Animal Wise: Where, oh where has my ‘peaceful space’ gone?

Barking Jack Russell by Ben_Kerckx:Pixabay

Photo by by Ben_Kerckx/Pixabay

Animal Reiki practitioners and animal communicators often speak of “creating a peaceful space,” “the Reiki space,” and “holding space” for animals. These all generally refer to a meditative, heart-to-heart connection between practitioner and animal that facilitates relaxation, healing, or insight.

Until a dog barks, a truck backs up, or our thoughts wander. Anyone who has ever practiced (or tried) meditation or prayer will know what I mean. How do we get back into that “space” when it dissolves around us … or when we fall ass over teakettle out of it?

When I do my weekly Reiki and animal communication rounds at a nonprofit equestrian center, I say a prayer before leaving home and listen to a lovely sung Psalm 23 on the way. These small rituals get me in the right frame of mind and heart to share Reiki, or, as my teacher Kathleen Prasad says, to be Reiki, and to listen to whatever the animals want to tell me.

One day I arrived at the barn to find two of its younger residents, a goat and a pig, hanging out in the driveway. Again. Directly in the path of construction vehicles and Realtors coming and going, some rather rapidly.

“What have I TOLD you two about being in the driveway?”

Aaaaand, just like that, I was out of the Reiki space (or pre-Reiki space) and into enforcer mode. (Whoever said that sooner or later, we all quote our mothers was absolutely right, by the way.)

That is, until I’d shepherded the wanderers to one side and silently recited the “Just for today” Reiki precepts. Then I moved on to sharing Reiki with and listening to the animals — starting with the only slightly disgruntled goat and pig. That reset took less than a minute.

Interruptions and distractions happen, but they don’t have to throw us off. I’ve found that the meditative or Reiki space is something I can move in and out of as needed. My Animal Reiki III and Teacher Training with Kathleen was held in a sanctuary barn full of anxious animals, including many barking dogs. Through practice, we learned to hold peaceful space by adapting — moving around as needed, responding to interruptions, and more — and refocusing. The animals were noticeably quieter and calmer at the end of our three days at the barn. The entire energy of the place felt lighter.

Whether we are practitioners or pet parents, I’m convinced that our ability to adapt to what is happening in the moment can only help the animals. Anything I have learned about mindfulness advises us not to judge the distractions, our “monkey minds,” or ourselves, but to gently bring our awareness back to the here and now.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about showing up, coming back, and being there — sometimes all in the same breath.