It all started in grade school when I adopted Coco. From the moment he got home until this very day (29 years later), he has been the sweetest, feistiest, and most independent cockatiel. Through the years, Coco taught me unconditional love and companionship. He also immediately paved the way for my eating habits.
I have always loved animals, but it was Coco that converted me into a vegetarian. At a young age, I began simply by removing meat from my diet and just eating the side dishes. I just couldn’t fathom eating anything with eyes. Growing up, this was baffling to my family because I was the only one in the entire family that ate this way. After years of this, my family finally realized that this full-blown vegetarian wasn’t changing. Throughout much of my life, I ate sides and processed food, lots of processed food. I can’t say that I felt bad, but didn’t really know any better. However, six years ago, my life began to change for the better.
In 2011, Reiki beckoned me. I began taking each level of Reiki, and continued to feel deeply connected with all living things. A couple of years later, more welcomed changes in my mind, body, and spirit awakened when I took Kathleen Prasad’s Animal Reiki courses. My love for the animal kingdom strengthened beyond measure. Out of complete respect for all animals, the quest continues to overflow into my diet, slowly unfolding into veganism. My life has never been the same since. (Thank you, Kathleen!)
With this lifestyle shift, five pillars remain a constant:
- Before/after food is chopped and blended, a sign of ‘thanks’ with gassho unites the mind and heart for deep gratitude (Hand position).
- Repeating the Reiki mantras/chants (silent or aloud) is a wonderful way to include all of the senses while the food is being prepared, as if to connect to ancestors from long ago (Symbols & mantras).
- Picturing all living souls happy and healthy, while bonding with the breath, brings cooking into more of a meditative mindset (Visualizations).
- Offering a blessing to the prepared meal supports all time and space; building a clearer connection to Reiki and all beings (Reiju).
- The act of sharing a nourishing meal with others (humans and animals) fills the heart with such peace and joy (Precepts).
With these pillars at the core, my hope is that Coco knows how much he’s loved and valued. I’m incredibly thankful for this tiny, feathered creature who kick started healthy eating in our home. ️ I’m also forever grateful for the Reiki lessons Kathleen has taught me. One thing is for certain, once Reiki unfolds before you, the adventure begins!
Written by Amber Shaner
Animal Reiki Teacher & Practitioner