Have you ever noticed that God has a sense of humor? When She endowed me with a rebellious streak, She probably thought it would be comical to watch the many predicaments I would get myself into. For example, I dropped out of college after my sophomore year and joined the Army….as an MP, no less. I was bored and looking for excitement! The problem is, soldiers are supposed to be obedient. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t all bad. In spite of being reprimanded for rolling my eyes at my drill sergeant (I’m still really good at push-ups, by the way), I somehow managed to earn the title of Basic Training Honor Graduate.
Can you find me? I’m on the front row, far left. (Ft. McClellan, AL, circa 1985)
In my current role as a school counselor, there is an even greater expectation of compliance. For the most part, educators (who are overwhelmingly female) aren’t known for being renegades. Aside from the occasional union-organized strike, we abide by the go along to get along philosophy. Therefore, as a rebel, I’ve found myself in more than a few uncomfortable situations while taking a stand for my students, my peers, or my profession.
In other words, at this point in my life, I’ve had lots of practice challenging the status quo. Has it been difficult? You bet! Standing up for your beliefs, questioning authority, and living an authentic life take great courage in a world that worships conformity. Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I wasn’t born brave, and I didn’t always view this character trait as a blessing. Very often, in fact, I believed it to be a curse. Being raised in a conservative Christian household, I was taught the value of obedience and the power of control through fear. But, God knew what She was doing – my upbringing served to strengthen and refine my inner rebel, preparing me for what lie ahead (I guess it wasn’t just about comedic relief, after all).
This early training proved to be vitally important as I developed the gift of healing that I discovered almost 20 years ago. It was then that God spoke to me; not in an audible voice, but through a stirring in my heart. She was calling me to start a hands-on healing team in my church. The message was undeniable – I was compelled to respond, stepping out in faith despite my apprehension. The healing team was a great success, and it eventually led me to my current practice of Reiki, a Japanese healing modality that is spiritual in nature but unaffiliated with any religious practice or dogma.
As a Reiki practitioner, listening to my internal guidance system – and more importantly, acting on it – has made me a more effective healer. During a Reiki session, healing energy is transferred to the client through the practitioner’s hands, through a series of hand placements outlined in Reiki protocol. Understandably, humans beings (and this includes Reiki practitioners) feel most comfortable when they have access to an operating manual. Most folks want to do it right; in other words, follow the rules. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not much for rules. Yes, my Reiki training provided me with a framework for healing, but by honoring my intuition – venturing outside of the “normal” protocol – I am able to adjust my technique to meet the needs of each client.
In other words, although I respect the history and tradition of Reiki, it is my view that this loving, universal, healing energy is simply too powerful to be confined to a human-created box. Our planet is transitioning into a spiritual existence where the old rules no longer apply. We are entering a realm of our own creation – there is no instructional manual, no rule book! Love isn’t bound by rules and boxes; it has no protocol. What’s best for you may not work for me, and that’s ok!
Although I can’t tell you how to live your own Divinely Inspired life, what I can do is share my story – my struggle to live fearlessly and authentically – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire you. When we boldly live our Truths, we make room for others to do the same. Living inside the box is safe, yes, but we end up missing out on the glorious path that lies just outside of our comfort zone.
*The featured photo is actually my son, Evan’s, platoon and drill sergeant while he was in basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC in 2016.
Here are few more images from my time in the Army: standing with my friend and bunk-mate (upper left); my official basic training photo (upper middle); receiving the Honor Graduate award (upper right); my military police “team” – I am not in the photo (bottom).