Bedford II


lamppostIt is lovely to approach Bedford town centre along the River Great Ouse. I had plenty of time to notice things, like the view of the church from that bridge, or the knitting dressing the lampposts and benches. The woman I asked said it could be something to do with the Race for Life at the weekend- or just joie de vivre.

Bedford has three amateur orchestras and a chamber music society, and sufficient shops and facilities for reasonable needs all within walking distance. London is close enough by train. I put off writing this post for two days, unable to face it.

What did I expect? What would anything else look like? I was in a rush for the bus, then hot in it, and a driver shouted at me after I crossed the road too brazenly for her. I shouted back. I got to Godfrey’s house, west of the park, at the time agreed. He got it in 1970: it called to him even from the newspaper. He lives there with his male “friend”-
-Partner? he repeats, non-committally.

I sat in the large living room with its grand piano, a classical sonata of Beethoven on the stand, chatting, after we had effectively agreed to go our separate ways. So much for mentoring with the Friends Fellowship of Healing. Well, he was appointed my “mentor” a year ago, and I have not done anything to contact him, really, before today.

We went up to his healing room, and I talked of my ambivalence. There is a definite experience of warmth, and it seems little more than placebo. I do not like the showmanship, claims spoken in apparent certainty.

Do I want to exercise my compassion? That feels wrong to me, egoist, it is as if I step out of the way when healing, it is not my gift to my patient but a phenomenon which feeds and delights me as I share in it rather than give it. Though that might just be a hand-me-down idea I have picked up somewhere, not what I think at all but something shiny that seemed attractive- so I pretend to it, not recognising my own hypocrisy. Oh, I am so confused.

Why have I not been in touch? Oh, I did not like the course, or Elizabeth leading it, and Claridge House appeared stuck in the 1950s, though there is hope with its new manager. He mentions the lack of money for en-suite rooms, but it is not just the bedrooms. Feeling the need to justify myself to him, though I do not know anything I want from him or this meeting- “see what happens” is not good enough-

I explained to him about my sensitivity. I am not seeking to suppress it now. That feels like greater understanding and freedom. Justifying to myself: I am doing something worthwhile, now.

One other thing, he said something about “protection” when outside. This revolts me, actually. Outside, I am safe. There are few lost, violent souls about, more dangerous to themselves than to me, needing my compassion rather than my fear. (Acting good to myself, again?) No. No protection: I want to perceive the light and glory and beauty and darkness, I want to be Open not closed, even walking down the street.

I suppose I wanted rescued and to be told what to do, and as I did not ask for anything I have severed the link myself. He surprised me- “Can I see you again, if I feel the need?” Of course, he said- but it is I who have left him. As I had an hour before the bus, he told me the less direct and prettier route to the bus station.

Justifications are unnecessary.
I express myself female because I am transsexual.
I want to practise Reiki because I can channel healing energy, or Qi.

Well. I want to practise Reiki because it is a wonderful placebo, and I have the showmanship to carry it off. If you can fake sincerity, you have got it made. I express myself female because I am a transvestite pervert who has lost all sense of proportion. Or something.

I am fairly sure that the theory of autogynephilia is trivial. Yes, we get turned on by the thought of us female. No, this does not cause us to transition: if it did, “gender dysphoria” could have no meaning.

Some think there is that causal link, though I think the cause is likely to be the other way round. What do I do with contrary evidence?
-Blot it out of consciousness, ignore it, deny it, pretend it is not there, collapse weeping thinking of it occasionally-

Acknowledge it. It exists. It will not make me change my actions. It does not affect my situation: few cissexual folk care. What matters is my reaction to it. Is it a threat? Only if I find it so.

I have felt my hands grow warm, and I have felt warmth seemingly communicated from another’s hands, without touching. Others have valued my attention. And I want that to be the reason why I perform healing: I want it to connect to the reality of the other person.

