Self-Care is a Many Faceted Thing
There are so many aspects of self-care that, despite us knowing they are good for us we either don’t do at all or we don’t do very consistently. These things aren’t rational.
Everyone who smokes knows that it is increasing their risk of certain illnesses yet they continue to smoke, when we don’t get enough sleep we know we would benefit from more hours in bed or if we eat too many takeaway dinners we know that isn’t the best food to keep our digestive system working at its best. Lots of things get in the way and make it harder for us to do these things that we ‘know’ are good for us. This is true even when we really want to and on days when we are doing our best to take good care of ourselves.
The challenge of self care
As with taking care of our physical body, many things can get in the way of us using our Reiki once we become a channel. This is one of the reasons why sharing clear and full explanations to students at each level of attunement can be so helpful to us. Understanding this can help us to develop a regular and committed practice. There is however another key thing which can really help us with our Reiki, but is also something that is relevant to learning more generally and that is to do with repetition, which I will come to in a little more detail shortly.
We may find ourselves getting angry or frustrated or feeling guilty about anything we perceive as lacking with our self-care. Instead it can be helpful to try to understand a little more about the nature of human beings as a species. In that way we really can start to treat our desire to take care of ourselves as something that we can continue to refine and develop and that it will always be a work in progress. I hope this article adds a little to that knowledge.
A little of what Reiki is
Firstly, to answer a little of my initial point about students receiving inadequate information about what Reiki is I will provide a very brief summary here. If you would like more detailed information about what Reiki is and isn’t you could read the book Understanding Reiki: From self-care to energy medicine by Chyna Honey, you could book yourself a Reiki treatment or you could sign up to a Level One Reiki Class to learn how to use it for yourself.
For now, though, it may help us to know that in lots of ways Reiki can be thought of as being to the energy system what water is to the physical body. We need water to help us keep at least a reasonable level of hydration. We can’t drink two or three litres of water and then forget about drinking water for several days without suffering the consequences of dehydration. Fortunately, if you are reading this then you almost certainly live in a place where clean drinking water is easily accessible to you so you never have to worry about dehydration: you can simply turn on the tap and have a glass of water.
We know that everything we do dehydrates us, (breathing, talking, sleeping, moving and so on), so this is something that is happening continuously and needs constant remedy. Similarly, our environment is affecting parts of our energy system and our body all the time too. We can think of this as the daily wear and tear of life and Reiki is the remedy we have for this. Much like drinking water, it works best when we use it frequently and when we can easily access it for ourselves, like going to the tap. This could be for just a few minutes several times a day, much like we might drink a few glasses of water throughout the day or sip water whilst we sit working at our desk or during a car journey.
Whilst there is undoubted benefit to receiving regular Reiki from someone else, (even for those people who are attuned to give themselves Reiki), it is for the reasons I describe above that I would always recommend that someone get a Reiki attunement for themselves rather than relying on treatments every so often from a Reiki practitioner. This is so that they can use Reiki for those regular and frequent top-ups within their daily lives.
The importance of repetition
So now I come to my point about how important repetition is in trying to learn anything. It is almost always useful to hear and practice something a number of times before we can really understand it or get to grips with it. Reiki is no exception. When we attend a Reiki class part of what we receive is the attunement. This process enables us to become a channel for the energy that is called Reiki. For most of us, though, that isn’t enough, by itself, to help us to learn or to help us to continue to use it beyond the initial excitement of a class. Over the years I have talked to many people who have attended one Reiki class or another and fallen off the wagon with using it. In most cases, where this happens, students didn’t have a good enough sense of what Reiki is, how and why it is useful to them and therefore why it is worth making the effort to include it in their life.
You may have heard me say before, (or read in a previous article), that one of the best, and most convenient, things about Reiki is that you can do it whilst doing other things. Whilst we absolutely can set aside a special time to practice our Reiki this is not essential. Some of my favourite places to do Reiki are standing in a queue in the supermarket, when I’m sitting in meetings and whilst watching TV. In this way it is easy to give ourselves short bursts of Reiki throughout our day. I am in fact doing little bits of Reiki when I get to the parts of writing this article where I am reading rather than needing both hands to type!
By practicing and repeating things we build our confidence and we start to build a habit that we don’t have to think too much about or ‘remember’ to do.
When we are learning information with our minds we may need to hear something over and over before we can fully understand it or before we would be able to talk about it more coherently. I begin all of my Reiki classes by letting my students know very clearly that I don’t expect them to remember everything they hear me say. I’m sure we have all had experiences of attending training classes or lectures and feeling like we forgot half of what we learned even when we were interested in and engaged in what we were learning and doing our best to pay attention. We may even re-read notes we have taken, or that were provided by the teacher, and not remember having heard certain parts of the class.
Of course there may be a number of reasons why this can happen. If we are not sleeping well, if we are distracted by something going on in our personal lives or if we are in pain, these things, (and many others), will all make paying attention, understanding and then retaining information harder. But even without such distractions the way our brains work as human beings means that we simply can’t take in, process and remember all that we hear in a single sitting. In addition, even with information we do feel we have understood and remembered we may not yet be able to convey that information clearly or coherently to someone else.
This can be a useful thing to understand about ourselves as it releases the pressure to have got it all understood in one hit but also that it is ok to continue our learning process over time. There are many ways we might do this. Placing our Reiki hands regularly on our body will help us to continue our learning in a very practical way as we get more familiar with the ways that Reiki feels and the benefits it has on our lives. We might also find it useful to supplement that practice with continued reading or by doing more advanced or refresher classes so that we can hear the information again with the benefit of that practice and growing experience. It is for this reason that I offer students a range of different classes to help them take their learning sideways to solidify what they already know or to gain more knowledge at deeper or more advanced levels.
I hope this article serves to shed a little light on the nature of learning, particularly within the broader context of self-care. I also hope that it may provide even just a little relief or reassurance about the way we learn and why consistent and regular self-care practices can be so challenging. As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions about this article or about healing or Reiki more generally.
11th February 2020
Dr Karen Janes ©