Sunday, December 24, 2006

these days, who has time to self-actualize?

jaci and i attended an all-day reiki workshop last week. reiki is a japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. it is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. we learned how to perform reiki on ourselves and others and had the really cool experience of having four other participants (eight hands!) moving over us during group practice. i've seen that sort of thing advertised in thailand, but this wasn't that kind of thing. we both have a healthy skepticism about some of the funkier complementary therapies, but can't deny the strange calm and pleasure one gets from reiki. i'd recommend it- and better yet, next time I see you, if you remind me, I'd love to do a session on you.

One of the things the instructor mentioned briefly was maslow's hierarchy of needs. it struck me that, in this period of trial and healing, each phase just seems more intense, like hiking up the contrast and brightness when doctoring a photograph. what i mean when you consider the broader pieces of the triangle in terms of cancer are pretty obvious, but the pinnacle, "self-actualization" and "transcendence", is something I think I've only begun to explore now, this crazy year. And, i wonder if it's even possible for most of us to dabble in this realm while juggling all of our other needs and responsibilities. i haven't had time (or, made time) to paint a picture, sew a dress, knit a scarf, redecorate for the hell of it, have a baking day, arrange flowers or write stories since I was a little girl. not to mention the time to ponder life and love, family and friendship, from the vantage point of almost losing the first one, ending a passionate but volatile engagement, and standing in awe at the generosity of body and spirit of the latters. or read books about different faiths, theology, philosophy, poetry. and you know what? it's SO worth it. NOT that cancer is worth it, but it is worth it to work towards higher echelons of being; it's worth it to appreciate beauty and to take time to let your creativity flow. would my questioning and cynical soul have taken the time to become more spiritual at some point? would an 80-yr-old me look back and be able to count so many people so dear? would creative outlets have found their way into my life anyway? who knows. but I'm super glad they did.


Ted said...

I love it! Can't wait to check out what you have learned with laying on of hands. I'm curious to know what exactly you felt when others were doing it to you.

enid said...

I think you have really reached a fuller understanding of life- forced on you by your illness. I can't say at 70 that i have things much understood- all the daily garbage has a way of taking the forefront. I try to remember to appreciate.