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Posts Tagged ‘Reiki’

In the midst of the cancer treatments during the summer of ’09, friends sent this fabulous audio get well card  that featured Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna kvetching – “I’m depressed, I get wet, my face broke out, I’m nauseous, I’m constipated, my feet swelled, my gums are bleeding, my sinuses are clogged, I’ve heartburn, I’m cranky, and I have gas” – which pretty much summed up how I felt.

The three days of support drugs after each chemo infusion were rugged, and the cumulative effect made the aftermath of the fourth and final infusion much worse. In addition to the complaints listed above, I also had disrupted sleep, headaches, head sweats, an icky metallic taste, a crash-like fatigue and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The PTSD was a surprise. I had expected to feel so grateful and relieved that the worst was behind me, and instead I felt anxious with wormy thoughts like: “What if the chemo didn’t work?”

The very nature of PTSD is that the past haunts the present, and, as is often the case, my fears were fictions about the future. All of my heebie-jeebies were products of my mind zig-zagging through time, thus, to calm myself down, I needed to train my thoughts on the now in which all was safe and all was well regardless of physical discomforts. I needed to breath into my feet, and to be very zen thoughtful in my actions which was easy to do since the chemo made me sloth-like. A wise soul had once told me to “move a muscle, change a thought.” So, every time a squirmy idea surfaced, I got my sloth-like self up off the couch and washed a dish or dialed the phone or did a little Qigong.

A very little Qigong was all I knew, but those few flowing motions connected to conscious breathing and attention to energy were so soothing. Qi (or chi) is Chinese for “vital life force” and gong means to “practice with skill”, and, although I did not feel skillful at Qigong, I believed that I was increasing or enhancing or harnessing my vital life force merely by taking the action and having an intention to access healing energy. It was like giving Reiki to myself, and, I think it’s the same. Reiki, Qi, White Light – healing energy by any other name would be as sweet.

And, contributing to the sweetness of my qigong experience was that my teacher was a darling man from Spain named Nacho. Nacho from Valencia was interning at the peace organization where I work and I liked him instantly because he did not blink an eye when he was introduced to bald me. He may have never considered my physical appearance as he seemed to view people’s essence, but I felt a need to explain; and as soon as I told him that I was bald due to chemo for breast cancer, he insisted that he would teach me qigong. I thought that qigong might entail yoga-like contortions or require marshal arts-like stamina and so I politely refused. Nacho would not take no for an answer though and organized a little class for the entire organization. My colleagues provided peer pressure as well as support, and a lot of laughs. And, as it happened, those few simple moves that Nacho taught us that morning would become immensely helpful for me in those PTSD days after the final infusion.

Another aid for my PChemoSD came in an out-of-the-blue phone call from a friend who had experienced more rigorous chemotherapy on two different occasions that involved different perhaps stronger drugs and longer courses of treatment. This woman with extensive experience confirmed that my fears were natural. When I told her about my anxieties, she told me that she confronted the same what-if-the-chemo-didn’t work fears at the end of both of her rounds; and I exhaled.

I find that “me too” are the two most healing words ever spoken.

In gratitude, L.

ps. I need confess that I am losing steam for Lump Lessons. My intention is to write one more post about radiation, and perhaps an epilogue, and then on to other projects. It has been two and 1/2 years since this blog journey began and it has been an extremely healing endeavor for me. I believe that writing and sharing has been my aftercare. My hope is that there have been a few readers that have had “me too” healing moments along the way.

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I didn’t write much during my chemo experience. There are a handful of chicken scratch journal pages that are the result of a noble impetus to chronicle my practices so that my success story could aid another woman one day, and I’m so grateful for my large ego. Now, I have evidence of the languorous tempo and indolent tone that were among the gifts of chemotherapy in the Summer of 2009. It was the slowest and laziest Summer I’ve ever known. Perhaps it was the drugs, or perhaps it was my deep surrender to the process, or perhaps it was the heat and the nature of Summer, and, most probably it was all of these that granted me permission to indulge in genuine lethargy. It is those memories that I draw on to remind me that a snail’s pace can be sublime particularly in today’s extreme heat.

These are those memories:

July 25, 2009

In some ways it seems that the Summer is just beginning for me. This morning, I wiped off the picnic table in our gazebo for the first time and thought about the potential for writing and eating and maybe even entertaining out there. I’d forgotten some of my Summer pleasures while so focused on providing a “normal” Summer for my daughter.

