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!” ?

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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!

 

 

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!

 

 

How Long Will It Take?

This is a question clients often ask me. How long will it take to heal my x, y, or z?

black and white photo of clocks
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The short answer is: it depends.

While inherently true, it’s a most unsatisfying response; so let’s dig deeper.

I find it helpful to compare life-force energy to a bank account. The equivalent question would be: how long until I am free from debt? It’s easy to see how “it depends” is the only possible answer. It depends on how indebted someone is, how much they earn, how much they spend, and what the return is on investments they’ve collected.

This same thinking can be applied to healing. While Reiki and massage can indeed be counted on as deposits to one’s energetic bank, there are numerous other factors involved. How long has energy been leaking? What other investments in health have been made, and are one’s daily habits and lifestyle contributing to or depleting the account?

If I continue to cultivate anger and resentment from an event 20 years ago, I am draining my reserves. It would be like an online shopping addiction increasing my debt. If I do the hard work of releasing that anger and resentment and choosing forgiveness, it would be like getting a part time job to boost my income.

The more I build my energy savings through mindfulness, loving-kindness, movement, breath, creativity, eating real foods, spending time in nature, resting, presence, and authenticity; the more likely I am to experience the optimal level of health and vitality available to me. The more I drag my energy down with suppressed emotions, unhealed trauma, processed food, binge watching TV, criticism, incessant complaining, gossip, and judgement; the more difficult it is to reach my peak wellness.

As I tell my clients, healing is facilitated greatly when we stop engaging in the behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs that contribute to dis-ease. In my own life, I experience low back pain when I eat half a bag of hard pretzels, sit for too long, repress anger or anxiety, wallow in feelings of unworthiness, or overdo it. Reiki and massage definitely help my back feel better; but minimizing the cause of the pain in addition to receiving treatment is infinitely more effective.

I notice that my clients who are pro-active in creating healthy lifestyles, pursuing personal or spiritual growth, and who are willing to surrender the harmful habits that contribute to their discomfort have exponential returns on their healing investments. Clients who are more passive and leave all the work to me often progress more slowly.

It’s important to acknowledge that none of them are wrong or bad or lazy. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. I enjoy working with the client whose only act of self-care is showing up at my office just as much as devoted yogis. But it’s important to note that if you’re interested in experiencing the maximum results in the minimum time, you have to save more life-force energy than you spend.

It’s really that simple.

 

“Heal”, the Movie

When I was 13, I was blessed with the onset on chronic pain.

Wait, what?

Yup. Of course I didn’t see it as a blessing till much, much later. But from that young age I was exposed to the limits of western medicine. The doctor offered me some stretches and suggested I spend this time of crisis lying on my back on the floor. While that helped to some small degree, it certainly was no remedy for the suppression of emotions and crushed first chakra energy that plagued me. There is no remedy for the spinal malformation that creates a weak link in my low back, except for perhaps surgery, which fortunately was never recommended.

The blessing lies in the shift of my life trajectory which led me to the chiropractor, yoga class, applied kinesiology and resulting dietary changes, homeopathy, massage, Reiki, meditation, affirmations, and spiritual exploration. Not only did holistic health become my path for finding comfort in my body, but eventually my career and passion. Before this pain, I was destined for a future seeking fortune and happiness outside of myself and very likely some soul-sucking job that drained my life- force and health gradually.

Over the decades I’ve learned much about healing. Some key points are that pain is a message that imbalance is present and ignoring or suppressing the message is not helpful;  pills don’t cure; my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions affect my health; and the biggie: I’m the only one responsible for my well-being. I feel blessed that I began these lessons at such a young age and have had so many opportunities to expand my understanding. Rather than waiting for everything to fall apart at 50 as I see so many of my peers doing, I’ve been perfecting my practice of self-care and well-being. I anticipate turning 50 in a few years and feeling better than ever!

I was overjoyed to find this movie online, featuring many of the healers and teachers I’ve come to admire over the years. People with the courage to step out of the mainstream way of thinking and follow their hearts and intuition to share gifts; gifts which are often beyond the comprehension of the general public. Not only have they helped so many people find health and happiness, but they helped pave the way for the likes of me. This documentary is quite comprehensive in content and heartwarming in essence.

If you’re curious about alternative medicine, dissatisfied with the results of conventional medicine, or yearn to go deeper into the metaphysical realm you might find some understanding or perhaps even inspiration here. For me it brought a sense of belonging to a bigger community of believers; a bit of healing in itself as I often find myself confused and struggling in a world that makes no sense to me.

If nothing else, it might plant a seed that healing is a way of being and relating to yourself with love and kindness. From there, miracles are possible.

This is NOT the Crown I Ordered!

Tomorrow I go back to the dentist for a filling and a crown. After a two part root canal, I’m feeling quite confident that it will be a smooth and easy procedure. I’ve been paving the way with Reiki. One of the most amazing things about this healing energy is that it isn’t limited by time or space; so I’ve been sending Reiki to this appointment since I scheduled it. It will be there waiting for me, filling the office, and creating a safe and harmonious space for all of us.

This is not the crown I’ve hoped to one day wear!

rust king iron bronze
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I’m prepared with arnica, propolis, and aromatherapy for any inflammation. Soup and smoothies are ready to blend. Hours have been cleared for recuperation. My favorite comfy sweatshirt is clean. Yoga and meditation will be practiced in preparation. Rescue Remedy, the Bach flower essence for trauma, is on hand. My Kindle is stocked. Intentions and visualizations are ongoing.

Best of all, I have an appointment next week with my Reiki practitioner, who also does cranial-sacral therapy. She did some amazing, gentle intra-oral work for me after the root canal and I had the good sense to reschedule. Yes, intra-oral. Translation: fingers in the mouth. It really helped to relieve the tension in my jaw and realign the joint. It’s now an essential part of my master plan!

Meanwhile I continue with my new Boka electric brush, natural toothpaste, and floss. Remineralization is happening as I type through nutritional choices. Reiki is being used daily for reestablishing healthy flow of life-force energy to the teeth and jaw as well as for accepting what is happening and releasing any negative associations with the procedures.

All hands are on deck for maximum oral health and I’m totally crushing it!