Inspired by Reiki Practice: Letting Negative Feelings Fall Away

Anger, fear, anxiety, sadness and jealousy… As "good people," we are not supposed to feel these emotions. So we read, go shopping or indulge in food and drink to try and escape them.
Or we try to self-improve and ommmm our way out of them, with a “fix it now” attitude.

Why? In my case, I have this fixation that to be a a really spiritual person, I can’t feel negative things. Childish I know, but this thought is actually quite common.

After a few years of Reiki practice where non-judgment and non-labeling are paramount, I’ve become more accepting... and more real. It is not—after all—about having or not having these feelings; it’s about how we react to them. They are a source of energy and if accessed and harnessed correctly, they can actually work in our favor. 

How can we do that? Here are a few suggestions that worked for me:

  • FACE IT: The more we fight or run away from our negative feelings, the more power they have over us. Facing them is a scary thought, but once you do and see how short lived they are, it gets easier.
    Are you angry, scared or very sad? Sit on a chair, feet on the ground, with a straight back. Connect with the feeling. Observe where it’s located in your body. Breathe through it. Don’t try to reason it away, justify it or make it better. Feel the pain going through your body, feel how it peaks, cry if you need and then observe how… it fades away. Observe how your body feels lighter, how your thinking feels clearer. Celebrate with a warm cup of herbal tea!
     
  • GROUND IT: When we feel fear or anger, it’s almost like the feeling takes over our head: our thoughts spiral away, we become hyper excited and do things we may not be proud of afterwards.
    Time to get grounded. Whenever negative feelings take over your thinking, sit down in a chair, feet firmly planted on the ground with a straight back. Locate the feeling in your body (probably in your upper torso, neck or head area). Imagine it has a color and a word that describes it. Stay with it for just a few seconds. Then start dragging it down. If it’s in your head, lower it to your heart and observe how it feels there. Then lower it to your solar plexus. Observe the difference. Lower it once more, this time to a couple inches below the navel. Observe how it has lost most of its high, crazy vibration and it’s settling down. Keep your attention to the navel area, inhale and then exhale the feeling (with its color and name) to the earth through your root chakra. Breathe deeply and freely. And voilá!
    *During this exercise it’s important not to react to your feelings and leave the chair. Stay with it, no matter what.
     
  • SHAKE IT OUT: This one is pretty easy and pretty effective. The idea is to release the excess energy caused by stress and anxiety to regain your balance. Stand up, feet hip distance apart. Shake your right leg, then your left leg. Now shake your right arm, your left arm and then both arms together. Shake your head at the same time. Fold down, letting your torso swing while you shake your arms, shoulders and hands. Then stop, breathe deeply in and out. On the second inhale, come up to a standing position. How does that feel? A lot better, right?

I'm always experimenting on ways to connect and process feelings and ideas. If you have any modality or tip on how to do it, I would love to hear about it in the comment section :-)

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, and a Reiki Master/Practitioner based in New York City. You can reach her at natjaspar@mac.com

 

Photo credit: "Outre Songer" by Argentine surrealist painter Leonor Fini (1907-1996).

 

#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 76: Be Humble

—By Nathalie J.

“Humility” was a big thing when I was growing up. My family pride itself in being humble.
Yes, this sounds contradictory.
And it is.
Because being humble, for us, meant thinking we were smarter and better than the rest, but we would never say so aloud. We will self-deprecate ourselves in the hopes we would be contradicted. And if someone didn’t…well…let’s say this person would not be “welcome” for a while (forever.)
Yesterday I was meditating on this precept, and it felt so different and light than my psychological history could surmise. Humility was the act to accept the need to practice every day, the understanding that “spirituality” is about daily efforts. A road that all of us can travel.  And the more we talk about the road, the more we think we advance and remain in place. The more we walk, slowly and sometimes painfully, the more we truly advance.
I am a talker. I love talking. Doing… always been a little harder. But yesterday practice was so humbling in a good way, so honest and beautiful that—for once—words alone just won’t cut it. 

In a World Where Busyness Is “In”: How To Slow Down without losing Glamour

Until a few days ago I never questioned the relationship between glamour and busyness. To be honest, I didn’t even know it existed… yet apparently they have a great romance!

