My dog, Puma, and I were out for a Sunday stroll along Alki Beach in West Seattle when I noticed that the area around the steps leading down to the beach and Puget Sound had been cordoned off by yellow tape. Getting closer I saw why—a seal was taking a nap. Nearby, a member of Seal Sitters kept watch, keeping curious people and dogs from frightening him, and answering questions from passersby.
I engaged in conversation with Janette, the volunteer sitter, and learned two more facts about harbor seals. One was that they mature slowly; the seal I had first thought to be a pup, because of his small size, was probably a teenager born last June. The other fact is there are a few diseases that can be passed to dogs simply by their sniffing the seal, another good reason to keep your distance.
I also learned from Janette that their organization uses photos to identify seals by the markings around their eyes. I had already been debating whether I should return to my house to retrieve my camera, and volunteered my services as photographer.
Walking back with camera in hand and faithful Puma reveling in a longer walk, I felt an inner prompt to send Reiki to the situation. I was unsure what it might be needed for, but complied. The beauty of Reiki is that you don’t have to know how it will be used, you can simply let the energy flow for the highest good. Perhaps the seal needed energetic support for physical or emotional challenges, maybe the Reiki was needed to help raise public awareness about marine wildlife, or perhaps it was something else entirely. I let go of attachment to the outcome, trusting that the Reiki would be allocated and received as needed.
Still sending Reiki, I conferred with Janette on how to get the best shot without disturbing the seal. Leaving Puma on stay, and with her permission, I slipped inside the buffer zone. She’d said that the sound of the camara shutter would cause the seal to raise his head and look at me, which should offer me the perfect opportunity to get a nice photo of his face markings. Two clicks and the seal simply slumbered on. Somehow I had to get him to raise his head, for at this point all I could see were his whiskers poking up above the steps.
Moving a little closer, and trying for a better angle, I clicked off a few more shots, and still nothing. I reached out mentally, trying to make contact with my animal communication skills. Still no movement. I could sense great relaxation…a sense of well-being…a kind of mental snore…and then, “Mmmm, that feels good.” I mentally laughed at myself — in my eagerness to take photos I had forgotten that I was still sending Reiki! Of course the seal was not going to stir. Not only did he find the Reiki relaxing, but previous encounters had clearly demonstrated to me that Reiki helps build bridges of trust between people and animals, wild or domestic.
I terminated the flow of Reiki, let a few seconds go by, and then took another shot with my camera. This time the sound had the anticipated effect, slowly the seal raised his head, blinking blearily, looking very much like someone who had been woken from a deep sleep. Taking his time, the seal turned his face in my direction. All this time I was taking shots and talking quietly to him, telling him how handsome he was. As he finally located me, he looked directly into my lens, and I clearly heard him say, “Oh, it’s you.” And with that acknowledgment, as though we were old friends, he laid his head back down and resumed his nap.
Postscript: Apparently Eli did need the Reiki. See Update for Reiki and the Harbor Seal.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.