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Posts Tagged ‘Reiki’

Green PlantI went to the beach this weekend with a friend. Both of us desperately needed a weekend “off” from being responsible for our families. It was amazing to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, even when what we wanted was to do nothing at all.

My friend wanted to go get a massage. I have never had a professional massage before. I was not comfortable undressing in front of a stranger and having a stranger put his or her hands all over my body.

When I was in the early stages of healing, online friends who were farther along in healing encouraged me to do some spiritual healing work. I opted for Reiki since no touch is involved. Even being alone in a dark room for a Reiki session was scary the first time, but Reiki wound up being a wonderful healing experience. I had Reiki sessions on and off for years.

My experience with Reiki helped me ease into having a massage. I decided to go with a hot stone massage. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I thought that having an inanimate object between the other person and me would be easier for me to handle. The room was very much like what is used in Reiki with the New Age music and aromatherapy. I also hit it off with the masseuse, which really helped.

I have talked with numerous women who have had massages. They all told me how relaxing and “wonderful” massage was, but not one person told me about the spiritual elements of massage. (This was my only massage, so I guess it’s possible that I happened upon a place that incorporates spiritual elements and that it is not the norm. I’d love to hear from readers if this is typical or not.)

One of the first things the masseuse did was place hot stones at two of my chakras, and they stayed there throughout the massage while I was lying on my back. We got to talking about spiritual healing, Reiki, etc. (I was also thrilled that I did not have to lie there quietly for 90 minutes. I was much more relaxed having a dialogue with the masseuse.)

The hot stones felt really great. Having the massage helped me to recognize that my body is not my enemy. I wrestle with hating my body because it was the gateway to harm – my abusers traumatized my body and caused emotional pain. Being in my body felt wonderful during the massage and helped me make the connection that being in my body can be a good thing.

It was much easier for me to stay present after the massage for the rest of the evening. I enjoyed the view of the waterway over dinner so much more than I would have if I had not stayed present.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have been thinking a lot about the blog entries I wrote on Friday and Monday as well as the many comments that I received both in the comments sections as well as through email. I had an epiphany that I hope will be healing and affirming to all.

I think that the big picture of healing from child abuse is the same for everyone but that the specific details are as varied and individual as we are. Let’s start with the big picture …

I told my therapist my theory on the “big picture” of healing from child abuse, and he wholeheartedly agreed. The way that anyone heals from child abuse is by learning to love and accept himself and his experiences. The more you love yourself, accepting your experiences (past and present) as “mine,” and express your true feelings and emotions, the more you heal. Healing from child abuse really is that simple. Unfortunately, “simple” is not the same thing as “easy.”

Here is where the details come in. Each of us is unique. Not two people suffered the exact same abuses or reacted in the exact same way. So, it makes sense that no two people are going to heal in the exact same way. I have found yoga to be immensely helpful in healing, while Michael shared that yoga was not helpful to him but that Tai Chi has been found to be more beneficial to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I found that therapy was absolutely crucial to get me through the early years of healing, but Lacey (as well as many others) have had unhelpful experiences with therapy. I found reading numerous books to be immensely helpful, but Michael did not – he found expressive therapy to be much more helpful. My faith has been crucial in healing while many others are triggered by religion and manage to heal without having a faith.

So, who is right? We all are!

To heal from child abuse, I think we always need to keep the big picture in mind and then ask what steps we can take toward loving and accepting ourselves and our experiences. I initially came at this from a more traditional left-brained approach – working with a therapist and reading lots of books, but that was not enough. I needed to branch out to yoga, meditation, and Reiki for more spiritual healing.

I think we need to think of the specifics as tools that we can put in our healing toolbox that we can use as we feel the need. My healing journey is not going to look like yours because I am going to use different tools than you are. The best thing I can do is share what works for me while all of you share what works for you. Collectively, the more tools we add to our healing toolbox, the more resources all of us will have available to heal.

This gets me back to the point that a few readers made about my Friday blog entry – that they felt that there was judgment because what worked for me was not working for them in the way or timeframe that it worked for me. We need to remember that each of us is an individual, and we are going to progress at different paces while using different tools to get there. Instead of  comparing the tools, let’s urge one another along our healing journeys by keeping our eyes on the big picture – Let’s do whatever we need to do to learn how to love and accept ourselves.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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A reader emailed me and asked me to blog about using Reiki as a tool for healing from child abuse. I have written about Reiki before (see here and here), but it has been a while since I have addressed this topic on my blog. This reader is hoping to hear about other people’s experiences with Reiki as well, so please post a comment if you have experienced Reiki as part of your healing journey.

After I had been healing from the child abuse for a couple of years (mostly through hard work in therapy), I felt like I needed more. I felt like no matter how hard I worked to heal my mind, my spirit also longed for healing, but I did not know how to reach that part of myself. I have been a Christian since I was eight years old, so I did a lot of praying, but that wasn’t healing the places that I needed to heal.

A member of Isurvive talked about the importance of spiritual healing and how much it had helped her, but I wasn’t quite sure where to go to find “spiritual healing” without dealing with what I thought of as “freaks.” I felt such a strong need for spiritual healing that I was willing to experiment with some sort of spiritual healing method as long as it did not run counter to my faith.

