Light Training

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Monday afternoon a woman in magnificent yellow robes, a head wrap, and golden earrings pulled up to my house with my Usui Reiki Master Certificate. Our hug was huge. Aqiylah gave me a gift I don’t really have words for.

When I was 23 and on a train home from Alaska drinking Miller Lite in the smoking car with a boyfriend I’d made 10 minutes before, I heard a crazy voice in my head. It was so crazy I had to write it down. You are a Messenger of Light, the voice said. I knew it was crazy because a) it sounded crazy and b) because of all my darkness. There were a million secrets written on my body beneath my clothes. I didn't want light shined on me much less did I have any light to shine on others.

I took a Healing Touch workshop two years later, newly sober, with change scraped together from various odd jobs. I don't remember why I didn't continue but I do know I didn't yet trust myself enough to believe I could do true, lasting good.

And then last fall I could not get the idea of Reiki out my mind. When a friend texted me a picture of flyer she’d seen in a coffee shop, I signed up immediately and received my Reiki I training on meditation cushions arranged in a circle in an office park off West Broad that Friday night. There were no lightning strikes. I didn't see flashes of color. My hands didn’t turn hot. There was no spontaneous healing or internal combustion. But I did feel good, and I did start practicing, unsure if anything was actually happening, but practicing anyway.

When I was pregnant with Henry, my stepmother (Saint Mary) arranged and paid for monthly Reiki sessions with a beautiful woman from Unity Church name Santa. I'd had three miscarriages and was terrified most of the time. The sessions relaxed and calmed me and when Henry was born via emergency C-section with the umbilical cord triple wrapped around his neck, Santa was there. And so was my beautiful, beautiful boy. I took Reiki II in January and practiced on Mary before she died, trying to return a small part of the gift she’d given me.

As I’ve practiced, Reiki has helped me make sense of things I've felt since I was small. The energy flashing through my hands when we say the prayer at the end of a meeting. The sheets of light that pass through my body until all of the shadows are gone. The figure eights of energy zooming around inside. I have been given permission to believe in something I thought I had made up just for myself, something backed with research and books and people and tradition. I asked Aquila if she'd had trouble trusting herself at first, believing that anything was actually happening when she first laid on her hands. Oh yes, she said. But it doesn't matter. Reiki works whether you believe in it or not.

I think that’s my real training. Learning to believe.

For my Reiki training, I studied with three powerful Reiki masters: Kayla Berry at Giving Back RVA, Rachel Kloiber at Divine Spark and Aqiylah Collins at Qi to Wellness. Santa Sorenson is the Conflict Resolution Coordinator at the Richmond Peace Education Center.

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Valley Haggard1 Comment