Sharing in the Spirit of Spring

Dear friends of Wisechoices and Mari Hall

I don’t know about you but it is certainly hard for me to believe that Memorial Day weekend is in a few days and the summer solstice and the start of the Usui Retreat will start on 21st of June, time is flying by.

We have a special guest for this next On Line Virtual Usui Retreat; my friend Laurelle Shanti Gaia RM will be doing the three meditations for us. She is a lady of great warmth, compassion and vision. For those of you who may not know her you can read about her work at http://reikiclasses.com/

Two wonderful ladies, Caroline Winters and Connie Barrett have written articles for us this months newsletter. I know you will enjoy reading them as much as I have. Their articles follow this letter.

I am off this Friday to speak at the South Central Reiki Retreat in Bardstown, KY, over Memorial weekend and then will traveling to teach a ONE course and a Reiki Wisdom day in Niagara, New York in June. I will be back in Houston, Texas in time to start the Usui Retreat with you.

Have a beautiful love filled inspiring month.

Love and Blessings,

The Importance of Love and Forgiveness in Healing
Caroline Winters RM

As Reiki Masters, teachers and practitioners we often talk and write about the importance of love and forgiveness in healing ourselves and all humanity. I’d like to tell a story of two occasions I witnessed and was part of that illustrate the miracles which can happen when we overcome anger, fear and hatred with Love.

For close to twenty five years I was privileged to work with and for the First Nations people of Alaska. It was there, several years before I’d even heard the word “Reiki” that I witnessed the enormous power of love to heal. Becoming a Reiki Master seems to have been a natural outgrowth from those experiences. They live in me, an inspiration to always seek to come from a place of love and forgiveness ~ for my own health ~ that of my family, my community and our world.

In a village about 150 miles north and west of Fairbanks in early 1985 a young man had been stabbed to death by his girlfriend, the first of three young men, out of a community of less then 200 people, to die needlessly that year.

Three years later, in another community with dazzling summer weather lighting the beauty and majesty of the snow capped Wrangell Mountains around us, a healing conference took place. A group of women from the village, including the young man’s mother, were there. So was the young woman, recently released from jail and with a new boyfriend. Seeing the women from the village she was terrified and did everything possible to avoid them. On the second morning, after opening circle, under a bright blue sky, the women from the village sought out the young woman and her companion. He quietly steadied and encouraged her, kept her from fleeing, as the women approached. When they came to her, instead of anger or recrimination, they reached out with love as they hugged her, crooned over her, speaking words of encouragement and endearment. The mother, whose son she’d stabbed to death, gathered her in her arms and held her as they cried together. A miracle of love and healing took place on the grass. And in my tears I was certain I heard sky and trees sing with joy.

Another year at still another statewide “gathering”, a young man was present who had been contemplating suicide and though he had made the decision not to, was still struggling with despair. Because of the loving, accepting spirit he felt in the group he finally gained courage and spoke of his struggle. The agenda stopped! People came, to touch him, to hug him, to whisper words of support and encouragement. There were several hundred people so many had to wait a long time but everyone was patient. Those who had hugged him began a circle dance around him, drum’s resonance and voices filling the air. When, at last, everyone who wished had touched him, he was drawn into the circle to dance, becoming a part of the whole, becoming part of the community again. His face shone with joy!

Such power in love! Such healing power in ceremonies of love! In my dialogue with a friend I wonder why as a society we’re so focused on punishment instead of redemption. I cling to the memory of the miraculous power of those moments of love, praying that as I share that vision, it will help bring about those changes that heal.

I think about the power of love! I think about the power of Spirit present everywhere, but felt most strongly in those moments when sacred space has been opened in ceremonies of love. I put my hands on myself and others with the loving touch of Reiki. I teach others how to do the same. I’m blessed to be so privileged!

Latter-Day Ants
Connie Barrett RM

Many of us were raised in societies in which Ant behavior is rewarded and Grasshopper behavior punished. If you came home with homework you had to finish it before you could go outside and play. If you worked hard in college, you'd get a good job, unlike the bad grasshoppers, which were too busy having fun to decide on an academic major, let alone a career.

