I'm not sure I had heard about it particularly before then and she offered to give me a treatment and I said sure. I closed my eyes and lay on the couch and Mom did something she described as having something to do with my aura (I think?) (which was very surprising as she doesn't tend to believe in much that isn't science-y, but hey, nuns) and after she was done I felt calmer and more relaxed but we didn't ever really talk about it again I don't think.
A few years ago (three maybe?) I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a First Nations smudging ceremony, and at the end of it, I asked if the elder would mind smudging me privately (I felt very calmed by the ceremony and meditation we did) and one of the things she said was that she felt that I was meant to "heal with my hands."
I talked to Jason about this, not being clear what that might mean... did she mean massage? Paint? Writing? Using my hands to heal... in... what way?
Jason sighed (we do this a lot in being patient with each other) and said I was the only person he knew who would take what he saw as very clear guidance and get confused by it. "Reiki" he said. Nah, I said, I don't think so... that's not a think I know anything about.
So from there, I'm not sure how it came back into my life. I've never gone for a reiki treatment, nor do I really know anyone who does. But at some point, perhaps as I turned more towards the natural and the spiritual, meditative type of things, the idea of learning it started to be something I considered.
So I did a little bit of research about it. Google type research. And it seemed to be a cool kind of thing. And by my reading, even if it wasn't "real", it certainly wasn't hurting anyone or anything. Kind of a win win, really. So I bought a book, thinking that I could avoid having to pay the nuns to train me, but all the research I did, even the book, said that you have to be initiated into reiki by a reiki master.
I looked into the nuns, but the earliest they could fit me in was Fall. (Yeah, it's that busy/popular of a thing I guess, who knew?) I talked to a friend of mine I thought might know about this kind of thing and she pointed me in the direction of a practitioner here in town that she goes to from time to time and that she actually got her reiki training from. "You did?" I gasped... (via text message so she probably didn't know I gasped... but that's what emoticons are for!) Awesome. I now had one other person (besides Jason, who had never before talked to me about reiki but who has apparently used it in the past and loved it) who wouldn't make fun of me if I wanted to talk about it, yay!
I looked up this person and it turned out she was holding a Level One training in just a couple of weeks. Well, who was I to give that up, right?
So I signed up, and in doing that much, was proud of myself. I'd gone to that workshop by myself a few weeks before and here I was, planning on going to a weekend workshop all by myself. Who was this masked woman? Awesome.
I was nervous, yes, but I went, and I found the place and the people seemed nice and, well, before you knew it, I had been initiated into Reiki Level One. (I'm maybe not using the correct terminology but basically the reiki has to be passed down from originator to apprentice who then becomes a Master and passes it on and so on... it's pretty cool, actually)
Now, I feel like I was the only person there who had never actually received reiki as a treatment before, so when we went around introducing ourselves I was kind of like... uh... I'm not really sure why I'm here?
We learned the history of reiki and the basics of self treatment (hand positions) as that's what level one is meant to be for... treating yourself.
We were told the first night to go home and give ourselves a treatment and I very dutifully went home and... had no idea what I was supposed to do!
Once you've been "given" reiki through the learning process, you just have it. It's not something you turn on or off, it's just there, in you... you're connected to ... it. But I didn't really know what that meant and so when I put my hands on my forehead for my first treatment I didn't really know what I was supposed to do. Did I somehow have to... start it? Should I feel something? Did I have to... I don't know, will it to happen?
We'd talked, before we went home, about how we might not feel anything, or that we might feel heat from our hands, or maybe even cold, or... whatever. But I didn't feel anything.
It was still nice, though. I don't see how holding yourself (kind of) can't be nice. It's good, if nothing else, to sit and be quiet for a time.
