Honor the Pause

img_20200630_195429882Each one of us has had their own experience with the last five months.  On this beautiful summer morning, I am ‘honoring the pause’ to reflect what’s taken place in my little world and giving space for what may occur over the fall and winter.

It was February when I began watching with regularity YouTube videos out of China on what they were experiencing in Wuhan.  Our national news or officials were not reporting about this.

In a panic, I met with a colleague of mine just to touch base and ask was I being paranoid about being concerned.

We met at a quintessential Seattle coffee shop, C&P in West Seattle.  It’s still one of my favorite spots to go to.  The independently owned shop is located in a converted house that has couches and dining room tables spread throughout.  Every week there would be live music, or poetry, or open mic.  It was one of the last places emerging artists could come.

I can easily put myself back there, on the couch, next to my colleague, asking about what she knew about the virus. I remember the casual atmosphere of the coffee shop and the ease with which people moved about.  That moment in time seems flash frozen, as does the world in which we had met.

I remember sharing my feelings of being quite anxious and having the thought, “All this will change”.

Our meeting was reassuring not in that I had nothing to worry about, but that someone with whom I have great respect confirmed what I had been concerned about.  My response was to enjoy the time remaining before the inevitable came to pass.

Until the order to stay at home came in March, my partner Richard and I went to museums, parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, places we knew would be closing in just a matter of time.  It was a bittersweet diversion.  I cried a lot of the time, watching people unaware of what was to come.

I cried off and on each week until about July.  As a psychotherapist, holding space for my clients, going through similar emotional experiences, I reached a low point I have never experienced before.  I contemplated a complete career change at one point.  To help me through those dark weeds I started my own therapy at the lowest of lows.    That began to help me see a way through.  I also brought more of my existing supports into my world.

From the beginning, I offered virtual Reiki circles, at first daily, now several times a week.  My Reiki community was and is such an incredible gift to myself and the planet.

I also reached out to my cousins, aunts and uncles more than I ever had in prior years.  I still maintain regular contact with my family spread out all across the US.

My love of art took awhile to return.  I dabbled back in to the clay art I had once had such a passion for.  I’ve been painting all the exterior surfaces of my house on my time off.

I ‘mastered’ leading Zoom groups and sessions and now when I do see the occasional masked client in person THAT feels strange.  Such an odd shift.

As the summer came on more socially distanced  nature walks, talks, energy meditations and eating outside has occurred.  All have helped my mood, my vision, my relationships with others.

But now, as the blackberries become overripe, I start to think about how to maintain all this support, activity and focus going into the more internal parts of the year.  When the colder and wetter weather has us retreat within.

I hope more organized testing takes place so that it becomes as ‘normal’ as temperature checks.  There is an organization, Testing for America, which is comprised of scientists and business people to permanently and safely reopen schools, businesses and the US economy by providing affordable, accessible and frequent testing and screening.  It’s definitely a start.

Just as embarking on this journey back in March was a complete unknown, the future ahead is uncharted.

If I have learned anything that has helped me navigate this far, I’d have to say what has helped me are:

  1. Practicing Mindfulness through Reiki and meditation.
  2. Watching something comedic as often as possible
  3. Making space for and reaching out to friends, family and community several times each week
  4. Engaging in some creative/artistic pursuit several times a week
  5. Exercising in some fashion every day
  6. Taking Naps
  7. Eating a little chocolate every day
  8. Getting a pedicure (with a mask and face shield on), shutting off the phone and zoning out in the massage chair
  9. Look at something else besides the news when I first wake up
  10. Practice the safety protocols as recommended

What will you be doing as the weather turns colder?

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Be the Change You Want to See: A 5 Week Series of Personal Transformation

visionIn this 5 week series, you will transform limiting and fearful thought patterns and come up with tangible strategies to create and implement your own paradigm for the life you want to be living. Through the confidential and safe space and support of the group and the practice of self-empowering tools, gain the courage and insight to become the change you want to see.

You are surviving a pandemic and processing monumental societal change. The world around you is transforming. What is being birthed within you?

Join Eileen Dey Wurst, M.A, LMHC licensed mental health counselor, author, advocate and Reiki teacher/founder of the only state certified vocational school of Reiki, http://www.reikitrainingprogram for an inner journey to strengthen and focus your personal vision.

In each session, participants will share their discoveries and their challenges with that week’s focus. The series will be conducted on Zoom and includes weekly guided meditations, recordings, homework and reading assignments.

