Julie Heskins is a Reiki Master and mindfulness meditation teacher. For more than 15 years Julie has been teaching Traditional Japanese Reiki and mentoring students in spiritual development and wellbeing.
The wonderful thing about the system of reiki is how much it supports us through each day. When we are in a good state of mind, not overwhelmed, anxious or afraid, then we can support others in a loving, kind and positive way.
I moved to Australia 30 years ago. My parents initially had reservations about me travelling the world. They changed their minds when they visited me to celebrate my 21st birthday. As they enjoyed the warm climate, the beautiful vistas of Kakadu and the Whitsunday islands, they understood why their only daughter had fallen in love with this incredible country!
Travel and adventure they realised was fun. After that initial taste of what travelling offered they met me in New Zealand, Thailand and other far flung places.
I settled in Cairns eventually and they came to visit a number of times. They loved it. Gorgeous places to visit like Cape Tribulation, the Tablelands, the reef and Fitzroy Island. Staying at Rainforest Reiki was a treat too and they came to a reiki share night and mum had treatments.
As they got older I asked them if they’d like to move to Australia. They always had great friends in UK and they didn’t want to. When dads health deteriorated and they could no longer travel I visited them in UK once a year.
At times when they were ill I facilitated distant reiki sessions. This is done by setting intent that the person receives whatever healing they need in that moment and then you sit in meditation holding that loving intent free of expectations and judgement. This can last 20-30 minutes.
On some level you always know when you live far from loved ones that eventually one parent will face a serious health issue. It’s how you deal with the challenges that arise that counts. The only certainty is that there’s always change in our lives.
The precepts of reiki are the backbone of the whole system. Students are taught different meditation techniques to work with these.
The precepts, or principles of Reiki are:
For Today Only:
Do not anger
Dot not worry
To show compassion to yourself and others
By working with the meditations and other practices students create awareness. The goal is to take these practices into daily life and live from this place.
Of course it doesn’t mean we never get angry or worried! That would be in a perfect world . These precepts are the goal of the system to be less worried, less angry, more grateful and be kind and compassionate to ourselves and others. To rediscover our inner light which is always within us – we’ve just forgotten it.
Aged 87 and 85 my parents have maintained good health. Two months ago my dad rang with the news mum had had an a severe stroke and was in hospital. My reiki practice has always given me so much support with challenges and this time was no different . Taking one day at a time I’ve been able to get clear, be there for both mum and dad and support them both energetically and practically with phone calls and, more recently, visiting them in UK.
My dad has stayed positive throughout and feels loved and supported by friends and family. He knows mum is in the best place and getting the care she needs. Practicing reiki gives me trust that there is a flow to life and the object is to let go of outcomes and be as present as possible to what is each day.
Initially mum was unconscious and dad visited. After 63 years of marriage they had never been apart except for a few days.
Six weeks into mum’s recovery it was clear to me I needed to go back and assess things and be there for them both. I already had another trip planned to do Raw Chef training in Bali (creating delicious raw food for retreat days and courses is something I enjoy) and continued onto UK. It was so good to see them both. The staff at the hospital were lovely but mum was finding being in hospital challenging – the noise, lights and constant movement are hard on anyone, let along an old lady whose used to a peaceful life. Facilitating reiki on the ward calmed mum and one of the nurses was enthralled! She asked about having a session and learning – maybe in the future…
My dad has been doing well on his own. He appreciates the support he gets from friends and the retirement village community. He can cook, do laundry and manages with little help. Mum will hopefully be able to keep improving and return home so they can be together again. I am now back in Cairns and will continue to do distant reiki for us all.
The intent for the best possible outcome for them both is paramount. .
I love animals and am also a passionate traveller. Pet sitting offers the opportunity to do both.
It’s a win win situation helping owners and having quality time with their pets. It’s fun and has its challenges. Pets have minds of their own and aren’t shy to show their true colours sometimes!
One of my favourite pet sits was for a white feisty terrier called Blossom (pictured above). On our first meeting Blossom growled and barked and her devoted mum and dad explained that she had a strong personality. Her name, ‘Blossom’ suited her perfectly. It’s always good to be direct with owners to see whether you’re going to be the right fit for their precious pet.
‘How did Blossom go with the previous pet sitter’ I asked. They admitted Blossom barked aggressively at the poor woman for the first week!
Reiki has many benefits and I felt certain that Blossom would respond well to it.
Just as humans experience anxiety and stress when situations change so do sensitive animals.
The owners went off on a cruise and I moved in. On arrival Blossom complained noisily that I was not her family. I promptly sat on the sofa in meditation, set an intent she received whatever she needed at that moment and did a 20 minute reiki meditation session with her. The barking quickly abated, Blossom calmed down and peace was restored.
