I cannot wait to share with you my experience as a participant in Laura Brera’s PhD practical research, titled: Reiki into Creativity. I’m not going to lie though, it’s taken me a while to write this blog post, without sounding like a total cliché, it was hard to put it down into words. It almost feels as though it reduces how profound the experience was. I would write a few sentences, leave it a week or so, then come back continually changing and refining things, and I don’t pretend to be a poetic writer of any sort, but I’m forever a perfectionist. And when I look back over our time in the studio, it was such a wonderful experience and I was keen to do it justice!

When I first saw the call-out for participants, it immediately peaked my interest. As a somatic-influenced mover, I am always intrigued by new methods of cultivating movement from within myself, rather than external influences. It’s a passion of mine I try to encourage others to experience and I thrive off working with people who feel the same.

It all started off with complete uncertainty, only having a faint idea of what Reiki was and what it consisted of, but willing to try with an open mind. And if your reading this and also aren’t sure what the practice consists of, I got your back. In a nutshell, Reiki is a spiritual healing art, where a Reiki Master channels positive energy into your body, typically through the placement of their hands. And not only did we look at movement as a form of creativity, we looked at other forms of art such as drawing. Laura’s method of encouraging us to put pen to paper, was to simply ask ‘what’s the weather today?’, not referring to the literal weather happening inside, but discussing how we feel, pre and post Reiki, and relating it to the weather as a metaphor. I loved this as I’m useless at drawing, but it gave me a framework, and I ended up being proud of the little abstract drawings I created, which might not look that aesthetically pleasing or make sense, but since when has art ever needed to make sense?

My first Reiki session with Laura, I’m not going to lie was a pretty unique experience, I had no preconceptions of what to expect, so everything came as a surprise, but I remember suddenly feeling my body vibrate and move along the floor without any input from myself. Almost as if Laura’s energy was so strong it was causing my body to move. If you’re thinking surely that’s impossible, don’t worry I was also, but when I mentioned it to Laura, she said she felt it too. Instantly I was hooked, keen for the week to go fast until the next session. My second experience with reiki however, was rather disappointing. I couldn’t feel anything, I was searching for a similar feeling to before, but because I was so desperate for it, nothing came. I think the reason for this is because during the first session, I just let everything happen, but during the second time, I was trying too hard and forcing it. You can’t say or predict what you want to happen and expect it to always manifest to your command, you have to let it manifest in its own way. And I realised that all comes back to how I work as a mover, I strive to never plan my movements, I let the inner sensations move me, I don’t move myself.

From there we progressed on to giving Reiki to ourselves, again as someone with little experience, it was hard to know what to actually do. But I suppose you just have to trust. Laura encouraged us to not only practice as part of our weekly sessions together, but also at home in the hope that something would happen. Now, similarly with my Yoga self-practice… I am very bad at it (we can’t be perfect). It was always in the back of my mind telling me I should practice, but there was always resistance in getting myself to actually do it, like there was something else stopping me. Maybe I was worried I’d be let down again in case nothing happened, and as this was important for Laura’s research, I didn’t want to give wrong answers. But I should know this as MA graduate, any answer contributes to research, even if it isn’t what you first anticipated.

However, we continued to try, the weeks went on and it all eventually accumulating in our last session together, when finally something clicked. As always we started with self-practice Reiki, and I noticed a shift, almost as though my energy felt stronger. I was feeling a vibration in my arms, a shaking and rocking on the floor. I remember thinking, are my arms actually moving or is this just a feeling, resisting the temptation to sneak a peak in case I lost it (afterwards, Laura pointed out my arms were physically shaking, what on earth right?) The rest of my body felt locked, and there was a significant amount of pressure in the back of my head, rooting me down to the ground. In my head, my thoughts were going crazy, I couldn’t fathom what was happening, whether I was causing it or whether it was out of my control. I remember my mind saying stop over and over to see if it would, but it continued. I started seeing colours, a strong yellow with a subtle tinge of pink.

If you’re still reading this, and haven’t thought I’ve officially lost it, thanks for staying with me here!

As we progressed from this into movement, I felt as though I had so much more sensory experiences to draw influence from. I could sense the energy flowing through the crown of my head and out through my arms. Using the energy fields surrounding my arms to manipulate the energy fields around other body parts and initiate movement elsewhere.  Attracting and repelling like a magnet, pulling and twisting my body into new shapes, or perhaps the same shapes but with a new outlook. It was as though my internal body was moving my external body, creating new patterns and unexpected changes in dynamics. So attracted to this type of movement expression, I went back to the studio at a later date to try to recreate the experience. It wouldn’t happen, it felt empty and lacking in something. That something was Reiki. What we learnt is that Reiki has so much potential when applied creatively, be it in choreography, improvisation, artwork, the list goes on. If only I had of felt this shift earlier on in the process, imagine what else we could have discovered.

Overall it was a beautiful experience and I’m so pleased I was a small part of Laura’s innovative research and even though our time discussing Reiki into Creativity has come to an end (for now!), I can’t wait to see where the research takes Laura, its given me the drive to delve deeper into other holistic remedies and practices. Its greatly influenced my teachings, changed the way I approach movement and creative tasks, and we’ve only scratched the surface!

Thank you Laura x