Article by Anne Lauren
I had arrived late and in a great rush. I parked in the first available spot, sprinted to the door, punched in the code, and ran up the steep staircase so common in San Francisco architecture. I stumbled clumsily into an open room with a variety of closed doors perplexed at which one to enter. Suddenly, this beautiful woman with short brown hair tucked behind her ears opened the second door to the right, walked to me, and said in a lovely French accent, “You must be Anne.” “Yes, and you, Caroline,” I responded while catching my breath. “I’m sorry that I’m late.”
My life to this point mirrored this arrival to my first Reiki session. Late and rushed: 10 years behind my peers, I hurried through my twenties in order to recover from childhood incest and illness. As their lives were coming together as they were getting married, starting families, and fulfilling professional goals, I was working through trauma and trying to recover my health. Now, I was ready to arrive, ready to live fully, but I still felt as if I were waiting in an open room with a bunch of closed doors. Life had presented me so many no’s: all the things I couldn’t do because of my past. I so desperately hoped that Reiki might help me to choose the right door and knock on it.
I had pursued almost every healing modality that I had encountered up to this point: talk therapy, physical therapy, massage, EMDR, psychological medications, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, the list goes on. Each had its own benefits, but I was still struggling with complex PTSD, depression, fatigue, and physical pain. I knew that Reiki was a healing art devoted to the channeling of a patient’s energy in order to stimulate the natural healing processes of the body and restore physical and emotional balance. I wanted to try it, so I emailed Caroline Vigery, a local Reiki master in SF, to explore this ancient healing tradition. I explained to her my history with sexual abuse and illness and that I had just quit my job and was seeking a new career path that was more aligned with my natural skills and personal values. She expressed her confidence that Reiki would help my body to recover from the consequences of rape and the challenges of recovery, as well as provide clarity for my next professional step. So, we set up a time, she told me the place, and I arrived late but ready.
I laid back on the high bed, pulled the sheets over my fatigued body, and waited for her to start. I didn’t know what to expect. She began at my feet, her hands gently holding my toes, her eyes closed, her focus intense. I felt safe, so I closed my eyes. She then moved to my right leg. One hand on my thigh, the other on my calf. Then, to my belly, right arm, shoulders, head, and down my left side the same parts in the opposite order. At forty-five minutes, I opened my right eye to spy on her. Again, her focus was intense. “What could she possibly be so focused on?” I thought. I didn’t feel anything moving or changing in me. I began to feel skeptical and a little antsy lying there for so long. I started to think that maybe I had been tricked! At the top of the hour, she whispered, “OK, Anne, you can sit up now. I’ll go get you some water and we can discuss your energy movement.” “What energy movement?” I thought unkindly as I sat up feeling like I had just been robbed of a few bucks
I transferred myself to a small cafe chair by the window and grumbled under my breath thinking that I had just wasted the last hour and a half of my life putting me further behind with no new solutions. Caroline placed a refreshing glass of chilled water in front of me and said, “OK, we have lots to talk about.” She began to tell me what she had learned about me through Reiki:
- She was surprised that I survived my childhood. The incest abuse and illness were really horrible. I willed myself through life to this point and she understood why I was suffering so much as an adult.
- She recognized a need to reclaim the childhood that I felt was stolen from me.
- She named the immense anger I direct toward myself for what happened to me and the need to develop more self-love.
- She noticed that my abuser’s energy still had control over me and I needed to take it back.
- She acknowledged that my female models growing up kept me in the cycle of abuse and that I needed to redefine femininity and power.
- She expressed that my professional path needed to be a creative, self-expressive, and independent one.
My jaw dropped to the table in shock. Spot on; she was spot on. All the skepticism passed right through me. What or whoever she was talking to inside me was giving her completely accurate data to what and how I felt on a daily basis. She correctly compartmentalized the tornado of thoughts and feelings that I experienced and had to manage, exhausting me, hurting me, limiting my energy and thereby limiting my life. She recommended that I return a few more times so that she could help me clear the negative energy. In the meantime, I was to rest, to reclaim my past, to love myself, to control my mind, and to let go of the abuse.
Now, nearly six months later, I am slowly observing the necessary changes taking place in my life. I have been able to prioritize rest for the first time ever. I have had the opportunity to nanny, spending time with children and reclaiming my need for play. The anger that I feel toward myself and others is transforming into a better understanding of boundaries, accountability, and compassion. My abuser’s control is waning, while my confidence in myself growing. New female models are encouraging my recovery, my voice, and my healing. My creativity is finding expression through professional opportunities in writing, interior design, and music. I am even preparing to become a Reiki healer so that I can assist others in their own recovery processes.
Through Reiki, I have finally been able to slow down and catch up with myself. For the first time, I feel as if I am exactly where I am supposed to be exactly when I am supposed to be there. And to no surprise, doors are opening before me as I develop the clarity, the charisma, the compassion, the confidence, the community, and the creativity to say yes and walk through them. I am immensely grateful for this healing art and recommend it to anyone in recovery.
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Anne Lauren is a word weaver, a woman warrior, and a wisdom wayfinder. She authors the blog, Blue&Lavender, which speaks of her experience recovering from sexual abuse and seeks to educate and inspire others to do so. She also loves both the creative and healing arts which has led her to a Masters in Spirituality, five years of experience in the Interior Design industry, and most recently to the study of Reiki to become a practitioner. She can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Medium.