Gokai – The Principles of Reiki

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Previously I painted a Japanese version of the Gokai. And, finally, I have completed an English version as well. Really I think that these are words to live by for anybody.

Without planning it the completion of the English version coincided with the birthdate of Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki. It also coincided with the start of the first annual Jikiden Reiki World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain where Jikiden Reiki practitioners from all over the world met up.  I have been enjoying seeing the pictures posted of the congress as well as imagining all of the lovely energy from all the positive people getting together in one place.

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Reiki, a turning point

I was suffering from adrenal fatigue again. I was breastfeeding, too, so my naturopath couldn’t give me the supplements to boost my adrenals.

I would wake up in the morning but wouldn’t get out of bed.  This was the time of day that my cortisol levels were non-existent and if I were to push myself in any way my body would betray me. I would need to eat something first thing even though the thought of food made me feel nauseous. I would slip out of bed to the kitchen to get myself a small bowl of chia seeds, hemp seeds and coconut milk and slip right back into bed to eat it. This would give me just enough of a kick of energy to make things okay. My daughter had learned to play quietly or perhaps watch a show in the bed in the mornings. We would wake up around 9 but not actually get up until around noon when I would immediately make a proper lunch.  Without food I would certainly crash.

At some point between 9 and noon, regardless of what I did, I would end up on the toilet for another not so fun bowel movement episode.  If I was doing extra poorly or I had something stressful happen then this could turn into a full blown anxiety attack. Too much stimulation at once is different in the morning than it is later in the day. In the morning it could be as simple as getting a phone call (and that is just the phone ringing, never mind answering it, too) at the same time my husband is talking to me, at the same time I am trying to do something for my daughter. Later in the day that all at once wouldn’t bother me so much.

I can’t even properly explain an anxiety attack. There just aren’t words to describe the feelings of everything being wrong at once, of not being able to sit still, of utter misery, of not being able to control your body. During an anxiety attack I would often just pace in circles around the island in our kitchen. If I was lucky my daughter would stay occupied with whatever she was doing. If not it would often add to my feeling of out of control and I would feel terrible for not being able to handle, in that moment, whatever she would need. After the anxiety attack I would feel absolutely exhausted …for the rest of the day.

So, I would do my best to keep my mornings as stress free as possible and try to eat as well as I could. I would also try to get enough rest which wasn’t always possible with a little one.  And then, just after my daughter turned two Reiki started showing up on my radar over and over again. It got to the point that I had to notice. I wasn’t sure what Reiki was but from what I read on the internet Reiki is a form of energy healing. I also have a friend who does Quantum Touch healing, another form of energy healing. My friend lives across the country from me so she had only ever done distant sessions for me. When she had done them for me I was amazed at the results. I didn’t quite understand it but I didn’t really need to understand to believe in the differences it had made for me. Unfortunately for me she had a new baby, too and had her hands full so was no longer practicing for the time being.

Meanwhile, I spoke to my birth mother on the phone and she mentioned Reiki, too.  I had an issue with airplanes which, of course, stopped me from going to visit. I had actually booked a flight previously and not been able to get on it. So she wanted me to do a distant Reiki session over the phone with her Reiki practitioner. So, I did. I don’t know how well it worked because I still haven’t been able to get it together (budget, etc.) to be able to take a trip but one day we will see. She did, however, mention things she couldn’t have known about me and gave me other coping tools. When I got off the phone I decided it was time for me to see if I could find someone close to where I lived. So I turned to Google and found Mari Okazaki. She was a 5 minute drive from where I was living at the time. And she was fabulous.

I went for my first session. All I needed to do on my part was lay on a massage table. Mari placed her hands on me in different positions throughout the session. Shortly after she started I was so relaxed I fell asleep. I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed! It may have been that session or one of the subsequent sessions that I would wake myself up with my snores. When we were done I didn’t want to leave but I felt really refreshed and so hungry. Later that night though I felt unreasonably irritable. When I asked Mari about it she said that is the Reiki working …moving the blockages through my body. In later sessions I didn’t feel irritable afterwards …just the first one. It makes sense since I probably had a backlog of blockage.

I went for weekly sessions. I had been suffering from monthly migraines that coincided with my cycle. The headaches were so regular I could look ahead on the calendar and schedule plans around them. The following month after starting to see Mari I didn’t have a migraine! I was so impressed and excited about it. I decided to learn Reiki. For me and also for my daughter and family.

Apparently, there are different forms of Reiki. Mari practices Jikiden Reiki. Jikiden means “directly passed down or taught”. It is the Reiki that is directly from Japan and has not changed in it’s teachings since the original Reiki came to be. Japanese are a people who are very traditional and this suited me perfectly because I, myself, like to learn traditional ways.  Mari is also a Reiki teacher so I was able to take both my Shoden Level (Level 1) and Okuden Level (Level 2) with her. It is one of the things in my life that I am very grateful for.

