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Friday, April 30, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 22

In this week's Digest:
Waka Challenge continues,
And a reader asks
for Reiki success stories.
Coming your way on Monday.
By Janet Dagley Dagley

More waka wanted! Help us achieve our goal of publishing at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9. Add your waka as comments to this post, or email them to editor @

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 21

We're getting closer to our goal of posting at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's waka are by Contributing Editor Beth Lowell:

At first, just skimming,
the breeze blows open -
my neighbor's windchimes
clang crazily
before a storm

you can see the very end
in the rising heat -
Sunday Boulevard

The old green jug
bouquet of hydrangea
the screen door falls shut
in a deserted yard

To contribute your waka, add a comment to this post or email editor @

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 20: Two new voices

As you probably know by now, our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest.Today we have another completion of the partial waka Jay gave us last week, as well as a new waka by another new voice:

Jay wrote:

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes

And Francine Hersh finished the waka this way:

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes
My dreams dissolved
Touching my feet to the ground
I breathe in the joy of an empty sky

Julia Amunwa wrote:

There's a space between
the stimulus and response
wherein lies my own
infinite Kingdom of Choice
May growth and harmony reign

We need even more waka to reach our goal. To contribute yours, add a comment to this post, or email editor @

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 19

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest.

Today we add another new voice to the mix: Kiki Dee


Subtle energy,
Strong, welcoming, instructive:
Here now… Enough. Done.
Calling from over there now.
And… done. Thank you. No: Thank you!

By Kiki Dee

To contribute your waka, add a comment to this post, or email editor @

Monday, April 26, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 18

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer goes by the pen name of budo adana:


Consider the oak,
Standing naked and upright,
Bending in the wind,
Freezing in icy snow, yet
Never a word of complaint.


The salamander,
Easily living both in
Water and on earth,
Unafraid of injury,
Proof of regeneration.


Behold wild salmon,
Swimming freely through wide seas,
Coming home to spawn
In death, feeding all others,
An orgy of sacrifice.


Humble mockingbird,
Merrily singing for all,
Master of music,
His own, that of other birds,
And even that of silence

To contribute your waka to our Waka Challenge, add a comment to this post or email editor @

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 17

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today, a few words of gardening advice:

The ground has been tilled
and many seeds are planted.
Where is the reward?
Physical reality
constantly tests our patience.

By Julie Romanko

To contribute one or more waka to this conversation, just add a comment to this post, or email editor @

Friday, April 23, 2010

This week's email edition...

...will include all the waka we've published since last week, plus these articles you can read right now (just scroll down) if you're in a hurry. Look for it in your inbox on Saturday.

Contemplating your life

Our Waka Challenge continues!

The Meiji Emperor, whose waka were used by Reiki founder Mikao Usui
(Photo by Uchida Kuichi. Source: Wikimedia Commons)

By Beth Lowell
Contributing Editor

Over the past week, I’ve been reading waka by many masters, both ancient and contemporary, continually fascinated by how few words it takes to say so much. I’ve been looking closely, trying to learn just how it is that each writer makes that magical leap that takes his or her experience out of the every day and turns it into something both universal and extraordinary. Of course there is no single answer since everyone writes differently.

I’ve also been reading more about the waka itself – how its various incarnations changed in style and feeling through the centuries – from feminine to shogun style, or from lyrical introspection to “mad” poems – ones that strove not for any kind of musical quality, but that were funny or satirical. Some waka followed different line and syllable patterns, and others, like the collaborative form called Renga involved elaborate rules for execution, including the participation of many authors, and certain subject matters, which were to be included in a defined number of stanzas in a particular order. Some Renga reached 1000 stanzas. Luckily for Reiki Digest waka challenge participants, these fell out of favor during the reign of the Meiji Emperor so we won’t be asking you to try to come up with one for next week.

Instead, for inspiration, I turned again to the Meiji Emperor, and in my reading, I learned that he did not intend his writing for any lofty purpose, and he did not attempt lyrical beauty or contemplative subject matter. He wrote them, rather, as a daily exercise. It is also documented that this is precisely why his waka resonated so strongly with people.

I came across a few of the emperor’s waka, most of which I had never read before. Because they have come from different sources and translations, the form and tone are not consistent. What is consistent though is the picture of the Meiji Emperor that emerges; and that is as one of a man who did not think of himself as better than others, and one who often reflected on ways to improve himself. He contemplated the futility of anger as well as the importance of fearlessness, integrity, humility and compassion. His ruminations reflect principles that are the cornerstone of Reiki.

It is our hope
That all the world's oceans
Be joined in peace,
So why do the winds and waves
Now rise up in angry rage?

In a world of storms
Let there be no wavering
Of our human hearts;
Remain as the pine tree
With root sunk deep in stone.

I wish my mind clear like great people unknown but have great mind and soul. Though I am the Emperor, I am not a great as a human.

For the times to come
And of meeting what must be met
All of our people
Must be taught to walk along
The path of sincerity

People in this society worry too much and overly cautious about everything. We all make mistakes sometimes.

