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Gentle Hands Reiki

Jessica Sharp, TJT, RMT

The Art of Not Being Grateful

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude!

Be grateful for the challenges in your life!  They made you who you are today!

Gratitude is everything!

These phrases are, on face value, kind of true.  In most cases, we can be grateful for the surface-level challenges in our life and look back on them as character-building exercises.  For me, it was, strangely, a mildly abusive relationship – not violent enough to put me in the hospital, but enough to teach me a hard, in-person lesson about Narcissitic Personality Disorder.  Lesson learned, and now twenty years later I can be grateful it wasn’t worse, the end.

In our society and the subsequent multi-billion-dollar Wellness Industrial Complex™, we love gratitude.  How many Pintrest boards have you seen dedicated to memes on gratitude?  How often does it cross your newsfeed?  How often has a friend recommended “The Secret” and said something about how your outlook is preventing good things in your life?  Gratitude is a concept we tend to put on a pedestal – to the point that if we aren’t grateful for everything in our lives, the good and the bad, there is a problem with us.

However…. Sometimes gratitude for our challenges is just not in the cards.  For people who are the victims of indescribable trauma and abuse at the hands of others, arriving at gratefulness can be a bridge too far to cross.  And I am here to say:  That’s okay.  It is literally okay to never, ever be thankful for what happened to you.  Period, full stop.  And it doesn’t mean you are “less-than” all the other people with the Pintrest boards of gratitude memes.

Just yesterday I was working with a client who has years of traumatic family abuse in their past.  This person has been working to process and move beyond their trauma and The Divine was very clear in Its messaging.  It said, “Acceptance and gratitude are not the same thing.  You are 100% percent allowed to accept what happened to you, and still think of it as really crappy.  You are allowed to continue living without forcing yourself to gratefully accept it.  Forgiveness and acceptance are important for dis-engaging yourself from the power the trauma has over you, but gratitude is not necessary.”  So drop that expectation like it’s hot!

Basically, I care about you.  And if you are moving through life, carrying the load of trauma or abuse — or even if you are still going through it now! — please heed those words and consider laying your burden down, knowing that laying it down doesn’t mean having to hug it and love it too.

 

With all love and blessings,
Jessica

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“The Moon Doesn’t Rush to Get Full”

A few weeks ago I was working with a client whose energy held a desire to just hurry up and get through an uncomfortable, sad process. We were both in awe-surprise when the Divine dropped this message into my brain: “The Moon doesn’t rush to get full.”

Meaning, be present through the tough process. Allow yourself to feel the discomfort as it comes, acknowledge and hold it, understand it as much as you can, and then let it go when you’re ready. Rushing through in an attempt to stave off pain will not “fix” things the way you think.  The pain can’t be lessened or avoided, and you’ll only lose the opportunity for deeper growth and understanding.

Yes, grieving and change are painful.  Yes, they are unpleasant, and in a society which still (for now) promotes the toxic idea that constant happiness is ideal, leaning in to discomfort can be lonely.  But by remaining present through pain, by resisting the urge to close our eyes, fold our arms, put our heads down and just run through the storm, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow.

“The Moon doesn’t rush to get full.”  Wow.  I bow in deep gratitude to the Divine and Its wisdom.

 

*this story is shared with the permission of the client.

Untangling the Mystery of “Surrender”

What do you think about when you hear the word “surrender”?

For some, it is a scary word that conjures images of, say, being mugged and giving up your wallet to a robber with a gun.  In this context, it is the language of defeat.

For others the pendulum may swing hard the other way, and they see “surrender” as a giving-in to any and all desires, without regard for consequences.

In the center lies conscious surrender.  This is something I talk about with clients often — a conscious process of letting go, of giving up the idea that we have to consistently curate our lives to be perfect, or be in complete control of ourselves, our futures and everything around us all the time.  In our private conversations the sentences follow their own path relative to the client’s needs, which can make explaining surrender for the masses difficult.

However, I just found this wonderful list of steps written by Dr. Deepak Chopra that sums it up beautifully.  He writes,

  1.  You relax and relinquish the desire to control.
  2.  You trust that you are cherished in creation, and you act on that trust.
  3.  You accept your own being as a source of infinite intelligence.
  4. You approach every problem as having a level of solution that can be found.
  5. You focus on personal growth, which is eternal, and minimize personal setbacks, which are temporary.
  6. You ask for and receive support from Nature.
  7. You resist the endless demands and unceasing insecurity of the ego.

Could it be any more beautiful than that?

 

During sessions, I have sometimes seen visions of clients drowning in water, struggling to keep their chins or noses above the surface.  In these instances, the Divine regularly shows me the solution — stop struggling, lean back and just float.  Trust that the water can hold you up as easily as it can pull you downward.  Stop flailing, surrender and be supported.

I know it probably sounds bizarre to someone who hasn’t experienced a session with me yet, but the Divine Energy encourages me to share these visions with the client, and then we usually have a chat about surrender.  To me, surrender means trusting that life will be alright — not perfect, but alright — even if I don’t work to exert control and perfection over every aspect of my life (including other people!)

