I never met my maternal grandfather. Even though no one said so, I think it may have been Groucho Marx. “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”, is a pretty good summary of my self-esteem issues through the years. It also might partially explain why it took about eight years to go from my first Reiki experience to my first Reiki workshop.
Planning a much needed weekend break in a Cork hotel, my partner and I decided we would treat ourselves to therapy sessions. When I realized they offered Reiki I didn’t consider the alternatives. I had heard a little about Reiki from a practitioner I dated years ago, who told me that she’d give me a session but never did, perhaps because of her own self-esteem issues.
I had vague expectations of the session. I supposed I expected to feel something magical or supernatural. I’d practiced DIY chakra meditation before, and experienced degrees of elation and frustration, but I’d never been to anyone from the spiritual/healing arts (if that isn’t too broad an umbrella). I won’t sidetrack this post by bringing you through the highlights of how I acquired my baggage. Let’s just say I wanted to believe more than I actually did believe that Reiki, or much else, would work for me.
I was brought into a small clinical room that was offset with subdued lighting, candles and soft music. The very young practitioner had me lay on the plinth with my shoes off, and proceeded to treat me head to toe, moving up my body at intervals with her hands an inch or so away. “OK, this is pleasant”, I thought, but I wasn’t sure it was much else. Maybe I should have chosen reflexology.
When the session was over, I was advised to take my time getting off the plinth. I felt a little light headed, but I didn’t think much of it – probably just the result of relaxing after a stressful work week. I walked out into the sunlit hallway and that’s when it hit me – a euphoria that I hadn’t felt for a long time, and even then there may have been controlled substances involved. I felt better than great, not least because there was no denying the tangible result of the session – Reiki worked on me, big time. I poured myself into a chair, where I could have blissfully remained for the rest of eternity, and waited for my partner’s session to end.
After my epiphany with “Holiday Reiki” (as I later came to think of it) I couldn’t wait to get home and find a local practitioner I could attend regularly. One phone call to the local holistic centre set me up with the first of many excellent sessions with a Reiki master who performed what I came to think of as “good for you” Reiki. The sense of peace wasn’t as dramatic as what I experienced during my first session, but I felt like there was some real work being done in my body, mind and spirit. In a session, I could have emotional or physical reactions brought about by the release of blockages as the Reiki worked with my energy, even if I couldn’t quite articulate it as such back then. It was during this time that I began to appreciate Reiki is primarily a healing art.
For the next several years, I attended these Reiki sessions on a monthly basis, and probably became quite complacent. Eventually, the practitioner started suggesting that I didn’t need her anymore. She enjoyed working with my energy, but she thought it was time for me to learn Reiki myself. Sure, it had crossed my mind to be attuned. It was a nice idea of something I might do someday if I ever develop confidence around it and a deeper trust of my own feelings. But now we were finishing up the treatment sessions. It was decision time. My practitioner clearly thought I could do this. Why was I not so sure?
For the next two or three years I was stuck in limbo. I absolutely wanted to learn Reiki, and I was absolutely stressed that I would be a damp squib at it. By this time, my partner and I had our first child together, plus there were the kids from my first marriage at our house on a regular basis, so I was easily able to tell myself that I couldn’t give up an entire weekend to a workshop. Money for the workshop gave me another excuse. Of course, I didn’t see these as excuses then. These were reasons I had to leave Reiki for some vague time in the future.
Despite my anxious excuses, I could feel myself being drawn to it. I had looked at it, walked around it, come so close to it. I just couldn’t quite cross the line of being part of it. On occasion, I would run into my ex practitioner who calmly reassured me that it would happen when I was ready. Uh, OK.
Then one day my partner and I were having an instalment of our ongoing dialog about how to improve our lives. Out of nowhere she said I should go do a Reiki workshop. She knew I still wanted to, because I mentioned it from time to time. Things started to shift for me when I realized I had her unsolicited buy in. II still had confidence issues, but excitement was beginning to overtake anxiety – this was really going to happen. We agreed we’d find the time and money, even though our second child together had just been born, so we had even less of both.
The last point of procrastination was finding a Reiki Master to study under. I spent a few months of my “spare” time searching the Internet, and realized I wasn’t getting a strong feeling about any of the Reiki Masters. So I consulted my ex-practitioner, who recommended a person who turned out to be a good match for me. I also visited her for one more treatment session as a warm up, since it had been several years since the last session.
Was I over my under confidence? No. Was I still anxious? Sure. But the desire to become directly involved with Reiki carried me through to finally getting started, and continuing on through master level. I’m grateful to the experiences and people who helped me get started. And, no, I haven’t completely gotten over myself, but I’m making progress.
If you’ve ever done a Reiki Workshop, or are thinking about doing one, I’d like to hear your story.