Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

The valuable life lessons a shelter dog taught me

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”—Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Although I like to stay informed about my world, sometimes I hate to watch the news because it is so pessimistic. I often call it “the bad news.” To help stay balanced, I like to meditate on the Reiki precept “be grateful.” In contemplating this precept, I remember all the blessings and good things in my life and in the world. Eventually, my mind comes to rest in the spiritual quality of positivity. When we live each moment in gratitude, it is a way of practicing a positive way of seeing the world. Practicing gratitude is also a way of focusing on our heart. Within our hearts lies our most profound healing power, and positivity helps us to harness it.

Sometimes animals are the best models of positivity. A great example of this can be seen in this video of mine on YouTube:

For me, I often remember this particular dog when I think of gratitude and positivity. This dog was so happy and so grateful for the Reiki session. He was so full of joy afterward. Clearly, he lived his life always expecting the best: as if something wonderful was happening now, and something awesome was about to occur at any moment! I was so surprised, after offering him that treatment, when I found out about his past.

He was found in the street with another dog, emaciated and left for dead. The other dog had died; this pit bull, when found, was barely alive. The vet didn’t think he’d survive, but he did. By the time I met him to share Reiki, he had been at the shelter for several months, gaining weight and strength but still waiting for his new family. I had no idea so much had happened to him in his past! All I saw was a dog full of joy, of gratitude, of positivity. What valuable life lessons this dog had taught me!

In this experience, there is also a great lesson in learning to let go of the “stories” of the animals—their sad pasts, the bad things that have happened to them and so on. When we focus on all the bad experiences from the past, this often creates a negative energy in our minds and hearts that stifles our ability to connect in the present moment. We can also become overwhelmed with sadness, at which point we are not much help to anyone, especially the animals we want to help. The more we practice gratitude and positivity, the easier it is to let go of these kinds of negative stories about the past. We can go deeper and see animals with our hearts.  We can see them for who they really are: beautiful bright lights that can never be dimmed, no matter what challenges may come their way! All healing potential exists in this beautiful heart-to-heart connection.

How does positivity help you help animals?

For more on pit bulls, don’t miss my article “Debunking 5 of the most stubborn myths about pit bulls.”

Life lessons from our animals

I can’t believe it’s almost 2015! Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year filled with many blessings. In addition to my family, friends and health, here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for this sparkly evening …

1. I suppose it goes without saying, but I am immensely grateful for the animals I’ve encountered in my life and the ones that have walked gently by my side. Here’s a wonderful article from One Green Planet that lists 10 beautiful life lessons we can learn from animals. I agree with all of these lessons; #1 (compassion) and #3 (live for today), especially, are important elements of my Reiki work with animals. Read the full article here for all 10 life lessons.

2. A reason to celebrate eating vegan: Did you know? January is Veganuary! This global campaign launched in 2013 helps people “take the pledge” to eat vegan for the month of January. The helpful site includes a dining guide, myths debunked, recipes, profiles of vegans from all walks of life and more. And here’s my favorite vegan blog: Oh She Glows. I made the Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Avocado Garlic Aioli the other night and they were absolutely amazing. I also can’t wait to try this (since I love Mexican food): Ultimate Green Taco Wraps With Lentil-Walnut Taco Meat. Who knew eating vegan could be so fun? (What are you waiting for?)

3. Tomorrow’s Tournament of Roses Parade, a yearly tradition in our household! My favorite floats are always the animal floats. There aren’t too many this year, but keep an eye out for La Cañada Flintridge’s float “To the Rescue,” which will be showcasing a message of compassion: a group of sea creatures setting aside their fear of sharks to band together and free a shark trapped in a fishing net and sunken boat.

4. Scientists who make it their life’s work to answer that age-old (and vitally important) question: What do cats do all day? This actually made me smile; what a fun experiment to collaborate with cat owners, outfitting their outdoor house cats with cat trackers. Hm, wouldn’t it be amusing to know what your cat does all day? This study is ongoing, but the early results are pretty interesting. Check out their Cat Tracker website for Google maps detailing each animal participant’s “secret life.”

5. This heartful essay about animals in zoos, which are decorated festively for the holidays and accept donated “gifts” from visitors for the animals. I have to agree with author Jennifer O’Connor, that the animals have “nothing to celebrate” during the holidays. “The greatest gift,” she writes, “would be the one they’ll never receive: life outside a cage.”

As we head into a brand-new year … what are you grateful for today?