This quote by Marianne Williamson reminds me of Reiki. Learning Reiki and doing our daily Reiki self-care practice is such a simple way to shift out of fight or flight, sympathetic nervous system dominance, into rest and digest, parasympathetic nervous system.
How can you do this in only a few minutes? Let me count the ways….
- Hands on practice, Reiki self care protocol
- Dry bathing
- Purifying breath technique
- Hand breathing technique
- Reciting the Reiki precepts
- Chanting the mantras learned in Reiki II & Reiki III
- Drawing the symbols learned in Reiki II & III
Let yourself settle into yourself, into the quieting experience of Reiki.
A few minutes (or more!) every day will change your nervous system, balancing and calming it, and over time, you will change your life. Perhaps you’re already noticing this…
One of my favorite things about Reiki is noticing the subtle yet powerful changes in my life. How about you?
Dry Bathing Technique
Are you using the dry bathing technique in your daily life? It’s such a flexible tool: Some people use it to begin and end a self care session or a session for someone else. Others use it throughout the day—before leaving home, at the end of the work day, as a pause between different activities or projects; it’s like hitting the reset button.
Remember when you do this technique that it facilitates the downward flow of energy, and this grounds you, helping you to be more in your body.
Excess Mental Energy
I’ve been thinking a lot about the energy in the head versus the rest of the body. Headaches, jaw tension, and eye strain are all signs that there is too much energy in the head. In our modern life we focus on mental energy so much, and this has only increased with the use of smart phones, tablets, computers, etc.
What are other ways you can redistribute the energy in your head to the rest of your body? (Hint: your daily Reiki self care protocol and the purifying breath technique.) Others ways include: physical activity, being in nature, taking a bath….what ways work best for you?
Bonus: Another grounding technique is to hit the bottoms of your feet for a minute or two with your fist.
Want more ideas? Here’s a list of 25 ways to stay grounded.
Here is a message I received for you during my morning meditation:
Dear Reiki students, your interest and attention to spiritual practice is appreciated. Do what you can each day to center your heart, mind, and body. There are many ways to do this. Take the time, put in the effort, notice the benefits. You are so loved.
Remember you can always place your hands on your body and give yourself Reiki for a minute or two. Breathe deeply and let it connect you deeper still.
As someone who has always loved living in my head (reading, thinking, writing, analyzing, often overanalyzing!) being grounded is not something that comes naturally to me. To compound matters, I was not an outdoors type of person. My mom used to force me to go outside as a kid, because left to my own devices I would have preferred staying inside and reading for hours. (Thanks, Mom!)
Living in New York City, I see a lot of clients and Reiki students with anxiety, as well as people who have trouble quieting their mind, and empaths who feel overwhelmed by the energy and feelings of those around them. Being grounded can really help, so I put together this list of 25 easy techniques on how to stay grounded.
First, what does it mean to be grounded?
To be grounded is to be fully present in your body, to be connected to the earth, to the world around you, to your breath and the way it moves through your body, to be aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. Being grounded means you remember that you have a physical body.
By balancing the energy in your head with the energy in the rest of the body you can connect to your feet and how they touch the earth.
Here are 25 easy ways to help you stay grounded.
1. Pound the bottoms of your feet with your fists for a couple of minutes. We have 14,000 nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet, and this will help activate them and redistribute our energy into the feet and instead of the head.
2. Pound the outside of the legs from the hips down to the feet with your fists (you can do this gently or more firmly). This will help energize and stimulate the Chinese meridians, or energy pathways located on the outside of the legs. Again it helps move the energy into the feet.
3. Try reflexology. It’s probably one of the most grounding kinds of bodywork because it’s focused on the feet. Reflexology is based on the principle that a map of the body is represented on the feet. Applying pressure to specific points stimulates the nerve endings on the feet and balances the nervous system. (Anxiety is a sign that the nervous system is out of balance.)
