The Devoted Barn, Newport, Michigan, May 2017. (Photo by Nancy Crowe
It turns out you can improvise on the advice about dancing in the rain rather than waiting for the storm to pass. After days of rain, this resident of The Devoted Barn in Newport, Michigan — where I recently completed Animal Reiki III and Teacher Training with Kathleen Prasad — danced in a kiddie pool. It’s one of many examples of joy and grace from these wonderful animals.
And it’s a way to introduce this news: In addition to my work as a writer and editor, I’m happy to be expanding my animal Reiki practice.
Reiki (RAY-key) is a stress reduction and relaxation technique that also promotes healing. It’s traditionally administered through gentle touch, although it can work from a distance — from the other side of a fence or cage to across the world. “Rei” means spirit, Source, or higher wisdom; and “ki” (sometimes spelled “chi”) is life force energy. So it’s “spiritual energy,” though it is not associated with any particular religious tradition.
As a complementary healing modality, Reiki is used in massage clinics, hospitals, hospice homes, spas, and other places where humans heal. It is gaining ground in animal shelters, sanctuaries, and veterinary facilities as well. That’s because animals understand energy, and especially healing energy, way better than we do.
Idgie in 2007. (Photo by Nancy Crowe)
In fact, it was an animal who inspired me to begin learning Reiki more than a decade ago. My tiger cat, Idgie, was about 10 years old and dealing with inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, and anxiety. Our vet was doing all he could. So was I, but I knew there was more to all of this … and something more I could do for her.
Of course, any time we set out to heal another, we must learn to heal ourselves — so Idgie and I had our work cut out for us. I am grateful for our 16 years together.
I have practiced Reiki regularly over the years, mostly with my own animal companions and those of friends and family. Now, having recently left my corporate job and undergone some additional training in animal Reiki, I’m ready to take it further. As a practitioner member of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association, I’m also doing some pro bono work.
Do I know exactly where this will lead? No. But I trust God and the animals to show me the next step. Then the next. Then the one after that.
You can learn more about Reiki, my background, and how to schedule a session for your animal companion here. Also, please watch for my series of Animal Wise blog posts about how Reiki helps animals — with examples from the animals I’ve met and the amazing things they’ve taught me. Questions and comments are welcome!