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Monday, September 29, 2008

The weekly waka


Great migrating geese
Have taken up their journey,
Heeding nature’s urge
To find a warm winter home
Before the north winds bring snow.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

'Keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs'

Many thanks to all those who responded to last week's post on practicing during challenging times. We asked, and Patsy Guglielmo replied in an email with the subject line "Keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs" (quoting Rudyard Kipling):

I could really relate to your experiences of last week as mine were similar. Thanks to Reiki and daily practice I've been so busy in gratitude that I have barely noticed the outside events and yes, my "fortune" has severly dwindled as well, plus a family member died and good friend has been told she has as less than a year to live. My house has been robbed, all of my jewelry and car stolen.... In all this chaos, what's important? ...Reiki for myself and everyone I touch with little acts of kindness. I can't change what's happened but I get to choose whether to dwell on the past or live in the present.Thank you for the wonderful emails. You contribute a lot....

Wow, Patsy! That's a lot to be going through all at once. I'm so glad your Reiki practice helps keep you grounded and focused.

Walter Cooke sent in some great suggestions for giving your practice an energy shift:

Re: your request in the last newsletter:

"How do you keep up -- or catch up -- with your own personal Reiki practice during difficult times? If you're an experienced practitioner, what advice do you have for those who are just beginning, or for those who have let their practice lapse?"

It's important to not let yourself become 'stagnant' like a pond where the water is not moving. Add more energy - either physical or mental energy - to your daily practice (or non-practice). Learn a new concept that may not be directly applicable to Reiki but will strengthen your basic beliefs and motivations for doing the work. Enroll in a Feldenkrais or yoga class and let your skeleton be more flexible, learn a new energy psychology technique like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), add a new meditation you've never tried before, or read a book on energy medicine that challenges you to see the work with a new perspective. Call your best friend and ask them what you might do to 'recharge' your life right now. It's all good nutrition for the soul. When all else fails and in challenging times like the present, I think it was someone in this newsletter who said: "Don't take it personally!" Wonderful words of advice for both situations and people.

Walter Cooke
Reiki Master/Practitioner

Thanks, Walter!

Olga Rasmussen wrote:

Thank you for the wonderful reminder to engage in Reiki self practice and the recitation of the precepts during these challenging times. I was just feeling incredibly down by a lot of the depressing news in the world and recent sad events in my own family, when I turned to reading this newsletter. It is important for us to be reminded that Reiki is first and foremost a spiritual practice.

I also enjoyed the links to Pamela Miles. At our own Washington DC Reiki Dojo gathering yesterday, a member who is an oncology nurse recently attended a workshop by Pamela Miles and was sharing some of the information with us, so it was timely to see this, in addition to the many excellent articles and references you posted.

Keep up this wonderful work of sharing and connecting the Reiki community. It is an incredible labor of love and gift to all of us!

Love and grace,

Thanks, Olga.

I'm happy to have met Olga at meetings of the Washington D.C. branch of The Reiki Dojo. She and I have a teacher in common: Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki in Sydney, Australia. Frans is currently on a world teaching tour, but he took time out from his travels to contribute a few suggestions on keeping on keeping with our personal Reiki practice.

During difficult times it is sometimes hard to practice as the mind becomes distracted. So, how to move out of that space using your practice?

1. Generally start focusing on the good things in your life - do you still have enough food to eat, a roof above your head, loving family and friends etc..

2. Sit down and practice what you have learned within the system of Reiki. Even just practicing your Reiki meditation for 5 minutes at a time will give you some calmness and peace.

3. Write down the precepts on a piece of paper and hang it on the mirror so that every morning when you look in the mirror you can focus on them.

4. If you are sitting there, stirring your coffee and feeling gloomy, breath down into your hara and feel its strength.

Hint 1: Little session times added up together make one long session in the end! Take the small opportunities that come your way to revive yourself.

Hint 2: It is VERY important to keep practising the system of Reiki when you feel happy and healthy as this will create a solid base for you to to fall back upon when things become rough in life.

Frans Stiene

Co-founder of the International House of Reiki

Thanks, Frans, and good point: some practitioners have more trouble continuing to practice when things are going well, rather than during difficult times.

Frans was the wise teacher I mentioned last week whose class I booked into a room next to a children's tap-dancing class.

