Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Long Days

I hope you are enjoying the sunny weather as much as I am.  It reminds me of the summers of my childhood, when the days seemed long and contented.  In my adult life the days usually seem too short, with too much to get done and not enough time to do it all!  I know that this is one of the common challenges of being self-employed.

Thanks to my Reiki practice, however, I have found a way back to long days.  After my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes I learned of the role stress plays in tipping a body into insulin resistance and eventually diabetes if it’s ignored.  So I began to look at how to become less stressful in life.  One of the things I noticed was the importance of being able to relax – really relax, not just sit on the sofa watching TV. 

I learned that the mind needs to relax as well as the body.  Watching TV might be relaxing for my   Reiki treatment, however, helps my mind to relax.  When I first received Reiki treatments it was the mental peace I experienced, at a time when my head was in overdrive, that most impressed me.   Somehow Reiki seemed capable of interrupting the stream of worried thoughts and allowing my mind to rest and my heart to be at peace.
body (although watching programmes that raised my anxiety levels would cause physical tension), but often was not relaxing for my mind.

Being self-employed, it’s easy to keep thinking all the time about what needs to be done and how to achieve the next step.  I’ve had to learn how to ‘switch off’ and it’s not easy.  I used to find this only happened when I went away on holiday – and it would usually take me about a week to stop thinking about work.  I was often ready to really relax just as the holiday ended!

To improve my relaxation, and help myself stop work mentally as well physically, I made more time for receiving Reiki – from my own hands or someone else’s.  I don’t always find stopping easy: because I am passionate about my work, when there is a long list of Things to Do it can take discipline to not do any of them.  

Then a very strange thing happened: as my mind became relaxed I found that days lasted longer!  I was amazed to look back on the day and have the feeling of disbelief that what happened in the morning was actually the same day.  It was just like those long, contented days as a child.  What I’ve discovered is that when I return to work the next day my mind is rested and I often have a clearer perspective about what really needs to be done.

What was even more surprising was that I found that if I allowed myself space during the working day to relax – with a little self-treatment for example – these days could also become longer and more efficient.  It reminds me of the Taoist saying “Do nothing and nothing is left undone”.

So with the weather so lovely (or too hot to do much) I hope you too can do nothing all day and see if you too can re-capture those long lazy summer days you remember from childhood.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

"Gathering a bouquet at full gallop"

After a holiday by the seaside I am feeling refreshed and enjoyed having time and space to simply be, instead of rushing to make the next deadline.  My life is full of many things:  Reiki treatments and teaching, singing groups, family and keeping the house and garden in order.  There is always something to be done!  I often find I am busy just about every day of the week.  The holiday reminded me how important it is to stop once in a while and have time to re-connect with myself and nature.  There’s a Chinese proverb that describes this perfectly: “It’s like trying to gather a bouquet at full gallop”.

To gather a beautiful bouquet, it is necessary to take time, to look carefully and consider what flowers to include.   This can’t be done when moving at speed.  It’s necessary therefore to slow down, take time and be more present.  This is something that can be quite a challenge in modern life, with all its distractions from computers, phones and other people!

While I usually start my day with a peaceful time giving myself Reiki, I often don’t pause for the rest of the day.  With an ever-increasing list of ‘things to do’ it is tempting to just keep going.  What Reiki has taught me, however, is that for my health and well-being I need to make space and have pauses.

I heard recently about how in the midst of the busiest Japanese cities there are temples and shrines that people visit regularly.  I encountered this myself when I visited Kyoto last year.  On my last day there I was exploring a busy shopping street and saw an entrance to a Shinto shrine.  I went in and found a delightful small space where people were able to find an oasis of peace, a few feet from the hustle and bustle of the street outside.  Here there was a place to re-connect with nature, to refresh the soul, to find sanctuary.

I had also visited many Buddhist temples where the gardens are peaceful places to re-connect with nature and refresh the soul, inviting me into the present moment with their simple beauty.  The tea ceremony we participated in had a similar effect and I realised that this seems to be an important aspect of Japanese culture: the ability to find time and space to re-connect with nature and spirituality.

I see that Reiki, like those shrines and temples, offers space to re-connect with natural energy and find sanctuary for the soul.  It invites me to be present, slows my mind and helps my body to relax (unlike going at full gallop).  It is even more accessible than the Japanese temples and shrines, because it’s available in my own hands, anywhere and at any time.  All I need to do is remember to stop for a few minutes and place my hands on myself.  I have discovered that pausing and slowing down my mind is actually really good for my work because a relaxed mind is more creative, enabling me to find creative solutions to problems.