I continued including Blossom in my meditation practice each day and Blossom accepted me, wagging her tail enthusiastically whenever I arrived home. She was a special girl and I’d take her back to Rainforest Reiki some days. She greeted clients with a few barks and then would quietly settle under the reiki table enjoying being in the reiki space.
Do pets reflect their owners? I think they do. Another of my favourite pets is Pappi. Pappi is a medium sized dog of mixed lineage who was very well trained and super intelligent. Similar to her quiet, smart mum who also has a playful sense of humour :).
It’s always a gift to care for a well trained dog. Walking her on the beach without a lead was a joy. Trust is so important and, with Pappi, she would come to me to have her lead put on if she perceived a threat from another dog. Intuition and wisdom is something, for most of us, that needs to be developed whereas Pappi knew who she could trust. We can learn so much from our pets, even when they are in our care for a short time.
Cats are also a favourite of mine. Especially Missy who lives on property in the Tablelands. Cats are independent creatures and remind me of myself! Missy was a bit stand offish initially but over time she has grown into a sweet and affectionate companion. On my last visit she jumped through the bedroom window every morning for meditation, curling up contentedly in my lap.
Even the sweetest cat will show their true nature of course. I awoke early with plans to join an online retreat with my reiki teacher. In the dark I heard the crunch crunch of a small animal being munched. Discovering bits of it spread across the room, a gift for me I presumed, reminded me of the reasons I don’t need a pet of my own!! Needless to say, I watched a recording of the class later in the day 😀🙏.
Life is about learning and experience and as animals shine their light on us we can learn from them. Yin yoga came about from the founder, Paulie Zinks’ study of animals and the way they move. Animals innately stretch, move and rest to conserve energy and remain flexible and strong.
I’m grateful to all the pets and their owners who have trusted me to look after them.
Why is taking the next step to Reiki 2 (or even Reiki 3) so important? The simple answer is, our journey to self awareness and rediscovering our true self never ends.
It is the most important thing we will ever do. ❤️
Beginning the Reiki journey
In Reiki 1 Shoden you learned the foundational practices to start connecting deeply within.
Over the initial weekend most students experience deep peace, connection and an inner knowing that there is so much potential within each of us. We don’t have to reach for the stars. We are already there! We’ve just forgotten. By working with the principles of reiki we can start to shed those self limiting beliefs and judgements that prevent us from living our truth.
With new found awareness we understand that only we can make the changes that will make a difference. We can’t blame others for our situation and, if we’re in a negative relationship or job, it’s up to us to develop the strength and confidence to move on.
Through practicing the mindfulness techniques reiki offers, we start to be in the moment with life, not living in the past or dwelling in the future. Staying curious and alert we enjoy precious moments that present themselves. We start to catch ourselves when we experience worry or anger.
Things that once triggered us can be recognised in the moment and we can stop being reactive. We are not our thoughts.. when we see this, freedom awaits.
We become more compassionate to others. All people are struggling in different ways. The more we can be kind and listen to others attentively, the more we will attract likeminded, grounded and grateful people into our lives.
Reiki 1 offers a gateway to rediscovering your true self. By starting on the journey you plant the seeds of a happy life. You start to see the challenges as opportunities. It may not happen instantly but you’ll be able to look back and see ‘Wow! I handled that situation so much better than I did a year ago’. 😀
Taking the next step
Coming to Reiki 2 Okuden is a natural progression for most. If your practice has dropped away after Reiki 1, then it offers an opportunity to reconnect.
The techniques and meditations taught at this level enhance and expand the reiki toolbox. Using the symbols and associated mantras we connect to the innate wisdom that resides within and flows through us. We see that every action and decision we make is interrelated to the whole. As clear intuition arises from a place of being, you trust your gut feelings and make decisions based in reality!
When you attend Reiki 2, you receive 3 more attunements and gain further experience in hands on/off healing practising with a partner. We create intimacy with ourselves and cultivate the limitless energy that lies within. Developing self love and empowerment are valuable tools in a fast paced society based in consumerism and dependency.
Whether you come to Reiki 2 for your own self-care or to start practicing professionally, the second level teaches valuable practices to gain clarity into living simply and meaningfully.
This doesn’t mean we have to become a reiki practitioner of course! We can ‘be reiki’ at any moment on any day in any situation. Practicing kindness, compassion and humility in any environment is wonderful. You’re family and work mates will also be grateful 🥲.
Making Reiki a profession
Reiki 3 Shinpiden offers the opportunity to learn the final symbol and mantra. We grow, we take responsibility for our actions and realise that to navigate a dualistic world we need to embody the qualities of reiki within ourselves.
