Can Reiki Get Mad at You?

Karen: Can Reiki get mad at you? Like if you don’t make the underlying change that keeps coming to the surface, will it stop helping you until you make the change? For example – I keep using Reiki to help heal the blisters I get from wearing a particular pair of shoes. I love these shoes even though they destroy my feet and keep wearing them because the Reiki helps to keep the pain at bay. It’s like that friend who refuses to break up with her jerky boyfriend and keeps wanting to talk about what an jerk he is. Would the Reiki ever just get fed up and be like “STOP WEARING THE SHOES OR I’LL STOP WORKING!” ?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pamela: What an intriguing question! I appreciate the specificity of your example as it really helps illustrate the point I’d like to make. Reiki is completely non-judgemental. It is simply an energetic gift from the Universe (insert your word here for that which is greater than we mere humans). I find it to be much more generous than I am! While I have a tipping point for listening to a friend complain endlessly about a jerky boyfriend, Reiki will continue to show up and offer support.

I’ve never heard of Reiki not working for a willing recipient. I have some issues that I personally have been working on for ages that come around in cycles. Reiki continues to show up and provide healing for me even when I’m stuck in a rut and repeating harmful behavior. It never demands fealty or obedience. It doesn’t threaten to abandon me should I not comply with its demands.

What I suspect will happen as you and I both continue to fill ourselves with this healing energy is that one day we will value ourselves so much that we’ll simply no longer wish to harm ourselves or our precious feet. The change will come from the inside rather than being imposed from the outside.

Rather than struggling to fix ourselves, we’ll simply remember that we’re perfect, whole, and complete. And then those shoes, and those distractions or chocolate chip cookies, will no longer appeal. In the meantime, Reiki for blisters is a perfectly valid approach.

Dentist Prep

I’m not exactly anxious about my appointment with the dentist today, but I know that once I’m in that chair, my primitive brain will take over. It senses danger in this semi-reclined, seemingly restrained, and rather helpless position. The very act of dentistry is invasive by nature- foreign tools and hands in the mouth, and is even potentially traumatic if the fight-flight-or-freeze response gets stimulated. I aim to avoid that.

So I’m spending extra time this morning getting grounded, filling up with nature ki, and strengthening my presence and peace of mind. While I’m not expecting any discomfort physically, I know myself well enough to realize there will be some emotional discomfort and I have no desire to allow it to blossom or fester.

wood ki

The urge I felt upon waking this morning was to distract myself from the unease I felt rising up within me. While it’s too early for whiskey, Netflix is always available as a means to avoid emotions. Very tempting! But deep down I know that ignoring my feelings doesn’t actually heal them or even eradicate them, so I’m going with a more holistic approach.

Prayer, meditation, journaling, and nature are the remedies that truly feed my soul and help me find balance within myself, increasing my natural resilience. I find I need all the resilience I can muster when dealing with medical professionals who always seem so eager to expose me to toxic chemicals, radiation, and well… trauma.

So in preparation, I’ve been to the creek to fill up on life-force energy and have arranged for a friend and fellow practitioner to send me Reiki for support. I had the good sense to schedule a gentle yoga class followed by a sound healing session for tonight. I’m feeling confident that I’ve done all I can to minimize the potential damage and pave the way for a positive outcome.

It might seem like a lot of effort for a checkup! I’ve come to recognize the importance of prevention vs. cleaning up the mess afterwards as well as the logic of using tools and techniques that actually help me feel better rather than temporarily escaping. Oh my goodness, I think I’m really adulting!

 

 

Reiki and Synchronicity

A continuation of the collaborative Reiki Q&A with Karen, a student whose enthusiasm and curiosity is downright contagious.

 

Karen: Does a regular Reiki practice increase the “synchronicities” that occur to further one along their path? If so, why and how?

 

Pamela: In my experience, using Reiki regularly does seem to align me with an increased number of synchronicities that guide me to greater peace, joy, freedom, and connection. As for the “why” and “how”, well, I’m not really sure! I suspect that the synchronicities are always there, a piece of the intricate web of life, and that when I’m all Reiki’ed up, I’m more likely to notice them. Perhaps because my intuition is activated and I see more clearly or because I’m more aware of my life purpose or because I’m simply intending to experience more ease and grace every day.