If you're interested in learning more about the Meiji Emperor online, visit the Meiji Shrine web site, where you can also read more about waka.

Recommended books are: The Making of Modern Japan, and Emperor of Japan.

This week, we invite you to submit your waka – in any form that you choose, and remember, that sometimes contemplating the ordinary events in our day to day lives can lead us to some surprising places. Just add it (or them!) as a comment to this post, or email your waka to editor @

Music we love to write waka by: The koto

The koto -- 13-stringed Japanese lute -- dates back more than 1,300 years, and its sound was a popular accompaniment to waka-writing parties and other social gatherings of the Heian court. In the world's first novel, the title character falls in love with an unseen woman after hearing her play the koto. An instrument so important to Japanese history seems the perfect accompaniment to our 21st-century Waka Fest.

Though it had survived for hundreds of years, however, the art of the koto was almost lost when Japan was opened to the world about the time Reiki founder Mikao Usui was born in 1865. As Western culture flooded into the once-isolated Japanese society, traditional Japanese arts, including the koto, fell out of fashion. It was saved largely thanks to one man, Michio Miyagi, a composer who was the first to combine western music with traditional koto music. Miyagi was one of Japan's first recording artists and he performed on the nation's first radio broadcast (coincidentally, Usui's former employer Shimpei Goto was also heard on that same 1925 broadcast).

While we couldn't find any recordings of Miyagi himself on iTunes, we did find a lot of his music performed by others, including the Yamato Ensemble. Click on the Yamato Ensemble - Japanese Music By Michio Miyagi, Vol. 1 - Haru No Yo button to listen and find out more.

Thanks as always to iTunes for being one of our sponsors. Remember, every iTunes purchase you make via our links helps support The Reiki Digest.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 14

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer is Susan Ragazzo:

Fear cripples the soul--
think thoughts that encourage growth
Challenge fear's purpose
walk outside of its boundaries
then know your limitless soul.

Goose sitting alone
in the sun, are you injured?
Do I stop to help?
Is help needed? Then he flies.
Needless worry—brings smile.

By Susan Ragazzo

To contribute your own waka, just add it (or them) as a comment to this post, or email your poems to editor @ And stay tuned for more in tomorrow's weekly edition of The Reiki Digest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 13: One start, two finishes

The other day, Beth Lowell wrote:

we watched the stars
falling through the morning sky

and invited our readers to finish the waka.

Stephen W. Leslie accepted the challenge:

we watched the stars
falling through the morning sky
A sudden light flash
Tremendous splash in the bay
In our faces…..astonishment

And so did budo adana:

we watched the stars
falling through the morning sky
as our dog whimpered
eager to sniff the damp grass
to show us the way to ourselves

The Waka Challenge continues through May 9, 2010, so there's plenty of time for you to contribute a waka or two, or even part of one. Add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 12: Another new voice

We're still waiting for a finish (or finishes) to yesterday's waka start by Beth Lowell:

we watched the stars
falling through the morning sky

Finish this waka by adding the next 3 lines as a comment to this post, or email your lines to editor @

Meanwhile, another new voice has joined the mix: Diane Hunt

Bolder violets
arise like dancing maidens
up from the garden
as their sisters sweet and shy
play hide and seek in the lawn

Unexpected worms
Listless,out of place swimmers
In the cat's water
plucked, sodden yet living still
Blissful now in soft,sweet soil

A ball of combed fur
tied up in the wild rose bush
The tufted tit mice
become enthusiastic
raiders of silken softness

After winter's cold
the ugly much maligned ticks
wake up ravenous,
bellies flat and leathery,
lie in wait for their next feast

By Diane Hunt

It's all part of our monthlong Waka Challenge, which continues through May 9.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 11: Completion, and a new start

Welcome to Day 11 of our month-long Waka Challenge.

Yesterday, Jay began a waka:

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes

Three readers have responded so far with the rest of the waka. You might notice some variations on both the standard waka form and Jay's original lines:

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes
All night we held hands
Your long blond hair spilling across the pillows
Through the open window, the staccato drill of a woodpecker
(from Stephen W. Leslie)


Today I awoke
With sunlight blinding my eyes,
Yet still I could see
The geese joyfully honking,
The cherry blossoms floating.
(from budo adana)

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes
cherry blossoms
these fleeting moments,
those merry days of youth
(from Beth Lowell)

Beth Lowell has also given us our next waka beginning:

we watched the stars
falling through the morning sky

To finish this waka, add your lines as a comment to this post, or email them to editor @ Or if you prefer, send us a completed waka. Our second annual Waka Fest continues through May 9.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 10: A start that needs a finish

The next stage in our Waka Challenge has begun:

From a reader we know only as Jay, we have the beginning of a waka, for other readers to finish:

Today I wake
with sunshine in my eyes

Thanks, Jay! We look forward to the responses from our readers! You can post your finish for this waka as a comment to this post, or email it to editor @

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 9

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer is Beth Lowell:

artillery fire
in a suburban landscape
guerillas descend
waging war against grass
on a postage stamp lawn

Those weepy pink clouds
Cherry Blossoms in the rain
their petals twirling
while feverish, I linger
wilting behind these old walls

with only one pair of shoes
the artist
turns down that "real job" offer
and spends his days in beauty

By Beth Lowell

We hope you'll contribute a waka or two to our celebration. You can add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Reiki Digest waka-thon continues...with a new challenge!

