Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas for Extra Busy People

 Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas for Extra Busy People

How to sidestep fast food and choose tasty, healthy lunches to go

 

If you have made a choice to eat well, being prepared for lunchtime is absolutely essential, especially if you are a busy mom, or a road warrior with little time to spare. Here we take a look at a snapshot of some extremely nutritious easy lunch ideas. These options are also inexpensive and readily available or very quick to prepare.

In today’s time-poor society, many of us don’t plan ahead when it comes to our midday meal, a serious error. The key risk is being tempted to grab something quick, easy (and unhealthy!) which can easily undo our progress in the space of a few rash minutes.

When you’ve had a hectic morning in the office, or are out on the road and grabbing a proper lunch seems like a pipe dream, it can be tempting to fall back on old habits and hit a fast food chain.

easy lunches, don't do fastfood
The Hidden Costs of Fast Food

Don’t do it!

If you are still tempted, we want to help you remove those barriers…. first decide to read through some of the reasons why fast food is not cheap and also comes with a surprising range of associated negative effects.

Remind yourself of why you deserve better… https://alljustchoice.com/cheap-fastfood-is-creating-a-health-bill-you-cannot-afford-to-pay/

If you find that the rest of your sensible eating plan is going well but that lunch time fast food is undoing your good work, take inspiration from some of the ideas here today.

Being prepared is key and taking the time to plan ahead will pay dividends Click To Tweet
Especially in terms of your waistline, wallet and overall wellbeing.

Breakfast burrito

easy lunches - bursting breakfast burrito
Recipe: Bursting Breakfast Burrito

The old adage “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” is worth considering.

As a judicious alternative to Taco Bell, why not set yourself up for the day with a delicious breakfast burrito packing less than 500 calories?

This recipe is straightforward and extremely quick to prepare. With a handy stock of Paleo bread laid in, the only difficult thing about the breakfast burrito is saving it for lunchtime and managing to eat it without spillage!

 

A Word on Salads

Salads are a staple lunchtime go-to for many people. Choosing the right salad, however, can be something of a minefield. This is doubly the case if you buy your salads pre-prepared. Often, the dressing and croutons can turn this seemingly healthy option into a poisoned chalice.  Making your own doesn’t have to be daunting and with a little planning, and some great tips (below) you can easily take one with you.

If you do purchase out… make sure you look out for the following

  1. No Croutons! (or crispy wontun strips)
  2. Dressings – No low fat dressings, if in doubt with ingredients, go for a basic vinaigrette
  3. Fruit – only in very small quantities and stick with berries
  4. Nuts – Raw nuts are best

Mason Jar Salads

salad-jar-1244573_1280 (1)

Mason Jar Salads Keep Fresh All Week

Mason Jar Salads can be pre-prepared even on the weekend, and will remain fresh for the whole week. Lettuce, carrot, onion, peppers and celery packed into these versatile airtight containers, is both tasty, crunchy and convenient.  Add a little turkey or chicken for a healthy protein fix.

[mk_fancy_text color=”#ffffff” highlight_color=”#4f4f4f” highlight_opacity=”0.3″ size=”18″ line_height=”34″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]For more guidence, this awesome video shows you just what to do…. Salad in a Jar![/mk_fancy_text]

As with most ideas here today, be experimental and make the recipes your own.  We love Avocado, it adds a mouth-watering touch.  Dress to taste and, with minimum effort, you can head to work equipped with a powerhouse salad which will damage neither your weight loss goals nor your budget.

For dressing ideas, see our sauces/condiments recipes.

Kale Caesar Salad

The conventional Caesar salad is delectable but not always the most healthy choice when store bought.

If you make up a dressing at home, you can retain the flavor while easing off on the additional unrequired ingredients.

Whisk up some lemon juice, garlic, mustard (and anchovies if you enjoy them) and then mix with some extra virgin olive oil until thick. Peel some fresh Parmesan with a vegetable peeler and you can enjoy the winning taste of Caesar dressing without all the drawbacks.
Note: For a dairy free option, substitued Parmesan for Nutritional Yeast

Skip the croutons and opt instead for kale, a superfood rich in vitamin A.

Curried Tuna with Honey and Cashews

Here’s something a little different for the protein addition to your salad… If you enjoy tuna but find yourself stuck in a rut, why not add some flavor and spice courtesy of a sprinkling of curry powder to pep up the mayonnaise?

Stir it together with your tuna then add touch of honey, a few fresh pineapple chunks and some cashew nuts for a versatile tweak on a classic.

Substitute the tuna for salmon if you want a special treat.

You can easily use this as a sandwich filler (check out our paleo/vegan bread), smear it on a flatbread wrap, or spread on crackers: there is no excuse for boredom when it comes to food!

Chopped Egg Salad… with a twist!

Chopped egg salad sandwiches are boring right?

Not if you customize them!

To make further use of your paleo breads, why not go to the trouble of preparing some nutritious egg salad with some added flavor the night before?

In addition to the usual seasoning, throw in 1 tsp of mustard, a handful of chopped spring onion and a pinch of paprika.

If you are looking for something lighter still, make a lettuce wrap instead. Long Cos lettuce is perfect for this creation.

