uncertainty, question mark“Uncertainty” is a word that keeps coming up in various contexts for me lately and it seems so appropriate in the face of acts of violence that surround us. As we try to believe that we are safe in this world, as we try to convince our children of this, we are faced with the fact that the future is uncertain. Tied in with that uncertainty is the reality that we lack control over so much of our lives.

There is a book that sits on a shelf in my living room called, “Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.” I should say it sits there mostly unread. I’m not sure I’ll ever read the whole book at this point as I’ve had it for almost five years – lets just say, I’m uncertain about it. I’m a big fan of the author, however, Jonathan Fields, writes many inspiring blog posts and hosts a series of videos called, “Good Life Project.”   My problem with the book is that on the one hand he makes statements like, “Uncertainty causes pain” and on the other hand welcomes uncertainty as a way to be more creative. (pgs 197-198)

From my perspective uncertainty is not painful, though it definitely is a fear generator. When it becomes its own point of focus it can be crippling. However, when we accept uncertainty and put our focus on positive action instead, then we can live with this ambiguity.

For instance, I have faced times of uncertainty around paying the bills. Sometimes I have wondered how it will all work out. How will I possibly stretch that one dollar to cover those five dollars worth of bill? If I can drop the fear and analyze the situation, then I’m often able to come up with creative solutions to the situation. However, if I focus on how uncertain and tenuous the situation is, then I become paralyzed and unable to move forward.

My other recent encounter with “uncertainty” was in a discussion with a colleague who is also a grief educator. We were talking about the grief experiences of some of our clients who are cancer patients. I was talking about the anxiety that many of my clients are living with on a daily basis and she honed in on the profound uncertainty of their lives. As our discussion continued we started to delve into ideas around workshops where cancer patients could creatively explore living with uncertainty.

When we create grief workshops we do this as a way for people to examine an emotion. This examination often brings about a resolution or acceptance that allows one to move forward. This does not mean that the emotion will never be encountered again. It just means that you have faced it and decreased its power over you. In this way, you can live more fully and move out of the stuck place that grief and its related emotions often place us in.

Uncertainty: there is so much of it. We find it in the face of violence, terrorism, unemployment, illness, and daily living. It is the truth of our lives and yet by accepting it, maybe even dancing with it, we can live our lives to their fullest potential.

Reiki’s Effectiveness: More Anecdotal Evidence

stone-black-and-whiteAs promised a few weeks ago, I am sharing some more stories that demonstrate the effectiveness and application of Reiki. I hope you find these stories helpful in understanding how Reiki works and its practical application as a complementary practice in your health care toolkit. (In the stories below, the clients’ names have been changed to maintain anonymity.)


Lisa, a 55-year-old woman who had recently completed radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer, came to my office for a Reiki session seeking more energy in her day-to-day life. When I asked her at the beginning of the session what more energy would look like for her, she said that it would be reading a book in her comfy chair in the living room after dinner and not falling asleep right away. So we set our minds on this image and I offered Reiki to her through a regular one-hour session.

The following week, Lisa returned for another Reiki session. She said she had more physical energy after receiving Reiki, was able to read in the evening without falling asleep right away, and was even able to work in the garden for more than an hour at a time.  She went on to receive a series of four sessions and relished the increase in her physical energy and how it improved the quality of her life.


Renee, a breast cancer patient, was experiencing peripheral neuropathy in her feet and hands as a side effect of her chemotherapy. The neuropathy in her feet was almost constant and it was impacting her sense of balance. She often felt as if she would fall when she was standing and stairs were particularly challenging for her. The unpredictability of the neuropathy also caused her anxiety about when she might be feeling off balance. This caused her to stay close to home and to keep close to walls when she was walking.

After her first Reiki session, she sat up from the massage table and smiled, saying, “The tingling is gone!” She was so pleased with the return to normal sensation in her hands and feet! Over the next several months, Renee received weekly one-hour Reiki sessions. She found that the frequency of the bouts of neuropathy decreased and her balance improved. In addition, she was looking forward to practicing Tai Chi again as she felt more balanced and strong.  Renee credited the Reiki with helping to complete her recovery from chemotherapy.


The anectodal evidence presented here, and elsewhere in this blog, will hopefully help you to understand how Reiki can be used to help your body heal.

I’d love to hear your stories about receiving or offering Reiki.  Please share them in the comments below.

Helping to create wholeness with Reiki

My family received so many wonderful cards this holiday season that I enjoyed reading and re-reading. There was one card, however, that really stood out for me personally. It was from the Wellness House in Hinsdale, Illinois, where I offer Reiki sessions to cancer patients and their families.  Here is the story that was inside the card:

“It was November 22, 2013 when the snowstorm hit . . . CANCER

It stopped me hard and fast along my journey.

I was blinded by the frosty winds of this unprejudiced disease.

But, YOU gave me a compass that guided me to find a new path, albeit untrodden.

The heavy snowy blanket of pain and fright suffocated me.

