Article by Deb Karpek
Before I started my Reiki practice I attended a conference where something the keynote speaker said changed my life. She was a young woman, the Executive Director of a non-profit shelter for battered women. She first came to that shelter years before, with five young children, to escape her husband and her violent marriage.
The shelter helped her to go back to school, where she finished high school, got her college degree, and went to work at the shelter, where she worked her way up to Executive Director. She overcame many odds, but she did it. When asked how she did it, she replied, “I did it afraid.”
That simple phrase jolted me out of my reverie and changed my life. At the time I was just beginning to explore new ideas and they terrified me. I was thinking of leaving my very secure job and starting my Reiki business. I’d been practicing for a few years, and it was time to make the leap, but I was terrified. I wallowed in “what ifs”. What if no one came? What if I didn’t make enough money? What if I fail? What if it’s the wrong decision, and so on.
Hearing her words “I did it afraid” encouraged me to make the leap. I was ready and this became my new mantra. I did start my practice, and it was successful. I have been blessed with a thriving Reiki practice. Fifteen years later I am still practicing and teaching and Reiki is a huge part of my life. I like to joke that I eat, sleep and breath Reiki, but it’s true. I do. I love Reiki and I love how it’s enriched my life, taking me to places I never imagined I’d be.
I mentor many of my students, and so many of them, when faced with starting their own practice experience these same fears. Some of them never make it past these initial thoughts; others start but walk away when it gets difficult. A few of them have made it and they themselves have thriving practices. Those are the ones that did it afraid!
Reiki gives us what we need when we need it. It brings up our stuff and at times that can be really scary. But if we trust that Reiki knows, even better than us, what we need, we can keep moving forward, learning and growing. It is the road less travelled, but what an authentic and liberating road it can be.
I’d like to share a few things that I learned about fear and doing it afraid, as you contemplate starting your practice.
- Do it afraid! It will take you out of your fear and into reality. Fear is an illusion. It is not real.
- At the heart of all dysfunction is fear.
- Keep your head out of it. If you trust your heart and your gut you will not be afraid. Thinking = fear festering.
- If you sit with the fear it goes away. Force yourself to be with it. It’s not as bad as you think it is.
- Act as if. Pretend. No one knows you are afraid.
- Tell people you are afraid. It takes the charge away.
- Everyone is afraid. You just don’t know this.
- Change your story. Change your mind. Decide to get over yourself and not be afraid.
- What are you afraid of? Is it real or just how you define yourself?
- Don’t hide behind your fear. It’s an excuse. Grow! Be your big self!
All of these things I’ve learned by doing it afraid. It wasn’t a very linear route; honestly I was all over the place initially, but that is how I learned. One step forward, two steps back! But the important thing is that I kept moving forward, despite the fear. Once I recognized that my fear was much greater than the reality, it made it easier to keep going.
Another thing that really helped me is something a wise teacher of mine said. When I told him that I was going to abandon my practice and get a “real job” he asked me “Is that your heart’s desire?” I told him, NO, of course not! But I need the money! I had been fearful after a number of cancellations and felt I needed something more stable, something I could count on. After sitting with those feelings I realized that once again, ego and fear were ruling my life. I stuck it out, those feelings passed, and I jumped back into my practice, renewed. Since then, whenever I get distracted and think about doing something else I ask myself, “Is this my heart’s desire?” That always puts me back on track. There are so many ways my fear can sneak in. By remembering ‘Do It Afraid’, and ‘Is That Your Heart’s Desire’, I can recognize my fear, sit with it, feel the feelings and move on. Each time this happens I wake up a little bit more and understand myself a little bit better.
I hope by sharing my experience you can overcome your fears, move forward, and do whatever is your heart’s desire. Do it afraid!
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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 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/deb.karpek.