[mk_fancy_text color=”#ffffff” highlight_color=”#4f4f4f” highlight_opacity=”0.3″ size=”18″ line_height=”34″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Tip: If you are out and about, many sandwich shops/deli’s offer lettuce wraps as an alternative to their usual subs or flour tortilla wraps[/mk_fancy_text]

Chicken/Bacon & Avocado

Chicken Bacon and Avocado Stuffed Lettuce Wraps
Recipe: Chicken Bacon and Avocado Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

As a final option for your Paleo bread/lettuce wrap, this classic combination takes just a few minutes to throw together and none of us can claim that we don’t have just a few minutes to spare.

It’s really filling and contains a ton of healthy fat.  Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl and you have a delicious and very healthy filling for your wrap.

Soup

If you find yourself with plenty of vegetables in stock, especially those nearing the end of their life, a filling and tasty soup is a perfect way to use them up.

Make a health-laden soup in the evening, liquidize it and then take to work in a flask.  We have a couple of great ones in our recipes section, so be sure to check them out.

Some crusty paleo bread or Paleo flat bread goes perfectly with this and saves adding too much more carbs.

What about some lunchtime desserts/snacks etc

No easy lunch ideas would be complete without something to satisfy the slightly sweeter tooth.  You see you don’t want to feel like you are missing out… am i right?

Healthy bars

Recipe: Cashew Choc-Chip Bars - Easy Lunch Ideas
Recipe: Cashew Choc-Chip Bars

We have a great recipe for cashew choc chip bars (click the image on the left)

Coconut Lime Bars – Easy Lunch Ideas
Recipe: Coconut Lime Bars – Key Lime Heaven

Another healthy sweet treat; these coconut lime bars are AMAZING (click the image on the right)

Making use of a food processor and involving no cooking, these snacks can be made in around ten minutes and are fantastic to take with you as a supplement to your lunch.

[mk_fancy_text color=”#ffffff” highlight_color=”#4f4f4f” highlight_opacity=”0.3″ size=”18″ line_height=”34″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Tip: Pick items that are quick to make, and make multiple servings, that way… one batch and you are done for the week![/mk_fancy_text]

Warning: Be careful of grabbing bars labelled as “natural” or “healthy”. ALWAYS check the ingredients, they are usually packed with sugar and sometimes some other unwelcome surprises.

That being said, there are some good ones out there, just be careful what you pick up!

In some of our local health food stores, we’ve found a paleo snack brand called Base Culture. Paleo snacks on the go!

base culture - easy lunch ideas
Base Culture – Paleo Snacks

Raw nuts

Variety is key when it comes to maintaining a program of reasoned, healthy foods.

You can see here many of the health benefits delivered by nuts: https://alljustchoice.com/healthy-nuts/

Rather than just one large portion of something, take advantage of several different smaller servings and throw some nuts into the mix.

They’re even easy to find when you’re out and about.

Fresh Berries

And finally, one of the simplest & easy lunch ideas, a handful of fresh berries!  Especially when in season, they can add a massive taste explosion for your lunchbox.

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and my personal favorite, raspberries.  I remember growing up on the farm in the UK, being able to pick them straight from the bush and eating them that fresh 🙂

Just grab whatever berries you have to hand or are available at your local deli/health food store, and munch away.

So… now it’s your turn!

We’d love to hear your easy lunch ideas, either whilst out and about or that you make to take with you.  Let us know in the comments area below.

1 Minute Budget Help Video to Improve Your Finances

“Budget First Spend Later” is a 1 minute budget help video highlighting a common mistake and explaining how to instantly improve your finances.

I will share my personal strategies to help you improve and maintain your financial health for life Click To Tweet

If you want to start making some real changes in your financial life and  GET FINANCIALLY FIT  then ask yourself one question…What is stopping me doing this today?

 

 

The key to improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the previous 2 steps, before you continue with this article.

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2


Improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

To have choice

In “Step 1″ I mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.

Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending

In this post, we are looking at the 3rd phrase, To Have Choice – (where we spend our money)

Grasping this idea, is one of the most single most freeing things you can do for yourself and your financial health situation.  Take your “choice” back when it comes to finances & spending.

I have personally found it invaluable and see the amazing effect it has on others, as they get to grips with the concept and implement it over time.  The truth is, you can have most anything you want, but consciously knowing what you REALLY want is key.  The choices you then make come from a more balanced place.

Let’s face it, it is rare, unless you are in the top 1-5% financially, that you can have everything!  Having to make choices is inevitable, what I want to be sure of is that we FEEL we really have a choice.  That’s the freedom side. Having choice is aligned very closely to peoples idea of happiness, for many it’s seen as rite! Often, particularly with financial decisions, we feel bound to take a particular path.  We feel there is no choice!

Some things we want are pure fantasy right ?  Some things are a necessity, I HAVE to have it/do it/spend it.  NO! I want to share with you an example from my own life.  One which shaped a number of decisions I’ve made since, and not just in my financial health planning.

