Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Journey with Chloe: A Quiet, Strong Spirit

Chloe is a lovely cat with a quiet, internal energy.  Her brother Max, who I wrote about recently, has a much louder, bold presence.  However, she does have her own intensity, and a strength and power within her more quiet presence, as you can see by the photo above.  Chloe and Max are fourteen, have been together all their life, and have always been at odds with each other.  Chloe will growl at Max when he walks by.  They put up with each other, and they have each staked out territory for the most part, but in general, Max seems to irritate Chloe.  Apparently at times he deliberately gets in her face, so that doesn't help so much either :)
A ways back, Chloe began urinating outside the box, so her people, Debbie and Jonathan, took her to the vet to see if there was a medical reason behind this.  The vet found that there was a mass located near her bladder. 

I had been working with Max for a few months when the mass was found in Chloe, and so at that point I began doing Reiki work with Chloe as well as Max. 
It was interesting, one of the first things I noticed in starting to do energy work with Chloe was how her energy felt naturally much more inward, whereas Max's is much more outward - though of course when I first started working with Max, his energy was in a diminished state because he had been very sick.  But what I mean is difference in the natural state of their energy.  Perhaps that difference, plus the fact that they are both so strong in their individuality, is what is at the source of their conflict. 
If Max is in a wandering mode when I get there, I will start with Chloe or vice versa.
Chloe's usual hanging out spot when I am there is in the living room, either on the couch or the coffee table.  Sometimes in the midst of a session she will go to eat, so when that happens I may sit on a stool near her, sending energy.  At various points during a session, she may come towards me for TTouches.  I do a little at a time with her, and with the Reiki, I always have my hands a short distance away from her, as I think that the energy would be too intense if I were to do hands-on with her.
I use a lot of visualization with her, visualizing the mass dissolving, visualizing white light traveling through her body, healing.  I always tell the animals to only take as much or as little Reiki as they wish, so they feel that I am not forcing the energy on them.  I am there for them, I am there to help them, and work with them as I am guided by them. 
Very often, during a session, a word or phrase will come to me, as if it were a word blowing on a breeze - a feeling-type of word.  I often feel I am in a daydream-type state during a Reiki session, so I feel I am picking up things that come to me on a deeper level.  In the midst of my Reiki session with Chloe last week, the word "acceptance" came to mind.  I was thinking, maybe if it is possible for her to accept who Max is, rather than wishing he were different, then something could start to shift in their relationship. 
I am not saying that Chloe is the reason for their conflict, it does feel like it is chemistry, there certainly are many human brothers and sisters who don't get along with each other.  As of this post, Chloe is still growling at Max.  But of course, this type of shift will take time, if it indeed possible after all these years. 

What Chloe could change is the way she reacts to Max, and discovering that possibility can be empowering.  And in my work with her, I will incorporate visualization of a more positive reaction to Max, simply starting with a picture of her having no reaction.  I do think it is positive that recently both cats began hanging out in the living room again at the same time.  There were months after Max's hospitalization where he was not hanging out in the living room - but I think a large part of him coming back into the living room had to do with him feeling so much better and wanting more connection with his people.
As for how Chloe is reacting to TTouch and Reiki, I can feel her trusting me more and more each time, and being comfortable with closer contact. 
When I first came to work with Max, I tried a few TTouches with Chloe and she was only comfortable with a few TTouches before she signaled that it was enough! 
But now she will come towards me for TTouches, which I still do very gently, and primarily with the back of my hand, as that is less intense than using the front surfaces of my hand.  And I let her guide how much contact she would like to have, closely watching her body language.  I will do less rather than push for more. 
After a short session of TTouches, I transition into the Reiki part of the session, starting with my hands maybe 6 inches away.  Usually at this point she is on the couch with me.  Lately, I can see her recognition of the energy, and she gets very still, taking it in.  Last session she actually settled right next to me for a good while.
She will settle until she feels a bit more distance, and then she will go on the coffee table and settle there.  I continue sending the energy, but from a bit further away.  When she is ready to be closer to me again, she comes on the couch again.  She may do this two or three times during the session.  Sometimes I will see her looking at me, as though she is kind of adjusting herself, maybe feeling something different because of the Reiki energy. 
Recently I began studying about color therapy.  Sometimes I will send the essence of a color while I am sending the Reiki energy, following my intuition about what is needed for that day or that time - I may use a couple of different colors during the session.  Last session, I used green and purple.  Initially I was sending green to the heart chakra (green is the color associated with the heart chakra), as I feel that because of her shy nature, some opening and balancing in that area will benefit her and help her confidence. 

Later on in the session, at one point she became alerted by a few sounds (the sound of footsteps running in another apartment, a doorbell ringing), and I began to send purple through her forehead and down through her body. It did seem to calm her, her eyes softened and her body began to relax.  Purple has to do with calming the emotions, restoring balance.  I feel that as I continue to work with her, she will continue to feel more and more at ease with me and she will absorb the energy on a deeper and deeper level.
Her appetite has been good, seems to be a bit better since I first started working with her, and (crossing fingers), she has been peeing in the box for about the past month.  What has made a huge difference in her litter box issue has been to keep the box and surrounding area super-clean.  So that is all good!
Thank you Chloe - you are a gentle, dear soul, and I look forward to continuing to work with you (and Max)! As always, I learn so much from the animals every day.  By being still and quiet, and listening and feeling, we can learn so much from them. xo

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cookie and Oreo: Dancing to the End of the Song

The last part of an animal's journey with us on earth can be a stressful time, but it can also be a beautiful time of connection, feeling and learning how to truly be in the moment with our animals.
I met my friend Cookie McCrory through the main TTouch office and subsequent to that, gave her private TTouch lessons, as well as doing a workshop which she coordinated with the Homeless Cat Network, where she volunteers.  Though we live on opposite coasts, we are always in touch, and share what is going on with us with our animal and human families.  And as I have family out west, I do try to come to the Bay Area several times a year, if possible.
I knew her dear kitty Oreo was very sick.  She had spoken of him often to me, as he loved TTouch so much.  And I was very touched when she sent me the following letter.  With the permission of Cookie and those addressed in the letter, I share this loving tribute:

