As part of the Animal Reiki for Reiki Practitioners course, I chose to meditate with my 26-year old mare, CJ. CJ and I have been together for 24 years. We met at a sketchy boarding stable. CJ was a 2-year old filly living with the field horses. This group of horses was provided pasture and brought up to the barn twice a day for grain, but otherwise left alone. None of the horses were ridden and their owners rarely, if ever, paid them visits. I discovered that CJ had been brought to this stable as a baby, perhaps 6 months old, newly weaned. She was placed out with the field horses and left alone to grow up.
At 33 years old, I was just learning to ride, finally fulfilling a dream I’d had for as long as I can remember. I loved the idea of “starting” my own horse and when the barn owner advised that he had a filly for sale and her price included 90 days of training, I jumped on the offer. I walked out into the field with a halter and lead rope. The senior horses saw me, recognized the significance of the halter and lead rope, and quickly wandered away. CJ walked right up to me and set her muzzle on my shoulder. I was ecstatic! She liked me! She wanted to be my horse!
I now know that her action was a more aggressive sign of dominance, but at the time my heart melted and I knew in that moment that I was going to purchase this beautiful chestnut filly. She stood still while I slipped the halter over her head and we walked quietly through the field, through the gate and into the barn. Where we were greeted by incredulous boarders and teenagers who could not believe this spirited young horse had not only allowed me to get close to her, but was standing quietly at my side. I had not been told that CJ was considered a wild child, unmanageable, and not “worth the effort.” She was just shy of three years old. In a world where horses were saddle-broken at 2 years old, before their bones were done growing, CJ was considered a “late break.”
I hate the term “breaking” a horse. It brings up images of a broken spirit, domination of another being, slavery. I wanted CJ to be saddle trained gently and slowly. I wanted her to trust me and to understand that I wanted a partner, not a servant.
CJ and I began to get acquainted. I spent hours brushing and walking and just being with her, and waiting for the promised training. I was incredibly lucky. CJ seemed to recognize my ignorance and fear. The reality of horses is that they are always much bigger and faster and more intimidating than they are in your childhood dreams! My 90 days of training turned out to be a couple hours in a round pen, the barn owner slapping a saddle on CJ and hoisting me up. My husband was handed the lead rope and told to walk us around and the “trainer” then left us alone. CJ was born older I think – she never bucked, reared, ran off. She knew that I was inexperienced and afraid and that day our relationship cemented. She would take care of me, I would take care of her; and we have kept that promise to each other.
Recently CJ began displaying symptoms of COPD. I find myself frustrated and even angry about this, as she is the third mare in our little herd to develop breathing issues. I have had our hay inspected, tried special diets, herbs, and pharmaceuticals. Tango, our appaloosa mare, recovered after several months of pulsing antibiotics. Her breathing returned to normal and she lived to be over 40. Bunnie responded well to medications for a short time, and when they stopped working for her I began offering Reiki. Bunnie loved Reiki and would come to me and place her muzzle right into my hands. Unfortunately, Bunnie had more severe issues, and her heart was impacted. While she always breathed easier after a Reiki session, Bunnie’s health continued to decline rapidly. On the day that she refused Reiki and turned her back to me, I knew that she was ready and I found her gone in the field the next morning. Her passing was peaceful and gentle, thanks to Reiki energy.
CJ has not been accepting of Reiki. She has not responded to any of the other treatments, and when she refused Reiki I was stunned. I tried practicing the techniques I learned in this class, the Hara meditation, the different chanting meditations. CJ threw up a solid block. I guess I should have expected some resistance – CJ is very strong in her opinions, and very sensitive. I found myself getting frustrated at the situation and angry at myself for not being able to help this mare. And I found myself feeling anger at CJ for rejecting help. I am not proud of this, but its important that I acknowledge this so that I don’t let it happen again. I know that I needed to pay more attention to my own emotions and reactions, and repeated the precepts over and over. Even though I was trying not to let my own expectations and hopes drive my offers of Reiki to CJ, I was clearly not successful.
Finally, I accepted that I needed help and I turned to another Reiki practitioner, who specializes in Animal Reiki. Taking a step back was the best thing I could have done. CJ was clearly picking up on all of my stress, worry, frustration and so did not want to be in that energetically charged environment. My friend Daniela worked with CJ over a period of several weeks, offering Reiki to CJ and helping me to remember and accept that healing and curing are very different. CJ improved significantly with Daniela’s help and this evening, in the cold dry winter air, she is breathing freely. I am grateful to Daniela and CJ for teaching me, reminding me, that we cannot and should not allow our expectations and emotions to drive our Reiki practice. Rather, we must remember and practice the precepts if we are to be an effective conduit for Reiki.
This lesson was brought home to me again today, when CJ approached me as I walked in the pasture. She appeared to be in distress, kicking at her abdomen, her lips pulled tight over her teeth, jaw clenched. She was displaying classic signs of colic but was approaching me for help. Remembering the precepts, and the lessons recently taught by CJ, I opened my heart to CJ and to Reiki and she followed me quietly to the barn, where I administered medication and checked her for dehydration and the other symptoms of advanced colic. As we walked together, I began chanting the Cho Ku Rei chant, to draw grounding energy to us. By reminding myself to follow the precepts, CJ and I both stayed calm, her distress was quickly addressed, and she was back with her friends in the pasture by dinner time. This situation could have rapidly disintegrated into a very stress-filled and life-threatening episode. Instead, all turned out well.
We have to let go and just BE Reiki.
I found this experience has profoundly impacted my understanding of Reiki at a visceral level. I know, that sounds so dramatic! I now really “get” how my own ego can get in the way and how important it is to always be mindful of the precepts. I have a lot of learning and work ahead of me. I look forward to it!