Phyllis was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1948. A family story is that her grandmother, Hawayo Takata, wanted to name her granddaughter after the booming city of Dallas, as she was named after the big island of Hawaii. However, someone else prevailed and the new born baby was named Phyllis. Lei is the Hawaiian word for the flower wreath that is a well known symbol of Aloha in Hawaii.
Throughout her childhood she often treated her grandmother with Reiki but did not attend a class. At the age of 30, she accompanied her Grandmother Takata on a teaching trip to Puerto Rico. It was there that she first learned about Reiki, learned about the practice, and heard the stories of Reiki. This was a turning point for Phyllis and, a year later, she made the commitment to continue a path of Reiki and mastery.
In December 1980, Hawayo Takata died, leaving 22 masters to carry on her work.
There was a question Takata Sensei left. Who was her successor? For some of the masters, she had told them clearly that this was to be Phyllis. For others, they had heard nothing. For Barbara Weber Ray, she had been told that she would be the successor. This seemed to be the beginning of a break in the solidarity of the circle of masters. Through the next years, as Phyllis was recognized by many of the masters, two distinct practices emerged, one emphasizing the 4 aspects of the practice and the other concentrated on the healing technique.
Through the next decades the practice Takata Sensei brought to the shores of the American islands of Hawaii, spread around the world into many cultures, into many different variations of practice, and into the hearts of millions of people.
Phyllis has been able to carry the practice through the differences. The practice of Reiki in its multifaceted forms has gone through growing pains, separation, and hopefully in the next years, will come back to living in harmony and respect for each other. This is the practice of Reiki.
Paul Mitchell learned Reiki from Hawayo Takata in 1978. He later became one of the twenty-two Masters she initiated before she died in 1980. He shares the Office of Grand Master with Phyllis Lei Furumoto and, as Head of Discipline of Usui Shiki Ryoho (Usui System of Natural Healing), holds the place for maintaining the teaching and practice of the system as taught by Hawayo Takata.
Paul designs and facilitates workshops, retreats, and intensives that support the Reiki student community in deepening their practice. He is committed to the healing, growth, and spiritual development that is the promise and potential of the practice of Reiki.
Background and Training
Paul grew up in California and entered the Catholic seminary at
fourteen with the desire to become a priest. At twenty-four he left the
seminary, feeling that life called him to some other form of service. He
continued his education and earned a degree in philosophy at the University
of San Francisco. Paul was teaching religion in a Catholic boy’s high school
and studying for a master’s degree when he heard Hawayo Takata give a talk
on Reiki. That summer, in 1978, he took the first degree Reiki class with
her and then second degree a year later. Mrs. Takata initiated him as a
Reiki Master shortly thereafter, in 1979. At that point Paul began his lifelong career, offering Reiki treatments and teaching classes. He was a founding member of The Reiki Alliance, an international organization of Reiki Masters dedicated to the practice of Reiki held by Hawayo Takata and her successor Phyllis Furumoto.
Paul is the author of the student book, The Usui System of Natural Healing, which is published in nine languages and distributed by The Reiki Alliance. His articles appear in Reiki publications internationally.