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

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

Passing time with Reiki

0806111344Using the Story of Usui as a Model

For the next 21 days consider Usui’s story as it relates to your life.  Set aside morning and evening contemplation time and space to reflect on the following and give yourself Reiki and/or meditation.  Note insights in a special journal, using the ‘signposts’ on this page as prompters as your progress.

Day

  1. Dedication “Giri”
  2. The Power of Commitment
  3. Willing to Put in the Effort
  4. Worthy of Respect
  5. Determination, Patience
  6. What you Least Expect It
  7. Look Deeply, Intuit, Explore
  8. Mentors and Mentoring
  9. Always Possibility
  10. Fathoming Different Meanings
  11. Student of Self
  12. Trusting the Process
  13. Pure Potential
  14. Focused Attention
  15. Enlightened Understanding
  16. Place of Pure Joy
  17. Manifest a Transformation
  18. Ancient Wisdom
  19. New “Ladders:
  20. Beyond the Apparent
  21. Awakening

 

Taken from One Degree Beyond:  A Reiki Journey Into Energy Medicine

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Embracing Fear

Jumping over abyss“Fear is the darkroom in which your negatives develop.”  I saw that statement on a billboard in San Francisco over 25 years ago.  It’s a good reminder to me then and now to keep my fears in check and to not give them overwhelming attention.

This has been a challenge, to say the least, over the last two weeks as the epidemic became a pandemic and mandatory measures of social distancing have been put into place throughout Seattle and many parts of the world.

This weekend has felt like giving time and space for all the dust to settle with that rapid change and with the settling, the fear has also started to even out.

I miss my weekly Reiki groups and workshops.  The ability to swim in healing energy with like-minded community has been such a touchstone of my life.

Having the online group twice a week has been a good substitute.  Like a lot of things in this new normal, it will have to suffice for now.

I’ve found it immensely helpful to tap into online support groups, not just the one I facilitate, but others in both the recovery and Second Life communities.  My next foray might even be dipping my toes back into the virtual reality communities that exist, I have done that in the past and have found that it’s not just gamers that get together in VR.  So there are many groups out there that are not in-person, that can be found and joined.

That gives me, an introverted extrovert both hope and some places to land.

Today I was photographed and interviewed by journalists for a piece they are doing for The Guardian publication.  I’ll post it when it’s out, but my take-away from the experience was that in this time of uncertainty, even journalists are interested in a story of an online space that can offer support and healing.  Super excited to see how it all ends up looking.

In the meantime, doing the relaxation meditation tonight was extra grounding, which will be needed in this next week.  I took a break from the news and social media for half a day, and just returning to it I see that several states are shutting restaurants and bars.  Oh boy.  Adjusting to the change again.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Photo credit

Be Proactive

The-Things-We-Forget-Being-Proactive-And-Not-Reactive-1020x510If we aren’t being proactive we will continue to be reactive to all the stories in the media about Coronavirus.

I feel it’s important to know the facts of what is actually occurring, not the sensationalism of what is being slickly presented on some media outlets.

So I scoured the web for trustworthy sources of information of this epidemic from different points of view.  Below is what I’ve been able to pull together.  I caution the reader that some of what you read below may be alarming, but I want you to be aware of what I am seeing both as a practical and intuitive person.

This is epidemic is only just beginning.

According to this scientist interviewed by CBS, there are silent carriers who aren’t displaying symptoms as well as those that are coughing and being ill.  The epidemiologist interviewed here estimates that 40-70% of the world population will be infected.  He steadfastly predicts several million will die.

It’s not just the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions who will get sick and/or die.  Other ages can become infected to.  The percentages effected are shown here.

This pandemic is with us for next several months at least (no guarantee it will ebb in the summer months) and it most likely will be worse before it gets better.  This essay from Financial Times gives and overview of where we are headed.

So, even if you caught the virus and it was mild and you recovered, it may have helped your immunity toward that strain, but not necessarily for next years flu season.  It might mutate.   Even if you had no symptoms, you might be a carrier and may pass it on towards others and keep contributing to it’s transmission.

