Sound Reiki: Reiki at Standing Rock

Knowing Reiki would support his chosen work in myriad ways, Jonathan Hanneman completed Reiki Master Training prior to entering seminary. At Standing Rock, his Reiki skills provided an opportunity to be of service and a means of giving comfort in a traumatic situation.

Jonathan’s story:

Thanksgiving was less than a week away, and I was tucked into the back of a cramped minivan, riding to Standing Rock with six of my fellow students from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. We arrived at the low, grassy hills of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, well after dark, the icy wind creeping through our clothes. Fr. John Floberg had invited our group to stay in the warmth of St. James Episcopal Church.

After joining their service Sunday morning, we drove the 10 miles north to the Water Protectors’ camp to explore opportunities to assist and to attend a required session on nonviolent activism. The camp was markedly peaceful, with people of every color, spirituality, and nationality working together to care for one another and protect the Sioux’s main water supply.

As soon as we arrived back at the church that evening, I fell fast asleep, still exhausted from our overnight drive. Around 10:00 p.m. I woke up to discover a note saying my classmates had returned to the camp. An incident was developing near the police barricade at the highway bridge about a half mile north of the main encampment. The police, wearing military armor and standing in a line behind at least two rolls of razor wire, had fired on the Water Protectors with gas canisters, rubber and beanbag bullets, concussion grenades, and fire hoses—in 20° weather. Each of my friends breathed the burning chemicals. Several endured the barrage of icy water while trying to help other people on the bridge. One, a nurse, ended up with a large chemical burn on her leg. Though my classmates were at the scene for only two hours, the assault continued for a full ten.

Tension was still high the next morning, but at least the violence had ceased by the time we returned to the site. We prayed near the bridge for several hours before the tribal elders told everyone to return to the camp.

Wellness Tent

Wellness Tent at Standing Rock

My friends had shown their bravery—and had the burns and bruises to prove it. But I had missed the previous night’s events. We were heading back to Austin the next morning. As we walked back to the camp, I wondered if there was anything, I could still do at this point, apart from being a witness to the aftermath and continuing threats.
Wandering through camp I suddenly stumbled upon a cluster of wellness tents, a small group of shelters where Water Protectors could see trained medics and holistic practitioners. Now I knew what to do!

I walked into a large yurt and offered my skills in Reiki. Working alongside a variety of alternative medicine and energy practitioners all afternoon, I served people who had experienced the trauma of the previous night. Since tables were at a premium, I treated recipients either in chairs or on floor mats. Hours flew by. Reiki blends with meditation for me, so despite the odd angles and a good bit of work while kneeling, I left more refreshed that evening than when I had arrived.

As Reiki practitioners, we are often deeply affected by suffering in our world. Few of us can actually travel to the site of a conflict or natural disaster, as Jonathan did; however, we always have the option of sending Reiki distantly. Watch for a future post on how this can be done effectively, no matter the circumstance.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.


Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).


Sound Reiki: A Practice for the Whole Family

For Reiki Master Karin Cross, family Reiki grows as her family grows. Her son Thomas was one when Karin received her Levels I & II Reiki training and began giving him Reiki as she cuddled him or sometimes beamed Reiki to him in his crib. This became a daily practice as she realized how quickly Reiki soothed Thomas when he was sick, hurt, or upset. By the time he was three, he was asking for “Reiki hands” and would place her hands on his body wherever Reiki was needed.

Karin shares her family’s story:

Thomas was six when I completed my Master training in 2013. “Will you teach me?” he asked, ecstatic with the realization his mother could now teach Reiki. How perfect to have my son as my first student!

The teacher in me loved planning fun and colorful lessons, intending the lessons be as appealing as reading a good children’s book. Short sessions over a period of several weeks each included an introduction to an exercise, 10-15 minutes of practice, and then sharing, which might continue for 30 minutes as Thomas expressed his amazement at what he had experienced. He asked questions and couldn’t wait to learn more. He learned to feel energy and to see energy. He learned his lineage, the Gokai (The Five Precepts), how the chakras function, how to meditate, and how to give himself Reiki.  I have found that children learn these arts much more quickly than adults. They are not so caught up in the material world, and they don’t second-guess their experiences as we adults often do.

Tommy and Karin

Reiki Master Karin Cross and son Tommy

Thomas is 10 now; his sisters Adamae and Aquila are six and one. Thomas practices Reiki with me regularly and often participates in treatments I give other family members. His treatments are effortless and pure, and the positive feedback he receives builds his confidence. Adamae is ready to become a practitioner, and Aquila happily embraces Reiki. We practice Reiki during a weekly family meditation, and before we step out of the house each day, we recite the Gokai to center ourselves and establish our intentions for entering the outside world. This also releases any stress that may have accumulated from trying to get out of the house on time. We take turns leading, and my children greet this practice willingly.

