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Friday, October 29, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday: Introducing cartoonist E.K.Bana

Life was never quite the same for Keiko after she started offering Reiki at the feral cat colony.

The Reiki Digest welcomes Reiki related cartoons, illustrations and photography submissions. Please attach yours in an email to Be sure to include the word "submission" in the subject line.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Medical Reiki seminar with Pamela Miles at New York Open Center, October 30 & 31


Pamela Miles is a Reiki master practicing since 1986 who has collaborated extensively in medicine. She is the author of REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide (Tarcher/Penguin).

In the Medical Reiki seminar, Pamela Miles shares what she has learned in nearly 2 decades of medical collaboration, including teaching Reiki at Yale medical school:

How Reiki treatment helps patients, families, and staff.

What doctors need to know and what not to say.

How to address the issue of safety.

What research has shown (and what it doesn't show).

How to get your foot in the health care door, even if you are not a licensed health care professional.

How to avoid getting booted out once you’re in (don’t laugh–it happens).

What’s the most critical factor in your success.

The ability to speak credibly about Reiki will increase your confidence and your professionalism immediately, whether or not you intend to offer Reiki treatment in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, or other conventional health care centers.

2-day seminar in NYC Oct 30/31 Details & registration

1-day seminar in Buenos Aires Nov 27 English with successive Spanish translation. Details & registration


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The weekly waka

Wednesday -
rolls around too soon
as usual
catching me unprepared
what to do but improvise?

by Beth Lowell

To submit your waka, send it in an email addressed to waka@thereikidigest. Be sure to include the word "waka" in the subject line.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Personal practice Monday: Instant hands-free self care

Editor's note: This article from our archives appeared originally on June 28, 2007.

By Janet Dagley Dagley
Editor and Publisher

After last week's post on Reiki self-care, I heard from a few readers who protested that they just don't have time for self-care every day, or they don't always have a private place to practice hands-on. I'll agree that most of us are way too busy these days, with packed schedules, hectic commutes, and obligations in all directions. But every one of us has time for a little self-care now and then during our busy days. Here are 10 ways to give yourself an instant energy shift with Reiki in complete privacy even in public.

1) Use a precept. When you notice yourself feeling stressed, choose whichever Reiki precept seems most appropriate to your situation and say it to yourself, once or many times. For example, if you're driving and another driver cuts in front of you, almost causing an accident, you might react with anger. You might also notice that your heart is pounding. The precipitating event is over, but your body is still in alarm mode. Tell yourself, "Do not anger." Repeat as necessary. The other Reiki precepts can be used in much the same way.

2) Ground yourself with earth energy. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, pointed straight ahead, about shoulder width apart. Imagine yourself sending your energetic roots down through your feet, through the floor, and deep into the earth. Breathe into your lower abdomen (lower hara, tanden). If you're on your way to an important meeting, and feeling apprehensive about it, try this as you wait for the elevator or before you go into the room.

3) Reach to the skies. Focus on the crown of your head. Imagine you are being pulled upward from that spot, by a string reaching up into the heavens. Feel your chin drop, your jaw relax, and your spine straighten. Try this early in the morning, or during a boring afternoon meeting.

4) Feel the connection. Combine the two previous methods and feel yourself stretching energetically in both directions.

5) Visualize yourself. Imagine yourself standing or sitting in front of yourself. Focus on sending Reiki energy with your eyes to whichever part of your visualized self seems to need it most. Can be done with eyes closed or open, and should not be done while driving.

6) Breathe. Use one or more Reiki breathing techniques to rebalance yourself without anyone around you even noticing. Try it next time you're waiting in line at the post office or supermarket.

7) Have a ball: This is usually done with the hands, but if you exercise your imagination you can do it without. Visualize a small ball of energy, about the size of a baseball, in front of you. As you inhale, visualize that energy ball getting larger and more diffuse. As you exhale, imagine it getting smaller again. Let it get as big as a basketball, small as a ping-pong ball, as big as a beach ball or as tiny as a marble. Also not recommended while driving.

8) Inhale the energy. Can be done anywhere, anytime. As you breathe in, imagine that Reiki energy is being drawn into your body along with the air going into your lungs. Now imagine that energy traveling to whatever part of you needs it: if your left knee is sore, for example, feel the energy going there. Don't forget to exhale, and as you do, let the pain, stiffness, and stale energy go out with your breath. Repeat as desired.