By Beth Lowell
Contributing Editor

The waka has a 1,300 year recorded history and naturally, as anything with such a long history, it went through some changes. The most well known use of waka was as secret messages between lovers. Throughout its history, the rules for what was acceptable in waka changed – including form, subject matter, and tone. Its popularity declined and rose again, often gaining popularity in new segments of society with each incarnation. Waka writing was a popular pastime and rose from entertainment to art in the royal court. In the spirit of writing poetry as entertainment, last year The Reiki Digest encouraged writers to start a waka, writing the first two lines, or finishing one that was started.

This waka, for which Janet Dagley Dagley wrote the first two lines and Beth Lowell the last three, appeared in last year’s Waka Fest:

pink blossoms rain down
gently guided by the breeze
ten thousand farewells
the silence of the morning
blooming softly in my heart

Recently a writer’s group in Wiscasset, Maine, tried their hand at this exercise. Here are their results:

The first two lines were contributed by Jackie Lowell. Her complete waka is here:

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink,
Lasting a short while
Until spring showers arrived
And washed away their beauty.

Jackie Lowell

Submissions from the rest of the group follow:

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink,
Muted, supplanted
As orange ribbons cried out
For Whiteville's fallen miners.

Ron Conant

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink.
A honey bee lit
On a delicate petal
Ignoring the pink to dine.

Mary Rose Pray

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink.
They attracted bees.
Summon the Queen, Lucinda,
I want to buy some honey

Mary Ann Moore

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink,
Complementing the green grass,
Reminding me of gardens
From my youth and years long past.

Beth Rowe

The flowers blossomed
Colorful in shades of pink
They glowed throughout spring.
Delighted with their fragrance,
I picked some to take inside.

Janet Morgan

As we kick off week two of the Waka Challenge, we again invite you to write the first two lines of a waka, or finish one that someone else has started. Who’ll go first?

You can post your waka, or parts of waka, as comments to this post on our web site, or email them to editor @

Spring blossoms for contemplation (and waka writing)

If you're in the northern hemisphere, we hope you have the opportunity to celebrate spring by contemplating the cherry blossoms, which are now in peak bloom here. And if you're in the southern hemisphere, we hope you enjoy contemplating the colors of the autumn leaves. For those who may not have the opportunity to visit a blossoming cherry tree in person, we offer this photographic substitute. Click here for a high-resolution version. The photo is a gift to us, and to you, from budo adana, as part of Waka Fest 2010.

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Shakuhachi flute

Is there any more appropriate music for Reiki -- and waka writing -- than the shakuhachi flute?

The plaintive sound of the shakuhachi originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, and can now be heard all over the world. Here are two of the best-known and most respected masters of this distinctive instrument:

Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin -- click on the Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin button to listen.

Riley Lee -- click on the Riley Lee button to listen.

All purchases you make at iTunes via our links help support The Reiki Digest. Many thanks to iTunes for being one of our sponsors.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sleep better knowing someone else will

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Waka Challenge Day 7

Our goal is to publish at least one waka a day from April 9 to May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer is Julie Romanko.

moments before dawn
a little bird sings sweetly
hope for the new day
joyful anticipation
inherent in her nature

beautiful bright green
soothing grass beneath bare feet
energy flowing upward
a gift from our Mother Earth

By Julie Romanko

We hope you'll contribute a waka or two to our celebration. You can add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 6

Our goal is to publish at least one waka a day from April 9 to May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer goes by the nom de plume of budo adana.


Chilly April rains,
Crisp afterthoughts of winter,
Cool the warming earth
As white tree blossoms give way
To Spring frocks of new green leaves


Whenever I smile,
The whole world brightens,
Even in darkness,
For a light that shines within
Is reflected everywhere


On life’s stormy road,
When there is no place to lay
My rain-soaked body
Down, you pull my aching head
To your breast, my safe haven

By budo adana

We hope you'll contribute a waka or two to our celebration. You can add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 5

Our goal is to publish at least one waka a day from April 9 to May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today's featured writer: Beth Lowell.

In Morristown -
A woman pulls over
and prays for the dead.
She scoops up the squirrel
and places him in leaves

My friend's dog
made friends with a groundhog.
Mine did not.
Hers is a world of Disney,
and mine of Tarantino.

