Humility, Reiki, and Animals’ Perspectives by Nancy Schluntz

Bee 2Just for today, I will be humble. The third Reiki precept. Humility is perhaps best defined by what it is not, rather than what it is.

My dictionary defines Humility as the state or quality of being humble, conscious of one’s defects or shortcomings; not proud or self-assertive; modest, unpretentious. Humble comes from Latin humilis—low, small, slight, akin to humus, soil, earth. Humus, from the Latin for earth, ground, or soil, is the brown or black organic substance resulting from partial decay of plant or animal matter. Humus provides fertilizer for new growth. In my dictionary, humble is listed just above humble-bee, another term for bumblebee. Humility comes right above hummer, the affectionate term for hummingbirds. It’s interesting that the quality of being humble, grounded to the earth, is so closely placed to creatures that fly.

I asked to speak with Bee, to gain greater insight into humility. I heard buzzing, and thought to ask if it mattered which kind of bee I spoke with?

Bee 3The answer came:

No, we are all connected. Bee continued. Are we humble? We do our jobs, we move through the world showing how to live cooperatively. We are what we are—no more, no less. Our lives may appear simple to you, yet they are intricate, like our dances. We have disagreements, as does your kind. That happens when some lose sight of what is best for the hive. We do not ask for recognition for our work. Nor do we diminish its value. Our place in the scheme of things is greater than our size.

Humility is like that. Value the service you do, as part of the greater hive, but do not lose perspective. You have asked me to speak about something that is both very great and very small. Each is an important part of the whole. The whole is diminished when a part is missing, or when a part inflates its own importance. It is delicate, the balance between valuing one’s self and seeking accolades for one’s growth. When you seek that, it shows that you have not advanced as far as you think you have. This does not only apply to humans, but to all life forms. Balance, and being, secure in one’s self. It is enough.

“Thank you bee. It is complex, isn’t it?”

Bee: Yes, and no.

Song Sparrow by HeidiThe song of sparrows, who had returned with warmer weather, called my attention outside. Black-crowned and gold-crowned sparrows visit our backyard, with their songs that sound lonely and joyous at the same time. I asked to speak with Sparrow.

A soft voice answered, I am here. It is almost time for nesting. The energies are rising.

“Thank you for your presence,” I said. “Would you share your thoughts about humility?”

Sometimes, Sparrow said, to be small is to be great, being large and small at the same time. Each being has its place in the scheme of things. Each is important. No more, no less. Some, like the hawks, are larger and have a greater visible impact. Others, like us, weave the pieces together. Small as we are, we sparrows are an essential part of the web of life. We feed, and help spread the seeds that bring new life. We are prey and help sustain life for those who are larger. We sing, and our song brings joy.

Humility is being who you are. Do not measure yourself against others, to make yourself greater or smaller. We do not measure ourselves against the Song Sparrowhawks, for theirs is a different journey. Even our flight, undulating up and down, serves to teach that there are higher and lower times. Honor your gifts and use them well. Honor what you receive and be grateful. Each being has its role. To deny it, or to claim more, damages the whole. We are. That is enough.

Myself, I’m glad to be a sparrow. I love the joy of flight and another season of healthy nesting, the search for food. Think of that joy when you hear our song.

With that, sparrow flew off to a low branch, and serenaded all who could hear with his beautiful three-note descending call.

I thanked Bee and Sparrow, mindful of their gifts. Bees are significant to our health and wellbeing: 80 percent of flowering plants rely on bees (which aerodynamically are not supposed to be able to fly), and other pollinators, to reproduce. Sparrow reminds us to see nobility in the most common things, and that through humility we can express unconditional love. Both spoke of being great and small at the same time.

Their message of humility in service is guidance for all of us as we grow to trust our inner selves, and open to the flow of healing energy that is Reiki. We are in service. That is enough. Just for today, I will be humble.

Note: This is the third of five articles about animal perspectives on the Reiki precepts.

Rev. Nancy Schluntz is a SARA practitioner member and offers for Reiki for animals (and their people) who are approaching the end of life. Nancy also offers Reiki to animals at the wildlife rehabilitation center where she volunteers.

Photo Credit: Photos of sparrows courtesy of Heidi Piccerelli. Heidi’s work can be viewed and purchased at and


Reiki Helps a Parrot

Originally published in Reiki News Magazine – Reprinted with permission

When an early morning request arrived with an urgent plea for Reiki for a parrot, I had no idea what an amazing journey was in store for me for the next several weeks. Even though the parrot would ultimately transition, Reiki would provide peace and comfort as well as a temporary rejuvenation for him.