Say hello to your inner child

Children's financial health
Start financial health checks at a young age

I’ll talk about my “inner child” here.  It’s a concept a number of people are familiar with, in this case it’s that little part of you that says “I want xxxxxx“.  I’d always tried to quiet that voice, to shut it up or ignore it, saying, “you can’t have that!”, “don’t be ridiculous!”, “how can we afford that!” etc etc etc.  What I found was that voice just got stronger, “I really want xxxxxx” or “I’ve just got to have xxxxxx“, and on and on, the cycle went.  I would feel dissatisfied, I never had enough, life wasn’t “fair”.  Any of this sound familiar ?  The more I tried to push that voice down the more I would want to do whatever “it” was, and the more dissatisfied I became.  I had to break the cycle.

When it happened for me, it was a revelation, and I’ve been grateful for it every since.  The concept was introduced to me by my Guru, in the UK, about 8 or so years ago.  I kept saying “I really want an Aston Martin DB9”,  I had pictures of it on my computer wallpaper, I knew the stats, I was even upset when I heard they TRASHED 6 or so of them making the remake of the Bond film – Casino Royale.  They could have given me just one of them!  Although I had this dream, it didn’t make me happy, I didn’t believe I would really ever be able to get it.  I DIDN’T HAVE THE CHOICE.

My guru challenged me to fully accept the desires my inner child had.  To “work with it” to help it FULLY investigate the actuality of having an Aston Martin.  I was uncomfortable with this approach at first, but I went with it.  I truly looked into what it would take to have one.  What would it cost, insurance, purchase, lease costs, fuel, maintenance etc.  I got quite excited, I was taking this seriously and you know, it turned out I COULD have an Aston Martin. It did come with some choices. However, even before making any decisions, I noticed something…

My desire to have an Aston Martin had diminished significantly

The more of a possibility it became, the less strongly I felt about getting one.  To this day, I still like the idea of owning the prestigious Aston, but I am totally at peace with whether I have one, or not.  In fact, I would go as far as to say I rarely think about getting one.

Now I had a choice… I could actively choose one thing over another.  Once I was fully aware of all the facts, the need diminished, I could make a decision I would be at peace with.

The other thing that happened at the time, was I realized I no longer resented the things I felt were holding me back.  I was no longer trapped by the life I had, by the restrictions I had felt were placed on me.  It became clear, although I could have had the car, I would have to sell the house & live in the car. The house was our family home, I love my family, therefore (and this is important) as my desire had subsided, I could fully understand and enjoy the life I already had. No resentment, with full ownership for the choices I made.

financial health is freedomI have reminded myself about this example many times in my life, and eventually it becomes an ingrained attitude.  Your car is off the road, you feel like you have no choice but to spend all this money to get it fixed. Do you feel angry? “NOW I have to spend $$$$ getting this car fixed.”  Truth is you don’t.  You can not get the car fixed! You can walk, take public transport, ask friends for a ride.  But you want the convenience of driving yourself… so now you WANT to get the car fixed.  There is a huge difference, a difference in how you feel.

The multi pot budgeting approach, then helps further with this concept.  You put money away for things you need/want and are a priority for you.  Then when they happen, you have ALREADY made the choice to spend the money, after all, you saved specifically for this situation.  Even less stress.

In summary

  1. You always have choice, you just have to be at peace with the outcome
  2. Always pay attention to your inner child, ignore it at your peril
  3. My Multi pot budget approach is built on choice, on understanding what is important to you & then working to provide it

The History and benefits of Reiki explained in five minutes

The History and benefits of Reiki explained in five minutes

get-reiki benefits of reikiA number of people have requested more information about the history and  benefits of Reiki, so I felt it would be useful to include the text I was given when I took my first Reiki class and received my level 1 attunement.  There is a lot of background here, but it gives a really good feel for where Reiki originated from, what it can do, and how it came to its current form.  It also addresses some of the more controversial matters around the cost of Reiki attunements.  These are just facts as I had them delivered to me, so please take them as such.

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…

The History and benefits of Reiki

There are two different stories surrounding the history of Reiki. The first story and the one that is mentioned most commonly in the books available on Reiki portray Dr. Mikao Usui as a Christian. The second story claims the Dr. Usui was in fact a Buddhist Monk.

 

Dr. Mikao Usui

Dr Usui - History of Reiki -benefits of reiki Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan on August 15, 1865. The more common story about Dr. Usui states that he was the Principal of Doshisha University, a Christian university near Kyoto in Japan. It says that one of his students asked him about healing and why people could no longer heal the way Jesus could. As he could not answer the question, he resigned from the university and started out on his quest for healing. He is supposed to have travelled to Chicago where he studied for 7 years and received a degree in technology.

A letter from Doshisha University in Japan where Dr. Usui is supposed to have taught and a letter from Chicago University (Divinity School) both show that they have no knowledge of any Mikao Usui having either taught or studied at either establishment. In fact the University of Chicago did not even exist in the time when Dr. Usui was thought to have studied there. It is thought that Mrs. Hawayo Takata believed that if she introduced Dr. Usui as a Buddhist monk during the 1940’s then no-one would be interested in Reiki as the visions of Pearl Harbour were still fresh in the memories of the American people.

The other Story that has been verified to some extent and is more plausible is that Dr. Usui was interested in healing and the life of Buddha. He wondered why Buddha and his disciples could heal physical illness and why this power had been lost.

