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What happens when we make patience a priority?

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. – John Chardin

It’s not always easy to be patient. Who among us wants to wait in a long line or sit in a mess of traffic? Or perhaps we’re on a diet, and we see two options: feeling fit in the future, or eating the piece of chocolate cake right now. In this scenario, it’s really hard to turn down the immediate reward, the chocolate cake, especially if it’s sitting right in front of us. But we all know intellectually that good things come to those who wait—an ideal that is even supported by research.

The same holds true when we spend time with animals who are struggling with health issues. Sometimes when we approach to connect and support a dog or cat, we come on way too strong and scare them away. Or perhaps while sharing a Reiki treatment, we feel compelled to hold our hands on their bodies, focusing on areas of discomfort. Humans love a “quick fix.”

Of course, when we do such things, we fail miserably. Focusing on what’s “wrong” only creates a negative feeling in our energy that animals will shy away from. Trying to “fix” often creates an energy of rushing and pushing that makes animals disconnect. Putting our hands on top of areas that are sensitive can make animals run away. Although we may mean well, if we approach our ailing animals without patience, we will only create obstacles to healing.

There is so much we can learn about healing from animals, who are so much more in tune with the healing that naturally manifests when we get in touch with our inner space of peace and compassion. Everyone’s journey to healing looks different, and when we cultivate patience, we will see this very clearly. We just need to relax, get back in touch with our inner still point and remember that each of us has an amazing capacity to self-heal! Meditation can help us to uncover our inner self-healing power.

So what happens when we throw away our desire for “the instant fix” and instead just sit silently and meditate without expectation with our animals?

A few amazing results begin to unfold:

We start to notice and observe behaviors of the animal we may not have noticed before. We might notice health issues in the early stages when they are much easier to resolve—perhaps our cat isn’t eating the way he usually does or maybe our horse seems out of sorts emotionally. This is a time to stop, relax, breathe and share Reiki with them. We might also become familiar with the complex social system between animals—such as our horse’s herd or our dog’s pack. Noticing little changes in this social structure can indicate something is “off” and needs support way before most people would become aware that anything has changed.

In addition to what we sense with our animals, being patient and quiet helps us begin to notice our “monkey mind,” as Buddhists like to call it, and how busy it is. It’s not so easy just to sit and breathe, is it? The busyness of our minds is simply a distraction from being here, right now in this present moment, for our animals. Reiki meditation can help us to come back to the now, and focus and quiet the mind. And in so doing, we are also developing our patience.

When we are patient, we will begin to see our animals coming forward to connect with us to relax and heal. Because we waited, instead of rushing in, they are able to wait until they are truly ready to connect with us in a beautiful space of peace and compassion. It is so amazing to experience when animals make this conscious choice to come forward and connect, especially when it happens with a fearful animal that normally may not trust humans. If we are always “doing” this or that to fix animals, we never get the opportunity to see an animal take the lead in her own healing. Patience also means we have to let go of our own timeline for “fixing” issues and allow animals time to process healing in their own way.

Are you ready to achieve a higher level of patience? In addition to meditating on a regular basis, try these tricks.

How has patience strengthened your connection to animals?

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