We had gathered in a fashionable home in Atlanta, Ga. for a Reiki event. Most of the 20 or so people were strangers to one another. It was a mix of healers and patients. Most of the healing practitioners were therapists who worked with some of the most difficult cases of trauma and abuse. They had found that Reiki (Japanese style hands-on- healing) brought a vital spiritual/energetic dimension to their practice. I glanced around the room taking in many impressions. We were about to begin our sessions. Each healer would intuit who they should be paired with for the session. My attention was drawn to a certain young man. He was slight, handsome and well-built. He was gay, I felt. Very sensitive and discriminating. He held himself apart from everyone, fairly clinging to Bernie, the Reiki master who was also gay. He would not look up, much less meet anyone's gaze. In fact, he seem repulsed by the others, locked in judgment of these strangers. I re-checked my impressions. He would not be comfortable with me. But he was the one I felt inclined to work with. When everyone started to pair up and choose a massage table in the large room, someone else quickly chose the young man. A bit dismayed, I hung back, feeling it was a mistake. I waited quietly until all the others had made their choices. I smiled at the remaining person and we took the last table. Everyone prayed and began their work. I closed my eyes, prayed once more and placed my hands on my clients' head, but my attention was still drawn to the young man. I tried to put that aside and concentrate, but I felt like things were out of order.
After about 10 minutes, there was a light touch on my shoulder. It was Bernie. In a very unorthodox move, he was switching therapists. He whispered in my ear that he wanted me to work with the young man. His was a difficult case. I was elated. Now things made sense. Everything fit.
When I introduced myself, he was stiff and unresponsive. Unwilling, but for Bernie's intervention. He clearly did not want anyone but Bernie...that had been evident from the start. I understood. Apprehension and resistance are common, both in ourselves and others. In fact, it can be a sign in itself that something important was about to emerge for healing. With time and experience, you learn to trust the Energy and where it takes you. I closed my eyes and began the work. I was confident but a bit puzzled. He remained mute and remote. As I relaxed into the work, the energy was growing stronger and I felt myself beginning to lose track of my surroundings, as if in deep meditation. I would still need to monitor what was happening with him, however. He had finally closed his eyes as if to escape and held himself as stiff as a board for the next 10 minutes. Then suddenly he went limp. He was out. He still laid there physically but he had checked out. He was in a deep, unresponsive state, barely breathing. The energy was working. I settled in for whatever lie ahead.
As I drifted deeper, my sense of identity softened and I began to feel his energies. I experienced a heavy lump in my throat and an overwhelming fear....a fear of death! There was a terrible sense of loneliness and isolation. Slowly, I began to know that he was dying of AIDS...his young life cut short in a terrible way. He was angry...so angry... full of rage! 'How could this be happening to ME?!' was his heart's cry.
There was such a swirl of emotions... As I drifted through all of the heavy emotions, I began to realize that more than anything, he was terrified and alone. When he received the diagnosis of AIDS, he had gone into deep shock and shut down. He was so frozen that he had not confided his illness to anyone. Not even his lover, parents, brother or closest friends. All of it was painfully bottled up inside. It was an inexpressible burden. He was coming apart with the explosive forces that had no outlet. On the surface of things, no one would have guessed any of this. He gave absolutely no indication of his inner turmoil.
Now I understood why I was so drawn to him. I seem to be cut out for the hard cases by virtue of what I've been through.
Some 20 years before, I had experienced something of similar magnitude at the beginning of my own healing journey when The Divine entered my life in a tangible way. The traumas of my early life had brought me to a place where I had been rendered mute with injury and pain. What I felt was beyond tears...beyond expression of any kind. I was shutting down...not willing to take my life, but unable to go on. Into that hopeless state, the Divine began to make its entry into my life. I well knew the Power and the Path that brought me to wholeness...
He was still motionless and far away. That was good. The emotions I was feeling were becoming too much to contain. I began to weep for the sadness that this young man could not express. I tried to let it out slowly, but it wasn't long before the dam broke. I was soon racked with an unbearable amount of pain and fear and I sobbed openly. There was such an immense amount of sorrow inside. I was overwhelmed with all his trapped and frozen pain. My body heaved with sobs. I began to fall off my chair and would have landed in a heap on the floor had it not been for the two people who rushed to my side and held me upright as everything released through me. It was more than he or I could bear alone.
The young man was completely unaware of what was happening. It was as though he was under anesthesia for the duration. This often happens in the most painful situations. It is the best thing. After an hour or so the torrent of tears began to subside. Everything had been emptied. There was a great sense of relief and the beginnings of peace and tranquility. I felt something like a breeze from Heaven, cleansing and soothing the raw and desolate places. We rested awhile in that state and then I felt the Energy begin to withdraw. After a few more minutes, I came to myself fully. He was still out cold.
There was much to ponder. It had been an extraordinary event. I understood him utterly. Who knew the outcome...
He slept for some time afterwards. At some point, he seemed to return to his body. His breathing changed from barely perceptible to that of someone in a deep slumber. He woke on his own, slightly dazed and went to his room for a nap. He was visibly altered in his demeanor. He had a child's face...simple, innocent, unassuming. He smiled at the people that helped him to his room. A huge shift from the man who wouldn't have anything to do with us a couple of hours earlier.
It was the following day before any words were exchanged. His face was shining with love... His body was no longer rigid. He had re-joined the human race....no longer an outcast or one sentenced to death. His experience on the table was quite different than mine. He described being far away on a journey beyond this world. It was there that he was shown his life from a very different perspective. Everything was shown to him...and it altered him profoundly. He understood his purpose. His errors. The importance of Love. He recognized me as the woman/angel who came and straddled his body toward the end of the experience. It was not sexual...it was deeper than that. When I shared my experience with him, he had been completely unaware of the room, the tears, the releasing of emotions. When I told him what I knew, he acknowledged that all of the details were accurate. He was HIV positive with a t-cell count of 7. How he was able to function at all was a mystery. He had dropped his lover and friends and was unable to tell his parents and family that he was gay and approaching death. He was frozen in fear, misery, anger, isolation and despair. He was bursting with all of it and felt that suicide was his only recourse.
The change in him was extraordinary. His clarity, his understanding, his open heart... especially his open heart. In a dramatic turn over the following week, he felt somehow able to make the phone calls and face his loved ones. I was privileged to witness his journey over the next several months. He found his family to be surprisingly compassionate... a huge relief. Love poured into his life.
He asked if we could meet every week for a different kind of session. We sat across from each other and placed our hands over each other's hearts in a beautiful exchange of love and energy. He began to study Reiki healing which begins with self-healing. He was re-invigorated. He had a future...and a purpose. Most fantastically, his t-cell count shot up...first to 290, then to 740. He was so transformed in every way...a beautiful, sensitive, loving Soul.
Life shifted when I moved and our paths parted, but I knew that the next chapter of his journey would be a joyous and healthy one.