Article by Kelly Boyles
As a massage therapy student, I was expecting to learn about muscles and bones . . . massage techniques . . . the ethics of running a business. The extent of energy work that I anticipated was Shiatsu, which I’d first heard about in karate class.
So imagine my surprise at seeing the word “Reiki,” pulling out my checkbook, and paying for the class in about three minutes flat! Even as I signed the check, I asked the receptionist if she knew what Reiki was. “I’m not sure, don’t you know?”
“Nope, never heard of it before, I’m just reading this paragraph,” I said, chuckling to myself at how silly that must sound.
“Then why are you signing up?” came the predictable response.
Handing over the check, I said, “I can’t explain it, something tells me I need this class!”
That was the understatement of the decade!
That first attunement weekend was dramatic, heady, and began to release me from the grief I was swimming in after my Grammy Jean passed away. She was my most favorite person on the planet. While I’d always been hugely grateful to have all three exceptional grandparents into my 30s, her passing hit me the hardest.
The first day of this Reiki weekend of training, the instructor warned us: we will be spinning at a different vibration now, at the DNA level. With a knowing wink and smile, she said, “Therefore, all bets are off! People may respond differently to you. Animals may perceive you in a new way, and behave in an unexpected manner. This is neither bad nor good: just be aware to expect it, observe it, and be patient with others.”
“Fair enough,” I thought, reminding myself to be open and present. I came home that afternoon, just floating, the most awake and aware as I had been in months. My beautiful Akita, Tsunami, gave me her customary happy dance as I arrived home. I looked at her – I mean really stopped, and really looked at her. The pink hinge of her lips, her coal-black fur, the snowy gleam of her four white socks, those sparkling brown eyes brimming with love, all took my breath away. She looked at me, almost grinning, like she’d been let in on the Reiki secret before I was!
Out we went for our daily walk, an exercise in moving meditation for me. She was a big girl, about 75 pounds, and I never quite got to five feet tall! So I always needed to be fully in the moment and engaged to walk her safely. Her mission seemed to be to cover as much linear space as possible. Rather than wander from sniffing spot to spot, she would take the “fall line,” as if she were skiing on the flat Pennsylvania terrain. Her relentlessly steady gait allowed a piece of my mind to drift, processing, while I held tight to that leash.
The long-defunct tow path and empty canal were our stomping grounds. So off we went on this seemingly lovelier-than-normal spring dusk. Suddenly, life had swamped back into my consciousness. I noticed every leaf, each tiny stone. The crunch of the mulch beneath my feet, the fading blare of traffic, the sniff and snort of my curious dog, each sounded different, somehow: deeper, more layered, more textured.
Just for the fun of it – fun, a concept that had not been present since Grammy passed the previous December! – I decided we should go up on the huge berm where the train tracks are. The open sky above seemed wider, the clouds almost palpable. Looking up, breathing more deeply than I had in months, I saw the first bat. Bouncing wildly through the air, feasting on its last meal of bugs for the day, I said to Tsunami, “Look at that! We’ve never seen bats up here before. Wow! This Reiki stuff is really something!”
The pooch stopped to investigate some fascinating smell, and I stroked her fur. Surely she was relieved to see the “old Mommy” reappear, her canine calm quite evident. She had endured every moment of that crushing grief with me, darling, intuitive protector that she was!
Suddenly, almost as if to greet me, three, then four more bats appeared. We stopped while I watched, taking in the odd scene. Out of nowhere, one swooped above my head . . . then another . . . and another, each closer. “OK, big girl, let’s get back on the tow path and head for home,” I said, giving a tug on the leash.
The tow path had branches overhead, but when we got to the open air above the train trestle, I found the five bats had followed us! Intellectually, I suspect we were kicking up insects, hence the convenient meal. I pulled Tsunami under the trestle to hide for a minute, the bats’ proximity becoming more unsettling. “All bets are off” suddenly didn’t seem as comforting as it sounded just an hour ago in class! After several minutes, I decided to make a break for it! “Come on, baby!” I shouted as we burst out, sprinting! The bats followed until we splashed through the canal puddles and back to civilization.
We got home, and I locked the door behind us with no small sense of relief. I was excited to have a story for my fellow Reiki students the next day! As I picked up my mail, I happily noticed a book of Chinese graphics that had finally arrived. The book had been a bit of a splurge, which I justified by saying I’d have plenty of lovely, unusual artwork for my writing clients. What happened next really stopped me in my tracks!
I sat the book on its spine, and with no help from me, the pages fell open to the Five Bats of Happiness symbol you see here. “Wow, that’s no accident!” I said to Tsunami, who was even more glued to my side that night than normal.
I resolved in that moment to trust Reiki without reservation, and of course, this rustic, unpolished image has been my massage and bodywork logo ever since!
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A licensed massage therapist (LMT), Kelly lives and works in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, USA. A Reiki II practitioner since 1998, she strives to interweave Reiki energy with her bodywork, martial arts, gardening and cooking endeavors. Do you have a communications challenge that needs a Reiki touch? Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote on your writing project today!