Reiki & the Journey

I had my second Reiki session tonight. Despite having done it once before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time. The last two weeks have left me feeling incredibly stressed out for reasons we won’t get into here, and I found myself wondering if my body’s reaction to Reiki, might be to beat the shit out of my healer. No, seriously – I was really worried I might deck her the moment she lay her hands on me. We started our session the same way as last time, with me on my back; and just like last time, I burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter that emerged from really, really deep inside me. I laughed myself to tears – which was great because that meant I wouldn’t be going to jail for assaulting my healer. Phew!

Unlike the last time, I felt very few sensations besides the intense heat that emanated from my body with each chakra that was being healed. I felt like I was on fire – one look at S’ face told me I wasn’t imagining things – she was as red as a lobster! What I did notice, were a few subtle differences between my first session and this one; this time, when S ‘worked’ my stomach, I didn’t feel like a great weight was on me and I had no difficulty breathing. S also noticed the difference: the energy was flowing well and she felt a sense of peace. Interestingly, for her, it felt like she was being jabbed with pins the entire time she ‘worked’ on my stomach. On my end, I couldn’t believe she felt calmness and peace in this area because this is where I store my emotions, frustrations, stress. Considering how stressed I’ve been, I’d say this is major progress. Interestingly, when I lay on my stomach and S ‘worked’ on my lower back/sacrum, which is the opposite of my stomach, she also felt peacefulness. At first, I felt like I had a weight on me, but this feeling soon shifted to something else – a cooling sensation that ran vertically (up my spine), but not horizontally. Eventually, this sensation changed. I had a vision of a small orb emanating light. Think of a shard of mirror  (the size of an egg) and the way it deflects/reflects light. That’s also how my sacrum felt – like there was a cooling glow dispersing light. As some of you may know, I have been dealing with an injury to my sacrum for quite some time now, so it’s really interesting that this is where I felt these sensations. Cold = healing.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the way my path has been unfolding in 2012, and feel sure that it will lead me to exactly where I want/ need to be. Reiki is part of this journey; when I spoke to S about this a few weeks ago, she was at first surprised that I was asking about Reiki because we’ve known each other for 16 years, and I’ve never asked her about it before. I knew she was a Reiki Master – her certificates are up on her office wall for everyone to see. We agreed that Reiki has come into my life now because I’m ready for it now – because it’s an essential part of my path. Sometimes things manifest themselves at exactly the right time – it’s up to you to seize those moments or let them go. In any case, it occurred to me that undertaking something like Reiki means that you must allow yourself to be vulnerable. It takes a good deal of strength and open-mindedness to look at what’s inside of you and to make the decision to dig deeper, with the goal of ‘fixing’ yourself. It is my opinion that many people cannot do this. Pride, ego, fear and an inability to ‘let go’ all get in the way. After all – who wants to be reduced to a blubbering fool or a raving maniac in front of someone they may not even know? Luckily for me, I trust S implicitly and even though I do feel a little self-conscious about how I might respond, discovering what makes me tick, and removing the blocks is way more important to me. I’m totally willing to reveal my emotions if it means finding myself.  What about you?

Now, stay tuned to see what kind of crazy-ass dream I have tonight – maybe all the questions I had about my last dream will be answered by Bob the goat (I have affectionately named the Billy goat in my last dream, Bob). Speaking of Bob, I woke up thinking about him last week, and realized that Bob was head butting me in my last dream because he’s pushing me to take action – I think dude is encouraging me to get on the right path and get on with it already. Thanks Bob.

Reiki & W.T.F

Holy shit! Two posts in a row? It must be the end of the world!

A few weeks ago, I decided to try something that was completely new to me – something that would probably leave most people rather skeptical – Reiki.

