Sunday, April 11, 2010
As a lawyer, I'm used to providing a concrete benefit to my clients. My client needs someone to draft an agreement. I draft an agreement. My client pays me. Easy as pie. (Boring as hell, but easy). I'm moving into a totally different realm now and I'm struggling with the fact that, for the most part, my results won't be tangible or measurable.
I think Reiki is great. The few times I've gotten treatments, I've felt the energy flow and I've felt clearer and calmer afterwards. Usually when I give treatments to other people, I feel energy flow. But, based on the feedback I've gotten, they don't always feel anything. I've been told that's normal - some people feel it, some people don't. To be honest, I haven't had as much practice as I'd like. Several friends have offered to be guinea pigs and I should be taking advantage of that to get more practice. But I've been hesitating because there's a part of me that has lost faith that I'm capable of healing. Because I can't "see" any benefits. Even if I don't charge for my services, I'm afraid of feeling like nothing more than a snake oil salesman.
If you read about Reiki on the Internet, it's usually characterized as a stress reduction and relaxation technique. That's the characterization I feel most comfortable with. But there are lots of claims about what Reiki can do to heal various diseases. Claims of miraculous healing. Part of me is disappointed that I haven't been able to miraculously cure myself of my symptoms of withdrawal from anti-depressants. My 12 year old tells me she doesn't like Reiki even though she's never allowed me to give her a full treatment. She says she likes "real" massages. If Reiki was so great, wouldn't she immediately love it? And if she doesn't love it, maybe that means Reiki isn't real or (more likely), that I'm no good at it. But therein lies the rub (I don't even know what that means but my Dad always used to say it and it seems like it fits here) - I'm afraid to even practice on people because I'm afraid I'm not very good at it. But how am I supposed to get good at it, or even get any level of comfort with my skill level, if I don't practice? (And, of course, maybe it doesn't make sense to base my whole career path on one 12 year old person not liking it.)
I was watching re-runs of Top Chef Masters last week. Last season's winner, Rick Bayless, talked about his favorite mole sauce which has like 8 million different ingredients and is really hard to make. He said that it took him 20 years to learn how to make it right. TWENTY YEARS. That's a lot of practice. And maybe at the beginning he even made something that was inedible. But he kept working on it because he wanted to be good at it. He believed in himself enough to keep trying.
While it's good for me to remember that it takes practice and work to get proficient at most skills, I still have to get over the desire for objectively measurable results. Whether or not a mole sauce is good is fairly objective. Whether or not a Reiki practitioner is any good is totally subjective. Helping someone relax and de-stress is a good thing. As a trained Reiki practitioner, I can help people do just that. Whether I can cure cancer remains to be seen. But what I can provide is hopefully enough for a few people to be willing to pay me for my services (once I'm ready for that). I just need to believe in myself enough to charge for my services.
Part of my struggle is that I'm still not sure I look like a healer. A true healer doesn't lose her cool when her kids act like crazy idiots. A true healer would never call her children "crazy idiots" either. When those kinds of things happen (when I act like a living, breathing human), I feel like I should give up and going back to "real" life as a lawyer. But I haven't given up yet because I believe in my soul that I've found my calling. I guess I just thought that once I found my calling, Once I acknowledged it, things would fall into place easily. But maybe the problem is that I haven't quite jumped into the water yet. I'm just dipping my toe in, keeping open my option of running away to safety. I don't quite trust in whatever this energy is that's pushing me down this path towards the water. Maybe it's time I just jumped in.