4. Take a bath with sea salt or Epsom salts. This is one of the most popular spiritual grounding techniques. While swimming in a lake or the ocean can really connect us to the earth, a bath can be an easier option (or try a foot bath if you don’t have a bath tub).
How can an empath protect themselves? This is an especially good tip if you have a tendency to feel too much and take on other people’s energy and emotions.
5. Use essential oils that are grounding such as cedarwood or pine (any essential oils from trees). I absolutely love Andrea’s Alchemy grounding cedar oil roll-on blend.
6. Try Donna Eden’s Daily 5-Minute Energy Routine for a week and notice how your body feels. This routine is another helpful tip for empaths to protect themselves.
7. Work out: any form of exercise gets you into your body and out of your head: kick boxing, yoga, running, walking. Do the kind of exercise you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
8. Experience sensory deprivation: sometimes referred to as an isolation or flotation tank, the tank is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, with water at skin temperature, and devoid of sound and light. The mind is free from distraction and the body is free from gravity. I tried it at Lift Floats.
9. Try Frans Stiene’s grounding exercises. Known as the Reiki teacher’s teacher, and someone who flies around the world constantly to teach, Frans knows the importance of being grounded. Try both of his spiritually grounding techniques and compare.
10. Buy a weighted blanket. The heaviness is restorative and calming for the nervous system. I sleep more deeply and wake feeling refreshed. Talk about literally grounding you to the earth!
11. Go on a news fast for a couple days, or even a week. This can serve as a reset, helping you evaluate the frequency of news you intake and how it affects your mindset and body. Hint: the mind might love the chatter and 24/7 news cycle, but the body definitely doesn’t.
12. Leave your smart phone at home for a day. (I know! Can you even imagine?) I have one client who was sleeping with her phone under her pillow and checking news alerts on her phone first thing when she woke up, as well as endlessly throughout the day.
Those news alerts can trigger a very strong fight or flight response in the nervous system. So often the full news story takes time to become available, and there’s usually nothing we can do in the moment (except feel anxious and worried which doesn’t help anyone).
13. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. This is a calming way to train the brain (Hypnosis is another). If you don’t have a practice in place, try the free Insight Timer app. It has lots of guided meditations for a range of issues, which are often easier to stick with if you’re just starting out.
14. Learn Reiki. Reiki is a simple way to connect to your intuition and center your mind and body. In my Reiki classes, I teach additional spiritual grounding techniques such as the purifying breath and dry bathing to help you center your energy and feel grounded. Again, this is another tool for empaths to protect themselves. (Learning Reiki years ago is what finally helped me meditate regularly after years of unsuccessfully trying other methods.)
15. Ask yourself “what’s the next smallest step I need to take?” This trains your brain to stay on track and to be as close to the present moment as possible, rather than running 20 steps ahead and getting overwhelmed. I learned this from top hypnosis trainer John Overdurf. Changed my life.
16. Walk barefoot on the earth—rock, dirt, grass, sand…. For thousands of years our ancestors did this as a matter of course. The fact that this isn’t an easy thing to do living in a big city like New York tells us something about our literal and metaphorical connection to the earth.
17. Try forest bathing. Spend time in nature and see how it changes your energy: walk by the river, spend time in a park, go for a hike, etc. In Japan, they call it forest bathing—immersing yourself in the forest for relaxation—doesn’t that sound beautiful? The Washington Post identified it as the latest stress-reducing trend in the U.S.
18. Get fresh flowers or plants for your home, as well as rocks or sea shells, especially if you live in a high-rise building because you’re farther away from the earth. Think about it, our ancestors didn’t live in the air.
19. Get crystals that are good for grounding—some of my favorites include selenite, shungite, and black tourmaline, but experiment and follow your intuition on what feels grounding to you. Energymuse.com has two good articles on crystals for grounding.
20. Lay in the grass and imagine any negative emotions or physical imbalances sinking into the earth and being recycled. (You can do this in the winter but it may be more enjoyable on a nice summer day.)