Above:  Cookie with Oreo: "Do you want TTouch, Oreo?"
(The people referenced in Cookie's letter are Tom Wilson, who teaches Animal Hospice, Dancing to the end of the song. Kathleen Prasad and Leah D'Ambrosio taught Reiki to Cookie.  They are from SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association), Kathleen is the founder, Leah is co-founder. Cookie took Ttouch Mini Class with me several times.:) )
Hi Tom, Leah, Kathleen and Sarah, I wanted to share the beautiful passing of my beloved Oreo on to his next journey. I took your hospice class last year, Dancing till the end of the song........
My beloved Oreo was 14 years. We were told he had kidney failure, three months ago. At that time, I reread my class notes on your Hospice class I took. Your class enabled my Oreo and me to enjoy the past three months together and to help us get ready for his next journey. I told him stories each day of our life together, how I found him so scared, no mama and only 6 weeks, all the exciting events we shared...........up today. What wonderful life we had together......... It took almost 2 years for him to trust me. I found him in a fishing net dying at 6 weeks.
We enjoyed Ttouch and Animal Reiki daily. We danced each day to soft music or hula, as my hips swayed he would make happy feet on my shoulders. We sat on the big comfy computer chair in the sun, opened the window and welcomed the fresh air daily. I opt for no fluids, I  wasn't going to chase him daily and confine him in a wrapped towel. He has always been a free spirit ............
"My husband talking story with our Oreo, Hawaiian style"
He was my buddy, the  only one that saw the tears in my eyes and pain in my heart, as my husband battles bone cancer daily. I 'd pick up my Oreo and the pain would disappear, while doing Animal Reiki.. My heart was full of warmth and it came from my Oreo. He looked forward to TTouch throughout the day, I would  just put my hand over his head and his eyes said, "let's do it"!  TTouch brought comfort to him, he was ever so relaxed.........Animal Reiki was welcomed am & pm, especially the chanting, as I chant with my hula. My chants come from my soul. Oreo embraced Animal Reiki, it opened our communication so clearly, he shared that he was okay and that he would be leaving me soon. He was more concerned about me. He taught me it was okay to let go. He would see me when I cross over. When I start my Animal Reiki, his paw would reach out to me, instead of comforting him, he comforted me. He gave me such inner peace. My little warrior.
My vet tech Karen came to my house a couple times a week, to check on him. Sometimes she gave him laser treatment, it made him feel so much better.
He slept in my bed nightly when he became ill. How strange, he knew I needed him, he taught me so much.
"Pastor Elizabeth Blessed our Oreo"

He was blessed by an animal minister I know, that does the Blessing of the Animals. She blessed all my indoor cats and outdoor ferals.
My family and friends came to visit him and wish him well and it was beautiful, not sad.........We were supported with love from everyone. Sat. am he took a turn for the worse, I looked into his eyes and they told me it was time to let him go.......I didn't acknowledge him. Then at 2:00 am, he stood up on me and urinated  on me.  I smiled and told him, that's okay.  ( I'll never forget that moment and he made me smile ) It was like, I told you I was ready to go and you didn't listen to me. You got it now! : )  I cleaned up everything and we spent the night in the bathroom. That am he started to have trembles, I called my vet tech and she came over. She gave him something to relax him. I picked up my love and we danced to the soft chants, till the end of the last song forever. We went to say farewell to the house cats and our two outdoor ferals in the backyard. He had lost the shine in his eyes, didn't want to eat now. I cuddled him in my arms and hummed Hawaiian songs to him. I told him Sugar baby and other furry friends were waiting for him across the Rainbow Bridge. It was okay for him to go, that I will be okay. He  passed  peacefully in my gentle arms.............I was so happy for him he had peace and so did I.
Karen asked if I wanted to spend more time with him. I told her with a smile, we've had 14 wonderful years together and the last 3 months were the best. It was time for him to go on his next journey. His friends are waiting for him. Sugarbaby was at the gate to greet him. I saw him as clear as day. He's the greeter at the Rainbow Bridge.
Thank you for sharing Hospice with me . I'd like to learn more to share with others. Oreo had taught me so much about life, I deeply thank him. Animal Reiki gave us the strength to be as one in his last 3 three months of his journey. TTouch calmed him down and helped soothed any pain that came that way. TTouch has been a part of his daily life for many years. When my friends came over to visit. I would put my hand over his head and he would push it gently, as he loved Ttouch. My friends were amazed.
I was blessed to share Animal Reiki, Ttouch and Hospice with him.
My many friends could not believe how calm and happy I was to be on his journey with him. I shared, it is all about opening your heart and listening to the animal.  When one can learn to be one with their pet, there is an unbelievable communication bond that will take place and it will touch your warm heart.
All of you taught me how to celebrate life and death...................thank you. I must share all of this with my friends and help them, when needed.
                                                 Mahalo nui loa,  Cookie 

                      Reiki is with me all the time. It has brought me inner peace. It helps me daily as my husband battles cancer, accepting what is and enjoying the moment...................... I am Blessed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teaching TTouch to Cat Rescuers: Relaxation for the Rescued (and the Rescuers!)

Above:  Sugar
Rafael and his girlfriend Loren rescue and TNR cats in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, so they are constantly in contact with frightened and abused cats, as well as older cats and cats with health issues.  They do a beautiful job of taking care of these cats (often with the help of Kitty Kind, find them homes), as well as taking great care of their own cats.  Rafael had contacted me after noticing a flier about my TTouch class at BARC Shelter, which had already passed.  I offered to come to them for a private lesson, which was even better, as it would give us a chance to work on their cats. 
When I arrived, I entered into their lovely space which was very clean and completely set up for the cats' enjoyment, including a safe outdoor space where they can go to play and get fresh air.  I was greeted by some of the cats right away - Charlie, an older gentleman cat who has diabetes, Henry, a sweet blind cat, and a couple of lively teenage kitties.  A small kitten named Bella, who looked as if she had a wise-beyond-her-years quality to her, also trotted by - they told me she had been extremely sick and starving initially, and they had lovingly nursed her back to health.
Above:  Charlie

I began by showing Rafael and Loren some of the basic TTouches on Charlie.  I explained how TTouch can be of benefit to animals with health issues, as well as behavior issues, that it can bring a sense of balance and well-being to both the body and mind.
Charlie is a very sweet cat, but I could tell he is a very sensitive cat, so I went slowly, beginning at the front of his body, as he seemed more sensitive towards his back end.  It is important to give the cats little breaks as you work with them, so you can let them process and to help you determine if they are ready for more or need to have more of a break. 
Rafael and Loren picked up the TTouches extremely well, both are naturals at it.  They both also have a quiet energy, which cats really respond to.  So, fairly soon into the session, they started trying some of the TTouches with the cats.  And here is when some magic really began...
Above:  Sugar
Loren began working with Sugar, who I also did some TTouch and a little Reiki with as well. Sugar is generally a very nervous cat, always on edge, even when resting never quite seems at ease, and she also has IBD.  When I was sending Reiki to her, I felt a great deal of heat around the middle of her body (I had my hands on her side), which makes a lot of sense with her digestive issues.
Sugar's response to the TTouches was extraordinary.  It was as though TTouch was the perfect key to her relaxation.  As Loren continued to work with her, Sugar's eyes got relaxed and sleepy, and you could see her muscles and her whole presence soften and relax.  Rafael and Loren said that Sugar's usual mode is constant alert, and so to see her really let go like this was such a change! 
I believe that the process of doing TTouch creates a calm energy in the environment, as well as directly affecting the individual animal who is being worked on, which helps them to feel a greater degree of safety.
Another wonderful surprise, one of the much more fearful cats, Seven, came to where we were working, which was dramatic enough in itself.  Then Rafael began working with him, and Seven visibly began to calm.  His eyes were still a bit in wide-open mode but he was comfortable staying there.  I was sitting right next to them.  At one point I moved a little closer and Seven became a bit concerned and moved away a bit, but then Rafael began working with Seven again, and he calmed again. The fact that he came where we were and remained there was a huge step for him, as he generally will hide when a new person comes in.
A bit later on I was working with Charlie again (Rafael had worked with him as well), and I could feel how much more relaxed he was.  His coat and skin even felt different, smooth, relaxed, and so when I tried some abalone TTouches (circular TTouches using the whole hand) down on his lower back, instead of feeling resistance or flinching, he relaxed right into them.
Above: Henry

