A Sign for My Friend’s New Jikiden Reiki Practice

 

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The Gokai (five principles) are one of the most important elements of Reiki.

I have talked in a previous post about how having Reiki come into my life was a turning point for me. After benefitting from receiving Reiki I decided to learn how to do it, too. And I learned from an amazing teacher, Mari Okazaki. Well, Mari also put me in touch with my friend, Sue. At the time Sue was taking her Jikiden Reiki to the next level and was training to become a Shihankaku (assistant teacher). To do this she needed to practice Reiki on a certain number of people in addition to practicing for a certain number of hours.

Mari put me in touch with Sue because I live not too far from her and she needed more practice people/hours. Of course, I happily volunteered but I had the problem of not necessarily having someone to watch my daughter while we could do this. Sue nicely offered for her 12 year old son to play with the girly. I wasn’t sure a 12 year old boy would want to play with a 3 year old but it seemed like he had fun. I know my girly did. I believe it was the end of the first day that she started calling him her brother. They also had a dog and a cat so basically she was in heaven and Sue and I could get down to the business of Reiki.

Fast forward some time and Sue is now a Shihankaku and I have started my Etsy shop for my signs. We hadn’t seen each other since Sue took her course but we kept in touch online. Sue had some extra strawberry plants and kindly offered them to me which I was coincidentally looking to get some. I was feeling very grateful for the strawberry plants and the babysitting and the Reiki that I really wanted to give something in return. After chatting with Sue over the pick up of the strawberry plants I realized that I could do a sign for her. So it was agreed I would attempt to do the Gokai.

The Gokai is the five principles:

Just for today:

Do not be angry,

Do not be worried,

Be grateful,

Do your duties fully,

Be kind to others.

They are an important element to Reiki so I thought it would be the perfect sign for Sue because she is starting up her own Jikiden Reiki practice. (If you are in the Langley area and want to give Reiki a try you should go see Sue. She is in Brookswood, her website is here and her Facebook page is here. She is lovely). The challenge in this sign is that it is written in Japanese. When I finished the sign I was scared to show Sue because I was afraid I made a mistake to make it say something completely different. I wouldn’t be able to see a glaringly obvious spelling mistake like I would in english. To my relief she loves it and she says it says what it is supposed to.

As for Reiki itself, a great explanation can be found on Mari’s website here. I realize that for a lot of people Reiki is not something you can see or touch so therefore people don’t believe in it. However, I have tried it myself and know that it has helped me and also, others that I have practiced on. As well, I believe the most relaxed I have ever been is during a Reiki session …even more so than sleep or even massage. And I always sleep so much better after I have had Reiki. I really can’t recommend it enough.

And, if you are wondering, Jikiden means “directly from” so Jikiden Reiki is Reiki that is passed down directly from the teacher using the Japanese traditional methods. (And they take their traditions seriously).

I am really happy Mari introduced me to Sue because we became fast friends (coincidentally she has 3 chickens, too!) and I have someone close by that I can exchange Reiki with if we can get our schedules to match up. I hope she does well in her business and that lots of people realize the amazing benefits of Reiki, emotional and physical.

*Edited to add a link to Sue’s website. (I didn’t realize she had a great website in addition to her Facebook page).

 

 

 

 

HSP or Adrenal Fatigue? Sometimes I Can’t Tell.

With all the activity happening around here I have been feeling a little drained …somedays more and somedays less. After I had been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and food allergies by the naturopath I would often know that if I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept it would mean that either I was overdoing things (adrenal fatigue) with not enough down time or I had eaten things that I was sensitive to. Usually with a quick review of my recent activities and meals I could figure it out. Regardless, it usually meant I needed to take it easy but more so if I was overdoing things.

Now, since I have figured out that I am also an HSP (highly sensitive person) I sometimes have a hard time knowing whether my adrenal glands are crapping out again or I am just having sensory overload because of the HSP part of my personality. I figure if it is the HSP part it will have a shorter term effect and if it is the adrenals it will have a longer term effect. So really, time will tell as the saying goes. Either way feeling drained for me is a red flag that means slow down and be extra diligent in food choices. In the old days before I knew better I used to just push through the fatigue. Now I know it can get a whole lot worse and take a whole lot longer to recover if I do that.

