In the past year (just one short year!) I went from not wanting to do anything in front of a group of people, to moderating a discussion panel, facilitating a networking circle, being a co-presenter at the Celebration of Reiki Conference in Brookline, MA, as well as leading Medicine Buddha chanting at the close of the conference. I also began teaching (something I said I would NEVER do), and now I’m writing this Blog?? This was definitely not the pre-Reiki me. This quote from the movie Princess Diaries sums up my pre-Reiki life: “I’ve spent my entire life trying to be invisible, and I’m very good at it!”
Probably the only other time I’ve presented words from my own experience and heart was at my Mom’s funeral. Even then, at first, I was trying to find someone else to read them for me so I wouldn’t have to stand up there in front of everyone. Then I knew, the fear was secondary (or totally unimportant) compared with the importance of speaking myself – for my mother, to my mother. She deserved that, to see that she had raised a daughter that wouldn’t hide from vulnerability, it was important. Important to tell/show someone how I felt, to be vulnerable about what mattered to me. So I did that in 2009, but it certainly didn’t make me want to do it again!
I found the system of Reiki in January of 2012 and in these few short years, without my realizing it, Reiki began working its “magic” underneath the surface. Slowly and subtly, the way I approached life began to change.
In 2014 I was asked to moderate a panel and also to facilitate a networking circle on Animal Reiki at the 2nd Annual Celebration of Reiki Conference in Brookline, MA. I was still very nervous about getting up in front of a group but I felt different about the idea than I had in the past. It was for a good cause and, after all, when I stood in front of the group I would only be asking questions that someone else had written. I thought, I can do this – it’s not like I’m up here giving a talk that I’ve had to come up with myself! That, I would never do – and what would I possibly have to say that anyone would care to listen to?? Others have so much more experience than me….Phew!
Then came July of 2014 and an email from the conference Founder and the Planning Committee. As I began reading the email, I somehow knew what was coming, and yes, they were asking me to be a co-presenter at the 3rd annual conference. The whole way through it (reading the email) I was saying to myself: “Oh no, how do I get out of this? I couldn’t possibly have anything to say that these professional conference goers would want (or need?) to hear; and, I had my doubts that I could even get up in front of the room & speak…! Near the end of the email, the topic they were asking me to co-present was revealed. As soon as I read the words, “The State of Mind of the Reiki Practitioner”, something shifted in me. It felt very important to me, that there was something important to be said about the topic. Of course at the time I had no idea what that was going to be! I found myself not only saying “yes” to the request but, more surprisingly, wanting to say yes.
From that point on it became a 9-month “birthing” process. I knew from the onset that whatever I said had to be honest and from the heart and I also knew that it would have to be grounded in the precepts. My consistent work and daily practice with the system of Reiki supported me in preparing the presentation. Sitting in meditation kept me from panicking about what I would say, always providing guidance and insight. Each time I would get confused or nervous about what direction to head I would sit with Reiki, in meditation and in contemplation. Reiki always provided a calm, heart-centered focus.
The precepts supported me through this process in the following ways:
“For today only” became a friend as I walked through my days with this topic. When talking with people or experiencing situations I would always check in with the topic and allow myself, for that moment, to contemplate how it might relate & was there a message in that?
“Do not anger”: There was no anger in this process but it could have presented as anger at myself for not being more confident.
“Do not worry”: When worry/fear would creep in around what I would say, whether or not there was a message people wanted/needed to hear, and worrying about getting up in front of the room & “talking” to the audience, I would step into “Just for today” & “Do not worry”. Doing this always brought me back to center, reminding me to take one day at a time, to grow with this subject each day and work it out each day – not all at once.
“Be humble” always reminded me to “get over myself”, that it’s not about me – it’s about all of us and this shared journey we are on.
“Be honest in your work”: Some experiences are very emotionally close to home. The precept “Be honest in your work” supported my decision to include what spoke to me from my heart – this is what hit home for some because it was authentic and honest.
“Have compassion for yourself and others”: I called on this often regarding my discomfort and self-doubt. Compassion for myself was needed most of the way through this work, an invaluable companion on this journey!
So I talked, listened and observed as I walked through daily life, holding closely the precepts “Do not worry”, “Be humble”, “Be honest in your work” and especially “Be compassionate with yourself”. One thing that became clear in this process was the realization that there must be input from the practitioners and teachers who are living this.
The time for the conference approached and the week prior had me putting final touches on the talk. It was now time to “birth” this presentation and, surprise- surprise, self-doubt began to creep in. Did what I was going to say have any value or any actual application to our everyday lives – our Reiki lives? Would it offer anything of use to the audience that they needed to hear?
At that point I received a call from a close friend who was in crisis and we talked for a couple of hours. I began to hear myself saying things from my talk – not the exact words necessarily but from the premise, the meaning, the intention of it. Reiki had opened the door again, showing me and assuring me that the words had value and that those in the audience would hear whatever they needed to hear. From that point on something in me knew that no matter how I performed as a speaker or how nervous I might be, everything would be okay. Just as everything is truly okay for all of us at our deepest core.
Throughout the whole preparation process I looked to the precepts often for support, insight and encouragement, and they (along with the many fellow practitioners, teachers and friends on this shared spiritual journey) did not disappoint. On the contrary, they provided even more opportunity for personal growth and deepening of my own practice. For those of you who find your comfort zone being challenged on your spiritual path, know that the precepts are there to support you along the way and trust that this is what they were intended for.
Nancy Rudman is a Shinpiden Graduate of the International House of Reiki