Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that is suppossed to promote healing. It is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through our body and this life force is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

I have tried accupuncture in the past but had never been lucky enough to have a Reiki session until this past weekend. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait until I am able to have another treatment. I have heard alot about Reiki and also about how important it is to find the right Reiki practitioner, as the success of your treatment is very dependent upon their skills. The woman (Ms. N) that I found, through a friend, was an amazing soul and I felt very special in her presence.

There are some people that exude positivity and then there are the ones that have a negative force around them, Ms. N was the former. She looked like your everyday regular woman, but I think she had something unique about her. When speaking with her on the phone, I explained my situation and was concerned about being able to pay her the full fee. Ms. N replied that she had a calling and that she is a Reiki healer and is doing this to help people. I could pay her whatever I felt I could spare, or I could give her a little gift, or I could give her nothing at all. She also offered to come to my apartment so that I didn’t have to use up my energy in trying to get to her.

I really didn’t know what to expect from the treatment, but from the moment it started I was overcome by a peaceful happy feeling, one that I hadn’t experienced in a very, very long time. I noticed she was drawn to my legs and that is where I felt the most heat radiating from her hands. Coincidently, my legs are my weak spot as they don’t support me for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. Ms. N didn’t know this.

After the session was over, but before I moved from the table, I told Ms. N I was very stiff and that the Fibro makes it difficult for me to stay in one place for a long time. She replied that she is stiff too from giving the treatment and that she also felt weak in the legs and had to sit down. This was the first time Ms. N had experienced this sensation after giving a treatment and she felt it was partially a result of getting my energy. She assured me it wouldn’t last and that she’d be back to normal in a short while.

I asked her where she was drawn to on my body and she said my legs. She also told me she saw a very, very vivid image surrounding me the entire session. The object she saw had no meaning to me, so she said it must be symbolic of something. We both did some research and what she saw provided me with alot of hope.

The symbol she saw, in ancient cultures was a symbol of vitality, wholeness and health. An image that was a protector of evil and that turned a bad situation into a good one. She also saw me walking through a field with hundreds of leaves that had fallen from the trees. To her, this meant that I would be walking again. Ms N. also told me that no matter what was going on with my physical self, I had no bitterness and no ill will which in itself is such a gift and so important for healing.

I know everyone of us wants to hear good things about how we will return to health and Ms. N is the only person that has ever said that to me. All the countless doctors I have appointments with and pay high copays to see, never give me an ounce of hope that I will feel better. They give me prescriptions to take to manage my pain and my symptoms and tell me to deal with the situation. It’s no wonder I felt like this session was a special one, because it brought me hope and made me think about the future when I would be restored and be able to walk through that field on a breezy fall day and just enjoy being in that moment.


Karma… Do good and good will come to you.


Earlier this week I was speaking with a very good friend of mine, probably my best friend, someone who knows my deepest darkest secrets and I his. We can talk about anything and everything and do. He brought up the subject of Steve Jobs and Apple and how he met someone who had a very high level position in Apple. This ex-employee said that all the rumors about Steve Jobs was true. He was a demanding, tough, nasty son of a bitch, yet his employees were extremely loyal to him because he made them all a lot of money.

My friend (Mr. X) said, “Makes you wonder if his painful death was Karma paying him back”. I quickly replied that I would hate to think that his Cancer was Karma, because if that was Karma, what did I do to deserve the 4 years of suffering I’ve been dealing with.

I have always conducted my life on a moral high ground. I always treat people with respect and kindness and always put myself in their situation. I was brought up by two parents who followed the letter of the law and never strayed from doing the right thing, even if it was to their detriment.

So it got me thinking, why am I suffering and is Karma paying me back for something I am unaware happened in my past?

I read alittle more about Steve Jobs and that he believed in Zen Buddhism, but in an interview when he was asked about whether he believed in an afterlife, he said 50-50. He wanted to believe that accumulated wisdom didn’t just die with a person, but somehow endured.

I looked up the definition of Karma and it stated that Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence. A human being is a subject with a consciousness and everthing is saved and this consciousness works as a spirit and when the spirit meets death, it separates from the body and then is reborn as another life.

The Buddha taught that one’s present condition, whether of happiness or suffering, is the result of the accumulated force of all past actions or Karma. So was my spirit reborn from someone who was cruel and hurtful and is my suffering the result of that spirit? If this is so, does that mean that I will never experience joy or happiness and that all my good deeds will help the person that my spirit is reborn into.

I would hate to think that I can’t reverse actions and do good in this life so that I can appreciate the goodness of my own actions. I would like to think that every action I perform has some effect now and in the future and that Karma is like “paying it forward”, so that you can do an act of kindness to someone else and then somebody one day in this present life will be kind to you.

