How do you stand so still?

Bamboo Trees, Morikami Gardens
Bamboo Trees, Morikami Gardens

At a Reiki Clinic a few years ago, a recipient sat up from the table and said to myself, and my fellow practitioners, “How do you stand so still?!” We all laughed and I said, “It’s the Reiki.”

And, indeed, it is the Reiki that allows us, as practitioners, to stand so still during a session.

When I learned Reiki levels 1 and 2 in October 2001, at Kripalu in Lenox Massachusetts, standing still was one of the lessons for me.

I remember one of the students in my class advising me about using soft knees and modified yoga poses to assist in stillness.

This was enormously helpful and, even now (18 years later), I share those techniques with my students as we practice offering Reiki to others during a level 1 class. Also, as new students, trying to stay with the same hand position for at least 2 minutes can seem daunting, so having a steady base in ones feet and legs is essential.

However, is there more going on for the practitioner during a Reiki session? Is her stillness more than a mindful practice?

As a practitioner, when offering Reiki, the energy is flowing through you to the recipient. This is universal life force energy. It is universal and infinite. It cannot be depleted. You won’t use it up as it goes to your lovely client.

In this process, you, as the practitioner, enter the state of receiving Reiki and all of its calm-producing benefits.

This calmness helps one stand in stillness. Being in this state also brings focus to the mind and heightened clarity and greater awareness of sensations.

Some people have described offering Reiki as being in a trance-like state.

Trance is defined as a “half-conscious” state and I would say that in my experience, it is that way. When I’m offering Reiki, I often “go someplace else.” I am physically present in the room, aware of my surroundings, of my client and her state, and of the healing that I am facilitating, but I’m also in a completely different state than I am in my day-to-day life.

I am calmer, clearer, with laser focus — and I can stand absolutely still — and when I move from hand position to hand position, I do so smoothly and easily.

So the answer to, “How do you stand so still?” is, “Reiki!” It allows the practitioner to enter a trancelike state that facilitates focus, stillness, and heightened awareness. Ask any Reiki practitioner and they will be able to tell you their story of stillness and peace.

Hope to see you soon at a Reiki clinic, class or session to experience the peaceful trance of Reiki!

Reflections on Struggle

Struggle to reach the lightA colleague said to me a few weeks ago, “Life is meant to be a place of flow and harmony. When we struggle, it’s a sign that we’re not doing the right thing – not working in the right place with the right people. When we find that place, the struggle stops. There is still work but it no longer involves struggle.”

This insight has haunted me ever since he spoke those words. You see, struggle has been a central component of my life. Indeed, I have a deeply held belief, and you may too, that if I’m not struggling, then I’m not challenging myself – I’m not going to achieve anything great or significant.

As I dig into this belief, I see that I believe that making money is a struggle. That big things like parenting, and small things like cleaning the house, are both composed of large amounts of struggle. As I explore a long, drawn out career transition that is taking place in my life, I notice a deeply held belief that work itself must be a struggle. It must be hard, stressful, and go against one’s true self.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, then maybe you’ll want to stop reading at this point. If there is a nugget of truth here for you, perhaps you’d like to read on.

Let’s look at the career piece. I attended a wonderful and challenging liberal arts college. I learned there that, even though I believed I wasn’t as innately smart as my fellow students, through intense hard work, I could succeed in that rigorous intellectual environment as much as they could.

Coming out of that environment, with virtually no career counseling, I ventured out into the world of work. The lack of self-direction that I approached that first career search with has haunted me ever since. Not knowing myself well, not valuing my innate strengths, and not believing in myself have led to a wandering that has been filled with struggle and very little personal satisfaction. Indeed, most of my career satisfaction has always come from side projects and second “jobs.”

By putting struggle, as a value, first – before self-fulfillment, before a higher calling, before the manifestation of my gifts I was meant to bring to the world – has led me to this place. Have there been good things that have come out of struggling? Yes, definitely, I’ve learned things and achieved things. Now, to turn away from struggle and toward harmony instead is, quite honestly, another place of struggle.

