Archive for April, 2010

Does a Poodle Mean Anything to You?

I was talking with one of my Reiki friends today and we got to chatting about the kind of information we receive about people for whom we’re doing Reiki.  Just to set the record straight for those of you who have never had Reiki, or who are not Reiki practitioners, Reiki sessions are by no means synonymous with psychic readings.  Some practitioners are more intuitive than others, and some share more of what they intuit than others.  Some Reiki folks really combine Reiki and psychic readings, but as I understand it, although working was part of Reiki from its beginnings, the purpose of using intuition was to get a sense of where clients needed healing, not to regale them with interesting tidbits.  This topic of what to do with information we receive intuitively is one that comes up frequently in my discussions with my Reiki students and friends – as it did this afternoon!

I’ll give you an idea of what I’m talking about.  Let’s say that someone comes in for a session and tells me they’re interested in whatever intuitive information I pick up.  Well, in any given session, I might see visual images (behind my closed eyes) that I interpret as representing emotional states or visual representations of energy flow or blockage.  For example, I might see a bottle with a blocked neck when I have my hands over a certain part of the body, the neck, say.  Or A box with a padlock on it when someone seems to be holding their emotions in.  Or, one of my favorite examples: once, when working with a regular client I saw an image of her wearing a wool coat with an old, kind of ratty looking fur collar.

In cases such as these, if the clients have told me they are interested in intuitive information – perhaps to help them make a decision or understand the source of anxiety – then after the session I will tell them what I experienced , and we take it from there.  So, in the case of the shoe, I asked my client,  ”How do you feel about fur coats?”  She said she wasn’t a big fan of having something dead around her neck.  She had come in looking for insight into her relationship with a certain person.  Talking about how the image of the coat might figure into that helped her gain clarity about that situation and get a handle on some things that had been bothering her.

That is, in my opinion, the best case scenario for using intuitive information that comes up during a session.  But does that mean all information should always be shared? I don’t think so, because I don’t think all info is necessary useful to them.  The heart of the question is this:  as  practitioners it can be exciting when we receive intuitive information about our clients.  Maybe we think this information help them gain insight into their problems.  Maybe we see some event which seems like a past traumatic event that could hold a key of understanding and emotional freedom for them.  Maybe we feel we have gotten a message for them from a deceased loved one, or sensed that person’s presence.  Or maybe we saw a rose when we were working at their heart, or smelled vanilla when we were holding their hand.   How do we decide what to share with them?  

My first rule of thumb is never to share anything with someone who doesn’t tell me they want to hear what I notice. But even if they ask me to do that, there are often details I leave out.  And mostly that is because it is a fine line, I think, between giving a client information that can be helpful and giving them information that is a kind of laundry list of probably useless information.  I mean, when someone does Reiki for me, I avidly listen to absolutely everything they have seen or sensed.  I think it’s really fun, and in cases when I’m looking for insights into a situation, that input really can help me.  However, my friend and I, when we were talking about this today, were wondering how helpful it really is to tell someone that you saw a lot of the color red over their solar plexus, or heard a bell when you were at their feet.

I don’t want to diss this approach to providing Reiki. I’ll say it again – I do give my clients a lot of this kind of information myself, when they want it.  I give it to them and let them interpret or use it as they see fit.  But I also think that just pouring out every bit of info we notice takes the focus away from the healing and makes the session a tiny bit like a circus sideshow. And that’s when, I think, it would be good for us to examine our own motives. Why are we sharing this info?  Is it because we sincerely believe it will help our clients, or is it because we want them to believe that we are powerful or seeing or have some special access to a world that they don’t?  

As my friend and I brainstormed about this this afternoon, it struck me that sometimes sharing what we see would be the equivalent of saying to someone, “I noticed that you have blond hair.”   Or, “I notice that your hands are clean.”  These are things we might see when we actually look at a person, but how does taking note of it help them?  Similarly, much of what we see or hear or sense during a Reiki session is that kind of information.   It’s a fact. It’s there, but it doesn’t necessarily help them in a way we can see. Would this kind of exchange help a client: ”Do you have a poodle?”  ”Yes.” “I got the sense that you love it a lot.”  ”Yes, I do.”   If this were the case, sharing this info would show that you are tapping into something true about the client. And that is fun. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve shared that kind of info hundreds of times, and my clients and I have always enjoyed it.  But I really don’t think there’s so much point to it.

