Reiki for a Root Canal

Well this is certainly a topic I never imagined writing about! I’m no expert on teeth or dentistry, but I am committed to living a life based in body-mind-spirit integration, and that includes my oral cavity. When a filling fell out 6 months ago, and I chose to ignore it, perhaps that was a mistake? OK, it was absolutely a mistake! I recognize now that it was a message that something was out of balance. Sheesh, this is the foundation of my belief system! Moving forward…  So when part of a tooth (that was attached to the former filling) fell out, I chose more wisely.

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So what to do when you believe in holistic healing and there is no holistic dentist in your area, when you have no dental insurance or excess cash, when you’re not in pain but are aware that it’s a distinct possibility in the near future? You do the best you can to stay aligned with your values and take immediate action.

So I did. I’ll share the journey here with the hopes that it might be of assistance to someone else on a similar path.

For starters, I turn to my primary tool: Reiki. I used Reiki for clarity and intuition when choosing a dentist. I wanted someone who would be compassionate and understanding of my alternative views about healthcare, and open to working with me in this regard. I sent Reiki ahead to the appointment for the best possible outcome, to calm my nerves, and to attract the means with which to pay. (For now, that’s my credit card, but I’m confident the means to pay that bill will follow!)

Being devoted to holistic healing does not prevent me from getting help when I’m out of my league. A decaying tooth with a nerve that is apparently quite nearly exposed is way out of my league. And preventing pain is a top priority in my book. So, off I go for a root canal tomorrow. I’m already sending Reiki to the appointment for a smooth, painless procedure and speedy healing.

I’m also going to pick up some propolis, which I’ve been told by a bee-loving friend, is an excellent choice for healing gums. I’m preparing soft foods for aftercare and creating as much space as possible in my schedule for a restful recovery. I have herbs and essential oils on hand for managing inflammation through stimulating the body’s innate healing ability, rather than using OTC meds to suppress it. Meds are on hand, just in case, as I don’t believe in suffering needlessly.

As for the other issues that the dentist found… well I’ll be working on them in the meantime. She can have this urgent intervention. But this does not mean that I’m giving away my power as the primary medical expert of myself; I will be doing my magic as well. The very same tools I use as preventative and alternative medicine on a daily basis can also be used as complementary medicine.

It seems that teeth have simply not been on my radar beyond the basics. I don’t recall ever having sent Reiki to my teeth. That’s weird because I Reiki everything! Outside of minimizing sugar, I haven’t thought at all about what foods support healthy teeth. I have avoided fluoride, but not considered what the most helpful toothpaste ingredients are.

Those days are over. Dental health in now on my radar. I’m getting involved and applying every trick I’ve ever learned from nutrition to stress management to sound healing, plant medicine, and ancient Ayurvedic techniques. And dental reflexology. What?! It’s a thing! New to me, but I’m going to check it out. All holistic remedies will be explored.

Game on.

 

Healer, Heal Thyself: Listen!

My meniscus is healing quite nicely despite the absence of medical intervention. I’m not a doctor and do not wish to imply that I know what’s best for your own healing. Figuring out what is best for my own healing is quite the endeavor and I have no desire to project! I am, however, suggesting that whatever route you take, holistic techniques can be beneficial. I’m using them exclusively as alternative medicine, but they also work brilliantly as complementary medicine.

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I’ve reached a stage in which I rarely have knee pain, but my range of motion remains limited. In the past, I might have been tempted to power up and get aggressive. In my current level of wisdom, I’ve chosen to do otherwise. Healing does not come about through force.

It seems the most supportive course of action is to tune in and listen to what my body needs. This is a skill which, like every other skill, requires patience and practice. We live in a world that promotes overruling the body, giving it orders without regard for our overall well-being. We’ve been taught to ignore and suppress messages (AKA pain) that we receive and push on through. Well, I’m here to advocate for the alternative path.

Pain is a message that I am out of balance. Numbing the pain (or as I like to quip, shooting the messenger) might allow for a temporary reprieve, but the imbalance remains and will continue to send messengers until it is resolved. I’m taking a good, hard look at what I can do to create more balance. Just as importantly, I’m taking the action steps necessary to move my life in the direction of greater equilibrium.

