Saturday, 15 December 2018

Comfort and Joy

If you are like me, November and December are busy months.  My community choir is in demand to sing carols and we put on a fundraising concert.  This year I was blessed with two Reiki classes and there have many demands on my time for voluntary work.  Thankfully the weather has been less challenging this December, with no snow and little frost, although today we have freezing rain, so I'm grateful to be inside with the comfort of a roaring fire!

What I love about this time of year, in spite of the pressures, is how many people seem to go by different rules to the rest of the year.  There is more generosity of spirit, reflected in the giving of gifts and cards.  Many people are kinder to each other 'because it's Christmas'.  Conflicts that rage through-out the rest of the year are put aside at least for a while, like when the British and German soldiers in the 1st World War called an informal truce to play a game of football between the trenches.  I imagine that game of football must have been a great comfort to them - a little bit of normality and fun in the midst of terrible suffering.

As Caroline Myss has pointed out, one of the messages of the Christmas story is that, like the birth of Jesus in a humble stable, miracles are not accompanied by a lot of fuss, but happen quietly and simply.  In a similar way, Reiki practice can be quiet and simple: all that is needed is a pair of Reiki hands and a willingness to give.  This simple gift can bring comfort and joy to both giver and recipient.

At the Community Reiki Clinic I am running in Ludlow we give short treatments in a very ordinary room in the community centre.  We don't have any candles or incense, the lighting is not soft, there is no music. In many ways it is not a particularly relaxing environment, but people who receive treatment - many of them experiencing Reiki for the first time - do find themselves becoming calmer, more relaxed and benefiting from Reiki's grace.  This month we treated the caretaker of the centre, who had just cooked Christmas lunch for 100 locals.  I found him doing the washing up and invited him to come for a treatment.  He was glad to lie down, but was also really surprised by how quickly the Reiki treatment calmed his feelings of stress and helped him relax (he nearly fell asleep!).

As Reiki practitioners this simple gift is a comfort available to us any time, through self treatment.  My Reiki self treatment practice has helped me to become calmer and more resilient, both mentally and physically, so that I am able to offer Reiki to more people. My life has become more joyful through giving my time and energy in this way. 

May you enjoy comfort and joy over the holiday season and I look forward to sharing more Reiki with you in the New Year.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Reiki for Those Affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire

Having experienced the benefit of Reiki treatment for the trauma of the sudden death of my father, I  took 1st and 2nd degree Reiki classes so that I could offer similar benefit to other people, mostly beyond my immediate circle of family and friends. One of the things I learned from this experience is that more preparation is needed than just learning 1st and 2nd degree Reiki.  As a result, I have been involved over many years with various organisations exploring support and good standards for Reiki practitioners wishing to treat the public, including offering educational courses.

I was therefore delighted to hear that Reiki master Georgina Hood had referred to found some of this work and education useful when setting up a project to give Reiki treatments to people affected by the Grenfell Fire tragedy.  Members of The Reiki Association will have read about it in the Summer edition of Touch magazine and there was also a wonderful Reiki Association webinar recently where Georgina talked about the project.

She told us how a member of the Early Years Service at the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea saw people being given Reiki and other complementary therapies in the street after the fire.  She realised that a private comfortable space would be more suitable and that the treatments should be given by professional and properly qualified practitioners.  She put out an email asking for practitioners and as someone working with children in Kensington, Georgina saw it and phoned to offer her help.  As a result, she became involved in setting up sessions of Reiki and other therapies to offer comfort and support to people traumatised by the terrible events of that night.  Several of the local authority staff had learned Reiki themselves, which meant Reiki was easily accepted and funding was made available for all the resources they needed: a treatment couch, rugs, pictures and other things needed to make the treatment spaces a 'home from home'.

Initially the treatments were offered at Clare Gardens Family Centre, but later in the year expanded to 2 other places, including a local GP surgery.  They began offering treatments in August 2017 and were soon giving up to 5 treatments per day, 5 days a week, paid for by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.

People were initially referred for 5 sessions, the 1st being mostly taken up with the initial consultation.  Some people asked to have more treatments, which they often had to wait for as the practitioners were booked a month ahead.  Several people had many more sessions that the initial 5.  The practitioners are paid for their time and Georgina is still giving 5 treatments a day, 3 days a week.  A curious local GP was due to receive a treatment himself the day after the webinar.

The feedback from those receiving Reiki treatments has been positive.  One comment was that they were 'all talked out' and Reiki offered a different kind of comfort that did not require any further words.   Generally, they found their emotional wellbeing improved and so did their energy levels.

I am excited and impressed with this project, supported by the local authority and community, that is making a difference in people's lives.  I hope many more similar projects will follow and that more practitioners will prepare themselves for when the time comes.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

First Community Reiki Clinic in Ludlow

This month I ran the first community Reiki clinic in Ludlow.  Having booked the room and put out publicity and a request for practitioners to help at first I had no response, so imagined myself sitting alone in a room with an empty treatment couch.  However I'm happy to say this was not the reality!