Before the storm
my mother running
on the lawn
small shocks tickling as she ran

Clouds raced
across the winter sky
as branches knocked
against the window
of the silent house

one June evening
I remember
clinking ice
and a low slung moon

We hope you'll contribute a waka or two to our celebration. You can add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Monday, April 12, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 4

Our goal is to publish at least one waka a day from April 9 to May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Here are today's reader contributions:

Rabid folks go down wild roads
"It's a free country!"
Malicious thoughts spawn hate words
that "A-word" clenches, then stops my heart

By Phillip Racette

Only I can choose
Moods and Attitudes I share
With Wonder and Joy
Life is always "WONDERfull"
Each moment in Joy, Enjoy!

By Rickie Freedman

We hope you'll contribute a waka or two to our celebration. You can add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to editor @

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 3

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Apparently, the beach was on one waka writer's mind this morning!

the rocks at Gloucester
slippery with green
the tide

at low tide
glistening sand
meets a pale sky
with only a sliver
of silver between

Low tide
Cotuit morning
we follow the bubbles
a lifetime ago

looking out
the night train's window
but because of the lights
I can't see anything
but myself looking in

the dogs
circle like sharks
as company wades through them
they break through the surface
delivering kisses

long before sunrise
I hear the birds singing
I finally fall back
fitful, to find
they've nested in my dreams

by Beth Lowell

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Waka Challenge Day 2: A waka, a question, and an answer

Our goal is to post at least one waka a day from April 9 through May 9 in our second annual Waka Fest. Today we have not only a waka, but a question, and an answer.

The waka:

I awoke early
heady with grandiose plans
but the fog rolled in
I couldn't see anything
but what was holding me back

By Beth Lowell

The question:

Hi Janet,

I read about the Waka Challenge and the sample waka by Meiji Emperor. Based on your description of waka being 5 lines with a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7, I don't see how the Emperor's waka fits that criteria. Is there something missing?

Fran in NJ

And an answer from Contributing Editor Beth Lowell:

Dear Fran,

The 5/7/5/7/7 syllabic count actually is a western notion. Much like the 5/7/5 syllabic count established for western writers of haiku, it is intended as a means of helping western writers evoke a Japanese feeling. The western and Japanese cultures and languages are so vastly different that it's really impossible to replicate Japanese poetry in English - the syllabic structure, you might say, works like training wheels for English speaking writers. Two articles that the Reiki Digest published last year explore this further: Waka Rules!, and Following the Waka into Japanese History.

Your question piqued my interest further, though, Fran, and I wanted to find out just who imposed the 5/7/5/7/7 rule. (You'll note in both articles mentioned above that many publishers accept Tanka, the modern day version of the Waka, that do not adhere strictly to the rules - we are one of them.)

I haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet, but while researching I did come across this very inspiring article in which Beverley George, an Australian poet who has been writing Tanka for over ten years, talks more about the differences in structure between the Japanese and western forms.

Thanks, Fran - and however you choose to write your waka, we hope you'll share it here!

Beth Lowell

Friday, April 09, 2010

Announcing Waka Fest 2010 - and the Waka Challenge!

By Beth Lowell
Contributing Editor

Today begins The Reiki Digest's second annual Waka Fest, a celebration of the often forgotten aspect of Mikao Usui's teachings. Waka are poems used for contemplation. While it's been reported that Mikao Usui himself wrote waka, often works by the reigning Meiji Emperor were used for this purpose.

In case you weren't here for the kick off of last year's Waka fest, The Reiki Digest published two articles that delved into the cultural aspects of waka in Japanese society during Usui's lifetime, and explored its history a little more deeply. You can read them here:

Waka Rules!

Following the waka into Japanese history

The Reiki Digest has been pleased to receive contributions from several new waka writers over the past year, and we hope that they – and you - will step up and take the Waka Challenge for Waka Fest 2010.

The goal of the Waka Challenge is to publish one waka a day, contributed by Reiki Digest readers, for the duration of Waka fest which runs from today, April 9 through May 9, 2010.

I’ve read that the Meiji Emperor wrote thousands of waka. Perhaps my favorite, and one that’s often given as an example of the emperor’s writing is this one:

“As a great sky in a clear light green, I wish my heart would be as vast.”

Reading such an evocative piece is almost enough to make an aspiring waka writer quit on the spot. What’s important to remember, though, is that no writer or artist ever started out creating brilliant work from day one, and even after achieving greatness, no writer or artist continues to create only great work consistently. Great writing or art gets passed down through the ages precisely because it is great – what we never see is what got tossed into the waste basket.

The point is, don’t hesitate to participate because you haven’t perfected the waka. I’m sure the emperor wrote some stinkers, too, when he was just starting out. As a refresher here are some loose guidelines:

1. The waka follows a format of 5 lines containing the following syllable count: 5/7/5/7/7
2. The middle line acts as a bridge between the upper and lower halves of the poem.
3. Unlike haiku which relies on imagery alone to evoke an emotion, waka can contain wordplay and poetic devices like simile and metaphor.

A sample of a waka taken from the January 25, 2010, edition of The Reiki Digest is this one by budo adana:


Calm and assertive,
My head held high with respect,
My energy good,
I begin training my dog
But end up training myself.

