“Just for today, I will not worry.” The second Reiki Precept. Like the first Precept about anger, this one encourages us to be fully present as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.
What is worry but another name for fear? Do we ever worry that things will turn out the way we want them to? No, just that they won’t.
We worry when we feel we’ve lost control, when we fear the unknown, and in situations when we face a decision or difficulty and don’t know how it’s going to turn out. We’re anticipating that something unfortunate will happen in the future. Worry creates anxiety, that eating-away at your insides sick feeling.
Paradoxically, when we worry, we’re actually pulling energy away from our desired outcome and feeding it toward what we’re afraid will happen. Working against ourselves.
The Buddhist proverb on worry is, “If the problem can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good.” [Śāntideva]
It’s easy and frustrating to tell ourselves or someone else, “Don’t worry.” Or in musician Bobby McFerrin’s words, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Yeah, right. Telling ourselves to not worry only adds to the stress of worry—now we worry about worrying.
I asked the animals for more specific guidance, and sensed splash, bubbles, sparkles of sunlight through water, movement. Otter popped up and said, “Why worry? It’s all a game. Be flexible. Find joy in each moment, even when the unexpected happens. When you worry, you get stiff and solid. That blocks the flow. Worry can make you sick inside, and that’s no fun.
“Be in gratitude for the abundance that surrounds us. I trust that there will be enough fish for me and my family. If I worry, it drives the fish away and we are hungry. That’s no fun, either. Life is a gift, and everything in it. Just relax and enjoy it.
“Have courage, be strong, set and follow your intentions. Watch as I turn and swim through the water. I waste no energy. When I am hunting, I am focused, and I eat. Be sleek like me. Point all your energy in the direction you want to go. It’s more fun that way.”
Splash! Ripples of water spread out where a moment ago Otter had been.
Next, Rabbit hopped into my meditation: “Ah, fear,” Rabbit said. “We tremble. We’re gentle and are prey. Our whiskers twitch, sensing, always alert. Walk towards what you fear. Face it. What you fear will not go away. It will linger outside your burrow while you tremble, waiting for you to emerge so it can pounce on you. Ask yourself, what is it you fear? The great unknowing? It is so human, to want to know everything. You can only prepare as best you can, stay alert, watchful, and be ready to run if you need to—lest you become Fear’s dinner.”
Confronting fear and worry brought Boar to mind. I heard him snort, “What!”
“Would you share your thoughts about worry with me?”
“Worry? Confront it head on, do your groundwork, focus, and then go forward.” Boar continued, “To worry is to scatter your energy. Prepare, commit, put your head down and move toward your goal. You can’t control what is beyond your reach, but you can prepare for it. Prepare for the unexpected. Focus. Set intention. When you worry, you send mixed signals. You feed energy to what you fear. I didn’t get to be this big by scattering my energy all over the field. I know what I want and I go for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. So be it.” Snort. A hoof stomps. Boar’s head wags from side to side.
Rabbit, Otter, and Boar give good guidance: Otter reminds us that when we’re worrying, it’s time to take a break, have some fun, and then focus. Rabbit reminds us to confront our fear, for it won’t go away. Boar reminds us to set our intention and direct all our energy toward it. All say that when we worry, we divert our energy away from our goal and toward what we fear. Worry is a distraction.
We invite worry when our head/mind speaks more strongly than our heart, when we have doubt about the outcome. Prepare as best you can, and then move forward. When we make a mistake, worrying (fretting, stewing) will not fix it. We can only acknowledge and own it, apologize or make amends, and move forward. When worry creeps in anyway, breathe. Let yourself ground deep into the earth. Invite the earth’s energy to flow through with each breath you take, and open your heart. The worry will dissipate. Call on the animals. They are always willing to help.
Just for today, I will not worry.
By: Rev. Nancy Schluntz
Rev. Nancy Schluntz is a SARA practitioner member and animal communicator. As an Animal Chaplain, she offers pet loss bereavement counseling and facilitates a support group. She offers for Reiki for animals (and their people) who are approaching the end of life and as part of her intuitive communication readings. Nancy also offers Reiki to animals at the wildlife rehabilitation center where she volunteers.
Kathleen has just been to Remus teaching Animal Reiki, whilst there she gave an amazing talk to the public. She asked the truly powerful question ‘What is Reiki’? As I listened intently to the answer she said that Reiki was ‘Compassion and Wisdom!’ The response was contemplated as to what it meant to us collectively and individually. What could be more powerful than compassion? How easy is it to be compassionate? What does compassion mean to me? It sounded very simple but on a deeper level there are many layers to finding true compassion, which I was later going to find out.