Frans will be teaching in the U.K. this coming weekend, and his next stop is New York, where The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Dojo will once again be sponsoring his Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course here October 3, 4, and 5. We began sponsoring his classes two years ago, after first reading the excellent, excellent books he and his wife, Bronwen, have written about Reiki and then traveling to Chicago for the Shinpiden course. Frans and Bronwen have done their homework, not only in researching the roots of Reiki, but in presenting it clearly and with detailed documentation, and they are both engaging and compelling teachers. We have students coming from thousands of miles away for the class, each one of them already a Reiki master or advanced practitioner, which always makes for a very interesting group.

There are still a few spaces available in the class. For more information, contact

Building on the success of sponsoring the classes with Frans, The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Dojo are now looking to sponsor selected classes with other instructors, in New York as well as other cities. The requirements for our sponsorship are strict: for example, teachers must use their own written materials and other intellectual property. Classes should be geared toward Reiki practitioners of all lineages. And since our sponsorship is, in effect, our endorsement, we have to be willing to give each teacher our personal recommendation. If you'd like us to consider sponsoring your class, email

Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions!

Reiki Roundup: Press releases

There haven't been many of the classic reporter-gets-a-Reiki-session stories out there lately, but there have been plenty of press releases. So this week, we do a roundup of those, which might provide some inspiration to professional Reiki practitioners and teachers who'd like to get the word out to potential clients and students without paying for advertising. Because a press release is part of public relations, i.e., free advertising.

Here in New York City, where I practice, sending out a press release wouldn't have the same impact as it would in a smaller city. There are millions of people here, so The New York Times and the Daily News don't publish articles announcing that a practitioner has just set up a new office or received an advanced training certificate. But the smaller the town, the more likely it is that the hometown newspaper might print not only your announcement, but your photo as well.

Sometimes the press release doesn't get published at all, but it catches the attention of an editor or reporter who uses it as the jumping-off point for a story. You may get a call from a reporter who wants to try a Reiki session -- you might even suggest that as an angle. Or you could announce an upcoming class or public talk with a press release.

These days press releases can make their way to publication the way this one did. It was posted as a reader-submitted blog item at a local New Jersey newspaper's web site, complete with headline: "Learn about Reiki and observe a demonstration."

Here's a practitioner in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia, who published her own announcement of upcoming classes on her local newspaper's web site.

Sometimes all you get is a paragraph in a community events listing. Sometimes that's enough.

Reiki practitioners will participate in this "art and performance event," and the San Francisco Chronicle article about it probably began as a press release.

In Camden, Maine, we find a press release written by a pro, and it shows.

Based on that sampling, we recommend that if you do send out a press release yourself, be sure to mention the city where you practice, and possible the state, province, or country as well, because sometimes it's difficult to identify where these community news web sites are located geographically.

2.2 million Americans have used Reiki, new NCCAM document states

2.2 million: That's how many adults in the United States are estimated to have ever used Reiki, according to the newly updated Backgrounder on Reiki from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health. That 2.2 million estimate is extrapolated from a 2002 survey which found that 1.1 percent of the more than 31,000 survey participants had ever used Reiki for health purposes.

Thanks to Pamela Miles for letting us know about the update, and especially for participating in the revision. "The current document includes important edits that corrected errors of fact and logical inconsistencies," Pamela wrote in her most recent newsletter. "We now have a credible introduction to Reiki available to the public and to health care providers."

The new Backgrounder on Reiki is in the public domain, so you can link to it, post it on your web site, download it, print it out, and give copies to clients, doctors, friends, or anyone else interested in some basic information about this valuable practice.

Here's one of my favorite parts: "Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported."

Although, like most practitioners, we might quibble with a few of the specifics, overall we found the document to be accurate, clear, and succinct. It might even lead a few million more people to try Reiki.

And it leaves us wondering, if that many people in the U.S. have tried Reiki, how many people worldwide have used it? And since those numbers are from 2002, how many have tried Reiki since then?

We look forward to further updates.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Celeb-Reiki reporter

In his day job, Jim Ewing writes editorials for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. But he's better known as Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi), Reiki practitioner and Spiritual Elder for the Southern Cherokee and Associated Bands of Texas, and he's just published his fourth book, Reiki Shamanism: A Guide to Out-of-Body Healing. One of his co-workers interviewed him in advance of his upcoming book signing. All of which makes him this week's Celeb-Reiki. And it makes us want to read the book. . . .

