2011 was one of the most stressful years of my life. I moved three times already that year, trying to find the right place for me. I was also in the second year of my first reporting job after college at The Denver Post, and I was dealing with anxiety depression and being in addiction recovery. Therapy and psych medications were only helping so much. I had pursued acupuncture a little bit in the past and it found some benefit from that though mostly in terms of physical ailments.
Then I got what I later learned was an intuitive hit, or inner message, in July to look into Reiki, which I had been deeply skeptical of as an atheist, though not entirely shut out to it because I was interested in Buddhism so had some interest and open-mindedness to different spiritual practices.
But I didn’t know where to start to find someone who does Reiki, or at least could work with somebody who didn’t want to spend $100 or $150 a session starting out. So I posted on Facebook that I was interested in Reiki and wanted to know if anyone in my social network knew of a Reiki practitioner. I expected to get no results. But then one of my high school acquaintances commented that one of her cousins did Reiki out of her home on a donation basis. I decided I had nothing to lose so I contacted her and set up an initial appointment.
When I went there, I was instructed to fully disrobe, as the type of Reiki she did worked best if the recipient was naked. (Most Reiki practitioners work with clients fully clothed). Lisa told me her approach was rooted in the Aztec and Mayan forms of energy work, that what is called Reiki is just one form of it. She put crystals all over my body, used essential oils and burned sage (smudging) and laid her hands on various positions on my body to transfer the energy to me.
I was extremely nervous the whole time, and after it was over peppered her with questions out of my deep skepticism, to the point she seemed offended. I left with a bottle of water and feeling that maybe I had wasted my time with the modern equivalent of a snake oil salesmen, but I was only out the cost of gas to get there.
But the next day I woke up feeling a few metaphorical pounds lighter. It was not a huge, dramatic change, but a shift had taken place. When I went into work to write some stories, I found myself having more energy and mental clarity to finish them. Typically I would only write three articles in an afternoon, but I ended up writing all six. I was now intrigued and curious to know more about Reiki and get more sessions.
When I saw Lisa the next week, she said she was expecting to never see me again, my skepticism was that palpable. I reported that I still wasn’t sure about Reiki but I had felt a shift, so wanted to try it again. I continued going about weekly. I continued to feel different, lighter, having more energy, and less physical issues like neck and upper back pain I’ve been partial to where I store tend to store my stress.
In September of that year, someone tried to set on fire the apartment building I lived in during the night. I was safely evacuated but spent that day trying to get my CPAP from my apartment that was closed off and other logistics. It was one of the most stressful days I had experienced in a long time, but I now reflect that being engaged with Reiki healing allowed me to endure that very long day with more energy, stability and grace than I would have without it. And continuing with Reiki sessions helped me to quickly recover physically and emotionally from the trauma and stress of that day.
As I continued to get treatment that fall, I kept asking Lisa questions about Reiki and her spirituality, first from a place of guarded skepticism, and then from an emerging wondrous curiosity. I also began to experience greater mental clarity and experience what I would later learn are called synchronicities, such as seeing repeating numbers or “angel numbers” and having thoughts that connected in sync with my external reality. I also experienced greater intuition, receiving internal messages and wisdom. These feelings and insights increased with intensity.
Then one night, I was sitting in my car in a grocery store parking lot when I saw a young man talking to a woman, and he was sobbing, obviously feeling very distraught. I felt a deep well of compassion and had the thought “I’ll take your pain for you.” Almost immediately his face brightened, he stopped crying and appeared surprised at how elated and relieved he suddenly felt. I thought maybe that was just a coincidence but was happy to see his pain seemed alleviated.
When I returned home to my apartment I felt sick with sadness and a sudden dullness. I felt compelled to call Lisa and I told her what had just transpired in the parking lot. She gently chastised me, and reminded me to do an energetic clearing ritual that would later become part of my daily routine I still use today. She told me not to take on people’s energy like that, that it’s not necessary, and that I can help people energetically by doing Reiki on myself and others. She asked me to come by in the next few days so she could initiate/attune me. Normally one needs to take a Level 1 Reiki class before they are initiated in this way.
In the day before I went over leading up to our actual visit, I felt this odd strong twisting anticipation feeling in my lower left hip where I’ve often since experienced both anticipation, excitement and anxiety.
When I arrived that feeling of anxious anticipation was very high, like I was on the precipice of a new beginning. She performed the attunement and that twisting feeling dissipated, as I had leveled up. Any doubt remaining that Reiki was something fake or just a placebo effect was fleeing from my consciousness.
I had entered a new realm of my existence and the beginning of a spiritual journey from which there was no turning back.