Saturday August 23, 2014
Facing Fear-Discovering Love
I am currently working on a story for the newspaper about a local woman who has a Reiki practice. Of course I had to try it myself so I could write about it firsthand. I went in a skeptic and after my third session I am a Reiki enthusiast.
My first visit was intense. I was lying on my back on a warm table covered in crisp clean cotton sheets. A pillow supported the backs of my knees and a lavender scented miniature pillow covered my eyes. Sheri, the Reiki master slid her warm hands slathered in lotion and sultry scented essential oils under my shoulders finding the tight muscles on the back of my neck. Immediately my throat closed up and I found it difficult to breathe.
“My throat closed up. It’s hard to breathe.” I said trying to retain my composure. I remember this sensation, it was beginning of a panic attack. I used to suffer from panic attacks regularly from the time I was a child until I was in my late 30’s. I had mastered control over them and wasn’t about to let that debilitating fear take me down here on the table in front of this woman I was interviewing.
“Just allow your feelings to come, don’t hold them back. Let go of your ego and your expectations.” Sheri said as if reading my thoughts. I did allow the panic to rise because her hands that exuded a sensation of powerful love were supporting me. I felt a sense of safety, knowing that I would not be judged by this woman and remembering that panic attacks never killed me in the past. The worst thing that would happen is that I might pass out.
It felt strange at first to allow the fear to rise. All these years I had mastered it by swallowing it. I braced myself for the hyperventilation, the racing heart, the numb lips and tingling fingers, the overwhelming sense of impending doom that always manifests itself in my body when I allow the fear to rise and try to fight it. But a funny thing happened. As the fear surfaced I let my body sink a little deeper into Sheri’s hands and I became detached from that fear. It was as if I were being held on some other level of consciousness. I was fully awake, fully experiencing familiar debilitating fear but somehow in this supported position I was able to observe the fear and not react to it.
In my mind’s eye I watched the ghostly “fear demon” gain strength and speed. It was large and powerful. It was hungry. The unleashed demon moved in frightening sharp and distorted angles. The shadowy suggestion of its head would dart around a corner on an elongated neck and peer into the quiet rooms of my innermost self. It was searching for something to grab and devour but only I have the power to give him something. My urge to fight him was strong but when I began to even entertain the idea of doing battle with this monster Sheri’s hands would somehow sink a little deeper into my back, gently guiding me back down to the peace and safety found in the place inside of me where there is a deep stillness. I breathed and observed the figure franticly hunt for its food. It grew even larger and screamed with rage but I could not hear his howls. It was like watching a silent film. Then he began to become thin, transparent. His form began to fold in on itself becoming a mere thread of darkness. And then in the light that was filtering in through some source unknown to me he simply evaporated.
“Did you feel that?” I asked Sheri after I came back from whatever realm I had been in. I don’t even have any idea how long I was there.
“Yes I did.” She answered seemingly unaffected by the experience. She slowly worked her hand down the muscles in my upper back then in circular upward strokes she made her way to the side of my neck. My lymph gland. It felt like she were reaching deeply into my body and sweeping up debris, dumping it in an incinerator.
“It was very dark.” I said checking to make sure she knew what I was referring to.
“Yes it was.” She simply said and began working her hands around to my belly. Her hands never left my body. I liked that. It felt as if I were connected to some powerful goodness that were in some way resetting all my broken circuits.
“You know. I thought that was me. I mean I think that that “darkness” inside of me isn’t actually really part of me, it’s from somewhere else.” I stumbled over my words trying to explain my sudden insight that perhaps I’m not an evil person. Perhaps that is just other people’s fear and hate I have taken on over the years.
“That’s right. It’s not you. It’s not yours and once we clear it you will find life unfolding for you. You will know exactly what it is you need to do.” Sheri said and then asked me to be silent while she finished the session. She made her way with her hands down to my feet. After massaging them for a few moments she simply held them. I fell into that same place of deep stillness while being fully awake but this time there were no demons there was only deep soft warm comfort. I felt as if I were sinking into the ground but it was not soil or sand surrounding my body. The sensation I experienced felt like billions of some sort of organic pulsating tiny little orbs that enveloped my body. It was warm and my whole body felt like it was being massaged by these fantastic little creatures or bits of earth.
“You know, I think that might be what you’re supposed to write about.” Sheri said after I had come back to my idea of “normal” reality.
“What’s that?” I asked finishing my third glass of water. I was as thirsty from the 90 minute experience as if I had been on a trail run rather than just lying on a comfortable bed.
“About discovering that you are not the bad feelings and thoughts that come up. You hold those in your body. They were given to you. Heaped upon you but they are not yours. You can help people learn to heal by sharing that story.” Sheri explained that we cannot become well, physically, emotionally or spiritually until we clear these false judgments and beliefs from the body.
“Okay? I’m still not clear on what it is I’m supposed to be doing.” I said still not really seeing a book.
“Look, this is how it will happen. It will just suddenly come to you. It will be clear as a bell what it is you are supposed to do. You will know. But remember nothing, absolutely nothing you do can come from a place of fear. Check in before you make a decision. Make sure it’s from a place of love.” Sheri stepped out of the room while I composed myself and got dressed. I hoped she was right.
The next day Eric was lamenting about money issues. I, in fact don’t even have enough money to put gas in my car and joined in his worry session. His voice droned on in the background of my own thoughts. What if we lose the house? How am I going to pay for the kids’ school? What happens if I lose my medical assistance? I need to make some money.
I thought of getting a job at Starbucks, maybe going back into catering and taking on some more doula clients. Then I remembered Sheri’s words. ‘Check in before you make a decision…is it coming from a place of fear or love?’ Well, the decision to take on three back breaking jobs was clearly coming from a place of fear. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as Eric talked about budget and mortgages.
What is it I love to do? I asked myself. What is it I can do from a place of love? And from that deep place of stillness I discovered on the Reiki table, an answer came.
“I have an idea.” I said cutting Eric off mid-sentence. He hates when I do that but I wasn’t listening anyway. He too had become like a silent picture show as I watched him worry and pace, his mouth moving, his hands gesturing all in silence.
“Would you just let me finish my…”
“No, I’d like to say something. You’ve been talking all this time and I wasn’t listening anyway.” I confessed. Eric quit pacing and sat down throwing his arms in the air and making a huffing sound through his nose.
“What if I sold my writing, I mean what if I were to put together a package and write articles about peoples businesses for them to use as promotional tools? I could write them the way I do for the articles in the paper except I would have a lot more freedom. I would interview them, experience their product or service first hand and then gather some voices. I think people would pay for that. So I would be writing while I figure out what I’m supposed to be writing. And I’d be meeting even more people, maybe gathering a larger group of people wanting to follow my writing journey…” I paused to take a breath. Eric was holding his jaw, massaging the stubble of his beard with his finger “…and that will hopefully lead to a book I can sell.” I added knowing that he was waiting to hear that piece.
“It just might work. It’s at least better than you taking a job at Walmart or going back to delivering babies or catering.” He said also as if he had read my thoughts.
I got to work on my idea by first asking people I have written articles about if they thought it was a good idea and if they would be willing to write a testimonial about their experience with my interview and the article I wrote about them. Six out of the eight people I contacted have gotten back to me so far and six out of the six think it’s a fabulous idea and they would be happy to write glowing testimonials.
I haven’t told Eric, but I’m not sure there’s a book. Or maybe this whole experience is the book. I think maybe I need to stop forcing the issue. I have another Reiki session tomorrow. Perhaps we will clear some more ghosts and I’ll have a clearer plan, or at least be okay with the current ambiguity in my life.
Saturday August 23, 2014