In the weeks since the lymph node dissection (June 15th), I’ve managed to work part-time consistently, make numerous visits to the hospital for repeated drainings of the seroma (lymph fluid balloon) as well as for treatment consultations, attend a variety of healing circles, start chemo on July 16th, make a dedication to the Goddess, take 10 girls to Krazy City for my girl’s 12th birthday party, drive to and from three different day camps, plus enjoy my garden; but I had yet to clean up the outdoor furniture which is usually the first thing I do to welcome Summer.

I’m doing fairly well after my first week of chemo. Actually, I’m exceptionally well as is evidenced by all the activities I’m able to maintain. “Fairly” just speaks to the fact that I feel different: I feel dry inside. Sometimes I feel like there’s fire burning the inside surface of my skin. The feeling resembles an image of the charred remains of the forest floor after the tall trees, plants, and brush have gone up in flames. They say that fires are a necessary cleansing for new growth in a forest. I regard the chemical burn as baptism by fire.

[My energy for crafting sentences dwindled at this point in the journal session and thus I start to jot notes.]

Things I’ve done so far to support self during chemo:

  • Continue with Reiki circle.
  • For the first few days after infusion I did 1 oz of wheatgrass daily to alleviate the predicted constipation from the support drugs. I also followed the doc’s instructions and took Senakot. Plus I drank prune juice which was tastier than the wheatgrass. (All green things were particularly yucky during chemo, so I held my nose and tossed the wheatgrass back.)
  • Followed the instructions for the support drugs and I did find that the nausea was not bad. (details about support drugs will follow)
  • Made a big jug of lemon and fresh ginger water, and kept a tall glass by my side at all times during the three down days.
  • Took Tylenol for the back pain caused by the Neulasta shot given to boost white blood cell count, but I’m thinking that breathing and light yoga stretches like the child’s pose are the way to go.
  • I put antioxidants away as instructed but I continue to take *oregano oil to support immune system *calcium magnesium zinc *L-Lysine to prevent the mouth sores that supposedly are a side effect of chemo. [IMPORTANT NOTE: I NEVER GOT MOUTH SORES AND I DID NOT NEED THE “MAGIC MOUTHWASH” THE  HOSPITAL PROVIDED WHICH I FULLY ATTRIBUTE TO INGESTING L-LYSINE. There’s topical l-lysine that cures mouth ulcers almost instantly too.] *Kelp – iodine & iron – to strengthen immune system and combat fatigue * Primrose Omega 3’s – I don’t know why but it’s supposed to be great for women and I wish to honor and support my femininity. ***NOTE: ALL SUPPLEMENTS ARE TAKEN WITH HEALING INTENT SPOKEN OR VISUALIZED***

[The following notes are from an insight that I needed to be proactive due to the discomforts experienced in my first infusion. Perhaps control is an illusion; but I felt I could participate or co-create, or attempt to customize my healing experience.]

Things I will do to support myself during chemo:

  • My intentions for my next infusion are to advocate for a great nurse.
  • I will ask my new nurse to participate with loving intentions particularly when she pumps the Adriamycin.
  • I will ask Reade (my husband) to assist by doing the Brazilian Toe Technique (details to follow) or a foot massage as a sort of uninformed reflexology session.
  • I will meditate and visualize the red-colored Adriamycin as a Rose Elixir or Essence and the clear-colored Cytoxan as a Crystal Essence – both with high healing vibrations.

To be continued…

L.

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There’s a little pink-striped book from The Libby Ross Foundation Pink Ribbon Kit called a Journal & Sketch Book that I carried in my pocketbook at all times to scribble in as needed after I gave up the little brown serious journal for the large black unlined journal that I kept at home. The scribbling I did in the days prior to the first transfusion was done in this portable pink book as I had shpilkes that kept me on the move. Since I wasn’t sitting still much, there isn’t much from that time period except for one comprehensive entry from a writing date with my husband. His presence anchored me, and I’m so grateful for that because I now have these notes from that precious time period.

