The Illusion of Sameness and the Constancy of Change

“No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he/she is not the same person.” ~Heraclitus

Autumn Sky

I have been experiencing some unwelcome change in my life this past week, which has brought me back to reflecting upon change in our lives.  I have been engaged in many discussions about the return to normalcy and how we sometimes rush this in our grieving process and as we’re healing from illness.  This has inevitably (because my background is in Philosophy and this is the way my mind functions) led me to reflect on, “What is normal?”.  Is change normal?

There are times in our lives where nothing seems to change.  People may ask us, “How are you?” and we reply, “Same old, same old.”  Is it really the same?  Or is sameness an illusion?  Perhaps we are just not aware at that moment how things are changing.  If we start observing our bodies we notice that they are in a constant state of change as they adjust to our environment, the food we’ve eaten that day, the emotions we are experiencing.  If we observe nature we see how the light in the sky changes from day to day, how the plants grow or lean toward the sun, how an animal’s energy fluctuates daily.

However, there are definitely times when change seems to come all of a sudden.  For instance, in the case of storms that uproot our lives, accidents that occur suddenly, or the loss of a job that seems to come out of nowhere.  Change can come suddenly as well.

So how do we cope with change?  How do we accept it?  How do we embrace it?  Certainly the benefit of know that we have survived change in the past can help us feel confidence in the face of change, as can the support and wisdom of other people’s lives and experiences.  Sometimes we think or feel that our experience is unique when really it is so similar to what others have experienced as well.

For me, recognizing and experiencing the changing flow of energy in my body and spirit and knowing this is the way of the universe fills me with peace and acceptance.  Self-Reiki brings me back to a place of calmness and wisdom that embraces flux and the constantly changing river that is our essence.

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The mind does not control Reiki

My Reiki teachers, Libby Barnett and Maggie Babb, taught me in the most traditional way as they are very close to the lineage that brought Reiki to the United States.  In our training we always emphasize that the mind does not control Reiki.

Often new Reiki practitioners will be concerned that their mental state, of anger, sadness, or anxiety, could negatively impact a Reiki session.  However, Reiki is a one-way street.  We OFFER Reiki.  It is up to the recipient and his/her body and spirit to take in and use Reiki as needed and desired.  Reiki cannot overwhelm the recipient and it cannot be controlled by the mind.  Though, intention setting can be a very powerful ally.

While a Reiki practitioner is offering Reiki, her/his mind needs to be engaged.  Setting an intention that becomes a sort of mantra for the practitioner can be very beneficial for her/his experience of the session.  This should not be confused however, with being in control of the Reiki or of the recipient’s energy.  We offer.  We do Reiki and notice.  We do not diagnose.  We do not manipulate.  We offer Reiki for the highest healing good.

Is setting an intention helpful?  Yes, it is helpful for our monkey minds that so desperately need something to DO.  It can also provide focus for the recipient’s mind.  However, again, the recipients mind will not control the Reiki.  The Reiki will go where it is needed most.

This approach to Reiki recognizes the power of the universe.  It is an approach that acknowledges the Reiki practitioner’s role as a conduit.  The Reiki channels through me to the recipient.

Many have difficulty accepting this and feel that they should be “doing” more during a Reiki session.  However, this is unnecessary.  The power of the universe, of universal life force energy, is being presented through your attuned hands.  Have faith and confidence that, as with your intention, it is presented for the highest healing good and will yield exactly that.

Be well my friends and trust in the universe.  Align yourself with the light.

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Reiki Poetry

I love poetry.  I find with my self-Reiki practice I am more patient with the process of writing poetry.  I enjoy playing with the words and sounds in my head for several days.  Then I jot down what has come together and edit it some more over the next several days or weeks.  So for me, it is Reiki poetry, because it is full of energy and, I hope, touches the universal.

Another Reiki practitioner friend, is a professional poet and writes beautiful Reiki-infused poetry.  Find Gwen Bindas’ work here: Sometimes in Summer.

Here is a recent poem of mine.  Please let me know what you think!

Chicago Sidewalks

Pigeons weave

among Florsheim/Nike/Converse

Hearts pump
Blood flows
Nerves jump

and respond


in this ever-changing space

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“Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.
But six rings and I rise,
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
. . .
Oh, what can it mean.
To a daydream believer . . .” by John Stewart, performed by the Monkees

Last night, as I was scrubbing the stuck on linguini off the colander, it occurred to me:  It has been years, and I mean YEARS (maybe in the 10 year range), since I last engaged in daydreaming.  I don’t mean a momentary drift off into “lala” land as one gazes at the clouds.  No, I mean, a full daydream of the joyful and involved type, where I dream about a future scenario for myself.  I would act it out in my mind and find the words, responses and situations that would bring me the most joy.

