For many years as I woke up, I would wonder what to do about the uninvited elephant of overwhelm that was sitting on my chest. Or about the adrenaline of nervousness that was coursing through my body. Or, every now and again, how to hold onto the relief of joy and relaxation that I actually woke up experiencing that day.
As I became better at choosing my thoughts, my emotions followed, and I often was able to transform that weight of the elephant into a hopeful butterfly more quickly. But I still was pretty much at the mercy of whatever thoughts and moods would present themselves with each sunrise.
For the past three months, however, that has changed in a completely unexpected way. As part of my newfound excitement about figuring out what fulfills me in life, I’ve started satisfying my curiosities about things I’ve always been drawn to, but didn’t know much about. One of these things was the practice of Reiki, a thousands of years old Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. It means Energy of the Universe.
About a decade ago, a friend told me she would practice Reiki on herself and her family members by holding her hands above their bodies, and that whatever was ailing them at the time, was healed. That sounded unlikely to me, but very cool. I was intrigued. And I left it at that.
Last year, during the first day of class at my coaching school, iPEC, I was drawn to an Israeli coach and workshop facilitator, Michal, who, as we talked, mentioned that she also owns a Reiki school. We chatted and I admitted to her how curious, yet ignorant I was about Reiki. I decided that when I finished my certification, my next venture would be to learn about Reiki. Because, why not? And sure enough, 9 months later, the week I became certified, I got an invitation to her Reiki training. Knowing not much more about Reiki than years ago, off I went to this training, just for the fun of being open to new things.
Little did I know that this workshop would completely change how I would awaken each day. We were instructed to practice Reiki on ourselves daily for a certain number of weeks to make it a routine. I was pretty skeptical. How was I going to fit these extra 20 minutes into my daily life? (And, actually, I think we’re supposed to do it twice daily but I’ve never been terrific at following exact instructions.) I tried doing it at night but I would fall asleep before I even finished. I tried to fit it into the middle of the day, however, I prefer to lie down instead of sit in a chair. Unfortunately there’s a law of nature that prevents curly-haired people from lying down on their hair mid-day. I just couldn’t figure out the right time. I thought of trying it in the morning, but was I really going to have to wake up even earlier than my already ridiculously early alarm of 5:21? Yes, I was. Because I committed to trying something new and I wanted to be accountable.
It’s hard to describe how this now set-in-stone routine of mine has affected my entire day, every day. Upon awakening, with my eyes still closed, I sleepily say a couple of blessings, put my hands together as I call the energy of Reiki to me, and think about the intention I want to set for the day. That, in itself, starts my day off differently. I am now consciously choosing the type of day I want.
I then place my energy-attuned hands for three minutes at a time over the 7 different chakras in my body. A new word I also have always been curious about! Chakras! The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies through which energy flows. They include the top of the head (crown), between the eyebrows (third eye), throat, heart, upper abdomen (solar plexus), lower abdomen (sacral chakra), and base of the spine (root). As my hands slowly travel down my body from chakra to chakra, I start to feel tingly as the energy flows throughout my body and I start to awaken very gently to the day.
Most days I allow my thoughts to flow and wander with the energy, putting no pressure on myself to guide them. I do start to notice, inbetween the silence, the chirping of the first birds and the breeze of the morning air. Sometimes, though, I’ll deliberately spend more time on the chakra that’s connected to things I’m hoping to get from the day. Perhaps it’s a day that would benefit from exceptional communication skills. Possibly I want to connect more to my faith. Maybe I’m looking to hone in on my intuition. There are days I’m wondering what I want out of love. I might just be hoping for a day filled with good digestion!
Other times I may envision the different colors that are associated with each chakra as I place my hands on it – each corresponds to a specific color of the rainbow. So I’ll think of the color violet when my hands are on my crown and the color red when they’re at the root chakra. But usually I’m just kind of amazed at how my mood is slowly and steadily becoming really light and joyful without any effort at all on my part!
Twenty one minutes later, after I’ve said my concluding blessing, I have transformed from a sleepy, slightly trepidatious awakener to a seriously happy morning person, ready for my day! It has been like this just about every single day since I’ve started practicing Reiki.
In the past two weeks four different people have told me that I am glowing. My energy is flowing and this energy is attracting joy into my life! Of course I’m glowing!
I know there are lots of ways to start your day off right. This really works for me. But I do suggest that you give yourself the gift of time between when your alarm goes off and when you really need to motivate for the day. I don’t happen to be a runner and this ritual of mine is not weather dependent, but if walking or running work for you, than that is great. I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you are, then really enjoying that cup slowly might work. Perhaps you write first thing in the morning. Perhaps you read. Meditation is awesome but first thing in the morning, still in my bed, I’d fall right back to sleep. For me the Reiki works. It is quiet, easy, gradual, gentle, and I can be half asleep as I begin.
I truly appreciate how this flow of energy, that I don’t truly understand, has put me in such a joyful mindset each day. I oftentimes lie there thinking, I wish everyone was able to give themsleves 20 soothing minutes to truly awaken to their day. I feel like my body is that As Seen on TV alarm clock that has a light that gradually gets brighter as you get closer to the time you want to get out of bed.
And because I physically feel the flow of energy changing in my body, I’ve realized that I can use it directly at other times in the day. If I am feeling a leg cramp, headache or indigestion, I will hold my energy attuned hands over that area of my body and the pain really does ease up as my body relaxes and my energy gets flowing again.
Honestly, I really don’t know how it works. I’m going to be taking the Master Practitioner course next week where I’ll likely learn more about it. Either way, it works for me, enlightened people have been practicing it for centuries, and I am now empowered to choose the type of day I crave, each and very morning.
How do you wake up?