I attended Kathleen’s Animal Reiki teaching workshop, where I found Kathleen’s teaching profoundly moving. We were able to offer many animal treatments to the Remus animals intermingled with many Reiki lessons. On the second day we were urgently called to work with Davey; a donkey that had recently had major surgery and was now showing signs of being ill. The vet was on the way, so we all stood and offered Reiki, he was off his food and paced the stable as we all stood outside. After a while he calmed and had a wee and a poo, which was very positive. As we carried on offering Reiki Davey started to back up to us with his bottom, then he moved forward and lifted his left hind hoof to show us where the pain was. It was so amazing that he was able to show us his discomfort and we were able to share in this experience.
As we finished offering Reiki, I began to talk about Davey and the operation he had just had. Almost instantly Davey became agitated and unsettled. At this point Kathleen said that we were there to hold the Reiki space for him with ‘no judgement and that we needed to see Davey with our hearts and not with our eyes. It was a huge light bulb moment for me and I immediately felt sadness and embarrassment that I had been looking at Davey with sympathy and talking about him without any consideration that he could be listening. I could not see the sunny soul that was still shining brightly beneath. Davey was not defined by his illness or condition but by his ‘spirit’. As we returned to class it immediately dawned on me what the meaning of ‘Compassion’ truly meant. I returned to Davey a few more times to offer Reiki, firstly to apologise and secondly to offer a Reiki space where he had the opportunity to just ‘be’ Davey on any level.
Looking with your heart can be a difficult thing to do, as humans we are conditioned to only see what is on the surface. This experience shifted something inside of me and really made me think about the Reiki precepts in depth and my whole Reiki Practice. I have a lot to work on and am very grateful that Davey was able to teach me the meaning of Compassion.
The lessons that I learnt from Davey helped me in my own personal life, as not long after the workshop with Kathleen. My father took a turn for the worse and I had to rush back to Ireland. He was dying, his kidneys were failing and as he lay there hooked up to a drip, his life force energy was slowly dripping away. His skin was grey and his eyes were lifeless, I just knew I had to be calm. In that moment I chanted the 4th symbol in my head and just held the Reiki space for him. I saw his soul sparkle even though his body was weak. For the next few days I held the Reiki space for him, letting go of any expectation or outcome. What happened was that a different Dr came and offered him a different kind of treatment, which allowed his life force energy to strengthen. Seeing with your heart and not with your eyes and holding the Reiki space was a huge lesson from Davey. My father is so much better now, although it is still a day at a time. I am so grateful to Davey for teaching me to ‘see with my heart’ <3
Kathleen’s reiki Class’s are always thought provoking, always mindful and always about the animal. She is able to teach in a way, that you are able to find your own Reiki journey but also to learn your own Reiki lessons in your own time. The class’s are always life changing and sometimes the mat from under your feet will be shaken so hard that you have to reflect on your own life. The biggest lesson is to let the animals teach, be humble and to just ‘be’. Easier said than done, so that is why I have a daily Reiki Practice and literally Practice, Practice, Practice.
“Just for today, I will not anger.” The first Reiki Precept. On first hearing, I transmuted the words to “… I will not anger others,” but then realized that no one can make anyone else angry. We (or someone else) can be the spark that ignites anger, but the emotion comes from within. The Precept is about maintaining the self as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.
Anger has cropped up a lot lately – in news reports, Facebook posts, other venues. Are people more open now about expressing anger, or is it one of the impacts of these times of change?
Do I have anger? I had to think about that. The anger that often calls our attention is the burning, violent kind. The punch-in-the-nose road rage anger. There are many varieties. Have you ever felt irritated, annoyed, resentful, mistreated, disrespected, even outraged or filled with righteous indignation? Those are all forms of anger.
In his lecture series, Nonviolent Communication,* Dr. Marshall Rosenberg says that anger is an emotional response triggered by an outside stimulus when a core need of ours is not being met. Core needs such as security, safety, love, nurturance, and yes, respect. When I feel resentment, what need or hurt within me has been disregarded, to trigger that feeling?
The animals always have answers and opinions about such questions. The first to speak was Coyote. I sensed yellow-gold eyes and tawny fur dancing and feinting around me while Coyote spoke:
“Anger is one of my tricks. It distracts your energy and attention. That rush of emotion feels good, feels powerful. When you’re caught up in it, you don’t recognize that you’re being spun away from your purpose, whatever that is. I am the Trickster. I am a great teacher, who teaches you through your mistakes. When you learn to recognize the pull and eddies of my magic and see through them, you can stay on your true path. It is all a game, don’t you see? You can follow Coyote and get lost. Or you can say, ‘Hello Coyote, I recognize you,’ and not follow. That strengthens you. When you feel the anger, know it is my trickster magic at work. Enjoy the thrill of explosion if you wish. Or, this time, ask yourself why you are drawn to my magic. Remember, I teach backward lessons. When you’re turned around, I will bite you!”
