In 1982 Anasuya (my two year old daughter) and I were living in Ganeshpuri Ashram in India. We had a room in a two story kutir (cottage) overlooking the deer enclosure. My seva (work offered in service) was looking after Anasuya and raking out the deer droppings in the the enclosure (an apt task for a budding Reiki master).
In the room next to me was a Swedish woman, Wanja Twan, and her two daughters, Anneli and Kristina. Krissy used to babysit my daughter Anasuya, and I used to love hanging out with Wanja, one of the most genuine, compassionate people I had ever met.
The deer developed foot and mouth disease. They were dying one by one, and then suddenly they weren't dying any more. What I didn't know then was that Wanja had permission from Baba Muktananda to teach Reiki to my boss Krishni and between them they saved the herd. Click on the link to read Krishni's story .
I had been experiencing terrible cramps at period time and now I was experiencing them when I ovulated. The pain was so great that I was cold and nauseous in the middle of an Indian summer. Wanja saw me stumbling to my room and offered me a Reiki treatment and with her daughter Anneli, gave me two short Reiki treatments for pains I was having. I didn't feel much at all, but the pain lessened even if it didn't go away.
We returned to Australia in 1983.
In 1985 Wanja wrote to me to say that she'd been invited to Sydney to teach Reiki classes, I ended up organising them and hosting them in my small flat in Dulwich Hill. I was telling a friend about the classes and she asked me if Reiki really worked . I was about to give some glib answer when the words stuck in my throat. My periods were no problem, normal flow, short lived, no cramps, no mood swings - I was astounded. The monthly debilitating condition that began when I was thirteen had gone so subtly I hadn't even realised until that moment that it was gone.
We had two classes with around fifteen people in each. Anasuya who was six learned Reiki, as did my boyfriend (now my partner of thirty years) and I also took 2nd degree Reiki when Wanja did a 2nd degree class.
At first, I tried to use Reiki in my healing practise (I combined massage, energy healing and acupressure) but I couldn't work out if anything was happening, so for a while I just used it on myself and then Anasuya. Over the next few years I learned what a powerful form of healing Reiki is as I watched conditions that I had battled with for years slowly slip away as I 'forgot' to be sick.
I had studied acupuncture and had a healing practice using acupressure and massage. My mother had been a healer and had taught me certain things. As well I had developed my own style of energy work, but it was not until I began to use Reiki that I understood what true healing is.
For three and a half years I used Reiki on my family, my friends, pets, plants etc and then I set up a practise and started treating professionally. In 1989 I became the first home-grown Reiki Master in Sydney and began holding regular workshops in my home in Glebe - a trendy inner city suburb. By co-incidence (or not) the first Reiki workshop I held by myself was in Clunes - a small village near Lismore where I now live but had no thoughts of moving to at that time.
I began writing a newsletter "Keeping in Touch" and started conducting regular workshops in my home in Toxteth Road, Glebe (Sydney). About six months later I wrote an article in one of the new age healing magazines and people began contacting me. My small clinic built up to a strong Reiki centre, and people began inviting me to hold Reiki weekends. I was invited to hold workshops on the south coast of NSW, inland to Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Wellington, Bonny Hills (near Port MacQuarie), Gladstone (north Queensland) and Adelaide (South Australia). I also held a workhsop in England and one in America. By 1996 when we decided to leave Sydney I was holding Reiki workshops three weekends out of four.
Every Wednesday night my home was open to Reiki students. We would give group treatments and then stop for a cup of tea and supper (now it would be caffeine free). They were lovely evenings and were held every Wednesday except for Christmas day for six years. If the family was away, students would open up. We had up to five tables going at a time.
In 1997 we moved to the far north coast of NSW to be near family and to build a home in the bush. We rented a house in Killgara, a small hamlet north of Kyogle in the Border Ranges and then for six months we lived in the beautiful Wiangaree homestead - the first homestead built in 1846. I opened a shop in Kyogle where I treated people and taught workshops. Towards the end of 1998 it became obvious that my father had begun his dying process and I let everything go so that I could spend as much time with him as I could and look after him as he had looked after me when I was little. I had some very beautiful experiences giving him Reiki during that time.
Dad passed away in 1999, in fact my partner and I both lost our fathers in that year.
The following year we moved into the city of Lismore where we still live. Then my husband became ill and my family needed me in different ways, so my focus became my family. Wanja's only directive to me was to put my family first - and I needed to do this more now than ever.
Anasuya stayed in Sydney when we did our tree change. She completed a BCom degree and spent six years in London working in the corporate world before coming home. In 2007 I initiated her as a Reiki Master and we opened "The Reiki Room" in the CBD of Lismore to give Reiki treatments and hold regular Reiki workshops.
We are both focussed on living in a sustainable way. Anasuya also worked for POAG - the Palm Oil Action Group to help the public become aware of how the Orangutan* are being brought to the brink of extinction through the farming of oil palm plantations**. Through organising actions to raise public awareness she helped Kentucky Fried Chicken to decide to stop using Palm oil by 2010, Cadburies also decided to not use palm oil in their products and Woolworths pulled it out of their 'Select' brand of products (it's now back, but at least it's named rather than hidden behind the words 'vegetable oil' which may or may not be palm oil).
Books by Wanja and Anneli Twan can be purchased at through Wanja's daughter-in-law, Michelle Beauregard at http://www.traditionalreikicanada.com/
* Australian Orangutan Project
** Rainforest Rescue