21. Stand and lean against a tree and imagine your heart becoming calm and your feet connecting to its roots.
22. Eat grounding foods: root vegetables, cooked foods, hearty stews (as opposed to raw foods like salads). This doesn’t mean don’t eat salads, but you want to experiment and see what foods help you feel more grounded, and find a nice balance depending on the time of year and temperature, as well as what’s going on in your life.
23. Drink more water than you normally do—the human body consists of 60-70% water and the body needs it for optimal function.
24. Cook a healthy meal. Think about it, cooking your own food is different than eating out or getting food delivered. Cooking brings you into the present moment in a very practical way—forcing you to pay attention as you measure the ingredients, follow the details of the recipe, and keep track of timing to ensure your food doesn’t burn, etc. You could take it a step further and reflect on where the food came from and all the people involved—from the farmer to the truck driver to the grocery store clerk—for this food to be here on your plate.
25. Develop a daily routine of things that personally help you feel grounded. Experiment with the list above and add your own. Know that this is personalized to you and will change depending on time of year, weather, stress levels, and what’s going on in your life, etc. Aim to do one or two of these practices and techniques on a daily basis.
Staying grounded can be one of the most important ways to connect with yourself: bringing the soul, mind, and body together. By acknowledging that you live on Mother Earth, honoring this connection and support not only to the Earth, but to your body that allows you to be here and to feel the full range of human experience is why we are here. Thank your feet for their efforts to do this every day for us.
by Beth Lowell
“You Should Have Just Said Something!”
How many times have you heard that? Maybe you were really stressed after over-extending yourself but still honored your commitment. Or you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Or you didn’t want to fail at any cost.
An imaginary standard of perfection seems to take over sometimes which defies all reason, creating a rigidity that upon later reflection borders on the absurd. In hindsight, we can laugh at the situation, learn from it, or kick ourselves for being so pig-headedly stupid.
“Why didn’t I say something?”
How many times have you said or thought these words? Maybe your words could have helped or encouraged someone, or in your mind prevented some terrible tragedy. Sometimes you think you have all the time in the world, and suddenly the person you wanted to thank, or express sympathy to, or tell them that you miss them is gone. So now it’s too late. And then comes the regret and the guilt.
Do you hear the bell of self-compassion ringing? Your intentions were probably good even if misguided, or thwarted by circumstance. Give yourself a break. And then take action.
One way to do this is to put your feelings in writing. Journaling daily works wonders to set your intentions and goals, clear your thoughts and clarify your emotions in a way that’s personal and for your eyes only. Looking back on your journal in a year’s time after diligent writing is a concrete way to see how much you’ve progressed in all areas of life. In this way, it’s a way to use writing to heal.
Writing things down gets them out of your head and off your chest. That’s why productivity experts recommend writing your to-do list for the following day before you go to bed so your mind can be free of anxiety and you can sleep soundly.
Another way to free yourself of nagging thoughts or doubts is through letter writing.
- Write a letter to your former self showering yourself with all the love and understanding you deserve.
- Write a letter, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her groundbreaking work The Artist’s Way, The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, to someone who was a naysayer along your personal path. This can include family and teachers, friends and mentors, anyone who discouraged your dreams, or someone who has upset or angered you. Mail this not to the person or people, but to yourself. The act of writing it will get those unresolved feelings off your chest. You can save it for the future and open it on a rainy day.
Writing such letters:
- Eliminates fear of expressing yourself or repercussions
- Helps you heal through releasing anger
- Is an act of compassion for others who would love nothing more than to hear from you as well as an act of self-compassion, validating your deepest thoughts and feelings
- Keeps you honest
- Allows you to experience humility with grace and grasp the true nature of how little we are in control of
Sound familiar? If you’ve studied Reiki, this may sound similar to the Reiki precepts. Yeah, funny how those precepts work!
