The Shelter Animal Reiki Association or SARA, is an organization that I’m proud to be a member. SARA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure better healing practices for shelter and sanctuary animals. How do they do this? By bringing Reiki to the shelter animals and volunteers.
Two women, Kathleen Prasad and Leah D’Ambrosio, met in 2007 and shared a passion for helping shelter animals. Together they co-founded SARA, and created a professional organization to legitimize the healing power of Reiki.
It wasn’t always easy, but through hard work and a dedication to the animals, SARA grew into an organization with members across the globe. SARA assists others in bringing Reiki to the shelters and sanctuaries. And thanks to the curriculum created by Kathleen, it’s possible to become a SARA Teacher and use SARA manuals and promotions.
All SARA members are encouraged to create close relationships with the organization where they off Reiki. This includes through volunteering Reiki treatments, donations, and fundraisers and Reiki classes and events. SARA teachers are asked to donate a portion of SARA Reiki classes to support the shelter/sanctuary.
Even though I have been study and practicing Reiki and other energy modalities for over 18 years, I wanted to study with Kathleen. Her reputation for promoting the highest standards in Animal Reiki, was something I wanted to be a part of. Then a little over a year ago, I saw a post on Facebook that SARA was offering grants to become SARA teachers. I applied immediately and to my delight, I was one of the people selected.
A little over a year ago, I flew to Santa Rosa to attend a three-day training to become certified as a SARA teacher. On the flight out to Santa Rosa I was excited and a little nervous but I was ready. I couldn’t wait to bring what I learned back to the animals in Las Vegas. I knew it was a wonderful opportunity but I had no idea what transformation I was about to experience.
The classes were held at Bright Haven Animal Sanctuary, an amazing healing place for all kinds of animals – cats, dogs, pigs, ducks, horses, cows, and fish. I met five other women that came to learn the SARA method and bring healing back to their hometowns. The days flew as we spent all day studying and practicing on the animals.
The last day of class arrived and I received a gift I wasn’t expecting; a gift I couldn’t put into words until much later. I was outside with the cows practicing a meditation, when I was overcome with grief. In my minds eye I saw three animals: a bison, a gorilla, and a grizzly bear. I felt the weight of the pain that mankind has brought on to these magnificent animals. I tried to shake it off and practice the meditation but I couldn’t escape the grief. When the class regrouped to discuss our meditation experience, I broke down and cried. I couldn’t explain what was happening.
We had one more meditation to practice before going home. I was still feeling weak so I stayed inside and decided to work with one of the cats. I began the Reiki meditation and the first image that came to me in my minds eye was a large, male lion.
I remember thinking, “Oh, no. I can’t do this again.”
But then I heard, in a firm voice, “Follow me now.”
I followed the lion through a field of tall grass. It was over my head so all I could see was his back and tail swinging back and forth. Suddenly we came to a clearing in the shape of a circle. Flashes of animals began to come to me very quickly. Some were wild animals, some were animals from my life, and some were animals from my life that had made their transition. Then I felt relief from the pain.
I couldn’t put into words what happened in those last two meditations of the class, but I knew it was important. The answer came a few days later; I realized what the animals were trying to teach me. As an animal advocate, rescuer, and SARA teacher, I will be standing face to face with the pain humans inflict upon animals. It can be intense and easy to feel anger and despair when this happens.
I suddenly realized that the suffering of animals is like a hurricane. When the storm first hits land, it comes in waves and destroys everything in its path. Then the eye of the storm comes on land, and everything is peaceful and calm. The animals had been showing me that I must not get lost in the waves of pain and grief, but rather, I have to find my way to the eye of the storm. The more I live in this calm place, the more joy and healing I bring to the animals. This is true for everyone.
Last week I received notice that an animal sanctuary in Arizona requested SARA training for their volunteers. I jumped at the chance. And very soon, there will be more animal advocates standing in the circle, offering healing to the animals. I hope one day you will join us.