Monday, September 22, 2008

The weekly waka


As nights grow longer
After autumn's equinox,
Brittle aging leaves
Blaze yellow, orange, and red,
Defiant before dying.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Challenging times

What a challenging week it's been so far!

It started out on a positive and constructive note with this week's waka, Practice, which got me thinking that perhaps this week's edition should focus on that as a theme. As longtime readers know, I believe that personal practice is far and away the most important aspect of the system of Reiki. And it seemed to follow nicely after last week's edition, when we asked, "Has your Reiki gotten rusty?"

Then, to put it mildly, all heck broke loose.

The already-shaky world financial markets went into a panic that pulled first the weak and subsequently even healthy companies down into its vortex. That was Monday. Then on Tuesday, I got a call from my mom, letting me know she was OK even though she and nearly 2 million other people in her region had been without electricity since the remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania last Sunday -- an underreported disaster far from the television crews covering the storm from Texas. My brother's situation was even worse: at his house, no electricity also meant no water. Mom was cheerful, even though she'd heard it might take more than a week for all the power to be restored. Then on Wednesday, we got the news that my mother-in-law is in the hospital. Oh, and most of our retirement funds vanished in the panicked financial markets. Now it's Thursday, and this morning my husband and many of our neighbors bravely picked up their briefcases and headed to their Wall Street jobs as usual, not knowing whether their employers would still be in business at the end of the day.

So where does our personal Reiki practice fit into these trying times? Everywhere! The trick is to remember it in the middle of all the distractions.

These past few days have reminded me of the time I inadvertently booked an advanced Reiki workshop into a room next to a children's tap-dancing class. As the children's cacaphonous footwork thundered through the thin wall between us during quiet meditative moments, I apologized for the distraction, but our teacher wisely pointed out the bright side: It's easy to meditate on a quiet mountaintop retreat. It's quite another to do so in the midst of our busy everyday lives. And then when those everyday lives are disrupted by sudden and dramatic shifts, we may find little time or opportunity left to continue our regular practice, even as we need it most.

Worse, distressing events might throw us so far off-balance that we simply forget to use our Reiki. We don't just forget to do hands-on self-care, but we even forget the Reiki precepts. Even though I've practiced repeating them morning and night for years now -- and trying to live by them the rest of the time -- I confess that the precepts even slipped my mind a time or two during this stressful week as I wondered what would happen to us if the financial meltdown continues. There have been moments when, reflecting the fearful spirit of the times, I got so caught up in worry about my own family's problems that I forgot to be humbly grateful for the blessings all around me even during difficult circumstances. I admit to feeling flashes of unfocused anger at the whole situation. When that happens to me, the precepts will eventually kick in again, out of habit.

When things got too stressful, I found my daily hands-on self-care Reiki sessions to be even more comforting than usual, even if they might have been a little shorter. I made a point of including the financial markets, the electrical grid, and the people affected by all the turmoil in my daily Reiki meditations.

Practicing Reiki professionally also reinforces personal practice: when I'm with a client, that's where my attention is focused, so doing private treatments is a welcome respite from the distractions of the outside world.

I know there are Reiki practitioners on Wall Street and in the world's other financial centers. I don't know if this unidentified man-on-the-street is one of them, but when the TV reporters stuck their microphone in front of him and asked how he was dealing with the crisis, he replied:

"You can either go, oh my God, my life is going down the drain, it's a disaster, we're all gonna die, or you can go, wow, it's like, a beautiful day and life is great."

I was happily reminded the other day of an upcoming one-day Reiki retreat focusing on the precepts: Inviting Happiness: Exploring the Reiki Principles, with Pamela Miles, author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide, and Susan Mitchell, a Reiki practitioner since 1978 who studied with Hawayo Takata herself. As Pamela says, the precepts "are as valuable now as they were 80 years ago."

How true. It's good to remember that the world was going through some pretty dramatic changes in Usui's time as well: for all the talk about "tectonic shifts" in the financial landscape, today's worries are nothing compared to the great Kanto earthquake of 1923, when Usui and his students took their practice to the streets to help survivors.

Pamela had some important things to say about personal practice in a podcast interview she did with Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Hawayo Takata's granddaughter, especially about dealing with the frustration of plateau phases when it may feel like we're not making any progress.

How about sharing your own thoughts on the subject? How do you keep up -- or catch up with -- your own personal Reiki practice during difficult times? If you're an experienced practitioner, what advice do you have for those who are just beginning, or for those who have let their practice lapse? Handy hints, words of caution, lessons learned -- all those things would be helpful to your fellow Reiki practitioners around the world.

