When I was a child, we would leave our city home to drive several hours to visit family in the country on a monthly basis. My aunt and uncle lived a fairly simple lifestyle and seemed to always be building their house. My uncle was a very skilled person; he built the house they lived in; he had mechanical skills, he grew his own food and he designed a manmade lake in his backyard and stocked it with trout.
One time as my uncle was preparing for a barbecue, he realized he needed a few ingredients. There was no corner store to go buy groceries, so he said to my brother; “want to come for a ride down to Jim’s place to borrow some of the ingredients I need for dinner?” Off they went to Jim’s in my uncle’s junkyard car. Jim lived a couple of miles down a very twisted and winding road.
After a few minutes of driving down the winding country road, my uncle turns to my brother and says “put on your seatbelt son and brace yourself for a hard stop.” My brother says, “is there something wrong?” My uncle answers, “no there is nothing wrong, it’s just that the brakes on this car don’t work and I’m going to have to hit a tree to stop the car.” Sure enough, they get to Jim’s house, and my uncle hits a tree to stop the car.
The two of them visited Jim for a bit, borrowed the ingredients my uncle needed and then they headed back to the car to drive home. My brother mentioned to my uncle that he didn’t think it was a very good idea to drive home in that car as the brakes were not working. My uncle looks at my brother with a rather perplexed expression on his face and says, “it will be fine son, there are plenty of trees for me to hit.”
The moral of the story is not everyone sees things in the same light. The ending of this story reminds me of how I feel when I try to explain Reiki to people, especially Animal Reiki. I often get that perplexed expression when I explain that I meditate with animals. “You meditate with animals,” they say. You can just hear the disbelief in the tone of their voice. “Yes, to become one with the animals,” I say. “To become one with the animals you say.” Again, the tone, the look and the body language tell me they are not buying it.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to have your perspective and not everyone feels the same way about animals that an Animal Reiki practitioner does. I have found explaining Animal Reiki to be my biggest obstacle. I often feel awkward and seem to not have the right words to properly explain Animal Reiki. I’ve come to realize that I have allowed others’ opinions on this subject to hinder me from doing my best work. Through much meditation and self-talk, I’ve come to the conclusion that all I have to do is live my life authentically, continue to work with animals using Kathleen Prasad’s “Let Animals Lead®” Method and be the best person I can be. If we live our purpose, then the right people and the right circumstances will fall into place.
Below I have written five practices that I personally follow to beat the awkwardness of explaining Animal Reiki:
- The Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) has great resources for practitioners and teachers – go to the SARA website and print off the various documents that will aid you when speaking to someone or an organization about the “Let Animals Lead® Method of Animal Reiki”.
- Remember, not everyone will buy what you have to say and that is ok. Reiki can be a hard sell and Animal Reiki can be an even harder sell. Be authentic and all will fall into place.
- The right people will come along. Just like Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” My personal motto for Animal Reiki is, “if you live it, they will come.”
- Don’t take things personally, we are not responsible for everyone’s issues or misgivings, we are responsible to be our most authentic self, honest in our work and at peace with the animals.
- Practice what you preach. Meditate daily, meditate with the precepts daily, practice self-Reiki and above all always preserve your wellbeing. Get your rest, proper nutrition and if you need to take a break from it all, walk in nature. Nature has a way of bringing you home.
Simply put, Reiki brings people and community together. Change starts with one person and that change starts with us. Recently I was struck by a comment while listening to a podcast with Dr. Zach Bush; “Have you ever considered the profound connection between being human and how we interact with the natural world around us? What if our true purpose is not just to exist as individuals but to embrace our role as part of the greater ecosystem.” I feel as animal practitioners we have an important role in the partnership with the ecosystem and my belief is that the world is starting to open to the connection between animals, environment and our existence. Perspectives are starting to shift along with our priorities and many of us are realizing where our heart belongs.
By SARA Teacher Johanne Fraser