I found out about this love affair recently, during a Coaching workshop I facilitated to women ages 15 to 54. We were talking about work-life balance, reducing stress and finding ways not to feel overwhelmed with “endless TO DO lists.”

DOES IT RING A BELL?
The conversation went something like, "For a long time when people asked me, 'How are you?' I just answered, 'Tired.'” "I know, there is not enough time for everything.” "I get you. I'm always exhausted. My brain no longer works." “I'm always the last priority.” “Eating healthy? I don’t even have time for lunch!”

We were going through these thoughts when a girl who had been silent said: "Well...I actually love being busy. It’s sexy, glamorous ... Others perceive me as ultra 'pro', as a woman who is on top of everything. Today to stand out you have to be perceived that way. I can’t afford to rest or relax. And I keep my family—my children—as busy as possible… they better get used to it."

APPLAUDING MULTI-TASKING
The room became silent. A minute later the balance shifted towards the idea of “Busy = Sexy & Glamorous.” Apparently in today’s world being “fine” means being “busy.” The busier we look, the better. It’s the glorification of not having enough time. We applaud multi-tasking. We go around parading that we can’t take vacations, or wearing our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. We “fake complain” about having to eat lunch in front of the computer while working…or sending e-mails, placing calls and writing grocery lists while driving.

We don't stop for even one second and think about who we are becoming and what we are feeling instead of what we are doing. Since when doing chores has become a priority over being a person?

There is no doubt we live in a world with a plethora of challenges, things to do and information. We want to do it all in order to have it all. And in the process we actually lose ourselves: more and more studies are showing that continuous stress is a major risk factor for disease and life-threatening conditions.

From that perspective, I believe it may be a good idea to stop and rethink the values we are attaching to exhaustion, lack of time to dream, play (yes, even adults) and create.  Are these really glamorous and sexy or is it just the way they’re selling it to us?

IDEAS TO NAVIGATE A BUSY WORLD
During the workshop we brainstormed and came up with strategies to slow down and shift towards a new attitude. One that may prompt you to answer "I'm fine, thank you" when people asks you haw are you doing instead of "I'm busy."

Stop glorifying being busy. It’s okay not to be busy all the time. It's okay to make space for leisure and fun. It’s okay to balance things out. It's okay to recharge your batteries, sleep, disconnect from time to time, take a vacation and do things that keep us from "occupation". It’s not sexy or glamorous to exhaust yourself from stress. It’s not glorious to suffer burnout from driving your body and mind to utter exhaustion. And, yes. It’s okay to recognize we are healthy, grateful, happy and able to say: “I'm fine, thanks" without feeling guilty for not being on the verge of collapse.

You have options. The first step to a less busy life is the conscious decision to lead a simpler life. We determine more of our agenda than we think. Each decision counts. We can simplify by seeking alternatives.

Make space and create breaks. When you're working on your schedule—no matter if you do it monthly, weekly or daily—include spaces to disconnect, relax, and recharge your batteries. Give value to these "breaks.” Do it intentionally. Consciously. If you work in an office, consider taking a 5-min. break at least every 90 mins. Enjoy your lunch without staring at the computer or your smart phone… it’s meant to be a break!

Review your priorities. What is important in your life? How are you contributing to the world around you, personally and professionally? What will your legacy be? What will you miss most the last day of your life: a sunset next to the one you love or running around "doing things?" Pause. Ask yourself the questions that count.

All those things. In our workshop we saw that a great part of our busyness comes from the things we own. For example, very large houses need to be cleaned, repaired and tidied constantly. Consider making your life easier. Perhaps when you have less to clean, arrange, organize and maintain you can finally find more time for yourself and your family, minimizing the time you spend in the material things that surround you.

No is a complete sentence. I don’t remember where I read this sentence, but learning to say “NO” is the first step towards a more balanced life. There is no obligation to accept all the invitations we receive. No need to go to every event in town. We don’t have to take on other people’s responsibilities or do things because everybody else is doing it. Review your priorities. Say no to what is not a priority and make space for what is important in your life.

Leave work… at work. Don’t bring work from the office into your home. Your personal life is valuable. Engage in leisure activities or just disconnect from your job. Nourish your spirit and free your mind—it does matter. That space can give you more energy, new ideas and new perspectives to face those hours in the office.