To add your voice to the mix, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email your thoughts to and we'll post them for you.

Most everyone who reads The Reiki Digest is a Reiki practitioner, which makes us a peer group of hundreds of practitioners in 114 countries around the world. That's quite a resource, so let's tap into it and support each other in our individual practice with Reiki. Let us know what works, and what doesn't work, for you.

Reiki Roundup

I was sorting through the to-be-recycled pile last week when I happened across a pleasant surprise: there on page 258 of the September 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens was a brief mention of Reiki. Yes, it was in an article headlined "Massage as Medicine," and yes, it was illustrated with a photo of a naked client receiving a massage (not Reiki), but other than that, it was accurate, and most welcome -- especially considering the fact that BH&G has a circulation of more than 7 million readers! Not that all 7 million would have read all the way to page 258, but still. . . .

The article isn't available online, and the September issue is no longer on newsstands, so we hope BH&G won't mind if we quote a brief excerpt:

"Practitioners of this therapy rest their hands lightly on various parts of the head, on the front and back of the torso, and the limbs, according to Pamela Miles. . . Clients receive Reiki treatments fully clothed on a treatment table or sometimes seated comfortably in a chair. . . May help with pain and anxiety, along with relief of tension. Also can help clear your mind and make you feel more invigorated."

And Washington, D.C.-area Reiki teacher Olga Rasmussen alerted us to a September 15 Washington Post article on alternative medicine -- "Alternatives Enter the Mainstream" -- with quite a few mentions of Reiki. The article comes with an encouraging bonus: a sidebar listing the local hospitals where alternative treatments, including Reiki, are available.

Beyond English: This week, we read about Reiki in Romanian. And you don't need to understand the words to spot a common error: the photo illustrating the article shows a recipient of a massage, dressed in nothing but towels. Anybody know how to say "fully clothed" in Romanian?

Mary Faktor, Celeb-Reiki

This week's Celeb-Reiki is Ohio-based actor and Reiki practitioner Mary Faktor, who got a nice write-up in her local newspaper, the Bedford Times-Register.

"One day, I'm doing Reiki healing. Another day, I'm the keynote speaker for a major institution," Faktor said. "And the next day, I'm going to an audition like any other starving artist." Faktor is best-known not for her Reiki practice but for her one-woman play, "The Six Ages of Woman," which she's been performing for the past 27 years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The weekly waka


It is not talent
That empowers the artist
But self discipline,
Blind faithful perseverance,
Calm, conscious practice of craft.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Has your Reiki gotten rusty?

Sure, you know Reiki. You took a Level 1 class several years ago, maybe even a Level 2 class. You've got a certificate in a drawer or a dusty frame. You gave a treatment or two to a friend or family member right after the class, and for awhile you used to do a little hands-on self-care at bedtime. But you never got into the habit of using it daily, and you forgot a lot of what you learned. Recently, however, something reminded you about Reiki, and you'd like to get back in practice.

Sound familiar? It does to me, because quite a few of my clients have already studied Reiki some time ago with other teachers, but now they or someone close to them might have a health issue or other situation that has renewed their interest. They may not remember hand positions or techniques, but they do remember how good it felt and how much it helped them way back when. They may -- or may not -- have discovered the new information about Reiki that has come out of Japan in recent years, some of which contradicts what they learned from their original teacher (turns out Usui wasn't a doctor after all). They're ready to revive their Reiki practice, but they aren't sure where to start. Oh, and they're wondering if their attunements have worn off.

I've encountered so many of these lapsed practitioners that I've developed a new program just for them: Reiki Personal Training. Students meet with me regularly for one or two hours, weekly, monthly, at their convenience. I provide ongoing support by email and phone, along with daily assignments and longer-term projects. It's open-ended: some students may need only a quick refresher, some may want to combine training with treatment, and others may want to continue developing their already advanced practice. The only prerequesite is Level 1 Reiki training with any teacher in any lineage. Because this service is tailored to the individual, costs will vary.

I believe so strongly in this kind of ongoing training that I hope other Reiki teachers begin offering it as well. It's unfortunate that people who made the investment in both time and money to become Reiki practitioners weren't able to follow through to develop an ongoing personal practice, but it's never too late to start again. And it isn't necessary to start from scratch.

