the whisper of Kyoto

There are those who decide on a pilgrimage heeding its call at some point in their lives. For me it whispered unexpectantly as an invitation to a Reiki Congress. A business trip.

Then it blew in as Santa Ana winds swirling a constant 99 degree temperature restricting my flight from its scheduled take off. Arrival into Tokyo became cloaked in night darkness. No luggage. It was removed the day before to lighten the load for takeoff.

Readjusting travel arrangements in a foreign land, in a foreign language, became part of the experience. A bump in the road-but the road was in Japan. And I was excited to be there.

The whisper grew louder as a typhoon traveled across Japan raising humidity levels into the 90’s over the next two days. It was Wednesday, and I began this journey on Monday morning, in the same clothes-sitting for hours on a plane at the gate, then on the tarmac, on a shuttle bus to a hotel in Tokyo, back to the airport hours later, onto another shuttle to a different airport, to catch a plane to Osaka. Now, I badly needed a change of clothes. Off to buy something to wear, but no. Kyoto shops only carry Japanese sizes. Keeping my spirits up, I made light of the situation.

Until the following morning. The heat, now pouring rain, and still in my travel clothes-I fell apart. I missed an important group tour. And I was hungry waiting for the dining room to clear so I wouldn’t put anyone into an unpleasant situation hugging me hello. Still not knowing if my packed clothes would arrive today or tomorrow or the day after, well into the Congress weekend.

For hours I walked and cried in the rain. And I walked some more. And I cried some more. Breaking down, falling into pieces with each step. Breaking away from my important public-self. I didn’t know it at the time, outwardly, trying to hold myself together. To be okay. To find peace with what was happening to me. Being separated from the group. Examining me as alone. How my physical self could indeed exist separate from my spirit self.

Sitting on a park bench, I watched a man hit a baseball. With each swing, observing the smooth arc of time and space he, and now I, was traveling. Watching him, I could breath again.

On Friday afternoon, my luggage arrived. Happy to have different clothes, I realized I was different and the window dressing didn’t really matter. At the Congress I felt invisible in a room of 200 colleagues. I had become more an observer than a participant. Empty but whole.

Staying on, I visited shrines, and temples, and parks and took long walks along the river and down side streets. Talked with shopkeepers and artisans. Walked behind a geisha, a few feet away, sensing the gentle yet intense presence she represented. Feeling gratitude for the brief shared space into tradition. I rode the train and subway with business people and families with young children. Visited a Kanji museum and played like a schoolgirl at the exhibit tables.

Mostly now, I stayed in awe at the quiet moments offered at empty temples housing large golden Buddha statues, spying a lone crane on a rock in a still lake, meeting Senju Kannon where time stopped and a sweet unspoken communication occurred. I inhaled the incense burning from street shrines, and bathed in the abundant lush of the green trees that filled my soul.

It has taken me 5 months to put words to my experience. Although it falls somewhat short. If I could only share the whisper I first heard . . .then Kyoto could also change you. Listen for it.


2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 850 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

an ending

iStock_000044305246MediumWhile my work is amazingly rewarding, sometimes it involves loss. This past year two souls touched my heart, and then left without saying good-bye.

Etsuko, my Shihan sister. We shared a respect of each other’s contribution to the spread of Jikiden Reiki, support of its practice, the love of the children we bore and raised into adulthood, and the lives we lived over the years with no judgment. We anchored each side of the Pacific. An ocean apart. A culture away. A fast-found-friendship that surprised us both. And now I, left to bare the loss, of what might have been between two women speaking truths over private messages on Facebook. Sharing stories and feelings and giving and getting unedited words on a page, raw and real. Always based in unspoken love and kindness. I feel your loss in my life, and in my heart. I will miss you always.

Julia, the little spirit girl. You came gently into my life, a joy in your parent’s eyes. Excited for your arrival. Loving you dearly along the way. My Reiki hands held above you making the connection. Sharing hello. One month, two months, three months. The wait seems long. Then no more. The circle of life. It contains many lessons. Some we recognize, some to be realized later, in the quiet pauses of our soul. Changing lives.  Your sweetness, always remembered.

