New book brings Reiki and intuition together

9781608082131_p0_v2_s600x595Readers of Tina Zion’s previous books on Reiki and medical intuition will find a refreshing review in Reiki and Your Intuition: A Union of Healing and Wisdom (Boutique of Quality Books, 2019). New readers will find plenty to consider and use. Tina, who is a colleague and mentor, provided a pre-publication review copy.

Tina’s emphases on projecting positive energy outward instead of creating a shield for protection, getting permission as not only an ethical imperative but a way to empower others, and being a clear vessel for healing are important for any student or practitioner. The book is also peppered with personal stories from other Reiki practitioners.

The information and examples presented will be helpful with the often puzzling process of figuring out what is happening as we learn to both work with Reiki energy and allow it to work through us.

As an animal Reiki practitioner and animal communicator, I appreciate Chapter 9, “Intuitive Reiki with Animals.” It underlines the importance of trusting the images and impressions I get from an animal and sharing them with the animal’s human, rather than trying to interpret them myself. Also meaningful is a personal story from a veterinarian who is also a Reiki master and offers Reiki informally to her patients when the opportunity presents itself.

Though the book as a whole may have benefited from more editing and streamlining, it’s a worthwhile read for those who are exploring what intuition is, how Reiki works, and how they as people and practitioners fit into the picture.

Animal Wise: ‘Guides’ sheds light on difficult subjects

Photo by MabelAmber:Pixabay(Photo by MabelAmber/Pixabay)

As much as Susan Chernak McElroy gets it right with Animals as Teachers and Healers (Ballantine Books, 1997), she gets right to the heart with Animals as Guides for the Soul (Ballantine Books, 1998).

This follow-up is not only a worthy exploration of the relationship between humans and animals, but also a potentially transforming walk through some of the thorniest aspects of these relationships.

8482McElroy, who has worked as a technical writer and editor as well as in several animal-related occupations, writes largely from her experience on a small Wyoming farm. Insights from people who wrote to her after reading her previous book are included.

I appreciate so much in Guides for the Soul, but here are three primary take-aways.

The first is that the healing benefits of our relationships with animals are often subtle, but no less powerful. It isn’t always the spectacular, tossing-away-the-cane miracle with the therapy dog. More often, it’s the steady warmth of the cat curled up on the patient’s lap or the jingling of tags along a quiet country road day after day. Sometimes the miracle is only seen in hindsight.

“We are so conditioned to expect drama and heroics in healing that we forget the staggering importance of all the healing that goes unseen,” says McElroy, a cancer survivor. (Check out this wonderful six-minute video about two guys — one a morbidly overweight human, the other a middle-aged rescue dog — who healed each other.)

What if, she asks, we were to believe that the being at the end of the leash, in the cat carrier, or on a perch could heal by his or her very presence, offering exactly what is needed in every moment? That the dog nuzzling a crying adult was administering critical emotional first aid, or the horse heard the bullied teen as no one else could? Is that so far off the mark?

Second, McElroy delves into the rocky territory of death in a way that can benefit anyone who has lost a much-loved animal, particularly when the loss is accompanied by shame and guilt. These experiences and memories, however long ago, stick to us until we acknowledge their multilayered impact, she says.

Quoting respected authors on pet loss as well as people confronting long-buried grief and remorse, she offers perspective and tools for healing. However, she is respectful enough not to put forth easy answers. The stories of McElroy’s precious llama, Phaedra; and Jody Seay’s elderly black Lab friend McKenzie, are likely to bring both a tear and a spark of hope.

Finally, even when the animals involved are not our own, what can we do when we witness the inexplicable and cruel? When McElroy was about 11, a young coyote with his mangled leg still dangling in a steel-jaw trap was part of a wildlife exhibit at a nearby park. Day after day, he lay in a rusting wire cage with no food or water. She pleaded with the park rangers to care for the coyote. They ignored her. She begged her parents to do something, wrote to the local paper, and contacted the town mayor and her family’s veterinarian.

No adult would intervene until she called Mrs. Roberts, the mother of a friend, who picketed the park. The exhibit shut down within a week. The coyote made the front page of the local paper and was released to Mrs. Roberts, whose veterinarian husband helped care for the coyote in a backyard pen. Months later, Mrs. Roberts drove the coyote to the desert and released him back into the wild.

“She reminded me that although it was she who freed the coyote, it was I who had brought the coyote to her attention. At the age of eleven, I learned that one person can stand up against suffering and make a difference,” McElroy recalls.

We should all have, or be, a Mrs. Roberts.

Animal Wise: Distant healing

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Photo credit: norsez {Thx for 13 million views!} via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

One of the coolest things about Reiki is that, being energy, it is not subject to time or space. Therefore, a Reiki practitioner can work with a client without the use of touch, or without even being in the same room. Or the same country. I can send Reiki to my brother in the Philippines from my Indiana home in the U.S. The energy goes where it needs to go, with no roaming charges.

Still, it’s one thing to believe that Reiki and other complementary healing modalities work hands-on — but the practitioner actually being able to do something for a person or animal miles away? How is that even possible? It’s a tough concept for this skeptical journalist, too, and I can’t explain how it works. I only know that it does.

A friend’s mother’s cat — I’ll call her Maisie — had been anxious, over-grooming to the point that her back legs were nearly bald. My friend mentioned her mom had just installed new flooring and wondered if that could be what was bothering Maisie. In any case, both she and her mom were worried. Wanting to help and knowing I could use the practice, I promised to send Maisie some healing energy.

That afternoon, when I sat down to meditate, I drew all of the Reiki symbols in the air, making sure to include the distant healing symbol. I asked God to let me be a conduit for whatever Maisie, and all humans and animals connected with her, needed. Then I took a few deep breaths and intuitively connected with Maisie, whom I had never met and who lived a couple of hours away. I introduced myself and asked her permission to send healing energy, explaining that she was free to decline or to take as much or as little of the energy as she wished. This is important: Whether distant or hands-on, it’s always up to the animal. If I’d sensed her turning or moving away or felt any apprehension on her part, we would have been done, with me perhaps asking if I could check in with her the next day.

Once I felt Maisie say yes, I pictured her inside a soft bubble of light, enveloped by healing energy from the earth below her and the sky above her. Animals ground with their feet, so it made sense that the new floor, with its unfamiliar feel and smells (along with strange humans in the house installing it), exacerbated whatever other anxiety she felt. I also sent healing energy to the house, envisioning a safe and happy place for all who live or visit there.

After twenty or thirty minutes, I sensed she’d had enough for the day. I thanked her, told her, “You’ve got this,” and closed the session with a brief prayer of thanks. I repeated this for three or four successive days.

It took another week or so before I remembered to ask my friend if her mom had said anything about how Maisie was doing.

“Oh, my gosh, she is doing so much better!” she said. The fur had started to grow back on Maisie’s legs … and she was playing and accepting human affection in a way she had not done in quite a while.

Did I heal Maisie? No. As a Reiki practitioner, I am the string between two cans … Maisie and a higher source, however she might conceive of such, being the two cans. Any healing that happened did so by God’s grace and Maisie’s willingness, in that peaceful space we created, to heal herself.

This is why Reiki works so well with animals, who so often are at the mercy of us humans: They are respected, and they get to choose.

To learn more or schedule a session for your animal friend, visit my Reiki page.