Updated: Aug 31, 2020
During the first few months of quarantining for COVID-19, I was processing a lot: not one, not two, but three international trips cancelled, transitioning to working online in my one-bedroom that used to seem like a great idea but now made me realize I was in for some very lonely months, worrying about my loved ones or myself getting sick, dealing with issues in one of my important relationships, and protesting both online and in person to support the BLM movement. From the micro to the macro level, everything just felt bad. (I'm not entirely convinced I'm out of the woods yet).
Spiritually, I felt disconnected due to endless hours of scrolling my phone, checking COVID statistics updates, watching videos of police encounters at protests. I felt disconnected and, unsurprisingly, extremely anxious. All the discord made me feel unsafe, because it made me feel out of control, and it forced me to face the fact that: I am never in control. Literally, life operates independently of what I want, and I have no control over today's traffic, or my father's health, or a global pandemic, or even my own death. I'll save this for another post, but if you have a strong realization of death's reality, it can be really overwhelming & hard to process.
And that's where I was at when, in my endless spiral of Instagram scrolling, I came across Maria's profile @ascendingarts. Maria is a Reiki Master & powerful healer. I've never done reiki before, but always been intrigued, so I reached out to her and we set up a session.
What is reiki? It's essentially a massage for your energy. It is NOT a religious practice (though I love to incorporate it into my spiritual practices) and can be utilized by anyone. Reiki originated in Japan and has been practiced in its current form for over 100 years, though it has existed informally forever!
In a reiki session, a reiki practitioner channels reiki, which is just universal/love energy (AKA the stuff that forms our whole world and runs through us and around us) and sends it into your body's energetic fields to heal any blockages that are there. The effects can range from deep relaxation to physical healing to a full-blown spiritual awakening. Crying, falling asleep, twitching, and seeing bright colors are all common while in a reiki session. It sounds SO woo woo but it's actually super simple - and science is catching up!* You know that feeling when you get "bad vibes" from someone else? Well, reiki is basically a way to clean out your own bad vibes, the same way a massage clears out the tightness in your muscles.
So. Even though reiki is usually practiced in person, Maria and I set up a long distance session. When I tell you I was SO skeptical about this, I might be understating. How was some lady located lord knows where going to enter my energetic field and do something to it? Did I even actually believe in my energetic field?
Maria told me our session would start at 6:00 p.m., and to just lay down and relax until the session was over and she called me, which would be between 45 minutes and an hour later. While I relaxed, she would be long-distance healing me, and when she called me, we would debrief my session.
I put on some meditation type music and laid down on my yoga mat in the middle of the kitchen. I tried to figure out how to put my phone on do-not-disturb while also making sure I'd hear Maria's call. I couldn't figure it out, so I just prayed my group chat with my friends wouldn't blow up my phone and put it to the side. Okay. Time to shut my eyes and just... relax? Did I even know how to do that anymore?
It took me a few minutes to drop into my body and out of my mind, but pretty quickly I was transported to a bliss state of calmness. This felt different than normal resting- my whole body started buzzing comfortably, and I saw a bright light in the center of my forehead. After a while, I had a nice vision of myself in a canoe rocking gently in the middle of a huge, isolated lake with crystal water. My legs twitched a couple times and I saw a couple more visions that were so special. I used to get a lot of visuals when I prayed, but I haven't gotten as many these days, so I was really grateful for the things I saw.
About an hour later (but what could've been a minute because I felt so good), Maria called me. And then she read my life. I'm not kidding - she started telling me where she felt energy blockages, that my eyes were taking in way too much negative social media content and I needed to chill, that my heart is a roller coaster and I've felt separate from God. All true. AND SHE AND I SAW BASICALLY THE SAME VISION AT THE END.
So at this point I'm a full-fledged believer, crying of gratitude, feeling more connected to myself and to God than I have in a long time. That floating feeling lasted the next couple days, and then it was time to get down to work - to start implementing some of the changes Maria and I talked about.
After our session, five (!!) of my friends also had sessions with her. And again, every single person experienced great healing and spot-on conversation with Maria after. At this point, I'm a believer believer. So, I decided to have reiki with another woman just to make sure Maria's not just some extraterrestrial being with supernatural powers, but rather that reiki actually is a real and workable healing modality. Honestly, my session with the other lady was not great. Some stuff did come up, but I left feeling unsettled rather than relaxed/hopeful. I don't think that it was the fault of reiki, though; I just didn't click with that healer. That's the thing about reiki, and all healing modalities - to optimize your healing experience, you need to really connect with your healer. It's just like having a favorite masseuse; the massage is better with them 10 times out of 10.
And I think it's important to note that reiki isn't "the" healing modality for everyone! Some people meditate, some pray, some dance, some exercise, some practice herbalism, some go to church, some go to a moon circle, some practice EFT (tapping), some Wim Hof, some hike, some read spiritual texts, and some do reiki. Think of reiki as a potential tool in your toolbox of connecting you back to your highest, most healed self - the self that will most benefit us all.
After my reiki sessions, I had to know more - so, I took a level one course with Kerri, a very humorous, down-to-earth woman located in Huntington Beach (more on my experience taking her courses later!) She provides free reiki for cancer patients and has some wonderful stories to share. If you're in the area, check out Kerri and her work here. Otherwise, drop any lingering questions you have below, and I'll have a part two with my learning experience out soon :)