You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing…
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final…
Give me your hand.
—Rilke’s Book of Hours, I, 59
Before Reiki found me, I used to contemplate what it would take to sustain all day the connection to source I experienced in my morning meditation. I wanted to embody that compassion throughout my day. I longed to feel that “on the beam” feeling for hours, instead of just forty minutes every morning. I wanted to realize an open, awake presence during everyday challenges. Being Reiki describes the state of relaxed awareness I can experience practicing Reiki throughout my day.
I grew up on a farm in NW Baltimore County, MD, the youngest daughter of a Johns Hopkins’ ENT surgeon. Child abuse disorganized my life. I learned at an early age that it was imperative to pay attention to the subtle things. I have always been informed by nature and animals, and to this day I know from direct experience that what Antoine St. Exupery wrote in The Little Prince is important to remember: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” With my first experience of Reiki in 1986, when I was pregnant with Sophia, my last child, my heart told me that this was something very important, something to pay attention to. Those few moments of Reiki left me in a state of deep relaxation, thoroughly comfortable, and with a crystal clarity that this Reiki stuff was something essential. I was eager to learn Reiki, but nursing mothers were not allowed in the class my Reiki Master taught. It was two years before I began my Reiki training.
When I returned home from my First Degree Reiki Training, I found a crabby, unwell 2 year old Sophia. Later that night I awoke from a deep sleep to her crying, and I stumbled into her room to check on her. She was restless and pulling on her ears and felt too warm. Without really thinking, It occurred to me that this was a good time to practice this new Reiki skill. I gathered her in my arms and settled into the rocking chair with her nestled against me, my left arm and hand cradled her body, my right hand covered her left ear. Soon she was asleep. I waited several minutes and with a practiced skill, settled her back into bed without wakening her. Before I had crossed the hall, she resumed crying and now it was a wail. I sighed, and with a tired resignation returned to her room. I settled on the edge of her bed and placed my hands on either side of her head. Almost immediately she quieted. In the dim glow of the night light I could see her eyes were closed. I waited until my position grew uncomfortable; I carefully lifted my hands and returned to my bedroom. This time I almost got back into my warm bed before she renewed her crying.
I spent the night propped up in Sophia’s bed with her head in my lap, my hands covering her ears. Every time I fell asleep and my relaxed hands slipped away from her head, she would wake up and begin to cry. I would startle awake and return my hands to her ears. In the morning I was exhausted; Sophia was bright eyed and chirpy. I took her to our pediatrician that morning. He examined her and said, “Well, she’s had an ear infection, but it’s almost cleared up. We don’t need to do anything.”
It was 1989, and I chose to say nothing and keep my Reiki practice hidden from my pediatrician. How could I possibly explain the inexplicable? I decided not to tell him that I practiced Reiki with Sophia throughout that night, but today, twenty-one years later in a different city, Reiki is offered in my physician’s office building. While Reiki is far from mainstream, it is becoming more acceptable.
In addition to Sophie’s ear infection, there were many opportunities to share Reiki with my four children, husband, and our animal menagerie in rural New Hampshire. There were rescued baby birds, nasty bicycle spills, influenza, middle school, death of a teenage friend, pony tumbles, snow ball fights, broken hearts, black ice, nightmares, and all the dramas of adolescence. Reiki was a constant support through my children’s growing up and remains a vital part of their adult lives today.
I have spent many years practicing Reiki as well as reflecting on, questioning, investigating, and surrendering to Reiki. Even though I have been practicing Reiki since 1989, I am still learning its subtleties. The more I surrender, remind myself I do not need to figure it out and allow it to guide me; the more I soften and drop down into the quiet depths of my heart, the more is revealed. It is a never ending process and a profoundly humbling practice that continues to astonish me.