A regular personal practice is the foundation we build on with the system of Reiki. In fact, if you are going to a professional Reiki practitioner for treatment and trying to find the right practitioner, ask them about their personal Reiki practices. If you get a brief, vague answer, or if the practitioner admits they don't have a personal practice, steer clear. That's even more important in seeking a teacher, especially a teacher offering ongoing training. Your teacher needs to speak from experience and share some of the insights that come from that in guiding you along your own path.

I also urge other Reiki teachers to provide ongoing personal training because I know that many students would love to go back to their original teachers, but they don't want to go through the whole class again.

If you felt a strong connection with the person who taught you Reiki, look up your teacher and make contact. Ask about the possibility of Reiki personal training, and maybe you can work something out. Also ask about your teacher's own continuing education: ideally even masters and teachers continue studying, and in more than one lineage. Personal Reiki training isn't just for lapsed practitioners: advanced practitioners need guidance and specific goals, too.

Unlike many practitioners, I don't like to use the word Reiki as a verb. I'm not one to say, "I Reikied" something or ask, "Did you Reiki it?"But I can understand why many people do, because verbs are the way we depict action, and practicing Reiki requires action.

That doesn't contradict what Pamir Kiciman wrote last week about being rather than doing when it comes to Reiki, because while at its best Reiki is a practice of not-doing, it doesn't get done by not practicing. Or as Lao Tse wrote so many years ago, "When nothing is done, nothing is left undone."

Ongoing personal Reiki training is available both in-person and remotely. Contact for details or call 917-512-1330.

A dispatch from Japan by our new Korea correspondent

The Reiki Digest proudly introduces our first official correspondent: Michael Swerdloff, a Reiki practitioner and English teacher living in Cheonan, South Korea. His first article for us, however, is from Osaka, Japan, where he recently spent a few days.

My Hollywood Nightmare
by Michael Swerdloff

It was nearly eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit in the Namba District of Osaka, Japan. My black backpack was stuffed with my camera, MacBook, iPod, writing book and the book I am studying Korean lazily. It weighed a lot since I had been walking around to stall time before picking up my passport and accepted E-2 work visa from the Republic of Korea as an English teacher. I had waited for this day since the day I departed the Northwest Airlines airbus six weeks ago to become a legal resident for one year as a teacher.

Last night I had a nightmare that I would be walking down the street and for no reason, a band of Japanese police officers would grab me from all angles, question me in Japanese which I do not speak, detain and keep me like all those awful movies showed at 3:00a.m. on cable of American’s lives ripped to shreds in a foreign land for no reason except country of birth. The nightmare included being beaten, raped and starved to the point of malnutrition. Yes the nightmare pierced through my belly and kept me awake for at least half the night. No visa, no flight back to Korea at 5:00p.m. and no teaching English to incredibly loving and wonderful elementary school students at Cheonanyoungam Elementary School. Life over. Till I awoke in the morning and I was sleeping on a bed in a youth hostel in Kyoto with the sun shining through the plastic window. I was not in jail but safe and apprehensively preparing for my day of travel and finally attaining my E-2 working visa. I ate breakfast at the Zen Café; the German potato salad was not very German or really potato salad, just boiled potatoes. Everything else was a little better- mediocre. The train and subway rides back to Osaka were boring and uneventful. I then walked around Namba searching for a place to eat lunch after acquiring my visa from the Korean Embassy to make sure I had a decent meal before the train ride to Kansia Airport departing to Incheon, South Korea. The plan was perfect including one more meal of fresh Japanese Sushi, a perfect plan.

Perfect till a warm “Hello” to the two Japanese police officers stations outside the Korean Embassy where I will enter at 1:30 to pick up my E- visa. Perfect till the first young officer approached me at the corner about forty feet away out of breath with his right hand placed firmly on his black pistol and his mouth and nose covered with a white pollution mask. He asked me something in Japanese, I answered by asking him, “Do you speak any English?” Before he could answer, another officer approached with urgency and got directly in front of me and looked me in the eyes and asked in broken English, “Passport?”

