Radical Self-Care, Just Do It Already!

This morning I find myself procrastinating. I know I’ll feel better on my yoga matt and most definitely I’ll feel like a new person after practicing. Yet I’m dragging my heels. I felt into this resistance and there’s no substance to it. It’s not a message from my body saying “rest” or from my heart saying “listen”. It’s actually a stubbornness arising from my inner three year old who is stomping her foot and saying “You can’t make me!”.

Funny, that’s not where I thought I was going two minutes ago when I sat down to write this! But I’m going to roll with it and acknowledge her presence. So it seems there is a message after all! I could easily override this sweet child and Just Do It. I was ready to ignore her, but the willingness to tune-in to my resistance seems to have opened up the channels of communication.

So what I’m going to Just Do, is sit down and receive what she has to say, show this girl some empathy and really hear her. I’m guessing she needs some reassurance that her needs are important and that I care. I will take the time to do that and explain my reasons for wanting to do yoga; that it is a gift I offer myself because I love how it makes me feel, not because someone told me I have to do it. Or because I need to do it in order to be worthy of approval. It’s not an assignment needing to be accomplished to please anyone else.

As I’m sinking into this awareness I notice the resistance is melting away. While I still plan to have that conversation, I’m astounded by the realization that I often do put pressure on myself to get my self-care activities done so I can cross them off my list, boost my ego for having done so, and move on to the next seemingly necessary achievement. Once again, I’m reminded that intention is everything, and that just like anything else, self-care activities can be distorted to feed the ego or distract myself from the real job of expressing kindness to myself and others.

Be loving. Just Do It. Everything else appears to be questionable!

 

“I Had a Great Month!”

Such glorious words to hear from a client! It’s pretty common for people to show up for their first appointment with me in pretty rough shape. Pain is a powerful motivator, and is often what drives people to seek help from the healing arts. While the vast majority of people feel better after one treatment, the effects begin to fade over time as stress once again drains their  wellness reserves. I endeavor to find the rhythm that supports people to stay ahead of that stress. For many, this is mean scheduling a treatment once or twice per month.

I have observed that when people begin to actively manage their stress (through meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, Reiki, acupuncture, diet, etc.) that many of their chronic pains begin to disappear. I have four clients that I currently work with who are learning to avoid debilitating headaches. One was even able to reduce the headache prevention medication that made her forgetful and feel foggy-headed. True, headaches are not a life-threatening illness, but anyone who has ever suffered from frequent bouts understands that one’s quality of life is greatly diminished.

It seems we all have a threshold of stress that our individual bodies can tolerate. When we cross that threshold, the body sends us messages, sometimes in the form of pain, to get out attention. These painful signals are cries for help. When we heed them and seek balance, very often the pain disappears as it is no longer necessary; just like the fuel warning light on the dashboard of a car disappears when we fill the tank with gasoline.

When we give the body what it needs (adequate rest, oxygen, nutrients, hydration, movement, pleasure, and expression) it is able to function more smoothly and can often heal itself. Ideally this would be our normal state. However, we live in a world that is faster and busier than suits most nervous systems. This ongoing stress takes its toll on our body chemistry and eventually our muscles, joints, organs, and glands. It seems we have three choices: move to a tropical island, suffer from chronic pain, or support our wellness by managing stress. I, for one, have happily chosen the third option, and delight in reporting to my support system, “I had a great month!”

 

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.

Just the Hose

As a teacher, I have always felt the importance of clarifying to my students that as Reiki practitioners, we’re just the hose- not the water. It’s pretty easy to get carried away by the amazing results we witness time and time again when working with clients. It’s not unusual for people to get up from a treatment claiming to feel better than they have in decades or that the weight of the world has been lifted from their shoulders. It’s equally common for them in this blissed-out state to believe that we have magic hands or work miracles.

