Reiki, Reiki, Reiki, Reiki

This past week has been all about Reiki for me. I’ve spent time each morning charging crystals to send healing energy to friends near and far as well as to support several of my own goals. One of my biggest intentions for this year is promote my Reiki practice. At first I felt silly using Reiki to guide me towards creating a successful, prosperous business, but then I realized that this was exactly the optimal path for me. You see, I just love sharing healing energy with others. I enjoy seeing the relaxed look on people’s faces after a session and listening to the feedback of what has shifted for them since their last treatment. I have a gift for moving energy blockages and for listening to and understanding the deepest needs behind someone’s requests. And I have a genuine desire to uplift the vibration not only of my clients and my immediate surroundings, but of the planet at large.

Using Reiki to attract the perfect clients benefits an ever-expanding circle of recipients. It might begin with me and the person receiving the healing, but I have seen how the effects ripple outward, touching the lives of spouses and co-workers, children, pets, and even strangers. I truly believe it is my life purpose to share these gifts with as many people as possible. If it were also my career, I would have more time and energy to share with people who need my healing touch. My day job interferes with my being the best practitioner I can be.

So I have decided to shift my focus from how I can earn more money to get ahead financially, to how I can best serve the most people. I suspect in the end, my path will lead to both greater service and more abundance. I also truly and deeply believe that there is enough for us all to live comfortable, enjoyable, secure lifestyles while doing what we love. The directions to get there might seem a bit scary. Right now, I’m being called to reduce the number of hours at the spa where I earn the majority of my income. Yet I trust that Reiki will guide me through this transition process.

So now I am a Reiki junkie! I use it when designing promotional materials, writing this blog, editing my website, searching for an office to share, and when praying to attract the clients who need me. I Reiki myself to become more aligned with Spirit and a better channel for the energy. I Reiki my phone, my calendar, my checkbook, my laptop… each and every tool I use to communicate my offerings to the community. Honest to goodness, I Reiki my sheets while folding them and my massage table and essential oils as I prepare for a session. I Reiki the water I serve to clients and the glasses I serve it in. Yesterday a new friend came to my home to receive a massage. She is also a Reiki Master and was excited to learn that I do combo massage/Reiki sessions. Before she even got in the door she said, “I can feel the energy all the way out here.” I made a joke that even my apartment has a big aura. 🙂

So, yes. Reiki, Reiki, Reiki, Reiki. Any challenge or goal or even mundane tasks are improved by the healing that is possible with divine guidance. This morning I awoke to the lovely sound of rain on my roof. We have had an extremely dry “rainy season” this year in California, and I know many healers have been using their skills to draw down moisture from the skies. I know in my heart that my Reiki infused prayers helped. There are no limits to the power of love, especially when boosted with spiritually guided life-force energy. Thank you Reiki!

Less is More

“Less is More.” This is a seemingly- heretical philosophy I learned while studying the gentle, energetic bodywork called Ortho-Bionomy. Over the course of giving more than 6,000 massages in the last ten years, I realize that this quite frequently applies to sessions I have given and received. I could expand this theory into many aspects of my life as well, but that is too big a task for this post. How I can most efficiently interpret the phrase “less is more” as it relates to massage in my humble opinion, is to say that bodies very often are more responsive to a gentle touch than to extreme pressure. When I say very often, I mean in 99% of the time, in my experience. Very often.

Yet, popular culture would have us believe that more is always better, or worse yet, “no pain, no gain”. This is essentially the antithesis of my work. Which is not to say that I never go deep, or that every moment of a therapeutic session is luxuriously pleasant. It’s sometimes uncomfortable to restore deep, postural muscles to their original, lengthened state. However, my approach is a slow, gentle one that works with the client’s ability to let go and breathe deeply. I call it a sneak attack and when performed well, the muscles don’t react because they never even knew I was coming. Once the nervous system perceives pain, or even anticipates pain, the fight or flight reflex kicks in and muscles tense, adrenaline is released, and the mind becomes super- alert. This is the exact opposite of the relaxation response in which stress and tension are released and the muscles soften.

