Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Interview with a Reiki Practitioner and CPR Instructor

Today I am talking with Betty Barnes, an 11-year breast cancer survivor, American Heart Association BLS CPR Instructor, Registered Karuna Reiki Master/Teacher and full-time RVer. She shares life on the road with her husband Dave and their dog Maggie. Betty is currently writing “her story,” which she describes as an inspirational memoir of her journey through darkness and into the light of Life.

DW: What made you want to teach CPR?
BB: Like Reiki, CPR is easy to learn and perform, and a skill I believe everyone should have. Combining this philosophy with my passion for teaching, pursuing certification as an instructor seemed a natural progression.

DW: Have you ever had to administer CPR in real life?
BB: No, but I came within seconds of having to do so shortly after my initial certification in the 1980s. When I arrived on the scene, paramedics were already in place.

DW: Did you have experience with death prior to making that decision?
BB: Death has visited family, friends and pets throughout my life. Death becomes a companion the moment you are told, “You have cancer.” Because of my personal experiences, hospice training and Reiki work, family and friends turn to me when presented with the passing of someone in their lives. If I can help, I am honored and humbled.

DW: You said that you went through hospice training. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with that?
BB: I feel hospice training should be required for everyone. Some people cannot even say the word “death” or “dying.” Hospice training addressed ministering to the physical body of the dying as well as their spirit. Classes were interlaced with compassion, respect, love and laughter. I was allowed to give a presentation on Reiki as it relates in situations of death and dying.

DW: What is Reiki and how does it relate to hospice?
BB: Reiki (pronounced “ray-kee”) can be described as a method of stress reduction and relaxation which promotes overall well-being utilizing the universal energy which is in every living thing and surrounds us all. It is a noninvasive alternative therapy widely utilized in hospitals, pain clinics, cancer centers, hospices, etc. Reiki is performed hands-on or in the person's energy field. Clients lie on a massage/Reiki table, fully clothed, reporting sensations of warmth from the practitioner's hands, relaxation and peacefulness. Reiki on oneself is empowering for those with chronic illnesses and during cancer treatment.
Reiki it is not a religion.
Legitimate Reiki practitioners are professionals adhering to a strict code of ethics.
Reiki is not a substitute for conventional medical therapy.

When others may shy away from touching a dying person, the Reiki practitioner can minister to the dying with the simple act of holding their hand. One of Reiki's beauties is being independent of touch should the patient's condition preclude this due to pain or wounds. The intent is to help ease the suffering of the dying and all those involved. A Reiki person's presence lends an atmosphere of peace and calm. Reiki relaxes, and relaxation tends toopen heart, mind, soul . . . and mouth. Imminent death often prompts the need to unburden, perhaps sharing things not meant for the ears of loved ones; enter the Reiki practitioner as listener.

Thanks Betty for sharing what you do with my readers.  If you click on the links, folks, you can check out Betty's writing, reiki practice and her CPR classes!

Has anyone done hospice training?  I did it in Colorado and it was wonderful.  I'd like to get back into it here in TX.

28 comments:

  1. Pamela, thank you for the opportunity to be part of your work on Death. Your blog should be on everyone's list of required reading, as it is a difficult subject for so many to approach, both internally and externally. It's an honor to be a guest here! :)

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  2. Interesting post - my friend who does massage also employs Reiki practices and I agree - there is a relaxing benefit. I dot' get how it works but it is not for me to know - I can benefit.

    I have considered doing the hospice training. I think it would be a valuable service for the dying person, for their family, and yes, for me personally. It is on my exploration list for retirement - or maybe sooner. Thanks for posting!

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    1. Gracie - anyone can learn Reiki; it really is no great mystery and being able to do it for oneself is very empowering. :)

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  3. Thanks for this great interview, ladies. Keep up the excellent, and important, work!

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    1. Jenny, thanks for stopping by and for your comments. :)

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  4. I've never had a Reiki massage, but I'm pretty happy with whatever massage I get. My last employer used to bring in a masseuse two times a month and it was pretty awesome to go get a fifteen minute massage at work.

    Hospice training is good just for the awareness it brings to your life. I am of the opinion that the more we "look" at death, the more we can enjoy life.
    Thanks for stopping by JT!

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    1. Pamela, Reiki is not massage, but many massage therapists are also Reiki practitioners. :)

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  5. My thanks to anyone who is involved with hospice. We had no idea what hospice was until my 79-year-old father decided he no longer wanted to be on dialysis. Once his decision was made, the dialysis center recommended hospice care for my dad.

    That was the single most wonderful piece of advice our family could have received. My mom had been caring for my dad by herself for months. She was tapped out, worn out, going a little crazy. She didn't know what to do.

    I flew from Hawaii to be with her to help with Dad. Hospice started sending out help--a nurse, someone to give dad baths twice a week, a chaplain, a physical therapist to teach us how to move dad off the bed to the bedside pot, a psychologist--it was awesome. Dad passed away almost four weeks after going off dia1ysis.

    Without hospice caregivers, I don't know what Mom and I would have done. We didn't have the knowledge to deal with someone passing away in front of our eyes.

