Saturday, January 30, 2010

Purple Reiki

When we first do Reiki, we may not distinguish between separate bands of energy. After all - one of our difficulties in talking about Reiki is that we tend to use language developed to describe the "conventional" senses, and Reiki light is perceived - but not exactly "seen" or heard."

We definitely do "feel" Reiki - and one constant seems to be our hands getting pretty warm sometimes (and even when doing distant or "no touch" Reiki). And many of us do use "visual" words for "seeing" Auras - though - I often believe our perception is not "exactly" visual spectrum light.

Some of us separate bands of Reiki. My teacher, Rick Rivard, who was one of the organizers of URRI (Usui Reiki Ryoho International) - those who want to find Rick simply Google Threshold Reiki and you will be treated to an incredible source of information) - describes different bands of Reiki, which he received from different teachers - or which represent different lineages.

In any case - prior to this fall - I had "perceived" many types of Reiki light, but rarely the color Purple! Purple entered my life when Dr Gary Applebaum, one of the most respected geriatricians in the country, became Executive director of my Hospice, Seasons Hospice of Maryland.

It is a long story, but, elements of Dr A's life had drawn him to identify with the color purple. Season's national colors were Purple, and (in addition to buying me a Purple tie), he determined to bring a "Purple Wave" into Seasons.

We already had a Reiki share, and a Reiki policy, and had been doing Reiki for many patients who wished to receive it - but this was different. Health care in America is going through hard times - for all the mythic talk about our being "the best health care system in the world," it is broken, WHO statistics are not so promising, and doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aids, chaplains, music therapists are all under a great deal of pressure in our system. And the recession has been hard on everyone. And Hospice, though sometimes very rewarding, can cause "burn out." We try to focus on helping patients live the later days of their lives, and not just on dying - but - the suffering we see can drain us - Hospice workers go through burn out.

But in my Hospice over the past few months something really wonderful has been happening. Dr A (he promises to some day attend our Reiki share, but I know he has Master level skills already) - keeps talking about the Purple Light and the Purple Waves and the Ripples that we can send out into the world. How - if we impact one person, it impacts families and their friends and spreads out into the community. We do not know how far these ripples can spread.

More and more Team members have been caught up in this spirit. People are thinking less about how they feel right at that moment, and how they can fit in helping one (or two) more people before the end of their day - and how they can sign off and communicate what needs to be known and followed up. Family members who are themselves suffering, are thanking Team members for what they are doing.

I met an RN last evening who had heard about our Team, and when we had no openings, joined at a lower level to work with us, until an RN job opened up. She said the Spirit of the Team made it worth it. People have been enjoying coming to work. And in pulling together, there seems to be less burn out - no one is quite as focused on the problems in their own daily lives. Another Nurse told me she felt a great sense of "support" working on own unit.

More people have been asking me about our Reiki Share and signing up to attend. And more and more I am seeing a bit of Purple attached to the Aura of many of our Team members :))

I do not know what lineage this specific Reiki energy comes from, but right now, today, I feel glad to be bathed in Purple. I don't claim it to be a higher vibrational level, and I think it can be shared with anyone who comes in contact with it - it seems pretty simple - but I do believe it is consistent with the basic Principles of Mikao Usui:

I will not worry just for Today
I will not be angry just for Today
I will be grateful just for Today
I will do a good day's work Today
I will spread kindness Today

Thanks to my friend Dr A for sending a Purple Reiki light through the Seasons Team in Maryland. Wherever you are - if you feel the Ripples - let me know. Reiki is a gift to heal, and this band of Reiki seems to help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reiki is Complementary

It is interesting as Reiki becomes much more widely accepted, to reflect on its nature of being complementary.

Most mainstream Reiki teachers have stressed that Reiki does not replace conventional, or scientific and evidenced based medicine, it compliments it! In fact - increasingly - evidence has been mounting that Reiki is supported by scientific evidence.

My friend Lorinda Weatherall has an incredible website about Reiki

Where it says Reiki hit and then select on the right side
An incredible resource.

And much appreciation is owed to William Lee Rand, founder and editor of Reiki news, who has started a web site Center for Reiki Research

And Pamela Miles was recently on the Dr Oz show and did a Reiki demonstration!

For those interested in my Guest Editorial in the Elsevier publication, "Caring for the Ages:"

Reiki is being used far more widely in mainstream institutions that anyone yet realizes. Reiki causes no harm, it costs very little, and it often is very helpful.