Prelude to Chemo – July 11, 2009

Sitting on a footstool at Barnes & Noble staring at the New Age bookshelves wondering what I need to read next? What will help me now? None of the books seemed appealing though. I felt satiated with self help and spiritual manuals. Really I just wanted escapist fiction. And yet I was drawn to this section of the bookstore and plopped down on that footstool, so, I sat. Thinking. There must be more to learn, more to remember. Perhaps I could re-read all I’ve read before, I thought. It must be 25 years since I devoured Jane Roberts’ Seth books and Edgar Casey and Ruth Montgomery; however, I didn’t stand up to reach for Seth Speaks. I just sat and thought with frustration mounting as I beseeched my spirit guides to help me: won’t you please knock a book off the shelf and make it obvious. I recalled that my sister Brenda in a psychic reading said that I had a new guide,  a Mayan with a nice butt, so I considered a 2012 primer for a few laughs. But, honestly, no book called to me. I sat on that footstool in a trance.

“Excuse me.”

I looked up, perplexed. There was plenty of room in the aisle; but, the short, dark-haired woman with the slightly crossed eyes was motioning to move past me to look at the shelves to my right. I determined that she was being polite, smiled, and then we both went about our business. A minute later, she returned, knelt beside me and asked if I had seen the book Reconnect.

“Perhaps Customer Service can help you,” I said and gestured toward the center of the store.

But, she stayed crouched beside me and in a whisper suitable for libraries told me that the book by Eric Pearl was about Reiki. I smiled again and kept smiling with a skin tingling recognition that the book I wanted to fall off the shelf was standing before me in the flesh as this stranger went on about her path and her belief in energy healing. I told her that I had similar experiences and when I mentioned Julie Connor, she knew of Julie and the Reiki Share group. She explained that I could do Reiki to myself and told me to pray, “In God, with God, for God,” saying that I need only ask to be healed and my hands will move and show the way. “You only need to believe,” she said.

Since I got the word from my doctors, I’ve been thinking about the need for support for my chemo experience and there are so many opinions, approaches, alternative methods.

My friend Jill tells of various vitamins and foods. She has so much information that sounds like so much effort to procure and prepare that my mind tends to become porous when she talks. In our last conversation, I retained one word: Gingko to help with fatigue.

Then the Susun Weed book (Breast Cancer? Breast Health – The Wise Woman Way) told about nettle, comfrey, milk thistle, etc etc etc, and I would read her book more  thoroughly except she scares me. Her supremely judgmental tone about the toxicity and the damage that chemo can cause provokes fear, and fear of chemo will not serve me. Supreme faith will serve me.

Also, Lisa Orlando, the lovely woman offering the Cancerland seminar re. navigating the medical system, recommended acupuncture as did others.

So, there’s enough to boggle the mind.

Thus I chant: What I need will come to me. All I need will be told to me. And the means will always be made easy.

And then a cross-eyed angel appears.

In awe & gratitude,

L.

 

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The drainage sack had a proper name. It’s called a Jackson Pratt (J-P) or Hemovac Drain. If I had a better humor about it, I would’ve given it a nickname like Harold or Yoda and consulted with it throughout the day as it reminded me of the boil on Richard Grant’s shoulder that became an alter ego talking head in the movie How to Get Ahead in Advertising. Like Richard, I was quite horrified by the appendage. I didn’t like the mess and the bother. I didn’t like the concerns that went with it such as being wary of dislodging the tube or getting the dressing wet, and the warnings about infection. I didn’t like having an external man-made body part. What I did appreciate was that the little plastic sack was a teacher.

For instance, it taught me to be resourceful. The J-P or Hemovac kit came with a large safety pin to fasten the sack to the inside of clothing so that it wouldn’t bob about willy-nilly and pull the tube out. I found the pin challenging to fasten with my left hand, and so I turned my shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and bathrobe inside out in order to tuck the sack in the pockets. Besides preventing the bounce factor, it also buffered me from the cool rubbery plastic pressing against my skin which helped me to forget about the intruder for awhile. Until the area of the incision began to hurt and then to leak, which prodded my next resourceful act – I called for help.

My dear friend Olive is a midwife and nurse and not bothered in the least by the gooey viscera of the body human. I trust Olive. And so I called her when I started leaking. As I reread the Jackson-Pratt care instructions that were sent home with me from the hospital, I see now that it clearly states that “The drain may become blocked and begin to leak around the drain site. This is not serious. Replace the wet gauze with a dry one as needed.” I didn’t see that then which leads me to believe that I was probably in a panic state at the time. Panic is emotional quicksand for me. The more I squirm on my own, the deeper I sink; so it’s best to reach for help from someone on solid ground. Olive responded to my call, came over and calmly replaced the dressing and reassured me that the tube was in place, that indeed the hole in me was plugged up. The gentle touch, the gentle words in Olive’s lovely, lilting brogue were like a lullaby and I was put at ease.

