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Do your best and leave the rest to the Universe: When healing does not equate cure

Do your best and leave the rest to the Universe: When healing does not equate cure

“We are only there to love the spirit on its journey” ~ Doug McConnell

Healing does not always equal cureFrequently, I am amazed at Reiki’s amazing ability to facilitate healing, to tap into the body’s innate healing capacity and optimize results. Take wound healing for example: In my experience, using the Jikiden first aid method can seem like watching the healing process under a time lapse camera. You’ve cut your finger, it’s bleeding a lot, the cut is deep and feels throbbing and stingy. Giving first aid treatment doesn’t of course make the injury just go away. But the bleeding stops so much more quickly and the blood begins to congeal faster than you’d expect it to. The cut perhaps heals up in three or four days when, unaided, it would have taken a week or so.

I remember my daughter falling off her bicycle onto gravel and sustaining the kind of deep grazes along her spine that you know would turn green and seeping if you covered them up with a plaster, and would take at least a week, probably longer to begin to heal. Giving first aid Reiki treatment immediately, which may hurt as it accelerates the healing process, a crust had formed within half an hour. That’s all we did. In fact she then put on her T-shirt (no plasters needed), and went back out on her bike. The grazes were gone without a trace within the space of a week.

Treating cuts, scrapes and small burns in this way is not the only way Reiki facilitates healing. I have simply chosen this as an example because most of us have clear expectations based on experience as to how long such injuries take to get better. Using Reiki, we can observe with our own eyes that healing tends to happen faster than we would expect on average. Overall, seeing clients in my clinic in Galashiels, my treatment experience includes a wide variety of physical and emotional problems that have improved with Reiki, even in cases when doctors have had only pain medication to offer without addressing the underlying problem.

So I have come to expect good results from Reiki treatment. Yet this post has been prompted by the heartbreaking story of a boy who has just lost his leg in spite of lots of Reiki support to help prevent this. And by my own recent experience of giving Reiki to a pony suffering from grass sickness. Equine dysautonomia affects the central, peripheral and enteric nervous systems. With the condition usually leading to paralysis within the digestive tract, although nerve damage occurs throughout the body. Statistics keep any hope of recovery firmly in check. Only around 5% of horses affected by the condition make a recovery, while most pass away within the first two days. If they survive the 7day mark and therefore fall into neither of the two lethal categories of acute and sub-acute grass sickness, there is a small chance of survival following a period of intensive nursing.

Nursing a horse with grass sicknessI was called in on day 8 or 9, and sensing such a strong spirit in this very sick animal, I felt compelled to do what I could. In cases of serious illness, a Reiki treatment or two is not going to make enough of a difference, so I came out every day, sometimes late in the evening after work. Knowing full well that chances were slim, yet encouraged by the fact that the horse seemed to defy her prognosis at each step. Critically ill and with a prolonged and dangerously elevated heart rate. But still eating, still swallowing, still digesting and, with great difficulty, still peeing and pooing. We were told that horses who survive for 21 days sometimes recover. On day 20, the pony’s heart rate was more reasonable for the first time, the fever gone, and the constant tremors seemed to have lessened. I couldn’t help but feel hopeful. Wishing I could speak to a vet to discuss treatment priorities. Feeling byosen strongly in certain areas, I had prioritised treatment at the top of the head (poll), where the neck meets the shoulders and in between the front legs, and I was curious to know if this tallied in any way with the condition.

When I did meet the vet it was under different circumstances. In the morning of day 21 the pony had seemed fine, only to fall down a couple of hours later. Her hind legs without strength and almost paralysed, she was unable to get up again and was put down later that night. We don’t always get the result we want, yet my heart knows that this is how it had to end. Heart-breaking, but the right decision, the compassionate decision.

I ask myself futile questions. What if I had been called in earlier, what if I’d given her daily treatments instead of six days out of seven. What if I’d been there in the morning on the 21st day. Confronted with a lot of suffering and wanting to make a difference, I had noticed before that I had become too involved, and it is then that Reiki practice can become a little tiring. Giving Reiki itself is never tiring and replenishes the giver, too. On occasion, my mistake is to identify too much, which doesn’t help the receiver and it doesn’t help me. All we can ever do is the best that we can without expectation.  In the words of a colleague commenting on the young boy who miraculously survived his critical illness, but lost his leg: “I trust that when we do our best, the best result will come. It might not be the result that we are hoping for.” Another colleague reflects: I’ve often thought and meditated about “HEALING”. First I treated D. to save his life and then later I treated him to save his leg… someday I’ll give him a hug.” As I know first hand from accompanying my friend Ian through his journey with cancer, healing does not always  equate cure or the outcome that we would like, and yet, where there is love, healing still happens in other ways.

Photo credit: Ian Mackenzie, with kind permission from Talitha Mackenzie
A special thank you to the owner of the pony for permission to share this experience. 

Related reading: Why Healing is different from Cure

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