My Reiki teacher, Libby Barnett, often says, when asked to explain how Reiki works, “Dunno.” She invites us to be in this space of “I don’t know,” this space of being, rather than knowing. As a Reiki teacher, I use this approach as well, but it is a dance because one wants to meet people’s minds and gently guide them to the “dunno.”

Like many others, I adore Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day. I often hear in my head these lines:

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,”

Last night, during a Reiki Session with a client, the following poem came to me.


I don’t know know how to pray,
but I do know how to beg and plead
and get down on my knees
and be . . . silent.

I don’t know what to say,
but I do know I’m here
with you
and we’ll be okay.

I don’t know how to walk,
but I do know how
to feel the earth beneath my feet
and move.

I don’t know how to cry,
but I do know how
to let go and feel.

I don’t know how to grieve,
but I do know how to
feel sad and lonely —
how to pull up the sheets over my head
and want what is not.

I don’t know how to love,
but I do know how to
light up in your presence,
hold your hand,
and listen.

I don’t know how to heal
or me.
Dunno how healing happens.
But I do know it happens.

I know I rode through darkness
and then danced with the fleeting light.

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