9) Use a symbol (Reiki 2 and above). Visualize it, or draw it in your mind or with your eyes or nose. Repeat until you feel an energy shift. Not recommended while driving.

10) Use a jumon (mantra) (Reiki 2 and above). Even if you can't safely draw or visualize a symbol when you're driving or otherwise need to keep your eyes on your task, you can use what Western Reiki traditions consider the names of the symbols without the visual component.

Even if you don't have time for a full self-care session, try one or more of these (or other Reiki techniques) now and then throughout the day. I do.

You can read the original post here. This article is also available in Spanish, and in a pdf format that you can keep and share.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Holistic healing for pets in Roanoke, Virginia

Nona Nelson, reporter for The Roanoke times, put aside her cynicism for theories that can't be proven scientifically to explore two holistic therapies for pets. One was acupuncture. Can you guess the other? Read what Nona had to say here

Also, if you practice Reiki with animals and haven't had a chance to respond to our latest poll, click here to participate now.

The Reiki Digest welcomes articles about Reiki for animals. To submit yours or send an inquiry, please email We'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Reiki website - What you need to know webinar with Pamela Miles, October 22, 2010


Your Reiki Website – What You Need to Know Webinar with Pamela Miles - Launch date Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you already have a Reiki website? Or have you just started thinking of launching a site?

If you don’t have a website that effectively bridges the gap between your prospective clients and you, the time is now.

Clarify your vision and turn it into a website that showcases Reiki as a viable health care resource, and you as a credible professional.

I signed up for an individual website review that covers the same topics as Pamela’s webinar and I was amazed at the level of detail and precision with which Pamela approached each topic. You can read my testimonial here. --Beth Lowell, Managing Editor, The Reiki Digest

The webinar will launch on Friday, October 22 as a recording that you can access on a members-only page of Pamela’s website. You can come back to it as often as you want.

Advance registration fees are available only until October 22.

SPECIAL BONUS for the first 50 registrants ONLY:

Join Pamela for a FREE FOLLOW-UP Q&A webinar

Saturday, November 6

Click here for more information!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The weekly waka

October mornings-
even the dogs are laying low
the struggling sun
sets a poor example
for lazy girls like me

by beth lowell

The Reiki Digest welcomes waka contributed by readers. To submit yours, send it in an email to, and be sure to include the word "waka" in the subject line.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Madison, Wisconsin Reiki room

Two views of Patty Penner's Reiki room
Reiki Master/Teacher Patty Penner of Madison, Wisconsin submitted these photos of her home office Reiki room. In addition to teaching and giving Reiki treatments, she also holds Reiki shares. Thanks, Patty!

To share photos of your Reiki room, the space where you practice Reiki personally or professionally, including full time, part time, and shared, please attach them to an email and send it to Be sure to include the words, "Reiki room" in the subject line.   

Monday, October 18, 2010

Personal practice Monday: A feel for Reiki healing

The following appeared originally on August 28, 2010 on Pamela Miles' blog, Reiki Central, and is republished here with permission.

As simple as Reiki practice is, it takes time to develop a feel for the practice, a deep understanding of it (as distinct from a definition).

As with any practice, the only way to develop a feel for it is to actually practice, and to do so consistently over a period of time. There is no shortcut.

Reiki classes really only teach us how to practice. It is through practice, and practice alone, that Reiki practitioners develop. The experience of practicing Reiki treatment on others–on people of different ages, in varying stages of health, in a range of settings–is greatly enhanced when done against the backdrop of daily self-treatment. Through consistent practice, observation, and contemplation, slowly over time, we enter into a profound relationship with Reiki.

As with any practice, the only way to develop is to actually practice…There is no shortcut.

When, through a long association, we come to know someone well, we don’t feel a need to know every little detail, and we don’t get caught up in stories that may circulate about that person. There is a mindful trust, a willingness to partner, even as we take full responsibility for our actions.

In the same way, as we develop a profound relationship with Reiki through consistent practice, observation, and contemplation, we find an inner knowing that doesn’t need stories to buoy it. When supporting others, we prefer to leave the focus on our clients’s process of healing, allowing them the opportunity to engage within. We gradually become less interested in embellishing and distracting, quite content to say simply, “I don’t know.”

