Reiki on the Farm

Reiki inspires many voyages in life. I locate a farm-sitting opportunity in a beautiful little outpost in Northern Colorado that is  home to Curly the Horse, Hazel the Mule, Daisy and Molly Brown the blue ribbon Donkeys, Josie and Jenka the Airdales, and Kiki the Cat.

The farm-owners, Jesse and Ken, are a great couple from Santa Fe and this is their second straw bale house. I can tell on the phone that they are old hippies and that they have a good Feng Sui house. They can tell that I’m overly responsible and have taken care of a lot of animals, having been a veterinary surgical tech and dog trainer and student of living beings. We are happy to find each other. The owners are nervous about leaving. They confess that they don’t believe in Reiki. I tell them “that’s ok—everything will be fine.”

They are doing their best to combat global warming. They save all their water—some of it is for washing off the dogs feet (?), some for humans too. I am feeling very lucky to find such solid, nice people. So I ship off a bunch of Usui-Tibetan Reiki manuals and Reiki Healing Dance DVD’s for my Colorado Reiki Classes this month and get ready to take off. Just before leaving I have a phone call from Jesse who says: “I wanted to tell you that if the mule is lying down in the corral with her legs in the air, she has bloat again, and you’ll have to give her medicine by mouth.” I said “I’m not sticking my hand in a mule’s mouth”, and there was a long pause, but then she said, “well, it probably won’t happen.” One of the motivating forces behind compromise is recognition of mutual need. I sent Reiki to the situation and then she called back to tell me she was sending Hazel on up the road to stay with a neighbor.

Everyone complains about the weather. From my point of view here is no point in knowing the forecast unless you have to be out fishing or driving somewhere and even then, it doesn’t make any difference— knowing doesn’t change anything. Complaining is really just a social pastime, a way to communicate when you don’t want to really talk. When I left Maine it was below zero and ice coated every surface. Here in Colorado, it is like being in Baja: the sun is out, Long’s Peak is in full view in a straight shot across the plains from the Farm, and it is 55 degrees. The 60 mph gusts have ripped the covers off the straw bales, and the corral is a little muddy, but otherwise it’s all good.

I take a look around before students arrive for their Reiki 1&2 Class and groan at all the work I have committed myself to do, for just room (not even board). That’s ok, it’s my therapy. This year has been full with losses, beginning with the passing of Willie the Reiki Master Cat, then my boyfriend left, and now my Mom is transitioning. It’s the wheel of life. Deep healing is coming up. Every time I face obstacles and painful emotions, I try to remind myself that they are nothing more than feelings attached to ego consciousness. All life is yin and yang, opposition and conjunction, loss and gain. More to learn.

As a clinical psychologist, in my early years of practice I believed that in order to have true healing it was necessary to have an understanding of what had happened in the past. Later I learned through more contemporary methods such as EMDR and hypnosis that cognition was not necessary. Healing does not come from the mind. The Heart Sutra teaches us that our human characteristics, such as “mind”, stand in the way of nirvana, because without them no fears exist and then we will not magnetize negative emotions. We are but a reflection of ourselves. The goal is not to transcend our thoughts and feelings, but rather to know that they do not define our true being. Our true being is Spirit— we do not stay in this form forever— we exist in many different forms in many dimensions. So it is all a gigantic trip and we are on it.

Once I was attuned to Reiki, I immediately learned how easy it is to bypass the mind. One hour of aura clearing (an Advanced Reiki Technique taught by ICRT as part of Reiki III training, developed by William Rand, which is based on shamanic and neuro-hypnotic principles) can eradicate an entire cluster of painful experiences by releasing unconscious or Spirit-based involvements that accompany negative feelings. I think of it as a giant vacuum cleaner of the aura. The microcosmic meditation circulates clearing Reiki energy through the energetic Functional and Governing Channels, through a closed circuit, I visualize it as an egg shaped essence circulating through my body. I feel wonderful at the end of this meditation.