A friend had a bunch of unused gift certificates for a local place that offered everything from haircuts to massages. I could not see myself allowing another person to massage me, doubly so if I had to be naked. However, I saw on the flyer that the place also offered Reiki sessions. I did some research and learned that Reiki did not even involve any sort of touching, which was quite appealing to me. I figured that it would either work or be a waste of time and money. Since my friend was offering me the sessions for free, I figured that I had nothing to lose.

I explained at the first session that I was healing from child abuse and that I had major issues with being touched. The lady was very careful to keep her hands very far away from my body when she did the Reiki whenever she was anywhere near a “private” part of my body, such as my stomach. She explained what Reiki was and what I might feel, but I was skeptical that anything would happen at all. I was wrong.

Reiki is hard to explain to those who have not experienced it. It is a “spirit massage.” I felt like my spirit was a battery plugged into a charger. I could physically “feel” energy flowing into my spirit. It was an amazing (and relaxing!) experience.

Years later, my Reiki master did something to give me the gift of giving Reiki. I don’t know what she did or whether what she did was even necessary, but I do have the ability to give Reiki to others now. I did it with a friend a couple of years ago. She knew nothing at all about Reiki, and she could feel the energy. What was really cool was that I felt very drawn to her knees. She shared afterward that her knees had been bothering her all day, but she knew she had not told me this. She was blown away and wanted to know how I could do it.

If you have not tried Reiki, I strongly recommend it. You just lie down on a table, listen to relaxing music, and let someone hold her hands above your body in various places. It might sound like nothing, but it is an amazingly healing experience!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I am not really sure how to categorize what I am going through right now, so I am just going to share the story and stop worrying about labels … I had a Reiki appointment last week. I had been in a really great place for about two weeks (and knew it wouldn’t last, so I savored every minute!). At my Reiki appointment, I am supposed to state an “intention.” Because I was in such as great place, my intention was “whatever is for my greatest good.” Big mistake! LOL

In the course of the Reiki, the Reiki master “saw” a “vision” while she was over my second chakra. She saw a boy in the age range of 8-12 sitting alone in a chair. She tried to communicate with him, but he just glared at her. He would look down, look up with a glare, and look down again. Then, she saw light envelop the boy. He stood up and walked out of a door filled with light. My Reiki master had no idea what this meant but found it interesting.

That afternoon, my anxiety returned, but I could not explain why. I slept fitfully and felt “off” the next day. One of my friends said that I looked pale and was concerned about me. I could not get enough food in me and kept eating. (I have a long history of binge eating.) The next day, I started using my tools — stay present, listen to positive music, focus on uplifting things, etc. The urge to eat was still there but not as strong.

That night, I had a dream. I was absolutely terrified and refused to look. I kept hiding my face so I wouldn’t see it. There were flashes and sheer terror, but I was too frightened to look. I awoke in a cold sweat.

The next night, I dreamt that I was a teenager visiting my mother/abuser and sister at our old house (where we lived when I was a teenager in college and my younger sister was still living at home). My sister was much more messed up than I realized and had a heroin problem. She wanted to eat. We stopped by my Sunday School teacher’s house, where I shared some things about my faith.

Then, we wound up back at my mother’s house. My friend E was there. (In my dreams, she represents my protector alter parts.) She was debating whether to make another key, so I made the choice for her by eating my copy of the key. That way, she had to hold the key. I then went to my old bedroom. I was naked and wanted to find some clothes. The door opened, and my mother, sister, and others were there looking at me. I threw a sheet over myself. They left, and I rummaged through the drawers trying to find anything that I could wear.

When I woke up, I knew that the binge eating was about stuffing down the memory (which is why I ate the key in my dream). I decided to get the flashback over with, but I couldn’t reach it. Instead, I visualized myself walking into a very cold room. I saw my child self naked and badly beaten lying on the floor. I picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and tried to bring her out of the room, but there was a force that would not let her leave. So, I carried her to a room by my heart that is cozy and warm. I got the “good mother” (a nurturing alter part) to nurse her wounds, and I shut the door that can only be opened from the inside.

So, I clearly have more $#%& to deal with, but I am apparently not ready to go there yet, even if it is for my “greatest good.” I told you this was a difficult experience to describe! LOL

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have not been to a Reiki session in over 18 months. I thought I did not need it any longer because I could pretty much accomplish the same thing for free at home doing yoga and meditation. The problem is that, thanks to having a child who is taking stimulant medication to treat his attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it is difficult for me to have time in the evenings to do yoga and meditate like I used to. As long as my kid is not sleeping and is running around the house like a hyper noisemaker, I am not going to be able to heal myself spiritually using those tools.

As I have written about before, 2009 has not been a kind year to me. I have been through a lot in my life since November 2008. On top of that, I recovered the memory of my first rape and have had to deal with all of the accompanying emotions. This is the reason I finally went back for a Reiki session.

