Article by Deb Karpek
I’m not sure who I would be or what my life would be like if not for Reiki. It has given me so much, on so many levels. From discovering Reiki, to starting a practice and finally teaching, I believe it both changed and saved my life.
First and foremost it’s taught me that it’s ok to be who I am, to take the road less travelled and to trust my guidance, which Reiki has increased exponentially.
At first it was difficult to be in the flow of that guidance. I would hear things and I’d think, “no way, I can’t do that!” And yet, when I did listen and take guided action it was exactly the right thing for me to do.
When I left the corporate world to start a practice it was because I saw a vision of it, and then heard it was time. So I moved forward, even though it scared the pants off me. The mantra “do it afraid” got me through this often terrifying time.
And just like I never had any intention of practicing Reiki, teaching it was so far off my radar I couldn’t even consider it. The only reason I even took the Master/Teacher class was so I could sit in my teacher’s classroom one more time. On the last day of class, when she handed me my certificate of completion, I told her I enjoyed the class but would never teach. She told me she saw me as a teacher and that when folks started asking for classes I should teach. I humored her and said ok, knowing I’d never do that.
Never say never.
A month from that day I had five women in my living room taking a Reiki Level One class. That was 14 years ago and I’ve been teaching pretty much monthly since then. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it.
To prepare for that class I holed up in Barnes and Noble with my computer and every Reiki book I could get my hands on. I couldn’t find a text that I loved, but I ended up choosing one that was simple and straightforward. I also created some handouts to go along with the book, to complete what I felt was missing.
I used this book for many years and I am grateful for the learning it has given me. Every so often I’d think about using another book, but I’d look and never find one that spoke to me. I considered writing my own manual, even started one, but I never got around to finishing it. I made do with what I had.
About a year ago I started to think about slowing down my practice and possibly retiring. I moved back to my home state after being away for seven years and thought maybe I’d make a fresh start. I took the summer off to think about my decision and gave myself until fall to make up my mind. I spent those months feathering my new nest and I was surprised that I set up a Reiki room in my home. It was a no brainer. I was going to continue with my practice.
Yet I felt reluctant to teach. I’d set dates for classes but my heart wasn’t in it. I thought maybe I was supposed to just practice and let go of the teaching. So I cancelled the classes and began going through my teaching materials, cleaning things up. This made me so sad and I realized I wasn’t ready to let it go yet.
So what was up? Why was I back to being the Reluctant Reiki Master?
I wasn’t happy with the way I was teaching. For the last year or so I felt as if I wasn’t as present as I wanted to be when teaching, especially the lower levels. I had lost that excitement, and it felt more like work. Was I burned out?
As I was cleaning things out to make some space in my office I came across a Reiki text I bought a few years earlier. One day I went into one of my favorite metaphysical stores and the women at the counter directed me over to this book. She knew I’d been looking for a different text and was excited to show me what she had just received. I knew the woman who wrote the book, having met her at some Reiki events over the years. I admired her playful, passionate spirit and looked forward to reading her book.
I loved it! Her personality came shining through. The book was well written, and had everything in it that I felt was missing in the book I’d been using. It was very interactive, and I knew intuitively that my students would love it. I decided to use this book in my classes once I ran out of the old ones.
Yet I never did. I kept scheduling classes and I kept ordering more books. Every time I did this I had that nagging feeling I shouldn’t be doing this, yet I still did. I’d tell myself, next time. But that next time never came.
I gave myself so many excuses, telling myself it would be too much work for me to switch gears at this point in my career, especially since I was considering retirement. I wasn’t sure I wanted to work that hard.
But I missed teaching, despite the reluctance. After sitting with these feelings for a while I realized that one of the reasons I didn’t want to teach anymore was because I didn’t like the book and curriculum I had been using. It just did not resonate with me any longer and it didn’t feel right. Yet I didn’t know what to do about it, because it offered me a new blend of Reiki. I loved the “upgraded” energy I received from it. And I wasn’t ready to let this go. I didn’t feel I had a choice, so I sat on this for a few years.
One day I sat down and reread the book I bought and remembered how much I loved it. It inspired me and I longed to teach this! I could picture me sharing this with my students, knowing they, too, would love it.