Week 1: Getting to Acceptance: Trust and Revealing Truth
Week 2: Discovering the Past: Habitual Patterns, Shadow and Limitations
Week 3: Deep Level Healing: Evolving to the Present Moment
Week 4: Reconstruction: Building a Foundation for the Future
Week 5: Integration: Strategies to Implement and Maintain the Vision

Course limited to 8 participants. $250. Online 9/9/2020-10/7/2020 via Zoom
Your time is now. If you wait to long, you may miss the moment that you have been waiting for all of your life. Your world is counting on you.

Changing habitual patterns may be an intense emotional experience and
it is recommended that each participant have ongoing community, counseling and/or coaching support outside this group. Referrals and additional resources available upon request.

Past participants say:

“Thanks Eileen for the fantastic resources and It’s like our own personal workbook!  
I really enjoyed meeting everyone and the session today.  It’s wonderful to feel safe and supported in a group… thank you all.”-E.M.
“Always felt safe in disclosing.  Great homework and notes given”-J.G.
I’m still ABSORBING!  The group Zoom Coaching was really interesting. Now it’s on me to make it make a difference.”-E.S.

Dare to Dream

dream text on green leaves

Photo by Karyme França on Pexels.com

“What dream would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?”  This was my answer to that question when I was asked it over 20 years ago:

“I’d want to feel as I had taught a class where everyone had gotten something out of it.  I’d want to do the same for counseling-that my clients had really heard me and began taking steps to improve their lives.  I might like to do some stand-up comedy-making people happy through my own tragedies with a twist-at least then I might feel they were worth living through.  Perhaps pursuing acting for the same reasons.  I would like to take part in building a center for healing, picking out the colors, textures, classes, people, food-creating a public healing sanctuary (PHS).”

I found this handwritten in a stack of papers I am going through in working (again) on my next writing project.

I had to just take a step back and realize that I had in fact accomplished all those desires, including pursuing 2 years of acting study and a brief stint with stand-up comedy (although I’m tempted to take a jab at it again and see what happens).

I do believe in writing down what your intentions/goals/ideas are in order to have those concepts be held somewhere in physical space (on the piece of paper in this instance).  It also makes those intentions more ‘real’ by writing them down and also beginning to hold you accountable to them.

So I encourage you to answer that first question, do some writing on it for 5 minutes and then put it out on your desk, in your kitchen, etc. where you can see it as you move forward through this next week and month.  Be prepared to be surprised!

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

The Future of Reiki Practice

IMG_20191020_141902637As we all move forward through this pandemic, I wanted to ask this group for their thoughts, ideas and decisions they may be making in how they will be practicing Reiki in-person if you choose to do so.

Below is a compilation of resources I created for my own practitioners enrolled in The Reiki Training Program.

Those of us who practice can attest to Reiki’s benefits in reducing stress and promoting healing, necessary in any time of crisis. This recent article in The Atlantic also reinforces the popularity of Reiki in traditional healthcare.

Any profession or vocation that interacts directly with people incurs a risk. Here is information on what percentage those risks are.

In scouring allied health profession websites for guidance (as there was scant information to direct Reiki practitioners) I found these guidelines from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW):

The WA state Dept. of Health has posted these guidelines for massage practitioners. What stands out for me the most is the requirement for therapists to change their clothes between sessions. If Reiki practitioners were to adopt this guideline, perhaps we would wear scrubs?Masks for both practitioner and client are recommended as well as the sanitation and hygiene mentioned above.

What are your thoughts on having more air filtration in your practice office/room?

Here’s an article on what Chinese Medicine has found in treating COVID-19 along with the recommendation of NOT using an elevator as it is a transmitter of the virus. So if you have an elevator in your building, you and your clients should use the stairs for now (if they or you are able).

When should we begin offering sessions? When testing/contact tracing in place? I feel all practitioners should purchase liability insurance if they haven’t already. Also should we have liability waivers for our clients to sign? ‘Hold Harmless Agreement’ is the legal term, releasing us from liability should a client become ill and contract tracing links that back to your office?

Please feel free to contact on the above and together, as a Reiki community, we can create a safe and healing future for everyone. For additional training in Ethics, Guidelines and Planning Your Practice you can visit The Reiki Training Program, offering WA State Certified Practitioner and Master Programs.

In light

Eileen

Photo and text Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Fellowship Distant Practice

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What does the group practice of Reiki look like in this new world?  I’m calling it Reiki Fellowship Distant Practice.