Take vacations. In the United States there is no legislation on paid holidays, and if you are an entrepreneur and you work on your own, you’ll hardly think of leaving your business "solo". Still, make an effort to stop and take a vacation. Invest in experiences rather than things. It will make your career more sustainable and profitable in the long term.

Who’s the boss? Take breaks from computers and screens. Unplug yourself every day at least for a while. Turn off the phone. Do not check social networks. Use that time to do something creative, something you enjoy, watch a sunset, play with your pet, talk to your family at dinner, meditate, go to a yoga class or simply walk around. Ask yourself: are you controlling your mobile phone or is your mobile controlling your life?

Find peace in silence ... Reconnect ... Learn to be with yourself in harmony ... Make room for what is important ... And when it comes to “time is money,” remember: money can buy you things, but it won’t buy you any more time to live. Value the time you have been given in this life.

Niky Pauli s a certified Life Coach by the International Coaching Community, a Leadership Life Coach by the Sura Center and is trained as a Reiki practitioner. She's the founder of  NikyCoach, which combines traditional Life Coaching tools with meditation and energetic healing modalities.

 

Photo credit: Painting by Tamara de Lempicka, Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star."

 

 

Inspired by Reiki Practice: 7 Real-Life Hacks To Create Space And Make Things Happen

Do you spend your day doing a million things just to realize you achieved very little? That your day feels like being on a treadmill: all day running without advancing one inch?

In society, we are trained to do. We believe that doing will make things happen. What they forget to tell us is that—for things to happen in life—you need to create the space and time for it to happen.

In Reiki we have a technique called “holding the healing space,” which means creating the space and holding it, so healing can take place. A concept I believe you can apply to your life as well: creating a “space” with more thoughtful doing and less busyness so magic can happen.

How? Here are 7 life-hacks that can help. But don’t stick to them. Like guidelines in Reiki practice, use them as a springboard to discover what works for your lifestyle. 

1)   LOOK AT YOUR TO DO LIST WITH FRESH EYES
A friend of mine gave me this fantastic tip:  divide your list in “TO DOs” (chores/work) and your “WANT TO” list (i.e. new paint for the bedroom, shopping, etc).
Keep them separate. The beauty of the WANT LIST is that you can do them whenever. No time pressure. Putting them into the TO DO list transforms enjoyment into duty.
One watch out: resist the temptation to fill your now lighter TO DO list with new chores in order to feel more productive, which takes us to…

2)   YOU CAN’T BE PRODUCTIVE 100% OF THE TIME.
You may want to, people may pressure you, but the reality is that not even computers can do it: they need time to render and process or they spin their wheels. Taking breaks to eat, relax and refresh is not irresponsible. It will actually make you more productive. Your brain will process better and a break of 5 minutes may allow you to do a report in one hour instead of struggling for three.

3)  ADOPT A LAZY SUNDAY AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH.
No plans, no playdates, no planned brunches. Wake up whenever your body (or children) tells you, order take out and decide what you feel like doing. For once, do things according to your mood and physical needs. Feel the difference. Enjoy it. Your brain will really appreciate one day with less adrenaline.

4)  ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: DO I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS OR AM I DOING IT OUT OF GUILT/OBLIGATION.
We always feel like we can’t cancel or not go somewhere. But going out of obligation is not energetically empowering for you, your family or the people you are committed to see. If you are not feeling up to it or have already too many engagement that week, a nice “I would love to but…” note is the kindest move towards all!

5) NO COMPUTER/SMART PHONE GAMES.
You may think they help you disconnect from work, but one hour of Candy Crush or Whatever Popular Saga will only get more adrenaline coursing through your body. You’re bored in the subway? Try meditating a little bit, doing some pre-thinking on work or going through your TO DO List (to make it smaller not bigger).

6) ASK YOURSELF WHAT AM I TRYING TO PROVE…
with the perfect household, the perfect kids and the perfect job. Not an easy question but one that may lead you to relax a little your own expectations and realize that—some days—an sort of clean bathroom is good enough.

7) LEAVE BLANKS IN YOUR SCHEDULE.
Filling your calendar 100% means leaving no space for the unpredictable, the surprises, the new friendship, the new client, the new business idea, the casual coffee that gives you a new insight into your life...

