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Thursday, July 10, 2008


I love the expressions on people's faces when they get up from the table after a Reiki session: that certain relaxed, rested, refreshed smile that tells me they're feeling much better than when we began.

In keeping with tradition, and common sense, I always offer them a drink of water afterward, along with a few words of advice that sometimes take the sparkle out of that distinctive smile. As they take a sip, I explain that sometimes after a Reiki treatment, people can experience signs of energetic clearing that might be somewhat disconcerting: weakness, upset stomach, aches and pains, emotional ups and downs, or even old injuries flaring up. I explain that even though our session is over, the energy will continue moving and working, and advise them to take care of themselves over the next few days by drinking plenty of water, eating healthy food, and getting adequate sleep and rest.

As an example, I tell them that for about a week after my first Reiki class, I kept thinking I was coming down with some kind of bug, experiencing flu-like symptoms, even a low fever. But soon the symptoms went away, and I didn't get sick after all -- a classic energetic clearing experience.

I was reminded of that standard component of every Reiki treatment yesterday when, walking from one appointment to another, I found myself pausing on the banks of the Hudson River in New York to watch a dredging operation.

(Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
The site is the home of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, housed in a retired aircraft carrier. The museum has been temporarily moved to Staten Island for renovation, and it took some doing to move it because it got stuck in the mud on the first attempt and even the toughest tugboats in town couldn't budge it. They had to clear away some of the mud beneath it, and a month later the carrier was successfully tugged and towed away for repairs. It's scheduled to return to its home site in October, and the dredging I saw yesterday was part of the preparations: nobody wants the Intrepid to get stuck in the mud when it comes home.

A small crowd had gathered along the waterfront to watch the giant machine reach its shovel down into the water to scoop out load after load of muck, loading it onto a nearby barge. It was fascinating, but I was probably the only person there who was reminded of Reiki.

Ideally, our energy is like a clear, free-flowing stream. But then, that flow gets impeded as rocks, branches, and other debris clutter it up. I'd heard that explanation for years, but I always pictured a scenic mountain stream, not the wide, powerful river just outside my door. As I watched that big metal mouth dunking below the surface and pulling up each dripping scoop, I noticed that the water was getting browner and browner. Dredging, whether in the river or in our own energy fields, makes things muddier in the short term, clearer in the long term.

So, energetic clearing is our next topic for discussion. What has your experience been like? Was it unsettling? Did you feel better after it was over? We hope you'll contribute your comments. Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, email your comments to, or click here to leave your spoken comments on our 24/7 GrandCentral voicemail.


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