Letting Go

Letting Go

I’ve been working with a cat for about a year and a half. She is an elderly cat, very thin and frail, but with a huge spirit. Her female caregiver is the one who hired me. She said she could never tell her husband what she was doing because he would think it was stupid.

The cat had colitis, a spastic colon that made eating and defecating painful. She would howl after she ate; she would howl when she had to use the litter box. The woman was, of course, very upset. The cat and I began with three Reiki sessions in three weeks (across distance; I have never met her face to face) and then reduced them to once a month. From the first session, the cat was able to eat without howling. After about a month, she started gaining weight. We continue the monthly sessions because of the cat’s advanced age and because she always seem revitalized, energized, and happy for weeks afterwards.

The woman writes me lovely emails about how the cat loves the Reiki sessions, how they have prolonged her life and improved its quality. The emails are gracious and touching, and make me feel grateful to have these two beings in my life.

The woman’s husband began to notice the changes in the cat. After about a year, the woman told him what was going on. She was surprised that he didn’t seem surprised. Seems he knew all along.

The man now has cancer. I asked the woman if her husband had considered Reiki for himself. At first she said she wouldnít even suggest it, that he would never agree to it. But then she finally asked. He said it was fine for the cat but not for him.

The woman has painful arthritis in her knees. I asked her if she had considered Reiki for herself. She told me that she was afraid. She said her cat always falls asleep when I work with her. The woman said that this is good for the cat, but that she herself needs to stay in control.

I have been working with a beautiful Golden Retriever. When I met him, the dog could barely walk up and down the stairs but can now leap up on a bed. The woman who is his companion and caregiver suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, spends a lot of time in bed, and flies to the Mayo clinic every few months. Her illness takes up huge chunks of her life. I explain that Reiki could at the very least help to ease her pain and could very likely help her to recover from infections and viruses more quickly. She says that would be wonderful. She says she can certainly see the effects on her boy, then tells me how much her body aches and that she needs to go lie down.

Over the years, numerous dogs, cats, and horses have told me that their human companions are stressed out, depressed, cranky, or unhappy, that their human companions need to take better care of themselves. They have asked me if I can help. I deliver these messages to the humans, who most often laugh nervously, then change the subject.

It is curious. It seems that we humans are attached to our illnesses and disabilities. Some of us define ourselves by them; we become our arthritis, our slipped discs, our insomnia, become our depression, our eating disorders, our addictions.

But who could we be if our knees stopped hurting, if our backs stopped aching, if we could count on a good night’s sleep? Who could we be if our stress disappeared, if our depression lifted, if our hearts became light?

The woman with the cat, the woman with the painfully arthritic knees, said to me, “We don’t want to let go of our afflictions. That would mean we would have to change.”

But who could we be if we wanted for ourselves the same quality of life we want for the creatures in our lives?

Who could we be?

Until next month,

Be well,


*This column originally appeared in From the Horse’s Mouth in May 2007.

© 2007 by Pamela Sourelis