I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ten years in business than by highlighting 10 people who have been instrumental to my success! No one creates alone, not even us “sole proprietors”. Self-employed doesn’t mean I can build a business solo, and I’m excited to share the stories of some of my favorite helpers!
No story of becoming a Reiki practitioner can exist without a mentor. Today I want to celebrate my incredible OG teacher, Greg Lemich!
The saying goes, ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear,’ and WOW, is that true in our case. When I was getting serious about the idea of studying Reiki all the mentorship programs I could find were out-of-state and over $10K. At the 2012 Laurel Main Street Festival (the MSF is such a theme in my story!) I happened upon my friend Niall’s acupuncture booth and asked him if he knew any Reiki master teachers. He pointed 4 feet to the left and said, “Yeah, this is Greg, he works here and he’s about to start teaching a mentorship course.” It was kismet.
I received my very first Reiki session that day, from Greg and afterward felt that amazing, soft lightness that follows treatment. I said, “I feel like the wind is blowing through my body.” I would have signed up for the class that same day, but I had Big Questions.
My Virgo moon needed to write out a list of questions and literally interview Greg a few days later about how my life might have to change if I began studying and practicing Reiki. Highlights from that list of questions include:
– Do I have to become a Buddhist?
– Will I still be able to party and drink alcohol?
– Will I still be able to be goofy and laugh at stupid humor, or will I have to become all Zen and serious?
Y’all. I can’t. These seem so silly looking back, especially since years later I got sober thanks to Reiki.
Greg was so sweet and patient, answering all of my questions very earnestly and honestly. At no point did he make me feel like I was annoying or “too much”, and I knew I had found my mentor. The class was 5 minutes from my house, amazingly affordable, and taught by a person who was encouraging, affirming, kind, and almost as goofy as me. He didn’t care that I came in with a skeptic’s mind. We became fast friends and I was honored to be a groomsgirl at his wedding a few years later.
I learned so much under his tutelage and after graduation he brought me on as an assistant instructor for the Reiki mentorship course. As I launched my own business he was right there, advocating for me, referring clients and serving as a real-time second opinion if I encountered something I didn’t understand. (Aaaaand he helped de-possess me of a snake demon at one point, which is not a sentence I ever thought I’d write or a service I ever thought I’d need. #lifeistrulybonkers)
Greg took an unusual path to Reiki – suffering an injury and chronic ailments and learning Reiki to heal himself – and he also took an unusual path to his next career. Most people start in academia or the medical field and then transition to Reiki, but Greg was the opposite. He left Reiki to get his doctorate in psychology, and we were all so, so proud. He now operates The Lemich Clinic for Military Mental Health in Norfolk, VA, specializing in counseling and PTSD treatment for active duty and military veterans.
As he was closing down his Maryland Reiki practice for grad school Greg transitioned his caseload to me, just as I was entering full-time work. It was Divine timing. He also said, “Okay, now it’s your job to teach the classes.” As in, it’s time to take your place as a full-fledged mentor. YIKES!
It took a few years of full-time work, getting my sea legs and enough experience to feel qualified to teach, but I finally picked up the torch he left for me in 2018 with my first cohort of mentees.
I can’t emphasize the impact Greg had on my life and career. I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without his guidance and patience, so it’s fitting to start off this anniversary celebration series with the first person to see me and draw out my potential. I am forever grateful, Greg.
This is one of those posts that gets written and re-written 17 times because how could one even sum up what Niall has meant and done for me over these last 10 years? He’s given space – literally and figuratively. He’s held space for me and literally held me when needed. He’s given richly of his time, and of his grace. He’s not a boss, he’s more than a landlord. If anything he is a lighthouse of a human, one who guides and protects those he loves.
Niall generously allowed me to take up space when I was starting out. Ten years ago, when pay-by-use rental agreements were super scarce, he allowed me to grow by only paying for the time I used (rather than a pre-set amount due each month.) This allowed me to make a profit on every session, even as a wee little baby practitioner.
It’s the same agreement we still have now, ten years later. When my sweet husband Patrick lost his job during the pandemic and suddenly I found myself as the sole provider for our family, Niall even gave me an indefinite rent reprieve until Patrick found work – an amazing gesture!
Sometimes I’ve thought of branching out into my own space, buying property, being able to sublet to my own students, but Spirit keeps drawing me back to Niall – sometimes even through dream messages. In a way, he is my home. I told him once, “It’s you and me til the wheels fall off, friend.” And I meant it.
I wish every person who starts a business could have a colleague, mentor and friend like Niall. And I’ve said all this without even naming what an INCREDIBLE acupuncturist he is! As in, 13/10, highly recommend! You can find him at www.myneighborhoodacupuncture.com – you won’t be disappointed.
Proof of the Divine working in my life: having Dr. Rachelle Dixon as a co-worker and friend. Spirit really will put the right people in your path at the right time, and that’s definitely been true of the wisdom I’ve been able to bask in from Rachelle. She is a peer who never lets the fact that she’s A Whole-Ass Doctor create any inequality between us. She lets me be the big spoon and hold space for her too, and I’ve got tears in my eyes writing this as I go through the mental list of pearls I’ve gleaned from our years of friendship.
Rachelle is an acupuncturist, herbalist and Reiki master who is a perfect blend of Southern and Latvian folklore and wisdom. She speaks 7 languages, lived in Latvia just after liberation from Russia, danced with Alvin Ailey, was on the forefront of the queer healthcare justice movement, and now trains new acupuncturists on elemental healing and death work. I mean, come on…. and reader, she and I are *the same age*. Talk about an amazing human. She’s such an inspiration.
Dr. Rachelle has walked me through many a wobble in my own confidence or practice – a favorite quote from a post-Solstice ritual session was, “You’re a bad bitch who just took the equivalent of 15 fire needles to the taint. OF COURSE you feel burnt out!” – and I’m so very grateful for being able to lean on her when needed.
You can find Rachelle at @amazongrove and www.amazongrove.com