Gifts from the ICU:
Today I am grateful for being called to the hospital to work with a reiki client in the ICU. I am honored and thankful for having the opportunity to share the experience that unfolded with her, the lessons it taught me and the gifts that it gave me.
Janet is a beautiful soul, but she was in so much pain and suffering. It was difficult to “get out of my mind” and just BE present with her in order to be a vessel for Divine Love and Grace to flow through in the form of reiki. As a practitioner or therapist, that is what we are called to do in order for our clients to initiate their own healing process. It is a practice in surrender and a willingness to be open; putting our ego and minds aside letting go of all expectations and outcomes.
My problem was that I quickly became attached to the outcome. As I walked in to room 314, I saw her, Janet a ghost of a woman, the broken shell of another human being sitting frailly on the edge of a hospital bed in the ICU. Her suffering quickly became my own and in that moment, all I wanted was for her to be healed and for her pain to be alleviated. God please heal her from this horrible condition! – No thy will be done for the highest good of all… a battle of will and surrender. We are all connected and our experience, mirrors for one another. In facing Janet’s mortality and suffering I had to face my own. In seeing her pain I had to see and be willing to feel my own.
Janet was in a great deal of pain. She was unable to rest, to move or to even lay down due to her excruciating medical conditions. Hooked up to machines, she was barely able to breathe My heart immediately went out to her and her two teenage sons; the two boys who waited so politely and patiently in the corner of the room, just to be at their mother’s side in order to spend some more time with her.
Difficult as it seemed, it was a beautiful experience, right from the heart. It taught me many lessons about what it means to be human and to love unconditionally. That is what happens when we share the gift of reiki; we are allowed the opportunity to fully experience life, what it means to be human and to be alive.
During the reiki treatment Janet, frail and pale from her ordeal, was finally able to begin to relax. She was able to half lay down on her side, her head and shoulder surrendering in to the pillow of that hospital bed, legs still dangling over the edge. Janet’s eyes closed and her breathing slowed down and deepened as she surrendered to the peace within the stillness of her own Being. She fell asleep for a few minutes at a time throughout the treatment. I continued sharing despite myself, my mind, eventually letting go of all outcomes and becoming fully present to this experience of sharing. Time had no meaning I just followed my intuition and hands, letting go of the fear that welled up inside of me when I had first walked in of the room and all of the expectations that has arisen along with it.
The two boys came and went; nurses and a doctor came and went. Time passed although we were unaware of it. When it felt complete, the treatment came to a close. I gently tried to speak with Janet about her experience. She stated that she did not feel any more stress and she was no longer in pain. She went from feeling discomfort, pain and anxiety levels of ten down to zero by the end of the treatment. She was a bit unsure of her surroundings and how time had passed during the reiki treatment. She thought that it was dark and night had fallen upon us. Yet only two hours had passed and it was still light out. For her, It had felt like the first light at dawn. We had both stepped out of the realm of time through this process.
Janet’s experience a testimony as to how when we live each moment fully, it is like a re-birth. Time ceases to exist and in that moment all things are possible. Janet could not believe that it was not dark outside, nor was it night-time. She was astounded by the absence of suffering and the peace and relaxation that now embraced her.
As I prepared to leave we shared a couple of hugs and I asked Janet to stay strong, not only for her sake and that of her son’s, but perhaps selfishly, somehow for myself. I also asked about her purpose in life and the tears began to roll down her cheeks. She told me she did not know what her purpose was, and she sat there on the hospital bed holding my hand as if she were holding on for her very life. She whimpered, began to cry and then sobbed in my arms. All I could do was to tell her it was ok and that it was a very good thing to let go, and let out what ever needed to come out. I told her that she was safe and it was ok to express her truth. Perhaps these were the very words that I needed to hear for myself. There are closed doors and locked closets with skeletons in all of our lives. They need to be seen and let out in order for true healing to occur; then, and only then can there be beauty and integrity in even the most painful experiences.
I asked Janet to pray to God to allow her to see her purpose, because I sensed that knowing it would make her feel stronger and to give the courage to surrender to her own healing process. I told her at the very least, there were two purposes right there in that room; the boys that had been waiting patiently in the corner of room 314.
Her two boys thanked me extensively, as if I had given them a gift; but what we had shared, our experience together was really my treasure. My gift was seeing and feeling the love the boys had for their mother and feeling unconditional lo9ve, for a woman I had never met before in my life. It was also seeing and experiencing the fear that overtakes us all as human beings in life.The fear that chokes us so hard until we feel we can no longer breathe. And eventually, in this case, extends beyond the energetic body in to the physical and manifests itself as cancer and other life threatening conditions. It is dis- ease manifested to the point where we can no longer ignore it.
You may ask what the gift is, in seeing fear and dis-ease, which often ends death or at the very least in the condition of human suffering. When you pick up a stick you are picking up both sides of that branch, without one you can not have the other. The gift was seeing how precious life is and that each and that each and every moment, “Counts”. The lesson; we should live each day as if we were dying. Leave no stones unturned, no grudges buried within, no dreams unexplored, and no love withheld. Each moment is a gift if we are fully present.
I am grateful for having been in the presence of Janet this strong and courageous woman; and for having the opportunity to be vessel for peace and healing to occur in her life. In allowing others to heal, we can not but help look in the mirror and see the reflection of our own presence as well as that of our own mortality.
I am thankful for my life, for my own journey of healing with its ups and downs. I am appreciative for the dawn of this new day, in which all possibilities are limitless and there is still time in each moment to wake up to the Truth…
At first light I am received I love, as if the mystery waited patiently for my emergence out of sleep. For just a moment there are no responsibilities to shoulder just the soft and spreading glow of dawn, possibilities unfolding before me like buds beneath the sun.
Yes; there are choices to be made in every moment of this day; choices between acceptance and judgment fear or love. Life is not about vanquishing one to claim the other, but being present with their totality and sum, excluding none. – Danna Faulds.
Yes, these are the gifts from the ICU which came from following that small inner voice and my willingness to “help a stranger”.