#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 160: The Tapestry of Life

When I started my Reiki practice, the main benefit I was looking for was to make my life easy.

Yep, that simple, that lazy.

I wanted things to flow and “manifest” without effort, just a half-hearted intention. I wanted to see life from a lofty point of view and feel 100% peaceful 100% of the time.

Are you laughing yet? I am.

On Day 160 of my challenge, things have not become easier. In part because my mind is not used to the concept of ease—struggle has been in my DNA since early childhood and letting go of this concept requires a few more years of ommms.

Instead, life has become… richer.

You see, before I would BE angry. Or happy. Or anxious. Or content.

I would see red, white, grey or gold.

Now I FELL angry. Or happy. Or anxious. Or content.

It’s a subtle play on words but a humongous difference in being.

And when I feel anger vs. becoming angry, I can still be aware of other feelings like happiness, peacefulness, sadness or compassion.

I can see the red threads of angers mixing with the blue threads of peacefulness or the light green threads of love—something I could not when I was BEING angry.

OK, sometimes I AM still angry: this is New York City after all. But less than before. A lot less.

Life has become like a rich tapestry where threads mingle and create beautiful patterns that form and dissolve. All of them are me. None of them are me.

It’s kind of cool.

How has Reiki practice change the way you feel during your day to day?

 

Photo credit: Hunt of the Unicorn, Medieval tapestry hosted at the Cloisters Museum, New York City. 

#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. 

#BeingReiki: #1000DayChallenge—Day 57: Old Tricks, New Tricks

I have not worked in advertising for 10 months.
I forgot how competitive and weird things can be.
Living with a little bit more awareness is a strange thing. You can feel your own competitiveness taking over and playing tricks... but you can also push it aside using your new tricks.
You can feel your own insecurities taking over... and then leave them behind, calmly (meditating on CKR helps like crazy!).
And you can feel your surroundings. How people who smile  are actually very angry and stressed. Or how that arrogant looking girl is just scared and shy.
I'm only doing a freelance, but it's an interesting experiment on how to bring awareness and some Reiki help to survive (thrive?) at the workplace.
 

 

Photo credit: Drawing by Italian renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci.

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."

 

 

#Being Reiki: #1000DayChallenge — Day 24: On growing roots

—By Nathalie J.

I have been working on "grounding" for the last few days.
As you may recall, I'm an air person who fears the constrains of grounding.

However, I've come to internalize that without proper grounding, you can't really have a strong practice—self-doubt and external criticism would constantly make you feel off center. 

To my surprise I'm finding my grounding meditations fascinating... and even enlightening.

As an example: during one meditation I was visualizing these amazing roots borrowing deep into the earth to get nutrients and stability... and then an image popped out: I felt the ground responded to the energy and that these virtual roots helped the earth keep its integrity, its place in the whole and its life—reminding me of the #Reiki principle, "There are no givers, gift or receivers."

Now I'm actually excited to keep on going. 

If you have a lovely grounding modality, don't be shy! Share it! I would love to experiment more  in this area. 

Thx and namaste!

Being Reiki: #1000DayChallenge — Day 3: Rediscovering CKR

When I took my Reiki Level 2 class five years ago, I was taught all 3 symbols in one hour. A lot of emphasis was placed on CKR as the "power symbol," which works as a “switch” that helps to instantly increase the practitioner’s ability to channel energy and concentrates it on the required purpose. You wanted to accelerate healing? CKR. You wanted to rid your house of bad energies? CKR in every corner. There was nothing that CKR could not do.

The thing is I am a little bit like Al Gore: I dramatize things with amazing facility. So CKR became almost like a SuperMan kind of power in my head, which ended up being... a turn off. Childish I know, but We were not thought the importance of daily practice and meditating on the symbols.

When my life struggles were not instantly solved, no matter how many CKR I drew in the air, on paper and even in the mirror, I used it less and less. 

Through the years, my practice improved a lot. In great part by practicing simply and with respect at Reiki Clinics like the one at the JCC in Manhattan. I focused on letting my hands do the work and establishing a solid daily practice. Symbols didn't play a big role anymore... until I started my Reiki 3 class.

One of the first requirements was to read Frans Stiene's book The Japanese Art of Reiki. His description of the symbols are so inspiring, it created a desire to bring them back into my practice. Our teacher Deborah taught us simple meditations to understand each symbol's unique energy and how to incorporate it in yourself (Check them out at the end of the post!). Yet CKR—despite it's earthiness, grounding and accepting qualities—was a challenge to me. 

