Back in the day when I used to watch American Idol, I saw this little country girl come out of nowhere and dominate the show from start to finish. No matter how many people cannot stand Simon Cowell, many of his predictions about talented people in show business are uncannily right on target. From the very start he said she would be one of the favorites to win, and after her performance during the top eleven finalist’s show he predicted that she would not only win but that she would go on to outsell all previous Idol winners.
I think one of the things that impressed me most about Carrie Underwood as I watched her rise to fame during and after Idol is her “sweetness”. To me she came across as this sweet girl with no false pretenses or airs. And then there was that voice! An amazing voice that allows her to cover a range of styles with no apparent effort.
Well, last week I was given the opportunity to see Carrie live in concert here in Jacksonville (Jax), Florida. What an unexpected treat that was. My friend Carol had secured two tickets way back in the spring of this year so that she and her daughter could go and see the show together. At the last minute Carol’s daughter could not attend and so she offered me the ticket – as long as I did the night driving in downtown Jax. Now that’s what I call a bargain!
So off we headed to grab a bite to eat and then on to the Jacksonville Memorial Arena. I have seen a couple of shows at this venue in the past few years and they were good but nothing spectacular. Little did I know that was about to change. There were two opening acts before Carrie: Sons of Sylvia (watch out for them in the future, they are three extremely talented young brothers who I believe will go BIG on the country scene), and Billy Currington (already well known in country circles). The stage setting for both was pretty simple and pretty standard for a basic opening act.
That all changed when Carrie took the stage. I was expecting a good show from her because I know she is talented and has made a real name for herself since winning Idol. However, I was totally unprepared for the next two hours. The stage settings were fabulous to say the least. Carrie literally exploded onto the stage with both her voice and her presence. She is such a class act. I was completely amazed by the show that she put on. The word “professional” just does not cover it. “Consummate professional” comes a little closer.
Her warmth and genuineness as she interacted with the audience was tangible. She puts her whole heart and soul into her singing and it’s obvious she is also having a lot of fun. Her style in both the clothes she wore and her comportment and attitudes was just top notch. It was very obvious that her band adores her and loves working with her. She is still the sweet country girl she always was but now she has a lot of polish with it. She carries no fancy airs and even openly yet appropriately talked about her faith and God. I came away from the evening somehow feeling a little better about myself.
If you ever get the opportunity to go see her live, please do so. I do not think you will be disappointed. I am not exactly a big fan of country music but my experience with Carrie last week may just have changed that.
Back in March in my posting Self Nurturing- More About Reiki I shared a few of the opening segments of my Simple Handbook about Reiki. In todays posting I would like to share a couple more of the segments. These specifically include a short outline of the history of Reiki and some information about Reiki today.
“THE HISTORY OF REIKI
If we want to go back to the true origins of Reiki, or healing touch, we should delve far back into history. There exist ancient Greek bass-relief wall sculptures that picture people practicing hands-on healing. Jesus Christ touched and healed during His three years of public ministry. And in ancient Tibet the Lamas (priests or monks) would meditate on healing symbols.
Coming forward to more modern times we have the history of what I choose to call the “rediscovery or resurgence of Reiki”. Dr. Mikao Usui (1862-1926) a Japanese gentleman is credited with this rebirth into Reiki. Although he was not a doctor by modern definition, he was given the title “Dr.” because he dedicated his life to healing.
Dr, Usui was married and had one child, and it is known that his business efforts created debt and disappointment. In an attempt to find peace of mind and heart Dr. Usui took a spiritual path in search of something greater. He regularly practiced meditation and in 1921 his dedicated spiritual search led him to make a 21-day retreat at Mt. Kumara.
It is said that during this retreat Dr. Usui experienced satori, a state of enlightenment. It was during this satori that he received the sacred symbols that are used in Reiki today. He was also given instructions on how to use them and encouraged to pass them on. During the rest of his life it is estimated that Dr. Usui taught Reiki to over 2,000 people and attuned a number of Reiki Masters/Teachers.
