Ki is in the Air!

It’s practically impossible not to notice the abundance of life-force energy that is available during the spring! While Ki is a universal energy, always present, and easily accessible, it’s simply more obvious this time of year. I can feel it in the gentle rain and the cool breezes; I hear it in morning serenades of the early birds and in the laughter that floats up from children playing on the sidewalk. It’s easily seen blowing through the sky as fluffy clouds, the brilliant new leaves trees proudly display, and in the prolific blossoms that fall from branches to litter sidewalks like confetti.

During this time of nature’s renewal, let us remind ourselves that the world offers us a wealth of Ki. All we need do is receive it. It is our natural state to be in the flow of abundance, health, peace, love, and joy that the universe provides. Our limiting beliefs, thoughts, habits, and attachments can block this natural flow. Reiki is an amazing tool for restoring flow and balance, yet it is just one tool. Another powerful tool is awareness.

Cultivating our awareness of the beauty that surrounds us, of the elements of nature, and the joy of life is a potent practice for building wellness and strengthening purpose. Replenishing our reserves from the vast, omnipresent quantity of universal energy is a simple technique that can be done throughout the day. Merely noticing the beauty of a flower, a smile, a fragrance, or a sound can raise our vibration and create an opening for healing energy to enter. The act of appreciating these gifts and expressing gratitude can compound the ability to receive Ki.

While it is indeed lovely to receive the blessing of a healing treatment from a practitioner (I’m soooo looking forward to my Reiki treatment in a few days!) and super-important to engage in daily self-care practices, there are countless opportunities throughout each day to tap into to the abundance of life-force energy that surrounds us. The essence of life is never farther away than the air we breathe. Let’s all inhale deeply, and saturate ourselves in the essence of springtime Ki.

Ouch! That hurts.

I’ve been experiencing intermittent pain in my left foot for almost a year now. It comes and goes mysteriously, aggravated by hiking, dancing, and bouncing- basically the types exercise that bring me joy. At first I tried to ignore it; after all it’s usually a dull ache, with short spurts of intensity, but generally tolerable. Obviously this strategy was a failure!

For several months I’ve been using all my tools: anti-inflammatory diet, healing essential oils, ice packs, rest, elevation, and of course loads of massage and Reiki treatments. Nothing seems to have any lasting effect. A friend suggested castor oil packs, which did seem to allow for more mobility immediately afterwards, but now not so much. As summer is approaching, the idea of sitting still with my foot in a castor oil-soaked sock wrapped in a heating pad is decidedly unappealing.

So what to do when all the healing techniques you know aren’t helping? It seems there are four basic answers for me, and I’m exploring them all with full gusto. First, get some help. Sounds obvious, right? Trading in fierce independence for a more balanced regime of giving AND receiving through interdependence is a big lesson for me. I am determined to keep practicing this skill. I’ve started receiving acupuncture twice a week to relieve pain and to balance the energy flow through my body.

Secondly, can I accept that forces bigger than myself are at play? Can I acknowledge that I’m feeling frustrated at my seeming failure to heal myself and the resulting lack of mobility? And at the same time, can I investigate the possible silver lining? Can I react favorably to a forced rest period that allows me to read <gasp!> novels and to journal? Can I learn to accept that this is what I have to work with in this moment, and release all my attachments, judgments, and expectations that only increase my suffering? Although I’m not 100% there just yet, I’m convinced that yes, I indeed can do this.

Thirdly, what is the message my body is trying to deliver? At first glance, asking for and receiving help and enjoying more stillness are answers that float to the surface. Yet I want to tap into the deeper layers. Yesterday during my acupuncture treatment, I asked my inner self, “What am I not seeing?” I had an instant vision of dense roots reaching up from the earth, trapping me in place. While I’m still contemplating the full meaning of this experience, it seems obvious that fear of moving forward, of stepping into my full potential, and rising above my current belief system has been tethering me.

It’s tempting to be lured into the story of why, when, and how I got here; I have the tools to release fear and tap into my inner strength, purpose, and willingness to heal without intellectually understanding this ailment. That’s the beauty of Reiki; it is spiritually guided and I don’t need to know. Now that I have a goal of getting unstuck and releasing fear of the unknown that change is certain to bring, I can begin to appreciate the final answer to my question of what to do when nothing is working. Gratitude, mingled with trust. Clearly the universe has a plan in place for my growth and awakening that I am unable to see.

For some reason, this chapter is a part of my journey. For now, I can accept this on faith and remain open to the lessons at hand. I’m also reminded of my upcoming role on a panel for Healthy Aging at my neighborhood holistic health fair. It’s a fantastic opportunity to share my knowledge about growing older while prioritizing health, recharging Ki (life force energy), and heeding pain as a messenger. This helps create a healthy lifestyle that cultivates wellness and vitality, regardless of the hand (or foot) we’ve been dealt.

Healthy Aging

I’ve been invited to participate in a panel discussion with other holistic healthcare providers on the topic of healthy aging. This is the second blog I’ve written to help me gather my thoughts and prepare myself for the event. The first entry was about cultivating ki (life force energy), and I’m certain there will be a third piece, perhaps even a forth, eventually.

