Having normal life disrupted by illness is something I have experienced before: when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This diagnosis put limitations on my life that I recognised were necessary if I was going to be well. I needed to change my diet, take more exercise and manage my stress levels better. This experience has been useful during the Covid-19 outbreak.
My life, and that of everyone around me, has been disrupted by this coronavirus. I too have experienced trauma, stress and grieving from this situation. Fortunately, thus far neither I nor any of my family have caught it, for which I am very grateful. Life is comfortable when it proceeds with an expected routine. When this routine is disrupted, for whatever reason, there can be a feeling of loss of control, which for most humans is uncomfortable, frightening and painful.
Although for 5 years I have managed my diabetes successfully, this has been by controlling what I eat, exercising and managing stress, which has not been easy to maintain during this time. For a few weeks my sugar balance was challenged: a normal response to stress is wanting to eat more sweet things and the pandemic has certainly caused a rise in stress! Fortunately, being aware of this, I was able to make certain choices that soon returned my blood sugar to normal levels.
One thing I can remain in control of is my Reiki practice, which has helped me to maintain my equilibrium and equanimity. My daily self-treatment offers a time of tranquillity, stillness, calm and rest which helps my body and mind to relax, lowering the stress hormone levels, making it easier to sleep and heal.
Painful emotions that are natural when grieving. A common response is to try to suppress them, but this can lead to imbalance. I find that Reiki helps to find a healthy balance with these emotions. So sometimes I do cry or shout, a necessary release that helps me to re-gain my equilibrium. With Reiki it feels safe to feel my feelings and, from past experience of similar releases, I know I won’t get lost in the emotion, it will simply pass like a storm of rain.
My Reiki practice also includes a life philosophy that I have found helpful. The Reiki principles bring me back to the present moment, enable me to acknowledge the emotions and thoughts that threaten my equanimity and remind me to give my attention to things around me that will lift my spirits and comfort my soul: family, community and nature.
Enshrined in Reiki practice are two qualities named by the Japanese as ‘shoganai’ and ‘shibu’. Shogania means accept what can’t be changed, it can’t be helped. By bringing me into the present, Reiki helps this process of acceptance, releasing me from the anxiety and sense of loss that is caused by wondering what will happen next, when ‘normal’ life might resume and how I might survive financially. I simply accept that this is how it is and know that I am safe. I count my blessings as Takata suggested and take things a day at a time.
This enables ‘shibu’: the enjoyment of simple things in life. Reiki practice is essentially simple, helping me to learn and practice shibu, so that as I take my daily walk during lockdown, I notice and appreciate the wonders of Spring: bluebells, buzzing bees, bright green leaves and soaring swallows. These things lift my spirits and ease my stress, restoring my equilibrium and equanimity.
There are always times when life doesn’t go as we hope or expect, so I am finding in the current situation a wonderful opportunity to develop my ability to maintain equilibrium and equanimity, and thereby my health and vitality, in the face of any challenging time, with gratitude for my Reiki practice.