When I tell people I am a multicultural mutt, 99% say “how exciting!”
And it’s true. Being born in Europe, growing up in Latin America, and then spending over a decade and a half in New York has enriched my life in unbelievable ways. For that that I am forever grateful.
But every pro has a con, and in this case, not a small one: I never ever felt like I truly fitted—too cold for Latin Americans, too warm for Europeans and too passionate for Americans. Even in a city like New York, I’ve met with people who—when they hear my thick Spanish accent—start speaking slower or smile condescendingly.
Not fitting didn’t affect my self-esteem, but it did affect my sense of self-worth. I spent most of my life trying to prove I belonged, starved for approval. It drove me to become a type A personality (under the cover of a sweet, goofy persona) and a perfectionist. I never cried and was proud of my so-called-strength.
For years I worked at different jobs in journalism and advertising, raising fast through the ranks, giving the famous %110 percent and more. Deep inside, I was always fretting about what I said, about what people were thinking of me, or even about the distant future. My needs, feelings, and body’s health were no concern of mine.
I was so disconnected from myself, that one day I heard a Mozart aria and it hit me: an Austrian dude dead for over 200 years had more inkling about a woman’s heart than I did. I ignored this insight—I actually became a type-A opera freak. But there was something else I could not ignore so easily: breakdowns.
They started very mildly in my early 20s, but grew in strength in my early 30s as my body stopped keeping up with my drive. Panic attacks became more frequent and would paralyze me for weeks at a time. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering from what is now called Burn Out syndrome, or exhaustion of the adrenal glands due to prolonged stress exposure.
I started to look for a way out. Anti-depressives were not an option—as a writer I could not function while medicated. Yoga helped… a little. I tried meditation but could not concentrate. And then I heard of Reiki. I don’t remember where or how. I just remember googling “Reiki classes” and choosing the nearest available. The class was a total disappointment. I had unrealistic, almost magical expectations and got a teacher who was boring, uninspired and probably not prepared to teach a lifelong spiritual practice.
But Reiki kept showing in my life, so I decided to give it another go. I got more enthusiastic teachers, great mentorship and practiced at Reiki clinics. But most of all, I committed to the practice with respect and humbleness. It was a totally different experience.
Reiki practice has helped me find balance, harmony, patience, and—above all—acceptance: of who I am. Of my good side and not so good side.
Is my life perfect? No. But it’s actually pretty good and I am grateful for it.
Am I enlightened yet? Not really. I am still very much myself. Actually more so than before: more loving, more hopeful, more empowered. It feels great.
And yes, I still say goofy jokes.
My clients don’t seem to mind. They seem to share my appreciation for the peacefulness and wellbeing that comes from Reiki practice.
Do you have a similar story? I would love to hear about it. Send it to me here.