Practicing self-Reiki really helped me when I was grieving the deaths of my loved ones. I truly believe it really helped to keep me in better health during those times . Do I have any way to scientifically prove it? Not really other than I felt calmer, slept better and didn’t get sick during those two very difficult periods in my life. Maybe that is proof enough self-Reiki worked for me.
SELF-REIKI AT HOME
So how did I do it? First of all, I got myself into a routine. Having a routine made it second nature. I didn’t have to make myself remember. It just happened. This makes it a no-brainer when you are grieving and can barely remember what day it is. I just made sure I practiced self-Reiki every morning when I was in the shower. It only took 5 – 10 minutes. I used one particular symbol and drew it in the air from my head to my feet. I then drew the symbol to cover my whole body. I finished up by giving thanks for the beautiful day ahead. Over time, it became a matter of habit. This helped me to start my days in a better place both emotionally and physically.
SELF-REIKI AT WORK
Once I got to work however, it became another story. I don’t know about you but it is really tough to work when you are grieving. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt like crying for no reason. I also seemed to be on a very short fuse. Most employers don’t give much bereavement time. In fact, if it’s a friend who has died, you really don’t get any bereavement time at all. So I went to work and tried to get through the day but the grief was always with me.
During those moments when it hit the hardest, I would go into my office and close the door. I would place my right hand over my heart and my left hand over my stomach. I would take a few deep breaths. I would send myself Reiki to stay calm and balanced. If I couldn’t escape completely, I would at least try to walk outside for 5 minutes. Just being in the fresh air can relax and rejuvenate you. Both of these techniques kept me from falling apart at work when I couldn’t get through the day.
Again, practicing self-Reiki didn’t take all my sadness away when I was grieving but it did help me find a place of peace within myself. This place of peace helped me to move forward on my grief journey one step-at-a-time.
Forgiveness, the other “F” word, is one of the recovery components from unresolved grief. We know we have to do it but it’s so darn hard. We find all the reasons we can to NOT forgive. We convince ourselves that forgiveness is “crazy talk”. But….he did this. But….she said that. It would be WRONG to forgive. We place ourselves in our own unforgiving universe just because we don’t want to deal with it or worse yet, we don’t want to let go of “being right”. We think it is easier to stay angry or hold a grudge. But is it really?
Think of what it does to your body walking around in perpetual state of anger or resentment all the time. It’s like always being in a fight or flightmode. Our bodies weren’t meant to operate that way. Staying on guard against a threat eventually wears down the body’s natural defenses. After awhile, we end up with physical symptoms ranging anywhere from headaches to heart attacks. Why would anyone chose to do this to themselves?
What we tend to forget is that forgiveness is about us not the other person. You are not focusing on “being right” no matter what. You are not condoning someone’s behavior. You are trying to better understand what they may have been through. You are trying to “let go” so your own heart, soul, mind and body can be free.
Before even attempting to forgive anyone else, we should make sure that we are at peace with ourselves. This is often harder to do than forgiving someone else. Why is that? First of all we are our own worst critics. We place high expectations on ourselves and if we don’t meet them we are the first ones to send ourself a barrage of criticism. That voice inside our head starts to nag us for being less than perfect. But we aren’t perfect. We were never meant to be perfect. We have to stop being so hard on ourselves. We have to accept that we are human and will continue to make mistakes. We have to accept in our hearts this is okay. Carrying around resentment and anger against ourselves just hurts us and no one else.
Take Action – Forgiveness is an action not a feeling. Once you taken the action to forgive, your feelings will follow. For many, the very act of forgiving feels like a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders. For others, it brings the walls down they have built around their heart.
Don’t forgive someone in person – Since you are forgiving to heal yourself, the person being forgiven need never know it has happened. If you try to forgive someone in person, especially if they don’t think they did or said anything wrong, they may perceive it as a personal attack. It could provoke a new issue that could create even more incompleteness in your own life. As a result, it is suggested you never forgive someone in person.
Don’t ask for forgiveness – Asking for forgiveness is really making an apology. If you feel the need to say something directly to another person, make it in the form of an apology. Although you may have been hurt by the other person, that does not eliminate the need to make an apology for what you may or may not have done to them. Apologizing helps you to be complete.
WHAT TO SAY
“I forgive you so I can be free.” – Forgiveness is about you not the other person. This statement helps to remind you that forgiving is helping to set you free from the emotional baggage caused by anger and resentment.
“I forgive you so I don’t keep holding onto anger.” – Do you really want to carry that resentment and anger around with you forever? This statement is another way of saying I am taking care of me and this is what is important.
“I acknowledge the things you did/didn’t do that hurt hurt me and I am not going to let the memories of those incidents hurt me anymore.” –Sometimes a person creates a situation in your life that is almost impossible to forgive. This may be especially true when rape, abuse or domestic violence are involved. Instead of forgiving the person, you can forgive to let go of the memories or incidents so they no longer cause you pain. This is another way of setting yourself free so you can move forward.
