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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reiki moves into emergency planning- support without fear

By Heather Alexander
Contributing Editor

Ana-Marie Jones

Is Reiki part of your emergency plan? It soon will be in Oakland, California. Reiki Master Teacher Ana-Marie Jones is launching a new disaster management program, which will include Reiki training. The idea is that Reiki can create the presence of mind to be able to deal with crisis situations like natural disasters, potentially helping others to stay safe. “We saw in Hurricane Katrina that there were a lot of people left on their own. If someone is stressed out and can't cope, Reiki can be a fabulous contribution,” says Ana-Marie, “It means you can do something, you can do hands on, you can also show people hara breathing but the best thing could be that you are the one that remains calm and confident.”

After many years working for the Red Cross and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Ana-Marie is now the Executive Director of CARD - Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters. CARD was set up to champion a “use no fear” approach to the preparedness movement. Where many emergency planning courses motivate people to prepare by scaring them about potential problems, CARD’s philosophy is to promote preparing as a way to make life better - they call it “prepare to prosper.”

After taking her Shinpiden (Master Teacher) training in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, Ana-Marie realized how closely CARD’s ideas fitted with the Reiki precept “do not fear” and so a plan to include Reiki training in their preparedness classes was born, “Most emergency management grossly violates the Reiki principles, especially “do not fear.” Our classes will be about instilling Reiki as one of the tools in your tool kit. Knowing where to get food or water is one thing; knowing how to invoke the Reiki principles is another - if you can stay centered and not stressed out you can end up the most helpful person on the scene.”

The people taking the classes will be from all walks of life. CARD currently trains everyone from local responders to those who will go off to major disasters like the earthquake in Haiti. Arthur Plitt has trained with Ana-Marie in the past and is also a Reiki practitioner and teacher. He works with the disabled community in Rhode Island helping to plan for hurricanes or floods, as well as for events like terrorist attacks. He says Reiki would be an invaluable tool, “Reiki creates mindfulness; it stops people getting too scared, too numb to do things. It gives preparedness within the mind.” He has previously been part of a more traditional preparedness training which in his view was much more aggressive and militaristic in style. He says with the Reiki approach comes a more “homey look” while still maintaining authority and support for people - support without fear.

Ana-Marie hopes to get the classes up and running as soon as possible. She says they are blessed to have a very progressive Department of Health where she works in Alameda County, “They want to work with what will work best in the community.” And Ana-Marie herself can testify to the benefits of Reiki in a crisis. She recently had to deal with potential riots after the trial of a local police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man. She says her practice was a great help, “Reiki has been such a fabulous addition to my response life, I’m feeling physically better even when working long hours and Reiki has allowed me to stay very calm.”

You can find out more about CARD at and email Ana-Marie directly at AMJ @

Heather Alexander is a former BBC reporter who's now a Reiki practitioner and teacher at Brooklyn Reiki.


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