That is when the nightmare began. See, my visa was sitting comfortably on the desk in the air-conditioned office of the visa officer on the second floor of the Korean Embassy forty feet away. He just stared, not having any idea what I just said to him. The stare is what produced my panic, any response would have signaled at least a hint of understanding. Nothing, Nada, Zilch. Just a blank stare that began to increase intensity when he again asked, “Passport?” This time it was less of a question and more of a directive. I took a deep breath and was extremely conscious of speaking slow, even and soft- my freedom was now in serious question. I reached to take my pack off my back and a third officer approached and stopped me with fear and intensity in his eyes that were open wide. I stopped without flinching or reacting suddenly. He asked again for my passport and I again tried to explain that it was at the Korean Embassy knowing what little they understood was being communicated by an American that keeps bringing up the Korean Embassy; a two for one of Japan's two greatest targets of prejudice and hate.

They then demanded to see some identification. I reached slowly for my wallet and showed them my Wisconsin drivers license, which only added to their concern. I was giving them an American drivers license when I said I live in South Korea. “Open your bag!”

I slowly released my backpack off my shoulders onto the cement sidewalk full of pedestrians walking by. I was too scared to see if they were watching or not but I could feel their stares rolling off my back. I slid the zipper of the largest compartment open and took out my MacBook covered in a pillowcase that I purchased from an old Tibetan couple at a twelve-day Teaching with the Dalai Lama in August of 1999. Then my little purple, orange, black and red knit bag that I found on the sidewalk in Madison, WI, a few years ago with my iPod, cords and my black Canon S5 IS camera that shot over 500 pictures in the previous three days in Japan. My yellow, brown and ochre writing pad that is almost full of pages written this summer. The book I am learning how to read and speak Korean. And finally, my soft, clear plastic Nalgene bottle that I have drank from every day since the spring of 1995 full of tap water from the youth hostel I stayed in the night before in Kyoto. Still no expression.

The medium pocket with my small pad I carry for notes and drawings for language barrier emergencies was of no help with Japanese police. Then I saw the e-ticket for my flights to and from Incheon-Seoul airport and Kansai, “Maybe this will help”. I showed it to them excitedly until they pointed out to each other that I came from Seoul. “You came from Korea? I thought you were an American! Where is your passport!”

The officer with the white mask covering his nose and mouth from pollution spoke to one of the other officers and then looked at me and said, “We take you to police station now!” I cold feel my freedom evaporating- no E-2 visa, no flight back to Incheon-Seoul and no life in Korea or elsewhere. I motioned with my fingers for them to walk with me to the Korean Embassy to get my passport. “We take you to police station now!”

I took a deep breath, I remembered what has worked in most life situations since I was first trained and attuned in January of 1996 in my cherry wood paneled loft out in the country. Reiki! I took another deep breath and invited Reiki into the space for a few seconds, maybe ten. Then the strangest thing happened. They all just walked away. No internal conversation, no “I am sorry for bothering you”, no “OK, you can go now”. They just independently walked away in three different directions as if nothing happened.

I was standing there on the street corner with my black pack on the ground opened by myself. I picked up my pack, slipped it on my back and walked the forty feet to the Korean Embassy. I walked up the stairs to the right passed one of the officers who just violated me and my space to the automatic glass sliding doors to enter the Korean Embassy. Up the stairs to the visa issuing officer. It was now 1:28, I was two minutes early. I sat on one of the available seats and held back my tears on the outside but on the inside, I was drenched. I survived my Hollywood nightmare in Namba, Japan.

My number was called, “13” and I was issued my E-2 visa. I shared my experiences with the officer who appeared genuinely bothered. I returned down the steps out the door past the two officers guarding the Embassy and to the sushi bar around the corner I discovered earlier for my last opportunity for fresh sushi in Japan. It was an incredible meal! I paid my bill and headed towards Namba station to take the train to Kansai International Airport.

I never thought in my life that a Korean Embassy in Japan would be such a welcome sight to an American from North Jersey just outside of NYC. For me, it was the end of the nightmare and the beginning of my trip home safely to Cheonan.

Thanks, Michael. That story reminds me of the Star Wars scene where Obi-wan Kenobi tells the stormtroopers that "these aren't the droids you're looking for." Hmmm. Could there be a connection between Reiki and "The Force"?

Michael is the first of what we hope will be many correspondents around the globe. If you'd like to become a correspondent for The Reiki Digest, contact and tell us a little about you, your Reiki experience, and what you'd like to write about.