It is really frustrating to not be able to do things though, to not be able to get up off the couch, to feel like you have bones made out of cement. It is my fear of getting back to that place that forces me to make sure I take it easy when I need to as difficult as that is. It would far easier to be able to just get all the things I want done as fast as I want them done. I guess you could say I have been forced to learn how to say no. More importantly, I have learned to listen to my body and respect what it is trying to telling me.

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.

Living With Food Allergies, a Blessing in Disguise.

The moment I was told that I had food allergies my whole world turned upside down.  What was I going to eat if I couldn’t have wheat, gluten, dairy, and eggs?!  The other allergies that popped up seemed minor in comparison simply because my diet revolved so much around bread, cheese and eggs.  I was also told that gluten and casein (a dairy ingredient) were often hidden ingredients in many food items.  How was I ever going to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat? It seemed very overwhelming especially because I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and easily tired out.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was going to be one of those “blessing in disguise” moments.  Having food allergies taught me to question what was in my food.  It made me realize all the crazy ingredients that are used in store bought foods.  And, in trying to figure out what those crazy ingredients were it taught me how unhealthy and unnecessary they were for our diets. (Previously, I was one of those naive people who had blind faith that if the authorities approved the food for sale then it must be good for us to eat). It taught me that whole foods are best.  And, because of all of this, and, because I love yummy food, it forced me to learn to cook …to really cook. And by that I mean I can look at a recipe and be able to know if and what I can substitute to make it work.  And I can now cook like my Mom where I can throw in a little of this and a little of that without completely following a recipe.

So, in retrospect, I am grateful for my food allergies.  They set me on a path to better eating.  I now know what I am putting into my body and I have to say that I have a much bigger variety of foods that I enjoy, too.  They have prompted me to branch out and try more things that I might not have before.

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me It’s Adrenal Fatigue?

I remember precisely when my health problems reared their ugly head high enough for me to sit up and take enough notice to have to do something about them. It was the summer of 2002. Back in 2002 I worked in an office.  A bankruptcy office to be precise.  I did well at my job but it was never my dream. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do so I just kept moving forward and learning more things.  I had been with the company just over 10 years at the time.  Anyway, in retrospect I had too much on my plate but at the time I didn’t realize it or know what to do about it.

In the spring of that year I was completing the first course for becoming a bankruptcy trustee and was supposed to be writing an exam in June.  I wasn’t confident and my mentor was not a great teacher.  At the time I was in a relationship with a fellow who was depressed.  He was on a lot of prescription medication due to a motor vehicle accident and spent most of his days on the couch.  As well, I had reconnected with my birth mother in 1998 (which was a really positive experience but still emotional) and she along with her husband and 3 kids (my brother and 2 sisters) were set to come visit in the end of summer.  My birth mother had located my birth father and so we were planning to meet him when she was out for her visit.   Summertime also signalled a time when my boss took his vacation.  He usually would take 6 weeks sometime between June and September. Not usually consecutively.  For some reason along the way I had stepped up and tried to take care of the office whenever he was absent.  I had been doing it so long I didn’t realize I didn’t have to.

July rolled around and suddenly I was sick to my stomach one day at the office so I went home.  This is what I would normally do because I have always taken stomach bugs seriously.  Much to my delight by the end of the day I felt much better so the next day I went back to work.  However, this was to become a common experience over that summer.  I would be super sick in the morning and by the afternoon I would be okay again.  Later I would realize I was having anxiety attacks which would often land me on the toilet.

But at the time I had no idea what was wrong with me so I went to the doctor because that is what you do, right?  Well the doctor sent me for tests which all came back absolutely normal.  July came and went. August came and went. And then I think sometime in September when I wasn’t getting any better the doctor suggested antidepressants.  I have alway been “medication as a last resort” person but I wasn’t getting better and my doctor always seemed to be a “medication as a last resort” doctor (or so I thought) so I gave it a go.

