Musings from the Spiritual Path

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I remember in 1991 when I first visited Seattle on a family vacation how radiant and lush the landscape and views were.  I had travelled many parts of the globe by then, and yet touching down here at that time, I felt a deep sense of home.  The land whispered to me, “Come back”.

It took eight more years, a marriage, a divorce, a graduate degree and being introduced to Reiki before I was ‘ready’ to begin to grow roots here.  This internal preparation with external transition was the first manifestation of my spiritual journey.

The first decade in Seattle was about clarifying my vocational vision and stepping into the role of leader in establishing the Reiki Training Program.  Along that path I explored  much of the NW back country and became attuned to the seasons and weather here.  My artist self gained traction through various creative pursuits.  I travelled through Asia and South America with expanded awareness of other healing traditions.

Personal relationships ended, deepened or started anew.  My Reiki work and fellowship began to expand with the publication of my first book and guided meditation CDs.

Over this last almost-decade, a whole new spiritual path has begun.  It did require me to professionally ‘own’ both my counseling and Reiki paths with the state’s requirement of licensure.  That path has provided me with a whole other world of gratifying healing work and experience I never would have gotten from the Reiki path alone.

My home went through multiple transitions from becoming a public workshop and healing space for students and clients into a humble but creative ceramic arts studio.  Family health crises dominated these years, but developing sober strategies enabled an ability to drop further into witnessing.  Despite those tragedies, travel also occurred, to the Mediterranean and all throughout the Baltic.

Again, personal relationships ended, deepened or started anew.

I’m taking a moment today to just catch my breath, looking back with clarity and looking forward with fresh and curious eyes as to what lays in store.  I couldn’t possibly have predicted any of the profound experiences I am grateful to have had when I first walked this land.

I am prepared to be surprised at what comes next.  In gratitude for the journey…..

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Copyright 2017 Eileen Dey Wurst

Happiness Day 4: Receiving offerings

offerings_11If there can be a theme for experiencing happiness, day 4 was about being open to receiving offerings, in all their forms.

The day started with my colleague, Jeri Hinman, giving me an intuitive physical therapy session, as part of the Reiki trade I started last week.

I am grateful I don’t have any pressing injuries or ailments, but I have some areas on my body where I had suffered sprains/strains in the past, so we were able to do some releasing work on these ‘old wounds’.  I’ve never had traditional physical therapy, so Jeri’s way was a complete integrative approach of assessment, stretching, yoga, energy work and breath work.  I’d recommend her treatments for individuals who have tried the traditional approach without result.

Later in the day, one of my clients gave me beautiful polished crystals and rocks he had found in his wilderness hikes.  It’s part of what he ‘does’, he told me, to present gifts of the earth for those that are doing good works upon it.

Lastly, I had our first West Seattle Reiki circle at NW Ayurveda in the evening, very happy to see familiar colleagues and tap into the extremely grounded energy of this new center.   The Reiki we worked with was offered to all, rippling out across the world.

Eileen Dey 2014

Second day of Happiness

camerazoom-20130902121943810It’s a great way to start the day knowing I’m taking on the intention of finding, being and spreading happiness into my life and the world. I just started yesterday.

Yesterday was inspiring, I met with a colleague who works with neurofeedback and learned about how tuning into our brainwave activity can change our behavior.  I’ll set up a scan with her to see what my brain looks like while I’m doing Reiki, can’t wait!

After a gratifying day of counseling clients, a meander through local Westcrest park proved refreshing and rewarding, watching the sun majestically set over the town I love.

Today, I venture up to the Ravenna Healing House, a lovely sanctuary where both Reiki, counseling and community combine to assist in bringing balance within.  Tonight is Reiki circle, feel free to come!

Eileen Dey 2014

Questions to ask a Reiki Master

71698_444606253582_653163582_5487713_1048131_nI often get invited to do radio interviews, and a recent host asked me to come up with a list of 15 good questions to ask a Reiki master.  Here’s the list I came up with and over the next few weeks, I’ll come back to each one and expand my answers a little bit more.  If you have others you can think of, let me know.    The short answer to all these questions is start to practice.  Make the time for Reiki and it (the energy) will be come your teacher..but more to come..Thanks!

  1. Where does Reiki come from?
  2. Can anyone learn how to ‘do’ it?
  3. What can I expect from practicing Reiki on myself?
  4. What are the advantages to joining a Reiki circle or share?  What can I expect?
  5. How can I make Reiki a part of my family routine (and they not consider it strange)?
  6. Is there a difference between giving Reiki to animals than people?
  7. I heard you can give Reiki to food and water, how does that work?
  8. Do I have to practice Reiki in a certain space and/or need special equipment?
  9. How does Reiki effect my environment?
  10. How does one work on healing their own inner child/past trauma with Reiki?
  11. What are the effects of Reiki when one is sick or having surgery?
  12. Are there any side-effects or counter-indications to applying Reiki?
  13. Where is Reiki being used in the mainstream?
  14. What are some scientific studies on Reiki?
  15. Can I do an exercise to experience what Reiki is?

