Sound Reiki: Come as you are. “Bad” attitudes welcome here!

Sometimes a positive attitude can be negative.

A long-time client teared up as she entered my treatment room last week. Worried about a health issue, she lamented, “I’m trying to be positive about this, but I don’t feel positive.” As she moved back to a chair after the session, tears welled up again. “I always feel good after Reiki, but I don’t feel good now, I feel awful.” I responded, “Maybe what you need is a good cry.”

Her comment as we said goodbye was, “I’ll try to have a better attitude the next time I come for an appointment.” I assured her that any attitude she brings to my treatment room is acceptable to me.

I believe our desire to be positive can sometimes get in the way of healing. We feel guilty about our true feelings and attempt to force an optimism we don’t feel. We try to paper over and rush through what, for me, is an important part of the healing process. Sometimes, I need to cry, stomp my feet, shake my fist at the universe, and wallow in my misery a bit. When I’m in this stage of my process, it is usually not helpful for friends to offer solutions, suggest that I “look on the bright side” or ask what I have learned from the situation.

The key, of course, is not to pitch a tent in misery’s territory but to use feelings of distress as a bridge to the next step—whatever that may be. Accepting the situation or condition, looking for solutions, exploring options, and, yes, embracing the gifts and the opportunities for learning that arise from life’s challenges. Come as you are! Reiki supports you, no matter where you are in the moment.

Schedule a hands-on or distant Reiki session.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.

 

Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).

 

Sound Reiki: Reiki at Standing Rock

Knowing Reiki would support his chosen work in myriad ways, Jonathan Hanneman completed Reiki Master Training prior to entering seminary. At Standing Rock, his Reiki skills provided an opportunity to be of service and a means of giving comfort in a traumatic situation.

Jonathan’s story:

Thanksgiving was less than a week away, and I was tucked into the back of a cramped minivan, riding to Standing Rock with six of my fellow students from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. We arrived at the low, grassy hills of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, well after dark, the icy wind creeping through our clothes. Fr. John Floberg had invited our group to stay in the warmth of St. James Episcopal Church.

After joining their service Sunday morning, we drove the 10 miles north to the Water Protectors’ camp to explore opportunities to assist and to attend a required session on nonviolent activism. The camp was markedly peaceful, with people of every color, spirituality, and nationality working together to care for one another and protect the Sioux’s main water supply.

As soon as we arrived back at the church that evening, I fell fast asleep, still exhausted from our overnight drive. Around 10:00 p.m. I woke up to discover a note saying my classmates had returned to the camp. An incident was developing near the police barricade at the highway bridge about a half mile north of the main encampment. The police, wearing military armor and standing in a line behind at least two rolls of razor wire, had fired on the Water Protectors with gas canisters, rubber and beanbag bullets, concussion grenades, and fire hoses—in 20° weather. Each of my friends breathed the burning chemicals. Several endured the barrage of icy water while trying to help other people on the bridge. One, a nurse, ended up with a large chemical burn on her leg. Though my classmates were at the scene for only two hours, the assault continued for a full ten.

Tension was still high the next morning, but at least the violence had ceased by the time we returned to the site. We prayed near the bridge for several hours before the tribal elders told everyone to return to the camp.

Wellness Tent

Wellness Tent at Standing Rock

My friends had shown their bravery—and had the burns and bruises to prove it. But I had missed the previous night’s events. We were heading back to Austin the next morning. As we walked back to the camp, I wondered if there was anything, I could still do at this point, apart from being a witness to the aftermath and continuing threats.
Wandering through camp I suddenly stumbled upon a cluster of wellness tents, a small group of shelters where Water Protectors could see trained medics and holistic practitioners. Now I knew what to do!

I walked into a large yurt and offered my skills in Reiki. Working alongside a variety of alternative medicine and energy practitioners all afternoon, I served people who had experienced the trauma of the previous night. Since tables were at a premium, I treated recipients either in chairs or on floor mats. Hours flew by. Reiki blends with meditation for me, so despite the odd angles and a good bit of work while kneeling, I left more refreshed that evening than when I had arrived.

As Reiki practitioners, we are often deeply affected by suffering in our world. Few of us can actually travel to the site of a conflict or natural disaster, as Jonathan did; however, we always have the option of sending Reiki distantly. Watch for a future post on how this can be done effectively, no matter the circumstance.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.