I also did some work during the session off and on with Henry, who is blind.  He is a dear, and I could feel him sensing the energy around him, which was so interesting.  Even when I was sitting a couple of feet away from him, he sensed exactly where I was, and knew exactly where he was going to make contact with me for a nice head butt :)  He was in a walking mood, so a little bit of TTouch at a time was good for him.  TTouch work helps with proprioception, which has to do with sensing where a body is in space, so can be of very real benefit to Henry, even though obviously he is doing a great job of this already.
I explained some of the more practical aspects of TTouch, such as how a slow progression incorporating circular TTouches and belly lifts can eventually lead to being able to pick a cat up (just a tiny bit off the ground at first), and how to combine the TTouches with very small lifts to help make this into an experience that is pleasant, instead of always associating being picked up with being put into a carrier to go to the vet!  The same concept can be applied when doing TTouches on the paws (eventually for toenail clipping) or mouth area (giving medication). TTouch can also help to bring more harmony, and if there are two cats who are not getting along, it can be helpful for two people to simultaneously do TTouches on the two cats in the same room (a distance apart, which can get closer over time), so that they can become accustomed to having something that feels good happen when they are in proximity to each other.
Above:  Clara
I did not meet Clara, as they had her in another room.  They didn't want to overwhelm her with meeting a new person.  She was abused, and so even though she comes to them for petting, she will flinch when they first touch her.  I told them that in time, TTouch should help her to be more relaxed in general, and eventually will help her react differently to touch and to stress. So I look forward to hearing from them about Clara's progress.
Meanwhile, back in the big room where we were working, by the end of the session, the cats seemed very relaxed, especially little Sugar.  It was beautiful to see her so at ease. 
I was so energized after this session, especially knowing that Rafael and Loren will be able to help so many animals with the TTouches. 
Rafael contacted me after the session, and said that later on, he had another session with Sugar, and they both had fallen asleep.  One of the many lovely things about TTouch is that it can bring relaxation to the person doing the TTouch as well as the animal :) 
Thank you Rafael and Loren for all you do for the animals, and thank you to all the cats for being such wonderful creatures and teachers always.
(Thank you Rafael for the photographs for this blog post)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Journey with Max: Comfort for Physical and Emotional Stress

Above:  Max

Max is a handsome, elegant 14 year old cat with a very big presence.  When I first went to see him, though, his big spirit was quite diminished, due to prolonged physical troubles - probable asthma and then a very serious chronic sinus condition which required a lot of testing and subsequent hospitalization, etc.

Max also has a lovely sister, Chloe, who has a separate tale to tell, so I will speak about her in a separate blog post.

Max's people, Debbie and Jonathan, are doing everything they can to help him.  After all that he had been through with the medical treatments and hospitalization, they wanted to help provide comfort for him in whatever way possible.  Both Reiki and TTouch are wonderful modalities for providing gentle comfort, both physically and emotionally.  They also can help the body to be more optimal balance, and can help stimulate the appetite.  Keeping a cat eating can often be a challenge in this type of situation, and is, of course, crucial to a cat's survival.

In the first appointment, he had just come home from the hospital with medication and a feeding tube.  I showed Debbie and Jonathan some of the basic TTouches, but I was very gentle and careful with Max, because his condition was very fragile, and I did not want to disturb the feeding tube.  I spent more of the appointment offering Reiki to Max, keeping my hands several feet away at first, then moving in a bit closer. 

The first thing I felt upon offering Reiki to Max was a huge flood of gratitude which I felt from him.  The gratitude was to his people, for all of their love and care which they have given him.  It felt like beautiful ocean waves flowing from his heart to mine, filling up my heart with this powerful feeling.

I felt a very strong flow of Reiki from my hands, and kept picturing his nasal passages clear, and clear light and energy flowing from his nasal passages and all the way down his body, healing.  I still had my hands off his body, as the energy was so strong, and I didn't want to overwhelm him.  A few times I wasn't sure if I should stop and give him a break but then I felt a signal from him that he was ready to continue.  I felt him really pulling the energy into his body.

After we finished the session, he got up and went to his food dish and ate, which was a wonderful sight to see, and then went and laid down in his bed by the window, where he looked very comfortable.

Over the next sessions I saw steady progress with Max, both on a physical and emotional level.  The feeding tube was removed, his energy and appetite improved greatly, and Debbie and Jonathan said he was acting more like himself all the time.  I saw the light come back into his eyes and began to see and feel the strong being who he really is.  Prior to the hospitalization, he had been getting steroids on a regular basis for asthma-like symptoms, and after this recovery he was able to stay off the steroids for a good while. 

Over time, I had to adjust the way that I worked with him.  He had gotten so much of his personality and energy back that it sometimes took some strategy to nudge him into a more relaxed mode.  But this was not a bad problem to have really!  Sometimes he would settle in several different places during the course of the session, but that was fine. 

At that point, I also began working with his sister Chloe, who has her own health issues.  Often I will work with her first, to give him time to settle into a more relaxed state.  Usually by the time I finished working with Chloe, he would have settled into one of his cozy spaces.

One thing that Max's people had told me was that he was still spending a good deal of time sleeping in a quiet closet space in the back of the apartment, rather than hanging out with them, which he used to do before his hospitalization.  Jonathan had mentioned he wanted to try to get Max engaged in play again.  This was a great idea, as engaging Max in play would encourage him to become more engaged with them again altogether. 

On my way to the next appointment, I stopped at Petco on the way and purchased a Cat Dancer toy.  Something told me this would be something he liked.  Indeed, it turned out that he used to LOVE to play with this toy when he was younger, and he got right into it when they started playing with him with it.  They also said that he had started coming up on their bed and sleeping with them again. 

A couple of weeks ago, while I was working with Chloe in her usual place in the living room, Max came in and started lurking around.  I wasn't sure whether he wanted to take in some of the energy, or was a bit jealous I was working with his sister, or both.  There was a cat bed a few feet away from where we were working, and he started circling around there, looking like he may even settle there. 

I was finishing up with Chloe, and so I quietly began walking towards Max when I had finished the session with her.  At first I thought he was going to lead me into the back part of the apartment, where he usually settles.  But instead, he came back into the living room, settling on a little cat track toy near the bed he had been near before.  A while after I had begun offering him Reiki, he then got up and gently settled into the cat bed, where he remained for the rest of the session.  I felt such peace from him!!