I found that I could only get so far with healing this wounded inner child/part without spiritual healing. I punched pillows, cried previously unshed tears, and comforted the terror. I validated the feelings and memory. I wrote about it on my blog. None of this succeeded in meeting the needs of that wounded part of myself. This inner child feels like a repository for unending unmet needs. No matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to reach, much less heal, this part of myself.

So, I looked up my Reiki lady’s contact information and made an appointment. I forgot how much I enjoyed Reiki sessions – not only the Reiki itself but also talking with this wonderful lady. I feel much better after having a session. I am planning on going back to monthly appointments to help me heal some of my issues spiritually.

My Reiki lady frequently “sees” things as she performs Reiki. My spirit used to be mostly frozen, and I could track my progress as I “thawed.” Both of us could tell that my spirit is fully “unfrozen” now. However, what she saw was that my spirit was “murky waters,” which I believe means that I still have a lot of “unfrozen” emotions to process. Oh, joy! She also saw light penetrating the murkiness and bringing healing. Let’s hope so.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Repetitive Thoughts, a reader posted the following comment:

I mostly shut out any thought that is remotely spiritual. ~ Sarah

Many child abuse survivors do the same thing as Sarah, particularly those who have suffered from spiritual abuse. Because our spirituality was used against us as children, we reject it as adults. This choice can hamper your healing from child abuse.

Before I continue, let me clarify that spirituality is not the same thing as religion. You can get back in touch with your spirituality without ever setting foot in a church, temple, or mosque. While you can use religion to assist you in getting in touch with your spirituality, it is not necessary to do so. Therefore, those of you who are triggered by religion do not have to be cut off from this very powerful healing tool.

In my last post, I provided some advice about getting in touch with your spirituality and why it is helpful. I won’t repeat all that I already said about yoga and meditation.

As I stated in that post, I began my healing journey trying to “think” my way through the process. I eventually hit a glass ceiling. I felt like my healing progress had stalled out, and I did not understand why because I was certainly working and thinking hard enough. Some of my online friends at Isurvive encouraged me to do some spiritual healing work. I had no idea what that meant, but I was eventually willing to give it a shot.

I was “converted” after my first Reiki session. My first Reiki session brought me healing in places that I did not even know were wounded. Until that moment, I did not appreciate that it was not only my mind that was damaged by the child abuse. I was damaged physically, mentally, and spiritually. Therefore, I was going to need healing in all of these areas.

The good news is that these three parts of yourself are all interconnected, so healing in one place brings a certain amount of relief to the others. However, if you decide that you will only use your head to heal without also healing your spirit, you will reach a place where it feels like your healing has “stalled out” (getting “stuck”). Engaging in some spiritual activities, such as yoga, meditation, and Reiki, can get you “unstuck” and propel your healing forward.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Cave (c) Lynda BernhardtIn my last post, Justice, Forgiveness, and Karma after Child Abuse, I shared that I have been able to forgive (which I define as to let go of the bitterness toward) my abusers because I believe that justice will occur after they die. While I have a Christian background, my view of “hell” is different from fire and brimstone. I believe that “hell” comes from having to face all of the damage you inflicted in your prior lifetime. Here is how I came to reach this conclusion:

A few years ago, I went to my first Reiki session. I knew nothing about Reiki other than that it was spiritual healing without physical contact. I told the Reiki lady (J) that I had been sexually abused and was very sensitive about being touched. With my permission, she touched my head and feet. Other than that, she kept her hands at least two feet above my body for most of the session.

My Christian background had me leery about Reiki, so I was a bit alarmed at my second session. About halfway through the second session, J stopped and said she needed to talk with me about something. During our first session, she “saw” an ugly beggar woman hovering nearby. She did not know what to think of this and tried to ignore it, but the “beggar woman” followed her home and pretty much would not leave her alone. J sent me Reiki from her home but did not know what to think of this.

At our second session, the beggar lady was back again, so J thought we should talk about this. I am surprised I did not just leave because, at that time in my life, I would have been concerned about the beggar lady being a demon or something. As J and I talked about this beggar lady, we came to realize that this was S, my most sadistic abuser, and she was begging me to forgive her for all she had done to me. I was not in a place that I was ready to say, “I forgive her,” but I was far enough along my healing journey to say, “I choose to stop putting energy into hating you.” J sensed S saying, “Thank you,” as I visualized releasing her into the heavens and out of my life.

I never quite knew what to make of this until reading the book Messages from the Masters: Tapping into the Power of Love by Brian Weiss. In that book, he explains his belief about what happens when we die. He believes that the spirit leaves the body and goes into a state of rest. After the spirit has rested, the spirit must face its prior life and experience feeling the way that it made others feel through its lifetime, both good and bad. The purpose of this exercise is to help the spirit learn life lessons and grow. The best way to understand the way you affect others, whether positively or negatively, is to “step into their shoes” and feel the way you made them feel.

This resonated so deeply with me and explained why S was lurking at my first couple of Reiki sessions. I really do believe that S passed away a while ago and that she was working through her own assessment of her past life. She was forced to feel all of the horrible things that I was forced to feel, knowing that she was the person who inflicted such deep pain. I cannot imagine better justice than that.

Related Topic:

How to Heal From Child Abuse Through Reiki

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