It is a huge goal of mine to re-educate the public about the myth of more pressure being the antidote to soreness or pain. The object of healing or releasing tension is not how much “you can take” but rather how much you can release. Bracing yourself to experience deep work in the name of relief is as effective as drinking a triple shot of espresso and riding a roller coaster to help you sleep. People in our society are already super-stressed. Aggressive bodywork is perceived by the nervous system as more stress and most certainly does not create relaxation. It might create an absence of busy thoughts because the mind is focused on sensations, just as being in an emergency situation would focus the mind. This is not the same as relaxation, letting go, feeling safe, or being at peace; and these are the conditions necessary for healing to take place.

Somewhere humans have gotten off track and started believing that having more stuff is the key to happiness, that doing more is the key to freedom, that punishing our bodies will make us healthy. It is beyond time that we re-evaluate our beliefs according to our current values and the reality that we seem to be less happy, less free, less healthy than ever. I encourage everyone to take time out of their busy schedules to experience true relaxation in the form of a flowing, soothing Swedish massage and to feel the true benefits of escaping the adrenaline loop and enjoying the peacefulness that is our natural state. And begin to think about how doing less, spending less, feeling less pain can actually be more. More healthy. And more you.

Supercharged

I’m excited to a have a new tool in my healing toolbox. I’ve learned to charge crystals with Reiki to send energy. After choosing the stones (or more accurately being chosen by the stones) I wish to work with, I cleanse them with Reiki, intention, and rock salt to remove any impurities they may have absorbed in the past. Then it’s quite simple to program them to absorb and transmit healing energy. One of the great things about Reiki is that it is not hampered by the dimensions of time and space. With the use of the long-distance symbol learned by level II Reiki students, healing may be sent anywhere and perhaps more interestingly, anywhen. This can be done without the use of crystals, but I’m noticing more powerful effects with the stones’ assistance.

After practicing on myself and close friends, I’m feeling more and more respect and awe for this amazing technique. A friend I haven’t seen in over six months asked if I could give her a massage for her birthday. It was a rather last-minute request that I was unable to accommodate due to a previous engagement. Wanting to offer her something to contribute to her celebration of birth, I offered to “program” a crystal to send Reiki over the course of her birthday. We chose the time of her birth as a starting point, and I set up the treatment to begin then and continue over the next 24 hours. Alas, I do not have the luxury or stamina to spend all my time in meditation healing my friends. That’s where the crystals come in; once charged with Reiki and intention, they keep the energy flowing continuously.

While I was charging the rose quartz that volunteered for this mission, I was overcome by a sudden and overpowering itching sensation in my left knee. Man, it was crazy intense! I’ve learned to recognize bodily sensations of unknown origin to be clues. This clearly was not my itch, but guidance from a higher power to tune-in to her knees. When I plugged into her energy field, I did notice stagnant energy in her right leg, but nothing in particular with her left knee. I was puzzled, but continued programming the quartz to do its thing.

Now, keep in mind that I haven’t seen this woman in ages and that she mentioned absolutely no specifics about her physical health in our communications. When I asked afterwards if she had any idea why my left knee was outrageously itchy, she replied, “I don’t know. It’s my right knee that hurts.” Aha! There was an actual issue with knee pain. I realized that during the time I was charging the quartz, I imagined her facing me, so my body was mirroring hers. My left knee was facing her right. Of course! It makes perfect sense. What a great learning opportunity! I’ve learned to see the client in my mind’s eye standing in front of me, so that I am looking at their back to avoid any confusion over bilateral body parts. And even more importantly, I’ve been reminded yet again to trust Reiki and my intuition to guide me and the healing to exactly where it needs to go.

She later reported that her knee is much better. Why am I not surprised?!?!