If you’re still feeling apprehensive about your waka writing skills, just go back to your Reiki training – let’s start with the precepts.

Just for today –
Do not worry (that your bridging line isn’t perfect.)
Do not anger (over the fact that you can’t say exactly what you want in the syllabic count of the form.)
Be humble (when you’ve finally created that masterpiece.)
Be honest in your work (because it’s nice to make an effort.)
Have compassion for yourself and others (if your waka is not stellar, it’s not the end of the world.)

Most importantly, let go of expectations. Dive right in. It’s fun! You’ll begin to see that the opportunity for subject matter presents itself constantly – and that soon you’ll be speaking only in a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7!

Waka Fest starts today and runs for one month, ending on May 9th. You can post your waka as comments on this post on our web site, or email your submissions to editor @

Facebook it: You've got to Tweet to stay LinkedIn!

Why social media are important for Reiki practitioners

Janet Dagley Dagley: I love the Internet. I was a netizen even before there was a world wide web. But even I’m overwhelmed by all the Tweeting and Facebooking and social media that have emerged in recent years. My friend Pamela Miles, however, has forged her own path through the social media landscape, not just for herself but for Reiki, and she is thriving there with a growing number of followers and fans. She and I agree that it’s important for responsible Reiki practitioners to speak out and represent Reiki to the public, and Pamela believes social media represent an important public and personal forum. She’s so convinced of the importance of social media, in fact, that she’ll be offering a webinar on the subject April 17. We had a chat about the subject the other day:

JDD: Pamela, why do you think this is important enough to make a webinar?

Pamela Miles: My goal is to raise the credibility of the public conversation about Reiki. To do that, we need more thoughtful Reiki practitioners willing to engage in public dialogue. This is a challenge, because people who are thoughtful are often shy to speak up, especially if they don’t know the rules of the game. And social media is a frontier to explore. It’s more of a culture than a game with clearly defined rules.

My plan is to give thoughtful Reiki practitioners the information and guidance they need to feel comfortable speaking up, an introduction that could help them feel confident enough to risk.

JDD: Sounds reasonable. I must admit I find social media a bit overwhelming, and I’m a journalist and blogger.

PM: I know exactly how you feel, Janet. When I started participating in social media, I had had a website for many years and was very comfortable cruising the internet on my Mac. But social media was really intimidating. It brings a new level of exposure, and risk. I vividly remember venturing onto Twitter with my first trembly tweets! You would have thought someone had a gun to my head!

Since I so recently overcame considerable reticence and am now very active online, I know exactly what stops people before they ever get started. I can address their fears, tell them what to avoid, give simple steps to get started, and share a few easy strategies they can play with to break into an entirely new dimension of what I call social interactivity.

Interactivity is significantly different than interaction, which tends to be more linear. After all, it’s the world wide web, and it gives us the chance to interface with web-like multiplicity. The potential complexity of social media is what makes it so powerful, and so intimidating in the beginning.

JDD: Still seems a bit scary to a lot of us.

PM: I actually think that’s a good thing. It is a bit scary. We want to have respect for the power of social media and use it carefully.

People who have a thoughtful approach to Reiki are careful by nature, and more likely to find social media intimidating because they are aware of consequences. An unfortunate move can get broadcast around the world.

What I want to do is empower people who are careful, give them the information they need to feel comfortable adding their 2 cents to the conversation.

JDD: But really, Pamela, with all the voices out there, can one person make such a difference?

PM: Good point, Janet. No one person is going to tip the scales so that the public face of Reiki suddenly becomes thoughtful and credible. But we can do it together. Each one of us can participate as we feel drawn to, and we can invite our Reiki buddies to join us.

I often receive private email supporting a public comment I’ve made, perhaps a comment about the importance of daily self-treatment. If that person had publicly supported the value of practice, her comment might have encouraged another practitioner to voice her support as well. Thoughtful practitioners seem to think that we are in the minority, but as someone who is in touch with a broad swath of the Reiki community, it doesn’t look that way to me. We’re just too quiet, and it’s time to break that silence. Each of us can play a vital role in improving the quality of the public conversation about Reiki.

JDD: I know just what you mean, Pamela. I wish we got many more public comments on The Reiki Digest, and I’m pleased to see that we’ve had quite a few really thoughtful ones lately. I hope that’s the beginning of a trend.

I follow Pamela’s Twitter feed, and I recommend it: @wellth.

And on Facebook, Pamela can be found here and here. Of course, she has a blog as well, and this week she addresses the Reiki/social media connection with a post titled, "As Common as Aspirin."

Celeb-Reiki Lisa Oz turns her attention from "YOU" to "US"

For years now, Reiki Master Lisa Oz has been co-authoring books about "YOU" -- including YOU: The Owner's Manual, YOU: The Smart Patient, YOU: Staying Young, YOU: Being Beautiful, and YOU: Breathing Easier -- all written with her husband, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Michael Roizen, and other co-authors.