Rini the tiger dies at age 18

Bhopal, India: Rini, the cancer-stricken white tiger at Van Vihar National Park who was receiving both chemotherapy and Reiki during the past few months, died last Friday shortly after her 18th birthday. We first reported on Rini's story in early August, when she was our first feline Celeb-Reiki. Subsequently, park officials said that the Reiki treatments seemed to have brought Rini some relief, and last week her veterinarian said there was hope she could recover. The results of her autopsy have not yet been released.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Reiki-practicing cyclist Lindy Hou wins silver and bronze in Beijing Paralympics

Congratulations to Australian cyclist Lindy Hou, a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner, who just won a silver medal in the Beijing Paralympics, taking second place in the women's pursuit blind and vision-impaired class, along with her pilot, Toireasa Gallagher. Earlier, the tandem-cycling team won the bronze in the 1-kilometre time trial.

The event took place in the Laoshan Velodrome, where last month New Zealand's Hayden Roulston, also a Reiki-practicing cyclist, won silver and bronze medals in the Olympics.

Hou and Gallagher now move from the velodrome to the road events, where they hope to add at least one gold to their medal collection.

The weekly waka


That refreshing chill
In brisk September breezes
Warns of season's change,
When the summer's deep green leaves
Dress in autumn's rich color.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reiki semantics: Are you on autopilot?

Editor's note: When frequent contributor Pamir Kiciman published this article a few days ago on his blog, we thought it would be good for even more Reiki practitioners to read (and maybe even discuss) this topic. Thanks, Pamir!

By Pamir Kiciman
Reiki Help Blog
(reprinted with permission of the author)

Semantics is the study of meaning in linguistics or language. Our everyday language is human-made and we fall into various patterns with it, often letting loose interpretations and mistakes become established ways of communicating. This is even more striking when we use language to describe non-ordinary phenomena. In fact it’s fun to see how inventive we have to become in using a limited language to describe mind-boggling levels of reality. It also takes some subtlety of thought and discrimination to distinguish how semantics can obscure truth.

From the colorful language of quantum physics to the way language is used to frame issues in the current political landscape, semantics very much reflect how we understand life, and where we find meaning. And meaning of course is essential in making life rich, purposeful and gratifying.

Let’s now look at some ways in which the language of Reiki has been put on autopilot. Firstly, autopilot describes a state of unconsciousness, a state lacking normal awareness of self or environment, and we don’t want to be on autopilot in any sphere of life. The semantics of Reiki poses unique challenges as it:

1. Communicates about non-ordinary states of reality.
2. It’s both a noun and a verb.
3. It’s derived from a linguistic system based on ideograms.
4. It has a set of presuppositions and perceptions attached to it.

Reiki is the name of a state of spiritual Unity consciousness plus its energetic display as it impacts and enhances human life in a physical setting. At the same time it points to a nonphysical origination and a return to it. It has also become associated with the set of practices that engender this state of Unity or Oneness, as a catch-all word in common use. Thus we have Reiki the noun and its many levels of meaning, as well as Reiki the verb and its misuse:

Doing Reiki.
Sending Reiki.

You can reiki someone or an object, reiki a place, a time past or in the future. You can reiki the whole body or one part. Animals and pets can be reiki’d, as can water and food. Reiki a tree or piece of land, a well or a seed. Reiki your important papers, wallet or checkbook, your car and home environment.

In none of these applications are you doing Reiki. There’s already so much doing in daily life. If you’re doing Reiki too, it defeats its purpose. There’s also a doing mindset. Action is important and when right must be taken, but doing is often not right action because it’s born out of distraction. The doing mindset is materialistic in the sense that it doesn’t allow for being and essence. Doing is a constantly hungry entity that can’t ever complete because its premise is erroneous. Nike says “Just do it.” Radio Shack says “Do stuff.” We are a culture of the busy and project-oriented to our detriment.

Reiki is a state of Be-ing and nondoing. There’s nothing to do. It’s unforced and natural, flows on its own and takes its own course according to your needs and what will grow you. Nondoing has no boundary or specific identity, color or agenda, form or substance. It rests in the awareness where thoughts disappear.

Reiki is also undoing. The undoing of traumas, mistakes and personal dramas; the undoing of material identification and the grip of physical self over your true nature. Again, no doing is involved.

Next time instead of saying, “Let me do Reiki on you,” or “I’m going to do Reiki on myself” say: Give, share, presence, conduit, call, bring, invoke, flow Reiki.

And the same trap appears when we say, “I’ll send you Reiki.” There is nothing to send! Yes, Reiki is available nonlocally through you, but since it isn’t from you, it can’t be sent. It can only be made available.