And, this is an RNA virus which means it does mutate more frequently.  There are two forms of the virus right now going on during the epidemic.  Luckily the version that has infected most of the world outside China is the milder form.

But the lack of being proactive by the governments and inhabitants of the countries effected keeps insuring it will continue to effect the population.

Looking back at the epidemic of 1918, there are several similarities of how that flu effected the population when they were congregated in groups and how the virus traveled around the country and world.  It’s a good comparison of study.

So despite all of that seemingly depressing news, there are some things we can do to lessen the impact right now.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Don’t get stressed. Hah!  I say that while living in the epicenter of a pandemic.  Seriously, find ways to take your mind off the situation for awhile.  Practice self-care.  Receive a Reiki session to boost your immune system and get a lymphocyte revitalization!

Seriously, stress weakens your immune system and if you are stressed you are more vulnerable to disease of any kind.

  1. Don’t go out into a crowd.

Minimize your risk of getting infected.  Even if you don’t display symptoms, there are others walking around right now who are carriers or who are symptomatic.  This means you might be more isolated, but this is where tapping into virtual community can be beneficial.

  1. Practice recommended hygiene methods

Listen to what authorities are saying about washing hands, using sanitizer, staying home if you are sick, social distancing etc.    As time goes on we will learn more about the virus and other ways to protect ourselves.

There is a newly published document by the EPA of lists of cleaning products approved to fight coronavirus.

  1. Be prepared

Have extra supplies and resources to support yourself or a loved one at home for 14 days.

If you look at the statistics again, you or someone you love may be at risk for the virus.

You or they may need to stay at home if infected and that means not leaving the house.

The world at large is already changing and will continue to over the next few weeks as the epidemic numbers increase.  Minimize risk where you can.

Be proactive not reactive.

 

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Photo credit

 

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Just the messenger

Speedy-Delivery-e1472106532704My clients and students have been getting the message this week and especially today that I’m now working remotely, offering circles and workshops by webinar, sessions by phone or Skype.

I can’t ethically put them or the public at risk when the public health division of your city and county issues the statement: “If you can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, consider postponing events and gatherings.”  “Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so. Taking these measures can help reduce the number of workers who come into contact with people with COVID-19 and help minimize absenteeism due to illness.”  See the full announcement here.

And yet if you look on the local community calendar listings, groups are still meeting, events still occurring.  Most of the schools are still open and people are going to work.

But driving around today just to get out of the house and take a walk, the streets are definitely more quiet.  There is caution and hesitation in the air.  The city feels ‘on hold’.

Pulling back from the daily rhythm of life is hard, but as a community, we are being asked to do this.  We aren’t being told to…yet.

The governmental leaders in enacting states of medical emergency, all have the power in one degree or another to cancel events and gatherings.

My preference would be to have the choice to opt-out rather than have it dictated to me.  It’s something I ‘am in control’ of in a situation that is very much out of control.

I realize that my ability to work from home is a privilege that not everyone has, but I am exercising that privilege for the greatest good of public health and to protect myself, my clients, students and larger community and world.

It’s my hope that this action along with the many tens of thousands (more?) of others who can work from home are all helping to contribute to slowing the transmission.

Because, the transportation hub that is Seattle has not ceased.  Planes still come in and out (except for the limitations imposed by the Feds), trains, ships, cars and buses are all still running, still taking people, infected or not all over the world.  If those channels were to have limitations imposed upon them, further disruptions will occur, of course.

We’re not there yet.  Our leaders, I feel, have been keeping our community informed every day, and now twice a day.  Each successive day since last week we’ve gotten updates and progressively more encouragement to withdraw and set limits on our social activities.

This is all still the ‘new normal’.  Many people I’ve spoken to seem to be in some early stage of grief about it:  Either flat out denial that this is really something to be worried about, that it’s being blown out of proportion by the media or they are angry that it’s intruding on their lives and disrupting the ‘flow’.

Some people are paying attention and making adjustments, but this is really just the beginning.

