“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.
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.
We interviewed Alexis Anderson of Reiki with Lex. Alexis is a reiki master who teaches Holy Fire Reiki and hosts Holy Fire levels 1, 2, and the Master Level to aspiring teachers. We discussed the many ways we set boundaries, deal with energy vampires, and create safe spaces for students and teachers of the craft.
Below are the highlights from our discussion. Please feel free to listen to the full episode.
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What’s your definition of boundaries, and how do you set boundaries with others?
AA—A person I’ve had to set really firm boundaries with is an incessant talker. I’m sure we all know those people who talk and talk, and you just can’t get a word in edgewise. The boundary I’ve had to set with this person is that I have to limit 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.
CRO—The 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, 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 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 a strong sense of entitlement coming from these women. It’s hard because some students think they can do and say whatever they want since they’re paying clients.
Meet Alexis Anderson
If you could be the sunrise or sunset, which would you choose and why?
AA—Sunrise, because the sunrise gives people hope and a sense of a new beginning. I would love to be that for people.
Who would you choose as an actor if you were to select a character to play your joy?
AA—Jim Carey because of the wide range of emotions he could portray.
What’s one of your earliest childhood memories?
AA— Kindergarten was a bit of a traumatic experience. I was in French immersion, and I couldn’t learn 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.
What do you do with energy blockages?
CRO—Whenever 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.
AA—I learned very early on 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 things you do to stay clear and grounded before you teach?
CRO—I 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?
What’s your process for teaching teachers of the craft?
AA—I 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.
CRO—One of my favourite 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.
What do you hope students leave training with, other than a certificate?
CRO—A deeper trust 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.
AA—The most significant thing would be trusting their intuition. That’s what 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 how it will go or what will 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 is Holy Fire Reiki?
AA—Holy Fire Reiki came about in 2014. It’s a modern version of the traditional Usui Reiki training. William Lee Rand pioneered Holy Fire Reiki. When we went into quarantine in March, 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 channelled 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 flow, so when people leave a session, they often feel lighter, relaxed, and less stressed in the physical and emotional body. Many 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.