I’ve wanted to learn to give Reiki energy healing for a long time. I remember years ago (maybe more than 20 years ago!) going for my first Reiki session. It was just out of curiosity. I had no expectations and was more than a little surprised at the profound relaxation and sense of peace I got from the experience. 

Since then, I’ve received Reiki many times, and always with beneficial results; an easing of emotional tension or anxiety and, to my surprise, relief from back pain. More recently a generous friend offered Reiki healing to support me through the months of cancer treatment that I endured from 2016-2017. Late in 2019 I took a  Yin Yoga from a teacher who is also a Reiki healer, an experience that showed me even more benefits of this energy healing practice. 

Something Stopped Me

While I thought about taking Reiki classes, I was stopped by not knowing which form of Reiki I wanted to learn, by not knowing the teacher, meaning I didn’t know if I could feel confident in that person, by the class’s schedule….I guess I just really wasn’t ready, as I could have done something each of those concerns. 

Last month I learned that Michal Spiegelman was offering a Reiki Level One class online. I know Michal through Jeffrey Davis’ Tracking Wonder Quest. We’ve connected there, with mutual respect for each other and the work we’re each involved in. When I let her know I was interested in her class, she set aside time to talk with me about my interests and questions. 

The timing was a little tough, but do-able. I felt an inner alignment with this choice and a lot of excitement about it. It was time to act on this long-standing interest!

Level One Ursui Reiki Training

The class I joined was offered via online video calls in three, two-hour sessions. We learned = to give ourselves Reiki, and to offer it to others in person. Michal and her co-teacher, Reiki Master Jen Burkart, created a safe and supportive atmosphere. They had us all introduce ourselves, listened to us carefully, and made learning Reiki very approachable. They provided information on the history of Reiki, shared their understanding of how it works, gave each of us the attunement needed to give Reiki, gave us time to practice self-Reiki, and taught us how to share it with others. They guided us in establishing our own daily self-Reiki practice, and took time to answer our questions each time we met. 

The entire carefully taught process was surprisingly simple to learn. Becoming certified at Reiki Level One is not as much cognitive as it is experiential. Though certainly information is shared, the practicing begins immediately, and its importance is emphasized.

What I Learned – Or Was Reminded Of

Originating in Japan, Usui Reiki has spread through lineages of Reiki Masters who in turn teach and mentor others to be Reiki practitioners.  The belief is that when you offer Reiki to yourself and others, you are drawing upon the Reiki (universal life energy) and  the collective healing energy of your lineage. This emphasis on the importance of the  collective struck me as very different that what might emerge from a more individualistic culture, such as our  own mainstream United States’ culture.

Another key emphasis is on self-care, something that’s currently discussed at length in our print and digital media, but that continues to be in practice very counter to powerful societal messages. Though we were prepared to give Reiki to others by the end of the class, Michal and Jen guided us to  first spend at least three weeks giving ourselves Reiki twice daily. That made a lot of sense to me.   

In my own work, I often say, “First, take care of yourself. Then take care of everything else.” Following my own, and Michal and Jen’s advice, I more deeply learned why this is so important. These are three of the important take-aways from the class:

  1. This meditative and healing practice is profoundly comforting and relaxing, putting me in a place where my own needs are being cared for, so that I can focus on the needs those wishing to receive Reiki. 
  2. Practicing Reiki twice daily is  “practice” in both senses of the word. It is something I am doing regularly. And it is building my skill  and confidence through repetition.. Yes. I can do this. I feel more grounded and secure in the practice every time I do it.  Without this foundation, I would not feel prepared to offer Reiki to others. I needed to take care of myself first. 
  3. Learning can be profound and life-changing, without being cognitively difficult. 

The Personal and the Professional Impact

My primary reason for taking the Level 1 training was very much a personal one.  Western medicine professionals and healers from other traditions agree – a body under too much stress is a body more vulnerable to cancer. There are a few things I can do to reduce the risk of recurrence. Regular physical activity is one, and attention to nutrition is another. 

The third is to reduce the harmful effects of stress. This is partly addressed through exercise and nutrition, but I could see I needed more. I write regularly, make sure take time for rest and renewal, and carefully avoid over-scheduling my work calendar. These things have definitely helped, and yet I could tell I needed to add something.   In taking this class, I wanted to see if self-Reiki would be a good addition to the mix of stress-reduction practices I already use.

It’s been about a month since completing the class and I can feel a difference in my baseline mood. There’s an increased sense of happiness, of positive energy that’s been missing since that day in August 2016 when I first learned I had cancer. And for the first time since completing treatment, I have stamina that I can count on!  While that had improved noticeably over the past couple of years, I still never knew when I would suddenly feel “zapped” and either have to struggle my way through a scheduled event, or allow myself an hours-long nap when I’d rather be doing other things. 

I’m really happy about both of these changes!

I’m feeling ready to start offering Reiki to others. While thinking about how offering Reiki will become part of my work, I’m going to start with family and friends. That seems like a good next step, and one that I’m looking forward to.  

Learn More About Reiki

Here’s a few resources for learning more about Reiki:

Previous Posts in this Series

This the third in a series of posts reflecting on the impact of learning and growth on our personal and professional lives. In them, I’m sharing what I’ve learned through some varied, recent formal and informal learning experiences.

The topics they focus on – expressive art, adult development theory for coaches, and energy healing –  reflect long-standing interests and curiosity. Those interests, combined with the strong feeling that the time was now right to get involved,  lead me to say “yes” to each of these opportunities. 


Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

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