Options on the Reiki Menu

Reiki helps to correct any type of imbalance, and it can be fun to think of choosing the goal of a session as if from options on a menu. A sense of humor can be very helpful in the healing process! Sometimes my clients come up with comical names for the type of treatment they desire. One asks repeatedly for The Reboot; a session devoted to resetting the nervous system and activating the relaxation response. She finds it incredibly recuperative given the intense demands of her career.

The Deactivator is also popular, especially for those recovering from trauma or dealing with chronic pain. It helps to break the uncomfortable cycle triggered by hyper-vigilance and near-constant sympathetic nervous system (AKA fight-flight-freeze) activation. Occasionally folks ask for The Activator when they’re feeling stuck or blocked and can’t seem to get motivated. Kinda like all-natural, energetic uppers and downers with no negative side-effects!

Over the past couple of years, most of my work has been centered around The Fill ‘er Up treatment. People who have become depleted energetically, physically, and emotionally seem to  be developing bizarre symptoms such as rashes, digestive upset, or severe joint pain as the tank runs dry and there just isn’t enough energy for the body to do much more than survive. Physiological systems begin to break down and mysterious ailments pop up. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For the past few months, there’s been an emerging trend that stems from The Fill ‘er Up. The Flush and Fill; the perfect remedy for those who have experienced the emotional equivalent of running a marathon in a toxic waste dump. So many of my clients are empathic and tend to pick up unwanted energies as they go about their days. When tanks are already low, there are few resources available for protecting personal boundaries or lugging around accumulated burdens, and eventually the body and the psyche begin to suffer. Burnout looms on the horizon.

Reiki can transform any and all energies that do not belong to us or that have worn out their welcome. Breaking free from the heavy loads that are outdated or not even ours to bear is incredibly invigorating. I don’t know of any other therapy that is so simple, so gentle and so powerful; certainly not any that can be received from the comfort of home or in a practitioner’s office; or learned in just a few hours for those who desire frequent application. 

If you’d like to learn how to give yourself daily Flush and Fills, consider taking a Reiki 1 class. I am offering one online beginning in July, and others are teaching in-person classes. If you can’t stand the idea of adding one more task, no matter how wonderful the results, to your to-do list, that’s what we professionals are here for. If you’re already a practitioner, simply set your intention to transform anything that is not aligned with your highest good to that which is, and proceed with the hand positions you’ve been taught. Whatever your desired degree of participation (or lack thereof!) is, Reiki has a niche just for you.

Happy Solstice, Everyone!

It’s the longest day of the year up here in the northern hemisphere, and I’m taking advantage of the late sunset. I’ve come out for a hike after work; soaking up so much needed nature therapy and feeding many mosquitoes.

It’s also the first day in the zodiac sign of Cancer. Happy birthday season to all my fellow crabby friends! How many ways can you find to celebrate over the next month?

Reiki Master Teacher Certification Course

This isn’t your typical certification course! It’s a 7 month journey and Personal Healing Quest designed to let Reiki lead the way. We’ll meet twice each month online, covering all the traditional material, as well as exploring our unique pathways to healing. The gaps between meetings are meant to allow maximum digestion and integration of the material and individual practice.

This course is my unique recipe, an accumulation of professional experiences for over 20 years, and constant, eclectic personal development work. Actually, I never intended to become a teacher, but my intuition was strong (and persistent!) and I’ve come to realize that it gives me great pleasure to guide practitioners. I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer and have cultivated an environment that encourages students to do the same.

The curriculum includes:

• Level 3 Reiki attunement
• Introduction to 3 spiritual healing symbols
• How to hold space and why
• Communication guidelines
• How to release blockages and limiting beliefs
• How to formulate powerful and succinct intentions
• Individual support for your self-treatment practice and personal healing quest
• How to set up, activate, and maintain a crystal grid and why
• Guidance for the development of your personal style of sharing Reiki
• How to give attunements. Even if you never plan to teach formal classes, you’ll have the ability to initiate friends and family.
• How to develop your unique teaching style and materials
• Basic guidelines for starting a professional practice

Beginning on July 7, we’ll meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 6-8pm ET through January. The cost is $777, due upon registration. Contact me with any questions or to apply for one of the 7 spots. I’ve heard it said that the number 7 signifies ”you’re on the right track; keep going!” I’d love to hear from you if this rings true.

Remember Who You Are

I joined a mindfulness meditation group tonight for the first time. The teacher shared this sweet poem with us at the end, and I just had to pass it along. May we all remember the wild innate selves breathing under all those should be’s.

Remember who you are.
Not the shape others have put on
you, not the story they handed you,
not the lies or needs that were
pressed into your psyche.
Not even your own imagined ideas
of what you should be.
But the real you, the wild innate you
that is breathing under all those
should be’s, all those untruths.
Remember the feel of it, the shape of
it. Let it inhabit you, like golden
weeds rewilding the concrete.
Brigit Anna McNeill

Reiki. Hands on or off?

