I asked Reiki master Elise Brenner to share her experience organizing the Celebration of Reiki Conference hoping her success will inspire you to do the same for your Reiki community. Why not invite a few Reiki practitioners for tea and conversation? Who knows what seeds might sprout in your living room?
The Making of a Reiki Conference
by Elise Brenner
Four years ago, I started inviting Reiki students and colleagues into my living room in Massachusetts for what I called Practitioner Information-Sharing Gatherings. I had a nagging sense that Reiki practitioners and professionals were hungry for a different kind of interaction than Reiki Shares.
Each gathering featured a topic, and practitioners shared insights, experiences, and of course, snacks. Topics ranged from how we deal with inner doubts about Reiki and how we use the Reiki Precepts, to how our Reiki practice has benefited us and how it has benefited our recipients.
Responding to a Reiki challenge
At one meeting, a colleague said, “So many people are interested in this kind of gathering. Why don’t you organize a Reiki conference? We used to have them here over a decade ago, and I really miss them.”
I had two responses, “I can do that” and “Who, me?”
These two responses danced around for two years until the same colleague mentioned it again. This time I said, “I am going to do that. Who is with me?” The seeds of the Celebration of Reiki Conference were planted and the gardeners — the Conference Planning Committee — were mobilized.
Opening to Reiki community
I changed over the year-and-a-half of monthly conference planning committee meetings, ongoing assignment of tasks to committee members, obtaining CEUs for nurses and social workers, and the constant attention to the details of organization.
I learned to reach inside myself, finding resources I didn’t know I had. I also learned to reach out, to receive help from those around me, even the ones I didn’t know.
I was afraid and resistant to reach out to “strangers” in the Reiki community to publicize the conference. I was shy to ask them to share the news with their own colleagues and students. And, yes, my daily Reiki self-treatment helped me overcome this!
Reaching out to the community generated a buzz that then took on a life of its own. The project gathered momentum, and we grew an email list for the conference.
Leadership brings personal growth
Jumping into areas where I had little experience — fund-raising, marketing, finding a venue — brought unexpected personal growth. I learned to rely on my committee members, developed a more trusting heart and became more comfortable asking for help. For a self-reliant, do-it-yourself gal, this was a challenge, and it felt so right.
I discovered the treasure that lies within people — people who, just by being exactly who they are, became ongoing sources of sustenance as I organized the conference. I learned the kind of person I want to be from the simple gestures of others – little things like a positive email or an affirming Facebook comment. As my daughter said when I asked what kind of decorations we should have at the conference fundraisers, “Mom, the people are the decorations.”
And there were a few — thankfully, rare — occasions in which I learned the kind of person I did not want to be. Painful, but equally valuable learning moments. At those times, I was especially thankful for the Reiki Precepts, which came alive more vividly than ever before. I experienced each Precept as a living, breathing part of me and my efforts.
The Celebration of Reiki Conference, originally scheduled for April 20 in Watertown, MA, was rescheduled to May 4 in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent events in Watertown. The tragedy underscored for us the message of peace and healing we embody and offer the world through our Reiki practice.
On May 4, I welcomed the participants with these words:
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
A year and a half ago, building on the foundation of Reiki practitioner gatherings in my living room, I decided to take the leap to create this Celebration of Reiki Conference. But I did not have to develop wings on the way down. My wings came in the form of all of your support and encouragement, and the dedication, devotion, and drive of my Conference Planning Committee.
Not only are all of you my wings, you have also been my teachers. You have taught me the deep value of connection and of the sacred collaboration in which we have all engaged to be here at this moment.
Let’s stay in touch! Lots of travel ahead. If you signup for my email list and give your state or country, I’ll let you know when I’m coming your way.