Sydney the Reiki parrot

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mills

Sydney was a 13-year-old Quaker parrot that was quite ill. His person, Elizabeth, explained that he had pneumonia, had been having difficulty breathing in the last few days, and that his overall health had taken a downturn several months back.

He was currently being treated with antibiotics and other conventional veterinary medications at one of the local animal clinics, where the vet was somewhat experienced with avian cases. The veterinarian was not sure what had caused the pneumonia and wanted to find out. Further testing may have given more insight into this, but it was quite likely that in his present condition, Sydney would not survive. So Elizabeth hoped the Reiki would be beneficial. If there was no improvement, the vet had already discussed the option of euthanasia within the next few days.

Elizabeth asked if I would meet her at the clinic to give Sydney a Reiki session. I met her there and was appreciative that the staff was accepting of a holistic practitioner coming in to work with the parrot. In fact, they had graciously set up a small, unused exam room that we could use. The parrot was in a glass habitat that kept the temperature comfortably warm for him in order to aid his ability to breathe and hopefully recover.

I explained to Elizabeth that since energy knows no bounds, it would flow to Sydney even if I did not touch him. She was understanding of this. Elizabeth stayed with me. We each sat in a chair nearby. I spoke softly to the sweet Quaker parrot and explained that I would be offering him Reiki, which was healing energy for his Highest Good. I let him know he could take as much or as little energy as he wished.

He seemed very open and receptive to the energy, and stayed on his perch, calmly watching and soaking up the Reiki. He kept an eye on me, and relaxed into the session. He appeared to be dozing, yet still his eyes would curiously blink open to check on me. At one point, he became more alert and did a bit of grooming with his feathers, but then relaxed again. That first session was quite powerful, and I could feel he was drawing in so much energy.

There was a time toward the end of the treatment that I felt as if my heart was suddenly connected to his. Tears welled in my eyes as I felt an intense surge of emotion. It was a beautiful sensation. I thanked Sydney for allowing me to connect with him in this way, and for being a partner in the healing process.

As I stood up to leave, Elizabeth played a bit of “peekaboo” with the parrot and he happily replied, saying “peekaboo” back to her. I could see that he was a little more energetic. Later on that day, Elizabeth reported that Sydney had shown definite improvement, was playing and dancing, and had taken a very exhilarating bath.

I went back the next day, and Elizabeth stopped by to give me an update and set me up in the same room. She had to return to work so it was just Sydney and me for this session. Sydney seemed happy to see me. As soon as the energy started flowing, he became quite relaxed and receptive. He snoozed while still keeping an eye on me. I believe he almost went into a meditative state, and I could clearly feel that he was drawing in much healing energy.

Toward the end of the session, Sydney became more alert and began to eat several edamame beans that had been provided for him. Then he went back to his relaxed pose. When I stood up to leave and say good-bye, he became more awake, and I spoke to him for a few minutes. He seemed quite intent and focused, almost as if he understood my words.

Elizabeth called me the next morning, relieved that Sydney was going to be able to come home! She asked me to come to the house that same afternoon for an additional session. You can imagine my astonishment and delight to find that Sydney had a feisty, youthful female parrot partner named Coco. Coco is about three and is quite exuberantly vocal with parrot calls and communication. Elizabeth had explained that prior to my arrival, the two had just shared a warm and joyful reunion after this week apart. It was clear that they were extremely bonded, nuzzling and grooming each other, and chattering happily.

A spare bedroom had been optimally set up climate-wise at a temperature of 80 degrees with a humidifier providing moisture. There was even some soft, new age music playing! (Elizabeth is such a devoted and loving parrot parent.)

I sat on a chair near the cage, my hands palms-up in my lap. I called in the flow of Reiki energy, and then imagined myself in a sunlit jungle sitting amidst the trees with these beautiful birds perched nearby, and went into a light state of meditation. Both parrots watched me intently. Sydney was knowing and welcoming to the energy, confidently coming to the front of the cage. Coco was curious but stayed up on the perch further back. She was screeching loudly every few seconds.

At one point Elizabeth removed Coco from the cage, thinking the session would be more focused and peaceful for Sydney with Coco downstairs. But the amount of squawking that took place let us know in no uncertain terms that the Quakers wanted to be together. So Coco was returned to the cage.