I was delighted when two of my students got in touch to say they would come and help give treatments.  On the day one of them had a cold, so very sensibly decided not to come, so that she wouldn't pass it on.  So there were two of us giving the treatments.  I had decided on a time that would follow on from the community lunch that is held at Rockspring Community Centre in Ludlow, thinking that some of those who came for the lunch might also enjoy a Reiki treatment to follow. 

Following the model of other Reiki clinics around the world we scheduled 30 minute sessions for each person.  The room was booked for 2 hours, so with the two of us giving treatment together this meant we could do 4 treatments. 

Then the day before I received a phone call from one person to say he wanted to book a treatment at the clinic.  He had seen a poster at Rockspring while there for the community lunch.  So I was pleased to go
along for our inaugural session knowing that there would be 2 of us to do the treatments and at least one person to receive.

Jean and I set up the room and I put up notices around the centre to help people find us.  Before our due start time two more people turned up - a woman from my Singing for Lung Health group and her husband.  As our 1st customer had booked his session for 1.30 pm we treated one of them at 1 pm and the other had to wait until after the other treatment - they were able to watch the treatments as they waited.

As we were treating the first customers two more people came!  This posed a slight problem as we were supposed to finish at 3 pm, which left only one further 30 minute session.  However I was able to extend our time (and Rockspring had kindly given us use of the room free for this first session) so that we could offer a treatment to everyone who came.  They too waited patiently and quietly, observing the other treatments.

It made me realise that more practitioners are needed to offer treatments, so that we can be doing 2 or 3 at once and therefore offer Reiki to more people.  Three of those who came this month have already booked to come again next month which leaves only one appointment available if we only have 2 practitioners again!

So 5 people who had never received a Reiki treatment before had the opportunity to do so and all said that they enjoyed the experience.  Although this session was free, several of them also wished to make a donation, so we have a month's room rent in hand going forwards.  This means that we can offer lower cost treatments without a concern about making a loss.

So if you are a Reiki student, whether 1st or 2nd degree, and can get to Ludlow on a Thursday afternoon to help with the community clinic your hands will be most welcome!  It's good practice and you will hopefully learn from the experience as well as offering the wonderful gift of a Reiki treatment to people who need it.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Mrs Takata and the Native American Chiefs

One of the stories I’ve heard about Mrs Takata was about how she was tested by some Native American chiefs.  I was delighted to hear more of this story, and see some documentation about it that deepened my understanding, at the Takata Archives presentation I attended in February this year.

The story goes that Hawayo Takata met a Native American chief and gave him a Reiki treatment,   He asked Takata what she thought she was doing.  She explained that she was using natural life force energy to heal.  He found that this was very similar to his own culture’s understanding of healing, so he asked Takata if she was willing to be tested.  One of the things I learned from the Archives presentation was that Takata was always willing to be put to the test, her faith in Reiki being unshakable.
which he found helpful.

It was therefore arranged that she, the Native American chief and some of his fellow chiefs would meet in a hotel in America.  For the test, they asked Takata to send them distant Reiki healing to their room along the corridor.  This she duly did at the arranged time and when they met again later that day, they declared that she was indeed a powerful healer.

What I had not known until I attended the presentation was that they not only told her this, they also gave her a certificate declaring that she was recognised as a natural healer.  She was even given a Native American name which translates as ‘Little Flower’.

This document, together with many others, is now part of a special collection that will be held as part of an archive of resources for all Reiki students.  The collection contains a variety of things that belonged to Hawayo Takata.  For many years they lived in boxes in Phyllis Furumoto’s home, until she decided that the time had come to open the boxes so that this precious collection could be properly catalogued and cared for in a way that would make it available to the world-wide Reiki community.  

She gathered a team of people to look at what was in the boxes and decide what to do with it all.  The boxes contained newspaper articles, handwritten letters and never before seen photos, golf trophies (Takata was a keen golf player) and many other documents.  It was a huge task!

One of the people who took part in this work in the Archives Team was Joyce Winough, and she is coming to the UK again in October to talk about this amazing work and share some of what they found in the boxes.  When I attended the presentation in London I found it very moving – both to see photographs of Takata I had never seen before, and also to learn more about her family history and history of Reiki.  Often what was shared confirmed stories I had heard like the one above.  Tapes of Takata telling various stories were also played, which I had not heard before.  It’s moving to hear Takata’s voice talking about her Reiki experiences.

So if you are a Reiki student and are able to get to Birmingham in October I strongly recommend you attend the Takata Archives Presentation taking place.  You will be able to see a picture of the certificate from the Native Americans amongst many other treasures!  It is also touching to share this experience with Joyce and other Reiki students.

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!