I’ve cried in front of strangers before; I’m not afraid to admit that. Usually I can see it coming, but not always. I remember receiving a Reiki session from a colleague. The session was pleasant, and physically my neck and shoulders were relaxing. Honestly though, my mind was whirring right up until the end of the hour. When the session finished, the practitioner asked me how I felt. As soon as I started talking, I started crying.
All that emotion came spilling out. I was a little embarrassed, because I didn’t know this woman very well. She was very sweet and handed me a tissue. I was pouring my heart out, and there was no way to stop it. I was exhausted from constant worry, and moreover, I was tired of feeling like that! Those tears, while unexpected, felt like my body was letting go. Afterwards I was tired, but I felt a million times better.
A lot of my clients come see me when they are completely drained or burnt out, having panic attacks, or like I was, dealing with the weight of constant stress. Reiki sessions are designed to clear out stress and emotions, give you a little perspective, and ultimately bring balance. Reiki sessions are not always intense, but nonetheless, here are a few ways that we can deal with the “stuff” that comes up.
- Breathe. Take a huge breath in, fill up the belly and then the lungs. Exhale slowly. This is a really simple, in-the-moment practice. This helps to slow the mind, keep our energy system open and moving, which allows the emotion to pass freely on it’s way out of the body.
- Acknowledge it. Feel it. Allow your attention to go to that area of your body. Just say hello. Yes, say hello to that feeling. Thank the feeling for popping up. That information is releasing from your body, and you’re experiencing (or re-experiencing) it on its way out. Energetically, when we resist uncomfortable feelings, we clamp down on it, and that’s how it gets stored or stuck in the body. Acknowledging it, saying hello, or thanking it are ways that we can stay open and let it pass, instead of locking it away for later.
- Let your practitioner know. If you feel comfortable, let your practitioner what’s going on. Chances are, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve got all kinds of tricks up our sleeve. One of my super skills is quite literally feeling what you’re feeling. (Don’t worry I can’t hear your thoughts.) Because I’m right there with my client, I often start guiding them with simple breathing techniques or a visualization to assist them in movement of that energy. However, every reiki practitioner is different; don’t assume they know best or know what’s going on for you. Healing is a collaborative effort.
- Honor your body. After your reiki session, you may want to go for a walk, get extra sleep, do a little stretching, or take a bath. Your body will communicate what it needs, usually in the form of a strong thought or a pull to do something (“I really want to go to the park right now!”). Whatever you’re body is asking for, try to provide it. I guarantee they’ll be reasonable requests.
- Pump the fruits and vegetables. Get a green juice or smoothie. Healing is hard work! Staying hydrated and getting clean fuel in your system helps process toxins and heal.
- This is where you’re at today. Tomorrow will be different. So will next week. Just remember healing is supposed to be fun. It’s an exploration. The ultimate goal is to be doing what we love, loving who we want, loving ourselves and our life. Even if it feels murky, this is a step towards that.
Caroline Ruderman is a Reiki teacher and practitioner in Northampton, MA and has office hours Monday-Friday, including daytime and evening hours. Like her on Facebook or reach out with questions at CarolineRuderman@gmail.com.