Sydney relaxed into the Reiki, staying at the front of the cage. After a little bit, Coco joined him and for the last part of the session became calmer, gently nuzzling Sydney and relaxing by his side. I could feel the energy flowing particularly strongly.

Overall, I felt such a sense of peace and happiness emanating from the pair of parrots that my own spirits were uplifted and soaring on light, joyful wings!

After the session, Elizabeth helped Sydney onto my finger so I could hold him for a moment, and I was delighted with this little physical connection. She then took him and asked him to give me a kiss. As she brought him close to my face, I received the sweetest little parrot kiss and was so touched.

I heard from Elizabeth at the end of the week and she was concerned because Sydney was again having some breathing difficulties. Since it was near the weekend, she brought him into the animal hospital (her regular vet was closed) so he could receive additional oxygen and get his injections of antibiotic for the weekend.

On Sunday night, I offered Sydney a distant healing session, which I felt him strongly accepting. The next morning he was able to actually go back home with Elizabeth, and she requested that I come for a fourth in-person session. However, at this time, Elizabeth kept him in his own cage because Coco’s youthful exuberance seemed to be too much for him. So, Sydney was in his cage on top of a dresser and Coco was in her cage on the floor. Sydney was happy to see me. Though he seemed a little weak, I sensed his very strong and joyful spirit. Elizabeth had informed me that he was not eating or drinking very much, but he did eat a little bit toward the end of his session. He accepted much healing energy, remaining at the front of his cage, very calm and relaxed throughout. Afterward, Elizabeth offered him some berry juice, which he sipped quite eagerly.

The next day, Elizabeth wrote to me with some good news: Sydney was much improved and eating and drinking normally. She had taken him to the regular vet to continue with the vaccine antibiotic, and the vet was quite amazed with how energetic and talkative Sydney was, compared to the previous week. He still detected some congestion in his lungs.

Elizabeth had already been interested in learning Reiki herself, and had planned on taking my Reiki Level I class the previous Saturday. However, since Sydney had ended up on oxygen, she had postponed it. She now wished to take it as soon as possible so she could continue helping Sydney on her own. After I had shared the teachings and attuned her, we both worked with the parrots. We sat on the floor in their room and offered them healing energy.

Elizabeth continued with daily Reiki sessions and even sent me some uplifting videos she took of Sydney happily playing and building with little wooden sticks! It is remarkable the way Reiki helped Sydney rally for several weeks to have some additional quality time with Elizabeth and Coco. Though Elizabeth was secretly hoping for a miracle of complete recovery, I also know that in her heart she was preparing for however Sydney’s journey might unfold, as I think she suspected it might be his time to pass.

At one point Sydney began to be in distress again. The regular vet was not available so Sydney was sent to an avian specialist in New York City, where an X-ray revealed that he had an extremely enlarged heart, a congenital physical condition that was not curable, and minutes after the X-ray, Sydney made his transition. While there, Elizabeth made the acquaintance of a recently rescued male Quaker parrot, who had been found in very bad shape somewhere in Manhattan. He had been nursed back to health by the veterinary staff, and was now ready to be adopted. His story touched Elizabeth’s heart, and she decided that she would be his new mom, and that Coco would benefit from the companionship of another parrot to help ease her sorrow about losing Sydney. Though Elizabeth knew she would grieve for Sydney, she felt it would be a special tribute to him to give another parrot a loving home.

Elizabeth shared with me that she truly felt that having Reiki in her life at this particular point in time helped her handle this challenging end-of-life stage of Sydney’s with greater ease, understanding and peacefulness. For me, this entire odyssey of offering healing energy to a sweet winged creature showed me once again that Reiki works in such remarkable, mysterious and heartwarming ways.

Sheryl Schlameuss Berger

A Reiki Mama

The nesting box sits in a rather unremarkable location in the backyard. I have walked past it on numerous occasions but it has always been empty. This morning as I strolled past on my way to feed the chickens, I became away of the chirping coming from inside the box. As I stopped to take a peek I could only catch a quick glimpse of mama, who ducked quickly back inside to the safe dark confines of the box. I could hear the chirping of the babies inside. It didn’t take long for papa to become aware of my presence and as I passed by again to deliver fresh water to the chicken coop nearby, I was soon being “dive bombed.” I knew immediately that papa was in protective mode and stopped only momentarily because having this bird swoop to within an inch of my face and head was a bit scary to say the least.

