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Teaching and Healing Opportunities

Article by Deb Karpek

Recently I taught a Reiki class from hell.

Dare I say this, out myself this way? What will my peers think of me? Does anyone else ever feel this way after a difficult class? Am I not worthy to be called a Reiki Master? Is my greatest fear coming true that I do not deserve this?


After a really challenging class all of the above thoughts swam around in my brain. Not since my first class have I had such anxiety during and after a class. What gives?

I had travelled back to my hometown as I often do, to teach and practice Reiki for a month. A year ago I was introduced to Holy Fire Reiki and I’ve been teaching this since, both in Wisconsin where I used to live and Arizona, where I live now.

Holy Fire Reiki was brought to us by William Rand, founder of the International Center for Reiki Training. It came to him in January of 2014. I took the class in Sedona, from one of his Senior Teachers during the summer solstice of 2014. It was a powerful and life changing experience meeting this new energy.

Holy Fire is a spiritual energy that provides purification, healing, empowerment and guidance. Holy Fire energy is noticeably more refined and comes from a higher level of consciousness. I have jokingly referred to it as Reiki on steroids.

When I first heard of this new Holy Fire energy I immediately and intuitively knew I’d have to take it. I signed up right away for the Karuna level class, which was still a few months out. I couldn’t wait. Yet, as time marched on and it became closer to the class date my ego kicked in and my fear went wild. I began to question and judge and considered dropping out of the class. Despite this fear and judgment I kept “hearing” to move forward and take the class.

I’m so glad I did. It is fair to say that it has changed my life in many ways, gently and powerfully. I feel I am more intuitive, that my channel is more pure and open, and I have experienced a higher level of consciousness. Things come up, burn up, and leave. It’s mostly been a positive and cleansing experience. Until this class.

This one hit harder. Maybe it was time. Like most big shifts I didn’t recognize it when I was in it, and it wasn’t until almost two weeks later that I realized what had happened. It seems incredulous that I didn’t know this, but I did not. I was so far in it; so deep, that I was ignorant of this big healing opportunity. And what an opportunity it was! Holy Cow! Holy Fire!

This would be my sixth Master level Holy Fire class I taught since my training. In each class ample healing opportunities bubbled up, for my students and me. I like to call them blessings. These blessings can take on various forms, and everyone experiences it differently. We get what we need when we need it.

What did I need this time that shook me up so much? Why were my experiences in this class so different this time around?

At first I blamed the energy of the class, the personalities of the students. I then segued into the fact that I was distracted and tired after nearly a month away from home. So many things had happened during this month that I labeled it the Month of Shattered Illusions. Ultimately a good thing, but difficult at the time.

I had been doing a lot of inner, personal work and my visit to my hometown seemed to be the proving ground. I was learning how to BE, with my friends, family, and students. Could I do this? Could I transcend the reactive, turrets like behavior I’ve always regressed to in the past? After last year’s visit I remember saying that my family always treated me “how I used to be”, that they didn’t know and appreciate the new me that I had become, after all of the work I’ve done on myself. They only see that girl I used to be.

I let this judgment consume me until one day I realized that I behaved like that girl they used to know. I’d come “back home” and regress to my role in the family, the one I always played – the oldest child, the boss, the know it all. I’m no longer that person, but they don’t know that because that’s all I allow them to see. I’m more comfortable in that role with them.

So I asked Reiki to help me with this. Help me to be who I am, to show others the real me, always, and to not be afraid to present this side of myself. Let me be that woman I know I am but keep hidden due to fear of being vulnerable with those I love. Don’t let me fall back into the comfort and safety of the old habits. Let me go deep and release.

Be careful what you ask for! Without going into detail let’s just say my wish came true. As always, Reiki provided me with many opportunities. While some of these seemed difficult while they were happening, afterwards I felt cleansed, refreshed and liberated. I noticed how others responded in kind, and my relationships were deeper as a result.

I also became aware of a letting go of some long time relationships. We were no longer on the same wavelength and I realized I had been holding on out of habit. Again, Reiki provided me with opportunities to release them and it was sad and difficult, but I knew it was needed.

It was quite a month! My emotions ran high and every day seemed to bring some new adventure. It was in this space that I taught this final, difficult class.

Going in I thought it would be a breeze. It was a smaller class with students who all knew each other and had been with me for a long time. I was looking forward to seeing them and working with them. I was not prepared for what I encountered.

I was in the snow globe, shaken up; all parts of me seemed to be exploding, flying apart. I felt unsure of myself and my role as a teacher. I worried about the students “getting” this new Holy Fire Reiki. I wanted them to understand and embrace it, and to help those that were struggling with it

I wanted to control it. My ego was quite involved.

Reiki Teaching

Image by dantetg

Of course I did not know this at the time as I was too far into it. I felt re-active and questioned my abilities as a teacher.

On the second night of this three-day class I decided to zone out and went online. On Facebook I saw that some Reiki colleagues were teaching the same class that weekend. Their posts were full of love and praise for their students. I didn’t feel that love. I felt fear. I felt anger. This triggered all of my insecurities and my mental monkey mind began spooling with negative thoughts.

What was wrong? Was it me? What is my students? Does it matter? Am I a bad teacher? Is this ego? People pleasing? I honestly didn’t know. It was a long and tumultuous night. Before I finally fell asleep I asked Reiki to dig deeper and help me to understand and heal what was going on.

I am happy to say that last day was smoother and I felt Reiki’s loving presence in the class, surrounding all of us. I realized I was in the middle of a healing crisis and just decided to be in the flow and see what it brought up.

I headed home the following day, more than ready to sleep in my own bed after being gone for 32 days. I was so grateful for my time away and all of the experiences it brought. I thanked Reiki for it’s loving guidance and again asked it to help me understand what it was I needed to learn from this class.

