Reiki exposé: My week with Frans Stiene – A complete survival guide for future hosts
We all wonder: how is Frans Stiene outside his classes? Is he serious? Does he levitate while sleeping? Does he snore? Does he cry while watching Netflix? And, most importantly, is he different from the way he behaves in class? The answer to all those questions is no (well, he didn’t have time to watch Netflix, and I have a feeling he may be a bit of a crier but don’t tell him). How do I know this? I was his host for a week, which gave me a great sneak peek at Frans’ behind the scene life. Secret info he has generously allowed to share with you.Frans often highlights that we need to bring our practice into daily life. That the ultimate goal of Reiki is to shine our bright light 24/7. As Seigen Yamaoka explains in The Art and the Way of Hara, “A person of Hara is a person who lives the life of Hara in every aspect of their life. This way of life gives them confidence, direction, a sense of responsibility, meaning, and an awareness of the things in the world about them.”One thing is to hear Frans talk about this or to read it in Japanese masters’ texts. To witness this… is an entirely different experience. One I was not quite ready for. So here are a few things I learned that may come in handy if you ever host him:
If there is a selfie happening nearby, he will photobomb it. Which means that if you are in a rush, avoid famous parks, buildings, or streets. Use alleyways, boring avenues (in New York, second, third, and seventh are highly recommended) and try to keep him entertained. If photobombing occurs, relax. The “selfie makers” will feel his hovering presence, give him the side eye first, and then melt and giggle. They will proceed to create a whole new series of happy selfies with Frans. If you think the selfies incidents are a bit uncomfortable, that’s nothing. Frans loves taking photos.
As his host, you will become his favorite photo prop, no matter how you look or what you wear. “Pose here, move there, strike a pose, higher, lower, change, more left hand…” As a future host, I highly recommend that you watch old episodes of Top Model with Tyra Banks. Mastering a few iconic poses will help you survive impromptu photo shoots.
He likes to sing. A lot. He will wake up and sing. He will move around the apartment and sing. He will walk the streets and sing. And not in a low voice, oh no! He will walk and sing the full precepts in Japanese like it was a Broadway musical (talk about taking your practice into daily life). As this happened in the West Village where every waiter wants to be a Broadway star, people didn’t stare at him. The few that did were probably wondering what lyrics was he singing (farewell my concubine?) If any of you is a composer or a musical producer, would you consider creating Mikao Usui the Musical? It would channel this curious passion of Frans and save us, his hosts, a lot of grief. Especially those who live in towns where waiters don’t dream of Broadway.
He believes in interconnection so much that he talks to everybody. People don’t talk to strangers in New York… unless they are drunk. But that didn’t stop Frans. Stressed out waiters? A little chat with Frans made them smile. Snarky uber drivers? Ditto. People walking on the street? They were not safe, either. We ended up being offered pot at the Vessel (a new experiential structure in Hudson Yards), discussing life with a blonde (and very chesty) millionaire who was on her way to Milan’s fashion week, and discovering that servers are not that happy at the new Little Spain market.
If there are cops nearby, run. No, Frans doesn’t carry anything weird, but he will find a way to come up with a prank. In my case, there was a plastic bag with something white inside on the street, and he started screaming, “Officer, officer, someone dropped his coke.” I wanted to die. This is New York: cops are not friendly. However, like all the other people, as soon as they saw him smiling, they went from grumpy to gooey and started joking, “No man, that’s my coke.” I am 100 percent sure that if I had made that joke, I would be in jail.
Breakfast with Frans is a very peaceful experience. You know all the emails we send him with questions or invitations? Well, he answers most of them during breakfast. Take advantage to do any essential reading, email answering, or showering. Feeding him fresh croissants and baguettes at this time is a good idea. His smile increases with each bite (Hum, now I wonder, are croissants the real secret behind his Reiki happiness?)
There is only one “person” immune to Frans’ Reiki-fueled charm. Her name is Alexa, and she refused to play music, tell the time or finding the right information when he asked her. He spent the whole week struggling with my beloved Amazon-powered little helper. I never said to him that the trick was leaving a pause between her name and the command so she would know he was talking to her. If you are reading this Frans, I am deeply sorry. But it was too entertaining to watch you struggle.
My last bit of advice: be prepared. Doing a little bit of homework beforehand can help genuinely embrace the experience of being a Frans host. I recommend watching the Borat movies, a few episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and, as I mentioned, Top Model. You will then be ready to laugh more in a week than you’ve laughed in months. And Frans, Alexa says you are welcome to stay anytime. She will behave from now on.