With all the challenges that today''s pandemic-reality world presents us, what a blessing our animals give us by their comforting, loving presence. It''s wonderful to be able to spend so much time bonding with them, isn''t it? I know many of you also have chosen this time at home to foster or adopt a special animal in need. I''ve created a special meditation to support this new relationship and the "new home" adjustment. CLICK HERE to watch. Please let me know what you think in the video comments!
In honor of the blessings adopted animals bring to our lives, today I want to share with you about a dog in my life whom I''m so incredibly grateful for! This dog gave me the spark that changed the course of my life forever!
This is a picture of me back in 2004 with my best friend, soul companion and life teacher, Dakota. Dakota was an Australian Shepherd mix I adopted from Sacramento County Animal Control when he was just a puppy, and he was my life companion for 16 and 1/2 years. When Dakota was young, I first learned to practice Reiki, and I believed it was a self-care practice to help calm my anxiety and had no intentions to share it with Dakota or other animals. Fortunately, he had other ideas!
Right after my first Reiki class, I started practicing my self-care Reiki every day and Dakota had the strangest response. He was always at my side, but always at a respectful distance of 3-5 feet. He was not particularly a lap dog... until Reiki. As soon as I would start my Reiki meditation, Dakota would get up and walk over to me, placing his body very purposefully (and awkwardly, LOL) on top of my feet.
At first I just smiled and humored this unusual behavior, keeping my focus on my practice. As I would finish, Dakota would get up, move a few feet away and lie down again. After a few days of this, suddenly I realized that somehow Dakota was sensing the peacefulness my self-care Reiki practice was creating and that he wanted "in."
I sat down on the floor with him and said, "Dakota, do you like Reiki?" He looked at me, sighed and rolled onto his side, and closed his eyes as if to say, "Finally, Mom: Yes, I want to practice this with you! It makes me feel relaxed too!"
In this moment I had two very big "lightbulb" realizations. First, I realized that Dakota sensed and was comforted by the peaceful space my Reiki practice was creating within me, even without me having a purposeful intention to share it. How could that be? Which led me to my 2nd realization: Clearly Dakota understood what I was doing much better than I did; I may have been an energy newbie, but he was an expert already!
This heartwarming, peaceful, bonding experience with Dakota, all these years ago, set my heart on a mission to 1) learn to listen to animals when I practiced Reiki and 2) discover what parts of my meditation practice that animals were drawn to and 3) figure out how best to create that deep relaxation for every animal, especially those that were traumatized or didn''t trust humans.
Over the years, this mission has inspired me to share meditation with shelter animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and more, rescued farm animals such as horses, pigs, cows, goats, chicken and sheep. I''ve even had the amazing experiences of sharing meditation with rescued wild animals such as elephants, tigers, leopards, alligators, snakes, parrots, monkeys and more.
Through the spark that Dakota created in me, and the path it set me on, I eventually discovered that there is a key to creating deep relaxation, peace, calm and comfort for animals, even when they may be facing pain or suffering. This key is the the open-minded, open-hearted, compassionate space that meditation creates.
Learning how to meditate with animals in a way that made them comfortable, secure and empowered wasn''t easy. It took me many years of practice, trial and error. So amazing to think that it all started with the unusual behavior of my sweet, rescued pup, Dakota all those years ago.
I bet there''s an animal who''s blessed your life and probably more than one who''s inspired you to change your life in some profound way, opened a door to a new interest or inspired a new path towards healing. Perhaps you''ve invited a new animal into your family during these stay-at-home times. I''m sure they have many gifts and lessons in store for you!
If you''d like to share your story, I''d love to hear about it.
Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way!