Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Why Celebrate?

As my year of celebrating learning Reiki in 1989 comes to a close I’ve been thinking about why I wanted to celebrate this anniversary and why we celebrate things in general.  As the time of year when there are several celebrations (Hanukah, Solstice, Christmas...) So why are celebrations important?

All over the world, in every culture, there are celebrations of some kind during the year.  We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries of marriages, the turning of the seasons and one of the recent American festivals gave me a clue as to what it’s all about: Thanksgiving.  I realised that celebrations are a way to express gratitude – for the people in our lives, for the blessing of a marriage, for the gift of a spiritual teacher or for our abundance.

One of the Reiki Principles is “Show Gratitude for Every Living Thing” – and I note that the suggestion is to show gratitude, not just be grateful.  For me this means to do something in the physical world that demonstrates my gratitude.  A celebration or festival is one way to do this. 

Celebrating my sister’s 50th birthday recently with special gifts and messages was my way of showing my gratitude for her life and our relationship.  Having a younger sister has not always been easy, so following this Reiki Principle is healing for our relationship: it challenges me to look past the ego-perspective of wanting to be the centre of the world (I was an only child until she was born!), to a wider perspective where I can appreciate the value of having a sister.  She offers me an opportunity to explore the important qualities of love, support and family relationships.  She has also provided the wonderful gift of two handsome and clever nephews!

The celebrations pre-occupying many people in the coming weeks are Christmas and New Year.  As we gather with family - often the only time of the year we spend a lot of time with them - this can be a stressful time.  Perhaps remembering that celebrations are about gratitude and keeping the Reiki Principle of showing gratitude in mind could help.  It helps to lift the mind out of the dramas of wants and disappointments, to a level of appreciation for each other.  Our gifts to each other are a way of honouring the other person and showing our gratitude for them.

So thank you to:

  • all of you who’ve helped me celebrate this year
  • to my Reiki Master Martha Sylvester, for initiating me into Reiki and supporting me as a Reiki Master
  • to the many people who have chosen to receive Reiki treatments through me: I’m honoured to have walked part of your healing journey with you
  • to all the hundreds of people who have learned Reiki with me: your gift has been to support me in living a Reiki life
  • to the Reiki community: a source of support and enrichment

Thank you to Reiki for opening me to love, helping me find my husband and for continuing to nurture our relationship; for the healing that has resulted in continual improvement of my health and well being; for the deepening of my spiritual life, bringing greater happiness and peace.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wishing you a wonderful celebration this Hanukah /Solstice/Christmas/New Year!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Balancing Rocks

One of my happiest memories from the summer was spending an evening on the beach in
Pembrokeshire with Alec while he balanced rocks.  To make a rock stand on its end takes patience and sensitivity.  The same is true for achieving balance in our own lives and Reiki can be helpful in this.

Daily self treatment with Reiki has increased my sensitivity to what my body needs.  It’s a daily check-in with how my physical and mental balance is doing.  As a result I’ve been able to address a few health challenges before they became more serious. 

Alec needed to be completely present and focused to make the rocks balance – something that’s also necessary when bringing the body and mind into better balance.  Paying attention to what I eat, how much exercise I’m taking and how I’m managing my mind so I don’t get stressed all require presence of mind and attention. Changing the old habits that cause imbalance can also require a lot of consciousness.

I have found that Reiki practice has helped me to be more patient with my body as it changes.  Having discovered something that is out of balance my mind wants things to be different instantly.  In the real world it doesn’t work like that: change in the body and even the mind takes time.  Unhelpful habits can be difficult to let go of, making overnight change impossible.  Once better habits are established, cells need time to divide and grow to create new healthier tissues.  Changes in body rhythms can take a while to get established.  Receiving Reiki helps my mind to slow down, accept reality and gain more patience while changes take place.

The Reiki Principles also help me – reminding me not to worry about any change I’m looking for or how fast it will be achieved.  Not becoming frustrated or angry about how slow change can seem is also essential – if Alec had been annoyed with the rock for not standing up it would have made it even less likely that he would find its point of equilibrium.    Similarly if I get annoyed that my weight has not gone down today it only creates stress, which never helps balance to be restored!

I would say that Alec honoured the rock, being totally present with it to find its true nature and balance-point.  Honesty is also vital when finding balance in myself:  self deception about how much I was exercising, for example, was the cause of unhealthy imbalance.   Taking time to be grateful for Reiki, my food and all the other elements that help me to achieve better balance with the natural world and my place in it, is an essential part of my practice, inspired by the last principle.

Once the rocks were balanced there was a wonderful feeling of achievement and a joy in seeing them stand there in that wonderful environment, balanced between earth and sky.  They were like a wonderful representation of yin and yang.  All the times the rock fell over were forgotten.  There was only the extraordinary miracle of a rock that looks as if it should not stand up, resting in stillness and balance.  Finding balance in my own body and mind feels similar – quite miraculous at times, all the times of falling over forgotten, just the sense of achievement, joy and wonder! 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Welcome Changes

Although summer has lingered, there’s a feel of autumn in the air.  Soon the clocks will change and winter won’t be far away. As someone who loves sunshine and warmth I always feel a little resistance to this seasonal change, but having Reiki has made flowing with change easier, and this autumn is bringing me many exciting changes...

