Monday, August 25, 2014

A Shift Towards Balance and Healing: Reiki with "Taco" at BARC Shelter

 Shelter animals most often arrive in a state of stress and trauma in one form or another, but sometimes that state is more extreme than others.  Reiki can often help to shift the body and mind into a more balanced state, so that it is more able to begin the healing process.

Taco arrived at BARC Shelter in an extremely weakened state, so extremely emaciated and fragile, that the shelter people were unsure if he were going to survive even until the next day.

I wanted to connect with him in the gentlest way possible, so I began by sitting in a chair outside his cage, sending him Reiki energy, and speaking to him in a soft voice, reassuring him that he was in a safe place.  At that moment, he was crouched in a position which told me he was uncomfortable and scared, and he also seemed very out of it since he was so weak.

Little by little, I saw him begin to shift his body position, and he began to get into a more comfortable position, curling up and becoming sleepy.  I stayed with him a long, long time, just letting the energy flow, telling him he need only take as much or as little as he wanted.  A couple of times I reached into the cage to gently stroke him, and he nuzzled against my hand.  I felt his energy and feeling of his life force start to shift during the session, as though the Reiki energy gently flowing through him was breathing more life into him.  I could see him looking more comfortable, his stiffness melting away, and his energy becoming peaceful as I imagined light all around him and through him.  One of the images I love to use during a Reiki session is that of connecting with the bright light that is inside of the animal, connecting with that positive energy which can grow and expand, healing and permeating through the body and spirit.

After I gently ended the session, he got up, came to the front of the cage and did a really nice stretch, standing up on his hind legs at the front of the cage and putting his paws against the front of the cage door, as though to stretch towards me and show me that he was doing better, as though he had been shifted onto a better track where he would be able to begin to heal.

During the next few days, thanks to the wonderful BARC staff (Colin and Diana, the keepers of the Cat Loft) hand-feeding him and helping him get the nutrition he needed, he began to perk up more, so the next time I saw him (several days after the first session), his energy and vibe were better.  I opened the cage and he came right to the front of the cage, out of the cage and he melted into my arms.  I felt our energies merging, as he completely relaxed into the Reiki energy.  He drifted into a state of peaceful sleep.

I remained there for over an hour, feeling light and energy traveling back and forth to and from my arms and hands and his body, a feeling of a bubble of light around us, so that whatever sounds, etc (a shelter can be noisy with people walking around, dogs barking, cats meowing at times, etc.) seemed to be in the background, as we were in this protected space.

When I felt that it was time to end the session, I gently lifted him back into his cage, and he curled up for a cozy nap.  So sweet to see him so peaceful.

The next time I saw him, he was more peppy, so I did some TTouches with him before going into the Reiki session, and he came to the front of the cage to eat some kibble on his own.  Colin and Diana had said he was eating a bit on his own the past couple of days.  They will continue to hand-feed him until he is eating enough on his own, but this was a really positive sign.

I feel so much trust from this little cat, so much gratitude, so much love.  As though his spirit is so much bigger than his physical body.  Animals have so much to teach us about forgiveness, so much about appreciating the moment, so much about unconditional, eternal love.

Thank you so much, dear little Taco, I am sending Reiki for your continued progress, and look forward to seeing you soon!  And thank you to all the wonderful BARC people, staff and volunteers, for giving this little guy the loving energy that he needs to be able to recover.  xoxoxo

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reiki with Chloe: Coming into her Own

Chloe is a beautiful, graceful, gentle cat.  I first came to know her because I was working with her brother Max, and as time progressed, I began to work with her as well, as she has kidney issues, as well as a mass that is close to her bladder.  Thankfully, at the moment her appetite and energy is good, so she seems to be in a stable holding pattern.

Sadly, her brother Max passed away in March, after battling a number of health issues.  Max was a brave, strong soul - his wonderful people (Debbie and Jonathan) did everything they could to help him, and I know he remained on the earth as long as he could for his people.  I am honored to have worked with him and to have known him - he was such a unique and delightful personality, and truly a warrior.

Though Chloe often appeared irritated by Max, there was still a bond there, and it has been an adjustment for her after his passing.  He was a huge presence, even when he was ill.  I know that she, as well as, of course, her people, felt the empty space that was left when he left the earth.  I felt it as well, even though his spirit is still very much around, and I have seen it/felt it a number of times during the Reiki sessions with Chloe after his passing.

Over the weeks, Chloe does seem to be adjusting though, and really coming into her own.  She seems to be getting more confident, as well as more affectionate, every time that I see her.  And with that trust, as often happens, it feels like the Reiki goes to a deeper and deeper place. It often is a very trancelike state in the midst of the session, like being in a dream although you are awake, and I can see and feel waves of energy as they move in between us.  I have also been able to do more hands-on TTouch with her, as she is much more comfortable with direct contact, and seeks it from me.

And Chloe has also started to do a few things that Max used to do.  One of them is leading people to where she wants to go, by walking a bit, looking back to see if you are following her, etc.

Every once in a while she will sit up very straight and look you straight in the eye, which is something Max also used to do.  There is also a quiet sense of humor which seems to have been coming forward more and more, which is delightful to see.