But simply stated, it does not replace traditional medicine, it complements and it augments.

There is nothing holistic about ignoring pharmaceutical and surgical treatments that are effective, and it is no longer reasonably evidence based to ignore the "whole person" we are trying to help.

The wave of increasing scientific knowledge, and the wave of treating people holistically, seem to be coming together with many bridges. We should certainly be grateful!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reiki and Assisted Suicide

I have been asked many times as a Hospice Doctor what my view was of assisted suicide. And before I discuss this from a Reiki perspective, I want to share a couple of stories.
Once a man with terminal cancer told me he wanted to end his own life, because he never wanted to suffer, and he never wanted to end up on a respirator. I shared with him that I had a problem within my own moral code assisting in suicide, and that I could offer him a deal: a) First, I would assure that he would never have pain that was not treated - we would make sure he was comfortable and b) Second, that when the end came, his wishes would be respected and he would be allowed a natural death without aggressive care. He accepted that compromise, and chose to live one day at a time for four more months. He shared time with loved ones, experienced precious moments, stayed positive, we relieved his pain, and in the end, he died at home, without any machines.
In fact I have relived this discussion countless times, and never had anyone fail to accept the offer.
But life can be complicated. The stories about Mrs Takata teaching Reiki do not speak a lot of intuition, or distant communication, but in Helen Haberly's biography, she relates "in early 1940 she had a vivid dream in which she saw Dr Hayashi in a formal kimono of white silk. He walked back and forth three times, and she could hear the squish of the silk upon the tatsumi mats. It seemed to be real, not a dream."
Soon, she was summoned to Japan, and she was with her teacher, Hayashi and his family when he made transition. "As a devout Buddhist and the Reiki Grand Master, he could not destroy life. He spoke of having lived a life of peace and understanding , of working to help people: so rather than kill others, he had chosen to make a peaceful transition at this time, although he was only sixty-two and in perfect health."
Of the picture, my wife and I were im Nice visiting Art Museums. I knew that Matisse was buried in an old cemetary there, but finding his grave turned out to be more complex than finding his art! There was a man in the cemetary who seemed to be having some difficulty, he was French speaking only, I asked how he was, and in his own language he started explaining how he had a recent stroke, he felt he was getting better. He asked what he could do for me. We told him we were seeking to find Matisse grave, and limp and all he led us there.
In an imperfect world, we can share respect, language, art, and Reiki energy. Since I have never been in Dr Hayashi's position, I cannot judge, but as far as possible, it seems to me better to spread kindness and light and help people live, than to help them die. In this sense, Reiki and Hospice, for me, are about spreading light and helping people live, and leaving the decision on transition to a higher power.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Notes from a Reiki Class

This past Tuesday we gathered for our monthly Reiki Share, Betty and Antonette were early and the three of us started with Breathing, and Dry Brushing, and reaching for Reiki, and Gassho. They had both learned Level 1 previously, but there is a benefit to repetition, and to method, and to daily self Reiki, and so we went through the basic hand positions first working each on ourselves.

At this point, the stress of the day was leaving. Betty and Antonette were taking turns practising on each other, and everyone was noticing that hands had gotten pretty warm! Karen arrived and I had them work on 4 hand techniques, as our share has grown we have increasingly had the luxury of working with 4 hand tehcniques.

While Mrs Takata taught her 22 students predominantly the 2 hand one person method. the year she lived with the Hayashi family and learned from Chujiro Hayashi, his clinic focused on 2 practitioners working on each patient, so certainly, she was aware of that technique.

It is interesting, that I received an email from a respected friend telling me that "Takata did not teach intuitive readings." It is an interesting question, for my own opinion, and from the biographies of Mrs Takata by Helen Haberly and Fran Brown, she must have been one of the most intuitive people of the past century. Prior to learning Reiki, she had a vision that caused her to go to learn with Hayashi. She lived with the Hayashi family for a year, and then, Hayashi and a daughter of his came to live in Hawaii with Mrs Takata for 6 months. She then had another vision leading her back to Japan, to be in the Hayashi household at the time of her teachers death. One of my teachers, Sensei and author Amy Rowland, has written a superb book, "Intuitive Reiki for our times." Amy's teacher, the beloved Rev. Beth Gray, was one of the original Takata students, and Bill Lee Rand of Reiki news wrote an incredible tribute to Rev Gray, and what she meant to Reiki.

