A lesson in seeing from the heart!

DaveyKathleen 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.

A shift in my reiki practice – let the animals teach the students

I remember as if it was yesterday, sitting in a room listening to Frans Steine talk about the city of Paris. This may seem strange to you but what he said was so profound and life changing. He said there is a huge difference between going to Paris and describing Paris. What he meant is that there are lots of information in books on the internet about Paris, which of course you could share but unless you actually went to Paris and experienced it, you would be describing something second hand. Now you may be thinking what can this have to do with Reiki? It is the same for Reiki as there are many books out there but unless you experience Reiki, your description will only be judged on someone else’s experience. This is so important when you teach Reiki, as you need to use your own experiences to explain. Last September, when Kathleen came to the UK and  spoke about Animal Reiki. It was by using her own experience’s that made her teaching come alive. She was able to draw on all of the amazing understandings she had learnt from the animals and to share it with us.

Recently I taught Reiki at two SARA Sanctuary’s, the first at Remus Horse Sanctuary. For over 7 years I have been offering Reiki to the animals there.  I learnt from Kathleen last September, the importance of being in the Reiki space for longer, to allow the animals who were nervous to come into the Reiki space. This had a huge shift in my own Reiki practice. It really made me reflect on the discipline of Reiki and how by being in that space for longer. Of course my ‘ego’ had said that there is nothing happening, so I should move on. In fact when nothing is happening everything is happening. By allowing the animals to come into the space in their own time, it allowed animals who had never had Reiki to come forward. We offered Reiki to the horses, goats and sheep. What happened in the workshop was that we were able to work with the cows at Remus,

Remus Level 1 Students

Remus Level 1 Students


Hector's Gate Level 1 Students

Hector’s Gate Level 1 Students

Blossom and Amber. This is the first time ever that I had been able to work with them. Due to the cold weather, they had been brought into the barn in the evening. I spoke to Vicky and asked her, if there was anything that I should know about working with the cows. She said it was important that we did not get in between them, as they do not like to be separated. I took the students into the barn and we stood in the middle. What happened next was totally amazing, as Amber left Blossom and came around the back of us. We were sandwiched in the middle of them.  It was almost as if they had heard the conversation that I had with Vicky. Standing in the middle and being in the space was very powerful. It was such an honour that they could teach my students. As we had our photograph taken by Vicky, Amber came to have her photo taken too.

Just a few days later, I was teaching at Hector’s Gate, this is a new SARA Sanctuary. I arrived on the Friday morning and just had a ‘knowing’ feeling that the animals would come forward to teach these new students. As I taught, Lottie who was a Hector’s Gate Rescue dog had been circling in the field outside the barn where I was teaching. She jumped over the gate and sat on my feet pushed her whole body into me and showed the Hector’s Gate students what animal Reiki was all about. I offered her Reiki and everyone was totally amazed, as she had never before gone to someone that she had never met before. It was an insightful moment for both me as a teacher and for the students. We worked with the horses, dogs and then worked with the chickens. As we entered the chicken pen, it was very noisy. We stood in our own Reiki space and I taught them about not judging but ‘being’. In that space, there was total quietness, the chickens just became silent, as they, for the first time experienced Reiki. Afterwards they all gathered together and slept. Again the students watched on astounded.

What I learnt is that it is the animals that are the teachers and by letting it unfold and not worrying the animals were able to come forward and to show what Animal Reiki truly is. It is also important to teach from experience as you can let go of any worry and ‘just know’.

Remembering Missy

I met Missy during my first month as a volunteer at Horse Haven of Tennessee. Following my volunteer shifts, I am able to do Reiki work with the horses that our barn manager feels would benefit. I had been primarily working with a Hackney pony, Napoleon, who had a severe mistrust of most people with the exception of our barn manager. He had been coming along nicely, so when a new group of rescue horses arrived, I began to work with them as well. The first horse I chose to work with was Missy. As I entered her stall, I realized that this was the type of moment I had most feared experiencing since starting my work at Horse Haven: she was severely emaciated, weak and blind in one eye. She openly welcomed me into her space. She had been munching on a large pile of hay, deeply contented. You could see some relief in her face to have clean water and probably what seemed to be a never ending supply of hay.