After I finished the session, Debbie and Jonathan told me that he had not been in that bed since he had gotten back from the hospital, which was 3-4 months ago now.  So this was great progress!  The living room is a place where Max used to spend much more time before the hospital, so this was great that he was gravitating back to this room.  He has been sleeping in that bed again since then, and hanging out other places in the living room that he used to enjoy.  This also means that he is spending more time comfortably hanging out with his people, instead of isolating himself. 

Unfortunately, Max recently had another bout of sinus trouble, which resulted in a couple of more trips to the vet hospital (fortunately not having to stay overnight though).  He is now still on some medication, some of which will be long-term, but is feeling better again, and that has been within a pretty short time period, so that is good.  He seems strong, is eating pretty well, is getting back to playing again, and he is continuing to hang out in his places in the living room. 

Max and Chloe have never gotten along with each other, and still growl at each other even after being together their whole 14 year old life.  I am hoping that over time, there might be a bit more harmony between them.  Reiki can often help that to happen.  It is encouraging that they are able to peacefully hang out in the living room together now - which is something that they have done in the past, but maybe there is a bit more of a shift that can happen. 

In this week's session, I worked with Max first, back in his cozy space in the closet.  I felt a lot of energy especially coming from his heart chakra, which is interesting, as I feel like his heart has been progressively opening during our time working together, after having gone through so much with his hospitalization earlier in the year. 

Above: Chloe
Then I went to work with Chloe.  She was on the couch, one of her favorite places.  We did part of the session there, and she seemed almost mesmerized by the energy.  Then she took a brief break to eat, then came up on the coffee table, another favorite place.  She stretched out on her side as I offered Reiki to her, really absorbing the energy. 

Above: Max

At this point, Max came slowly into the living room, looking like he was sneaking in, and then settled in one of his favorite places on a chair by the window.  I opened up my visualization of where I was offering the Reiki, picturing it as an expanding area of light, encompassing more and more of the room.  I felt the Reiki like a rain of light, gently falling and soothing.  Max stretched out on the chair, looking very cozy, and Chloe continued to be very relaxed on the coffee table.

It will be interesting to see if this is a continuing pattern, Max joining Chloe in the living room for Reiki.  It will be wonderful if the energy can help them to feel better being around each other, as well as to feel better individually.

Many thanks to Max and Chloe for again reminding me to really be in the moment with what is happening, and to keep an open mind because one never knows what can happen in those special moments!!  And thanks to Debbie and Jonathan for all the love and care they have for these lovely animals.  Look forward to seeing you soon, and sending positive thoughts for continued health and well-being of both these cats :) xo

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sarah Hauser, Meet Sarah Hauser (and her friend Aladdin too!): Several Gentle Approaches Help two Kittens go from Terrified to Confident

Above:  Sarah Hauser with Sarah Hauser the kitten!
Some weeks ago, a terrified little kitten was dumped at the vet's office next door to BARC Shelter.  The vet techs thought I would be able to help her to feel more at ease, and so I had the great honor of the kitten being named after me!!
I could see right away that she was not aggressive in the least, just afraid.  In the beginning, she would cling to the cage if you tried to pick her up.  A gentle approach can take a while to take effect, but I have found that in the end, it results in an animal who is truly comfortable from the inside, not simply tolerating you touching it or picking it up because you have decided you are going to force them to let you do it.
After a while of TTouch with her in the cage, I was able to pick her up and have her sit on my lap for a moment.  I didn't force her to stay there, just gently contained her for a few TTouches, then if she wanted to go back in the cage, that was fine.  After a while of doing this, she started to be more comfortable on my lap, even purring there sometimes. 
A while after Sarah arrived, another single scaredy kitten arrived at the shelter and was named Aladdin.  He was put in with her, and they became the best of friends, but the two were still hanging at the back of the cage.  They both had similar behavior in that neither one was aggressive in the least, simply scared.  They would run to the back of the cage when people opened the door.  Even though both of them grew comfortable with me, they would still usually do this as an initial reaction.
A great tool for teaching scaredy kittens and cats that being touched can be pleasurable is to use baby food (all meat baby food with no onions, such as Gerber's or Beech Nut, I usually use Turkey in Turkey Gravy).  You can start out by putting some in a spoon or something else with a handle, so they can lick it off from a distance at first.  Then slowly you lure them to the front of the cage.  Eventually you can have them lick it off of a finger.  I tried this just a couple of times with both of them and it ended up making a HUGE difference.
After two sessions of using the baby food and doing some TTouches with Sarah and Aladdin, I opened the cage and Sarah started rubbing her face against my finger, really pushing into it.  This was new! I went with the feeling of it and started to bring my finger towards the front of the cage little by little.  She followed me as I did this.  She and I started making a game of this each time I worked with her.  I would still pick her up at some point to lay down on my lap as well, doing TTouches and Reiki with her.  Aladdin was not doing this little game, but he was becoming more and more comfortable being TTouched in or out of the cage and being picked up to lay on my lap, and was purring and relaxed once he got there as I did TTouches and Reiki with him, instead of running right back in his cage.
Below is a video of Sarah doing her little game with me :)
Last Saturday, I opened the cage to start to do the little game with Sarah, and she came out on my lap all by herself.  It was so spontaneous and natural, it really brought a smile to my face.  It actually looked as though she was smiling too.  She settled for quite a long time once she got on my lap.  And then when she got off my lap, she started making a little game of coming back onto my lap, staying there for a few minutes, then going back in the cage, then coming right back out again.  So sweet to see this lovely creature actually seeking contact, instead of running away from it!
Aladdin is doing really great too.  Now when I pick him up, he doesn't struggle at all, just relaxes into my hands and then settles right onto my lap, purring. 
So glad to see these two cats doing so well now, they are really ready to go home - an adopter would still have to be very patient and give them the time they need, but they have come a looong way!  xoxo

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monk: R.I.P.: Love, Reiki, and Letting Go


Last Friday, I said goodbye to my dear Reiki kitty friend, Monk.

I shared many Reiki sessions with Monk since early July, as he had Chronic Renal Failure.  I had worked with him prior to this diagnosis as well.  He always enjoyed Reiki, and anticipated it more and more as he got to know me.  When he saw me, he would go jump on the bed to get ready to settle in for his session, often sitting on his person Suzanne's lap for the session.

Late May, Suzanne had called me to cat sit for Monk and his cat girlfriend Jade, and when I saw Monk, I felt so strongly that I wanted to help.  I could see that due to the kidney disease, Monk’s appetite and life force were rapidly diminishing.  I had such a strong sense that Reiki would be of help to him, not to mention that I already had a very strong bond with Monk.  So I began to do Reiki sessions with him very often - every day at times, but at least three to four times a week. 

I felt the sessions needed to be often, to continually reinforce the balance, peacefulness and sense of well-being that Reiki can bring.

We quickly saw his appetite improve from nearly zero to nearly normal, he began clearly enjoying his food again, and his energy level and general vitality improved a lot as well.  I always offer Reiki energy for the highest good, but one can never know exactly how that will play itself out. 

