The Reiki Way: Getting Bad Stuff All the Way Out

Master assures clients that the past need not define them
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Photo by Mike Fender

Dr. Mikao Usui founded Reiki, a Japanese energy healing practice believed to assuage anxiety and stress and promote relaxation and recovery, based on five principles … Just for today: I will not be angry. I will not worry. I will be grateful. I will do my work honestly. I will be kind to every living being. Reiki is grounded in the belief that your “ki,” or life force energy, may be guided by the “rei,” a higher wisdom or spiritual power. When a chakra (one of the body’s seven energetic centers) is blocked, the balance of mind, body and spirit may be disrupted. The goal of a Reiki session, then, is to realign that vital energy so as to make for a harmonious, more intentional existence. That’s heavy stuff, but Reiki masters such as Lori Beasley of Free Spirit Heart in Destin are said to gently guide and transfer energy with just the palms of their hands.

Beasley is a seventh-generation Reiki master, meaning there are six practitioners between her and Usui. She said Reiki is a healing art that can be learned by anyone and, equally, offers everyone the opportunity to heal.

Beasley herself is proof of this. While working for Managed Care in Alabama, she suffered a maelstrom of maladies — Epstein-Barr virus, acute bronchitis and carbon monoxide poisoning — and began exploring holistic treatments. In conjunction with allopathic treatments and intravenous and chelation therapies, Beasley turned to herbal remedies and Reiki.

“Within two weeks, I was doing much better,” said Beasley. “There’s a reason more and more hospitals and hospices are offering Reiki.”

Beasley, who grew up in a Baptist household in Mississippi, coupled her pursuit of energy work with expanding her spirituality. She is now an ordained minister with the Universal Brotherhood and has worked with people and animals providing intuitive/spiritual guidance, vibrational and chakra balancing and crossing-over journeys.

“I am much happier in life being less judgmental and thinking everything is possible,” she said. “It’s my job to hold the space for whatever a client is experiencing. You could tell me you’re seeing purple people in your house and I’ll go, ‘Okay, let’s work this out.’”

At Free Spirit Heart, Beasley treats everyone from mental health therapists and doctors to abused women and lost souls. Our emotions have frequencies, she said, and much of her work consists of transforming low-vibration emotions, such as anger, grief and depression, into a “coherent frequencies alignment.”

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Lori Beasley of Free Spirit Heart in Destin demonstrates Reiki techniques on massage therapist Sarah Wiseman. Beasley uses Reiki techniques to upgrade low-vibration emotions such as anger, grief and depression. Photo by Mike Fender

“There is also power in words and affirmations,” she said. “Dr. Masaru Emoto once conducted an experiment with two sealed jars of rice and water. One jar was labeled ‘love,’ the other ‘hate.’ For a week, people said nice things to the ‘love’ jar and complimented it, while the other was bullied. Guess which one turned brown and blackish while the other flourished?”

If that result was truly driven by the vibrational frequencies of words, one could imagine how a self-deprecating and deleterious inner monologue would impact the demeanor of people and their treatment of others.

Beasley, who has extensively worked with domestic animal rescues and centers for abused men, women and children, said many of her clients attend Reiki in hopes of resolving trauma. She once treated a woman who, growing up, had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father and couldn’t so much as utter his name without breaking down.

“I work a lot with cutting these energetic chords associated with abusers and reprogramming traumatic events,” Beasley said. “We don’t ever forget, but we can take the trauma out. After working with this girl, she was not only able to talk about it, but went on to speak in front of other women who suffered similar abuse and empower them.”

There are those who approach Beasley who don’t know the source of their issues, but they feel something is off. After an initial interview, Beasley has these clients lie down on her massage table and assesses their frequencies using a dowsing rod, which relies on intuition and divination to detect auras and chakra blockages.