In fact, perhaps it’s actually detrimental to what we are hoping to do with Reiki. Could it be that sharing this kind of non-crucial information in some way takes the focus of the session away from the real work being done, the profound healing that is taking place below the surface of whatever we do or do not notice on the intuitive level?  I can’t say for sure.  Certainly it’s also possible that sharing these little bits of information can help build trust between practitioner and client, which is definitely a good thing.  All I’m saying, and this is the conclusion my friend and I reached, is that it makes sense to consider, before we share every little thing we notice during a session, what purpose it might serve. Might it possibly help the client?  Then, go for it!  If not, I recommend consider keeping it to yourself.  But you might have other thoughts on the matter.  I hope you’ll write in and share them!


In a Nutshell

Last week, in “Kickin’ It Old School!” I wrote about my epiphany regarding my Reiki practice, how the experience of giving and receiving a series of Reiki sessions over three or four days in a row utterly transformed my understanding of how I want to offer Reiki to my clients.  And I promised you that this week I would give you some more details about what went on during those sessions for both my two friends and myself.  And since I don’t want to break any promises, here you go:

Although our experiences were not identical, there were certain surprising similarities that we noticed. Session One for all three of us brought physical shifts and awareness and releasing of some sort, different for each of us, but still on the physical plane.  Aches and pains, physical symptoms that related to past injuries, or imagery that gave explanation to the latter.  

Interestingly enough, that first session for all of us included  a bit of resistance.  Sometimes the practitioner sensed it, sometimes the recipient, sometimes both of us.  That surprised me. Surprised me when I felt it in my friend as I gave her Reiki, because I’d never felt it before from her – a clear physical resistance to letting the energy in. And I surprised that this elicited some resistance in me to doing the session, too.  Definitely something I had never felt with her, and we have done Reiki for each other dozens of times.  She noticed it, too, and we talked about it afterwards. We were both mystified by it at first, although as we talked, she said that she felt the resistance was perhaps to understanding what was holding her back in life, because if she identified it, then she would have to choose to either work with it and overcome it, or choose to just stay where she was – stuck.  

The other fascinating part of this was that we had both picked up on the resistance. Certainly we are well in tune with each other and I knew that what I felt was hers, but at the same time it was mine.  This is a subject for yet another blog, because I have some ideas about this to share, but what I thought was important was that she and I were very much in sync in terms of our own mental states during these three sessions.

The resistance I felt on the table was a little different. Mine was an awareness of my own defenses, an awareness that I could choose to let those defenses down to receive the healing energy that would move me forward – in what way I had no idea! And during the session, as I concentrated on allowing those defenses to lift, it felt like a very physical process.

On the second day, when I began my friend’s second session, I wondered what I would find. Would the resistance still be there?  It wasn’t. That held true for all of us- whatever resistance had been present during the first session had run out by the time the second session began.  In fact, it was clear as I began, that I was able to pick up right where I had left off the day before, or perhaps even a bit further on in the healing process, as if healing had continued between the sessions on its own.

I see this as the greatest benefit of doing a number of sessions over consecutive days.  I explain it this way:  Think of stretching out a rubber band.  Let’s say you have a 1- inch rubber band that you’d like to stretch out to 4 inches.  And you have to do it in three phase. If you stretch it a little, then let it retract fully before stretching it a little further in the second phase, it will take you longer to get to the desired length, because each time you will have to start from the original position.  This is, I think, what happens when we try to treat an illness or chronic stress with bi-weekly or even weekly Reiki sessions: we make progress at each individual session, but in between, the recipient moves back pretty quickly into the original state.  When you repeat the Reiki, the recipient again receives healing, but probably not more than the first time.  And so on at each appointment.

Now imagine that you take the same rubber band, and you are still going to stretch it out to 4 inches, in 3 stages. But instead of letting it retract between stages, you will hold it where it is and just pause briefly before stretching it more.  No ground is lost between stages and you move to the goal much more quickly because you don’t have to back track and start from scratch each time.

That is exactly how it felt doing the 3 or 4 Reiki sessions in as many days.  It was clear to all of us – practitioner and recipient alike – that each session built upon the previous one with absolutely no ground lost. It felt like picking up where we’d left off the day before.  That meant that we were able to achieve a much more profound healing in 3 or 4 straight days of healing than we would had we spread the same number of sessions out over 3 or 4 weeks.  