And then I realized I was ready to let it all go. One day I was in an online meditation, and one of the things the leader said was, “don’t make any big decisions from a point of confusion or uncertainty”. In that moment I knew what I wanted. I was no longer confused or uncertain. I very clearly saw me teaching this material and I saw me doing attunements “the old fashioned way”. I was so excited to realize this.
For the last few years I’d been thinking of doing a “hybrid” class, blending the old with the new. I’ve talked to a number of different Reiki Masters who are doing this. I just wasn’t sure about doing it that way; I didn’t even know if I could. There seemed to be so many “rules” around this new type of energy and I wasn’t sure what was ok and what wasn’t. And those “rules” always seem to be changing, or evolving. That never sat well with me, as my teacher taught us “Reiki without rules”! Could I combine the old way of doing attunements, with this new energy? I wasn’t sure, so I waited, immobilized and frustrated.
In that mediation I was calm and clear and realized Energy is Energy; it doesn’t matter what you call it, or which type of attunement one uses. I think it’s been useful for me to have been introduced and worked with that “upgrade” in energy as it made it more tangible for me, as the symbols do. I WAS feeling a stronger, deeper, more lighted energy when this upgrade came in 2014; I just didn’t have a name for it. So when it appeared it felt familiar.
I don’t feel there has to be an either/or. Since Reiki is guided by intention, I never thought there was a right way or a wrong way to do things. I did enjoy the new way of doing attunements, as they reminded me of a shamanic journey and I liked the idea of all of that meditation in a class, and being guided by the Reiki energy itself. But I’ve always loved the traditional way of doing attunements and I’ve missed them.
Once I let go of the need to use the old book and was ready to embrace the energy of the new, I ordered the Master Manual. And low and behold, it offered both attunements and ignitions! I could continue with the ignitions AND do the traditional attunements as well. It was exactly what I had felt I wanted to do, but was reluctant due to the “rules” from the other book. I believe that reluctance had more to do with me respecting Reiki. I had “felt” it was ok, but was held back by the rules of my previous teaching.
In fact, a few years ago a friend asked me to attune her son to Level 1 Reiki. I told her I would be happy to, but wanted to do it the traditional way. I felt it would be a better fit for him. I consulted with my teacher and I love that she asked me how I felt about it all and when I told her I wanted to do it in the traditional way, she gave me her blessing. However, I was still reluctant to teach it in my class, using my old book and curriculum. I felt I was going against those teachings and that didn’t feel right. I see that I was still in the searching mode and it wasn’t until that meditation when the light turned on and that realized my truth.
I’ve heard people say that if we go back to the old way of doing attunements that we are working with a lesser energy. I don’t agree with this. Honestly, I don’t think it matters. The energy is there and we all have access to it; it doesn’t matter how it is done or what it is called. It just is. I have felt and still feel that vibration. It’s not going to go away, in fact it’s only going to evolve, and get stronger. I love that I now have the opportunity to keep with Reiki tradition, and acknowledge these new energies.
I have been working with Reiki since 2003 after discovering it a few years earlier and I feel I have a good relationship with it; one where I am comfortable trusting it and trusting what it tells me. And now it’s telling me it’s time to move forward, with a new book, a new curriculum, into a new (and old) way of doing things. I feel so happy to have come to this conclusion after so much soul searching. I really sat with it, thought it through and allowed myself to feel pretty much everything.
One of the things I felt was fear. I was afraid to write this article, to put these thoughts out there. What will my students think? I worried that they would see me as wishy/washy, changing my mind. And I did change my mind, although I prefer to think of it as evolving and trusting my instincts. I have since reframed this and now consider it to be an opportunity to share my journey and encourage them to follow their hearts and be who they are, to trust and not wait for someone to give them permission, like I did. Reiki whispers to us! It knows! I heard that whisper yet I wasn’t ready to trust it.
I also didn’t want it to sound like I was criticizing anyone or any way of doing things. I write to better understand myself and to share that understanding with others as honestly as I can. And I am grateful to the teachers and books that have taught me and put me on this path. Without them I would not be here and I am eternally grateful. Reiki has changed my life in so many ways; the biggest one being to be who I am, even when that is hard or different from what others expect. And to trust. To trust how I feel and what I know to be my truth and then go out there and live it. Which I’m doing. I feel Reiki has taken me full circle and I have a better understanding of it and myself. Always evolving! Thank you Reiki!
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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 via her website at www.debkarpek.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/debkarpekreiki.