by Stephanie McCrackenOctober 1, 2013 counseling, meditation, mindfulness, reiki, reiki, therapist, therapy, Uncategorized, wellness0 comments
Reiki is an ancient energy and healing technique, Imagine the setting as your Reiki master, attunes to you, tuning in on the subtly flowing outpour of your qui, slowly places her hands above key chakra points on your physical body. The result is the clearing of energy blockages, using a philosophy similarly to that which allows acupuncturists to heal the physical body. The Reiki master works on the Qui, ki, or chi, the life force that exudes from each human and object; once the blockages are healed health is restored. Reiki is valued for its ability to enhance peacefulness, raise and expand ones vibrations as well as soothe emotional turmoil, helps to reduce anxiety, stress or depression. There are many people who state that Reiki has helped to soothe their addiction or behavioral problems as well as to heal biological ailments, and for some, even transcend the physical realm and enter the spiritual. Reiki is a spiritual experience and space where you work on expanding and enhancing the spiritual body. Many local hospitals are now working with Reiki practitioners, having them perform this healing on their sick patients to relax and reduce healing time.
The knowledge of this energetic presence has a fascinating derivation. It is said that all Reiki Practitioners receive their abilities through the essence of the great Reiki master, Usui, who long ago sat atop a mountain in Japan. Usui’s ascension occurred in the midst of a 21 day meditation; it was during the last day that cosmic and ancient wisdom was revealed to him. Usui, with his new found ability became a great healer; it was only later in his life that he began to share this power with a select few, who then shared it with still a few more. The process towards becoming a Reiki master is time honored and much coveted, only one who has reached the highest master level is able to transfer the full vibratory force from one person to the next.
Some people may be confused as to how Reiki is different from a massage. At The Counseling and Wellness Center, individual Reiki sessions begin with the receiver laying atop a traditional massage table and in some cases a chair. Reiki makes use of very light touch and often no touching at all. The Reiki practitioner serves as a channel for the divine energy which flows through each person, this energy outpours from the practitioner’s hands into the points on the recipient’s body, mind, or spirit, which are calling the practitioners sacred knowingness towards healing. The Reiki master is also able to work from a distance by calling upon the power of ancient symbology, through distance Reiki, the master need not be in any close proximity to send the necessary vitality to the recipient.
Reiki is effective in many forms, we offer Reiki for groups, Reiki certification training for practitioners, as well as Reiki for pets.
Group reiki differs from individual, group reiki is done by invoking a meditative setting, the participants will enter a space that may contain soft music, incense and candles. The Reiki master will ask that each person takes a seat as they are guided through a brief guided imagery meditation. Through the progress of the meditation the master will have you contact the divine energy or a sacred seat of wisdom within your self. By giving the participant the opportunity to focus on the mechanics of breathing, you will find yourself in the depths of relaxation. The Reiki master will encourage your conversation with your internal dialogue and he or she, in communion with her own divine self, may even be in receipt of a message for you. You can expect to hear unintelligible chanting that speaks to your unconscious parts, drumming, tuning forks, and bells. Sometimes the participant can expect to be physically touched in one of the Reiki points which are the houses of your chakra energy sources. The Reiki master will work to unblock traumas or point of angst in an effort for your energy to flow in a more harmonious and attuned manner which is the natural flow of your true self. The Reiki master will likely encourage you to drink extra water after your session and for the days to come. Just as the ancient and first Reiki Master Usui meditated for 21 days, Reiki continues to do its work on your physical, emotional, and spiritual self for 21 days to come.
Many people find it helpful to incorporate the bi-weekly or monthly practice of Reiki into their wellness program. The opportunity to focus on breathing and relaxation instills other areas of life with greater bliss and creativity, there are some that even taut some rather astonishing spiritual benefits that have come from their Reiki practice. We will depart from this petite explication while leaving you the reader with the encouragement to continue growing and discovering all of the many parts to yourself and the universe which may compel and enchant you!
In Health and Wellness,
The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh
Offering Psychotherapy and Marriage Counseling
830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh Pa 15233Learn More
by Stephanie McCrackenJuly 19, 2013 counseling, personal growth, psychology, psychotherapy0 comments
Something about Nothing
The heated summer air is whirring beyond and within your skin, feet pounding upon the city sidewalks in an ever hurried procession. Preparation for yet another marathon, sweat beads forming and sliding, perspiring in cylindrical icicles down your front, back, and every inch of in between, an urgent reminder to go, go, go, harder, faster, more.
12 hour work days, 52 weeks out of the year, the paper work piling higher, depositions and court cases formulating another win, another dollar. You will make partner in your firm by the time you are 40 as long as you stay later in hopes of achievement, more, more, money, more promotions, more responsibility, more ways to know that this is worth it, work harder, faster, more.
Your neighbor owes you 50$ and tells you that she isn’t able to return the kindly favor until next week, you were counting on it to put gas in your tank to take your brother to the store and your dad to the doctor and your daughter to the outpatient drug rehabilitation program, maybe even buying some snack cakes to put in your husband’s lunch pail. Who else needs you today? Who else can you help? Move, go, do, more, faster.
Stick the needle in your arm yet again, the numbness settles within and sealing your mind from everything out there until it’s time to get up in search of another person to rob, a piece of jewelry to steal, to trade for some money to buy some silence in time without thinking of the faceless people from which you steal or the way that it makes you think to be a person who sticks a needle to go numb. More, deeper, harder, faster.
Yield, I insist upon the cessation of all of this motion for just one moment!