I was so happy to see him feeling better for what seemed to be extra time, time which we had not anticipated him having, time which I know that we all cherished him having, especially his beloved owner Suzanne.  It was such a delight to see the light back in his eyes, to see him prance along with a spring in his step, to see him comfortable and to see him with an appetite.

Monk adored his owner Suzanne, and I felt him wanting to hang on to life as long as he could. And I am glad that until last week sometime, he really was hanging in there strongly, as strongly as he could, Even though his body was frail, I felt such a strength of spirit, of love, of determination.

I treasured the sessions I spent with him.  I will never forget them.  The lovely summer days with him on my lap as I sat on the terrace with the breeze blowing, and later with him curled up on my lapas we sat on the couch.  I knew that I was walking with him on the last part of his road in this life, and it was an honor to be able to spend this time with this very special creature, to feel the very deep connection that happens with Reiki energy with him, to share the light with him.  He had such a pure heart, such pure sweetness about him.  Most often, it felt like my heart was merging with his heart, that our breathing became as one creature, that we were together in the emanating light.  And this emanating light felt like emanating, healing love, like the most pure, beautiful feeling of love that one could have for another creature.

After we began doing more of the sessions inside, sometimes Jade would curl up right next to Monk, and they would take in the energy together.

Last Wednesday, when I arrived, I felt from Monk such a strong feeling.  It was a lovely day with the sun streaming in through the window, a fall day that gives you that rather melancholy feeling of the summer ending and fall beginning. 

It was as if he were laying outside in the sun, temperature just warm and so perfect that he didn't want to move.  That he knew he would have to go soon, but he wanted to stay a little longer, a little longer.  A little longer to feel this beautiful time on earth.  That he knew his time to go was soon, but he wasn't just quite ready, that he so wanted to enjoy it a while longer.  To feel the connection with the earth, with me in the moment as my hands emanated warmth and energy, with his kitty friend Jade nearby, and most of all with his person Suzanne, who, though she was not present in body during the session, she was and is always with him. 

I felt so sad knowing that his time was near, that our time together on the earthly plane would not be much longer. 

When I left, I made sure he was comfortable, curled up on this lovely shaggy pillow, as though it were a soft form of grass that was all around him.

Thursday he settled into my lap, and it took him a while to get comfortable but then he got so comfortable there, connected with the flow of the energy.  After the session ended, I very gently placed him in one of his cozy places. 

Friday I arrived at Suzanne's place a couple of hours before the vet and his assistant were to come.  As sad as this was, this was a special and powerful time of connection with both Monk and Suzanne.  She held him gently on her lap for most of the time, while I kept the Reiki energy flowing.  I felt him become more at ease as we sat there.  So much love and light surrounded him.

I kept imagining him resting in a field of grass, and then running in a field of grass, with sunlight around him. 

A very unexpected thing happened then.  The first four or five lines of the 23rd psalm came to me, in bits and pieces.  I think it was because I was see the green pastures, then the still waters, then "he restoreth my soul".  I grew up Episcopalian, but do not really follow any particular organized religion - I am a spiritual person and keep myself open to whatever rings true to me.  But at this moment, the bits and pieces of these lines and the images especially, the feeling of being out in the grass with Monk, the feeling of the soul being restored, it all felt very healing.  I let the images and lines flow through my mind, which eventually led to the image of light all around the three of us, a calm, healing, heavenly light.  We had very quiet music playing, and the door was open to the terrace, with fresh air coming in. 

At the end, he was surrounded by such loving energy, it felt like the most gentle, peaceful exit that he could have.  Much gratitude to the kind and respectful vet and his assistant who were present and helped make this transition so gentle.  And the utmost gratitude to Suzanne, for taking Monk in as a kitten and for giving him such love and care for his whole life.  Much, much love to Monk, to Suzanne, and to Jade.  And all my sympathy.  It is such an honor to know you all and to have been a part of your lives.

There is something that I often say to an animal when I am working with him or her, and I usually say it silently.  This is something I said often to Monk (and still say in my mind), "I love you so much, and I always will."  With those words I feel that the feeling travels over time and space, a love that exists eternally.  Animals help remind us of the feeling of that love with no boundaries, that we can be connected forever no matter whether on the earthly plane or not. 

xoxoxo with love and gratitude to Monk, Suzanne, and Jade

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reiki with Deuce - Open Your Heart to Hear What the Animal Has to Say

I have been working with Deuce for some months now.  He has arthritis which is progressing, but Reiki and TTouch helps to put him more at ease, and can help his body to be in better balance.
Today he was laying in one of his favorite spots, an easy chair in the living room.  I had recommended that his person, Alice, put something of intermediate height near this chair and other places he likes to go that may be a bit of a challenge for him to jump to now.  So now there is a lovely step stool by the chair - perfect, as it is very stable and the surface is rough so he can get traction and not slip.
Most of the time, he was laying on his right side so that the left side was exposed to me, which makes sense, as it is the front left leg which is giving him trouble at this point.  He is now generally not using that leg when going up stairs.
I started out with my hands a foot or so away from his body, with my arms sort of forming a circle around him.  I pictured a sphere of light encompassing him and soothing him.  One hand was near his neck, the other near his back end.  I told him he need only take as much or as little energy as he wanted.
The first part of the session, I did what in Reiki is called a healing attunement.  In my Reiki master training, I was taught how to do this process for people, and I have recently been adjusting this process so that it will work well with animals.  It is different when I do it with an animal than it is with a person, as a lot of it I accomplish through visualization and intention, rather than the version for humans which involves more physical contact.  It brings in high frequency healing energy that is more intense than a regular Reiki treatment, and can be a very good addition to a Reiki treatment to assist in very deep healing.
As the session progressed, he shifted his body every so often so that my hands would be in a different place.  Each time my hands changed place, I would imagine any blockages disappearing, a feeling of opening.  I felt more and more energy and heat from my hands as time went on. 
I think it is very important to be open and receptive to whatever you might hear from or feel from the animal, to open your heart, let go of your own expectations and let these feelings in.  The animals very often will show me where they need my hands to be by shifting and changing position until you are where the energy is most beneficial for them.  It is possible to feel this, it feels as if you are plugging into a socket, and the energy flow can become very strong when you arrive at these places on their body where they want your hands to be the most.

During a Reiki session, I often feel the animal and I traveling together into a very dreamlike state, where I feel like we are inside of a bubble of energy and light, which is warm and very soft.  And this is where we went today for much of the session, though at times we would come up more to the surface and feel present in the room and in the apartment.

