BY DOMENICK RAFTER
Editor in Chief
We all need time to relax, and in today’s society, it’s sometimes impossible to focus on bettering yourself.
Certainly I’m on that boat. Being editor-in-chief of a newspaper isn’t the kind of job where you go home at 5 p.m., and take time to introspect and care for your own emotional well-being— if at all. As for the physical, sure I see doctors – but only after things go south in that department.
So when Rev. Joanne Angel Barry Colon, whom you might recognize for being a regular Health, Nutrition and 50 Plus columnist here at the Queens Tribune, offered to do a Reiki session in my office, I was intrigued.
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique based on the idea that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. The technique is not that old. It was created by a Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui in 1922. It is based on the concept of Qi, or chi, or a “life force” that is universal to all living things.
Rev. Barry Colon offered to do my Reiki session in my office on Friday afternoon, typically the quietest time of the week for me – though the concept of “quiet time” for a newspaper is relative. It was also, fittingly, Friday the 13th. She brought in a massage bed, aromatherapy, some candles and some incense to set a quiet, contemplative mood. After a series of morning planning meetings for several upcoming special editions of the Queens Tribune – you should keep a look out for those – I found her all set up in my office.
The Reiki sessions started with me lying on my back on the table. Rev. Barry Colon asked me to close my eyes, asked me to state my intentions for the session – to relieve stress and worry – and focus on a white light and she invited her guides – spirits – in to help her. Rev. Barry Colon introduced me to my seven Chakra points – first the Crown Chakra on the top of my head, where she placed one of seven crystals. I was told to focus on the color violet. The Crown Chakra focuses on our inner and outer beauty and connection to spirituality. The next was the Third-Eye Chakra, and its indigo light where she placed a crystal on my “third eye”- on my forehead between my eyes. This chakra deals with wisdom, intuition and decision-making. Next was the Throat Chakra – a blue light – which deals with communication – a connection I made immediately to my career, followed by the Heart Chakra, which focuses on love, joy and inner peace. There I saw a bright green light. The last three Chakras were Solar Plexus, in the upper abdomen, that deals with self-worth and self-confidence. The color light there was yellow; Sacral Chakra, and its orange light, just below my navel. That chakra focuses on pleasure and well-being and finally my Root Chakra at the base of my torso. That Chakra, with its red light, focuses on money and financial independence.
Most interesting, I had completely zoned out from the work that was going on outside my office. Rev. Barry Colon conducted the session in the middle of the day and just outside my office door, a typical chaotic and stressful workday was going on.
Once we went through each Chakra, she had me pick one light that stood out over the rest. I picked the blue light of the Throat Chakra without a thought. The reason? She told me to imagine a clear blue sky, and I was quickly brought to various memories throughout my life in which I took note of how clear and blue the sky was at that time. I found myself apple picking as a child in the Catskills; canoeing on a lake in Maine and touring the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey – three times where the crystal blue of the sky attracted my attention. In that moment, I could almost feel the breeze of those days, the calming image of water flowing beneath the canoe and the taste of the apple being picked from a tree. Not almost – I did feel and taste those things.
I’m not entirely sure why the blue light attracted me more than the others. I had an idea, which I won’t explain here. I’ll note that the blue light represented the Throat Chakra- communications. What is it I do for a living again?
We went through the Chakras one more time. Rev. Barry Colon then used her energy to whisk away stress and worry
As a journalist, I’m a natural skeptic and cynic. I can’t say that I believe all the theories surrounding Reiki, but I can say I came out of the experience better than I went in. I came out calmer, felt more put together, felt more ready to conquer the big scary problems. I had woken up that morning with a slight headache and digestive issues. After Reiki, they were gone. I went home that night and felt relaxed and composed. I felt as though I had just taken a shower or took a swim in a swimming pool on a hot day. It was a rejuvenating experience.
Rev. Barry Colon told me I would have vivid dreams that night. I did: twice. Once during a short nap I took Friday evening. I can’t remember the entire dream, except that it involved me driving in California. The second dream I had, during the course of that night, was more interesting. I was on a train with a close friend. The entire train was clear glass, offering a person a 360-degree view of the outside. We had just come out of a tunnel and the sun was bright and for a second blinded me. Then I adjusted and looked around. We were on a bridge going over a wide river, situated between forest-like countryside on either side – a quintessential American scene.
Above me – and this is something I noted only after I woke up – a clear blue sky.