Before I homeschooled my daughter for high school, she was in public school for middle school. When I was homeschooling her for sixth grade, she had wanted to audition for the local magnet program that offered performing arts and she got in. She had been homeschooled for fifth and sixth grade and returning to public school was a mighty transition. Some of the things she discovered while in middle school was that other kids can stress you the heck out. She shared with me during her last year of homeschooling for high school that she was constantly bullied in middle school. She wore locs at the time and she said that other children often made rude comments about her hair and her looks in general. She also had interactions with teachers that were often stress-inducing. She would frequently call me from the bathroom at school, upset about something, and I would walk her through some self-soothing techniques. All of these techniques involved deep breathing. At the time, I didn’t know that I was facilitating a reiki session.
What is Reiki?
I became familiar with the term “reiki” before I became a mother in 2003, but it was never anything I pursued study in or delved deeper into for my own interest. I knew that it was a mode of stress release and folks would get reiki sessions where someone laid hands or held their hands over areas of your body where you needed healing. I decided to learn a bit more in 2019 as I was in the last phase of my doctoral studies and needed to build my own personal self-healing tool kit. Graduate school was nearing its end and I had comps, a dissertation proposal defense and research looming on the horizon. If I thought too much about it all, I was on the verge of flipping out. On top of that, I was homeschooling my teen who was dual-enrolled in community college and required a lot of guidance as a growing teen. I came upon a social media post of an online friend offering reiki certification and I thought, “why not”? The advertisement promised enhanced serenity and an opportunity to self-soothe. That sounded like just what I needed.
The author is pictured conducting a Reiki session with a client
Reiki as a Tool
When I enrolled in the class, I learned that reiki is a Japanese term and its genesis was borne from an understanding of the connection between mind, body and spirit. It relies on you to believe that we are energetic beings who have the power to impact our own self-healing and impact the energy around us.
After taking the first reiki class, I went on to take three more classes until I was certified as a Master Teacher. I earned my certification through practice with others and myself. I taught my daughter some aspects of reiki that I think are useful and easy for anyone to apply when feeling stressed out and in need of calm. Here are some main take-aways:
- Breath is everything. How you are breathing can give you an idea of how you are feeling. Typically, if your breathing is anything other than steady and full-bodied, something is a bit off. Short, shallow and rapid breaths typically indicate anxiety. If you are not breathing, and, instead, holding your breath, that is also an indication that something is off. Are you fearful of something or waiting expectantly for something? Exhaling is so important. Taking the time to be conscious of your breath and how you are breathing is paramount in reiki. Teaching this practice to your child arms them with the knowledge of how to check-in and reflect on their own feelings based on how they are breathing.
- Visualization is powerful. Much of my reiki training revolved around visualization activities that led to certain revelations and epiphanies. Visualization activities with our children can include simple meditations where soft instrumental music plays and you are speaking affirmations to them as they lay still with their eyes closed. Afterwards, you can check-in with them to see how they felt during the exercise and afterward. Encourage them to write down their thoughts. Help them make it a habit where they are conscious of how positive or negative their thinking is and how it makes them feel and what it makes them do.
- Quiet is fuel for the body and soul. One of the things that reiki brought back into my life was the appreciation for intentional quiet time. Whether I was performing reiki on another person or on myself, I am always required to enter a state of quiet that has become a blissful respite for me. Encouraging my daughter to appreciate quiet has been one of the trickiest things to do when she is convinced that she can’t live without music on 24/7. But, I have noticed the little ways that quiet finds its way into the routines she has created for herself. Whether it is the way she engages with her plants or the way she prepares to study, she is refueling herself with the quiet.
In closing, reiki is a wonderful practice that I am grateful to have added to my personal self-care toolkit. It has also been beneficial as a roadmap to self-healing and optimized mindfulness practice. I recommend it for you and your family to learn more about today!
Dr. Khadijah Ali-Coleman is trained in Usui Holy Fire Reiki I, II and III. She offers personal Reiki sessions and offers group workshops for Black homeschooling parents and families. Learn more at BirthYourCreativity.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a class.