People who live elsewhere and have 1 or 2 COVID-19 cases in their community, I encourage you to look at how Seattle is handling the crisis.  It will probably serve as a model as more cases occur where you are.

It remains to be seen just how this develops and evolves, and I feel it’s always best in times of crisis to do only what you are really able to do.  Limit having to make too many decisions if you can and help out if you feel called to do so.

In my work as a community leader, I feel it important to serve as a connector for individuals to resources and information that may be helpful to make the most informed decisions.

Creating the (now) bi-weekly online healing circle/meditations, switching my classes to webinar and sessions to remote have all been blessings in disguise.  I’m still able to maintain connection and groundedness  with my community and to the people I serve despite how fast everything is rapidly changing.  It’s a touch point.  I’m grateful for the technology that exists today to permit this to occur.

I foresee the importance of maintaining this connection as we are either asked voluntarily or are required to make changes to limit social interactions.

People are social and usually do not fare well in isolation.

In future blog I hope to explore this last point.

In the meantime, keep calm and stay informed.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Photo credit

Calm in the storm

IMG_20200220_133021246Tonight the Reiki Fellowship connected around the shared experience that is the ‘new normal’ in the Seattle area.

We talked about ways to maintain good health, including exercising at home or going for walks/runs/biking vs. going to the very public gym.  We commiserated over the mob mentality at Costco and other stores and how public transit, despite best efforts, didn’t seem like a great idea.

I have lead in-person healing circles for many decades, but this was my first online version.  It felt rich and supportive to connect to others who have meditative and healing practices to help ground and center despite times of crisis and uncertainty.  Connecting in this way is the key to prevent feeling isolated in such times.

Below is the meditation I wrote and read followed by sending healing energy to the health care and frontline workers, patients, families, friends, loved ones, co-workers and all those effected in our area.

We also sent healing energy out in the future into the next day and days ahead as more is revealed.

We’ll be back online next week, 3/11 7:30-8:30pm.  If you care to join, please do so here.  Password 010470

Calming Meditation (read to  the music of Shamanic Dream)

Take this time to center yourself and receive the calming benefits of working with your breath.

Inhale deeply and exhale all the way down and through your body to the tips of your toes.

Now, let’s do that again.  Deep inhale and then exhale all the way through.

Feel the strength of that breath.  It is always with you and supports you in all that you do.  Day in and day out.

The changes of the world happen around you and yet here, in this moment is your breath.  Even and flowing.  Feel it now.

Your are sustained and held by the breath.  Give yourself permission to receive this time to be refreshed, rejuvenated and restored in the abundance of ki now flowing through your system.

Ki, prana, chi flows through the breath.  As we take this journey, we receive the benefit of this healing energy through every molecule of our being.

So, let’s get comfortable and settle in as we imagine ourselves taking a walk on a beautiful sunny spring day, like today through a wooded park.

The air has a slight chill to it, but the sun makes your skin feel warm and your body relaxed.  As you approach the trees lining the edge of the park you feel yourself take a deeper breath and feel the support of mother nature all around you.

As you walk onto the earthen path,   you feel the forest ground underneath your feet and you enjoy the sounds of birds chirping in the distance.  Inhale the serenity you are starting to invite into all of your being.

In gratitude, you take a moment and pause,  perhaps envisioning yourself opening your arms all the way and taking a deep inhale as you enjoy the comfort of being.

You feel all the thoughts and worries you had melt away and in it’s place is the calm, cool quiet of this shaded wood.

As you continue to walk through the park you notice distant sounds of the city, passing cars, maybe even a lawn mower.  But you are not disturbed.  You are part of this city and it is part of you.  You find yourself acclimating to the background noise.

Take another deep breath, return to the sensation of being in the forest.  You feel the connection to both nature and to the community you are part of.  In this moment, you are healthy, well and grounded and can even take a deep breath further into your own sense of well being.

Through each breath, you bring healing ki into your cells and the systems of your body:  cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal, nervous, lymph, reproductive and endocrine.