My massage therapist of 16 years is a Reiki Master. Now, I’ve known this for many years but never thought to ask her about it until a month ago. I was curious to know what Reiki is and what it does. She explained to me that Reiki is the transfer of universal energy  from a healer (the Reiki master) to a recipient, via touch. The healer places his/her hands on specific areas of the body for a set period of time, starting at the head and working their way down your body (you first lie on your back). The process is then repeated (you lie on your stomach). Reiki is said to work with the chakras. Neither the healer nor the recipient has any control over how the recipient will react during a session. Some people have no reactions whatsoever, while others laugh, or cry, or feel anger. Your body will react the way that it needs to in that specific moment.  S and I spoke about it for some time, and the more she told me about it, the more drawn I felt to Reiki. S told me that it was interesting I had never asked her about Reiki until now. She thinks that this is because I wasn’t ‘ready’ before, but that I am now. I’m inclined to agree.  I decided my next appointment would be a Reiki session.

I had no clue what to expect. I lay on my back under a blanket, and S told me that I could open/ close my eyes, and speak throughout the session if I wanted to. The session began with S placing her hands on my face. Within a minute I started laughing uncontrollably. But I mean, REAL laughter people – the kind that emerges from the very depths of your being. I laughed so hard that I could barely breathe and I couldn’t speak. I had tears streaming down my face – I think this lasted 15-20 minutes! S said that in all the years she’s known me, she’s never seen me laugh so hard :-D.  I remember telling her that I hoped the laughing fit wasn’t going to last 90 minutes! (It didn’t).  During the session, I felt various sensations. First, S’ hands felt very hot (she said this represents fire, and usually fire = anger).  At times I felt tingling and/or vibrations, while other times I felt extremely cold (to the extent that I was shaking).  At other times I just felt an energy about me that I can’t explain.

Certain things definitely stood out for me; for the most part, S said that the energy was flowing really well. However, when she placed her hands on my abdomen, I suddenly felt a great weight on me that made it hard to breathe. S told me that the area was dense and that it was difficult for the energy to flow. She explained that this area is likely where I store my emotions, frustrations etc. and that it’s blocked. She was spot on with her take on this – I do store everything there, including my stress, anxiety, emotions – and I have intestinal issues that cause me a lot of problems.  Later, when S’ hands were on my shoulders, I had the same feeling – like a great weight was present. S explained that the shoulders carry burdens, weights – both physically and figuratively.  The interesting thing was that once she moved her hands down to my middle back, I suddenly started feeling this fresh, cooling sensation on my shoulders but nowhere else. It sort of felt like when you use a strong mouthwash or toothpaste – cool and refreshing. S told me cold = healing. At the end of the session, my body felt amazing – I felt like I’d had a massage! I’ll be going for session #2 in two weeks and am really looking forward to it.

Now for you dream interpreters… S told me that if you dream after a Reiki session, the dream is usually significant. Let’s see if anyone can decipher this crazy-ass dream:

I was at my friend’s house, and everyone was home (her, the hubs and the two kids). I saw everyone at least once, except the daughter. My friend was in the living room on her mobile. I was in the kitchen – there were no curtains or blinds on any of the windows or doors. There were dishes all over the counters – I think they were clean. I started rinsing them to put them in the dishwasher but when I opened the machine, it was full of dishes (they also looked clean) so I told the hubs that I’d do what I could but he’d have to take care of the rest. He walked over to the door and called me over, pointing up toward the sky. I looked up and first noticed that it was bright blue and super sunny out. There was a big cloud in the sky but it was one of those flimsy ones that looks like it’s disintegrating. In it, I could see a face. I went to get my camera but by the time I stepped outside with the boy, the cloud was gone. But there was another cloud – also flimsy-looking, that was shaped like a funnel – wide at the top and narrowing to a point at the bottom. It was full of holes. I turned toward the house, looking upward and saw a huge leafy tree that was filled with birds. All of them flew out at the same time. I turned back toward the yard and saw a small deer. I knew it was male. He approached me and I bent down to pet it. Every time I tried to take his picture, I couldn’t. The button wouldn’t work or the deer would smush his nose into the lens. The deer walked further down the step that’s connected to the deck. I went back inside to look for my friend and found her still on the phone, in her room, wearing a pink shirt.  What. The. Fuck?!  When I woke up, I realized that the animal wasn’t a deer, but a goat with sand-colored fur. He had no horns.

So… Anyone care to take a guess on what this dream means? I’m still trying to work it out!

 

Has anyone tried Reiki before? If so, what did you think?

