Wellness

Why animals make meditation look so easy

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 …

6 animal charities helping to mainstream Reiki

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 …

How to elevate your daily dog walk

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 …

What was your first Reiki experience like?

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.

The following is an excerpt from the beautiful letter he wrote to me the next day; reading it illuminated a few really important things for me …

3 simple ways Reiki helps animals with cancer

Here are some sobering statistics for you: In companion animals, about 50 percent of all disease-related deaths are attributed to cancer. One in four dogs will develop cancer. And cancer strikes about 30 to 40 percent of all cats.

Some of you may be struggling with this issue right now. Know that you are not alone. In fact, May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and funds in hopes of one day curing this terrible disease.

My dog Dakota suffered from cancer in the last months of his life. Though it was a painful time for our family, I learned something invaluable: that my daily Reiki meditations gave me the strength to cope even when I started believing I had no strength left. (My meditation practice also helped me on my personal cancer journey, which I’ve written about here.) Now that I’ve had time to reflect, I’ve realized that it’s because …

10 simple ways to turn a bad day around

We all have bad days—those days when everything seems to go wrong. Even when we strive to live mindfully and cherish the gift that is today, sometimes life has other ideas, and everything turns upside down and sideways.

It’s easy to give in to the negativity. But when we do, our bad day often becomes worse. It doesn’t have to be that way. What if we could turn our bad day good again?

Here are 10 simple ways to cheer up next time you find yourself stuck in a bad day …

How to transform every dog walk into a meditation

After practicing meditation daily for many years, I made a startling discovery: Meditation doesn’t require one to light a candle and sit pretzel-like on a cushion with eyes closed and your hands in a formal position. Informal forms of meditation—taking a walk or riding a horse, for example—can be just as powerful (if not more so). That’s because meditation aims to bring all of our energy here to this present moment, and open our hearts to the peaceful power that exists in the now—something animals instinctively know how to do. It matters not how we do this, but rather that we do it.

Once we realize this, fitting healing meditations into your busy days becomes that much easier. Especially for those of us with dogs. Imagine if every dog walk could transform into a walking meditation. It truly can! Here are six easy tips you can try today …