Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Responding to a World Turned Upside Down

I am deeply grateful for my Reiki practice and the learning it has brought me through other teachers during this time of our whole world being turned upside down, personally, in our communities and globally.  One of the things that has
helped me is a Regenerative perspective, which I have learned about from Ben Haggard, who was introduced to the Reiki community by Phyllis Furumoto.  One of the Regenerative Thinking perspectives he introduced us to is Levels of Energy.  As Reiki is essentially ‘energy work’ I found this description interesting and it has been useful to me in making sense of what has been happening around me.  So here is my current perspective relating the levels of energy to the current situation.

The Vital level of energy is all about survival.  It’s the energy level I function from when all I can think about is my survival needs, such as food, warmth or physical safety.  I feel that my thinking comes from a quite primitive and not very clever part of my brain.  I recognise this in the overwhelming desire so many people had to but toilet rolls – a basic comfort need!  Understanding how I function when I am in this energy level gives me compassion for those who fight in supermarkets.  They are functioning at the level of Vital energy, where fighting for survival is natural!

Next is the Automatic and is how society functions from accepted norms.  It gives me a way to carry on my life without too much thought: going shopping on a certain day each week, buying certain foods, greeting friends with a hug, saying please and thank you.  Our Automatic functioning has been hugely disrupted by Covid-19 as we are required to change our normal routines to combat it.  Having new rules to live by is difficult for many because they are not automatic.  ‘Old habits die hard’.  My response to this disruption can either be to drop down into the Vital level (argue or ignore) or to raise my energy to the next level which is called Sensitive.

I have been heartened to observe many people shifting to the Sensitive level rather than descending to the Vital.  With greater empathy for those around them, people are noticing others in their community needing help and taking action to offer it, such as bringing groceries or cooking meals for those unable to leave the house.  I have enjoyed hearing so much about these acts of kindness on the news, instead of the usual focus on actions that are the result of Vital level energy.

There is what’s described as a ‘glass ceiling’ between the Sensitive energy level and the next ones.  It requires some effort to break through and most of the time people tend to function in the first three levels.  I am certainly aware that I can shift between them on a daily basis and to move to the next level I think it helps to have some form of spiritual practice, which for me is Reiki and singing!

The next level is Conscious – where I become more aware of my thinking and the results of my actions in the world.  When I am conscious, I have more choice about what happens and take more responsibility.  Covid-19 offers an amazing consciousness practice: to notice and pay attention to everything we touch when out of the house.  We might pick up the virus from anything we touch and there is so much of our interaction with our world through our hands that is normally unconscious.  If we could be aware of everything we touch we would have more awareness of the present moment. 

The next level is the Creative and I have noticed that when I am able to respond to the current challenges not by descending in energy level to Automatic or Vital but by raising my energy and awareness, an amazing amount of creativity is released.  Consciousness enables me to see what is actually needed instead of what I fear or assume and Creative energy enables me to find new possibilities.  In the past few weeks, I have been quite amazed at how much my creative energy has been flowing in response to the challenges this situation brings.  I have found creative solutions to the cancellation of most of my work, such as moving my singing sessions online.  The creative level of energy brings more benefit to the wider community, as well as giving me more satisfaction in life, no matter what else is going on. 

The next level of energy is Unitive, where I experience being part of something much bigger, in the same way I am in Reiki as I give treatment.  This has offered me the perspective that the results of this virus are part of a bigger picture where it is not ‘wrong’ or ‘a mistake’.  I am aware, for example, that nothing other than something as extreme as this could have grounded so many aircraft or kept so many cars off the road and made so much difference to air quality around the globe in such a short time.   The last level of energy is Transformative, in which there is the potential to move to a completely new way of being.  This potential is perhaps being offered to our whole planet through the pandemic. 

I know that facing the Coronavirus challenge I have moved between all of these energy levels at different times.  I recognise that being mindful about the energy level I function from, and practising Reiki to enable me to shift it, my health and wellbeing is enhanced. This means I am able to make a more useful and creative contribution to the world.  While it’s not possible to be Conscious, Creative and Unitive all the time (not yet having achieved enlightenment!) I find that when I can raise my energy levels in this way it brings me greater

Saturday, 7 March 2020

A Lesson from a Flood

Many people have been affected recently by flooding.  We were fortunate that the only water that came into our house was down the chimney.  The last time this happened in July 2007 it inspired me to write an article
comparing dealing with the deluge to a healing process…

"The rain came down our chimney in such quantities that it created a minor flood. It ran behind the range, behind the sideboard and out into the next room. While the floor of the first room is tiled, so not difficult to clean up, the room it ran into has a wooden floor, so the black sooty water would stain it.  Aarghh!

As I was cleaning it up, I thought about how it was like the healing process people often go through with Reiki. The sooty water about to stain the floorboards was like when a crisis point is reached in our health so something must be done. I began my cleaning there – making sure the water didn’t stain any further, limiting the damage. Similarly, with Reiki, I help people deal with the immediate crisis that has pushed them into seeking help.

Once that was done, I stood back for a moment and saw that the sooty water was seeping back, so I needed to clear up the puddle
behind the sideboard to prevent it running into the next room again. Similarly in a healing process, once the immediate symptoms are
dealt with, you often find some underlying cause that will make the problem recur if not treated. For example in the case of a painful
knee: having relieved the pain somewhat you might find that the immediate cause of that pain is tension in the hip.

Cleaning up behind the sideboard involved a bit more effort: I had to move the furniture. Similarly in a healing process there can be a point when something needs to shift for healing to continue. It could be a physical shift or it could be mental or emotional – such as allowing yourself to rest more.

