I was a participant in a workshop. We were chanting ancient sacred mantras in Sanskrit ~ which I like to do a lot ~ singing our hearts out, raising our vibrations and increasing our energy levels. Aaaahhh...
What made this workshop different was that after we had gotten ourselves all blissed out and fired up, we were handed a series of questions designed to channel all that fire and bliss into identifying, and then taking, some concrete steps towards finding and fulfilling our true purpose in this life. And hopefully making the world a better place in the process. The idea was to invoke and be filled up with Divine energy, and then let the Divine guide us in the practical living of our lives.
Imagine my surprise when the first thing I wrote under Next Steps was "Take Reiki I training." It was truly like someone else had guided my hand. Never before had it even occurred to me to do that! I had received Reiki treatments and liked it very much. I had been impressed ~ and helped ~ by some intuitive information that the Reiki Master had picked up about the relationship between me and my injury during the first treatment. But to become a practitioner myself? This was new. And it wasn't just an idea; it was an imperative, a must!
So I decided to contact the practitioner I knew to see if she was still teaching. But no need to even do that. As I was putting on my coat at the end of the workshop, a fellow participant asked how he could assist me on my path. I asked if he was a Reiki Master, and he said no but his friend was and would I like him to email her right then. Ok.
That was December 2010. I took Reiki I in January and Level II in February.
In mid-March my beloved cat Jeannie was diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
We are taught that Reiki can be used not just for relaxation and stress release, not only for profound physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual healing, but as a source of Divine guidance in all aspects of our lives. I believe it. When the vet told me the test results, and that the cancer had already spread throughout her body by the time I found the lump in her throat, I understood perfectly why I had so suddenly and urgently needed to practice Reiki. And I knew that Reiki ~ spiritually guided life force energy ~ had reached out and touched me before I even knew I was in need of it. And we really needed it.
Jeannie passed from her body in the wee hours of the morning on June 28th. That three and a half month journey was one of the most intense, difficult and beautiful experiences of my life.
Jeannie, Benji and Dudley had all come to live with me the previous August, adult cats rescued from life on the streets and living in foster homes when we met. They were all special beings, not 'just cats' at all, and we quickly became quite the happy little family. Jeannie was very affectionate on her terms, but also quite a suspicious kitty, knowing full well that if you came to grab her it probably meant that you were either going to Do Something to her, or take her Somewhere Else, so earning her love and trust was quite a project. By March she was making no secret about her intense and overwhelming happiness here. Clearly this was the best life she had ever had.
She seemed perfectly happy and healthy for the first couple months after the diagnosis, and I let my social life pretty much disintegrate in order to spend as much happy time as I could with this bright, bouncy, delightful little being. That time was full of joy and purrs and cuddling on the couch. I got to read a few great books, including Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth and the Dalai Lama's Advice on Dying ~ great timing, those ones. And of course I gave her as much Reiki as she wanted, which was at least an hour each day, sometimes much more.
Then she got quite suddenly sick and tired. My wonderful vet prescribed a pill that could maybe buy us a few more days, weeks or even months. Jeannie responded instantly, literally bouncing back to excited happy life an hour after the first dose. This brief reprieve lasted just over two weeks, and then the final decline ~ and the most beautiful part ~ began.
Jeannie's health deteriorated noticeably every day, but her love, peace and grace never once wavered. She did have one moment of utter abject terror, just before the final decline began, when I was trying to catch her to cut her claws (she was getting stuck on things, and too weak to detach herself). But of course she knew she was sick, and that sick cats get Taken Away. I felt terrible causing her so much fear and anxiety for the sake of a manicure.
Reiki provided the communication bridge we needed. Once I understood why she was so terrified, and that her only wish was to stay At Home, I was able to reassure her that this was her Home Forever, and that I would not take her Away unless she asked me too. Then she relaxed immediately and completely into the process of letting her body go. She continued to be joyful every time she saw me, and to purr when I touched her until the growth in her throat made it physically impossible just a few days before she left. She was never scared, never angry, never sad, and never appeared to be in any pain. I hope and pray that I can be as graceful, loving and peaceful when my time comes.
She went twelve days without any food at all, never craving or complaining, and the last two days with no more than a sip or two of water. We were basically camping out on the kitchen floor because she was too weak to go anywhere. Jeannie and Benji loved each other very much, and he kept her company when I wasn't able to be there. We shared lots and lots of Reiki every day, and she hung on as long as she could because she was too happy to die, right up to the last night when I tucked her in and she fell asleep content with her head in my hand.
Neither Reiki nor I could cure the cancer. But that never seemed to be the point. As animal Reiki specialist Kathleen Prasad said in a recent article,
"Just because we die doesn't mean we didn't heal."¹
We are all going to die ~ or at least our bodies are. It is the manner of our death that should concern us, and how much we can heal ourselves and others before our time comes. And for that Reiki can help so much, in so many ways.
Wishing Jeannie and all of us peace on our journey.
Om Bolo Cat-Guru Jeannie Rani-Ki, Jai!!!
¹ Kathleen Prasad, "Animal Reiki Sessions and Your State of Mind",
Reiki News Magazine, Spring 2013, p. 33.