I spoke to a man who has given several types of Healing over thirty years, and said it seems it’s just placebo. He said, “Yes, that’s about the size of it”. That shocked me. I should have asked straight out, “How do you let yourself do it, if that is all it is?” He told me of spending time with Shiatsu practitioners, and how lovely that was.

What I want is a reason for doing this. My inner rationalist should sense my hands growing warm, sense heat or coolness as I pass my right hand over someone, and use inductive reasoning to connect that to a measurable positive result for the other. It does not work that way.

Relax. It is alright. What I have instead is that I want to do this, that I like to do it, and that other people seem to like it too. It is not this amazing mystic calling, which I cannot follow without perfect certainty that it is right; it is a thing I can do if I want to. And- placebo is a powerful effect.

Snakes II

Vanity, thy name is Clare, a friend used to say. Well, I do love something beautiful round my neck.





Snakes 2

Snakes 1

P1000705I met J here a year ago, and had not seen her since. Out of the blue she texted me, and we agreed to meet here again. Good job I had my phone switched on.

This beautiful creature can prosper on two rats a month. (Yes, I meant the beautiful creature with the smaller head.) How much we have lost by becoming warm-blooded! A large snake which can dislocate its jaws to swallow a goat might only eat once that year. They need handled daily to keep them tame, and with that handling can seem friendly. Her feeder reassured me that her hissing was friendly, and I felt calm and delighted to be with her.

And with J. We had tea in the museum, then went upstairs to see the snakes and other creatures, including a six inch snail. We chatted. She has had dreadful experiences with Abrahamic religion- she found one church horrid and hypocritical in practice and especially in eschatology- but has spiritual experiences. She finds herself attuned with someone, so that (more than once) they have emailed each other at the same moment.

This emboldens me to speak of healing. No, I do not believe any particular dogma about it, but only my own experiences. For example, I hear I should attune to the Spirit-energy surrounding me, and channel healing rather than giving of myself- and I have experience of two different sensations, one of which was tiring, the other enlivening. So I do not say, the dogma is Truth, but it does fit my experience.

And I am stuck on the words, the description. It is all very well giving reiki energy for your general well-being, but how do you apply a placebo to something specific, like irritable bowel syndrome? Tell the patient that it applies. “I am fixing it with these manipulations”.

J has had Osteopathy, which she found effective, but it involves serious manipulation. He twisted her neck, and you could hear it click. I would worry that could be harmful- I would want peer-reviewed double-blind studies to verify its effectiveness, and consider possible harm- but I might find it easier to believe than fairly gentle pressure for a few seconds on a particular spot, or more gentle motion of the neck. It is this certainty thing again. I want greater certainty than I can have.

I was not giving reiki at all, for months, but recently a few times I have knelt in my ritual space and channelled Qi to open my chakras. (As good a description as any other for what I was doing.)


Fbfnd had an MRI scan, and asks alternative health practitioners for their thoughts on that. She really does believe this stuff, it is not just stage-dressing for placebo.

Thursday 24th. I have not been off Eagle’s Nest since Friday. Now I get hot hurrying over the snow that fell then, still crunchy underfoot as it has never thawed. There is a man at the bus stop with a huge dog, in jogging bottoms, a hoodie with hood pulled up, baseball cap and- a scarf over his mouth and nose. Does he want to look like a bank robber? The dog jumps up at the roadsweeper’s cart, and he holds it back, telling it off.

I treat myself to the upper deck, and he joins me at the front of the bus. Young dog, is it? Two and a half. It is an American bulldog; they do not have the same breathing problems as an English bulldog. He also has two Staffies at home, which have just had a litter. He does not breed them for money, he will have to find homes for them. This one did not cost him anything, the owner asked if he wanted a dog.

Most of the puppies were fine, but one was much smaller, and had poorly developed hind legs. They bent the wrong way. So, for a week after birth he held it and bent the legs the other way, and now it is fine. Mmm. Patience and kindness was not the first stereotype I had in mind. He moved to Marsley, which he finds so quiet, from the teeming metropolis of Zhuzhkov. He would find Landwart Magna, up the road, quieter.