Skunk came next, its parallel white stripes moving in rhythm as Skunk gently shuffled forward on delicate paws:
“My medicine is more about boundaries and respect. Skunk is respected, and respects others. We carry a formidable weapon, but are gentle. We give a warning when we are being encroached upon. We do not release our scent indiscriminately, for then we would be vulnerable for defense. Priorities are important – safety, respect, courage, being gentle. Get your point across without aggression toward self or others. Those we spray recover and learn from the experience to respect us. When you feel anger, learn from us to seek the boundary that is being encroached upon, and address it. Perhaps you will not need to spray at all.”
Condor (Turkey Vulture) flew into our conversation to add its message:
“Anger? Rise above it. We soar in the air, the home of spirit and intellect. Rise above the smelly turmoil of emotion. Air helps bring discernment, an ability to sort out cause and effect. Call on me. I will help pick away that which does not serve the highest good – that which doesn’t smell right.”
Instinctively, I knew that Whale also had a message, and asked. Whale said:
“Call on me to guide you through the deep waters of emotion. We withstand great pressure in the deep, and rise to the surface to expel old air and breathe in fresh air. Sing our song with us, move with grace and strength. Swim with us, and come up for air.”
Their messages remind me that the key is not to deny, bury or push away anger, but to reach into myself, locate what has been ignited within, and address that.
These wise teachers offer workable suggestions. Coyote reminds us that when our energy spins off in anger, we diminish our power and lose our focus. Skunk reminds us to respect, be respected, and hold our boundaries. Condor reminds us to rise above the smelly stuff and use discernment. Whale reminds us to come up out of the deep emotion and take a breath of fresh air. Thank you all.
Just for today [this hour, this moment], I will not anger. I will be a clear vessel for Reiki energy. It takes practice.
By: Rev. Nancy Schluntz
*Rosenberg, Marshall. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. PuddleDancer Press, 2003; recording available from Sounds True, P.O. Box 8010, Boulder, CO 80306, www.Soundstrue.com.
Rev. Nancy Schluntz is a SARA practitioner member and animal communicator. As an Animal Chaplain, she offers pet loss bereavement counseling and facilitates a support group. She offers for Reiki for animals (and their people) who are approaching the end of life and as part of her intuitive communication readings. Nancy also offers Reiki to animals at the wildlife rehabilitation center where she volunteers.
Note: Subsequent articles will address the remaining four Precepts of Reiki: Worry, Humility/Gratitude, Honesty, and Compassion.
I have always been a huge animal lover. I had many unusual pets such as skunks and a pot belly pig. For over 20 years I had Great Danes and Maltese and showed them in confirmation dog shows. I also owned a pet grooming salon. My eyes for beautiful animals fell in the wrong direction. I was focusing my attention on the outside. One day I was jolted to awaken when a vet tech told me that a particular Maltese I was showing, who was staying with my professional dog handler, was “not happy” and she warned me to get her home as soon as possible. At that time, I was so wrapped up in all the reasons why I loved dog shows and failed to see that this little dog did not. Fortunately, she finished her Championship that very same weekend. I took her home, cut off all of her beautiful, long luxurious coat and made an appointment to have her spade. I wanted no chances to have a change of heart and breed her for more puppies. I never sold a puppy. I kept each and every one of them and showed only the best. My friends in the business thought that I had lost my mind. I did not lose anything. I found at that moment in time so much more…my true love of animals. It is not about me at all. It came to me at that moment that the animals are so giving of themselves that they would do anything for us. Go to shows that are loud and scary, have strangers place their hands on them while they stood perfectly still, be dressed in silly clothes like dolls and yes, they are so loyal they would die for us.
So, in my search I started to find something to do for them. To give back the love to these devoted beings. In January of 2010, I began my journey into Reiki. Reiki is a Japanese technique that results in deep relaxation so the body can heal on a cellular level. A technique designed for people. After completing my studies, I started practicing on myself, friends, family and eventually clients. It came to me: This was how I could give back to my precious animals, through Reiki. I started giving Reiki to my beautiful cat, Veronica when she became ill and I was giving Reiki to her as she made her transcendence. I experienced this wonderful connection to her and it was extremely peaceful. It assisted her along with me with her transcendence. I started offering Reiki to my other pets as well. They sat on my lap and seemed to enjoy the process. I wanted to find out more about offering Reiki to animals. After all, they were not willing to lay on the massage table for one hour. After many books and videos, I came across an organization called SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association). Wow! Offering this wonderful Reiki to shelter animals, what great way to give back. I started taking courses with two very accomplished ladies Kathleen Prasad and Leah D’Ambrosio from SARA. I can say no less than working with the animals has been a profound experience. I have now studied the traditional Japanese method of Reiki and have been certified in these techniques.