Each system responds by shining a different color with each breath you take.  Notice the various colors and textures with each breath.

Spend a few moments here inhaling healing ki into each system and notice what you notice.  Honor the pause here and be grateful for the effortless functioning of your body.

Now, in the next inhalation, take a full body scan from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and notice how you feel now within body and mind.

What’s different, what’s new, what’s still taking it’s time.

From this place you are now at, feel the centerdness within you and how present you are in the moment.

Remember this place when you need to feel the support and abundance of the healing energy all around you.  Take a few moments and inhale deeply.

Now, when you are ready, begin the process of returning back through the woods along the path.

When you reach the edge and are ready to return back from where you started, give thanks for taking this time.

You are healthy and well and full of light and the refreshing natural energy.

Give yourself time coming back at your own pace.  Perhaps first feeling your feet on the ground and your body in the chair you are seated in.

Next, take each arm and rub the tops of your arms and legs and slowly, slowly, come back to this space now.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst (includes photo)

 

 

 

 

Keep calm and stay informed

downloadToday was not an ordinary day in Seattle.  I turned on the news in the morning and the first story I heard started off with the death toll and active cases of COVID-19.  Of course by now, all the local officials are declaring states of emergency in reaction to this medical crisis.  That news, well, that’s enough for anyone.

But then, as many in this metropolitan area are already experiencing, schools and companies have closed for the day, days or even the week while they are being sanitized, even if only a few employees have been exposed to someone who was infected.

Containment is the goal, but the news has said our area has most likely already been exposed over the last six weeks and still, the estimated toll of this pandemic on the population in Washington state, or the rest of the US for that matter, has yet to be revealed.

Ok, so like a lot of folks in Seattle, I was wishing this was the script of some apocalyptic movie, but it is not.

So, I offered to remotely talk with my clients today, but bearing all of the above, they all chose to seek solace in the personal company of myself as their caring counselor.

Going into the office where other massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopaths work, we nodded to each other in solidarity.  A level of caution was felt for the first time in this holistic healing environment.

I prepared myself by centering and doing some self-Reiki before I saw my first client.

In session after session, the impact of this crisis is revealed at all the levels it effects:  companies curtailing domestic and international travel, instead, utilizing the existing infrastructure of telecommuting.   Large events are being postponed.  The stock market in flux.

One client called it ‘the new anxiety’, and I’d have to agree.  It’s a state of both anxiety and fear of the unknown and not being in control.

But instead of spiraling into despair, I encouraged my clients to rally around previous similar experiences and how they were able to come through the adversity,

I mentioned to my client to recall that after the events of 9/11 there was much uncertainty and fear and it took awhile before a sense of familiarity returned.   But despite the tragedy of the event, it was almost 20 years ago and so I encouraged her to recall something more recent.

I asked her to think of how she handled the recent summers in Seattle when we were engulfed in the choking wildfire smoke of British Columbia and advised to stay indoors and limit exposure to the air.  Those summers were not our ‘normal’ and many things were cancelled.  We all felt frustrated, disappointed and of course grateful when it resolved.

This situation has elements of both past traumatic events but in itself is a totally new experience of traumatic change.

I was honest with her.  I told her, in the coming days we will learn that there are more people infected and there will be more changes.  Much of it will be inconvenient and err on being conservative and prudent.

We talked about what we both had noticed in the grocery stores: empty shelves of water, cleaning wipes/hand sanitizer, medical supplies, and how the parking lots were more than half empty.

So what’s next?  Well, I would advise what the CDC guidelines are issuing forth, and also to be prepared with prescriptions and extra food/water because there may be more ‘mass buying’ as well as delays with distribution of supplies.

If you are feeling anxious, remember that is normal.  These are uncertain times.  Seek support for your emotional and mental health if you need to.  I am facilitating an online Reiki and meditation group March 4th at 7:30pm if you are interested.  The password is 789141

This was my experience of March 3rd, 2020

Copyright Eileen Dey Wurst, M.A., LMHC

Image credit

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