So I hope you have some time to pause your usual routine during the summer.  To assist this, I invite you to enter the sanctuary of Reiki – whether by placing your hands on yourself if you have learned Reiki or by receiving treatment from someone else if you haven’t.  May the bouquet you gather be fragrant, abundant and gathered slowly!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Importance of Rest

There's a Spanish saying: "How lovely to do nothing and then to rest afterwards" which I often find as challenging as the Reiki Principles!  In the modern world it is too easy to be busy all the time and for rest to be a problem.  My Reiki practice has taught me the value of time to do 'nothing' and helped me understand the importance of rest.

Practicing self Reiki treatment is a good way to take time out and have a rest - I recommend a 'Reiki nap' to my students!  However, it's also possible to have an un-restful time while self treating if my mind is busy on some problem.  What I find, in common with many other people who practice Reiki, is that something about the energy of Reiki fosters the slowing down of the mind.  It has often been commented on that people experience a meditative state while giving Reiki treatments.  This can be further enhanced by focusing my attention on my hands, which encourages my mind into the present moment.

In today's world of mobile phones and computers it can be difficult to give the mind time to rest.  I now follow the 'rule' of being off all screens by 8pm and having a day without turning on my computer.  This can be very healing!  I was recently struggling with trying to get an email about GDPR out to my two mailing lists (Reiki and Singing), but the website wasn’t working properly. It was very frustrating!  So I gave up and went to dig weeds in the garden.  It was much more satisfying to dig and pull out weeds - instant result: very satisfying!   I found this quite restful compared to the stress of trying to do something on the computer that I was unable to finish.  So even though it was hard physical work it was good rest for my mind.

I have also learned that it's only in the resting state that our bodies really heal.  A stressful state is particularly counter active to healing because our energy is diverted from repair functions to the essential organs and tissues to deal with 'fight or flight'.  There are more and more discoveries about how modern life which puts many of us in an almost constant state of stress is causing long term harm to our bodies and also mental health. 

Of course, one of the best ways to rest is to get good sleep and many people find that difficult these days.  With a few 'golden rules' and Reiki self treatment I have been able to improve my sleep and really notice the difference now when I don't sleep so well.  Now that I sleep better I realise what a chronic state of un-restedness I lived with! I also found that this lack of rest led to more stressfulness - reacting angrily to difficulty, not making good food choices and so on.

So nowadays I pay more attention to taking rest - in the form of receiving Reiki through self treatment and treatment from others, getting the best sleep I can and trying to manage my work time better to allow myself time off to relax.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Acceptance: a tool for transformation

This month my blog is late because my laptop stopped working and I was also not in a financial position to buy a second computer.  It’s not the first time this has happened and I confess that previously I reacted with worry, frustration and anger.   As the Reiki principles teach us this is not healthy!  So this time I chose a different path:  I simply accepted the situation.  I still found it painful to be without my only computer and therefore unable to work on my business.    

My husband commented on the difference in my response to this situation – and bought me a new computer!  This led to sorting, clearing and re-organising of my office: something that has been needed for months as the energy was feeling rather stuck.  As a result, I feel more at peace in my office and that it’s a good place for my work to flow: a transformation!

I have often felt when giving a Reiki treatment that what I am doing is offering acceptance and see   As I place my hands on my body during a mindful self-treatment, I feel that I am saying ‘yes’ to each area, accepting and connecting with my essential self.  I have felt something similar when I treat others: as I place my hands I feel I am saying: ‘you’re is OK, all is well’.   I have often seen people let go of their resistance to self-caring, accept themselves as they are and, through this acceptance, healing happens.  
this as an important part of the healing.

I find that if I deny that I am feeling bad, those feelings persist, whereas when I accept my feelings of sadness or disconnection, my perspective shifts and I soon begin to make different choices that improve my well-being.  

Acceptance of what is ‘just so’ may mean saying yes to discomfort and pain, which isn’t easy.  However it can be the beginning of the transformation.  When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes my initial response was denial and a refusal to accept that I had a problem.  This is a well known response to any addiction (mine being food!)  The reminder of the Reiki principles not to worry, or waste time with anger, helped me to move to acceptance and from there it was easier to see what action I needed to take.  By accepting that my body was not doing what I thought it was – or should – I was able to see more clearly what change was needed to heal.  Having accepted my condition, I found it easier than I expected to make changes and with the help of Reiki achieved remission more quickly than anticipated.

I used to think that acceptance meant being resigned to your fate, a weak and passive thing to do.  However I’ve learned that denial – the opposite of acceptance – is the mindset that really causes me to be stuck in suffering.  Through its ability to bring me into the present moment and feel OK about what is ‘just so’, I have found Reiki to be such a gentle and powerful way to unblock these places of resistance and be more accepting of the challenges of life.  Now that Reiki helps me to be more accepting, I find that life is much more enjoyable!