That is what prompted me to decide to change the way I work with my clients.  I am convinced that doing 3 or more consecutive sessions on as many days allows deeper, quicker healing. And it is not just the fact that the 3 or 4 sessions themselves promote quicker, deeper healing.  I do believe that somehow the healing energy keeps working between sessions, providing a continuity from one session to the next, even though the practitioner and recipient are physically separated.  My explanation for this is that both parties set an intention at the outset for the healing to continue over that 3 or 4 days, and it does, whether you’re in the actual session or not.  This makes for a very profound experience, indeed.   So, if a client truly wants deep healing, this is absolutely the way to go. No doubt about it whatsoever.

What is not fixed is the necessary number of sessions. I feel 3 in a row is a minimum – because it promotes release on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels – but more may be necessary. That will depend on the recipient, how serious his or her condition and how open he or she is to receiving the energy and allowing it to work.  But the number of sessions will become clear as we work: we will be able to tell when a release on one of those levels occurs, and we can go from there.  

So, this approach requires flexibility from both the practitioner and recipient, but it also holds the promise of such amazing transformation – for both people involved. 

In any case,  I am a real believer in this approach to offering Reiki and look forward to employing it with more clients.  How to state the benefits? My friend who first experienced the series of sessions put it very nicely, I think, and simply: “I  think that the consecutive treatments are a very powerful way to heal.”  In a nutshell.

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Kickin’ It Old School!

This week’s story begins a few weeks ago when I was working with one of my Master Level Reiki students.  As part of her training, we read and discussed an excerpt from a thought-provoking book by Reiki Master David Jarrell, which had been passed on to me by my own teacher, Karen. The part that’s relevant to our story today was Jarrell’s assertion that for optimal results, it is necessary to treat clients with Reiki sessions three days in a row, in order to “quickly establish the balance, while eliminating the pain, aches and toxins from the body.”  My student and I were both intrigued by this and wondered what it would be like.  Once last summer I had three sessions within a four day period and found it very powerful, but I’ve never consciously worked or been worked on in this way.   My student suddenly said, “I want to try it!” and so we picked three days in a row the next week and started off, having no idea what we might happen…

The short answer is this: the experience was so powerful for both of us – both practitioner and recipient – that I began telling my other Reiki friends about it.  I felt like I’d discovered something magical, right in my own back yard!  And so, the next week, I did another series of daily treatments – 4 this time! – for a different Reiki friend.  And this past week, she did four in a row for me.  I have had very profound Reiki sessions before, but this series brought about transformations unlike any I had ever before experienced with Reiki. But what I found equally intriguing is the fact that all three of us went through transformations that were similar in certain ways. In next week’s blog I’ll talk in more detail about that, but this week I want to tell you about how the insights I gained after my own four sessions have prompted me to adopt a new approach to my Reiki practice.

Just so you have a general idea of what happened during my four sessions, I’ll tell you that the first three sessions brought profound shifts. I gained insight into and was able to work to transcend patterns of behavior and thought that have rested in my body and mind for who knows how long! After each day’s session I was aware that something powerful had been set in motion, and during the rest of that day and night, by both actively reflecting on the sessions and also just going with the flow of the inner shifts, I was able to allow the changes in my worldview to proceed. The fourth session allowed me to stabilize and solidify the calm and peace that came with my third session.  But only on Thursday evening, as I began writing this post, did I realized that the sessions had been more transformative for me than I’d realized at first.  And the key to that was what happened in the third session:

During that session I felt as if I was watching myself go through what you could call a  death, or a spiritual shift, a joyful, effortless release and passage from one state of mind to another.  That experience was very sweet for me because it reflected and affirmed what has been going on in my spiritual practice of late.  But yesterday I understood that as I was making that spiritual passage, I had also effortlessly passed into a new state of awareness about my Reiki practice.  And I became keenly aware of exactly where I need to move with my Reiki work in order to be able to better serve people with it.

