Just for today, I will be grateful.
I can’t commit to being happy all the time, but I can commit to being grateful, one day at a time. In fact, it is my daily commitment to gratitude that keeps me going. Giving thanks has been part of my life for as long as I can remember; prayers at meals and bedtime, and going around the table at Thanksgiving to say out loud, in front of everyone, what I am grateful for have become rituals that I enjoy. Every time I sit down to write a birthday card I end up expressing gratitude for the qualities in that person that touch my life. Another gratitude practice of mine is when I’m feeling frazzled or anxious, I get out my journal and write out pages of things I’m grateful for, to bring me back to a place of calm and appreciation. At the end of the day, I am most grateful for my family and my health, and all my other worries seem small.
Well. That’s it. There is nothing more to be done. The exam is finished and handed in. The letters have been sent. The ads posted. The request made and made again. Every angle has been tried. Every detail checked.
It is done.
It is time to let go.
Surrender is the hardest when we have the most at stake. Our loved ones, our financial stability, our art, our careers, our purpose. It would seem that we would not ever want to slide sideways into the vulnerable unknown when it comes to these important and dear ones.
The mind says “Let’s control our way out of vulnerability!”
Except that doesn’t always work. Especially when we need to wait for results, or wait for the call, or wait for the response, or wait for payday.
We are flung into the barren void.
Ouch. It feels terrible here. Living in unknownland.
So what can we reasonably do?
The only thing that has ever reliably worked for me is this:
First, surrender attachments. Acknowledge that there is more in play here than just you. There are pieces and people that need to move into place first. You don’t even know what needs to shift first. It is not your work to orchestrate it all. You can’t make it go faster. All you can do is acknowledge that your part is done. All you can do is let go of “how it is all supposed to turn out”.
Once you let go of the wishing for it to be different rather than the way it is, you release the pressure. You begin to free up energy. There is more space.
It is the way it is.
Let everything else go.
Let go of labels. Let go of the outcome. Let go of calling it a good or bad experience. Let go completely.
This is different from giving up. Hugely different! Letting go is the deep acknowledgment that forces beyond you are at work on your behalf. Giving up is about losing faith and abandoning what you want in a misguided attempt to minimize pain. Letting go is expansive. Giving up is contractive. Letting go helps you; giving up does not.
When you let go, you are really just handing it over to the Universe. You can make this easier by thinking of a spirit, being, God, Goddess, or passed over loved one, someone who really is in your corner standing in front of you right now. Maybe they even have their hands on your shoulders or they are giving you a hug. They tell you, “Leave it with me.”
Let them take whatever is worrying you. It is their turn to do their job. You trust and believe in them to give you a clear signal of when they are done. You will get a strong impulse to act only when it is your turn.
Everything else is well handled.
Listen very closely to your guidance system. Follow your intuitive hunches and instincts for the next three days. Watch and be amazed.
Let me know how this works for you!
This morning, as I was enjoying my coffee, the fire alarm started blaring in the hallway in my condo. I looked in the hallway expecting the usual false alarm, but instead saw a haze of smoke and neighbours trying to figure out the source.
The fire department had been called and I could already hear the sirens from the nearby station (Can I just give a heartfelt shout out to the Calgary Fire Department! So grateful!). I launched into emergency mode and gathered the items that were important in that instant. My pet parrot, Mango, our laptops and cables, the baby pictures, purse, keys, jacket, Reiki class bag. Called my husband to pick me up. Son, safely at school.
I was operating on adrenaline and yet oddly clear headed. The whole time I kept hearing, “That is replaceable. You are not.” Even those things that we think we cannot live without are really nothing compared to our own wellbeing. I took relatively few things with me and I would have taken even fewer if the smoke was any worse.
In the end, it was mostly just smoke, with no damage at all to my unit. But in the middle of it all, and, thankfully, no real world fire experience, it prompted a genuine fear response. The kind of boost of adrenaline that allows you to get away from danger.
After we were allowed to return, after the carbon monoxide levels had returned to low levels, I acknowledged that I was still reeling from the rush. Knowing what I do about the nature of stress, I wanted to return to my normal state as soon as I could.
I put on some essential oil blends that I made for each of the Reiki symbols and I texted and few of my practitioner peeps to ask for some distance Reiki. I told them my intention, “All is well. I am irreplaceable. I am loved.”, and I settled myself in to receive a session. Several people immediately responded and I felt the energy flowing and releasing. After about an hour of resting and receiving Reiki I felt back to normal.
More than that, I felt the energy healing old injuries and moments in the past where I also had a flood of adrenaline in my system.
So, as always I have a new appreciation for Reiki. Every session and every experience has something new to teach me.