Since learning Reiki not only have I been able to use it when my daughter and husband have gotten minor injuries or sickness but my sister was diagnosed with bone cancer last summer right after my Mom had an emergency surgery from a perforated ulcer. My sister lives far from me but I am able to do distant Reiki for her. It is really nice to be able do something when your loved ones are suffering. I also enjoy going to Reiki practice nights when I am able. One day when my daughter is a little older I hope to take it a little further and perhaps became a Reiki practitioner and a teacher myself.

Adrenal Fatigue, a Long Road

When I was first diagnosed with adrenal fatigue by the naturopath I was also diagnosed with food allergies. I was so focused on what to eat I didn’t realize the seriousness of the adrenal fatigue part. It wasn’t until almost two months later in a discussion with the naturopath that the light bulb went off. Me being me, I immediately went to do some research on adrenal fatigue to figure out exactly what it means. I found this book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, at the library and immediately borrowed it. I found it so helpful I ended up purchasing it, too.

The naturopath gave me some supplements to take. Because my cortisol levels were backwards (low in the morning when they should be high and high in the evening when they should be low) she gave me Cortrex to take in the morning to boost my levels and Relora in the evening to decrease my levels. She also gave me a multi vitamin, calcium/magnesium and some fish oil, too for general health. After six months had passed we took another test and my cortisol levels did seem to level out but I would feel like they were never the same again. It would seem that any time I overdid it I would feel fatigued.

If I woke up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept then it would be because of one of two reasons. Either I had eaten something that I was sensitive to or I had overdone it. Overdoing it could mean not getting enough sleep but more likely it was not getting enough down time in relation to how busy I was. I simply cannot go, go, go anymore without paying for it. I would become fatigued and I would need to take a step back and go in recovery mode. If I didn’t go in recovery mode it would just take that much longer for me to bounce back. Recovery mode generally means I need to make sure I am eating super well and none of the foods I am sensitive to. (Often I can get away with eating these foods here and there as long as it isn’t too much, too close together but not when I am fatigued). It also means I need to rest as much as possible. Getting to sleep before 10 p.m. is very important. If I did all these things I would be able to function much more quickly.

As much as I try to keep a balanced life so that I don’t overdo it, often life happens and there isn’t much I can do about it. Over the next few years I would leave a job that caused me too much stress, explore new career options, sell my car and townhouse to fund my explorations and a big move to a new city, get a new job, reconnect with my high school sweetheart and the father of the son we gave up for adoption, reconnect with the son we gave up for adoption, move back to be with my high school sweetheart, get engaged, get pregnant, get another new job, and get married among other things. Those are some big things that create a lot of stress and don’t necessarily fit the prescription of taking it easy to heal adrenal fatigue.

However, during that time I did get better. I know I did because then I got worse which made me realize how much better I had been. I got worse after I moved to the new city and was adjusting to my new job. And then I got better. And then I got worse again after I had the baby and had to return to work. My husband worked Monday to Thursday and I worked Friday to Monday. I thought this was great because we didn’t need childcare. My body said otherwise. Eventually, the anxiety attacks increased back to the point where I couldn’t ignore them any longer. Dealing with anxiety attacks while caring for a baby is not fun. Being adrenal fatigue exhausted while caring for a baby is not fun, either.

For a while I didn’t even connect that my adrenal fatigue was back. When you have a baby everyone focuses so much on post partum depression and baby related issues it’s easy to forget about other issues. I had to stop working. I applied for and was denied short term disability. And then one day a light bulb suddenly went off. I pulled my adrenal fatigue book off the shelf and sure enough there my symptoms were listed. And I suddenly recalled that this was exactly how it was before. How had I not realized it?

When I  stopped working my husband just started to work more. Therefore, I didn’t have really any support to help me out with the baby. This doesn’t bode well when adrenal fatigue requires rest and eating really well but your job is to provide for your baby first and foremost every day, all day. It’s a far different story coping with adrenal fatigue when you are single than when you are a wife and a mom and have other’s needs to take into consideration. It’s funny because when I was single I thought it would be easier if I had someone to help me.

My naturopath couldn’t give me the supplements for adrenal fatigue she had previously given me because I was breastfeeding and it was very important for me to do so. She did suggest vitamin B12 injections but needles cause me to become super anxious. Really, the anticipation of them causes me such stress that it wipes me right out. I did decide to try one just because my fatigue and anxiety attacks were having such a big effect on caring for my daughter and my relationship with my husband. By the time I got to the appointment I was shaking and in tears. That kind of stress with adrenal fatigue was obviously not a good combination. I had the shot and was hoping I would have renewed energy.  Instead I felt nauseous for a week. That was the end of that.

Luckily, the subject of reiki kept appearing on my radar. I wasn’t sure what it was but I was willing to try anything. I finally did a google search for reiki practioners in my area and stumbled upon Mari Okazaki’s website. I had no idea at the time that meeting Mari would have such a positive impact on my healing journey. Mari introduced me to Jikiden Reiki, Fortune Delight and also to Sharon Richlark, a fabulous homeopath. Each of these would have a tremendous positive impact on my health but I will save those details for future posts.