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

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

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

Cultivate Best Practices

IMG_20200308_124432205_BURST000_COVER_TOP‘We need to prepare for a marathon’ one of my clients, who works in public health, shared with me thinking about the months ahead.

It already feels like we have been enduring, as Seattle and it’s residents lived 90 days without sun over the winter.  The pattern finally started to break only in mid-February.

Today’s presidential declaration of a national emergency will be very beneficial and assist us and the rest of the US during the weeks to come.  My concern is that we need to have the stamina to go the distance this is going to require.

So, how to do that?  I’ve been telling my clients for the past week they have to find ways to lower the stress levels in their everyday lives.  Lowering stress increases resilience.  Resilience is needed for the endurance required to go this distance.  I recorded a guided meditation album to assist in cultivating these qualities.

This is the time to practice Reiki, meditation, yoga, go for walks, read books, journal, do puzzles, binge watch programs and movies, do arts and crafts, etc.

If you are an extrovert and like to be around people, this is time to get more comfortable with online platforms that permit virtual meetings.

There are places where you can volunteer to organize and distribute breakfasts and lunches for the kids who are now staying home from school.

One client said she was considering getting  an additional pet.  Another said she was going to do some solo camping.  Another said she was supporting local businesses by purchasing gift certificates and ordering delivery.

Do what you can do to fill your well.  Tune out the news and/or your internet connection for a period of time.  Stay informed but not to the detriment of your mental health.

Some ski resorts said they are still open.  Check and see what is feasible for you, your budget and also your own risk.

This is the time to cultivate good sleeping, eating and exercising habits.

And please reach out to friends, family and neighbors, by phone or email.  Having social support will be the net to hold you in the coming weeks.

Keep calm and stay informed.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst and Photo

 

 

Keeping sane keeping compartments

91Gph1pFN4L._AC_SX466_We are living in an extraordinary time.  Even if the pandemic is not in your city (yet) you are affected by it in some way.

I’ve found as a counselor working with my clients, that even in the best of circumstances, underlying conditions like anxiety and depression are difficult to manage.

Add in an extra external stress and it can be the tipping point.

I’ve been advising clients to manage their stress as best as they can and to think of self-care practices they can do each day that will be sustainable during this time of dramatic change.

I think one practice might be compartmentalizing.  It can be a useful short-term strategy to navigate the tide of anxiety.

I emphasize short-term strategy because at some point, when the crisis subsides, one can begin to properly process more deeply the effects and feelings of the prolonged stress.

There also may be periods within the crisis where one can process as well.

So how do you begin to compartmentalize this experience?  I like to think of it like a filing system that you can imagine in your mind.

Start with the first folder: “Coronavirus Epidemic”.  Just putting it into a folder usually feels a bit better, something is now there that can ‘hold’ it for the moment.

Maybe underneath it you start to build sub-folders  like ‘Stats of cases’ ‘Local government actions’ ‘Department of Health advice’ as well as more personal sub-folders like ‘How does this effect me?’ ‘How does this effect my family?’ ‘How does this effect work?’ ‘How does this effect travel?’.

Then sub-folders underneath those sub-folders to spell out more options like the following:

Coronavirus Epidemic—How does it effect me?—I am healthy—I maintain my health—i.e. exercise, eat well, sleep well, maintain social networks.

But then you get to that last one, ‘social networks’ to help maintain health and then you start to deal with a government suggesting social distancing and abstaining from gatherings.  But this doesn’t have to feel like a wall.

I encourage you to create another folder, entitled something like ‘Creative solutions’.  So when you end up reaching an obstacle in your filing system, you can put ideas into this folder that may lead to solutions.

I recommend to all my clients to utilize both social media and online support groups and meetups for additional social support.  For those on a path of sobriety, you can find an extensive list of online 12 step support groups: https://www.12step.org/social/online-meetings/

Meetup is offering some of it’s groups online also.  If you know of others, please leave comments and share.

Keep calm and stay informed.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst and photo credit

Another perspective

I’ve been watching Dr. Campbell over the last week and found his perspective very enlightening and helpful in making sense of how the virus has been playing out in the US and the world at large.

I want to introduce you to him if you haven’t met before:

Hello Everyone, My name is John Campbell and I am a retired Nurse Teacher and A and E nurse based in England. I also do some teaching in Asia and Africa when time permits. These videos are to help students to learn the background to all forms of health care. My PhD focused on the development of open learning resources for nurses nationally and internationally.

LinkedIn profile, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/dr-john-campbell-5256223b

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