Animals make the best meditation partners. It’s true! Their natural, calming presence helps to anchor us “in the now,” and they approach life with unconditional love, a real challenge for us humans. Next time your cat rests with its eyes closed, or your dog takes a snooze on your lap, don’t just think about how cute they are (because, of course, they are), but think, too, about what we can learn from them to improve our own meditation practice. Animals are natural meditators, with peaceful, nonjudgmental minds and open hearts. They remind us what we should all strive for whenever we meditate.
With Reiki increasingly gaining acceptance—not just in the U.S. but across the world—I’m seeing more and more animal organizations not just accepting Reiki, but loving the holistic modality and making a concerted effort to share Reiki with their animals. This is a dream come true for me: I co-founded the nonprofit SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) with the goal of rolling out animal Reiki programs into communities globally. To see animal Reiki being embraced on a wider scale is truly incredible!
Have you been wanting to pioneer an animal Reiki program in your local shelter, or expand an existing one? For inspiration, check out the following amazing SARA-affiliated animal organizations that are embracing Reiki. (Visit their websites for more information and to learn how you can help them.) The more people and organizations that follow in their footsteps, the more animals that can be helped:
Happy National Walk Your Dog Week, everyone! This yearly celebration, which runs October 1-7, originated in 2010 to highlight the growing problems of canine obesity and behavioral issues. Though it officially ends tomorrow, that’s no reason to stop focusing on the importance of walking our dogs, no matter the weather or how busy we are, every single day.
There are so many fun ways to take dog-walking to the next level. One way is to make the experience transformative and healing for not just your dog, but also for you. In case you missed them the first time around, here are links to two articles I wrote on this very topic:
As animal lovers, it’s easy to get so immersed in caring for our cats and dogs that sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. It’s happened to me—and I’ve seen it happen to those I love. But what happens when our animals become sick or elderly, and taking care of them suddenly requires a near-24/7 level of dedication and commitment? What happens if we get sick during this time? (Learn more about compassion fatigue here.)
I recently gave a Reiki treatment to one such person, a man whose family recently said goodbye to their elderly dog and is currently coping with a senior cat suffering from kidney failure and other serious issues. This man had always been open to my Reiki treatments for the animals, but never thought of them for himself. But I learned this past weekend that he had been very sick for many weeks—the prescriptions weren’t working, he wasn’t sleeping, and he was in near desperation for some comfort. I asked if he wanted Reiki, and was happy to hear him say yes.
Sometimes when I work with shelter cats, my first instinct is to fall inside the sadness of the animals’ situations. But thankfully, in my work with Reiki over the years, I’ve found a better way to serve animals in need—by turning away from that instinctual desire to focus on what’s wrong.
My secret? Two things, actually: First, staying positive. And second, learning to see the heart of things—in other words, focusing on the bright, beautiful light of the animal.
It’s not always easy to do, but as the following wonderful Reiki experience illustrates, there’s great power in positivity, no matter the situation: