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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Carnival of Healing #117 -- Special Solstice Edition

Lay-deez annnd gentlemen! The Reiki Digest welcomes the Carnival of Healing for our last edition of 2007.

Today we also celebrate the solstice. Whether this is the shortest day of the year where you are, or the longest, welcome.

Usually we stick to the subject of Reiki here, but this week only, we're widening our focus to the topic of healing in general.

To our regular readers who may be wondering, we'll begin by explaining what the Carnival of Healing is and why it might be of interest. And to our visitors stopping by to check out the Carnival, we'll tell you a little about The Reiki Digest as well.

The Carnival is a weekly collection of blog posts on the topic of healing, organized by's Guide to Holistic Healing, Phylameana Iila Desy, who -- among other things -- practices Reiki. (She also has an even more unusual name than I do!), now owned by The New York Times, was established in 1996 to help web surfers find their way around cyberspace. Even then, there was more information available online than anyone could possibly absorb, so the 600 or so guides sort through some of it for us. The guides can't do all that work alone, however, so Phylameana set up a weekly blog carnival with guest hosts to sort through a bit of the blogosphere. This week, that's yours truly.

Last week's Carnival of Healing was hosted by Coaching 4 Lesbians and next week it will move on to Lessons from a Recovering DoorMat.

Sorting through anything in cyberspace involves sorting through spam as well, and frankly, some of the submissions to this week's carnival seemed to be little more than that. Not a surprise, since contributors to the Carnival use a handy online form to send in their submissions, and it's up to the guest host, not Phylameana or, to separate the wheat from the chaff. It still requires human eyes, as it were, to humanize the Internet.

To our first-time visitors, welcome and we hope you enjoy the Carnival of Healing. You're the guest of The Reiki Digest, a weekly publication about Reiki. What's that? Our first Carnival contributor, Paula Hirsch, answers that question in The Art of Reiki at Authentic Insight.

Isabella Mori at Change Therapy submitted a link to someone else's video journal, but we prefer a more recent post on the subject of moving forward after bad work experiences, that better showcases Mori's counseling skills.

At The Next 45 Years, Alex Blackwell addresses The Two Things We Want Most.

Next week's Carnival of Healing host, Daylle Deanna Schwartz at Lessons from a Recovering DoorMat, shares a lesson on taking responsibility for our own health in a post titled Beating my High Cholesterol and Thyroid.

No carnival would be complete without food, but at the Carnival of Healing you'll find no cotton candy or fried food. Instead, we have some more nutritious offerings, such as Steve Pavlina's post telling us about why he's been a vegan for the past decade. Also on the menu, FitBuff's Foods High in Fiber, Roger Haeske's Having Trouble Staying Raw, It May Not Be Your Fault at Raw Food Diet, Bodyweight Fitness and Peak Performance Living, and Green Tea and Weight Loss from Stanimir Sotirov at All About Your Body And Spirit.

How about some homemade miso soup to go with that green tea? There's a recipe at our next stop. Real-life carnivals typically include a "Guess Your Age" attraction, but our Carnival features instead A Super Anti-Aging Diet That Will Make You Look 10-20 Years Younger (editor's note: that's not our claim; we're just passing along the headline) from Marcus Ryan at Wrinkle Creams Review. Hmmm. Could it be that healthy eating can do more for your appearance than any wrinkle cream?

There's no substitute for a healthy diet, says Amy Bangs at Skint in London, whose Carnival contribution is Top Ten Health Supplements You Really Don't Need to Buy.

Cindy S at Natural-Wellness takes the numbered list up a notch and adds an exclamation point with 11 Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet!

Doing some last-minute holiday shopping at the Carnival? Weight Loss Dude James D. Brausch offers Five Gifts For Those Losing Weight.

At Lifecrafting, Andrew Michaels offers a dietary solution to headaches in Never Suffer a Headache Again.

If the pain is in your wrist, Lovelyn at Where We Relax offers a post on Self-Massage To Ease Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel.

All statements about health and medicine -- or anything else, for that matter -- in the Carnival of Healing are the responsibility of the authors, as The Reiki Digest does not prescribe, diagnose, or otherwise practice medicine.

That's enough reading to last until next year, and coincidentally, this is the last edition of The Reiki Digest for this year. Happy Holidays to all, and we'll see you again on January 3, 2008.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gifts, gifts, gifts, and more gifts

Gifts: Part 1

This week's edition is our gift to you. In fact, every edition of The Reiki Digest is our gift to you because it's free, whether you subscribe to the email edition, read it on our web site, or get the RSS feed. We hope you enjoy it and hope you'll keep reading this publication for years to come. And we thank our advertisers for helping keep this a free publication.

