I am so incredibly grateful to be a member of SARA and to have met Kathleen and Leah. I would probably not be doing Reiki at all if I had not met Kathleen in ’07. I first learned the Western approach to Reiki and to be honest, I didn’t really get it. I had absolutely zero confidence, and I just didn’t do anything, because it just wasn’t resonating with me. But my teacher kept telling me, “You should work with animals, you should work with animals.”
So one day, I went into the bathroom at my store, and there was a magazine laying there. When I opened the magazine there was an ad for Animal Reiki source, and I got all excited. I ran out, told my husband, and he told me to give her a call. Then I took the workshop on the phone, and all of a sudden, the light bulbs went on. I started getting it, and I saw it working with animals, and it was absolutely amazing.
I’m very, very thankful that Kathleen invited me to join SARA because I have grown so much through my whole Reiki journey. When I joined, I really wanted to focus on offering Reiki to animals, and I saw how SARA was providing me with that opportunity to practice, learn, gain confidence that I so desperately needed at the time. It was a way for me to give back, support the animals, help them overcome whatever issues they were having, and find their homes. Over the years it’s been so gratifying to see the lives of so many animals improve, see them blossom, and find their families.
The other thing I’ve learned over the years is that we really need to help the people who care for the animals as well. I know so often we focus on working with the animals and we overlook the people. But I’ve seen over and over again that many animals are a reflection of what the people around them, or the situation they’re in, experience.
I found if we or the staff and volunteers are stressed, and everything is all chaotic, it really does affect the animals. I’m really appreciative that offering the support to the caregivers is part of what SARA offers, because everybody’s one, and offering chair sessions, or the caregivers class or is very important. One of the shelter’s I’ve worked with wasn’t overly supportive of Reiki. They let me come in and work, but didn’t really get it. Then one day, the director comes out and says, “Ann, I’m so happy to see you. Whenever you’re here, it’s so peaceful. I notice that with the animals, and I notice it with all of us. It’s just so peaceful whenever you’re here.” Someone at a horse retirement sanctuary that I work with said the same thing: “Whenever you come, just the whole atmosphere of the whole place changes for the good.”
What I found is the more that I give, the more I personally receive and learn. I’ve learned so much from everything; the volunteering, the materials, and the programs. The animals have taught me so much about how to offer Reiki to them and how to be a better teacher. SARA has really helped me learn and grow, both as a practitioner and a teacher. From all of this, I’ve had some wonderful students, and I’ve made some really wonderful friends.
I view SARA as a win-win-win-win-win. The animals win, the caregivers win, the shelter or sanctuary wins. We all win as practitioners and teachers. At the end of the day, all of our communities win. I just want to give a big thank you to Kathleen and Leah for your tireless efforts over the past 10 years because you brought the gift of SARA to all of us. It’s a gift because we can give a bit of ourselves to help make the world a better place through our animals and the communities that we live in.
SARA has totally changed everything for me, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a member.