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Prison to Reiki, Forgiveness, Peace and Love

Article by Tammy Hatherill, Reiki Master

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

At the age of 21, I commenced employment in a maximum security ‘male’ prison. I then worked in the Australian Immigration Centres. I was a fresh faced, sweet and naïve University Graduate. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help. At this stage, I had no idea about Reiki or what it does or how in the future it was going to help me so very much.

What I also didn’t understand was the damage such environments would do to me. I didn’t understand I would end up suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Depression and Anxiety. I didn’t realise that I would lose family and friends. I didn’t realise I would carry rage and bitterness towards humanity. I didn’t understand how I’d be viewed as a racist, years later. I didn’t understand any of it.

White rose

Image by John-Morgan

Had I known I was going to experience all this, perhaps I’d have given the ‘exciting’ new job a miss.  I knew nothing about Reiki and the powerful healing properties I would later use to help me overcome the trauma about to unfold.

A typical day ‘inside’ the wire fence is as follows: An inmate required medical attention, but he refused point blank, not allowing staff near him. The small gathering of inmate on-lookers grew. The hurt man was yelling and screaming to them. The crowd continued to grow. Then suddenly, the smashing of glass was heard. Then more glass shattered. It sounded so loud it was as though a gun was going off. It sent shivers down my spine; I turned to see many inmates throwing chairs, rocks, sticks, and anything they could grab, at the windows of the accommodation blocks. The angry atmosphere became audible with the shouts and screams of hundreds of angry and violent inmates. This was bad, this was serious, and we were all in danger. I had never witnessed or heard such madness in my life. My stomach churned with nerves.

From there the events became blurry. Officers scattered, fighting for their lives as inmates came at us with broken glass from the smashed windows. Others charged us with chairs as their weapon, rocks, and stones were pelted. We were in strife, not prepared for this onslaught of physical violence. The initial call was related to a medical issue, officers were not wearing protective clothing. We couldn’t fight back; we had nothing to use by our minds to get out of this situation.

Inmates were screaming! Officers were yelling and shouting:

“Watch out, one behind you”

“Duck, duck, a chairs coming towards your head”,

“He’s got a shiv, got a shiv, it’s long”. (a shiv being a very sharp instrument similar to a knife, made from anything the inmates can sharpen to a deadly point).

The noise was incredible. It was so loud and angry. The smashing glass intensified as did the atmosphere and danger.

I remember looking at the horrific sight before me and seeing my colleagues ducking and diving whilst I did the same. How did this happen? I couldn’t believe that I was fighting for my life.

Ohhhh, imagine if I had of known of Reiki during this employment. I would have beamed the symbols into the prison every single shift. I would have sent Reiki to the future and the past to assist with keeping the energy more peaceful. I would have sent Reiki to all inmates (asking their higher-self for permission) and asking all Reiki not accepted to be sent to the prison gardens. So much I would have done with Reiki in this employment, had I known.

Fast forward ten years or so!  I had allowed the above horror and events to control me. I plummeted into a decade long struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety.  I was filled with anger and bitter rage. My inability to forgive ‘them’ only affected me! Had I realised the power of forgiveness and Reiki back in the early days, how differently my life may have turned out. I would have used it on me as well as sending into the workspace.

To cope, I wrote a few books outlining my inner turmoil and to hopefully educate society.  That was my ultimate goal – was to educate and provide support. I don’t think I’d reached forgiveness at this stage. I was more intent of helping people to understand the ‘officers’ so no-one else would lose family and friends, as I had done, because of mental health issues and strong opinions.

“When I first started in the job, I was going to change the world. I was going to make a difference. I was going to help! And I guess in some small way, now I have.” Quote Tammy Hatherill

This loss of ‘people’ in my life has continued right up until last year (2013.) One ‘friend’ basically accused me of being non-spiritual and promoting racism. We had a huge fallout; and other people not included in the discussion also ‘dumped’ me.