Reiki was introduced into the United States by Mrs.Takata who travelled from Hawaii to a Reiki clinic in Japan for physical healing. She had such a profound healing experience that she asked one of the Reiki Masters to teach her the healing art of Reiki. She was attuned as a Master in 1938 by Dr. Chiyiro Hayashi, returning to Hawaii shortly after and eventually bringing Reiki to America in the 1950’s.
Modern-day Reiki came out of Japan at a time when relations between America and Japan were strained to say the least. It is thought that Mrs. Takata was concerned that mainly Christian Americans would disdain/not believe in Reiki. Therefore many people think that Mrs. Takata created the story of Dr. Usui being Dean of a Christian University in Japan so that Reiki would be more acceptable to Americans.
Mrs. Takata was also said to be very concerned that Westerners would not respect and honor the discipline of Reiki as a great spiritual gift that should not be taken for granted. She realized that in the American culture if something did not have a price, it probably would not have a value. Mrs. Takata decided therefore to charge $10,000 to become a Reiki Master, $175 for Reiki I attunement, and $500 for Reiki II attunement. This created the understanding that Reiki is highly prized and valuable, and would also ensure that only those very serious about Reiki and its proper use would choose to pay that much.
Some Reiki Masters continue this tradition to today. However, most Reiki Masters/Teachers charge a much lower rate more in keeping with the everyday person’s financial possibility.
Reiki has branched into many different directions today and is taught in many different ways. I think the only caution that I would place before anyone wishing to be taught Reiki is to be wary of anyone who offers the student to go from zero to Master in a very short space of time. As the student learns about Reiki there has to be time to practice Reiki, to respect the Reiki energy, to become familiar with working with it before going to the next level. Most important of all there has to be time to cultivate great humility.
Why humility? As mentioned earlier in this Handbook, Reiki is a universal life energy or God energy. It is present and available to everyone who wishes to tap into it. A Reiki practitioner is someone who knows or intuits that they have a connection to energy, a propensity to work with the energy. That is usually why someone learns to do Reiki and is willing to become a channel for the energy to reach others in a healing process.
However, during a Reiki treatment the practitioner does not actually“do” anything. He or she is not the healer. The practitioner is someone who has chosen to make themselves available as a conduit that a Higher Source/God may use to channel the energy through to the person seeking healing. Ego needs to stay out of the way. This is another reason for living by the Reiki principles; so that we may work at being the purest channel we can become for the energy to flow through.
When looking for a Reiki Master/Teacher I think it is important to find someone who obviously lives out these Reiki principles in their daily lives. Some other qualities to look for would be sincerity, genuineness, respect in their interactions with others, and of course humility (not to be confused with submissiveness). And, obviously, it needs to be a person with whom you feel in tune, that you can relate to.
There are, unfortunately, some people who seek to become “experts”in any discipline via “weekend warrior” courses. One example that speaks to this with which I am familiar relates to Yoga. I know that a true Yoga teacher is someone who has immersed him- or herself into the practice and discipline of Yoga for several years. Only then does the individual have the necessary knowledge and experience of Yoga to be able to receive training as a teacher.
However, I know that some people have “jumped on the bandwagon” because of the explosive interest in Yoga in the last ten to fifteen years. I have had experience of people who teach aerobic classes in a gymnasium, for instance, who go off and do a “Yoga Teacher Weekend” and come away as “certified Yoga teachers”. This is usually tied up with money-making and greed (on the part of the people offering these weekend certifications), and is influenced by the “supply and demand”category of our Western culture.
Sadly this has also happened in the world of Reiki. The best advice I can offer is to talk at length with someone you are considering working with as your Reiki Master. Be alert and open to your own intuition. If you are on a focused, dedicated spiritual path your intuition will not deceive you. Sincerity, genuineness, respect, and humility will shine through a person who is on their own path of truth. And of course a positive recommendation from someone who you trust is always a plus.”
If you are seeking or questing on the spiritual highway of life, I hope you find these simple explanations about Reiki useful. Working with the energy is a beautiful experience and is also a gift and a privilege.
I can no longer ignore the fact that some of you may be wondering why the words Life Coach precede the words Spirit, Body and Mind at the top of my blog page. Life Coaching is a new career field that has opened up in recent years and I am, in fact, a certified Life Coach. I chose to get my certification with the Certified Coaches Federation (CCF).
