Remembering Makoto, 1998-2018

I’d like to take a moment to honor a very special teacher of mine who recently passed away: a black leopard named Makoto, who lived at the CARE Foundation in Florida. He lived to be 20 years old, which is very old for his species, and pretty amazing, considering the neglectful and abusive circumstances he survived before coming to CARE. I am so thankful to Christin Burford of CARE for taking him in when no one else would. (Thank you Heidi Farmer Piccerelli for these amazing photos!)

The 6 Pillars of the Let Animals Lead™ Method of Animal Reiki

1. This method is founded upon traditional Japanese Reiki techniques and philosophy.

In 2006, I read The Japanese Art of Reiki by Bronwen and Frans Stiene. This book opened my eyes to the ways Reiki complemented my martial arts practice. I was very excited to learn that Reiki was about meditation and an internal mindfulness practice, as I had originally learned it as an energy therapy using touch. When I first trained with Frans in 2007, I was absolutely blown away by the simplicity and power of the Usui Reiki Ryoho meditation-based Reiki system. So many things I had experienced with animals wanting me to just sit still and hold the space, suddenly fell into place. Since then, I have done hundreds of professional training hours with Frans to practice and develop my understanding of these traditional Japanese techniques. These techniques and philosophy are the foundation for my Let Animals Lead™ method, and I am so grateful to Frans for his research into the origins of the system of Reiki, and his generosity in sharing these techniques with his students.  

My Journey with Reiki

I learned to practice Reiki in 1998. When my dog Dakota came over and sat on top of my feet during my first Reiki self-treatment, I had two incredible realizations:

1) Dakota liked the feeling of Reiki so much that he couldn’t bear to be even one foot away from me as I practiced.

2) Dakota seemed to be able to tune into the healing power of Reiki, without my having to “give” it to him. It was as if he was already fluent in a language much too subtle for me to sense!

With these two realizations, I began a long, miraculous journey of discovery and healing in my life.

12 powerful quotes on kindness

12-Powerful-Quote-on-Kindness

We all have bad days sometimes—days when accessing our inner kindness seems harder than others. Maybe you are at the end of your rope after a long week, or perhaps you received some really bad news that has negatively affected your mood. It happens to all of us.

But because acts of kindness create powerful ripple effects in our world, it’s important to always try to show kindness toward the animals (and humans) we share it with. So on those days when I lack the energy for that extra push for kindness, I like to remember and get inspired by some of my favorite quotes. Here are 12 powerful quotes on kindness that I’d like to share with you. Which one is your favorite?

Sanctuary spotlight: The Devoted Barn

Cute American pit bull terrier pup

Have you heard of The Devoted Barn? This very special animal sanctuary may be less than five years old, but it’s already made a huge impact—saving animals’ lives, helping the community and even winning a prestigious national award (read more about it below). I’m excited because this week (May 5-7) I’ll be teaching Reiki III and Animal Reiki Teacher Training at The Devoted Barn (hope to see you there!). If you’re local but can’t make the class, please join me for a special book talk, signing, meditation and Reiki healing circle this Saturday, May 6, at Crazy Wisdom bookstore in Ann Arbor.

Following are some fun facts about The Devoted Barn, which founder and director Melissa Borden started in 2013 (though she spent more than 20 years prior to that rescuing abused and neglected animals):