Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I have heard talk about December 2012 being the end of an era lasting thousands of years, with the conclusion of a cycle in the Mayan people of South America’s calendar.  There are dire predictions of the end of the world or at least the end of the world as we know it!  Personally I am not expecting anything out of the ordinary.

Endings and beginnings are part of the natural cycle of life, so beautifully depicted by the ancient Chinese symbol of yin and yang.  In this image we see a dot of light in the area that has the greatest amount of dark.

In December we mark the end of the year and anticipate the beginning of a new one.  In the Northern hemisphere it is also the winter, a time of withdrawing energy, long dark nights, short cold days.  In times when people lived lives more connected with Nature winter was a time for rest with little work to be done in the fields.  A quiet time, a time to pause, reflect and prepare for the next year.

In modern times the pace of life hardly varies, there is less need to stop. Indeed with the attempts to have a ‘perfect’ Christmas it can be busier and more stressful than any other time of the year!  However we are still a part of nature, we are still aware of the darkness and cold, longing for the return of light and warmth, so not that different from our ancestors!  We still need the time of pause to mark the endings and prepare for new beginnings.

I have found Reiki to be a perfect way to remain in tune with the natural cycle of life and thereby stay healthy and happy.  Reiki encourages rest, offering a time to pause and reflect.  Whether this is through receiving a treatment from someone else or self treatment, it offers a time to stop all the busyness, rest, reflect, be in the moment and feel warm and comforted.  Some people actually experience Reiki as light, lifting the spirits and enhancing a feeling of well-being: a perfect balance for winter.

This need to pause and receive comfort can also happen at any time of year: in 2012 the lives of three dear friends of mine came to an end (two people and our dog).  When the losses occurred I give myself time to pause and receive Reiki treatments, feel my grief and shed some tears.  I was then able to move on, embrace what came next.  The pause was a preparation for the next phase, continuing my life without their physical presence, just as the winter is the preparation for spring.

Before I had Reiki’s help with this, like many people I resisted endings, trying to pretend they weren’t happening, declining to acknowledge when something was over, not wishing to see it end.  This led to distress, anger, pain and sometimes depression.  However endings, as we have seen, are natural.  When we allow them, they make space for new beginnings.  Reiki has helped me to live more easily with the natural ebb and flow of life.

I gather that the Mayan people saw making it to the end of an era as cause for celebrations: that sounds good to me!  So as 2012 comes to a close, may this be a time for acknowledging and letting go of what has ended.   The seeds of new beginnings have already been planted: in letting go we make space for them to grow. Let’s celebrate!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

21 years of joyful Reiki teaching!

Through-out my life November seems to have been quite a significant month for me:  In November 1964 I ceased to be an only child with the birth of my sister!   In November 1987 my father died suddenly, which led to me receiving a series of Reiki treatments.  These led to another significant November event 21 years ago today when I was initiated as a Reiki master.
I was initiated by Reiki master Martha Sylvester, alongside my husband Alec at our home in Cotteridge, Birmingham.  I have heard that some Reiki masters are initiated in special and significant places, such as waterfalls or the tops of mountains.  For us being initiated in our home was perfect!

Our teaching career began straight away: the day after we were initiated we received a phone call from some people who were keen to learn Reiki, so our first class was that December.  It has been my pleasure to teach regularly ever since.  I can hardly believe how many years have passed now!

There has been a lot of learning and growth in the intervening years, but some things have not changed.  I have never lost my passion and enthusiasm for Reiki and all the gifts it offers.  Indeed the more I practice and learn, the more respect and awe I have for what has been passed down to us by the lineage. 

It also still gives me as much, if not more, joy to initiate people into Reiki.  I am still just as excited (though less nervous) as I prepare for a Reiki class as I was in the early years.

As I stand with the student for the first initiation I rejoice in the choice they are making, the potential for bringing healing and peace that they have embraced by deciding to learn Reiki.  And as I give the last initiation and remind them that they now have this gift for the rest of their lives I share their delight.

I am honoured to have been able to touch the lives of 945 people by initiating them into Reiki over the past 21 years.  I have initiated many of them into second degree as well, but as yet have not initiated a master myself.

In the first few years I thought I would soon initiate one of my students as a master, but listening to the advice from Phyllis Furumoto, lineage bearer of Usui Shiki Ryoho, decided to wait.  There have been a few people who have asked to study with me to become a Reiki master, but they all decided to be initiated by someone else.  I felt at the time that I wasn’t quite ready and looking back I can see this was true. Hawayo Takata didn’t initiate her first master until she had been practicing Reiki for almost 40 years.  So I’m in no hurry.  However I now feel the time has come, that I could now begin to guide someone towards the honour of being a Reiki master.  I feel sure that when the Reiki-time is right that person will appear.   

I am deeply grateful to Martha for giving me the honour and gift of being a Reiki master and look forward to the next 21 years!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

CNHC Registered: a Milestone!

I was recently accepted as a registrant of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare (CNHC) Reiki register.

