I’ll never forget my first day of ballet class, when I was attending the college dance program at SUNY-Purchase. My teacher, Gayle Young, yelled out in his southern drawl “Jean Bromage, you look like a duck! You are rocking back and forth on those ronde jambes like a duck. Quack! Quack!” I was soooo humiliated, I went back to my dorm that afternoon questioning everything I had worked so hard to achieve up to that point, not to mention the realization I would endure the nickname “Duck” for the next 4 years. During that time though, Gayle became one of the most inspiring teachers I’d ever encounter in my life. I quickly came to appreciate his wisdom, musicality, lyricism, and, well, even his sense of humor.
In the version of the Reiki Precepts I use when teaching, there is a line that says, “Please appreciate everything and show gratitude.” This line is frequently translated as “Be grateful,” or “Show gratitude.” However, what I love about this translation is that it asks us to “appreciate everything.” In my recent Reiki 1 Class, we discussed offering up a prayer of gratitude to the future during those times when we are so deeply challenged it is difficult to appreciate our experience in the moment. It is an offering of trust we put out into the Universe that says, “I know this might suck in the moment, but I also know that somewhere in the future, as my sense of wholeness is restored, I will discover reasons to be grateful.”
For me, this Reiki precept invites us to take our attitude of gratitude to a whole new level, looking beyond the surface of everything in life to recognize the essence of love that exists within. No matter how muddled our connection to the vibrancy of life may become at any given time, or how hurtful a situation may seem in the moment, underneath it is a constant current of love flowing through and available to us.
The deeper my connection with Reiki through my daily practice, the easier it is becoming to experience love held within even the densest of feelings, and see light behind even the darkest of moments. This is where we learn to extend compassion to ourselves and others, and allow it to hold us over when we don’t have the answers or solutions to life’s problems.
This year has brought great loss and sorrow to many people and their communities, and as a society we are experiencing a tremendous amount of fear in the collective consciousness. Even if we don’t actively engage this fear, we can feel its presence as it permeates our culture. However, held within the heart of this fear is an essence that is always ready, willing and able to make any given situation whole once again. This essence carries the truth of who we are and returns us to a state of gratitude whenever we are ready receive it.