In the earlier parts of the session, I often had one hand around his shoulder area, sending him energy there, which will help to ease whatever pain or discomfort may be happening in that area. The other hand was near the base of his spine.  I kept feeling the connection from his upper spine to the lower spine, feeling the energy going from the upper back down to the base of the spine.  I was feeling a lot of energy particularly in the upper back at this point, especially as that is the area where he is having difficulty.
Towards the end of the session, Deuce put both of his back paws on one of my hands, as if he was asking for the energy there.  This makes sense, as it will help him to really feel his feet, and he will need his back legs more now that the front ones are starting to be more compromised.  His front paws do need the energy even more, of course, but at this point he had them kind of curled up - so I will have to focus on that next session!
At any rate, at this point in the session he moved into a position which helped to really focus on the connection and power in his back legs.  My left hand had both back paws touching it, and at times I would do little TTouches on one paw and then the other, and put my hand around one paw (about an inch away) and then the other.  My other hand was on his pelvic area.  So I really felt the energy going all the way down from his hips to his feet, making that connection there.  My right hand felt nearly as though it was inside body on his lower back, and I felt the energy coming down to his paws.
After we finished, I watched him walk and he was walking quite well on a flat surface.  The stairs are more of a challenge, but hopefully all of this connecting energy will help him to be at his best, given his situation.

Near the end of the session, his "brother" Gruffy settled down a ways away, as he often does, taking in some of the energy.
Look forward to seeing you soon, Deuce and of course you too, Gruffy!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Appreciating the Moment with Monk: Comfort, Peace, and Optimal Balance for Chronic Renal Failure, Part Two

I have been even busier than usual, so it's been hard to squeeze in time to write! 

I had been out of town for about a week after my first few sessions with him and at that point was not sure whether he would pass while I was gone, especially as his person Suzanne had texted me that he was not eating much while I was gone. 

Fortunately Monk was here on earth and ready to resume his sessions when I returned.  I have been working with him at least several times a week, sometimes more.  Since my previous post, his energy and appetite have continued to improve, which is great.  He is still a frail cat, but his life force energy feels so much stronger since I began to work with him.  And he really seems to enjoy his food, which is a huge change.  I am so happy that Suzanne is able to have more time with him.  She and Monk are so deeply connected, and have such a sweet bond with each other.

It also is interesting to see how things are evolving with his general habits.  When I first began to work with him, he wanted to be out on the terrace 24/7, but in the couple of weeks or so he has been content to be inside more of the time.  Of course, some of that is influenced by the weather, as we have been having some tropical-like rainstorms, but his need to be outside doesn't seem urgent as it was with him initially. 

He seems to really welcome my visits, and settles into the Reiki sessions with me very quickly now.  Sometimes we are completely hands-on, other times I need to have my hands maybe about 6 inches or sometimes more off his body.  I always follow his cue as to what he would like.  Quite often he will settle right in my lap or with his head resting on my leg or hand.  It feels that as we go, his body trusts me more and more, so that the energy is absorbed in an increasingly deep way. 

During a Reiki session, when things are really flowing, it feels as if my energy merges with that of the animal.  Sometimes it is as though my hands are actually inside of the animal. 

I use a lot of positive visualization at the same time I am offering him Reiki energy.  Lately, it seems his skin is irritated or itchy, as he is pulling off chunks of fur.  Apparently this is something that can happen with cats with Chronic Renal Failure.  So I imagine cool blue energy soothing his body.  I imagine I'm inside of his skin, and am feeling comfortable inside of the skin, feeling a coolness soothing from the head down to the feet.  I imagine relaxation, and see his fur growing back in the areas where he has pulled the fur off. 

I also do TTouches with him which feel like they should be soothing.  I do little hair slides going down his body, using a light touch.  I also do abalone TTouches, which are TTouches using the whole hand, to try to calm the whole body. 

Another interesting aspect of working inside with Monk is that his cat "sister" Jade is around him more and Reiki seems to be helping them to have some peaceful moments of connection.  Often Jade will curl up right next to where we are working. 

There is something so special about my time with Monk.  He is a dear, gentle little soul.  I know that I am traveling with him on this last part of his road on earth, realizing that we don't know how short or long it will be.  I appreciate these sweet times of love and connection with him.  When I work with him I feel there is light all around us, that we are sharing our hearts.  I am so honored to have these moments with this sweet being.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sharing Energy with Monk: Comfort, Peace, and Optimal Balance for Chronic Renal Failure, Part One

Monk is a dear cat who I initially was called to work with because he was urinating outside of the box.  I taught his owner, Suzanne, how to do some of the TTouches, and then the subsequent appointments I did with him were Reiki sessions.  He came to recognize the energy and would completely relax into it, stretching out on the bed with a look of bliss.

More recently though, he was diagnosed with chronic renal failure.  I had not seen Monk for quite a while, and Suzanne had called me to cat sit for Monk and his cat girlfriend Jade, and when I saw Monk, I felt so strongly that I wanted to help.  I could see that Monk’s appetite and life force was rapidly diminishing.  I had such a strong sense that the work would be of help to him now, not to mention that I have a very strong bond with Monk - and I felt that sessions should be as often as every day at first, so Suzanne and I worked out an arrangement for that to happen without placing a financial burden on her, as she was out of work. 
Monk has taken to basically living outside on Suzanne’s terrace, resting in the plant boxes, and sometimes stretching out on the deck.  Unfortunately, for the first appointment, it was raining, so we had to bring him inside.  Though he was resisting being inside, I did feel him absorbing the energy, and I knew it would be good to follow up with another appointment soon, when I could work with him out on the terrace.

A few days later I came to see him.  I sat with him outside on the terrace.  I moved a couple of times to get a bit closer to him but really let him set the pace.  I felt he wanted me to be at least 4-5 feet away, for the most part.  But at times he would come closer to me.  And I could feel him really settling into the energy again, as though he was becoming re-acquainted with the energy, and with me, gradually trusting more and more and letting me in.  Throughout the appointment, I silently sent him the message to only take as much or as little energy as he wanted, and reassured him that I was there to help him.  I kept picturing the energy as a soft white blanket that was moving over him and being absorbed into his body, and the white light moving through the inside of his body and healing his body.
Suzanne had left a handful of dry food out for Monk to eat, and at various points he wandered to it and ate it little by little.  Quite often during a Reiki session, an animal’s appetite can be stimulated.  By the end of the session, he had eaten all the dry food.  Suzanne said that was really a lot for him, as in recent days  he usually will only very reluctantly eat about four kernels of the dry food.
At various points during the session, Monk stretched out on his side, looking very comfortable.  It was a hot day, but where we were sitting, in the shade, it was really quite comfortable, and hearing the sounds of the birds, the sound of the breeze , the rustling of the leaves of the plants, it made so much sense to me that this is where he is comfortable right now.  The energy was very quiet and peaceful.  It felt a bit like a dream state.  When I heard the nearby church bells ringing on the hour, they almost seemed a bit distorted.
When I left, I kept feeling like Monk was in this curious limbo – obviously he is in very fragile condition, but he still has energy and is engaged with his surroundings and situation.  As if some greater force is giving him a bit more time, quiet time on earth, before he moves into the spirit world.
I was leaving town in two days, and wanted to go with the momentum of what was happening with him, so I went the next day for another appointment.  This time, he came right to me, wanting affection, so I did some gentle TTouches with him.  At various points during the Reiki session, he would come to me, rubbing his face against my hand.  This time, he settled even more into the energy, and wanted me to be closer to him to send the energy, though not directly hands-on.  Especially with animals who are in frail condition, it is usually most beneficial to send Reiki with your hands at least a bit off of the body, as it can be too overwhelming. 
This time, Monk ate even more of the food than he had the day before.  And Suzanne had said that after the appointment the day before, he had eaten more food.  So this was really a shift.
Again, I kept picturing the white light energy moving through his body, soothing and healing.  Recently I have been incorporating the essences of colors into the Reiki work that I do.  Sometimes I will purposely send a specific color with a certain intention, but sometimes a color will come to me, though I may not be sure of the why of it.
Monk seemed to be more comfortable in his body this time, and there even seemed to be more life in his eyes. 
At the end of the session, he was laying near me, on his side, doing the cute thing of having a paw partway over one eye.  I felt so much love passing back and forth, such an energy of pure love, healing and love.  Reiki feels that way, an energy filled with light and love that strengthens and expands as the animal becomes comfortable with you and trusts you.

