My Reiki Master Teacher Barbi Lazonby

Barbi was my first Reiki Master.

She had been teaching as a member of the Reiki Alliance for 5 years when I began my training with her in January, 1996. Her Reiki Master was Virginia Samdahl, Mrs. Takata's first 'master apprentice'. I could not have asked for a more charming and caring person to guide me through my first two degrees of Reiki and the beginning of my own mastership training.

Barbi was very serious about Reiki! She was very concerned about the changes that were taking place in the global Reiki community after the death of Mrs. Takata. I began my training around the time that Diane Stein's book, "Essential Reiki" hit the stores. I remember telling her that I had purchased a copy, even though I was only a Shoden level practitioner at the time. Even though Diane had published the sacred/secret Okuden symbols in her book.

Barbi asked me if she could borrow it. She was, of course, very curious as the book was causing a lot of controversy in the Reiki community. I lent it to her for a couple of weeks. When she returned it to me, her opinion was mixed. She thought that much of the book was beautiful. She felt that Diane was very sincere but she was concerned that Diane had published the symbols. Mostly from the viewpoint that a person might read the book and think that they could practice Reiki without receiving the proper attunements to the system, along with proper training. Barbi was very serious about Reiki!

I took my Okuden training on Easter weekend, 1996. From that point on, Barbi began asking me if I wanted to help her with her classes. She taught two classes each month, one Shoden, one Okuden. She also had at least one master apprentice at the time, as well as traveling to Virginia and other areas to teach quite often.

Barbi was the Founding Director and Teacher of the Gainesville Reiki Center. Her entire life was based on her teaching and living Reiki. She held a weekly Reiki Circle, which was so very important to all of her student's growth and success in staying grounded and connected to Reiki in their own lives. I always looked forward, each week, to the circles, as did everyone. Most nights there would be anywhere from 10-20 people. We would work from 4 or 5 tables and the energy would get very high. Everyone would usually eventually get the giggles and I will always remember Barbi having to remind people to be respectful of the persons on the table, but still wanting them to enjoy themselves, as well.

Over the years, she took on many Reiki students and trained hundreds, if not thousands. She once told me that she had lost count somewhere around 500 and she continued to teach for several more years after that.

Like all Reiki students, I have many memories of my teacher.

I remember when Doi Sensei brought the teachings of the Japanese Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai to Canada, she took the training. Mostly out of curiosity I believe, as was the case with many of us. She began teaching these techniques to her interested Okuden students in a one day workshop. She asked me what I thought of the 'new' information from Japan. I had to agree with her that there wasn't really anything 'earth-shattering' in the information...that Mrs. Takata had taught most of it, which she actually did. Takata didn't use the Japanese names for the techniques but many of them were passed down from her to at least some of her 22 master students. Virginia Samdahl, in turn, had passed them on to Barbi.

I continued my training with her for about 10 months, sitting in on all of her classes, even helping her in the attunement process at times. I did not receive mastership certification with her, however. Being a member of the Reiki Alliance, Barbi was obligated to charge $10,000. for the master level. When I realized that I was not going to be able to pay her that sum in the near future, we both agreed that I should take Rick Rivard up on the offer to continue my training, which I did. After training with Rick, I went on to train with Reiki Master Daniel Eaglebear Day.

During that time, I lost touch with Barbi for awhile. Then one day I heard from a very good mutual friend that she was ill. Sometime later, I went to visit her and she seemed to be doing very well. I was relieved and thought that she had recovered from her illness. It was wonderful to see her again and after the Reiki Circle that night, we spent over an hour talking, just the two of us. She was happy and still the concerned, compassionate friend and teacher that she had always been. I am so thankful for that night!

Shortly thereafter, I heard that she had passed on a month earlier. No one knew to contact me. I had not been around much during that last year of her life and she had so many friends.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to know her and to have trained with her. Barbi was an amazing teacher! My own Reiki teaching is molded around her every word. Understanding how concerned she always was about maintaining the integrity of Reiki, I teach in her memory with the promise that I made to her and myself to teach Reiki as she had taught me.

She will always be remembered through all of her students, as well as through mine!