Taking time to breathe and review the situation again, I realised that the water was just going to keep on coming unless I did something about the large quantity behind the range. Similarly, in a healing process there can come a time when you realise that the real
cause is something deeper and will keep on causing the same problem to recur unless you deal with it. For example, a horse I treated had been badly treated in his past. His reactions to present events were therefore coloured by this experience, making him difficult and unhappy. Over a period of time Reiki healing helped him to release the painful memories and so react to the present in proportion to what was really happening.

It took a lot of effort to mop up the pools of water behind the range: getting to it was awkward, uncomfortable, difficult, and time consuming. A healing process can be just the same! Eventually the flood was under control – but it was still raining – just as life continues to happen and we have to go on dealing with it!  I arranged a bucket under the drips, which is like having the occasional ongoing treatment to help cope with life and continue the healing process.

Finally I had finished and there was a great feeling of satisfaction. The same good feelings can be experienced when you have made progress in your healing!"

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Joy of Working as a Reiki Practitioner

This month it is 31 years since I learned Reiki and I have been thinking about how wonderful it is to be able to work as a Reiki practitioner.  Compared to many other jobs it has a lot of advantages!

Flexibility – as my own boss I can choose when and how much to work.  Although I am committed to seeing clients regularly, I find I am able to balance their needs with my own so that I can care for my own health too.  As a diabetic not on medication, it is important for me to be able to eat at specific times.  Being my own boss gives me the flexibility to make this possible.  Having heard how some NHS staff are expected to work without even proper breaks for meals I am very grateful to have this ability to Kate Jones giving a Reiki treatmentchoose my own timetable.

Necessity to receive Reiki treatments – I love receiving Reiki treatment, so it feels like a real benefit that those who are giving treatments to others regularly are expected to receive Reiki treatments.  I give myself Reiki treatment most days (an enjoyable way to prepare for work!). By self-treating I help to maintain my own health and well-being, so that people who come to me for Reiki meet a calm and happy practitioner who is in the best health possible.  I also find it both enjoyable and beneficial to receive Reiki from someone else on a regular basis to further support my well-being.  When I was less experienced about Reiki this was also a good way to learn more about how it works and what treatment can offer.

Mindfulness practice – I have noticed that giving Reiki treatment is a form of mindfulness.  As I treat, I pay attention to the sensations in my hands and body.  I also watch signs from the person I am treating such as sighs, twitches and facial expressions.  These things help me to maintain my attention in the present moment.  What wonderful work that requires mindfulness practice for an hour at a time!  It isn’t necessarily easy, but I find that reiki energy fosters a meditative mental state in practitioners as well as the person receiving healing.  As a result, I often feel calmer and more centred myself at the end of the treatment as well as having helped the person being treated to achieve deeper relaxation.

In service to others – there is something deeply satisfying about helping another person who is in some sort of distress to feel more peaceful.  The Dalai Lama points out that being in service to others is a way to achieve joy in our own lives.  Giving Reiki treatments is one way we can help to relieve suffering and improve the quality of people’s lives.

Simplicity – attending a webinar aimed at nutritionists recently which included a lot of technical information I felt grateful that I do not have to remember so much detail to give Reiki treatments.  With no diagnosis involved in Reiki, I don’t have to work things out and risk making mistakes.  I find that anything I need to know comes to me intuitively and I am grateful for the grace and ease of this way of working.

There are challenges too of course, such as deciding what to charge, being comfortable giving treatment and knowing how to maintain appropriate boundaries, but I value these as part of the personal and spiritual growth this kind of work offers.

I am grateful to be able to work as a Reiki practitioner and I hope more people will enjoy this way of making a living.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Wishing you Good Health in 2020

January is often a time when I reflect on the state of my health.  After all the temptations of Christmas I   For many years I would spend the next months trying to get back into balance.  I also assumed that the lack of energy, aches and pains were all signs of ageing and not to do with general poor health.  However receiving a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes made me pay more attention to my health and how I was maintaining it or otherwise through my lifestyle choices.  I am grateful for my Reiki practice which has, I believe, helped me to achieve much better health and to discover that energy levels can improve and pain be a thing of the past, as well as feeling happier.
usually find that my waistline has expanded and my energy is low.

I find that the daily Reiki self-treatment is a time in which I can pay attention to the subtle messages my body is giving me.  I have learned that my body has great wisdom if I am willing to listen, but it often speaks quietly at first.  As my mind becomes calm thanks to Reiki, I become more aware of the voice of my intuition.  Listening to this wisdom has enabled me to make better choices.  Reiki has also helped me to want to make those choices.

A good example is that when I first learned Reiki about 30 years ago, I used to smoke.  I had unsuccessfully tried giving up a few times.  As I gave myself Reiki treatments and received them from others, I began to be aware of the way smoking was affecting my lungs.  I also began to have the feeling that I didn’t want to do that to my body any more.  It was then easy to let go of the habit and I stopped smoking for good.

I have also learned how important sleep is to good health.  I now find that I really notice the difference when my quality or quantity of sleep is less.  Reiki is helpful to get to sleep if my mind is busy and I have had reports from several students who suffered from insomnia that a Reiki treatment at the end of the day helps them sleep peacefully through the night!

One of the other things I have learned about achieving and maintaining better health is that it takes consistency.  Once again my Reiki practice helped: through having something in life that I practice most days (my self-treatment), it was easier to introduce other healthy habits, such as walking every day for 30 minutes (as recommended by Reiki Grand Master Hawayo Takata).

Receiving Reiki also enables me to be less stressful, another key to good health.  I still find Reiki’s ability to calm my mind and bring me into a meditative state – including when giving treatments – quite amazing.

So in wishing you good health in the coming year I wish you good sleep, less stress and a growing ability to listen to and act on your body’s wisdom so that your life can be more joyful.