My Journey

 

Some of us like to know the details; we want the whole scoop. Others of us just want the highlights; we could care less about the details. For those of you who just want the highlights of my journey, I’ve provided a timeline with the basics. For those who want the details and would appreciate a longer read, please click here and read the short story. Even the short story is missing a lot of the details, but to include everything, I’d have to write a book!  Hopefully though, whichever you choose to read will help you decide what next step to take.

The Timeline

1991: God answered my prayer in just a few short hours.

1995: I first learned about Reiki

1999: I became a therapist in a residential facility for teen girls and decided I wanted to learn Reiki to see if it might help them.

2000: I learned all four levels of Reiki from a nun in a convent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  As I began using it, I saw amazing changes begin to take place in my clients.  It was an amazing adjunct to psychotherapy!

2003: Early in the year my Reiki sessions began to become less traditional.  Rather than resting my hands gently on my clients’ bodies as I had been taught, a ‘guiding force’ began moving my hands in the air above their bodies during the sessions.

May, 2003: The Blessed Mother came to me during a self-Reiki session and said “I have work for you to do and you can’t do it here.”  Several days later I handed in my resignation.

October, 2003: I opened a private Reiki practice.  Soon after, that ‘guiding force’ began to move my body around, as well as my hands.

November, 2003: Early that month I became aware of family members and friends who were present in my healing sessions only in spirit/energetic form.  At the end of November, I began chanting.

2004: During the summer at a street fair, I was ‘guided’ to begin doing Reiki on a group of people simultaneously, instead of working with only one person at a time.

2005: I began using a drum in my sessions.  Eventually I added a rattle.

2007: During meditation God asked me to start charging ‘An Offering from your Heart’ for my healing sessions rather than a set fee.

2011: I found out I was going to be a grandmother and decided I would move to Nashville.

2012: In June I closed my private practice, took down my website and took a 14,000 mile solo road trip to Alaska and back.

2013: I moved to Nashville in August. In November I held my first teleconference healing circle.  Fifty-five people from eight different states joined me on the call.

2014: I began traveling and offering healing sessions around the country.

2016: I finally got a new website so I could connect with more people in a bigger way!

 

The Short Story

I first experienced God’s direct intervention in my life when a prayer I uttered in church in December 1991 was answered in an amazing way just a few short hours later.  Since that time my journey has been directed by Divine Guidance in many ways, from the opening of a private healing practice in Pittsburgh, PA in 2003 to a 14,000 mile solo road trip to Alaska and back in 2012.  In 2013, I moved to Nashville and was guided to expand my practice by offering healing circles via teleconferences.  This allowed me to offer individuals and groups around the world the opportunity to help themselves heal through the gifts that have surfaced from within me as I continue to open myself to Spirit and follow the Guidance I receive.

I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a B.S. in Human Resource Management, and I’ve been practicing and teaching Reiki for sixteen years.  I’m a registered Reiki Master/Teacher with the International Association of Reiki Practitioners (IARP) and a Reiki Master in three different forms of Reiki: Usui/Tibetan, Sekhem-Seichim, and Karuna™ Reiki.  I also teach a form of Reiki called Transformational Reiki .  This type of Reiki has evolved through me as my own gifts have opened and expanded.  Transformational Reiki is a combination of Native American and Japanese energies and introduces the practitioner to the use of a drum for Reiki sessions.

My introduction to Reiki…
I first learned about Reiki in 1995 when I witnessed a Reiki practitioner giving Reiki to a woman with a back injury. After he finished the session she was able to move around without pain, something she had not been able to do for several weeks.  Although I was greatly interested in learning more about Reiki after that experience, it wasn’t until 2000, when my first job as a psychotherapist in a residential facility for teenagers left me feeling overwhelmed, incapable of helping and searching for something that could help me make a difference with those kids, that I turned to Reiki.

I learned Reiki from a nun in a convent just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  Sister Mary Jo Mattes was a Reiki Master (someone who has the ability to pass the gift of Reiki on to others) with a Reiki practice as part of her ministry.  She taught me that if I truly embraced Reiki as a part of my daily life, God would lead me down my own path.  She also taught me that  my Reiki energy would become stronger the more I used it.