To be honest I don’t know if I would have sought registration if it wasn’t a condition of being on the CNHC Reiki profession specific board (PSB).  I want to continue on the PSB to help make it possible for Reiki practitioners to offer treatments widely, including in the NHS.  Now that I’m a registrant I can see that it’s something of a milestone and the culmination of many years’ work, so I’m pleased Reiki has brought me to this achievement.

Many years ago my Reiki master Martha Sylvester asked me to start keeping a list of Reiki practitioners so that people in different parts of the country could find someone to give them Reiki.  Not long after this The Reiki Association was born and soon began to make referrals of Reiki practitioners.

We soon found we needed a way to ensure that the person we were referring would be a trustworthy practitioner who would give a good Reiki treatment.  So we began to discuss what qualities a Reiki practitioner needs and how to evaluate this.

These early discussions and some conferences about the public practice of Reiki with Phyllis Furumoto led to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Reiki practitioner working with the public, rather than just offering Reiki to family and friends as many people do. 

I found what I learned during this exploration useful when I contributed to setting the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and creating core curriculum for Reiki practitioners in subsequent years.  These are the standards that CNHC Reiki registrants now need to meet

I have therefore seen Reiki move from being a very little known personal practice that was occasionally offered more widely to a well known healing option that now has a place in hospitals and hospices.  As a result it now has the support of an independent organisation that is happy to hold a register of practitioners.  This is recognition from outside the Reiki community that Reiki practitioners are responsible people who offer something of value.  One of the characteristics of professional practice we identified at the conferences over 10 years ago is recognition from wider society, so it’s gratifying to see this come true in the UK.

I am very keen to see more people offering Reiki as professional practitioners.  Working with Reiki is very satisfying and offers people an option that is not like anything else.  Reiki helps people deal with the difficulties of life in a gentle yet powerful non-invasive way, especially good for people who want to lessen the side effects of medication or other invasive treatment.

I’ve seen a wonderful transformation recently is several clients who were suffering physical and emotional pain.  They came to Reiki in states of fear, pain and gloom, feeling that life was very difficult.  Now, after regular treatment,  their pain and suffering is noticeably reduced and they express positive feelings of being able to cope better and having more resilience to deal with life’s challenges.

My hope is that the CNHC Reiki register means that more people will trust and have access to this wonderful healing and that Reiki practitioners will find it easier to make a living doing this much needed work.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Letting People Know about Reiki

Reiki students are advised not to advertise, but to let people come through word of mouth.  However this can be backed up by having a business card or leaflet to give to people you meet.

I have recently been involved in re-writing a leaflet about Reiki for The Reiki Association, which members will be able to buy to give to potential clients. 
Students who have attended my introduction to public practice workshop will remember that one of the characteristics of public/professional practice is a greater need to take note of the expectations of society.   This has become relevant in the re-writing of this leaflet, due to recent adjudications of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)

There is much greater awareness now about Reiki and complementary therapies in general than when the leaflet was first written years ago.  Some people hold the view that these therapies are just fooling the public into parting with their hard earned money!  As a result complaints about some Reiki advertising were made to the ASA recently and were upheld.   In revising the leaflet it was therefore felt to be wise to pay more attention to the wording so that it would not cause problems for those who might use it.

The complaints the ASA upheld were about statements concerning what Reiki could be beneficial for.  The role of the ASA is to ensure any advertising is ‘legal, descent, honest or truthful’.  There is a concern that people with a medical condition might choose to go to a complementary therapist instead of their doctor and so become more ill.  They therefore do not accept any mention of medical conditions that Reiki might help without “robust evidence” in the form of clinical trials.  They have been made aware of some of the positive research in to the benefits of Reiki, but dismissed them because they did not involve a large enough number of participants in the trials.

The Reiki Association consulted the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) which gives guidance about what advertising content is likely to be acceptable to the ASA.  What was interesting in their suggested revisions was that, while they removed any reference to physical conditions, they inserted the words ‘emotional’ and ‘spiritual’ where we had not thought to include them. 

Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki from Japan to the West, taught that the underlying cause of physical problems lies on the levels of mind, emotions and spirit and that this is where Reiki is really beneficial.  I have seen this to be true from my own treatment practice. 

So while it is frustrating not to be able to say that Reiki can help problems like period pain, healing from surgery or arthritis (to name but a few) because people are often first drawn to seek help due to physical conditions, it is indeed perhaps more truthful to say that what Reiki helps with is the emotional and mental aspects of these problems, which may in time result in improvement of the physical. 

I have one student who has indeed found that Reiki has not improved the physical condition she hoped it would cure.  However she says it has changed her life and she wouldn’t be without it because it has helped her feel so much better.

What are your thoughts about how to let people know about the benefits of Reiki?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

New host for my blog

Welcome to my new blog.

I was finding my previous blog host limited, so have found my way to blogger which seems to offer more of what one needs these days!

I heard people in my business networking groups talk about integrating blogs with Twitter other social media, but couldn't find out how to do it.  Turns out that's because the host I was using didn't really include these options - or at least not in an easy to use way I could work out!

So I've been on blogger for about half an hour and already got things set up in a way that look promising!

So the first proper article will be here soon and now it should be easier for people to respond with comments.

Look forward to connecting with you!