My delivery finished to the chicken coop, I quickly retreated to the safety of the house but realized shortly thereafter that this was a perfect opportunity to offer Reiki. I so wanted to become acquainted with mama and since I would be caring for the family chickens for another four days did not want to be “dive bombed” every time I ventured out into the back yard and wanted papa to know I meant him no harm. I watched from the kitchen window as papa dutifully brought food to mama and the babies.

A short time later, I ventured back outside and stood about five feet from the nesting box. I caught a quick glimpse of papa sitting on the roof of the house. After setting my intention and telepathically communicating with the birds that I meant them no harm and was offering Reiki to them, I began. The results were quite astonishing. Papa continued to get food for his family, but his flying patterns changed. He flew gentle circles above me and never once “dive bombed” me. Mama came to the front of the box and just looked at me. Papa arrived shortly thereafter with another mouthful of food and after giving it to the mother simply flew away as if I wasn’t there. As I continued to offer Reiki, I could see a palpable change in the demeanor of the mother bird. Instead of loudly chirping for papa to bring more food, she just seemed to wait patiently her eyes closed. Papa continued to fly overhead but never showed any aggression towards me. Soon the mother bird took on the appearance of pure Reiki bliss. Papa delivered food several times. I decided to move closer and eventually found myself within inches of the opening of the box talking softly to the mother bird and she never moved but just sat there breathing gently eyes closed for the most part accepting my offering of Reiki. It was truly a magical experience. The chirping of the babies completely stopped and all was silent.

Each day as I passed by the box to deliver food and fresh water to the chickens, I always stopped to offer my hellos to mama bird. She always stayed near the opening and never ducked back inside. In the four days that followed, I was never attacked or “dive bombed” by papa. What an honor to have these marvelous little creatures allow me into their world. I only had one additional opportunity to offer Reiki to this family and as with the first time, they all accepted my offering with pure bliss. I sensed telepathically that they were all quite grateful. To be able to bond with these wild little creatures through the magic of Reiki is such an honor and with every new interaction, I become more and more grateful for another new friend. In this case an entire family! Thank you Reiki.

Lauren Urbais, M.Ed.

Reiki with Butterscotch the Parakeet

One beautiful spring day, I was contemplating how much I’d like to be bringing Reiki more into my daily life (besides my own self-practice). I was having a hard time concentrating on my work and had Spring Fever.

I went out for some fresh air at lunch and on my return home, I bumped into a neighbor whom I hardly ever saw let alone spoke to. This time though, she invited me in to meet her new Parakeet. She’d never had a bird before and was so excited to talk and share stories about him. The bird was lovely – all Easter egg pastel coloring – but Marge was concerned because every time she put her hand into the cage and tried to lure him out, he’d nip at and bite her fingers.

I told her about Reiki and my involvement with animal Reiki and SARA, and offered to give Butterscotch (so named by her grandchildren) a Reiki treatment. Marge was very open to trying this so we made an appointment for that night. I went back to work a very happy camper and was able to concentrate on my work, knowing that I had an interesting evening ahead, especially since I’d never offered Reiki to a bird!

When I first arrived at Marge’s, Butterscotch was very active in his cage, hopping from branch to branch, ringing his bell, and pecking at the mirror he loved to look into. Marge’s home was already very peaceful and with the Reiki music in the background, I was able to enter into that deep Reiki meditative state where I connected to Butterscotch and held the energetic space open for healing to occur.

I sat on the couch across from Butterscotch’s cage, and he quieted down almost immediately. I observed his chest moving up and down slowly and rhythmically, indicating he had gone into a relaxed state. The treatment lasted about an hour and when I turned around to talk to Marge, she was napping in her chair… seems she had benefited from the energy as well!

The next day, I checked in with Marge and she was thrilled (and surprised) that Butterscotch had come out of his cage without nipping at her fingers! He had spent about an hour just hopping up and down the length of her floor to ceiling mirror, admiring his reflection. I was leaving town the next day, but offered to follow up with another Reiki treatment when I returned. Unfortunately, Marge and I kept missing each other over the next couple weeks, and when I finally saw her, she told me that he had been nipping at her fingers again. Butterscotch had gone to live with her grandchildren, where he would have another parakeet to interact with.

I was surprised how attached I felt to that bird in just the one hour I spent with him. (I consider myself a ‘cat person’ after all!) I was sad to know I wouldn’t get to visit him again, but knowing he was going to a good home helped. One of the lessons of Reiki is to let go and let whatever needs to happen happen. This was a good reminder for me to not become attached to the outcome for any animals, whether they’re domestic animals in caring homes or in a shelter situation, awaiting their forever home.

Corrine Kuhl