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  • Kim Harrington

Arthur, the reiki practitioner chicken who is also darn good at it


An infirmary may sound like a sad place to some but I found nothing but peace inside.

While volunteering today at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, I was asked to share reiki with some animals in need who are currently living in the infirmary on the property. I don't usually ask what is wrong with animals I am about to share reiki with because it helps to keep my emotions elevated and besides, reiki goes where it needs to. I trust in the process and the energy.

Inside the enclosed area called the infirmary, I saw a duck with one leg on a bed of hay. I saw a chicken with a very swollen foot. I saw one who couldn't seem to walk and was snuggled with another, either for warmth or comfort. I also saw friendship, love, loyalty. I saw peace.

I found a soft area a few feet away from all the animals and slowly sat down. Slow movements are best when they don't know what to expect. I focused on my breath with my hands in gassho. I pictured a white rose with each outer petal representing thoughts of ego such as worry, fear, sadness, pity. As I breathed white light through my crown and into my hara center, I imagined every outer rose petal gently fall off and go back into the earth. I was left with the most beautiful white rose I have ever seen. Pure, radiant and glowing. Exactly as every animal is after we remove the outer problems of their physical and emotional problems. Their inner essence is perfect and still shines as bright as when they are happy and healthy. We just need to focus on that instead of trying to fix what's wrong. I imagined placing the pure, radiant white rose into my heart center and sat in the moment with all the animals inside that infirmary. A rushing creek in the distance and a random rooster in song serenaded our healing session on the mountain today.

I stayed in meditation for about 30 minutes. About 15 minutes into the session a white chicken named Arthur came in close and pressed against my leg. I offered reiki though my hands until he was finished and went back to the duck. It was like he came in closer for reiki and wanted to make sure duck got to enjoy this too! Arthur kept coming to sit by me, soak in the healing energy from my hands and heart, and then carried it to his duck friend who closed his eyes in rest when Arthur was near. He repeated this ten more times. He sat near him for many more minutes in their own healing vigil. Clearly, Arthur has learned reiki and is darn good at it!

One chicken paced until picking a spot by my side and curved his little head back under his wing and napped. A smaller black pig outside the infirmary came over to the door. He made adorable little oinks while looking in. "Sorry buddy, you don't need to be in here so I'll share the reiki to the outside too" I told him. They all seemed to trust me. The duck wasn't mobile like most others and his eyes told me he was still trying to work through everything. Why he was there and would he get better. I told each one that I loved them and they are in the best place they could have ever wished for. I could have stayed forever.

But then I was asked to leave. By the chicken in charge of the infirmary. My pants became his tool to tell me the reiki was great, but done. I felt my pants at the ankle lift up into the air in his small beak and snap back down to my leg. His force got stronger and then my ankle met his beak. This was my sign to leave them all to tend to themselves and each other. The session was officially over and we let the animals lead.

I drove the 45 minutes home with my spirit alive in joy and compassion in my heart for a place that treats all sentient beings as they deserve. I will always be grateful to the Universe for granting me my wish of a sanctuary and to Indraloka for welcoming me and for all that they do.



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