Thursday, September 6, 2018

Reiki Newsletter- September 2018 Bringing a Reiki Community together- Part 2: 2010-2018

Bringing a Reiki Community together- Part 2: 2010-2018

I’ve previously shared how I was tempted to bring the local Reiki community together in Cincinnati in 2008 and I’ve have shared my learnings and some advice for those who are tempted to do the same in their communities.
Here are how things have evolved since 2010….

Coincidentally (wink, wink nothing is a coincidence), shortly after I had the vision to bring the local Reiki community together, I attended a Reiki Master level class with Frans Stiene in 2008 in NYC. The way Frans has approached Reiki blew me away and changed the way I practiced Reiki forever (I wrote about this many times before so I won’t repeat it here).

As our bi-annual Reiki Days continued in Cincinnati, the ties in the community got stronger. As we started to learn from each other, volunteer together, share more and more; we felt an interest in the local community for Frans’ teachings. Finally, Sundar and I have invited Frans to Cincinnati in summer of 2011.
The first time was blood, sweat and tears (literally, I have a page of my journal from that year that had all 3!). We were right, the teachings found the right sounding board and resonated with everyone.

As we started to share more of this view of Reiki and shared practices at Reiki Days with practitioners, most of the teachings resonated but also there were others who walked away from the Reiki Day (for example, someone was extremely annoyed by chanting). When setting the agenda for Reiki Day, we tried to stay mainstream but I must confess that started to become more difficult as most of us practiced Reiki as a spiritual path by then.  There is no right or wrong and I guess this was the natural evolution, but Reiki days have started to be attendee mostly by a core group. Now I’m thinking back and may be that was the purpose after all.

Also, it was amazing to see how some of our local Reiki Master’s work picked up….I won’t give names because I’m scared to leave someone out. All I can say, everyone had somewhat found their unique way for growing and deepening their path with Reiki.

Everyone but everyone in our group, without exception, took these teachings to heart and reflected on their daily work at home and at their jobs; from working on discovering the roots of Reiki, continuing training with various traditional Reiki Masters, travelling to Japan, continuing the professional Reiki practice, teaching and helping many clients; or simply sharing their light in their unique way.

When I lately updated the class roaster, I realized a total of 60 people have been trained in Shinpiden classes with Frans in Cincinnati, last class alone had 32 people (mostly re-sitters).

Sundar has started to teach a year-long Reiki class in 2012-13. Later started a bi-weekly “Deepen your practice with Reiki” gathering for his students and those who attended  Shinpiden with Frans. These gatherings have become the continuous deepening ground for all of us.
For me, a couple years ago, just like the idea to bring the community came to me, I realized that it was time to pass the torch. I am deeply grateful that Maria Kammerer stepped in and took the organizer role for the Reiki Days. She has been doing an amazing job in last couple years as she continues to invite different speakers, a nice mixture of teachings and practice as well as time to mingle with a delicious pot luck lunch which its prosperity reflects the heart of the people of the community.

In short, when getting the community together, I had no idea that it would lead to a close- knit community to practice Reiki as a spiritual path whose members will prosper spiritually and develop close heart to heart kinship to inspire and uplift each other to be the greatest version of themselves.

I am grateful to be part of this vibrant community which is my spiritual family.
By the way, our next Reiki Day is on Sunday September 30th at Hoffner lodge in Northside. We are honored to have 2 distinct guest teachers, Andrew Anders and Frans Stiene joining us. Whooo hoooo!!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Reiki Newsletter-August 2018- How it all started...Bringing a Reiki Community together

I wrote this article 8 years ago in 2010 but never published it. When a Reiki Master friend recently asked me to advise on how to start a Reiki community, I dug this article out. I’ll write a sequel on what happened in last 8 years and how our community evolved but here is how it all started….
It all started on a fall afternoon in 2008 when I was meditating. I got an “instant message” that “It’s time”. I instantly knew what this was all about. Questions of my logical mind followed. Now?, Me? ,How? Where? Mute, no answer, deep silence, nothing, no response. It was a passion for me to bring the local Reiki community together when I first started Reiki, but why now? How should I do this? Who am I in the world to bring the local Reiki community together? The next few days I tried to answer all these questions. I realized I’ll figure it all out along the way. The idea thrilled me but I was equally scared at the same time. It was a huge task but the more I thought about this, the urge become so strong, stronger than any doubt or fear. 
Reiki Day 2009 Sundar and I and Tony behind at Grailville