Reiki circle week!

This weeks kicks off some great Reiki circles.  They are community gatherings of practitioners, teachers and are open to the interested public to give and receiving in healing light and energy.

Tuesday, 7/17 from 6:30-8:30pm we’ll be in the lovely open space of Dreamclinic, 902 NE 65th Ave NE.  $10 donation suggested.  Bring your friends and family and leave revitalized and renewed!

Wednesday, 7/18 from 7-8:30pm we’ll be over in West Seattle at the Highland Park Improvement Club giving a brief overview on what Reiki is and the jumping into the healing circle.  This group ope to families with kids!  Donation.

Hope to see you at one or both!  Let that light shine!!

Photo of our Reiki circle from Reiki Soundscape circa 2004 in Ballard!

Shining the light on cancer

A  Reiki colleague, Lisa Cefalu, approached me about working with her at a cancer support group in Los Angeles, WeSpark.  Last night, the last months of planning resulted in a successful outreach to 11 participants.  25 had RSVP’d, but this being Southern CA, a little bit of rain deterred most.

In my career I’ve facilitated and co-facilitated hundreds of outreach groups, each one is a new experience and brings with it insights and reflections unique to the population that was served.

Working with cancer patients is a precious experience.  Most, if not all, of the women who attended last night had their bodies ravaged by the disease or the subsequent treatments.  A mist of grief, apathy and anger seemed to come in the door when everyone sat down, waiting for the Reiki circle to begin.

Working with individuals who aren’t dealing with a life-threatening disease, they usually assemble and easily begin to relax into the evening.

Those who’s minds and bodies have been devastated by a disease or treatment find it a challenge to settle in.  In some patients we worked on, they actually ‘disassociated’ as we gave them Reiki.   ‘Disassociating’ is leaving the body temporarily because the current state of it is too much to deal with.  It’s a phenomena that happens with trauma (or disease) patients/survivors.

Lisa made it clear that the Reiki we were offering was not a ‘cure’, but a form of relaxation so that the body’s healing potential could be increased.

At the end of the evening, the initial emotions we had sensed at the beginning of the circle had become transformed into a greater bandwidth of peace and excitement.  Patients actually started smiling and asking many questions about Reiki, it’s Japanese heritage and wanting all the business cards I had taken with me.

After each group, I’m always grateful for being healthy and able to offer healing energy to those that are not in the same physical state of well-being.

For  Lisa, it was her first successful Reiki outreach, and I was proud to be a part of it.

We are talking about doing more work at the center throughout the next month.  What I’ve learned from being on the Reiki path is that it just starts with an idea, and from there, the spirit of healing energy takes the work where it needs to go.  I look forward to seeing where this new path takes me.

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The Global Outcry That Saved the Amazon

2 weeks ago we had our first distant Reiki healing group and our target was the Amazon.  Here’s a story just released yesterday that’s also in synch with our work!!!

Half a million citizens of the world joined with 1,000 indigenous protesters in demanding that Bolivian President Evo Morales halt construction on a highway that would slice through the heart of the Amazon.

Avaaz.org launched the petition that was delivered by staff to top Bolivian cabinet ministers during a long and stormy meeting.

“The pressure worked!”

“Our widespread solidarity strengthened the legitimacy of the indigenous protesters whom Morales tried to marginalize and threatened the president’s valued reputation as an environmentalist,” wrote Avaaz leaders.

Because of the campaign, Morales canceled construction. He repealed the decision granting permission for the project, and pledged to protect the impacted TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory — the crown jewel of the Bolivian Amazon.

Avaaz.org is a 10-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.)

Learn more at their website: www.avaaz.org

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The power and harm of misleading words

What happens when you are just plain wrong with your intuition and judgment in a Reiki session?  I recently heard from one of my Reiki students who came to circle and was distraught that his dog had run away from home.  He feared it was dead, and the circle (composed of 4 other practitioners), after giving the student a session, unanimously agreed that they picked up that the dog was dead.  Now, two weeks later, I heard back from the student and he reported the dog, although worse for the wear, was alive, recovering and happy to be back.

That student, for over a week had felt guilty and ashamed for letting the dog out, believing the dog was dead from the consensus at the Reiki circle.  Now, the student was reorienting to a new truth.

I think it’s often easy to tap into the emotions that a recipient brings to circle and be influenced, in a ‘group think’ kind of way.  In this case, the student/recipient was quite distraught, felt guilty for letting his pet out, and also felt that his dog was dead.

