LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN
How Reiki changed my life, reignited my soul’s desire and helped me to find purpose and meaning.
My story isn’t uncommon; I had a breakdown, a pivotal moment in my life where I had the choice to give up or keep fighting. I chose to fight.
Looking back at my childhood, into my teenage years, and then becoming an adult, I realize it’s all a series of cycles, with crests and troughs, ups and downs. There seems to be difficult moments, with an option of how to deal with it, followed by either more difficult moments or growth and happiness (at least for a little). I’ve always made decisions with the best intentions and followed through with no regrets. I’ve given up many times, but fought a few too. This moment seemed different, I had never been so desperate, so scared. I think for the first time since I was a child, I cared about my life, I cared what about my future and I cared about my family.
I was recently reunited with my husband after a year and half separation. We were still working things out, but talked about starting a family and what that would take. I knew there were a few changes I had to make to prepare my body to carry a child, which included discontinuing my anti- anxiety meds. I thought it was no big deal, I was confident about doing it (of course I was, I was on anti-anxiety meds for 7 years). I had no clue about the journey that awaited me.
I weaned myself off of the medication slowly, beginning January 1st, 2013 and finished at the end of April. At that point I was still very optimistic and ready to start a family. It wasn’t until May that I started to feel the withdrawal. I had never been so low, so depressed – but not only depressed, scared, worried, anxious, disconnected, and lost. I kept thinking that it would pass; I just had to get over the hump. Well the hump didn’t end, and I needed help. I was self-medicating with some Ativan, that didn’t do much, and wine, lots of wine, which made things worse. I did try Xanax, and those made me feel great, so I gave them away. The point was to get off the pills.
My saving grace came in the form of my best friend, who happens to be very spiritually open. She felt that I needed to do something with my hands. She said that we should both learn Reiki. I never heard of this weird hand-energy, healing situation that she was talking about. We consulted with a Reiki Master, who was going to be setting up a Reiki I class towards the end of the summer and we could be apart of it. I still wasn’t exactly sure what Reiki really was, I knew that it involved energy coming from your hands, but from where, I had no idea. And, how that energy helped people, who knew? And, did I really want to invest all of this money into something, to be a healer? I wasn’t a healer, I needed to be healed.
One day soon after that, I hit my lowest, low. I was out to lunch with a friend, had a glass or two of wine, came home and started panicking. It wasn’t anything anyone could help me with. I had these horrible thoughts of suicide. I didn’t want to end my life, but I felt that I didn’t know how to make it better. I thought that my husband, my parents, everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around anymore. I couldn’t believe that I was having these thoughts. I think that’s what freaked me out the most. I was scared of myself, scared that I would hurt myself. I called my mom to come over, who gave me two Ativan. I’m so grateful for her, for that moment. She calmed me down and brought me back to reality. But, I knew I had to do something. I didn’t want to go back on medication; I knew I could fight this.
That night I called the Reiki Master, who booked me for an emergency appointment for the next day. I cannot describe how I felt after the session, just that I was ok. I didn’t know what was different; I didn’t know how I had changed, just that I had. Everything was going to be ok. I was going to be ok. I asked the Reiki Master if I could book more sessions, he said no, he said, “I’m going to teach you to heal yourself.”
I began Reiki I training that summer. I started giving myself daily hour- long sessions, and practicing on anyone who would let me. I was healing myself and I felt great. One day, I came home from work and instead of pouring myself a glass of wine, which would lead into another glass of wine, I decided that I didn’t need it. At that time, alcohol was all I had and looking back, I was very much an alcoholic. But, I didn’t need it anymore and just like that, I stopped drinking. I also started craving better food, real food. I craved fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t eat anything that was processed; it left a horrible after taste in my mouth. I lost weight, I was exercising more, I was eating right and I was happy. Not completely healed, but happy. There was still a lot that I had to work through.
The following spring I wanted to continue my Reiki training and saw that the Reiki School + Clinic offered Reiki II and Reiki III classes. This was a different environment for me, since I was used to one-on-one training. But, I was thrilled to be surrounded by like-minded students and teachers and so excited to learn more and more about Reiki. I didn’t realize how much more I needed to learn until classes started and was humbled by the depth of experience that I encountered from my new teachers.
Reiki II brought the introduction of Reiki Symbols, opening up, letting go and learning to be authentic. Reiki III allowed for a more autonomous practice, a place to really find myself and grow into the person I always knew I could be. I found balance.
With each step, each class, my understanding of Reiki, healing and spirituality grew significantly. As well, with each class, I dug deeper and learned more about myself than I could have ever hoped for. I have learned about acceptance in life and in my practice, whatever that may be. I have learned that my fight may never be over, but I will be ok as long as I have faith and trust in myself. I have learned that I am here, and I am loved and I am whole. And, one of the best lessons that Reiki has taught me is that all is perfect exactly as it is.
Reiki means different things to every person. I believe that every person’s practice is as unique as they are. But, in the end, Reiki is love and love is the best form of healing.
“Sometimes you have to hang really tight” – Aretha Franklin
Emilie Kress is a recent graduate of Reiki 3 at The Reiki School + Clinic. Learn more about our unique approach and Reiki Classes here