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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'My Reiki Story' -- by Phillip Racette

Editor's note: Today we introduce a new feature, My Reiki Story, written by our readers. Many thanks to Reiki Master Phillip Racette of suburban Chicago, Illinois, for sharing his story. If you've got a story of your own to tell, send it to

I came to know Reiki in 1996. I was 58 years old. My Reiki Level 1 initiation opened up a whole new world for me. It was, and remains, a fresh and wonderful ride into self-knowledge and into better, more intimate communication with my fellows in the human family.

Today Reiki expedites and encourages my continuing self-healing. I give Reiki to myself every day. Many other uses there are, blessing and energizing the food that I eat, and "feeding" my plants and the ancient maple tree in my back yard. But what called me in the first place?

My need for healing most likely started at my birth. Researchers describe clearly the normal trauma that leaving the mother's womb at birth presents to the newborn child: the "rough" world, the slapping hands of the doctor or midwife, the bright lights of the delivery room which assault the tiny eyes of baby, the need to breathe differently, and various other challenges to living outside the safety of the womb. (1)

In my case, my mother, Jean, was an emotionally unstable woman who chose a husband well on his way to wedding himself to alcoholism. Also, my paternal grandmother objected strongly to my parents' union. These factors resulted in deep inner conflict for my mother, which remained during pregnancy and beyond my birth. For the first seven years of my life, my mom and dad struggled to cope with the disease of alcoholism. Mom embraced drinking herself, as an escape and a way to stay close to my dad. Two sisters were born into the family. Much chaos and constant stress surrounded us. Mom and Dad would often leave us alone in our urban apartment, go down the street to the local pub and stay there till 2 a.m. closing time. Jobs were lost by my dad. Grandma brought groceries over on Friday evenings after getting her own paycheck as an office worker. There probably was no phone, though I cannot remember the details of the apartments we rented. Grandma often warned four-year-old Phillip: "Take care of your sister. Watch her good!"

Finally, the family disintegrated. The Family Court, at Grandma's insistence, placed me and my sister, Ruth, in a large Catholic orphanage about 20 miles from Grandma's home, an apartment in Chicago. My youngest sister arrived there two years later. This training school of 900 children was a mixed blessing. I had security of body now, a good routine, and good teachers and caregivers. Yet it was trauma, repeated, for me because it segregated the sexes into separate dorms and separate dining halls. I visited with my sisters for two hours every sunday, and on alternate Sundays my grandparents came to visit us. I did not know how to be a good brother, a good family member in this environment. These early life experiences resulted in great sorrow and anxiety, partly due to being the oldest child. This weight never lifted throughout my adult years. Career and marriage did bring me some contentment...a big hold in my heart, in my aura, remained. A variety of psychotherapists helped me to a degree.

The turning point in my recovery and transformation was Reiki. Each of the three attunements removed some blinders and they spured me to topple the wall I had erected around me. I began to see and to feel the beauty of God in His Creation, in Nature, and in the people I see and know in my daily life. I appreciate now the gifts of empathy and compassion and poetry which led me into professional social work for 35 years. I see this gift of Self in a new way, with "Reiki eyes." I relax, I forgive my mom and dad, and I heal on all levels, especially on the spiritual level. It's never too late. I embrace that slogan and I live by it. I see truck loads of new, exciting, and colorful experiences ahead of me. I'm teaching Reiki Principles, I'm delivering Reiki energy, and I'm advocating for the spread of hands-on energy activities among family members as well as among other professionals who can integrate it into their practices. The U.S. population, akin to the British one, hungers for Reiki -- and other hands-on therapies -- because of its puritanical roots, harboring as it does ambivalane attitudes and beliefs about physical touch in daily life. Research has confirmed that the U.S. citizenry is among the world's most inhibited populations when it comes to touching one another. (2)

A smile, a touch, a hug. We forget how powerful they are. We are all healers. Reiki simply shows us in bold relief that this is so. Very early in my new career I saw where Reiki fits into the scheme of things. A close friend, an emergency room nurse and a mom, was anxious about her four-year-old boy who fell off the top of a swing set he should not have been walking on. He severely sprained an ankle. Two days after the hospital staff had wrapped the foot, little Jimmy hobbled around on one leg, refusing to put the slightest pressure on it. When I visited the parents' home, I asked mom if I could lay my hands on his ankle. Five minutes later, he was removing the wrap and he was walking as if nothing had ever happened. There was not even an "oh, look" or any comment from the boy who normally talked a lot. He simply went back t his play activities. The adults exchanged wide-eyed glances. Yes, we are all healers. Our advanced cultures, just as all cultures have, apparently need healers that are "Godsends" to bring Spirit to re-create our bodies and our minds.

(1) Making Sense of Suffering: the Healing Confrontation with Your Own Past, by J. Konrad Stettbacher, Dutton, 1991, Page 13.
(2) Medical Minutia, by Barb Bancroft, Willowworks Publishers, 1994, Page 125


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