Another lesson or really a gift from the drainage sack was that it kept me from fretting about the future. The critical awareness of the tube and the practice of measuring and charting the fluids kept my mind occupied, and, thus, diverted from worrying about the lab results and prognosis. Perhaps this is why hair shirts? Physical discomfort is very effective for keeping the mind trained in the moment. Who can think about grocery lists or where to vacation in August or a five year career plan when one’s nerve endings are throbbing? Anyway, the sack aided me that way. I devoted three pages in my little brown journal to complaining about that drain, and barely gave a nod to receiving the lab report:

June 23, 2009 – The sun is out after days on end of rain. I still have a tube inserted under my arm to drain lymph fluid. After eight days of tube it feels as though gravity is pulling on it and the tug hurts. I guess I learn courage, endurance, compassion for myself and others. I guess I learn how to receive sympathy and concern and all sorts of help.

The shift in my attitude, the contrast, reminds me of the many times in my life when I pridefully toughed out a situation alone. Depression, eating disorders, other illnesses… wisdom teeth extraction. I had all four wisdom teeth pulled and didn’t tell anybody. I was single and living in the city so I took a cab to and fro, stumbled into the Korean grocer afterward to stock up on ice cream, climbed the four flights to my studio apartment, and locked the door until the swelling went down. Crazy. I had some sort of whacked out notion that asking for help was annoying to others. My worst ever sunburn happened because I didn’t ask a beach buddy to rub Coppertone on my back. Well, never again will I let some cockamamie idea that my needs are inconvenient to others prevent me from asking for help. Cancer cured me of that. This diagnosis and all the tests and treatments require that I share my feelings, ask for help, and let people in. It is too much to bear alone.

Last night I went to a Shamanic journey and Reiki share at Julie Connor’s. Julie met me at the door with a hug and questions about the lymph node dissection and how the surgery panned out. I told her that they found a small amount of cancer in one lymph node.

She said, “Linda, take it from someone who had cancer, didn’t have cancer, had cancer again – you have the right to take your slides for a second opinion.”

My response was utter weariness at the idea of schlepping to another doctor. Eight days since surgery, a drain that’s still sucking 70 ml of lymph fluid out of my body daily, and I feel like I don’t have it in me to dispute or distrust.

Well, I don’t need to do anything today. I don’t even have to make a decision today. Just for today, all I need to do is rest and receive and heal and recoup my strength.

The Shamanic Journey and the Reiki share were amazing. In the journey, I was met by a gigantic white swan that let me curl up to sleep on her back while she flew through the galaxy. Then, the Reiki tables came out and Tony, a wonderful new friend, like the swan, called me to his table to rest and be lavished with attention and healing energy. Julie, the Reiki Master, stood by me during other peoples’ sessions and put her hand on my lower back and mid back at different chakra points. The energy from her amplified the energy coursing through me, and I believe she intended to boost the healing energy I was receiving while I was sending.

I’m so impressed and grateful for the loving way people are treating me these days. It seems like my “attraction energy” is at an all time high. I don’t understand it, but I love it.

In Awe,

L.

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So, where were we? Oh, yes, we were frolicking along the path with our heroine en route to a second round of exploratory surgery (lymph node dissection) in May ’09. At this point in the journey, the terrain begins to shift as she …

(Wait a minute. The author might want to distance herself by writing in third person, but, no. First person is the truth and the way for me to fully integrate my Lump Lessons, so first person it must be.)

… the terrain begins to shift as I grow out of my little brown serious suede journal as is spelled out in that journal in a passage written after a Reiki session:

Julie Connor, the Reiki master, had hands so hot they were sweaty.

(Excuse me again. I need to veer off path for another moment as there’s a persistent wild hare pouncing about my feet. [Scroll to the bottom of The Gate Keeper to find my author’s note about wild hares.] Well, this hare insists that I tell you Julie’s story. The story that she told me in empathy and to reassure me of hope.)

Ten years ago, Julie was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Her’s was an arduous journey that involved differing pathology reports and visits to three of New York’s top hospitals, and two rounds of surgery. The first surgery removed half of her thyroid in the Spring of 2001, and then the remaining half was removed in Autumn just weeks after 9/11. In Mid-Winter 2002, she drank the prescribed radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining cancer cells; and in June of the Summer of ’02, a CAT scan and MRI detected another tumor with potential lymph node invasion in her neck. A third surgery was scheduled and just three days before, a friend called to wish her well and suggested that Julie ask her son Ryan for help. Ryan was only five years old. The idea was so absurd that Julie felt she had to give it a try.

