Local undergoes ‘a beautiful journey’ with Reiki
Modern life is hectic. Factor in jobs, school, volunteer work, family and social obligations and it can feel as if we are guinea pigs on a wheel. We ask ourselves, where does the time gone? Where is my life going?
I made a decision quite a while ago that I wanted to not merely be alive and just going through the motions, but to live and thrive. We’ve all known people who basically died a long time before their hearts stopped beating. I want to keep growing and keep learning; to be unafraid to examine my life, even the painful parts of it. I desire balance—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally.
So when the opportunity arose for me to undergo a Reiki (Ray-key) session with certified practitioner Courtney Rice and write about the experience, I was quite excited.
Reiki: Restoring Balance
Reiki is based on ancient Eastern techniques involving the laying on of hands to help transmit healing energies from the practitioner to another person. It is not therapeutic massage, but involves light touches on, or even just hands held over, portions of the body most in need of those healing energies.
“Science tells us that every living thing is made of energy. When our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental energies are out of sync and out of balance, this can cause greater stress, pain and illness as a result,” explained Rice. “The goal of Reiki is to help restore balance . . . for me, Reiki was the answer to something I had been searching for.”
While living in New York where she interned at the Gibney Dance Company and performed with a dance collective, Rice spent time exploring holistic health, nutrition, psychology and spiritual matters.
“Through reading and researching, I found myself led towards Reiki. After that very first session, I knew it was going to be a life-changing experience for me,” Rice, who became certified as a Reiki healer in California during the summer, explained. “I had felt some type of counseling was in my future, perhaps life coaching. Now I believe it is Reiki.”
Into the Past
The night before our first Reiki session, Courtney and I had a long conversation via telephone, talking about some of the early life experiences that caused me physical and/or emotional injury. It’s quite strange for me to be the one sharing such things outside of my immediate family; I am usually the one listening and taking notes. Admittedly, it made me slightly uneasy to switch roles.
Yet I found Courtney very approachable and easy to talk to and the conversation seemed to flow naturally between us. Talking with me helped her better prepare for our first session, she explained, allowing her to gain insight into the situations and people who have most strongly impacted my life, both positively and negatively (and in some cases, they were the same people). It was an enlightening conversation and made me anticipate our session together all the more.
‘Comfortable and Open’
While there is adequate space to set up Reiki sessions in her mother’s downtown studio, Courtney prefers to hold them at the Rice home, a cozy abode that exudes a calm, beach-like atmosphere, reflecting mom Sonya’s love for the sand, sea and sun. It’s a little oasis of calm.
“We have a good space here—you want a spot that is open, clean and inviting for Reiki,” Courtney explained, bringing me a large cup of herbal tea to sip while I put up my feet and settled into a comfortable chair in the living room. The sound of a water fall trickling blended with soft instrumental music playing in the room.
After some casual chit-chat about our day, Courtney and I discussed more about some of my long-held fears and anger issues and how these affected me physically as well as emotionally. Yes, some of the questions were of a fairly personal nature, but she handled her queries in a sensitive manner. Again, it felt natural and normal to share these with Courtney.
Finally, it was time for me to move to another room and undergo the actual healing session.
I was wearing a favorite tunic and leggings, the sort of comfortable clothing encouraged by Courtney, and only removed my shoes for the session. Face up on the Reiki table (similar to those used for therapeutic massages), I folded my arms across my chest, closed my eyes (the lights had already been dimmed) and focused on the music playing in the background.
Courtney explained that she would meditate briefly and then begin the healing session. “You may feel warmth; some feel coolness, or a tingling sensation. Some people see colors or images,” she said, adding, “Some people are so relaxed they fall asleep, which is just fine, too.”
As the session progressed, I sensed, more than I heard, Courtney moving around me. Her hands lightly touched my head, gently turning it from side to side. Some spots she actually touched; others, she simply placed her hands over. I could feel the aforementioned tingling, a slight warmth and found myself visualizing yellow—yellow butterflies dancing in my yard and then great splashes of the color.
My clasped hands slowly loosened. It almost felt as if someone was gently tugging them apart until they fell at my sides on the table. Have you ever had an experience where it suddenly seemed you could feel an actual weight being lifted from you? That’s what happened to me.
“Some people feel very sleepy and tired after a session. Others feel energized. It really isn’t ever quite the same for any two people,” Courtney said afterwards, bringing me a glass of water to drink to help in flushing out the toxins (“Think of this as a detox of the spirit”). We talked more about the experience and she told me to be especially mindful in the coming days.
“Think about why you are feeling the way you feel—be self-aware rather than just reacting,” Courtney said. “Tonight, stay off social media as much as you can—just relax, watch an inspiring movie or read a good book and chill.”
Which is exactly what I did. I chilled, and I reflected on the experience that night and for several days to come. It was a little unnerving for me in the beginning, yes, but one from which I ultimately came away experiencing calm, peace and inspiration. I felt better able to cope with my chronic health issues, including FMS/CFS and Type 2 diabetes.
“Reiki has been beneficial to many people who experience chronic pain or who are undergoing cancer treatments as an alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals . . . I have seen a client with arthritis whose hands were literally frozen able to use them once again,” Courtney said, adding, “And with Reiki, there are no negative side effects like you can get with drugs. I would encourage anyone interested in learning more to consider at least trying it. It will only cost you an hour or two of your time.”
I, for one, am interested in seeing what my next Reiki session will bring.