 

Karen: So my back was in spasm last week in what I am convinced was a healing crisis, and I woke up thinking about whether or not I should go to a barre class I’d signed up for. I was on the fence because sometimes it helps, but sometimes it makes things worse. I checked my email as I was making (and Reiki-ing) my coffee and there was an email saying the barre class had been canceled! I did an hour of Reiki instead, and my back has felt amazing since that day.

 

Pamela: This is a perfect example! Now, I don’t necessarily think the class was cancelled on your behalf; rather the synchronicity was the impulse to check your email and choosing to use that time which had been “reserved” for barre class to do Reiki. Which, btw never makes back pain worse! When we’re not connected to the flow of life, sometimes these impulses are easy to overlook and we try to force ourselves to do the things we think are right. I don’t know about you, but often my thoughts are ego-driven and the opposite of helpful! Intuition is always spot on.

 

Karen:  I have been feeling really down about my work, even though I love my co-workers.. the work itself is not inspiring. Now things outside of my control have shifted and I have the opportunity to either rewrite my job description or POSSIBLY (this is still not clear) move into another position entirely that is truly exciting. All completely coincidental. And I do think a large part of my issues with depression – which have contributed to my chronic back pain – have had something to do with being uninspired at work, which is something I’ve discovered I really need to be.

 

Pamela: Wow! Here’s my interpretation. Reiki is helping you recognize your need for inspiration and when and where it is being met or not. This new clarity will absolutely help you tune into situations that will be more beneficial to you, and more apt to notice opportunities that might have been otherwise overlooked. The more empowered we become by taking action to fulfill our needs and follow our passions, the more it seems we are met with assistance as the power of intention is activated. Research is just beginning to reveal the potency of the human mind to affect the physical universe. Knowing that you’d like more creativity can set off a chain reaction that delivers the chance to enjoy doing just that. I credit Reiki for the clarity that creates the momentum.

 

Karen:  My relationships have become more connected and people have been reaching out to ME lately… again, coincidentally.

 

Pamela: Coincidentally? I think not! As your vibration changes and you become more loving towards yourself and more radiant, people will naturally be drawn to you. Just as we might have a tendency to avoid a habitually grumpy person, we will be attracted to the kind and vibrant ones.

 

Karen: I understand that Reiki is healing within the body and even the energy field around the body. But how can this energy influence the larger world, especially when it’s impacting other people too? Because this job stuff is not just about ME – a co-worker just received an incredible opportunity that will make her immensely happy (her DREAM job) and is now creating a way for me to grow in my own job before she leaves.

 

Pamela: Well, our energy fields don’t exist in isolation. This energy can and does ripple outwards to the rest of the world, especially to those we spend the most time with. Chameli Ardagh, a spiritual teacher whom I greatly admire, says we’re all in this soup together. Just like adding salt to a soup pot makes all the soup saltier, our vibrations (healthy or otherwise) are not contained within our own aura. I believe that every step we take closer to reclaiming our wholeness and worthiness benefits all beings.

 

(To further illustrate this fascinating topic, a mere two hours after typing the above paragraph, I found two separate messages in my inbox regarding this interconnectivity.  Synchronicity! Here’s the message from the teacher I just mentioned:

 

 “From the Nordic triad of weaving Goddesses, the Norns, we are given the vision of Wyrd, the whole world as one interconnected web. Wyrd is a luminous field of energy that vibrates in constant communication among all beings here.

                                   

We each have our unique thread in this vast tapestry that we call our world. Becoming conscious of ourselves as a thread in the Wyrd we are initiated into a grand collaboration, it revives a bone deep sense of meaning in our lives, right here, right now.”                                                                ~ Chameli Ardagh

 

Karen: So, this is a much bigger puzzle.

 

Pamela: So true! The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I’m much more excited to see what a discussion on synchronicity draws to me than I was about my experience with “healing crises”! And very much looking forward to Karen’s next question. 🙂

 

What’s a Healing Crisis?

Allow me to introduce Karen, a Reiki student whose contagious enthusiasm, fascination, and curiosity inspired me to invite her to collaborate on a Q&A series. We are hoping that sharing the experience of how Reiki has affected her in such a relatively short period of time will validate others who are having similar experiences that seem far-fetched.

Karen: What’s a healing crisis and how do I know if I’m having one?

