How Reiki Supports Grief + Loss


Our children mirror our hopes, dreams and all that is good and kind in this world. Imagine seeing that mirror fall from its cherished place of honor and smash into a thousand glittering pieces - fractured beyond repair.

What would you do?

In December 2014, I lost my fourteen year old son, Noah to Ewing sarcoma - a rare bone cancer that occurs most often in children. Watching my child fight this relentless disease for two years and then suffer a merciless death changed me in more ways than I can explain. Broken, hopeless, utter despair – these are but a few of the states of being that are encompassed by my grief.

Grief is a mirror in its own way since it reflects the relationship we shared with our loved ones and as such is a very personal, individual process. While there are commonalities which run through the grief process it is difficult to compare ourselves to others during this very sacred journey. Considering death is the highest cause of mortality (not one of us is getting out alive), it is clear we all have a vested interest in helping each other navigate this tidal wave of emotion!

As I searched for purpose and a connection to my son, the Universe provided beautiful synchronicities. One was discovering a deep affinity for writing and the cathartic response it provides. I found purpose in telling Noah’s story, advocating for childhood cancer awareness and sharing stories of grief and hope. While writing has created a bridge of empathy, the universe provided another unexpected gift to help navigate the emotions of grief. In late 2015, while having lunch with a friend she mentioned the healing benefits of her recent Reiki session. Never having heard of Reiki, I was curious to learn more. Searching for a definition, Google defined Reiki as:

“A healing technique based on the principle that the practitioner can channel [Universal] energy into the patient to activate the natural healing properties of the body and restore physical and emotional well-being.”

But this is a very simplified definition of a beautiful healing modality. For further information on the healing benefits of Reiki check out the previous article post in this magazine by Shaylini “Spiritual-Guided Reiki Healing for Body, Mind + Soul” found HERE.

Intrigued, I asked my friend to inquire whether Reiki provided benefits for grief. So you probably guessed the answer? Nervous and excited, I booked my first session. Although Reiki can be very relaxing and calming this was not my initial experience. As the treatment commenced, tears seeped from behind my tightly squeezed lids. I sobbed for most of the session and for many sessions thereafter. My grief was released in the safety of the healing energy of the Universe. Feeling safe and at home, emotions and limiting patterns released like a broken dam. Over the next year I booked several Reiki sessions as I worked through complex layers of grief and personal baggage, supported by my Reiki practitioner and the loving energy of the Universe itself. Intrigued by this energy healing modality, I completed my First and Second Degree Level in the Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Method of Natural Healing.

It has been a compelling journey - tragic but strangely awe inspiring as well. Reflecting on the last few years, I can clearly see three huge benefits I received from Reiki along this grief journey:

1. Opening up to energy healing encouraged me to challenge limiting beliefs. As my spiritual connection grew, I began to view my circumstances from many different perspectives. Suddenly, my life became more palatable and less hopeless; my feelings of powerlessness shifted as we worked on balancing the energy centers in my body. I became more connected to the earth and spirit as well, finding beauty in nature and amazing synchronicities spirit provided to light the path with hope. Knowing Noah’s spirit was always with me and feeling that connection to him provided such profound relief and release.

2. Reiki provided a Spiritual support system. When I speak of spiritual it is not meant in a religious context. As I worked with my Reiki practitioner, she supported my journey offering insights and encouraging my deepening connection to source. Since my family/friend support group was not familiar with Reiki or alternative forms of healing, it was important to feel supported along this unique journey I had chosen. It also opened the door to new relationships with spiritually minded friends.

3. Becoming a Reiki practitioner provided a unique coping mechanism. I have the power of healing myself in my own hands…literally! As I connect with the unlimited healing energy of Reiki and my own soul, I am taking my power back and it feels so wonderful. Recently on a family vacation, I experienced several situations which mirrored past traumas. The most dramatic flashback occurred when I became aware of a sore throat and swollen glands. The fear and panic of that past experience rose up inside me like a wave of fresh grief. Immediately, I was in the past with Noah, reliving a trip we had taken six months after his initial chemotherapy. Shortly after returning from that past trip, I was treated for strep throat and Noah was hospitalized with cellulitis near his eye – a very serious condition. Recognizing these patterns was the first step in releasing their hold on me. Having the confidence to support myself with Reiki was a step towards liberation!

It is my experience and belief that Reiki and other forms of energy healing are invaluable tools which support wholeness in the healing process. In the context of grief, when I use the word healing I feel it is more a “transcending” of grief. For you see, grief is a deep, natural expression of love. To this mother, it is something that will only end the day I return home to be with my son. But that does not mean I cannot experience joy, love, wonder and awe as well. It is my belief that energy healing provides the deepest transcending of loss and grief by promoting something stronger than our limited earthly experiences.

What is that you may ask?

It is a connection to the divine that lives within us all. When we feel connected to this Universal energy, we realize we can never truly die.

About the Author: Dawn Williams Llewellyn is a Reiki practitioner, writer and amateur photographer who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. On her website found HERE she blogs and posts photographs dealing with themes of grief, child loss, childhood cancer awareness and spiritual signs; she is currently writing her first book.

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