I can be giggly-girly with Lizette. We hug, then sit together on the sofa in the coffee shop and she paints my nails. Even with girly types, I am usually far less physical, more intellectual. She wants people to correct her English, and English people do not. We are too reserved, and we do not want her to lose face. In Peru, there is no benefits system and you have to study and work hard to survive. So, she is more adaptable than we.

She showed her sister her living-room via Skype, and her sister told her the feng shui of it. It is important not to have clutter, especially in the corners of the room. Lizette has also spent some time with the Healing Trust in Nupton. A man there had such a calm manner, such beautiful eyes, she trusted him completely.

I can do that. I look into her eyes and tell her affirmations, and then channel Qi to her third eye chakra. People don’t believe this stuff- I don’t believe it! -and I love to do this with her. My experiences of feeling warmth come back to me, as real not impossible.

She goes to her training, I go to the supermarket. I decide to stay in girly mode for a moment, looking around me, noticing things. I divide myself. There are permissible ways of being, and I get permission or not from those around me- or imagine I do, whether they know it or not.


File:Albert-von-Keller-La-Descente-aux-Enfers-1912.jpgI have a hot bra.
-The padding is too warm for anything but winter hiking!

Actually, it is unusual. I thought my padded bras would get waterlogged in washing, and go out of shape, but they usually dry quickly, keep their shape, and are comfortable, not too warm, to wear. They even manage to look almost pretty. And, I have a lace underwired creation which manages to pull me forward, display me to my best advantage, and is (apart from the well-concealed wire) pretty gossamer. I was abashed, wearing it: it is hard to accept that my breasts might look attractive.

Kaspar Juul, spin-doctor to the Statsminister in the Danish political drama Borgen, lies about his father. He pretends that he is the son of a wealthy industrialist. He ran away after his father sexually abused him, and told him not to tell his mother as she will not understand, and will be angry with him (Kaspar). His on-off girlfriend finds out about his father’s funeral, and goes. Only the two of them are there. She reaches for his hand, and holds it.

She points out is not the funeral of a wealthy industrialist, and he snaps that he has fantasised a wealthy father. He has seen a psychiatrist about it. She says she could love him if he told her the truth, and he cannot tell her that he was abused, cannot give the reason for his hatred, rejection and lies. Watching, I think that she would understand if he did; and he is ashamed of having been abused, ashamed of being angry, of being unable to deal with it. He so needs his pretence of not caring.

I lied again last night. I found something embarrassing, so I pretended it was other than it was- and held to my lie, though I was still embarrassed, and embarrassed more at my lie. And the lie cuts me off from sympathy, because I fear mockery. And yet I imagine I could not tell the alternative therapist’s lie, “I am fixing X by a little pressure and a little pulling” which if placebo has any meaning becomes true in the telling of it, and is a valuable part of that placebo. Part of the performance.

I imagine my lie last night was transparent, as my embarrassment would show. I do not want your sympathy, because it obliges me to you- yet I delight in giving sympathy. Two things so close, a society of equals all standing up for themselves and a society of equals, all supporting each other, and the fantasy of the first stops the second from coming to be.

And my breasts can look good, with the right support, in the right light, to the right eye.

Healing II am surrounded by beauty.

That man, his face is so expressive. The frown of concentration, staring at his netbook, then the joyful grin as he gets it. I love his big, powerful hands and his broad shoulders. We said nothing, he pulled his legs in as I got up to leave the train, and there was still an encounter. Oh, and there was a wind turbine. I always love the curve of the blades.

This morning (5 January) I was thinking how I cannot do healing. There is nothing more to it than placebo. Whether reiki or one of those physical techniques, G’s thing or U’s thing, all that time learning woo to bamboozle people. Even if you do pick up some cold reading techniques, I could not feel or express belief like she did. That was a moment of complete non-communication, her certainty and my incredulity. And- it is an important part of the treatment that is placebo, the expression of the healer’s belief.