But the responsibility goes back to the group of other practitioners.  We weren’t being mindful about the language being used, instead of saying ‘your dog is dead’ what about having said, ‘we don’t feel a connection to the pet, we don’t know what happened to him’…dead is one thing, not being able to know is another.

Being with that not-knowing and just supporting the recipient’s process would have been more appropriate.  Saying we think the pet is dead is dangerous, because it is a diagnosis, and we don’t do that in Reiki, but we all did it (group think) and were also wanting to give the student/recipient an answer to help alleviate his own suffering.

A Reiki circle is a support circle and not a therapy session.  If the recipient were to have a session one-on-one with any of us, the outcome might have been different, because the groupthink experience would not be there.

I apologized to this student for the group’s misread, but I have seen this effect on occasion in other circles, my own, as well as the ones I attended when I was going through training.  The Reiki environment is suggestive, vulnerable, open…but I think mindfulness here is really the key point.  We all lapsed on that in favor of coming up with an answer, which is actually the ego at work.  We want to know, rather than holding space for the process.  We were attached to the result.

Let this story be a good learning tool for those on the Reiki path.  Don’t feel an answer needs to be given after each session.  If you disagree with one of the practitioners in a Reiki circle, say so.  Be really, really mindful of how you communicate with others, words have power and can do harm.

Reiki, in the purest sense of what it is as energy, can do no harm, but that is why Reiki training is a key ingredient in learning to work with the energy.  We are faulty humans, and we have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to ego and being in the unknown.

For the future, at circles, I think it would be appropriate to leave the circle space temporarily during circle and ground outside of it if a ‘consensus think’ was going on, or if you weren’t sure or agreed with what was being said.  Take time to reorient back to a more solid foundation within oneself.

I welcome feedback and thoughts on this.  I think this story is worthy of a whole class.

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Stepping aside will provide

In a few weeks I’m shifting posts to the Los Angeles area for several months.  The Reiki Training Program and Fellowship will continue to offer a regular classes, sessions and circles in Seattle and Spokane.  I’ve found stepping aside in times past allows more room for existing Reiki masters and practitioners to grow their practices and infuse my school with additional energy.

But not everyone is happy about it.  People get used to relying on a certain teacher day in and day out.  But as I’ve told the Reiki community, I’m still available by Skype, phone and email for any sessions that might be required during my absence.

For those that have done such transitions before, leaving behind that which is familiar to leap into that which is not can be daunting.  But from my own prior experience, I can say, the act of ‘letting go’, if only for awhile, always makes more manifest.  I know, hard to believe at times when you can’t actually see the ‘net’ that will appear, but it always does, and in ways you never quite expected.

So, in Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, the Reiki Training Program has a chance to create new roots.  To develop a Reiki standard for California.  Those aren’t small potatoes.  I’ll be meeting with the coordinator of a Shiatsu school in that area this weekend, perhaps that will be the initial home base.

The Reiki sanctuary in Seattle will be occupied by a combination of full-time housesitters as well as teachers, so the energy and integrity of this school will continue to permeate West Seattle.

The bi-monthly Reiki circles at East West will also continue to be facilitated, and sessions offered there every Tuesday.

I’m also looking forward to having more time to devote to another writing project, ‘Touching the World Through Reiki part 2″ so-to-speak.  I’ll also have more opportunities to practice my art of drawing and painting.

If you have friends, colleagues or other networks you think would be valuable, please pass on.  Another chapter in the ongoing evolution this work in the world is about to begin.

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Etiquette for Reiki circles

Reiki circles are one of the most unique healing environments I have ever experienced.  People come together to give and receive treatments and in the process, increase the amount of Universal light energy in the world.

But there is a certain etiquette for Reiki circles I feel needs to be addressed.

In our circles, we practice quiet Reiki without any shamanic work such as extractions, clapping, blowing, chanting, toning, etc.

There are other circles that permit this, but I’ve found that by having a quiet atmosphere, perhaps with some gentle music, greater relaxation and healing is able to take place.

If you are new to a circle, I always encourage participants to receive a session first to get a feel for how it functions.

Group integrity is the key.  With a well-functioning circle, group cohesion and healing both exponentially increase.

Like any group experience, there are group norms.  In our circles, practitioners place their hands either gently on or just above a participant’s body depending upon what they request.

There may be slight movement of the hands, but traditional practice emphasizes allowing the ki to build by letting the hands rest in one area for 1-3 minutes before moving to the next position.

If the participant wants to talk during his or her session, or if they would like input from other practitioners during their session, those ground rules should be established prior to the the session started.

Also, some men and women only prefer women to offer healing touch.  Clearing the space in between treatments is also advised to keep the ki moving as well as proper grounding at the completion of the circle.  Ask for what you need.

Our next circle is Tuesday, May 3rd, 6:30-8:30pm at East West Bookshop, 6500 Roosevelt Ave NE, Seattle WA.  Hope to see you there!

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