Japan – Collaboration & Creativity

Looking through my photos of my trip to Japan allows me to continue to integrate my experience. Today I want to share what is possible when we open up to collaboration from others on a challenge to create something totally unique and special.

The Buddhist Temple of Otagi Nenbutsu-ji
One of the Temples that I visited really touched my heart from this perspective. Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist Temple in the Arashiyama neighbourhood of Kyoto. Originally founded by Empress Shotoku in the middle of the eighth century, it was destroyed once by flooding and once by a civil war. It was moved to its current location in 1922, later suffering typhoon damage in 1950.  It took thirty years to repair the damage but when it was finally restored worshipers celebrated by donating the 1200 rakan sculptures (stone statues representing the disciples of Buddha).

Japan – My Inspiration for My 2018 Intention Words

Happy 2018 to all…a fulfillment of my intention words for last year led me to book a spiritual reiki trip to Japan in November. It was there that my 2018 Intention words were inspired.

The Trip of a Lifetime

Yes – a trip of a lifetime opportunity arrived in my inbox early in 2017.  Coincidence or co-created by my intention words? I choose to believe that our thoughts are energetic and assist in attracting their matching experiences.  I read the invitation entitled, The Essence of our Practice, and felt my whole being respond with a YES!

Full Alignment

Then my head engaged and started the series of practical responses.  You know what I mean.  It is too much money, it is right after my chorus trip to Las Vegas, I should not take that much time away from my clients and on and on.  So I left it alone for almost 2 weeks, all the while thinking about it constantly.  Then I remembered my intention words for the year.  Fearless Living and Stillness. That was it – I decided that it was in full alignment with what I wanted to create and the universe would provide all I needed to support it.  My experience confirmed this to be absolutely true!

Intention Words for 2018

I will share a few blogs to start this year around my magical trip to Japan however this one will focus on my Intention words for 2018. It was organized and led by Phyllis Furumoto, the Grand Master of the Usui System of Reiki Healing. I joined 12 other reiki masters/practitioners from around the world to explore the Essence of our Practice; it’s deep roots and traditions. Part of our trip included a visit to Mount Kurama outside Kyoto, a sacred mountain for many and the location of Dr. Usui’s enlightenment Reiki experience.

Our first experience on the mountain was not an organized tour day.  Instead, Phyllis arranged for us to receive a beautiful boxed lunch, gather our notebooks and enter into a silent solo pilgrimage for the day.

It was a beautiful clear and cool fall day. I was filled with emotion as I pulled on my boots and bundled up for my day.  How many times have I shared the reiki story with my students over the years and now – I had the chance to walk the same path of our founding Master, a journey that has impacted so many lives over the last century including mine. I was definitely in a mindful space.  Once I paid my entrance fee, I received a map and a small printed ticket which included this prayer:

“Since Primordial times, the life-energizing vitality of Mao-san (symbol of Power), the great king of the conquerors of evil and the spirit of the Earth, has pervaded Mt. Kurama. Imbued with this life energy, a wide variety of life forms resides here in serenity, and the rich natural environment continues to flourish.

Since the guardians of heaven Bishamonten (symbol of light) at the end of the Nara Period and the thousand-armed Senju-kannon bodhisattva (symbol of love) at the beginning of Heian Period became enshrined in this land, people have continued to flock here to offer their heartfelt prayers.

At Kurama Temple today, these three venerated deities are worshipped as the trinity of Sonten (symbol of cosmic energy). All those who come into contact with Mt. Kurama not only receive the life energy emanating from the mountain but also become conscious of their own “shinge” (pure and innocent spirit), and look forward to the dawn of a world of peace and harmony where lives of all people will shine with the brightest of lights. To create a world, where all lives shine,

Beautiful as the Moon (Love)
Warm as the Sun (Light)
Powerful as the Earth (Power)
We trust in Sonten for all things.”

Reading this put me into the perfect inner space to become conscious of my own pure and innocent spirit and my day was magical and rich in embodying the roots of my practice.  As I descended the mountain late in the afternoon, these words came to me and I knew they would become my 2018 Intention words.

Honour – to honour my teachers, all living things, and the planet I call home.

Gratitude – closely related, however it felt more like focusing on having a grateful heart and attitude in my life.

Playfulness – with another mountain spirit present named Tengu, my seriousness was interrupted with something that took me by surprise and made me laugh. It reminded me to keep a playful spirit alive in my life.

