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

Connecting beyond Social Media

All these digital ways of connecting to people feels like there a lot of folks in your life, but really, day-to-day, are there people you connect with in person?  Beyond work, beyond family, what about the pedestrian on the street?  When have you last talked to your neighbor?

I see too many people walking around texting and talking to someone not present when many people are milling right about them.  This isn’t a new observation, many see it too.  But is anyone making an effort to get to know the person right in their vicinity?

I’ve seen some novel attempts, like treasure hunts you engage in throughout your neighborhood, picking up clues from stores and sights which does allow for more interaction with shopkeepers then you usually would have.

But what if the treasure hunt was geared toward getting to know the people.  Hearing their stories.  What are their world views?

Then there is the Conversation Cafe movement, but in the town I live in there is just one gathering out of the hundreds of cafes.  I’ll have to attend the event to see if in fact people do gather and want to exchange ideas with each other.

Flash mobs get a lot of people together, but what happens after the event?  People generally disperse, and look at their phone for incoming messages.

Aaah!  Frustrating.  Especially living in a city.  Smaller towns and communities, by their nature, generally encourage more neighborly conversation.  Here’s a great link of 20 ways to get to know your neighbors.

Community organizations are probably the most appealing to me.  I went to a gathering last night that talked about the co-op structure in businesses to help create a better world.  But it was more a talk than a socializing event.  Icebreaking exercises needed to be encouraged.  But it was a step in the right direction.

Meetup.com has done wonders as well for getting people together.  It’s another step in the right direction.

Another revolutionary idea would be to leave that smart phone home for the day and walk your neighborhood with the intent on making connection.  Finding some local events would be good to put on the agenda as well as stopping for some coffee or tea and mingling for awhile.

Other ideas?  I’m open to suggestions, which is ironic, because those suggestions will come through the social media of a blog!  Gotta love it.

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Reiki for Inner Peace to balance Outer Chaos

The world still needs a lot of love and peace.  Looking at latest headlines, Violence in Syria’s Capital Even With a Cease-Fire, Pakistan test-fires a nuclear capable missile and yet at the same time a bomb has gone off at a train station in that country.

I’d like to dedicate tomorrow’s Distant Healing Group from 10-11am PST on 4/25 to cultivating Inner Peace in helping to deal with and balance outer chaos.  We did this last month and it’s a good time to repeat the intention.

I’d like to keep the whole hour as a time of meditation and sending healing energy to our own selves, families and communities with the intention of restoring an inner sense of calm.  Whether  you tune in for ten minutes or the whole hour, cultivate peace within.

From this center, waves can ripple outward, like a stone dropped in a pond.

Cultivating inner peace asks us also to look at and let go of those beliefs, habits and thoughts that don’t serve us or our relations.  What is getting in the way of a life of harmony?

Maybe it’s as simple as not having a morning cup of coffee to over stimulate our nervous system so that we are on ‘edge’ all day.  Maybe it’s saying kind words to our partners and friends, showing grattitude toward them instead of animosity.

Maybe it’s also about having loving thoughts for oneself, rather than judgements about what’s not ‘right’ with one’s body:  too fat, too thin, too old, etc.  Being ok with who you are just for that hour.

Also, looking at the judgements imposed on others, and for that hour, finding connection, rather than controversy in how we perceive the world.

If you have any thoughts during the session, you can post to my wall on FB.  To join the schedule of other distant healings, you can sign up on our meetup group.

See you tomorrow in the light!


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Connection, not accumulation, is transformation

Driving all around Puget Sound yesterday I was reminded of how many ‘things’ there are for consumers to buy and get distracted by.  All that was contrasted by various radio and media stories I listened to.

On the radio, NPR had a story about people in Arkansas who had gotten many lucrative benefits as the gas company moved in to their town.  In exchange they ended up with a series of earthquakes due to high-pressure water being injected into the earth to dig exploratory wells. Now their whole community was threatened, so they ended up bonding together to make a statement to the company and currently they have stopped the drilling due to their voices in unison.

Earlier I had heard a story about all the indulgences of the rock n’ roll lifestyle of the base player of the band Korn and how it had lead him to renounce it at his father’s passing.  None of the wealth he had accumulated could save the most important person to him.

The last story involved a young American man of Nigerian origin who’s father, all though never present in his life growing up, occupied much of his own desire to figure out his identity. When he finally connected with his father, although brief, the young man was brought back into his center.

These stories I heard on my journeys to bring Reiki to various shut-in clients filled me with much introspection.

What is really important when it comes to day-to-day?  The accumulation of things, although feel-goods for sure, are transient.  You can occupy your whole day shopping for things.  But I feel, and am reminded by these stories that the relationships and connections we have with others, although those too can be passing, somehow stay with us much, much longer.

Relationships effect us in ways consumer goods can only hope to.

We are all connected

If anyone tells you different, they are wrong!  We think we are so separate, because we have our individual bodies, our own thoughts, our personalities.

I live in this house, you live over there, you are Italian, I am American, etc.

But we all still breathe the same air, we drink water that ultimately comes from the same source.

My body has the same needs as yours:  to rest, to eat, to sleep, to eliminate, to receive pleasure and love.

But, in essence, we are the same.  And in that unity we are connected.

When we feel alone it’s only a perception.  I tend to take time for a deep breath when I have that feeling and realize that billions of other people and animals and plants are also taking that breath.

Connection returns.

Even if you live as a hermit, or recluse, you are still able to touch and be touched by the world, by the energy of the giant hum that is occurring right now under your feet.

Enjoy that, embrace it, and receive the wisdom it has to offer.

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