On the Ides of March (15th), 2000, at approximately 2:15 am, I awoke abruptly to the pouncing of our Mainecoon cat, Micci, and the sound of a deep crackling of what a fireplace fire 10X’s its size might emulate. I was on the 3rd floor of our townhouse, and after quickly getting out of bed, I opened up the blind (which looked more coppery than normal), to find a blazing fire blowing out the window of our next door neighbor’s room and the soft, but steadily progressing flames about a foot over my head outside on our townhouse fascia board.
That night remains in my memory in a surrealistic stage. I remember turning to the phone over our headboard, calling 911 and seeing smoke coming through the headboard as I told the operator the location of the fire. NOTE to all: the smoke would’ve gotten me – not the fire. I also remember, hearing my Dad’s quiet, calm voice telling me, “Don’t stop, leave now, you’ll be okay”. He had passed away a few years before, so, again, I say surreal.
The rest of the night is a series of very deliberate, frozen memories, like remembering one of the DuPont fire safety rules to get out quickly, like grabbing my emergency box and throwing open the front door (so our 3 kitties could get out). Also, putting on a coat (but no shoes!), trying to take something for my Honeyman, and stepping down the garage stairs on the way out begging Micci to come out the door with me. Thinking she might feel less frightened and follow, I rushed out after seeing smoke filtering down the steps. It wasn’t until 10am that morning, when I went back to the woods to call for her about the 10th time, that I heard her excited mew and knew she had made it out.
There are other memories stacked in my history box, for which I have a lot to be thankful. These are the ones I’d like to emphasize today. For example, the amazing generosity of neighbors above us (with whom I’d hardly spoken) to provide warm sweaters, clothes, hot chocolate/tea and a place to sit while the fire trucks spewed tons of water onto the 6 townhouses. The kind Red Cross contact who sat down with a cup of tea and talked to us quietly while providing a voucher for additional clothing. The fireman, who checked all the rooms for Micci, before I was able to let them know she was found. My younger brother immediately driving from West Chester so I would have family there. And, my amazing Honeyman, driving the entire way from Georgia, to get there late that night and hug me.
Little things, like a cup of tea, kind things, like a big hug or word, big things, like the firetrucks and the 911 agent’s voice are what meant so much that night and for many days, weeks and months after. We were all so lucky – no one was killed and only one suffered a bit of smoke inhalation.
What, you may ask, has this all got to do with Reiki? Well, besides being my introduction to the incredible healing touch of the Universal Life Force Energy two days later, this moment and connected experiences illustrates how simple ‘kindness’ can comfort us. With so much hardship occurring these days, either by hurricanes, fires, floods or the stress of so much change in our own daily life, the 5th Reiki precept USUI Sensei guided us to remember is to “Be kind to all living things”.
The results of how a comforting touch can help us are very real and documented. A few examples can be found here:
But even further, kindness is a sharing of one’s self with another being and can provide a sense of comfort, a feeling that ‘all is okay’. Most of us know the feeling of stress and how we reach (or fight against reaching) for ‘comfort’ food when it occurs. Studies have shown these comfort foods suppress cortisol and the fight or flight hormones in our systems during stress.
We call it ‘comfort’ food for a good reason!
So, perhaps even a little bit of kindness, can help ease someone’s pain over the loss of one loved, or lower anxiety over where/when their next meal or drink of water might be coming or where/how they will be living. We can all do with more hugs, more kind words, more love for one another and Mother Earth. Even if we can’t physically touch one another, we can send kindness energetically and spiritually to the world and all in need. Many acts of kindness provide comfort; Funding for rebuilding, phone calls to hear a consoling voice, a hand to lift a fellow neighbor, or a simple kind thought sent out from our hearts – it means EVERYTHING.
To all those going through tough times, crises from natural forces or daily strife, Joyful Earth Reiki wishes hope, sends caring thoughts and a desire that someone can provide a bit of kindness and comfort for you this and future days.
We will be sending Reiki love.