Clenched Fists Don't Fix Fractures: What Reiki reminds me about healing a broken world
This past weekend I finished a certification course to become a Reiki practitioner -- to offer gentle, healing, positive touch to people who are hurting. I first learned about Reiki when I was going through chemo, and the cancer center offered me a free treatment every week. The practitioner's soft, healing touch was a relief from the joint aches, skin sores, esophagitis, and incision pain that seemed interminable. This summer, I took the step of becoming a trained practitioner myself. (I'm still going to continue writing, and continue practicing medicine part time in an urgent care clinic -- but Reiki gives me another avenue of healing people.)
One of my favorite parts of the training was getting to meet other people who are passionate about healing, too. People who use their skills in creative ways to help and heal the world around them.
One of my classmates was a chef who gave up a lucrative restaurant job to become a personal chef who hosts what he calls Last Suppers. When a patient receives a terminal diagnosis, this chef fixes a feast for the patient and their friends and family members so they can celebrate the patient's life together.
Another is a somatic psychotherapist who uses motion and touch to communicate with children who are non-verbal due to conditions like autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. She runs, sits, holds and climbs with her little clients, using movement and shared activities to get through to children who often feel isolated, or shut out.
Another provides free landscaping at a retreat center because he wants retreat attendees to be able to "rest in the beautiful."
And together, we learned a new skill to bring even more comfort and healing to the world, a new tool to add to our collective workshop, where we use kindness, compassion, dignity, generosity and love to repair our broken world.
I left the class with a certificate, new friendships -- and hope.
Because in spite of the hate and turmoil and animosity that is playing out on the world stage, there are many of us who want to do good in the world.
Because in spite of everything that goes wrong, we can come together and remember all the power we have together to make things right.
Because we can use whatever talents and abilities we have -- whether it's cooking lavish meals for terminal patients, climbing trees with kids, using gardening and landscaping to beautify the world, knitting hats and stitching quilts for cancer patients, rolling bandages for hospitals in the developing world, providing technical support for nonprofits, tutoring kids after school, bringing elderly neighbors a healthy homemade meal, listening to friend who's going through a difficult time or helping a colleague who's overwhelmed -- to whisper love into the world's wounds.
The world starts to heal when we lay our hands gently on our neighbors and our enemies instead of clenching a fist in their face.
The world starts to heal when we allow love to flow through us instead of continuously erupting with anger and rage and indignation and spite and hate.
The world starts to heal when we whisper love into wounds instead of yelling at people on the other side of the chasm.
The world starts to heal when we realize that our actions, though seemingly small and insignificant in the moment, add up to a movement that will sweep across our country and our world when we each do what we can, where we are, with what we have, to fix the many fractures.
The world starts to heal when we refuse to let a news story, a negative trend, a heartbreak or a setback to drive us to despair.
The world starts to heal when we refuse to give up.
So today, if you're wondering if your talent matters, IT DOES.
Today, if you're wondering if there's a way you can use your ability to make the world a better place, THERE IS.
Today, if you're wondering if, out of billions of people, you matter. YOU DO.
Today, if you're wondering if you're the only one on earth who is heartbroken and overwhelmed by the world's suffering, YOU'RE NOT.
Today, if you're wondering if we can have hope, if we can heal our world's deepest wounds, if we can make peace where there's conflict, if we can cease incessant suffering, WE CAN.
Healing our world starts today. It starts with whatever gift, ability, talent or resource you're holding in your hands -- or even, as in the case of Reiki, your hands themselves.
Whisper healing and peace and goodness into the wounds you see around you -- and we'll stand in hope together, as we watch what happens next.