I am also a member and teacher with this organization. My highest honor was to work with two very special clients a Siberian Tiger named Balh-Shoy and a Bengal Tiger named Tigger. I went to the CARE Foundation to give them something but truly it was I who received the gifts. To have a connection with these beautiful beings in such a deep manner is something I will never forget. I will always hold these “teachers” in high regard as true Masters. People call themselves “masters” without doing the work. They take a few classes and certify themselves as a master. It takes a tremendous amount of work, love and dedication to be a master. I myself am a work in progress.
This connection is available to all of us if we take the time to be still and listen with our hearts. You, also, can give this gift of love to your animals. Schedule a session for your animal friend or better yet learn these wonderful, life changing techniques so you can share this special connection with your beloved pet.
By Michele Santom
Michele Santom is a SARA Animal Reiki Teacher and owner of her own yoga studio based in Delray Beach, Florida.
Note: If you would like to learn more about Animal Reiki, please visit our website www.shelteranimalreikiassociation.org. Kathleen Prasad will be teaching the Animal Reiki Teacher Training Course at the CARE Foundation in February 2014. You can learn more about this class at http://animalreikisource.com/reiki-classes/reiki-iii-care. To find out more about the CARE Foundation, please visit www.thecarefoundation.org.
Sharing will enrich everyone with more knowledge. ~Ana Monnar
This quote highlights the purpose of a Reiki Share. It is a time to get together with like-minded people to share our experiences, to learn from each other and to practice and share Reiki with each other and with the animals. We support each other and grow together in Reiki.
I host a regular Reiki Share for my Animal Reiki students. We get together every six weeks or so; sometimes we offer Reiki to each other, and other times we take a field trip to offer Reiki to the animals. On June 9, 2013, we met at Ivelolharele Retirement Sanctuary in Chilton, Wisconsin, to share an afternoon of Reiki with the horses and donkeys. Everyone had many wonderful Reiki experiences; and I have two that I would like to share.
Smokey and Buddy
Two of my newer students asked for some guidance as we began the afternoon. So, we went together to offer Reiki to Smokey and Buddy who were sharing a small pasture near the house. These two sweet horses along with some other sweet spirits taught my students about just “Being Reiki” and letting go of what might happen. We sat outside the fence overlooking the countryside. After I guided us in creating a Reiki space and inviting Smokey and Buddy to join us, we sat in the beautiful healing energy. Smokey and Buddy moved around a bit as they grazed, but stayed a few feet away sharing the energy with us.
I think my students were hoping the horses would move closer and stand more directly in front of us, but Smokey and Buddy wanted us to have a different experience. As we sat there in this quiet space, some birds in the evergreen tree next to us moved closer and began chirping very loudly; they were making sure that we knew they had joined us in the energy. Some insects also joined us, flying in and crawling on our notepads.
And at one point, I happened to look over to my right where Sadie, a very sweet donkey, had been grazing nearby; she was looking at us very intently and quietly connecting with us. After we finished, the owner of the sanctuary, Jody, shared that as she was taking pictures, she noticed that the cats in the house had all congregated at the window just behind us; they too were connecting with us. Wow, what a great learning experience for all of us. If we create a Reiki space and invite all of the animals to connect with us, we are able to assist not only those that we intend to work with, but also any others who may choose to join us.
For our second practice session, I was inspired to spend time with the horses in the barn. Yoda and Mikey were in their stalls next to each other, and Cziello was across the aisle. I had worked with Yoda in the past, so I stood in the middle of the aisle facing Yoda and invited all three horses to join me in the Reiki space. Yoda knew why I was there and stayed at the front of his stall often reaching his head out toward me; he was very sweet and open to the energy. Just as I was about to move closer to Yoda, he moved back in his stall, and I immediately felt something warm over my left shoulder. I looked back, and there was Cziello extending his head as far as he could toward me, almost brushing his muzzle against me. I turned around to face Cziello and moved right in front of him placing my hands under his muzzle. He continued looking directly at me; he would push his muzzle into my hands; he would lift his head and smile; and he would cock his head to one side. I just stood there mirroring his movements and sharing the moment with him. Thank you to Cziello for this wonderful experience and for sharing such a beautiful and peaceful connection with me.
I am grateful for all of the wonderful people I have met who share my passion for supporting the well-being of animals through Reiki. I look forward to our Reiki Shares when we have the opportunity to get together, to experience Reiki and to share and learn and grow together. And I thank the animals for connecting with us, teaching us and guiding us on our Reiki journeys.
Thank you everyone who joined us at Ivelolharele Retirement Sanctuary – it was an amazing afternoon sharing Reiki with the horses!