Now she's turning her attention to "us" -- and this time she's the sole author.

Mrs. Oz's new book "US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships that Matter Most" came out last week to glowing reviews, and she and Dr. Oz are busy making the book tour rounds. Here's Mrs. Oz on Good Morning America:

We look forward to reading it! Re-congratulations to Mrs. Oz on being named a Celeb-Reiki yet again!

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

"Spirituality and Indian classical music are two sides of the same coin," says Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, master of the santoor, a 70-stringed Kashmiri folk instrument.

Sharma is credited with "single-handedly making the santoor a popular classical instrument" according to the Wikipedia, but we know he really did it with both hands -- not to mention his heart and soul.

Click on the Shivkumar Sharma button to listen and find out more. Thanks as always to iTunes for being a sponsor of The Reiki Digest.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The weekly waka, waka, and waka

Waka Fest 2010 is officially under way, and here are three contributions to get us started:

Energy is life
emanating from all things--
gives substance to form,
connecting us back to source
leaving healing in its wake.

By Susan Ragazzo

washing the dishes -
my morning meditation
and looking outside
I anticipate nothing
and just watch the dogs playing

By Beth Lowell

No Marty, no tree,
Spring brings birds, new grass pops up
My maple, My tree!
Shade, Stately protection..Prince
among my neighbors' trees. Gone.

By Phillip Racette

(Waka wanted: If you'd like to contribute a waka, check out these guidelines, write your waka, and email it to editor @

Even more waka wanted for our second annual Waka Fest! We're aiming for at least one waka a day from our readers for the 2010 Waka Challenge.

Online events from Sounds True

Sounds True is one of our most popular advertisers, so this week, we're featuring an April shower of Sounds True's upcoming online events:

Sounds True, Inc.

 Self-Hypnosis Online Course w/ Steven Gurgevich  250x250

Practicing Mindsight An Online Course w/ Daniel J. Siegel 250x250

Sounds True is offering a special on offline savings as well:

Sounds True, Inc.

This week's specials

Please welcome our newest advertiser, Fiji Water!

It's always good to offer water to a client after a Reiki treatment, and many professional practitioners have bottled water delivered to their offices.

FIJI Water Company

We also have specials this week on some other beverages:

Brighten your mornings with the spirit of aloha! Save 20% and shipping is free with promo code COFFEE20 at checkout!

Spring into Spring Tea Sale

Adagio Teas - Free Shipping & Wrapping

Tea Forte, Inc.

And we have another new advertiser this week, just in time for spring planting: - $5 off purchases of $f30 or more - Tomato HP Banner

Friday, April 02, 2010

Reiki practitioners from around the world offer advice to beginners

Several Reiki practitioners responded to last week's article and offered advice for Reiki newbies, uncertain of their ability to practice Reiki. Here's what they said:

Jeffrey said...

This is a very important topic, at any level of Reiki, but especially for new students. There are a number of reassurances and good practices.

One of the best: ask the person you treat, how it felt. Then compare their feedback to your subjective experience. Notice the feelings; attention makes a difference.

Consider that the feeling of doing Reiki changes, as you keep practicing. What's dramatic at the beginning becomes more balanced as you practice.

Self-treatment: the more you self-treat, the stronger others' experience of your Reiki. Also, your feelings in your hands and body as you practice self-treatment over time, become smoother and more balanced; less dramatic.

Hot hands can cool, as they become more effective. You may feel less "heat", your clients may feel more. This is a common cause of fear of Reiki not working, when one's hands cool down. I noticed my teacher's hands felt cooler, more peaceful, than mine when I started.

Reiki shares are a great way to build confidence. Compare notes with other practitioners, get feedback in a supportive environment. If you can't find a share in your community, organize one yourself. Odds are good there are many Reiki people around.

These are a few things to consider. Again, self-treatment -- it's the one thing you can do at any time, for practice, AND you are doing self-healing. Just a few things, hope they help!

Carol said...

The only time Reiki doesn't work is when I use it for myself. I have acid reflux and peripheral neuropathy and neither condition has been aided with Reiki. When I use Reiki on others, either distance or hands on, it is wonderful and has helped many but for me, nada, zip, zilch, zero. I think it could be that I may have a hang-up about helping others before me, or maybe I feel I am not worthy of help. Those are difficult feelings to get past.

Kumari said...

What a great topic--some of my students have such a strong experience in the beginning, like lots of heat for several weeks, then it begins to dissipate and they think they're not doing Reiki anymore. This happened to me in first lots of light shows and visions, then it got much more quiet, and i missed the light shows. Made me feel like i wasn't getting it right. Therein lies the catch.

When we apply an outer expectation to an inner experience, we are attached to the past and not in the present with what is. Hawayo Takata had a great way of keeping it very simple--she would say when you applied your hands "Reiki on" and removing hands "Reiki off". While the sensation is lovely, it is not necessary for Reiki to be flowing, or "on".