However, Life Coaching is something that I have been doing for years. I just didn’t call it that or realize that I was doing that until late last year. That’s when I “God-incidentally” received an email through an unknown source that introduced me to CCF. I contacted them to make inquiries about the certification course they offered and that was when I recognized that most of what they taught I already knew and practiced. I just didn’t have certification in the specific field.
I have already mentioned in previous blogs that I made a serious life change about thirty years ago. This entailed much work on myself, changes in attitudes and behavior, in other words a major lifestyle change. As a result of all of the above, I opened my heart, my mind, and my soul to many opportunities that I would otherwise have never seen. I opened many doors that I had previously ignored and began to live a very full and rich life and continue to do so to this present moment.
I explored many paths on the road back to the religion of my childhood – Catholicism. However, the practice of my religion is only one aspect of my spirituality. Along the way I opened myself to being there for others, becoming part of the CREDO retreat team in Naples, Italy and also becoming a facilitator for a class called NADSAP. This acronym stood for Navy Alcohol Drug Safety Action Program, which was later known as Navy Alcohol Drug and Substance Abuse Program. I believe that today this program carries yet another acronym and name which I do not know.
In order to undertake these roles I had to go through both programs as a willing participant then undertake paraprofessional training. They were both fairly stringent and involved a lot of personal growth and continued maintenance training each year. I will not go into the details of those trainings but I can tell you the skills that we came out with were highly developed in the following areas: active listening, empathy, compassion, tracking, objective feedback, personal disclosure, non judgmentalism, personality recognition, and genuineness.
So let’s get back to Life Coaching. What is it? And why do people need a Life Coach. If you think about a sports team, whether they are good or bad, they got to where they are with the help of a coach, maybe many coaches. The coach is there to assess the teams strengths and weaknesses, to see where they stand right now, and to look at what they can do to achieve future goals. He or she is there to make sure they don’t get stuck.
And so it is with an individual person who is attempting to navigate the oceans of life. Why can’t the team or the individual see that and work to change things without the help of a coach you may ask? The best answer to that question may be because they are all too emotionally close to the the issue/s at hand. In other words they can’t see the forest for the trees, or vice versa.
This is where the coach comes in. However, there is one big difference between a sports team coach and a Life Coach. A sports team coach, once he/she has made all the necessary assessments, then makes a plan and gives instructions as to what the team has to do. A Life Coach creates a professional rapport with the client from which he or she can then help the client recognize where they are at and what goals they want to achieve. Then through the skilful use of uniquely created tools, the Life Coach will encourage the client to take action to achieve their goals.
Life Coaching is most definitely a process which involves a commitment from both parties – the coach and the client. And when I say a commitment I mean a signed-on-the-dotted-line-contract kind of commitment. This creates a professional relationship between the two parties. The coach commits to be there fully and intentionally for the client, and the client commits to stick with the coach for a specified amount of time in order to reach his or her goals.
The main idea behind Life Coaching is to help people to recognize and break through their self-imposed limitations and to identify and achieve goals, dreams, and aspirations that will improve and enhance their lives, their careers, and their relationships. The coach never tells the client what to do. The coach is there to actively and objectively listen, to empower, and then to encourage the client along his or her path.
The beauty of Life Coaching is that it does not “brain wash” or take away from the client’s unique ideas, nor does it seek to interfere with or change their personality. The coach becomes a “companion walker in life” if you will, however the client has to take his or her own footsteps.
Another unique aspect of Life Coaching is that you do not have to be face-to-face with the client to do effective coaching. In fact much Life Coaching is done over the telephone. My personal preference is to have at least one initial face-to-face session with the client and then move to telephone sessions if that proves to be a convenient method for the client to be coached.
Life Coaching is a very satisfying career. It is a privilege indeed when someone asks me to enter their life. My sense of wonder increases a thousand fold as I watch a client’s sense of wonder at themselves increase through the coaching process. I find that it is an honor to help someone to recognize their personal beauty, worth, and potential as they explore their relationships, their place on this earth, and the value that they can bring to anything they put their mind to.