REIKI REVISITED

A couple of weeks ago, as I followed our tour group, I saw this sign over a storefront on a busy street in Galway. How surprising to see that Reiki was practiced in Ireland.

Well, not so surprising says my friend, fellow nurse practitioner and Reiki Master Teacher, Jane Van De Velde, who tells me “Ireland has a huge Reiki community! I have met Irish practitioners in some of my Reiki travels.”

Check out her latest newsletter.

                                                                                       November 2012
Reiki News, Upcoming Events and Happenings
IN THIS ISSUE
Reiki Clinic at Cancer Center
Make a Gift
Reiki Making a Difference
Reiki for Kids & Teens
  TRSP Calendar of Classes & Events
Find us on Facebook
KEEP UP TO DATE


VISIT OUR WEBSITE
The Reiki Share Project 
MAKE A GIFT
Donation Information
Forward this issue to a Friend
 Dear Marianna

Greetings to all!  It is always time to “get busy” again when autumn arrives. The Reiki Share Project is developing new programs, seeking new venues and spreading the good news about Reiki.  Our work continues!
 Long- Standing Reiki Clinic at Edward Hospital
LInda and Janice
Linda & Janice

In 2004, Linda Conlin, LCSW, was given the task of starting a psychosocial program at the Edward Hospital Cancer Center in Naperville, IL. “My goal was to develop a holistic program that included personal counseling, financial assistance, complementary therapies, networking groups, children’s camp, and educational programs for both patients and families.” Programs include exercise, yoga, meditation, Reiki, and nutrition education. “We had no budget so we have depended on professional volunteers to provide many of these services.”

Linda first learned about Reiki from a co-worker who is a Reiki Master. “Eight years ago, very few people had heard of Reiki. I needed an understanding of what Reiki is and how it could be presented credibly in a health care setting.” Linda was introduced to Reiki Master Teacher Janice Spoelma who agreed to provide her expertise in setting up and supervising the new Reiki Clinic at the Cancer Center. Janice carefully recruited Reiki Master volunteers for this program. “It takes a special person to work with people who have a serious illness such as cancer.” Janice now has approximately 20 Reiki volunteers who offer their services.

For the past eight years, this free clinic has been held once a month during evening hours at the Cancer Center. Patients, caregivers, and staff are welcome to attend and receive 10-minute Reiki sessions. On average, the clinic has 10-12 participants each month. Linda Conlin recalls that “we were one of the very first Reiki clinics in the Chicago area. I had many calls from around the Midwest asking about our program and how we were able to bring Reiki into a healthcare setting.”

This clinic has been well received and supported by medical, nursing, and social work staff. Both Linda and Janice agree that participants “love the Reiki Clinic” and often return bringing friends and family to experience Reiki.   According to Janice, a number of people who are cancer survivors of many years also regularly visit the clinic. “It is so wonderful to see people who are newly diagnosed with cancer interacting with these survivors who are thriving and living their lives.”

Edward Hospital Cancer Center has created its own Reiki community. Says Janice, “the Reiki Clinic has given people the chance to open up and explore other possibilities, other ways to experience relaxation and healing.”

Help Us Share the Gift of Reiki–Make a Gift
Please consider making an “end-of-year” tax-deductible donation toThe Reiki Share Project.  We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the state of Illinois. Your donation will support our work in making Reiki classes available at little or no cost to people and families who are dealing with serious illness and disability.

Your donation will be gratefully accepted! Thank you!

Average Scores GraphReiki Can Make a Difference
Quality improvement data was recently gathered by Wellness House, a nonprofit organization that provides programs for those with cancer. Participants were asked to rate their stress, pain, & anxiety on a 0-10 scale before and after their Reiki sessions. The survey results are illustrated in the above chart.  It appears that Reiki helped to lower the reported levels of stress, pain, and anxiety for this particular group.
Reiki for Kids & Teens
Kids can learn Reiki too! The Reiki Share Project is in the process of developing Reiki programs for both children and teenagers in cooperation with Wellness House which provides programs for those dealing with cancer. The first program, “Reiki for Families”, will be offered in February, 2013 and will bring children (ages 7-11) and their parents together for a day of learning how to connect with Reiki and share it with each other. This class is for families who have a loved one diagnosed with cancer and who are seeking ways to bring peace and healing into their homes. The second program is for teens whose lives have been touched by cancer.We are interested in hearing from our Reiki readers—do you have experience in teaching Reiki to children or teens? TRSP will keep readers updated on these two new programs!
Thank you for reading our newsletter!  If you have any questions or comments about our work, we would love to hear from you.  Send us an email.  Wishing you many blessings during this season of gratitude!
Sincerely,

