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by Karissa Brenneman
Photo by Colleen Benelli
Should I take Reiki? That was the burning question in the back of my mind. Back and forth I went, over and over, should I or shouldn’t I. Ultimately, I really didn’t even know what it was. My husband, Brad had taken a Reiki class a couple weeks prior and I was astonished how much his spiritual growth had expanded in such a short time. My heart was happy for him, but I didn’t think that I needed the same healing. I was doing well on my own, meditating and growing at a personal pace.
For two months, I had a burning feeling that January 8th was going to be an important day. For what, I had no idea. I just knew it was important. Brad informed me that there was a Reiki class on January 7th and 8th. That’s it, I thought. I am supposed to become Reiki certified on January 8th! I signed up for the class and that was that.
I couldn’t sleep the night before my class. I had an urgent feeling that something wasn’t going right. I was unsure of this feeling, visualizing myself at the class so I knew it wasn’t something silly like sleeping through my alarm clock. I chose not to share this feeling with Brad as he chose not to share his similar urgent feeling with me.
So, off I drove the morning of January 7th for the hour-long commute. I was focused, nervous and extremely anxious. My urgent feeling had turned into an anxious feeling. My body was trembling inside my bones for some unknown reason. I had prayed when I backed out of the driveway for my angels to keep me safe, but I felt the need to pray again for my safety. Something was off and I just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t shake the feeling of getting into an accident. But I had pictured myself at class so that didn’t make sense. There was absolutely no way I could play keep away from all the cars considering it was seven in the morning.
With only fifteen minutes left in my commute, I was hit by the car in the middle lane. I was driving with the flow of traffic in the fast lane when the car from the center lane had to turn into me to avoid being the victim of a merging oil tanker. My immediate thought was, I knew it! I knew I was going to get into an accident today. Wait, that wasn’t bad. The jeep is still drivable. Thank you angels, thank you angels. I must have repeated thank you 12-15 times as I was pulling over to the side of road. I really didn’t think it was that bad, I barely felt an impact. It seemed as though there was a bubble, or buffer, or cushion around the jeep to lessen my impact. I ran up to the car behind me, knowing in the back of my mind that I had left with extra time to get lost, so I knew I had plenty of time.
I swung open the young girls door seeing she was terrified. I bent over, placing my hands of her shoulder, looking in her trembling eyes, I blurted out, “Are you okay?!” She said she thought I was coming to yell at her. I said “Are you kidding, I’m okay and you’re okay. That’s awesome!” We exchanged insurance information in her car. I did not want to stand outside because it was windy and cold. She kept apologizing, saying she was embarrassed and this was her first accident. As her adrenaline took over, she started to cry. I once again placed my hand on her shoulder telling her how amazing our angels were to us and that they had kept us safe. There was no harm to us. I told her I was so much happier she hit me instead of getting squished by the oil tanker. I counted our blessing and chuckled to myself when I wrote her name down on a piece of paper. Of course her name was Mary Grace. Why would she have any other name today? Yes God, I’m getting your message. “If I can’t handle myself gracefully right now, I shouldn’t go through with this Reiki class.”
Making sure Mary was good and both of our vehicles were drivable, I told her I needed to get to an important class. I looked in her eyes, they weren’t as terrified, but shaken eyes and asked if she was okay. She said yes and I drove away on my journey.
It wasn’t until I was done with Mary that I actually took in how much damage was done to my Jeep. She hit and badly damaged three out of the four panels on the passanger’s side of the vehicle. It was a miracle that I barely felt the impact. Oddly enough, there was no dark paint from her car left on the Jeep. There were many white smudge marks along with normal dents and scratches.
I called Brad to let him know what happened and that’s when he told me he had an awful feeling that I was going to be in an accident. I told him with my shaken, yet thankful voice we were okay and it could have been so much worse. He told me when I left that morning, he wrapped the Jeep and I in a bubble to keep us safe. Maybe the bubble lessened the impact?
I arrived to class right on time. I was welcomed with a hug from our teacher Colleen. I told her a breif overview of my morning because I didn’t want her thinking my energy and aura was always that chaotic! Her hug was warming to my soul, telling me that I was now in the most perfect place I could possibly be.
