Just a few days until Christmas Day. I still feel that childhood excitement and anticipation, and have many wonderful memories of past Christmases, which still bring me joy, and I hope I never lose that feeling.
It’s a shame many of us do, though, as we grow up. We would feel so much better for it, if we could hold onto it.
But Christmas is not filled with such wonder for many and it would be nice if we would reach out and spread a little joy wherever we can. So many charities, religious and other groups do all they can to make this time of year happier for those who are lonely and/or in need. Their selfless concern for others is a beacon to the rest of us.
This year will be even harder for everyone, so let’s put our best foot forward and make the most of what we can of it, keeping a little cheeriness in all we do, for ourselves and others.
This year inspires us to do things differently, so however you spend this Season, do it well, safely, happily and put all you can into it with a better future for everyone in mind.
So many lists at this time of year: cards, presents, food and drink. Not so many invitations this year, but there’s always Skype, Zoom and all the other ways of connecting -as well as the good old telephone!
One list that stood out for me this year in particular was the Christmas card list of those people I send to every year, but haven’t seen in decades. Each year I tell myself I will get in touch more often with them, and then don’t! I know I often think of them, but how can they know if I don’t tell them? I’m not one for New Year Resolutions as such, but I will be making sure that from now on I get in touch with people on that list more than just once a year, at Christmas.
Being thought about makes us all feel good and a thought is such an easy thing to do. Takes no time at all, just a minute or so, even a second can make such a difference. TIme and again I have heard of the power of thought or prayer, and I have also felt both.
I send Reiki Distant Healing to many people, far and wide, and without pre-arranging a time, they frequently ask if I was sending them healing or thinking about them at a certain time, and why they felt I had. It’s amazing how the frequency of thought has such power.
Let’s take a minute at this crazy, busy time of year to make a difference to someone, somewhere, and bring the real meaning of Christmas to the fore.
…….. Not always easy, depending on our individual circumstances but, often, seeing joy in others can help us too. I find it tends to be infectious, like yawning.
Joy is not just a feeling of elation and happiness, it is also a feeling of gratitude, even excitement. It fires those wonderful little cells and senses in brain and body that triggers elation, lifting our spirits too. Joy can be felt at the littlest, simplest thing or thought, as well as momentous things. What it does to us is the important part of feeling joy. When we are happy we make others happy and when they are happy they make us happy – what a gift to give to each other, don’t you think?
Reiki works with love and light and results in joy. The joy in helping others is a wonderful feeling and the joy in receiving love, light and help from others is a comfort, knowing that someone cares enough to do that for us.
The magical month! The month known for giving, more than any other. A time of love, reflection and, in a way, loss – letting go of another year. A time of looking forward to what is to come.
This year’s celebrations will be very different for most of us, yet not so different for some. We will have to re-arrange our celebrations en masse for the first time this year, not all allowed to group together, families and friends only able to celebrate in small pockets, or ‘bubbles’ here and there. But for many, this time of year has always been a time alone. We should think of those for whom it has been a way of life year after year – not through choice much of the time – and remember that for us, though hard, it is temporary and be grateful for that. Spare a thought and send a prayer, or wish, for those for whom it is permanent.
In Reiki Healing distance is no object. Healing can be given where-ever it is needed (as can love) and is known as Distant or Absent Healing – the latter named as the recipient is not physically present. With that thought in mind, our love, hopes and wishes can still reach those absent from us this Christmas if send with love and light – and hope.
December is a month of hope to come, planning for a new year ahead and embracing this will get us through the odd times we are facing at present. Fundamentally things have not changed, just for now we need to do things differently to make a brighter, safer future for us all – not just for ourselves.
December is indeed a magical month – let’s all embrace and enjoy it in our own inventive magical way!
And where it does, you will find life! All kinds: plants, animals, aquatic all being nourished and alive by the river. This applies to the humble stream, too, running and flowing with life. It is the flow that is important. A still body of water is also vital to some forms of life, but I feel the flow of moving water draws us.
The flow of most things tends to draw us in and mean life, excitement even. The flow of traffic – a metallic stream or river – flows on to sometimes excitement, but definitely life, carrying us along to where we need to be, a journey taken.