Once I got back home I was swept up in my life and the memories of the class faded. About a week later a couple of things happened that triggered my fear and it all came back with a wallop. What I thought was gone was really just a mild reprieve, a time out, allowing me to catch my breath and get ready for the next big round of healing.

I decided to quit teaching. I felt I was done. It was just too hard. Too many things had been popping up, both for myself and for my students. I couldn’t handle it. I’m not a counselor; I don’t know what to do with all of these feelings. I can’t seem to help them! Maybe these are signs that I am done. Maybe I’m burned out; no longer effective. Yes, I’m done. No more teaching for me! I had a good run!

Well, that went on for a few days and then an opening occurred. I realized I didn’t want to stop. I love to teach. I love Reiki. I am devoted to it. This is what I do. So what on earth is going on? What do I need to learn? What is the healing opportunity that has been floating around me but I am not seeing? Let’s ask Reiki.

And boom, over the next few weeks all of the answers came. Much of this I felt I had visited and healed over the years, and I have, but it came in at a deeper level. Like a spiral, these opportunities keep coming back, getting closer to the bone, until we are able to let go of this energy. These particular opportunities ran deeper than most. All of my boogey men came out to pay me a visit. This time I welcomed them.

I realized I was doing the same thing with this new Holy Fire energy that I used to do when I first started teaching. I wanted everyone to get it! I wanted everyone to embrace it, right away, and be ok with it! When that wasn’t happening I took it personally and tried harder. When that wasn’t effective I blamed myself. I was a terrible teacher! I compared myself with other teachers. My secret fear of not being good enough once again reared its ugly head. All of that energy I was feeling in class, from the class, was born of these fears and insecurities, the same ones I had when I first began teaching.

I sat with these thoughts and feelings and didn’t run away. One some level I recognized what was happening so I allowed it in, all of it. Eventually the energy shifted and things became clear.

It’s just amazing to me that after all this time I can still be caught off guard and have these experiences. This is the continuous healing of Reiki; that spiral, that re-visiting of things we need to let go until we do.

I don’t think I was ready until just that weekend to be able to have that experience and to eventually see and accept what I needed to learn. I was getting comfortable with this new energy and while I had a sincere desire for others to learn and experience it I wasn’t allowing them their own path to it. Which is ironic because I was the most stubborn Holy Fire student of them all!

And I remember how my teacher handled that. She didn’t. She left me alone to experience it at my pace, in my time, in my way, something I was not doing for my students. Once the ahas started coming they didn’t stop. I was flooded with information that was both enlightening and humbling. I love to say we don’t know what we don’t know and boy I sure didn’t know.

But now I do know. And I can move forward, with this new information. I have taught a few classes since this class that I referred to as the Reiki class from hell and that class has made me a better teacher. I have taken a step back and no longer take credit or responsibility for what is happening in class. I trust that Reiki will give us what we need when we need it and that is enough. I am, once again, letting go of the expectations and people pleasing. I put it out there and trust we all get what we need. Whew!

I am so grateful for the continuing presence of Reiki’s healing energy in my life. Thank you Reiki!

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Deb Karpek

Deb Karpek

Deb is a Reiki Master Teacher and the owner of Peaceful World Reiki located near Sedona, Arizona. She's been studying Reiki since 2001, practicing since 2003 and began teaching Reiki in 2006. She is an Usui and Karuna Holy Fire II Reiki Master/Teacher, receiving her Reiki Certifications from the International Center for Reiki Training. Deb received her Master of Spiritual Psychology from the School of Integrated Psychology in Glendale, Wisconsin. She is certified as a Level I breathwork practitioner, is a Reiki Crystal healer, Reiki drum practitioner and performs Reiki and sound healing with tuning forks. Deb is one of our featured guests on our Reiki Rays - Reiki Age of Light video which can be found on YouTube. Deb is also the author of a book about the nuts and bolts of starting a Reiki practice, including the emotional highs and lows that go along with that. Her book is called “The Reluctant Reiki Master’s Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Reiki Practice” and can be found on Amazon.
Having experienced profound life changes as a result of Reiki, Deb continues to study and practice the various modalities of energy medicine. She devotes her life to walking the Reiki path and helping others discover the benefits of Reiki. Deb can be reached via her website at www.debkarpek.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debkarpekreiki.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • akshayaa November 24, 2015, 10:58 am

    Very inspirational and motivational article.Thank u for sharing this!!!
    Love and lights to u!!

  • Deb December 21, 2015, 2:42 pm

    Awesome article! Thank you for sharing your struggles and insights. These are all things I have experienced also. I am learning to lean into my “bumps in the road”, knowing that they lead to something important for me to learn/know. I will re-read this article any time I feel I am being challenged. In love and light…

  • kristabelle41 March 28, 2016, 5:55 pm

    This article really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  • Virginia Campbell August 20, 2016, 1:22 am

    Thank you, Deb, for being an inspiration to all. Peace, love and light.

  • Julie narewski September 2, 2016, 1:07 pm

    Inspiring, truthful, and brave, can relate to all of it.

  • ishamreiki September 9, 2016, 6:39 am

    Best article I have ever read here .

  • Heather April 14, 2017, 9:06 pm

    Such an incredible article. Very brave and insightful. I recognized the process of being so blinded by the unraveling of the old that you can’t see what’s emerging. I’ve been there many times, and it felt like a relief to read it in your writing, and know I’m not alone. I was also relieved that you didn’t decide to give up teaching — especially after just publishing your book! I think there is so much wisdom here!

  • Andrea October 14, 2019, 6:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience which resonated hugely with me after holding a workshop next week, just before the full moon. Lots of fear energy rising, for students and for me. All such wonderful learning opportunities!! Sending love and light 💖🙏

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