I have not left my comfortable life because of some notion of divesting myself of all my worldly possessions, or running from pain, or giving up attachments. I have left because Spirit has persistently plagued me to do this for years until I simply could not ignore it any longer. There are some who can live with attachments and not be distracted from their true course, and I wish that I were one of them. I so admire people who can get up in the morning early and sit. Not me, I’m soaking up every blessed moment of sleep I can, because I have stayed up all night dancing. So I’m going on ahead. I’ve got my faith and my music, a healthy body and some good hiking boots, and I can work hard. I’m not standing still for life.

Back at the Farm, I reflect that it is good therapy to tend animals and I am looking forward to having Reiki students here to experience this interaction. I beam Reiki to them in preparation for their safe arrival. Curly the Horse seems sad, so I send Reiki to him too, because the owners say he misses his pal Hazel the Mule. However, it is probably I who am projecting my feelings, replete with losses past, present and future. Curly may simply be simply experiencing every moment as it comes, without evaluation or expectation or emotion. Though his spirit is of a race horse, his real life consists of mundane excursions into the pasture and back. As he stands patiently in the snow, he tells me that he does not mind waiting and not to worry. Animals do not have long cognitive memories like humans.

The routine of the Farm is comforting. Go to sleep early, get up early with the sun. There is no choice: feed the animals, talk with them, clean the stalls, walk the dogs, curry everybody (hey, what about me?), clean the mud off everything, and then do it over and over again. Animals depend upon routine, just as do children. They are so grateful for basics that we humans take absolutely for granted. After a few days I am already in the groove. This helps to remind me to have a routine too. I have set up my shrine for morning and evening meditation and now I incorporate into it hay and oats. One of my favorite things to do is cut the hay bale strings with the big knife and flake it off into the wheelbarrow. The simple pleasures are the best.

Reiki Class takes place today and it is an opportunity for students to practice not only on each other, but if they want, on the animals. There is so much to learn in Reiki 1&2 that we do not really have a lot of extra time. But at the end of training we do go out and beam Reiki to the horse, and he seems to respond, especially to one student in particular. Horses are extremely sensitive. Each animal form has a different response to Reiki, as I am learning. This includes humans. Dogs can only take it in small doses. Cats can do better at longer treatment once their crown charka is cleared and they settle down. The donkeys don’t seem that interested in it for some reason I have not yet discovered. Birds like it. But insects like it best: they come around in droves for that energy, especially the wasps.

Reiki takes place in the strangest ways. I sent Reiki to Daisy the donkey last night when she escaped from the corral. She is a stubborn critter, and was not going to come back in, not even for oats. With a spotlight in one hand and a rope in the other, I sent the power symbol to her and then got the lasso around her neck just like that. Of course, she is a pot bellied little thing who was standing stock still at the time in the door yard, munching down as much hay as she could. So I can’t take any credit for this. Reiki helped to make the situation approachable. It took care of my anxiety, and let me relax and realize that no harm would come of the situation.

The dogs get more mellow every day. The owners cautioned that they might barf or bark or insist on being taken out in the middle of the night. I have had a full night’s sleep every night, found no messes anywhere and they are obedient and they sit and heel. They are happy dogs and I think it might be the presence here of the many guides and angels and spiritual light beings who inhabit this house now because of Reiki. They camp out in the living room every morning and evening where my shrine is set up when I give thanks and burn sandalwood incense. They just lie down and soak up the good vibes. Sometimes I have to check their breathing to see if they are still alive!

The effect of Reiki on the farm animals is fabulous. So far, the horse is the most interested recipient. My Reiki Teacher friends Tom and Sheila White in Glasgow, Scotland (neither of whom have special training in treating horses) have been treating horses and other beings for a few years now. Tom writes here of some of his experiences: “I treated my first horse with Reiki soon after my Master attunement, as a favour to the owner who was concerned that Major, her 27 year old gelding, had developed fairly serious allergic reactions to certain biting insects. I was introduced to him in his stable, and found myself suddenly on my own with Major looking intently at me. Firstly he did not like my camcorder case and tried to take it from me. That was duly handed through the door after which he frisked me from head to feet. Satisfied I was not another veterinarian come to give an injection he stood back but looked interested. I spent some time simply talking to him and stroking him and as Reiki began to flow I scanned to search for “hotspots”. As his back and hips were hottest I worked there, gradually moving up to his heart and head. The change in Major was amazing. Within about 20 minutes he was so relaxed that he was swaying slightly, eyes almost closed. Occasionally he would look to see what I was doing. Finally I reached his head which he eventually rested over my right shoulder as I reached up with one hand at the base of his skull and the other one on his forehead. To finish I swept along his body nose to tail once on each side and he became alert again. I was surprised to find that almost 2 hours had elapsed. As the owner joined us, Major returned to me and placed is forehead against my chest, leaning gently on me and closed his eyes. He remained like this for a few minutes before going out into the field.