Jane

Jane Van De Velde, DNP, RN
Reiki Master Teacher  
President                                            

The Reiki Share Project

Jane@thereikishareproject.org

MY FAVORITE BOOKS ON WRITING

I go back every once in a while and reread the books that have always rewarded me with inspiration and encouragement. Especially now as I’m completing my book and can almost see a glimmer of light flickering at the end of the tunnel, I find I need that boost, the reassurance my work is not crap and I’m not totally delusional to think I can write.

Here are three books that jump-started my writing life and have a prominent place in my bookcase. Each time I revisit them I discover surprises I had missed before, remember old truisms now imbedded in my writing DNA and realize again the warm support as if each author is an old friend who knows me well, warts and all, and still believes I can succeed.

Natalie Goldberg. Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life was the first book I read about actually being a writer. I remember learning about the book in a short article in a woman’s magazine back in the ‘80’s. I went to Barbara’s Bookstore in Oak Park, Illinois, bought the book and immediately devoured it. Later I also bought Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg’s first book. But Wild Mind remains my first love. Goldberg tells the novice to lose control while writing, letting the wild mind take over, ignoring the “critic” or “editor” in one’s head. She details the life of a writer, gives permission to indulge in one’s passions for writing and gives exercises at the end of the chapters to prime the pump.

Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life showcases Lamott’s irreverent and awesome writing style while bringing the craft of writing into a comfort zone that anyone can attain. It’s one of the few books on writing that chokes me when I read some parts. And then she coins the phase, “shitty first draft,” which I have written plenty.  

Julia Cameron. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity was my bible in the ‘90’s although I never could complete all the exercises she recommends doing to free oneself to be more creative. Although not a book centered on the writing process per se, it gave me permission to spend less time on housework and more time chasing after my muse. Cameron had a book signing in Borders Book store in White Flint Mall in Rockville, MD where a woman in the audience raised her hand. I was sure she was not a plant since she had a toddler by her side and a newborn in a carriage. She said Cameron’s book helped her get an article published. I went home and reread the book probably for the forth time but, alas, I still could not complete all those exercises.

Learning to write is an ongoing process. In future posts I will share other books that have taught and inspired me over the years.

On another note:

I was so happy to read on the AJN blog about two writing workshops for nurses.

Lastly, a plug to nurses who might live in or near New York City and who want to do more writing about their experiences, to develop a more sustainable writing practice. There’s a writing weekend for nurses cosponsored by the Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College and the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing coming up July 20–22, and it’s taught by some fantastic people. Also, we’d be remiss not to mention an upcoming weekend writing workshop (August 11–12) taught by AJN‘s clinical managing editor (and a marvelous scholar and poet) Karen Roush in Briarcliff, NY.

 

I hope more writing workshops open in the future for nurses in other locations around the country. But, in the meantime, check out the books I mentioned above and just start writing.

What are your favorite books on writing?

24-Hour Woman

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

—Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I remember Sadie Rooney handing me a brown paper bag on my visit that autumn day in the early 90s. Her husband, Jim, a self-taught preacher, had died the month before. At first it seemed she wouldn’t have the strength to honor his wish to die at home. But on that day, Sadie was pleased with herself because she had cared for Jim up to the end. So when I reached into the bag and pulled out a mug and read the inscription out loud—24-Hour Woman—I figured Sadie was thanking me for being there for her. I was the 24-Hour Woman: the nurse practitioner orchestrating the journey towards the final curtain for Jim. And buoying up Sadie to face, head on, the whole dying business.

All these years I kept the mug. It came with me when we moved out of state—twice. Sat on my desk at each new job. A reminder of my nursing success. Or so I thought.

Godess of Memory

I had made notes of my visits to Jim and Sadie. Now as I write their story for my upcoming book, I am re-thinking Sadie. How resilient she turned out to be. She was there for her husband—night and day—quelling her own fears and insecurities. And at our last meeting, she told me of her plans to become a preacher.

Now with the passage of time, I see Sadie as the 24-Hour Woman. Thinking of her gave me the encouragement to take on new challenges as she had done. I had it all wrong.

MEETING GOALS

I’ve written about getting this book done so a draft will be finished by September first. (Post: Time To Get Serious). I’ve listed goals to be accomplished by the end of each month. I only have to tweak one story to meet my target for April and since there is one more day in April, I will get it done.

