Once upon a time there was a Reiki practitioner.
As she was starting to set up her practice, her husband opened a bakery.
“You look like you could use some help with that,” she said. And he agreed that, indeed, he could. So she set aside her plans and helped him build his bakery. And it was fun. And it was good. And the bakery grew. Until, one day, the Reiki practitioner realized that her husband really didn’t need her help any more.
“I think it’s time for me to step aside and go back to building my practice,” she said.
“I’ll miss working with you!” said her husband and the Reiki practitioner felt very guilty (which, if you read that carefully, you will see was not the husband’s fault at all). “But you’re really good at what you do, so, yes, you should work on that.”
And so, feeling torn between helping her husband and building her practice, the Reiki practitioner set to work.
But it wasn’t much fun. Everything she needed to do to get the word out and meet new clients felt like work. “Maybe I should have stayed at the bakery,” she thought. But she didn’t really like the thought of that, either.
“I’m just so tired,” she finally admitted to herself.
“Then maybe you should rest,” said her body.
“Not an option,” she said. “My husband works soooo many hours and he wants me to build my practice (once again, careful reading will reveal that that wasn’t exactly what he said).”
And so she tried some more. And the clients trickled in.
“You do good work,” said her husband. “Any time you can fit me in for a treatment….” And so they agreed that he would get a treatment every Friday afternoon.
Many Friday afternoons came and went and the Reiki practitioner felt even more tired than before. “Mind if I just have a nap?” she asked, feeling very, very guilty.
“Look,” said her body. “Everybody needs a break between gigs. It’s how we’re built.”
“Not me,” said the Reiki practitioner. “I wouldn’t know how to rest.”
“You really should give it a go,” said her body. “You’ve had some big losses the last few years. A good friend, two aunties, your father-in-law, all without missing a beat.”
“Let me sing you the song of my people: Work! Work! Work your troubles awaaaaaay!”
“There are some things you can’t just power through…”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t try!”
And she kept on trying.
Then one day she noticed that her knees hurt. They had been sore for awhile, she realized, but they were becoming impossible to ignore.
“Arthritis,” said the doctor. “There’s really not a lot I can do at this point. Talk to your naturopath.”
So the Reiki practitioner went to her naturopath. “These supplements will help. And you need to change your diet. Yoga and walking are good for you and so is rest.”
So she changed her diet and took the supplements and tried to do yoga and go for a walk every day. Occasionally, she would even rest.
She did a bit of research. The changes she was making would help, she was assured. It would take some time, but in a few weeks or months, she was going to notice improvement.
What should have been a hopeful message didn’t sound that way to the Reiki practitioner. “Weeks or months is a very, very long time,” she thought. “How can I wait that long?”
“I’m done trying to talk to you,” said her body. “You never listen to me, anyway.”
A few days later, she went for a massage.
“You’re doing really well!” said her massage therapist. “I can see that you’re doing all the right things. But…. Um…… Maybe you could try doing less of them?”
The Reiki practitioner was shocked. How was she supposed to get better by doing nothing?
“Rest,” said her massage therapist. “It’s the best thing.”
Finally, the words made sense.
The Reiki practitioner went home, had a hot bath and climbed into bed. She stayed there for three entire days, reading books and watching movies and sleeping whenever she felt like it.
“Hey, kid,” said her body. “I think we can work together.”
“Sounds good,” said the Reiki practitioner. “How ‘bout we start by resting some more? Maybe for the rest of this month? Bare essentials only. Then we’ll reassess.”
Her body heaved a sigh of relief. “That sounds perfect!”
I don’t know how this adventure will end. And I can see that I still have so much to learn. But I am learning. And one of the things I’m learning (sadly, again) is that our bodies have ways of making us rest and we’re far better served to give them the rest (or the healthy food or the good cry or whatever it is they require) the very first moment we become aware that that’s what they need than putting them off until they feel forced to take matters into their own hands.
I’m also learning that becoming a Reiki practitioner doesn’t make you instantly wise or able to follow all the good advice you freely share with others.