The universe slapped Mike Hicks right in the face.
He was shut down and closed off two years ago when he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFIB), an irregular heartbeat that put him at high risk for blood clots, heart failure and other serious health problems.
“At one point, I couldn’t carry out the trash," he said. "I was that weak. Back in October, September, I couldn’t take the kitchen trash and walk out to the dumpster. I couldn’t carry the groceries in."
Hicks, seated at a small table in A Spiritual Touch next to Spiritual Touch owner Jennifer Brown, admitted his belief system was sparse when his ailment first occurred.
"It was, ‘This is it, at the end of it, you take a dirt nap and that’s all it is,’" he said.
As he faced the universe, and his mortality, he changed to a healthier diet and decided it would be a good idea to learn how to "chill out." He took up the clawhammer banjo and played with his bare feet on the ground.
This is where the path started.
"Notes became runs, runs became lines and lines became songs," he wrote in his "Healing Journey" blog. "This began my dive into what would be meditation, grounding, spiritual awareness and healing."
Hicks soon discovered reiki, an ancient Japanese holistic practice of relaxation and stress reduction. His wife brought him to see a friend for a reiki session, which left him feeling flooded with a spiritual awareness he had never experienced.
"I contacted her shortly after this to ask simply, 'What do I do now?'" Hicks wrote. "In a short time she was mentoring me."
"Reiki," pronounced ray-kee, is made of two Japanese words: Rei, which stands for "higher power," and ki, meaning "spirit" or "life force energy." It's done by "laying on hands" — those who practice it help channel the healing energy by hovering hands close to a client's body and at times lightly placing hands to focus energy where intuition guides them. It is based on the idea that everyone has a life force flowing through them that keeps them alive. The stronger the life force, the better the life.
“This stuff goes back to the dawn of man,” said Hicks, who now is a practitioner. "If you had a child that hurt his hand, one of the first things you’r going to do is reach out and give him comfort. That’s natural.
When Hicks' health took a bad turn last winter, his AFIB diagnosis turned into multiple myeloma — cancer — and amyloidosis in his bone marrow.
"While my first reaction was not one of complete doom, I was extremely scared," he shared.
Scared, but not hopeless. He decided to distance himself from conflict and up his intake of positivity as he prepared for six rounds of chemotherapy. As his body underwent treatment, he didn't forget to take care of his mind and spirit.
"I didn’t fight it. It was a part of me," he said. "I tried to right my body rather than fight something or battle something because if you go at something with love, you’ve got that energy coming into it. If you go at something with a battle or a fear or prayer, ‘Please help,’ then you’ve got something in there where you can lose the battle. You can lose the fight, and that’s negative energy."
"Smother the cancer in love," Brown added.
Hicks went deep into his meditative and reiki experiences. He was scheduled for 24 weeks of chemotherapy.
"I achieved remission and was taken off the chemotherapy for the multiple myeloma after 15 weeks," he shared.
"It's universal life energy — I am an example of what this can do incorporated into what you’re doing for healing."
Hicks and Brown will conduct demonstrations as they invite people to see just what reiki is all about during an open house June 25. Reiki sessions normally range from $45 for 30 minutes to session packages for $205.
“There’s clients that come weekly or monthly depending on their lifestyle to let go of things so they feel healthy," Brown said. “They let go of the energies that are not serving them. We’re human, we tend to pick up things and hold onto them even though it’s not ours.”
“Some of the emotional, spiritual problems end up manifesting themselves as a physical ailment," Hicks said.
A Spiritual Touch, located at 923 E. Sherman Ave., will be sharing the love at 6:30 p.m. June 25.