“Sensitive people care when the world doesn’t because we understand waiting to be rescued and no one shows up. We have rescued ourselves, so many times that we have become self-taught in the art of compassion for those forgotten.”– Shannon L. Alder
As many of you know, my healing journey through anxiety and panic attacks (due to my being a highly sensitive empath in the world) let me to Animal Reiki, a path that has healed me of these overwhelming and terrifying episodes. I find it so fascinating, though, that whenever I ask my students in classes who else is an empath, almost everyone raises their hand! There is something about empaths, I believe, that helps us to understand and connect to animals more easily than the average person. Still, it can be a hard road in life to live with these sensitivities, and many empaths suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, fatigue and more.
So today I want to offer seven of my best, life-saving techniques for Animal Reiki empaths:
1) Build your meditation muscles: Focus daily on the mindfulness aspects of your Animal Reiki meditation practice: simply being here and now in this present moment, without judgment and without the need to fix. Empaths typically get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions and energy around us, so practicing conscious awareness on a regular basis can help us to catch and shift this response when it starts and before it snowballs. Animals are masters of mindfulness, of simply being present, engaged and honest in every moment. If you get pulled away from your center of balance, let your animals lead you back through mindfulness.
2) Take time to ground yourself in nature: For example, taking time to walk barefoot on a beach or on grass or sit or lie down directly on the earth can help reset your energy, re-ground you and center your emotions into a more balanced place. Scientific research also suggests that connecting physically with the earth can help lower inflammation, improve sleep and reduce pain. Animals (our own at home, in the pasture, or even the wild ones we share our neighborhood with) can inspire us to spend time outdoors, and being in their presence can fill us with gratitude for mother nature.
3) See food as medicine: Add more fresh fruits, veggies and lots of dark leafy greens (high in vitamins like B12 and also anti-oxidants) to your diet each and every day! Starting the day with a green smoothie is a great way to protect your cells from stress so that your brain and nervous system are more resilient.
4) Practice saying, “No”: Let go of relationships that regularly knock you off balance emotionally, cross your boundaries or drain your energy. Surrounding yourself with people who honor your sensitivities and respect your boundaries will allow you to fully express your empathic gifts in a safe and balanced way. When you’re surrounded by the wrong people, being an empath can feel like a curse and make you feel powerless, but with a good support system, you’ll realize your empathy is your superpower!
5) Remember there is good happening in the world: As empaths, we can feel the energy not only of the people and situations around us, but also of the collective suffering of humans and animals happening in the world. It’s so important we take time to watch and read positive, heartwarming and tear-inducing stories about the healing power of love and compassion. Let happy tears purify your soul of sadness, so that it doesn’t build up and burn you out. This will help your heart stay in a space of hope and positivity and remind you of the gifts you have to give to the world!
6) Practice seeing the light of your soul and essence: This is a practice I teach when we meditate with animals – not judging an animal by what is “wrong” them, but seeing deeper with our Reiki eyes to see that All is Well and that they are whole, (Pillar #3 of the Let Animals Lead® method) but it’s also so important that we practice this with ourselves. If we can’t see past our own “problems” to see the beautiful bright light within, then how can we possibly see it in the animals we want to help?
7) It’s ok to make mistakes! Helping others with Animal Reiki is not about never making a mistake (like getting angry or worried), it’s about the simple aspiration to live a kinder life! Through our practice, we cultivate a habit of loving-kindness and compassion for others. For some reason, though, we empaths also typically tend to be perfectionists, and so we are always so hard on ourselves on the journey! It’s ok to be honest with ourselves in the things we want to improve in our lives along the way, but we don’t have to beat ourselves up about it 🙂 In fact, a great way to acknowledge and honor the spiritual growth and change you are nurturing in your life is to take time to keep a daily gratitude journal.
I hope some of these suggestions resonate with you: I know you will find comfort and healing by accepting, honoring and preserving your empathic gifts!
Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,