The Truth of the Matter

You’re probably not surprised to hear that I’ve had writer’s block for the last couple of months. I’ve given this problem a lot of thought lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve got too many thoughts in my head, thus, making it difficult to neatly compartmentalize them and write cohesively. BUT Spring is upon us and I’m a big fan of Spring cleaning, so why not clear the cobwebs from my brain and get on with the writing already?

Six years ago, I embarked on a journey that was largely fueled by a need to reprogram my mind and body so that stress would no longer be a source of torment for me, both physically and mentally. I’d reached the point where my body was reacting very, very strongly against the amount of stress that I was imposing upon it and something had to give. When you find yourself (seriously) thinking that you’re going to be the cause of your own heart attack at the early age of 32, you know you’ve got to get off your ass and change the things in your life that are negatively impacting you.  The problem was that I spent a lot of time inside my own head – so while much of my stress was caused by a third party, a shit load came from my own self.  I found myself wishing for an OFF switch on numerous occasions, but sadly no such thing existed. Damn it! Do I have to solve all of the world’s problems myself?!  Anyway, being unsuccessful in finding the much sought after OFF switch, and not really knowing what might help alleviate all my stress and unnecessary over-thinking, I opted to try yoga. Now, I should tell you that the mere thought of yoga stressed me out. Why? Err… well I’m more of the kick-boxer type and I was seriously convinced that the act of yoga itself would stress me the hell out . When I first tried it, I hated it. It was way too slow and I saw no value in it whatsoever. I was still stressed out, still thinking too much and still assuming I’d have a heart attack ‘any day now.’  Eventually I discovered two yogis whose style spoke to me, and I decided to try yoga again. It took a while (OK, a few years) but thankfully, I  began feeling the benefits of maintaining a regular yoga practice, and I  eventually grasped the concept of letting go. It took a LONG time for me to get there – I like to be in control so ‘letting go’ was a foreign concept to me. At some point on the road to enlightenment, I learned that my need to be in control was fueled by my ego. That bastard!

Two years ago, my yogic efforts came to fruition, when my yoga practice became more about the spiritual journey and less about the pursuit of physical perfection. It’s true – while I started doing yoga to help me relieve stress, I was also (mainly) doing it to lose weight/be fit. But the more I practiced, the more I realized that yoga grounds me. It helps to de-clutter my mind and offers  me a form of clarity that I haven’t experienced before. It allows me to turn inward and reflect upon myself – whether it’s a shituation I’ve found myself in, an energy boost that I need or simply some quiet time to help me refocus.  Yoga makes me feel amazing, and as a result, my spirit is much calmer and my stress is almost non-existent (I said ALMOST people). I am grateful for discovering something that yields benefits in so many different ways – and it’s definitely more sane then a drug addiction, right!? =-D

Funny where my yoga practice has led me…. In 2011, I met a local yoga teacher that I’d heard a lot about via Lululemon. Coincidentally, we ‘met’ via the blogosphere, when I randomly came across his web site. A light went off when I saw his name – what were the odds that I’d find this guy via a Google search?  Now, I don’t believe in coincidences, so I knew that our paths crossing had to mean something.’ And so I reached out to him; Bram (who I’ve mentioned here before) has been giving me private yoga classes every couple of months for the last year or so. I’ve been learning a lot from him both on and off the mat, so when I decided that 2012 was going to be my year of change, I asked him to mentor me. I have changed a lot in the last two years; my focus is very much on the positive, on letting go of my shit and not sweating the small stuff. Essentially, if I have no control over ‘it’ then ‘it’ isn’t worth stressing over.  I am seeking enlightenment. Joy. Wholeness. So it was important to me to work with someone who had positive energy, whose vibe I felt and who could relate to where I was and where I want to go. I am in the process of examining various areas of my life – some of which will lead me to specific goals, while others involve a closer look at myself. One of the areas that has been on my mind a lot is relationships. Or specifically, my relationships.