I began to let the Reiki flow from the corner of her stall. She stopped her munching to shift her stance in my direction, and as the minutes rolled by she began to lower her head into a relaxed position. After some time, she approached me and put her head right into my hands. This was a new experience for me, because Napoleon had exclusively preferred to experience Reiki without contact. Missy directed my hands to her blind side, clearly wanting to feel the Reiki near her blind eye and on this side of her head. After a while, she stepped forward and leaned into me so I could place my hands on her chest and shoulder. She gradually repositioned herself, even actually turning around, so I could place my hands on the sharp prominent bones of her spine and hind quarters. It was in this very moment, while working with such a trusting and beautiful though severely neglected soul, that I realized that the Reiki was lifting me up and far away from my fear and sorrow. The Reiki was allowing me to hold the light for Missy, creating the healing space that she desperately needed. It was even more amazing in that I felt almost a forgiveness pouring out of her heart toward human kind and to those that had abused her. She could see so far beyond this, even in her weakened condition, to allow another human to share her space, remaining fully open to the experience that unfolded between us.

I thanked Missy for giving me the privilege to create a healing space for her with Reiki and for the healing that I received as well. As I said good bye to her, I was already looking forward to our next session the following week. I did distant Reiki work with her on the following two days and felt a connection with her and acceptance of the Reiki treatments. The following Sunday when I arrived for my weekly shift, my heart dropped when I saw that her stall was empty. I frantically sought out my shift leader, who sadly informed me that Missy had colicked on Thursday night and despite all efforts to save her, she died around midnight that night. She was surrounded by the volunteers on duty that night that stayed on to assist the veterinary team. She died peacefully, surrounded with the love and caring that had been absent from her life for far too long. I still think of Missy to this day and feel so blessed to have known this beautiful spirit, even for such a short time. Her memory will remain with me always.

Carrie Dorsey-Higdon

The Butterfly Who Said Yes

During the time I was taking an Animal Reiki Correspondence Course with Kathleen one of the options for a homework assignment was to work on an insect. Since most of my time is spent working with dogs, cats, and birds I set my intention to work with a butterfly. Not only did I want to work with a butterfly I wanted to work with a beautiful, large, yellow butterfly.

So for two days I set my intention and it seemed as if butterflies were appearing all around me, yet not one of them was yellow nor would any of them come close to me. On the evening of the second day as I was relaxing on my back patio with my three dogs to my delight an exquisite large yellow butterfly appeared in the distance and began to come closer to me.

I communicated to the butterfly that I would like to offer her a Reiki treatment if she would like for me to and she only needed to take what she was comfortable with or none at all. The butterfly started circling around my body and flying within arms distance and finally came to rest on the patio floor about 3 feet from me. I took this as a yes that she indeed wanted Reiki. So I kept my distance and proceeded.

She stayed in that position for 20 minutes only moving to inch closer to me, eventually ending up about a foot from me. One of my dogs, Tony, became very curious and he came and sat down by my side. I asked him if would also like to send her Reiki and he began to also give the butterfly Reiki. This was such a wonderful experience to be in that moment of giving Reiki to the butterfly with my dog working at my side. I knew, in essence, they were actually teaching me. I felt very honored to be in their presence.

It was such a beautiful circle of unconditional love that I knew I was really the one receiving healing on such a higher level. Our time together came to an end when children in the neighborhood began to play and frolic outside arousing the attention of my dogs. The butterfly took to flight, but not before flying around me and actually brushing the side of my face with her wing. I knew she was thanking me and I was overwhelmed with such joy and gratitude for being allowed to experience this. She then flew to a branch on a tree and remained there for the next twenty minutes without moving. I felt certain she was resting after her Reiki session.

