The summer before my final year as an elementary education major at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, I finally acknowledged I no longer wanted to teach in the school system. I threw my hands in the air, and dove into soul searching, personality tests, and job lists. I found myself drawn to holistic medicine, but wasn’t sure which discipline to pursue.
In the meantime, I was substitute teaching at a childcare center. One day, I had the opportunity to work with another teacher who did Reiki for horses. Previously unaware of this Japanese energy healing modality, her experiences intrigued me. I felt a connection with her and something larger than myself immediately. She encouraged me to learn Reiki with her teacher. It just so happened that I could take a class before I returned to school. I went open-minded, and not sure what to expect. I still hadn’t experienced Reiki before, but I wanted to know what it was all about.
After our teacher had provided an overview of Reiki, she led us through a guided meditation. In this meditation, we were surrounded by the three Grand Masters of Reiki. Having never experienced guided meditation, I assumed we were using our imagination. At one point, we were supposed to indicate if we were ready to become attuned with the Reiki energy. In my mind, I said, “I am ready,” and an immense surge of energy flooded my entire body. It was as if someone had dumped a huge barrel of water over the back of my head and it washed into every nook and cranny of my body. It felt wonderful! I said it again, “I am ready,” and I felt another surge of energy pour in just as powerfully as the first. I felt filled with a delightful, life-giving radiance. And, somehow, there was an immediate call and response between these deceased masters and myself! Amazed and delighted, my first thoughts were, “This s*&! is real!!” There was no way I could explain what had just happened, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was a legitimate experience.
As the class continued I had a number of other profound experiences. By the end, I decided to finish the training, and I returned to Madison each month until I became a Reiki Master.
The Reiki had begun working through my life outside of class in many subtle yet profound ways. I was able to adjust my education classes and graduate early with my degree. I felt guided by something beyond me and a part of a community for the first time, even though I was not physically in the company of one. I discovered that I am an empath, who feels others’ emotions and pain in my body, and found ways to use this constructively rather than absorbing it like a sponge or enabling others so I would feel better.
After completing the Reiki Master class and graduating from college, I moved home while I began pursuing a Reiki practice of my own. Only a couple months later, my mother experienced a massive stroke with a dire prognosis—if she survived she would be paralyzed, incognizant, and unable to communicate. I gave her distant Reiki the first night while she was in the operating room and bedside everyday after. Not even two months later, my mother was home, walking up stairs and speaking. Her strength of spirit, the skill of her doctors, and Reiki joined together to allow for her miraculous recovery. During this time I realized the incredible healing power of Reiki. While it aided in her physical healing, it offered me the strength, faith, and knowing that no matter what happened everything would be okay.
In the years that followed, I have been able to gradually transition into a full-time energy work practice. My experiences continue to humble me and open my mind. I have seen Reiki support mothers through healthy pregnancies, bring peace and comfort to the anxious and depressed, release physical tension from the body, resolve issues before scheduled surgeries so they were no longer needed, give those who have conditions unexplained by Western medicine a place to feel heard, understood and then the insight to release it, and help others find their way into more meaningful lives and careers as they tune into themselves on a deeper level. I encourage anyone who feels drawn to Reiki to see where it leads, it may just change your life.
Sarah Barlow, Reiki Master Teacher
Embrace Your Essence,