Because at the end, the best part of life happens in those few moments when we are not expecting or trying to control it.

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, and a Reiki Master/Practitioner based in New York City. You can reach her at natjaspar@mac.com

 

Photo credit: Painting "Sky Above the Clouds" by American painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

From Spain: 4 Simple Herbal Remedies to Slow Down

The first step to slowing down is to control stress in all its expressions: worry, pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression and numbness... Here are a few allies we use in Spain to fight back stress: 

FIGHT INSOMNIA
Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) + Passionflower (Passionaria incarnata) + Orange blossom (Citrus aurantium) + Linden (Tilia platyphyllos)
Mix in equal parts. 1 tbsp per cup. Boil for 1 minute and let it rest for 5 minutes. Take 30 mins. to 1 hour before going to bed. 

FIGHT ANXIETY
White Hawthorne (Crataegus monogyna) + Melissa (Melissa officinalis) + Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) + Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Mix in equal parts. 1 tbsp per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. 

FIGHT DEPRESSION
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
1 tsp. per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. Do not take if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking contraceptives, taking antidepressants, suffer from severe depression or schizophrenia. Check for harmful interactions if you're taking medications. 

FIGHT LACK OF ENERGY
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) + Sage (Salvia officinalis)
1 tbsp if the mix per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. 

IMPORTANT TIPS:
—Prepare whole jars of the infusion of your choice to save time.
—If you have a health condition or are taking medication, always check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies to avoid harmful interactions.
—If you are pregnant, be specially cautious when taking herbal remedies.

Based in Madrid, Spain, Eva Miquel specializes in preparing simple and safe natural remedies to balance and energize your body. She can be reached at evamn@hotmail.com. 

5 ways deep BREATHING can benefit your Reiki sessions

My lungs and I spent many years battling: I had asthma as a child and smoked in my 20s. When I practiced yoga, I was the person in the room who teachers addressed when they said, "Remember to breathe!"
When I started practicing Reiki, this changed. First, during my meditation practice—I had to work with my breath to build qi, which then translated into my sessions. Being aware of my breath really transformed my practice. How? 

1) Being one with my breath keeps me centered. No more, "Is this the right position? Is the person feeling it? What does that sensation in my left hand means? Is this a weird place to put my hand?" When you are one with your breath, it's almost like white noise: you create a peaceful space in which doubts have a tougher time disrupting your session. 

2) Clearer boundaries. When you are aware of your breath, it's easier to maintain healthy boundaries between client and practitioner, reducing (and with practice) eliminating that feeling of being drained or exhausted after a session. (Keeping your eyes open is also key!)

3) No labeling. When practicing a Reiki session, you follow the sensations but are not supposed to label or judge them. When you are busy breathing with awareness, it's a lot easier to let go of that instinct to classify.

4) Your session becomes more intense (in a good way). In many spiritual practices, breathing builds life energy (prana/chi/qi). The same happens in Reiki, where the ki part stands for life force. Try taking a deep breath all the way into your diaphragm/hara and then exhale slowly through your mouth: feel what happens to your hands. Notice the difference? That's what I mean.

5) Breathing keeps the little Napoleon inside at bay. During my practice, especially at the beginning, I had this little Napoleon that would pop out (hey, I was born in Europe.) He would say stuff like, "Way to go, girl, you are good, look how warm your hands are!" The shame I felt after these thoughts was so intense it disrupted my whole practice. I tried fighting my inner Napoleon, but it only made him sneakier. Breathing, however, brought calm and acceptance. As soon as he starts talking, I breathe deeply and remain centered in the now and connected to the right kind of oneness. 

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, a group of professional Reiki practitioners supported by life coaches, clinical herbalists and yoga teachers in New York City and Miami.  

We have been trained to avoid #fear, to hide it under other feelings or shop it away, drink it away and even Rx-it away. The thing with fear is that the more we hide from it, the bigger it grows. This week try to make friends with your fears. Let them come up, don't fight them, just observe them. It's amazing how quickly they subside, like a wave (ok, sort of a scary one), letting you ebb into #calmness and #acceptance. If you have a #Reiki practice, try meditating on the first symbol, and notice the small changes: the grounding, the acceptance... and let us know how it goes.