Not liking to draw attention to myself, word spread quick about the accident and everyone wanted to say something. I brushed it all off because the next two days was for my soul… I didn’t want to be known as the girl that got into an accident on her way to class.
I tried so hard to calm myself throughout the morning. I found the adrenaline was lingering and making it difficult for my heart to slow to normal speed. In a room full of sensitive, empathic women, I was beginning to become self-conscious.
During our short meditation before lunch, I met what I thought was one of my animal guides. It was a beautiful, large, striking white horse with remnents of grey smudgy spots. It was neither a male or female, making it very clear to be called Annopol. I thought I was still shaken up from the accident and I was shown the impact over and over in my meditation. I was beginning to think that the accident had ruined my class experience. I remained hopeful as we breaked for lunch and I tried to control my emotions.
During lunch, my peanut allergy became the subject and I said that it started after I was in a bad accident when I was six months pregnant with our daughter. Our little girl has grown to become a beautiful eight year old. She glows with love and light radiating from her. We’ve always known how sensitive and special is. Her light compensated the dark anger I was going through. The accident changed my body and kick started an auto- immune disorder that I struggled with every day. It had been a really painful, dark time in my life and something in my body chemistry changed to make me severly allergic to peanuts after that. I hadn’t put the puzzle pieces together until later after our attunement on how much the previous accident had changed my life. In all honesty, I really thought I had succeeded in getting rid of my anger, or whatever emotion was lingering inside me from the accident almost eight and a half years earlier. I was wrong.
After lunch, we all regrouped and started our meditation for our attunement. By this time, I was trying not to focus on how bad my head, neck, shoulders, and back was starting to feel. Reminding myself to suck it up because I wasn’t here because of the accident, I was here for Reiki. We started our meditation, guided by Colleen. The sound of her voice was so soothing and comforting. She might not agree because she was struggling with laryngitis, but for me, I felt as though I was right where I was supposed to be. I was safe and thankful for this opportunity.
Colleen guided us to the bridge of light and I froze. I literally couldn’t move, I was questioning if I was good enough to cross that bridge. Not knowing if it was my decision to decide if I was worthy of crossing, I just stood there. The center of the bridge was filled with light so bright that I could barely look straight at it. It didn’t look like one light, it looked like millions of tiny glowing lights, making up one huge light with no end or beginning. On the right side of bridge stood many magnificent armored angels. They wore golden suits of armor, sheilds and spears. I thought, What if they don’t think I am worthy of crossing? Will they make me leave? I was looking down at the golden bridge when I noticed something next to me on my left. I quickly glanced to my left, excited to see my new companion Annopol. Why was Annopol here, I thought. Annopol didn’t have to use words to reply, “To help you cross that bridge.” We were communicating with our minds. I was captivated by Annopol’s deep, dark eyes. They were so large and black, but I could see what seemed like miles in those eyes. I knew we just met, but the connection had been there for much longer. I knew Annopol had been in my life for quite sometime. Annopol knew me too well and I felt so comfortable.
With encouragement, I leaned on Annopol’s shoulder and together we crossed the bridge. When I hesitated, Annopol coaxed me futher, reassuring me that I was safe. When we crossed the bridged and all the glowing lights blocked my way into the past, I had no choice but to look ahead. The sand was as soft as velvet, even I couldn’t see my human body. I felt like a white floating tear drop. I floated to the water to take in the beauty. The ocean had always been special to me so maybe I went to the ocean for my safety. Colleen had said “river” but there was no river. I thought, Well, the ocean is water and this is beautiful. I think I’ll stay. At that moment, admiring the calmness of the water and the tranquil blues and teals, I realized Annopol was gone. My heart skipped a beat, knowing I was alone. I made it over the bridge so I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but why would Annopol just leave me. Annopol knew I needed support and told me to lean on her. I stared at the horizon of the ocean realizing how small I truly am. The horizon was so bright I couldn’t look directly at it.
