A Reiki Story: The Old Woman and Me One Night

I wanted to sleep so badly, but some part of my inner essence sought wakeful and conscious connection with the wisdom of the ‘old woman of love and harmony’. The old woman wanted to speak with me as my soul did with her – but I had been too busy. The details of life were equally calling to be accomplished. Deadlines and more deadlines.

I didn’t really recognize the ‘old woman of love and harmony’. She came in the night and in the darkness. She came in the hours at the same time when the ancestors gathered to speak with those who listened. I lay there, eyes open. Darkness around me. “Look deeper,” the old woman of love and harmony said. “Your truth lies in the heart.”

Obvious, I thought. Everyone knows this. I told myself I’m already living my truth. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know that I had to go deep into the part of me I most sought to put behind me and avoid.

She (this part of me) came to me in the middle of the night, the old woman explained, so that I could more clearly see this part of me I denied. Her light could shine on this part with great contrast, so I could see the inner face of this part I denied. “Why? Why do I have to see this part of me?” I asked the old woman. “There can be no good in going back to retrieve this essence of me. There is no one who sees value in this part of me.”

“But you must,” she said with the purest of love and harmony flowing from her eyes and extending from her hands. Her hands touched my mind and my heart together. It was such a transforming touch, so gentle and loving. My body breathed deeply in relief and freedom. “You must see the value of this part of you,” she repeated with an ancient sense of knowing.

But it’s just a part of me, I thought. How could it be that important. No one had ever truly validated this part of me before. No one cared for this talent from me before. Why do I need to go back and claim this part of me? And why in the middle of the night? Why not come in the day when I am already awake and can be more alert to problem-solve?

“It will not cost you anything to go and speak with this part of you,” the old woman of love and harmony said, as though reading my mind. “Of course, it may cost you your sleep tomorrow night, if you do not attend to the part that is seeking your love at this hour.”

Begrudgingly, I decided to speak with the part who I deemed was being both a nuisance and withholding the truth from me. My truth. The truth that I thought would let me finally be fulfilled and happy.

“What do you want?” I asked.


“Speak kindly to her” the old woman gently prodded me.

I realized I would need to speak in the manner the old woman was speaking with me. I tried again. “What do you really want that you awaken me in the middle of the night?” I asked with all the kindness I could access within me.

“Love,” this part said. I sensed a deep yearning amid a deep and old sadness.

“Love?” I inquired. “Like you want me to have someone love you that isn’t loving you right now?”

“Yes,” this part answered. “I want you to love me.”

I breathed in and noticed my breath. I breathed out and noticed my breath. I could feel the emerging resistance to know this part and to listen for what she really wanted. I wanted to object. I wanted to create stories, rational and believable stories about why her request for be loved by me was unattainable and unworthy of my attention and effort. Does this part of me not understand how daring and discomforting her want for ‘love’ is?

And yet the divide, the lack of love and harmony, the lack of unity in the diversity of our wanting had worn me ragged. Too many nights awake. Too many nights visited by the old woman and her light. Too many moments of frustration and despair because I couldn’t manifest the life I was supposed to be living in my mind.

Unbeknownst to me, another part of me was listening to our conversation. She quietly and kindly interjected, “maybe there is another life you need to be living. Maybe the vision in your mind is no longer the vision of your soul. And if this is so, then how can you know this vision if you do not have love for this part of you, regardless of your past with each other? You must value this part of you which you have habitually denied. It’s the only way through this chronic inner conflict that wears on your mind and energy and power.”

My heart softened. I recognized my resistance, my objections and even my fear that wanted to barricade the softening. It’s an old and familiar part of me, a default state of defensiveness. A meta state of protecting my ‘rightness.’ But with the presence of the old woman of love and harmony, my heart softened. I knew I would be safe to love.

“You have my love,” I gently whispered to the part of me seeking my love. “Breathe with me,” I told her. “Just breathe with me and breathe in the state of love”. Though I had learned this phrase many years ago, I couldn’t imagine speaking it softly to this part of me in the middle of the night. But here, in the darkness of the new moon, I suddenly experienced the value, the true and beautiful value of this part of me I for so long had denied and despaired of in my mind.

The old woman joined me. We started breathing love. “Breathe in my love,” I repeated to this part of me. She must have done so because suddenly my inner world lit up. It was as though the whole room lit up. I looked out the window to see the night’s light, but I was reminded it was a new moon. It was completely dark out. The light came from somewhere within. So radiant. So warm. So filled with love.

And so I asked this part of me, “Now that my love is available to you, pure love is accessible to you – as you only need to breathe it in with me – what do you want that is even deeper and more important?”

I paused.

“Heaven on earth” this part of me said. I stumbled around to find a thought. I was stunned. “Heaven on earth” she repeated calmly and firmly.

And there was silence. No words. No thoughts. Some images of Nature restored, of children laughing and playing, of people swimming in the rivers, of animals plentiful and unafraid, of ceremony and feast celebrated. A moment of bliss entered my inner world.

The ‘other’ within me, the irreconcilable diversity of the ‘other’ had come into love and harmony with me. A unity prevailed in this inner state of heaven on earth that seemed beyond understanding. I knew the old woman had something to do with this moment. She had gifted me some kind of healing, a magic I couldn’t quite grasp. The old woman of love and harmony winked, pulled the covers back up around my neck and I fell asleep. In love and harmony, I fell asleep.

Shirley Lynn Martin, from the “Reiki Stories of Healing” series