Now that it’s been 2 years, I can look back and capture some of my learnings, hoping that this might help other Reiki practitioners who have the same passion to bring their local Reiki communities together.
If you’re reading this and you are energized to do the same in your communities, You can DO it! Just Trust Yourself
How to start: Is there really a need out there?
First of all, every successful idea should serve to a “human need”. Is there a real “need” out there in your local Reiki community to get together in the first place? Everyone may seem happy in attending their own Reiki circles, shares. Every Reiki Master may have his/her own Reiki support group going on. Ask the question “What could we possibly ALL do together”? Don’t think that someone else should have addressed this. That “someone else” might be YOU!. The best way to be sure is to ASK the community.
Ask your Reiki Community: “Hey Reiki Community: What do you want”?
So, I started to ponder how to best know what the local practitioners want. Is there really a “need” out there or am I making this up? The answer came during another meditation: “Use Victory of Light”. VOL is a local psychic festival that attracts spiritual community in Cincinnati twice a year. There are 100’s of booths of energy practitioners, crystal shops, vendors and day long workshops. I’m sure everyone has one of these festivals in their cities. I knew there was one coming up in 2 months. So, I had to hurry! I could use this festival to bring the Reiki community together and ask what the Reiki community really wants.
How to find other Reiki practitioners?: Social Networking tools
I had to get the news out and reach out to Reiki practitioners. The first idea that came to mind was to start a “Meet-up” group. Meet-up is a web based social networking tool to bring people of similar interest together. I remembered there was a Reiki Meet-up group in Cincinnati at one time. It was not active for quite some time. I decided to start the Cincinnati Reiki Meet-up again. There were over 70 people there at that time, waiting someone to take the ownership. Here it is, that was my first audience. Next step was secure a spot at VOL to get a session during the festival. That would be the first Meet-up group meeting. I wrote a letter to the VOL organizer, introducing myself and explaining my dream. I told the organizer that this is first of a kind gathering and might attract all Reiki practitioners to the festival. I was granted a spot in no time.  Now, I had to use that spot wisely.
I wrote to the Meet-up group and anyone else I know from my own Reiki circles to invite them to the VOL festival. I made a list of all my Reiki friends. I told them that the purpose is to understand Reiki practitioner's needs and to improve their practice and figure out how we can bring community together to serve these needs.
Thanks to my friend Sundar for the idea; I also put together a questionnaire with 5 simple questions with multiple choice answers (and space to elaborate) to hand out during the festival session to get the pulse of the practitioners. The questions were: What’s your Reiki level? How long have you been practicing Reiki? What does your Reiki Practice look like? What do you need in order to improve your Reiki practice? How would you like to be connected to Reiki community?
Reiki Day 2009 as they work on me, yummy...

Oct 2011 with Jeff

The First Meeting:
Finally, the day has come. It was time for VOL. I was pretty nervous at first. Over 50 people attended the first session at VOL on November 2008. I had a brief introduction of the purpose of the meeting. One goal was to get to know each other better, but I only had 1 hour. So, I divided audience into groups and allowed time for everyone to meet someone they don’t know and have a 15 minute group session to discuss what they think would contribute to their Reiki practice. Then we shared each group’s top 3 ideas. The results were astounding: 93% of participants asked for continuous education and more communication. They wanted to meet with other practitioners/teachers and learn different perspectives. This was the proof.  There was a real “need” in the community.
Start with Core & Engage all:
Next was to start engaging other Reiki Masters and practitioners. I started with my own Reiki Master friends. I also did a google search on Reiki Masters and practitioners in Cincinnati, I reviewed all local healthy living magazines and health food stores that allow business card displays to gather as many local Reiki Master names as possible.
I asked my own Reiki friends to spread the word. I sent a message to all Reiki Masters inviting them for a meeting.   I explained the purpose of the meeting as: “What can we, Reiki Masters, do together to support each other and the Reiki community in Cincinnati?” I addressed the community needs that came up in the survey: Connection and Communication
As a first step, I had this idea of creating a one-stop-shop, to connect all Reiki practitioners. This would be a place where someone new to the town or someone interested in learning or deepening Reiki can go in and get all the information he/she needs for all Reiki activities going on in the town. This would be where local Reiki Masters can advertise their classes, support groups and Reiki related workshops; and Practitioners meet with other Practitioners, learn about city-wide support groups and volunteering opportunities, etc. I searched social networking tools, talked to technologically savvy friends (that’s Sundar!) and selected a tool that could provide it all: Ning.

