Following my triumphant exit from my unhealthy retail management job, I realized I didn’t have a backup plan and quickly began applying for any and all full-time jobs I could find on the internet.  This was during the holidays of 2008, so as you can imagine it was a little challenging to find work.  My older sister helped me get a part-time job until I finally found something at the beginning of 2009 at a call center selling wigs.  Yes, wigs.  This is when I met Vi.  She was hired at the same time as me so we were in the same training group together.  First impressions... I thought she was the weirdest lady I had ever met.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was very nice, but I had never met anyone like her before.  She talked about this “Reiki” stuff that she did for a living, was happy all the time, and would frequently break computers due to her “energy level.”  I thought she just didn’t know how to use computers.  She was always so cheery, willing to help, and took time to get to know all the people around her.  Little did I know that this was what a healthy mentality looked like.

This was during one of the darkest periods of my life.  I was completely lost.  I was sick constantly, suffering from severe depression, and near daily anxiety attacks that would leave me feeling like I was actually going to die.  I didn’t feel like I had a purpose.  At the time I was dating someone, and his sister was killed by a drunk driver shortly after I began working at the call center.  It was one of the most tragic situations I’ve ever endured.  To see the direct impact something like that has on a family is soul-shaking.  I was struggling deeply with the thought of death and the meaning of life.  Vi was extremely kind and would often check in to see how I was doing.  I never felt OK.  My suffering was inexplicable and I had no idea how to manage it.

One particular day in the spring of 2009, Vi and I ended up on break together.  I was having a lousy day, as was the norm for me back then.  I was sick, and a gland on the right side of my throat was swollen like a golf ball and painful.  She started talking about Reiki again and was trying to explain it to me.  I was skeptical and resistant to what she was saying.  I didn’t understand it, and it honestly sounded like religious healing to me.  You know, that weird stuff you see on TV sometimes.  I told her that I’m the type of person that really needs to see it to believe it.  She pondered for a moment and then asked if I would let her take care of my throat.  I couldn’t think of a reason to say no.  Worst case scenario was nothing happening, so I gave the OK.  I stayed seated in my chair and she came to stand behind me, hovering her hands in front of my neck.  She took a deep breath while I sat there awkwardly.  “Let me know if you feel like your throat is going to close up.”  Now I’m nervous, thinking she might strangle me.  “Are you sure it’s not the left side of your neck?”  I rolled my eyes because the lump was noticeably on the right side.  Then she perks up and says, “OH! There it is!”  As soon as she said that I felt a warm, tingly sensation travel up my neck.  I froze.  I just sat in my chair feeling something coming from hands that weren’t even touching me.  She stood like that for maybe 2 minutes, definitely no more than 5.  She stepped back, smoothed the air around my throat and head, then declared “All set!”  I reached up and touched my throat.  Nothing.  I poke around a little harder.  Nothing.  Not only was the pain completely gone, but the swelling receded to the point that I couldn’t even find the gland that had been swollen in the first place.  I just gaped at her, in total shock.  I asked her what she did to me.  She said Reiki.  I told her that’s not Reiki, that’s magic.  She said it’s not magic, it’s science.  Then the words that would change the course of my life forever came out of my mouth:  Teach me.

This was the beginning of this 10+ year journey I have been on.  What Vi did for me that day on break goes beyond relieving me of my symptoms.  She opened up a door to a world I never knew existed.  A door I didn’t want to look into when she first tried to show me, and almost never looked in.  But she kept trying.  She went above and beyond to demonstrate to me what she was talking about.  She could have stopped trying to push the issue with me.  She didn’t need to offer to help me feel better.  She could have just shrugged it off when I was resistant.  But she didn’t.  She had something valuable she was trying to show me.  She saw me struggling on a deeper level than what other people saw.  She set herself aside and risked looking “bad” or like a “crazy voodoo” lady in an effort to help someone she didn’t need to help.  She is a true teacher.

Vi is a Reiki Master Teacher, so I signed up for the next Level 1 class she was teaching that spring.  I cried the entire 8 hour class.  It was beautiful.  I couldn’t believe I had never heard any of the information before.  I couldn’t believe this wasn’t being taught to kids in elementary school.  So much became clear to me that day.  For the first time in my life I felt hopeful.  THIS was what I wanted to do.  I wanted to master this modality and bring it to others.  State laws in Massachusetts require anyone who wants to practice Reiki to hold a state license in hands-on healing (i.e. doctors, nurses, massage therapists, etc).  Massage therapy was something that had been in the back of my mind, but hadn’t seriously considered the possibility until that point because I thought I was “better” than that.  When I left Vi’s class, I went straight home and looked up massage schools.   First school to pop up was SpaTech Institute.  Not only was it located near me, but it was a holistic school that would teach me therapeutic massage as well as more energy work.  Perfect.  I signed up and started that fall.  I went on to get my Level 2 and Master Reiki certifications through Vi as well.  

I will never be able to thank her enough for what she did for me that day.  That day, she handed me the seed of change.  That little seed would take 10 years to grow into full bloom.  It would be a long, hard journey, especially in the beginning.  Change can be very painful, but not as painful as staying in a state of being that was killing me.  I am forever grateful to Vi for sharing her wisdom with me when she did.

Chapter Four