While this publication, like most, does include ads, it is not in itself advertising. Nor is it unsolicited -- subscriptions to The Reiki Digest are opt-in only. So it saddened us last week when one of those opt-in readers reported this publication as spam -- unsolicited commercial email. Because of that false charge, the email edition is encountering blocks with some Internet Service Providers. If you're a subscriber and you haven't received the email edition on schedule, please contact and we'll send it to you again with apologies for the inconvenience.

On the other hand, if you no longer want to receive this publication, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of every email.

While we offer The Reiki Digest to you at no charge, we do place some conditions on what you can do with it. We publish under a Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" license that allows you to use the material with attribution for noncommercial purposes only. The pages we link to here are most likely published under copyright by their owners, but there is no restriction on linking to them. For that matter, anyone who wants can link to The Reiki Digest. But last week, one web site went a step beyond linking, publishing last week's post as if it were part of their own publication. To make matters worse, the site also posted a photo of an unknown woman -- not me -- with the article. Worse still, the site uses the name of a publication that's been around for years: The Reiki Times, published by the International Association of Reiki Professionals. And it gets even worse: the person taking advantage of our generous license has put his own copyright on our material! The publisher contacted us to say his use of our material meant we had won a "featured in Reiki Times" award. Thanks for the compliment, but....

Gifts: Part 2

This week's edition is also our gift to you in another way, because we hereby offer -- under the same "Some Rights Reserved" license -- a few gifts that come in 31 syllables: waka, written by a new Reiki practitioner, my husband Michael Dagley.

Waka are poems, and Reiki founder Mikao Usui recommended a specific group of 125 waka, written by the Meiji Emperor of Japan, for use in meditations, including them in the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei, or manual. Translations of the Hikkei are available online here in 5 languages (a gift from Canadian Reiki Master Teacher Richard Rivard).

Michael's waka are not translations of the Meiji Emperor's, but they are inspired by them. I'll let him tell you more:

Janet asked if I would write a few words about how I came to write waka. In fact, I became totally fascinated by the waka poetic form. It started simply enough: she asked if I would try to write one for the Reiki Dojo based on one of those composed by the Emperor Meiji. (Janet, as you might have noticed, honors copyright and refuses to make use of copyrighted material without having prior permission.)

So I took a look at the renderings of several of the poems in English -- more translations of the intent, not actual translations -- and I put myself to the task of fitting such ideas into the tight constraints of this amazing form: one is allowed only five lines, the first and third consisting of five syllables, the others of seven (5-7-5-7-7).

She asked for one on a Monday morning so she could use it that evening. I looked over the options and chose one, Isasaka no, the point of which is that even dust can obscure the beauty of a perfect jewel:

A diamond’s hard face
Can by mere dust be obscured,
Its true reflections
Dimmed, as a heart burdened
By powdery motes of doubt.

I thought little more of it until the following Monday, when she asked if I would compose another. I did so, the next one based on Mizo:

Though water adapts
To fit each unique vessel
It should ever grace,
Its droplet tapping rhythm
Grinds great granite peaks to sand.

By then I was hooked on the form and found that waka were coming to me unbidden, even waking me at night. I find I suddenly have a great interest in Japanese history, the Emperor Meiji, and Reiki ... and I am in the habit of composing a new waka every day.

Here are a few more of Michael's waka:


To fly each fledgling
Must risk plunging from its perch,
Landing hard upon
Its breast, only to struggle
Up the tree to try again.


The herd rides the rim
Of the ever-turning wheel,
Chasing sensation,
Dizzily spurning the calm
Of the motionless axle.


The boulder beneath
The tender sprouting pine cone
Forces roots to stretch
For earth, trapping the hard stone,
The pine tree safe in high winds.

Gifts: Part 3

If you're looking for more tangible Reiki items to give your loved ones this season, perhaps one (or more) of these items in our online store might work. There's our Reiki teddy bear, Reiki greeting cards and of course magnets featuring the winning "What Does Reiki Look Like?" image from Reiki Master Scott Kravis.

For the Reiki practitioner in your life (or even yourself), we recommend a gift that's delivered right to the recipient's inbox -- the online support programs for Reiki practitioners from the International House of Reiki. Both the 21-day Reiki Program and the 5-day Remembering Program will breathe new life into daily Reiki practice.

For yoga enthusiasts, aromatherapists, Reiki practitioners, and anyone who enjoys beautiful aromatherapy candles, the new Chakra Candles from Dancing Light Candles are an ideal gift. Give one, or give the whole set.

Gifts: Part 4

While we're not requesting gifts here at The Reiki Digest, we do want to make it possible for you to toss a few coins in our tip jar if you'd like to show your appreciation. Just click here to make your optional contribution securely via PayPal.

