I recently had the privilege of reveling in the presence of animals and healing at Brighthaven Sanctuary, studying Animal Reiki with Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source! What got me there was a series of “coincidences” and life experiences that all merged to remind me that this lifetime animal enthusiasm has much more to teach me yet.
Let me back up… two of my top-ten influential life teachers are dogs. Chula retired from the role of human teacher in 2011, after being the best best friend to me for over 13 years. Bianca took Chula’s job over a few months after she passed and has been fully showing up everyday for work for over six years now. I can’t quantify what I have received from both of them in terms of wisdom, healing, love, and strength but I’ll qualify by saying they have taught me to love, be loved, lose love, nurture and nourish, strengthen, and show up fully as the perfectly imperfect human that I am. Chula was my guide when I left my childhood New York home to “find myself” in California. Bianca took over when it was time for me to learn to take as good of care of myself as I did them.
I’m the girl who interrupts in-depth conversations with a squeal at the sight of a wire-haired terrier with her tongue hanging out or a murmuration of birds passing overhead. I’m the one who pulls animal cards to ask them for wisdom and healing. My friends know to call me to check my Animal Speak book when they find themselves curious about a recurring critter visitor. “What’s it mean, Cara?” I’m also the one who has been known to trap feral cats to get them fixed and released. I meditate on the bird songs around me and carry on meaningful conversations with the hummingbirds who frequent my hibiscus tree. What’s my point? I like animals and I like listening to and learning their language. I always have and it started with Daisy, the sheepdog, who took care of me from the moment I was brought home from the hospital after being born.
Loving and being loved by animals is one beautiful benefit of nurturing relationships with them but now I see there’s a whole next-level benefit involving the ways they teach and heal us. Whether it’s my sweet Bianca getting attacked and needing me to provide round-the-clock care to save her life or whether it’s a hawk “randomly” showing up in some unexpected place to remind me of the mystery of the universe, they guide me back to myself when I get in my own way.
I learned of the work of Kathleen Prasad in early 2016 and became very intrigued. Kathleen is the world leader in the field of Animal Reiki. With so much gratitude, I received the Buster Scholarship to participate in a weekend workshop to study beginner Animal Reiki with her. This opportunity came from a generous student of Kathleen’s, Gerianne Hummel, who was touched deeply by her first Animal Reiki teacher, Buster, her cat who lived over 23 years. In his honor, she offered this scholarship and I was the lucky recipient!
I felt like I came home that weekend. From the moment I walked into Brighthaven Sanctuary — where animals are treated homeopathically, with Reiki, and shown love and care after often experiencing a lifetime of neglect, suffering, and/or illness — I knew I was walking into something special. Kathleen’s Reiki offerings and teachings have been the cornerstone of their success. I sat with seven other animal lovers like myself, all happy to come home and all grateful to experience the healing that Reiki and animals offer us. I wasn’t weird for talking to animals here; I belonged.
As a massage therapist, I’ve understood energy and have experienced feeling the movement of energy between myself and a client. As a mindfulness practitioner, I’ve understood the benefits of presence. As an animal lover, I’ve understood the benefits of loving and being loved unconditionally. BUT, Animal Reiki brings all of these tools together to show me a framework for promoting interspecies healing in my life and in my work and to incorporate the healing of presence, energy, and love to transcend our suffering.
We live in a world where it’s “normal” to torture, kill, eat and wear animals. We have an opportunity right now, though, to stop eating and wearing them and start listening to and learning from them. They are showing us the impact of our misunderstanding of their role in the survival of the planet. Animal Reiki and the work so many are doing to promote interspecies connection and conversation has the potential to change the world we live in. I know, because I’ve seen it in my own life, that if we shift from dominating animals to befriending them, we will invite the possibility for a peace we haven’t yet known.
There are countless stories of the ways Kathleen’s work has had miraculous outcomes for thousands of animals and people all around the world. Animal miracles are no stranger to me but I’m looking forward to the multitude of miracles to come as I incorporate Animal Reiki practices into my daily life and continue to look to the critters to show me how to live a more aligned, sustainable, and meaningful life.
To learn more about Kathleen’s transformative work, click here.