I am so much more than my possessions. I am rich in the relationships I have with amazing people. I am grateful for the kind and capable firefighters that are just a few blocks away. I am immensely grateful for my family and all of my many, many blessings.
The clearest lessons are often unplanned.
The second Reiki Ideal is to let go of worry. Which sounds great, but can be a daunting task. When worry takes over, it is nearly impossible to see anything beyond it.
What is on the other side of worry, its antidote, is faith. Faith in yourself, in kindness, in possibilities, in the Divine. By reaching beyond the borders of the constricted focus worry brings we can access the strength that faith can provide.
Believing in the unseen, believing in a kind Universe, believing that somehow, some way, it is all going to work out. That is the way to end worry for good.
Sometimes belief, faith, and trust get confused with only one religion or spiritual focus, but you need not be spiritual at all to have the quality of faith that can banish worry. You only need to believe in yourself.
Of course, I am biased on the whole spirituality and conscious Universe thing! I have just witnessed so many wild and wonderful and utterly unexplainable things to think otherwise. We live in a wise and intelligent Universe. Love is inherently woven into the fabric of light and matter. This deep kindness responds to our thoughts and feelings and provides whatever experience is needed.
The moment our focus shifts so does the Universe. Matter itself changes when our thoughts change.
This is why worries do not serve you.
You are in charge of your mind. You can begin to choose only thoughts that support and nurture you. Even a tiny shift will have rapid and positive results. Just even a small shift like breathing slower creates huge changes. The more that focus is given to what is wanted, the more what is wanted is delivered.
Believe in the result before you get it. Hand it all over to the wisdom of the Universe. Trust that you are strong enough to make it through this too.
I love Reiki. I love teaching it, self-healing with it, and helping others with it. The list of ways that it has substantially improved my life is a long, long, long list. But here is a start…
The Reiki Principles are very simple, but checking in with how I am doing with each one every day can completely shift my mindset in a matter of seconds. Here they are:
Just for today:
- I will not anger.
- I will not worry.
- I will be grateful for my many blessings.
- I will do my work (meditative practice) honestly.
- I will be kind to every living thing (including myself).
Just doing a quick check in on my level (from 1 to 10) on each of these principles lets me know where I am going in life. I have the chance to course correct before things go off the rails. I start with my anger level. Today, I am pretty happy so my level is at a 2. Next, I visualize how it would feel in my body if my anger was at a 1, and then at 0. I picture a sliding switch in my mind, like the ones you see in a sound studio. I slide the level down to 0 and then I stick it there with imaginary chewing gum.
Then I move on to worry. This can be a tricky one for me. I am continually striving to rein in my capacity to blindly worry about everything and everyone. This one principle has probably given me the greatest benefit from my practice of Reiki. Today, my worry level is at 4. Pretty great day for me. But worry, just like anger, can spike up for me depending on what is happening in my world. Even if it is at a 10, I still find this process incredibly helpful. It feels like draining out the bad before you put in the good. It’s like changing the dishwater in the sink. So, I’m at 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0. Stick!
Next is gratitude or appreciation. I’m at 8 today. Gratitude feels like a warm fuzzy emerald hug from the inside out. I let the feeling envelope me. I slide the gratitude switch up to 10. 8, 9, 10, Stick!
Now for doing my work! My true work as a Reiki Master is to master myself. Mastery of the self, the mind, the emotions and the spirit are gained through meditation and self-healing. Today, I am at a 4. Oops. It is okay though, because I always have room and time to improve. Some days are 10, some days are 0. The most important thing is to keep returning, again and again. Back to the zafu, back to the mat, back to the page. I meditate when I sit in mediation, but also in yoga and in writing. I find these activities to be really effective in calming the mind and body so that spirit may enter. So, I can feel in my body how it would feel if I was at a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10. Hold. Stick! It feels like bright and warm gold and white light flowing up my chest and into my brain and physical heart.
And now, kindness. I’m at a 4 for myself and 8 for others. I find it so easy, natural even, to be kind to everyone else. But me. That has been a work in progress. I am a recovering perfectionist. The antidote is kindness. This also has been a transformative part of Reiki for me. I deliberately choose better thoughts about myself and my feelings toward myself also change. When that happens I feel wonderful, courageous and powerful. I become immune to the opinions (good or bad) of others because I love myself. So, it is okay that right now I am at a 4, because I know I have the ability to shift it. It is also cool, because kindness toward others, goes up on its own when I am kind to myself. Time to shift! 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Stay. Stick! I feel a full body relaxation, like a deep breath, and at the same time, I am sitting up straighter, taller, more ease in my true and powerful Self.
And just like that, I am different. More myself. More centered. More whole.
Test it out! Let me know how it works for you!