There stood George Washington, looming larger than life, peering over Paul McCartney. With his outstretched arm, it looked as if George was singing Let it Be, or Hey Jude. It was quite a surreal moment. Isn’t that one of the great things about our country? We can watch Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Herbie Hancock and a number of other artists perform in the White House, on a stage set underneath George Washington’s portrait.
McCartney received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. During President Obama’s presentation speech, he mentioned the power of music and the arts. He told us how they help us make it through difficult times in our lives, and inspire us to be better human beings. The magic of music and art, however, goes beyond inspiration and comfort. They allow us to transform our lives. Whether we are creating or experiencing, they help us express our challenges in a positive way, which is part of the healing process. In doing so, we bring forth a positive energy for all beings and the planet.
Animals do the same thing. They assist us in facing our difficulties, and open our hearts to healing. Whether it is with an assistance, search and rescue, therapy animal or beloved pet, humans and animals are instinctively wired to help each other. Animal assisted therapy programs have been utilized for physical disorders since the late 1800′s, and are currently gaining recognition within the medical and behavioral health communities. Several species of animals have been used to treat a variety of physical and emotional disorders, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, llamas, reptiles and even insects! We also know that nurturing animals can be as beneficial to the person as it is to the animal. As people assist animals in healing, they themselves can be healed.
One of my goals is to have a human and animal healing facility. Because of the energetic nature of the human-animal bond, when more than one species heals together, it creates a synergistic effect. Picture a rural setting where healing begins just by virtue of walking onto the property. We see people taking nature walks, painting or doing photography. Across the grounds we hear music, and watch the gardeners. Seniors are working together with children; both of them are interacting with animals.
In an outdoor arena, a disabled child rides his therapy horse, beaming with pride as he sits high above the people around him. When he is on this glorious animal, he becomes larger than life himself. The horse’s warmth relaxes the child’s cramped muscles, and the riding movement stimulates his musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The most phenomenal part of this process is the energy exchange between the child and horse. This animal’s amazing energy entrains with the child’s, and healing moves to a higher level. The horse becomes the energy practitioner.
Then comes the cherry on top, the have your cake and eat it too version of healing. The child looks out over the riding arena and sees horses and dogs doing their rehabilitation therapy. They have struggles, pain and frustration, too. I can imagine the child’s thoughts – if they can do it, so can I! We witnessed this phenomenon with Barbaro, the 2006 Triple Crown contender who suffered a devastating broken leg. People actually wrote to him, explaining that they were able to persevere through their suffering because he was such an inspiration to them. Barbaro ultimately lost his battle, but not before helping many others win theirs. Animal assisted healing may show up in unusual ways, but thank goodness it does.