From another aspect, the flow of blood through our bodies so resembles a river. Flowing and sustaining life and vitality, nourishing and sustaining so much. The flow of words can sound like a river, tumbling and tripping over stories, or tinkling as a stream over pebbles and through fallen twigs and branches – depending on the use of words; magical and musical, flowing with possibility.
…And a river runs through, take time to look and observe the next time it does in whatever form – for all life is a river to be coursed, crossed, or just relax and enjoy!
What a title, it covers so many forms. One immediately thinks of paintings, sketches, drawings but, of course, it encompasses so much more. Music, dancing, writing, poetry, rhyme, storytelling, sculpture, carving, cooking, the list goes on!
Art is expression, whether self, group, community or culture, it is an outlet, a source of communication. Art is a way of expressing oneself. It is different for everyone, how they see it, understand it and portray it. Even if done as a group, as in dance, singing, acrobatics, etc; it is different for each individual in that group. Each one brings their own expression into whatever that group is portraying and blending those individual expressions into one is an art in itself!
We are all artist – maybe not in the generally accepted sense but how we portray ourselves, how we apply our make-up and wear our clothes paints a picture to others that is individual to ourselves. Even those who dress alike will always have that ‘something’ unique to them. Something will be slightly different, even though they all have the same.
Many train in certain arts, again, so much to choose from. I have trained in the art of Reiki Healing, treating myself and others, and have found through this other art forms. Reiki Healing opens up the art of communication and empathy with others, bringing to mind the Fifth Reiki Principle:-
‘Just for Today I will show love and Respect To Every Living Thing.’
The mists that descend during the month of November can seem reminiscent of life. Not clear, difficult to navigate at times, but with bright spots that can be breathtakingly beautiful.
When life’s mists descend is when we can often find our strengths. It is when we are challenged to find our way, and we often can, but there are times when we need to reach out to others for help and support. This is when we find our strengths. We may be those reaching out, or those supporting – either way, we learn about ourselves and others through these times. This is where Reiki shines. It benefits those who come seeking help and those who give it through Reiki treatments and show support in general. Both parties feel the benefit of Reiki, the benefits of healing mind, body and spirit, uniting and strengthening the whole, clearing the mists.
Mists can be mysterious and beautiful – like life.
I have often heard people say ‘Don’t look back, yesterday has gone. Look forward to the future.’ Sensible advice, but I think you should look back now and then. Obviously the future is what is important, but the past is full of memories – good and bad – and lessons learnt (or not!). My past is what has made me what I am today and my past is what has shaped my future – and is still doing so.
Looking back into history, we can often see things being repeated in the present. Looking at how people dealt with things and situations then can sometimes help us to deal with things we have to face now.
Looking back into the history of Reiki has given me (and I am sure others) inspiration. It can teach us the value of questioning things, looking for the truth in what we are told and in what we read. It inspires determination as it did for the founder of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui, in his pursuit of the roots of natural healing, teaching us the importance of healing and looking after the whole – the mind and spirit as well as the physical body.
Yes, looking back can be a good thing. Draw on the past to face the future – with confidence and determination.
These days one tends to associate Halloween celebrations with America – they really do go all out over there, in a big way. But it is celebrated in countries all over the world.
Halloween was originally a Celtic Festival known as Samhain. This marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of a new year. It was also thought to be a time when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest. It was believed that at this time humans could communicate with the dead.
The Celts also believed that Samhain made it easier for their priests to predict the future. It is thought that they built bonfires on which they burnt crops and animals as sacrifices to their gods. Villagers would dress in costumes of animal skins and heads and gather at these bonfires – which is probably where our modern tradition of dressing up on Halloween comes from. When these bonfires were lit they attracted insects and bugs which, in turn, attracted bats. There again, our association with bats being a part of Halloween probably has its roots in this. They became harbingers of doom and death – spooky!
When the Romans conquered Celtic territories in 43.A.D., they introduced their own festivals. Their October festival of Feridia also marked the passing of the dead. More changes occurred with the arrival of Christianity. Several Popes tried replacing ‘pagan’ festivals with their own. All Souls’ Day (on the 2nd November) became a time to pray for the souls of the dead. The 1st November became All Saints’ Day, honouring the saints, was also known as All Hallows, making the 31st October All Hallows Eve, which became our Halloween.
