Maybe it’s because I am here in Los Angeles, the epi-center of folks looking for the next wellness trend, but I have been hearing (or feeling rather) the buzz about the healing practice Reiki, on the daily. Under my own assumptions I put together that Reiki healers use their energy and touch to channel healing powers into a certain ailment plaguing a patient. I thought the practice was similar to that of acupuncture: you lie down, tune out and let the expert work their magic.
I met Kelsey Patel, a Pure Barre studio owner, wellness coach, Reiki Master, and wife and step mother, aka Wonder Woman, at a menu tasting event at Beaming West Hollywood. After dying in her barre class and showing interest in Reiki, she invited me in for my very own session.
My Session with Kelsey
Kelsey gave me no preparation or warning about what I’d experience so naturally, I upgraded my assumptions about Reiki to truth. I was excited to lie back, relax and leave with an energy pep in my step. When I walked in, she placed a stone in each of my hands and told me everything that we discuss in the room would be kept confidential and judgment free *silent panic… ummm come again?
She began to ask me a series of guided questions to understand where I was in my life right now and where exactly I would like to be. I had to rank how I felt mind, body and spirit on a scale from 0 to 10. I ranked my mind at a 6, for example. Kelsey said, “Ok, explain the gap between 0-6 and 6-10.” I said something like, “Well my mind is super excited lately- I’ve been experiencing so many new things, meeting so many new people and developed a new passion. The gap between 6 and 10 comes from uncertainty about how this new passion will manifest itself career wise… Oh and I’m also feeling a little anxious today from running around.”
Kelsey looked for gaps and commonalities in what I was saying and challenged the answers I gave her. This mini therapy session dove deep and was enough to make a grown woman bubble up and cry. I was proud I was able to articulate genuine and honest responses as reflecting upon every prong of my life is not one of my daily chores. For some perspective, in high school I had a friend that would sit me down and say anything and everything to try to get me to cry (never worked). Perhaps this is my emotionally reserved Norwegian side shining. Once Kelsey zero-ed in on something to focus on, the Reiki began.
I logged on to Reiki.org which explains, “Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level […] and causes the negative energy to break apart and fall away.” Working with a Reiki master like Kelsey, “allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of ‘life force energy’ to improve one’s health and enhance the quality of life.” Kelsey explained that this unlimited energy travels through her and onto me.
So, lights off, candle on, stones gripped tight, I got on board. Kelsey held her hands near my head and led me through a series of breathing exercises. I could feel her hands moving around (but not touching) my head and shoulders. I sat still and listened to what sounded like a soft chant. I then felt as though she motioned from back to front, above my head. I felt fresh air and light pour onto me like I just dropped the top on my convertible. I felt a gust of wind travel into my left ear, loosen my jaw and release through my right ear. I felt bright and aware like I just popped my ears after a long, muffled flight.
Kelsey then repositioned herself in front of me and began EFT– Emotional Freedom Techniques. EFT uses the Chinese meridian system used mainly for physical ailments in acupuncture. Instead of using pins, EFT uses finger tapping to awaken the meridian points to focus on emotional issues. Kelsey told me to repeat after her. She said a phrase, I repeated, and she double tapped a meridian point. We repeated the same phrase and double tap for each meridian, then started over with another phrase. This was no casual Instagram scroll, these double taps got intense. By the end she was shouting things I’d never say aloud and I was shouting them back. Though it was definitely not the first time conversation has led to yelling “F*ck these bitches,” it felt so good to say it 8 times straight. I wasn’t prepared for such an intense experience, my session got heavy. I was glad when the EFT was over but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try it again.
Kelsey gently led me back into awareness, turned on the lights and asked me to rank mind, body and spirit again all of which took a tick towards 10.
Leaving the session, I felt calm and clear and also stunned at the journey I had just experienced. I definitely didn’t engage in my normal quiet cuss at bad drivers behind my wheel or even pace back and fourth at my casting that was running an hour late. Reiki is meant to bring the feeling of new breath and light and my session did just that. Did this single session cause a major fix-it shift in my life? No, nothing comes that easy. It did however make me understand the importance of regular spiritual practice. Cleansing my insides with certain foods, physical activity and stretching is a priority for me, so why not take care of my spirit? I’ve since subscribed to Kelsey’s newsletter which includes a guided meditation. I’ve been using this meditation to begin a regular spiritual practice in combination with her at home exercise below.
An At Home Exercise from Kelsey:
This small monthly practice allows you to take the reigns, clean ‘stuff’ out and to provide room for you to pursue your dreams.
Know that there is no right or wrong to energy work. Deep respect and acknowledgement of ancient practices is fantastic, but we live in 2016 and need not be scared to honor yourself and adapt practices to your life the way they fit.
When: The new moon and full moon. This happens every two weeks. (Next full moon is July 19// New moon is August 2. Keep track here.)
NEW MOON – The new moon is about bringing things into light and calling in what you want or know you need – sit in silence or with relaxing music and get in tune with what you really know you want over the next 30 days. Take a piece of paper and pen, write the date on it and then write 5 new things you want to bring into your life over the next 30 days. Ex: Attract a new beau or get the next job
FULL MOON – The moon is full and so is your heart. Your energy is about to burst. Concentrate on what you want to release. Write it down. Sleep with it under your pillow. Rip or burn in the morning. Ex: Shitty boyfriend or obsession with chocolate