 

Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).

 

Sound Reiki: Choosing Compassion Helps to Keep Your Energy Clean

As a green Level I practitioner, I gave a treatment to a friend’s mother who was in a great deal of pain following hip replacement surgery. My own mother was in my mind as I began the treatment. I felt regret that I had not been able to alleviate her pain during her lifetime. A deep desire to take away the client’s pain filled me as I gently placed my hands on her hip.

A few moments later, a wave of nausea swept through my body. I stepped away from the treatment table, thinking the room was too warm and intending to turn down the heat. Instead, I fainted, crashing into a bookcase on my way to the floor. You can imagine the consternation of the client. For the next three hours, I sat in a reclining chair feeling almost comatose, as if I could not move. I continued to feel tired for a week afterwards. My friend’s mother felt great the day after the treatment—I had indeed taken away her pain!

Wallace FallsWhile this is an extreme case, unlikely to happen in the routine practice of Reiki, it illustrates a degree of identification with the client that made me vulnerable to taking on her energy. I learned several valuable lessons from this experience, one of which was the importance of coming to a treatment from a place of compassion, as opposed to empathizing or identifying with the client.

Empathy may be defined as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” Experiencing the pain of another is different than having compassion for the pain of another.

If we find ourselves empathizing to the degree of experiencing or taking on the client’s (or anyone’s) pain or discomfort, it is wise to examine what may be underneath the empathy. Reflecting on the situation described above, I realized that I identified the client with my mother. I felt grief over the loss of my mother and guilt that I couldn’t “fix” things for her. I was attached to the outcome of removing the client’s pain. As a new, less than confident practitioner, I also had a need to prove that Reiki works.

Many factors can influence empathy or taking on the feelings of another: guilt for feeling well ourselves when another is ill; feeling responsible for the well being of the client; a belief that we know what is best for the client and what healing should take place for him/her. Empathy can also enmesh us in the client’s drama, making us more vulnerable to their energy. Awareness of the feelings, beliefs, and attitudes that may connect us to the client can assist in setting aside these factors prior to a treatment, reducing the probability of our taking on the client’s pain or other forms of their energy. Awareness can also serve as a reminder that we may need to make a renewed commitment to our own healing. (See the post, “Healing the Healer.”)

It should be noted that taking on someone else’s pain is different than feeling a client’s pain in a corresponding place in your own body as a message of how to proceed during a treatment. This kind of pain dissipates as the treatment progresses and does not remain in the body after the treatment. Taking on a client’s pain means that the pain remains in your body after the treatment, sometimes for several days to a week, and leaves you feeling tired and depleted.

Compassion, on the other hand, can be defined as being “moved by the suffering or distress of another and to have a desire to relieve it.” (But not identifying with, or projecting oneself into the other’s suffering.) Within the context of Reiki, I interpret compassion as holding the space of unconditional love for the client (or any person or situation) so that healing may take place.

Compassion is the willingness and the intention to BE the Light of Divine Love—to come from that place within that is our very essence and that is the most powerful healing force in the universe. At the same time, we also know that the client IS the Light of Divine Love, and we perceive them as Light. There is no ego involvement, no pity or condescension or judgment. Compassion does not “feel” the client’s pain or take it on, but simply acts as a bridge between the client and the Higher Power. It is Light interacting with Light in a beautiful dance to accomplish healing.

As I begin each treatment with gassho and reiji-ho, my intention is to choose compassion and to remain in that space throughout the treatment so that I might facilitate the highest possible outcome for the client. Such a treatment leaves me feeling relaxed, energized, and at peace.

©copyright 2009, 2014 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living. All rights reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne. An earlier version of this article, “Choosing Compassion,” appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Reiki News Magazine.

See Chapter 8, “Keeping Your Energy Clean” (pages 91-104), in my book, Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I & II. 

Schedule a hands-on or distant Reiki session.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.

 

Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).

Sound Reiki: Reiki Needed for Baby Boomers

Emotional distress within the baby boomer generation is reflected in a sharp rise of the suicide rate among this age group.

US deaths from suicide are now higher than deaths from automobile accidents, according to statistics released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported on in The New York Times (May 2, 2013). A surprisingly sharp rise occurred among the baby-boomer generation. Suicide in this age group (35-64) rose 30%, with rates among men far higher than among women and men in their 50’s at most risk.