Some of us may believe that if anything good happens without a great deal of effort preceding it, the results isn’t to be trusted. If, for example, you've ever dreamed of winning a contest, have you ever imagined winning and somehow mysteriously losing the money? Or, now you're rich, but get struck down by some dread disease.

When I started painting a few years ago, I thought that the longer I worked (and the more I suffered) the better my painting would be. If a painting happened to go easily I was sure that I must be doing it wrong--or that my brush would slip to ruin the accidental masterpiece.

Who Am I?

I once read an interview with Deepak Chopra in which he said we are human doings, not human beings. Rather than having our actions stem from our deepest sense of self, we allow what we do to determine who we are. Our sense of self becomes a matter of performance based on certain inflexible ideas.

We weren't born with these ideas. We come into this world as spirit clothed in a physical costume. As the need for survival becomes impressed upon us we search for those beliefs which seem most likely to help us live. Then we forget that we chose these beliefs, and view them as rules.

Lots of us decide that life is serious, and if we choose to have more conscious spirituality in our lives we may find ourselves being very serious and industrious about acquiring it. We may trudge along our path with the same single mindedness we use to complete a job, feeling that the more we read, study, meditate, do every exercise we can find, the closer we are to where we need to be. As we inch, ant-like, towards our spiritual goals, we forget that where we need to be is where we began, as unique expressions of universal

Perhaps the greatest disservice of the fable of the grasshopper and ant is its either-or nature. I, however, have often watched an animal which plays at being both Grasshopper and Ant.

The squirrel, whose keyword in many Native traditions is Gathering, sometimes appears to be even busier than Ant. If you've ever spent time observing one, though, you get a different impression. Squirrel says, "This hour I am an industrious being who gathers nuts and seeds for the winter. Then I'm going to dash along branches and leap from tree to tree. Later I'll turn some somersaults, chase some other squirrels, then rest on a comfortable tree limb and contemplate leaves. Finally I may climb the side of this wooden nest and peek in at the being that sits in one place for hours at a time and moves her claws continuously."

Thinking about Squirrel reminds me of its smaller rodent cousin and a story I heard about a young Dutch mouse named Fritz.

Food for the Soul

Fritz, like the grasshopper, was a pleasure-loving creature who spent the summer dashing from one interesting place to the next without a care in the world. From time to time he ran into the other mice, which paid no attention to glorious beams of sunlight or the fragrant breath of a breeze, so busy were they gathering and storing crumbs of food.

"Fellow mice," Fritz said one day. "Why are you always so busy? Take a moment to look at the sky; waggle your whiskers and smell the flowers."

The other mice ignored Fritz, all except a spokes mouse, who said, "Don't you know that winter is coming"

Fritz was baffled. "What's that?"

"Cold and snow, and no food to be found anywhere. You won't be dancing and prancing around them. You'll be hungry, but we won't."

Fritz nibbled on a seed, and then darted away, laughing at the morbid fantasies of creatures too busy preparing for a future which might never come to enjoy the pleasures of the moment.

Winter did come, and Fritz did get hungry. Drawn by the smell of food, he crawled into the burrow of the other mice.

"And what do you think you're doing here?" asked the spokes mouse. "Why should we share the food we worked hard to gather while you were being lazy?"

Fritz had an idea. "I'll tell you stories to while away the long winter night. I'll tell you what the bees and butterflies say to the flowers and the tales the birds tell of lands beyond the sea."

The mice began to draw closer, their eyes bright with curiosity. Even the spokes mouse looked interested. "Do you have a lot of stories?"

"Countless," Fritz said, knowing that if he ran out of real ones he could make them up.

He told them of birds' journeys to the jungles of Africa and tropical islands, about the messages of love bees carried from flower to flower, and the ancient history of the forest which was inscribed onto the bark of trees. With each story the mice drew closer, and soon they were all quite warm and cozy.

They had the most wonderful winter any mouse could remember, and when spring came each one gone up to shake Fritz's paw. That spring and summer every mouse took out some time to play and sunbathe and listen to the gossip of plants and trees. The next winter they each had a story to tell, and they all passed the season in comfort and joy.

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