First, yourself

This article also appears on the Huffington Post.

There’s a reason why as soon as you’re attuned in a Reiki class, you learn the self-care practice. Before you’re ready to practice on others, you must experience this yourself, because, Reiki is known through the experience of it. My words and years of experience may meet the needs of your mind, but the deep intuitive knowing comes through the experience of this universal life force energy.

This spiritual healing practice is a daily ritual for those who have taken a Reiki class. As a Reiki Master of Masters, I practice self-Reiki everyday upon waking. That first encounter of the day is often a brief one – usually 10 minutes – then, at least, once a week, I practice on myself for a full session of about 40-45 minutes.

Recently, during one of these full self-Reiki sessions, I went deeply into a state of connection with this energy that is in us and all around us. Here is what I experienced.

The difference between my hands and any part of my body where they rested were completely gone. I felt pure connections between my energy body and the universe. The confines of the body faded away and I touched spirit. When I did experience my body it seemed to be floating.

And then my mind came in . . .

It wanted to know something. I’m not sure what it wanted, but it needed attention and to be busy.

And, so, using the Reiki symbols, I allowed my mind to ask deeply philosophical questions: What’s next? What’s next for me? What has meaning for me?

Now, my mind, body and spirit were in harmony and went to a place of union and peace. The possibilities opened up before me.

Ah, so this is what it’s like to receive a Reiki session! This is what’s behind the smile and peace on my client’s face when she sits up after a Reiki session. Ah, sweet peace, sweet connection with the universe!

Is self-Reiki always like that for me? Absolutely not. Self-Reiki has taught me an important truth, which is that everyday I’m different. Like the tree in the photo above, I’m in a constant state of change and so are you.

Every Reiki session will be a unique experience because you are unique from moment to moment, day to day. Yes, there are physical ailments and mental patterns that persist; however, this snapshot in time, this moment is unique. The deep awareness that comes from a Reiki session allows you to see the truth of this uniqueness.

If you’ve taken a Reiki class, I encourage you to practice self-Reiki every day. It can be a daily 10-minute session before getting out of bed, or a full session as described above, and/or touch points throughout the day when hands are on and Reiki is on – connecting you to what really matters through this spiritual healing practice.




Fearlessness and Endless Energy

paragliding, fearlessnessLet’s shatter some myths here. There is no state of ongoing fearlessness or endless energy. One may experience moments of fearlessness or heightened bravery. And one may experience days of bountiful energy. However, these are not states that are fixed (or static) in our human experience.

I started reflecting on all this a couple of weeks ago when I saw a post on the MindBodyGreen website, titled, “’Fearlessness’ Is a Myth: Learn to Control Your Fear Instead.” The trigger for my reflection was the word, “control.” In my experience trying to control one’s emotions leads to a lot of angst and internal conflict.

However, the article is much more balanced and helpful than the title implies. The author, Jennifer Mielke, offers three approaches to working with your fear rather than trying to control it or trying to strive for an unattainable fearlessness. The approaches are:

  1. Get familiar with the ways fear shows up in your life.
  2. Spend some time with your fear.
  3. Appreciate your fear.

Familiarity with fear: I would call that being mindfully aware of your emotions. When you’re mindfully aware, you might notice how certain words, settings, sounds, or experiences trigger fear in you. Then you might notice how that fear shows up in your body. Do your shoulders lift? Does your breath shorten or stop? Does your mind scurry in a fit of “What ifs”?

This exploration is part of what Mielke calls, spending time with your fear. The bodily awareness of your emotional state can be that time as can journaling, exercising, meditating, talking with others, or being in nature.

I really love what she says about appreciating your fear. She notes that fear is a way to put the brakes on. And putting the brakes on is something we all need at times. In our go-go-go culture, fear can be a signal that something needs reassessing. Sometimes the thing we fear is not the thing that needs to be addressed, but it can be a signal that something needs reassessing.

I used parts of this process in a similar way a few weeks ago when I heard in my self-talk a string of judgementalness towards myself, friends, and strangers too. When I asked myself where this was coming from I realized I was bone-tired. This deep fatigue had led me on a fighting mental rant to “shield” my tired self.

I, then, acknowledged my fatigue and instead focused on what I could do to help myself feel more refreshed. I appreciated the mindfulness that led me to this awareness of how things were for me in that moment.

Will I be able to rid myself of fatigue, judgementalness, and fear? Absolutely not. Will I remain aware of them and appreciate them and know that they arise and fall as all things in our human experience? Absolutely yes.

Wishing you the freedom and power of mindful awareness.


Reiki is a One-Way Street

One Way Street SignPeople new to Reiki often ask if I “catch” their “negative” energy, their problems, or their stress.  Each time I’m asked this question, I wholeheartedly reassure my clients that Reiki is a one-way street.  As the Reiki practitioner, I’m offering Reiki to the recipient.  She then draws in that energy as needed by her body, mind, and spirit for her highest healing good.  I do not control the Reiki.  I offer it and the recipient is in charge.

The offering, however, is not of my personal physical, emotional, or spiritual energy; rather I am offering the energy of the universe.  Reiki is the universal spiritual energy that is in us and all around us.  When I, as a Reiki practitioner, offer it to another energized being, I am offering that universal spiritual energy — not my personal energy.

Some recipients, who are obviously concerned that I may have picked up their anxiety, grief, or anger, find this difficult to understand.  Indeed, I may have noticed the grief they held in their chest, the anxiety in their shoulders, or the anger in their stomach; but I am just offering and noticing.  I am not controlling and I am not using my personal energy.

