Jamaica Plain’s Marshall on Switching Careers from Teaching to Reiki, and Drawing Educational Cartoons

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Jamaica Plain's Lillie Marshall taught in Boston Public Schools for more than 18 years, teaching English at Charlestown High and Boston Latin Academy, and recently made a full career transition to helping people through Reiki and her cartoon drawings.

Lillie Marshall providing Reiki

Marshall answered questions about her two distinctly different businesses and what inspired her to follow a new career path.

Q: Why did you decide to pivot careers and open a Reiki healing touch practice on Burroughs Street?

Marshall: Teaching is an absolutely amazing job, and I am deeply thankful for having had the honor of working with Boston’s young people. However, the pandemic made me reflect on dreams that I’d kept deferring, and made it clear that the time is NOW to go for it. Offering Reiki – gentle healing touch – had been on the back-burner for too long.

With this in mind, I took the plunge and opened Healing Touch “L” Reiki on Burroughs Street in Jamaica Plain in September of 2021 – while simultaneously still teaching during the day. After a wonderful and successful full year, I pivoted in August of 2022 to providing Reiki to clients full time.

Q: How long have you practiced Reiki?

Marshall: My official Reiki training began in 2018 (though I had been training informally before then), and over the past five years, I’ve completed courses for multiple levels of Usui, Kundalini, and Holy Fire Reiki. It’s been thrilling to see the skills develop through instruction and practice, and I am thankful for the mentors who’ve guided me in the process.

Photo by Chris McIntosh

Q: How can Reiki help people? Why have your clients sought help through Reiki?

Marshall: What’s miraculous about Reiki is that it is so effective, yet so simple. In a Reiki session, the client lays down on a massage table, fully clothed (I recommend soft, lightweight clothing), and the practitioner does a series of gentle hand placements from head to toe, avoiding sensitive areas. Reiki is not religiously affiliated, and it works with the natural flow of the body. Sessions can be modified to just focus on one area if preferred.

During the course of the 45-minute or hour-long session, energy begins to flow in a way that helps the receiver deeply relax and revitalize. Reiki’s gentle healing touch allows the body to process mental and physical challenges to promote a refreshed sense of wellbeing. The effectiveness of Reiki is so well-documented in making people feel better, that it is now used in leading hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic and Beth Israel in Boston.

Clients come to me for Reiki for a wide variety of reasons, and honestly, Reiki can help with just about anything. While it’s not a miracle cure, Reiki has been powerfully documented to ease anxiety, stress, grief, pain, and imbalances: mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. 

I often describe Reiki as acupuncture without the needles; it has a similar effect of rebalancing energy flow, clearing chakras, and allowing the body to begin healing itself. You might also think of Reiki as like a mother’s calming touch: it’s that healing warmth which makes the world a little better. 

Q: And you also have an educational cartoons site. What is DrawingsOf.com?

Marshall: Yes! I started DrawingsOf.com in 2020 because I’ve always been an artist, and have used my cartoons to teach with students, but had focused my first two websites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (established 2010) on my writing and photography instead. This goes back to my previous comment about the pandemic spurring so many of us to finally make our dreams happen – I realized it was time to share my art with a wider audience!

The purpose of DrawingsOf.com is to create FREE English lessons (and other educational articles) of the sort I wished I’d had readily available when I wanted to explain something to students. For example, I’ve made growing directories of hard words to spell and homophones, with funny tricks about how to remember each. Teachers have written in from across the country to request additions to my literary terms and figurative language lists, which I add to, continually. I also have an art section of the site, with round-ups like “Cute Drawings Ideas.”

Q: What inspired you to create the site?

Marshall: During my 18+ years of teaching English, I found the free resources online sorely lacking. They are either littered with ads, written robotically, or not accurate. I’ve been heartened by the messages I get from educators around the world, appreciating the lessons I’ve illustrated on DrawingsOf.com, and requesting new ones.

Lillie Marshall shows off brightly colored clothing items she designed.

Q: And why did you recently expand it to include "wildly colored clothing"?

Marshall: This summer, during a conversation about how clothes aren’t made in bright enough colors for me, I put some of my rainbow designs onto a pair of men’s underwear as a joke and showed it to some people – who immediately demanded I make it available for actual sale! I now offer super-colorful clothes for men, women, kids, and nonbinary individuals. I also take requests for new items!

Q: What else would you like people to know about DrawingsOf.com?

Marshall: In addition to illustrating English language concepts and designing colorful clothing, I also have a wing of DrawingsOf.com dedicated to helpful life ideas. The article, “How to Stop Snacking at Night” (illustrated with a fluffy monster) is particularly popular.