Well, not only did I not get better but I started crying all the time, too.  It was a very crazy time.  After 9 months the doctor even agreed that they didn’t seem to be helping at all and weaned me off of them.  And that was that.  The only other suggestion the doctor had was to see a psychiatrist.

I became unable to handle the overload of work that I had previously been doing so when a position came up in a quieter office within the firm I requested and received a transfer.  I was taking it easier and doing practically nothing at home in my down time.  Slowly but surely I started to feel better.  Just over a year later I left the relationship I was in.

Fast forward to 2007.  At this point I wasn’t nearly as bad as I was in 2002 but I had never gotten completely better.  I felt broken.  If I pushed myself I would crash.  I didn’t have much of a social life.  My dog was a huge saviour for me.  She is what got me out of the house each and every day (beyond going to work).  I also think all the fresh air and exercise I got while walking her helped me hugely, too.

Luckily for me I bumped into a friend and coworker from the office I had previously worked in.  I hadn’t seen in her in a while and I knew she hadn’t been herself in a long time.  She had pretty much become regularly grumpy when in years past she had been happy go lucky.  Well, when I bumped into her she was practically glowing.  She was back to her old self.  It was unbelievable.  When I asked her what she had been up to she told me she had been seeing a naturopath. All I could think was “wow!”

It took me some time but the seed was planted.  Eventually I went to see a naturopath by my house but left not feeling very confident I had found the right one.  So, I went to the one that my friend had been to see.  It was further but so worth it.

In July of 2007 the naturopath did a complete physical and had me fill out a very long questionnaire.  I was pretty excited because I had long been frustrated with the idea of only being allowed to talk about one topic at the medical doctor’s office.  I had always wondered “what if I have more things and what if there is a connection between them?” Anyway, the naturopath looked at the whole picture and ordered some tests.  These ones were different than the medical doctor’s tests. I had a food allergy test done where blood is taken and sent to a lab to be analyzed for food allergies (not the skin prick test) and I also had a cortisol test done.

I was called back for the results and as I sat there with my double tall latte and my maple scone from Starbucks I was told that I was allergic to a bunch of food including gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, peanut,and some others, too.  And not only was my test showing I had reactions, the reactions were shown as bars that practically went off the page.  I was also told I had adrenal fatigue. My cortisol levels were high when they should be low and low when they should be high.  This is why I was always sick in the morning …my cortisol levels were almost non-existent before noon.  I had no ability to deal with stress in the morning so my body would break down.

It can take a long time to heal from adrenal fatigue and there isn’t really anything you can do except take it easy and eat really well.  (I learned a lot from the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Stress Syndrome).  (I later realized that is what helped me get better back when I was initially sick in 2002 – I was forced to take it easy).  But I was super excited because I finally knew what was wrong with me and could actually take steps to get better.  And it made sense, too.  And, yes, I went home and got rid of all the foods I was allergic and then went to the grocery store to figure out what to buy instead.  That was a challenge …especially with having adrenal fatigue. I think I spent a couple of hours easily just in that first visit to the store just reading labels and figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat.

Initially I went about 6 weeks without eating any of the foods that caused me trouble.  A lot of people asked me how hard it was especially to give up things like bread and cheese.  Really, I found it easy because I felt that bad all the time.  When you feel that bad all the time then you really don’t mind not eating what makes you feel that way.  After 6 weeks I decided to test it.  My Mom and I went out to dinner to our favourite Mexican restaurant and I ordered chile rellenos.  I was having egg, dairy and wheat all in one go.  As I was eating it I could actually feel my head getting foggy.  It was incredible.  It also took a few days to recover.  It was a great test.

Sometime later I was at my doctor’s office and I was excited to share with her my discoveries.  She looked at me and said that you have to take naturopath’s tests with a grain of salt and that what they say isn’t always true.  Funny because I had already tested it to see if it were true.  And funny that my doctor had never once asked me what I was eating.  It makes complete sense to me that what you eat will affect your health. I have learned that doctor’s also don’t test for or recognize adrenal fatigue.  So this is why no one (initially) told me I had adrenal fatigue.  It only took me 5 years to finally discover it with the help of my naturopath.