Behind our house there is a magic gateway that leads to a public park. In this park there is a climbing structure for children, that everybody calls “de Spin” (tr. from Dutch: “the Spider”). Around this climbing structure there is a circle of low stones and, outside of that circle, another circle exists partly made out of upright stones and partly made out of trees.
In a way that the original creator probably was not aware of when he designed it, if you look at this structure with different eyes and a little imagination you can picture the circles being a primitive stone temple.
This place is for our family a very special spot – our “private Stonehenge” – and a few milestone of our lives, some key conversations and some great insights happened and were revealed in this place, despite the fact that we have traveled so much and relocated across countries quite a few times.
On an very early morning, earlier this year, in the energy of the full moon, I got initiated as a Reiki Master, right in this place. The first rays of sunlight were peeking over the top of the trees and, for a moment, time stood still. Just me and my Reiki Master existed in this sacred space and I received this gift, which was the next step of a process which started when I was 19 years old.
It was then that I received my Reiki 1 attunement. It was not something that I went out and searched for; it came across my path. At that time, my parents had recently discovered Reiki and they were organizing Reiki courses in our house. Every time a course or meet up would take place, I could feel the energy in my bedroom upstairs, where I was taking care of my 1 year old brother. Since I was so sensitive to this energy and I was already feeling it, my parents and their Reiki Master suggested me to get the first attunement (or initiation), so I could learn to use it properly as well. It felt like the right thing to do, and it was.
If you have never been exposed to Reiki, you might be wondering: what does it feel like? It is different from person to person. In general, most people feel deeply relaxed, as a treatment is usually performed with the patient lying down fully clothed on a treatment table, with some soft music on the background. The Reiki practitioner channels the energy thru his or her hands, held above the patient’s body.
Some people feel these waves of energy going up and down their body, some experience warm tingles. Reiki works on many different levels at once – physical, mental, spiritual – and quite often we are not immediately aware of them. At times, during or even after a treatment, blocked feelings might emerge. Drinking plenty of water might be needed. After a treatment, most people feel refreshed and with a more positive outlook on life.
After my first attunement, I started noticing that Reiki energy also helped me to stay grounded and it helped me to be somewhat more shielded from other people’s thoughts and feelings: I am very sensitive, to the point that, back in those days, I would get physically sick if, for example, I was sitting in class next to people – students or teachers – who carried a lot of negativity around them. This was before I started using Reiki.
I think most people, unconsciously, already use Reiki on themselves, even if they don’t know they are doing it. An example of this that you might have observed is that a lot of people tend to start yawning when they are in crowded spaces with many people for too long: yawning is a way of the body to release negative energy that was building up.
In the first few years, I only treated myself and later my partner and children. Whenever one of my children was sick or hurt, I would hug/hold them and the energy would just start flowing. This would calm them down and in cases of a fever they would often fall asleep and sleep is the best healer at times. Sleep provides our bodies a time to rest and regenerate.
Then after my third child, a daughter, had been born, I started to be sick: a diarrhea that just would not stop. At first I believed it had to do with not being pregnant anymore: I had two miscarriages just before getting pregnant of my daughter, so my body had undergone a lot of hormonal changes in a short period and I was also still breastfeeding my daughter. She was growing well and she was extremely healthy, so I was not too worried about this diarrhea and I believed it would pass when I would have stopped breastfeeding and my body would be allowed to get back to normal. In the meantime, to be honest, I did not mind the weight loss: I had been slightly overweight for years and no diet seemed to work.
Anyhow, even after I stopped breastfeeding, the symptom would still not stop! I started to wonder what was wrong, why was I sick? I have always been taught that the mind and the body are connected but I just could not figure this one out. Here I was, married to the love of my life, with three wonderful kids, getting sick was not right and it felt unfair. So I went to see a doctor. The doctor in Italy at the time could not really figure it out and even the homeopathic doctor could not diagnose what was wrong with me. We tried some things but nothing really worked.
I started to look into diet and I made big changes there, which brought some improvements. I also started working on myself, learning to respect my body and its limits.