After this wonderful experience I obtained a Reiki for Horses manual which explained more about chakra locations and gave valuable advice on horse body language and temperament (see Bibliography). The most rewarding case we have had to date was a thoroughbred Arab stallion, a racehorse owned by a group of business men. He was called “Acceleration” (but rarely did so) and mostly he liked to be in Neutral or Park. Always very fast in practice and training, he was somehow unable to repeat this in a race He caused a lot of amusement when, on a televised race, as the trap wires lifted he trotted forward a few feet and grazed happily at the side of the track. The rider was an agitated blur bouncing up and down trying to make him run.

It took 6 sessions 7 to 10 days apart to completely clear whatever it was that was stopping him. Despite his flighty temperament, once introduced to us and especially after he felt Reiki, Acceleration always appeared to enjoy his sessions. He was very gentle and affectionate to us, gently nuzzling and nibbling our hair or clothes- much to the surprise of the stable staff and trainer. As with Major, he also liked to stand and have his head held gently at the end of a session. During the course of therapy Acceleration steadily improved his performance and after his fifth session won his first race.

As his vet had ruled out any physical or medical problems, we were given permission to offer treatment. As with human clients you must always carry out a thorough initial consultation to check the history and gain as much information as possible, and remember that you may have to get permission from a veterinary surgeon to treat the horse. You may wish to have Reiki for Horses included in your practice insurance cover. Horses are generally much larger than us so always make safety your priority. Pay attention to what the owner or trainer tells you and be alert for signs of trouble. I always check escape routes when in a stall with a horse. If I need to treat a horse on my own, I ask that the owner or someone knowledgeable about THIS horse is present or within sight. As a matter of courtesy I always comply with any request made by the horse that I should leave.

There are many websites offering good advice regarding safe handling of horses and how to read horse body language. If like me, you are not used to being around horses, ask for advice, read up the basics and follow the rules. I am no longer afraid of being in the same room as a horse but have instead developed a deep love and respect for these sensitive and wonderful animals. They are deeply intuitive and can sense your intention to help and will often respond in a wonderfully moving way. If you have not yet given Reiki to a horse I would encourage you to try it. It is a very profound experience to see such a large animal respond in the way I have described, simply by gently touching it and allowing the Reiki energy to flow through your hands. For me it was the clearest and quite unexpected demonstration of the power of Reiki and thanks to the horses I am sure I have become a more effective therapist with my human clients”.

Reiki is an intensely rewarding experience when given in a natural setting such as a farm or stable to animals. As can be seen from the experience of Tom and Sheila, it is a fulfilling interactive experience. There is much to be learned concerning our own energy while working with other beings. It is important to listen to them, allowing extra time for them to respond (or in a sense, translate). They talk to us directly, in clear and simple concepts, without the qualification or obfuscation that is so typical of human communication. They do not seem to have an agenda, and will reply to whatever we ask. It is worth doing—try it with your animals, and listen. There is much to learn.

Bibliography:
Website resource: www.healinghorses.co.uk (Jan Barley maintains this excellent website).
Hands on Healing for Horses and Riders. Claire Wilder.
Healing for Horses: the Essential Guide to Using Hands-On Healing Energy with Horses. by Margrit Coates.
Animal Reiki: Using Reiki to Heal the Animals in Your Life. Elizabeth Fulton and Kathleen Prasad.

The Nadis

For years I heard about Nadis, but they remained as mysterious as their name sounds. I would ask someone occasionally what they were but never got a good definition until I read Richard Gerber’s book Vibrational Medicine, (Bear & Co., Rochester, VT., 2001), arguably the standard classic in the field of subtle-energy therapies. The Reiki Training Manual I am working on now —Chapter on Energy Medicine— is excerpted for this post.

