The images and feelings that came to me during the reiki session I had a few days ago are still with me. To be honest, I am not exactly show how reiki works. But, as my reiki healer, Dani, stands behind me and begins the healing work, I experience what feels like is a subtle shift in the energy around my body. It’s vaguely like the sensation of having the hairs on the back of your next stand up or the sensation that comes with feeling like someone is watching you, minus the creepiness. As I fall into a deeper state, some personal matters distracted me. I was thinking about these things when I became aware of a vision of a forest in the periphery of my consciousness. The problems I was thinking about started to feel like they were physically close to me, while the forest rose in the background, shooting up on the outer arc of my awareness.
As the reiki session continues, I became more aware of the forest and I notice a gray wolf running through the pines. She races. Her head and her tail are down. Her fur is matted. She is fast. My minds eye can barely keep up with her. Her focus never leaves the ground in front of her. She seems distracted, possibly reckless. The wolf is frightened. Is she dangerous? I imagine she was caged and beaten and has recently escaped. I don’t feel threatened by her because she is far away. But she is loose; I am a bit alarmed.
I went to that reiki session because something was bothering me. A week before, I was working on my novel and setting the stage for my protagonist to be betrayed by outlining all the passive-aggressive things my antagonist might do to her. I spent days brainstorming all the ways in which this antagonist might chip away at my protagonist’s identity and self-worth. My brainstorming evoked plenty of real life memories. I ended up in a frenzied state. I was up until 5AM, a “voice” yelling at me that I am worthless and useless. Voice did not stop until I muttered, “I agree. I agree. I agree.”
I know that having a voice screaming at me at all hours of the night is something that others might find strange and frightening. I’m not concerned that Voice “exists”. Voice has come and gone in the past few years. He hasn’t been this encroaching in over 6 months. He has never told me to burn down buildings or any such nonsense. He has never suggested that I hurt anybody. He just makes me aware. When something in my world is not quite right, he is there screaming about it. His judgments are typically spot-on, but he is sooo melodramatic. He has a point about my uselessness. My existence in the world isn’t particularly helpful to anyone right now. But Voice exaggerates; this uselessness is not my fate. There is hope that one day the universe might find use for at least one of my creations.
The afternoon after Voice harassed me all night, I thought about the experience and realized that Voice is trying to sabotage me. I surmised that Voice fears that I will write this novel and that would prove him wrong. I find it difficult to write when he is screaming at me and I don’t much care for losing a night of sleep over this state. I talked to my therapist about the experience and she agreed that he is my sabotager. I thought I needed to get more grounded because I was not sure how I could continue writing my novel if Voice is going to scream at me from here on out. I also know from experience that if I numb out Voice, my ability to write anything will be completely shut down. Reiki felt like a good response.
During times of emotional distress and/or when I’m having intense extreme state experiences, I find it helpful to have a reiki healing. A healing often evokes a transliminal experience for me. I feel that these visions are like dreams in that they may be a reflection of what my subconscious is processing. Uncovering what my psyche is working on can help me make sense of my experiences in a way that empowers me. Also, reiki relaxes me. It feels like taking a sedative, but without the cognitive fog and need for extended sleep. The session I had that day helped me to relax into an equilibrium from which I could respond to extreme state experiences and continue to be creative.
When I picked up my writing after the reiki session, Voice remained silent. As I was writing, the wolf came into my periphery of my awareness in a vision that replicated my vision during reiki. I just noticed her; I didn’t judge her presence in my psyche nor become distressed by her appearance. What is she trying to tell me? Where is she going? I am aware of how traumatized she is. I know that she is frightened and just needs to run. And then it occurs to me, writing allows this frightened and traumatized wolf to run from her captors. This is healing me. Writing this novel is allowing me to run from the captors of my past.
While I am “letting the wolf run” I have a hard time staying in my chair; my mind can easily start racing and rehashing unpleasant experiences. I wouldn’t mind giving a few people a piece of my mind and I catch myself physically gesturing these imaginary confrontations. It’s an unpleasant and rather awkward experience. If I get sidetracked into neurosis, I am not writing at all, but I know that “letting the wolf run” is how I can work through trauma. I just need to keep it under control.
So, I decided to plan out how to intentionally “let the wolf run” while also actually producing content. I realize that I experience different levels of distress during this creative process. As I write fiction about traumatic events, my distress levels increase. At a certain level of distress, I pace around my apartment and cry. I can tolerate that level of distress, though I am obviously not getting much onto the page. I call that an 8. If I push past this level, I know that Voice will start screaming at me. I can’t even think about my story at all in that state and I don’t find Voice a useful partner in my creative process. I judge that I can tolerate level of distress up to an “8” for four hours and can produce content if I keep it around a 7.
The next day, I meditate and then spend four hours “letting the wolf run.” I describe all abuses my characters might endure. I am aware of my distress level, knowing that I’ll stop if I start pushing past 8. I break after each section of my writing and journal about what is bothering me. I take a walk around the block, careful to return my distress level to a 5, before going back to the novel. After four hours, the timer goes off and I stop writing. I am done “letting the wolf run.” I paint to expel the rest of the energy. I have let the wolf run, but have kept Voice silent. I feel peaceful and hopeful.
I know how I am going to write this novel without letting Voice derail me. Maybe he will even cease to exist. I know how to work through past traumas instead of just shutting down. The reiki session gave me the equilibrium to understand how to respond to these rather complex states of consciousness and personal challenges. I feel grounded and empowered.