I thanked her for allowing me the gift of giving her Reiki and I also thanked my dog, Tony, for all his work. It was so amazing to be able to work with a butterfly and to also work with my dog at my side. The both were showing me and guiding me to go even deeper in my work. I was truly blessed by this time of healing.

Felecia Calaman Childress

The Watering Hole

Sitting in the quiet, sacred space of my Reiki treatment room, I proceeded to offer Caesar The Cat Reiki. Being somewhat new at offering Reiki from a distance (Caesar lives in Texas, I’m in California), I have a tendency to “beam” the energy directly at my subject. Usually the person/animal drinks in the Reiki energy, but today with Caesar, the energy feels like it is hitting a brick wall—it’s just not going anywhere.

So of course I try harder. Nothing. Try harder still…nothing. Then an idea comes to me as if it’s coming directly from Caesar: imagine the Reiki energy as a watering hole. A watering hole? Okay. I take my direct focus off of Caesar and put my attention to a space a few feet away. I imagine a shallow hole in the ground, about 3 feet in diameter. I proceed to let the Reiki energy pour into the hole, filling it to the brim. In my mind’s eye, I see Caesar casually walking over to the watering hole and drinking from it. The Reiki energy fills his body and his spirit. He takes just as much as he needs and walks away. After a minute or two, he walks back over to the watering hole and takes in more Reiki. This goes on for the entire 30-minute treatment and the Reiki energy is flowing strongly.

Caesar taught me a valuable lesson that day: offer Reiki, do not “beam” Reiki. Put the energy in a place where the animal can come to it. This way they can maintain their own space, take their own time, and take as much as they need when they need it. To this day, whenever I do a distance animal Reiki treatment, I utilize the image of Caesar’s watering hole. Of course, I’m having much more success in terms of the animals accepting Reiki’s healing energy!

Joyce Leonard is the founder of Santa Cruz Reiki Works and is a Reiki practitioner and teacher. Contact her at www.santacruzreikiworks.com or 831-336-8073

©2010 Joyce Leonard

Creating The Healing Space

…posted by John Sawyer

It seems that Animals in Distress has a never-ending supply of teachers to show up and give me my lessons. Every animal I work with has something to teach me. Sometimes it takes me a while to get the idea, but that’s never the fault of the teacher. It just means I wasn’t paying attention!

My latest “mentor” is a senior black Chow dog named Tulip. She arrived at AID a few weeks ago badly matted with some physical injuries that needed tending to. She is now sporting a lion cut, but her coat is growing out and will soon be back to its full glory.

Tulip is very shy around people she doesn’t know. That would be me. When I first met her, we decided I would take her for a walk. Tulip went outside with me, but made it clear she was not going for a walk with just anybody! She did her best to get around behind me and stay there while eyeing me suspiciously.

We went back inside and she reluctantly stayed with me as far away as the leash would allow her. I knew she would not like being closed in the introduction room with me, so we stayed in the hospitality area near the front desk. She was quite happy to see Lori and other kennel staff as they came by, but kept her distance from me. After a short while, I turned her back over to Lori.

I know not to take it personally when an animal reacts this way at first. They are not sure what I’m all about and given the history some of them have, it’s not surprising that they’d be leery of anyone new. Typically, it takes a few sessions in cases like this for the animal to decide I’m harmless and possibly even beneficial!

We had a couple sessions that went pretty much the same way until last week. I realized that I was trying to get Tulip to accept Reiki, which is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing. It’s all about creating a healing space and inviting the animal in, as opposed to continually offering Reiki like a treat they don’t want to accept.

Last week I sat in the hospitality area with Tulip and simply focused on creating a healing space, a Reiki bubble, if you will. My attention was on Reiki flowing into the bubble instead of on Tulip and what she was or was not doing.

Tulip stopped trying to be elsewhere and sat down at the end of the leash. Over the next 15 minutes or so I got a half dozen hearty yawns out of her, which was a clear indication that she was relaxing and accepting Reiki. She even lay down once or twice for a minute or two.

Lesson learned! Going forward, I will create the space and let Tulip decide what she wants to do with it.