You, don’t move another inch towards the needle, don’t lift that tennis shoe from its connection to the ground, toss that mounting pile of paper work to the side, tell everyone to take a taxi today. This moment, this hour, this day will be sacred. In this moment you will busy yourself with nothing! Your work, your accomplishment, your effort will be the achievement of absolutely nothing at all. Settle into that seat, locate a sturdy park bench, or a shady and cool spot under a giant oak, or perhaps you will lay down in your bed, it matters not as long as you are making time to do nothing at all.
For most of us, it takes practice and effort to develop this superior skill. The ability to relax and even glean wisdom from nothing, but in time you will appreciate the restorative properties to doing nothing because, doing nothing is every bit as vital as doing all of those something’s. Moments of nothing can be brimming with einstienesque inspiration, it is the stillness and quiet that is associated with heightened vital energy. Many people are at first uncomfortable in silence, it is in those moments that the mind begins to speak and we don’t know what to feel about all of these thoughts and sensations pouring from within of us. We are typically seated with television blasted and task at hand, there is most always something that provides a barrier preventing us from hearing that inner voice the speech exuding from the quieted mind. My challenge for you is this, insist upon creating a moments time, at least several days per a week or ideally, each and every day, to sit quietly while doing nothing. Allow stillness to cloak you and with eyes opened or closed, notice the quiet settling within and without, simply be seated and breath, observe your thoughts as they meander by like rotund puffy clouds in a warm summer sky. Simply and calmly be, while at first you may find it challenging to achieve this, I will offer my unequivocal assurance that you are in technical terms “achieving.” In this quiet and calm you are equipping yourself with vitality. As the mind, body, heart rate breathing settle, thinking, feeling, and being improve. With the mind calmly alert one is best able to commune harmoniously with others in performing the thinking tasks associated with living a full life. Some may call this exercise mediation, or prayer, or even time out but I will insist upon titling it nothing, the Italians have a luxuriously simplistic phrase for this, dolce far niente, “the joy of doing nothing.” Nothing hasn’t ever sounded so good. Always remember that it is within balance that harmony is borne, silence projects sound, the yin and the yang, all of those somethings, out of nothing….
Being mindful of your breathing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to evoke a sense of calm, become centered, and re-energize. Our regular contributor and resident wellness guru, Stephanie McCracken, shares her insights and techniques on breathing and its meditative powers and benefits. Enjoy!
In Good Health,
Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC
Breathe By Stephanie McCracken, MS
Everyone does it. So if you don’t mind my asking, when was the last time that you really did it? When was the last time you allowed it to propel you to the heights of Nirvana only to have it gently slide you back down into limp flesh, relaxed? I bet many of you didn’t even know that it could be so good, like sweet cream on a warm summer’s evening. After all, this very act sustains the life you are living.
I want to share with you the secrets of doing it really well. I will warn you, it’s not as simple as it seems. It takes training, discipline and wisdom if you really want to experience its full potential. Take some time for yourself. This time will give you the chance to develop tools that will offer an opportunity for clarity, strength, calm, and wisdom throughout all parts of your living and being.
Come. Take some time. Breathe with me.
There is a common misconception that we know all that we need to about the breathing process. After all, isn’t it our first physical act once emerging from the warmth of the womb? Yet, there are gurus, yogis, monks and other wellness facilitators who devote a lifetime of practice to this complex and exhilarating act. As with most everything, what you see is not what you necessarily get because there are many layers of power to be harnessed and experienced within the act of breathing.
Let us journey to our core. Begin by sitting in a chair in an upright position. Now close your eyes, allow them to gently block the outside world. Find yourself in a warm, tranquil space that exists on the backside of your eyelids. You notice the beating of your heart as it pushes warm, oxygen rich blood to the rest of your body. Begin to connect with the rest of your physical self. Notice the distinct calm feeling in your hands as they rest on the tops of your legs. Open your palms in a position of reception for the energy that is coming toward you. Accept this as a gift, a connection from the universe to you. Your feet should be planted flat on the ground. Notice how the floor feels beneath them. What does it feel like to be connected to something as grand as the earth?
Now that you are settled in a peaceful position, we are going to go even deeper inside. Take a slow and steady inhalation through your nose. Feel the warmth of the air as it makes it ascent from the tip of your nose and fills the back of your throat. Feel your shoulders rise as the air continues to spill inside of your chest, filling you down to the bottom of your belly which has expanded to allow the air space inside.
This breath feeds and nourishes your body as you hold the inhalation and very slowly, let it go, let it go, let it go. The act of taking in should match the process of letting go, equal strength and time allotted to each of them. Notice how your body softens as you exhale, feel your shoulders falling as the tightness disappears from your neck and your brow. Now let’s fill our lungs again, taking in the rich air which surrounds us. All that is full of life and power brings the breath into us until we are full. Now hold the breath as your chest expands and your belly begins to soften on the release. These sacred breaths allow everything within you to fall naturally and evenly away, as you savor in the calm which washes over you on the exhale.
Take attention to your body. Feel the energy coursing through your hands and legs. Such supple feelings of softness as you float in the space behind your eyes. Whatever you are noticing, you are exactly where you should be. You are comforted and cradled in warmth. You are present and you are calm in this moment.
Spend time at least once a day to focus on your breathing and the physical sensations related to it. If you can dedicate 5 or 10 minutes of your hectic day to breathe in this manner, you will notice a greater calm and clarity in the rest of those moments where you are devoted to work and family and all of the other tasks related to living life. Always remember the importance of your breathing. Notice the ever evolving shape and speed of your inhalation and the physical sensations attached to this. Close your eyes and for a brief moment, escape, soothe, relish. There are so many ways to do it simply and elegantly.
Love, peace and happiness,