2018 feels full of opportunity to challenge the status quo and to continue to play my part in creating a world where all lives shine. May we all adopt this symbol of trust in Sonten and let Light, Love and Power lead us forward.  It will challenge many deeply held patterns so make sure to allow for a playful spirit to accompany you.

More to come from my travels in Japan. Happy New Year.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

In harmony,

Karen

reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

Finding Your Tribe

reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

I just completed a 3 day Reiki Retreat last week and by the end many of my students expressed feeling such comfort because they had “found their tribe”.  This expression describes the feeling of being in a group of like-minded people where it is safe to share our true selves.  We get to dream, explore our inner world, express our needs and feel supported instead of judged.

Sometimes Our Spiritual Path Can Feel Lonely

Sometimes when we are on a spiritual or holistic path, it can feel lonely holding down the fort in our circle of family and work connections.  Some of them may want to support us however they may have different beliefs and so we are careful of where and when we share our own thoughts and feelings.

It is both reassuring and inspiring to come together and deepen our own inner knowing.  We part ways knowing that we are not alone and this group that once was strangers have become our tribe. The culture that has emerged in our affluent society has created a reality that many families live in different cities. Getting together requires planning and time both of which are stretched to limits with full schedules.  Finding a common interest helps to bring people together filling a need for being in community.

The Importance of Community in My Life

I realize how important community is for me as I have created a few very important ones in my life. My love of music and singing has found home for the past 30 years with the North Metro chorus. My thirst for knowledge and sharing has led me to host a monthly Women’s Wellness Circle for over 10 years. We joined some of our church friends to create a couples activity group that has enjoyed countless hours of fun and exploring for the last 17 years.  Finally, my work and life with reiki has now expanded into a circle of students, friends and colleagues who come together regularly.

North Metro Choir Karen Armstrong - Inside Out

These groups fill my life with a richness that is not possible on a solo journey.  Sometimes I need to balance and pull back for a while but I could not even dream of my life without all that a like-minded community brings.

Don’t get me wrong – it takes intention and action to find your group, as Amanda Kohr shares so beautifully on wanderlust.com;

Whether it’s a family, community, or group of fellow practitioners, our tribe is important because it reflects our values while simultaneously satisfying our need for companionship.

That being said, finding a tribe is hard. That’s why there are so many movies where high school students end up eating lunch alone. And as we bloom into adulthood and lose the setting of forced social interaction, it can be even more difficult to find authentic connections.

Doing so requires effort, authenticity, and confidence.

True – and I am here to say that it is worth every minute of searching.  So I invite you to reflect on what you might be missing in your life and then set the intention to find it. Let’s make life count and have fun along the way with our Tribe!

reiki retreat inside out karen armstrong

Do you have a favourite group of peeps that you want to share? I welcome input here.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, may you enjoy your summer.

Karen

Are you in Balance? What’s your Wake-up Call?

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Being out of balance is a result of not paying attention to our needs, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.  What is your wake-up call that brings you back to awareness?

Encouraging balance in life…

My tag line for Inside Out is “encouraging balance in life…” I chose this because it has been part of my journey and continues to require tuning in and presence.  I have identified some keys that bring me back to balance and the process just might work for you too. Read more

Commitments to Building Personal Resilience

Marise Foster - click image to enlarge

Marise Foster – click image to enlarge

This year I have been focusing on building my well-being and spiritual practices. I have always had many interests and love to learn. One of the challenges this brings is that I have not been committed to a specific personal practice on a daily basis. After 5 months of making a commitment to myself to do a daily practice; I am realizing just how much it contributes to building my overall personal resilience. Read more

Earth Month – Health Benefits of Beeswax Candles

reiki master NewmarketIn my reiki classes and practice days I always have a beautiful beeswax pillar candle set in the middle of a table alter surrounded by crystals. We light it at the opening of our time together and extinguish it after our final prayer circle. I always felt that it provided more than a beautiful centerpiece and after listening to a networking colleague share his wisdom on the health benefits of pure beeswax, I understood why.  And since it is earth month, I thought I would share what I have learned. Read more

Why Reiki?

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

One morning after handing my middle son over to our new sitter while he cried hysterically, I also cried all the way to the office. I sat in the parking lot for some time to gain my composure and walked in the door. A close colleague saw me and immediately took my arm leading me to a quiet room to ask what was going on. I told her I just didn’t think I could keep going like this; that I didn’t bring my sons into this world for someone else to raise. I missed being with them more and I was exhausted. She smiled and said; “What you need is Reiki”. I didn’t even know what that was. “Why Reiki?” I asked. Her reply was that it would help me find my truth. Read more