I sent the invite to all Reiki Masters. I could invite them to my home but I really wanted the meeting location to be neutral, so that no one would be intimidated. I rented a local Panera’s private room. 12 Reiki Masters came to the 1st meeting in February 2009, some I knew, some I met for the first time. Regardless, we had a great representation of diverse Reiki traditions!   Now there was only and only one goal: To spread Reiki in Cincinnati and grow together with Reiki.
There were 3 major topics discussed at that first meeting of Cincinnati Reiki Masters:
1) How can we spread Reiki in Cincinnati? We discussed having city-wide  “Introduction to Reiki” sessions. Masters were already having these sessions successfully. It was about sharing our knowledge and wisdom on what works and what doesn’t, where to give these sessions, how to advertise new sessions, etc.  We decided to use our social networking tool for that.
2) How can we provide continuous education to Reiki community?
A great idea came from one of the Reiki Masters that, before having a “Reiki day” for the community, we should have a “Reiki Day” for Reiki Master/Teachers first. The purpose would be to get to know each other, work together, learn about different Reiki techniques, and any other subjects of interest before we provide day-long activities, workshops, seminars, panels, healing sessions, meditations for the continuous education of the practitioners.
Oct 2011
3) How can we help others who need Reiki?
We also discussed volunteering opportunities and how we can match local Reiki practitioners with those who need Reiki.
1-2-3 Here we go!
We’ve had the first Reiki Day in April of 2009. 28 Reiki Master/Teachers attended the first Reiki Day in Grailville, Loveland and over 40 Reiki Masters attended the second one in September 2009. Along the way, I realized that there are over 90 Reiki Masters in our city!
In 2010, we started opening Reiki Days to all level of practitioners, morning sessions for Reiki Masters only and afternoon session for all levels.
Here are some tips on how to organize Reiki Community Events:
-    Be engaging, share the responsibility, ask for help (no one person can do this alone and I was very lucky to be surrounded with great Reiki friends who each gave a hand). 
-    Recognize that at the end the work falls on one person’s shoulders. It’s a lot of work but it’s well worth it. 
-    Keep a list of necessities (massage tables, candles, water,etc.), keep a list of attendees, keep summary/decisions in each meeting. 
-    Location: Keep it neutral, try to find a spiritually charged location, centrally located, convenient for most people. 
-    Time: Check with some other conflicting events going in the city, crystal festival etc. avoid conflicts. Ask feedback from presenters and major contributors. We set the date at least 4 months in advance. 
-    Send detailed agenda with directions. This reduces the need to answer questions later. Agenda includes: time, location, address and web site of location, cost (in our case, the event was free but we split up the cost of room and lunch, we charged $20 for all day and $10 for half a day). 
-    Nothing is written in stone, be flexible for change.
-    Have a balance of discussions and hands-on practice 
-    Advertise event: Use all social networking tools, e-mail, ask everyone to invite a Reiki friend, ask Reiki masters to send invite to their students, advertise in local magazines, health food stores. 
-    Update community after the event:  Send a meeting summary of what’s discussed and any actions pertaining the community. 
-    Have FUN!
Watch outs:
At first I was little bit concerned for clashes between different Reiki lineages. There is no better similarity than the Reiki energy itself. We decided to respect each other despite differences. We set the agenda of the meetings accordingly. We also decided not to have key note speakers. Instead we had roundtable discussions, where everyone can join equally. Also, be aware that you can’t please everyone. There were some Reiki Masters who thought what we were doing was way too main stream. Also, some people left after first few sessions. That’s OK too. It’s important for these gatherings not to be dominated by few individuals. Even the leadership should rotate. This came up when I had an urgent business trip that contradicted with the Reiki day. I had to make a decision to reschedule or delegate it to another Reiki Master. I thought this was the great opportunity to give someone else to chance to lead. And it worked out perfectly. 
In the first 2 years, we’ve not only built the local reiki community but we’ve achieved some milestone events:
Here were some of the outcomes;
Introduction to Reiki Sessions: We’ve started to organize 1-2 hour free  “Introduction to Reiki” sessions across the town. A Reiki Master has volunteered for an Introduction to Reiki session every month. This gave the diversity of different locations and times. The whole purpose was to spread Reiki in our community. We’ve had sessions at hospitals, non-profit organizations, and at homes. We advertised these sessions in our social networking tool and continued these session to spread Reiki.
Volunteering for Reiki: We’ve generated a list of all organizations that Reiki practitioners can volunteer. We’ve made connections with these organizations, hospices, Wellness centers, animal shelters, AIDS organizations, hospitals, health fairs, retirement homes. We made presentations at these organizations to introduce Reiki.
“Pearls of wisdom” We’ve gathered “pearls of wisdom” for new Reiki Masters. This is a collective list of advice from Reiki Masters to new Masters.
How we define and explain Reiki”. We’ve compiled Reiki definitions of various Reiki Masters from our community to help practitioners to explain what Reiki is to their families, friends, colleagues.
Directory of Reiki practitioners and teachers for the Cincinnati area. We’ve built a practitioners list for those who practice or teach Reiki professionally, with name, location, e-mail address and web-site. We’ve published this list on our social networking tool.
Reiki Day for practitioners: Reiki Masters organized a Reiki Day for all level of practitioners, with continuous Reiki trainings, forums. These events become perfect for Networking!
Facebook /Twitter for local events: We started to advertise local events via our Facebook page and twitter.
If there is one advice I could give, it would be to make this a selfless service (karma yoga) and not to seek any personal advantage. I was determined to emphasize the community need first and utmost; and not to bring my name in front line. I wanted to be an instrument for all that will happen. I also realized that the better I can practice this, the better the end result was. It was not an option after all. It was not about how I practice Reiki, it was about what the community needed.  Later I defined my role as “space holder”. I was the Keeper of the Heart for this wonderful community.
Are you ready now?  I know you can do it. You have the most important ally on your side: Reiki.  Don’t forget to ask help from Reiki. For as long as your purpose is to  serve, Reiki will be there to support you any possible way.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Reiki Newsletter-February 2018