Some rights reserved by Tambako the Jaguar
Upon entering a bottle-feeding goat petting zoo area, a teeny- tiny lone white goat was curled up against a concrete post underneath a gazebo. Immediately I was drawn to squat down beside him while my hands rested on my knees 5 inches apart to create a Reiki space. Telepathically, I stated, “I’m creating a Reiki space. You are welcome to join and take what you want and leave the rest.” Within minutes, two black baby goats came up one-by-one to investigate my hands then each one chose to stand on the outside of my hands with their eyes closed known as a “Reiki nap”. Slowly, I shifted my eyes to the lone goat who introduced himself as “Liam”. Both of his eyes were crusted shut with a thick substance, yet I saw him as perfection. He slowly stood up, carefully placed his feet, turned 180 degrees, and walked straight between my knees as he delicately centered his head between my hands. Tears streamed down my face for although he could not physically see, he knew exactly how and where he wanted to go. Our shared space transcended time, feeling absolute peace, love beyond words, a complete stillness….a pure energetic connection.
Less than five minutes of him joining me and his two black guardian goats, the crusty substance around his eyes began to loosen and one-by-one chunks fell to the ground. It was interesting to note that when several other baby goats approached, the two black goats near my hands would wake up, gently guide them away, come back to stand guard with their eyes closed…all in a very respectful manner.
The four of us basked within this pure love space, diminishing our physical bodies to embrace our oneness of perfection of connections of our souls. A sense of perfection beyond perfection enveloped us. When Liam was finished, his eyes slowly opened to softly gaze into my eyes while his nose gently nudged my hands to thank me. He walked back into his space to curl up…only this time he could physically see.
Curiously I looked up the meaning of “Liam” which means “helmet of will and protection”.
SARA Animal Reiki Teacher
Animal Reiki Divine, LLC
In January of 2013 my two sons and I adopted a beautiful little Blue Merle Sheltie named Gerry. The day we picked him up from the shelter he was so timid that he ran and hid under the desk when he saw us. It took a while, but finally we managed to coax him into the kennel with some treats. My oldest son took him to the car and he headed home with us, his new forever family.
The first night at our house was stressful for all of us. He seemed calm and relaxed in the car ride home so when we got him to the room where he would be sleeping, we opened the kennel door. Unfortunately Gerry was so terrified and stressed that he ran out and messed all over the carpet. We managed to coax him back into the kennel and gave him an hour or so of quiet time before taking him for his first walk. Gerry was so frightened that when he got out on the front step he bolted and slipped his collar. Fortunately he turned to the right when he got to the end of the driveway and thankfully ended up in our neighbor’s backyard. It took a while but we eventually managed to catch him. By the time we put him to bed that night we were wondering if we had made the right decision adopting a timid dog like Gerry, especially when we had never owned a dog in the city and we were quite inexperienced.
Fortunately things began to improve after that, we became more comfortable with Gerry and Gerry became more comfortable with us. He was still extremely timid and often cowered when you made a move towards him.
5 weeks went by and Gerry was slowly coming around, he knew the morning routine and would actually venture up the stairs on his own to await his walk. He had improved to the point that I felt it was time to switch from a harness to a collar so that I could teach him how to walk beside me versus walking in front or behind me. The night I purchased the collar I took Gerry for a walk and I was so proud of the way he minded with the new collar, he seemed proud of himself as well. It was the perfect end to a perfect day, it felt like things were finally turning around.
The next morning he came up and waited in the porch for me to get ready. I checked his new collar and noticed that it was extremely tight so I decided to loosen it a notch. When we got out on the front step something startled him and he slipped the collar, I watched him run down the street as fast as his little legs could carry him and by the time I got to the end of the block he was already halfway up the next one. I was mad at myself for switching to a collar, how could I have made the same mistake twice? I was also terrified that we may never see him again.
Gerry was spotted numerous times in the first week, both in our subdivision as well as in acreages 2 miles south of us, then suddenly he disappeared for a week. I was worried sick about him being out there all alone and I felt responsible. The 2nd week he was missing my Reiki teacher and practitioner Hazel Butterworth sent Gerry’s picture to Kristy Mcgale who specializes in Animal Reiki. Kristy connected with Gerry, she said she saw train tracks and popcorn. Asked him if he was okay. Got a yes and no answer, she said he seemed to be missing his foster family. She also sent him Reiki. Hazel suggested that I too send Gerry distance Reiki. I had taken my level 1 & 2 in the fall of 2011 and for some reason had stopped practicing daily. I decided it was time to get back to it. I had a stuffed dog that has a mane similar to Gerry so I decided to use this dog whenever I connected with Gerry and sent him distance Reiki. Hazel suggested that while he was away I should contemplate what I was learning from this experience.