Our ‘old ways’ of coming together and doing touch therapy with each other is off the table until such time that either everyone has immunity from the virus.  So that’s going to take awhile.

In the meantime, meeting virtually and sending energy at a distance has been our main method of group process.  Doing self-Reiki at home has been our daily maintenance.

I am extremely grateful to have a morning meditation group that has been meeting over the last several weeks and has served as a connection to community, laughter, a place to process grief and a source of healing and support.

I keep having the vision each time we meet virtually of getting together physically in a large space, like a field in the park and being 6 feet or more apart in a circle and sending Reiki to each other that way.  I think as the weather keeps getting warmer, this is going to be the way we can still connect and be safe for this healing work.

If you live in Seattle and there are certain fields in parks in your area and you think they would be good for this kind of experience, let me know.

I’m gathering resources now for when the parks are open and we can come together.

Teaching Reiki classes in this new world has become virtual, so the experiential component is quite different than coming to a designated Reiki studio for such practice.

But the students I have been working with have been very gracious and accommodating learning out of their living and spare rooms.  I’ve found teaching workshops in several smaller intervals (2-3 hours max) with a week or weeks in-between allows for greater integration and understanding of the course material.  So for now, that’s what the format looks like for my classes and working with smaller (1-3) groups of students is the most feasible.

I have been doing more guided meditation and remote Reiki with all my clients.  Because of the increased stress we’ve all been under, it’s been helpful for each session to have 10 minutes at the beginning and/or end to settle the breath, calm the nerves and mind.

I had tried prior to the COVID-19 crisis to include these meditation moments into my counseling sessions, but often, my clients would just want to use the time to talk.  Now there is space to do both and for that, I am grateful.

I’ve found the helpful way through anything, crisis or otherwise, is to give space for reflection and insight.  Daily walks are my mainstay backed by the practices listed above.

Some folks have asked me if I’ve delved back into doing my pottery/clay work and that’s the next step.

It’s been a challenge to feel my artistic self want to create.  But perhaps as we keep moving forward that part, just like the spring blossoms all around will begin to emerge.  I look forward to the evolution….

Copyright Eileen Dey Wurst

A moment of lightness

lightA few days ago I participated in the Seattle Sing-A-long on my front porch.  It was an uplifting few minutes that lasted within my heart well into that evening.  https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Feileen.dey%2Fvideos%2F10157466250793583%2F&show_text=0&width=267“>Here is the video.

It seems every day in some way, finding a method, technique or distraction to maintain lightness is an important goal amidst the heavy seriousness that is the reality of this situation.

This is not an easy effort, in fact, most days I rely on a lot of external events, like the sing-a-long to pull me through.

My morning meditations help set the day but my emotions often flux between being patient and then being frustrated.  Of being overwhelmed and then being bored.  Of being worried and then being perfectly calm.

The mornings and evenings are often more emotionally ‘level’ than the day itself.  That much I notice.

My cats and my partner keep me socially sane but I am grateful for my online community.  I’ve been working on updating my Youtube channel after last delving into it um, 7 years ago?  I was busy doing a lot of in-person events for a very long while.  Gosh how time flies.

Maybe I’ll put some of the virtual meetings I’m doing on the channel.  Or maybe some of the classes.  Or just me walking around with my camera phone showing how a Reiki master deals in a crisis.   I’ve never done video of my play with clay.  All possible content for the future.

Before this time, I usually would have some kind of event or activity each week to put on my calendar to ‘look forward to’.  I still have events I’m involved with and show up for.  But the ‘looking forward’ component has definitely shifted.  Making plans is very short-term.

I feel more cautious, not even ‘cautiously optimistic’.  Not quite on guard, but just hesitant most days.  Lot’s of waiting and seeing.  I know I’m not alone.

I’m not focused on ‘what the world will be like after all this’ because no one knows despite all their education, expertise and intuition.

I find the practice of gratitude to be most helpful because it keeps me present and aware of whats right in front of me.  Today, that practice manifested with myself playing the didjeridoo and Richard playing a flute while our cats looked on with great curiosity of the sounds we were making and laughing with.  A moment of lightness.

For now, I’m content when I do find a moment of lightness and with that I can shine brightly.  That’s all I can do.

Copyright Eileen Dey Wurst

Hope through Change

disease-in-the-middle-agesAs a child I remember having this recurring dream.  In it, all the old structures around us had crumbled to the ground and there were these bird people looking after us.