For me, that means taking Sundays off so I now enjoy a 5 day workweek. Woohoo! It means resting and playing more. It means acknowledging the muscular imbalance in my legs and hips that puts strain on the knee joint, making it vulnerable; and it means learning how to revise my yoga practice to facilitate this rebalancing. It definitely mean receiving lots of Reiki and massage and choosing which thoughts I want to energize.

For the first several weeks, it meant using all the holistic potions that came across my radar. Plant medicine stimulates the body’s innate healing abilities, not at all like pharmaceuticals which tend to suppress symptoms. I had been happily applying essential oil and Ayurvedic oils topically, ingesting homeopathic remedies, smearing on gels and cremes, and taking a Chinese remedy made from deer antler (said to help stimulate cartilage repair without harming any animals). It’s impossible to say which of the these strategies worked, but the overall effect was one of increased rate of healing.

Now I’m no longer feeling the need for these tools. I believe they did their job and encouraged meniscus repair from the inside out. I will revisit them if there is a need. Right now it seems that time is the main ingredient, and I just to continue my quest for balance, listening to my body’s messages, and giving her what she needs.

Healer, Heal Thyself: Balance

Creating balance seems to be the key to healing. I aim for an 80% clean diet rather than restricting all foods that are less than ideal for me. I allow myself to enjoy some mindless, recreational screen viewing every week and make space each day for downtime. It’s important to make compromises and remain flexible.

So when given the opportunity to attend a Yoga Dance class with live drumming while visiting Kripalu, I couldn’t resist! Dancing is an expression of the joy in my heart. Certain music tends to move through me, using my body as a vehicle. I feel especially alive when my body is dancing; like a spring flower bursting through the snow.

Given the torn meniscus in my knee and my self-prescription for holistic therapy which includes lots of rest, I struggled with this decision. In the end, my heart won out. I realized that the joy to be gained was greater than the risk of set back. So I took it nice and easy and rested when I felt the first twinge of discomfort.

The next three days I was again presented with this opportunity to dance. Each afternoon I checked in with my body to see what was in my best interest. Each day I heard a “no”, loud and clear. While this was indeed disappointing, I chose to honor my inner voice.

If I had listened to my rational voice, I wouldn’t have danced at all. If I had listened to the ego, the voice demanding more More MORE! I would have taken all the classes. (And likely have re-injured myself.) Instead I tapped into my higher knowing, the voice of Spirit sometimes called the still, small voice within. It guided me to the path of balance and harmony. It always does.

All I need do is listen.

Healer, Heal Thyself Part 6: Slow Down

I suspect that the torn meniscus in my knee is a message from Spirit urging me to Slow Down. There were previously other, gentler messages that I chose to ignore. If we don’t answer the knock at the door, sometimes the result is a brick through the window. I am choosing to answer the door. While I snoozed through the first knock and the more instant knock, I’m jumping up (figuratively anyway!) for the loud banging. No bricks needed here, thank you very much!

Part of my slow down plan involves traveling differently. I’m off to Kripalu (!!!) for a continuing education workshop. I’ve expanded my itinerary to allow for one and a half days of travel in each direction. Very different than the original agenda of a 5 am bus with three transfers depositing me disheveled and exhausted moments before the first class.

So I’m on the commuter train on the way to the Amtrak train. It’s altogether a 7 hour journey to Boston where I’ll spend the night and a leisurely morning before boarding another train to the retreat center. For those who view time as money, it’s a horrifically inefficient plan. For someone who’s primary goal is wellness, it couldn’t be more optimal!

For starters, train travel doesn’t charge for luggage. Or make you jump through hoops regarding carry on bags which eventually get separated from you because when an entire plane full of people tries to avoid baggage fees, there’s never enough room in the overhead bins. Grrr! So I’ve been able to pack my big suitcase with a few decadent luxuries like supplements, my yoga mat, and all the aromatherapy oils I desire. Not just the ones the can fit in the quart sized ziplock bag.

