"To give vent now and then to his feelings,
whether or pleasure or discontent,
is a great ease to a man's heart."
When I was in my late 20s, I started doing Krav Maga to take out a lot of anger and frustrations in the only way I knew how — beat the shit out of them. During one of these drills, my newfound friend Cara and I were sparring, then days later, I felt like I was having a hard time breathing.
I texted her, "I think you bruised my ribs!" To which she replied, "I'm so sorry! I do Reiki! Please let me come over and help you."
I had experienced Reiki once before this, and didn't think much of the experience, but I was also open to trying anything and everything during this period of my life to answer this increasingly loud calling to find my sense of spirituality to heal from wounds so deep, their bruising was just barely finding its way to the surface.
The day she was coming over, I woke up from a nap, extremely saddened. Part of me knew that my live-in boyfriend and I were in a doomed relationship, part of me was just lost in figuring out what the next steps of my life should be. As I had done countless times before, I spoke out loud to my deceased grandmother, the only person in my entire life who I believed loved me unconditionally. She had died in my early 20s and it took me two full years before I actually began to grieve her death. In retrospect, it was likely because the idea of being all alone now, even though I still had other family members around, was much too much to bear.
I looked at the clock, realized that Cara was about to arrive, and cleaned myself up in preparation for her visit.
Cara and I barely knew anything about each other, except that she owned a dog walking business and I was a writer. We liked sparring with each other in Krav Maga, as we were about the same size and strength. Otherwise, we were left to battle men twice our size who didn't hold back at all.
She arrived, set up her Reiki table, then proceeded to tell me, "Just so you know, sometimes spirits will come into the sessions. I'm not a medium by any means, I can't call them forth, but when I open the portal, they just sometimes show up... okay?"
I nodded, unsure of what to make of this, then proceeded to get onto the table. Cara began the treatment, then paused.
"Do you have a grandmother who passed away?" she asked.
"Wait, what?" I said, shocked.
"Do you have a grandmother who passed away? Because," and she said this tenderly, "she's in the room right now."
I laughed, nervously. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, there's a presence in the room and I feel as though it's your grandma."
I began to tear up.
"She's not leaving," Cara smiled. "It's like she's watching over me to make sure I don't mess up on you."
I had no idea what to do. Cara kept working on me.
"Your grandmother wants to let you know that she's really proud of you," she said. At this, I couldn't hold it back anymore. I just started crying completely.
"If there's anything you'd like to say to her," she asked, "you can tell her now."
Confused, I asked, "My grandmother doesn't understand English — do I say it in Mandarin?"
Cara gently reassured me that it didn't even have to be through words, that she was certain my grandmother could understand me energetically.
Towards the end of our session, Cara revealed, "Your grandmother wants to give you something. I can't see what it is. Usually, when a spirit wants to give a gift to the person on the table, I can't see exactly what it is, but I get a sense of it. All I'm seeing right now is the color red. I'm not sure what it is, but I just keep seeing the color red."
She finished up our session and added, "Just keep your eyes peeled over the next two weeks. The gift should reveal itself."
During this time of my life, I was experimenting with a lot of different healing modalities and a colleague had recommended hypnotherapy. I went, and discovered that it was essentially a very deep guided meditation.
Towards the end of our session, the hypnotherapist suggested, "I'm going to bring you out of hypnosis now. Before I do, understand that when you wake up, every time you see the color red, you're going to know it's okay to feel your feelings. You'll see a stop sign and it'll look brighter than ever before, stoplights... any time you see the color red, you'll know that it's okay to feel your feelings."
I woke up, walked out, and felt that through the power of suggestion, the stop sign did look especially red. But, that was it.
Until I went to yoga class that night with my friend Eddie. Afterward, we grabbed a bite on the Third Street Promenade, where I excitedly told him, "You should see my friend Cara for Reiki! You'd really like her!" and then relayed my experience.
By the time I got to the end of our session, I stopped talking. Looked out in space.
I realized then that THAT was my grandmother's gift. "Every time I see the color red, I'm going to know that it's okay to feel my feelings."
As part of my Letting LOose Challenge, I am allowing myself to feel whatever feelings come up. Usually, I'd want to figure out why, to know where the source is, so that I could potentially nip it in the bud. But now, I'm not doing that. I'm feeling whatever's coming up and accepting that it is what it is. Like everything else in life, it'll pass. But for now, it's okay to feel whatever the hell I want to.