What is Reiki?

Every other week, I have the amazing privilege to offer Reiki, a modality of energy work, to young people who happen to be homeless at the moment. I get to turn a cluttered, tiny art room into a healing space. The art that has come from art therapy sessions, hangs on the walls, offering its own healing presence. I like to imagine the glitter on the floor reflects any divine, healing energy pouring in from our hearts and the heavens.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is…











Reiki is acknowledgement.

For a Reiki session to occur, I have to acknowledge my own healing, my own healing power, and the healing power present above, below, all around, and in between myself and the person on the other side of my hands. This person has to acknowledge that there exists some kind of unknown, unseen force of healing and calm that they want or need and can now have access to. Both of us have to acknowledge that there is something grander than both of us that also happens to be in both of us. I believe the Divine acknowledges the desire for healing and intuitively reaches the places that need loving energy the most. These relationships, swirling and dancing between healer, healee, and the Divine is where healing occurs.

Reiki is gentle strength.

I have the rare privilege and experience of laying my hands on dozens of strangers every month. I have to be gentle enough that they trust me to do this. Many of the students I work on have experienced tremendous trauma. Like an abused dog, they cower at any touch, even friendly touch. Sometimes, as a result of sexual trauma, they don’t know what a healthy, non-sexual touch means. During a Reiki session, I connect to the soul residing each of our bodies and show them love that transcends the body. Immediately, I have to be mild enough so as to not feel threatening.

Paradoxically, Reiki requires a certain degree of strength at the same time. I have to know exactly who I am. I have to know that my love and the divine love to which I connect is strong enough to protect me from taking on any negative energy. I am not afraid of brokenness or trauma. I am strong enough to touch it and see it. In fact, this may be more important for the young student than it is for me. As their burdens can often feel like too much to bear for one person, they have to know that I am big and strong enough to hold them up while they relax into their vulnerability for just a few minutes. The combination of gentleness and strength can be extremely powerful.

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable can often require a tremendous amount of courage. I have always loved this dichotomy of, once again, gentleness and strength. I have to be brave enough to disappear, let go of – dare I say it – my ego and simply surrender to a healing energy that I can not see and barely (physically) feel. I trust the Reiki’s intuition. I trust that my hands will know where to go and the Reiki will do its job. Sometimes, as an intuitive person, I receive messages from the person’s body or spirit. I get excited and my mind starts to wander as I think of all this amazing advice to give. Time and time again, I hear a strong, “Chelsea. Return to the healing at hand.” I look down to my hands and am reminded that, in that moment, I am simply a vessel of healing.


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