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This is the question I get all the time. And my usual answer is through a deep, painful (and scary) shift in my life. 

The year was 2016. I returned to the U.S. in January after spending the holidays in Brazil with my family. At that time my mom was 89, her health was declining and I was working for a large corporation as an event manager. I had been with the company for about 2.5 years, had great reviews from my peers and excellent performance. Based on that, I felt comfortable in sharing with my manager what was happening in my personal life and asked if I could work on a project basis as a contractor, this way I could fly to Brazil as needed to help my family care for my mom.

In the meantime, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to take Reiki classes - something included on my wish list for many years. I wanted to learn for myself, and perhaps help my mother and family. While the negotiations in the office were progressing, I found a Reiki Master and Teacher who resonated with me and decided to take levels 1 and 2 in February 2016. After completing both levels, inexplicably, I noticed that everything was getting difficult in my professional and personal life.

Stressful days at work and personal life were becoming more frequent than ever. My relationship with my manager was worsening, we couldn’t understand each other anymore. She promised to support and help me get transferred and work as a contractor, however months were passing by and I was not seeing any progress. I couldn’t understand what exactly was going on, as I used to have a great relationship with everyone at work. I was feeling stuck, watching my family struggle to take care of my mom in Brazil, and unable to help them.

The level of stress and tension at work was growing every day until May 31, 2016, after my last phone call with my manager. That day I felt deceived, I didn’t trust her anymore. I was frustrated and unhappy. Suddenly, in her eyes and the eyes of my peers, everything that I was doing seemed to be wrong. As if I had unlearned how to perform my job. When we hung up, I was in deep distress and started sobbing. That situation was affecting my emotional and mental health. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I called my doctor’s office asking for an appointment.

First thing in the morning, I was at the doctor’s office explaining what I was going through and while I was describing it, I had a nervous breakdown. I cried uncontrollably for three hours, so much so that the doctor had to see other patients in an adjacent office. The pain was so deep that while crying I lost touch with reality.

I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. I was scared, got my cell phone and dialed the first number I found. My friend picked it up. Confused, I tried to explain to her where I was. I said: “I’m here in a small room. I don't know how I got here, and I don’t know who they are. Please help”. After some questions that I could not answer clearly, she asked me: “Can you run?” and I said: “Yes, I think I can.”. She said: “So, RUN!” and I grabbed my purse and ran away from the doctor’s office.

In the parking lot, I looked around and didn’t know if I was driving. Then, I walked to the street. I was lost and didn’t know which direction to go. After walking down the street for a few minutes, I sat on the curb. Suddenly I started hearing voices, a woman asking people on the street “Did you see a blonde lady walking around here, she might be 5.6 tall, wearing jeans?” A man responded yes and pointed in the direction where I was.

The woman was my doctor’s nurse. When she found me, she knew I was scared of her like a wild animal. She approached me very carefully and with incredible patience, explained why she was there, that it would be safer for me to walk back with her instead of staying on the street, and that the doctor wanted to quickly see me one more time.

I didn’t know what was happening to me and at that point, I didn’t trust anyone. I knew I was scared of the “small room” but somehow she was able to convince me it was the best thing to do. She reached out her hand to me and I walked back to the doctor’s office with her.

Dr. Kornder and this blessed nurse (I will never forget her face) were angels in my life.

Back in the doctor’s office, I was again in the same room, sitting on the same chair, resting my head against the wall, scared and quiet. I wasn’t in my right mind. Five minutes later, the office door opens and I see a tall man in business attire, He stepped into the room and stared at me. I didn’t recognize him and he didn’t seem to be a doctor.

Afraid of what could happen to me, I held my breath and didn’t move an inch. As he realized that I didn’t react, he asked me: “You don’t recognize me, do you?” In a matter of seconds, as the sound of his voice entered my ears, my brain recognized who he was and a deep sense of peace and happiness spread through my body. I immediately stood up, ran to him, and gave him the most intense and unforgettable hug. Finally, I was safe. From that moment on, I was back to myself. His voice and presence brought me back to reality. I felt safe and secure in the presence of my lovely husband.