Ironically, perhaps, I understood that I need to move not forward, but backward – backward in time, that is, to when Dr. Usui and then Dr. Hayashi, his student, formulated Reiki as a healing practice in the late 1920s.  This week I went searching for information about how they treated people – I was wondering whether this idea of doing three sessions in a row had come from these Reiki founding fathers.  And what I learned is that there seems to be no specific recommended number of sessions.  For when Madame Takata- the woman who brought Reiki to America in the 1940s – went to Dr. Hayashi’s Reiki  clinic for treatment of a combination of several life-threatening physical complaints, she received treatment after treatment after treatment, day after day, until she recovered from her ailments.  In Hawayo Takata’s Story, Helen Haberly writes, of Mme Takata’s experience, “After three weeks of daily treatments, she was much better.”   And Dr. Hayashi compared treatment with Reiki to “slowly peeling off sheets of the finest paper”, saying that one needs to continue until the patient fully recovers.

This seems to have been the guiding principle: there is no way to predict how many treatments a given person will need, so you treat daily and keep treating until the patient experiences shifts that lead to improvement.  And I think that these shifts would probably be on all levels – physical, emotional/psychological and spiritual, and that you wouldn’t want to stop until the whole sequence of shifts had been achieved.

Given the results I have seen in myself and others from these 3 or 4-in-a-row treatments, I am convinced that this is definitely the way to go.  And yet, this way of treating is nothing I see advocated in my more current sources of info about Reiki- certainly I may have missed something, but the general thinking these days seems to be to offer sessions once a week or every other week, with the idea that this will give people what they need. But I don’t think this is necessarily the case. It will certainly relieve stress and help people feel better. No doubt about that!  I have seen that result in myself and my clients.  These occasional or even semi-regular treatments bring improvement, but I’m guessing they rarely bring about profound transformation.

I don’t know when the “treat ’til there’s a shift” approach faded in this country,  (if it ever existed at all, since we know that Mme Takata put her own twist on how to practice Reiki.) I’d guess it has a lot  to do with our American impatience and desire for quick results.  And our tendency to cling stubbornly to the chaotic way we live our lives even if it is steadily destroying our peace of mind and our health.  But as my student put it very beautifully the other day,  ”Reiki is so very gentle and competes with the difficult and intense energy of our modern day society. I think the consecutive treatments offers a way to maintain this healing energy around us to enable us to heal faster.”  Bingo!

I am firmly convinced that adapting the way we do Reiki to fit the demands of our fast-paced American schedule is absolutely the wrong approach.  After all, it is this very lifestyle that bring on the stress and disease which cause us to need healing in the first place.  If we are going to make that healing possible, we need to adapt our schedules to make healing possible, not adapt the healing to make our schedules possible!

That is, in a nutshell,  the insight I gained this week.  As soon as I had gone through 4 treatments in a row myself, I knew this was an approach I just had to make a focus of my own practice.  Going through those sessions somehow enabled me to access my own deeper awareness that this is the way it needs to be done now, as it was when Drs. Usui and Hayashi were practicing.

And with this insight I also understood the reason I have always felt drawn to focus my efforts on Reiki and only Reiki, instead of branching off into other modalities: it is so that I can, through my own practice, strive to offer Reiki in a way that will allow those I treat to experience its full power and make use of the energy’s full potential for facilitating profound transformation. Not on a schedule that is constrained by the demands that we allow modern life to place on us, but on a schedule that honors and supports who we are as beings who deserve the chance to experience full healing, rather than the just partial healing that we receive when we come for treatment only when we can manage to fit it in without disrupting our chaotic, health-destroying lifestyles.  So, what I want to offer people is the chance to pursue full healing.

What does that mean on a practical level?  How I will do my healing work from now on?  Certainly I will continue to offer once-a-week or every-other-week sessions to those who want them. Because even one session is far better than no sessions and bring great calm and improve one’s ability to go back and meet life’s challenges.  But I will encourage those who want to experience Reiki’s full transformative benefits to come and join with me in the shared work of intensive healing that we will do together through a series of daily treatments.  And to take advantage of the shifts that occur to gain insight into how they can alter their lives so that the healing they receive can have lasting effects and benefits.  This feels like the most wonderful, profound commitment that I can make to my clients – to step onto the healing path with them and stay on it as long as they want or need me to be on it with them.

So, I feel  that this week I have gained clarity not only about my own spiritual path, but about the way that I can best help others through the Reiki which is an integral part of that spiritual work.  And so, from now on, folks, I’m gonna do things old school –  I hope you’ll join in this beautiful healing project with me – for one session, or 3, or however many it takes.  I’ll be right there with you.  We’ll do it together.  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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