The process of developing a feel for Reiki healing is never-ending. Practice, observe, contemplate, repeat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Steven Halpern's Paradigm Shift

Steven Halpern has been called the father of healing music, in part because his 1975 album Chakra Suite was one of the first of its genre. Halpern's soothing sounds are commonly heard in treatment rooms and yoga studios all over the world. And after 35 years, he's still making new music: his latest is Paradigm Shift. Click on the Paradigm button to listen and find out more.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday: A new poll for animal Reiki practitioners

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On getting paid for Reiki services

Pamela Miles' blog, Reiki Central, featured this article titled 'Reiki Fees' on September 10, 2010. You can comment both here at The Reiki Digest, and on Pamela Miles' blog.

Reiki practitioners love their work. Many love it so much they are uncomfortable being paid for it.

Or so they say.

I wonder. If we love our work, why wouldn’t we want to be compensated for it?

Being compensated makes it possible for us to develop as Reiki practitioners by making it possible for us to put in the considerable time needed to grow as professionals. Without being paid, how many of us would have enough time to approach the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell identified as being necessary to develop expertise and success?

Paying for his session enables your client to leave feeling balanced and whole on every level, not feeling indebted to you for the favor. Feeling complete with the session means a client who values balance is more likely to come back. And isn’t that the client you want to work with?

If you truly love practicing Reiki professionally, but are uncomfortable with fees, try this after your next client session:

Look your client in the eye as she hands you the payment for her session.

Hold her gaze as you smile, and say with grace and gratitude, “Thank you."

To prepare for that interaction, take a few moments now to contemplate everything that you thank your clients for. Here are a few possibilities:

Thank you for valuing what I offer you.

Thank you for honoring our relationship.

Thank you for enabling me to support myself (and my family) by doing work I love. I know that many people are not so fortunate.

What else will you be thanking your client for the next time you gratefully accept his payment? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The weekly waka

Yellow mums
beneath the cold sound
of hawks -
squirrels fatten themselves and
the sun goes behind a cloud

by Beth Lowell

To submit your waka, send it in an email to Be sure to include the word "waka" in the subject line.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Personal practice Monday: A new poll!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Our October 2010 edition

We've got some interesting and provocative reading in this month's Digest, beginning with a post from our new Managing Editor, Beth Lowell, who suggests it's time to update the Reiki dictionary. And we have a Celeb-Reiki from a famous publishing family, an all new Reiki Roundup, and much more.

Plus a quick guide to all this month's Digest posts, including breaking news about Reiki and the heart, our Reiki Room winner, poll results, and much more. To make sure you get every post from The Reiki Digest as it happens, click here to subscribe to our Feedburner feed.

And coming soon to your inbox: our monthly email edition!

Beth Lowell named Managing Editor of The Reiki Digest

The Reiki Digest is pleased to announce the appointment of Beth Lowell as our new Managing Editor. During her tenure as the Digest's Senior Editor, Beth introduced new regular features, more frequent updates, and format changes that have led to increased readership. In her new capacity as Managing Editor, Beth will be expanding on those improvements as well as continuing her outreach to get more writers, more photos, graphics, and other media into the mix.

Beth is an animal Reiki practitioner and offers holistic services for pets through her business, Animal Spirit. She teaches Reiki, including Reiki for animals, in Morristown, New Jersey.

Updating the Reiki dictionary

By Beth Lowell, Managing Editor

Does the Reiki dictionary need an update?

Each year the dictionary gets an overhaul to be current with the times – I think the Reiki language dictionary could use an overhaul, too. If I were updating the Reiki language dictionary, I’d eliminate/update these major offenders – absolutes, propaganda, esoterica, and just plain confusing terms.


The problem with absolutes is they usually don’t exist in life. How can they, when things are in a constant state of flux? “Always” and “Never” exclude the possibility of nuance and render the shades of grey that exist between black and white invisible. How many times have you made a decision based on your absolute belief in its rightness, only to find that later, you’ve come to a different conclusion and then waffled again because things had changed and you just weren’t sure anymore?