It seems to me that the most important thing we can do to promote healthy aging is to prioritize our health. Many people would likely say that they desire good health, yet time after time the choices they make do not reflect this goal. Rarely does optimal wellness merely happen; it must be invited, welcomed, and fostered diligently. This occurs when we remind ourselves of its value (ease of movement, quality sleep and digestion, vibrant energy, etc.) and pursue it actively.

This is by no means a recipe for austerity or suffering. I believe the path of wellness overlaps the path of joy. Certainly there will be some compromises and adaptations along the way. Choosing better quality ingredients and suitable portion sizes by making favorite meals at home rather than ordering out is a perfect example of this philosophy. Upgrade or moderate the activities and foods you love to support healthy results without sacrifice. Go for a walk if you’re planning a Netflix binge later, thoroughly stretch your legs and back before getting on a plane, and opt for a hearty salad for lunch if BBQ is on the dinner menu.

I have plans to meet a friend for pizza and beer tonight. There are no words to adequately describe my love of pizza and beer, and yet I clearly recognize that I don’t feel my best after such a meal. So my plan is to neutralize the effects of white flour, cheese, and alcohol in advance. I’m stocking up on green vegetables and water throughout the day, and have chosen a restaurant that serves only the best quality ingredients. I’ll add some fiery pepper to counteract the congesting effect that dairy has on me and even more water throughout the evening to ensure proper hydration.

As I cannot imagine a life without my favorite things, I also refuse to resign myself to feeling achy, sluggish, foggy, or ill either. So instead I make the healthiest choices I am able in every moment. I know what foods and activities support my good health and opt for these most of the time. With some simple planning, it’s easy to reduce less-than-healthy habits for the most part, and when occasion calls for indulgence, I create balance as best I can.

 

 

 

Ki is Key for Healthy Aging :)

I’ve been invited to participate in a panel discussion with other holistic health care providers on the topic of healthy aging. I’ve decided to write a series of blogs to gather my thoughts in preparation, as well as to share my knowledge on this universally relevant subject with you all. As my passion and primary source of health care is Reiki, focusing on Ki (life-force energy) seems like the obvious starting point.

Keeping my Ki balanced and flowing is my plan for aging gracefully. Just as a flashlight begins to dim as the battery fades, my own energy diminishes over time unless I make an effort to replenish it. This doesn’t mean that my body is doomed to fall apart gradually; I merely need to care of it properly and recharge frequently.

There are countless ways to top off our tanks. Fresh air, deep rest, natural foods, adequate hydration, and being in nature are all essential ingredients for nurturing ourselves. Activities which bring us joy (dancing, painting, gardening, making music, etc.- you know what works for you!) are excellent ways to energize ourselves. The key to success here is in prioritizing these activities and carving out time in our busy schedules. Furthermore, we must protect this valuable time fiercely as there will always be dozens of reasons to choose busyness over self-care and joy.

Reiki is a holistic energy healing technique that super-charges our batteries. It can help clear out any blockages, reestablish balance and flow, and flood the recipient with universal life-force energy. This supports the body’s ability to remove toxins and ensures that all organs and glands are supported with Ki and can function more effectively. The immune system is thus enhanced and our resistance to disease is boosted. Perhaps most importantly, stress is released, rerouting precious energy back to necessary functions and facilitating our bodies’ innate healing ability.

While gray hair, bifocals, and a slower pace might be an expected outcome of passing years, there is absolutely no reason to assume that we are incapable of enjoying health and productivity. Just as a flashlight’s brightness can be restored with fresh batteries, our vitality and well-being can be restored by practices that connect us with Ki, which is abundantly available. Choosing to recharge our batteries on a daily basis is an invaluable habit that will serve us well as we age.

Seeking support from a Reiki practitioner or teacher can amplify the process even further. It matters not what route you take; just that you start on the journey. Ki is key in maintaining vitality and wellness over time. Nourish yourself from within and reap the rewards both now and in your later years.

If you’re interested in scheduling a Reiki session, please visit my website for more information. As energy is not limited by time or space, Reiki can be sent remotely through the practitioner’s intention, with the aid of Reiki symbols, to anywhere a recipient may be. We call this powerful technique Long-Distance Reiki, and it is a service I am delighted to offer. Check it out!

 

You’re Teaching Me to be Kind to Myself

“You’re Teaching Me to be Kind to Myself.”

A client said this to me during a massage treatment a few weeks ago. The concept of treating our bodies with kindness is somewhat uncommon in our culture of harder/ faster/ deeper/ push-through it mentality. In this particular case, I was working on an inflamed tendon that had been causing quite a bit of pain for over a month and interfering with her quality of life. I was using gentle pressure to soothe and comfort the entire area to encourage circulation and the release of muscular tension.

She had been braced for a painful session and was quite surprised at the results she experienced from my gentle approach. During the treatment she noticed how various body parts connected to one another and then began to see a bigger picture. While it is true that one particular tendon was inflamed due to overwork and a moment of excess strain place on it, all the surrounding muscle groups had been recruited to assist and protect the injury. Tension spread out from the source and had enveloped the entire quadrant. As relaxation settled in and muscles began to release, she could feel the internal structure settle into a more neutral position and breathed a sigh of relief.

