Stories from our community – Julie Akhbari

Stories from our community – Julie Akhbari

My story started about 31 years ago in a small town in France. 
My mother is French, and my father is Iranian. He had left Iran 20 years prior, to flee the islamic revolution that took place at the end of the 70s. My dad was a revolutionary at heart, and back then, there was no internet or social media for freedom to win. My father wanted his future family, one day, to simply be free. I hope the current revolution going on will set all women free, once and for all. 

In some ways, we are intrinsically linked to our parents, to their vision, their fate, maybe to their dreams and fears too, aren’t we?

Growing up in France, as years went by, the features of my face started to change. And I was looking just like my dad. People would look at me and ask “where are you from?”, when, truly, i was just from here, from France. And it made me angry. 

Inside my heart, I felt that half of me was unknown, unexplored. Who was I, really ? What were those oriental roots and traits I was carrying ? What did they mean ? What was I supposed to do with them ?

This is when started a very painful (back then) search. I wanted to know who I am, what am I doing here on Earth, what’s the purpose of my presence here, what’s my added value as a living being in this world ?

Like every teenager, I rebelled. Very, very much. I drove my parents crazy. I was angry at time, furious other times. When I look back, I just had so much energy in my body, no one could comprehend. I wanted to take over the world, have my voice heard. I wanted to scream my freedom, make my own money, travel the world and run away as far as possible from my hometown. They say one needs to get lost to find one’s way. And so I ran to get lost.

I left home when I was 17, left France when I was 20, and asked for an enormous loan from the bank to complete my masters degree. Just to show I can do it all, and don’t need anyone to make it. 

As years went by, I started to read a lot of books on self-development, self-love, self-acceptance. After the anger came the time of forgiveness: making peace with my parents that I haven’t spoken to or seen for many years, telling my grandparents I love them, and looking at myself in the mirror. Pausing. Stopping to run, in order to face myself, in this present moment. And the same question arose: who am I ? What am I running for ?

That’s when I started to turn towards more loving practices: meditation, yoga. I wanted to heal the inside wounds no one could see. The anger of parents not understanding their child, the sadness of being alone on the other side of the world, not knowing what or where are my roots – the one that could make me call one place “home”. 

And one day, as I welcomed a new team member at work, she started to talk about Reiki. That was about 2 years ago. I felt a call in my heart to go and explore Reiki. 

It took me about a year before I called Ming Li, to explore the first level of Reiki. I felt so much light in my heart, and my whole body and spirit felt lighter. I just knew this is the right place to be; in the here and now, connecting to my heart and to every part of my body, letting this bright energy travel through it all.

I believe healing is a life-long work. Things in life keep on coming up, and we need to deal with them. We may feel stable at times, and then, suddenly, something happens. We never know which one of those things will leave a mark on us, physically or emotionally. And that’s why I am happy Reiki found me. It gives me a space, it gives me roots that, wherever I am, I can feel “home” in my own heart & body.

What would you say are three things/people/events that supported you on your Reiki journey?

1 – the commitment I made to myself to practice Reik daily, to make it a habit. The daily commitment created a structure that kept me going. I put an alarm on my phone every morning and i downloaded Insight timer to help me time myself on the 12 Reiki positions. I also set an intention that i write black on white in my journal the night before to practice the next morning when i wake up
2 – I offered my dad a Reiki Level 1 course last christmas, so we now have this topic in common and we can share our experiences with Reiki 
3 – the monthly meet-ups organized by Ming Li at exhale help me a lot. I feel like I belong to a larger community, that my practice is linked to my other fellow Reiki practitioners. Knowing we have the chance to meet later in the month helps me to keep up with my daily practice. 

What would you recommend to someone just starting to explore Reiki?

If you heart calls for it, if you are intrigued, if something inside of you wonders, then just go for it. Whether be it a session where you receive Reiki, or a level 1 where you learn the basics of it, go for it. Also, consistency is key. Make it a ritual, a moment where you cherish yourself, a moment just between you and yourself. 

What is one thing you would do differently in your Reiki journey?

I would love to practice it more in its different aspect: group sending, doing reiki on others or on animals, doing attunements on certain body parts. These are things that, when you don’t practice, you forget. And i need to come more to exhale meetups !

What do you say to family/friends who ask you about Reiki?

I tell them that we have energy circulating in our body, that we have emotions that come in and out of us throughout the day, and that Reiki is a way to heal that energy, to make it brighter, calmer, stronger. 
And when they tell me that energy or emotions are not tangible, I simply asked them: “have you ever felt that you love someone so much it squeezes your heart ? have you ever had to speak in public, and felt an enormous stone blocking your stomach or your throat?” 
Usually they are able to relate to one of those situations. And i would then say “see, emotions and energies are very real for they travel through our bodies. They make us decide to act or react to something. The energies we feel are real: we feel angry so we shout, we feel in love so we hug and kiss. Reiki is energy healing”. And usually it starts to make sense in their mind.

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