As lovely as it is to be appreciated and have one’s work be so well received, those of us who have learned to allow this healing energy flow through our hands must remember that we are merely humble conduits. In actuality, I am nothing special. Reiki, on the other hand, is quite spectacular! It always knows where to go and when to stop. Because it is divinely guided it can do no harm. This is the miracle! We practitioners are simply facilitators. While it’s true that the higher our vibrations are, the cleaner our pipes are, and the more strongly the energy can flow through us. Yet I must give credit where the credit is due, and in this case it is abundantly clear that all accolades belong to the water, not the hose.

Relaxation? None for Me, Thanks. Part 1

Relaxation? I don’t think so!

Often when I share my explanation of Reiki (a technique for stress relief and relaxation that also triggers the body’s innate healing ability) with others, I am met with a surprising response. Many people claim that they aren’t interested in relaxing; it just isn’t for them, or they don’t have the time, or they tried it once and it didn’t work, or my personal favorite, life is just stressful, period. Having experienced firsthand the wide-spread transformative power of a lifestyle that includes stress management, I continue to be mystified by this train of thought. I’m not talking about seeking enlightenment by meditating in a cave in the Himalayas, but rather everyday well-being, peace of mind, and a sense of contentment that reaches into all areas of life. Relaxation is a practical, sustainable, effective goal that can be obtained without sacrificing commitments or day to day activities.

I’ve tried listing the benefits of stress reduction that I have personally experienced or witnessed in my friends or clients: improved hormonal balance, digestion, and immune system function; diminished pain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety; enhanced focus; and a greater sense of overall well-being, just to name a few. Simply put, all bodily systems function with greater efficiency when relaxed than when remaining in constant fight or flight mode. I continue to explain that the advantages of a healthier now will be reaped in the elder years with greater mobility, memory, and independence. Still, the blank stare of disinterest usually remains.

So I began to ask myself, what is it that people actually want? What do they truly desire? After only a few moments observing mainstream media, I notice that we’ve been programmed to desire wealth, success, beauty, and romance. Whether or not these goals are truly our own doesn’t seem to matter. It’s what Americans are being encouraged to seek. After some deep contemplation, I believe that all of these objectives may be supported through the use of relaxation techniques, especially Reiki. Of course there are countless ways to reduce stress (yoga, tai chi, meditation, bodywork, acupuncture, time spent in nature or with loved ones, creative expression, and many more). Naturally one should choose the path that is most aligned with one’s own values and interests, but for the purposes of this article, I shall focus on Reiki as the method of relaxation along with the results I’ve personally witnessed.

You’re probably wondering how receiving Reiki treatments could possibly make you more attractive. While I do believe it’s true that inner beauty outshines all else, that’s not what I’m referring to here. While I have observed that many people seem to glow with luminosity following a treatment, still, there’s more. Many of us, myself included, are prone to stress eating. This is the compulsion to use food (very often junk food, fast food, sugary and trans-fat laden food-like substances) in order to numb stress or provide emotional comfort. It stands to reason that if one is not feeling stressed, this particular urge will be diminished. Once I got in tune with my food needs from a physical hunger standpoint rather than an emotional one, it became easier to make better choices about what I put in my mouth. Healthier food means fewer toxins, and excess toxins have been linked to … cellulite! Who doesn’t want less cellulite?

The same follows in regard to excess consumption of alcohol. It is not uncommon for people to reach for a bottle of wine or beer, or even something stronger, to soothe frazzled nerves at the end of the day. Along with the empty calories consumed, I’ve noticed that the results of heavy drinking can include bags under the eyes, unpleasant body odor, bloating, and sallow skin. No stress, no urge to medicate it with booze, or recreational drugs, for that matter. What about frown lines? Diminished with a sense of inner peace. Posture? Improved with lessened tension. Smile? Radiant, and freely shared. Also, I always have fewer aches and pains after a treatment, thereby eliminating that excuse to skip my exercise routine. Already, Reiki has caused weight loss, lovely skin, graceful poise, and a cheerful nature. In my eyes, this relaxed person I have become is much more attractive than the scowling, sluggish, hung-over, slouching grump I used to be quite often. Therefore isn’t it obvious that Reiki makes people more beautiful?

