Monday, April 28, 2008

Building Bridges with Animal Reiki

Recently I was one of several practitioners offering mini Reiki sessions at an annual retreat for women and girls. Everyone was receptive and appreciative, except for one teenager. I was in the initial stages of a Reiki session with a woman when the door burst open and this teenage girl rushes up to my client and bursts out, "Mom! How could you have signed me up for Reiki! I mean, massage is just fine, that I get, but Reiki!? It's just too weird having someone lean over you with their hands on you and then declare, ‘You're all better now!’” The girl then turns to me and says, "No offense."

If I had not been aware that the mother was mortified by her daughter's actions I would have laughed out loud. Far from taking offense I could certainly see the daughter’s viewpoint since many people are not as aware of healing energy as animals. I thanked my many years of doing my own personal clearing work which now enabled me to look beyond myself in order to see what the real issue was.

After the daughter had departed, secure in the knowledge that she did not have to participate in a Reiki session, I reassured her mother that I took no offense. I added that it was good to see her daughter so vibrant and healthy, and apparently not in need of a Reiki session. Mom’s response was, "Well, I really thought she could use a session, she needs it." At this point, now having a clear indication from the mother that she was seeking help in some form, I stepped back and took a "look" shamanically. Was there something that could benefit both of them?

I asked if her daughter liked animals. Mom’s face lit up, and her energy expanded and she told me her daughter was crazy about them (it turned out that Mom was, too).

So I began to tell her my own personal stories about Reiki and animals. Reiki is a really cool way to connect with animals—it increases one's "animal magnetism." What that means is that all animals perceive and respond to good, positive energy and an open heart. Animals are drawn to the practitioner through the love embodied in Reiki energy. A student of Reiki facilitates self-healing through daily personal Reiki treatments, promoting energetic balance and healing emotional issues of trust which then increases the student’s openness and re-connection to the natural world, something the animals really appreciate.

In my career as a Reiki healer I am often approached by animals who take one look into my energy field and want the brand of energy I have on tap, namely Reiki. A classic case was Gracie, a cat who lived across the street from me, and who used to show up on my doorstep whenever she did not feel well. I would open the door, and there she would be, looking for her personal Reiki healer (read the full story at Gracie the Cat and Fireworks). And she never failed to get her session, who could turn down such a trusting compliment?

It was not my intention to use stories about animals to entice either mother or daughter into taking a Reiki class, although that is a possible outcome, but rather to promote the commonality they shared—a love for animals. Perhaps the animal stories might bring them closer together, building bridges across the sometime too-wide gap between generations during the teen years, something I sensed that both desired.

By gently steering mother and daughter to my articles or book, perhaps they might feel validated in their own perceptions, which in turn might encourage them individually to follow their own intuition in taking further steps on their paths toward wholeness and happiness. And most likely along the way they will be encouraged and supported by their own domestic animals, who love us unconditionally, and who are so perceptive in reading our emotional and physical needs, and so very willing to offer us their own healing assistance and guidance.

One of the most important intentions in any healing modality is to support your clients in achieving healing for THEIR highest healing good. This means that the practitioner must let go of attachment to a certain outcome; the client should receive what they need, not what the practitioner thinks might benefit them the most. Allied with that is the intention to empower the client so that they may be an active participant in their own healing. So, once I told my animal Reiki stories I let go of attachment to the possible outcome, trusting that the universe knew best. But I’m still very human, I can’t completely disengage from personal attachment—I still hope that mother and daughter at least enjoyed reading my articles, which is the fervent hope of every writer!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Inviting A Tiger Home to Play: Unleashing A Shamanic Book

Shamanically speaking, everything has a spirit. In which case, you could say that my new book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki & Shamanism is evidencing wild and spirited behavior just like the image on its front cover.

Initially my book managed to make itself invisible online at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, much to the puzzlement of my publisher. For quite some time no one could figure out why that was happening. It is now fully visible and searchable at Amazon, apparently having learned to trust the user-friendly atmosphere there; but it is still in hiding at the Barnes and Noble jungle. Unless you search for the title exactly you will not find it, it does not appear in any keyword search, apparently due to the book’s title being only partially listed as “Tails of a Healer.” I guess I would not want to come out of hiding either if I did not feel fully accepted.