“I see in color, so if a client really needs some work, I see a sort of pooling, prismatic circle, and that’s when I know they need a big release,” said Beasley. “When I open myself up, I can feel where it is. Then, I get in there, dig and move the bad all the way out.”

Beasley said it’s important she practices “detached compassion,” aiming to be present and to soberly guide sessions while protecting herself from absorbing the feelings and energy of others. When it comes to physical or emotional distress, it is the client who must enter what Beasley calls the “energy gym” to work on self-acceptance, welcoming improvement and allowing their body to heal.

“People have cried, laughed and have even fallen asleep on my table,” she said. “When I encounter someone, I can generally get a sense of their emotions; it’s not something I can really turn off. But, a session is dependent on you, the client, and what you’re ready to handle. My job is to just facilitate and guide.”

When Beasley invited me to return to Free Spirit Heart for a complimentary session, I wondered if she had sensed something in me. The session began with a simple conversation about what was going on in my life, my aspirations and emotional state. I was instructed to clutch an “intention disk,” a spherical, flattened stone made from Poppy Jasper and engraved with sacred geometry, as I repeated positive affirmations and set goals for myself. 

As someone who doesn’t consider herself to be very spiritual, I didn’t know what to expect when I was asked to remove my socks and shoes and lie down on her massage table. I closed my eyes and inhaled the aroma of peppermint and lavender oils while listening to a meditative background track.

“Mhm, all of your chakras are blocked,” Beasley said.

All of them! In Beasley’s eyes, I was aflame with graphic reds, oranges and yellows. But, Beasley reassured me that often, when one chakra is clogged, it tends to hinder others.

I consented to gentle touch, which came like a warm, reassuring hug when Beasley lightly cradled my cranium and told me it was OK to let go.

As Beasley repeated the process down my body, I experienced something like stepping into a hot bath. Beasley said that sensation was in fact my energy “doing its thing” as she hovered over each chakra and worked her magic.

This was probably the first time I’ve allowed myself to meditate and relax in some time. I was asked to say that I loved myself, that I was worthy of being here and was told that my past didn’t define me.

Things we all need to hear and, more importantly, believe.

Somehow, an hour had passed from when I first laid down, and I was a bit shaken when Beasley informed me her work was done. I thought our session would be a superficial one, yet I felt physically and spiritually lighter, like I just had the ultimate power nap after releasing a year’s worth of insecurities and “what ifs.”

“You can live life here like it is heaven,” Beasley told me. “You can do good and take care of others. You can make a difference.”

For today, I wouldn’t worry. I wouldn’t let the little things disturb me, and I would honor my commitments and treat myself and others with kindness and respect.

Today, I was grateful.

Free Advice and Happiness

Holistic health and spiritualism don’t always go together but more than often overlap. To balance the mind, body and spirit, some turn to the metaphysical.

Dr. Sal Gandolfo is a fourth-generation supplier of such tools at the Live and Let Live Spiritual Store in Pensacola, a place he calls “the home of free advice, love and happiness and soul we can’t control.”

“We cater to all faiths, paths and anyone looking to enhance their life,” said Gandolfo. “We have over 300 crystals, oils, herbs, tarot cards and candles. Often, people come here with a problem, and so long as they have the right intention, we can help them find a solution.”

Gandolfo, a practitioner of New Orleans-style voodoo, believes in the medicinal and superstitious power of rootwork, a type of African American folk magic purported to improve one’s quality of life. His nephew, Matthew Ferguson, is Live and Let Live’s herb consultant and draws upon the unique properties of over 100 aromatics, roots and leaves to help treat clients’ psychosocial obstacles and maladies.

“If you have a problem, we listen and make suggestions the same way you go to see a doctor and receive a prescription,” said Ferguson. “How you use them is up to you: We dress all our candles with herbs, make specialty baths and even have a few edible formulas for potions and tinctures.”

“We’re here to help people,” Gandolfo added. “If you’re ever having a bad day, we invite you to come in and feel the good vibrations.”

Categories: Wellness