Pamela: Great question! A healing crisis can happen after a holistic health treatment or Reiki attunement. As the body adjusts to a new energy level, it begins to release stored toxins and/or emotions. This is a necessary part of the healing process but can feel… uncomfortable.

For instance, I tend to hold unexpressed anger in my left hip. When I receive work on that area, afterwards I sometimes sense that old and seemingly irrelevant anger rises to the surface. Sometimes there can be a flu-like response as toxins that had been stuck in that stagnant anger are being processed. Knowing that these are symptoms of healing, I’m able to support the process by drinking extra water or herbal teas, doing gentle stretches and movement, or taking an Epsom salt bath rather than sinking into despair or taking OTC meds. The awareness that I’m letting go of the very source of the pain in my hip encourages me to stick with it and be gentle and kind with myself rather than examining where I went wrong or why I’m feeling sick.

As for knowing if you’re having a healing reaction, I’m not sure you can ever really know. There’s not a blood test or any way to measure this. If your intuition is telling you this is a meaningful response, then most likely it is! If you recently had a treatment or an attunement, the chances are good that you are. The mind wants to know and define and label, but the truth is it doesn’t really matter for the healing. Just like any other symptoms; we notice, accept, get present with a loving heart, and use whatever tools we have to help ourselves.

Karen: It was interesting to experience the healing crisis and as time has passed, I’ve definitely realized that is what I was going through. The symptoms that led me to Reiki in the first place – a chronic back problem, anxiety, and depression – were suddenly acute! My back went into spasm, I was feeling overwhelmed and sad, and had a respiratory virus all of a sudden. But through this process, I continued to do my Reiki practice and gained perspective that enabled me to observe it without getting caught up in the experience. And it passed quickly, leaving me refreshed and with a renewed sense of possibility. Ordinarily a back spasm takes about six weeks to fully heal, but this healing crisis lasted less than a week and my back has been nearly pain-free since it occurred.

Pamela: First of all, I’m sorry to hear that the symptoms went acute. Ugh! Overall, I think it’s a good sign, but I empathize nonetheless. Secondly, let me commend you for continuing to give yourself Reiki and not getting caught up in the story about this discomfort! This is an important piece of healing: awareness and taking care of yourself. Recognizing that symptoms are a message of a deeper imbalance can point us toward addressing the underlying causes. Keep with it! I’ve been practicing for over 15 years now, and I still have episodes. Yesterday as I was preparing for a new client, my low back seized up. I met this woman for the very first time while I was bent over and unable to stand up straight. I was mortified to have to cancel a session at the last minute, but it was quite clear that I urgently needed to tend to my own needs. This was a resurgence of the original back pain I experienced as an adolescent, and a powerful reminder that there is still healing to be done and emotions to be released. Recognizing this, I dug into processing and self-care and less than 24 hours later I am 95% better. I don’t think I would have recovered so quickly without the awareness of healing crises. Which points to synchronicity- which will be our next topic!

Note to Karen: if I’m to be personally experiencing the topics we discuss here, let’s be sure to cover some joyful and pleasurable questions soon!

Massage for Chronic Pain

“This is the first time I really understood what it means to be kind to my body.”

A client said this to me after a massage. We might have been sitting, but I was totally jumping for joy on the inside. Also the Hallelujah Chorus was playing in my head.

sunset beach people sunrise

Before the session, we had discussed my kinder, gentler approach to bodywork. I had explained how my goal is to activate the physiological relaxation response that triggers all the feel-good body chemistry and can help break the pain cycle. She understood that I planned to use a moderate pressure to coax the muscles into releasing tension while stimulating circulation, detoxification, and dare I say? Pleasure.

She knew that was the plan, but had no idea how very healing this approach could be. “But you didn’t even attack the knots!” No, I certainly did not! There is no benefit from attacking. Those knots are a symptom of imbalance. I’m much more interested in relieving the root cause of the imbalance, which so very often is… stress. Treating the stress lessens tension and often knots evaporate on their own.

Relaxation is a remedy for stress and pain. Creating more pain through aggressive massage is not a recipe for relaxation. Even intense work that falls just short of pain can stimulate the fight, flight, or freeze response which then triggers… muscle tension. Just like you can’t get carrots by planting cucumber seeds, you cannot cultivate relaxation through pain.