Dr. Usui made it his life’s work to rediscover how to heal the physical body. He started by visiting various Buddhist temples to ask the monks if they knew how to heal the physical body. Invariably the answer was a negative one. They were concentrating on the mind, as it is the belief of Buddhists that all disease comes from the mind first.

One of the monks of a Zen monastery he approached told Dr. Usui that they no longer knew how to heal the body. They used to, but this had been lost over the years through disuse. The monk was also interested in healing and he invited Dr. Usui to study with them and in so doing, granted him access to their secret library. In order to study these manuscripts Dr. Usui eventually had to learn Sanskrit. It was in the Indian Sutras, written in Sanskrit that he found part of his answer. Dr. Usui discovered a formula that would allow him to contact a higher power in his meditation.

Dr. Usui decided to go to the holy mountain of Kurama to fast and meditate for a period of 21 days. Dr. Usui sat on top of the mountain with 21 stones in front of him. Every day at dawn he would throw another stone away and spend the rest of the day in deep meditation. On the twenty first day he threw the last stone away and shortly afterwards saw a very bright light in the horizon that was coming straight at him. He realised that this light contained a message and he was about to receive what he had been looking for all of his life. The light was incredibly strong and he realised that in order for him to receive the instructions the light would have to strike him, he knew that as the light was so powerful it might even be too much for him and it might have killed him. Dr. Usui had a choice of whether of not he wanted to accept the light. He decided to receive the light and accept whatever may happen to him, he had no idea of the benefits of Reiki that were to come.

The light Struck Dr. Usui on his third eye and knocked him unconscious for some time. During this period of unconsciousness Dr. Usui had an out of body experience and was shown a bubble of light with various symbols in them. He memorised the symbols and as he did so he received an attunement from the light so that he was able to use the symbols. This is how Dr. Usui was initiated to Reiki.

When Dr. Usui regained consciousness he was full of energy even though he had not eaten for the past 21 days. He set off to go back to the monastery and as he came down the mountain he tripped and his toe started to bleed. Instinctively he put his hands around the toe, the bleeding stopped and the pain went away. He knew then that he had received some healing powers with this first experience of the benefits of Reiki. On his way back he had a full meal, which is something you simply cannot do after fasting for 21 days. The meal caused no adverse effects on him whatsoever. During his meal the innkeeper’s daughter who had a very bad toothache was attending him. Dr. Usui felt that he could help her and so placed his hands near her jaw where the pain was. After only a few minutes the pain had gone.

Reiki treatment - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiBack at the monastery, he discovered that the abbot was in bed crippled with Arthritis. He proceeded to relate his experience and at the same time successfully treated his friend’s problem.

Dr. Usui then spent the next 7 years taking care of sick people in the slums of Tokyo. Unfortunately he noticed some of the beggars that, although cured of physical illness, had returned to a life of begging. He spoke to many of these beggars and came to realise that for these people the life here was far easier than the life in the mainstream society where they had the worry of money for paying bills etc. Dr. Usui had realised his mistake and that the person receiving healing must ask for it and that there must be an exchange of energy. This can be money, goods, work or anything really. Without the person asking for healing or exchanging energy he believed the healing would not work.

After this realisation, Dr. Usui went around Japan and looked for people who wanted to be healed. He practiced and taught the benefits of Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder of his life. Before his death on 9 March 1926, he gave the master  Reiki attunement to 16 teachers, one of whom was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.

The Emperor of Japan heavily decorated Dr. Usui; he is buried at Saihoji temple in the Toyotama district of Tokyo. On the following pages is a translation in English from the inscription on Usui’s Memorial –

 

“Someone who studies hard (i.e. practices Reiki meditation) and works assiduously to improve body and mind for the sake of becoming a better person is called “a man of great spirit.” People who use that Great Spirit for a social purpose, that is, to teach the right way to many people and do collective good, are called “teachers.” Dr. Usui was one such teacher. He taught the Reiki of the universe (universal energy). Countless people came to him and asked him to teach them the great way of Reiki and to heal them.

Dr. Usui was born in the first year of the Keio period, called Keio Gunnen, on August 15th (1864). His first name was Mikaomi and his other name is pronounced Gyoho (or Kyoho). He was born in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture. His ancestor’s name is Tsunetane Chiba. His father’s name was Uzaemon. His mother’s family name was Kawaai. From what is known, he was a talented and hard-working student. As an adult he travelled to several Western countries and China to study, worked arduously, but did at point run into some bad luck. However he didn’t give up and trained himself arduously.

One day he went to Mount Kurama on a 21-day retreat to fast and meditate. At the end of this period he suddenly felt the great Reiki energy at the top of his head, which led to the Reiki healing system. He first used Reiki on himself and then tried it on his family. Since it worked well for various ailments, he decided to share this knowledge with the public at large. He opened a clinic in Harajuku, Aoyama Tokyo—in April of the 11th year of the Taisho period (in 1921). He not only gave treatment to countless patients, some of whom had come from far and wide, but he also hosted workshops to spread his knowledge. In September of the twelfth year of the Taisho period (1923), the devastating Kanto earthquake shook Tokyo. Thousands were killed, injured, or became sick in its aftermath. Dr. Usui grieved for his people, but he also took Reiki to the devastated city and used its healing powers on the surviving victims. His clinic soon became too small to handle the throng of patients, so in February of the 14th year of the Taisho period (1924), he built a new one outside Tokyo in Nakano. His fame spread quickly all over Japan and invitations to distant towns and villages started coming in. Once he went to Kure, another time to Hiroshima prefecture, then to Saga prefecture and Fukuyama.

