2009 Reiki Virtual Retreat Post Retreat Reflection

Reiki is a very passionate and personal journey, the kind of journey one takes in life by choice. It is through looking back at my journey that I have seen Reiki’s subtle workings the most clearly. My story takes place in the Knox, Pennsylvania USA but is worldly in nature. My journey began in Stuttgart, Germany where I stumbled upon Reiki as a healing modality via the World Wide Web. Reiki took me soon after to Tokyo, Japan where I was formally trained in 2005. I am a level two practitioner. I had no idea at the time that I was moving swiftly along a path to understanding an ancient method for gaining happiness. What I did understand about Reiki from my first glance was that Reiki would be a journey that would last the rest of my life.

I began my 2009 Reiki Virtual Retreat with a sense of new hope for reawakening and deepening my Reiki experience. It was my first virtual retreat. This retreat experience came at a time when the Reiki portion of my lifestyle had waned dramatically; I was looking for a gentle journey back towards the Reiki practice I had stepped away from in my recent past. For this year’s retreat I made a personal dedication to self, set a few reminders on my calendar and was determined to participate at whatever level I could comfortably accommodate …no matter what!

In the retreats opening statements I found these reassuring words, “Please find the balance of commitment and comfort that fits your lifestyle. Look at what invites you to practice, and doesn’t feel burdensome. Don’t make it big, make it steady, and practice every day. Find an amount of daily practice that you can comfortably commit to, and a time when you can place your hands and be with your self-treatment every day.”

I realized that I needed to commit to consistency and in so doing promised myself that I would say my precepts twice daily as my minimum without fail.

Week one came and I eagerly listened to the audio files, read the messages and began a new journal just for this 21 day experience. I began in earnest, saying my precepts and practicing my self treatments after which I would do my second degree work, writing about it all in my journal. A well patterned routine, it was one that I had participated in many times over. In my second day’s journal entry I wrote these words detailing my awareness,” During today’s treatment my mind lingered upon many distracting sounds and thoughts and revisited some historical events. I experienced some regret for past emotional upheavals. While I was not saddened by remembering a recent past personal experience of grieving I was intrigued at looking at it from a new, distant and detached perspective, something I have not been able to do before.” Remembering a personal grief experience is significant because as part of my retreat I have promised to send Reiki over the course of the next 21 days to a grieving friend’s family. “In so doing I have more purpose and reason to live Reiki every day during my retreat.” My transformation within the subtle energies of Reiki begins here in the understanding of my use and practice of Reiki Healing Energy.

Over the course of week one my self treatment and Second degree experiences were very similar with a sense of increasing intensity of energy. I was also growing more tired, more exhausted dealing with life issues and ongoing Reiki demands. Reiki Treatment started to seem like a chore, another thing to do on a list wherein there weren’t enough hours in the day. By the end of the week my personal energy reserves seemed spent physically and emotionally. Then, I had a real Reiki refocusing moment. I felt like I had stepped into a black hole. At the end of week one I stood at a crossroads unsteady, struggling with a very difficult decision. I was unsure of my Reiki future, afraid it was suddenly coming to a screeching halt. I needed to give myself some much needed perspective.

After a small period of withdrawal and self reflection, I recorded these words in my second week of journaling, “This evening I began my practice with the precepts and a self treatment. It has been several days of deeply emotional self reflection. I’m not even sure I want to practice Reiki anymore. If it hadn’t been for me starting this retreat I may have thrown in the towel completely. Every morning I remind myself to say the precepts because I promised myself I would, no matter what. This has been the first day I could go back to doing self treatment after a very difficult weekend; a weekend that shook my faith in self, my trust and my commitment for Reiki.”

“I sat in Reiki meditation, not a full self treatment with multiple hand positions but just hands on knees focusing on the feeling and presence of Reiki Healing Energy. I sat for a long time in this simple fashion just trying to believe that Reiki continues to work in my life and that it goes where it is needed even if you just place your hands and listen. I felt a pained connection, a deep emotional ache in my heart. But this was simply how deeply I feel about where I was and what I was doing. Instead of focusing on my physical awareness I tried to just listen. After another long quiet hour I closed the session with love and light feeling that I had practiced acceptance but not sure of my trust in Reiki, my self-worth or my future path. I really wouldn’t call this a treatment by definition but I am trying to treat myself kindly as I search for self healing. I am somewhat broken in spirit but not lost. I feel the light has dimmed but not gone completely out inside me. I hope meditative Reiki can help me to complete my journey back. I was practicing before with a firm grasp of ritual, structure and dedication of purpose. Now, I let go of my preconceived ideas of Reiki work and allow the Reiki itself direct me.”

Week two had felt like an exercise in futility but not failure. It took a great deal of determination to listen to the audio files and read the messages I had missed from week two trying to catch up to week three. Yet, I was happy I had not thrown in the towel after week one.

My first journal entry of week three held these words, “Today I chose to practice. I began my day and decided what I really wanted was to have an indulgent self practice and start my day with happiness. I am choosing to practice Reiki for myself for the first time today. I feel happier and lighter for even attempting to practice purely for practice’s sake.”

In reading the retreat blog posting of “Practice Makes Present” I made the profound discovery that my experiences pointed directly to the path I had chosen and I had indeed experienced a deepening and new connectivity with my Reiki. I had seen first hand how Reiki was moving me forward for my highest benefit and greatest good. My intention at the outset of this retreat was to follow the rules and learn how to participate. I had no goals, save one, to return to the daily rituals of self practice. My clarity came in looking back and hindsight being 20/20. I had been practicing from the beginning with a self treatment ritual but not participating in a self Practice. In all honesty I had no idea there was a distinction between self treatment and self practice. But I learned through the course of my journey of transformation that we as practioners have a whole “other reason” to practice.

In my post retreat reflection, I wrote, “Recently, I have struggled with my Reiki experience and the current retreat has moved me in a new direction. Today for the first time in my Reiki Life I chose to practice Reiki self treatment solely for the sake of daily self practice. (Not self treatment….self Practice) I have come to realize that I indeed felt unworthy of self practice and had been using self treatment as a tool in a toolbox for physical practice, or alternately, as a tool used in my personal preparation for the treatment of others. Today I chose to practice for myself, not for a need or as a discipline but just practice to be with the energy and be with myself. Today I didn’t perform a self treatment I participated in a self practice.” There was a moment when I thought Reiki would leave my life even after I had believed with my whole heart that once you were attuned it could never leave you. I discovered a new way to approach self practice. A way to keep it with me everyday for the rest of my life, and Reiki was the teacher.

Call it hindsight, self reflection or whatever you like. The virtual retreat delivered in ways I could never have anticipated. I have come to know a much deeper understanding of the subtle workings of Reiki in my own life. I can say with all honesty that if I had not participated in this 21 day exercise I would not have been looking when all the pieces came together and the changes I sought were made real before my eyes. I expected to be taught by a person but I learned through the subtle workings of the energy itself. Most importantly I learn to just “BE”. Just for Today…..

Karla Hartzell