Definitely, in the past few years I have engaged in thought processes that in some ways mimic daydreaming, but they all fall short on one vital component.  They are negative, anxiety-filled musings of the mind.  They are the kind that make me say to myself, “Stop!  Think of something positive.”  I quickly identify the thought as “anxiety” and attempt to fill my mind with comforting thoughts and my heart with Reiki.

However, daydreaming, at least for me, is different.  It is positive, fun and sometimes inspirational.  It can be an anchor to my truest desires and aspirations.  If I can find the time to daydream again, it may be the key to answering the question that I just can’t seem to answer lately, “What do I want for my future professionally?”  I have many general ideas that incorporate my skills and experiences and I know what I enjoy at work and what I don’t.  The clarity of it is missing.  The vision, the mental visual acuity, is missing.  Perhaps I will find it again in daydreaming.

Do you daydream?  Do you find it helpful and empowering?

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Reiki: Anxiety and Cancer Treatment

Reiki handsThis past Saturday, I offered Reiki during three one-on-one sessions at the Wellness House in Hinsdale.  The Wellness tune-up room is a spa-type room with dimmed lights, healing music (my current favorite is Steven Halpern’s Music for Healing), and a Reiki (aka massage) table.  I have been practicing here for over a year and each time is an energizing and humbling experience.  In a very general way, you can describe what I do as offering Reiki to cancer patients.  However, each experience is so unique, each person and his/her experiences are unique, and yet each person’s experience is so similar (even in its uniqueness).

Some people come to Reiki in the midst of treatment.  They are thin, nauseated, and engaged in the “battle”.  And yet others come to Reiki after treatment, full of energy and lingering side effects, busy with their work and home lives, and creating their new normalcy.

They all come to Reiki with stress, fear, anxiety and all of the side effects of their emotional lives.  They expect a lot of Reiki.  (Don’t we all?  And why shouldn’t we?  It IS universal life force energy.)  They expect: stress-relief, better sleep, freedom to live their lives.  That freedom might just include the energy to be active all day and sleep well at night from an appropriately tired body.  Or it might be the energy to do the things one loves throughout the day, even reading in the evening, curled up in a favorite chair and staying awake long enough to read more than one page.

Even when the session is ended and they report feeling so relaxed, they often ask in an anxious voice, “What did you feel?  What did you notice?  Was it good?”  And I wonder to myself, “What is my role here as a Reiki practitioner?  Do I diagnose?”  No.  Reiki practitioners do not diagnose.  Can I offer an encouraging and kind word or two?  Indeed, and I do, because invariably that is my experience – it is positive and I feel encouraged.    The Reiki is there for them.  They draw it in and get the healing they need.  Is it a cure-all?  No, unfortunately.  Is it complementary with other modalities and treatments?  Absolutely.  Do they sign up for more and bemoan the fact that they can’t get in more frequently.  Yes.

Reiki provides emotional and spiritual support during cancer treatment.  It helps to mitigate anxiety and fear and their side effects.  With Reiki one can achieve better sleep, increased physical energy and the support of the universe.

Please share your Reiki experiences in the comment section.

Wishing you peace and wellness.

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Change . . . Child’s Growth vs. Aging

It is Fall in the Northern Hemisphere.  One of our seasons of change, people say.  Maybe all seasons are seasons of change.  Maybe we are constantly changing.  Constantly in a state of flux, but we are not aware of it.  There are moments, of course, when we are acutely aware of change, for example, during major life events like moving, changing jobs, getting married, etc.Janice Lodato, Reiki Master

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my body’s physical changes that are coming about because of my age.  Many of these are not welcome and I’m having extreme difficulty with acceptance.  In contrast, I was reflecting on the changes we observe, and welcome, in children as they grow and mature.

We marvel at the first year of life and all its physical and developmental changes — the first tooth, the increase in height and weight, the first words, the first steps.  But on the other end of the spectrum all the physical changes are to be accepted, not celebrated — the first gray/white hair (and the many that follow), the veins that must be covered, the eyes that need assistance, the shorter height, the injuries that heal so much slower, and speaking of slowness, the races that will never be won.  Nothing to celebrate here.  Just accept.  We cheer on the ascent into adulthood only to turn our eyes away from the “decline” to old age.  The statistical bell curve of life:  going up is good, going down is bad.  Why must it be a decline?

So this is where my mind is right now, in a battle with acceptance.  Why accept?  What’s in it for me?  Accepting seems like rolling over and playing dead.  Is that what I’m practicing to do?

I once worked for a woman who, during times of corporate reorganization, would spout out “Change is good.”  She would repeat it as if trying to convince herself and us.  Change is not in itself good or bad.  Change just is.  Our perception of it is what makes it good or bad.  In her statement she was glossing over the fact that some change is bad – it’s painful, difficult and sad (if those things are indeed “bad”).  Again, change just is.  It is:  inevitable and constant.  We can celebrate it, as in a child’s growth, or we can rail against as in our attempt to look and act younger than we are.  Change:  accept it.