It was during his stay in Fukuyama that he was hit by a fatal stroke on March 9th, of the fifteenth year of the Taisho period (1926). He was 62 years of age. Dr. Usui had a wife named Sadako; her maiden name was Suzuki. They had a son and a daughter. The son, Fuji Usui took over the family business after Dr. Usui’s passing.

Dr. Usui was a very warm, simple and humble person. He was physically healthy and well proportioned. He never showed off and always had a smile on his face; he was also very courageous in the face of adversity. He was, at the same time, a very cautious person. His talents were many. He liked to read, and his knowledge of medicine, psychology, fortune telling and theology of religions around the world was vast. This life-long habit of studying and gathering information certainly helped pave the way to perceiving and understanding Reiki. (I think this refers to his experience on Mount Kurama). Reiki therapy not only heals diseases, but also amplifies innate abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy, and thus helps achieve happiness. To teach this to others you should follow the five principles of the Meiji Emperor and contemplate them in your heart.

They should be spoken daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

1) Don’t get angry today.
2) Don’t worry today.
3) Be grateful today.
4) Work hard today (meditative practice).
5) Be kind to others today.

The ultimate goal is to understand the ancient secret method for gaining happiness (Reiki) and thereby discover an all-purpose cure for many ailments. If these principles are followed you will achieve the great tranquil mind of the ancient sages. To begin spreading the Reiki system, it is important to start from a place close to you (yourself), don’t start from something distant such as philosophy or logic.

Sit still and in silence every morning and every evening with your hands folded in the “Ghasso” or “Namaste”. Follow the great principles, and be clean and quiet. Work on your heart and do things from the quiet space inside of you. Anyone can access Reiki, because it begins within yourself!

Philosophical paradigms are changing the world round. If  the benefits of Reiki can be spread throughout the world it will touch the human heart and the morals of society. It will be helpful for many people, and will not only heal disease, but also the Earth as a whole. Over 2000 people learned Reiki from Dr. Usui. More learned it from his senior disciples, and they carried Reiki even further. Even now after Dr. Usui’s pass­ing, Reiki will spread far and wide for a long time to come. It is a universal blessing to have received Reiki from Dr. Usui and to be able to pass it on to others. Many of Dr. Usui’s students converged to build this memorial here at Saihoji Temple in the Toyotama district.

I was asked to write these words to help keep his great work alive. I deeply appreciate his work and I would like to say to all of his disciples that 1 am honoured to have been chosen for this task. May many understand what a great service Dr. Usui did to the world.”

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…

 

You will probably have noticed a difference in the spelling of Dr. Usui’s forename in the translation – Mikaomi as opposed to Mikao. These are effectively the same name in Japanese; it’s simply the case that Mikaomi is a more literal western translation of Usui’s forename. Everybody has always used Mikao and so this is the most common pronunciation of his name.

 

Dr. Hayashi

Dr Hayashi - History of Reiki - benefits of reikiDr. Hayashi (1878 – 1941), a retired naval officer, was interested in Dr. Usui’s work. Before his death, Dr. Usui initiated Dr. Hayashi as a Reiki Master in 1925 at the age of 47.

Dr. Hayashi is responsible for breaking Reiki into three degrees and setting up new hand positions. Up to that time, Reiki was given in a series of attunements and could be given in a very short period of time (Dr. Usui himself was given Reiki in one powerful attunement). Dr. Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, and kept detailed records of the treatments given. His clinic consisted of a reception room and a large room with 8 couches and 16 practitioners working (2 per patient). The practitioners worked there from 7 to 12.00 and did house calls after this till 7 p.m. Dr. Hayashi designed the system of hand positions taught during the first degree and their initiation procedures.

One of Hayashi’s students was a lady called Hawayo Takata. Hayashi forced his own death by mentally rupturing the arteries to his heart on May 10, 1941. During his life, Dr. Hayashi initiated 13 masters (including his wife).

 

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…

 

Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiHawayo Takata was born on 24 December 1900 in Kauai, one of the Hawaii islands. She was of Japanese origin and her father worked in a local sugar plantation. She married Saichi Takata who was the bookkeeper of the sugar plantation, where she eventually worked herself. Her husband died in October 1930 at the age of thirty-four leaving his wife and two children. Takata took over the keeping of the family and eventually suffered from a nervous breakdown, abdominal pains and lung problems.

When her sister died, she went to Japan where her parents lived, to inform them of the loss of their daughter. Whilst there, she went to hospital and was diagnosed with a terminal illness and rushed for surgery.