YOU lifted it; helped me breathe and embraced me with a warm coat lined with comfort and peace.

My boot, no longer fitting me, left me motionless and frozen.

YOU gave me new ones, providing me with strength and purpose once more.

My hands were frostbitten, as the gloves I once wore were now tattered from anxiety and bewilderment.

YOU mended them and with your healing touch, you restored my hands so that I may heal again.


YOU are Wellness House.

But what is Wellness? WEllness is having a healthy life encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

What a perfect name for such a special place; and it is because of this special place that I was able to be truly present with my children and family during this snapshot of my journey. Those of us entering the Wellness House may have had cancer, but it does NOT have us. We enter through these healing doors fragmented and we leave whole once again.”  by Gaile Sabaliauskas

With my offerings of Reiki, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of helping each person who I encounter at the Wellness House feel whole once again.

Wishing you all love, light, peace, and wholeness!

Reiki for . . .

I started writing this post as “Reiki for Hospice Staff and Volunteers” and then realized that I write a lot about “Reiki for <this group of people>Reiki and <that condition>,” so I thought it would be useful to get clear on what Reiki is “for” and what it is “not for.”

Reiki is for:

  • women, men, children
  • people who are sick or healthy
  • the stressed out
  • cancer patients, survivors, and families
  • nurses, doctors, therapists, bodyworkers, lawyers, athletes, musicians
  • moms, dads, coaches, teachers
  • hospice staff and volunteers
  • people with fibromyalgia, allergies, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • blessing your food
  • increasing gratitude in your life
  • helping others and yourself
  • finding your keys and fixing things*
  • mindfulness
  • skillful speech
  • comprehension, confidence, clarity, and cohesion
  • working with difficult emotions
  • finding your true calling
  • connecting with the universe

The list could go on and on. When we say: Reiki is complementary with any treatment or medication and can be used to treat all types of conditions, this is what we mean. It is universal life-force energy and its application is universal. There are no counter-indications.

Reiki is not for:

  • mind reading
  • use as a replacement for proper medical treatment when that is called for
  • harming others or yourself

Reiki is for increasing love, light, and healing in your life.  It is not for things that decrease love and light.

So the next time someone asks you what Reiki is for, you can say: Reiki is for whatever you need to achieve your highest healing good. Reiki is always for that!



*Take a Reiki 2 Class to find out more about using the Reiki symbols in everyday life!

Reiki at a Cancer Center: 5 Tips for Reiki Practitioners

If you’re a Reiki Practitioner who would like to offer Reiki to cancer patients, I’d like to share with you my experience offering Sessions at the Wellness House in Hinsdale, Illinois,Wellness House for the past three years.  The Wellness House is a welcoming center for people living with cancer.  It provides many programs to support cancer patients, survivors, and their families, through support groups, workshops, and a variety of classes in exercise, nutrition, meditation, and other wellness topics.  I offer Reiki Sessions as part of the Wellness Tune-Up Program.  It is such an uplifting experience to see a client, who entered the room full of anxiety and distress, leave with a feeling of calm and lightness.

As a Reiki Practitioner working with cancer patients, there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Be scent free.  Do not use perfume.  Also, avoid any scented soaps or fabric softeners on the sheets used for the Reiki table.
  2. Offer a variety of seated or reclined positions.  Sometimes clients are unable to lie flat on their back during a session so they sit in a chair or on a sofa.  I remind them that Reiki goes where it is needed, so that even if I spend the whole session at their shoulders only, they are still getting the full benefit of Reiki.
  3. Bring flexibility to the session.  Often I tell my clients that they are welcome to shift positions during a session, to add or remove blankets, or even to talk through the whole session.  Ideally, it is an experience that they find most comfortable.
  4. Test hand pressure.  For some clients, their pain level is very high, so it is important to “test” the amount of hand pressure that you will apply during the Session before getting started.  However, I have never had a client refuse to be touched (i.e., ask me to work only in the energy field above the physical body).  We are a touch-starved culture and this remains the case for cancer patients as well.  How wonderful to be touched in a non-threatening and healing way!
  5. Try to minimally disturb the client.  For instance, I usually have clients remain on their back only, if they are lying down.  I rarely use the hand position behind a clients head at the Wellness House because of neck and/or shoulder pain or sensitivity experienced by cancer patients.  In addition, sometimes this hand position disturbs clients as they enter a state of deep relaxation.

Why offer Reiki at a Cancer Center? As noted in a previous post, Reiki recipients experience a decrease in stress and anxiety after a treatment.  Their mood improves and they are more relaxed and experience less pain.

Finally, as a Reiki Practitioner, if you plan on working with cancer patients, it is important to be prepared for the questions that you receive after a Session.  Often the clients want to know what you have felt and where the energy was being drawn in the strongest.  It is important to remember that as a Reiki Practitioner, we do not diagnose.  The process is an offering.  Therefore, the proper response to these questions is to find out what the recipients experienced.  Their experience will be the one that matters in the long run and Reiki is offered for their highest healing good — always.

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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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