For some time now, I have felt unsatisfied with many of my friendships (not all, but a lot). When I think about how much time and effort I have invested in people who don’t seem to reciprocate or even give a shit, it makes me tired. I’m tired of making efforts to keep friendships going, tired of doing all the reaching out, of being the event coordinator (otherwise we never each each other), tired of being understanding when they don’t have time to see me, tired of listening to one-side conversations about other peoples’ lives/problems/whatever, tired of getting little if any support for things that are important to me but not important to them. Am I the perfect friend? No, of course not.  I can be self-absorbed or negative or cranky just like anyone else. But I am PRESENT in my relationships, and I am loyal to my friends. I very much believe that relationships are two-way streets and that both parties must make an effort to nurture the friendship if it is to evolve, otherwise it will disintegrate. That said, I’m not the same person I was two years ago – but the people of which I speak have no idea because they haven’t been present. So perhaps that’s the answer; I realized a while ago that it might be time to move on from certain relationships. It looks like now is that time.

Goal #1 = Accomplished!

 

What’s your take on relationships? How do you make yours work?

 

Peace out,

A

 

 

Letting Go of Judgment

A few days ago I received my latest Amazon order, which included a few books that I had selected from Moksha‘s recommended reading list. For those of you who don’t know, Moksha has hot yoga studios throughout Canada and also offer yoga teacher training.  Since I’m at a stage where I want to deepen my practice and eventually teach, I thought it might be a good idea to see what all the yogis are reading these days. Surprisingly, the list was quite extensive! To be honest, when I thought about deepening my yoga practice and teaching, I automatically assumed that this would involve a more physical process. Not so! Anyway, from the list, I picked three books that spoke to me the most- books that I felt I wouldn’t abandon out of boredom. Admittedly, I opted to ignore the two books that I should probably read first – but we can get back to those when I’ve actually read them 😀

I opted to start with Judith Lasater’s Living Your Yoga. In a nutshell, this book talks about how we can use yoga to help us reconnect with the ‘scared’ in everyday life, and how our ability to do this can positively impact all aspects of our lives – not just our yoga practice. I haven’t finished the book yet, however Chapter 4: Self-Judgment stood out for me. Lasater talks about how often, we don’t seek comfort in our yoga poses, but rather, we over-challenge ourselves in order to conquer the pose. According to her, ‘it is not uncommon for students to berate themselves with self-judging internal dialogue during practice.’ Lasater perfectly describes how I’ve been feeling lately; my internal dialogue has been a real pain in the ass and I think that as a result of feeling ‘forced’ to practice or work out, I’ve switched off altogether. I also realized that the bulk of my internal dialogue revolves around self-judgment, and I’m conscious of the fact that I am my harshest critic. That said, I never viewed this in the way that Lasater describes it: if you expect more from yourself then you do from others, then you have the mindset that you are better, and consequently, you must perform at a superior level. This puts things into perspective for me, because when I consider Lasater’s viewpoint, I realize that I often put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself, only to achieve the opposite of what I want. This not only applies to my yoga practice and my work-outs, but it also applies in other areas of my life. I always tend to think that if I want something done right, I need to do it myself. I don’t think this means that I’m better then other people – I just have very high expectations of myself and therefore transfer those expectations on to others. Rarely do I think that someone can’t do what I ask – so in some ways, this can be good or bad. On one hand, this means that I have faith that someone can do the job, but on the other, I tend to be harsh in my judgment when they can’t. Ah-ha moment!

To liberate yourself of negative thoughts and self-judgment, you have to be aware of them; you must realize that judgment typically = blame. One of the exercises that Lasater suggests trying, is to not criticize yourself or anyone else for an entire hour. She adds a note that if that’s too much to ‘overcome’, to try it for 5 minutes. That’s quite a difference, isn’t it? 60-minutes versus 5-minutes? And what does it say about us as a society, if we can’t go one hour without judging someone?  Well, I tried this exercise and can tell you that not judging yourself or others is quite difficult. In doing so, I realized that we are prone to judgment much more often then we think – little things like commenting on or thinking about: another person’s actions, lack of action, words, perspective, attire, preferences, attitude, opinions – this is judgment, and we do it every single day without even realizing it. Why? Because our society tells us that it’s OK to judge each other.

So people, it looks like we all need to take a step back and ease up on ourselves, because letting go means that we should be accepting of ourselves and those around us, regardless of our shortcomings. It means that we should take life as it comes, and actively engage in it without judgment.

Got something to say? Speak!