“Yes, Mommy, I can make that lump go away with my love,” Ryan replied.

Julie & Ryan

The little boy then bowed his head and put a hand on either side of Julie’s neck, closed his eyes for several seconds, then opened his eyes and said, “I have to do it again one more time today and two more times tomorrow.” So, Ryan did touch his mother’s neck twice on Wednesday, twice on Thursday, and on Friday, when Julie showed up for the appointed surgery, the lump was gone.

Julie has been practicing Reiki and studying energy healing systems ever since. In her words: “This sparked a huge interest in what it would be like to touch another human being with the intention to heal.”

Ryan also studies Reiki and is a Level II practitioner, as well as a bright, creative, and typically energetic teenager with an active academic and social life.

(With a twitch of its tail, a satisfied hare has bounded off back into the forest. Now I shall continue on my path with the journal passage in May 2009 that portended an attitude shift.)

Julie Connor, the Reiki master, had hands so hot they were sweaty. Because I had a hunch that Julie is a psychic sort, I asked her before I lay down on the massage table to inform me of any visions or impressions that she received while touching me. My experience with Reiki is that it’s from wordless realms – beyond the intellect – and so practitioners try to keep their minds out of the way of their intuitive or spiritual guidance. My wordsmith self wants to attach stories and ideas to the experience, and I tend to have visions when I lay on hands, so I asked and I was rewarded.

She said, “Salt baths every other day.” Julie is not the first intuitive to recommend salt baths. Renate Moore repeatedly bade me to take Epsom salt baths as a detox and energy balancing agent. My problem with salt baths is that I rarely if never give myself time to soak in a bath. I take showers with a mission to get clean and get on with it.

Then Julie said that she saw an open window with curtains blowing in the breeze, and the beach. I yearned and so anxiously quipped that I hoped the vision was of a pending vacation rather than pending hospital stays; but also took note that it was another reference to salt water and relaxation.

Lastly she said, “You must do art for pleasure and just for yourself;” and I started to cry.

I don’t know how to do art or anything purely for pleasure. Everything I do is goal oriented with motivation for self improvement or healing, so that I might serve; and, for that reason, everything feels like pressure, so, frequently, I don’t do it.

I think I recently went on strike. I stopped writing in this journal because a few people told me that I “should write about the breast cancer experience.” The word “should” made me not want to write at all. But I love to write.

Maybe I can write through the feelings of pressure until I return to my authentic heart. And maybe I can write in color?! I can take baby steps toward pleasure, buy a big journal without lines so that I can doodle and scribble and feel free to muck about.

(to be cont.)   L.

ps: Reviewing this lump lesson prompted me to turn off the computer, dust off the box of Epsom salts I bought a year and a half ago, and take a bath. Next time, I’m gonna get messy before the salt bath. If that’s your pleasure, I hope you’ll do the same.

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T’was the verdant month of May ’09 with all its sprouts and bloomings and a gentle Spring wind was wafting exotic seeds about. One such seed was delivered unto me by my friend and colleague, Mary Heckler, the Peace House Hostess extraordinaire at FOR. Mary is a moveable coffee break for me as we tend to chat about our personal interests throughout the work day wherever we bump into each other in the labyrinthine Peace manse. In this instance, Mary was breezing by my desk and paused to tell me about the interesting Reiki session she’d experienced with a lovely woman named Julie Connor. I don’t now recall all the particulars of the conversation, I only remember that my ears perked up and that I asked for Julie’s phone number. I also remember that I had some sort of instant recognition or intuition that this bit of information was significant for me, that this seed was fruit bearing, and so I jumped on the phone as soon as Mary walked off.

Why do I believe in the efficacy of Reiki ? Well, in an earlier blog post I wrote about my initial experience with a hot-handed master and mentioned that a psychic had foretold that I would explore and write about Reiki. That prediction may have spurred me on to call Julie, however, I believed in energy healing long before I met that psychic. I just didn’t know to call the tingling in the palms of my hands Reiki. Using that tingling sensation to cure my pets and my dolls and my baby sisters was just something I did when I was a little girl. And, when they told the Bible stories in Sunday school about Jesus healing the blind, the deaf, the sick, and raising Lazarus from the dead, I’d feel the tingle and think, ‘I bet I can do that.’ But thoughts like that were vanquished from my wee brain fairly quickly when the church made it clear that Jesus was the only son of God. Still, I retained a childlike wonder about the energy in my palms and, although I ceased to lay my hands on others, I remained aware that I could use that energy to recharge myself. Simply by facing my palms together so that they were close but not touching, I discovered that the tingling increased and re-energized me which was very useful during my work hard/play harder wayward adolescence.

