Nilcee Kitani Schneider walks to the courtyard of her apartment building and unfurls her bright-pink yoga mat on the concrete pathway.
Nilcee, who is wearing a diamond-shaped crystal around her neck, kicks off her sandals, takes a deep breath and settles into a cross-legged position.
She raises her eyes to the sky, then gently closes them, leaving the world behind.
Opening her arms to the heavens in welcome, she declares that the energy is very good in this space.
“I can feel it pulling, it’s circling me, pushing back and forth like a wave,” she says, a celestial smile on her face. “I’m vibrating, and I can feel my hands tingle.”
It took Nilcee a long time — most of her life, in fact – to discover the power of positive energy and the value of thoughtful meditation.
“I follow the universe, and these coincidences kept happening to me that led me down this path,” she says.
To understand how she came to live in the present moment, one must examine her past.
Like her Japanese parents, Nilcee is from Brazil. She was born in a small town and was raised in São Paulo.
When she graduated from high school, she didn’t follow a conventional path. Instead of heading straight to college, she went to London.
“I wanted to become proficient in English,” she says. “My plan was to spend six months there and then six months in France learning French.”
After returning to Brazil for a visit, her next stop was New York City.
“I wanted an American accent,” she says. “I watched a lot of American movies in Brazil, and that’s what I wanted to sound like.”
(For the record, her American accent is, as the Brits would say, brilliant.)
She was only going to stay for a year, but the universe had other plans for her.
She got a job, the first of a series in the corporate world, and got married to the boyfriend who followed her from London.
Seven years later, she got divorced, and a couple of years later, she remarried.
Her first life-changing epiphany came after the birth of her twins, Josh (his Japanese name is Yoshi) and Kyllie (her Japanese name it Toshimi).
The twins, who are 11, made their way into the world at seven instead of nine months, and for no determinate reason, were colicky and spent much of their first years on earth crying.
Nilcee was, to say the least, overwhelmed all the time, so much so that she gave up her career to become a full-time, stay-at-home mother.
“I can remember the day things changed,” she says as Kyllie runs up to say hello. “They were two years old. I had them both on the floor and they were crying. Up until this time, they always took turns crying, but this time they were crying together and I couldn’t get them to stop.”
Nilcee was just about to give up when she looked up at the sky.
“It was clear and blue, and I took a deep breath,” she says. “I felt peace and calm surrounding my body. And I said, ‘God, show me a sign.’”
At that precise moment, Nilcee heard an airplane.
“I had the windows closed and the air conditioning on, so it was as miracle I heard anything,” she says. “I screamed ‘Ahhhhh!’ And then ‘Shhhh! Hear the airplane.’”
Her words worked: Not only did Josh and Kyllie stop crying, but they also started laughing.
“My calm calmed me and helped me calm them,” she says. “So I used this technique and others like it more and more.”
Nilcee was familiar with reiki – her mother and sister are reiki practitioners – and meditation, but she never really thought about incorporating them into her daily life until a couple of years after the twins’ twin-crying marathon.
She was attending a workshop that featured Dr. Brian L. Weiss, author of the past-life therapy book, “Many Lives, Many Masters.”
So moved was Nilcee by the doctor’s presentation that when she lined up for an autograph, she told him that she needed to speak with him.
She took his advice – “meditate, meditate, meditate” — to heart and soul.
By 2013, Nilcee decided that she wanted to become a healer who focused on reiki, eventually graduating from the New York International Reiki Center.
For the last couple of years, she’s been holding meditation, reiki and wellness sessions for private clients. She recently began booking online appointments.
Nilcee says that’s she a prime example of the benefits of reiki and meditation.
“I have a lot of nervous energy,” she says. “People who know me can’t believe that I’m such a calm person now.”
She smiles serenely.
“If I can do it, so can everyone else,” she says.
Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at Nruhling@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyruhling and visit astoriacharacters.com.