Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reiki for Roger

I have had the honor of knowing Roger for about 9 years, he held court, that's the best expression i can say for it, at one of my Nursing Homes. Although he was limited by paraplegia and suffered from many ailments from before i knew him, he was of indomitable spirit, and his transition saddened me.

I have for some time been on his email list and he kept me up to date on the parties he had in, or went out to ....few patients in all my years working in Nursing Facility Care have had as many visitors or been taken out for as many activities as Roger.

And he was forgiving of my limits, of the fact that we could not cure his illnesses, or even make his symptoms go away, but that we could continue to care for him and be present for him.

On day Roger showed me with the greatest pride a photo album his friends made of one of his birthday parties. The joy he received (and gave) from (to) other people was truly astounding.

When he sustained a leg fracture, his orthopedist recommended either very taxing surgery or amputation which i felt was not necessary ..... as i discussed it with Roger without the surgery he could never bear weight on the leg, and as he said "I"m not stupid, I haven't been able to walk on that leg in over 10 years." We tried Reiki and eventually we reduced the pain, and Roger got what would be called a "fibrous union" - it didn't allow him to bear weight, but allowed him to sit up in his wheelchair, and go out with his friends, and avoid a major operation.

Roger in spite of all that was stacked against him won, because he did not focus on his limits or wait to die, he lived the days he had and sent incredible ripples to his friends and through the world - people are sharing stories about this incredible loving human being and are inspired.

In another case, Molly one of our music therapists played (and recorded) a version of "Heavenly Days" - the favorite song of one of our patients who recently transitioned, Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn loved this song more than any other, and was going to be played at her funeral, and remind her friends and loved ones of her spirit - and send ripples through the world.

And i met with another family member today, we were just being present as we waited for her Mom to transition. Her hospice room was a peaceful and comfortable place, and family were present and sharing stories. They had some questions for us about the health care process, and i explained that there were no medical treatment options, but sometimes people improved when we least expected it, and encouraged their prayers in their own way. And after we talked the daughter told us, "Thank God I found believers here, this could have been much harder. What we can see with the spirit eye is amazing, there are spirits all around us - if i didn't believe in that I would have no hope."

And so in honor of Roger, i would suggest that we go beyond the tenets of "do no harm" and "practice evidence based medicine" and suggest that we never take away hope, and that we remember those who we have had the honor to be present for, and let them continue to live by telling their stories.

When we could not cure Roger's leg by conventional means, Roger asked me to provide him with Reiki, and, he was able to get out again with his friends. Now that he is outside my site, i will continue to remember him in my sending of Reiki, and remember the power of his hope when i find other patients who we cannot cure.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From the Heart

It was in 1987 that i visited Jerusalem for the first time, and visited "the wall" (the "kotel") for the first time. This is a place that is sacred to Jewish people, in that it is viewed as the last vestige of the wall from "the Temple" that stood in ancient times. And within about 200 yards of this place is both the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, felt to be the site of "Golgotha" - the place of the death of Jesus, and the Mosque built on the sacred site from which Muslim's believe that Mohammed ascended to Heaven.

Lore has it that if one writes a message on a small piece of paper and stuffs it between the cracks in "the wall" the first time one visits, that the dream is likely to "come true." There are stories of families being reunited, and all sorts of miraculous stories surrounding this legend of leaving a message in the wall, miraculous healing, you name it - and so i took this moment very seriously. I thought about it for a long time.

In the end the message which i left in the wall was simple and brief, and not for anything specific materially, it was simply "open my heart to you God" (or in Hebrew taken from a brief prayer - literally open my heart to your Torah, which at some levels could be translated as the sheepskin scroll upon which is written the 5 books of Moses, the centerpiece of the ancient Bible, and for some would reflect "the law" as specifically represented by 613 commandments, and for some the "letters" or tools with with God creates our world, but for me the simplest meaning would simply reflect on Torah as God since the essence and spirit and soul and thoughts and wishes of God make up all of our world and connect us........)

As i have tried in my Hospice journey to explain to the numerous people who have asked me "how can you do this work" and "isn't it depressing" - that no, it is an honor, and the having people allow me to share and assist them in their journey is both a mission and a chance to grow, a "job" for sure, but more that that, and bottom line a place for the heart, where beyond being a "science" person or applying skill, I am often simply present for people to keep them company or be a witness of their journey, to help in small ways not just to relieve their suffering but to assist in a focus for them not on "how they die" but how they live the portion of their lives that they are journeying through.

And in Reiki more and more i read and hear and feel the spirit of masters seeking their own highest potential through a journey that is centered and moved by our hearts.

For some it is attaining a higher level or a higher vibration or having more power or being able to heal, and for some it is simply being "present" and being in a state of acceptance or submission to the creative energy that sustains (not simply created but continues to create in each moment) us and our world.

Recently - in one of my favorite Reiki list servs, there has been an extended discussion about Reiki Tummo, a specific path taught by I Effendi ("Reiki Tummo, an effective technique for health and happiness"), and a quote from the master "you have written your book of Life from the perspective of your brain, are you now willing to re-write your book of life from the perspective of your Inner Heart?"

Having had the honor of being present and sharing countless journeys in hospice, and from the little i have learned of Reiki, i can't say that i have more specific answers to questions than on the day 25 years ago when a placed a small note in a crack between stones in a sacred wall, asking the creator to "open my heart" has been and remains a Journey.