Whilst waiting for the surgeon, she is supposed to have heard a voice that said, “The operation is not necessary.” She wondered if she was dreaming but realised that she was fully awake. The voice once again repeated, “The operation is not necessary.” Not knowing what to do, she decided to ask the doctor if there was another way. To the surprise of the staff in the operating theatre, she got off the operating table and looked for the surgeon and asked him if he thought there might be another way to get rid of her problems rather than operate on them. The doctor told her about Hayashi’s clinic.

She underwent a course of treatments at Hayashi’s clinic. Just by laying their hands on her, the Reiki practitioners described her symptoms accurately. This impressed Takata and gave her the confidence to go ahead with the treatment. She was curious about the heat she received whilst the two practitioners were treating her and thought that they may be using some heating apparatus. She looked under the couch for it and found nothing. Then she grabbed one of the practitioners’ sleeves thinking that some heating equipment was hidden there. The startled practitioner laughed at her when she explained what she was looking for. He told her about Reiki and how it worked.

As she progressed with her daily treatment, her condition got progressively better. She decided that she also would like to learn Reiki. In a country where man was king and Japanese pride was high, she was told that Reiki should stay in Japan and that she could not be initiated. Takata was a stubborn person who did not take no for an answer. She went to her surgeon and asked him for a letter confirming that she was sick and needed Reiki daily. Eventually Dr. Hayashi was impressed with Takata’s persistence and initiated her in First Degree Reiki in the spring of 1936. She was initiated in the Second Degree in 1937.

She went back to Hawaii in the summer of 1937 and invited Dr. Hayashi’s daughter over. She knew that Dr. Hayashi would never permit his daughter to travel alone and that there was a good chance that he would come with her and possibly initiate her into a Grand Master. She was initiated as a Master on February 21, 1938. Hayashi registered her Masters’ Certificate at Honolulu and gave her the rights to practice and teach in the United States (only). Her Reiki Masters’ certificate shows her as being a Master (not a Grand Master).

Between 1970 and her death on 11 December 1980, Mrs. Takata initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. These twenty-two are listed below –

George ArakiDorothy Baba (deceased)
Barbara McCulloughMary McFadyen
Beth GrayJohn Gray
Ursula BaylowRick Bockner
Paul MitchellIris Ishikura (deceased)
Barbara Weber RayBethel Phaigh (deceased)
Ethel LombardHarry Kuboi
Wanja TwanPatricia Ewing
Virginia SamdahlShinobu Saito
Takata’s SisterBarbara Brown
Phyllis FurumotoFran Brown

 

benefits of reikiPhyllis Furumoto

Phyllis Furumoto is Takata’s granddaughter. Prior to her death, Takata asked Phyllis if she wanted to become the new Grand Master. Phyllis at the time turned the offer down. Takata then asked Barbara Ray to become the new Grand Master. Barbara accepted. Phyllis subsequently changed her mind and Takata also initiated her as the new Grand Master without telling Barbara Ray. As you can imagine, this has caused some friction over the years.

 

Barbara Ray and the Radiance Technique

Barbara Ray has since then formed her own system of healing and benefits of Reiki. This was originally called the A.I.R.A (American International Reiki Association”. This has since been renamed to “The Radiance Technique”. Barbara has added 4 new degrees to the Reiki natural system of healing, taking the benefits of Reiki to another level.

 

Virginia Samdahl

Virginia Samdahl was the first Occidental Reiki master. Takata initiated her in 1974.

 

The Reiki Alliance

The Alliance was formed by a group of Reiki Masters in May 1983. It has a set of guidelines on how Reiki should be taught. Any Reiki Master can apply for membership. The Alliance itself does not teach Reiki. It recognises independent Reiki Masters.

 

Usui Shiki Ryoho – The Usui System of Natural Healing

The word Reiki in Japan is used to describe any system of healing. Dr. Usui’s method of healing is called “The Usui System of Natural Healing” or “Usui Shiki Ryoho”.

Since Dr. Usui, Dr. Hayashi or Takata did not leave any written records; we rely on what was passed on from Master to students as being the way Reiki was always taught. Reiki originally did not used to be so structured. Dr. Usui himself received Reiki in one powerful attunement and initiated his students to the benefits of Reiki over a short period of time. The length of time that you now have to wait between each level has been introduced by the Alliance. Mrs. Takata herself often initiated her students to Reiki 1 and 2 during the same day.

Dr. Usui after his experience with the beggars in the slums of Tokyo added the idea that one needs to give something in exchange for the benefits of  Reiki. This could be money, work or whatever depending on the means of the person receiving. Dr. Hayashi introduced the hand position and Takata added the fee structure.

Many new Masters have made changes to the way they teach Reiki. Some of these changes are beneficial some are not. Barbara Ray for example introduced 4 new levels to Reiki. Her students are no longer given the name of the secret symbols during their initiations. She changed the name Reiki to Radiance techniques.

 

The Origin and further benefits of Reiki

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a form of healing that comes to us from Tibet. “The Healing Buddha” is a 2500-year-old book that describes a form of healing very similar to Reiki. The benefits of Reiki are passed on from Master to student. Unless it is passed on it will be lost, this unfortunately is what happened. It was not until late 1800 that Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered Reiki. Reiki is a very simple technique that may be learnt by anybody.

reiki-kangi3 - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiREI – Spiritual Wisdom

The direct translation of Rei from a Japanese dictionary is “Ghost”.

