“…sorrow carves riverbeds in our soul, deepening us as it flows in and out of our lives…it takes us below the surface of our lives and works on us in some alchemical way.” Francis Weller, from his book entitled The Wild Edge of Sorrow.
This passage struck me so deeply, in the midst of my own abyss, grieving the loss of my beloved mare of 19 years, Gabriel, on May 14th, 2020. She was so much more than “just a horse”. She was a soulmate, a companion, confidante, a constant in my ever-changing young adult life, physically and emotionally carrying me from place to place. No matter what was going on, she always showed me that I was worthy of her unconditional love.
None of us escape the cold grip of grief. It touches us all at some point or another in our lives for what we love, we will lose. To live by this simple fact is to accept life on its own terms and its cycles, to surrender to the truth of impermanence. We mourn a variety of losses whether they be people we care deeply for or beloved animals we share our lives with, memory-filled material belongings we’re forced to let go of such as a childhood home, or a sentimental object that gets misplaced. Sometimes, it’s an identity we’re attached to that we outgrow and while we know we need to let go for growth to occur, there’s a comfort in its familiarity, and a fear of the unknown.
Many of us are experiencing grief related to current events happening in the world. The notorious Coronavirus has, at the very least, ripped our freedom away from us, locking us away from friends, loved ones, and a variety of social activities; and at the worst, it has stolen the lives of our friends and family who have succumbed to the illness. Many have also lost businesses that they poured their blood, sweat and tears into to feed their families, or have had to miss out on important events and rites of passage such as graduations, proms, and even funerals. The tragic death of George Floyd has brought the issue of racism in America, and subsequently the world, boiling up to the surface, forcing us to face the reality that the world is still not a safe place for our brothers and sisters of color simply based on the tone of their skin. These world events compound the grief we experience in our personal lives, creating a pile up of sorrow and sadness by which we can quickly feel suffocated.
I was mired in that pile up of sorrow and sadness for days after Gabriel’s passing, overcome with the grief of the world and my personal tragic loss, I could hardly get out of bed let alone imagine how I was going to go on without my Gabriel. She’d been such an intrinsic part of my life for nearly HALF my life, I could not envision a future without her soft brown eyes, her sweet face, her voice rich and resonant as she’d call to me, her calm grounded presence. Every step I took felt like I was wearing concrete blocks for shoes. I could hardly sleep or eat. Everyday, I was cycling through the overwhelming feelings of shock, sadness, guilt, and anger of this sudden and unexpected tragedy in the midst of all the global chaos. I was completely lost and sinking ever deeper for 9 straight days.
Having studied Reiki since 2010 and becoming a Reiki Master in 2013, I have used this holistic Japanese energy healing technique founded by Dr. Mikao Usui, to heal a variety of physical, mental and emotional issues, past, present and future in my personal life and professionally for clients. Administered to a fully-clothed client on a massage table or chair by the light laying on of hands, or even at a distance as the client relaxes in their own home, I know Reiki’s power well. It has fundamentally changed my life and others’ lives in so many positive ways, not the least of which in helping me to gently process the grief of many losses throughout my life. When Gabriel transitioned, I knew when I was ready to self-Reiki again, like a good friend, Reiki would be there for me this time as well.
The night of May 23rd, I laid down in my bed and thought, “I can’t go on like this. I have a daughter and a husband who need me.” With one hand on my heart chakra and the other on my sacral chakra below my belly button, I closed my eyes and I prayed. I prayed to my angels and Reiki guides to please, lift this depression so that I can function. And as soon as that prayer formed in my mind, I felt an opening, I felt the beautiful Reiki energy flow in and fill me, and I physically felt the leaden weight of that depression lift off my body as if a lead blanket was being lifted by 4 angels, one at each corner simultaneously. It was such a shockingly physical sensation, that I literally opened my eyes and looked around, expecting to see said angels around me. To my surprise, I did not see them standing around me, but I felt the lightness, the love, and the release of that oppressive depression’s hold over me. I spoke my gratitude aloud, so thankful for feeling like I could breathe again. Since then, I’m still moving through the stages of grief deeply saddened by her loss, but I’m able to also feel the gratitude and joy for the time we had, the memories that fill me, and the life I still have with my loved ones. I no longer feel that oppressive heaviness or inability to function.
Not everyone may have such a physical experience as I’ve described above, however Reiki brings peace and healing to all conditions of the body, mind, and spirit. If you find yourself suffering right now under the heavy hand of grief for what is going on in your personal life and/or the world, please find a Reiki practitioner that you connect with. Reiki can be administered from any distance, and is just as effective as an in-person session. The longer you suffer with the sadness, the more it can depress your immune system, raising your risk of contracting a physical illness so please don’t let restrictions from the recent virus deter you from seeking out the healing that you need.
No matter what riverbeds sorrow is carving through your soul right now, Reiki is a beautiful, holistic healing modality that will help you to deal with the grief of world events and any personal losses you are experiencing in these troubled times. In the meantime, I am sending Reiki out into the world like so many of my fellow Reiki practitioners, to help relieve people’s suffering and bring peace and positive change for humanity across the globe. I wish you abundant peace, happiness, and healing on your journey!