It’s difficult for me to do even a little bit of tweaking and not go back and revise over and over again. There will be time for editing when all the stories are written.

Another hard part for me is to follow my outline. I still find it surprising I was able to write an outline in the first place.

I remember reading Robin Hemley for the first time and laughing out loud. Was he writing about me?

“I am not one to write outlines. I hate outlines. I hate the idea of outlines. I’m one of these artsy types, who, if not relying solely on inspiration, at least tries to allow a book to proceed organically—– It basically means we don’t know what the hell we’re doing and it wouldn’t take us so long to finish a book if we wrote a simple outline.”*

Well I’ve spent five or seven years, depending how you count, avoiding outlines. Even though this is my first book and I don’t consider myself “artsy,” I say amen to Robin Hemley’s words.

I continue to plug away.

Two months down. Four to go.

*Hemley, Robin. “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer.” In Carolyn Forche & Philip Gerard., eds., Writing Creative Nonfiction. (Cincinnati: Story Press  2001), 57.

BEST TIME TO BE A WRITER

Seems that this is a great time to be a writer. At least that’s what I heard at the fifth annual Triangle Area Freelancers Nonfiction Writers Conference yesterday. I had attended the last three. Each year only gets better.

What I liked most was the conference was small enough to feel part of a friendly, local group and yet large enough to offer diversification of attendees and interests.

What I thought was important follows, in no special order:

Writing your creative nonfiction book:

  • Write the best book you can (although we all know this, it was repeated over and over)
  • Make sure facts are accurate
  • Spend money on a copy editor
  • Be able to concisely describe your book
  • Be able to concisely describe what makes you the right person to write this book

Networking and self-promotion:

  • Besides developing a platform by getting a blog and joining Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, use local media such as newspapers and magazines
  • Get interviews on local television and radio programs
  • “Blog rolls” now take the place of bookstore signings
  • It’s not all about you, plug other writers

I’m not sure I can accurately explain all the details and advances made in the self-publishing arena so I’m not even going to try. However, Writers’ Digest magazine devotes the May/June issue to e-publishing and ways traditional publishing is changing.

I intend to buy my copy tomorrow.

Write What You Are Afraid Of

I didn’t attend the 2011 Fall Conference in Asheville sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network but I kept this description of one of the master classes: “If You’re Afraid to Write About It, You Probably Should Write About It”   

Often a writer’s breakthrough comes when he finally faces up to material he’s been avoiding. Maybe it’s too personal or too painful or maybe he assumes it just wouldn’t interest anyone else. Whatever the reason, we writers often overlook our own obvious strengths, dismissing the very things that are central to us. Consequently, we write around the edges of our lives or our characters’ lives, so that our stories are pale imitations of what they could be. They may be well-written, they may even be entertaining, but they lack heart. As a writing teacher, I spend a good bit of time helping students recognize and appreciate their own writerly landscapes. When a writer makes the shift to writing about a world he knows, embodied with places and characters that matter to him, the writing almost always comes alive.

Tommy Hays

I’m currently writing about making home visits to three men that shared the same life situation. They all had terminal cancer. I visited the men on the same day because of their geographical proximity. With little experience in working with dying patients at the time, I found the visits depressing. While there are many completed chapters in my book, I had ignored this trio up to now. What is it about these men that disturb me?

time to write
time to write

What do you avoid writing about?

Time To Get Serious

the time is nowI woke up one morning this past January and decided it was time to get serious about losing weight and finishing the book.

First of all, I have been carrying around ten extra pounds for years until they magically morphed into twenty extra pounds.

Second, over the past seven years I have written and rewritten my book of nursing stories. And I have written and rewritten the first chapter at least five times, not counting changing from past tense to present tense and back again. Furthermore, I hadn’t followed any of the many outlines I generated because I was constantly changing the structure of the book.

Why I decided that particular morning to stop procrastinating baffles me. However, I don’t intend to waste precious time analyzing why as long as I continue to make advancements.

What I have accomplished so far:

  • Engaged my friend and mentor, Carol Henderson, to monitor my progress and coach me to succeed. There is nothing like having to be accountable to someone.
  • Met my first month’s goal by writing three new stories.
  • Developed a working outline of the complete book, which I intend to follow.
  • Set a date for completing the draft: September 1, 2012.

By the way, I have lost ten pounds.

What is it you have been putting off?