Most of us know what Chakras are (or we think we do). Ha! It’s not that simple. According to the widely accepted translation of this word from Sanscrit they are ‘whirling vortices of light’. Gerber describes these specialized energy centers in the body as “transformers to step down subtle energies and translate them into hormonal, nerve, and cellular activity in the physical body”(p171). I recommend reading his Chapter IV which details how things really work in the human energy system and discusses studies in support of the scientific existence of Chakras from as early as the late 1970’s. Translating theory into practice is not always easy, but here we are 30 years later with very little change in how contemporary medicine approaches dis-ease (this has little to do with the actual doctors, who are usually pretty enlightened, and more to do with governmental policies and regulations that support our health care, pharmaceutical and insurance systems).

In other words, the Etheric system that coexists with the physical system is still being widely ignored despite available information mostly from Physics in areas such as Electromagnetics (EM’s) and Squids (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) and the like. Healing potential and physical energy is not exactly a new topic. The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine has a yearly conference in Colorado and a journal that presents a compendium of information of these topics: www.issseem.org. And by the way, the Reiki in Hospitals website www.reikiinhospitals.org is adding a research component that will critically evaluate and publish studies dealing with Reiki and healing.

It has been suggested that illness begins in the Auric layers of the human energy system and only later descends into the denser physical system. Of course there are predisposing factors, genetics, and frank contagion and injury. But we are not debating cause here, we are talking about the process of healing. When our immune system and the vibrational frequencies that correspond to all the aspects of our physical body are well supported and balanced, dis-ease is less likely to take hold and healing is more likely to occur through the natural support provided by our own system. This is one of the accepted principles of complementary medicine.

The subtle energy system is very responsive to changes in the environment. Something like strong winds or sudden change in temperature, dietary choices, or our emotional state can create a climate of change within us that affects the meridian system. This has formed the holistic approach in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, and why methods such as Acupuncture are such effective all around tonifyers for climactic or emotional disruptions.

When healing is focused not only on the more obvious tangible physical manifestations but also directed to the underlying energetic system (of which the Nadis are a part) healing may well be more rapid and more deeply effective. This is the general principle behind the article Aspects of the Human Energy Field and the Healing Process, Rand and Settin, Reiki News Magazine, 2005http:/www.avantihealingarts.com/news/html. Keep in mind that everything that is said about the human energy system pertains also to other living organisms in the Animal, Plant, Mineral Kingdoms (who respond much faster in terms of the resonances of their vibratory signatures than humans because there is less interference from our nemesis, the brain).

How does this work? The Nadis are energetic tendrils or threads that conduct Etheric energy from one Chakra to the other and from the Chakras to the nerve organ systems and other obvious internal aspects (organs, nervous system) of the physical body. It has been suggested that there are thousands of these energy conductors working in unison to enliven the life force (Chi) that constitute a vast network of feedback to the physical system. One could say this system parallels or underlies the nervous system except on a much more subjective level. The Nadis are so-called subtle bodies — meaning intangible— but many of us are able to sense and perceive energy in its subtle state, so they aren’t really so intangible after all, are they? This is why complementary health approaches such as Chakra Balancing —especially when combined with Reiki— are rapid and effective ways to harmonize the human energy system. It is important to make sure the Chakras are functioning because otherwise the Nadis can’t function very well. As we say, it is a multidimensional, top-down system.

The key concept in all of Complementary Medicine regardless of the discipline is Balance. Remember that balance does not mean equality or polarity. It refers to your unique individual balance that operates in conjunction with your inner guidance and your Higher Self. Experiment: find what works for you!

Lately the Nadis have been on my mind. I know that usually when a word, concept or issue persists in my awareness — as in I wake up thinking about it — it means there is a need for attention there. We had an early onset of winter here in the Rocky Mountains that threw off my hikes with Little Big Red the Reiki Dog, and this combined with a minor knee injury, and an emotional loss affected my physical/Etheric interface. So I gave myself a Chakra Alignment followed by a Reiki Aura Clearing, had some tea, and am going out despite the wind and cold and knee to walk the dog.