My teacher says there is no loss, only love.

I must agree, on both accounts.

Reiki? Where’s the proof?

A clear explanation of Jikiden Reiki written by a colleague in Scotland.

Simply Jikiden Reiki


I recently published an interview with Tadao Yamaguchi and introduced it to the Reiki community by promising rare insight into traditional Japanese Reiki. One of the readers found themselves disappointed, as, like so many articles on Reiki, we had offered no proof or supporting evidence of what Reiki is. The following is my attempt at an answer to this reader’s questions:

So what is Reiki, and where is the evidence?

To answer simply, Reiki is a natural healing system using touch created by Mikao Usui in 1920s Japan after he had achieved an experience of enlightenment, and crafted from extensive, deep knowledge of various traditions. Priding himself in the simplicity of his healing system, Usui sensei deliberately chose elements that would result in a healing modality easy to learn by anyone (and not forcing them to adopt elaborate spiritual systems or beliefs).

As to proof of what Reiki really is, we cannot offer…

View original post 1,082 more words

dare I say? there is no unity with Jikiden Reiki

iStock_000001402830Large - Version 2Or combining of Reiki schools. Or sharing techniques outside of a seminar.

Surfacing recently, a Western Reiki article calling for unity in Reiki; a Western Reiki Master video with an ending prayer suggesting the same; and posts of Western Reiki specific articles and events on Jikiden Reiki sites.

Jikiden Reiki is separate by definition. It is Reiki teaching direct from Chijuro Hayashi sensei as he learned from Mikao Usui sensei. Usui sensei called his form of Reiki Usui Reiki Ryoho (Usui healing method) for a reason. He wanted to differentiate it from all other Reiki healing methods that were being done at that time. He did not learn this from someone else. Nor study for years. He achieved a state of enlightenment and the healing was his gift.

Who are we to diminish his intention?

Jikiden Reiki is non-inclusive. It is original, authentic, and kept separate on purpose – to safeguard the purity of the teaching and practice.

The original concepts and techniques still hold their Japanese roots. It is a powerful practice, both physically and spiritually (not religious, but personal spiritual growth for the dedicated practitioner). It’s allure and attraction is this: Real information and hard facts, backed by original writings, photos, historical events, documents, and the gifts from Japanese culture.

Jikiden Reiki web sites on Facebook, Twitter, and personal .coms, need to support the continuation of this difference.

Jikiden Reiki is never homogenized. Reiki Share meetings are for Jikiden Reiki Practitioners and teachers only (except for public information meetings) as defined by the Jikiden Reiki Kenkyukai.

As a Western Reiki Master, and Jikiden Reiki Shihan, we have an obligation to take care of our students properly. Holding exclusive Reiki Shares for each group insures lines are clear and techniques and information sharing can be done openly. And posting Western Reiki activities and events separate from Jikiden Reiki will lessen the confusion created by erroneously melding of the two.

Be deliberate in your practice. Whichever one you do.

choice review

Soon I will be traveling to study again with one of my teachers. He has travelled across an ocean and the width of a continent, I will travel across two states.

outfit for travelThis is what I know:

When your mentor, teacher, or your teacher’s teacher comes to town – you show up.

You show up for the blessing, support, connection, and guidance.

You show up even when the teaching is the same.

Because you are different – from one visit to the next.

A course review is an opportunity to make minor adjustments to the understanding of a technique, cultural concept, or historical fact. A place to continue to explore and expand your potential as a practitioner, a teacher, a function-in-a-modern-world spiritual being. An invitation to develop a better connection to the roots of the practice.

In the western world we accumulate degrees, credentials, credits, and paper statements of attendance and course completion. Then are left on our own to “practice”. Course adjustments come from the mistakes we make in the field. With no real guidance, we can only decide to do somethings different next time.

Spending a few days with my teachers each year seems the better choice of the two.

My teachers, Tadao Yamaguchi and Frank Arjava Petter travel to the U.S. to lecture on Jikiden Reiki. Reiki For Wellness presents the Annual Jikiden Reiki Seminar in San Diego, with visiting guest, Frank Arjava Petter each Spring.