Spiritual Growth

For the past three months, I have been working with a fellow suffering from the darkness of depression. He reported feeling completely apathetic and fatigued all the time. He called me after hearing about Reiki from a colleague and decided that it was worth a try. He was getting desperate as several months on prescription meds had made no improvement in his mood or energy level.  Each session he announces that he is shifting and beginning to feel more like himself. He is showing an interest in moderate exercise, small social gatherings, and hobbies that had been completely absent on the day we met. In fact, when I asked him what activities brought the most joy into his life, he looked at me blankly and was unable to respond.

Last week his intention for the session surprised me. He wanted to focus on spiritual growth. Now, this is by no means an unusual request for a Reiki session. In fact, it’s one that is so aligned with the principles of Reiki, that I believe it is a natural side-effect of all Reiki sessions. My surprise derived from the fact that he had not mentioned any interest in spirituality or expansion of consciousness at all during previous sessions. His intentions had been strictly in the mental/emotional realm. As a practitioner, I am keenly aware of my client’s needs and comfort zone, and am able to meet them where they are. Reiki is amazingly versatile and can be used for physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and/or energetic purposes with ease. He asked for help balancing the psyche, so that is what I focused on while knowing that his spirit was also receiving a dose of healing.

I believe that as his mind grew more clear and his emotions more balanced, he naturally came to realize that the source of his distress was spiritual in nature. I also believe that Reiki helped guide him toward this realization when he was ready to receive it. He is now understanding with more and more clarity that his lifestyle for many years was not aligned with his spirit. He ignored the increasingly demanding messages from his intuition that he was off track, not wishing to be bothered with making changes, until finally his discomfort became so intense that he sought the healing that would help him return to himself. Now that he is aware that an injured spirit is the underlying factor of his depression, he can begin to make small, simple changes to his daily life that will correct his trajectory, putting him back on his own evolutionary path.

I’m truly amazed at how this process unfolded organically, in just the right time and space for him to understand and be willing to accept his mission of re-alignment. The healing energy of Reiki is spiritually guided and therefore allows each of us to receive exactly what we need, exactly when we need it most. And that is the beauty of this work! There is nothing to do except allow it to flow. The Divine takes care of the details. However, it is ultimately up to each of us to follow through with the action we have been guided to take.

Magic Hands

(reposted from Sept 2012)

Nearly every prenatal client in her 2nd or 3rd trimester comments that I have “magic hands” or have found the “magic spot.” Once the baby starts to show, ladies lie on their sides for a treatment. This position not only accommodates the changes to their bodies, but also allows easy access to the lateral rotator muscles of the hips and the gluteals. These muscles get unduly challenged during a pregnancy as it is their job to counterbalance the growing belly and keep women from falling forward. Once you understand muscle anatomy and the actions they perform, it really is no “secret”.

Nonetheless, I do enjoy hearing the deep breaths and sighs in the first few minutes of a prenatal massage when I hone in on the area that causes distress. Even though I have never been pregnant myself, I do know first-hand the relief and joy that one experiences when these deep muscles are overworked and achy and receive targeted bodywork. I know exactly where to find the tight spots because I have felt them myself from the inside out and on hundreds of clients. I often find myself reminding these ladies that I am, after all, a trained professional and it is my job to know these so-called tricks when they complain that their partners have failed to ease their pain.

There are so many benefits to both mother and child during prenatal massages. Circulatory, digestive, and lymphatic systems are stimulated, toxins are released from tissue for elimination, the nervous system is soothed, and muscle fibers are elongated. The body’s natural healing ability is boosted when one is relaxed, and hormones are better regulated and swelling reduced. Sleep quality is improved, along with moodiness and clarity. I could easily argue that these benefits increase the well-being of those who live with a pregnant lady. For this reason, I find that family members and partners are often eager to learn massage techniques to apply at home. Getting professional bodywork greatly enhances one’s health and comfort level; why not supplement by taking a class or getting a private lesson from a therapist? With a little training, everyone can discover their very own magic hands.

Don’t Look at Me!