England and Ireland still associate this time with ‘the wandering of the dead’. To keep the spirits amiable, they would leave gifts of food outside their doors. Over time they dressed in scary costumes themselves. This was known as ‘mumming’ – similar to our present day ‘trick-or-treating’. Mummers can still be found in parts of Britain, Sussex in particular, where they perform songs, sketches and tell stories (sometimes being a little mischievous too!).
America had similar celebrations at harvest times. They would tell ghost stories and tell each others’ fortunes, but these were known as ‘play parties’ not Halloween.
On Halloween in the seventeen hundreds and eighteen hundreds, women would perform rituals to find a husband. One of these rituals involved throwing apple peelings over their shoulder and hoping to see the initials of their future husbands in the way the peelings landed. Bobbing for apples at parties meant that the winner would be the first to marry. It was also thought that standing in front of a mirror with a lighted candle in a darkened room would make their future husband’s face appear in the mirror.
During the nineteenth century Potato Famine in Ireland, many Irish immigrants left Ireland for America, taking with them their customs, traditions and superstitions. They used to carve out turnips, even potatoes and beetroots into what is known as a ‘jack-o-lantern’. This name came from an old Irish legend abut a man nicknamed ‘Stingy Jack’.
It is told that Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Not wanting to pay for his drink, he persuaded the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to pay for the drinks. This the Devil did, but instead of paying for their drinks, Jack decided to keep the coin and put it into his pocket – next to a silver cross, which prevent the Devil from changing back into his original form.
Jack eventually freed the Devil, on one condition. This was that the Devil would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, the Devil would not claim his soul. This the Devil agreed to. But, the following year Jack tricked the Devil again. He dared him to climb into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk of the tree in order to prevent the Devil from coming back down. Once again he agreed to release the Devil, but only if the Devil left him alone for another ten years. This the Devil also agreed to.
According to the legend, Jack died not long after this, and God would not allow him into heaven as he was such an unsavoury character. The Devil would not allow him into hell as he actually kept to his word about not claiming Jack’s soul, so he sent him away with only a burning coal to light his way through the dark night. Jack carved out a turnip in which to carry the coal and has been roaming the earth with his lantern ever-since.The Irish refer to this ghostly figure as ‘Jack of the Lantern’ which has become ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ today.
In years gone by, children used to play tricks and pranks and generally make mischief on All Hallows Eve – nowadays they dress-up and go trick or treating , a nicer version of the original I think!
However you plan to celebrate Halloween (or not):-
Nature has been giving us signs that things need to change for so long. Melting ice-caps and icebergs, flooding, climate changes, freak weather conditions to name but a few. Some of us woke up to the fact, but not enough of us. All actions have consequences, both good and bad. Our actions don’t just have consequences for humanity, but for all life on the planet, whether it be animal, vegetable or mineral and now we are really seeing the results!
Growing up and becoming more aware of these things, I began to think of trees as the lungs of the planet. They are so important in supplying oxygen and cleaning the air, enabling healthy growth for everything – and look what we have done to them. We have been clearing woods and forests all over the globe for centuries – yes, sometimes necessary, but very many times unnecessary and now more of us are not just seeing the consequences, but feeling them too.
Having been seriously self-isolating with my family for eight months now our household has been making many changes. Unable to get groceries we requested in our deliveries and the supermarket being unable to provide substitutes at times, we have adjusted our ‘usual’ meals and have come up with different and ‘interesting’ recipes! Not being able to go out has meant that we have not bought new clothes for certain occasions.
Obviously missing meeting up with friends and family in person, we have sought alternative ways and have connected through Skype and Zoom. We soon adopted the attitude of treating this as our new ‘going out’ and dressed and made-up for these occasions. It’s been fun and we have dug out old attire that was headed for the charity shops and re-used them. Due to the fact that we can no longer donate to charity shops at the moment, we have re-jiggled stuff, re-worked things and have made some fun and interesting clothes! A new wardrobe for nothing – win, win!
Books that were bound for the charity shops have been re-read until the time comes when we can safely pass them on.
We can get downhearted during these times, but we won’t always have to live like this if we do the sensible thing now.
Changes can be good, even fun, depending on how we view them. If you can’t do anything about them, try to make them better, easier for you to live with. There will be a way and who knows how you will change finding it.
The Fourth Reiki Principle:- ‘Just for Today I will do my work honestly.’
Work at making changes within yourself and your environment. Honestly look for ways to help yourself and others to get through these times and come out the other side, finding that by changing we learn and blossom.