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

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

 

 

Happiness of a job well done Day 13

Eileen as Pioneer Square Ghost at Fire Fest Shots 7-12-08A weekend of teaching Reiki makes me feel like I’m dancing through the crowd playing my accordion!  Light, playful and full of spirit!  When students want to learn, being a teacher is the greatest job!  And when a group gets along with each other, the day feels effortless!

I’ve been teaching since 1997, hundreds and hundreds of classes, groups and people from all over.  I know my material for sure.  But there is a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ preparation that goes into a successful class.

For one, it’s making sure the location you are teaching at will meet your students needs.  This weekend has been a scorcher for Seattle, so having fans ready to blow when the late afternoon sun heats things up was key.

Making sure the area was as cat-free as possible, based on several students having allergies.  I’m so happy a Rhumba, a computerized vacuum came into my life, because it picks up fine hair like no other.

Class materials in order, music selected, filtered water full, snacks ready to go, check, check, check!

And always being aware of the timing of the class.  I give a lot of room for discussion, but if I know that by lunch break we need to have accomplished items 1, 2 and 3, then I’m mindful to wrap up the conversations or go to lunch a little later, as was the case this weekend.

And then, after its over, it usually takes me a good hour to just ‘come down’ from the ‘high’ of having a successful class.  Cleaning up helps, and in this case, going to get some reflexology was what really began to bring me back to earth.

I’m honored to do this work and extremely happy at how it supports me, my students and the world at large.

Eileen Dey 2014

Future Job Postings: Reiki Practitioners and Teachers

bbafc6f9c92238db1161b3ac766dcb61Imagine in the not-to-distant future when you will scroll job postings and find multiple listings for the following:

Hospital Job Listing:  Compassionate, skilled and grounded Reiki practitioners to offer pre- and post-operative treatments.  Data collection skills required for conducting follow-up research of patient healing. 40 hours/week. $35-50/hr depending on experience. CPR and Reiki state certification required.  Please send resume and references.

Vocational School Job Listing:  Engaging and knowledgeable Reiki teacher with 5+ years’ experience to develop curriculum and teach Reiki levels to adult students.  Comfortable and able to work with class size range of 10-40 students including veterans, elderly and disabled.  Position requires active publication of articles and research related to Reiki profession.  Supervision of instructor trainees also.  40 hours/week.  $50-75/hr depending on experience. CPR and Reiki state certification required.  Please send resume and references.

What it will take to get to this future will be a change in the structure of how Reiki is currently taught.

There is no universal standard or consensus for Reiki education.  It is a vast and broad range.  Some books and websites claim you can ‘be a Reiki master’ after reading their material.    No internship is required for this ‘instant’ training.  Then there are actual training programs that teach Reiki from other world-views mixing Shamanism, Native American, Egyptian and newly invented traditions.  What ‘Reiki’ is gets confused with other points of view.

Finding one standard is probably going to be impossible within the self-empowered, autonomous and non-regulated Reiki profession.

However, I propose to work with existing models that have proven effective:  training programs that provide continued mentorship to students through practice circles and community outreach, waiting periods between levels of training, emphasis on student’s self-growth, ethics, boundaries and case study discussion to further prepare the students for real-life clients and an extensive internship for teachers-in-training to feel competent in order to facilitate classes of any size and demographic.

Once the bar for Reiki training is elevated and a standard agreed upon, individual training programs that exist can modify their existing content and submit to a state-authorized program for approval.  In WA state that is the Workforce Training Board.

Training programs would fall under the vocational school requirements and be subject to license and application fees, subject to audits and required to collect student data to guarantee the legitimacy of their existence.

Massage schools follow these same requirements.  Having this structure has allowed for the advancement of massage in both salary, authenticity and insurance reimbursement.

I feel it’s time for Reiki practitioners and instructors serious about their profession to step up to the plate and defend their years of study, practice and service as a rightful vocation.  I know this will cause controversy.  But I think we need to continue talking about this.

Currently, I am engaged in a conversation about this on Linked In with other like-minded Reiki instructors.  I encourage you to join the dialogue and contribute your own thoughts.

I would like to see those job postings I started this article with in my life time.  I feel this is an attainable goal.  Are you with me?

Copyright 2013 Eileen Dey Wurst

Photo credit

I learned Reiki, now what?

After teaching a full weekend of Reiki classes I often wonder if students are pondering this question.  I advise to continue daily self-Practice and attend local Reiki circles to keep ‘in the flow’ of the energy, but I often feel they want something more.

That’s my challenge as an instructor, because the ‘more’ is really in the practice.  And practice seems so mundane and regular…and yet, yes, it is, but that’s really what allows students to progress further on the path.