I often think some initially get stronger experiences when first coming into contact with a new or higher vibration or state of being, as the change in awareness and frequency is quite marked. But as we go along, and become more familiar with the higher frequency, we actually are not as aware of the distinctions, as we are feeling more natural in the newer place. It can feel like nothing is happening, however, what may be truer is that we are operating from a different plane altogether. And the other experience, of not feeling anything, can be cured by more practice, as sometimes we need to develop the subtler senses, and the ability to "feel" these subtler sensations are not as refined. To those practitioners, I would say keep going, keep practicing.

My mother was one who could never feel anything when i gave her Reiki. Then one day, she had burning sciatic pain, and she felt the Reiki heating up her leg and finally a healing warmth. But this took almost 10 years of not feeling anything. It is also advisable to get Reiki treatments for yourself as part of your practice. This too can really help to gain confidence as you receive for yourself the full range of personal Reiki experience.

Isabella said...

Reiki is always working. It may not be manifest, visible, tangible, perfumed, or felt but it is there, at work, at cellular, emotional and aura level. All the time. Most often it is the mind, the thoughts,the filters, and many other optional accessories that some like to add to their life that blocks the awareness of how pure life energy is blending with one's life.

Moreover, in a civilisation where intution has been relegated to a 'para-normal' state rather than being accepted and utilised as a guide for action, people tend to think in rational terms and base their action in left-thinking patterns. In these circumstances, Reiki will not seem to be working and even more some will go to the conclusion it is just not working. It is fluffy , mumbojumbo and placebo effect.

What is also possible is that it may not seem apparent for some person that Reiki is actually 'something' Expectations about results, about feelings or emotions are very high in this category of persons. I did Reiki on this" and " this did not happen" this means " it does not work" Expectations such as this are not applicable with Reiki.

One experience is that once a person get a Reiki treatment once, Reiki is at work at the most micro level cellular level and it may take many years before that same person gets in touch again with Reiki. There are synchornicities at work with Reiki. The timing is always appropriate. The mind must get out of the way.

Kiki said...

I always learn from others' examples and experiences (and am grateful they take the time to share), so here are a couple of mine...The Reiki energy seemed to be "taking" with one woman (who did not have a specific complaint), but when she sat up, she said, "I didn't feel anything." "That's fine," I told her. "But do stay aware of how you feel on all levels for the next few days."

The next day, she called me, very excited, to report that she'd just run into a person who "could always push her buttons." She had felt calm and had not been engaged by the other person, who had gotten more and more agitated as the normal scenario failed to develop. She said that since she had never been able to avoid getting riled up by the other person before, she felt sure the Reiki had helped.

In a second case, a woman told me she had suffered from plantar fasciitis for several years. As we talked, I could see the benefit she got from the problem--things she didn't want to do (and felt guilty about avoiding), but now she "couldn't" do them because of the pain. She accepted Reiki energy well all over her body, with all my normal "heat indicators" (where needed, and when we got to "enough"). But when I got to her feet, they seemed totally resistant. So I "spoke" to them (in my head): "You don't have to accept the energy; that's fine. But maybe you'd like to store it up and have it available for later, in case you do want it then. I'll just offer it, and you do as you like." They still seemed cold when I felt "enough" after about 10 minutes.

When she opened her eyes, she said her feet felt better than they had in years. She said at first she'd felt nothing, but then, "when you started using that heating pad, it really helped." She wanted to get a heating pad like it that could produce so much heat, to use at home.

When I feel that I want to "cure" something, I sense that my ego-desire helps inhibit the freest flow of the Reiki. But I also accept that, just as my guides have allowed me to "resist" their help when I've been stubborn, those on my Reiki table are allowed to resist, too, and that's fine. (Asking that "only those who are ready to change and whom I can help will show up there" is also helpful!)

Elaine said...

This is a great topic! Reading through the comments it is so interesting the variety of opinions and suggestions. For me I have found that my Reiki sensations appears stronger as I have continued to practice over the years, my 'heaty' hands have never become more quiet or balanced though it always delights me to get the feedback from others - for other poeple my hands can feel everything from hot, cold, gentle, buzzing, tingling, sharp pins and needles to nothing at all yet to me my Reiki pretty much feels hot and prickly all the time!

When I get asked this question my usual recommendations are:

1. Join a Reiki Share group in your area and go regularly to the groups - there is nothing like a group treatment to get your hands buzzing! I have yet to have someone NOT feel their Reiki during a group treatment session.

2. Believe you have it - this may sound strange but our own belief system can block your sensations completely. Again if you believe in yourself and trust you have Reiki, its surprising what can happen to your awareness.

3. Trust the feedback of others - this has been mentioned already, but I re-emphasise it. Everyone has different sensitivity to energy in much the same way that everyone has different eyesight, and if you simply don't have 20-20 energy sensitivity then you will be hard pushed to ever feel anything - my mum (also a reiki master) is one such person but she gets such amazing results that she has stopped worrying about it and simply trusts that her Reiki energy is powerful, and working perfectly.