Since I returned from town, his energy and appetite has improved even more, and I will tell you more about that in the next posting!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed... Tiger Lily Teaches Me What She Needs to Feel Safe

Tiger Lily is a gorgeous grey tabby with a very distinctive face.  She is one of the cats from the Picasso Veterinary Fund who I have been working with through Tavi and Friends and the Mayor's Alliance.

She arrived at the holding space extremely stressed, growling and swatting at anyone who tried to approach her.  She proved to be a challenge for me, as well, as I tried tool after tool to try to calm her.  Above is a picture of her fairly soon after she arrived, looking very wary indeed.

I tried a feather, various types of paintbrushes, a back scratcher, etc, and mostly she seemed irritated if I tried to touch her with the tools, even if I went slowly and quietly.  After a while, I tried a variation on a technique which I used successfully with my own cat Emmylou when she arrived as a feral cat at BARC.  I stroked slightly in front of her whiskers with a paintbrush, very slowly, talking to her in a very quiet voice.  I could do this just a very little bit at a time with her.

I would always send her Reiki from where I was standing outside the cage, and speak to her calmly.

Sometimes when she seemed to start to get comfortable, she would start rolling on her back and rubbing against the floor of the cage, looking like she wanted to play.  Which is what finally led me to what I did next with her.

As Tiger Lily is a young cat, and seemed to want to play, I tried playing with her with a string toy, and then every once in a while I would stroke her with the stick part of the string toy.  This was the most successful contact I had with her so far, and it was after these sessions which you see in the videos above and below that she started to appear much more comfortable.

She would be at the front of the cage instead of at the back or up on a shelf in the cage, and when I approached the cage, she looked as though she wanted to play with me.  Her whole facial expression and body posture changed, as you can see in the photos below.

After a number of sessions with the TTouch and play concept, she would still sometimes get overstimulated.  I felt like I needed to change up what we were doing, and decided I needed to spend some very quiet time with her.  I began to just sit with her with the cage door open, sending her Reiki energy from where I was sitting.
She grew more and more comfortable with me, and one day she came up to me and licked my arm! I stayed perfectly still, as I didn't want to startle her.
Last week when I was at the space, when I opened the door of the cage, she started peering outside the cage into the room.  And finally, out she came!  I think this may be the first time she has ventured out of her cage in her time at the space. 
I got off the chair where I had been sitting, and crouched on the floor. At times I would dangle a string toy to see if she wanted to play, but she was more interested in sniffing around.
She ended up settling on the chair I had been sitting on, as you see below.  She started rolling on her back and on her side, stretching and ended up settling there for a while.  I just stayed pretty still, speaking to her in a quiet voice, telling her what a good girl she was and telling her I loved her very much. 
When she had enough, she went back into the cage.  This had been a really big step for her!
She kept looking at me, maybe wondering if I would let her out again, but I wanted to stop on a positive note, so just told her she was such a good girl, and that I would be back soon and we would do this again :)
It is a lesson the animals tell me so clearly each time:  we really need to listen to what they are comfortable with, and keep our minds and hearts open so that we can hear them and so that we can keep our creative side of our brain working so we can keep trying new approaches that we may never have thought of before.  Sometimes it is just a matter of sitting and being truly quiet with an animal, to give them that time and space they need in order to start to trust us.
Love you Tiger Lily! Can't wait to see you again! xo

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Update on Nadia, Slow and Steady Work Facilitates a Heart Connection

Nadia is a gorgeous, very shy cat at BARC Shelter, who I have been working with for some time now.  She was dumped in front of the shelter with another cat, who was adopted fairly quickly because she was friendly.  Nadia is very cautious of most people, though she has been slowly starting to trust people more and more.  If someone approaches her too quickly, she may hiss or snap at them, but that behavior has been increasingly subsiding.
I have worked with her very slowly, often using a paintbrush to touch her, as that gives her the space she needs to feel comfortable.  More recently, I have also been luring her to the front of the cage to lick baby food off my finger, which has been really helpful as well.  If you want to try this with a frightened cat, I would suggest first putting the food on a spoon or if the cat is very afraid and may bite, something else with a longer handle so that you can try it with some space in between you and the cat, to assure that you don't get bitten!  Also, use only all-meat baby food with no onions.  Gerber's Turkey in Turkey gravy seems to be a pretty universally popular flavor.
Though I most likely could touch her right away with my hand without reaction, I am still starting out with her by doing TTouch circles and strokes with the paintbrush, and then transitioning to using my fingers, so it gives her a chance to get comfortable with me.  It feels very important to give her space.  Touching her with the paintbrush also gets her accustomed to the sensation of being touched without having a feeling of being threatened.  So, once she gets very used to that, then eventually she will feel the same way about being touched with hands.  I have found that it helps so much with a very fearful cat to take everything in very small steps.
I have shared how I work with Nadia with the regular volunteers and staff, and it has been helpful for some of them to be working with Nadia with the paintbrush too.

We have in her cage a cave-like little bed so that she can go in there to feel safe when things get noisy or hectic in the shelter.  A while back, I started taking the bed out of her cage for part of the day so people could socialize with her more easily, and so she could gradually start to realize that it is ok to be out of the cave-bed.  I would gently turn the bed so the entrance was facing sideways to me, and then tip it a bit til she came out.  Most often, she would loudly hiss at first, but little by little she has become accustomed to that as well. Lately, I don't take the bed out any more, but speak to her and put the paintbrush so she can sniff it, and she will come out of the bed on her own and walk towards me, as you see in the clip below (she was already out of the bed). 
What has been especially sweet is that now after she walks to the front of the cage, she will nuzzle against my hand or lick it a bit.   It is beautiful to see her seeking out attention on her own, and really responding to attention and touch as well.   I'm happy, too, that others are also starting to see the sweet, loving cat that Nadia truly is, underneath her fear.  She even looks more beautiful, as her face has gotten so much more open, and her body language more comfortable.