A supportive community enhances emotional well-being.

Adults need community and caring touch for optimum emotional health.

The causes are complex and varied; however, we know that just as infants must have caring touch to thrive, adults also need caring touch for optimum emotional health. Touch can be limited for older adults who experience social isolation, have lost a spouse, face limiting health conditions, or live in nursing homes.

It goes without saying that Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment for serious emotional illness; however, as Reiki practitioners, we witness daily that treatment raises the spirits and confers a greater sense of peace and well-being on our clients. We render a valuable service by reaching out to those who may be especially vulnerable to emotional distress.

Read the New York Times article.

©2013, 2014, Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living. All rights reserved. An earlier version of this article appeared in the May 2013 issue of The Reiki for Living News. Contact Marianne for re-posting permission.

Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner. She is a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010) and the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II, which has been called “one of the best Reiki books out there” by other Reiki Masters. See her current class schedule. To make an appointment for a hands-on or distant Reiki session, click here.

Sound Reiki: Healing Reactions Aid the Healing Process

The Reiki healing process takes many forms.

In addition to physical healing, the healing process may bring about realizations that can be deeply emotional for the client. It may awaken the client to the need for life-style changes. It may cause the client to embrace values long suppressed. It may result in significant changes in all areas of life as the client progresses on his or her healing journey.

Whatever its path, the healing process may be presaged by an event variously called, a Healing Reaction, Healing Catharsis, or a Healing Crisis. A Healing Reaction (the term I prefer) is the occurrence of physical symptoms following a Reiki treatment or attunement. Reactions can manifest as headache, nausea, cold or flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, mental or emotional upset, or a temporary intensification of the symptoms of a chronic condition or illness. A Healing Reaction indicates that the body is detoxifying in preparation for healing.

Symptoms are more likely to manifest if the client (or student):

  • DogwoodCanyon1has not received healing treatments previously.
  • suffers from a chronic condition, or a condition that has existed for more than three weeks.
  • experiences a chronic high level of stress.
  • suffers from post-traumatic stress.

Generally, healing reactions do not last more than a few days but can continue for a week or longer.

My personal experience with Healing Reactions
I experienced a weeklong reaction following my Master attunement. It manifested as extreme fatigue, feeling scattered mentally, and tumultuous emotions. The resulting healing was so profound that a friend remarked I was a “different person” after the Master training. I had gained confidence in my practice of Reiki, and I felt a calm certainty about my purpose and my path as a healer. A similar reaction occurred following my Karuna Reiki® training, bringing about an even deeper healing.

What Mrs. Takata said about Healing Reactions
Takata expected Healing Reactions and welcomed them. She herself experienced severe gastrointestinal upset during her initial weeks of treatment at Dr. Hayashi’s clinic.

Reactions were probably more frequent in Takata’s clients because fewer people had experienced energy work in her time and because she worked with many seriously ill clients. She remarked of one client that he was so ill she had had to give him three treatments before a healing reaction ensued. In one instance she treated a person incapacitated by untreatable epileptic seizures. The seizures became more frequent and more severe for a time after Reiki treatments began; however, Takata reported that the client was ultimately cured after months of receiving Reiki treatments at frequent intervals.*

What I tell clients about Healing Reactions:
Healing reactions occur infrequently in my practice of Reiki; however, I always make clients aware of the possibility. I include the following statement in a self-care handout I provide clients following their initial treatment:

Note: After a Reiki treatment you may experience symptoms such as headache, nausea, fatigue, or emotional upset. This is sometimes called a Healing Reaction and is usually an indication that the body is detoxifying itself in preparation for healing. It is also an indication that more Reiki is needed. Should a reaction occur, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and generally be kind to yourself. Such symptoms happen infrequently and typically dissipate within a few days. Please call me if you have questions or concerns.

Within 24 hours of an initial treatment, I followup with a call or email to the client. This gives the client an opportunity to express concerns and me the opportunity to address them.

*Reiki is not a substitute for medical or psychological treatment.

© 2007, 2014 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living. All rights reserved. An earlier version of this article, “Healing Reactions” appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Reiki News Magazine. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.

Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner. She is a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010) and the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II, which has been called “one of the best Reiki books out there” by other Reiki Masters. See her current class schedule. To make an appointment for a hands-on or distant Reiki session, click here.