The doctor joined us in the room to share the diagnosis and next steps. I was diagnosed with nervous breakdown due to work-related stress, including anxiety and depression. The recommendation was to take 30 days of paid medical leave and then be re-evaluated. During this time, I should also see a therapist. The office manager had arranged for me to see a therapist in the afternoon of that same day, and one hour after we left the doctor’s office, I was in the therapist’s office.

Two weeks after I was diagnosed with a nervous breakdown, going to therapy, on medical leave, and taking antidepressants, my mom passed away in Brazil. She and I were very close. I was devastated. My heart was telling me to go but everyone around me said otherwise. My doctor and therapist did not recommend that I fly for 12 hours and attend my mom’s funeral. It could affect my recovery. Accepting that I was not going to be able to say goodbye to my mom was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.

Then, comes the Reiki healing.

As I was devastated by the passing of my mom, I thought of receiving Reiki. I reached out to my Reiki teacher and scheduled an energy healing session. In this session, my teacher asked me: “Can you feel your mom on your right side?”. I responded: “Not sure, I think so.” She replied: “Well, she is here and wants to send you a message”. Then, my mom connected to my teacher who delivered the following message:

“Your mom says you should not go to Brazil. There is nothing for you to do there. What is done is done.” Pause… “She is showing me a ring, a golden ring with a blue stone” Pause…

“She says that when you want to connect with her, you should hold the ring she gave to you.”

“Now she is showing me a picture, where she is wearing a blue shirt. She wants you to remember her from all the happy moments you both spent together, like in this photo.”

Needless to say, as soon as she started sharing this beautiful message with me, I was overwhelmed in tears. The message gave me comfort and everything I needed to hear, so I could make a decision and be at peace with myself.

I completely trusted that the message was really from my mom as my Reiki teacher had never seen or heard about the ring. The ring was given to me years before, the last time my mom came to visit me in California. I never wore the ring. It was safely stored in a box in my closet.

Another surprising thing is that the picture she referred to was in my purse. I brought it with me in case I wanted to show my mom to my teacher. After the session, I opened my purse and pulled the picture from it. I asked: “Is this the photo she showed you?” And we both were amazed! That was the exact picture.

From that moment on, I got motivated to start practicing Reiki. My teacher used to open her home once a month for her students to practice and I decided to join them.

While on medical leave, and to heal faster, I was receiving Reiki from my teacher every other week and was practicing once a month at her house. I was also taking my medications and being evaluated by my doctor every 30 days. One morning, as soon as I woke up, I heard a voice in my right ear saying: “You have a gift. Look for it. From now on, you will start helping people.”. It was my first time receiving a spiritual message so I thought I was "getting high" with that medication. I mentioned to my husband, we both laughed, it didn’t make sense to us, and life moved on.

At the end of the 90 days of medical leave, I had to decide if I was going back to my corporate job. I knew I didn’t want to go back to that job. However, would I face the same challenges in another company? Are all the companies the same?

For many days I was reflecting on it and struggling to make a decision. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I started feeling strongly about opening my Reiki business. (Note that I had never run a business before and in the past people used to ask me if I wanted to open my own event management business and I was always afraid of it because of my lack of experience in running a business and prospecting clients.) However, this time the fear faded and I decided to start my new venture. The biggest challenge: Money. Would my husband support the house until I could financially contribute again?

Yes, he did, with one condition: I should try it for two years only. If it doesn't work, I should stop and go back to corporate. From that moment on, everything started aligning for me.

My family helped me with the website, friends helped with the social media pages, I started offering free reiki sessions to friends, and friends of friends started coming to see me for a reasonable price. It has been seven years of practice. And I've never had one single day without a client.

Was I getting high with the anti-depressant medication when, that certain morning, I heard in my right ear that I had a gift and would be helping people? I don’t think so.

Was the journey painful? Yes, it was. Did I get scared? Fuck, yes! A lot! Did I regret any minute of it? No.

Today I know that the Universe orchestrated everything that happened to me. Otherwise, I would never have quit my job nor had the courage to get out of my comfort zone. Also, I thank everyone who made my life miserable and for the painful moments I went through. While undergoing that, I gracefully found my gift which led me to find my LIFE PURPOSE.

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