Never Too Old

I am empowered knowing age does not limit our creativity. James Arruda Henry learned to read and write in his mid-nineties. He didn’t stop there but went on to write a book: In a Fisherman’s Language.

As a gerontological nurse practitioner and woman of a certain age I am delighted to promote his story.

The Importance of the Poem

Earlier today I attended a poetry reading at an independent bookstore a few miles south of where I live. A former instructor of mine, Florence Nash, along with two other female poets read from their chapbooks. Throughout the readings, I drifted on the words, phrases, rhythms, twists, poignancy, humor and surprise endings.

I took Ms. Nash’s poetry class after I had heard a speaker at a conference say he assigns students enrolled in his Creative Writing course to write poetry in order to develop creativity, an ear for cadence of a phrase and ability to make every word count.

I loved the poetry class. But I found I struggled with writing poetry even more than I struggled with writing prose. Besides, the amount of time I devoted to writing poetry eclipsed the time I spent on my creative non-fiction projects. I had to make a choice and chose to concentrate on finishing my non-fiction book. I suppose I’m a one-skill person.

However, reading poetry out loud helps me appreciate the beauty of language and hopefully makes me a better writer.

I did complete one poem that I liked, a pantoum,  (see below) in Ms. Nash’s class. I sent it off to a contest. It was rejected. Not much difference with the results of my prose submissions. Oh well.

images-1

GRANDMA

Pasta and beans and basil soup

Soothing the cold rainy day.

Memories drift in the steam from the mug

Washing the years away.

Soothing the cold rainy day,

She cooks in the morning hour

Washing the years away.

Her gnarled hands crusted with flour.

She cooks in the morning hour,

And gives me a garlicky kiss.

Her gnarled hands crusted with flour.

It’s the warmth of her love that I miss.

 

The Murder Building

CT-BIZ-VACANT-BUILDINGS-B_CTMAIN0501SR-d55be438
When I visited a patient in my caseload that lived in an “unsafe” part of the city, I went in the morning. Right after the pimps and drug dealers had called it a night and before the shop keepers pulled up the bars over the store windows and the women came out to sweep the sidewalk litter into the streets.

One day Pearl, the social worker, asked to come with me to see a patient. She had a meeting in the morning so we left after lunch against my better judgment.  If I were going to go to an iffy part of the city, this was the last place I would want to visit. The Chicago Tribune ran a story a few weeks previously about the  “Murder Building.” I knew by the address it was next door to my patient’s apartment.

Everyone knows it simply as “the murder building.“

“They call it `the murder building` because people have been known to go into that building and not come out,“ said one young man standing on a nearby street. “You got to stay away from that place. Things go on in them halls you don`t want to see.“

What does that say about the neighborhood we drove through and the scattering of young men gathered on the stoops, some leaning against the parked cars, all seeming to be without a sense of purpose? I felt their eyes following us.

My patient lived on the second floor with his common law wife and various other relatives. The front door was locked and since there wasn’t a bell, I had to stand under the window and yell the patient’s name. The patient’s wife would come to the window before she sent one of the grandchildren down to let me in. This was before cell phones.

I dreaded leaving the safety of the car. Did any of the men think we carried drugs? I scooted out and quickly grabbed my nursing bag from the trunk along with a white bathroom scale. The patient was on tube feedings. It remained unclear if his wife was able to manage the procedure and give the feedings on schedule. I was monitoring his weight as evidence of success.

When Pearl and I completed our visit, we took quick, long steps to the car, avoiding eye contact with anyone near-by. As I stuffed my bag and scale into the trunk, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I waited for the command to hand over my nursing bag. Instead a soft voice asked, “Before you put that scale away, would you weigh me?”

I turned to see an older man with short gray whiskers on his chin and a pleasant smile. He moved aside as I slammed the trunk closed and carried the scale to the sidewalk. He took his shoes off and stepped on the scale. “I can’t see the numbers,” he said. I read them off to him, he stepped down, retrieved his shoes and said, “thank you.” Behind him stood a young man with dreadlocks. “Can I get weighed too?” He slipped out of his high tops. I called out his weight and he left with a “thank you.”

Behind him a line of men snaked along the sidewalk. Pearl emerged from the car and began joking with the men, young and old, as they waited their turn at the scale.

Back in the car, the scale packed away in the trunk, Pearl and I drove to the corner. As we pasted the Murder Building, ominous and frightening with smashed windows and debris scattered around its foundation, I realized a building doesn’t define a neighborhood.