One of our recent sessions was particularly powerful.  Chloe let me into the bedroom, which was cool, as the air conditioner was going in there.  Chloe seems to be a cat who prefers cool places.

She wanted to stay on the bed the whole time.  From time to time she slightly shifted her position, getting closer til she laid into my hands.  I always start with my hands slightly off her body, and let her guide me as to how much direct contact she is comfortable with.

I felt my hands guided to a place on her lower back, which makes sense considering where her issues are.  During this session, Chloe was comfortable with my hands directly on her body.  I felt my energy merging with hers like my hands being pulled inside of her body. Her feet were touching my hands and my arms, and I felt energy going back and forth there as well. I felt the energy going thru my hands into her like light, as I was visualizing her being healed, and her mass going away. At some point in the session, I though I saw a glimpse of Max, as though he peeked around a corner at us. 

As I continued, my energy merged with Chloe's, like my fingers going inside her body, energy going deeper and deeper.  She didn't want me to stop, and I went on longer than usual.  And as I have felt with other animals, I felt like I was experiencing her true self, her spirit, which is so much larger than her body.

When I finally did end the session, I felt that she was a little sad, but I didn't want to overwhelm her, as the session had been so powerful.  I quietly ended the session, thanked her and left the room. 

A few minutes later, as I was speaking to Jonathan in another room, Chloe quietly came in, as though she wanted a few pets before I said goodbye. 

Thank you Chloe, it is a pleasure and honor working with you (and your people), and I look forward to our continued work together.  And thank you for reminding me of the power of that quiet connection.  When one is truly inside of that moment with an animal, when nothing else exists, that is when the most powerful experiences are able to occur.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

TTouch and Reiki at Bideawee: Ashanti - The Power of Patience

Ashanti is a lovely young black and white male cat with light green eyes that stare right into your heart.

I am sure he has touched the hearts of all who have met him at Bideawee.

He arrived at Bideawee in bad shape with a very badly injured paw.  They gave him great medical care, so he is doing much better now.  However, he seems fearful in a way that has led us to suspect he may have been abused.  He is extremely afraid of hands.

The wonderful Bideawee keepers of the cats (Jon and Kerrie) have been working with him to help him to feel safe and to encourage him to play, and he has gradually become more confident and less reactive.

I have been working with him with Reiki from a short distance, with TTouches using various tools, and with clicker training to help him feel at ease.  I also made a custom Bach Flower remedy for him.

Clicker training is something I have recently incorporated into the work I do.  I am finding that it can benefit so many different personality types - it can help bring a shy cat out of its shell, can help to focus a hyperactive cat, and it Ashanti's case, it seems to help both his confidence and his focus, and it is a way of connecting with him that does not need to involve direct touch.  He is in a larger cage with shelves, and I have had him jumping across the cage from shelf to shelf in the process of the training.  I will describe more about that in a separate post.

I particularly wanted to a recent TTouch session with him, because I think it is a good example of just how important patience is when working with with any animal, but especially an animal who is fearful.

As he is so scared of a hand coming towards him, his reaction to anything coming towards his face can be to bite.  So before even beginning the TTouch session, I usually sit quietly by him and share Reiki energy with him for a few moments (in this case, he was in his cage, though he is let out of the cage on a regular basis).  This gives me a chance to establish a quiet energy and connection with him.

Then I started working with him a bit with a fan-shaped brush (the brush part is smallish, maybe an inch wide at the widest part).  His initial reaction was to bite at the brush.  I tried this a few times, and he still bit at the brush, instead of allowing me to stroke him with it.

At this point, one could easily give up or think that the biting is what he is going to do every time.  However, I wanted to see what would happen if I gave him a break and tried again.  So I sat calmly by his cage a bit longer, and he began to get into a calmer energy.  Next time I tried it, he may have pawed a little bit at it.  So I paused again, continuing to send him energy and saying (silently) to him that everything was all right.

Ashanti had been moving around a bit, and at this point he started to settle.  So I tried again.  This time he did not bite or paw at the brush.  I began to do TTouch circles with the fan brush on his forehead, and he began to relax into them.  He laid his head down and became completely relaxed as I worked with him.

He was in such a snoozy mode that I decided to carefully try touching him a bit with my hand.  The first thing I did was to just use the back of one finger (actually just the flat part of my fingernail) to do some TTouches on his forehead.  He was very comfortable with that, so I continued for a while.  Gradually I found that he was comfortable with me gently stroking and doing circular TTouches with the back of the top part of several fingers on his head.  It was truly lovely to feel that direct connection with him, to feel him totally at ease with it, to feel that trust.

I know that this may not happen every day with him, but I do think with time and patience, he will feel more and more comfortable connecting with people.  I feel his soulfulness in his sweet eyes, and know that the personality behind his fear is coming forward more and more every day.

Below is a photo of me TTouching him with a paintbrush when he is out of the cage - it was great that he felt comfortable doing this :)

Thank you to all the dear Bideawee people for helping Ashanti and all the animals there :)