I breathed the fresh air deep into my soul and felt the presence of encouragement. I looked behind me to see some brush, but not much really to look at. When Colleen talked about going over the bridge of light, I envisioned it magical with colors galore and animals and plants. I hoped that I could hear all these beings talking and they would be so happy to welcome to me. This wasn’t the case at all! All I saw was a limited amount of beach and the ocean.
The air was warm and clean, so I just floated around and tried to take in this experience. At least I had made it over the bridge! I thought about checking out the water temperature out of pure curiosity. If the sand was soft as velvet, what must the water feel like? I reached into the water to feel nothing. Since I wasn’t in my physical body, I had to focus on the feeling, rather than my touch sensation. The water was the same temperature as my soul and it was just as soft as the sand. Unreal, I thought with a little excitement now. My fear had subsided if only for a moment.
I reached in the water again so I could remember the sensation. I floated deeper into the water. Something caught my attention to my left. It was the reflection of Willard in the water. Willard is a Redwood I met last year on my birthday. We had taken a family vacation to the California Redwoods where I met Willard. He had become an instrumental part of my spiritual growth the past year. I thought, If I could just get to Willard, he will have a message for me. He replied in his calming wise, soulful voice that he was only there for my support. He was proud I had made it that far and was happy I saw his reflection.
A little panicky now in the calmest atmosphere I’d ever been in, I turned back toward the water. Annopol was back! Annopol’s reflection was in the water. I looked to my left, but saw nothing beside. I looked back into the water and was quickly captivated by Annopol’s eyes again. Those deep eyes looked straight into my soul. I was naked and stripped from any emotion I had ever hidden behind. Annopol spoke soft words from her soul to mine. Such a pure love, Annopol showed me visions of the accident that morning. I was shown how swift and powerful Annopol ran beside the Jeep to lessen the impact. Annopol shared with me, “I am meant for so much more in life and that I am not done. My journey is just beginning and Annopol has helped me be strong.” I was still captivated, staring into her eyes in the reflection of the water when I was told, “Annopol was a part of me. We are one and the same.” I had needed to see Annopol to believe I wasn’t alone and that is why we walked together over the bridge. “Once we crossed over the bridge,” Annopol continued, “we became one.” That was when I realized Annopol’s reflection was my reflection. That is why I hadn’t seen anything next to me, I only saw Annopol in my own reflection of the water. Annopol flashed soft visions of the accident eight and a half years ago. I saw my daughters eyes deep in Annopol’s eyes. My daughter was a part of Annopol too. Annopol had kept us safe then too. Annopol felt my sadness, darkness and body pains through the years but had to wait until the time was right for me to let it all go. Annopol had been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to help me heal.
I could feel the tears streaming down my face where I had left my physical body. This time they were different. They were healing. There was no anger toward the woman who hit me years ago. There was no anger toward Mary Grace either. I was utterly grateful for my experiences. I was moving past them. The accident that morning happened by “Grace” so I could heal my past. Annopol had never left, but became a part of me when I didn’t have the strength to move forward. Annopol must have know our time was coming to an end. I saw Annopol smile at me from deep within her big, black eyes as I heard the sound of Colleen’s soft voice guiding us back to the bridge. I floated away from the water toward the bridge. I’m not sure if a floating soul could be lighter, but I felt so much lighter! I touched the sand one last time and looked back to view the crystal blue water once more. I turned toward the bridge and saw Annopol next to me again. I leaned into Annopol with a smile, knowing this time it wasn’t because I was scared, but because I was happy she was there. We crossed the bridge together, I said thank you and returned.
I had been crying, so when I returned to my body I let the flood gates open. I was so grateful at that moment that the Jeep had still been drivable and I made it to Reiki class. Annopol made it a priority to get me safely to class.
I couldn’t wait to get home after class. My arms were burning to embrace my daughter. My heart had been filled with so much love that I yearned for her touch. I had let go of my anger, and any left over negetivity from years prior. I didn’t care what else happened in class, I thought I had received the most precious gift I could possibly been given.
