Distraction can make us miss beautiful moments. We find peace and feel grounded when we take time to listen to animals and the sounds of nature. If we don’t devote quiet time with ourselves and animals, we won’t hear their lessons of loyalty, acceptance, or love. By being too busy, we may also miss their pleas for help.
From the time I was a toddler, I’ve been horse-crazy. I started riding when I was six and was blessed to have a pony in my backyard when I was nine-years-old. Being around horses, especially sharing Reiki with them, opens my heart and heals my soul.
When i entered the cat room during one of my recent visits at the Restigouche SPCA, i noticed a new face, a good looking boy, orange & white in color and he was immediately interested at the presence I brought to the room. As I walked by his space I put my hand against the bars and introduced myself. I explained I was there to offer Reiki, and that Reiki simply was sharing good vibes that can bring peace & calm and helps us feel good.
But that’s not Reiki! A colleague recently mentioned someone said this about the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki by Kathleen Prasad that we practice. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but the conversation has nagged me since.
Reiki pronounced as ‘ray key’ is a complementary holistic therapy which can be used alongside conventional veterinary medicine. Reiki is an ancient Japanese system of healing, not cure. Rei meaning ‘spirit’ and Ki meaning ‘energy’. As quantum physics tells us, all matter is energy. This energy flows through all living beings.
I would like to welcome Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary to the SARA family! Cotton Branch has whole heartedly embraced the SARA way to support and heal their animal family. Cotton Branch is a safe haven for farm animals in South Carolina. Founded in 2004, the sanctuary is currently home to around 350 rescued farm animals.
As pet sitters, we often encounter animals who are afraid, timid, confused or stressed because they are alone with a stranger in their home. We face emergencies with sick or injured animals when their people are away. We sometimes care for animals who are transitioning while their family is gone. These things are stressful for the animal and for us as pet sitters. There is an amazing balm for these situations: Animal Reiki – specifically the Let Animals Lead® method developed by Kathleen Prasad. This practice has made my job as a pet sitter easier and has decreased stress and anxiety in my animal clients.
A friend of mine owns a small guest ranch here in Montana and, in the spring when their horses are brought in from winter pasture, she has asked me to help evaluate them prior to the season beginning. A couple of years ago she had a new horse that she named Butte (after her hometown here in Montana). She asked me to work with him as he had a habit of tossing his head and not being attentive. So I undertook the task.
How can equine massage therapists benefit from and incorporate the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki (developed by Kathleen Prasad) into their practices?
I am currently a practicing Reiki Master learning the “Let Animals Lead®” incredible method of Animal Reiki with Kathleen Prasad. In our Reiki II Class we were given the homework exercise of contemplating “The Gifts of Reiki” diagram (above). My background until quite recently was in the engineering field so I naturally gravitated toward contemplating this from an intellectual perspective, breaking the diagram into the following three categories: 1.) The Mind, 2.) The Heart and 3.) The Intuition or what I will refer to as our “Inner Knowing.” Beginning with the mind we will work our way inward with the practice of meditation, navigating through the heart space, and finally arriving at our “inner knowing” or intuitive core.
Recently, at one of our monthly member meetings, SARA had the immense honor of hosting Thea Strom – Psychic Medium, Animal Communicator and Animal Reiki Teacher. Thea spoke on a topic that many of us struggle with: Boundaries. All of us in SARA are givers. Whether we are an organizational member, a supporter, a practitioner or a teacher member, we all are here to give back to others. But if we are constantly giving and never receiving, that creates imbalance and depletion.
A friend who is starting her Animal Reiki business asked how I explain Reiki in a way to pique someone’s interest and share what we do, while staying away from the “woo-woo”. After I shared my thoughts, she suggested I write an article to help others starting out.
Reflecting upon the gifts of reiki through ‘The Gifts of Reiki as a Meditative Practice’ graphic, I can see a place for each of these elements throughout my growing personal practice in animal reiki. First and foremost is the GROUNDING aspect of reiki. With the dry brushing technique (Kenyoku Ho), I feel like I can literally brush off any high energy, worries, feelings and thoughts that aren’t serving me at the moment through that action alone. And then when I add in the hara breathing (Joshin Kokyu Ho), I can start to feel that connection to my physical body and to get centered and grounded in it. Without becoming fully present in my body, I truly do not feel as strongly the connection to the universal love energy that is reiki.
I had the great pleasure this year of attending a Reiki III and Animal Reiki Teacher Training course set within Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex. Remus isn’t just for horses, the residents are also rescued Shetland Ponies, Donkeys, Sheep and Goats. And not forgetting the cats whom roam the land and kept us company during our 3 days at Remus, together with Ollie the dog.
Every February SARA president Kathleen Prasad teaches Reiki III and Animal Reiki Training at the CARE Foundation in Apopka, FL. I enjoy seeing all the pictures from the classes and especially reading about the experiences the students share with the animals.
Scotty was a 7 year old long haired tabby. When he was five, his owner surrendered him to the SPCA. The reason given was her roommate had adopted a dog. His surrender papers explicitly stated that he was afraid of children.
Today I gardened in my Zen garden, and pondered on how my gardening was actually a meditation practice in itself. As I gardened, I thought, the symbolism in my garden provides for an amazing reflection on life in general; but still, how does this relate to Animal Reiki?
Leaving a farm this morning, a dragonfly started flying around in the car. I tried unsuccessfully to guide it out. As I began driving, the dragonfly bounced frantically off the dash and windshield.
During a recent Reiki class at Cotton Branch Animal Sanctuary, I took a few minutes to share Reiki with the turkeys while students were practicing. I knew from previous visits the turkeys were very receptive to Reiki.
SARA’s mission is important because it gives credibility to what we are accomplishing, not just in our communities, but around the globe. We are making a difference in our shelters and sanctuaries, giving a voice where there is none. The code of ethics, the teachings, the spiritual practice, and support we receive as a group and as individuals from Kathleen and Leah is something that is one of a kind, and I’m honored to be a part of.
I’m so grateful to be a member of SARA, to have found Kathleen, Leah, and SARA. I started with Reiki 18 – 20 years ago. I learned whatever was taught, usually Western style, but something just didn’t ring true with me. I would try, and I wouldn’t get it. Each time I would try to walk away, Reiki would tap me on the shoulder again to let me know something was going to happen.
WOW! It has been 10 years since Leah and Kathleen sat in the kitchen at Brighthaven and talked about starting SARA. It was May of 2008 and Leah was taking a Level 2 class from Kathleen. At lunch they started talking about Kathleen’s dreams for the future. She shared how she would love to have a community that was bringing Animal Reiki to shelters and rescues all around the world. At the time Leah was a legal assistant and said, “I can help you with that!” So they pulled together some of Kathleen’s students to help create the foundation for this amazing organization! Some of the very first SARA members, Bill Stevens, Kelly McDermott-Burns and Sheryl Schlameuss are still with us today helping to grow SARA.
Class always tells. Class is the impression I had when I first heard about SARA and Kathleen Prasad. I knew right away that I wanted to work with her, and affiliate myself with an organization that has such high values and ethics.