H is scared about her cataract operation next week. I am anxious and frightened and angry. Why? I toy with various possible reasons. That would fit, but it is not that. It could be that. I need to know what I am going to do. Then, after about half an hour, I think, Oh, OK. I am anxious and frightened and angry. I just am. Suddenly the feeling is there, but the emotional identification with it, the investment and the importance of it, drain away. Interesting. That could be a useful technique.

I change trains and find a far more friendly fellow passenger. Poppy touches my knee, I caress her neck. Then she rolls over and I tickle her tummy. Maria, her owner, is pleased with the attention. Poppy, whose ears might be a foot from the floor if she holds her head high, is fifteen months old so has not much more to grow. Maria’s last dog she got from the police, who kept it three weeks for the owner to pick it up, then if no-one adopted it within another three weeks would have it put to sleep. She took it to get it microchipped, and the vet said it had been microchipped already. The vet offered to change the microchip details to hers. So microchipping is not much use. It occurs to me now that the police had called the owner, who had not wanted the dog back. Poppy’s collar has a tag with Maria’s phone number.

Poppy keeps getting down and jumping up at passing passengers. Maria wants her still. I think of giving reiki to Spot, who loved being on my lap. Ah. I have not even channelled Qi to myself for weeks, it is good to be reminded. There is something there. She likes you, said Maria.
-Well, I am a lovely person.
-They are very good judges of character.

The sky was beautiful, and now it is dark the occasional light passing is beautiful. Even the concrete of New St Station is- stimulating, involving, not depressing, filled with life, practical and effective.

The train gets in. I take the steps two at a time, walk as fast as I can with my heavy case, and get to the stop just in time for the last bus. Everything is OK.

Emotional Freedom said he wanted to go to a weekend workshop and have “a 100% No Whining Space”. But- I like whining. It makes me feel better. And when I listen when others whine to me, and sympathise (which costs nothing) it makes them favourably disposed towards me. It costs me nothing, because instead of taking their pain into myself, I feel I can Earth it, like a lightning conductor. It drains away and is purified. Everyone wins.

Then again, a mutual acquaintance in a group of women had started angry blaming of another person there, and B thinks this unacceptable. B would have preferred W owning her feelings, and not blaming. Possibly it is the demanding. “I was distressed/ angry when I perceived you as” is acceptable, anything which implies my way is the only way to see the situation is not, and “You were wrong” is not. And yet- the anger comes out of hurt. Why should hurt- whining- be more acceptable than anger?

I love the suggestion that confrontation can sometimes be cleansing and cathartic, and sometimes vampiric and manipulative. So can listening and sympathy: once I went to a tribunal reps’ support group, and we talked of the problems of our clients. A woman with a strange mid-Atlantic accent heard each story, and repeated, “How awful, how awful!” I got the impression- I may be wrong- that she was getting a high out of her emotional reaction to the issues. I hated her.

B performs the emotional freedom technique, and wishes to develop as an EFT therapist. When she gets to know a client her teachers are greatly impressed with her intuition as to how to proceed. I want to experience it, and she says we need something to work on. OK, what about my fear of interactions? We sit facing each other on a thick, low branch of a tree, I look up at it as it bends upwards behind her, and she taps on the of my right palm. As she speaks, I repeat after her. Then we lock it in, she taps on my crown, forehead, face and rib cage. These are acupuncture points. I think hearing and repeating a positive statement may have value, and B’s intuition may find useful positive statements. As a therapy it has the advantage that the client can tap as the therapist tells them over Skype or even the phone. Ach, why do I need to understand how it works before accepting it? At least, it is a person paying caring attention to another, which feels nice.

