Sunday, 10 February 2019

Health, Happiness, Long Life, Success


30 years ago this month I completed m y 1st degree Reiki class.  I heard that Hawayo Takata said that 
In about 1989, the year I learned Reiki
practising Reiki would lead to health, happiness, long life and success.So after 30 years is this true for me?

Health

Reiki self-treatment led to discovering the cause of my lack of physical energy – which manifest almost like ME symptoms at times with associated painful joints and muscles.  An intuition that sugar was a problem for my body and having the courage thanks to Reiki’s support to go to my doctor for further investigation led to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  The Reiki principles helped me to deal with this diagnosis and the Reiki philosophy of self-care and a natural approach to healing led me to decline medication and achieve remission of my diabetes through stress management, nutrition and exercise.  I have regained my vitality and am also better at keeping things in balance.  So yes Reiki has given me health!

Happiness

Mentally and emotionally I was in a difficult place when I learned Reiki: grieving for my father and even before that subject to a negative outlook on life.  Reiki was like a ray of sunlight breaking through on a dark day and has continued to be so.  It enabled me to allow love into my life, bringing me together with the man who has now been my wonderful husband for the past 25 years.  Reiki brought a different way of looking at the world and helped me to deepen my spiritual life.   Through this I have found a peace and joy I had not experienced since early childhood and did not expect to find again.  So Reiki has certainly brought me happiness and I feel this will continue to grow as the years pass.

Long Life

Mrs Takata would often say to students: “prepare for a long life”.  Until my diabetes was diagnosed, I suspect I was at risk of an early death from stroke, heart attack or other complications of being diabetic.  My father was only 58 when he died, so although there are other members of my family who have lived into their 80s it may well have been more likely that I would die sooner rather than later.  I also had no particular desire to live a long life.  Reiki has given me a purpose and through becoming less driven I have found other creative passions such as singing, so that I now lead 3 singing groups and plan to write songs too.  This has given me a much greater engagement with life.  I therefore have more motivation to make any changes needed to conserve and even improve my health, so I am indeed preparing for a long life!

Success

This was sometimes spoken of as ‘prosperity’ and for a long time I did not find this aspect to be true in my life, due to my low income.  However, I have been able to do amazing things in my life even so: thanks to my Reiki worki I have travelled to the Idaho and Arizona in the USA, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Kazakhstan and of course Japan.   For all of these adventures at least part of the cost has come from the support of others, so I have been truly blessed and feel that I am very successful and prosperous, even though I don’t earn a lot of money!  What a miracle!  I am also blessed to have a cozy home, good food and most importantly loving relationships that enable me to do my Reiki work.  I feel successful in my work in that I receive the esteem of my colleagues who are often willing to listen to my thoughts.  So I also think that Reiki has brought me success.
May Reiki also bring you health, happiness, a long life and success.

Friday, 18 January 2019

The Joy of Small Things

singing goldcrestLife can often be challenging and confusing.  Currently there is a lot of uncertainty and upheaval in the UK as decisions are made about our relationship with Europe.  These national affairs can feel insignificant, however, when there are personal upheavals such as births and deaths.

At times like these I find a spiritual practice such as Reiki very helpful.  It offers a daily practice of coming into the present moment, noticing what is actually here and now, instead of the dramas my mind is so fond of creating.  It reminds me of the joy in small things.  Once my mind is calmer I find I notice these small things, such as the snowdrops just coming into flower in my garden or the goldcrest I saw from my office window the other day.  It's a tiny bird and could easily have gone unnoticed as I wrestled with my tax return!  The practice of Reiki has given me the habit of taking pauses and it was in one of those pauses that I saw this beautiful little bird, pecking around in the hedge and singing at the same time.  It lifted my spirits and added some sparkle to a dull January afternoon.  The memory of that moment also brought joy to subsequent hours.

My Reiki practice helps to make life more comfortable and enable me to ride the ups and downs of life with more equanimity.  I'm not sure I have quite reached the level of enlightenment described below, but I'm working on it!

"If you can sit quietly after difficult news
If in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm
If you can see your neighbours travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy
If you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate
If you can offer yourself in a generous way to whoever comes through the door
If you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill
If you can always find contentment just where you are
You are probably
A dog."

(Read by Jack Kornfield at a Ram Dass retreat I attended online before Christmas)

Paying attention to my dog - including giving her Reiki - is a source of learning too!  A few days ago she tumbled down the stairs (she's getting old and stiff and lost her footing).  She was unhurt and just got up, wagged her tail and got on with the next thing.  If it had been me there would have been embarrassment, worry and all sorts of other issues attached to a simple tumble.  I might have gone into a whole story about "what if..."  My dog reminded me about the 'just so' nature of life, something my Reiki practice has also brought me to an understanding of.

