Saturday, November 10, 2007

Donate a Reiki Bear to the Santa Cruz Homeless Family Shelter

Several years ago I met a woman who was collecting used stuffed animals, repairing them, filling them with Reiki, and then distributing them to orphanages, homeless shelters and children's hospitals wherever she found them. The project touched me. I enjoyed the image of little children clutching a stuffed animal and receiving much more than superficial comforting. And I had been told by my Reiki teacher that Reiki-infused washcloths and drinking water had been used in hospital settings to impart healing to ailing loved ones. She also gave examples of experiments done with Reiki-infused water used to water plants. Apparently, plants fed with Reiki water did significantly better than those watered with plain tap.

Because of this I chose to infuse my flower essence healing perfumes with Reiki but as I started to market them I started to doubt what I had been told. Could Reiki really be imparted in this way to anyone else? Could an object like, say, a stuffed teddy bear, actually carry a Reiki charge at all? My question was answered when the Reiki stuffed animal collector attended a group I was in and gave us each a gift of one of the toys in her collection. I was confused about her intentions and, not knowing it had already been done, decided to put Reiki into the animal I received and donate it back to her cause. I couldn't do it— the feedback I got was that the toy was already filled. That caught me off guard— oh! They really can hold a charge! Then I brought it home and received another surprise. My cat Peeps who never had shown an interest in stuffed animals or any other toy -- and never has since-- adopted this gift for her own. She held it between her paws, slept with her head in its lap, and snuggled up to it every chance she got. It made an impression on me and I felt resolved to continue with Reiki projects of my own.

I've been particularly enamored of the Reiki Teddy Bear idea but, until a few weeks ago I never acted on it. Now I have to reluctantly admit that I wasn't motivated purely by altruistic intent. Yes, I wanted to find a gentle easy way to impart healing but I didn't, at first, intend to give the Bears away. Money's been overly tight and I wanted to improve the bottom line so I took a chance and invested in a shipment of wholesale teddy bears. Paul and I both imagined that they would be combined with a bottle of my flower essence perfume to make a nice packaged gift.

And they still will be available like that. But when I was shopping for just the perfect red satin ribbon to dress these bears up a woman at Hart's Fabric asked if I planned to give the bears away to charity and my immediate inner response was "I wish I was!" My second thought was "But I need to at least get the money back I spent on them!" and I felt bad about that. This, to me, had felt like an expensive decision. I was shocked when the bears arrived. The cartons were huge! And then I came a little undone—oh, God, what did I do? I spent all this money and I don't even know where I'm going to put them! And then I meet this woman who assumed I was going to give them away!

When what you love most is healing and you want to make your living doing what you care about most, it's really hard to counter societal expectations that a true healer, a truly spiritual and altruistic person, wouldn't expect to be paid. In fact, when Paul and I were just beginning and did a month of sessions strictly by donation, one of those early clients enthusiastically praised us for being "real healers." Real healers, if we understood her correctly, have all their needs met by God. And maybe we ARE getting our needs met through the grace of God as it flows through all the people who love and are helping us out. But even "real" healers need to eat, pay off debts, and know they can help their loved ones out financially themselves as time goes on.

And yet I really would like to give these bears to people who need them, too. So a choice was made. I will give three away and if I have people who want to assist with this project by paying me for them I will infuse the bears they purchase from me with Reiki, tie satin bows around their necks, add gift tags with their names on them, and deliver them to the charity I have chosen along with my own in time for Christmas. The Santa Cruz Family Homeless Shelter has "brand new toys" on their wish list so that's where they will go. If people want to buy a Reiki Bear and deliver it to a charity of their own they're welcome to do that as well.

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