As animal lovers, it’s easy to get so immersed in caring for our cats and dogs that sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. It’s happened to me—and I’ve seen it happen to those I love. But what happens when our animals become sick or elderly, and taking care of them suddenly requires a near-24/7 level of dedication and commitment? What happens if we get sick during this time? (Learn more about compassion fatigue here.)
I recently gave a Reiki treatment to one such person, a man whose family recently said goodbye to their elderly dog and is currently coping with a senior cat suffering from kidney failure and other serious issues. This man had always been open to my Reiki treatments for the animals, but never thought of them for himself. But I learned this past weekend that he had been very sick for many weeks—the prescriptions weren’t working, he wasn’t sleeping, and he was in near desperation for some comfort. I asked if he wanted Reiki, and was happy to hear him say yes.
The following is an excerpt from the beautiful letter he wrote to me the next day; reading it illuminated a few really important things for me:
1. How important Reiki is for the caretakers of animals, to help them deal with their emotional and physical stresses.
2. How experiencing Reiki for the first time opens meaningful doors within one’s heart and mind.
3. How offering Reiki to animals can turn into a “gateway” to offering Reiki to their person, who might be skeptical otherwise. So when we bring Reiki to animals in shelters or elsewhere, we are also opening the minds of those watching quietly from the sidelines.
Here, this man—an engineer and scientist who has suffered from debilitating allergies all of his life—describes his very first Reiki treatment:
There is a “pin prick” spot in my chest which a “gremlin” constantly tickles. Nothing was able to quiet this until I took a medicine called Ipratropium Bromide (Atrovert). One sniff, and 30 minutes later the protesting gremlin was silenced. The congestion and occasional coughs continue, but I grow calmer now with sleep and less stress.
I will try to convey to you what happened next, as a story representing a real physical experience I do not fully understand.
Along comes something called Reiki. Am I open to a Reiki treatment? Sure, why not! The Reiki master approaches and, at first, the folks around are a distraction—but with closed eyes, outside disturbances diminish (except for occasional folks talking to the Reiki master).
I close my eyes and think about quiet. At first, nothing …
Then, as her Reiki hands near my chest, that gremlin wakes up. I feel him stir, and ultimately I cough again twice over a period of what seems to be minutes. He is no more than the width of a needle and in one specific place, but I know him well. The place that has caused me so much grief!
His activity grows, and it feels as if he is thrusting himself against the skin on my chest. This is one place, one feeling, one irritant I cannot seem to control. Is this a nerve, a heartbeat, a muscle? I do not know what this is, but it is physical and it is real.
Then I feel a sort of a burst, twice, and then a quiet. Back to an Ipratropium-like bliss of calm. Has this been the end of coughing? Not totally. And has my cough gone? Not totally. Am I different? I think so.
Later that night, as I am drifting off to sleep, I use my finger to try and pinpoint the place on my chest. I cannot find it. I can feel tightness around the general area, but I cannot find the exact pinpoint that was so strong, a needle point under the hands of the Reiki master.
Yes, I still feel some discomfort and tightness, but that needle point gremlin is undetected.
In my work, I am a senior scientist and engineer, with experience in the most advanced space defense systems in existence, and I am well-versed in electromagnetics. I am not into gremlins, but I understand that mankind has use of—but does not fully understand—energy.
What is Reiki, and what did I experience? I do not know. But whatever happened, I did experience it.
What an amazing healing response. What was your very first Reiki experience like?