I’ve recently been requested my credentials and bio by HR, as one of the meditation teachers who moderate lunch time meditations at work. I’ve not had a bio for my Holistic practices before so this made me think about all the certifications, trainings, workshops I’ve attended over the years. After giving a summary of the relevant credentials, I continued the list to add key trainings and trips that impacted who I am.  
When I completed the list (which doesn’t even include a fragment of all the continuous education yoga trainings, day-workshops, shares, satsangs, etc.), I was full of gratitude; I was able to attend so many teachings by so many great teachers. What a privilege! When I completed the list, I felt bad for a second that I spent so much time away from my family. However, I think having these workshops helped me become a happier person (and a better mom, I hope). I think everyone should invest in their happiness in one way or another.
Having said that It certainly helps to dream about what you want to do and where you want to go, Most of these workshops were in my Dream list once so I’d encourage you to create yours.
How do you want to contribute to your happiness? Think about what do you want to do for yourself?
Hint, hint!!! Frans is coming back for Reiki Master Teacher Shinpiden class in April and I’m going to an awesome Meditation retreat in Indiana in May. Let me know if you’d like to join me.

Here is my list:
Trip to Teotihuacan, Mexico City 2002
Reiki Level 1 and 2 with William Lee Rand, Detroit, MI Nov 2002
Meditation workshop with Julie Lusk March 2003- CYS Cincinnati,OH
Reiki ART Level 3 with Gulcan Arpacioglu March 2004 Istanbul, Turkey
Kalachakra Teachings by Dalai Lama in May 2004, Toronto, CN
EFT Workshop with Gulcan Arpacioglu July 2004 Istanbul, Turkey
Reiki Master Teacher with William Lee Rand, Detroit, MI Nov 2004
Trip to Rishikesh, Gangotri, Haridwar and Mandukya Upanishad teachings by N.V.Raghuram- July 2005
Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training (200 hrs), Dec 2005-Apr 2006 Cincinnati, OH
Anusara Yoga -Inner Body Bright by John Friend May 2006 Cincinnati, OH
Kriya Initiation Oct 2006 Cincinnati, OH
Trip to Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia, March 2007
Ananda Kriya Yoga Meditation Retreat May 2007 Nazareth, KY
Atisha’s Lamp for Path to Enlightenment- Teachings by Dalai Lama Oct 207 Bloomington, IN
Reiki Shinpiden Class by Frans Stiene Oct 2008 NYC, NY
Ananda Kriya Yoga Initiation and Ananda meditation retreat Dayton, OH October 2009
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar April 2010 Cincinnati, OH
Heart Sutra teachings by Dalai Lama, May 2010 in Bloomington, IN
Volunteer in Ethics in a Modern World Public talk by Dalai Lama Oct 2010 Miami University, OH
Reiki Shinpiden Class By Frans Stiene July 2011 Cincinnati
Kalachakra teachings Dalai Lama in July 2011 Washington D.C
Trip to Chichen Itza, April 2012 Cancun, Mexico
Ananda Kriya Yoga meditation retreat Sep 2011 Oldenburg, IN
Reiki Shinpiden Class By Frans Stiene June 2012 Cincinnati
Komyo Reiki Traning with Hyakuten Innomoto Sensei in August 2012 DaiBosatzu Monastery Catskills NY
Ananda Kriya Yoga Meditation Retreat Nov 2012 Bergamo Center Dayton, OH 
Reiki Shinpiden Class by Frans Stiene April 2013 Cincinnati
Atishas’ Lamp - Teachings by Dalai Lama May 2013 Louisville, KY
Ananda Kriya Yoga meditation retreat Nov 2013 Bergamo Center Dayton, OH 
Reiki Retreat by Frans Stiene April 2014 Cincinnati
Reiki Shinpiden Class By Frans Stiene June 2014
PremsadhaSivananda July 2014 Grailville, OH
Breathwork with Leslie Kaminoff August 2014 Columbus, OH
Yoga Retreat with Eric Shifmann Sep 2014 Yellow Springs, OH
Yoga Talk with Stephen Cope Nov 2014 Cincinnati
Yoga Workshop w/Lilias Folan Dec 2014 Yellow Springs, OH
Ananda Kriya Yoga meditation retreat May 2015 Indiana 
Reiki Meditation Retreat by Frans Stiene June 2015 Cincinnati
Pilgrimage to Himalayas (Ladakh, Badrinath, Rishikesh, Bodhgaya) with Ananda Oct 2015
John of God Nov 2015 Abadiania, Brazil
Retreat Emerge-n-See by Julie Lusk Jan 2016 Cincinnati
Reiki Shinpiden Class By Frans Stiene April 2016 Cincinnati
Trip to Bhutan, Nepal September 2016
Spiritual Counseling Training at Ananda, Nevada City, CA in Oct 2016
John of God Mar 2017 Abadiania, Brazil
Reiki Meditation Retreat by Frans Stiene April 2017  Cincinnati
Ananda Kriya Yoga meditation retreat May 2017 Indiana 
PremsadhaSivananda Talk at Grace tree July 2017
World Happiness Forum Miami, FL Mar 2018 (scheduled)
Reiki Shinpiden Class by Frans Stiene April 2018 (scheduled)
Ananda Kriya Yoga meditation retreat May 2018 Indiana  (scheduled)