Reiki always works. Really? Even when someone doesn’t want it? In the case of a well meaning practitioner who struggles to hold a pet still while “offering” Reiki, did the Reiki work? I don’t think it can work when someone is not willing to receive it.

Animals love Reiki. You know the old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Not all animals love Reiki all of the time. Some don’t seem to like it ever. This Reiki myth falls into two categories: absolutes and propaganda. Woohoo!


Propaganda sounds evil. But it’s simply the telling of partial truths or slanting information to convince someone that your point of view is right. Some say another word for propaganda could be “marketing.”

Animals don’t judge Reiki, but merely bask in its light. Propaganda? (Yes, again, the telling of partial truths in order to sell your point.) Animals do not judge Reiki and do bask in its light – when they choose to or if they like it. They may not judge Reiki, but they often do judge human beings, and they may not care for the Reiki practitioner who’s offering it that day.

The implication of this statement is that because animals who like Reiki treatments don’t judge it, Reiki must be “true.” How do you explain it, though, when someone’s animal you’ve come to treat refuses a Reiki treatment, loudly and clearly through body language and/or vocalizations, (or for some mysterious reason takes a dislike to you) when you show up to treat them? Now you’ve got some back pedaling to do.

Jargon (or just plain confusing terms):

Reiki goes wherever it’s needed (usually spoken in a dreamy tone with a knowing half smile). Reiki practitioners understand what this statement means, but to someone unfamiliar with the concept of Reiki, it can sound confusing, rather fantastic (in the fantasy sense of the word,) or just plain nuts.

To use an example from religion, try this. Someone presents this statement as fact to a group of people: “Ask and you shall receive.”

A sampling of responses might be—

1. I believe this! It happens to me all the time!

2. I’d really like to believe this, but I don’t think it can happen for me.

3. Really?

4. That’s bunk.

5. This is so out of my range of reality that I think I’d really like to get out of here as fast as possible. What excuse can I make without appearing totally rude?

Okay, so Reiki goes where it’s needed. I think Reiki is better served by a different interpretation of this fact so it’s meaningful to those who hear it. People are not all the same so no “one size fits all” sound byte is appropriate.

Channel, Channeling I find this concept troublesome. I understand that as practitioners we are a channel or conduit for Reiki. But too easily we can fall into talking about “channeling”. Being a channel is passive. Channeling is active. As Reiki practitioners, we are present in the moment, but not actively directing anything. To me, the word “channeling” implies action, and also connotes a more esoteric aspect, for example, one common in mediumship. A Reiki Master may be a medium, but mediumship is distinctly its own thing – separate from and not to be confused with Reiki.


I don’t know what your experience with Reiki is, but I’ll tell you mine. I’m a relative newcomer. My interest was in learning a method to help animals resolve issues that were not directly addressed through veterinary or training protocols. Of course, I quickly learned that it was impossible to effectively help others without first helping myself.

I’m not devoid of spirituality by any means, but I have to confess when it comes to chakras, I never know quite where mine all are. Similarly, I’m lost when practitioners assume that I’m well versed in any topic of esoteric study in which they are involved. Recently a friend confided that although she had taken a Reiki class and enjoyed it, she didn’t like how some Reiki practitioners spoke because it made her feel excluded. She had no idea what they were talking about. Neither do I.

I’ve heard a lot about angels recently. From what I gather, there’s a whole practice (or perhaps a few) that revolve around them. I kind of like the idea of an angel sitting on my shoulder or being my guardian. But I don’t see the connection with Reiki. If “Reiki goes where it’s needed,” I’m not sure why I need an angel looking out for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike angels or anyone who relies on them. But I’d like them out of the Reiki dictionary because angels belong to religion, and Reiki is not a religion. Angels have a home and that’s in the bible. They may live in your heart as well, but they don’t live in Reiki.

Okay, so since I’m coming out of the closet here, I might as well admit the whole truth. Um, I don’t have a clue as to who the ascended masters are. I’m going out on a limb here. If they’re ascended, I guess they are in heaven. That means they’re dead. If they are masters, perhaps they are people like Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln (or just plain old Biblical Abraham who I think has found a modern day channeler from what I read on Facebook) and any other person that history regards as an example for humanity. I love history. I love the masters. Their legacy endures. But they have a home too, which is in history books, or on PBS, not in the Reiki dictionary.