It is time to go, but I do not feel finished. I tell B of my obsession with U. Well, I have not dumped on B yet. Quakers have got fed up and told me to get over it, and I am still upset. B knows U, and I am skirting round the issue, wanting to tell U’s name and frightened to. In November I was in a torment of jealousy. In December I was supposed to be performing, and I was so frightened because U was going to be in the audience that the day before, instead of rehearsing I was in hospital: I complained of chest pain and they investigated a possible heart attack. -You were heart-sick. Well, yes.

It seems to me, after the previous night’s dancing, that I am clearer that I may be angry and resentful. That was not OK. U should not have treated me like this, even if with whatever history she could not have treated me better. Is there anything I want from her now? Actually, confirmation that my own perception is right would be nice. And if she will not give me that, I will have to do it for myself.

I can at least accept my own perception, my own resentments and anger, and then- she could not have been any different- let them go. It seems I can cease to demand that U be other than she is if I can accept my own feelings, and accepting them, can let them go.

I feel so much better. I post in the order I wish, but Friday night was the dancing, this post was Saturday afternoon in the Isabella Plantation, followed by my train trip home.


 S gave me a massage. I had not had a full massage before. She massaged my arms and back, and my neck. She noticed that I was quite happy to have her hold me round the neck, so that she could easily snap it, but that I was tense: rather than relax and allow her to move my arm, I was predicting how she would move it, and moving it myself, as she wanted.

Twelve years later, I had to have my fingerprints taken for a Criminal Records check for a job. How intrusive the law can be! I had to get it done, but did not like it. The friendly policeman did it with me by the custody desk. “Just relax”, he said. Yet he understood that I just could not, having this man hold my fingers and roll them over the glass screen of the scanner. I was trying to co-operate, but I hated it so much.

File:Christhealingthesick.jpgWith friends, I can relax into a massage or bodily movement. I did this last year, and was happy to note that I could allow my friend to move my arm as he wished, without trying to anticipate him. It felt more trusting. I was also pleased to hear John state that many people have similar trust issues: he can feel them anticipating how he moves their arms. They co-operate, but do not relax. I thought it had showed me as unusually tense, it is good to hear that reaction is common enough. It is particularly difficult to relax and trust when he holds someone’s head. On “float like a butterfly” in kumite, he thinks it possible to think onesself heavy, or light.

Now Graham, who practises “Alphabiotics“, has got his treatment couch out, and a number of people are experiencing a demonstration. I would like to have a go. The couch is lower at the feet than at the head.

He tells me that my right leg is shorter than my left. Well, that is predictable, my watch is on my right wrist so probably I am left handed, and probably my left side larger. My left foot and breast are larger, and this weekend I have been looking at breasts, not out of lust but noting how they fill the bikini top, what the fit is. My fit seems fairly average. One leg being longer will prevent my pelvis from being entirely horizontal, which will in turn affect the balance of my spine. His treatment will correct that. I am always interested in the claims and practices of healers. He needs to do his thing twice, occasionally three times.

He takes my neck in his arms, and pulls my head out and to the right. And I can just about trust him to do it, and not anticipate his moves. He does it three times for me.

S’s knees had both gone. I offered my healing touch, and she accepted, though she put more trust in the painkillers. I felt my hands grow warm.

Dirty Crystals

File:Kesselstein k.jpgWitches can by spells kill livestock, make boats sink, make the grain fall prematurely from wheat and barley, and put all the local populace in fear. Fortunately, though they are powerful, they also have certain weaknesses which protect good Christian folk from them: for example, they are unable to go over a river, even by a bridge.

I don’t believe this, myself, but have heard of a woman being murdered in Inverness in 1811 because she was believed to be a witch, and African children in England recently being murdered during exorcisms. Go back further to MacPherson’s criminal law, the first printed criminal textbook in Scotland, and the writings of James VI, and you find Government belief in these “Assaults of Satan”.

There was a false belief in a dire threat, at a time when people in Britain died of famine, and at the same time a false belief in something which mitigates that threat, and protects us.

