It is no coincidence that, in the late eighties and early nineties, the Reiki landscape in The Netherlands mainly showed women whose children had left home. Being fourty-ish, left without what used to be their designated task, they had too much time on their hands. The level of awareness and knowledge amongst housewives had been rising steadily and this in turn had awoken the need to lead more meaningful lives. And, although the word was not in use amongst a large audience yet, many entrepreneurs were able to establish a business model around that need. The second feminist wave, that started in the sixties, had also resulted in more rights for women and husbands had become more willing to let their wives be persons without them. And, although those who were born before and during the Second World War, still very much had the mindset that perfectly fitted the post-war reconstruction years – work, work, work and then drop dead -, many people felt there was more (or at least should be) more to life.
The New Age movement was failing to fulfil its promise of a changing the harsh, often religious society into a friendlier one. Hijacked by members of the establishment, unwilling to give up control, the dreamers’ movement was unable to create enough momentum. Some well-known gurus in those years were shills, teaching people a lot of nonsense while making good money. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had his fleet of Rolls Royce cars (93 at the final count), saw his movement banned in Russia, and eventually become a million dollar industry. Another reason was of course that there were – and are – a lot of assholes and lazy profiteers out there.
Naturally, amongst these people, there were many truly striving to create a better world. Mind you: not every commune or yoga school got founded by a sexual predator using mind-control as their main weapon. I was lucky enough to meet some of those people who were the change they wanted to see in the world. My first Reiki teachers were a group of women – sometimes jokingly calling themselves witches – who all practised Reiki in their own way. Three different styles with overlapping skills. When they initiated me in `their´ universe of healing, it felt like I received a new body. I was glowing all over and for the first time in my life I understood what people meant what they said that we can vibrate at various levels. The world really looked different when I opened my eyes. It seemed that I could see further in the distance, colours were brighter and everything seemed to contain more detail. Momentarily, I was lost for words.
It was the start of a journey that will never end. Each and every day, I am learning something new. And at various times in my life I did really try to avoid that. By deliberately looking the other way, by letting disappointment getting the better of me and by refusing to learn lessons that life was throwing me in the face. I have met many practitioners of Reiki and other healing modalities that seemed to have acquired some sort of happiness always on mode that I simply could not get my head around. While I was learning how to feel what ailed people and how to be a channel for healing energy, I kept ignoring what still needed fixing in me. Very much like the plumber whose own tap is dripping, and he never finds the time to fix it.
No teacher had prepared me for the fact that feeling and learning how to be a healer, comes with certain risks. Awareness exists on many levels, not in the least in the realm of deceit. The lies people tell themselves and others in order to hold on to their pain, illness or failures. The trances we put ourselves in every morning. I can not do this. If only I had a little… If only I had some change. Without this or that I will never be able to do what is expected of me. Etcetera. Disappointments. One after another and nobody who had taught me how to deal with those terrible moments of self-doubt that come with them. The devastating thought that you are not good enough. Not worthy. A fraud even. Jumping from one career into another, never committing completely to just one cause. Never feeling really connected.
Crazy as it may seem – and utterly logical at the same time – my two weeks in the hospital finally pushed me over an edge. Like a cold reboot. I now look differently at people, places, the world around me and my self. I can see it when I look at the photos I make and the way I process them on the computer. Still, I feel like an outsider, but no longer do I have a problem with it. Having learnt that I can be an outsider and feel connected at the same time I finally truly understand it’s all about choice. And if others don’t understand the choices I make, that is fine.
We are all following our own path, which is neither good nor bad. It’s just a path. The GEF is out there!