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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Deprivation and Abundance

I found a notice on my door the other day, with the words "Water System Shut Down" across the top in large, ominous type, announcing that today, the water would be shut off to our entire building for "necessary repairs" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Since I'm on a deadline and I'd already arranged to be here awaiting a delivery, I couldn't exactly move my office elsewhere, so I'm making do as best I can.

I've got the bathtub, a pitcher and several pots and pans filled with water just in case I need any for cleaning, not to mention other containers of drinking water, including one emergency bottle of seltzer. It's a bit inconvenient, but when I think of all the people in the world who don't have access to clean water, it seems shameful to complain about my faucets going dry for a few hours.

Over the past few weeks, life has been offering me gentle, and not-so-gentle, lessons in deprivation and abundance. When I traveled across the Atlantic last month, I did without at least one night's sleep, and while away from home I also had to get by without other aspects of my daily routine, such as meals, exercise, time to myself, and the freedom to come and go as I chose. Although I'd made arrangements in advance to get online to keep up with email and other business obligations, I found myself without Internet access and cut off from most other media and communications links as well (on the flip side, there was an abundance of email and other work waiting for me when I got home).

Each taste of deprivation reminded me of the abundance of my ordinary everyday life, and how much I take it for granted. I would love to say that I took each of those deprivations graciously as they occurred, but that wouldn't be honest. I'd be glad to report that through it all I kept up with my regular Reiki self-care, but it didn't happen that way (some days I only managed a minute or two). I did keep the Reiki precepts in mind the whole time, although there were periods when I found them impossible to follow. I worried, for example, even as I told myself not to, about leaving my business unattended, especially since I had expected otherwise and didn't even leave an "out of office' message on either phone or email. But even though I couldn't stick with the precepts 100 percent of the time (who can?), I still found them a helpful beacon in the fog of emotions.

Each and every one of us experiences some kind of deprivation every single day. If it rains, we are deprived of sunshine, but too many sunny days in a row can leave us deprived as well. Every choice we make is both positive and negative, just as choosing one item from a menu means not choosing all the other options. Whatever we don't have reminds us of what we do have, or at least it should, even if we don't always see it that way at the time.

So today, each time I go to the tap and am reminded that the flow has been interrupted, I promise myself that on subsequent days I will make note of the things I have that I didn't a day or a week or a decade ago, and be grateful for the days I do have them. And whatever I have in abundance each day, I vow to express my gratitude, and remind myself that it might not be there tomorrow.

Our regular Reiki Roundup has also been scarce in recent weeks, so this week we offer an abundance of stories in a catch-up Roundup.

We begin at the main temple on Mt. Kurama in Japan, the legendary birthplace of Reiki, as our Special Correspondent Michelle Shinagawa has posted another dispatch from her trip there earlier this year. Michelle, too, has experienced a bit of deprivation in recent weeks, as her computer crashed and for awhile it seemed she might have lost all her photos from the trip. Fortunately, she was able to get it repaired and she tells us it now works better than ever.

Next stop, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, where we find this week's Celeb-Reiki, Reiki practitioner Craig Gilbert. An intern-turned-freelancer for the New Haven Advocate, Gilbert got the rare distinction of being featured in a sendoff article as he moved on to a full-time job at a competing publication.

We remain in Connecticut for our next story, in which the 10,000 employees of Electric Boat in Groton have access to a fitness program that includes not only Reiki but self-defense training.

On to South Africa, where this week's reporter-gets-a-session article features a practitioner who combines Reiki with crystal work, a practitioner who must have felt some frustration when the crystal-covered reporter/client had to get up for a bathroom break in mid-session, as soon as all the stones were in place.

We move on to suburban Denver, Colorado, USA, where a successful Reiki practitioner is profiled in a business article, demonstrating that she's not just good at business, but also public relations.

In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA, we meet Mark Pappas, Reiki practitioner and blind golfer.

From there we travel to Naples, Florida, USA, where Reiki Master and columnist Silvia Casabianca recommends Reiki and meditation in a column headlined, "No Need to Take a Pill to Chill."

Our journey continues to Egypt, by way of a Canadian newspaper, where Reiki undergoes the scrutiny of security officials but seems to pass the test, even though it is unfortunately referred to as "New Age."

Next stop, the United Kingdom, where we are reminded that next Wednesday (October 10) is World Mental Health Day, and Reiki can be good for your mental health.

It's also Back Care Awareness Week in the UK, where Reiki gets a mention in an article about dealing with back pain.

On to Chicago, USA, where cardiologist Stephen Devries, M.D., author of the new book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Cholesterol, tells us that Reiki can help reduce the stress that leads to heart disease. Note that he does not say that Reiki can solve that problem all by itself.

Our final stop is literally a last stop for its patients: a hospice in Scotland where Reiki is part of a multidisciplinary approach to making the best of people's last days.

It's almost time for the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) Class with Reiki author Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki in New York October 19, 20, and 21, sponsored by The Reiki Digest, and since a couple of people who had planned to take the class won't be able to join us after all, we do still have a few spaces available. Contact editor@thereikidigest.com for more information.

The Reiki Dojo is back in action after a monthlong hiatus. Sessions open to the public at 8 p.m. each Monday at Chelsea Studios, 151 W. 26th St. in New York City. For more information, contact editor@thereikidigest.com.

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