Next, let’s examine the potential for Reiki to help us attract a desirable romantic partner. I know that I personally am more attracted to someone with a calm, peaceful presence that an irritable, or angry person. Receiving healing energy sessions helps me to get in touch with the serenity that is natural to my Higher Self, and allows it to radiate forth. Being less cranky prevents me from repelling kind-natured, sensitive individuals who would undoubtedly make generous and thoughtful partners. Increased contentment and decreased complaining will do the same. Being centered in a relaxed state makes me a nicer person, and helps to motivate people to be nicer to me, which is a lovely self-perpetuating cycle. I am automatically friendlier to strangers in the grocery store or library, thus increasing my opportunities to attract that special someone. Reiki has effectively reduced symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps, and I probably don’t need to explain how that can benefit my level of desirability! People are naturally drawn to loving, peaceful individuals, so Reiki will help attract wonderful new people into my life and improve my existing relationships too. While I have not yet met Mr. Right, I am quite certain that Reiki will help me do so when the time is right.

So how does Reiki make me more successful? It seems very clear to me that when I was stress-free employee, I performed with more clarity and efficiency. As my immune system was boosted with every treatment, illness was more easily avoided, and attendance enhanced. I became more cooperative and got along better with colleagues as stress-free healthy employee. People were more willing to collaborate with me on projects, and we accomplished more while working harmoniously. In my experience, these qualities were noticed by management and eventually rewarded with promotions more quickly than a grumpy person was. In my private practice, when I am relaxed, I am better able to focus on my client’s needs, more fully present, and a better channel for healing energy which better enables me to serve their highest good, thus increasing their rate of return. As a writer, when I am calm and peaceful words flow seamlessly, almost as if they are being channeled from a higher source.

Entrepreneurs can also benefit from a relaxed way of being. As I become more comfortable in my body, intuitive signals become clearer and divine guidance is more easily accessible. Gut feelings about opportunities, people, and investments are enhanced as the sixth chakra becomes more open. My former employers who managed their stress well were more pleasant to work for than others who let pressure build up and eventually explode. This trickled down into the workplace, reducing staff turn-over and the related training expenses. Also, employees were more enthusiastic, less resentful, and felt no urges to steal from the company as a result of bitterness or entitlement. All of this adds up to a healthy foundation which contributes to a successful business. Everyone, no matter their place in the hierarchy of the company, will achieve greater rewards when operating from a state of calm.

From this, one can deduce that earning power will be increased. But this is not the only way Reiki can contribute to someone’s overall prosperity. As discussed earlier, I have experienced a lesser need for the comforts of alcohol and junk food consumption. These savings add up over time. Better quality of sleep has reduced the need for reliance on caffeine and the daily $4 fix. Let us not forget compulsive purchases. Shopping therapy was not uncommon when I was feeling a general dissatisfaction with my life and needed distraction from chronic stress. We’ve all gone on spending sprees that we couldn’t really afford in an effort to feel better about ourselves or our lives. When I chose to invest in a monthly or biweekly Reiki treatment, the compulsion to numb tension and temporarily escape disappeared as serenity replaced the vague sense of aloneness.

Also, as I continue to get in touch with my spiritual self and find comfort in divine communion, nature, and the simple things in life, I no longer feel the need to keep up with anyone else and purchase unnecessary gadgets or furnishings or expensive clothes. The savings of becoming more fully aligned with my Higher Self continue to accumulate, and I have been able to decrease my workload and enjoy a great deal of free time as a result. This makes me a wealthy woman, in my eyes, even if I don’t have an incredible fortune.

While it is true that the most obvious benefits of any relaxation practice, particularly Reiki, are heightened sensations of peace, joy, and belonging; the secondary benefits stemming from these conditions spill into every conceivable aspect of life. Happy, peaceful people not only tend to be healthier, physically and emotionally, but they are more productive at work, more loving in their relationships, more savvy in their investments, take better care of their bodies, and age more gracefully. Whatever your goals in life, you can rest assured that Reiki is a tool to help you achieve your heart’s desire. Why not seek out a practitioner who can support you? Or take it one step further, and take a Reiki class so you can enjoy the benefits on a daily basis and share them with your friends and family. Reiki is truly a universal instrument that offers each of us exactly what we need.

