It has been almost twice as long since my last writing as it was since the one before that!! My Muse has been battling a myriad of obstacles to claw her way out from the cold, the grey and gloomy weather, and dealing with pain. Although I find myself in “grey and gloomy” Bellevue, WA and I left behind the now warmer climes of Florida, here she comes pushing and pulling the words with her, in her first attempt in almost two months to put words on the page.
Perhaps it is because there is nothing else to get in the way. I am out of my normal environment, my usual routine. Nothing is clamoring for my attention: no commitments, appointments, or general household chores. I am free to do what I want, when I want. But there is more to it than that. There is a fizz and excitement within me that is quietly bubbling up from my heart like magma from the inner core of a volcano.
However, I must also acknowledge, that just like returning to exercise, I struggle to return to my writing. The weather back home in Florida over the last two weeks has steadily been improving. I have been able to enjoy my quiet time on the lanai almost every morning. I have been enticed out into the garden to begin springtime preparation, and several times have been able to wear shorts and tank tops. But I have been slow to take the laptop out there, and I am well aware that I have made many excuses not to do so. At least I have enough honesty with myself not to declare “reasons”.
So, back to the “bubbling excitement”. And why am I here in Bellevue? Those of you who follow my postings (and a huge apology here for such a prolonged silence), all know that my husband Richard is a techie-geeky type. Well he has been invited by Microsoft, as one of their Most Valued Professionals (MVP), to attend their annual MVP Summit. (He’s like a kid in a toy shop at the moment as he soaks up the techie-geeky air and worships at the Microsoft shrine.) Well, he invited me to accompany him, and as he had plenty of frequent-flyer miles to cover the air fare and as I had never visited this part of the USA before, I said what the heck.
But it was more than the fact that I had never visited this part of the States before that had me saying yes. Coming to Bellevue put me within striking distance of a very dear old friend who I have not seen in twenty five years. George and I met at the same time as I met Richard and within the same Naples Little Theater group. In fact, George directed me in my very first play with that group, “Goodbye Charlie”. That was back in 1983. George left Naples, Italy in either late 1985 or early 1986, and we haven’t seen each other since then!!!!!!! I love George very much and he’s also Godfather to our daughter Melissa, and in just an hour or so I get to hug him and plant a big sloppy wet one on him.
So forgive me if I’m a little excited and somewhat nervous. But, oh what joy that this is the cataclysm that is unleashing the reticent Muse!!
I have mentioned in several posts recently that I am enrolled into a program called Audire. This is a three year program which will give me certification as a spiritual director. In the context of the Audire program, spiritual direction is intended as a “being a companion” to someone as they explore where they are at in their relationship to whatever God they believe in. Or, if the person does not yet believe in God, walking with them as they explore what this may mean for them and allow them a safe place to explore the possibility of a spiritual life.
One of the skills that is considered to be of prime importance in this training is the art of listening. As I worked and trained with the CREDO retreat process in the US Navy between the years of 1984 to 2003, the skill of listening was also considered to be the most important skill that we needed to cultivate. Most of the yearly training weekends that I spent with CREDO were focused on activities that helped us to hone this particular skill.
On my refrigerator door at home I have a quotation held in place with a magnet that says something like: “The greatest gift we can offer another is the gift of rapt attention.” I’m away from home right now so cannot verify the exact wording nor do I remember the author of the quotation. Just a few days ago, in one of my morning reflections, I read the following quotation by Dr. Joyce Brothers: “Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”
Going back to the first quotation, I checked out the dictionary meaning of the word “rapt”. This is what I found:
– completely engrossed: involved in, fascinated by, or concentrating on something to the exclusion of everything else.
– deeply engrossed or absorbed
– blissfully happy: showing or suggesting deep emotions
– transported with emotion
I think the first two definitions are probably the most significant with regards the skill of listening to another, although showing that I am “blissfully happy” or “transported with emotion” as I listen to another in a totally focused way is not so bad either! It would certainly get across the message to them that I am paying complete attention to them and what they are saying.
Listening is just one component of the whole skill of good communication. It is said that when we are communicating with another person several messages are being given and received:
– the message of the words that we are actually saying
– the message that we think we are conveying with the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person hears from the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person then “decodes” from the words that we are saying
– the message that the other person sends back to us in response to the words we are saying
– the message that the other person thinks he has conveyed with the words he has said
– the message that we hear in the words from the other person
– the message that we think we understood (decoded) from the words the other person said.
There may be a few more variables going on at the time which could depend on the parties’ humor, body language, level of distraction, and others!! Is it any wonder that “bad communication” is probably the single most contributing factor to broken relations on the intimate level and wars on the international level?
