Goodbye, frosty mornings and puffy parkas. Hello, baby animals and blooms! To most of us, spring represents a time of new beginnings and optimism—a time for celebrating fresh, new starts. It’s also a powerful opportunity to recommit to those areas of our life that may have chilled over the bleak days of winter. Here are five ways to do just that:
1. Volunteer Reiki for the baby animals at your local shelter. Baby animals: Need I say more? Who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon helping (and cuddling) these cuties? The spring season often leaves shelters coping with an overflow of kittens and puppies needing adoption. I have seen Reiki boost adoption rates time and again. Helping these kittens calm and find loving homes then opens much-needed space for older dogs and cats that take a bit longer to adopt out. This actually leads right into my next point …
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions—but a new year does always feel like a fresh start in some ways and an opportunity to check in with my big-picture goals: What do I want to achieve this year? Is there anything in my life I want to do differently? Am I as happy as I can be?
For me, happiness is intrinsically connected to living with purpose and meaning. I work with animals every single day because that adds value to my life. My dog, horses and even the shelter and sanctuary animals I encounter remind me the importance of kindness, of mindfulness, of compassion. And of the goodness in this world (which sometimes feels very hard to find). So with the animals as my guide, here are my five goals for a happier 2017:
I am a Reiki teacher who works with animals. Some might ask me if I’m an “animal healer,” but I don’t like that term: Partly because I respect the wisdom and power of animals too much to claim that I’m the one doing the helping, and partly because of what some amazing cats in my Reiki journey have revealed to me.
For those of you new to Reiki, the word itself literally translates as “spiritual energy,” which points toward our inner self. I see Reiki as our beautiful light of compassion, or our “heart.” Reiki meditation helps us remember that we are all connected, and in that place of Oneness, all healing possibility exists.
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: