Remember Hawayo Takata lying on the operating table in Tokyo in 1935 about to have her appendix, gallstones, and an abdominal tumor removed? She suddenly heard a voice, “The surgery is not necessary.” Unaccustomed to hearing voices, she thought she might be going crazy. After hearing the voice a third time, she knew she needed to do something. She asked her physician if there were any way to recover without surgery. He arranged for her to go to Chujiro Hayashi’s Tokyo Reiki clinic.

After four months of daily Reiki treatment, she was well.

Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances where we need more Reiki than usual. This last year was like that for me. For some years, I’ve been responsible much of the time for Paul’s mom and my own mom because Paul is often away. The last two years became increasingly difficult as the moms each faced crises. At times I needed to be in two different places, 350 miles apart, at the same time. The stress was wearing on me physically, emotionally, and mentally. I could see no solution. I felt stuck and desperate.

I wanted to change how I felt internally. I knew my perspective was making everything harder. I was trying, yet I wasn’t experiencing much success. I’d make some sort of shift, feel a bit better, and then fall back into the anxiety and stress.

I was getting Reiki. I treated myself every day, as much and more than ever. I received treatment every week, and once a month I had two treatments a week. I also gave a lot of treatments. It seemed like this ought to be enough.

Then, in the midst of my struggles, an unnoticed and beneficial tide began flowing my way.

It started last August. Everyone who attended the Breitenbush Reiki Gathering received four treatments over three days. I felt lighter and happier afterward. In October, Paul and I visited friends in France for a week. We decided to exchange treatments every day. I experienced a visceral sense of coming back to myself and the treatments gave me perspective. I rediscovered an internal point of reference that stayed with me. In January, I did a month-long silent retreat.

In March, suddenly Paul’s sister and her husband decided to rent a house in Idaho and Paul’s mom moved from assisted living to their new home. An enormous responsibility fell from my shoulders.

Later that month, three Reiki friends suggested that the four or us do twenty-one days of distant treatment on the future of our—Paul’s and my—retreat center. (Distant treatment is learned in Second Degree Reiki.) These treatments affected me very personally, highlighting attitudes and ways of thinking that were not serving me and needed to be set aside. I experienced a new sense of excitement and creativity in relationship to my work. Where I’d previously seen obstacles, I saw new opportunities. It felt possible to work and care for my mom in a spirit of ease and gentleness.

A month later, my husband, daughter, and I decided to do twenty-one days of distant treatment addressing my mom and her care. Outside support quickly began flowing our way from multiple sources.

In mid-May, I was at a Reiki gathering and received another six days of treatment. Through the summer, my mom’s mental and physical decline has continued, yet she and I are finding our way, and we’re receiving help.

I imagine we all know Reiki is a remarkable force. Through simply putting our hands on ourselves or one another, Reiki connects us with our innate wisdom—the sometimes-elusive part of ourselves that holds solutions or resolution, awakens new possibilities, opens us to a next step, or frees us from behaviors and thoughts inhibiting our fuller expression. As the layers of fear and frustration fall away, space opens for ease and discerning to infuse our way of living. We’re able to see that our situation—painful as it may be—holds opportunity.

As Takata always said, Reiki takes us to the root of the problem. Sometimes it just takes a lot of treatment—and the kindness of others—to heal the heart of what ails us. This year brought me a gracious reminder.