I had been seriously contemplating the lessons I was learning and the one that stood out the most was “acceptance”, we were so hung up on his Gerry’s timid nature and wishing he was more friendly and cuddly. But the day he left I could feel the absence of his loving and peaceful energy and I realized in that moment just how much he brought to our household just with his presence. It seemed Gerry had an impact on everyone who met him. He had the most beautiful mane and it is shaped like a heart. He really is a miraculous, magical dog.
Hazel suggested that I surrender the outcome, he knows you are there and he is wanting to return on his terms. Letting go and surrendering the outcome was proving to be difficult indeed, especially since Gerry had been missing for almost a week, but the Reiki helped lift me up and renewed my faith. Each morning and night I would connect and send Reiki to Gerry, and during these times I could feel the energy exploding through my heart, there was definitely a connection between us.
A few days later Gerry appeared one morning sunning himself under a tree in the park just beyond our back fence. He had eaten the food we continued to leave out for him on the front porch. As soon as I went out to the backyard with his kennel he ran away to the woods behind our house. I left the kennel in the backyard with food thinking he may come back, but he didn’t return that night.
The next night he appeared in the backyard looking for food. I snuck out quietly and closed the gate, as soon as he heard me he started to pace back and forth along the fence line. I decided I would let him settle for a few minutes before I went out to catch him, but by the time I got outside he must have figured out how to jump the fence and was long gone. I started to receive messages that Gerry was not coming home until I surrendered. We tried 2 more times that week to trap him in the backyard but each time he jumped the fence. On the third night he waited until we were in bed to return and eat the food we left for him, then he vanished.
The days passed and no sign of Gerry and no calls either. It suddenly became apparent to me that we were not “getting” the lesson that Gerry was here to teach. A week after he vanished Kristy McGale stopped by with her dog Logan. She wanted to take a walk around the area where he had last been spotted to see if she could connect to Gerry. She also visited with my son Cody and I and offered some suggestions on how we could connect with Gerry. She suggested visualizing a bridge, one on which he could meet us half way. I am so grateful to her for sharing this information as I found it enabled me to connect with Gerry in a different way. My focus now became acceptance of who he is (timid or not) and suggesting that we both release our fears about this situation and meet in the middle.
Hazel and Kristy’s recommendations enabled me to surrender the fear of him never coming back and to instead focus on love and acceptance. On March 24th over a month after Gerry had run away I connected with Gerry at bedtime. I asked him if he wanted to come home and he said YES. I asked him if I had his permission to trap him, if that’s what it would take to bring him home, he said YES. I then let him know that in order for him to be found he would have to let someone see him so that they could contact us. This session moved me deeply and gave me a sense of peace that I had not felt in a very long time.
The evening of March 27th a gentleman named Ben called to say that he thinks he has our dog. He works at a Landscaping company about 28 km southwest of us. He said that this little dog started appearing about 3 days ago. The reason he had not called right away is because it took him a couple of days to find my lost dog ad on Kijiji. He said Gerry was staying in one of their storage sheds so they started to feed him. They had attempted to get near him but he would run up into the back of the property and stay there until they went home at night. They started to close all doors to the shed except one and hoped that the following morning when they came in they would manage to trap him in the shed.
I connected with Gerry that night and let him know that these people wanted to help him come home and that it was okay to trust them. The next morning Ben called to say that he was not in the shed but when they went looking around the property they found him caught in the fence. They brought him into Ben’s office and made him a comfortable little spot where he felt safe and secure. It’s hard to explain the happiness I felt inside when I saw our Gerry lying there on the floor in Ben’s office. He looked smaller than I remembered… I sat with him for a bit then put his harness and leash on and coaxed him into his kennel. I thanked them with all my heart for reuniting us with Gerry.
I must make mention that railroad tracks run very near the place where Gerry was found and the movie theaters (popcorn) are also nearby. Thanks Kristy!
It’s impossible to express in words how grateful I am to all who assisted us in bringing Gerry home. I also feel such gratitude for this little dog Gerry who sacrificed himself so that we may learn the importance of letting go of judgement and surrendering the outcome of our lives to God and the Universe. Gerry truly is a Magic Dog and we are extremely blessed that he chose us to be his forever family.
NOTE FROM SARA: Brenda Tompkins is not a SARA member but her story came to us from SARA Teacher Kristy McGale who thought our members might find it interesting. If you know of a story that would fit our blog, please feel free to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living where I do I have many opportunities to get out in nature. I like to walk late in the day in hopes of catching the deer or a fox. Every once in a while, the wildlife comes to me.
Back in the fall I was in my kitchen preparing to go out for the day. When I turned toward the window I was startled to see a full grown moose staring in at me! He was beautiful against the autumn leaves, sporting a full rack and looking for all the world like he belonged there. My kitchen window is half a floor up so you can get an idea of his height.
Thrilled, I called for my husband then ran furiously around the house trying to locate my camera or cell phone. It’s been my experience that these things are never handy in such a situation. I have missed photographing a bear and a bobcat looking for that elusive camera!