 

Happy back-floating,

Jessica xoxo

 

 

What Reiki Is, and What It Isn’t

Let me tell you a story.

 

Once upon a time, there was a struggling stay-at-home mom who wanted to feel better.  Her mind, emotions and even her body were ravaged by deep depression.  Most days she felt like a terrible mother, and sometimes like a monster.  Her future looked like 5 more dark, hard years of wiping noses and being sleepy all the time, and then…. what?  She didn’t know.  Probably more darkness.  She had no solid career prior to children, no job to return to, and very few marketable skills.

 

She had heard of a healing modality called Reiki and thought it could be a viable career.  She took to reading books about Reiki and finding a mentor.  From the outside, Reiki sounded like a magic bullet that was going to cure her depression and solve all of her problems.  It was going to give her a job, and also literally and figuratively fill all the holes in her psyche and turn her from a monster into a kind and gentle mother.  Maybe it would even create a beautiful energetic space around her, strong enough to bend other people’s energy into better patterns so they wouldn’t annoy her anymore.  Hallelujah!  She couldn’t wait to get started.

 

In case you haven’t figured it out, gentle reader, this person was me.  Energetically, I was like swiss cheese, and not even the fresh, yummy kind.  I was dried-up, moldy swiss cheese.  All the holes were leaking energy, and also trying desperately to grasp something, anything outside myself to fill the holes.  If we equate energy with personal power and contentment, I was severely lacking.

 

Reiki sounded like some kind of magical, invisible elixir that was going to pour into me and fill all of those holes.  I jumped into my training with a voracious appetite – I couldn’t wait to be cured and then learn how to cure others.  On the first day of class my mentor gave me my first attunement, a ritual meant to expand a person’s ability to feel and conduct Universal energy, and I considered myself fixed.  Done.  Cured.  Now I would never have a bad day, never yell at my children again.  I was no longer a monster, because I had this magic stuff inside me.  Again, hallelujah!

 

Imagine my surprise when the very next day, I had a bad day.  I yelled at my kids.  I felt like a monster.  I’d been cheated!  I was supposed to be different now!  How dare Reiki not cure me!  I worried I was beyond fixing, that Reiki just couldn’t fix someone as bad off as me.  I spiraled into an even deeper depression, getting dangerously close to self-harm.  But deep down, I started to realize that maybe the problems I was having didn’t belong to Reiki to fix, but to me.

 

That is what Reiki, at its core, is meant to do.  Rather than stepping in and filling all of our holes, curing us of all of our defects and absolving us of any responsibility or accountability to ourselves, Reiki energy strips away the barriers we have created to self-awareness.  We all have ways in which we justify or rationalize our own unhappiness, illness or poor choices.   Whether it’s placing blame on outside forces, ignoring our emotions, or just throwing up our hands and saying, “I can’t ever change,” we block ourselves from truly and deeply becoming aware of ourselves.

 

Reiki is incredible in that it relaxes people while simultaneously holding up a mirror to what is causing them stress.  Reiki helps us to be better listeners, both to our own intuition and to other people.  Reiki creates space in our energy for more compassion, towards self and others.  It helps us see very clearly which behavior patterns and thought patterns are not serving us, so we can take charge of changing them.  It gently but firmly places responsibility for growth and change in our laps, rather than stepping in to cure or save us from anything.  It makes it harder and harder to ignore our own B.S.

 

Reiki can do the same for physical pain as well.  All physical pain has a mental/emotional component, and Reiki can open doors to understanding the links between the two as it lessens pain.

 

Looking back, I marvel at how ridiculous and backwards my thinking was when I began my Reiki training.  Desperately seeking a simple answer, I found a wellspring of hard questions.  However, by using Reiki as it is meant to be used – to strip away the barriers to self-awareness – I was able to finally help myself, which in my case meant being open to therapy and medication for the depression.  I’m no longer on meds or seeing a therapist, but they saved my life at the time.  I still use Reiki for self-care, especially when I’m stressed out and exploring different reasons why – rather than blaming the situation, I can usually find the source and the solution to my stress in my own thought patterns.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how Reiki can help you break through barriers and strip away energetic patterns that are no longer serving your true self, please get in touch!  You can also check out my Reiki for Self-Care workshops.

 

 

Hot Damn! These are some great testimonials!

I’m sharing some AMAZING testimonials I’ve received from previous attendees of my Reiki for Self-Care workshop.  Are you interested in attending the next one?  Register here!

“This was my first Reiki workshop and it was absolutely wonderful! As a client of Jessica’s, I was already exposed to the benefits of Reiki. Though at every session I found myself becoming more curious about the entire Reiki practice, especially from Jessica’s perspective. So I was very excited when she said that she would be offering a self care workshop! I did not leave disappointed, but even more enlightened and empowered! My favorite parts were the guided meditation, breakdown of the chakras, and working with plants. The setting of the workshop was very comfortable and had a relaxing, but also energetic feel so I felt safe to explore. If you are looking for a unique opportunity for self-development, you’ll definitely want to attend this workshop! I use the self-care techniques daily for anxiety and self-awareness and definitely will continue to do so. Can’t wait for more! Thank you Jessica for a great experience!”  ~ Khala S.