You will receive the final attunement and learn to facilitate reiju and attunements on others. You may want to become a teacher yourself and, with practice, that is possible. Teaching others reiki is a blessing and a privilege. ❤️🙏
As twenty-first century life becomes more complex, stressful, and challenging many people are allowing themselves time out for retreat. A retreat is an opportunity to get away from the stress and demands of our everyday lives and do something positive for ourselves.
In this short blog I’ll be unpacking some of the key benefits of retreat and a few guidelines to help you find a suitable retreat in your area. I run regular retreats here in Cairns and Far-north Queensland but you might need something a little closer to home.
Studies show that meditating even for as little as 10 minutes increases the brain’s alpha waves (associated with relaxation) and decreases anxiety and depression.
Exercise is great tonic for mental health and a well-run retreat will include a nice selection of physical activities. Gentle yoga, tai-chi, Reiki, swimming, and walks in nature are all lovely on retreat.
It’s wonderful to try new exercises that improve your strength and flexibility. And in a group setting under the guidance of an experienced teacher you just might surprise yourself.
Being in nature lowers cortisol, reduces heart rate, bolsters immunity, improves mood, among other gains.
I hope I’ve been able to convince you that Retreat is a healthy act of self-care that can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing. Programming regular time out for yourself, learning meditation and other spiritual practices, will not only reduce your stress levels but better enable you to support the people in your life.
Of course I’d love to see you at one of my retreats in the tropical rainforest of Far-north Queensland, but no matter where you are in world do take some time to experience the benefits of a meditation retreat in the place that’s best for you.
Last week on the blog we took a look at Reiki lineages and explained why it’s so important to understand the lineage of your Reiki teacher. In this week’s article we’d like to dive a little deeper into the topic and unpack the critical differences between Traditional Japanese Reiki vs Western Reiki. Let’s take a look.
Have you ever wondered how Reiki can remain authentic after more than 100 years of teaching. This blog will help you understand the Japanese the Reiki lineage and how your teacher remains connected to the original system founder.
The quickest way to end a beautiful meditation 3 minutes in, is to a hungry kid, stressed housemate, or boisterous pet. It’s hard to build a regular meditation practice when you are constantly getting interrupted, so here’s a few tips for enjoying the whole experience.
Good question! In my backpacker days I’d seen Tibetan monks chant as I travelled through China. It left me with a sense of awe and inner peace. Earlier during the same trip we had visited a monastery where monks kindly invited us to join them for yak butter tea (definitely an acquired taste!). We spoke no Tibetan & they spoke no English. It didn’t matter, we laughed together & they were warm & welcoming hosts. Their natural joy seemed misplaced as their native homeland was being invaded by the Chinese.
Time passed, I emigrated to Australia & friends who were travelling around the world arrived in Cairns & shared their experiences of a Vipassana meditation retreat in New Zealand.
For 10 days they had done seated meditations which seemed very brave considering they had never meditated before. It was physically challenging for them but they came away feeling a deep sense of connection. They inspired me to book a 10 day silent retreat in Thailand. A mixture of walking, working & seated meditation.
An Initial Experience
I realised how busy and distracted my mind was. As I practiced being present everything became clear. Meals were simple but when you ate mindfully you were aware of flavours, texture, & colours. A feeling of gratitude & appreciation for the food, the nuns preparing it and our hosts naturally arose. After lunch we would walk up a hill in the grounds that overlooked Koh Phangan. I noticed the lizards would come and sit with us. In my garden at home now I appreciate that when we slow down, listen & focus you see the beauty of what’s around you & the wildlife comes closer.
What Meditation Gives You
We are not our thoughts, our emotions or our fantasies and when you meditate regularly you realise this. Instead of clinging & identifying with them you recognise them for what they are, events that are passing through our minds. We remember the past & get anxious about the future but that is not our truth. As we become more present, letting go of our worries and anger, we also have more energy. Living so externally in this material world you realise that when you go within so much is revealed. Life becomes happier when you are calm and balanced.
After the retreat I returned home, life got busy and my intentions of having a regular meditation practice disappeared! Determined to reconnect to meditation I went to the local Buddhist Centre & started practicing once more. Learning traditional Japanese Reiki in 2010 I discovered a system of Reiki that included a variety of different meditations & techniques. Practicing these over the years has deepened my practice considerably.
Why learn to meditate?
When you practice daily you see the benefits. It effects everyone around you – your kids, family & work colleagues. You become calmer & more patient and this state of mind is reflected back to you.
The other wonderful thing about meditation is you can do it anywhere, on a chair, a cushion or even seated on a bed, whatever is comfortable for you. Of course it’s wonderful to do it at retreat, but really all you need is you.
My goal is to inspire others to find their light within & for me, meditation is the key that unlocks that door.