Take care of your state, and your state takes care of everything else.
I’ve said that thousands of times to many thousands of people. Even still, I appreciate it more with each repetition and contemplation. If you can take only one action, take the action that has the most leverage in your life, that brings improvements on every level: take care of your state.
Take care of your state, and your state takes care of everything else. Your state determines how your nervous system functions, and your nervous system determines how your brain and the rest of your body functions. So it only makes sense to take care of your state.
A Dutch colleague, Anne Boerrigter, recently wrote about what “take care of your state” has meant to her, and kindly translated it to English for me (Read the original Dutch here). I asked to share it with you because she so beautifully and humanly details how taking care of her state through daily self Reiki practice has supported her. May it inspire you in turn to take care of your state.
Take care of your state, or why your being state is so important
by Anne Boerrigter
“Take care of your state, and your state takes care of everything else.”
This great statement was made by my American colleague Pamela Miles, and I often remind myself of it. To me, “take care of your state and your state takes care of everything else” shows concisely what Reiki practice can do for you, why it can be so valuable. But why, and how could this work?
Almost twenty years ago, in 2004, I started practicing Reiki. When I took my first degree Reiki class, I had no idea that I stepped into a daily practice that would, step by step, change my life completely. And for sure I wasn’t aware at that point that I lived my life mostly in the ‘functional’ domain; the part of life that is tangible, that can be seen — even though I was a sensitive person.
Very well-behaved, I did all that I had learned was necessary for my daily existence. Everything that goes with a ‘normal’ life: brushing teeth, all of the other personal hygiene, going grocery shopping, cleaning my house, working, educating myself, having a social life. I did all the daily stuff that needed to be done. And I did it well. The best I could. I tried so hard! But what I hadn’t learned was how to take care of my state.
Nothing was wrong, really. And yet it somehow felt ‘flat’, and I did not feel well. Not only did I have the feeling that there should be more to life and to me — also, emotionally I was often very wobbly. Plus: I was always in a hurry. I survived my life, running from ’to-do’ to ’to-do’. “Take care of your state” wasn’t one of my to-do items.
And then Reiki practice came into my life, and I learned to make time for my being state every single day. A little hesitant at first, but more and more confident when the years went by. At first, I lived through some old trauma, and I took the time and the space for that, but increasingly I noticed myself become an observer in my Reiki practice.
Lots of times my practice brought peace; sometimes a kick in the ass when I needed to take a step. No matter how my daily self treatment went, every day there was time for self care, for self balancing. For time with myself, sensing my body, and being aware of my spiritual life, my connection to the earth and the Great Spirit — whatever name you like to call it. I calmed down. This change in my being state, changed my life.
The funny thing was that life now finally had the chance to come to me. Opportunities crossed my path, I had beautiful encounters with new people: it turned out that in the space of my calmer being state, beautiful things could grow. Take care of your state, and your state takes care of everything else.
Decisions and to-do’s arose from this state much more effortless than before, when I invested my time only in the functional. So this, I realized, was flow! I was aware that I laid the foundation for this by practicing Reiki on a daily basis. And I continued to do so. It hardly ever was a real effort. Rather it is something that I give myself permission to experience every day.
Being in crisis situations
In the past year, serious, life-threatening events happened in my parents’ health. The moments I got this news, shock and emotions arose in me. But also, there was the realization that I have a practice — and a community — that I can build on. Hands on. Reminding myself of the Reiki precepts. Trusting life and knowing that eventually I can be with what is.
Despite the big emotions of the moment, I continued to feel that a part of me stayed present, that I could observe. That I stayed in touch with the grounded part of myself. Take care of your state, and your state takes care of everything else.
The power of taking care of your state
My state of being (partly) stayed intact. And from here, I could stay calm, sensitive, decisive. Without hardening, without collapsing. Staying soft, but standing firm. It didn’t change the situation — and yet it did. There was space for people to help me, for example. And there was space inside of me, to listen to the doctors well, and afterwards remember what they had said.
In these moments of crisis, I could harvest what I had sown in the years before. I was able to be present with whatever presented itself, and stay whole. And because of all the time that I have spent in groups practicing Reiki, with my Reiki master and with other elder masters in the community, I was aware of this. Such abundance.
This is why I self practice daily: not for when my life is easy, but for when my life is hard. Not only the balancing quality of Reiki practice, but also my partnership with my practice brings forth a rich harvest, the ever-growing capacity to be with whatever life brings me.