She left feeling considerable relief from the chronic pain that had been plaguing her almost constantly. The next week she reported that she’d had much less discomfort following her treatment, and that it was the first time massage had ever had any noticeable effect. What a victory! I have a feeling this new perspective on being kind to her body will continue to have helpful results as well.

I could have brushed off my hands right there and then and retired happily.

But of course I didn’t because I love my work and there’s so much more of it to be done.

Onwards!

 

 

Reiki for Cravings

I’m not sure if it’s the approach of summertime or some astrological event,  but I’m hearing a lot from clients and acquaintances who lament their struggles with food cravings. It just so happens that this is an area where I’ve done extensive research. It seems like most of my adult life I was plagued by strong compulsions to eat things that were counterproductive at best, and self-destructive at worst.

While I’m not 100% free of this inner demon, I’ve learned quite a lot that allows me to live more peacefully most of the time, and to get to the root of the problem when it rears its ugly head. I’ve found that immediate application of Reiki really takes the edge off of most cravings. This is one of the reasons I advocate so strongly for learning Reiki; there’s nothing quite like having medicine at your very fingertips. It’s really quite simple. I place my hands on my heart and belly, set an intention to release the urge to eat half a family-sized bag of pretzels, activate the healing energy, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.

Relief comes instantaneously most of the time. Sometimes there’s a real physical need behind the craving and I am able to tune into this once I’ve calmed down a bit and am no longer compelled to violently shove my way to the snack aisle. Occasionally I will recognize that I’m actually hungry and my body is wanting carbs. That’s an easy fix and I’m often able to reach for a healthier option. (It’s horribly unfair that I love pretzels so much when eating them causing me back pain! For some people pretzels might be the healthier option. I’m not here to disparage them; they just aren’t good for me!)

More often than not, I recognize that the need behind the urge is emotional. It’s become my personal practice to return to this awareness when I have time to explore what’s really happening inside me. This is where the real power of Reiki healing lies. I just sit quietly contemplating the origin of the craving and open up to insights. It’s really just that simple. Getting present and listening while flooding myself with Reiki is the magical formula.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that the underlying cause is usually an energetic imbalance (feeling a lot of excitement or extreme fatigue) or any variety of emotional upset. It could be disappointment, anger, loneliness, worry, or … well pretty much anything! Once I acknowledge this precious information, I’m better able to make a plan that will meet my emotional needs and/or balance my energy.

If I’m feeling lonely, there is no chocolate chip cookie that will fix that for more than a moment. But calling a friend could do the trick. If I’m feeling sad, I have numerous strategies that can be helpful. However, I am absolutely certain (remember my extensive research!) there is no bowl of pasta or pint of ice cream that will be an effective remedy. Using Reiki helps me clear the source issue and voila! The cravings fade away.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with treating symptoms. I spent many years working on eliminating cravings. It was a huge improvement over the constant struggle to manage them or the shame cycle that resulted from giving in yet again. But the freedom of acknowledging my deepest needs, wants, and desires has been truly transformative. Now that I waste less energy failing to soothe my feelings by stuffing my face, I have more energy to invest in healing and creative projects.

Emotional healing is one of the amazing gifts Reiki has to offer. It’s fantastically simple and easy to learn and use. If you’re tired of relying on willpower to battle your cravings, please consider taking a beginners Reiki class so you too can enjoy the relief of getting to the root of the problem. I think you’ll agree that it’s a much more enjoyable way to live.

Solstice Yoga & Reiki

Release into the Summer Solstice with Yoga Restoratives and Reiki!

 

magical trees

 

When my friend and colleague invited me to join her in offering a summer solstice event, I did my happy dance. What a delightful way to honor the rhythms of nature while inviting balance into our own systems. Restorative yoga is one of my favorite practices as it is deeply calming and soothing to my often frazzled nervous system. Adding Reiki into the mix is like the icing on the cake!

Esther will guide the class through a series of asanas, or yoga postures, while I provide deeply nurturing and healing energy for each participant. This will be our second collaboration like this; last year was a huge success and everyone left feeling super-relaxed and at peace. It was a great joy to watch as stress visibly melted away and smiles began to emerge organically.

I hope you’ll consider joining us on the evening of June 20 if you’re near the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. I hope you’ll find a meaningful and healthful way to celebrate the solstice wherever you are, and perhaps include these practices in your own way.

Register here and we look forward to seeing you then!