I know for some people just thinking about forgiveness may not be enough. In those instances, writing your thoughts down in a journal or having some sort of “ceremony” might be more beneficial for you. Here is a short forgiveness mediation you can try using any type of candle you have around the house:
In a quiet place, light a candle.
Take a few deep breaths and relax.
Think of the person you want to forgive standing on the other side of the candle.
Look into the flame of the candle. The flame represents truth, love and kindness. Visualize the negative energy you are holding onto going into the candle’s flame. When it reaches the flame it turns into beautiful white light.
Mentally move this white light into the other person.
Now say, “I forgive you.” (Say this as many times as feels right).
After forgiving the other person wrap yourself in the white light to wash away any leftover traces of resentment or anger.
Thank yourself for having the courage to forgive.
Take a few deep breaths and relax.
You can also use this meditation for self-forgiveness. Just visualize yourself, instead of someone else, standing on the other side of the candle.
Marianne Williamson writes: “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” Here is a video of Marianne talking about forgiveness on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
I’ve been asked a number of times how can Reiki help with grief. That’s a great question. I had been studying and receiving Reiki long before the deaths of my loved ones. So when they died, one of the first things I did each time was to call my Reiki Teacher and Mentor for a session. Anyone who knows me have heard me say that Reiki helped me get through the grief associated with both of their deaths. Here is my take on why.
WHAT IS REIKI?
As a quick refresher, Reiki is is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Reiki is given by the “laying of hands” that has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, the basis for modern-day Reiki may have started in Tibet more than 2,500 years ago. The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words – Rei and Ki. The word “Rei” means higher knowledge or spiritual consciousness. The word “Ki” means life energy. This is the same meaning as in Chi (Chinese), Prana (Sanskrit) and Ti/Ki (Hawaiian). Life energy plays an important role in everything we do. Reiki harnesses that life energy to promote healing, relaxation and a sense of calm.
RESPONSES TO GRIEF
In researching Reiki back in 2007, everything I read said Reiki focused on “health and spiritual well-being” and promoted “stress reduction and relaxation”. Maintaining “health and spiritual well-being” when you are grieving can be a top priority. Once grief hits everything seems to go out of whack. Our minds can’t compute fast enough anymore. We feel like we are in a fog. Our bodies also go through a difficult time. Sometimes we feel completely disassociated from them. Just like our hearts, they too may begin to feel broken and battered. I am sure if you have ever grieved, you may have experienced symptoms like:
Loss of appetite
Difficulty falling asleep
Feelings of heaviness
Rollercoaster of emotions
Aches, pains, and other stress-related ailments.
Since the above list shows that grief affects us physically, it’s important to understand what is happening and why. A body needs energy to be healthy. Energy from food, energy from exercise and energy from being outside in nature. Grief however is an energy-depleting emotion. If you aren’t replacing and/or balancing the energy your body loses when grieving, you begin to feel awful. It you don’t do anything to replenish the energy being removed from your body, over time you feel worse and worse. For example, after the death of my former finance, my heart physically ached inside my body. It felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. It felt like I was having a heart attack. Maybe in some way – figuratively not literally – I was. My stomach felt like I had swallowed a block of concrete. I had zip, nada, no energy. A person’s body, mind and soul can only take this for so long before any number of unhealthy things start to happen. It’s not unusual to get sick when you are grieving. It’s not unusual to have some sort of accident when you are grieving. These two outcomes can almost have worse consequences than if we just emotionally felt our grief from the beginning.
BENEFITS OF REIKI
As humans, we are made up of energy. When the energy paths of the body are blocked or disturbed, the result can be illness, weakness, and pain. Reiki balances and strengthens the flow of energy within the body, which may decrease pain, ease muscle tension, improve sleep, and generally enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. Energy flows through a Reiki practitioner’s hands to the recipient. Reiki activates or enhances a person’s natural healing processes. Reiki provides us with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits by balancing our energy. Some of the benefits of Reiki include:
Reduces stress and tension
Helps with pain management
It’s not a coincidence that the symptoms associated with grieving and the benefits of Reiki almost match each other one-for-one. Reiki energy knows right where to go to balance and heal. The more I started receiving Reiki (and eventually once I learned how to practice Reiki on myself) the more I realized that I was actually taking better care of my body. As soon as I started Reiki after my loved ones died, my heart stopped feeling like it was going to explode. The brick in my stomach eventually went away. Being physically balanced and more relaxed helped me to find a sense of calm even though I was grieving. It helped me to think more clearly. It helped to sleep better so I wasn’t walking around the house and work like a zombie. Reiki didn’t magically take the sadness associated with my grief away, but it did make it physically easier for me to deal with grief’s ups and downs. Having a sense of calm and balance gave me the courage and stamina I needed to tackle my journey through grief.
So consider trying Reiki. Don’t wait until you are grieving to receive its benefits. If you haven’t tried it and are grieving, find a Reiki Practitioner in your area. Reiki will help you to stay well both physically and spiritually which is something we especially need after suffering any loss.