I must have been about 5 years old when I first started having these dreams because it was before I was going to school full time.  Just before I entered first grade.

The dream always started in the same way.  I’d ‘wake up’ in the dream and the buildings and structures that were all around me were either abandoned or had been reduced to rubble.  Most of the sky, rocks and debris were all a pale gray hue.  The air felt stale and unhealthy.  The feeling of the dream was one of discomfort, desolation and a permeating sense of isolation as I walked through the empty streets of the dream.

Then, from among the heaps of rubble, several large ‘bird people’,  beings three times my size with large eyes and beaks, colored in colors of pale green and blue, came towards me.  The colors of their feather capes were a contrast to the monochrome background around us.  I remember feeling uncertain but not afraid.  One of the bird people put their feather cape over me.  I immediately felt protected, safe.  The others were in a semi-circle and holding some kind of class or training.

These bird people didn’t speak but communicated to me ‘through space’ to my mind.  They told me something like ‘the old has ended and the new is beginning’.  ‘We are here to help you move through this new world’.

What they said to me made me feel more at ease.

In the dream, the world had obviously changed.  The only direction was moving forward.  These bird protectors were showing me new tools and ways to live.  I would spend time with them in different parts of the city and they would show me how to look/approach thoughts/people differently.  It felt as if they were teaching me a new language.  The dream ended there, in the learning sessions being conducted by the bird people.

I usually would wake with a feeling of being welcomed into a new sense of community and a way of being in the world.  At the time, being 5, that dream felt to me like I was living in some kind of future movie and when I would awake, I’d be back to my everyday life.

Over the years I have reflected on that dream, and because it had been recurring, it was sealed in my memory in detail, so it was rather easy to recall.

Yesterday, when the sky was a bit more gray, that recall came back when I was alone in my quiet meditations. I again remembered this dream.  Now, 45 years later after first having those visions, the similarities to my experience and images I see on the news gave me chills.  Was this dream prophetic?  What meaning does it have for me now?

I do feel many structures are coming down or being re-created in new ways.  Community is happening virtually ‘through space’.   Are the bird people representative of the health care workers wearing personal protective equipment?  I’m not sure.

I’m still processing the dream and how it relates to our current circumstances.  It feels to me  that despite the dystopian qualities we experience and the radical changes in behavior we all have begun to implement, a new potential is emerging.  For now, I am embracing this new way of being.  I feel the dream offered hope through accepting change.

Open to your interpretations.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Stay at Home

stay-at-homeWashington now joins the ranks of the other states in the US that have declared shelter in place or stay at home orders for it’s residents.  We’ve already been doing much of that over the last few weeks, but now, the pace of life begins to slow down even more as we are required to only venture out for essentials (groceries, pharmacies and doctor visits).

Our governor did say ‘going for short walks or bike rides’ were allowed for physical and mental health (I do thank you Jay Inslee for both permitting that and mentioning mental health) as long as social distancing was enacted.  So it’s not a total lock down in one’s home.  But it definitely is a much-needed action to curtail the social behavior that has enabled this virus to spread.

With this state-mandated order comes a trend to spend more time within, not just the home but within the mind.

Just in time, on the inspiration from a dear friend, colleague and fellow Reiki practitioner and shaman, Cedar Hyde, I will be engaging in a two week daily morning meditation and healing practice.  We ended up calling it the ‘Reiki Sit for ‘The Situation’.  Funny how such things find a perfect time and place to happen.

A client of mine recently mentioned ‘we are all turning into contemplatives’ with all this self-isolating and insulating behavior.  It’s definitely a retreat from the world for those who have the privilege to work from home and aren’t also doing double duty caretaking a family or family members.

So what to ‘do’ with the extra time I would have been going to an event or activity or gathering of some kind?

I have ‘become friends’ with the virtual world.  I’ve found a number of different groups that hold Zoom or Facebook group sessions and reach out to friends and family via some form of technology every day.  It feels like I’ve actually become more social with social distancing.  Is that possible?!!!

As I mentioned in a prior blog, I’ve already begun to look into enhancements for my online Reiki class offerings.  I get to create new versions of the content I’ve developed and organized.  In many ways, that’s something I’ve always wanted to do,  and lo and behold there is a need and want for it.  So I’m super pumped about having this extra time for this project.

In writing this blog I realize I am starting to sound like most of my clients who have been self-isolating and working from home.   We are getting on with our lives to the best of our ability amidst the backdrop of ‘The Situation’.

