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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

Healing and Spiritually
Susan Peterson Avitzour,
Author of And Twice the Marrow
of Her Bones

At the age of twelve, my daughter Timora was diagnosed with leukemia.  I’d like to share with you how Reiki, a traditional Japanese healing technique, helped her for a good part of her time in this world, until she left it at the age of eighteen.  The story is, I believe, a wonderful example of how body and spirit are intertwined, and how attending to our spiritual side can help us even as we face physical hardship.
Reiki, which means “mysterious atmosphere; spiritual power,” channels healing energy from the spiritual world through a practitioner’s hands into the body of a person who is physically or emotionally suffering.

When Edna, the Reiki Master to whom we turned, laid hands on Timora, her pain would decrease, the color would return to her face and lips, and she would relax as she could under no other circumstances.  She told me it was if a gentle light was radiating from Edna’s hands and spreading throughout her body.  Edna taught her to lay hands on herself between sessions, which relieved not only her pain, but also the depression that would grip her from time to time, and helped her sleep on nights when everything seemed just too much to bear.

No less important than the treatments themselves were the five Reiki Principles that Edna taught Timora to recite every day:

Just for today, I’ll let go of anger.
Just for today, I’ll let go of worry.
Just for today, I’ll be grateful for what I have.
Just for today, I’ll work with integrity.
Just for today, I’ll be kind to others and to myself.

Timora, raised in our observant Jewish family, had always had a strong religious sensibility, but Reiki gave her the opportunity to express her spiritual leanings directly and practically.  After three treatments, she asked to study Reiki in order to practice it herself.

I’ve written a memoir entitled And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones, which describes my journey with Timora over the six-plus years of her illness, and without her after she died.  In it, I describe how she delighted in her ability to relieve other people’s suffering, even when she herself was undergoing the most extreme of treatments:

Timora was a natural healer, a vessel for a life-affirming energy that would pass through her to others when she laid hands on them…. Once, while she was hospitalized for her second bone marrow transplant, Tehila, [a hospital] volunteer… came to visit her feeling nervous and upset about something that was happening in her life at that time. Timora got out of her bed and made Tehila lie down. She then stood by the bedside and gave her a Reiki treatment.  Tehila fell asleep almost instantly and woke up a short time later feeling much better, saying she hadn’t had such a refreshing and relaxing rest in a very long time. Timora later told me the healing energy that had passed through her body into Tehila had refreshed and eased her as well – physically as well as spiritually.

Timora’s Reiki journey didn’t end, it seems, even with her death. Edna has told me that sometimes, when she is treating a client, she feels Timora right there alongside her, strengthening the energy that is pouring through her and into the person they’re both helping.

Edna told Timora the day we met her, “Reiki won’t cure you, but it can heal you.”  After my daughter’s experience, there is no doubt in my mind that whatever our burdens, if we open ourselves to what the spiritual world has to offer us, it will help us heal – by easing and enriching our path through this unpredictable, and often cruel, material world.

To learn more about Susan Avitzour, author of And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones, we invite you to visit her site - For the full virtual tour schedule, visit

(My apologies to the author. After several attempts, I was unable to upload pictures of the author and her book to blogger.)

9 Moonbeams (comments):

Farrah from The Book Faery Reviews said...

Excellent post. I find that Reiki can be VERY powerful. I've participated in a group Reiki session and have used the technique on my children to soothe their souls or bodies. The power of energy is absolutely amazing and works wonders on the body. I've often wanted to become a master myself.

Kelly McClymer said...

What an absolutely beautiful post. I felt the power of Reiki, just through reading these words.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Farrah and Kelly, thank you for your comments. So glad it was useful to you.

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. Best of luck with your book.


Susan (Sara) Avitzour said...

Margay, thank you so much for hosting me on this lovely blog. I hope very much that your hospitality will bring my book to the attention of readers who might benefit from it.
And I wish you and all your readers strength and serenity in order to meet your own life challenges.
All the best,

Margay Leah Justice said...

Susan, thank you. I can certainly use it this week as my family is dealing with the horrifying fact that my cousin's 14 year old son is in a coma after suffering from cardiac arrest. We certainly need strength and prayers right now.

Thank you so much for being a guest on our blog and your lovely words. They are appreciated.

Susan (Sara) Avitzour said...

Margay, I just got back to your blog now and am so, so sorry to hear about your cousin's son. I will keep him in my daily morning prayers, and may God grant him full and speedy healing.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Susan, thanks so much. I appreciate this greatly.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Beautifully touching post. Reiki is a very powerful tool and it's good that it could bring some healing to your family.