The Power is in the Thinking

I’ve been rereading Louise Hay’s masterpiece You Can Heal Your Life. Again. This is the book that has changed my perspective, and subsequently my life, more than any other. She teaches that our thoughts create our reality, that we are the only thinkers in our heads, and therefore we have the ultimate power to heal our lives by choosing new thoughts. I’ve seen evidence of this again and again in my own life as I uncover and surrender beliefs that no longer serve me.

Taking this one step further, it is evident to me that we can only heal ourselves. No matter what therapist we visit or  which treatment we recieve, the true responsibility rests on our own shoulders for shifting our thoughts. No one else can heal us. This realization occassionally causes me to despair; what is the point of devoting my career to the healing arts if I’m unable to actually heal anyone? Am I deluding myself about the transformative power of Reiki?

The truth is that as much as I’d love to heal people, their own free will makes it impossible for healing to be imposed from the outside. Rather than feeling discouraged about this fact, I’ve come to rejoice in the freedom it reveals. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s healing. Just my own. Whew! However, I am indeed able to support them in the process. Flooding one’s being with universal life-force energy (ki) not only encourages relaxation, but also a deep sense of safety and belonging. From this space it is much easier to become aligned with our true nature and uncover false beliefs that hold us down. Once we become aware of our disempowering thoughts we can begin to replace them.

Reiki is like windshield wipers on a drizzly day. They help clear off the muck that gets stuck to the wet glass and make it easier for us to see where we’re going. We can then decide if we want to carry on straight ahead or need to make course corrections. Reiki is not driving the car; our thoughts continue to do that. But when we can see more clearly, it’s a whole lot easier to get where we want to go.

Learning Reiki

I taught a Reiki for Self-Care class this weekend. It was a great joy to attune three new practitioners to this powerful healing art. I’ve condensed my Reiki 1 curriculum down to the bare essentials of what students need to treat themselves in order to be active participants in their own well-being. In two and a half hours I cover the basics of what Reiki is, where it comes from, and how we can use it in our daily lives to boost our immune systems and relieve stress. It truly is so simple that one afternoon can change our lives.

I saw a friend afterwards who was surprised that the class was so brief. “How do you teach people to feel energy?” she wanted to know. I was stunned for a moment, as I have absolutely no idea how to do that! Practicing Reiki over more than a decade has opened up my receptivity to feeling energy, but no one ever taught me this skill. I realized that she thought sensing energy , blockages, and auras was necessary to practice Reiki. Luckily it isn’t.

I was grateful to address this misperception because it gave me insight as to why some people might feel unwilling to take my class. It had never occurred to me that someone might be worried that they couldn’t feel energy and would therefore not be a successful Reiki practitioner. Since Reiki energy is spiritually guided, practitioners need not worry about how it is distributed. I teach a series of hand positions that targets all organs, glands, and chakras to cover all the bases. Once students have been initiated through the attunement process, they simply follow the series to tune-up the whole system, or place their hands on or near an area of discomfort for minor first aid treatment.

It really is that simple! We don’t need to detect any negative energy or blocked energy or weak energy. We don’t need to investigate anatomy or physiology or pathology. We don’t need to speak with our inner children or higher selves. We just turn on the juice and let it flow where it’s needed. The hand positions are actually just suggestions that give our minds something to hold onto. The mere intention to flood ourselves with healing energy turns on the tap. The Reiki takes over from there, allowing us to sit back and soak it up. It’s sometimes hard to imagine that something so powerful can be so simple. And that, my friends, is the beauty of this miraculous technique!

Blocking Chi

Recently a client asked me if her hair was interfering with her chi flow. We were doing a Reiki/massage combo and she had tied it up, Sumo style, to keep it out of the oil. She was worried that the clump of hair might block the flow of chi (life force energy, same as the “ki” in Reiki) from entering her crown chakra. I assured her that chi is powerful enough to navigate through.

I could almost see the wheels spinning as she processed this information. A few beats later, she asked A Really Big Question. How could our chakras ever get blocked if chi is so powerful? I generally don’t like to converse during a treatment because it keeps the client from sinking into deep relaxation. However, this concept is so important to deep, lasting healing that I was grateful for the opportunity to respond.

Much has been written on this topic. I could go on and on about it for days, but it’s really quite simple. We have free will. We have been given the power to choose our thoughts, and sometimes we choose thoughts that are out of alignment with our True Nature. It’s our thinking that blocks the chi; when we choose new thoughts, loving thoughts, the chi will begin to resume its natural flow.

We were created as sacred beings; innocent, free, peaceful, joyful, loving, and loved. This is our True Nature. Thoughts of fear, worry, jealousy, anger, resentment, guilt, and shame disrupt the flow of life-force energy in and around our bodies. We might think that we’re feeling upset because of unacceptable circumstances, but really we’re upset because our thoughts are causing us to feel separate from our True Nature. The willingness to surrender misaligned thinking is the remedy to restoring chi flow.

She sighed deeply and agreed that this really struck home. Accepting this truth is quite empowering as we then have the opportunity to create change. It’s also a big responsibility as we are no longer able to point fingers and blame other people, events, or situations as the source of our blockages.  To me, it’s just like any other law of nature, such as gravity. It just is; I might as well learn to work with it rather than waste my time and energy struggling against it.


This year, I’m trying something different with my New Year’s Resolutions. While I do have some very specific daily and weekly  goals, I’m allowing myself a great deal of flexibility. For example, on January 1, when I found myself on an airplane at the hour I’ve designated for exercise, I didn’t get agitated. When I awoke on January 2 feeling quite exhausted after traveling home from spending nine days chasing toddlers around, I allowed myself to go back to bed and rest.

Some people might say I’m lazy or undisciplined. I prefer to think that I’m discerning. I’ve set a primary intention to be happy, healthy, and free this year; and this intention supersedes all other goals. I find great comfort in this structure of flexibility. It allows me the liberty to decide each day if the well-designed routine I’ve created is the best strategy to align with my intention, or if there’s a more effective option.

It’s not my goal to be my own drill sergeant or to cross off a lengthy to-do list. Certainly the ego enjoys such tasks and is strengthened when I ignore the call for rest or gentleness in favor of rigid discipline. But Spirit encourages me to actively engage in life in a way that honors all of me, and that’s where the flexibility comes in. This is not a failure to stick to my resolutions; rather a refinement that allows my resolutions to work for me and my highest good.

I invite you to think of the intention behind your goals. Get in touch with the feeling that you’re hoping to create in the new year. And recognize that while your plan might be sensible and solid, there will be days, even weeks, when it just won’t be healthy to push on through to earn that gold star. (P.S. There is no gold star!) Because I enjoy it and recognize the tremendous benefits to my overall wellness, I’m going to exercise tomorrow morning. Unless I choose not to. I must assess those reasons for myself when the time comes.

Flexi-lutions. The evolved, flexible resolutions of 2016.