Something unexpected happened to me during this coronavirus lockdown: I became a reiki practitioner. It wasn’t something I was planning to do, but the idea came up rather organically one day, and about a week later, I had been indoctrinated.
Firstly: What is reiki? It’s a Japanese healing art where someone (me) channels energy from the Universe into the body (self or other) who needs healing. It’s the Asian version of the Pentecostal Christian laying on of hands.
My girlfriend, Lori, is a reiki master. She learned it from someone who learned it from Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who learned it from a key figure in reiki history, Dr. Mikao Usui. Usui is considered by many to be the creator of the healing modality, though research shows that prior to him creating his style, there were at least four other styles already in practice in Japan. Whatever one believes, it seems accepted that he’s a well-known name in the practice.
Lori’s actually a food service industry professional with a background as a restaurateur. Spiritual practice is her personal passion and hobby.
I didn’t know this about her until my mother was dying, and she offered to come to the hospice home to give us reiki in 2018. I felt incredibly exhausted after, but my mother perked up, returned to consciousness, looked into my eyes and really saw me, and died overnight. I consider that a real gift. Lori says the reiki helped my mom transition from her body with more ease and grace.
Fast forward to 2020 when Lori’s mom died, and we reconnected again over that. She was top of mind since we had been speaking more.
Now the state of Hawaii is in COVID-19 lockdown, and as an essential worker, my life has the strange quality of both speeding up and slowing down. When I’m at work, there is even more work to do given the crushing amount of information that comes at us. When I’m off, time is super slow with everyone trapped at home. It’s weird.
While I am trying to stay positive by focusing on the blessings in life, I – like the rest of you – have fears and worries about the economic fallout, and all the other stresses that come with this time. Local (vs. national) newscasters are largely middle class, if you don’t know.
I’m not sure where the idea came to me, but as I was marinating in some good yoga / meditation vibes one day, I remembered Lori and reiki, and thought it would be a good component to add to my spiritual practice so I can calm myself. I figure, I have to help myself now more than ever, because positivity is in short supply.
I asked if she could teach me. She said yes. Due to social distancing cautions, we did it long distance, so she walked me through the basics over the phone.
At the end of every reiki training, a student has to be “attuned.” The teacher opens up the student’s energy channels (chakras) to be more open to receiving the Universe’s energy. That’s it. Then you’re good to go.
We had to do this long distance, too, so we coordinated a time – the night of the Pink Supermoon – when I’d lie in my bed and be open to receiving her energy. Reiki healing can be done long-distance, so she figured attunement can, too. I’m her first remote indoctrination.
The night she attuned me, I was lying in bed preparing and started falling asleep, but was awoken by a strange tingling in my feet, which moved up my legs, to my hands, and back down. This lasted ten minutes, then I fell asleep.
In the days since, I’ve had a subtle feeling of more peace. In fact, I was sitting in the yard enjoying the birds and the trees this morning and doing my daily breathwork when I was overcome with an almost overflowing sense of joy, like a shaken soda bottle bursting with carbonation.
It felt different from other forms of happiness – like when you laugh with your friends or you hug your child. It felt deeper in my foundation. Interesting! I witnessed it with gratitude for the minute or so it stayed with me. It also reaffirms my desire to continue the self-care techniques that keep me sane in this time.
Why am I telling you this? Whether it’s this or something else, there has to be something that makes you happy, and I want to encourage you to do it every day. It’s an unusual time in our modern history, but if we can take the edge off just a little bit, we’re doing ourselves and the people around us a favor.
Take a deep breath. Find your joy. Chase it for even just a little bit today. Stay safe and be well.