What I experienced…
Reiki Master CertificateOnce I learned it, I used it multiple times a day on both my clients and the staff in the facility, as well as on myself.  Amazing changes began to occur in the kids. Depression lifted.  Panic and anxiety attacks diminished.  Kids who didn’t’ want anything to do with me for therapy began knocking on my door asking if we could talk.  I knew it was the Reiki, because until I began using it, none of these changes had occurred.

Seeing its effectiveness in those first few months, while I was only a beginning practitioner, made me want to learn more.  I knew there were additional levels of Reiki I could take.  Sr. Mary Jo told us in that first class that each successive level of training would increase our ability to do Reiki.  If the incredible changes I was seeing in my clients were happening while I was only a Level I practitioner, what more might occur if I had more training?  I wanted to be the best Reiki practitioner I could be, so I took all four levels of Reiki during 2000, becoming a Reiki Master myself on September 24, 2000.

The Blessed MotherReiki didn’t only help the kids.  It was a major source of healing for my own abuse issues.  My father was an alcoholic and my mother had a lot of emotional baggage from her own childhood. Although my father inflicted some abuse, my mother was the major source, and it was on all levels: mental, physical, emotional and even sexual. Because of my history, I carried a ball of rage in my belly that even my wonderful therapist, Sister Bernadette, couldn’t help eradicate.  Reiki, however, took that ball of rage out of my belly.  I believe healing that rage allowed me to heal on a very deep level, and helped me gain the courage and self-confidence I needed to own the intuitive gifts that have evolved since that time.

The Place for Reiki ResizedThe Place for Reiki…
I loved working with the kids and seeing what a difference Reiki made in their progress.  I truly believed I would be a full-time therapist for the rest of my life.  However, one day in May 2003 while I was doing Reiki on myself and was in a meditative state, I saw the Blessed Mother appear in front of me.  She said: “I have work for you to do, and you can’t do it here.” (‘Here’ being another residential treatment facility for kids.) Soon after, I tendered my resignation and on October 6, 2003, opened The Place for Reiki, a private healing practice in Pittsburgh, PA.  Once I opened The Place for Reiki I began using therapy as an adjunct to Reiki, rather than Reiki as an adjunct to therapy.  It just made the healing process go so much more quickly and easily that way!

The beginning of the changes…
Reiki SessionEven before terminating my employment, my Reiki sessions were beginning to be something different than the traditional Reiki sessions I had been taught to do. I had been taught to rest my hands gently on my client’s body during a Reiki session as the energy flowed through me. However, one day my hands spontaneously lifted off my client’s back during a session and began to move in the air above it.  As I watched, they moved in circles, each at a different speed, and then gently returned to the body.  This was the point where my Reiki sessions began taking on a life of their own.

Once I opened my private practice, my sessions began to change even more.  Not only did my hands begin to move in more and different ways, but my body began to move around the table and around the room when I was doing a Reiki session.  It felt as if some knowing force was guiding my actions and placing my hands and my body in positions that would further empower the Reiki energies without me needing to know how or why.

Beginning to receive ‘messages’…
Eventually I became aware there were other people’s energies/spirits in the room when I was working with a client. Although I didn’t know the names of the people who were present, I was aware of how they were related to my client (mother, father, husband, wife, etc.) by the position in the room that my body was guided to by that Divine force that I mentioned before.  Little by little I began to receive messages and information from those spirits.  And the spirits I was receiving the messages from were not just those of people who had passed over, but were people that were still living and very much a part of my clients’ day to day lives.  It truly seemed that anyone with a relationship to the client who wanted to help the client heal, or who was in need of healing themselves, was able to join us energetically and share their messages and receive the healing they needed.  Amazing!

The chanting begins…
In late November 2003, almost two months after I’d opened my practice, I was doing a Reiki session on myself at home and had the feeling that something, some kind of sound, wanted to come out of my mouth.  I heard this little voice in my head say “Just open your mouth.” After several repetitions of the same ‘message’ I listened and opened my mouth. The first sounds that came out were “very guttural and sounded nasty” (from an entry in my journal), but then changed and sounded Native American in origin.  The entry in my journal states: “like the chanting of a Medicine woman might have sounded.”  This was the beginning of regular episodes of similar vocalizations during Reiki sessions I did on myself. Eventually I was ‘guided’ to allow them to occur during Reiki sessions with clients, both individual and group sessions. Adding the chanting seemed to further empower the Reiki energies.