Colorado, May, 2007

The mountains call to us. They are ancient beings, ancestors. Here in Colorado, in Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park), location for recent Avanti Healing Arts® Reiki Classes, there is sun three hundred and eight days a year. Coming after Maine at sea level and weather which, like the Pacific Northwest, involves vast quantities of rain, it is a welcome pleasure to be here above tree-line, contemplating 14,000 foot peaks, meditating in the thin pure air. There are elk everywhere and the spring flood makes an awesome sound as the Big Thompson River thunders down the gorge.

It is inspiring and bittersweet to be here (the extremes are the most challanging and yet wonderful aspects of life). I came to Colorado to be near my mother in her last days. She passed in March of 2007 and I stayed on, in the mountains that were also so dear to her. Hiking in the Roosevelt National Forest, I experience the fragrence of Ponderosa Pine and the whistling of the Golden Marmot, hear the hummingbirds swooping in their dance and the roar of the spring flood in the river. It is a healing place.

The people of Colorado are much like those in Maine: they love the outdoors. And best of all, there are no black flies! So if there are mountain lions around while hiking, invoke the power symbol and project the thought form that there is room for us all. Or when tenting off the trail, and a black bear wanders by, remember that this shy creature only wishes to walk the land of its birth, to do what is to be done on the Earth. The way of Reiki is to project vibrations that accept all into harmony. However, the girl scout code applies here: Be Prepared. Reiki is great but I pack a whistle and pepper spray too, and hang my food high in a tree.

It was not easy to have left my beautiful retreat in Maine to travel here and there to teach Reiki, but it was time to move on. People are curious about why. It actually was a spiritual quest, beginning with a persistent message (replete with technicolor visuals) to go out into the wilderness with a cart and a donkey. At first I thought it meant to literally be out there bumping along with my cart doing who knows what. Then I thought, “oh, it is another life I am seeing”, or a metaphor, so I relaxed into the idea that I did not have to make any big changes, just to understand the message. Later, seeking a simpler explanation of life in the moment, I thought it was a manifestation of my recent farm-sitting experience with horses and donkeys (see article Reiki on the Farm on News page). Finally, I realized that it meant that I needed to actually do something, not just dream of doing it! So here I am for the moment, on the road in my cart (my trusty steed, the Subaru Outback with the Thule on top) driving up the West Coast, being an itinerant Reiki teacher, giving treatments as the opportunity arises.

It is not where we are located, or what we are doing in the moment, that matters— it is what we are, what it means to us to simply “be” one with ourselves and with our Higher Self, which is what we call Spirit. Yes, people have said this over and over, we all have, but living it is another matter all together! Sometimes I don’t do very well at this but it helps to remind myself that I am only a human and to offer it up. It is an enormous challange for me to be in big towns with so many cars and people and noise after the peace of my tranquil place. This is a reminder to me to not miss daily Gassho (in Japanese “two hands coming together”) meditation.

It is also a reminder to go on Retreat if I am losing my center. Two days spent at a Benedictine Abbey (St. Walburga) in Virginia Dale, singing the psalms from morning to night, gave me back my self that had become overshadowed by the stressful car trip across America from Maine to Colorado. As I entered the Chapel, peace descended upon me immediately. One of my favorite things to do during Mass used to be to invoke Reiki and feel the amazing connection with my highest guide, a blessed combination that never fails to bring me to where I need to be, and cannot find alone.

No matter how lonely, or hard the path, there is joy at the center of our being, awaiting awakening. There are many ways to center oneself. I have a friend who is often depressed. His “chapel” is his camera. He takes macro photograhs of only the smallest little things, no matter where he is, and it helps him to always be mindfully looking for that special image hiding somewhere, waiting to be uncovered and noticed. These little discoveries take him out of himself, and bring him happiness, by putting him in touch with the tiny places of beauty that exist everywhere, if only for a moment.

The day after my mother passed on, I found a scrap of paper floating around in the bottom of a drawer, written to her on her 16th birthday by my grandmother. It was a stanza of a poem by Charles Kingsley: “Be good sweet maid and let who will be clever. Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long. And so make life, death and the great hereafter, One grand sweet song.” I had been hearing the first line of this for three solid years in my meditations, without having the vaguest idea where it came from or what it meant. Now I know that it was my grandmother, who I never knew, telling me to get out there and manifest my dreams.

Just For Today: Walking on the right path. May 27/07