    It ended up being the biggest blessing. Dad got to spend his last weeks in their home with the people he loved caring for him. His hospital bed was in the living room with big picture windows looking out over a golf course. He truly died with dignity and at peace.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you to hospice.

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    1. I'm so glad that hospice care helped your dad die with dignity. I truly believe that the people who work in hospice are angels. And you brought up a great point about your mom being tapped out. Caregivers need respite too.
      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story!

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    2. Thanks ever so much for sharing your story here. I know the manner in which your dad passed was a blessing for all. Thanks, too, for your comments on my blog. Catch ya later! :)

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  6. Without death, the appreciation for life cannot be as deep; liking your refreshing approach to an often taboo subject, and have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. Pick up the badge from my blog post 'The Invisible Importance Of Hats' and don't be obliged to play by any rules :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for bestowing me with an award! It's my lucky day! And I'll play by the rules.

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  7. Beautiful post. I'm a Reiki practitioner too. It is wonderful to see Reiki portrayed in such a positive light. For those who are close to passing over, Reiki can empower them to let go and cross comfortably and without pain.

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    1. Okay, now I'm totally curious about Reiki and I will have to do research, maybe go so far as to actually visit a practitioner.

      thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Elizabeth, thank you for your kind comments. It's nice to meet another Reiki person! :)

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  8. I'm certified in Pet CPR and First Aid but I'm still working on signing up for the Human class. Don't ask me what is taking so long. Now that I'm working with children, I really should get a move on. I originally started my quest because it was a requirement to become an NDART volunteer and after all those national disasters I really wanted to be able to go on the scene and work with the animals. But you have to be able to help your colleagues in need, too. As for Reiki, I've never been a part of it but it sounds great. I know some people who could benefit from that. Any sort of non-medicinal stress relief or aid for somebody with anxiety and a lot on their shoulders is a plus in my book. Xanax and anti-depressants are only good to a certain extent. Does Reiki work on dogs? Haha. Bill could use it.

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    1. Yeah, you should get your CPR certification. I took the class a couple of years ago and it had changed a lot from when I first got it. I should probably do it again.

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    2. Jill, animals love Reiki! My dog Baby participated in all the classes I taught and even received her Reiki Level II attunements. My cat Snookums also loved receiving Reiki and definitely saw benefit from it in her elderly years. Plants also dig the Reiki energy. :) By all means, go get your CPR certification for people. :)

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  9. Great interview. Made me particularly curious about Reiki.
    So very few people in our developed nations appreciate how important it is to understand death. I see so much negative stubbornness in people. It would most likely disappear if they only knew how fragile we really are.

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    1. As someone who just ignored death for most of my life (it was easy to do as no one I knew had died)I understand the mentality, but ignoring it doesn't make it go away. I guess that's why I have this blog as a little reminder for me, and for anyone who happens to land on these pages that life is precious. Your life doesn't begin when--you lose ten pounds, graduate, get married, etc...--it is right now, this moment. So, what are you going to do? I hope it makes people want to express unspoken thoughts or call their parents or hug their kids or just be motivated to get away from their computer screen and do something. Aww, the irony!
      Thanks Gabriel for commenting!

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    2. Gabriel, if you are curious abour Reiki, I encourage you to seek information from a legitimate Reiki source - practitioner, teacher. Reiki is an amazing thing to have in one's life! Thanks for your comments and for visiting. :)

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  10. Well, now I want to try Reiki AND get CPR training AND get hospice training. I have a number of friends who are interested in/practice Reiki, but I've never heard it talked about in the context of death. Your line "Reiki relaxes, and relaxation tends to open heart, mind, soul...and mouth. Imminent death often prompts the need to unburden, perhaps sharing things not meant for the ears of loved ones" - whew, that gave me chills. Amazing.

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    1. And I want to take a belly dancing class:)

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    2. Jericha, thanks for your comments. :)

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  11. I'm a Reiki Teacher and was pleased to see a thoughtful and positive post about the practice of Reiki, and how it gently supports people making their transition from this life, as well as the loved ones caring for them during this time.

    I had the privilege of spending time with my grandmother last year when she was in hospice, sharing Reiki and experiencing the deep connection that required no efforts or words. Reiki allowed her to rest comfortably, and she seemed more lucid while receiving Reiki touch. My extended family sort of knew what I did, but when they saw the effect Reiki had on her, it reassured them, because they knew she was being comforted in a gentle, soothing way.

    I've also been able to offer Reiki to animals at the end of their life. It helped the animals relax and relieve discomfort so that they could make a peaceful transition.

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    1. Hi Dana:
      Thanks so much for commenting. Now, I am totally going to find a Reiki practitioner in my area. I am so pleased to see so many people on here that practice and have found a benefit from it, especially with death.
      I remember when I brought my cat Larry in to be euthanized. He was in kidney failure and was so freaked out because he was at the vet's office. I tried to calm him by brushing him, which was his favorite thing in the world. I wanted his passing to be calm, but it wasn't. Dang, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
      Anyway, thank you for stopping in.

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  12. Greetings Dana,

    Thank you for your comments and for taking to visit Pamela's blog. :)

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Comments are welcome and appreciated!