The class practiced our new Reiki attunement gifts on each other before the night came to a close. I didn’t feel much affects of having four classmates do Reiki on me until later that evening at home. At this point I had become really sore and was rather uncomfortable any way I tried to lay. Brad also did Reiki and it helped me fall fast asleep. I don’t usually snore, but he said I sounded like a lion snoring with a slight purr. He said it was very out of character for me and was happy I could rest.
I woke up on January 8th knowing that today was going to be an important day. I had known this date was important for quite sometime… I just didn’t know why. I was surprised to wake up to my body feeling great. I didn’t have a headache like the night before. The classic signs of being in an accident were far from my mind. I was wondering if there was any way today was going top the healing I endured yesterday. Not being sore from the accident was a miracle in itself! The communte was non-eventful and that was a great way to start the day!
Colleen had some crystals, rocks, and books for sale and one rock had spoken to me the day before. I ignored it and thought I’d buy it if I still wanted it in the morning. So I purchased it before our day began. I placed this specatular Peridot next to the chair I was sitting in. It had spoke to me all night, but I knew I needed to build a relationship with it before it relvealed why it was supposed to come home with me.
We were getting attuned to our symbols before lunch. I was excited to meet Annopol again and anxious to receive her guidance and message for me. With my new friend, Peridot next to me and heart much calmer than the day before, I was excited for the day to begin. We began our meditation, we were guided to the bridge of light again. Annopol was not with me physcially but I knew Annopol’s strength inside me, so I moved forward. I nodded and thanked the angels standing guard on the bridge. I couldn’t see there faces but I knew they felt my gratitude for putting up with my fear the day prior.
I crossed the bridge and was so happy to feel the soft, velvet sand again. I made my way to the ocean water again and was relieved it was just the way I left it yesterday. I saw Willard in the reflection of the water and he assured me of his happiness to see me once again. He wrapped a branch infront of him and bowed his top branch as though greeting me with a gracious nod. I thought about visiting Willard but my message came quick today, “Be still.” Okay, I thought. I’m always rushing and everyone knows I don’t know how to relax. I sat my floating white light down on the sand, close enough to the water so I could touch that too. The exact same scenery as before so I breathed in the fresh, loving air and stayed still.
I felt a presence to my right, it was my brother, David. He had passed away from a tragic accident fourteen months earlier. He has been monumental in my spiritual growth. He was my big brother who always wanted to keep me safe and his beautiful heart still wanted to keep me safe even after he crossed over. I never saw his face but I knew it was him. He was there for support. At the same moment I asked him why I needed his support, I heard a voice from my left. It had been years since I heard that voice. It was the voice of my dad and now I knew why my borther was there. He was going to be my voice of calm, reasoning.
Dad and I had an extremely rocky relationship between his alcoholism and my strong will. At the age of eight, I had shut down my heart and started to build up a wall to protect myself from the abuse of alcohol and all the tolls it took on our family. I was a very strong willed soul and became independant in life as soon as I could. I never needed him in my life so I was confused as to why I was on this beautiful beach with him. Of all people, why do I see him, this is my magical experience, huh?! He had eventually died from alcohol and there was no doubt his soul was damaged. He wasn’t glowing bright like my brother and I. Dad’s bright light was patched with many dark splotches. I felt he wasn’t as strong as we were and was confused by his spirit’s appearance.
I found myself upset that he was “ruining” my sacred beach, but reluctantly listened to what he had to say. He told me that he did not use his gifts wisely. They were wasted on him and I need to use my gifts. I had struggled after he died with wondering if he ever had any special gifts. Gifts like hearing random voices, seeing enlightened beings, having an over sensitive intuition, etc. Wondering deep down if he didn’t know how to cope with them and alcohol shut them off, which led him down a sad, lonely path. He had answered my question, finally I knew his truth, but that wasn’t his message to me. He told me that he was never able to love me when he was my father on earth and asked my permission to love me as a Spirit Father from the afterlife. I said, I never needed you on earth, why would I need you now? I felt a brotherly nudge from behind me while dad asked once more for permission to love me. I thought about it for a while and he shared with me that if I don’t give him permission, he will leave me alone forever. I immediately knew that I was not prepared to say goodbye forever.