Meanwhile, my husband was standing at the kitchen window, keeping an eye on our visitor. He was totally enjoying the moment. That’s because he doesn’t have a Facebook page. As I ran past the window going up the stairs I could see him turning away. It is my belief that he felt the chaotic energy coming from the house. In my defense, I did have the presence of mind to thank him for coming.
In the days following the moose’s visit to our dooryard, I have thought a lot about how often I miss the moment. Perhaps I am thinking about the perfect quote that will go with the picture I am about to take, or how pretty this view will look on my website. Whatever plan I have for the thing that has captured my attention, more and more it seems to be about social network sharing. It’s impossible to be present while doing this.
This wayward moose taught me some valuable lessons:
- Be in the moment.
- Enjoy what you have while it’s still here.
- Having the experience is far better than having the picture.
- When a moose comes to visit honor his presence by being present.
I never did get the picture. He was heading up the mountain when I finally found the camera. At least my husband had the full experience. Guess I learned something from my husband too.
The irony is not lost on me that this article will appear on a blog. The photo is a stock photo.
Every February for the past three years I have had the most incredible opportunity to visit a wildlife sanctuary in Apopka, Florida, The C.A.R.E. Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located on a beautiful piece of property tucked away in the middle of rural Florida amongst the trees. C.A.R.E. houses two bears, two black leopards, three tigers, venomous snakes, raccoons, foxes, monkeys, a cougar, a panther, even a variety of barnyard animals. They are all cared for by an amazing woman named Christin who founded CARE back in 1998. Of course she has staff and volunteers that help her but when she walks around, the property, the animals only have eyes for her. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting her you will be as drawn to her as they are. She is like meeting a powerful warrior princess. This incredible woman has scars from being bit by every animal imaginable and when sharing her war stories, she will humbly tell you how it was her fault she was bit. She takes amazing care of each and every animal housed on her property and knows every small detail of their personality. They all exude health and happiness which is a rarity for many sanctuaries and a testament to her love and care.
What brings me here each year is my business partner Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source. Kathleen teaches a three-day animal Reiki teacher training class once a year at the sanctuary. I have the incredible honor and job of being her assistant during class and educating the students of the benefits of joining our non-profit, the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA). CARE is an official SARA shelter which means they are open to animal Reiki and happily allow it to be offered to the animals by SARA members.
Although each of the animals at CARE is amazing in their special way, for me the two Bengal tigers, Tigger and Punkin, are the draw. As soon as I arrive I run to the back of the property to sit with them and enjoy their overwhelmingly powerful energy. There is simply nothing better in life than those moments I share with the tigers. I am not really a cat person but these cats are an exception. They have a strength and beauty you can’t help but admire, respect and fear. All you have to do is be around them at feeding time to realize they can switch from calm to fierce in the blink of an eye, reminding you that as cute as they are, they are still wild animals. If you still don’t get it after witnessing the fierceness at feeding, Christin will be sure to give you a lecture on all the reasons wild animals do not make good pets. Unfortunately some of the animals at CARE are there because they were being raised as pets and the owners quickly realized they were in over their heads. Luckily for them, their stories ended well by being rehomed at CARE.
During my first visit to CARE, I was immediately drawn to Tigger and Punkin. On the first day of class I couldn’t wait to get up to their area and practice Reiki on them. As a Reiki practitioner I sometimes find myself in the mindset of “I’m going to offer Reiki and make you feel better” which is my ego getting the better of me. The tigers who are masters at sensing bullshit, immediately corrected me and said “No! You’re going to let go, stop doing, stop feeling sorry for us and see what true Reiki feels like!” And once I let go of all thoughts of doing and all thoughts of “oh you poor caged tigers”, I was able to connect with them and feel their energy wash over me. In that space of connection it was like riding a wave and feeling completely loved and free. The strength of it was overwhelming yet it was at the same time calm and peaceful. If I had to paint of a picture of the feeling it would be of a beautiful sunset with the sky bathed in deep orange, red and pink. The kind of sunset that takes your breath away and you hope never ends. As I sat with them in the Reiki space, I let go of all worries, all thoughts of doing and immediately was in a place of just being. They reminded me that this is what the true nature of Reiki is – being without thought or expectation. For a control freak like me, on my own this is a very hard concept to grasp but in their presence it was easy and natural.
Their energy is addictive and impossible to leave but eventually leave you must and it is with a very heavy heart when you do. Luckily with Reiki I found I could easily tap back into that energy and bring them into my meditations to help guide me back to the place of just being. During the year between our first and second visits, I practiced with them on a regular basis. I felt so blessed and thankful to have such amazing Reiki teachers. Frans Stiene and Kathleen are my two human teachers and I don’t want to sell them short because they are both beyond anyone out there, but Tigger and Punkin are masters on the level of Buddha. Actually, I can’t help but think he would fall short too!
