Coffee has zero calories. What are you grateful for?

I am trying to shed some of that lock- down-extra stuck on my hips and belly.

When we were told to stay home, my family bravely filled the void created by the unknown with an international cooking spree of epic proportion. Because, if there is something we know how to do, it’s cooking. Followed closely by eating.

So now, in this new phase – what is it? phase five or six? seven maybe? – I’m getting rid of the hip leftovers. It’s not much the look I’m not happy with, but I feel heavy and clogged – by fat yes, but also news, feeds, needs and all the feels – and I don’t like it. Plus, I spent last summer in those jeans in the picture and I really really like them. I want to be able to wear them again.

But you know what? I was in my bed this morning, still in that liminal space between sleep and wake, thinking at the first pleasure of the day, every day, and the thought came to me:

“Coffee has zero calories”

Are you fasting? you can still have you coffe.

Are you carb cycling? you can still have your coffee.

Counting calories? still, have your coffee.

Keto? Coffe. Vegan? Coffe. Zone? Coffe.

Now, THAT is something to be grateful for.

(if you drink tea, you are in luck because tea has zero calories too)

Don’t know how, but it works

It was a regular day at the hospital, and I was visiting in-patients following my list of requests for a Reiki session. As I entered the room, the caregiver said to the patient: “Oh look, it’s the lady with the warm hands. The session you really enjoyed last week.”

This is my favorite testimonial amongst all the ones I have collected in my 18 years as a Reiki practitioner.

I love it because it encompasses the main characteristics of Reiki practice: its simplicity and its versatility. It points to the fact that there is no need to have specific beliefs to enjoy the benefits of a Reiki session and confirms that Reiki practice is a very personal experience.

Reiki is a non- invasive practice that, through very light touch, can facilitate a sense of deep relaxation and help restore balance. It can promote a sense of wellbeing that often lingers after the session is over. Reiki practice does not require any diagnosis and never addresses a specific issue. Reiki practice is always for the whole person.

During a Reiki session the recipient is laying or sitting, fully clothed. The practitioner follows a protocol of hands placements with a very light touch. This protocol is very flexible and adaptable and when the situation requires it, instead of touching, the hands can hover a few inches from the body. The recipients often notice a sensation of tingling or warmth where the hands are placed.

Reiki touch is mindful, comforting and dispassionate.

Since there is no manipulation, nothing is ingested and nothing is applied on the skin, the practice of Reiki is considered safe. For this very reason Reiki sessions can be offered in an hospital setting: from a medical perspective there is nothing happening that could be dangerous for the recipient.

The session can take place anywhere and while a regular session generally lasts between 30’ and 1 hour, just a few minutes of Reiki practice can be beneficial.

HOW CAN REIKI HELP?

Just a few minutes into the Reiki session we can start noticing some or all the following physiological responses: there is a change in the breathing pattern of the recipient, the muscles relax, the stomach gently rumbles. Often the recipient starts snoring. After the session recipients commonly report a general sense of relaxation and well being, calm and centeredness.

Several researches on Reiki point towards the same results: recipients generally report less discomfort and pain, improved digestion and better sleep.

These responses to a Reiki session, are all signs of a system that moved from a state of stress and tension towards a more relaxed and balanced state.

Stress has been called the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” by the World Health Organization and numerous studies document the negative consequences of chronic stress on our health.

When our system is under constant stress, it is busy coping with the challenges, it does not have time to rest and restore.

Reiki practice can elicit responses of relaxation, calm and centeredness, helping to restore balance within the system.

When we are calmer and more centred, we feel better and we also tend to make better choices for ourselves, we are more creative in our thinking and more willing to participate in maintaining our state of wellbeing.

HOW DOES REIKI WORK?

Science has yet to understand the mechanism of action of Reiki practice. The various explanations that exist on the workings of Reiki are for the time being, considered speculative theories.

As human beings, we generally need to understand new information intellectually before we can validate an experience and accept it. This approach is not always helpful when we try to understand Reiki practice.

But if we tune in to our sensations and notice what is going on in our body during a Reiki session, the mind tends to quiet down and there is less of a drive to question and understand rationally. We become an observer and register the experience for how it feels and what it is.

 

Distance Reiki, say what?

Lock downs and social distancing have been the norm since the beginning of the pandemic. As a consequence I’ve been practicing more often Distance Reiki and have been asked numerous times to explain it.

Reiki is a non-invasive practice that can facilitate a sense of deep relaxation and help restore balance within the system. It can promote a sense of well-being that persists long after the session is over. Normally, during a Reiki session, the recipient is lying or sitting, fully clothed and the Reiki practitioner follows a protocol of hand placement with light touch.

Distance Reiki is Reiki practiced when the Reiki practitioner and the recipient are not physically together. But how?

I always say that the experience of Reiki is very personal and subjective, and I believe this to be true for both practitioner and recipient.

As a practitioner, in the presence of someone asking to experience Reiki, my hands get warm with a sensation, like a vibration, originating on the palm of the hand. Often, as it is happening in this very moment while I write about it, just thinking of Reiki elicits the same response in my hands. During an in-person session all I need to do is place my ‘activated’ hands gently, mindfully, and dispassionately on the recipient and there we are, both experiencing the wonder of Reiki.

I feel the same sensations in my hands while I practice Distance Reiki. All I need to do is think of the person requesting Reiki and my hands get warm with the Reiki vibration I just described.

It is as if the simple request for balance awakens the ability of Reiki to respond to such demand through my hands.

During a Distance Session, in the physical absence of the recipient, the mind tends to wander and get distracted. As a Reiki practitioner, I have a few tools to help it focus. Great help comes from a series of symbolic actions performed before, during and after the session, a ritual of sorts. Their repetition prepares me and serve as a reminder of the meaningfulness of the moment. Having something to hold between my Reiki hands during the Distance session is also very helpful. It can be a piece of paper where the name of the recipient is written, or a photo or something that represents the recipient in some other way.

The idea is to create and maintain a form of connection between practitioner and recipient. The easiest way to think of this connection is, for example, to remember the times you think of someone and the same person call you or come in touch with you, sometime out of nowhere. Or you can recall how the simple act of thinking of someone you miss “activates” a form of connection with that person, made of thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

In the same way, the act of practicing Reiki with somebody at distance creates a connection that is felt by both practitioner and recipient. In my own experience, this practice is akin to some form of meditation and prayer.

During the session, recipients currently report feelings of warmth, calm, lightness, and general wellbeing. They describe moments like the one before falling asleep, or the one before being fully awake, but stretched out in time. They feel their body very heavy or very light or both sensations at the same time. Some speak of momentary bliss or instants where “everything melts away”. “You were present” someone recently pointed out while describing our session.

Science has yet to understand the mechanism of action of Reiki practice, be it in-person or at distance. We simply do not know yet what takes place during a Reiki session, how and why. We generally need to understand new information intellectually before we can validate an experience and accept it, but this approach is not always helpful when we try to understand Reiki practice. If we tune in to our sensations and notice what is going on in our body during a Reiki session, the mind tends to quiet down and there is less of a drive to question and understand rationally. We become an observer and register the experience for how it feels and what it is.

It is certainly easier to recognize the response to Distance Reiki if you have already benefited from in-person Reiki or if you have a regular self-Reiki practice. But the best way to gain further understanding is certainly to try the technique for yourself. Distant Reiki is useful every time we cannot physically be with somebody: during a medical procedure, while travelling, and lately, if we need to comply with social distancing restrictions.

If you’d like to give it a try, like my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ReikiatOne/, and join our Distance Reiki Shares, every Friday at 1:00pm (montreal time)