Saturday, 15 February 2014

Have those New Year Good Intentions Started to Waver?

If you have learned Reiki, you are encouraged to treat yourself every day.  Some students are very good at this and soon see the benefits.  Some, like me, find it a struggle to make it as much of a daily habit as brushing my teeth.  Why is this?
One of my students said she thought it was when she was feeling less good that she didn’t practice her Reiki self-treatments.  However what she also noticed was that when she didn’t do her practice, she felt less good!

Last month I encouraged you to keep a daily gratitude journal.  Have you tried it?  Have you managed to keep going with it?  If you have, well done!  If not: don’t despair!  There may be other New Year Resolutions you are now struggling to keep going too.  Getting into a new habit can be challenging.  For some reason this seems to be especially true if it’s something good for us!
So why is it so hard to do something regularly, whether it is Reiki or some other healthy habit we wish to develop?  Why is it so hard to do something that actually makes us feel good and helps to make us happier and healthier?!

Perhaps the answer is that good habits often take us out of our comfort zone at the beginning.  Bad habits, which are usually about giving ourselves comfort in a less healthy way, are all too easy to develop.   To develop a healthy habit we may need to make some effort, face up to some fear or experience some actual discomfort.  We also have to remember to do it, which in a busy life is hard enough!

So what can we do to encourage ourselves to develop a new good habit?  Well, try keeping a record of when you do achieve your practice – maybe give yourself a gold star!  Be kind to yourself: don’t worry about the days you don’t manage to do it – the odd day you miss won’t make a huge difference.  If you can keep going daily for 36 days your subconscious will be convinced and you are laying the foundation for a good habit!  After that it will be easier and soon you will forget it was ever a struggle at all!

Good luck!

From an article originally shared in my February 2007 Newsletter

Saturday, 1 February 2014

My Reiki 25th Birthday!

It is 25 years this February since I learned Reiki (as you probably know already).  I had found Reiki treatments comforting following the sudden death of my father and I loved the feeling of peace of mind it brought me.  I decided to learn Reiki so that I could offer other people the same feelings.   I was taught by Martha Sylvester, one of the first Reiki masters teaching in the UK.  Learning 1st degree class was one of the most special weekends of my life (as many of my students will have heard me say!).

I have been re-reading my diary that I wrote at the time.   It is interesting to see what I thought as a very new first degree student, with the hindsight of so many years and so much experience in Reiki – including of course many years of initiating students myself.
Me around the time I learned Reiki!
 “Friday 3rd February 1989
I went to the first part of the Reiki course this evening. I have now received the first initiation and it felt like a light or joy coming into me from the top of my head. We actually did our first practice on each other this evening which was good.   Martha told us to Reiki ourselves tonight so I'm sure I will sleep well!”
I remember well the excitement of feeling Reiki in my own hands for the first time and that this was possible on the first evening!  I had forgotten about the feeling of “light or joy” in the first initiation, but this is a feeling I’m very familiar with now when practising Reiki.  
In the following extract you may notice that I received both the second and third initiations on the same day.  This was common practice at the time, when Reiki masters travelled a lot to do classes.  Some of you will remember that’s how Alec and I taught at the beginning too.  Subsequently we were encouraged by Phyllis Furumoto (Lineage Bearer of Usui Shiki Ryoho) to teach over four days.  I was resistant at first (three days seems more ‘convenient’) but having tried it I found 4 days better, giving students more time to integrate the changes that take place during the class. 
“Saturday 4th February 
I’ve now received the 2nd and 3rd initiations and it’s been an amazing day.  We learned the head positions, practised those on each other and in the afternoon learned the positions for the front of the body, so we all got treated twice by 5 people at once!  While I was treating I thought of how much I’d looked forward to this .... it was not only as good as I’d hoped but an even more wonderful experience.
I had different sensations with the other two initiations.  With the second this morning I felt a real warmth rush to my hands.  The feeling of the third was more subtle and hard to describe.  Again it was a kind of joy and opening deep inside.”
I can still remember that rush of heat in my hands during the initiation and many of my students have described something similar.   I have also heard many Reiki students attempt to describe the feelings that arise when learning Reiki: it’s often described it as a feeling of ‘coming home’.
 “Saturday 4th February (continued)
At the end of  the day Martha taught us the positions for treating ourselves.  Earlier in the day I realised what a wonderful gift I am giving to myself since I will be able to use it to heal myself as well as other people.  I’d always thought that First Degree Reiki was only healing on the physical level, but as I understand it now it works “from the inside out” as Martha put it, the emotional and spiritual is healed as well.  
It’s funny, waiting so long for the Reiki course I’d almost forgotten what it was.  I keep being delighted at what I am now able to do.  I feel my hands becoming hot and know they can heal and it is wonderful.”
I’m interested to note that we were taught self treatment and encouraged to use it – and that it was something I intended to do.  How wonderful that I recognised the gift I had given myself.  However what happened over the next few years was that I became much more focused on giving than receiving, helping others rather than taking care of myself.  As you may know it took a long time for my self treatment practice to become daily.  I’m always delighted when my students come back and tell me they are self treating regularly because now I know how beneficial it is!
“Sunday 5th February
I woke as if from a nightmare, feeling the new energy trembling in me and at the same time not frightened by the dream. It was this: I was in a place where there was a house a bit like my childhood home.  Then a tremendous wind came.  It started ripping tiles off the roof.  A man (possibly my father) was in the house, dodging the falling tiles.  They were smashing onto the ground all around, but although there were other people there, there didn’t seem to be any risk of anyone really being hurt.  Then, with most of the tiles gone, the chimneys began to fall and the rest of the roof go.  Soon the house was little more than a roofless shell, the wind still ripping it apart.    I told Martha about it today and conveyed my feeling of it being a cleansing wind.  She said it was perhaps breaking down old defences.   She thought it was very positive anyway.
Today I received the fourth and final initiation.  I did not have any very strong sensation this time, was only very aware of what she did, pressing my head, blowing on me etc. although my hands did get hot again.
So I am now certified as having achieved First Degree Reiki.  
I had a very good experience with the treatment I gave today.  At the end of it the bloke jumped off the table and said “You’re so strong!”  He’d had really strong sensations (including fleetingly being in touch with being a kid again!) and felt my hands very hot in some places.  In others he’d felt emotions about to come out.  He was totally bowled over by the experience and it was wonderful to have such a positive response.”
An interesting dream!  It remains vivid and certainly seems to have been connected with learning Reiki.  
Another thing I remember is that when the certificates were handed out, there wasn’t one for me!  I had to pluck up the courage to ask for it (I was shyer in those days) and Martha apologised and said she was sure it was significant.  Perhaps it was an early lesson in asking for what I need!
It’s lovely to read again how much I enjoyed giving that treatment – I still experience the same joy when helping people with Reiki treatments, although with many years’ experience I think I’m better at getting less over-involved now!
Thank you, thank you, thank you: to Alec for introducing me to Reiki, to Martha for teaching me Reiki and to myself for deciding to learn!
I’d love to hear your own experiences of learning Reiki.  Did you keep a journal at the time too?  Did you have any similar experiences?