May your year be filled with pauses, moments of the joy of small things and may you always find contentment just where you are.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Comfort and Joy


If you are like me, November and December are busy months.  My community choir is in demand to sing carols and we put on a fundraising concert.  This year I was blessed with two Reiki classes and there have many demands on my time for voluntary work.  Thankfully the weather has been less challenging this December, with no snow and little frost, although today we have freezing rain, so I'm grateful to be inside with the comfort of a roaring fire!

What I love about this time of year, in spite of the pressures, is how many people seem to go by different rules to the rest of the year.  There is more generosity of spirit, reflected in the giving of gifts and cards.  Many people are kinder to each other 'because it's Christmas'.  Conflicts that rage through-out the rest of the year are put aside at least for a while, like when the British and German soldiers in the 1st World War called an informal truce to play a game of football between the trenches.  I imagine that game of football must have been a great comfort to them - a little bit of normality and fun in the midst of terrible suffering.

As Caroline Myss has pointed out, one of the messages of the Christmas story is that, like the birth of Jesus in a humble stable, miracles are not accompanied by a lot of fuss, but happen quietly and simply.  In a similar way, Reiki practice can be quiet and simple: all that is needed is a pair of Reiki hands and a willingness to give.  This simple gift can bring comfort and joy to both giver and recipient.

At the Community Reiki Clinic I am running in Ludlow we give short treatments in a very ordinary room in the community centre.  We don't have any candles or incense, the lighting is not soft, there is no music. In many ways it is not a particularly relaxing environment, but people who receive treatment - many of them experiencing Reiki for the first time - do find themselves becoming calmer, more relaxed and benefiting from Reiki's grace.  This month we treated the caretaker of the centre, who had just cooked Christmas lunch for 100 locals.  I found him doing the washing up and invited him to come for a treatment.  He was glad to lie down, but was also really surprised by how quickly the Reiki treatment calmed his feelings of stress and helped him relax (he nearly fell asleep!).

As Reiki practitioners this simple gift is a comfort available to us any time, through self treatment.  My Reiki self treatment practice has helped me to become calmer and more resilient, both mentally and physically, so that I am able to offer Reiki to more people. My life has become more joyful through giving my time and energy in this way. 

May you enjoy comfort and joy over the holiday season and I look forward to sharing more Reiki with you in the New Year.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Reiki for Those Affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire

Having experienced the benefit of Reiki treatment for the trauma of the sudden death of my father, I  took 1st and 2nd degree Reiki classes so that I could offer similar benefit to other people, mostly beyond my immediate circle of family and friends. One of the things I learned from this experience is that more preparation is needed than just learning 1st and 2nd degree Reiki.  As a result, I have been involved over many years with various organisations exploring support and good standards for Reiki practitioners wishing to treat the public, including offering educational courses.

I was therefore delighted to hear that Reiki master Georgina Hood had referred to found some of this work and education useful when setting up a project to give Reiki treatments to people affected by the Grenfell Fire tragedy.  Members of The Reiki Association will have read about it in the Summer edition of Touch magazine and there was also a wonderful Reiki Association webinar recently where Georgina talked about the project.

She told us how a member of the Early Years Service at the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea saw people being given Reiki and other complementary therapies in the street after the fire.  She realised that a private comfortable space would be more suitable and that the treatments should be given by professional and properly qualified practitioners.  She put out an email asking for practitioners and as someone working with children in Kensington, Georgina saw it and phoned to offer her help.  As a result, she became involved in setting up sessions of Reiki and other therapies to offer comfort and support to people traumatised by the terrible events of that night.  Several of the local authority staff had learned Reiki themselves, which meant Reiki was easily accepted and funding was made available for all the resources they needed: a treatment couch, rugs, pictures and other things needed to make the treatment spaces a 'home from home'.

Initially the treatments were offered at Clare Gardens Family Centre, but later in the year expanded to 2 other places, including a local GP surgery.  They began offering treatments in August 2017 and were soon giving up to 5 treatments per day, 5 days a week, paid for by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.

People were initially referred for 5 sessions, the 1st being mostly taken up with the initial consultation.  Some people asked to have more treatments, which they often had to wait for as the practitioners were booked a month ahead.  Several people had many more sessions that the initial 5.  The practitioners are paid for their time and Georgina is still giving 5 treatments a day, 3 days a week.  A curious local GP was due to receive a treatment himself the day after the webinar.

The feedback from those receiving Reiki treatments has been positive.  One comment was that they were 'all talked out' and Reiki offered a different kind of comfort that did not require any further words.   Generally, they found their emotional wellbeing improved and so did their energy levels.

I am excited and impressed with this project, supported by the local authority and community, that is making a difference in people's lives.  I hope many more similar projects will follow and that more practitioners will prepare themselves for when the time comes.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

First Community Reiki Clinic in Ludlow


This month I ran the first community Reiki clinic in Ludlow.  Having booked the room and put out publicity and a request for practitioners to help at first I had no response, so imagined myself sitting alone in a room with an empty treatment couch.  However I'm happy to say this was not the reality!

