I want to heal YOU

As a Reiki Master, sometimes I can’t help but feel this way, “I want to heal YOU!”  Some of that feeling is not a bad thing.  It definitely can be a motivator that gets one to learn Reiki and to practice it — at times.  However, the Reiki Practitioner or Master is not the healer in the Reiki session.  It is the Reiki that does the work.  It is Reiki that creates the environment for the body to heal.  It is Reiki that opens someone’s mind or heart to a new possibility.  It is Reiki that supports someone to make a change in his/her life.  It is Reiki that calms the mind and brings that blissful state of being.  It is not me.

However, this feeling of wanting to do the healing, of wanting to be the healer, is very strong.  I find it especially strong when offering Reiki to family members and friends.  I so strongly want to help them and heal them that my ego creates lots of negativity and frustration when I don’t do the healing.  When I cannot heal them.

There are some rituals and states of mind that are helpful.  For instance, it is vital for the Reiki Practitioner/Master to remember that she/he is a conduit, channel, pathway, facilitator — the one who offers.  It is the recipient who is in charge.  Sometimes as I wash my hands between Reiki sessions, I imagine my ego washing away along with any germs.  Another ritual that is helpful, is placing my hands in prayer position before placing my hands on the recipient in order to enter a state of offering — a state of service.  A place where . . . the Reiki is the star.

Wishing you abundant Reiki and a lightness of ego!

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Excuse me: I lost my seriousness

Usually, I’m asking forgiveness for having lost my sense of humor, but today I’m asking for pardon in losing my seriousness.  I am one of the most serious people I know, but I love to laugh.  I never noticed this as clearly as the day after my C-section.  Wow, I couldn’t laugh and I missed it terribly.

Seriousness and a sense of humor are at the heart of a discussion about a new movie called, “Touchy Feely.”  It is making the rounds in the Reiki Twittersphere because one of the main characters is a Reiki Master.  There is even a scene of a Reiki session.  (Full disclosure: I have not seen this movie yet.  I have only read the reviews, watched the trailer and the “Anatomy of Scene” narrated by the film’s director, Lynn Shelton.  For an actual review of the movie, please go to NPR’s site and read Ella Taylor’s article.)

According to the comments in the “Anatomy of a Scene” post, the movie, and its depiction of Reiki, is highly offensive.  Pamela Miles, a highly respected Reiki Master, finds Lynn Shelton making fun of Reiki.  I have a lot of respect for Pamela and the work of the other Reiki Masters who commented and shared how they help to reduce the pain and suffering of others.  That is our work and it is incredibly honorable.  It is indeed serious work to help others.  Is there any work that is more serious?

So after I read their comments, I went searching to find the source of the offense.  Honestly, I could not.  As far as I can tell, “Touchy Feely” is a film about relationships and about the personal struggles that we all have.  What I heard in Lynn Shelton’s comments in the “Anatomy of a Scene” was a respect for and understanding of Reiki.

Hey, sometimes Reiki is funny.  If you say, “spiritual healing practice” or “universal life force energy” a 100 times a day can there be a point when it all seems a little difficult to believe, maybe even a little odd?  Can something so simple actually work?  Sometimes the simplicity of Reiki is mindboggling and maybe a little humorous.  However, I do believe.  I practice Reiki on myself and others everyday.  I am honored and humbled by the practice and its results.  Belief in Reiki comes through experiencing it.

Honestly, I’m thrilled and honored that the word “Reiki” is being used in a film.  Can you imagine it becoming a word that people use in their everyday discourse about self-care in the same way that they use, “yoga,” “meditation” or “massage”?

So, please forgive me for having lost my seriousness.  Now, say it with me, “Reiki, Reiki, Reiki.”  If you’ve experienced it, then you will smile, and, yes, it’s okay to laugh.

Wishing you abundant love, light and laughs!

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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.” http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201302/the-power-touch

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!

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Pamela Miles Mainstreams Reiki

Last week, Jonathan Fields posted a video interview with Pamela Miles as another inspirational installment in his Good Life Project.
Watch the Video Here

Pamela is a dedicated and gifted Reiki Master who believes in the importance of teaching Reiki not just offering Reiki sessions. She carefully describes Reiki as a spiritual healing practice and compares it to meditation. I often describe the body as a healing machine. Pamela says, “Our bodies are remarkable self-cleaning ovens.” So true!

As a Reiki Master of Masters, I was really impressed by her use of mainstream terminology to describe the practice. As you watch the video notice how she never uses the term “attunement” or the term “universal life force energy” and she never describes herself as a “channel”. Also, she positions Reiki as primarily as self-care practice.

I really enjoyed this interview and learned so much that I will integrate into my future class proposals. What stands out for you in this interview? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing you light and peace!

What is Reiki?

When I’m working with a client who is new to Reiki I’m often asked, “What is Reiki?” My answer starts with, “Reiki is universal life-force energy. It is the energy that is in us and all around us.” Sometimes that is all the explanation needed other than a procedural review of hand placements and other logistics. However, some people are clearly puzzled.

Having practiced Reiki for almost 12 years, this energy seems so obvious to me. I notice it frequently in a person’s posture, in a hand shake, in a facial expression, in spoken words, in music, art and food. But the person new to Reiki may not have noticed it or at least not in the same way.

Reiki is the energy of our soul, it is our essence. We find it in our everyday lives in the food we eat as we convert it to energy for our physical selves. We find it in the hug from a friend; in the loving touch of parent; in the kind act from a stranger.

If one is not attuned as a Reiki practitioner, she or he will infrequently notice this energy. However, a Reiki attunement allows one to consistently tap into this energy. Also, during a Reiki session, the recipient often notices the Reiki energy as warmth or increased sensation as the Reiki is received.

(I highly recommend attunement as it allows one to offer Reiki to oneself and others. It is a practice that is easy to integrate into one’s life. Please see the Class Descriptions)

How do you define Reiki? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing you peace and light. You are Reiki.

Janice Lodato, Reiki Master of Masters

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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“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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