Should I be worried more?  If I was being irresponsible and reckless in my behavior, yes.  But I’m not.  I’m following the prudent guidelines, which give structure and the opportunity to do all of the above.  Should I be worried about other people’s lack of prudence?  How the government is handling/not handling things?

I could chose to be worried, or I could just focus on what I actually can control.

Instead of worrying, I can be vigilant about hygiene  and staying home.

I wanted to link this document on how to handle worry passed on from a counseling colleague of mine, Jori McChesney.  Thank you Jori!

Take a breath.  We’ll get through this!

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Photo credit

Making a New Way

timelapse photography

Photo by Markus Bürkle on Pexels.com

Finally, I feel like I am able to start planning for the next phase of the Reiki work I do.  Just like everyone else, I’ve had to process all the information and feelings and then find a way to adjust to all the recent rapid changes in our world to the best of my ability,.

You might know that I created a virtual support groupto help others through this process of dealing with the COVID-19 response.  Being featured in the Guardian was a highlight but helping all those that have come has been the true reward for me.

By the grace of synchronicity, my month of March was not a ‘teaching month’ for Reiki.  I had deliberately kept that schedule free to be available to both friends and family going through their own transitions.  Who knew?!

But as I look ahead at the rest of spring, I realize in order to keep teaching Reiki in a healthy, safe, and supportive way, it needs to go completely virtual.  Now, many Reiki teachers have been offering online classes for quite some time.  I always appreciated the option to teach in person.  So, for me, going virtual is most definitely novel Reiki training!

Online learning is definitely it’s own medium.  The positive aspect to this is that Reiki flows through time and space, so the energy itself doesn’t require you to be ‘in person’ with a teacher to learn it.

I’ve looked into pre-recording classes and offering them as webinars and it doesn’t jive with how I feel this healing system is best experienced and integrated.   It’s that difference between live and recorded music.  I also have always structured my classes to meet the needs individually of each student, each class.

That individualized attention is probably one of my hallmarks.

A Reiki class, however, isn’t like a straight lecture or strictly hands-on arts class.  It’s got both qualities and then some.

The way I teach in person is a combination of lecture, practice, ritual, sitting down, standing up, lying down and moving around.  It’s serious, it’s funny, it’s inspiring, it’s transformational.

So all those elements will go into the online format.  The video is important, but there will be times when just audio is only needed and periods where there is only silence and the student is having their own experience.

It’s a good challenge for me to continue to develop curriculum in this manner.  I’m grateful that despite the seeming limitations of social distancing and staying indoors, it affords me more time to work on this project and bring another form of The Reiki Training Program to the world.

I’ve already had several weeks of the Virtual Sharing and Healing Meditation Circles to explore how technology can assist teaching  best ways to convey energy healing practices through online learning.

My next virtual Reiki 1 class will be April 5th.  Reiki 1 will provide an overview of the history and background of the healing system, instructions for self-practice and guidelines in working with others, pets and plants/spaces.  Attunements (empowerments) will be given as well as plenty of practice on one’s self and others in the class.

If you are interested to attend, you can sign up here.  All classes included continued mentorship through email or teleconference and participation in online circle sharing.  No pre-requisites required.  Be prepared to be surprised!

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

 

 

Calming down

enlightenmentPracticing Reiki:

We all have the ability to channel Universal energy.  Formal training increases our capacity.  The flow of ki travels through our meridian and chakra system (energetic pathways) and assists in bringing our bodies and minds back into balance.

Take time to do this practice each day and it will assist in calming and balancing your nervous and immune systems.

If working with a guided meditation is more helpful, feel free to check out some I have recorded over the years.

Now, begin:

  1. Give yourself permission to receive this energy.  If working on others, ask them if they give themselves permission to receive.
  2. Notice the pace of your breathing or the other person’s breathing.  Become more centered.
  3. Connect with Earth and Sky energies.
  4. You are a conduit for the energy.  It comes through you, not from you. Realize the concept of “Not my will, but thy will be done” or ‘this is greater than me’ (because it is).
  5. Using your hands, bring them to areas of the body where there is discomfort, tension over the eyes, the shoulders, heart, and gut.  Reiki is also used as a preventative and not just on areas of pain.  Further training follows the chakra system of the body.
  6. Hold hands over each area for 1-3 minutes.  Remember, there is no wrong or right, there just is Reiki.  Honor the pause.
  7. After giving yourself or others a session, smooth out their field and bring your hands back together so that palms are touching each other.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

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