Additional events, like Reiki Soundscape, where musicians play to a Reiki circle are fun excursions, and further opportunities to meet community.

Offering mini sessions to co-workers, family members and friends also can assist in re-creating the experiences that occurred in the training workshop.

Ideally, I’d like to see the tradition of ‘Reiki Dojo’ or practice hall set up, just as there are yoga studios to go to.  But until that happens (such endeavors are small business risks, of course), students can start where they are.

Tuning in to the weekly Distant Reiki Group is one alternative.  Or, they can create a space in their room or home where they devote daily attention to exploring what healing energy can do.

Then, beyond the home, out in the world, nature provides further connection in the offering of Reiki to trees, lakes, rivers, wildlife, etc.

If that’s not available, find your local dog park, zoo, animal shelter, botanical garden.  Any and every living thing will respond to the healing power of Reiki intention.

You don’t have to always do hands-on Reiki, you can offer from afar with the projection of your own mind/third eye or hands held up in offering.

Taking related courses in chakras, meridians and meditation also can assist grasping the power of this technique.

And above all, be patient.  Learning Reiki is a process.  You don’t ‘get’ the whole system in one day or one week.  It takes time, integration, and yes, that wonderful word, practice.

Photo credit

Touching the World Through Reiki in Corfu, Greece

My book tour had taken me all over the US and by the time I got to Corfu, Greece, I had reached my furthest point for my work, some 6,000 miles from home.

Corfu is a lush mountainous gem in the Mediterranean.  Online I had met the Reiki master, Costas Theologou through our mutual colleague, William Rand.  When I told him I was coming to Corfu on my trip, he extended out a warm welcome.

Costas and his lovely wife Janet, met us at the dock when our ship came in and immediately we felt a strong connection and started talking things metaphysical.

It’s an interesting experience to go from 3 days of traveling through Rome and Dubrovnik, as a sightseer, to then putting on my own Reiki master hat and seeing Greece totally focused through that lens.

Costas took us on a tour of his town, and then drove Richard and I out to his amazing estate, amidst hills of olive and fruit trees where he and his wife have been teaching Reiki for over a decade.

He has been the sole Greek translator for all of Karuna Reiki and we talked about the possibilities for the Reiki Training Program and my book in Greece.

Sipping coffee on his veranda, we looked out over the bay, talking about the challenges of teaching Reiki in Greece, which often sees the modality as a superstitious practice.  That mindset, combined with the current economic situation in his country was making it challenging to have Reiki as a livelihood.

I mentioned the importance of holding space for the work, regardless of views and opinions.  As we talked, the Universe seemed to resonate, and Costas received a phone call from a student interested in one of his classes.  We both smiled.

The day ended with the most amazing Greek food I have ever eaten:  Grilled lamb, tzatziki sauce, fresh pita, moussaka, and hand pressed olive oil from Costa’s own grove, which he lovingly gave me in a bottle to take back.

He said the olive tree is sacred and powerful, the leaves used as crowns by the ancients.  He took a spoonful each morning and claimed it was ‘stronger than Red Bull’!

Departing that evening, I felt completed in the mission of my book, touching the world and being touched by the influence of Reiki, a healing modality that spans the globe and defies any boundary.  A uniting force for people and world peace.

The beginning for Reiki masters

This weekend, a group of 6 advanced Reiki students will take the first step toward becoming certified Reiki masters.

They are ending one chapter of their training, and now will begin applying it in practice, under mentorship and guidance to upcoming classes.

In their “Reiki Master Rights and Responsibilities” workshop, they will each present demonstrations and talks on various aspect of Reiki to demonstrate proficiency.

I always am so amazed at how far they have come, some only in the span of 6 or 7 months.

Others have taken over a year.  Each student walks their own Reiki path.

After presenting to their peers, we then go into the attunement space for several hours, practicing this sacred ritual, giving and receiving in hightened energetic space.

It’s a graduation and a passing of the torch.  I smile with pride.

Etiquette for Reiki circles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to effectively express Reiki to others part 1

I started having to explain what Reiki is over 15 years ago after taking my first Reiki class.  My friends and family wanted to know what was this ‘energywork’ I had begun to take an interest in.

I would attempt to explain that “Reiki is a gentle method of stress reduction that involves light touch”.  That seemed simple enough.  But then, they wanted to know why the energy felt so strong?   Where did it come from?   How come it seemed to be healing not only their immediate headaches, but also granting a sense of peace?  Aah, now, how was I going to explain this?

And so began the process of learning to become an effective speaker and teacher of Reiki.

