Coming up on the 10th anniversary of my first Reiki attunement I want to share with you the real story of what got me into Reiki. Last year I wrote the story of the first Reiki class I took (you can read that story here), but I didn’t go into detail of what my impetus was in studying Reiki in the first place. I’ll admit that I’m a little frightened of what you may think of me after hearing this story, but this is something I share with all of my Reiki students to help break the ice in the beginning of class. Plus, it’s my chance to shine light on my shadow side so that I can take its power away. I see the fear. I recognize the fear. I act anyway.
And here we go with the real story of what attracted me to Reiki.
The year was 2007, and I was going through a divorce. It wasn’t a messy one, but no divorce is easy. I was an emotional wreck. I was drinking too much and going out too often to cover up the pain, but even as I had that going on, I was taking steps to improve myself. I was learning fitness and nutrition to address my physical health, and I started taking weekly Buddhist meditation classes to address my mental and spiritual health.
I was entering into a phase of personal development like never before.
I was identifying areas of weakness in myself, and I was addressing them head on. Aside from the physical and spiritual concerns I was working on, I also found another area that I wanted to improve, my conversation skills.
For a long time I found myself watching conversations happen all around me but never being a part of them.
I never felt I could add anything to the conversation that was going on around me or even start a new topic of conversation when there was an opportunity. Not only did this bother me in social gatherings, but it especially bothered me in conversations with women. As I moved closer towards the dissolution of my marriage, I was also moving closer to the reality of having to date again.
How would I be able to get a date if I couldn’t even start a conversation with a woman?
To overcome this I decided to buy the book How to Talk to Anyone to start learning basic conversation skills, and I also got The Game to study PUA (pick-up artist) and seduction techniques to help me overcome my lack of confidence in myself with women.
That summer I decided to go back to southwestern PA to get my mind off of my failing relationship and impending divorce to reconnect with my family and friends back home. One night while I was at a bar catching up with my friend Rachel, she introduced me to a friend of hers, and little did I know that that conversation would forever change the course of my life. Rachel was cold so she asked her friend to warm her up. He asked for her hands and said that he would give her Reiki to improve her circulation and warm her up.
I never heard of Reiki before that, and so I asked him to tell me more about it.
As he described it to me I was thinking to myself that it would be a great tool to use in conversations with women. In the PUA material that I was reading it pointed out the importance of initiating physical contact with a woman, and I thought Reiki would give me the perfect excuse for doing so. Plus, it would give me something interesting to talk about rather than the standard “What do you do? Where are you from?” small talk approach.
That simple conversation about Reiki popped up in the last place I would ever think to hear something like that, and it stuck with me so much that after I flew back to Los Angeles a week later I remembered to go to a book store to find a book on Reiki so that I could learn more about it.
I found the book Reiki for Beginners which caught my attention and read it front to back.
I learned about the Western Reiki Legend that was passed down from Hawayo Takata and the more accurate history and roots in Japanese culture. There were stories from Reiki Practitioners and from clients about their experiences with Reiki and descriptions of the different Reiki classes you need to take in order to become a Reiki Practitioner.I found it all so interesting, and I knew that I needed to take a Reiki class.
Before I had the opportunity to take a class though, I had an opportunity to test it out for myself first.
At the end of the summer I took a trip to Flagstaff, AZ with my friends’ band to help them out with a gig they had over there. I was still on vacation and also looking for things to do to distract me from my marital troubles. I went for fun, but also to help in any way that I could.
After we arrived at the venue and started setting up the equipment I noticed my friend Chris was going in and out of the bathroom every few minutes with what seemed to be stomach/intestinal troubles, and he looked miserable. I wanted him to have enough energy to perform with his band later on, and so I asked him if he was interested in meditating with me for a few minutes to help him feel better. He was at his wit’s end so he agreed. We found a couple of chairs and sat across from each other while holding hands and closing our eyes, in silence. There were people continuing to move about the room setting up equipment and preparing the stage, but we sat in silence for a few minutes. From the outside it looked quite calm, but on the inside I was pleading with the heavens to help my friend.
I had no idea what I was doing but I had just read the book on Reiki and asked for some help for my friend to feel better so that he could have a good show that night.
After a few minutes of this internal pleading and begging for positive thoughts and energy to be directed his way, we ended our meditation and then got back to work preparing for the show.
Hours later after the show was over, we were all at a restaurant grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the hotel for the night, and I asked Chris how he was feeling. He thought about it for a moment and told me surprisingly, that he had been fine ever since we sat down to meditate together.
I was speechless. I didn’t even know what I was doing, and he still got some relief.
At that point I thought to myself that maybe there was something to this Reiki stuff after all, and that’s when I started looking for a class.
Less than 5 years after that night I resigned from my teaching career and became a Reiki Master Teacher, and it all started because of a conversation in a bar in Uniontown, PA where I thought to myself, “Maybe I could use Reiki to get my hands on women.”
Little did I know that it would, just not in the way I thought at the time. Most of my clients are women, and most people that attend my Reiki Circles are women. With the 1200+ Reiki Sessions I’ve given at weSPARK Cancer Support Community and through Tower Cancer Research Foundation’s Patient Support Programs since 2013 and the 200+ Reiki Circles I’ve led, I’d say well over 90% have been women.
I know that what first attracted me to Reiki may not sound virtuous, but that’s the way Reiki showed up for me.
And that’s how it needed to show up for me in order to pursue it. I may not have had the purest intentions at first, but once Reiki got my attention it showed me very quickly after that it was more than just a conversational tool to get a date. It has completely changed my life, and through me has impacted the lives of many others.
I’ve learned to be of service.
I’ve learned to trust.
I’ve learned to take care of myself.
I’ve learned to listen and hold space for others.
I’ve learned to lead.
I’ve learned to express myself.
I’ve learned to love.
I’ve learned to take time to heal.
I’ve learned to cope with loss.
I’ve learned the importance of rest.
I’ve learned to go with the flow.
I’ve learned to be flexible.
I’ve learned when to be rigid.
I’ve learned humility.
I’ve learned to receive as well as give.
I've learned so much more but the biggest lesson for me since the beginning of it all is that not all experiences can be explained.
Reiki is an experience. It’s not something that can be intellectually understood.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t give thanks for the challenging times and serendipitous events of 2007 that changed the course of my life forever. I may not ever understand why they had to happen in that way, but I’m glad they did because they got me on this path.