June Specials

In honor of the blossoming summer, I feel inspired to offer a special to support people in letting go of anything that weighs them down. Summer is a time for lightening up, feeling playful, and having fun. Even for grown ups! What better way to enjoy the warmer weather than by shedding excess baggage, worries, or unwanted habits?

I am offering a series of long-distance Reiki sessions designed to do just that. When purchased by 6/30/14, a package of four will cost only $120. Regular price for this package is $150, making this a savings of 20%. Long- distance Reiki treatments are an energetic rebalancing and may be received from the comfort of one’s own home, anywhere in the world. This is part of the magic of Reiki; healing energy is not encumbered by the limits of time and space. The four sessions may be scheduled anytime within six months of purchase. Check out my post on long-distance Reiki if you’d like to learn more about this amazing technique.

Also, for my local friends, I am offering a complimentary Aura Cleansing with any 60 or 90 minute Reiki treatment. This is an excellent way to clear your energy field of any unwanted influences. It supercharges the release of blockages that prevent us from becoming our most healthy, most luminous, most magnificent selves. Many energy healers, myself included, believe that disease and imbalance begins in the aura and over time solidifies into the psyche or the body. Releasing the beliefs and energetic blueprints which make us unwell allows the body to return to its innate vibrant, healthy state. Support your true self by letting go of anything that no longer serves you, and feel how this helps you lighten up. Good for any session booked in June or any gift certificate purchased by 6/30/14 and used within six months.

To sign up, contact me at pamelahipp@massagetherapy.com. Or check out my website Luminous Heart Massage & Reiki for more information.

Thank Heavens for Long Distance Reiki!

Yesterday, my twin niece and nephew arrived in this world. They are the first of the next generation, and apparently so anxious to join us, that they came twelve weeks early. They are getting the best medical care at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I have no doubt that the doctors and nurses there are doing everything within their power to keep them safe. Yet I know that the artificial environment in any hospital along with the toxic energy of fear and worry is not ideal for any being, let alone precious babies who weigh less than 3 lbs each.

Thank heavens for Reiki, the healing energy of divine love. An even bigger thanks for the long distance Reiki symbol that allows me to transmit healing energy to these darlings from my own home in California. (I jokingly call it the faraway app.) Level 2 students are attuned to a sacred symbol that allows them to direct the flow of Reiki to anywhere, or anywhen. I often use it to send healing to a time in the past when a trauma was experienced or to an expected difficult situation (such as an exam or surgery) in the future. The long distance symbol can also be used to send healing to the oceans, the planet, or war zones.

Please note that it cannot, however, be used to get your philandering boyfriend to become faithful or your uncle to stop smoking. Reiki never interferes with a person’s free will and does not ever manipulate anyone’s behavior. But in times of emergency, it is possible to contact the higher self of an individual for permission. This is how I got the go-ahead from the twins- their eternal spirits are willing recipients. Their mother has asked for healing and prayers in the past, so she is fair game as well. I have contacted my friends and the larger Reiki community to ask for their support. As you might imagine, they are eager to help.

The limits of time and space are but an illusion. Energy is not bound by location nor a calendar, and divine healing energy most certainly has the capacity to go where and when it is needed. I feel truly blessed to have the skill and understanding to be of service to my family even though I am unable to be physically present. I can only imagine how frustrated and powerless I’d be feeling right now if I had never been introduced to this miraculous treatment. What’s even more amazing is that anyone and everyone can learn to do this. Yes, the power of a treatment is amplified with practice and experience; and the higher the consciousness and vibration of practitioner, the stronger the flow of energy. Given that information, there is no time like the present to contact a Reiki Master Teacher in your area and begin your training soon. The world will be a better place if you do.