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Alexis Anderson: The Beauty of Setting Boundaries

alexis anderson

Boundaries are a common theme in the world right now. There’s a global shift in how we introduce ourselves with personal pronouns, working from home,  socializing during the pandemic, and responses to cultural appropriation; each represents a way of setting boundaries to create experiences that make people feel safe. 

This week, we interviewed Alexis Anderson of Reiki with Lex. Topics we discussed were: the many ways we set boundaries, deal with energy vampires and create safe spaces for students and teachers of the craft. Alexis is a reiki master who teaches Holy Fire Reiki and hosts Holy Fire levels 1, 2, and the Master Level to aspiring teachers. 

“A boundary is knowing how to say no and owning it without guilt or shame. I became interested in setting boundaries because anytime I would say no, I would still be attached to the person and feel guilty; I would worry that the person would be mad at me. So when I think of boundaries, I think of being empowered to choose to say no without guilt.” – Alexis Anderson. 

Below are the highlights from our discussion. Please feel free to watch or listen to the full episode and join the #PracticewithClara Facebook Community discussion.

Meet Alexis Anderson

If you could be the sunrise or sunset, which would you choose and why? 

AASunrise, because I think the sunrise gives people hope and a sense of a new beginning. I would love to be that for people.

If you were to select a character to play your joy, who would you choose as an actor? 

AAJim Carey because of the wide range of emotions that he could portray. 

What’s one of your earliest childhood memories?

AAKindergarten, and It was like a bit of a traumatic experience. I was in French immersion, and I couldn’t pick up the language. I remember I couldn’t get the words, and the teacher shamed me, and I had to sit in the circle by myself.

The story that I started to tell myself was that I wasn’t smart, and it impacted how I moved through school. This shaped me because I’ve had to do much work around reversing the story I told myself about not being smart enough. 

alexis anderson

What is Holy Fire Reiki?

AAHoly Fire Reiki came about in 2014. It’s a modern version of the traditional Usui Reiki training. William Lee Rand pioneered Holy Fire Reiki. In March, when we went into quarantine, we had an energetic upgrade that allows master teachers to attune people from afar, over the internet. I had my attunement in March and have been teaching online ever since. 

I have Master Training in both Usui and Holy Fire Reiki. I love teaching Holy Fire, and I love how the practice is continually evolving so that we’re aware and keep up with the energetic shifts in the world.  

All living things have life force energy; plants, animals, humans. Reiki energy is channeled through the practitioner to serve the highest good of the person they’re healing or themselves.

Reiki aims to balance energy. Anything that comes up in terms of blockages, traumas, negative thoughts, or physical ailments, sometimes that energy is stuck, and Reiki serves to flow through the energy centers to bring more balance and harmony.

Reiki creates more plow, so when people leave a session, they often feel lighter, relaxed, and less stressed in the physical and emotional body. A lot of things can come up in terms of emotions because when the Reiki flows through, it can start to bring up the intense emotions that have been stuck.

What’s your definition of boundaries, and how do you set boundaries with others?

AA—A person with who I’ve had to set really firm boundaries is an incessant talker. I’m sure we all know those people who just talk and talk, and you just can’t get a word in edgewise. The boundary I’ve had to set with this person is I have to set limits on how long the conversation lasts, and it’s usually a phone call. I time the calls, and I know when I start to lose my energy. This person is an energy vampire—they suck the energy out of me when we talk, so I time the length of the call. After the time is up, I get off the phone; I wrap up the call to preserve my energy. 

For a highly sensitive person, empaths, or people-pleasers, energy vampires are challenging. Setting the boundary of wrapping up the conversation is hard because I don’t want to upset anyone, and I fear disappointment.

CROThe first one that comes to mind is definitely around teaching yoga. When I was much younger and had just started teaching, these women in their late forties would come to class and disrespect me, and give me a hard time. I think it was because of my age, at least that was the energy that they would put towards me. These women would talk over me, or they would take over the room energetically. It took me months to stand up to them and be assertive.

When I teach, if you don’t like what I’m offering, or it’s not serving you, I don’t have a problem. You can leave, but this is my room, and I’m teaching. This attitude took a long time to cultivate because it brings up a lot of stuff around self-worth and what I have to offer. 

