Why and How I Became a Reiki Practitioner

Looking back, I see that my path to becoming a Reiki practitioner started in the early 2000s — but I didn’t realize it at the time.

I first heard of Reiki after I moved to Los Angeles from Rochester, NY in 2004. An acquaintance of mine told me that he was a Reiki Master, and as he described it to me, I became compelled to try it and learn more. But just as quickly, my inner skeptic and critic dismissed it. You know —  that inner voice we all have that says things like:

It can’t be as good as it seems!

You don’t deserve that!

People will laugh at you!

This type of scenario played out several times over the years. I came across Reiki in different situations and began to think it could possibly be another tool to help me manage my lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, something to complement my therapy appointments, meditation practice and exercise routine. Still, I found reasons not to try it. I let that skeptical and self-critical part of me, and my fears of being vulnerable and judged, win over my intuition.

It wasn’t until years later when I felt that I was on the verge of a breakdown, that I finally made a Reiki appointment.

Reaching My Breaking Point

After more than a decade in digital publishing, I began to feel unfulfilled and unhappy in my career. I wanted to truly help people through my work, but I didn’t know how to do that.

Me on my last day of work at one of my digital publishing jobs (wearing a ridiculous Arby's hat).

Me on my last day of work at one of my digital publishing jobs (wearing a ridiculous Arby's hat).

In January 2016, I came across a posting for an editorial position at a startup with a mission I believed in. I applied with excitement and was offered the position rather quickly. I left a long-time job and an impressive title, hoping that I would feel more fulfilled. I only ended up more disillusioned.

I was laid off from the new job after less than five months because the company was in financial trouble. To make matters worse, the experience revealed to me that the values and mission that the founder of the company preached were not what she actually practiced.

After I was laid off, I felt disappointed, defeated and scared, and I started making decisions based on fear and a scarcity mindset instead of taking the time to figure out what I truly needed and wanted for myself.

I ended up going against my better judgment and transitioned from editorial work to doing marketing for enterprise technology companies. The jobs themselves, the company culture, the subject matter — they were just not a fit for me. Not at all.

This is a real excerpt from my journal at that time: “Even though I’m making way more money than I’ve ever made, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel that I can’t bear doing this too much longer. My soul hurts.”

I admit that I had read similar words written by other people in the past, and each time, my eyes rolled so hard into the back of my head that you could only see the whites. I thought, Oh, poor you, you’re making lots of money, but you hate your job. Just suck it up!

I had become one of those people I scoffed at. I knew I had to reach a certain level of privilege to even be able to think that way.

Determined to do something to change my situation, I started going to a very expensive career counselor. I answered so many questions, did all of the “homework” exercises I was given and kept an open mind — but I still felt completely stuck.

I wanted to remain grateful for my job and salary and recognize the privileges that allowed me to get where I was (and afford an expensive career counselor). Because of this, I was constantly trying to push down my feelings of sadness and distress about my work situation whenever they came to the surface instead of truly addressing them. Eventually, all of those uncomfortable feelings started to bubble over, and I reached a new level of self-loathing. I knew I was on the verge of a breakdown.  

Becoming Unstuck

This is when my inner champion, or intuition, spoke up:

So....we’ve exhausted most of your healthy coping mechanisms, and instead of turning to the unhealthy ones, let’s try something else. What about Reiki? Try doing a Google search on Reiki and see what comes up. It can’t hurt.  

Somehow, my inner champion drowned out the critic and skeptic  — and I actually listened to it.

After doing some research, I made an appointment with Kristin Reed at Healing Reiki Brooklyn. I went to my first Reiki session feeling stuck, anxious, sad, unsure and with knots in my stomach that had been there for months. I walked away feeling very different.

The terrible knots and general sense of dread were gone. I felt calm and at peace. I also had bursts of joy and giddiness. My inner voice was telling me a different story than the one I was used to:

I can have a different, better life.

I can decide to change my life.

My current job is not who I am.

I believe in myself.

These simple ideas felt life-changing. It’s not that I never considered these concepts before; it’s just that Reiki helped me become open to believing them.

I went for more Reiki sessions. Each time, I felt better than I did before I went in. I felt increasingly balanced and stable between sessions as well.

The inner critic was still there, but it was being drowned out a little more often by my inner champion. I began noticing when and why the knots began to develop again in my abdomen, and just noticing them actually prevented them from getting worse. I also felt more open and vulnerable. It was all very scary and exhilarating at the same time. I knew it was because of Reiki.

Choosing the Path of Reiki

Because Reiki made such a difference in my life, I decided I wanted to learn how to practice it. I enrolled in classes. Immediately afterward, I began to practice self Reiki almost every day, and soon after that, I began to practice it with friends and family. I also devoured any legitimate information about Reiki that I could find. (Most of it was written by Pamela Miles. You should check her out.)

During this time, I was laid off from my marketing job. Although it wasn’t the best news, I handled it better than I ever have in the past. Instead of acting from a place of fear and scarcity and scrambling to find another job that I knew I’d hate, I took a step back and thought about what I really wanted to do for a living. Then, I began wholeheartedly taking steps in completely different directions then I had taken before.

I knew I had a passion for good cheese and beer, so I pursued part-time jobs in those fields. At the same time, I started doing more Reiki sessions for others. I realized that I felt a strong calling to start practicing Reiki professionally.

I wanted to help other people feel better through Reiki. I wanted to facilitate healing in a world full of suffering. And now, I’m so grateful to be doing exactly that in a beautiful space at City Wellness Collective. I’m exactly where I want and need to be.