There were many rejected drafts and numerous scratches for those who tried to define the book’s spirit and purpose within the confining limits of a one-page press release. When the final press release heralding it’s publication was sent out to the news media it, too, quietly disappeared for more than 24 hours, to the amazement of the press release service who, like the publisher, could not figure out what had happened. During that time both the book cover image and the company logo fought being posted in my online newsroom, only appearing after several phone calls and much head-scratching by the techies.

While the book seems determined to play a form of hunter/prey, stalking around the internet and pouncing at unexpected moments, it appears as a kinder, gentler feline spirit to the people who read its tales and their companion animals.

Throughout the manuscript-reading process and soon after publication I began receiving reports of cats sleeping on it. If the book was moved to a different location the cat would simply take up residence on it again. One cat client, in the last stages of his life, seemed to use the book as a sort of energetic heating pad which appeared to be plugged into my household. He was able to tell his person via the book telegraph exactly when my elderly cat Shaman crossed over into spirit.

And like any curious cat the book began to seek out new homes on its own. An autographed copy, intended for one of my wonderful friends who had helped with the final stages of the book, somehow mysteriously got accidentally addressed and mailed to a client of mine (who had not ordered a copy herself). My client called to say that she had received it, and I suggested that she simply tape it up and mark it “Return to Sender.” She called back to say that before she could do that her dog, who had never done anything like this before, actually ate a part of the envelope, making it impossible to mail it back! She ended up physically giving me back the autographed copy (which did finally complete its intended journey) and ordering a copy for herself since the book seemed determined to stay.

Finally, and happily, I am also receiving feedback from people who have found the book so enticing they tell me it is difficult for them to put it down, and they have shared with me their thanks for its energy which has inspired them to deeper levels of healing and change in their lives.

So, here’s to the spirit of my book, a true original. May you continue to seek out and inspire people and animals, and if I place a particularly tasty bit out on the internet as an offering, could you please stop fighting with the technology?

Got a story of your own to share about the book? I’d love to hear it, send me an email.

Want to invite this tiger to your home? Click here to order a copy or to read Reader Reviews and an Excerpt from "Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki & Shamanism."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ancient Healing Meets Modern Car

Shamanic inspiration often surfaces in interesting ways. Shamanism is not just about being spiritual, it is about walking in this world in a spiritual fashion. I always find it amusing when I receive a new idea that can do both.

In the Peruvian shamanic tradition sacred palo santo wood (or holy wood) is used for offerings in ceremony and as an incense for smudging and clearing of heavy energies. It has a wonderful scent that is difficult to describe, but everyone who smells it finds it unique and delightful. Unlit, its aroma and energy can produce a relaxation response, which is why I like to keep some out at home and in my office.

One day I suddenly had a vision of creating a palo santo wood pendant that could be used as a car air freshener. If blessed shamanically the palo santo wood could also assist in keeping the space in the car clear while assisting in reducing driving stress!

I smiled as I realized that this natural wood could be a more beautiful, sustainable and spiritual alternative to the popular, but chemically enhanced “Christmas tree” air fresheners I see hanging from many rear view mirrors. The palo santo wood is longer lasting, too, making it economical and earth friendly. You can rejuvenate the scent by sanding lightly with a nail file, or simply scratching it with a thumbnail.

So, I now offer the Palo Santo Wood Car Air Freshener Pendant under my Peruvian and Shamanic Gifts page on my website. A package contains three energetically blessed pieces of palo santo, each decorated with a different hand-painted bead from Peru (two Inca designs and one desert scene with llama), strung on a hand-cut leather thong to hang or carry. And with three I figured you can use them all throughout your house, too, they work great as a closet or drawer sachet, or you could pass one along as a gift.

I like the thought that the pendant might bring down the stress level of people stuck in traffic (I live in Seattle where gridlock on I-5 is becoming a major occurrence), or perhaps might help a driver stay grounded, balanced and centered for an overall safer driving experience. I can’t wait to see how other ancient traditions might suggest adaptations for our modern world.