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Focusing on the positive to help shelter cats

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:

When I visited a local shelter this past weekend, a particular cat caught my eye. Good Samaritans had brought her in, and it was determined later that she was nursing and that the kittens were still out there, lost. She was desperate to get out of the shelter and find her kittens again. She was meowing loudly and constantly, hitting her head against the door, frantically trying to escape. As you can imagine, other volunteers and the visiting public were very concerned. They also felt bad for her, but nothing would calm her. I stood just outside the door to the little kennel room, about 3 feet from her cage, and slowly began my Reiki breathing practice. After a few minutes, I peeked into the room. At first she wouldn’t look at me, but as soon as she caught my eye, I blinked slowly to her. She stopped meowing and looked more closely at me, and I blinked again. She blinked back at me and then just watched me for a moment. I closed my eyes and turned my focus inward. I imagined my heart was a beautiful light, and so was her heart—and our hearts could connect in peace, love and compassion. In that space, all was well. “All is well” was my heart’s message. Within a minute or two, I opened my eyes again, and she had moved to the back of the cage, curled up in her bed and closed her eyes. What a beautiful moment—to feel such peace between us. I also shared Reiki love and light with her babies. Although not every situation will be solved in the way I might wish, I knew that in this moment, Reiki could help me to bring peace and love.

Remember that in moments like these, we can touch hearts—and in that heart space, there is infinite possibility. You can think of it as building a healing bridge, as I explain in this video, which also shows me working with a shelter cat:


Focusing on the positive is important for other reasons, too. When we let go of the negative, we open our hearts and minds to learning important lessons, such as:

  1. Respecting the animal’s decision regarding how to receive the Reiki energy.

  2. How worrying about an animal’s prognosis only serves to derail our efforts.

  3. Learning to live “in the moment” in order to promote harmony with a sick animal.

  4. How Reiki meditations can calm even the most frightened cat.

  5. Creating a peaceful space that helps relieve stress in both animal and caregiver.

How does Reiki help you in your work with shelter cats?

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