The year between my first visit and second visit seemed like a lifetime but finally, February 2012 arrived and Kathleen and I were back at CARE! We were both excited and anxious to see if the animals would have any memory of us at all. Although our hopes were high our expectations were low. As great as we might think we are, we know from personal experience animals will be the first to pop your ego and let you know you’re really not!
Our first visit was to Makoto, a beautiful black leopard who just happened to be a man-eater. Yes, a true, “I would just as soon as eat you as look at you” kind of a leopard. No one could believe Christin took this boy on but she did and in her care he was at least manageable for her. But for the rest of us lowly people, he only had contempt. The year before, Makoto had made a very special connection with Kathleen which had been surprising given his nature and history. During the year between our visits, Kathleen had been connecting with Makoto through Reiki to help her find the strength to not only beat cancer but to live and thrive. For her, this first visit was unique because she wanted to thank him for all he had done to get her through the darkest moments of her life.
Quietly we walked up to his cage where he sat still, looking at us out of the corner of his eye. Kathleen started talking to him sweetly and thanking him for all he had done. Makoto turned and looked into her eyes and then started sniffing the air. He tried to stick his nose out of the cage to get a better smell. And then the most amazing thing happened. He started purring and rubbing his head on the cage like a domestic cat happy to see his partner! Wait, isn’t this the man-eating leopard that tolerates no one? To say we were shocked at his response to her is a huge understatement.
After some much needed Makoto love for Kathleen, we were off to the tigers. I could barely contain myself! As we walked up the path to their area we started talking to them. They immediately jumped off their perches and came to the fence where they started chuffing – a sound they make when they see a friend – and rubbing their bodies on the fences close to us. What a wonderful hello and welcome back! It was such an amazing feeling to know these beautiful beings remembered us and were so happy to be seeing us again!
That visit and our most recent visit with them made me realize that when I let go and connect with my heart to the tigers’ hearts in the meditation space, they are really truly feeling it as much as I am. Of course this is something I always tried to believe, wanted to believe, but my ego always had reasons why it may not be possible. Their response to me removed any and all doubt. They let me know they felt the connection as deeply as I did. It was such an amazing lesson to know that in the space of connection, there really doesn’t exist any time or space. In that space of heart connection, you are truly together. So profound yet so simple. It was this lesson that made me realize Tigger and Punkin were the real teachers and that I was just a student who had a lot to learn.
Looking into the eyes of a tiger is an incredibly humbling experience. There is no hiding your insecurities, weaknesses and dishonesty. They see you for exactly who you are and if you come to them with an agenda, they will quickly let you know they are playing no part of that. Like true masters, they teach you to be mindful of the precepts. Do not come to us with anger or worry. Be humble, honest and compassionate to yourself and others. If you are anything but, the tigers will show you their backs and insist you do not bother them again until you can sit in their space without ego. I wish I could say I have never been reprimanded by Tigger and Punkin or felt their cold disconnect, but I am human and needy and in practicing the honesty precept I will share that I have once or twice gone to them with an agenda expecting them to look at me and do their cute chuffing sound and make me feel special. Unfortunately, tigers, much like homies, don’t play that game. They give you a disdainful look for a quick second before they turn and pretend you are nothing but a pesky fly. If you have never been dissed by a tiger, be glad. It is a very humiliating feeling!
A few months have passed since my last visit but every day I am with them in my meditations. When I close my eyes and let go of the day’s worries, I connect to them with my heart and feel their powerful energy bring me to a quiet place where my body and heart start to heal. They generously offer this beautiful space where I can connect and experience, if only for a moment, what it feels like to really live in the precepts. A human teacher may be able to offer this too, but the animals bring it to you in a way that allows you to experience this lesson with every cell in your being.
If you ever have a chance to get to CARE (and really you have no excuse not to since Kathleen offers a class there every year!), be sure to take a moment and sit with Tigger and Punkin. You will find yourself in the presence of two beautiful Buddhas whose looks fill you with a sense of peace and love you never knew existed.
If you were inspired by this story and would like to help Tigger and Punkin and the other animals at CARE, please visit www.carefoundation.org.
Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source will be offering another Shinpiden Animal Reiki Teacher Training course in February 2014. For more information, please visit www.animalreikisource.com.
About the author: Leah is the Vice President of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA). She has taught animal Reiki classes at the Humane Society Silicon Valley, the Homeless Cat Network, Rabbit Haven and offers regular classes at Pregnant Mare Rescue in Aptos, California. She is currently teaching the SARA Animal Reiki for Reiki Practitioners teleclass. Leah is available for in person animal Reiki treatments.