My friend was skeptical at first. He lay on his bed.

“I’m so anxious these days,” he said, “my masters is just so much pressure.”

My cupped hands hover above his chest. There is a two-inch space separating my hands and his chest. Between us there is air, energy and of course, his anxiety. It prickles along the palms of my hands.

“Yeah, I can tell.” I respond.

It’s okay, I think. I continue to meditate on light and love and imagine the two filling his chest, replacing his anxiety.

I ask for guidance and I continue to guide my hands along his aura, the invisible aura I know I can see. His is jagged and a little all over the place. There is a lot of dark – he’s a bit sad. But this is my job, to feel my way through the static and to cleanse it.

Four weeks into my process of becoming a Reiki practitioner, I am already overwhelmed by the power harnessed in my hands. Who knew I had the ability to heal and to relieve pain, and all I had to do was seek it and find a way for it to manifest?

After a year or so of not paying attention to the signs pushing me in the direction of Reiki, I finally found the moment where timing and opportunity met. I was barista-ing at a kick-ass little café in downtown Toronto. One of the new hires seemed like a total hippie–she always wore the coolest necklaces. One day during a slow period, we got talking; while we scrubbed espresso grinds out of every surface imaginable she told me about a Master who taught her Reiki, and how it had changed her life. She scribbled the woman’s email down on a piece of paper and I put it in my pocket, not thinking much of it. A week later I was sitting across from this Master in her living room, sipping tea and hearing her talk about angels and fairies.

Holy shit, this is crazy. Everyone here is nuts.

I’m not one to believe things that aren’t based on this plane of reality. Angels? Guides? Fairies? Little woodland creatures who, like, whisper things or something? What was this bullshit? I thought I worried I’d be had, that I was coughing up my hard-earned barista money to learn hocus-pocus. I can’t say ‘then I tried it and immediately knew.’ Not at all. It took a couple months for me to buy into Reiki, even though it was something I had already paid for.

The more I practiced, the more I came to understand the idiosyncrasies that I’ve come to know as the ebbs and flows of energy and healing. I started researching crystals and burning sage, praying more, and meeting people from different planes. It wasn’t actually so different from some of my other beliefs. I mean, I believe in yoga–yoga is old and mystical and has something to do with chakras and healing–why not this? Western medicine can’t fully explain yoga and meditation, why did I need an explanation for everything that was happening during my Reiki practice?

Perhaps it’s because of my refusal to believe in anything that isn’t very much “reality-based” that I’ve been able to run with what I’ve felt in my hands and in my heart. Everything I have experienced in Reiki has been more than real.

Reiki has been a lesson in opening my heart to the universe–to prying it open after years of living in this world. It has also been a lesson in learning to trust my own hands: their touch, their desire to love, their embrace and their power to heal.

Reiki has been a passage through which I continue to travel to spread hope and healing in this life. It has become an indefinite tool for me to reach out to the world, regardless of fear, shame, guilt or remorse, and unconditionally love what I touch.