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

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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

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

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And the number is…

s-l300Since last week, my daily habits have changed significantly, including looking at the statistics of newly infected COVID-19 cases in Washington state.

Each morning, with my coffee in hand, I read the daily counts of infected and other news updates on what other part of the infrastructure has been effected.

Increased testing of the population in Seattle has begun.  UW School of Medicine has established a drive-through testing center in their parking garage on campus.  The governor has said that the university has used genetic modeling to show the likelihood at least 1000 cases in the state.

This isn’t just limited to long-term care facilities.  As the numbers come in, we are headed into serious measures that will impact our city and state.

Enjoy the freedoms you have now, they will change significantly with the infected case numbers being confirmed.  And..they will be coming in this week.

I am copying this news update by Daniel Bookman from this evening’s Seattle Times for you to read.  Specifically open the chart (‘shared’ link highlighted in red).  Italy has just done the 5th level of action in closing their country.

Seattle area official outlines potential next steps in coronavirus response

Seattle area public-health officials are “at the ready” to start ordering involuntary isolation and quarantines and are considering cancellation of major public events, with information coming soon, a top official said Monday.

Patty Hayes, director of Public Health — Seattle & King County, outlined potential next steps in the area’s effort to slow the spread of the virus at a Seattle City Council meeting and said officials are talking about what to do.

Hayes shared a Washington State Department of Health chart that listed five levels of actions that officials could take. Gov. Jay Inslee hinted at the ongoing discussions Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” saying the state’s response could involve “reducing the number of social activities that are going on.”

Although King County’s first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced less than two weeks ago, the area’s response already has ratcheted through Level 1 and Level 2.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

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What’s Next?

whats-next240x400With northern Italy now putting 16 million of their people in quarantine the US and more specifically, Seattle, where I live, is asking ‘what’s next?’.

Since starting an online Coronavirus support group/healing circle last week, residents of King County have been joining me and sharing their own personal experiences.  It’s been helpful to hear we aren’t alone in how our communities are responding to the crisis.

Coming together like this does help in reducing the sense of being isolated at a time when we will be encountering more restrictions of social interaction and gatherings in the weeks to come.

Our leaders in government have only offered recommendations rather than mandatory measures, but today there has been hinting that these initiatives will be coming to pass.

If you take a moment and do a little self-educating of how this virus has spread infects it’s hosts and you’ll see that in order to help defeat it’s spread, containment, including quarantine, is imperative.

Is it too late for that in Seattle?  It remains to be seen.  This next week we will hear about more cases and more deaths.

As several people in our online virtual groups have mentioned, just dealing with the daily news reports is anxiety producing.

So I talked about my last blog of being proactive rather than reactive.  If we are aware of how a virus spreads, and also that cases and deaths will continue, when we hear reports about it, we will be less surprised and shocked.

Also, if we can continue to monitor ourselves, taking care of our health, getting enough sleep, boosting our immunity with vitamins, fresh fruits and fresh air, we really are doing as much as we possibly can.

I recommend following the advice from the Department of Health to avoid large groups of people, especially inside buildings or when close together at events.  I feel that whether you have health complications or are healthy it is probably a good idea for everyone at this time.  You can be a carrier for the virus and not even know it.

This weekend I went out to the nearby mountains as well as to a museum in town.

I observed plenty of fellow Seattlites and Washingtonians taking time to be outside as the weather became a bit sunnier today.  I saw them out at the farmers markets and on the nearby ski slopes.  I noticed only a dozen or so people within the Asian Art museum itself, but many were walking around the grounds outside.   It seemed to met people kept their distances from each other (the 6 feet recommended?).  It wasn’t awkward, but it was apparent.

Perhaps if and when measures are enacted to limit indoor gatherings, the outdoors will become our sanctuary and haven as it is already for so many of us.

Keep calm and stay informed.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

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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

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The small town returns

tmg-article_default_mobileFinishing out this first week of living at the center of this epidemic, it was apparent to me how many details of living in a metropolitan area had dramatically changed.

When I added up the several tens of thousands of employees of all the major tech companies in Seattle that had been requested by their employers to work from home, I calculated that probably over 150,000 people were most definitely not on the road ways, on the sidewalks or in the stores.  That’s the population of a small town.

I’ve read some articles calling Seattle a ‘ghost town’ but that’s not accurate.  What I see driving and walking around Seattle reminds me of what it looked like when I moved here back in 1999.  You only had a little traffic during rush hours, but otherwise, you got around the city pretty efficiently.

Back then, there was still a ‘small town’ aspect to the city.

That aspect seems to have returned.  There seems to be several small towns existing right now:  Virtual and In-person

The virtual small town of Seattle are those 150K+ people working from home.  Many of those who work in technology are no stranger to doing their work virtually, it’s a familiar place.  Not just workers but students are now also part of this, as several universities also switched all their classes from in-person to online.

The in-person small town of Seattle are all those people that continue to work in retail, public transit, or services like the health care systems still functioning that don’t have the option or don’t want to go virtual.

Those that are still meeting in-person are continuing to  interact with each other, but with modifications like the yoga teachers I know who continues to hold smaller public classes (taking away shared props and mats) or the therapists who still meet with their clients in office, stocked full of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.

I went out to the shopping mall for an hour just to see what that was like on a Friday night.  I found it sparse, but not empty.  Going through Sears, my partner Richard and I nearly had the store to ourselves.  I counted 8 people (including the clerks).  A few shoppers were wearing face masks.  I was happy to see people doing the ordinary browsing and shopping.  I’m happy people are still living their lives despite the extraordinary circumstances of this epidemic.

Each day, we are all making decisions whether to be more restrictive in our interactions and gatherings, how much or if we chose to wash our hands and whether or not we should start to prepare for this as our way of being for the rest of the month.

Tonight I’m left with the thought that despite the adversity of the week, life carries on.  Thank goodness for that.  We’ll need that strength and determination in the weeks ahead.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

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