File:USDA Mineral Copper 93v3957.jpgR, who attuned me to Reiki, told me that crystals can store negative energy, but that it can be removed by washing them in running water- she suggested once a week. She also told me that a person receiving reiki should not have their hands or feet touching, for this forms a circuit for the negative energy, which is not then replaced by fresh energy from the Universe; and that when I give reiki, I should have my fingers together and not splayed, for otherwise the energy can be dissipated. I have not worn my beautiful moonstone since, simply because the chain and weight constrict my neck slightly, not from fear of negative energy.

I see the value of ritual practices which are believed to make us well, and ritual objects to use in those practices, such as crystals, and even ritual practices to take care of the ritual objects: wrap a crystal in silk velvet, or indeed wash it under running water. I am less sure of the value of negative beliefs, that harm can come from failure to use particular rituals. I have never washed that moonstone, feel some resistance to doing so now, and prefer to think of negative energy draining away into the Earth, or being carried away by the Universe, and purified.

The positive belief that things will make me well seems actually to promote my well-being. The negative belief seems to trap me in fear and obsessive ritual. Can I choose simply to ignore it?

Reiki I

My senses were alive, and I noticed everything. Or so it felt. The beauty of the Baker St tube station, which dates from 1863, and then the sunshine in Maida Vale. The vehicles, the buildings, the trees, the occasional pedestrian on this residential road. When R invites me in, she invites me to sit down, and I am not ready to do so. I explain how internally focused I am normally, and how in my senses I am now, and how disconcerting I find this. I am comfortable enough, but I find her crystal absolutely fascinating, and I stare at it. She found my failing to sit down disconcerting, and my explanation reassured her a little.

We start with the legend of Dr Mikao Usui. He learned Sanskrit in order to study the sutras, and then meditated on a mountain for twenty one days. At the end of that time, a bolt of light hit him in the forehead, he rose from his physical body and received Attunement, and the Reiki symbols and their meaning were revealed to him. He came down the mountain with the ability to heal. He stubbed his big toe, making it bleed, and healed himself; then healed the innkeeper’s daughter of her toothache. He ate a large meal without ill-effects, despite his long fast.

The problem with this legend is that there was an earlier legend, put about when Reiki was spreading in the US: that Dr Usui was a Christian, and sought to learn the healing powers Christ promised to his followers. Mark 16:18:  “they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

I do not know the symbols yet, that is level 2. As for this Attunement thing, I have already performed spiritual healing, and felt the heat; and felt heat from others. All very well to say Reiki is a different level of vibration from the life-force other healers use. And I understand there are disagreements within Reiki between those who say the hand-positions and symbol use must be precise, in the way always taught, and those who say there were always differences and the healer should use her intuition. R and I are firmly in the latter camp.

Experiencing her healing however is lovely and relaxing. I like the five precepts.

I go to stay overnight with my friend, who moved from doing body work in an alternative therapy centre to working in an office. I have the idea that I could do this and charge for it. I could set up a WordPress site called —shire Reiki, start getting hits, and get some clients. Now that is not a business plan, but it is better than my previous indecision.

The attunement itself is beautiful. It lasts five minutes, and feels like an ordination. Then I give R a treatment, which I love, and she values, though her treatment couch is too low for me and leaning over her hurts my back. Performing kneeling is possible.

Before, leaving heart-opening experiences, I have found the city dislocating and difficult. Not today. And I have been treating myself lying in bed, morning and evening, and found that beautiful. Here are the five precepts:

The secret art of inviting happiness,
The miraculous medicine for all diseases.
At least for today:
Do not be angry, 
Do not worry, 
Be grateful, 
Work with diligence, 
Be kind to people. 
Every morning and evening,
join your hands in meditation and pray with your heart.
State in your mind and chant with your mouth.
For improvement of mind and body.
Usui Reiki RyĹŤhĹŤ.
The founder,
Mikao Usui.