My offering Reiki to you is not fly-by-night proposition. I am a Reiki master who has had energy work in my life for 15+ years. I have continued to learn, train, and explore. Ever since Reiki transformed my body and spirit by releasing me from a case of Bell’s Palsy, I have known this particular form of healing energy was part of my dao, my dharma, my path.
I was sixteen years old and a longstanding student at Massapoag Martial Arts. One evening an adult classmate invited a healer friend of his to spend an hour with our class. We shifted upstairs to a dingy classroom, learned the basics of chakras and Reiki, laid each other out on 6 foot folding tables, and dove right into “doing” Reiki. As I dangled a pendant over the chest of a classmate, the Reiki teacher said to me, “You are clearly an old soul.” I had never heard that kind of comment, received that kind of feedback, and for some reason, I found myself beaming. Unsure how to integrate this esoteric experience with my teenage East Coast life, I filed it away.
Several years later, I returned from six months living abroad with a virulent but non-specific illness. Over a period of months I was battered with extremely low energy, I lost 10 pounds (too much for a skinny guy), I broke out in hives, and I was admitted to the ER with a 104 degree fever. A battery of blood tests and multiple sessions with a world-renowned infectious diseases specialist all turned up nothing.
The last straw was when I was suddenly stricken with Bell’s Palsy. Over a 24 hour period, the entire left side of my face became paralyzed. I was unable to raise my eyebrows or smile straight and my tongue was numb. While Bell’s is not that uncommon, I had never heard of it. Western doctors are unclear on the cause, and treat it only with steroids. I was terrified.
Desperate, I recalled my Reiki experience of years before. I opened the Yellow Pages (remember those?!) and found a Reiki practitioner 45 minutes away in suburban Massachusetts. Luckily, Vi Bobola turned our to be a brilliant healer. During my second session with her, I began sobbing uncontrollably. Together, we identified that there was a profound Anger inside me that I had been disconnected from. The Reiki energy soothed me even as it burned away the rage. Within a week, my Bell’s Palsy had begun to clear. I was a believer.
My Own Training
It would be a few more years before I had the courage to pursue my own Reiki training. On a Passover/Easter visit home. I returned to Vi’s studio, and had the honor of receiving my Reiki 1 attunement in a private weekend-long training by her and a Master student under her tutelage. I immediately began offering Reiki periodically to friends and family. But timidly, at first.
Upon moving to San Francisco, my alternative medicine world began to open up. I found my way to Anna Dorian’s Vibrant Reiki, and received my Reiki 2 attunement. My first year at Burning Man, I offered a group Reiki workshop that was well-received by 30+ people. Suddenly, I was stepping into my own power as a healer. I began attending Reiki shares regularly, and met other healers.
For my Reiki Master training, I carefully selected Bronwyn Michaelis of Holistic Medical Arts, because her healing manner reflected many of the ways I wish to practice. As part of Master training, one has to give and receive at least 25 sessions, which I did. I kept detailed notes on my experiences, and could feel a deep amplification of my connection to the Reiki and growing confidence that this was part of my path.
In San Francisco I had the joy of working in an office where esoteric skills were welcome, and once I appeared on the new-hire bingo game as “Someone in the office is a Reiki Master,” Thursday afternoon Reiki sessions became commonplace. It was during this time that I first began to work with clients with serious acute injuries such as broken backs and collarbones. Each time, even for those dubious about energy work, Reiki helped provide ease, realization, and accelerated healing.
This year, I had the unique honor or performing Reiki in pre-op at a Boston hospital, minutes before my father was wheeled in for extensive open-heart surgery. I actually did joint Reiki with a trained nurse; Brigham and Women’s has a Reiki program, joining a cadre of innovative hospitals nationwide including this modality in their integrative medicine programs.
Each time I give or receive Reiki, I feel its blessings. I am so grateful for alternative ways of knowing, and for beneficent energy in my world. That’s my Reiki story. What will yours be?