Dear reader, my name is Shirley, and I have been a nurse all my working life. I had various nursing jobs and was drawn to work in a hospice back in 1989. The thought of working with the dying never upset me. However, my father was puzzled and asked why I wanted to work with people who would die! Well, I answered, Dad, it’s about making a difference. If I can help a dying person die well with dignity and peacefully, I have done my job, I explained. This was to be the start of my career in Palliative Care. First, I had the opportunity to work as a Macmillan Nurse, then manage a Day Hospice unit before I moved into Quality & Education.
My journey with Reiki began back in 2011, following the death of my husband.
He was my whole world, and without him, my life was empty, lonely and pointless. We had no children. I felt there was no one to support me through this horrible time of deep despair. I struggled with my grief. Nothing had ever cut so deep or hurt so much. I went to work each day putting on a brave smile, and then as soon as I got into the car to drive home, I would just start to cry. My colleague at work suggested that I try Reiki as she felt this may help me. I needed to try something, as I had reached a very low ebb.
My lovely Beauty Therapist had Reiki on her list of treatment options, so I booked myself in for a Reiki treatment.
I felt hardly anything during the first treatment apart from a pulling sensation around my tummy. That was it; off I went thinking nothing much had happened. It was about 2 weeks later when I noticed that I could think more clearly and felt that it was time to start rebuilding my life. I could not continue as I was, so I did just that. Over the following months, I gradually rebuilt and found the confidence to start living my life again. The only thing that had been any different was the Reiki; what else would have caused such a shift in me?
The Reiki Therapist told me I would be good at giving Reiki treatments and suggested I go away and think about it.
I had another Reiki treatment from a different therapist. I was away for the weekend with my friends from work. The Reiki Therapist told me I would be good at giving Reiki treatments and suggested I go away and think about it. Well, it had done so much for me. I thought how amazing it would be to help others. So, when I returned home, I googled Reiki Courses in Essex to see if there would be any courses locally. I found one and emailed off for information. I waited patiently, but there was no response. I was disappointed and thought perhaps it was just not meant to be. I spoke with my lovely beauty therapist who gave me some good advice. She said to go back again and just look at all the courses, and I would find myself being drawn to one of the Reiki courses. So back I went and started again, and there was Tina’s webpage. I looked at her photo and thought she had a kind face. So I decided to email regarding her next Reiki First Degree Course. I booked my place…
I remember at the end of the Reiki First Degree, Tina suggested we go home and give Reiki to our husbands/partners or pets. Well, I had no partner or pets. The only living thing in the house apart from me was my Aloe Vera plant, which benefited from my first treatment. So, I asked my colleagues at work if they would like to try a Reiki treatment. Everyone seemed to benefit from their treatment, and I booked my Reiki Second Degree.
I started working as a Volunteer Reiki Therapist at the Hospice, fitting patients in after work or on my day off. I was one of the first Reiki therapists at the Hospice, and very gradually, my caseload grew. The results were fabulous.
My own personal journey was picking up speed. I decided to go on a Sahara Desert trek to raise money for the Hospice and in memory of my late husband. I trained hard and even had all my hair shaved off to raise funds for my trek. I was able to shed 19 kg in weight which had accumulated from all the comfort eating. The expedition was fantastic, and I was very popular with the Reiki treatments at the end of each long day trekking through the sand dunes. I had joined a Tai Chi group and started to make new friends. When I reached fifty, I decided to do 50 new things to celebrate my birthday. I arranged all sorts of different activities. My lovely friend Colin from Tai Chi had become a good friend and had very gently healed my heart. I realised I was ready to love again, and much to my surprise, Colin proposed to me, which counted as one of my 50th special birthday things! We had a beautiful Pagan Handfasting in July 2016.
The Complementary Therapy Managers post became available at the Hospice.
In November 2017, I decided to leave my job as Head of Quality & Education at the Hospice. I was appointed as the new Manager of the service, which enabled me to give more Reiki to so many patients and carers each on their own arduous journey. I am always intrigued to see how Reiki works for them. It does so much in such a beautiful and gentle way.
So dear reader, to bring you up to date, in April 2018, I completed my Reiki Master Course with Tina. I am hoping to introduce Reiki to a broader audience across the Hospice. In addition, I want to introduce a new model of clinical supervision at the Hospice that includes 40 minutes of supervision. (1-1-time, staff have a supervisor to discuss complex issues surrounding their work at the Hospice). The last 20 minutes will be given as a Reiki Treatment, which I feel will benefit the staff, as their work can be emotionally and physically draining. I have written a proposal for a trial at the Hospice that includes a pre and post evaluation. I hope to run the Reiki Supervision project later this year. I honestly feel it will benefit the staff and give them the chance to experience Reiki for themselves.
I am hoping to introduce a more holistic approach to patient care by having more involvement in treating the patients in the In-Patient Unit so that the option of therapy will be part of their daily care plan. For those who attend the Garden Rooms (our therapy rooms at the Hospice.) I am sure that some of the patients and carers who visit the Garden rooms may benefit from self-treatments in-between having Reiki treatments with us. I believed it would be therapeutic to discuss this option with patients. They may be having a course of radiotherapy or chemotherapy which would necessitate a break in their treatments with us.
I have a vision that Reiki has a considerable part to play in Palliative Care.
It can be used to support our patient’s carers and staff, bringing peace and comfort to those who receive It.
Author Shirley Young