I’m traveling in style with my reusable water bottle full of filtered water and travel mug full of my favorite tea. I have a few grounding crystals in my pockets and lace up shoes; neither of which will need to be removed. I have a packed lunch including proper utensils. I’m also wearing a knee brace with magnets without fear of setting off any alarms or being subjected to a body cavity search.

I have several books to read and a presentation to prepare. I’m grateful that I’ll have more than one cubic foot to do my work while riding comfortably with no worry of getting stuck in the middle seat. Once I get there, I have the added bonus of a mini adventure exploring a city I’ve never visited. I have no plan other than a hotel room booked. I have no contacts other than a online dating match that turned out disastrously and clearly I hope to avoid.

So finding an extra three days to journey to your next destination might not be in the cards for you. Yet I encourage you to think how you can create more space in your daily life for comfort, ease, and wellness. Can you allow yourself five extra minutes to get ready in the morning without rushing? Can you carve out a half hour to chew your food and receive pleasure and nourishment from your meals? Can you get to bed any earlier so the next morning arrives more peacefully? On the morning of your Slow Down journey when you obsessively decided to do one more load of laundry, can you leave it unfolded in the basket so you don’t have to hurry out the door? (I assure you that this is indeed possible!)

What choices can you make to set yourself up for success when it comes to living a balanced, harmonious, joyful life?

Healer, Heal Thyself Part 2. Body-mind-spirit Healing

Recently I announced my intention to chronicle my exploration of holistic healing therapies for a meniscus tear in my knee. Given my belief system (see Part 1), the infrequency of intense pain, and my knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine (especially Reiki), it is clearly the right path for me. Also, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.

Pain is often a message from my spirit or psyche telling me I am off track, misaligned with my True Self or life purpose, or exposing myself to negativity, toxins, or some sort of abuse, misuse or neglect that is taking its toll on my body. I view it as a cry for help. As such, I do my best to welcome it and get curious about the wisdom that this message intends to reveal.

I’m not a masochist by any means. I value pleasure and comfort a lot! However pain seems to be a warning ding (or DING!) that I need to change course. For this reason, I’m not relying on pain killers. I want to notice the dings before they become DINGS! and to do so, I need to be fully aware of what I’m feeling. I do keep a CBD creme on hand for soothing the DINGS! that occasionally reveal themselves, while simultaneously exploring what they are trying to tell me.

Disclaimer: I do believe that thoughts and words have an impact on my health. Holding resentment or anger within me eventually causes pain in my body. Ignoring my spirit’s cries for change will also lead to discomfort. AND I’m certain there are other contributors to pain as well- karma and soul contracts and other mysterious factors which I do not claim to understand. So while I believe that all negative thoughts contribute to pain, the reverse does not follow: not all pain is caused by negative thoughts.

In body-mind-spirit healing, I at least want to explore the possibility that my spirit or psyche is offering me valuable information. In this case, I noticed that twice I tweaked my knee on a Sunday while running for public transit on my way to the spa where I work part time. Aha! This, my friends is a clue!

Stop rushing is the most obvious message. I KNOW this! Rushing creates anxiety, stress, a fight or flight hormonal reaction, and apparently knee pain. Now I must actually HEED this by allowing myself more time to get where I’m going or do what I’m doing in order to create a peaceful mode of being.

When I dig deeper, I recognize that I’m working too much, I don’t want to work on Sundays (that’s when all the fun things happen!), and that the spa isn’t my ideal work environment. It’s pretty obvious that I need to make a change in my life. Of course, fear and scarcity thinking try to creep in and remind me that Sundays at the spa provide a substantial and reliable income; but that’s the type of thinking that got me into this mess! When I dig even deeper still, I become aware that I need the energy that I expend on Sundays to invest in my passion, my life purpose, my own business of offering deeply healing work to clients at my office.

What follows is a leap of faith. Well, I’m not actually leaping these days, so more like a big, carefully aligned step in the direction my spirit sets for me. I’ve told the manager that I will work two more Sundays while she tries to find a replacement, and then no more. It was an uncomfortable conversation. She was clearly disappointed, but I was feeling an amazing sense of liberation as I KNEW I was making the right choice for my health, well-being, and happiness. Nothing means more to me than that.