Hands-on Reiki is a popular service in my practice. A lot of new clients are surprised to learn that it’s an option. Apparently many practitioners use a hands-off approach. That might be the protocol in their lineage, absurd state regulation or personal preference; I can’t say for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Reiki practitioner who operated exclusively hands-off.

I find that resting my hands gently on a client during a session just feels right, but then again, I’m a massage therapist and quite comfortable touching people. Clients report that the connection provided by intentional touch adds an additional element of healing to the wonderful healing qualities of Reiki. I suspect that might be oxytocin, AKA the love hormone, at work. At least in part.

Of course there are times when touch is inappropriate- such as when working on the pelvic floor, sunburn or rashes, or a client’s aversion. These situations are easily accommodated and the practitioner can hover their hands above the body, or beam the energy from across the room (or globe, but that’s another story!).

For those who are touch-deprived, or merely find it comforting to feel the warmth and added reminder that a caring, nurturing person is nearby, hands may be gently placed on the body. You can always ask the practitioner what their policy is before scheduling a session. I primarily practice hands-on, unless the client prefers hands-off, or there’s another reason to avoid contact.

Let’s face it- we need all the healing benefits we can get these days, and if simple human contact is of benefit to you, please know that you can have your Reiki and touch too.

Intuition Chronicles: Pay Attention! Reiki Can Help.

Accessing one’s intuition is a highly desirable ability. I believe these inner nudges are the soul attempting to guide me toward the highest good. Alas, I’m not always paying attention! No doubt lots of messages are simply overlooked while I’m busy doing something terribly unimportant.

I’ve been using Reiki for years to amplify my capacity to receive and interpret the guidance that comes to me. It’s a simple practice, which makes it easier to perform consistently. All I do is state my intention to intercept and understand intuitive messages, activate Reiki and the symbols, and place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly. Sometimes I feel guided to use the traditional hand positions, sometimes I’m led to leave my hands palm up in my lap, allowing the energy to fill and saturate my aura. Some days I only have a few minutes, other days I’m able to marinate for half an hour or more. 

Other practitioners appreciate more elaborate, even ritualistic, protocols. One of the great things about Reiki is that there’s tremendous room for personalization. You can experiment and find a style that works for you. The essential ingredients are intention plus Reiki, but all sorts of garnish may be added. Anything that helps keep your focus or sparks the imagination can be of benefit. 

In addition to this simple daily self-treatment, I’ve begun asking for guidance from my dreams. Before I go to bed each night, I ask a question for which I’d like an answer. (A burst of Reiki here does wonders too!) The challenging part is capturing whatever images, characters, circumstances, or songs filter through upon waking. It’s much easier to turn over and go back to sleep! I’m getting better at recording whatever fragments I can, and interpreting them intuitively in the morning. 

Last night I asked for guidance about window coverings to prevent the upcoming summer sun from baking my apartment. I woke up around 4am (I’m working on cultivating more time-appropriate delivery, but really, who am I to question my soul’s methods?) with the words “occiput” and “clavicle” in my head. Huh? I dutifully made a note and fell back to sleep.

As you might imagine, I was unable to apply any useful interpretation of these words to my shopping dilemma. Skeletal anatomy and curtains share no symbolic connection that I can discern. However… a few hours later I was trying out a free trial period of an online exercise program, and the teacher used these exact words several times! Ding, ding, ding! It didn’t take a huge leap of faith to accept this seeming coincidence as confirmation that the program would be helpful to me. 

If I hadn’t been paying attention (and committed to the dreamwork process), I would have missed this opportunity. I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep my body happy and healthy, but it isn’t always clear what will help prevent chronic pain rather than triggering it. This unique and timely message was easy to decipher. Clearly wellness is infinitely more valuable than the window treatments! (Besides, that particular guidance will arrive with perfect timing too.)

Accessing intuition is part having an antenna extended, part willingness to slow down and pay attention, and part detective work. I guess humor and humility deserve a mention as well! Things don’t always happen according to my preferred timeline. It helps to remember that my soul has a higher perspective than my intellect. The more I practice, the easier all the steps become, and the more I am able to trust the voice within. But none of it matters if I’m not paying attention.

How to Apologize and Why

Wow! Brene Brown hosts this amazing podcast that I found to be helpful, humbling, informative, and inspiring. Apologies fall into the realm of holistic health and emotional well-being, so I wanted to share it here.

It’s a lot to digest, so you might like to break it up into chunks like I did. It’s taken me a week to listen to part one and the first five minutes of part two just blew me away. I feel confident it will not disappoint.