Mrs. Takata taught method because method is what one is able to teach. But her Master students, such as Iris Ishikiro (and her student and partner Arthur Rubenstein) added Intuitive practices into much of Reiki teachings.

Barbara Hanley arrived, Barbara originally taught by Takata student Ethel Lombardi, founder of Mariel and cross trained by my first teacher Robin Hannon (in the Iris Ishikiro tradition). So many of us have trained more than once "from scratch," and one of the great joys of Reiki, is the sharing - there is more than one path to the pond in the mountain. Barbara's years of working in both traditional nursing and holistic nursing are of such value to us.

Dottie who has recently been co teaching my share with me, and is near completion of Shinpiden level training (Gendai) addition to Usui Reiki Master level, and Brenda and Jean - all masters who have been sharing together for more than a year now. (without Jean and my teacher Robin, it is doubtful we would have been able to succeed in our share). Brenda has a vision and a mission to reach out to people beyond our current share.

Christine came, and we were able to divide into different groups for awhile, Dottie teaching Symbols, and Barbara and Brenda and I able to work on an attunement workshop.

I arrived with a sense of stress from my day, and left very refreshed from the Reiki energy that was brought into our class by all who participated.

I want to thank those members of the class who are volunteers for our hospice patients, especially Dottie and Karen, who have been giving hours of presence and Reiki and caring for our patients. And to Christine who has agreed to join our volunteer program. While it is true, that in Reiki there is a saying, "first help oneself," my life experience tells me that helping others makes the anger and worry and hurt inside oneself go away, and adds to ones own sense of self worth.

We learn this lesson from the Broadway play "Avenue Q" where the play starts with each character competing in the singing of the song, "My Life Sucks" - and - in the end, when they realize that they can help others, each of their own lives turns for the better.

In my studying of the Jewish tradition, it is reminiscent of the Hillel teaching," if I am not for me, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now when?"

We missed our super volunteer Louise this month, but I understand Anne and Patricia visited her the next day, and Dottie the day after that.

I want to thank everyone who is participating in our Reiki class, and everyone who is working in our Hospice, for Sharing a Journey. Our Executive Director says we are spreading Purple Ripples, and I have no doubt that he is right.
the image at the top of this blog was taken in Ecuador, at the Equator. Whether at the Equator, or at Stonehenge, or in Jerusalem, or Giverny - all living things are connected.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reiki and Being Grateful

In the past few days, much of my reflection has been on how genuinely fortunate I have been, and how grateful I am.
Family and friends have been a great source of support - and in my work, doing Hospice, and bringing Reiki into Hospice, I am surrounded by wonderful, compassionate and creative people.
Our Executive director has not only been supportive of me, and of our hospice program, but he has been leading a series of discussions of the impact of the ripples that flow from our actions, individual and collective.
Flying home a couple of days ago, looking down with a sense of awe at the clouds, and the ocean, I could neither generate or sustain a sense of self importance. If only each person could understand the vastness of creation, and accept being a connected part of it. And then light began pouring down from the heavens through the clouds to the earth, and I took my camera and shot this photo through the plane window.
I want to especially thank Louise Deville for her work as a hospice Reiki volunteer over the past year. Louise somehow manages to ignore her own disabilities, and to be a tireless and cheerful source of compassion for my patients, and at our Reiki share. Her humility matches her Reiki energy.
I want to thank Lorinda Weatherall for allowing me to read a book which she is working on. I am excited about the work that is being done, advancing the understanding of Reiki, and until Lorinda actually publishes this book (and I hope it is SOON!) check in on her website:
And both a thank you and a recognition to Pamela Miles, who has emailed ecouragement to me. Her website //
both gives worthwhile advice and asks worthwhile questions. And her article reminds us that health care providers need to care for themselves first. How often, I have seen Nurses and Doctors and Social workers exhausting themselves by pouring energy into people they were caring for, without realizing the need to restore themselves. When we allow ourselves to burn out, we are less effective in making "ripples."
Pamela is scheduled to appear with Dr Oz January 10 - and the continuing discussion about and acceptance of complimentary techniques in end of life care (and in all stages of care) is exciting. Dr Oz is an articulate and credible physician.
Seeing the light coming down from high above through the clouds to the earth, in that moment, I felt a sense of awe and greatfulness. And at the same time rededication. Acts of kindness no longer seem "just random."