When she returned two weeks later for a follow up treatment, she reported much less pain, more ease of movement, and a greater sense of harmony in her body. The persistent pain had been downgraded to a dull ache and the surrounding muscles were no longer locked in defensive contraction. Again I worked gently; this time spending a greater portion of the session integrating the limb with the torso while explaining how the whole body works as a team. She became intrigued with the idea of this one small tendon affecting distant areas and realized how she had adapted posture as well as movement to accommodate the injury.

She left that day encouraged to be more aware of her body mechanics and overall attitude towards her body. Introducing clients to the transformative belief that treating ourselves and our bodies with kindness produces lasting and deep effects is perhaps the most helpful input I have to offer as a bodyworker. I could explain this in terms of the nervous system triggering the fight-or-flight reflex vs the relaxation response and get into the biological effects of an aggressive approach vs a more gentle on; yet I think that deep down we can all intuitively grasp this concept. Be kind to your body; and it will respond by letting go of stress and pain.

United We Stand

Political unrest and emotional upset are growing daily. We seem to have entered an alternate reality in which confusion rules. Anger, fear, and hatred seem to be increasing exponentially. It is a challenging time for us all. My personal challenge is to become a warrior of truth while standing within my values. Without kindness and integrity, I have nothing to offer. Without courage and conviction, I risk loosing the freedom to express myself. In a sense, I have been training my entire adult life for this opportunity to be fiercely loving.

liberty

I struggled with joining the resistance. In yoga we learn “what you resist, persists” and the law of cause and effect teaches that we attract that which we fuel by our attention. How can I participate in an effort that would only enhance the negativity I see growing? Yet I am unable to remain silent and watch as justice becomes an obscure memory of a long neglected democracy.

I realized that standing for my beliefs of freedom, equality, diversity, and fairness is completely different that fighting against a man, an executive order, or a threat of tyranny. Speaking up for the civil rights of my fellow citizens activates the energies of synchronicity to support the efforts of preserving justice. It is possible to amplify the power of change by keeping my focus on love rather than fear.

While it is true that I wish the popular movement had chosen different language than “resist” and “protest”, I am able to get beyond these labels and see the heart of the matter. I see people waking up and getting involved in their own unique and creative methods. I see brave souls taking action and joining together to protect one another and this planet we call home. I see the necessity of getting involved, knowing I could not live with myself if I sat on my meditation cushion as the country I love falls into ever-deepening despair.

I see clearly that I am able to contribute my voice and participate in a way that is aligned with my truth. We each bring our own individual offerings to the whole, and together we create a synergy that could not be accomplished without each and every member. Every instrument is invaluable to the symphony. It matters not if you play the violin, the trumpet, or the triangle. It matters only that you show up and play.

Don’t Just Do Something- Sit There!

Over the years of practicing mindfulness, I’ve come to recognize the warning bells of my mind whirling uncontrollably. It’s a sign that I need to stop everything and Just Be. Just for a few minutes, until I get realigned with my peaceful, harmonious nature. Otherwise I’m prone to accidents, mistakes, and attracting unpleasant people and situations.

Been there, done that. No need to repeat those lessons, thank you very much!

So I forced myself to sit on the couch for five full minutes and sip a cup of tea before I left for work. Man, was it uncomfortable!

I didn’t respond to a potential student’s inquiry about studying Reiki considering her religious beliefs. I didn’t craft an email to another student who wishes to apprentice with me about forming a student clinic. Both are exciting projects and dear to my heart. They can wait, however, till I’m more centered and grounded.

I took several deep breaths and a sip of my tea. I ignored the dust in my bedroom that is such a nuisance and soooo not a priority. I fought the urge to make a shopping list to prepare for the lunch I will serve my parents in a few days when they visit or a list about what to pack for an upcoming trip.

A few more breaths and several sips later and I felt my shoulders relax. I did not engage in calculating the edits I need to make for the article I’m writing for my neighborhood food co-op or to my website. I absolutely did not allow myself to second guess my decision to go out to dinner and the theater last night for some much needed fun that kept me out late. And I certainly didn’t make notes about this blog and the ideas I wanted to share here.

I just sat there, drinking my tea, and focusing on my breath. It didn’t matter that I had already meditated, practiced yoga, and flooded myself with Reiki healing energy. I needed an emergency intervention to keep myself from spinning out into an anxious mess.

All of the above tasks are important to me and clearly need to be accomplished in the very near future. Except for the dusting. Seriously, I can’t seem to give a hoot about that! Yet none of them are more important than my peace of mind or well-being. So forcing myself to be still was a valuable remedy.

It was mental torture for about 4 1/2 minutes. Then I was able to sink in and let go and the last 30 seconds got me ready to face the world. I’m feeling much more like myself and prepared to give my clients excellent service. I’d say that was five minutes well invested! Knowing that the rewards will ripple out and benefit everyone who crosses my path makes me doubly sure that this is true.