I was delighted when two of my students got in touch to say they would come and help give treatments.  On the day one of them had a cold, so very sensibly decided not to come, so that she wouldn't pass it on.  So there were two of us giving the treatments.  I had decided on a time that would follow on from the community lunch that is held at Rockspring Community Centre in Ludlow, thinking that some of those who came for the lunch might also enjoy a Reiki treatment to follow. 

Following the model of other Reiki clinics around the world we scheduled 30 minute sessions for each person.  The room was booked for 2 hours, so with the two of us giving treatment together this meant we could do 4 treatments. 

Then the day before I received a phone call from one person to say he wanted to book a treatment at the clinic.  He had seen a poster at Rockspring while there for the community lunch.  So I was pleased to go
along for our inaugural session knowing that there would be 2 of us to do the treatments and at least one person to receive.

Jean and I set up the room and I put up notices around the centre to help people find us.  Before our due start time two more people turned up - a woman from my Singing for Lung Health group and her husband.  As our 1st customer had booked his session for 1.30 pm we treated one of them at 1 pm and the other had to wait until after the other treatment - they were able to watch the treatments as they waited.

As we were treating the first customers two more people came!  This posed a slight problem as we were supposed to finish at 3 pm, which left only one further 30 minute session.  However I was able to extend our time (and Rockspring had kindly given us use of the room free for this first session) so that we could offer a treatment to everyone who came.  They too waited patiently and quietly, observing the other treatments.

It made me realise that more practitioners are needed to offer treatments, so that we can be doing 2 or 3 at once and therefore offer Reiki to more people.  Three of those who came this month have already booked to come again next month which leaves only one appointment available if we only have 2 practitioners again!

So 5 people who had never received a Reiki treatment before had the opportunity to do so and all said that they enjoyed the experience.  Although this session was free, several of them also wished to make a donation, so we have a month's room rent in hand going forwards.  This means that we can offer lower cost treatments without a concern about making a loss.

So if you are a Reiki student, whether 1st or 2nd degree, and can get to Ludlow on a Thursday afternoon to help with the community clinic your hands will be most welcome!  It's good practice and you will hopefully learn from the experience as well as offering the wonderful gift of a Reiki treatment to people who need it.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Mrs Takata and the Native American Chiefs


One of the stories I’ve heard about Mrs Takata was about how she was tested by some Native American chiefs.  I was delighted to hear more of this story, and see some documentation about it that deepened my understanding, at the Takata Archives presentation I attended in February this year.

The story goes that Hawayo Takata met a Native American chief and gave him a Reiki treatment,   He asked Takata what she thought she was doing.  She explained that she was using natural life force energy to heal.  He found that this was very similar to his own culture’s understanding of healing, so he asked Takata if she was willing to be tested.  One of the things I learned from the Archives presentation was that Takata was always willing to be put to the test, her faith in Reiki being unshakable.
which he found helpful.

It was therefore arranged that she, the Native American chief and some of his fellow chiefs would meet in a hotel in America.  For the test, they asked Takata to send them distant Reiki healing to their room along the corridor.  This she duly did at the arranged time and when they met again later that day, they declared that she was indeed a powerful healer.

What I had not known until I attended the presentation was that they not only told her this, they also gave her a certificate declaring that she was recognised as a natural healer.  She was even given a Native American name which translates as ‘Little Flower’.

This document, together with many others, is now part of a special collection that will be held as part of an archive of resources for all Reiki students.  The collection contains a variety of things that belonged to Hawayo Takata.  For many years they lived in boxes in Phyllis Furumoto’s home, until she decided that the time had come to open the boxes so that this precious collection could be properly catalogued and cared for in a way that would make it available to the world-wide Reiki community.  

She gathered a team of people to look at what was in the boxes and decide what to do with it all.  The boxes contained newspaper articles, handwritten letters and never before seen photos, golf trophies (Takata was a keen golf player) and many other documents.  It was a huge task!

One of the people who took part in this work in the Archives Team was Joyce Winough, and she is coming to the UK again in October to talk about this amazing work and share some of what they found in the boxes.  When I attended the presentation in London I found it very moving – both to see photographs of Takata I had never seen before, and also to learn more about her family history and history of Reiki.  Often what was shared confirmed stories I had heard like the one above.  Tapes of Takata telling various stories were also played, which I had not heard before.  It’s moving to hear Takata’s voice talking about her Reiki experiences.

So if you are a Reiki student and are able to get to Birmingham in October I strongly recommend you attend the Takata Archives Presentation taking place.  You will be able to see a picture of the certificate from the Native Americans amongst many other treasures!  It is also touching to share this experience with Joyce and other Reiki students.