It is easy to be impatient or to have out ego want to make contact with a cat right away, but it is so much more beneficial for the animal to really slow down and go at the pace that they need.  In the end, you will be able to facilitate a connection with the animal that is more powerful and deep than you could imagine!

Love you Nadia, thank you for teaching me so much, as do all the animals who I work with every day.  And thanks to all the BARC Shelter people for all they do for the animals.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Peaceful Moments with Deuce: Easing Arthritis through TTouch and Reiki

Deuce is a stunning senior cat who I have been working with for a couple of months.  His person, Alice, volunteers at BARC Shelter (where I volunteer) and she had told me he has arthritis. 

I have been working with him primarily with Reiki, but with TTouches mixed into our session.  Alice has told me that before we started working together, Deuce had stopped a lot of the activities that he generally enjoyed, but that now he is much more interested in being up and about, which is great!

Deuce is a friendly, affectionate cat, and was certainly game for giving TTouch and Reiki a try pretty much right off the bat.

Most often, we will start out by doing some TTouches, and as we do this, he gets comfortable and will decide where he wants to settle.  Then I transition into a Reiki session with him.  After the Reiki session, sometimes I will do some TTouches with him as well.  That is not to say that I would treat every animal with arthritis in this way, but this is the way of working that feels right for him at this time.  Each animal is different, and I feel that what will most benefit an animal as far as treatment can shift and change over time. 

Something so beautiful that can happen in the course of repeated Reiki sessions, that I am feeling with Deuce, is a deepening connection with him.  I nearly always feel this type of progression with repeated sessions of Reiki.  I feel that he absorbs the Reiki energy at a deeper level each time that I work with him.  It feels that the deepening level of trust allows the energy to permeate him at a deeper level each time. 

The other thing that I have been incorporating into our sessions at times is the concept of color therapy.  I have been studying this lately, and so sometimes I will send the energy of a color to an animal while I am working with them.

The first time I did this with Deuce was an especially interesting experience.  While on the subway on the way to an appointment, I always start sending Reiki to the animal I will be working with.  This time I also began to send the essence of the color turquoise.  This color is a mixture of green and blue, which are both very cool, healing colors, and turquoise has to do with restoration and dissipating pain, so it felt like a very appropriate color to ease his arthritis.

When I got to the appointment and began to work with Deuce, he began to get himself settled as usual, but the interesting thing was that he settled right on top of a turquoise blue bag!  For the rest of the session, I kept picturing that he was surrounded with turquoise light.  And for the rest of the session, he remained settled on the bag.  I also began to see turquoise highlights on his fur as I worked.

I always feel an intention to offer Reiki to an animal for the highest good, but sometimes on top of that I will have a more specific intention.  In Deuce's case, it is to help ease his arthritis.  Sometimes I will feel my hands guided to certain parts of his body, but most often with him, as with many animals, he will shift himself until my hands are where he wants them to be.  Sometimes the hand positions will shift several times during an appointment, other times I may stay just about all the time in one position.  Reiki energy will go where it is needed, regardless of hand position :)

A little side note, there is another kitty in the house, a shy, sweet boy named Gruff.  Quite often, he will come to me for a few TTouches, or settle somewhere near where I am working with Deuce to pick up some of the energy.  Below is Gruff, on one of his favorite chairs, in an inquisitive mood.

Below is Deuce in one of his favorite spots, where he settled for our most recent session.  I was feeling the pinkish-red of the chair enveloping him with such a warm, loving feeling during the session.  Like he was sinking into that very soft feeling.  He went completely into what we call a Reiki nap, which feels like a rather daydreamy type of state.  He is giving a rather funny expression here, though, as it was right after the session.  I had felt him really go down into a very deep place of relaxation, and I think he wanted to get back to napping!

Thank you Deuce! I look forward to seeing you soon! xo

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Power of Patience: TTouch with Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a dear little cat, probably about 2 years old, who I have been working with through Tavi and Friends, Mayor's Alliance and the Picasso Veterinary Fund.  Apparently he had been kept in a basement for a long time, with very little contact.
When he first arrived (photo above is from early on), he was quite shy, and could suddenly get very insecure and hiss or meow very loudly.  I remember the first time I picked him up, he meowed so loudly, it sounded like I was touching him somewhere that hurt him, but it was just that he was terrified. 
I began to do TTouches just a little bit at a time with him.  Fortunately, in the space where he is, he can be let out of the cage so that I can do a few TTouches, let him walk around and come back to me as he likes.  As I do with the other cats in this space, I let him out without any of the other cats, so we can really have a private space, without intervention from any of the others.
Initially, I would literally do a few TTouches on his head or body, then he would walk away from me, then come back to me when he was ready for more. 
Over time, he was more and more responsive to the TTouches, and was right at the front of his cage when I got to the space, putting his paw through the holes in the cage door and meowing to me to let him out.  He would still come to me and go away from me, but would settle for longer and longer periods of time.  I kneeled, crouched or sat on the floor so I would be on his level.  I mostly sat or kneeled up until very recently, because I wanted to be able to stand up or move easily if I started to feel he was getting scared and/or needed more space.
At first it was a bit of a trick getting him to go back in his cage.  Sometimes I would lure him with toys to get him to go back in, because he seemed so frightened of being picked up.  As I continued to do the TTouches with him, I tried to gradually work towards his stomach area.  Just even doing a few TTouches on his side, approaching the stomach area, was good progress. 
Over time, he became more and more at ease in general.  And one day I found I was able to pick him up with no reaction from him at all!  I still would use gloves to pick him up in case he got suddenly frightened, but he has been quite comfortable with me picking him up for some time now. 
And the more he has gotten to know me, the more he has been seeking attention, purring and rubbing his head and body into my hands.  Initially, I would have to be especially mindful of his body language, as he could suddenly get frightened and it was as though a switch flipped back to a very fearful state, meowing loudly and maybe swatting or hissing.  These changes have happened less and less -- actually it is hard to remember when it happened last with me. 
He recognizes the energy of the TTouches and will settle down right next to me.  He especially responds to raccoon and chimp TTouches on his forehead area and to abalone, chimp and clouded leopard TTouches on his body.  I have been more and more able to do TTouches around his mouth area as well, which is a great area to work if you can do so safely, as the mouth area connects with the limbic system, which has to do with the emotions.

The past couple of sessions, we have broken through to another level.  As you can see above, Pumpkin is now starting to come and snuggle with me, aww! 
What has been beautiful to see is how the TTouches truly can help to change the way he reacts to contact and the way he reacts to situations that previously would be stressful for him (such as being picked up).  And it is as though a fearful exterior has given way to his true inner self, which is a sweet, affectionate cat who will be delighted to connect with a person once he gets to know them.
He will need a patient person to adopt him, someone who can give him the time and space to become comfortable.  Given time, space, love and understanding, he will be such a loving and sweet companion.
Love you Pumpkin! and thanks to all the other folks involved with him, Tavi, Mayor's Alliance and PVF, for giving so much him and other animals like him.