Thanks, everyone, for such insightful responses. If you didn't get a chance to share your advice, it's not too late. Just use the comments box here. We hope to keep up the conversation for a long time - and if you have a question, don't hesitate to post it in the same place, either.

-- Beth Lowell, Contributing Editor

Cherry Blossom season is upon us...and you know what that means!

Waka Fest starts April 9!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Got 12 seconds?

Longtime reader Steve Gooch writes:

Dear Janet,

I am writing to you to let you know about a project that I have developed that I am hoping will appeal to Reiki practitioners world-wide.

The project is called '12seconds for Peace', however within that is a sub-project called 'Reiki for Peace'.

12seconds for Peace is a collaborative video-arts project designed to raise the energy of manifestation for peace and to raise funds to help this happen. 12seconds for Peace is currently working in conjunction with the Humanity Healing Foundation to provide sustainable solutions to the plight of the war victims in Uganda.

I am inviting Reiki practitioners to contribute their own video - of 12seconds in length, to this project. All they need to do is 'send' or 'intend' Reiki through the medium of the video to the manifestation of peace. Many have contributed work to the project already. Reiki practitioners and masters everywhere, CAN make a difference in the world by contributing to this project.

The concept of the project has been so widely acclaimed that it is now being looked at seriously by the United Nations as a vehicle for their work, also by Palestinian peace activists to get their message for a desire for peace out to the world (they are already on board). It is also aligned with the Nobel Laureates 'Peace Jam' initiative and the Peace Day programme being promoted through 'Peace in Our Lifetime'. I am currently in negotation with Julian Lennon's charitable organisation 'The White Feather Foundation' to promote their agenda for a better and more just world and the 'Spiritual Broadcasting Network' are also now interested in doing a programme on the project.

This project is only 3 months old but is grabbing the world and kicking up a fire-storm of compassion for those in need.

Please go to: where you can find more details on the project.

Thanks, Steve! We'll look forward to seeing the results!

The Reiki Roundup

Boston, Massachusetts, USA: A brave young man fighting a brain tumor does his best to help others.

San Diego, California, USA: A Reiki-practicing U.S. Navy chaplain has written a book about her experience in Afghanistan and Iraq: Heaven in the Midst of Hell.

Croydon, United Kingdom: A shopping centre is looking for someone who does "Reiki massage" to work in a women-only parking bay. Good luck to them on that -- Reiki isn't massage, and massage isn't Reiki. (Though there is such a thing as Reiki-ssage.)

ADVANCE for Nurses magazine: A nurse who's been practicing Reiki for 10 years discusses whether it's voodoo or valid healing. (You probably already know the answer to that question!)

Lansdowne, Virginia: Another skeptical reporter gets a Reiki session, and happily eats his words after experiencing it for himself. Happens every time!

Celeb-Reiki Badu seeks attention, strips, and gets it

It's obvious just by looking at her, even clad, that singer (and Reiki practitioner) Erykah Badu is too young to have been around when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. By the time Badu was born in that city in 1971, the site of that tragic event had long since become a tourist attraction. Those of us who were around back then remember to this day where we were and what we were doing when it happened, the shocking violence a turning point in all our lives. We can only assume that Badu couldn't possibly understand us, just as we can't understand what her point was in walking past the assassination site, shedding her clothing, in a video for her latest CD. Even further beyond our comprehension was the fact that she interwove actual video from the event, and then (sorry to spoil the surprise) faked being shot to death once she'd stripped down to her birthday suit. But we're obviously behind the times: the Washington Post seems to like it. The Dallas Police, however, are a bit more old-fashioned: they arrested her for disorderly conduct. The $500 fine is a bargain, considering all the free publicity she got.

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Saggio

What better music to practice Reiki by than the music of a Reiki practitioner?

Saggio wasn't even a musician, but after he was attuned to Reiki, he took up the Native American style flute at the age of 51. He studied with famed Native American musician R. Carlos Nakai, and now he not only records healing music but provides individual healing sessions with native flute and crystal singing bowls. Click on the Saggio button to listen and find out more. And remember, a small portion of every purchase you make via our links goes to help support The Reiki Digest. Our continuing thanks to iTunes for being one of our sponsors.

And if the music makes you want to take up the instrument yourself, Saggio also sells Native American style flutes.

The weekly waka


With my flute and dog,
I wandered up the mountain,
Seeking better views
And a bed of pine needles
To serenade the full moon.

(Waka wanted: If you'd like to contribute a waka to our regular series, check out these guidelines, write your waka, and email it to editor @

Even more waka wanted! Our second annual Waka Fest starts April 9. Stay tuned for details!

Spring savings

Let's hear it for our advertisers! They not only help make The Reiki Digest possible, but they're offering some sensational savings for spring. Many thanks to you, dear readers, for keeping the energy flowing by supporting our sponsors!

10% off in April 120x90

Spring into Spring Tea Sale

FIJI Water Company

J&R Computer/Music World

Adagio Teas Spring Time Tea

JUARA Celebrates Mom!