This experience was essentially a boot camp for boundaries because there was also such a strong sense of entitlement coming from these women. It’s hard because some students think since they’re paying clients, they can do and say whatever they want. 

What’s your process for teaching teachers of the craft?

AAI think it’s essential to have an abundance mindset; that there’s room for all of us to be successful and to thrive. 

Those are questions I love to ask students, where do you thrive? Where does your intuition take you? Who do you want to serve? In Master Reiki Training, I ask students to discover what they want their niche to be and where they feel the magic. 

CROOne of my favorite quotes from my father is that we’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us may have been on the bus longer than others, but we’re still all riding the bus towards death.

When I’m teaching teachers, I always approach it with the idea that we’re co-creating this training together, and it’s always different because it’s based on who shows up and what questions are asked.

One of the big things I like to do is sit in a circle because, in a circle, there’s no hierarchy. We’re all offering the center and feeding each other from the center; I’m just facilitating the experience. I guide a general direction based on whatever it is I’m teaching, but how we get there depends on who shows up and what questions are asked. 

New class

Chakra Meditation

A meditation class that brings awareness to each of the main energy points, known as the chakras, that travel along the spine. In this class, you’ll use the power of visualization and breath to bring awareness to the chakras and the body’s inner landscape. Visualization is a powerful practice that develops awareness of the subtle body; through visualization, we move away from the physical, gross realm that we see, into the subtler realm of breath and energy that we experience through felt sensation. 

What do you hope students leave training with, other than a certificate?

CROA deeper trusting of their knowledge. One of the biggest things that I hope we create together in any training is a deeper relationship to intuition or empowerment. 

I want students to leave with knowledge of moving from a place of their inner power. I hope that we learn how to trust and also trust our instincts. As yoga teachers, we teach the physical poses, but what we’re doing is holding space for people to experience themselves. 

AAThe most significant thing would be trusting their intuition. That’s the one that comes up with Reiki because when people enter level one, many students don’t know what to expect. They want to learn about energy and how to heal themselves but are unsure of how it will go or what’s going to come up.

The biggest thing in classes is to follow your own guidance and intuition, and not go by the book. I hold space to allow students to come up with their answers; this makes the experience rich, and people come away from the class feeling connected and trusting.

What do you do with energy blockages?

CROWhenever I feel stuck or blocked energy, I don’t do anything with it. I feel my feet, and I connect to earth energy. Whenever I feel the energy shift, and it usually does because I tend to poke a little when I teach yoga, things tend to come up for people in the room.

Whenever I feel an energetic shift that’s heavy or blocked, I don’t do anything to change it. What I do is I feel my feet on the ground and connect to earth energy because the earth can take it; she supports us. The earth will be able to transform it into something useful. 

AAOne thing I learned very early on is how I’m not here to fix people. I’m not here to necessarily take away their pain, though I may want to. When I’m in a session, I’ll be intuitively guided to an area that might feel out of balance, and I’ll channel Reiki to that area, but my job isn’t to heal people. My job is to hold space for healing to occur. 

In the Reiki session, the hands might be placed on the shoulders or the head, but that doesn’t mean that that’s where the energy is going. Energy always flows to the area that serves the highest good of that person. The energy has its own intelligence. 

My hands could be on somebody’s shoulders, but they may feel it at their feet the whole time because they were receiving and clearing energy through the feet. So I don’t get attached to where my hands are placed in the session. Sometimes I’ll spend the entire session just in the auric field and stand further back from the client. I find that sometimes it’s more powerful not to touch. I send energy in the person’s direction, and they can receive it if they want it, any way they like. 

What are some of the things you do to stay clear and grounded before you teach?

CROI get very clear of my intention, what I’m arriving to do in the space, and honesty with how I feel that day in my body and mind.
I find that when I’m clear in my intention, I have a better understanding of what’s mine and what’s not mine; this is a question I often ask in terms of energy. What’s mine, what’s yours, and what’s ours? What is the exchange that we’re part of? 

Whenever I step into space, regardless of whether or not I’m teaching, it’s helpful to understand what’s mine. If things arise, if it’s mine, I can take responsibility and take care of myself and what’s happening. If it isn’t mine, I leave it and simply send loving energy. I always ask, what am I here to do, how do I want to be with people, and how do I feel?