Yes, I was the cocktail waitress waiting for those whiskey sours at the service bar in a prayerful stance, but I wasn’t necessarily talking to God.

Come to think of it, one of my great friends from those waitressing days, Judi, the friend that I used to converse with about karma, past lives and astrology, has since become a Reiki master. Hmm?

Anyway, the point is that I’ve always had an innate or gut instinct about healing energy and the power of laying on of hands, and, so, I wanted more of that great ju-ju to help me through my breast cancer healing experience. But, alternative medicine was prohibitive on my budget, as it was I was straining to cover those daily shots of wheat grass and all those supplements and organic groceries, so I didn’t feel I could pursue Reiki or any healing modality that wasn’t on my insurance plan. Then, as if in answer to an unuttered prayer, Mary informed me about Julie Connor.

The voice that greeted me on the phone was like a Mother Earth hug, snuggly with warmth and compassion, which stimulated me to be forthright from the start. I told Julie my breast cancer story, that I’d had surgery and was in the process of determining the next best treatment; I also raved about Reiki, perhaps trying to shmooze, and then confided that my wallet was slim.

Julie’s response was to invite me to the next Reiki Share Circle at her home and told me the day and time.

I had no idea what a Reiki Share Circle was, but I was so excited by the prospects for healing that I showed up a day early for the event. The woman that greeted me at the door was the embodiment of the loving voice on the phone as well as emblematic of the name of her group – The Light Within Us. Julie appeared lit from within, a real golden beauty, and was so kind despite the fact that I’d barged into her home. She didn’t regard me as a crackpot or a stalker, but gently encouraged me to come back at the appropriate time. So, I did.

The next evening, I returned to the deep blue split level home with the sign by the walkway that read: The Light Within Us – Put the “Om” in your Home, and this time I was a few minutes late so there were several cars parked in the drive. I went around back as instructed and entered, took off my shoes as indicated by the collection of varied shoes on a mat by the door, and helped myself to a pair of soft purple slipper socks from the heap of clean slipper socks in the decorative basket. That basket of socks was the first sign of the quality and the attention to detail of the hostess. In the kitchen there were refreshments: chilled water, warm tea, cookies and fresh baked banana bread, with colorful cups and decorative napkins. I poured water into a bright green cup and headed into the living area where I was greeted by Julie’s familiar radiant smile and warm smiles from the eight or more people seated in the circle of comfy couches, pillows, and folding chairs. Someone passed the sign-in book and someone else passed a deck of Doreen Virtue‘s Angel Cards, as Julie introduced herself and told about Reiki and the format of the evening. This first night was all about Reiki though the announcements for upcoming special guests that included a crystal healer, a channeler, and a reflexologist made clear that the group was diversified. Julie then led us in a brief relaxing & centering meditation, and divided us into small groups with attention to dispersing the certified Reiki masters evenly among us. Three massage tables were brought out, the lights were dimmed, the music was turned on – Deva Premal’s Love is Space – and we proceeded to give and receive healing energy to each other.

On this first night, when it was my turn, one of the practitioners asked me for my intention. I heard myself declare, “Clarity,” and, as I said the word, I felt the supreme tension and anxiety I carried for not knowing what lay around the next bend in my healing journey. As I lay down and closed my eyes, I felt tears burn at the back of my eyelids, and so I coached myself to be in the moment and open my mind to receive. My fifteen minutes were spent trying to discern whose hands were generating the most heat, and, ultimately, relaxing in the total atmosphere of transporting music and love vibes.

Whether one believes in the actual healing power of Reiki or not, I feel that the act of people coming together with genuine care and concern and with sincere hope and desire for each other’s well being can only boost immune systems. My experience that night was that I felt reinvigorated by the laying on of hands by virtual strangers; and, in the spirit of “it’s better to give than to receive,” the sharing component seemed to expand the effects for me.

At the end of the evening, we all stood to hold hands in a closing circle, and each stated an intention for the days to come. This time I declared, “Joy in the Journey.”

And, for $15 a pop, I vowed to myself to keep coming back.

(to be cont.) L.

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