To be a Reiki parent means you can start caring for your baby long before the little one is born.
Here’s what Bronwen and Frans Stiene will tell their daughter about life as a Reiki parent … and a Reiki child.
For our daughter….
After living together for many years, your father and I married with the intention of one day extending our family. When, and exactly how extended, we didn’t know – but it was a part of our unwritten contract.
From that date on we discussed you. You were a lovely figment of our imagination, a lolly that we felt we could suck on forever without it ever having to finish.
At our first wedding anniversary in the Indian Himalaya that lovely figment struggled in my mind to become more than just a fantasy.
I would love to tell you that I knew the exact moment you were conceived, but I didn’t. Perhaps it was that very first moment when we decided it was now or never. Is that physical act not quite as important as we might like to think?
Not long after conception we both used Reiki on my womb to support the process that would one day become you. It all came together beautifully and within the month I was pregnant.
After having lived in Darjeeling for a year in the house on the hill with our Reiki centre, we were packing up to leave and by the time the pregnancy test gave me two straight blue lines we had just two weeks left. There were many friends to say goodbye to and a great deal of delicious food yet to be shared.
It was hard to imagine that you were growing inside of me, a part of Frans and a part of me but with your own mysterious spirit. „Who are you?“ we wondered as we laid our hands on my flat stomach, connecting with you.
It was just two days after the test confirmed I was pregnant that something strange began to happen.
Frans and I were sitting in our lounge room and I said, „Look outside – there’s a crow in the tree.“ The tree was opposite the bedroom window and normally I would never have commented on seeing a crow – during the monsoon there must have been at least 20 in the trees surrounding our house. Yet monsoon was long gone and there was something odd about this crow that I couldn’t put my finger on as it observed me with its beady black eyes.
Frans left to go down to the village and I wandered around our now half empty house. On entering our bedroom, I gasped, stepping back into the hall again. There, flat against the large bay window with its chequered glass panes, was this enormous black figure. It was a bird – stretched out to its full length from wing tip to wing tip pressed against the glass with one half of its face peering at me.
Not daring to enter in case it became aggressive, I spied on it through a chink in the door as it balanced precariously on one of the many wooden slats that held the square glass panels in place. It was that same odd crow from this morning, I was sure.
I retreated and paced the house until Frans returned.
When we re-entered the bedroom, we found the crow sitting watching us from the nearby tree. Frans fearlessly opened the window wide and called out to the bird, „You can come in if you want to.“ The bird didn’t respond to the invitation, yet continued to follow our movements from its tree post for the rest of the day. It began to dawn on us that its mission was not a dangerous one.
Early the following morning as the jingly-jangly Hindi music from the Darjeeling marketplace wafted up the hill and the sun crept along our orange curtains, a loud „tak, tak“ noise jarred us awake.
Sleepily, we searched out the foreign sound with our eyes. Against the sunlit curtains could be seen the black silhouette of a fully grown crow, wings extended. He was back. „Tak, tak“ – his beak pecked forcefully at the glass. Loosing balance on the thin wooden slat, his wings beat furiously to regain their position until he could resume his „tak, tak, taking“.
We lay quietly in bed pondering what it all meant until we drifted back to sleep to his rhythmic language. Once the morning sun had risen our two-legged friend returned to his perch on the tree, chattering away, perhaps recounting a tale intended to subliminally enter our consciousnesses.
The next morning the „tak, tak, tak“ at the window was less of a shock and more of a thrill. We realised that this was to become a ritual.
In some way we knew this crow was connected to you. Was the crow your protector, your teacher, or merely a sign from nature that you were on your way?
The next day I made my way to the Tibetan doctor whom I had been seeing to purify my blood with herbal tablets, preparing me for motherhood.
„I think I’m pregnant.“ I announced. I still couldn’t quite believe it.
„Do you feel sick, heavy in your uterus?“
„Then you’re not pregnant.“
„But the pregnancy test says I am.“ I protested.
She shrugged disinterestedly. Suddenly, I started to doubt the truth myself.
She felt my wrist pulse, a Tibetan diagnostic method, and didn’t look impressed.
„You’ll know for certain when you’re 5 or 6 months pregnant.“ She advised.
Disconcerted and a little disappointed, I changed the subject. „Tell me, what does a crow symbolise in Tibetan mythology?“
„It depends upon what the crow is doing.“ She replied.
„How about a crow attaching itself to a window and knocking at the pane with its beak?“
„That signifies pregnancy.“ She stated incuriously and added, „Well, that’s what the old Tibetans say.“
„THAT has been happening to me for the last three days.“
With unexpected enthousisam, the Tibetan doctor began pounding my hand up and down in her own – „Congratulations!“ And her gold tooth glinted in the light of my happiness.
Every morning our friend came to our window, balanced himself fully extended on a thin wooden slat and knocked with his beak, „tak, tak, tak“. He would then sit patiently in the tree, warbling and chuckling his ancient tale.
We could only hope, on the day that we sadly left Darjeeling almost two weeks later, that his tale had been fully told.
Your story doesn’t finish there my little one.
Later that week in the plane from Calcutta, the inflight magazine wrote of the Dalai Lama’s early life before entering the monastery. His mother told how she knew that she was about to give birth to an auspicious being when 2 crows came knocking at her window. We read this news with delight, letting our imaginations fly along the Tibetan plains where magic and mystery reside.
Each day that you grew inside of me, I lay down and placed my hands on my head to recite: ‚My baby is going to have a have a quick, smooth and easy birth“. I would place my hands on you, to reassure you too with words and energy: „You are going to have a quick, smooth and easy birth“.
At 37 weeks, you woke me at 2 am with the news that you were on the way. At 3 am I woke your father – get yourself together Dad! At ten minutes past 6 that morning you were born at our local hospital, too early for the planned birthing centre. Your earliness necessitated a hospital birth but we never saw a doctor just a midwife and she, along with my rescue remedy, gave us the clarity and focus to bring you with ease into this world. As you took your first gasp of air, I already knew of your beauty – it was mirrored in the look on your father’s face.
At the end of her shift, the midwife dropped by to see this family of three who had been Blessed with the Initiation of Birth. It wasn’t until she left that we read her name on our daughter’s birth certificate – Julie Crowe.
Your father tore himself away from you on that first day to drive home to have a shower and pick up some extra things. As he walked up our front steps an eggshell, one half shell resting inside the other, lay at the centre of the top step.
Nature is not in this world to simply be used to satisfy human needs and wants. If we can understand the magnitude and sheer relevance of nature’s gifts for us, we will know that we must in return nurture nature, treasure its preciousness.
In this way humanity and nature will continue to co-evolve, creating existence, together.
If we no longer learn from, listen or watch for nature’s signs, will nature become redundant?
In its redundancy, will humanity be able to continue its journey?
To take from this world is what we do as humans but at the same time we must give back and care for that which mothers us – even if that giving back is simply a nod of acknowledgment.
If we no longer notice the crow, the magazine article, the midwife and the sign of a miracle will they all gradually fade from our existence? And once they vanish, will we gradually fade into the distance too?
We have kept that shell for you. It is a reminder of the mysterious ways of this world that we must never take for granted nor be required to seek to decipher. Not everything needs an answer, but it does need to be.
These are some of the things we slowly begin to understand as Reiki parents.
Enjoy this world and always give back in order that you can continue to grow and be blessed with a hand to hold on your journey – whether that hand be human, or a special gift from nature.