time to take people through everything I wanted to teach? What if I had eight weeks to train people in yoga, meditation, journaling, vision boarding, sound therapy, and Reiki? What if I had the time to teach them about the chakras, distant healing, the Agnihotra fire, and tree bathing?

Burning up with the idea, I sat down and built a loose curriculum based on three hours a week for 8 weeks with two full Reiki retreat days built in. I used the chakra system as my guide. It felt as if an engine was placed under me. I was moving easily and quickly.

I then opened the “word” program on my computer and looked up a template for proposals. It now felt as if I was going at warp speed. I was inspired and guided. Everything was flowing. I filled in the blanks and estimated the money I would require to train 20 nurses. As a previous owner of a yoga studio, I had a pretty good idea of what it might cost. I had Scott look it over and then went to my boss, Dr Brian Berman. We chatted, and he called in his wife Sue to chat with me a bit more. I left leaving the proposal on his desk. The proposal was titled “Healing Pathways”.

I don’t know what prompted me to do this, except I had a big idea, and it just made sense to get it all down. Something had taken over. Something bigger was steering my will and showing me the way. About a month later, Brian’s assistant Amy called me to see if I was free to offer a Reiki, sound healing experience to friends of Brian and Sue who were in town. This would happen from time to time, so I was not surprised. The couple came in, and we spent a lovely hour or so together.

Little did I know they left on their private jet, little did I know they left with my proposal in hand.

About a month later, Brian called with some news. The couple was interested in gifting the center with the money to start this program. The Wheel of Fortune turned for me that day. My life changed, and so did the lives of hundreds of others. Many said to me, “Oh, you are so lucky!” And yes, I did feel grateful, but I also felt that I was prepared. Before this, I had trained myself to listen. Daily, I meditated, did self-reiki and yoga and visualized being a vessel for clear, flowing light. I had not only allowed the vision to come through, I also wrote it out, printed it, walked into my boss, and pitched it. I put it out into the universe with an open hand and a trusting heart. Yes, I was lucky, but something else was also there. I was not just in the right place at the right time, I had hiked there without a map or a compass or Waze. I was right where I was supposed to be because I had spent years cave diving and excavating my inner world. I had spent time with the Hermit and trained. I emerged from my cave and landed in Baltimore fearlessly and unapologetically me. I was not just a woman who was into “woo-woo”, who was a mother with two kids and a busy husband; I was a woman who was very clear about why I was in the world and what the world needed. Compassion fatigue and burnout were at an all-time high. I shared a bed with it. The healthcare world needed Healing Pathways, and I was in total and irresistible alignment.

After we received the grant, we got right to work. I gathered a team of nurses and nurse practitioners together, with whom I had already trained in yoga and reiki. We began building the curriculum, weaving in science wherever best we could. I called the heads of nursing divisions within the hospital system in several hospitals and offered to come in and do a group meditation with them so I could share about the class. We would meet in little break rooms, and their skeptical eyes would close in exhaustion. I would play my crystal sound bowls, guide them to breathe, show them a chair stretch or two, and 30 minutes later, they would float back, ready to sign up. Something was happening and happening fast. For some reason, doors like this kept opening. We submitted and were approved for CEUs for nurses, social workers, and physical therapists. Word got out. CEU’s meant reimbursement. In no time at all, we filled our first class with Shock Trauma nurses. We then ran a second one for VA nurses. Eventually, nurses from all over Maryland began to attend. This program ran for over 10 years, with over 500 healthcare professionals going through it. The original gift from the donors generated three times the amount of money it sparked, and I had a wonderful job because of it. In the end, the hospital had a team of 10 people committed just to offering integrative treatments at the bedside. Somewhere in the middle of it, we even published a paper that proved its efficacy.

Then the wheel started moving faster. There was more.

At some point, I decided that 8 weeks was not enough. I wanted to keep going. I wanted to offer a training that lasted for a whole year! Again, I gathered some amazing people together, and we created The Yoga Teacher Training Program, offering a 9-month 200-level and as well as a 500-level based on the Healing Pathways curriculum. Once again, doors kept opening, spaces were offered to us for free, and departments in the University System were willing to pay the tuition for their nurses. This 9-month training ran for over 8 years and trained over 200 healthcare professionals to become yoga teachers as well as Reiki Masters.

The wheel kept turning, but eventually, it spun and spun too fast until it fell out of my control. No longer in alignment, I went flying off in exhaustion in 2019. And why did I spin off? Well, the next card in the Major Arcana is the number XI, Justice, and it is a doozy. But that is next week’s card.

Click here to watch the documentary on Healing Pathways

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