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words best translated as ‘Sharp or Clever spirit’ REI means ‘The higher intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe’.

Rei is sometimes translated into Universal. The meaning of Universal in this context signifies Supernatural Knowledge or Spiritual Consciousness. This wisdom comes from the Higher Self. Rei is intelligent it understands everything. It knows the cause of problems and has the knowledge to deal with them.

KI – The Life Force

The direct translation of KI from a Japanese dictionary is Vapour or Mist.

Ki is the Japanese word for Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Mana in Hawaiian. It has also been called, Odic force, Orgone, and Bioplasma etc.

Ki is the life energy often called Universal Life Force. It is a force that animates all things. All creatures, objects or living things have this life force. The life force flows inside and outside all living things. This is what allows us to get up in the morning and work, play and function as human beings. When this life force becomes low, we feel run down and illness may set in. When this life force flows freely, we are much less likely to get sick. Ki animates everything we do; it is responsible for our emotions, dreams and daily performance.

Practitioners of Martial arts understand this life force. It has been recognised for at least 4,000 years as it was mentioned in the ‘Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine’, which lists thirty-two different kinds of Chi. Perhaps the most popular and well-known Martial Art to employ the use of Ki is Aikido with literally means ‘The way of coming into harmony using the forces of nature and the universe.’

Spiritually Guided Life Force Energy

Reiki is intelligent. It is guided by the consciousness called Rei. The practitioner can do very little to influence this energy.

 

The $10,000.00 Fee

As previously mentioned, Mrs Takata introduced this around 1970. She believed that Japanese people have different values from ours. They work for the same company most of their lives and have a very high set of values that may not be present in the Western mindset. She wondered how to create this respect from would be Western Reiki Masters. She decided that one thing Westerners respected was money and fixed a fee of $300 for Reiki 1, $800 for Reiki 2 and $10,000 for Reiki 3.

These fees are still charged by Alliance Reiki Masters. Independent teachers are not bound by this code of conduct and can charge lower fees. This in turn will mean more Masters become available. This will contribute to more people learning Reiki and a healthier planet with more people taking their health into their own hands.

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…

 

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2

As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1 before you continue with this article.


Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2

In “Step 1” mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.

Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending

In this post, we are looking at the 2nd phrase, The ability to be open and honest – (with my family).

Open & Honest

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about suddenly going from keeping a closed book on your finances to proudly standing on top of a podium in your busiest mall, announcing to the world your latest financial health check report.  That’s a little too open, even for me.   That said, I gave the subtext in the phrase “The ability to be open and honest” as “with my family“, which is true for me, but there is more to it than that.

We’ve already covered being honest with yourself , in the first article (link is at the top of this post), I talked about finding out the reality of your current financial health, as we covered, it’s not an easy step.

Who to be honest with ?

I think the simplest answer is ideally anyone who has influence over the spending of, or allocating of a budget category.  For example, in the “full awareness” step, if you are jointly responsible for the household budget (ie, flatmate, spouse or significant over) then it’s pretty much everything.  I wholeheartedly advocate a completely open financial book for you and your significant other.

If you share any kind of dwelling, and some of the bills/budget with your cohabitants, then it’s openness about all of those specific areas which you share or take joint responsibility for.

Kids is a little trickier, you need to choose the right time to introduce financial planning help, but once you do, again, learn to open up with them about any budget areas they can have an influence in.  Also to understand the full picture of your financial position, it can help them understand what they can do to help or get involved.

For example, when we brought together our families, we sat down with all of our teenage children in one of our family meetings (another useful topic in a parenting section we may start to include), we discussed ways in which as a family we can reduce our spend.  We were honest about our financial health situation and what issues we faced, from our perspective.  Then asked the kids what their perspective was, what issues they saw, and what goals they wanted.

We looked at categories such as Groceries, TV/Internet/Phone, Cell Phones, Electric/Water etc, anything that we all had use of or influence over.  We made decisions as a family, that EVERYONE could understand and get behind.  We reduced our cable TV monthly costs, monthly grocery budget, increased awareness regarding electricity usage (which had both a financial and importantly environmental impact).  Actually resulted in over $400 per month saving on our monthly outgoings.

Whats so important here, is that the conversations around these topics, were not only carried out with openness and honesty, they were also inclusive.

The bottom line

Being open to a financial analysis can reduce your financial stress.  The old adage, A problem shared is a problem halved, rings true here, but its much more than that.  Being open ensures your own honesty, it enables others to understand and get on board with any changes that are required to achieve our goals.  It ensures accountability, once you have shared your goals and commitments with someone else, you are much more likely to stick to it and make it happen.  Essentially you are putting your positive intent out there, here’s my current situation and here’s what I want to do differently.

Whatever your current financial situation, you can make a difference to your financial health and reduce stress.  It can start now, it’s all just choice.

 

Types of Budgeting: The Multi-Pot Approach

Forget Other complex Types of Budgeting and keep it simple

I mentioned on Facebook, that I would put together a post on my Multi-pot Budgeting approach, so here it is.