Also, those of you who were paying attention may have noticed that when my Mom treated me, she didn't touch me... this is not the original form of reiki... the originator had read in different religious texts about "hands on healing" and wanted to discover what all it might be... and long story very short.. found reiki. I'll throw a few google definitions at you here:
"Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy."
a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being."
and here, one from "quackscience" just to be balanced:
"Reiki is one of several nonsensical methods commonly referred to as "energy healing." These methods are based on the idea that the body is surrounded or permeated by an energy field that is not measurable by ordinary scientific instrumentation. The alleged force, said to support life, is known as ki in Japan, as chi or qi in China, and as prana in India. Reiki practitioners claim to facilitate healing by strengthening or "balancing" it"
And so there's the thing. It may not be "real". I don't care. And the stories of people it has helped... they don't care either. I'm not here to argue that.
Even if it's nothing more than me taking half an hour or so a day (because I have) to touch myself and think that I'm making myself feel better, maybe that's enough to make myself feel better, and what's wrong with that?
Here's my understanding of it. Everything has/is made of energy. You can feel energy in a number of ways. Be it the energy of the sun... your own energy levels when you don't eat enough or have had too much caffeine. The energy of a room when you walk into it and it feels... "weird", the energy you get off of that person on the bus who makes you feel uncomfortable, or the energy you feel when you walk into a place that just feels really special. There is energy... it's just... not always easy to talk about and people are very quick to call you sketchy or flaky or whatever when you talk about it. I don't know. I don't have the evidence or knowledge to debate. Nor do I want to. I leave that to others.
So applying this to someone else... say Jason, who was the first person I convinced (begged) to let me practice on him... seriously, all you have to do is lie there for half and hour... you can even sleep, I don't care... again, if nothing else, it is encouraging gentle, kind (dare I say loving?) human contact. We are meant to touch. We touch so little in today's world. Laying my hands on someone, even if all it does is connect us for a short time, there is evidence and proof out there that it is making us both feel better. Babies will die if they are not held. Humans won't thrive without touch. We are pack animals. So if nothing else, reiki is human connection.
And if it's more than that? Awesome. As I say to people when they ask... well, it can't hurt you.
I've noticed that when I place my hands on myself for my self treatment, that I feel things. Nothing major, but certainly at times I feel heat. And here's what I wish. I wish that before I'd been to the workshop, that I'd tried putting my hands on myself for five minutes to feel what that feels like before. Because I have such a scientific mind and I so want proof and I so talk myself out of believing anything that can't be... proven. So when I have my hands, say, on my forhead and they feel hot, I just think... yeah, well, it'd be hot to have my hands on there anyway... it can't be "reiki" doing that, it's probably just hot to have my hands on my skin and I've just not done it before. *shrug*
It may all be in the mind. I don't really think it is, but I'm writing publicly so I'm hedging my bets and not putting myself out for too much mockery just yet...
I asked my Mom if I could treat her sore back and she said, no, I don't believe in all that, it's nonsense. But then she said sure, and I placed my hands on her injured back and she said... oh... huh... that... that feels funny... odd.... very odd. So... I dunno. It's not not real...
I like the idea of helping people, I really do. I like the idea of helping people heal, or feel better. Reiki seems to sit well with me. I met a friend of Jason's a few weeks ago who is undergoing treatment for cancer. I felt shy, but I asked her if she would like me to give her some reiki.
She said sure... that she didn't really know what it was but her friend did it, so I laid my hands gently on her neck and she said it felt nice (because human contact does!) and then she said, after a while, that she hadn't felt that much relief in her neck in ages. She said she was able to move it more than she had in weeks. *shrug*
So even if that was all in her mind, I helped her feel better. And that, I think, is pretty darn amazing.
So, yeah. I have my reiki level one. Some people that I have told have said oh yay! Some people it's been crickets. My family teased me pretty much how I expected "oooh, woooo, do you need a crystal too for your voodoo hoodoo?" (sigh) but also asked general, polite questions about it (I really should read more so I can give better answers... universal life force... healing... you know...) It's something I'll keep in my life and keep offering to people I think will be accepting and not... awkward about it.
I like it. (AW CRAP, MOSQUITO AS I WRITE THIS, ARGH!) I find it funny that I've never actually had a treatment myself and that I'm not really sure why I did it. I just wanted to, and so I did.
So there you go. (Now I have to go mosquito hunting... wish me luck. No reiki for him/her!)