I’m on the fence about cutting the cords when it comes to auras. I want to make it perfectly clear, if I haven’t done so already, that it’s not that I don’t believe in any of these things or judge those who do stuff with them, but when I hear casual mention of fending off some kind of negative assault on the etheric aura in connection with Reiki, as if the concept is as commonly known as the one about the earth being round, I get confused. Are we talking about a natural healing method or magical self defense? I think I’m a decent Reiki practitioner – even though I don’t seem to know anything much about what people are talking about when they refer to “Reiki.”

That’s why I think the Reiki dictionary should be updated.

Editor’s note: The writer fully admits to having been guilty of using the mentioned examples of Absolutes, Jargon, Propaganda and Confusing Terms in the past herself, mostly, because, well – that’s how she first learned Reiki. She has since started thinking for herself, a wise idea in any pursuit. Being esoterically challenged, she stays away from talking about things of which she has limited or no knowledge.

It is her sole and well meaning intention that Reiki practitioners might start to think twice about using longstanding catchphrases and terminology that may have outlasted their value and/or that may be just plain confusing to people.

Language is a living, changing thing and just like updates to the regular dictionary, a revision of language in the Reiki dictionary might well just be the breath of fresh air that Reiki could use right about now.

The Celeb-Reiki Report

Maria Rodale is CEO and chairman of Rodale, Inc, (which is not only the largest independent book publisher in the United States but also "the world's leading multimedia publisher of advice and information about health, wellness and the envirionment") and author of three books. She's also The Reiki Digest's October Celeb-Reiki. She writes about the benefits of massage and Reiki in her Huffington Post article.




The Reiki Roundup

Flushing, MI, USA: ABC Channel 12 news featured this story on the Lotus Healing Center and includes a video testimonial from a satisfied customer.

Burlington County, PA, USA:Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey hospitals join the growing number of hospitals offering Reiki to breast cancer and other patients.

Montreal, Canada: While McGill University director of the Office for Chemistry and Society says he believes Reiki defintely has benefits, he also says he believes it works by the power of suggestion and goes hand in hand with fraud on the part of Reiki practitioners claiming that it can cure patients....huh?!

Colombo, Sri Lanka: An article on massage in the Daily Mirror includes a section on Reiki, and describes massage and manipulation as part of Reiki. Really? 

Isle of Man, UK: Manx radio reports Reiki as being included in a series of demonstrations by the MS society to offer relief to people for whom medical treatments don't work.

Bakersfield, CA USA: Dr. Naina Patel, of the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center in Bakersfield explains that integrative therapies are no longer on the fringe - and underlines the importance of looking at the whole self when it comes to health.

Billerica, MA, USA: Winchester Hospital Breast Cancer Center uses Reiki to manage the effects of cancer treatment.

New Delhi, India: The Indian Express reports that using practices like Reiki can help us heal ourselves.

Grady, AR, USA:  CNN reports that a prison inmate uses Reiki to help him get through the day while he tries to get his sentence overturned.

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Michael Whalen

You've probably heard Michael Whalen's music somewhere: in a commerical, a movie, a documentary, even a television station's jingle. But he's also done quite a bit in the "New Age" category, all of which is great accompaniment to a Reiki session.

Click the Michael button to listen and find out more.

And he's got a special free bonus on his web site: when you go there, click on the word "free" at the top of the page and then look for "The Tree of Life" -- it's an ambient music track for meditation, yoga, and similar purposes that's more than an hour long!

The weekly waka

has set this table here
presided over
by a statue of Saint Francis
on this boulder, in the woods?

by Beth Lowell

The Reiki Digest welcomes waka contributions. To submit yours, email it to and be sure to include the words "waka submission" in the subject line.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The weekly waka

Darkness, perfect
for cultivating worry.
Clouds gather -
over the lull of thunder
a mosquito's whine

by Beth Lowell

Monday, October 04, 2010

Personal practice Monday: Personal Practice within the System of Reiki

By Bronwen and Frans Stiene

Within Shoden level I the most important elements to practice on a daily basis are Joshin Kokyu Ho, meditations on the precepts, and performing hands on healing on yourself. To get the most out of your personal practice these elements need to be worked at on a daily basis. The more we practice, the more we find out who we truly are.

