What happens when a horse with laminitis gets Reiki?

Scoobie is a small black horse residing at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. Diagnosed with chronic laminitis, a deadly disease that causes lameness in horses, Scoobie lives with some pony friends in a special barn with soft flooring to help comfort their sore feet.

Recently I brought a group of Reiki practitioners to share Reiki with Scoobie and the others in the laminitic barn. I gave each student a meditation to do, focusing inward on the breath. I explained to stay 10 feet or more away from the horses, allowing them to choose to come forward if they wished. Scoobie was standing quietly in one corner of the barn, shifting on his feet a bit uncomfortably. Clearly he was not feeling well that morning. He was completely ignoring his food and standing with his back toward the other horses.

Why ravens are the world’s most fascinating bird

I’ve always loved ravens. They are beautiful birds—shiny black, regal, intelligent. So imagine how exciting it was for me to see the resident ravens during my visit to the Tower of London last week. I was very lucky to have met one very special raven named Merlin, whose fascinating life at the Tower is detailed here (along with nearly 20 amazing photos that showcase her beauty and unique personality!).

The Tower’s ravens hold special significance: Legend has it that in the 17th century, Charles II was tired of so many ravens interfering with his telescope—so he decided to get rid of them. That was until his astronomer persuaded him that killing ravens was unlucky, and the British kingdom would fall if the ravens left the tower. Charles II listened—and today, the ravens have transformed into an iconic symbol of the Tower.

The inspiring hero behind one of my favorite sanctuaries

Today I’m at one of my favorite places in the world: Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. My “Everything Animal Reiki” class starts today! (Looking forward to seeing you if you’ve signed up.) Situated on 40 beautiful pastoral acres in the English countryside, Remus was founded in 1983 by Sue Burton. Here are a few of the reasons why Sue is such an inspiring animal hero to me, including a closer look at what makes Remus so special:

1. What was once a post-war dairy farm is now home to more than 200 rescued farm animals—among them horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep and the resident cats and dogs.

2. Sue founded Remus partly because, as she states on her website, “I have always had a great belief in wrong and right and total respect for all living creatures—be they animals or humans. I could not believe that in this country [England] we could stand by and watch an animal suffer and die needlessly and that we would not all move mountains to ensure it never happened again.”

3. Sue makes sure that holistic remedies like Reiki take center stage at Remus, and for a variety of ailments—including tumors, cancer, colic, Cushing’s disease, chronic emotional problems and end of life. Sue says of the animals, “They’re all Reiki sponges up here.”

4. Thanks to Remus’ cutting-edge Elderly Horse Campaign, local horse people are educated about the various things they can do to help their horses thrive in their golden years.

5. Sue and her staff of 10 (and more than 50 volunteers) take extra special care of the animals. “We want to actually make their life better,” she says. “Not just look after them, but give them something back.” In addition to food, water, veterinary care and love, these animals—who previously found themselves in abhorrent conditions—also get sugar-free feed; natural herbs; soft, sandy floors; and even a solarium.

6. An amazing 70 percent of the rescued horses at Remus are more than 20 years of age—including the adorable Orchid, who just celebrated her 49th birthday. In fact, Remus is currently petitioning Guinness World Records to recognize Orchid as the world’s oldest horse.

7. Remus has won many prestigious awards. In 2011, the sanctuary won Best Horse Rescue Center in the UK from The Wetnose Burgess Awards.

8. In 2014, Remus won £500 as runner up in the Heart of Essex Awards, which honor the most deserving unsung heroes in the community.

9. Remus is also a “Best Place to Visit With Your Dog,” according to The Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs UK awards.

10. Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones, is patron of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary.

Who is your animal hero? Share with us in the comments below!

Photos copyright Charlotte Jensen and Kathleen Prasad.

My 10 favorite things to do in London

I’m so excited to fly to the UK this weekend for my Everything Animal Reiki and Equine Reiki Training classes at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary! (If you want to sign up but haven’t yet, don’t worry—there’s still time!)

I always spend a few days in London before heading into the beautiful countryside to Remus. And now that this is going to be my third trip across the pond, I feel like I’m really getting to know London. With that in mind, here’s my ultimate top 10 list for visiting London:

1. Fave lunch spot: Ottolenghi restaurant in Notting Hill

Imagine the most delicious (and beautifully presented) vegetarian dishes you’ve ever tasted. I can promise you, I will be eating here at least once next week!

3 tips for finding more peace in your day

Have you ever noticed your days, weeks and even months sometimes slip away without you even noticing? That’s a sign you’re moving too fast—and possibly losing sight of your sense of inner peace. To live more mindfully, reclaim your days as your own, and find more peace each and every day, try these tips:

1. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier. It’s amazing how a change so small can accomplish so much. When you’re not rushing to get out the door, you can take a few extra minutes for yourself. Read a few pages of the book at your bedside, sip your coffee, meditate, or snuggle with your cat. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just as long as you’re taking a few peaceful moments for yourself. Starting each day with a few minutes of quiet time will help you tackle the rest of what’s ahead.

2. If necessary, schedule some downtime. Many of us with chaotic, hectic lives forget to plan quality time for ourselves and our friends and families. Yet that’s exactly what we need every week to feel rejuvenated and peaceful within ourselves again. Also, having something fun to look forward to with those that you love (human or animal) has this surprise benefit: Studies show that merely anticipating a vacation or weekend away actually boosts happiness. You don’t have to take a vacation, though, to feel the positive effects of downtime. Those that find it difficult to take time to relax and unplug actually need it the most, so try setting aside a few hours in the weekend to relax and have some fun. Your busy weeks will feel more peaceful knowing you have that to look forward to.

3. Practice gratitude. It’s so easy to constantly compare yourself to others. They have it easier, the better house, more money and on and on. But learning to be grateful for what you do have (while remembering we all have struggles—even those who seem to have it so “easy” on the outside) can help you to put it all in perspective and bring more peace to your day. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”—and I certainly believe this to be true.

What are your tips for finding peace in your day?