Next week: We close out the year by hosting the Carnival of Healing. Because the Carnival is a Saturday event, we'll be adjusting our schedule accordingly, so our next issue will be published December 22.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Reiki, stress, and the holidays

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Or so claims the incessant holiday music that fills the air in December, along with equally incessant pressure to buy, buy, buy -- for your loved ones, for yourself, and of course for the economy. Gifts can be a nice way to keep the energy flowing, but holidays aren't just about presents. They're about something far more important: presence. We gather together for the holidays, with people we love and with people we might not get along with so well.

The month of December gives us a year's worth of opportunities to answer the question, "So what are you doing these days?" Each time we have the opportunity to say, "I practice Reiki." Or not. I still remember one somewhat distant family member's reaction a couple of years ago when I explained that I practiced natural healing arts. "I don't believe in natural healing," he declared. Thanks in part to my Reiki training, I just smiled and stifled the urge to reply by asking, "So you only believe in unnatural healing?"

Fortunately Reiki does not require belief on the part of either practitioner or recipient. That's one reason it's practiced by people of all faiths, and even agnostics and atheists. So whatever holidays you may celebrate this time of year, Reiki can help make them more enjoyable for all.

Even if your family happens to be conflict-free, you may run into holiday stress while shopping, traveling, or at work.

Holidays, like emergencies, are a time when ordinary rules are broken, regular routines suspended. They're also very busy times. But it's important to hang on to at least one regular routine: your Reiki practice. Maybe you can't devote as much time or energy to your meditations and self-care during the holidays, but don't just suspend your practice. Modify it or abbreviate it if you must, but keep on keeping yourself grounded and balanced.

Holidays also mean high expectations, and unrealistic ones at that: our culture tells us we're supposed to be happy, and make other people happy, this time of year, so when we or our loved ones feel something other than happy, we're disappointed.

When frustration, disappointment, or other negative emotions cloud your holiday celebration, Reiki can help. Here's how:

Remember the precepts. If you stay humbly in the present, avoiding anger and worry, your presence will be a gift to yourself and the people around you. The Times of India had a nice article about the Reiki precepts headlined, "Invite Happiness Into Your Daily Life" just the other day.

Breathe. Use the Reiki breathing technique of your choice, or simply breathe slowly and deeply into your hara center (also known as the tanden) -- your lower abdomen.

Use your counseling skills. If you're a professional Reiki practitioner, you should have learned counseling skills as part of your training. If you didn't get that from the person who taught you Reiki, find another teacher to help you learn how to listen effectively, mirroring your client and reflecting their words back to them. Everyone will enjoy your company all the more, and keeping the focus on others may help you avoid any awkward questions about you.

For more Reiki-related ways to deal with holiday stress, check out this column in the Norwalk, Connecticut, Advocate by Reiki practitioner Kimberly K. Kristoff, and these handy hints from the Herald-News in suburban Chicago, headlined, "Let there be peace during the holidays, and let it begin with you.".

Reiki shows up in a couple of other holiday-related stories this week -- in Berryville, Virginia, a Reiki center won a prize for decorating a parking meter as a "Spirit of Christmas" tree. Back in suburban Chicago, animals got a chance to receive Reiki when "Santa Paws" and "Mrs. Claws" visited a local animal shelter. And in Nevada City, California, a local Reiki practitioner is literally painting the town for the holidays.

Before we move on to the rest of our bountiful Reiki Roundup, let's meet this week's Celeb-Reikies. First up is a second-time Celeb-Reiki, Agyness Deyn, Britain's new Model of the Year, who got her unusually spelled stage name from her mother, a Reiki practitioner. Our other Celeb-Reiki this week is award-winning Welsh poet (and Reiki practitioner) Mab Jones.

On to the Reiki Roundup. We begin this week in a spa, because Spa Finder has identified wellness treatments, including Reiki, as one of the Top Ten Spa Trends to Watch in 2008.

Next stop: Jerusalem, Israel, where Reiki is among the treatments offered to domestic violence victims.

In Lewis County, Washington, The Chronicle features an article about Reiki with some surprising information -- according to the article, Reiki is performed with "a brown fleece-type covering and a rounded pillow" and "Reiki schools don't exist in the U.S." -- that may come as a surprise to those of us who use other types of blankets for our clients, and other shapes of pillows, not to mention those of us who learned Reiki in schools or other formal group educational settings.

In Buxton, Warwickshire, in the U.K., Reiki is among the modalities being offered to firefighters and other first responders who survived a deadly warehouse fire that claimed the lives of four firefighters.

In India, Reiki gets a mention in a Hindu Business Line article headlined, "The seven pursuits of consumer India."

And in Bismarck, North Dakota, Reiki makes the television news, complete with online video, featuring a practitioner who works in Hawaii but is in North Dakota to teach Reiki at a local college.

Next week: Reiki-related gifts

In two weeks: The Carnival is coming! The Reiki Digest hosts the Carnival of Healing to finish off the year.