 

Tapping into the Power of Effective Motivation

I’m been mesmerized by a teaching of Christopher Wallis. According to his website, he teaches meditation, yoga and Tantrik philosophy, Sanskrit, mantra-science, and offers spiritual counseling.  He teaches about practicing from a three pronged “effective motivation”, called “pure motivation” in Buddhist teachings. My spiritual, massage and Reiki practices are being  transformed by adjusting my primary intention to one of effective motivation.

The first piece is to practice out of love for myself, rather than trying to fix the (seemingly) broken pieces. From a spiritual viewpoint, I’m not broken and don’t need fixing, and any motivation from this flawed perspective would be ineffective. Instead, when I’m motivated to uncover my essential nature of wholeness and holiness, I’m tapping into the power of effective motivation. Very powerful stuff!

May I practice out of love for myself.

Second, he cautions about chasing bliss at the expense of what is real. He offers the adjustment of practicing in order to know the Truth. (I use a capital T to signify universal and eternal Truth vs. subjective or temporary truths.) This allows me to experience the sadness, anger, shame, or fear that could be covering my True Self, and to allow for deep healing rather than simple pleasure seeking. He suggests that a greater level of joy is eventually accessible when we chose to honor what is True.

May I practice from a desire to know the Truth.

And finally, rather than seeking special powers (psychic powers or the ability to manifest desires of the ego) or manipulative power over others, he proposes that I practice in order to benefit all beings, myself included. Asking Life, “what do you want to do through me?” instead of making demands of what I think I want (P.S. I’m almost always wrong about what I think I want!) is a more effective motivation, and a simple way to tap into universal life-force energy.

May I practice for the benefit of all beings. 

This simple, yet powerful intention is shifting my practice in a fundamental way that feels like it will have profound results over time. Already I’m experiencing more groundedness, connection, and peacefulness. Which is really quite enough motivation for me to continue! Obviously I want to get the most out of all my practices, so aligning with this effective motivation appears to be an easy way to support myself.

May I practice out of love for myself, in order to know the truth, 

and for the benefit of all beings.

Emotional Honesty

I’m trying something new this year. 2018 is the time for me to feel all my feelings. It doesn’t sound all that impressive, I know. Yet it is a huge undertaking! The vast majority of my emotions have been ignored, suppressed, or deflected for decades. They’re still buried within, waiting to be experienced, digested, and released. It seems that this is the process that needs to be allowed for true healing to occur.

There are several key components that I’ve committed to in order to support this endeavor. I’ve recently realized that lasting change requires all of the pieces to be in play simultaneously.

  • Gathering a team of compassionate, understanding, and supportive friends who can witness my journey without judging, blaming, shaming, or advising.
  • Eliminating  self-medication strategies such as alcohol, sugar, and processed foods and limiting time spent on social media, watching TV, and engaging in meaningless chit-chat.
  • Devotion to spiritual practices that release blockages and reroute that freed energy for a higher purpose.
  • Willingness to be radically honesty with myself about what is coming up in each moment.
  • Commitment to stillness when uncomfortable emotions arise.

Ugh! It’s so much easier to eat something, to distract myself with electronics, or to check out with a nice pint of beer. I’ve become a master at using yoga, dance, and Reiki to shift the energy of discomfort. I now recognize this behavior as misusing these powerful techniques to avoid the work of healing by preventing emotions from rising to the surface for processing. Discomfort cannot be avoided in the healing process. Ugh!

Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’m learning is that there are multiple ways to use Reiki for emotional healing. First, it can be a remedy for getting through difficult situations by providing comfort in the moment. Second, it can be used to prevent emotions from becoming festering wounds that develop over time through neglect and abandonment. And thirdly (perhaps most importantly) it can be used to muster up the courage and willingness to sit quietly in loving awareness with whatever is true in each moment; without moving to escape or repair it.

So here I sit, prepared to experience whatever arises; willing to feel all my feelings despite great discomfort and the urge to flee. It might not sound impressive, but when I am able to allow complete emotional honesty, the liberation I experience is phenomenal. While the rewards are mostly internal, they are truly transformative. And that is more valuable to me than sounding impressive.