“I attended the Reiki Self-Care workshop presented by Jessica Sharp. I have completed Reiki 1 and 2. This workshop was very different as the focus was on self. I learned new techniques and had others re-enforced. Jessica allowed time to practice what we learned. We were also given the opportunity to go outdoors to discover another way to put Reiki into a self-care practice. My biggest take away was to learn how to protect myself from negative energy and clear it if necessary. I would recommend this workshop, regardless of your level of Reiki, even the novice!”  ~  Jennifer K.

Rate Increases Begin December 2017

Beginning December 1st, 2017, rates for regular sessions will be $90.00.

Current clients will be able to remain at the $75.00 rate, and any new clients that book before December 1st will also remain at $75/session.  

This change will not affect sliding scale clients, and I am always happy to work with my beloved clients if the regular rates present a financial hardship.  Let’s work something out!

Other rate changes effective December 1st:

Hospital visits will be $100/hour.

Birth Attendance will be $300/5 hours, and $75 each additional hour.

House calls will remain at $100/hour.

 

 

It’s Back! Reiki for Self-Care Workshop

Saturday, January 13th from 9 AM – 2 PM

In this 5-hour workshop you will:reikihandonheart

  • learn the basic principles of Reiki
  • learn about the chakra system
  • receive a basic Reiki attunement
  • learn how to send energy to points on your body for stress relief and pain management
  • learn how to shield and protect your own energy

 

You can use the skills learned in this workshop to help yourself, loved ones and pets.  The cost is $200.  This is not a certification-level course.  Space is limited so reserve your spot today!  A non-refundable $50.00 deposit is required to reserve your space.  Please register here.

When Healing, Are You a Patient or Participant?

“One does not have be a combat soldier, or visit a refugee camp in Syria or the Congo to encounter trauma. Trauma happens to us, our friends, our families, and our neighbors. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.”

The opening paragraph of ‘The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma‘, by Bessel Van der Kolk addresses the many ways humans can experience trauma, either as a victim or witness.  Though not a book about Reiki per se, the chapters lay out a clear correlation between human connection and trauma recovery.

Van der Kolk, a Dutch psychiatrist and PTSD researcher, uses the book to explore “the extreme disconnection from the body that so many people with histories of trauma and neglect experience”.

In her wonderful article on the book over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova writes, “Such post-traumatic reactions make it difficult for survivors to connect with other people, since closeness often triggers [a] sense of danger. And yet the very thing we come to most dread after experiencing trauma — close contact with other people — is also the thing we most need in order to regain psycho-emotional solidity and begin healing.” Van der Kolk also illuminates the point in this passage:

“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives…. Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love: These are complex and hard-earned capacities. You don’t need a history of trauma to feel self-conscious and even panicked at a party with strangers — but trauma can turn the whole world into a gathering of aliens.”

How does this relate to Reiki?  A Reiki session creates a safe, quiet space for healing and listening, where a client can feel fully supported, heard and even loved.  The non-sexual, soothing touch experienced during Reiki can help to re-regulate neural pathways.  Some clients recovering from sexual molestation have reported that a Reiki session was the first time they actually felt unconditionally loved, or received physical touch without the other person expecting something in return.  Van der Kolk goes on to write:

“The brain-disease model overlooks four fundamental truths: (1) our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive.

When we ignore these quintessential dimensions of humanity, we deprive people of ways to heal from trauma and restore their autonomy. Being a patient, rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self.” [emphasis mine]

By stimulating a person’s natural, innate healing abilities, Reiki offers the necessary close human connection but puts the client back in the driver’s seat of their own healing process.  Rather than putting all control and hope in the hands of doctors, therapists or medications, Reiki restores basic control (and hope, and dignity) to the client.  Support staff such as doctors, therapists and the Reiki practitioner themselves can then be seen as exactly that — support staff, a willing cadre of caring people to listen and help the client as they re-route their own neural pathways and release old emotional and energy patterns.  Each individual is the main participant in their own healing, thereby allowing a healthy sense of self.

And this vigorous restoration of control does not apply only to trauma!  Any person who suffers from physical pain, injury, exaggerated stress or other health anomaly can also find themselves back in control and helped by Reiki and the close connection offered in a session.

 

Reiki for Self-Care Workshop

Saturday, September 16th from 9 AM – 2 PM

In this 5-hour workshop you will:reikihandonheart

  • learn the basic principles of Reiki
  • learn about the chakra system
  • receive a basic Reiki attunement
  • learn how to send energy to points on your body for stress relief and pain management

 

You can use the skills learned in this workshop to help yourself, loved ones and pets.  The cost is $200.  This is not a certification-level course.  Space is limited so reserve your spot today!  A non-refundable $50.00 deposit is required to reserve your space.  Please register here.

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