Perhaps this is a barrier, but it is the way Reiki works.  It is a one-way street.  The practitioner offers and the recipient pulls in the energy and that’s it.  There is no flowing of the energy back to the practitioner.  In the same way that I don’t “catch” another person’s emotions, they don’t catch mine either.  Again, Reiki is a different type of energy than emotional energy.  If I arrive at a Reiki session angry or stressed, the recipient does not receive that energy from me during the session.  He receives the energy of the universe which is offered through my Reiki hands.

What are your experiences with the one-way street of Reiki? Please share in the comments your experiences offering and receiving Reiki!

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What is Reiki?

When I’m working with a client who is new to Reiki I’m often asked, “What is Reiki?” My answer starts with, “Reiki is universal life-force energy. It is the energy that is in us and all around us.” Sometimes that is all the explanation needed other than a procedural review of hand placements and other logistics. However, some people are clearly puzzled.

Having practiced Reiki for almost 12 years, this energy seems so obvious to me. I notice it frequently in a person’s posture, in a hand shake, in a facial expression, in spoken words, in music, art and food. But the person new to Reiki may not have noticed it or at least not in the same way.

Reiki is the energy of our soul, it is our essence. We find it in our everyday lives in the food we eat as we convert it to energy for our physical selves. We find it in the hug from a friend; in the loving touch of parent; in the kind act from a stranger.

If one is not attuned as a Reiki practitioner, she or he will infrequently notice this energy. However, a Reiki attunement allows one to consistently tap into this energy. Also, during a Reiki session, the recipient often notices the Reiki energy as warmth or increased sensation as the Reiki is received.

(I highly recommend attunement as it allows one to offer Reiki to oneself and others. It is a practice that is easy to integrate into one’s life. Please see the Class Descriptions)

How do you define Reiki? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing you peace and light. You are Reiki.

Janice Lodato, Reiki Master of Masters

Reiki Poetry

I love poetry.  I find with my self-Reiki practice I am more patient with the process of writing poetry.  I enjoy playing with the words and sounds in my head for several days.  Then I jot down what has come together and edit it some more over the next several days or weeks.  So for me, it is Reiki poetry, because it is full of energy and, I hope, touches the universal.

Another Reiki practitioner friend, is a professional poet and writes beautiful Reiki-infused poetry.  Find Gwen Bindas’ work here: Sometimes in Summer.

Here is a recent poem of mine.  Please let me know what you think!

Chicago Sidewalks

Pigeons weave

among Florsheim/Nike/Converse

Hearts pump
Blood flows
Nerves jump

and respond


in this ever-changing space

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Reiki Goes Where it is Needed

In the Usui system of Reiki there is a principle that Reiki goes where it is needed. In practice this can look like a Reiki session where the practitioner has her hands on the shoulders of the recipient for the whole session.  However, the recipient entered the session with a sore knee and a headache.  After the session, the recipient reports that the knee feels much better and her headache has decreased.  This occurs without the practitioner ever placing her hands directly on the knees or the head.  This is the wisdom and power of universal life force energy.  It goes where it is needed.

There are many stories that illustrate this principle.  For instance, my teacher, Libby Barnett, tells the story of one of her clients who came to her with an injured ankle that was healing very slowly.  The day after the Reiki session, Libby followed up and her client said that the ankle was about the same, but the evening after the Reiki session she had written the outline of a children’s book that had been in her mind for years.

Another client I have worked with had only stress-reduction on her mind.  However, after her Reiki session, a cyst in her wrist became enlarged.  She observed this for several days and on the fifth day it seemed to go away.  When she followed up with her physician, who had been monitoring her condition, he confirmed that the cyst was gone.  She was relieved and grateful and saw how Reiki went where it was needed.

As a Reiki practitioner this principle can sometimes guide us in hand placement.  For instance, rather than placing the hands over the recipients ankles, the practitioner may be guided by Reiki and intuition to place the hands on the lower leg.

I welcome your thoughts in the comments section and wonder how you have experienced Reiki’s power to go to where it is needed.

Wishing you light and peace.

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Welcome to Reiki Healing Energy!

Welcome to my new website and blog: Reiki Healing Energy!  I have been practicing Reiki since October 2001.  It seems amazing to me that this is the first time I’m formally presenting my Reiki practice outside of a Reiki session, a wellness tune-up or a Reiki class.  However the time seems right as I am very near to the exact date that I received my Reiki 1 attunement and then a few days later my Reiki 2 attunement at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in western Massachusetts.  I clearly remember my heart racing with excitement as a sat in a metal folding chair receiving the attunements.  I was filled with grace and love as I learned about Reiki and practiced it with my teachers, Libby Barnett and Maggie Babb (Chambers).

After my first attunement, like my fellow students, I was amazed by the awareness and presence I was able to experience during my morning yoga practice.  Food tasted more vibrant as well.  In my dorm room at Kripalu, I relished the view of the lake from my top bunk, the gnarled cherry tree beside my window and the gentle snores and words that rang out in our room during the night.

After the second attunement, the palm of my hand was alive with energy.  In my dream that night, I was comforted by the presence of my maternal grandparents who sat with me and encouraged me on this journey.  They smiled at me as they did when I was a child, with complete acceptance and understanding.

After leaving Kripalu, I experienced many challenges of balancing life’s daily demands with my Reiki aspirations.  However, that is one of the beautiful aspects of Reiki.  It is so simple and readily available that it can be integrated into one’s daily life with ease.

In future posts I will discuss what brought me to Reiki and some insights I have gained in the past 11 years.  I look forward to your comments and hearing about your healing journey as well.

Wishing you light and peace.

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