Within Okuden level II you begin to take your daily meditation practice a step deeper with the Japanese Reiki meditation of Hatsurei Ho as well as meditating on the symbols and reciting the mantras. Beginning new practices doesn't mean stopping with the initial Shoden practices however, as these are the foundation for a healthy Okuden practice. At this level, with your heightened energetic experience, you may begin to perform hands-on healing on others, moving towards becoming a professional practitioner if you so desire. Your improved abilities, in relation to hands-on healing, come about due to your personal practice which has given you greater insight into your self and energy in general as well developing your energetic connection.

Within Shinpiden level III you move yet again a step deeper into your technical and energetic understanding of the system of Reiki. At this point your practice becomes more serious, it becomes more than a hobby or something you have a go at once in a while.

At the Shinpiden level, ideally you create a dedicated daily practice that includes all five elements of the system of Reiki; the precepts, meditations (Hatsurei Ho/Joshin Kokyu Ho etc...), meditating on the symbols and mantras (for your own self development), practicing and performing the reiju/attunement (performing these will also help you to go deeper into your own spiritual practice), and performing hands on healing on yourself. Besides your daily personal practice at this level you might feel drawn to share your knowledge by teaching others, although many people just practice Shinpiden as a spiritual journey and not necessarily as a means to become a teacher.

These practices may also be adjusted depending on the individual student's needs - which is why it is essential to keep in contact with your teacher.

We see the system of Reiki as a spiritual practice, a personal spiritual practice.

Authors and Reiki Master/Teachers Bronwen and Frans Stiene are co-founders of The International House of Reiki

Friday, October 01, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday: Poll results and final segment of a three part series, Common Sense, Animal Sense, Reiki Sense

On September 3rd, 2010, we asked animal Reiki practitioners about where their clients came from - advertising or word of mouth. The results were split 50/50 between the two methods. If you didn't get a chance to respond to the poll, be sure to add your comments here, below, in the comments box.  

Part three of a series, Common Sense, Animal Sense, Reiki Sense - Reiki and wildlife and first aid Reiki

editor's note: Click here to read part one of the series. Click here to read part two.

Reiki and Wildlife

A classmate in the Reiki level two class I attended several years ago arrived and announced that on her drive in, she’d seen a bear. I thought how interesting it would be to offer Reiki to a bear. The teacher, however, had a different take on the situation. She told the student that in case she saw a bear again that she should imagine herself surrounded by a pink bubble. By doing so, she would be completely protected from the bear. This unexpected response threw me off guard, but apparently, the bubble concept stuck with me.

During a conversation with my next teacher, he asked me how it was that I practiced Reiki. I explained the process in which I worked with animals. I sat down with the animal. I drew the symbols and said the mantras. I enclosed myself in a pink bubble, for protection. But I hadn’t left the ritual at that. This bubble was creating a barrier between me and whichever animal I was working with. Feeling sorry for the animal, who might need some protection too, I imagined a pink bubble around her, as well. This solution, not feeling quite right either, inspired me to improve on the bubble ritual even further, and I imagined one giant bubble that enclosed both of us within our individual bubbles so that we would both be safe and together as much as we could possibly be, considering our own respective bubbles. As I uttered the last of this explanation, the absurdity of what I was saying hit me. My teacher pointed out tactfully that assuming a need for protection was in direct conflict with the first Reiki precept: Do not worry. I abandoned the bubble ritual.

Can you offer Reiki to wildlife? Of course you can. Squirrels, deer, skunks, pigeons, and rats to name a few are all “fair game”. (Bedbugs, anyone?) Many practitioners concentrate their healing work with animals in wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers and zoos, where the animals could surely use some balancing.

You can practice Reiki on wildlife in sanctuaries or in nature, and do it worry free as well, as long as you use some common sense. (Just because you are not worried does not mean that if you stumble upon some cubs in the wild that their protective mama bear will not charge.) If you believe in bubbles, I recommend you imagine one immediately when you begin your Reiki session with wildlife – and then make sure that you are in a safe place to prevent it from being burst.