I don’t force, plead with or bribe my kids to participate in Reiki. I simply invite them to join me and make myself available to assist them with their own explorations. Although Thomas doesn’t always want Reiki when he is hurting and sometimes declines my offer, I believe I have passed on to my children a powerful tool that will support them as they move through adolescence and into adulthood, and throughout their entire lives.

Please leave a comment. You are also welcome to contact Karin directly through email:

Schedule a hands-on or distant Reiki session.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.


Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).

Sound Reiki: Choosing Compassion Helps to Keep Your Energy Clean

As a green Level I practitioner, I gave a treatment to a friend’s mother who was in a great deal of pain following hip replacement surgery. My own mother was in my mind as I began the treatment. I felt regret that I had not been able to alleviate her pain during her lifetime. A deep desire to take away the client’s pain filled me as I gently placed my hands on her hip.

A few moments later, a wave of nausea swept through my body. I stepped away from the treatment table, thinking the room was too warm and intending to turn down the heat. Instead, I fainted, crashing into a bookcase on my way to the floor. You can imagine the consternation of the client. For the next three hours, I sat in a reclining chair feeling almost comatose, as if I could not move. I continued to feel tired for a week afterwards. My friend’s mother felt great the day after the treatment—I had indeed taken away her pain!

Wallace FallsWhile this is an extreme case, unlikely to happen in the routine practice of Reiki, it illustrates a degree of identification with the client that made me vulnerable to taking on her energy. I learned several valuable lessons from this experience, one of which was the importance of coming to a treatment from a place of compassion, as opposed to empathizing or identifying with the client.

Empathy may be defined as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” Experiencing the pain of another is different than having compassion for the pain of another.

If we find ourselves empathizing to the degree of experiencing or taking on the client’s (or anyone’s) pain or discomfort, it is wise to examine what may be underneath the empathy. Reflecting on the situation described above, I realized that I identified the client with my mother. I felt grief over the loss of my mother and guilt that I couldn’t “fix” things for her. I was attached to the outcome of removing the client’s pain. As a new, less than confident practitioner, I also had a need to prove that Reiki works.

Many factors can influence empathy or taking on the feelings of another: guilt for feeling well ourselves when another is ill; feeling responsible for the well being of the client; a belief that we know what is best for the client and what healing should take place for him/her. Empathy can also enmesh us in the client’s drama, making us more vulnerable to their energy. Awareness of the feelings, beliefs, and attitudes that may connect us to the client can assist in setting aside these factors prior to a treatment, reducing the probability of our taking on the client’s pain or other forms of their energy. Awareness can also serve as a reminder that we may need to make a renewed commitment to our own healing. (See the post, “Healing the Healer.”)

It should be noted that taking on someone else’s pain is different than feeling a client’s pain in a corresponding place in your own body as a message of how to proceed during a treatment. This kind of pain dissipates as the treatment progresses and does not remain in the body after the treatment. Taking on a client’s pain means that the pain remains in your body after the treatment, sometimes for several days to a week, and leaves you feeling tired and depleted.

Compassion, on the other hand, can be defined as being “moved by the suffering or distress of another and to have a desire to relieve it.” (But not identifying with, or projecting oneself into the other’s suffering.) Within the context of Reiki, I interpret compassion as holding the space of unconditional love for the client (or any person or situation) so that healing may take place.

Compassion is the willingness and the intention to BE the Light of Divine Love—to come from that place within that is our very essence and that is the most powerful healing force in the universe. At the same time, we also know that the client IS the Light of Divine Love, and we perceive them as Light. There is no ego involvement, no pity or condescension or judgment. Compassion does not “feel” the client’s pain or take it on, but simply acts as a bridge between the client and the Higher Power. It is Light interacting with Light in a beautiful dance to accomplish healing.

As I begin each treatment with gassho and reiji-ho, my intention is to choose compassion and to remain in that space throughout the treatment so that I might facilitate the highest possible outcome for the client. Such a treatment leaves me feeling relaxed, energized, and at peace.

©copyright 2009, 2014 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living. All rights reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne. An earlier version of this article, “Choosing Compassion,” appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Reiki News Magazine.

See Chapter 8, “Keeping Your Energy Clean” (pages 91-104), in my book, Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I & II. 

Schedule a hands-on or distant Reiki session.

©2017 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.


Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner located in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010).