Can I embrace my colleague’s view that life is not meant to be a place of struggle? That when we are in the right place, doing the work we were meant to do, and working within the parameters of what we do best, there is no struggle?

Can I live my life from a place of harmony, self-acceptance, and self-confidence? Can I put my gifts first and find that place that values and nurtures them? Can I work hard and yet not struggle?

I’m not sure, but I’m enjoying this paradigm shift. It feels as if I’m standing on the edge of a huge change in my life. I’ll use deep breaths, the love of friends and family, and, of course, Reiki, to take the next steps forward into this life of harmony.

Thanks for reading and reflecting on this topic with me.

~Wishing you an abundance of love, light, and flow.

Just Relax

Have you ever been told to, “just relax”? This well-meaning piece of advice is one of the more useless directives that can come our way. Sure it’s probably true that in that moment, and many others, that we do need to relax. However, when we’re in the grip of fear, anxiety, or anger, relaxing is often the hardest thing to do and it’s definitely not something we can pull off “just” like that – like choosing the 2% milk over the skim milk.

You see, relaxing is not always easy. It is not something that most of us can just switch on and off. Especially in our high-speed, over-scheduled, multi-tasking world, relaxing needs to be practiced. Mercifully, there are many ways to practice relaxation. Some of the healthier approaches include, yoga, meditation, prayer, Reiki, massage, acupuncture, and many others.

The more we practice relaxation the easier it is to call up this relaxed response. It becomes like muscle memory for an athlete or musician, through practice the muscles remember how to throw the ball and reach for the chord. The same is true for relaxation. The more we practice it the easier it is for our bodies to relax, for our muscles to sink down and release, for our heart rate to slow, for our breath to deepen, for our minds to see the positive opportunity, and for our spirits to connect to the calm deep within us.

Once, while in the dentist chair for a particularly long stretch of dental work, I had my hands on my upper legs and continued to offer myself Reiki and to send Reiki energy into the room. As I sat in the chair, I felt the peace of a deep savasana (the relaxation pose at the end of a yoga class). Every muscle in my body became heavy and I felt deeply attached to the chair. My breath was slow and deep even as the noise, pressure, and drilling continued around me I was able to relax.

Can I do this all the time? Hey, I’m not perfect, but I do know that this is the dividend from consistent practice of relaxation techniques in whatever form you practice them (Reiki, meditation, yoga, etc., etc.). The payoff is that in the chaos of the external world, in the pressures put on ourselves from our demanding lives and our perfectionist minds, there is a place of peace.

The queue for me is not the phrase, “just relax,” – in my mind, it’s usually, “Breathe” or “Notice” or “Reiki, Reiki, Reiki” but these queues help me quickly access the relaxation that I have been practicing on a daily basis.

So, what works for you? How do you, “just relax”?

Wishing you the peace of the universe!

My Lenten Intention: Health, Love, Peace

I have an intention for Lent. For the next 40 days, I will practice self-love and peacefulness. I anticipate that this will be very difficult. A couple of years ago I gave up self-criticism for Lent and failed miserably which only brought on more self-criticism. As Christine Reed notes, it’s easier to give up chocolate.

With previous experience as my guide I’m trying to set myself up for success. Here are some of the components of my practice as I envision it on Day 1. I will:

    Talk nicely to myself. I am beautiful. I am strong. Etc.

    Comfort myself with the equivalent of a back rub or holding hands (signs of love)


    Laugh. I LOVE to laugh!

    Support my dreams and aspirations

    Listen to myself

    Affirm myself

    Make choices that are loving to me

    Forgive . . . And forget

    Accept myself as I am

    Surround myself with supporters

    Love others

Some of the concrete things I will do include

    Give up dessert in order to practice more healthy food choices

    Practice longer self-Reiki sessions, including absent Reiki for myself

    Breathe deeply for calmness

    Meditate for peacefulness

    Practice yoga

    Spend time with family, friends and in nature to cultivate positive vibes

Wish me luck! I’ll report back here on my practice.

What are your intentions for the next 40 days? Will you use Reiki to support your goals?

Wishing you abundant love!