I thought I had healed after his death, but the thought never crossed my mind that I had shunned and refused his love. I had healed enough to learn to love him but the thought of him loving me was new. I always assumed he didn’t love me because he never quit drinking. How selfish I immediately thought, we all have our junk in life that we need to sort out. Some folks are really bad at organizing and become overwhelmed with clutter and don’t know where to start. At that moment, I felt his heart. It ached and his soul was broken. Even after he died, his soul was still broken. How could that be?, I thought. He deserved a chance to love me. Deep down inside me, I really wanted his love, but on the outside, my pride never showed that.
My heart was aching to give him permission to love me. The walls that I had stacked so high around my heart were crumbling. My chest was expanding and I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks of my physical body. I took a deep breath of the perfect ocean air and said that I would be honored to be loved by him as a Spirit Father. He smiled as though part of his soul had been mended. He shined just a little bit brighter than before.
The names of people who dad wronged on earth flashed before my eyes and I realized he needed their forgiveness or love or something to mend is broken soul. Each person held a spot on his soul and he finally wanted to make things right. He has watched the hurt long enough and hoped for redemption from each individual. He longed for his soul to shine bright and I vowed to help him in any way I could. He had made a big gesture toward my healing and I respected his bravery.
Dad and I said thank you to each other and I thanked David for being there to make sure I listened to what dad had to say. I could sense that their mending had already taken place. I knew this was just as much a part of dad’s healing as it was my healing. It was when they disappeared from the sand, that I saw the river.
Yesterday, Colleen had guided us to the river, but I didn’t find it. It had appeared when dad left. I knew I hadn’t seen the river there before, but it looked familiar. I had been to there before. I had a dream a couple months ago sleeping that had stuck with me. The dream was so vivid, I had still wondered the meaning of it. In my dream, I had an argument with my dad, left out the back door and found myself by a pool of water. I reached into the water multiple times, each time picking up a clear quartz crystal and putting it back. I found one that was wrapped in aluminum foil that I kept. It was no significance to me in the dream, except for how vivid with emotions it was.
This is the same river from my dream, I thought. It was attached to the ocean in my dream too! I never found the ocean in my dream, I just knew it was close. I floated over to river to examine the similarities between my dream and now. The water was a deep turquiose and crystal, teal color. There was no end to how deep you could see in the water. It was warm just like the ocean. It wasn’t calm like the ocean and I had to be careful not to hurt myself on all of the jagged edges of the rocks and logs. All the clear quartz crystals were the same as in my dream also. I remembered how they all looked and the specific instructions in my dream was to leave all the others and to take only the one wrapped in foil. I was excited when I found the foil. I unwrapped it just like in my dream and this time the clear quartz shone bright. It illuminated everything before me. I was captivated by this light and knew I found my treasure. The light guided its way directly into my heart. My chest expanded and I inhaled new life.
I was distracted by a voice in the distance. It was Colleen guiding us back to the bridge. I hadn’t noticed her voice or how long she had been guiding us to return. I looked back at the river and the ocean and took off running. I’m not sure if I was speed-floating or running with legs, but the sand felt amazing one last time. My newly, re-energized soul was excitedly screaming, I found it, I found it. I was referring to the new piece of my soul I hadn’t known I’d lost.
When I returned to my physical body, I had tears to shed and gratitude to share. I had also received help from my new friend, Peridot. Here I thought I had done enough healing yesterday with the help of Annopol, but my healing had continued today. Today had topped yesterday!
I chuckled to myself thinking about the struggle I had on whether or not, Reiki was for me. After two days of meditations, I couldn’t believe how much healing I would have missed if I hadn’t have gone. I was so thankful to all my angels, spirit guides and animal guides for allowing me this sacred opportunity. I met lifelong friends and reunited with a soul that I haven’t seen in many lifetimes. As I embark on this new journey, I thank the heavens for allowing Reiki to be a gift to us. The thought excites me that someday I may be a part of guiding someone else through such an amazing healing experience.