The body says what words cannot. ~Martha Graham
It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Riding the wave of powerful cleansing energy from my Reiki attunement, I thought I would just continue to feel better. After all 21 days of cleansing and balancing just happens, so why wouldn’t it be possible for me to just feel energized by that? So I continued to do too much, and stress too much, and after the first few days, I fell into bed without doing self-Reiki, and went to work in the morning without doing meditation…and you know what? I feel lousy.
In some ways, even though I do feel less drained than I did before, I feel worse, because now my body is even more aware of what I’m doing wrong. When dinner is cheese and crackers and applesauce, my body knows that something is missing. When I’m too lazy to take my vitamins before bed, the things those vitamins are supposed to be balancing act up. Now, all the messages that my body has been giving me all along are too loud to be ignored. Something has to give, and my health has been that something far too often. Even now I feel the ache in the back of my throat and the dull pain in my temple that means I’m dehydrated and overtired, and last night I was wide awake in the middle of the night with thoughts bouncing around in my head.
Self-care is not optional. I knew this when I began training to be a psychotherapist; I knew that in order to treat and care for others, I had to have a way to care for myself. And yet, as soon as I get busy, it’s the first thing I let slide. I wasn’t going to write today – caught up in the whirlwind of final papers, I thought, I should take this time to write papers, not to write something “frivolous”. But this is important. This blog post may not change anyone else’s life, but it’s a reminder that I am committing once again to changing my own. I need to write. I need to sleep, and meditate, and eat good food, and do yoga, and do self-Reiki and make myself a priority. Because when I put everyone else first, we all lose out, because I can’t give them my whole self until I make sure that I’m making myself whole.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; but spiritual beings having a human experience. ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I spent the past day and a half at a Reiki I training. Friday night, after meeting my teacher and classmates, I was treated to a guided meditation and attunement. Basically this means I got to relax and let healing energy flow in and around and through me as my body learned how to channel it. I felt like I was sparkling last night. I felt loving and open and warm, and it was wonderful.
Today, I learned more of the history and philosophy and guidelines of the practice, and how to give Reiki treatments to myself and others. I gave a treatment and received one. And in giving this treatment, I feel like I understand a little bit better what happens when people are filled with the holy spirit, or blessed in some way, or feel the presence of a higher power…in the words of my beloved musical Godspell (and so, yes, also the Gospel of Matthew) “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.” My whole body felt full of light…
With this new, cleansing energy in my life, I can’t wait to see what else comes next…
The story this week, readers, is in the questions.
I am a 26-year-old returned missionary, have a temple recommend, serve in the Elder's Quorum presidency in my singles ward, and am attracted to men. Without detailing the entire melodramatic saga, I've been dealing with this issue my entire life, but it has really consumed a lot of my attention, energy, and vitality in the last four years.
Someone asked me the other day what it is about Easter that appeals to me so much. And my answer was rebirth. Yes, as a baptized and confirmed Catholic, it’s always been about resurrection, but as a mystic (and I do more and more think that’s what I really am) it’s about that, and more than that. At Passover, the celebration is life saved and freedom gained. At Easter, the celebration is resurrection and forgiveness of sins. But as we celebrate all of these things in the early spring, what unites them is rebirth. What brings us bunnies and eggs is the aliveness of nature in the springtime, reawakening as the sun warms the ground and the plans uncurl. And a chance to begin again. Why do we hide the eggs, or the afikomen? So that we can root out what’s hidden, bring it to light, and start fresh.
Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, Blessed Eostre, and Welcome Spring!