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Animal Speak - December 2016 - Santa Fe

Taking Inventory:

Lessons Learned from the Wise Ones

By Lynne McMahan


As I write this last column of the year I want to share the inventory of lessons learned from our wise animal teachers, as well as sharing two new animal teacher stories who embody well the lessons learned.


Our lesson in October focused on "Energy," the source of all that is, the Universal Life Energy of Reiki. Our two animal teachers, our neighborhood thrasher and Phineas, shared their experience of Reiki in their stories and lessons. The thrasher's story of his strong life force connected with his neighbors and family, and his support in healing from The New Mexico Wildlife Center who cared for him for several weeks, returning him to the neighborhood and his family, a happy, healthy and well bird, illustrated well the Energy theme. We also learned of Phineas and how he was lost but then found by learning the best way to get back home was through the "heart line"--his heart to his human Rachael's heart.


Last month, this lesson of connection and heart line continued when I shared an appreciation checklist and meditation/ prayer of gratitude through the story of Briggs. Supported by Santa Fe Animal Shelter (SFAS) when he arrived, and in partnership with Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary (KSAS), Briggs was able to experience his final sacred journey of love, elder care, and grace as described in the September column. As Keri Lee, Ulla's Administrative Assistant, expressed well the lesson of grace:

I have been pondering the true meaning of grace...Before: I used to be afraid of death...Now: These sweet beings [share] their own individual journey towards the a safe and loving community as everyone should be in their final times...I see there is a beauty in the soul's natural progression of aging and eventually dying...I see unconditional love, compassion and joy in the loving care given and received all around me..."


Jade and Pancho (11 year-old Chihuahuas from SFAS) and Boo and Moo (19 year neighbor cats) shared their own lessons of aging gracefully in June's column. They shared that love and devotion, through friendship and companionship to each other and the humans who care for them, are elixirs for health and wellbeing. As my neighbor Stefan said of his lessons learned, "they have indelibly taught me patience...that love has no boundaries," to share a good heart, good head, good health, stretch, get plenty of rest, and remember to "never give up."


To age gracefully with a good heart, head and spirit, the Eating Well theme in August brought us lessons from Lenny (SFAS). We were reminded that what we are learning about our human nutritional health is true for our animal teachers as well. By determining a more holistic, proactive approach to our own and our animal's health and nutrition, we become advocates and greater partners for wellness and healing. From our Lenny's must have list: exercise, connection, and love. (Good news note: Lenny was recently adopted by his forever humans.)


Ollie (my friend Tina's horse from the Horse Shelter) shared his gifts of Joy Expressed in July's column. Beyond his teaching of patience and consistency in developing trust, he reminded us that the human time schedule can limit our joy experience. In order to express love, let go of fear by starting each day fresh and being present (rather than focusing on the past and future). Experience the joy of being in the present moment. He also shared his lesson of providing purpose for the humans in his life. Sharing purpose is joy.


Since my initial visit to Kindred Spirits, I have been able to share my gift of Reiki with a few of the aging wise ones. Goldie (one of the horses) greeted me upon arrival during a November visit to let me know about the loss of Jack who passed peacefully with love and grace. She expressed her love of the energy she receives from her human caretakers, appreciating my initial visit, affirming I was ready to take the next step on my sacred journey. Goldie embodies the strong life force connected through the heart line we have learned. She models her purpose of joy and being in the present moment, aging with wholeness and grace.


Jenny, a November arrival to the SFAS clinic also embodies well the lessons learned this year. She was transferred from another state's shelter and is healing from a broken shoulder. Every single day she is being loved by her human caretakers. She is grateful for her healing and will be ready soon to share her love and companionship with her forever home. Whatever has brought her here at this present moment, she has forgiven, is letting go, and trusting again, sharing too, her purpose of joy. Her own life force and strong heart strings are helping her heal, integrating with the healing power of Reiki. She loved listening to the musical loving-kindness meditation from my first column's sharing: "May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe. May all beings everywhere be free" (2011, Berezan). For it is in the spirit of this song and all of my Animal Reiki clients, that I dedicate the Animal Speak monthly column.


This year we've expanded our awareness of animals as our teachers and through their healing stories and wisdom we are blessed. Our first animal teacher Mercury, the Dwarf Hotot rabbit, best summarized this wisdom through his "Everyday Spirituality" lessons:

  • Every single day touch base with someone you love, unconditionally and without judgment.

  • Find joy in all the little happenings throughout the day.

  • Practice forgiveness, letting go, and trust.

  • Show your gratitude.

  • Be the Divine within.

Evolving Magazine

Santa Fe

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Lynne with Ollie

Lynne McMahan, Ed.D., En-Light-En Reiki, is a Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and Mind-Body-Spirit Mentor, supporting the healing of each person or animal on their journey of transformation. For more information:,, or 505.400.3168. 

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