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The Feet Have It.

Interesting that at this time of year we (seemingly) take the stresses enjoyed in our daily lives and multiply them exponentially in the celebrations of the holiday season. Additional social gatherings to attend, gifts to be purchased, additional cooking and cleaning to attend to, for some the joys of crowded airports and airplanes, for others readying the home for guests, and so on….

While these situations are for some enjoyable, for many others the additional stresses are overwhelming, resulting in body aches, headaches, difficulty breathing, feeling anxious, feeling worried, difficulty sleeping, the list of stress-induced symptoms is a long one. And while short term stress can be beneficial, long term stress (unattended to) can have significant debilitating effects on our body and our life.

Much information can be found on the internet about stress, its mental, emotional and physical effects on the human system, and myriad means to address those effects. Some more effective than others.

One of the methods I recommend to my clients and I use when I feel that chest tightening, shortness of breath sense of anxiety or worry making itself known:

is to immediately (unless operating equipment, then stop if you can, and take a 10 minute break):

  1. Find a place to be seated, chair, bench, rock, log, on the ground or floor…
  2. Remove foot wear, and socks if you wish…
  3. Take a DEEP breath…and keep breathing…
  4. Bring one foot up where you can massage the foot with your hands…
  5. Start giving yourself a foot massage, minimum 5 minutes per foot,…time it! This is no time for the old ‘lick and a promise’. Your situation demands more of you than that.
  6. While massaging your feet, use the thumb and fingers (or knuckles) to find those sore spots (YES, you DO have them), and apply enough pressure to those points to elicit an ‘Ouch!’ from you.
  7. Keep massaging,… I didn’t say you could stop yet!
  8. Spread the front of the foot with your hands, pull on the toes, and at the end of the 5 minutes on the first foot, vigorously rub the foot between your hands.
  9. Now repeat (from step 3) with the other foot, no shortcuts!

What is accomplished with the foot massage applied per above instruction?

  1. You have made a conscious decision to put yourself first on your list of priorities. This may also be termed as determined self-love.
  2. When you hit those sore (okay, painful) points in your feet, your mind and body suddenly find themselves together in the best possible place to deal with stress, in the immediate here and NOW.
  3. This will ground you into the present moment, so that you can experience the effect of not being in the ‘Anxiety Gap1’, and offer you the opportunity to deal with your situation(s) from a different state of being.
  4. This different state of being will last well beyond the point of returning to whatever activity you were engaged in before you made time for yourself.

This is just one of many means of addressing stress, anxiety and worry, and it is my personal favorite.
Why?
Because it’s easy, can be implemented immediately  and is effective.
Also recommended is that you do this in the morning upon rising and at night before going to bed. You could incorporate into your foot massage the essential oils of either lavender or peppermint mixed into a neutral skin/foot care cream base (increases the sense of self-love).
For an even more grounding experience, massage into your feet a little of the essential oil blend known as Earth Star from Upala Botanicals.  Locally these Upala Chakra blends can be obtained at the Co-Creative Healing Arts clinic, or the Cosmic Hippie Boutique in Mahone Bay.

There are certainly many other means of addressing stress, anxiety, worry, etc., (see: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11847/7-ways-to-control-your-anxiety-so-it-doesnt-control-you.html) and I recommend educating oneself as to what they are, how to implement them and their effectiveness. Some methods will be more effective than others, depending on the person and their circumstance(s).

A practice I find most effective for me (as do many, many others), is incorporating Reiki into my daily routine of self-care.  The calming, grounding, centering and healing I experience in my Reiki self-healing practice is a gift I give to myself, so that the best of who I am is available to those I engage with during my day. I have studied Reiki since 1997, have been teaching it since 2001 and currently offer Reiki courses to those interested in becoming responsible for their own health and well-being.

Our best wishes that you and your family enjoy a safe and a more stress-free holiday.

Edward Howell, RMT
December 2013

  1.      You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection — you cannot cope with the future.” ~  Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now

A Journey to Finding Peace

Several years ago, well, about 42 years ago, I was a hard-driving (and driven) young man working hard to support myself, my wife, and 2 sons. I worked for an international oilfield services company (beginning my employment as a truck driver) that would periodically send some of the more promising employees to its engineering training facility in Oklahoma. It was there that I had what seemed at the time a rather innocuous encounter with another company employee. I was seated at one of the dining tables in the large dining room when an older fellow approached me and asked if he could have a seat at the table. I responded, “Sure, glad to have the company. “
As we chatted over breakfast, I learned that he was one of the truck drivers for the manufacturing centre next door to the training facility and that he had been so for the previous 26 years. I was stunned. I could not fathom anyone driving trucks for that period of time without trying to “move up the ladder”.  When I asked him if he was ever interested in moving into a supervisory capacity, he said “No, all I’ve ever wanted was to be a truck driver. I get up each morning, go to work and I more often than not get to have dinner with my wife and family. I get most weekends off now, as the younger drivers want the overtime, so life is pretty good for me.”
My youthful judgment kicked in and I labeled him as having a mediocre life, one which I could not condone in myself and was loathe to accept in others. I didn’t mention my inner thoughts to him, just continued to make the easy chat of two people who have a working knowledge of each others place in “the company”. I never did see him again, and in the course of time and living, forgot about our interaction. Until I was in the midst of Reiki Ryoho master/teacher training, when during a self-exploration exercise facilitated by my teacher I brought up the memory of that conversation and my hardline judgment of the truck driver. New thoughts came in about him from my new perspective of having experienced another 20 years of living. I came to see him not as mediocre, but as one who is content with who he is, where he is, and with what he has. I now saw him not as a second-or-third best, but as wise beyond my understanding at the time. He embodied a peace and contentment of life that I didn’t recognize, and I’ve often wondered if I had acknowledged it then, if I had changed my perspective then, how different my life would have been.
I have told this story to a few people during the intervening years, but I have never written about it. It is worthy of serious contemplation, as I have experienced the competitive stresses I’ve placed on myself in trying to “get ahead”, all the while struggling to find peace and contentment with myself and whatever situation I had created for myself.  And now, I find myself more and more modeling that place of peace with the world and contentment with who, what, and where I am.
I was asked some time back how I would define a master, and my considered reply was that whoever embodies the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gokai (5 Principles or Precepts), I would consider being a master. Not a master of Reiki, but of themselves, at peace with who they are, where they are, and with what they are.
I encourage you (if you have received training in any style of Reiki Ryoho you will have been taught the 5 Principles) to re-visit those principles, and let the practice of integrating them into your life show you a path to knowing contentment and being at peace, with yourself, and with the world.