Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Hannah Setu

My Year of Discovery after Becoming a SARA Teacher

Wilbur, the pot-bellied pigSeptember 2019 is here and I’m ready to put down my thoughts, feelings and examples of personal growth I experienced attending Kathleen’s Reiki Level III and Animal Reiki Teachers Certification course in Sacramento, CA, in October 2018 and want to share my insights with you. It was a profound experience, and like a homecoming has been hard to articulate up to now. My reiki awareness has continued to evolve over time but now after many months it feels like it is bursting out of me!

I am writing to encourage anyone who has not yet decided on taking her course to assure them that it is worth every moment and the gifts continue to roll over and through me like a reiki love tsunami. This is what I experienced and believe too that you may find this a powerful growth opportunity.

1) Never underestimate the power of spending time with a group of your peers. This seems simple and obvious no? However, in my neck of the woods, Dallas/Ft. Worth area and even though I am an instructor and producer of my own reiki events to the general public, I often feel a bit isolated. I appreciate being needed and giving here in Texas in my vocation as a wellness provider but Kathleen’s natural and easygoing expression of deep attention, love, acceptance and compassion for each participant surprised me. I needed to receive and am grateful for Kathleen’s creating an atmosphere where these needs were gently revealed. This course is deeply nurturing.

2) When you are spending time with complete strangers on a common goal (such as the noble spiritual practice of reiki for self and animals) you immediately realize that every word you speak or don’t speak, every action taken or not taken in the rare space that Kathleen provides, is an expression and clear indication of where you are in that moment. It is not a test and yet the dedication of these days, hours and minutes to the expression of love and reiki in its many forms can surprise you. I mean that everyone there attending were at different places in their spiritual journey, however we all fully witnessed for each other and supported each other. Some students were just starting with new life choices in reiki and animal reiki or, as in my case, fulfilling a much needed renewal of my work and focus after 25 years.

These memories of sharing in class are gold.When I returned from California after the course, these memories of my classmates’ devotion had clearly softened my heart. I felt fragile, experiencing spontaneous and unexpected tears of gratitude, flowing for days. These rich feelings of boundless love rose up in odd moments with no warning whatsoever. Unconditional love, emanating from that long weekend with Kathleen and my new reiki family, remains constant and undimmed even now.

3) Self-realization has always been the main goal for me on my healing journeys, like taking Kathleen’s course. My attitude is that every learning has to be embodied by me first but it feels funny to say “It is always about Me, Me, Me!” How can I help others if I am not the best I can be? What does that really mean? This “never feeling good enough” eventually needed to be aired in professional counseling as I struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Growing up, I remembered wanting to be invisible so as not to attract possibly dangerous attention to my little self. This caused me, according to my therapist, to not make waves, be a ‘pleaser’ and peace-maker. I then slowly avoided owning, or becoming attached to, anything that could be taken from me, especially love, conditional or not.

I became a fearless, cast-iron personality who could do anything I put my mind to. I recognize now that my reiki practice began to melt those cast-iron defenses (and along with motherhood) ignite, integrate and heal my heart. Now, 25 years later I just knew that animal reiki could help bring me more missing pieces. It did.

4) Yes, the “missing pieces” of reiki that I needed, came from aspects of reiki which Kathleen diligently shared with us, of her own training with Frans Steine of IHR (International House of Reiki). Here was my initial issue again (inadequacy) but this phantom fear began to recede after I returned home to Texas and enjoyed months of invigorated reiki practice. Finally, I began to rethink my own reiki history. One example of my fears was that in 1993, when I took my first reiki class, I did not believe I could qualify (can you imagine this?). Painfully, my first thought was that I was too flawed as a person to take it, or afraid I would not be successful even if allowed to attend. Happily, I was wrong!

Next came memories of raising 4 small children, plus an outside full-time job and at the time I could not believe that I could actually feel reiki and even share it too. Now, let us fast forward 25 years to my first thoughts in class with Kathleen as she shared her calm, deeply meditative practice. I secretly felt like I had missed out in the past, that I had not grown my reiki practice in the contemplative manner that I loved experiencing with Kathleen. I admit that I began to feel inadequate yet again, practicing this new ‘mindful’ reiki with the group because in all those years ago in my packed household, I had hardly a moment of peace and freedom from ‘monkey-brain’. Again I was grateful to find out I was wrong. I was not deficient after all.

5) Feeling compassion and acceptance for my early reiki practice was a huge AHA! for me. Way back, when my kids were 2, 4, 8 and 10, I only practiced reiki as I fell asleep, or fainted from exhaustion or in front of the TV, or at bedtime with my kids, or at stop lights, or when I was in the throes of complete emotional overwhelm as my marriage dissolved. Thankfully though, one peaceful space, in which I truly felt calm, was offering reiki during my massage therapy sessions. Reiki practice gave me fortitude, peace and strength and assured me I would live to tell the tale. I credit Kathleen’s deep compassion for our individual journeys, as we bonded in reiki practice with each other and the animals, for the new dawning of accepting my past.

Taking Kathleen’s course newly revealed to me that I had practiced reiki perfectly after all, for me, my family and my life. Now I could begin to relive these memories with the fresh feeling that I had followed Usui’s precepts (reiki founder’s life guidelines) regardless of my fears of inadequacy. Kathleen’s meditative and contemplative focus continually surprises me in understanding the difference between doing reiki and being reiki. This truth from Kathleen’s development of Animal Reiki shows in the clear, subtle and even powerful responses from the animals. Even though I earlier felt deficient in my own practice of reiki, animals beautifully respond and this freshly inspires me.

Currently I can value deeply quiet moments, now that my kids are grown and I can report these new effects of Kathleen’s training in my teaching, reiki gatherings, the animals I attend and finally, my children’s lives. I am also happy to report that my youngest child, Rosanna, now 28, grew up learning and doing reiki and now has taken her first course in being reiki (from her mom!) with SARA’s Animal Reiki I Certification.

The Work goes on and I remain grateful and open to new blessings on the reiki horizon. Don’t delay in giving yourself the deep and even mysterious gifts that Kathleen so willingly shares in her courses.

Hannah Setu
SARA Teacher

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