Tomorrow I celebrate 11 years as a practitioner. 11 years of witnessing people's suffering, heartbreak, dreams, transitions, miracles, losses, life, creation, and death. I have looked in people's eyes while they share their stories with their words and the things unsaid. Each interaction is a gift. When I began this Reiki journey, I was initially drawn to it because you can touch people without touching them. At the time, I was working with women who had long histories of trauma where they were touched in ways that hurt them through years of physical and sexual abuse.
What I learned was that this would also be helpful to people who were getting cancer treatment. Some of the side effects of radiation is that your skin hurts. This I learned because my grandmother in Puerto Rico had breast cancer that came back very aggressively. I traveled to see her for what I knew would be the last time. She talked about not being able to rest or relax because everything that touched her skin hurt. I remember the feeling of powerlessness of seeing someone you love so much in pain but wanting to do something.
At that point I was early in my Reiki practice and only had shared it with friends and family for things like headaches, backaches, stress, nothing this serious. Here I was experiencing the declining life force and deep suffering of someone I loved who I knew was dying. I had to connect with the part of myself whose purpose was to bring comfort and trust Spirit to work through me. This was when the miracle happened. I began to give her Reiki and felt the energetic shift of her body relaxing. As I worked on her with my eyes closed, I heard her breath deepen and soften. I opened my eyes and noticed that she had fallen asleep. She and my family would talk about her not being able to relax enough to really sleep. I watched her breathe. I watched this beautiful woman whose petite body had birthed 5 children and loved many more. Who had the cutest raspiest voice and laugh. Whose strength and spiritual fortitude survived tragedies but still taught hope. She slept for a little over 40 minutes. I remember her waking up almost surprised that she fell asleep and said she hadn't felt relaxed in such a long time. We held our gaze as she expressed her gratitude for the experience as tears rolled down her cheek, I cried with her.
Her suffering became a teacher for many lessons. Among them, was the power of energy healing. We now have scientific evidence, testimonials, and hospital departments that "prove" Reiki and other types of energy healing is an effective complementary therapy to cancer treatment. Over the many years after my grandmother passed I have walked with many on their cancer journeys. To celebrate its remission, to accompany them through treatment, or to bring comfort at the end of life. But it was my maternal Abuela who showed me the first miracle of proof and possibility of this work. I will forever be grateful and she will always live in power through me as a carrier of her bloodline and in spirit as my ancestor.