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/harriet-lerner-and-brene-im-sorry-how-to-apologize-why-it-matters-part-1-of-2/

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/im-sorry-how-to-apologize-why-it-matters-part-2-of-2/

Pursuing Happiness with ”Brain Science, Positive Psychology, and Contemplative Training”

Once again, I am deeply touched by Dr. Rick Hanson’s free newsletter. Last week’s edition was titled “Keep your Eye on the Prize” and guided us through a contemplative practice of recognizing purpose and priorities and followed up with easy, useful tips for moving in the desired direction. It’s so easy to get swept up in the busy-ness of modern life if we aren’t anchored to our goals. Here you will find suggestions for connecting with those anchors.

I’m selective in what I allow into my inbox. My time is precious and there needs to be a good return on any time I invest in reading newsletters. This is one that consistently adds value to my toolbox. This gift of a ”simple practice each week for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind” does not disappoint and I think will benefit anyone interested in actively pursuing improved quality of life. Check it out and decide for yourself!

Treating Low Back Pain Holistically

Since I was 13, back pain has been a lingering presence in my life; one I’ve learned to minimize through holistic lifestyle choices. I’ve also worked with countless clients over the past 20 years with similar issues. I have accumulated tons of experience in this area. When this nemesis reappeared with gusto last year, I had a lot of tools at my disposal, but I still frequently experienced sensations that ranged from discomfort to debilitating pain. 

I’ve learned so much on my journey. I can speak to this issue on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. While I sometimes utilize analgesics, I know the cause is not a deficiency of ibuprofen or CBD cream, so I keep investigating. I want to treat the root, not just the symptoms. Tight hip flexors, sitting too much, exercising too aggressively, one’s ability to ask for and receive support, and complex feelings related to sexuality, belonging, safety, or worthiness can all contribute to an imbalance that affects the low back. 

Relieving lumbar pain and its frequent companion, sciatic nerve pain, is my wheelhouse. Yet none of my interventions had any lasting effect. The irritation that arose from being so ineffective only contributed to the problem. Such events are quite humbling for us bodyworkers! Until I remembered… it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

Finally, I asked for help. I was pointed to a specific, often overlooked, muscle. (Thank you, Laura! <3) The moment I heard the word, bells went off in my head. It’s part of every bodywork session I provide, but I’ve rarely thought of my own sartorius muscles since, well… ever. While I religiously address all the soft tissue that connects to the pelvis when working with clients, I had left it out of my stretching routine. Given my tendency to sit cross- legged, it had shortened and began to tug on the front of my pelvis, creating an imbalance that spread through my lumbar region. 

It took a bit of searching to find a good technique for addressing this bugger. It’s not something that’s easy to get into without intending to do so. Many of the videos and articles I found didn’t really do it justice. I’m sharing the one that really did below, along with the reminder that even though we may be knowledgable about something, it never hurts to get a second opinion from a subjective and trusted advisor.

You can ignore the ”for runners” qualification in the title. I am not, nor ever have been, a runner, and found this stretch to be very helpful. It might be the missing link in your search for freedom from back pain too.

Intuition Chronicles: Start Small

When Reiki clients and students ask me how they can tap into their inner wisdom, I teach them to start small. In addition to keeping track of intuitive messages and the results of heeding or ignoring them, this is an essential building block for accessing intuition.

It can be difficult to make leaps of faith into the great unknown without first developing trust. It’s natural to desire guidance when facing major life choices. Who doesn’t wish to have clear signals pointing them in the direction of joy, peace, prosperity, and health? Yet if the gateway to inner wisdom has become rusty from disuse, it’s easy to doubt even the most obvious messages.  

Begin to build your confidence by feeling out simple issues such as which coat to wear if the weather looks unpredictable or what to order for lunch. When you find yourself warm and dry while everyone else is sopping wet, or well-nourished while your companions have food poisoning, you’re one step closer to trusting your inner voice. 

When you’re able to look back upon dozens of positive intuitive interactions that benefited you on the mundane level, you’ll begin to believe that this inner voice has your back. Starting small takes the sense of urgency out of the equation and makes it easier to learn a new skill. Taking off the pressure and keeping the risk factor low makes guidance much more accessible. 

If you think of intuition like a friend, it might make more sense. You don’t ask someone you’ve just met if you should quit your job or get a divorce. People need to earn their way up the trust ladder as you grow to respect their advice. So you begin with easier concerns like curtains or hairstyles. If they steer you right on the simple stuff, you might consider advancing them to more meaningful conversations about where to go on vacation. Those who eventually reach the inner circle might be consulted on major issues.

It’s the same with intuition. Start small. Keep track of your experiences for learning purposes. Build your confidence. One day you’ll easily recognize its voice and KNOW that it is guiding you in the direction you want to go. And then when you really need some important input, it will feel familiar and all your practice will have been worth the effort.