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Massage Today
November, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 11

Reiki Practitioners SPARK Healing

By Rebecca J. Razo

It's a beautiful September day in New York City. At a perfect 72 degrees, a slight breeze dusts the clear sky and gently waves an American flag raised high atop a pole directly in front of Ground Zero.

The mood is somber and reverent as people gather to remember those who lost their lives exactly three years earlier. Some weep; some leave flowers and letters; some sing; others just stare in awe at the gaping hole where the Twin Towers once stood majestically over the city.

A few miles down the road at Washington Square Park, dog walkers, vendors, street performers, locals and tourists are out in full force, making the most of the beautiful day. In a grassy corner of the park, a group of Reiki practitioners known as SPirited Action, Release and Kindness (SPARK) have set up shop and are providing free Reiki sessions throughout the day.

SPARK was organized on the first anniversary of Sept. 11 as a way to help facilitate healing. Massage Today (MT) had the opportunity to speak with SPARK Executive Director Dave Gorczynski (DG), who goes by the name Kaiyo, about this unique organization.

MT: How did this project come about?

Dave Gorczynski - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark SPARK Executive Director Dave (Kaiyo) Gorczynski. DG: Shortly following Sept. 11, my friend Richard Kanter and I could see that it would be easy for people to hold onto the tragedy of that day, but very few would remember the many positive memories, such as the volunteers who came from all parts of the United States to help, and the incredible selflessness that took place. It was a real testament to human resiliency. I was a Reiki master and he was studying CranioSacral Therapy, and we decided to offer our services to the public on the first anniversary of 9/11, since we knew it would be a stressful period.

We talked about it for months and then in June 2002, we met a friend of my family, Aitreyia. She was an energy worker from Tucson, Ariz., and Richard mentioned the idea to her. She immediately wanted to be a part of it, and within a week had eight people with tickets purchased, ready to [fly in] from Arizona.

On the first anniversary, with park permits in hand - the Parks Department has been extremely supportive of our event - our group of 17 set up tables in Battery Park for three days and Washington Square Park for one [both in New York City]. In Washington Square Park, our event coincided with a peace vigil, and when the park finally closed at 12:30 [in the morning], we still had 25 people on the waiting list for sessions. We realized it was just the beginning and that we were fulfilling a real need.

Reiki practitioner works on a patient. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Volunteer Reiki practitioners offered free sessions in New York City's Washington Square Park on the third anniversary of 9/11. In 2003, both Richard and Aitreyia began playing much smaller roles due to geographic and time constraints, but the organization continued to expand with more participation from New Yorkers. By September, we grew to 50 practitioners and started working in multiple parks simultaneously. SPARK also began a collaborative relationship with September Space, a New York-based nonprofit with 9/11 roots. From the inception, we have called ourselves SPirited Action, Release and Kindness. We feel very strongly about the action portion and even stronger about our no-strings/free services policy when working with the general public.

MT: Is this something you will continue to do every September 11?

DG: Yes. We will continue every September 11, and our services are open to everyone, not just those [directly] affected by September 11. We try to make this as clear as possible. We would like everyone in need of our services to feel welcome.

MT: How many volunteers are currently involved?

DG: At this time, our group consists of approximately 90 practitioners, with an active core of about 50 or so. Since many come to participate from outside of New York City, it becomes difficult for them to be part of the active core for events in the city.

MT: Does your organization participate in events at any other time of the year?

DG: Yes. "SPARK in the Park" is our own annual event, but we enjoy partnering with other organizations to provide free energy work throughout the year. In October 2003, we took part in the "Walk to End Domestic Violence" to offer sessions at its wellness fair. The fair was at the end of the walk and was a place for domestic abuse survivors to receive makeovers, financial advice, and now, energy work. We were very well received.

SPARK is currently working with attorneys to become a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which we expect to occur before the end of the year.

MT: Thank you so much for your time, Kaiyo.

For more information about SPARK, visit www.sparkinthepark.org.

 

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