Several times each week, I work with clients who desire the benefits of massage, but are obviously anxious or even terrified about getting undressed. As a recovering shame-aholic, I understand this dilemma completely. When you dislike your body, you want to hide it. You don’t want anyone to know your secrets of imperfection for fear of being rejected or humiliated. I lived most of my adult life like this. It’s debilitating and isolating to experience the world through these lenses. As a compassionate person and professional therapist, I want everybody to be 100% comfortable during each session, so I take the time to explain that I will leave the room while clients undress as much or as little as they wish, and that they will be covered and their privacy protected. Yet I often still recognize that look of panic in their eyes while we are chatting before the session begins.

One day after working with a client like this, I was bicycling home and came across a hawk resting on a fence. I stopped to witness this creature’s majestic presence. I contemplated how regal this bird looked and felt a wave of inspiration. This hawk has never, not once, been ashamed of it’s body or feathers or beak. It has never thought, “Oh, if only I was sleeker or faster or more colorful.” It does not sit around criticizing itself or categorizing its faults. It just simply is. A hawk accepts itself exactly as it is, without a need to compare itself to another. (Or at least, so I imagine!) Can you visualize a beautiful bird like this hiding its head under its wing whimpering, “Don’t look at me! I’m not worthy. I’m just a hawk. I should have been an eagle.”??? NO!

So why do we humans treat ourselves this way? I believe it’s because we’ve forgotten who we truly are; that we are unique individuals with talents and passions that contribute to a better world; that we are worthy of being loved and accepted just the way we are. Not because of what we’ve done to prove this worth, but just simply for being ourselves. What a relief it is to drop the constant stream of self-criticism and to relax into the comfort of self-acceptance. I invite you to try an experiment and invoke the spirit of the magnificent hawk next time you feel doubts about your appearance, performance, or worthiness. It’s impossible to feel ashamed about anything when you’re in the flow of proud hawk energy.

The Power of Healing Touch

Yesterday a family of four visited the spa where I work. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the father. You see, this man clearly did not want to be here. He sat sullenly in the waiting room, arms crossed and brow furled. His responses to my questions were extremely curt and he volunteered absolutely no information about his needs or hopes for the session. As it turns out, his wife had drug him into the spa, insisting that he needed to relax. Well, he was determined to resist!

Lucky, you ask? Why on earth would I feel lucky to spend an hour alone with this man when he’d rather be anywhere else? Well, the truth is, I love a good challenge! And I assure you that the sweet feeling of victory when winning grumpy clients over is truly incredible. This type of situation is not uncommon in my business. I used to get very stressed out. Ten years of experience has taught me not to take it personally. I understand that some people don’t like to be touched, or are worried about being judged, or think bodywork is a fu-fu pampering treatment that is a waste of time. I get it. But since this person has showed up on my table, I am determined to give him the best experience possible.

Ninety percent of the time I am able to win the reluctant client over in the first 15 minutes. It starts with a big breath or a deep sigh once they begin to realize that it’s comfy & warm on the table; that a compassionate person is completely there for them; that a trained and skilled professional can easily locate their tension areas & has tools to provide relief. I image that my acceptance of the situation without judgement is a welcome respite from the demanding world. So, yes, I enjoy a good challenge. It makes my heart sing. Even when the client remains unconvinced that massage is NOT for them, I know that they have still benefited from the experience of healing touch.

This particular gentleman? Ten minutes into our session and he says to me, “I can’t believe that feels so good!”. I made a joke about the spa not being such a horrible place to spend a Saturday afternoon, and he laughed. He asked me a few questions about the tension in his shoulders and I was then able to explain that it doesn’t need to be that way. We have the power to make choices that support our wellness and comfort in our bodies. Bodywork is a tremendous resource for resetting our systems to relaxation, which is the foundation for good health. Now, I doubt I will be seeing this fellow on a regular basis, but I am delighted that I was able to plant a seed in his mind about the options available to him.