The beginning of ‘group’ Reiki sessions…
In the summer of 2004 I had a booth at a street fair in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, where I offered mini Reiki sessions to people to help market my private practice.  As more and more people began to try my sessions, word spread and I had a line of folks waiting to experience Reiki for the first time.  I was ecstatic that so many folks wanted to try Reiki!Pittsburgh Group Reiki

I was busy all day long.  Suddenly I became aware that it was almost time to finish up and I still had a number of people waiting in line.  As I looked at the line the idea came to me that I needed to do Reiki on more than one person at a time to be able to work with everyone that wanted a session before I had to close down for the day.  So if there was a couple or two friends, or a family that all wanted mini sessions, I had them take a seat in a small circle, and I moved among them, allowing my hands and arms to move as they did in an individual session, and also allowing my body to be moved by that guiding force.  Little did I know that this was to become the new way I would offer Reiki to larger and larger groups of people as my Reiki practice evolved and expanded.

The addition of the drums…

Drum in OfficeIn 2005 I took a drumming class outside of Ashville, N.C. in which I learned a specific way to use a drum in a Reiki session.  Although I enjoyed the class, I found the ‘rules’ for how I was supposed to use the drum in a session very limiting.  I tried using the drum several times once I got back home following the instructions I was taught, but it just never felt ‘right’. Eventually my drum sat unused near the altar in my session room for months.

Pittsburgh Group Drum SessionOne day as I was doing an individual session, my body was moved to stand in front of the drum that was leaning against the leg of the table where I had my altar.  As I stood there silently, wondering what I was supposed to do, I heard this voice in my head that I had by now come to call my ‘God voice’ say: “Pick up the drum.”  As I picked it up, I said to my client “I think I’m supposed to use the drum for your session.”  No sooner were the words out of my mouth, then the hand holding the mallet began striking the drum head.  There was no similarity at all between how I used the drum in that session and the way I was taught to use the drum!  Once again it was as if that guiding force that moved my hands and body around in my sessions, was now directing the way in which I was using the drum.  After that session, the drum, and eventually a rattle, became an integral part of many of my sessions, both individual and group.

Moving forward…
As I continued to allow God to guide my actions in my healing sessions, my intuitive gifts continued to expand.  In January 2007 during a Reiki session on myself, I was guided to begin charging my clients ‘An Offering from the Heart’ for all my healing work, so that anyone who was in need could afford to attend a session.  My practice grew and I offered a full complement of classes, workshops and healing sessions.

In 2011 I found out I was going to be a grandmother and decided I wanted to move to Nashville, Tennessee so I could be closer to my son and his family.  It was important to me to be a hands-on grandmother to my granddaughter, who would make her arrival in January 2012.

Alaska HighwayI closed my practice in July 2012 and took down my website in preparation for my move to Nashville.  In August of that year, I took a three-month, 14,000 mile solo road trip that lead me to Alaska and back.  In August 2013 I moved to Nashville.  Starting all over in a new city, without friends or my support system, wasn’t easy.  To stay connected to the folks back in Pittsburgh, and to begin to expand my work into other areas, I began to offer group healing circles via teleconference call.  My first healing circle via teleconference was held on November 4, 2013.  Fifty-five people from eight different states participated!  It was an amazing experience!

Since that initial teleconference, I’ve been offering group distance sessions at least once a week when I’m at home in Nashville.  I’ve also begun traveling around the country offering individual and group sessions.  And finally I have a new website!

However, the most important thing I want to share with you about my journey is the increased awareness and connection to that Divine Source I have developed as a result of the experiences I’ve had along the way.  Call it God, call it Spirit, call it I AM, call it he or she: no matter what you call it, I’ve learned through this journey that there is a unifying force in the Universe that connects us all and wants to be known personally and intimately by each of us.  I look forward to sharing my work with you, and perhaps through that sharing, helping you get in touch with that Divine Source in a bigger, more powerful way yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know a little bit more about me and my work.  I look forward to our next connection, whenever that may be.

With blessings and gratitude,
Bonnie

Website Lillicotch.com

PROCESSING