If it’s not too late, (it’s never too late in my book) write a letter to a loved one. Why not email? People read email these days just about as much as they answer the home phone. In an age where texts and tweets serve as primary forms of communication, a hand-written letter stands head and shoulders above and is a beautiful gift to both yourself (because the act of writing forces you to slow down and breathe) and to the recipient, whose mailbox is likely to be filled with little other than circulars, bills and junk mail aside from birthday or holiday cards whose popularity has waned with the onset of electronic communication.
If the person you wish to address is no longer living or has disappeared from your radar and can’t be located you have yet another option.
Join the What I Never Told You (Winty for short) project to give you the chance to write to a person who may never be able to receive your note. It’s about healing and sometimes letting go.
The end result of this collaborative project is the creation and exhibition of a beautiful mosaic-like paper quilt created from the shreds of letters from all over the world, which can travel and grow over time and which will carry forth all of the good intentions of the writers.
Participating is easy. Write your letter and mail it to Winty’s PO Box. If you wish to be mentioned in the catalogue that will accompany this exhibition, simply include your return address on the envelope.
You may type the letter if you prefer–no email is accepted for this project. Your letters will not be read, but shredded and combined with all of the other letters received (with all of their different colored paper and envelopes, handwriting styles and beautiful stamps) into a very large paper quilt.
You can follow the project’s blog or sign up for the newsletter to keep up with the progress of the project. If you include your mailing address I’ll send you a handwritten thank you on a postcard, and include an affirmation created just for you.
Writing letters is different than having a conversation. Writing allows you the time to have your say uninterrupted, and it allows you to cross out, edit, trash and start again all over. It’s a way of communication that lets you gather your thoughts and allow the other person to savor them. Writing to heal can become both a meditative and respectful process.
The project assumes that whoever and wherever the recipients of these letters are on their path of existence, living or dead, that they will energetically receive and appreciate the messages and that their authors will be a little lighter of heart and spirit for having participated.
Write your letter
Mail it to WINTY PO Box 281, Morristown NJ 07963
Follow the Blog at www.nevertoldu.com or sign up for the newsletter
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Beth Lowell is an artist and Reiki practitioner with a specialization in pets located in Morristown, NJ
Learning Reiki: A Student Connects to Her Inner Wisdom
Here’s what Lindsay Lee, a recent Reiki I and Reiki II graduate (and mother-to-be), said about learning to give herself a daily 10-minute Reiki treatment and how she felt after taking the class.
Going Within: The Power of Self Care
By the end of the Reiki I class and practicing what I learned, I discovered how deeply profound it is to slow down and connect to my inner being. I have all the tools, wisdom, and knowledge in my body. Self-care is the beginning of everything!
I feel different since the class. There has been a shift, a subtle transformation. I feel open, lighter, and more engaged. It was an intimate class and we covered a lot of material. I can’t wait to further my Reiki studies.
Getting a Reiki Session: The Body Speaks
I noticed the effects of receiving Reiki from a professional Reiki practitioner took place over a couple of days. The treatment felt like a much more communicative session between my body and the practitioner. My body felt so vocal.
I liked the verbal communication during my session as well. It made my mind and body feel more connected to each other and more wholesome.
Giving a Reiki Session: Connecting With Another Person
When I practiced giving Reiki chair sessions to other people, I discovered I need to be more present with the person I am giving the session to, more aware. I found that I was closing my eyes a lot in the beginning, and really I need to be aware of what’s happening with the person receiving the session.
Reiki is very much an energetic give and take. I have noticed that the more I self practice using the Reiki self care protocol, the more in tune I feel, being able to notice other peoples’ energies when I give them a Reiki session.
Reiki Take Away
Although I never had a Reiki session before taking the Reiki Level 1 course, it intuitively felt like the right move for me. The Reiki class was super thorough. I found the Reiki precepts, dry bathing, and gassho techniques incredible ways to ground myself.
I’m excited to continue practicing what I learned! Since the class, I’m beginning to reconnect with myself and with my inner peace and strength.