I’ve found it helpful to have a collection of short statements to explain Reiki, for those times when you are in an elevator or at the checkout counter or speaking to your bank teller and they ask the ubiquitous question, “What is Reiki?”

Having a 30 second answer

A very simple, straightforward answer to assist with that question I have found is:  “Reiki is like acupuncture without needles”.  Most people know what acupuncture is, and that statement seems to either give the inquirer enough to satisfy their curiosity or can be a segue into a whole discussion about the Reiki system itself.  You can use the basis of acupuncture as a starting point, because the needles inserted into various points along the meridian channels stimulate the flow of chi, which assists the body and mind to coming into balance, just as Reiki does, hence, without needles.

I like the acupuncture statement better than one aligning Reiki with massage, because although a client may lay on a massage table in receiving a Reiki treatment, there is no physical manipulation of the fascia.  And clients remain clothed.  The massage analogy can end up complicating your own conversation, so I’d recommend steering clear of that analogy.

Another short statement can be “It is a hands-on-healing technique that facilitates stress reduction through a calming of the nervous system”.    That is a pretty straight-forward and concrete answer and might be used in conjunction with the other listed above.

Longer answers:  preparation and practice

You begin to discern who your audience is and what their needs are when they ask you questions.  Being prepared with opening statements, like the ones mentioned above, begins to facilitate dialogue.

Next, I would recommend writing down several of your own personal or client stories and practice telling them to yourself or your friends.  You might even want to record yourself so you hear what you sound like.  In a way, you are doing your own “Reiki rehearsal” just as an actor would in getting comfortable with the lines of their play.

I’ve had several professional videos recorded of me explaining Reiki on YouTube.  It’s a great way of getting your message out there as well as critiquing your own presentation style.  When I look back at those videos, I realize what I needed to have done in several of them was have more of an outline of what I was going to talk about and being a bit more specific in tailoring my talk to a general audience.

I learned from that ‘rehearsal’ and began to customize several of the ways in which I discuss Reiki.  For instance, talking about Reiki to professionals of a certain field, such as doctors or nurses, it’s important to back up your talk with scientific research and specific case studies.  Talking to a group of seniors or to veterans, they might also want research and specific applications to help their own concerns like chronic pain or disease.

I would advise a review of the studies that have been done on Reiki.  A great resource is http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org.

Presenting to a group of individuals who are already familiar with Reiki, such as at holistic and new age bookstores and centers, the audience might want to know how Reiki is different than Healing Touch, or Shiatsu.

I found during my Reiki book tour which logged over 10,000 miles and 20 book stores, that each group I presented to had unique questions.  I would review my book as well as make a list of various talking points before presenting at each store.

My group, Reiki Fellowship, also participated in monthly Reiki blessings of the Duwamish River in Seattle over 6 months.  Each time we met, I would give an introduction on Reiki, the work we are doing as well as answer any questions related to environmental Reiki.

Just like the system of Reiki itself, an effective speaker becomes a master through constant practice.

Comet the Cat: Gives himself Permission to Receive

If you’ve ever met Comet, my Russian Blue, you know he loves to receive attention, love and Reiki.  Not necessarily in that order.

He is the perfect example of giving himself permission to receive from others.   He quietly, unashamedly takes what you have to offer.  Deep, deep into the depths of a cat soul.  It’s very grounding and soothing for the one offering. Whether it’s holding him in a loving embrace, stroking his soft fur, singing to him, dancing with him, giving a massage, telling him how special he is…he just is the quintessential love sponge.

He just loves to be loved.  He’s making up for lost time as a kitten being given away at the shelter apparently because his prior owners had ‘too many cats’.  Somehow he knew he’d end up in my home with only one other feline, Suki, to keep him company.  The two of them are soft touchstones for my students and clients.  Sometimes they get a little rambunctious and need to be put in another room, which isn’t their favorite thing to be penned up, from their prior experience, but they’ll tolerate it.

As I’m writing this Suki is making all kinds of meowing sounds as if to say, ‘hey, don’t just dedicate that blog to the big guy, remember me too”.  How can I not honor you too little Suki?!  She’s come a long, long way from being the timid and shy creature she was 2 years ago.  She actually gives love and Reiki back to you.  Comet could take a lesson or two from her.  But that remains to be seen.

He’s got his whole persona pretty much figured out.  Why change?  He’s got a good thing going! I swear he seems to be smiling with this insight.  “Ah yes, Permission to Receive, all this adoration, all this love, all this healing, mine, mine, mine…look how far I can go with it, come into my vortex of self-love…remember to treat yourself so kindly.  Don’t give away so much, take time for you”.  Thanks Comet, my little outer space friend.  A whole blog to you, geez, just what you’d appreciate!

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