After we had moved to America I went to the doctor again. After some tests I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis:
“Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.”
I tried the conventional method and took the medications for a few months, but the side effects where really hard on my system and they caused some other problems for which I would have had to take other medications! On top of the fact that the costs of the medications was ridiculously high: we had good health insurance coverage, but it still felt ridiculous that medications (which by the way were making my body more sick) would cost more then a 1000$ a month! So I started to research the different pharmaceutical medications for UC and the research for medications for UC was not pretty: most had a long lists of side effects and many cause cancer in the long run. Traditional medicine and science do not really know for sure what causes UC and they also do not really know how to cure it, yet.
Having grown up in a house where homeopathic medications and energy healing are the norm, something felt very wrong about poisoning my body. Therefore I started researching even more natural medications, diet and other holistic ways of healing. Scientific research tells us that our cells renew themselves continuously, and every so many years we essentially have a whole new body; if that is the case how can any disease be chronic? I stopped referring to it as a “chronic” disease, because I stopped believing this would be a permanent state; my body was just temporarily out of balance and it could – and would – be healthy again.
The diagnoses of Ulcerative Colitis, gave me a starting point. Because I was sure of one thing: this Ulcerative Colitis was not going to stand in my way of being happy! I started to see this chronic disease as it is: a challenge to discover who I really am, next to being a wife and a mother.
One of the interesting things I discovered is that nature provides us with so many cures basically for free and that many pharmaceutical medications are based on traditional plant medications. They isolate the active ingredient or at times make a synthetic copy of this active ingredient and by doing so they also strip away the natural substances that the plant provided to help us deal with the side effects!
I discovered that there are plants out there that could help me with the inflammation and help rebuild my guts.
That’s what got me started studying medical herbs and plants and homeopathy myself (to the point that I am now underway in my formal studies to become a naturopathic doctor).
Around the same time, I also read on the Internet that even Reiki could help in this process. How could have I not thought about that? At times we get so busy with our lives and routines that, when a crisis happens, we overlook the obvious, we seem to forget what we already know, as we are so busy looking for external solutions.
Hence I also started giving Reiki to myself daily, in that period. It helped. I got more interested also in Reiki, again, and I decided to take the next step: I received my second Reiki attunement.
This second attunement made my connection to the Universal energy way stronger and it opened up the ability to give distance treatments, since energy is not bound to time and space.
I found the distance treatment to have been an efficient tool which I used to heal friends and loved ones who were remote, but that can also be used to send love to situations in the past where I could have used some extra strength and support. By sending Reiki to those moments I started to release the tensions, anxieties, fears and other negative feelings associated with them. Through this process, together with naturopathic medicines, I slowly started to heal.
At that time I also started to talk more openly about Reiki to other people and I started treating friends in times of pain or emotional distress. I gave both in-person treatments (at our house) as well as distance treatments for friends that where living abroad. Not everyone was open to that experience. Those who were, anyhow, received great benefits.
I believe we all have our crosses to bear and that those crosses offer us opportunities to grow, if we take the time to reflect on the past and see that, in retrospective, we generally made the right decisions. In the few cases when we didn’t choose well, then we handled the consequences with grace and learned the lessons that where provided for us.
For me getting sick provided me an opportunity to overcome my fears and insecurities, it was like my body was telling me to throw off the ballast and to start shining.
Seeing how Reiki has helped me find my way back in a period of darkness and has given me strength to let go of my fears and insecurities, it felt right to take the next step in my personal journey and do the Master training. Even though I feel that a Reiki treatment is very useful and a beautiful gift to give to yourself, I feel it is more important to pass this gift on so you can heal yourself.
Being a Reiki Master means that I can now teach others, and I believe that, by empowering people in understanding themselves and involve them in their healing journey, I can set them free from conditioning.
The UC also inspired me to study naturopathy, so I can integrate the healing power that nature provides us together with the energy work from Reiki, and even with the messages that come through the cards, for a unique vision of healing that combines mind, body and spirit to get the best out of yourself.
Stay tuned on Sanctuary of Joy’s Newsletter to hear about Reiki courses which will be announced in the future.