This approach is one of the cornerstones of the budgeting system I have put in place for myself, my family and others over the last 7-8 years.  It requires a some thought, some discipline and is how I ensure I have money for when non-monthly bills hit.

Some groundwork

Budgeting 1-0-1

Budgeting is pretty standard and straight forward right ?  It’s a well known approach.

  1. Know what you have (see my post on Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1)
  2. Know what you need
  3. Allocate a weekly/monthly amount for those category,
  4. Either save it until you need it, or spend it if its in the “living expenses” budget
  5. Stick to your budget!

piggy-bank-Types of budgetingI like to split budgeting into 2 different types.

The first budget type, is the standard monthly “living expenses”, stuff that you KNOW you will spend every month. Gas, Groceries, Utility Bills, Snacks, Drinks, Eating out etc.   This takes up a large chunk of most incomes.

The second budget type, my “budget pots” are the items you need to budget for on a 2 to 12 month or longer basis.  Categories that don’t come up each month.  Some will have known dates/intervals, others will occur randomly depending on other factors, but you know they will happen.  For example, car maintenance, household repairs/maintenance, education etc.

The latter, is the area that you can more easily implement the multi-pot approach.  It’s the budget type that I will focus on here for my examples.  It can be applied to “living expenses” but not as easily.

Lets get started….

We’ll use an example to take us through the key principles.  We’ll just use 3 budget categories for illustration…

  1. Car Maintenance
  2. Household Maintenance
  3. Birthdays/Gifts

I will also use easy numbers for the budget, so the actual values are unlikely to be realistic for your budgetary needs.

We’ll begin by looking at each category, how much we need for a year, and how much we need to put into the pots each month to achieve that goal.

Annual Budget
Multipot-1-Types of budgeting

For our purposes, lets say that we have an account that has a Zero balance to begin with.

On month 1, we deposit our monthly budget amount of $225.00, the same on month 2, 3 etc

That money builds up, and after month 3 we have a total in our account of $675 and it keeps going up (provided we don’t need to spend it).

Rolling Budget Totals
Multipot-2 copy-Types of budgeting
Nothing new about that, so what am going on about ?

My big focus on budgeting is reducing stress, for better health.  Having money allocated, knowing what its for is all part of reducing that stress, as is how to spend it and the mentality around doing that.

Time for some expense

Types of budgetingWhat happens when you need to spend money on one of the categories… back to our example.

We get to month 2 (we have $450 in our account), and we have a leak in the bathroom.  Plumbers are expensive, but it’s got to be fixed.

  • Plumber comes and goes, leak fixed but we had a $300 bill.
  • Good news, we have a household maintenance budget.
  • Bad news, the home maintenance budget pot only has $150 in it
  • Good new, overall we have $450 in the budget account, so at least we can pay the plumber

Now we have paid the plumber, lets take a look at our budget “sheet”…

Post Plumbing Payment Budget Sheet
Multipot-3 copy-Types of budgeting

In the table above, our household maintenance, shows as $150 over budget. Overall the total of our budget pots is still $150 to the positive.  For many people this image is where we feel we have failed, we are over budget, even in just one pot, often it makes us feel like giving up.  But not for me, not when you change your thinking.

If we look at the overall Annual Budget in the image below.

Annual Budget Sheet
Multipot-4 copy-Types of budgeting

The annual budget for Household spend showing $600 still available.  When we are looking at our budget “pots”, we need to consider what we have available in our account now, and, this is IMPORTANT, our annual budget.

There is the issue that if everything hits at once, you may not have enough in the budget pot to cover off the immediate bill, but once you have been running the system for around 6 months, it will start to really come into its own.

I want to fast forward 6 months, and add some expenses to the pot so you can see the overall effect.

Multipot-5 copy-Types of budgeting

 

In Summary

8 Months in and the budget pot is performing as planned (no surprise for an example right), we have paid the expenses that we have needed and have some left over.  We see a scary moment in month 4, where our budget pot was wiped out, and that can be stressful.  Although I have a secret weapon for that kind of situation, but that’s the subject of another blog post to come.

You can see that pots effectively “borrow” from the overall budget if they need to, as its unlikely that all your budget pots will have a major expense at the same time.  The more budget pots you have, and the larger the amount you save each month, the less the chance of you getting to the month 4 situation.

There are times, as is shown in month four, where we had a spend of $600 in one month, which wiped out the budget account.  Ultimately the overall budget WAS able to cope.  In his post about our programs (link to Joe’s post) and his take on them, as my son says his experience when starting up the budget pots was pretty difficult.  For the 1st 3 months, every time Joe put some money into his account, he would have something crop up that would wipe it out.  He does say that at least he could pay for the expenses he had.  Wa are 12 months in, and Joe has a VERY healthy budget account, that can now afford almost anything that could hit him.  He’s 18 and has an exceptional financial start.

Some notes on the example, its much more simplified that the full budget approach I have in place, but the principle is the same.
Just for reference, we now have built up to around 60 “budget pots”, this gives incredible flexibility, but starting with around 10-15 is a good beginning, you can add as you have more money available for allocating.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts/comments on this approach, and would be happy to answer any questions you have on it and other areas, so please drop me a comment in the section below