I carry my reflection books in a small plastic tub. It keeps them all tidily in one place, and makes for easy transportation when I go away. As I reached down to pick one out this morning, my fingers encountered a loose piece of paper. There, at the bottom of the tub, lay a small 3” x 5” piece of printing. I pulled it out and recognized it immediately as something that a dear friend had given me about a year ago. It was the copy of page 242 from a daily book of goddess reflections that she reads.
At the time, I was going through an immensely sad moment in my life. In hindsight, I realize I was probably verging on the edge of depression. I am very fortunate that I have many tools that I use on a daily basis that help me to never sink into the desperate depths of that particular disease. And then too, I have wonderful friends who walk a similar path to mine who care about me and give me exactly what I need when I need it.
And thus I received page 242 at just the right moment. The goddess who was addressed on that page was O-Ryu. She is referred to as Grandmother O-Ryu and is the Japanese goddess of the Willow tree. This is what was written about her.
She waits for you in her sacred tree temple beside the quiet night river. A golden Moon whispers above her long and hanging
branches, casting a twinkling outline around her wavy edges. “Come to me”, O-Ryu calls out as she reaches her long and
leafy branches toward you for a loving hug. An owl flaps a low, deep hoot from somewhere inside her soft green tendrils,
and you notice a spider’s web gleaming silver on the tips of her twiggy fingers.
”I am the Witch’s Tree, sacred to the Wise Ones”, she reminds you. “My branches are for making magic wands. My bark
supplies aspirin, the remedy for pain. Come. Sit beneath my weeping branches. Let me hold you close. It’s okay to feel
sad. Let yourself mourn and cry and weep. The relief you are seeking is in letting yourself feel. Do not hold back.
Perhaps you have postponed your mourning too long,” O-Ryu urges. “Mourn means ‘to remember’. Who wants to be
remembered today? Can you whisper their name out loud? Call their spirit to come and sit beside you here by the River.
Let us cry together and gather the wisdom they want to share with you. The spirit of someone deceased wants to talk
with you. Something you need to know will be revealed in a powerful feeling.”
At the top of this page was a statement: “Tears, too, are sacred and can wash away your grief. Honor your memories.” At the bottom of the page was another statement: “Mourning my losses and grieving are necessary processes on my spiritual path.”
When I was in High School there was a small section of the playground that was a grassed area where we could sit in those rare warm English summer days! In the corner of this place was a large weeping willow tree that I loved to sit under and feel protected and safe, cocooned if you will. As I read page 242 I was reminded of those days and, because I firmly believe that nothing happens “by chance”, I chose to work with the imagery of O-Ryu for the next few days, weeks, however long it should prove necessary.
In those days, I discovered that I was mourning the loss of my daughter. No, she had not died in the physical sense, but I had “lost” her all the same. The details of this loss are not important to this writing. What is important is that I discovered what had been destroying me inside during that moment in my life, and I was able to release it with O-Ryu’s help. I also discovered that I needed to mourn the loss of my mother at a deeper level, I came to understand some of her pain that I had helped to create.
Tears are cleansing. They are an important part of our journey to wholeness. They wash away the grief and allow for new seeds of happiness to bloom in once broken hearts. Welcome your tears as the refreshing waters for new growth. As the tears evaporate and dry on your cheeks, so an inner peace will enter your soul and bless you on your way.
Last weekend Richard and I travelled south to Melbourne, Florida. We had been invited to help celebrate the wedding of an old friend and colleague who we got to know during our time in Naples, Italy. Bob is also a Harley guy. In fact he infused Richard with the desire to get his first Harley, and he also made a three day motorcycle trip with Richard from Naples, across Italy to Bari, then on down to the “boot” of Italy and back up to Naples.
Since we have been here in Jacksonville, we have hooked up with Bob to go watch a shuttle launch from Space View Park in Titusville a couple of years ago. Rich also hooked up with him back in February of this year and they braved the bitter cold of an un-Florida like night to see a night launch actually on the NASA site down at Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately that launch was postponed and neither of them could make it back for the following night when the launch finally took place.
So it was with great pleasure that we accepted the invitation, along with about forty other people, to join Bob and Angelica in the celebration of their union. We drove down from Jacksonville on the Friday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and I think we said “it would have been a perfect day for a ride on Harley” only about a dozen times! When we got there we quickly discovered that many of the guests were retired navy and/or Harley folks!
The wedding ceremony, which was held at 6.30pm in the lovely open courtyard of the wedding venue, was short and sweet. Angelica looked as beautiful as any bride should and our dear friend Bob was obviously very happy and, even though he said he wasn’t, he seemed quite nervous. Friends were asked to give them advice or share special thoughts with them before the minister, another friend, declared them man and wife. I told them, “don’t stop dating”.
The rest of the evening was spent socializing and enjoying a lovely dinner. The DJ was great and spun some good “old music” as well as playing guitar and singing himself. Some of us even managed to get up and boogie a little. The cake was duly cut and eaten and,shortly afterwards, we headed back to our hotel for the night.
On Saturday morning we got up slow and easy. After breakfast we packed our bags and headed out to go visit Bob and Angelica in their home. As we turned onto A1A heading south to Grant, we noticed a Bonsai nursery to one side of the road and made a decision to stop there on the way back. And so, a couple of hours later we found ourselves in the company of Mr. Feng Gu who proudly showed us his trees and explained the art of Bonsai. It was absolutely fascinating.
Well after looking at all the different types of trees, Richard said, “so pick one Babe”. Oh sweet music to my ears. I have so wanted a Bonsai tree for many years. But it wasn’t one of those desires that I had ever spoken out loud. In the bigger scheme of things owning a Bonsai was not a pressing need. It was simply a secret desire. Yet here I was, just a choice away.
Some of the trees were quite expensive but Mr. Gu was very patient and kind and showed me a small tree in a beautiful cobalt blue dish. My soul leapt but I was a little hesitant because it was bare; exquisite trunk, branch, and root growth but no leaves. Mr. Gu explained that he had just recently pinched all the leaves off, which needed to be done twice a year to encourage the tree to produce smaller leaves than normal but in proportion to the size of the tree itself.
My heart was captured and the deal was done. I had my tree, and while I was waiting for Mr. Gu to run my credit card, I noticed he had two baskets on his desk with miniature clay Japanese figurines. So I picked out a little wise man reading from an ancient scroll. He had a long blue robe of cobalt blue which perfectly matched the dish of my newly acquired Bonsai. So there he stands, among the roots of my tree which, by the way, is already full of minute new green shoots .
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.