My First Reiki Session and My Favorite Cookbook

This past week I had my first Reiki session. Reiki is the Japanese practice rebalancing a person’s energy to reduce stress, assist relaxation and restore good energy flow. “In order for the Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for her or his healing and take an active part in it.”(“Live a Meaningful Life”, The International Center for Reiki Training.) Since recovering from cancer this past year, I am open to trying new things, including Reiki, that could help me become a healthier person in mind and body.

The day of my session was a very rainy day…”a perfect day for a Reiki session” my practitioner informed me. She asked me how my day had been so far. I replied that I was a happy camper since I had enjoyed an interrupted morning of reading the NY Times and having my two cups of coffee in peace. She responded, “Oh, my father and mother also read the NY Times every day.” That comment set off a response that ricocheted in my head through much of the Reiki session, but I’ll get to that.

Then she led me downstairs to her Reiki room, lit a candle, and asked me to lie face up on the special table. As best I could I put myself into a receptive mode and tried to “go with the flow” thinking that was how I could most benefit from the session, but almost immediately I began thinking about how my parents never read the NY Times. My mother was a dedicated reader of Newsday, back when it was a newspaper full of good reporting and interesting feature stories. My father never read the paper: he was usually too exhausted from working all day and at part-time jobs on weekends to feed our family of eight children.

It’s funny how one comment can tell you so much. I began to think about how my my Reiki practioner’s childhood must have been so different from mine because her parents read the NY Times and mine didn’t. My thoughts weren’t judgmental, but observational. It took me nearly half a lifetime to discover and appreciate the NY Times. She grew up with it.

Not surprisingly, that led to more thoughts about parenting and a cookbook I’ve been trying to dispose of for several weeks as I take baby-steps toward uncluttering my house. The New York Times Cookbook was given to me many years ago by a California friend (recently deceased) who rented a room in her house to me in my early 20’s. She was older than me and became a role model for a whole different way a woman could live her life back in the early days of the Feminist movement. She was divorced, taught literature at a reputable university in California, and lived a completely different lifestyle than the one my mother had lived.

As I lay on the table with these thoughts drifting through my mind as my Reiki session continued, I kept trying to bring my focus back to my breathing so as not to lose the effects of the energy work that was being done. My last thought about the cookbook and parenting connection was that I was grateful for both kinds of parenting; the kind that was embodied by my stay-at-home mother, who clipped her recipes from Newsday, and the professional woman who took her cooking tips from the New York Times Cookbook.

As I lay face down on the table, having flipped over to complete the session, I finally let go of some of my physical and mental tension, chatted a bit with my Reiki practitioner and went home.

When I got home I realized I could finally part with the falling-apart cookbook. My California friend just passed away a few weeks ago, and one of her last comments to me as we sat side by side in her living room was how she enjoyed living with me and the time we spent cooking together. Her statement and my satisfying Reiki session allowed me to finally let go of the cookbook. I plan to continue to read the New York Times, however, for as long as I can.

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5 thoughts on “My First Reiki Session and My Favorite Cookbook”

  1. What a well-written, thoughtful, and tender Slice this is! I love how you took us on a journey of thought with you as you lay relaxing in your Reiki session.

    I wonder what my own children will think of their childhood once they’re grown? What ‘type’ of mother will they say they had? Your Slice really resonated with me today.

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  2. Thank you so very much for sharing a slice of your recently retired teaching life. Newly retired –14 days, myself–and faced with the necessity of parting with things (probably including cookbooks!–there are so many things I can’t I don’t want to part with, I just clump them into an amorphous group of “things”), I appreciated and applauded your making peace with letting go of the cookbook. God bless you as you work with others, like your Reiki practitioner, to be increasingly healthier and happier. I trust that your writing will as healing for you as you continue your journey as this first post of yours that I’ve read has been for me. Thank you!

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  3. Isn’t it funny how sometimes random thoughts end up tying together loose ends of our lives? I had that cookbook for years. I didn’t read the New York Times or even know it existed until I was a married woman. Then, it wasn’t until years later that I learned that Craig Clairborne was a critic not a chef. Talk about late to the party!

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