Sunday, June 26, 2011

Virtual Tour: Reiki and Resilience

Wow, I see it's been two full weeks since I last posted. I've been writing a short story to submit for publication; hopefully it will be accepted and I'll be able to let you know when it actually appears.

In the meantime, the final stop on my virtual book tour for my memoir was Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem, in which I wrote a guest post on Timora's experience with the Japanese healing technique Reiki. Here's the post:

At the age of twelve, my daughter Timora was diagnosed with leukemia. I’d like to share with you how Reiki, a traditional Japanese healing technique, helped her for a good part of her time in this world, until she left it at the age of eighteen. The story is, I believe, a wonderful example of how body and spirit are intertwined, and how attending to our spiritual side can help us even as we face physical hardship.

Reiki, which means “mysterious atmosphere; spiritual power,” channels healing energy from the spiritual world through a practitioner’s hands into the body of a person who is physically or emotionally suffering. When Edna, the Reiki Master to whom we turned, laid hands on Timora, her pain would decrease, the color would return to her face and lips, and she would relax as she could under no other circumstances. She told me it was if a gentle light was radiating from Edna’s hands and spreading throughout her body. Edna taught her to lay hands on herself between sessions, which relieved not only her pain, but also the depression that would grip her from time to time, and helped her sleep on nights when everything seemed just too much to bear.

No less important than the treatments themselves were the five Reiki Principles that Edna taught Timora to recite every day:

Just for today, I’ll let go of anger.

Just for today, I’ll let go of worry.

Just for today, I’ll be grateful for what I have.

Just for today, I’ll work with integrity.

Just for today, I’ll be kind to others and to myself.

Timora, raised in our observant Jewish family, had always had a strong religious sensibility, but Reiki gave her the opportunity to express her spiritual leanings directly and practically. After three treatments, she asked to study Reiki in order to practice it herself.

I’ve written a memoir entitled And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones, which describes my journey with Timora over the six-plus years of her illness, and without her after she died. In it, I describe how she delighted in her ability to relieve other people’s suffering, even when she herself was undergoing the most extreme of treatments:

Timora was a natural healer, a vessel for a life-affirming energy that would pass through her to others when she laid hands on them…. Once, while she was hospitalized for her second bone marrow transplant, Tehila, [a hospital] volunteer… came to visit her feeling nervous and upset about something that was happening in her life at that time. Timora got out of her bed and made Tehila lie down. She then stood by the bedside and gave her a Reiki treatment. Tehila fell asleep almost instantly and woke up a short time later feeling much better, saying she hadn’t had such a refreshing and relaxing rest in a very long time. Timora later told me the healing energy that had passed through her body into Tehila had refreshed and eased her as well – physically as well as spiritually.

Timora’s Reiki journey didn’t end, it seems, even with her death. Edna has told me that sometimes, when she is treating a client, she feels Timora right there alongside her, strengthening the energy that is pouring through her and into the person they’re both helping.

Edna told Timora the day we met her, “Reiki won’t cure you, but it can heal you.” After my daughter’s experience, there is no doubt in my mind that whatever our burdens, if we open ourselves to what the spiritual world has to offer us, it will help us heal – by easing and enriching our path through this unpredictable, and often cruel, material world.

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