As a writer, I live in my head most of the time. The idea of grounding felt constraining. Almost anti-creative (as you can see I am not always the most perceptive person). So I binged on the 4th symbol, and avoided CKR like the plague, even though I started forgetting things everywhere and feeling a little to "airy."

The other day I was in a beautiful garden full of wild plants. They felt so alive it was almost like you could see them growing, moving, multiplying. And then it hit me: how stupid could I be thinking grounding and earthiness limit creativity? Earth is where life and all ideas get their nourishment to manifest. Their root to grow and prosper. It never constrains. On the contrary, it supports life without judging: weed, roses, deadly bugs or dutiful ants. 

And just like that I opened the door to CKR—to start discovering its nurturing energy of acceptance which dissolves anger and keeps things in perspective; its grounding effect that dissolves fears and worry.

If you have not meditated lately on CKR I invite you to give it a few minutes this week. Here are some tips that helped me get started:

1) Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Place your non-dominant hand on your hara and draw the symbol in the air with your dominant hand (using the palm). Say its name 3 times and bring the dominant hand to the hara (on top of the non-dominant one). Just breath for a few minutes and feel CKR's energy with your whole body.

2) Sit comfortably with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Draw CKR on a piece of paper. Place your dominant hand on top of it, say its name 3 times. Breathe deeply and feel the symbols' energy. 

3) If you are more auditory than visual, try chanting the symbol. You can download its chanting sounds here. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, hands to your side, take a purifying breath and get chanting. Start with 2 to 3 minutes per day and add time each time you feel ready. 

 

Photo credit: Nikolai Shevchuk

 

Being Reiki: #1000DayChallenge — Day 1

—By Nathalie J.

The other day I saw a video about Mitsunaga, a monk from the Tendai School in Japan, who became the 13th monk since WWII to complete the Sennichi Kaihogyo: 1,000 days of walking meditation and prayer over a seven-year period around Mount Hiei. The idea behind the challenge is allowing one’s sense of self to die and then be reborn to help and lead all beings to enlightenment.

Yesterday I finished a Reiki Level III class with Deborah Flanagan, a caring, down-to-earth and inspired teacher. I call it Level III and not Master because for me—more than an achievement—this class is the gate towards a spiritual journey which as has as a goal to become one with Reiki (in many years… or lives.)

Maybe that’s why I was attracted to the monk’s story—his journey is not unlike many of us who embrace Reiki as al life-long spiritual practice.

It’s true that Manhattan—where I live—is no mountain to be scaled, unless you commit to go up and down the Empire State stairs every day. There are no dangerous bears or mud slides. But there are some angry people that can kick any bear’s ass and subways without air conditioning in summer that can cause meltdown after a hard day. It’s also a land of extremes: where greed meets compassion, and infinite loneliness lives next to abundant love. There is so much noise and information that losing your center is extremely easy. Forgetting the Reiki precepts—especially the first about not getting angry—some days can take as much as… 30 seconds.

But what if I tried to commit to trying to my utmost power to live following those precepts, and leave anger and worry behind for 1000 days like the monk. To be humble and honest every minute of each day. To show compassion towards my self and others once and again. Could I do it?

Probably not.

But why not try?

So from today on I initiate my own personal Sennichi Kaihogyo. 1000 days of awareness and learning. Of embracing the thousands mistakes I do everyday and share the learning… if any. 1000 days of observation, lived with joy and honesty, true to myself and with a sense of humor… which I will try to transform into compassionate.

A journey in which I will try to transition from a sabbatical break into a career where I don’t feel like every second spent working is draining my soul. Finding a way to live from a place of trust instead of fear, especially when it comes to material goods and affections. Where meditation has a place, but also joy, life and adventure. And where becoming a better person doesn’t mean surrendering the use of lipstick (embracing my shadow side has proven challenging, embracing my shallow one, however, seems to come quite naturally to me).

Don't worry, I won’t be writing every day (boring I know) and I won’t commit hara-kiri like the Tendai monks if I get lost in my journey. BTW, I would love to hear from you: any tips, words of support or adventures you think can add spice to this journey? They would be very welcome.

So ready, set...Namaste. Day 1 it is. 

 

Photo credit: Two Clowns Tripping