The morning I woke and thought I was paralyzed – what a defining moment – I struggled to get out of bed.
The days, months and years following I struggled with a lot of things: the chronic pain, anger, frustration, and finding the words to describe how I was feeling to those who asked. As I searched for healing, I found new ways, more positive ways to talk about my reality. I worked hard not to be complacent in my chronic pain.
It’s come up again – changing my language – but this time it’s in relation to my Reiki practice. To be honest, I’ve often found the words used to describe the Reiki practice quite vague, sometimes downright ‘airy-fairy’. But through the years I’ve found a way to describe it that my logical, accounting type brain, could agree to. The thing is we grow and evolve especially when we practice something on a regular basis.
As I grew to accept this new body that no longer worked the way it once did, I changed the way I talked about it. As I evolve with my Reiki practice, I’m aware of the resistance I feel when the suggestion is made that Reiki is not energy in the way I had been taught. Had I grown too comfortable with that idea? Did it reflect my present view of the practice?
I’d like to share with you the new language I’m exploring around Reiki practice and Reiki healing for a few reasons. As I share it I practice it, try it out, and see if it fits me. I’d like to share this healing practice with you because it had such an impact in my own life. And lastly, I hope to challenge you, especially if you’ve been in chronic pain for a long time, to reconsider the language you use to describe yourself, your pain, and yourself in pain.
I had always referred to what I was feeling when giving or receiving a Reiki treatment as the Reiki energy. I remember giving a client a treatment once and I was feeling absolutely nothing and after about ten minutes I thought it might be a very short treatment. Then whoosh! I felt this flooding of what I called energy, at the same time the client was remarking about this wonderful feeling of warmth flowing in. Now that’s energy! Isn’t it?
But language is a funny thing and words can mean different things to different people. I had this issue having moved from Jamaica to Canada. I would mention that I wore slippers to this function or that and the eyebrows shot up. To a Canadian it meant that I had worn my fluffy pink bedroom slippers with the bunny ears! I should have said sandals and eventually learned to do so, most of the time.
When asked to consider what I felt with any other type of energy treatment, like acupuncture or massage, I had to concede that I used the same words as if I’d had a Reiki treatment. No matter the modality, essentially what is happening is movement in the energy fields surrounding and penetrating the body.
Now, the existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven but that doesn’t stop me from believing they are there and that they can be affected. I have experienced the shifts. The sensations are letting me know that my body systems - the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels of my being - are reorganizing and moving toward balance. When the body is in balance healing can begin, it’s something I’ve seen again and again with clients.
When I was initiated into Reiki practice, my hands became activated. What’s unique about a Reiki treatment is that the mere presence of my hands brings about the movement in the body’s energy field. There are no other requirements or interventions from me, the practitioner. I don’t have the power to move or change anything within my client and it all happens to the whole being anyway not to a specific condition or disease. Therefore, I don’t need to make a diagnosis, administer medicine, or insert needles. The healing and re-organizing of the body systems happens as a response from within the recipient.
In contrast, to practice an energy medicine such as Acupuncture, Medical Qi Gong, or Therapeutic Touch, the practitioner has to make a diagnosis and the medicine/treatment given has to match the condition being addressed. The practitioner is the one who orchestrates the body’s reorganization.
Let’s be clear, there are energetic aspects to Reiki practice but we have no way to see them, measure them, or prove that they exist. They will have to remain a mystery for now. Instead, I’ll focus on what I can see because despite my lack of words sometimes, the experiences my clients and I have had have been remarkable and varied.
If you suffer from chronic pain I would encourage you to have a few treatments, at least three to start. See how it feels. My client Glen came consistently, three times a week, for three months with no apparent change in his condition. Attached to the outcomes I expected, I became despondent. I asked why he kept coming back and he said it got him through the day. It wasn’t until the fourth month that things started to change for him in an apparent way, but I realized that getting through the day was already an important change, the foundation that all other improvement was built on.
Why not pay attention to the language you use in your daily life? Is it healing, positive and expansive? If not, why not consider trying something new?