So, in order to be a “good” listener I need to come to the table in a very specific way in order to offer that “rapt attention” to the other person. Here are some of the tools that I have learned, and continue to hear impressed, in order to be a good listener.
– Look directly at the speaker
– make sure body posture is open and inviting
– clear the mind of other thoughts
– avoid external distractions
– suspend internal judgment
– don’t be mentally preparing a response
– acknowledge that you are hearing by nodding the head or saying “uh huh” from time to time
When the other person stops speaking:
– wait for a few moments and then check with them that they have said all they wanted/needed to say for the moment
– if you are confused about something they said, ask for clarification
– reflect back, summarize what they have said to show them that you have truly been listening
– only then offer honest feedback, being respectful of the other and stating clearly that these are your thoughts and/or feelings in response to what you have
As can be seen, it is not easy to be a “rapt listener” but with a little thought and some willingness to get out of self, we can become the skillful listener that is needed in true communication with another.
I love working with the energy. Whether you acknowledge it as the “universal” energy or the “God” energy (which are really one and the same!), it is truly wondrous to be part of someone’s process as they open themselves to receive healing energy.
As I have already mentioned in a previous posting, Self Nurturing- Reiki, I am a Reiki Master Third Degree or Level III. This means that I am certified not only to practice Reiki but also to teach other people about Reiki and to attune them to the different Reiki Levels I, II, and III.
I have had some wonderful Reiki Teachers/Masters along my Reiki path, Pio, Marta, and Amy, and each has gifted me with something precious and unique. In order to develop my own practice and understanding of Reiki and to better help myself to teach and impart the principles of Reiki to my students, I have written my own basic Reiki text.
There is so much information about Reiki “floating around out there”, and so much has been added to the basic steps that Dr. Mikao Usui laid down, that I find a great deal of “complication” in many texts. My personal opinion is that Dr. Usui received very simple instructions through visions about modern day Reiki.
I know that my first Master, Marta Getty, who attuned me to first and second Degrees, added no frills to the basic concepts taught by Dr. Usui. I would like to share with you some of my writing about Reiki.
REIKI: A Definition
– Reiki, pronounced “ray-key” comes from the Japanese language
– Rei, is the Japanese word for universal, spirit, and gift
– Ki, is the Japanese word for the life force energy which flows through everything
Reiki is a profound yet very simple system of healing. The Reiki practitioner places his/her hands upon the person receiving the treatment thus facilitating the flow of the universal life energy. Some Christian Reiki practitioners call this energy the “God Energy”.
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT REIKI
Reiki Levels: There are three levels or degrees of Reiki. Reiki I, Reiki II, and Reiki Master/Teacher. Some schools of thought on Reiki like to make a separation between Master and Teacher thus creating a fourth level.
Attunements: The attunement process for each level is what awakens the student to the energy of Reiki and helps to open the energy channels within each student, thereby facilitating the flow of the energy.
Symbols: There are four Reiki symbols. 1) the empowering symbol/physical healing symbol; the mental/emotional symbol; the long distance healing symbol; the master/teacher attunement symbol.
Hands-On & Distance Healing: Hands-on healing is demonstrated during training at the Reiki I level and this is the basis for all levels of Reiki. During the Reiki II training students learn how to effect distance healing.
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF REIKI
- Just for today do not worry
- Just for today do not anger
- Honor your parents, teachers, and elders
- Earn your living honestly
- Show gratitude to everything
All Reiki practitioners are encouraged to commit to and live by these principles every day of their lives. (I have made them a part of my morning meditation and quiet time.)
Worry consumes a lot of energy that could be put to better use. Worry is perceived as a stressor by our brain which sends messages through the nervous and hormonal systems to get our body into “fight or flight” mode. This causes unnecessary wear and tear on the body and leads to illness.
Anger is as destructive to the mind and body as worry. Anger, in and of itself, is not bad. It lets us know that things are not right. It’s how we react to anger that can be the killer – literally. Many violent crimes are the direct result of anger, and serious illnesses can be caused by living in a state of anger.
To honor and to be kind implies being non-judgmental and allowing the other person the space to be and become all that they can be. This allows us to develop compassion for others which, in turn, allows us the space to have more compassion for ourselves.
Whether working hard to earn our living or to deepen our spiritual practice we will increase our self esteem and sense of personal dignity. Living honestly also offers us a path to personal truth and leads us to inner peace and happiness.
When living in a state of gratitude ego is “kicked to the curb”. Gratitude encourages us to look at our blessings rather than our lack, which in turn leads us to live in a positive state rather than a negative one. Gratitude also helps us to cultivate the quality of humility
I will share more writing from my Handbook in some further posts.