As a stay-at-home mom of two young boys, I had to hunt down time for myself. Pampering, adult sort of time. One of my indulgences was to get a massage twice a year - around Mother’s Day and my winter birthday. I had enjoyed massage regularly for many years as a quiet meditative experience and for the physical, healing aspect of muscle manipulation. At this time, I also looked forward to a gentle and supportive touch that could balance out the slobbering, grasping wrestling match that defines day-long toddler affection.
One winter, I had come down with strep throat. Actually, I came down with strep throat almost every year of my life until around age 40, but this particular year the illness delayed my semi-annual massage plans. Several weeks of pain, exhaustion and prescription medicine had completely…..Worn. My. Body. Out. When I finally made a first-available-because-I’m-desperate appointment, I was placed with a new practitioner. New to me. He was actually an incredibly experienced practitioner who also taught at a local massage school.
As he introduced himself to me, I did the quick gut check that women intuitively do with unknown men, and I got no creepy vibe at all. He was gentle and open. I felt comfortable. Thankfully. Because he was also an incredibly skilled therapist. And he gave me a priceless gift that day.
We talked before the massage, and I shared the details of my life briefly outlined above. And I said to him (I remember clearly), “I just want to feel good again.” All in all, a bit vague. But he responded with, “I’m a Reiki Master. Can I use some of those techniques during your massage?”
Now, I had heard of Reiki before. I had a vague “understanding” that it involved a strange healing method that worked in a person’s aura, maybe? Like a hands-free massage? I couldn’t think of anything more bizarre or useless than a hands-free massage. I like deep tissue treatments. Work those muscles. I want to know something has changed during this last hour of my life. I would never have been interested in seeking out Reiki as a solution to any problem before that moment.
But I was a quiet and compliant sort of person. And I was tired -- body and soul tired. So, I smiled and said “Sure”, or something to that effect. All the while I was thinking that this guy better not skimp out on my massage that I had to wait two months for and had to arrange babysitting for and could barely justify spending money on and just really wanted and needed right now.
During the massage (which was strong, thorough and effective) I could feel the therapist pause and hover his hands over various parts of my body. My head, my knees, my lower back. I felt the heat as he did this. I acknowledged to myself that this must be the Reiki bit, and patiently waited for him to continue with the massage bit.
And then, the most unexpected thing happened to me. The massage ended, and I felt...beautiful. Normally a massage for me ends with total relaxation, a gentle smile, and the slightest disappointment. Got to get up and back to reality here in a minute. But this time, I was light and energetic and joyful. Jumping up off the massage table, I couldn’t wait to run headlong back into my life. Just as surely as I had doubted that Reiki was really a thing, I now was completely confident that Reiki was exactly the thing that brought me this wonderful feeling. That fast, that easy, that overwhelmingly clear.
It was not until years later that Reiki circled back into my life as a consciously healing practice I gifted myself again. I never saw that massage therapist again, never talked to him more about the beauty of Reiki. I went back to raising kids, overcoming illnesses, paying bills. I can kick myself for ignoring such a powerful tool for so long. But that would be living in the past and holding onto regret. Instead I choose to fondly and with eternal gratitude remember how a random and much accepted encounter along life’s path worked to open my mind and heart to a possibility. Possibilities of healing, peace, and understanding. An opportunity and knowledge that I took full advantage of, later, at a time when I needed it even more.
Thank you. Thank you.