I'm not a religious person. I love God but am more spiritual than religious. I haven't been to church in years. I don't know when or if I'll go again, but healing has always been important to me because I have been through some things…sometimes all at once.
Coming into 2019 alone, I battled a bankruptcy, a divorce, and then lost my mother two weeks in. It was unexpected.
Even though she had stage-4 small c cell cancer, all tests had confirmed the mass in her body had shrunken and was almost undetectable. They failed to do a scan of her brain, where the cancer had decided to go straight to and move in. At 3 a.m. on a Friday morning, the police came to my door and said they'd found my mother wandering, lost and unable to find her way home. Together, we begged her to go to the hospital even though she dismissed it otherwise. Finally, she went. She would never come home.
The next couple of weeks were spent handling her affairs, cleaning out her house, etc. But there was no time to take for myself and I proceeded to go back to work, since everyone suggested it would keep my mind off things.
Spoiler alert: It didn't.
By chance, I found a Facebook page called Remember Reiki, which aimed to heal individuals of trauma stored in the body that caused other issues – aches and pains, depression, and anxiety, etc. I filled out an online form and got a call back from Sarah, the Reiki healer, and set up an appointment for the upcoming Sunday.
The last Reiki healing I had took place in 2015 while on a yoga retreat. In that session, we worked through emotions that stemmed from the death of my son. When she put her hand on me to heal me, I cried. It was like a spiritual pimple she was popping. After that, I could talk about my son without crying – which had been impossible for years.
I want to pause right here because, in order to explain the importance of this, I need to at least give you some sort of understanding as to what Reiki is, if you are not already aware.
Reiki is a form of spiritual healing. It is a Japanese technique administered by the "laying of hands" to increase and engage the life force energy that flows through us. The idea being, if your life force is low, you are likely to have effects including stress, depression, sickness, etc, which can also manifest itself into physical pain in your body as well. The idea is to heal your spirit through a transfer of energy, or, as En Vogue said, free your mind and the rest will follow.
So off I went, on a rainy Sunday to a little office building in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a Himalayan salt lamp lit room is set up with a massage table made up like a bed and instructions to get comfortable and lay on my stomach on the table, under the blanket. My healer Sarah and I were off to a good start, so I did as instructed.
Every Reiki healer is different in terms of what services/practices they offer. At this particular place, the reiki sessions range from 60-90 minutes and include the following:
- Traditional Reiki: As described above
- Crystal Healing
- Hot Stone treatment
- Chakra balancing
- Breath work
- Lymphatic Massage
She explained to me that the session, essentially, would be a huge realigning and unblocking of my chakras, where aromatherapy and breathing techniques would be intertwined with the Reiki treatment and other treatments listed above to help release and heal trauma and anxiety from my body. She knew my mother had recently passed away and that I'd been through a lot at one time recently, and was confident this would be of great help to me.
As the treatment started, she began with my lower back, legs, and feet, all related to the root chakra, which is supposed to be what grounds you. If you do not have a strong root, then how can you stand? My mind immediately went to my mother, who had undoubtedly been the root of my life and kept me upright through the many times I'd stumble through this life and the tears came to my eyes almost immediately. As she rubbed my feet and legs, the tears continued to flow, and at the same time, I felt the actual tightness there begin to relax.
You have to understand, I don't like to cry. At all. But there I was, on this table, breathing and crying.
A chakra is assigned to each segment of our body, going up the spine, through the heart and throat, to the third eye and the crown of the head. A blockage of a specific chakra can cause certain negative effects, such as physical pain or negative characteristics. A closed throat chakra, for example, can cause neck pain and corresponds with an inability to speak your truth out of fear.
As she incorporated different treatments and instructed me on the different chakras, feelings, meditations, and breathing techniques, my mind continued to settle on my mother. The pain of her death was the most prevalent, moving through my body trying to escape the healing as it moved up, eventually, to the crown of my head.
At that point, I had a literal headache at the top of my head, in my crown chakra. Sarah explained how this chakra affected what we saw/how we interpreted things/our connection to the universe. I asked her if that would affect what I'd see about my mother, and she said "yes." I had replayed my mother's last moments over and over in my mind and in that moment I shut my eyes and began to sob. Not cry. SOB. I'd cried when she died but even now it was different. There was no attempt to hide the sheer pain and as I let go, I felt myself finally release what I didn't even realize I had been holding in for the days since her passing and the months of her illness.
Now, on the surface, I realize that one, this is probably tripping some of you out and two, even if it's not tripping you out, you have absolutely no idea what kind of space age foolishness I am talking about. Which is fine, I get it. But this isn't so much about the type of healing as much as it is about the need for it.
We have all heard that stress can kill us. We have all seen suicides on the rise. We don't realize how much pain and trauma we hold on to and what damage that can do.
I felt the pain move through my body to escape the healing that was going on. It wasn't just an emotion or feeling, it (the pain/trauma) was a living, breathing thing inside of me and who knows what that could manifest into? We are in the midst of a world of self-help books and lists of 247 ways to love yourself, but we don't realize that all of the books in the world won't matter if you don't take the actual time to do the work.
Maybe reiki isn't for you – and that's absolutely fine. But if you know you are holding on to that which isn't serving you, you need to find a way to let it go because if it doesn't serve you, it will soon eat you up.
I have already decided I will do another session soon, there's still a lot I have to process. And based on what I felt yesterday…I think my mother approves.
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Featured image by Getty Images.
Originally published on March 7, 2019