5 questions to ask when choosing a Reiki practitioner

How do you choose a #Reiki practitioner among dozens that are offering their services. Here are 5 questions that can help you make a decision.

1) How can Reiki help me?
Beware of miracle claims or sentences involving power. Although Reiki promotes relaxation and balance and can provide you with many benefits, it won’t fix your life in one or two sessions. The answer will also give you a peek of the practitioner’s personality and view on wellness.

 2) Do you practice Reiki on yourself every day?
It may seem like an odd question to ask, but #Reiki practice is based on the principle that a practioner has to take care of himself first in order to take care of others… Think of it like the oxygen mask policy on airplanes. 

3) Do you practice Reiki full time? For how long?
Most Reiki sessions are relaxing and lovely, but practitioners who have practiced longer do have more experience, like when it comes to treat people who have difficulty moving or positioning themselves on the massage table, or on how to handle emotional releases. Additionaly, hours of experience are more important than the master title, which implies rather the capacity to teach others than to a higher quality of sessions.

4) What’s your “Touch” policy?
Some practitioners let their hands hover, others prefer to touch or are open to adjust their touch according to your sensitivities. Find out what you can expect from their treatments and how to communicate during the session if the touch is in anyway uncomfortable.

5) Do you offer packages or multiple session discount?
Most practitioners are open to negotiation if you commit to multiple sessions or to a monthly/bi-weekly treatment schedule. Ask them. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

Messages or no messages—that’s the question.

What to answer when people ask, ‘Did you get any messages?’ after a Reiki Session?

 When you take a Reiki class in one day like I did, you learn very fast—so fast that thousands of details fall through the cracks. Among them, what to do with the so-called “messages” given by spirit guides.

I’ve been practicing for close to five years and handling sessions has become easier. Handling my clients’ expectations when it comes to messages however became tougher and tougher.  

 While practicing at the JCC Reiki clinic with Reiki Master #PamelaMiles, her ‘No-Message Policy’ was easy to execute. Even when people asked we barely had time to answer, “It was our pleasure to offer you a Reiki session,” before they were ushered to the exit.

For a long time,  I tried to guide my clients' attention to what they felt, but I didn’t totally grasp the why, grasp it not only with my mind, but with guts and heart. And that probably affected my confidence when handling the matter.

It took a really awkward situation (a client literally kicked me out and refused to pay the session for lack of what she called “guidance”) to realize that I needed to understand why sharing these messages didn't feel right and communicate it clearly.

So, I did some digging.

According to Reiki masters and authors #FransStiene and #BronwenStiene, ‘hibiki’ or the sensation we feel during a "hands-on" healing session/meditation literally “means an echo. The reason why these sensations are called ‘hibiki’/echo is because they are not real—an echo is empty, like a reflection or an illusion.”

How then do we know that messages are real if ‘hibikis’ are not? Worse, what if messages are not only echoes, but also echoes that have been distorted further by our own experiences and emotions?

If, as Stiene explains, we are to experience Hibiki without labeling it, shouldn’t we do the same with messages? Experience them and then let them go, trusting the session to do its work?

Later, talking to Reiki Master #DeborahFlanagan, she mentioned that #Reiki practice was all about reconnecting with yourself. It seemed to me then that by giving messages, a practitioner may actually be getting in the way of his client’s best interest.

I gave it some thought. And what came to me was very simple.

When my clients ask for messages or guidance, they are—knowingly or not—shifting the responsibility of their own healing into my hands.  And that’s why it’s so important to gently shift it back into theirs—because, after all, they are the ones doing the work.

I’m not claiming this is a universal truth. But this works for me, for now. It doesn’t have to work for you. But I do believe that as we progress in our practice, it’s important to ask ourselves questions—even if they have been answered a hundred times—meditate on them, and come up with our own unique answer.

What’s your POV about messages*, would love to hear it.

 

* When I talk about messages in this post, I am not referring to the "there is a lot going on in your back" kind, but more to the "that person who hurt you recently? Not worth it" kind of messages.

 

Photo credit: http://purpleturtles.muzy.com/#lightbox_post_93097755