People regarded my views as being wrong!!  People who have never had their life threatened truly didn’t understand! They didn’t understand that it’s hard to forgive! However, if I didn’t learn the art of forgiveness I would lose absolutely everyone from my life! I had to be the one to dig deep. It was a choice, I could be angry, bitter and lonely, or I could learn to love humanity again.


Peaceful scene

Image by paul bica

With understanding that everyone is human and everyone is doing the best they can, I’m learning the concept of forgiveness. This extends to the inmates who hurt me so badly and others who dumped me unceremoniously. I’ve learned to forgive this “friend” of mine for her insensitivity and questioning my higher self and spirituality and basically saying I was a racist. Plus everyone else who has ever hurt me or misunderstood me. I’ve learned to forgive them all.

I talked and cried whilst I analysed and looked deeply within myself. I wrote diary entries. I processed and I called upon my angels and spirit guides to help me. I utilized my Reiki practices and self-Reiki techniques (daily and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day) to reach a place of inner peace and tranquillity. Meditation was a wonderful tool that I used daily and I utilized crystals to help me to release my emotions.

I did the hard work and I forgave me first!!! That’s the most important thing is to forgive yourself first for any perceived failings. Then it’s much easier to forgive others, who are sometimes ignorant, and no amount of education or training will shift their views or opinions. Sometimes it’s best to help yourself rather than trying to change the world. In fact, I believe changing the world can start with changing yourself.

Acceptance of “difference” and employing “respect” are probably basic and yet powerful tools. Accepting that others have different experience to your own can also help in forgiveness, peace, and love.

So I have forgiven myself for lashing out and being reactive rather than proactive, when I was rejected and hurt. I have forgiven the group who hurt me terribly all those years ago. I forgive those who did not show me love, understanding and compassion to my injury/illness and reactions to the entire ordeal; and I am only speaking about this ‘ordeal’ now to pass along that that forgiveness, peace, and love is possible.  Healing is possible, especially with using Reiki every single day.

Now I can actually thank everyone for the beautiful and powerful lessons I’ve learned by their behaviours and reactions, including my own. It speaks volumes and shows me what I do and do not want to become.

Magical blessings to you all, especially those on the quest of forgiveness and overcoming hurt. Feel free to write below your feelings on how Reiki can help overcome pain and lead to forgiveness.

Tammy Hatherill

Tammy Hatherill

Tammy Hatherill is the owner/operator of Tammy’s Tarot and Healing. She is a well-known Tarot and Reiki Master/Teacher and shared her love of tarot for over 12 months with a regular radio segment on 104.1 Territory FM. Tammy is the author of two books: Trapped Behind Bars and The Diary of a Fallen Angel, and is a journalist for numerous organisation: Reiki Rays, Tiny Buddha, Personal Growth and Hypnotherapy Journal Australia. You can find her website at www.tammystarotandhealing.com
and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammystarotandhealing/


{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Nisha May 26, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Thanks Tammy..very touchy..Thank you again !!

  • Connie Fossenier June 4, 2014, 4:59 pm

    thank you for sharing your experience, and yes the hard part is to give up the quest hoping other people close to you will understand.

  • Tammy Hatherill June 5, 2014, 4:08 am

    Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed. Connie, I agree… hoping that others will understand can sometimes be a fruitless exercise. Love to all. Tammy xx

  • sue December 24, 2014, 3:08 pm

    ok i get the forgiveness thing but what if you ve forgiven someone ie boyfriend who is now an ex who has hurt or upset you , i find that if i then speak and be kind to them they get the wrong idea and try to get back with me , how do i deal with that without getting angry and saying get lost again and they then wont leave you alone , sometimes being angry with them keeps them away from you which is what u want to be left alone .

    • Tammy Hatherill - Reiki Master December 25, 2014, 12:44 am

      Hi Sue, Merry Christmas. It’s Christmas day here in Australia. You can forgive someone and not have anything to do with them. I would recommend if he’s getting the wrong idea, the kindest thing you can do is forgive him as you say you have, and cut all ties – so that he can get on with his life and so can you. I hope this helps. I wouldn’t have any contact with him. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to interact and be friends again.. it just means there is no emotional reaction to them. Tammy xx

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