My mind is continuing the battle with acceptance.  I’m trying to smile at my wrinkles and marvel in the new, even if I don’t welcome it.  My body is doing the best it can and I try to help it with adequate sleep, nutritious food and plentiful exercise.  A daily dose of self-Reiki helps too.  It brings me back to the constant and universal within me.

Wishing you light and peace.

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Reiki Goes Where it is Needed

In the Usui system of Reiki there is a principle that Reiki goes where it is needed. In practice this can look like a Reiki session where the practitioner has her hands on the shoulders of the recipient for the whole session.  However, the recipient entered the session with a sore knee and a headache.  After the session, the recipient reports that the knee feels much better and her headache has decreased.  This occurs without the practitioner ever placing her hands directly on the knees or the head.  This is the wisdom and power of universal life force energy.  It goes where it is needed.

There are many stories that illustrate this principle.  For instance, my teacher, Libby Barnett, tells the story of one of her clients who came to her with an injured ankle that was healing very slowly.  The day after the Reiki session, Libby followed up and her client said that the ankle was about the same, but the evening after the Reiki session she had written the outline of a children’s book that had been in her mind for years.

Another client I have worked with had only stress-reduction on her mind.  However, after her Reiki session, a cyst in her wrist became enlarged.  She observed this for several days and on the fifth day it seemed to go away.  When she followed up with her physician, who had been monitoring her condition, he confirmed that the cyst was gone.  She was relieved and grateful and saw how Reiki went where it was needed.

As a Reiki practitioner this principle can sometimes guide us in hand placement.  For instance, rather than placing the hands over the recipients ankles, the practitioner may be guided by Reiki and intuition to place the hands on the lower leg.

I welcome your thoughts in the comments section and wonder how you have experienced Reiki’s power to go to where it is needed.

Wishing you light and peace.

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My Reiki Journey

My Reiki journey began in 2001.  I was filled with stress from my work and was seeking relaxation.  I had tried a number of modalities, but was still seeking the “right” solution.  Then I saw an ad for Elaine Floriolli’s Reiki practice in Wilmington, Delaware.  In her ad she used a series of hand images that aligned in pairs in a vertical direction.  For some reason I was drawn to this ad and to Reiki.

I went to my first Reiki appointment with no knowledge of the practice or what was involved.  Trusting my intuition (for a change) I went to Elaine.  She explained Reiki to me and I eagerly hopped on the massage table ready for my session.  It was delightful and very relaxing.

Now, to be honest, here’s the part that my left brain has trouble admitting to, and I apologize to all my left-brained friends who may read this, but this is what I experienced.  During the session, I kept seeing, in my mind’s eye, angels, who were children, flying up in front of me.  Circling around me as I laid on the table.  Playfully dancing around me, flying and delighting.  I felt as if I was floating above the table.

After the session, I recounted my experience to Elaine and she smiled knowingly.  I did feel very relaxed.

The next time I went to Elaine’s for an appointment, I was exiting the highway when a hawk swooped across the windshield in the same manner the angels had.  It was unharmed and I was drawn deeper into my Reiki journey.

Wishing you light and peace.

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Welcome to Reiki Healing Energy!

Welcome to my new website and blog: Reiki Healing Energy!  I have been practicing Reiki since October 2001.  It seems amazing to me that this is the first time I’m formally presenting my Reiki practice outside of a Reiki session, a wellness tune-up or a Reiki class.  However the time seems right as I am very near to the exact date that I received my Reiki 1 attunement and then a few days later my Reiki 2 attunement at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in western Massachusetts.  I clearly remember my heart racing with excitement as a sat in a metal folding chair receiving the attunements.  I was filled with grace and love as I learned about Reiki and practiced it with my teachers, Libby Barnett and Maggie Babb (Chambers).

After my first attunement, like my fellow students, I was amazed by the awareness and presence I was able to experience during my morning yoga practice.  Food tasted more vibrant as well.  In my dorm room at Kripalu, I relished the view of the lake from my top bunk, the gnarled cherry tree beside my window and the gentle snores and words that rang out in our room during the night.

After the second attunement, the palm of my hand was alive with energy.  In my dream that night, I was comforted by the presence of my maternal grandparents who sat with me and encouraged me on this journey.  They smiled at me as they did when I was a child, with complete acceptance and understanding.

After leaving Kripalu, I experienced many challenges of balancing life’s daily demands with my Reiki aspirations.  However, that is one of the beautiful aspects of Reiki.  It is so simple and readily available that it can be integrated into one’s daily life with ease.

In future posts I will discuss what brought me to Reiki and some insights I have gained in the past 11 years.  I look forward to your comments and hearing about your healing journey as well.

Wishing you light and peace.

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