Reiki and Balance

This article previously appeared on The Huffington Post

A client named, Colleen, came to my office a few weeks ago feeling out of sorts. When I asked her what she was seeking, she said, “balance.” Ah, yes, indeed, Reiki is an excellent modality for helping one achieve balance and clients often are seeking it.

Later on another client stated she was seeking the same thing from her Reiki session and this really started me thinking about what we are ultimately hoping for when we say we want balance.

Sometimes, I’m hoping to release a deep emotion or stop a pattern of grief or depression when I’m desiring balance. So maybe it’s not so much balance that I seek, but a change in a persistent emotional pattern.

For me, balance is best illustrated by a tree pose in yoga. When one practices this pose, often we sway, need to put our leg down, and make other adjustments in order to achieve a balanced posed. Getting to a place of balance means being un-balanced at times. Balance is achieved after we have swayed and stumbled.

Balance is a flow, not a fixed place.

In a similar way, when we think of the balance that we feel from a Reiki session, it comes from swaying back to center from being off-centered by a strong emotion or experience. To me, this is helpful because when I’m in a place that I would identify as being “off-balance” I can remind myself that this is part of the flow of life – part of the swaying of life and emotions.

A lovely Reiki session or yoga class can help me release that part that is persistent and pulling me in a singular direction. It can help me come to a more centered and balanced place. A place of not all sad, not all happy – a place in the middle that has ridden the flow left and right and stands in the middle – for now.

Wishing for you a gentle ebb and flow of balance.

Is Self-Care Selfish?

As a Reiki Master, I have a confession to make:  Sometimes I am hesitant to engage in self-care.  My concern for the care of others often overrides making self-care a priority in my day-to-day activities.  As a healer, is my care of others more important than the care of myself?  Do others need me more than I need me?  Is self-care selfish?IMG_0177

I’m certain that many of you are confident that the answer to these questions is, “no”.  I appreciate your certainty but I believe this deserves some exploration.  My first step was with a definition of the word, “selfish”:

“1.  concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

“2.  arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>”

The words that stand out for me here are: “excessively” or “exclusively” and the concept of putting oneself ahead of others.  So self-care that is balanced with the concern for others and that is not done to indulge oneself is not selfish.  My second step was to explore the balance between care of self and care of others.  How does one know when the balance is struck?

For instance, with a Reiki treatment, the practitioner receives the benefit of the Reiki at the same time as she/he is offering it to another.  However, her/his concern is for the highest healing good of the other person.  The Reiki that is received by the practitioner is a benefit but not the intent of the session.

In this month’s issue of Psychology Today, the cover article addresses the power of touch.

“Every evening at bedtime, DePauw’s Hertenstein gives his young son a back rub. ‘It’s a bonding opportunity for the two of us. Oxytocin levels go up, heart rates go down, all these wonderful things that you can’t see.’ Moments like these also reveal the reciprocal nature of touch, he says: ‘You can’t touch without being touched. A lot of those same beneficial physiological consequences happen to me, the person doing the touching.’ In fact, when we’re the ones initiating contact, we may reap all the same benefits as those we’re touching. For example, Field’s research has revealed that a person giving a massage experiences as great a reduction in stress hormones as the person on the receiving end.”

As Reiki practitioners, in our giving we receive.  The need for self-Reiki still exists, however.  We still need a mature evaluation of our physical, emotional and spiritual needs as a whole person.  Are we balancing the care of others with the care of the self?  Have we filled our emotional bucket through the connection with friends and family?  Have we supported our physical health with nutritious food, exercise, fresh air, and plentiful water and sleep?  Have we connected with our spiritual selves through self-Reiki, meditation, time in nature, and quiet reflection?

There is a specific Reiki self-care habit that I am developing. I am doing an absent Reiki session for myself in addition to the times I’m sending it to others.  I find this to be very supportive and uplifting and often filled with deep insights.  It is one of the ways I find the balance between care of others and care of myself.  I give and I receive.  It is balanced, and, certainly, not selfish.

How do you practice self-care?  How do you balance your needs with the needs of others?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please share them in the comments.

Wishing you abundant love and light!

[twitter-follow screen_name=’u_r_reiki’]