It’s very important to always remember that Reiki brings out from within the person an original state of wholeness, balance, harmony and wellbeing, whether it’s shared in-person or distantly. This original state has been termed our ‘true nature’ and it’s a state of Oneness.

In Oneness there isn’t any separation and no need to send Reiki, which can only be presenced anyhow. Distant Reiki simply unifies the practitioner with the receiver. The practitioner is the conduit, but once Reiki flows both are present in the experience together. Nonlocal healing is facilitated at a quantum level, so the language of time and space really doesn’t fit. It’s not a text message you’re sending, an email or package.

Reiki is truly available in the present. The present is no-time and no-space. It can only be experienced in the absence of ego. The words you use to describe and understand Reiki bring along mental constructs that can be helpful or not. If you’re doing Reiki, then you’re time-bound. It becomes another item on your to-do list and no longer a practice. If you’re sending Reiki, then you think you possess it, that it’s yours to send, whereas in fact Reiki simply arises out of the ground of being.

Reiki is most effective when you’re in neutral. Not the drive of ambition, anxiety, or anticipation. Or the reverse of anger, judgment, or condemnation.

Stop doing Reiki. Stop sending Reiki. Practice Reiki. Give and share it. Speak its truth, live and be it. Every other lens is a hindrance.

Pamir Kiciman is founder of Oasis Reiki Institute in Hollywood, Florida.

Reiki Roundup

Portland, Oregon: In the market to buy a New Age boutique? Reiki Master Judy Pattee, owner of Spirit Feathers boutique, is looking to sell the shop in order to devote more time and energy to her Reiki practice, according to an article in The Bee.

Lawrence, Massachusetts: Reiki Master Debra DeMella has been chosen to receive the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's Survivor Circle Award. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1991, DeMella, a registered nurse, began studying Reiki and other complementary healing modalities. She went on to found a support group for brain tumor survivors and continues to work as a wellness facilitator for cancer survivors.

Rochester, New York: Dorothy Livadas, 97, whose daughter called upon a Reiki practitioner to testify in hearings over whether she should be removed from life support, has died, nine days after an appeals court ruling allowing the removal. The case drew considerable attention because Livadas was placed on life support despite instructions to the contrary in her living will.

Fresno and Clovis, California: Ever wish you had a room devoted exclusively to Reiki and meditation? These people do.

Manchester, New Jersey: Fortunately, this article says that Reiki is not massage -- unfortunately the article also claims that Reiki is "a 4500-year-old Japanese healing art."

Beyond English: This article is in Turkish, and appears to be about a Reiki master. Beyond that, we can't comprehend a word of it, but perhaps some of our Turkish-speaking readers can help.

Celeb-Reiki Report: Special Fashion Week Edition

It's Fashion Week again here in New York: the models take to the runway beginning tomorrow to reveal the Spring 2009 collections.

For the occasion, we decided to check in on some prior Celeb-Reikies in the fashion world.

First, model (and Reiki practitioner) Lea Rannells of New Jersey, who appeared on season 4 of Bravo TV's Project Runway. Rannells still practices Reiki, and she'll be among the models at Bryant Park again this week. But beyond the runway, Rannells has her own collection that's heartfelt and down-to-earth: Model Hope, Inc., a line of T-shirts that benefit a charity for domestic violence victims.

To Rannells, being a model means much more than wearing designer clothing. It means being a model, period. And in that sense, she says, we're all models: "What do you model?" she asks on her web site. "We are all models of our own light."

"The Best Fashion Statement is A Compassionate Heart, Wear that, And you'll Never Go Out of Style," Rannells writes on her MySpace page, once again serving as a model for us all.

Next up, uber-model Agyness Deyn, originally Laura Hollins -- she got her interestingly spelled stage name from her Reiki practitioner mum. Here she is modeling an Anna Sui design back in February (photo by Ed Kavishe for Fashion Wire Press via Wikimedia Commons):

Charlotte Ronson: This designer's mother, Reiki Master Ann Dexter-Jones, makes the Celeb-Reiki Report most every week. But it's Charlotte, twin of Samantha, sister of Mark, whose artistry will be in the spotlight on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The weekly waka


A calm river’s face
Contains the sun of heaven,
The mountains of earth —
Yet slight breezes mar its sheen,
Until it reflects nothing.
(by Michael Dagley)