Thursday, April 21, 2016
The Power and Beauty of Intention (and the Importance of Flexibility) - with Lenore and Bandit at Bideawee
This is a post about the power and beauty of intention, which is so vital to keep in mind when working with animals. It is also about the importance of being flexible, and always being open to learning.
In the following post I will share with you a beautifully simple, but powerful technique that I used with both Lenore and Bandit at Bideawee, as they were both in the cat receiving area when I first met them. (I will do separate posts on Lenore and Bandit at another time, as these are both cats who I have worked with quite extensively).
Bandit was brought in as a feral cat. She has one eye, and also went through treatment for breast cancer before arriving at the shelter. So one can imagine that those factors, in addition to the complete change of environment, added up to a very scared cat. She was extremely shut-down, and would hiss any time her cage was opened.
Lenore was also extremely frightened when I first met her, but more apt to lash out when approached rather than hide at the back of the cage like Bandit. She had been adopted as a kitten by a family with a child, and then was returned about a year and a half later as she had been reactive in the home. Without knowing all the circumstances, I think there is a good probability that the energy of the child was just too much for her. Cats are extremely sensitive beings, and the hectic and out-of-control energy of children can be too overwhelming for some cats. And of course, as great a shelter as Bideawee is, Lenore was still extremely stressed by being back at the shelter.
When a cat is extremely fearful and hesitant to be approached, it is best for me to begin by using techniques that can be done from a distance, such as Reiki from a short distance, or TTouch using tools such as a paintbrush or back scratcher.
TTouch with Bandit with a paintbrush
Lenore and Bandit were both extremely receptive to Reiki, as I did not have to even open their cage to share the energy with them. The Reiki helped them both to relax in my presence, their body postures relaxing and their eyes closing.
I also found that both cats were very receptive to being spoken to in a calm, slow, quiet voice.
Which is what brings me to this technique that I used with them. It is something that was taught to me when I was learning about using muscle testing. When using muscle testing, especially in the beginning, it is easy to be unsure about what you are doing. So I was taught this mantra, which is helpful in centering and relaxing in such a way that one can go forward with the muscle testing. When one is doing the mantra for oneself, one says, “I am very loved, and very safe”. This is repeated over and over a number of times.
So then when working with the animals in the shelter, I thought why not use this to help the animals?
So I would sit in front of Lenore’s cage or Bandit’s cage, first sending Reiki to them, then imagining the words before I said them. Then when I said it, I said it slowly, pausing after “loved” and “safe”, really feeling and imagining what I was saying. “You are verrryyyy loved………. And you are verrrry safe.” I repeated it quietly, slowly, continuing the Reiki flow and imagining the cat safe and protected with light and love. Both Bandit and Lenore really responded to this, closing their eyes, relaxing, taking it in.
I have used this with other cats as well, and it always helps to create such a beautiful energy around the animal and me, that we are connected with this calming light and energy.
Bandit enjoying TTouch
Many months later, after much slow, careful work with Reiki and TTouch, Bandit is now doing really well and is comfortable with direct TTouch from me. You will hear more about her soon!
Here is a video of the technique, early on with Bandit, and a later session with Lenore which you will read more about below:
And to skip some months down the road with Lenore, she was transferred a ways back to Bideawee’s Westhampton facility, which has been a great change for her. She is able to be in a room with a lot of space, and she is so much more at ease.
Lenore at Westhampton
I have been going out to the Westhampton facility every week or two to work with Lenore (and, of course, a number of other kitties!). One day recently, I just felt like Lenore and I were not connecting. And it occurred to me to try the mantra again.
“You are verrry loved, and verrry safe, you are verrry loved, and verrry safe”.
Lenore had been sitting several feet from me, facing out the window, a bit hyped up because of some flying leaves and birds outside. After the first time of saying it, I saw her body posture visibly relax. She shifted herself and looked right at me. It was as though she had gone back to that moment when she had been so scared, and when I had said that, and it had helped her. I felt she was thanking me.
I kept saying it, slowly, pausing after “loved” and “safe”, really visualizing and feeling it. She kept facing me, and her eyes slowly closed, getting so relaxed.
After a while I stopped saying it out loud, just kept hearing it in my head, and kept feeling the energy of that.
There is a glass wall in her room separating Lenore from another room where there were two cats, Sky and Pumpkin. They always respond when I am doing Reiki with Lenore, and they were responding to this as well. Sky was sitting near the glass, relaxing his eyes, and Pumpkin was sleeping.
We were all part of this lovely, relaxing energy. And it was interesting, too, to feel that connection with Lenore that felt like it stretched back those months ago when she was first learning to trust me.
This session reminded me, too, that it is always important to keep my mind flexible. The animals remind me of this every day. If something is not working, try something else. Sometimes it will be Reiki, sometimes it will be TTouch, sometimes it will be play time, sometimes it will be talking in a calm voice, etc. If one TTouch doesn’t work, then maybe another will. If one TTouch tool is not effective, then maybe another one will be.
The most important thing when working with an animal is to truly be there in the moment with them. Because when you are really there in that moment, that is when the magic can unfold.
I thank the animals for reminding me of that, and for all they have to teach me. And I thank all the beings at the shelter, both human and animal, for all the love, caring and beauty that they have to share. :) xxoo