One of the changes I’m getting used to is being a different size.  For many years I’ve struggled with being over-weight.  After listening to my intuition during Reiki self-treatments I finally discovered a solution that, with some determination, has worked and I now feel confident that my new shape and size is here to stay.  One of the challenges of this is accepting that some of my much loved clothes just don’t look good on me any more! 

Another wonderful change is being invited to offer Reiki treatments and classes at Reflections in Ludlow.  I had been feeling that Helena Lane was not ideal, given that it is often noisy.  I was therefore delighted to be welcomed to work at Reflections, which is really central and easy to find.  It’s a much more peaceful place and what is also great is that I can also teach classes there.  I know that in the past I would have been a little nervous about changing from the familiar to a new place and whether it would work to do treatments there, but with the help of Reiki to overcome my anxiety, I am just really excited!  I also feel that Reiki helped me to connect with Sam, the owner, which is a connection I feel very positive about.

Another change that happened this year is stepping down from my 5 year role on Reiki Association Council.  I was just getting used to not having this time-consuming role in my life when...

Around the same time as the new clinic space materialised I was invited to join the Executive Director Team for Reiki Foundation International, a charity that supports the practice of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki and in particular Phyllis Fururmoto and Paul Mitchell who jointly hold the Office of Grand Master.  At first I was resistant to the idea, not wanting to go back to a lot of voluntary work that would eat into my paid work time.  However, having discussed it with Phyllis and Elaine who is guiding the team, I saw that this could be a good way to take forwards what I have learned in the last 5 years, as well as giving me more opportunities to learn.  Finding CPD opportunities never seems to be a problem for me, as long as I’m willing to accept change!

I have previously spoken of how Reiki seemed to give me a boat with which to float more comfortably on the ups and downs of life, rather than battling the waves and frequently becoming overwhelmed.  I’m now feeling as if Reiki has given me further transformation and it’s more like I have a surf-board than a boat!  Change can be a challenge, but I find that Reiki helps me ride it more comfortably.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

20 Birds

In Benbecula airport, during my recent holiday to the Hebrides, I noticed an artwork on the wall.  There was an image of a large seagull, made up of many smaller birds.  Next to it was the following story which reminded me of my experience of Reiki community, from the small scale at Reiki Sharing Groups, to the large scale of the Reiki Association and international Reiki gatherings. 

It’s the story of Fichaed Eun (Feecret Ee-anne - meaning 20 birds in Gaelic), inspired by an ancient story from Persian mythology called The Simurgh (meaning 30 birds in the Farsi language).

“Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a community of birds, birds of many different colours, sizes and songs.  Most of the time they lived alongside each other in harmony.  There were occasionally disagreements and conflicts which were resolved in various ways, through discussion, through mediation, but more often through heated argument or even violence.  Several among the birds felt a yearning for life to be better and wanted someone or something to provide strong leadership and a clear sense of vision and direction.

Legend and local rumour held that somewhere such a leader existed in the form of a golden bird with the name of Fichaed Eun.  So one day when a tiny wren came across a golden feather that bore the words ‘I hold your future’ a palpable excitement spread through the community. We must find the great bird that left us this message!  The time has come for us to meet our saviour!  Let those who wish to take on the challenge come forwards.

And so the young, fit and brave among the birds set off on a journey to find Fichaed Eun.

Their journey was long and hard and it took them through rough skies and across challenging landscapes.  They were tempted by monsters who screamed at them from the tops of mountains and demons who tried to drag them into the deepest valleys.  Many did not have the strength to resist and gave in to the temptations along the way.  But finally a small group of twenty remained exhausted by flying ever onward to reach their goal.

And at last as they were flying over a great lake, a small voice piped up from the flock:

“Look!  There it is...Down there... Fichaed Eun”

And as the birds looked down, they saw the shadow of a huge powerful bird moving below them.  They looked around to find the great bird who was creating the shadow...until slowly it dawned on them that it was a reflection of their own group in the lake below, flying in unison and harmony.  Their

shared vision and determination to succeed had enabled them to achieve anything.  They realised that Fichaed Eun was themselves and the totality of all the strengths and talents they had to offer.”

The artwork was created by 20 children.  Next to it are also the following words, which resonated with me about living with Reiki: “Fichaed Eun represents all of us!  Each bird is unique and brilliant, each with his/her special characteristics, little ways and individual skills.  When we realise our strengths and talents we become strong and powerful and better able to make a difference.   We can support and look after each other and have a lot of fun as a team.  We can put all of our ideas together and all our hopes together.  We can use our group voice to inspire people to listen, think and act!”