First Aid Reiki

Reiki is often used as a first aid protocol. There’s no reason that this can’t be applied to the animal kingdom as well as in hospital emergency rooms and at disaster sites. But as noted in Heather Alexander’s July 29, 2010 article, Reiki moves into emergency planing - support without fear,  it’s also highly beneficial to first responders. If you work with animals, this includes you.

Although I live in a well populated town in New Jersey, one short hour from Manhattan, my back yard has been home to newly born fawns, a family of skunks, possums, assorted birds, squirrels and field mice. Living in proximity with such a wide array of creatures would seem ideal to any nature lover, unless, like me, you also happen to live with two very motivated, highly prey driven dogs.

Over the years I’ve had the heartbreak of discovering among other things, the corpse of a cardinal who happened to find his way into the back porch (and subsequently the jaws of one of my dogs), and the body of a chipmunk on the hallway carpet. Insult was added to injury when upon summoning the wherewithal to scoop up the carcass, I found that the tail had been severed, requiring a second scooping.

I’ve been to the emergency veterinary clinic at midnight after Bella had a run in with a skunk. I wasn’t interested in the bath they gave her so much, the one that left her smelling like skunk plus fabric softener, as I was in  making sure that the spray hadn’t damaged her eyes which were running and tearing after the critter made its escape. (It appears to be true that a good spraying does not cure dogs from chasing skunks but makes them only more determined to get the intruder next time.) And I’ve been witness to the great groundhog wars.

In my yard, the scenario plays out almost the same way every time. The groundhog, going about his business on what he considers his normal route, is discovered by my dogs, who have usually just been let out into the back yard. The dogs corner the groundhog, and bark ferociously. Bella, leader of the assault, tries valiantly to attack, while Dasher awaits the right opportunity to assist. The groundhog growls and hisses; occasionally striking out at the dogs with its razor sharp claws or with its two-inch long, yellowed and filthy teeth.

As onlooker, I have a couple of choices. I can, as I have in the past, grab a shovel and run to the scene of the incident. Not capable of bashing the groundhog over the head, I use the shovel to try to drive the dogs back, allowing the groundhog some time and space to escape. Sometimes this works, most times not.

If it doesn’t work, I can then take the shovel and hit the ground with it in an attempt to distract the dogs and break their concentration, again, allowing the groundhog to escape. This tactic has never worked, although that fact has not stopped me from trying it more than once. I am fully aware that my participation in either of these shovel wielding activities might just be construed by my dogs as an enthusiastic encouragement to continue what they are already doing; yet, humans are sometimes very slow to change their ineffective behavior, especially in light of the neighbors gathering at the top of the hill behind the house to see what all the fuss is about.

If the groundhog makes a run for it and makes it to the corner of the yard where there’s a hole under the fence (left there deliberately to fulfill this purpose,) he escapes.

If the groundhog does not manage to get away, Dasher, upon finally seeing her chance, grabs a leg, usually the foreleg, and the hapless groundhog is flipped onto his back. Bella will either try to strike at its middle, or go for the other foreleg. This is the ultimate game of tug of war, in which the dogs cooperate to literally tear apart the intruder. If you have dogs who engage in a similar game of tug with a stuffed toy, cheers! This is what they are actually preparing for in real life.

My other option, whether I hold the shovel or not, is to remain calm. (Did you know that a groundhog is capable of killing a dog? They go for the jugular vein. I’ve seen it.)

Worrying won’t help. Anger won’t help. All I can do is to offer Reiki. But the dogs are otherwise engaged in their pursuit of killing the groundhog. I’m not sure they can hear me asking for permission. Likewise, the groundhog has enough on his plate just trying to survive.

When an animal situation seems to be spinning out of control you simply do what you would ordinarily do in a situation over which you have no control – self treatment to the best of your capability. Focus Reiki First Aid on Number One – Yourself.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait for an emergency to practice self treatment. The more you practice self treatment on a regular basis, the more able to deal with emergencies you will become. To function at the best of your ability in any situation, in life in general, you need to practice regularly. I’ll admit, I’m far from achieving perfection in maintaining complete composure, especially when dogs and groundhogs decide to mix it up. And when it does happen, it’s a not so subtle reminder of how little control we actually have over anything - in our lives with animals, or without. Practice, anyone?

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