I have never thought much about the afterlife until my dad passed away alittle over a year ago. When I go visit his grave, I know his spirit isn’t there and I know it’s just the shell of his body, so where is his spirit. If his spirit was reborn, I know he is now in a being that is kind, gentle and loving because that’s how he was every day of his life in this world where I knew him.


Happy (and Pain Free) New Year


For some people, this week is the beginning of a New Year, as Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated around the world. Tradition teaches us that during the High Holy Days every person’s fate will be decided for the next year and whether one lives or dies or suffers is being determined. People are suppossed to make amends and fix any wrong doings, so as to enter the New Year with a clean slate.

I started wondering if that also includes oneself. Can we make amends with ourselves and accept our shortcomings and imperfections and move forward in this next year loving ourselves more? When one suffers with a chronic illness, we are often harder and more critical on ourselves than we would be on other people. I find myself getting frustrated and angry when I can’t remember something or fix something that I know I was able to remember or fix in the past. When my Brain Fog sets in, it is impossible for me to do the simplist of tasks, even add or subtract 2 numbers from each other. Yet, if a friend or loved one had a problem, I would just help them and not think twice, but I beat myself down when I forget something I should know.

I also wonder why I cringed everytime someone has wished me a Happy and HEALTHY New Year over these past few days. I get sad when I hear this phrase because I wonder how can I have a healthy year when I am not healthy at this moment. Maybe I would feel better if someone said have a HEALTHIER New Year. I started thinking why this bothered me so much and it brought back a painful memory from years ago, when my dad was quite sick and was in a Nursing Home. My mom and I went to visit him on his birthday and when we were leaving, she wished him a Happy and Healthy Birthday and he just broke down and started sobbing. As I’m thinking about this, I have tears in my eyes. I remember saying to her, “How can you wish him a healthy birthday when he is so sick” and of course she didn’t mean to hurt him with her words. My mom loved my dad more than life itself. Yet these words hurt him, as they hurt me over these past few days.

So with this New Year, I am also going to try and be more accepting of what people say, when I know their intent is well meaning. I do take offense sometimes to words my friends say because I think they are very uncaring but really, they just don’t have the same perspective as I do.

During this New Year I am also going to remember that even with a chronic condition we still can lead a good life. There are certain choices that we can make and certain courses of action that we can pursue, that have the ability to infuse our hard life with goodness and life, and there are others choices that can drain life. I am choosing the first option and choosing to be a person who embraces the kind of values, ideals, and choices that will fill my days with life, with positivity, with meaning, with goodness!!

Does Freedom come with Acceptance?


Acceptance is a tricky word when trying to explain to people that I have “Accepted” my illness. Acceptance does not mean that I am giving up or giving in. In fact, the ability to accept one’s current situation comes from a place of incredible strength and not weakness. I wish people in my life would understand that if I was giving up, I wouldn’t get out of bed every day and face the world. I wouldn’t continue to go to countless doctor visits or try new supplements or medications or continue with physical therapy.

Accepting the reality of my current situation means that I don’t have false expectations of myself or others. It means that I can finally look truthfully at my current life situation and try and figure out how to live differently, but still live a life with meaning. Unfortunately we can not alter what has happened to us in the past, we can only adjust our expectations and our actions to fit into our new life.

I am not a buddhist, but recently read a very insightful book by Toni Bernhard entitled “How to Be Sick: A Buddhist Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill”. I would highly recommend this book for anybody struggling with a chronic health situation. Buddhism teaches that one of the main paths to spiritual growth and awakening, is the acceptance of all things, as they are in this moment. It teaches us to acknowledge that things are the way they are and that we need to accept the situation as it is. Rejecting our current situation and pushing reality away, only causes us more hurt and suffering. Toni’s book shows us how she dealt with her suffering and was able to find happiness even in the most difficult situation.

I have to accept my limits or else I will constantly be relapsing and collapsing and what kind of living is that. I am still on my journey to find happiness and contentment, while living with a chronic condition, but at least I have stopped pushing the truth away and have begun to accept where I am.

Perhaps happiness is right around the corner. One can only hope….


Looking Through My Window


There is life beyond my window and I hope to be able to participate in it again, but for now, I will have to accept the role of casual observer.  I spend many hours looking out my window at all the people going about their daily lives….doing chores, walking their dogs, laughing and having fun… and I imagine what life will be like when I too can do these things again. 

For now, wonder is all I can do, as I suffer with a chronic condition that drains my energy, but not my spirit.