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What Does Everyone Love, Want & Need?

I wanted to create a meaningful and helpful blog post for this holiday season, one that would apply to animals and people.

I recalled a post I wrote back in December 2014 when I had my own personal blog. I thought it might be the perfect message for today and every day of the year. Although I used work as the primary example in my original post, I’ve certainly noticed the distinct difference in responses I get with my animal companions when I’m present versus when my mind is elsewhere!

woman with cat on lap sharing Reiki
Jonah & Carol sharing Reiki

For me, being present is an ongoing pursuit and challenge. However, I have found that it’s an integral part of living well, no matter what is going on with me or my human and animal loved ones. Animal Reiki and other forms of meditation, walking with my dog while enjoying the beauty and bounty of Mother Nature and reminding myself to take a step back and breathe are a few of the key tools I use to return to the present, again and again and again.

I don’t think it actually matters the method one uses to practice mindfulness and living in the moment. What’s most important is that one chooses to make being present a priority in life.

The Gifts of Presence

Here’s my original post:

What is the best thing that I can give to my loved ones not only during the holiday season but each and every day of the year? What gift is forever free, always welcome and never out of style?

My presence. I can choose to fully place my attention in the moment, letting go of preoccupation with my thoughts, my smartphone or any other distractions.

It’s often said that people just want to feel heard and validated. They want to know that they matter. What better way to show my love then to be available for a meaningful interaction? I think we can all sense if someone is completely “there” with us or not.

I also want to be present for me! As far as I know, I only go around once as this particular incarnation. I want to experience this life as much as possible. I owe it to myself.

I certainly feel the difference as to whether I’m fully engaged in the moment or emotionally somewhere else. The contrast in experience is astonishing.

When I’m present, I feel utterly alive and energized. I’m entirely engaged in whatever it is I’m doing and my attention is fully available to me and to those around me. I’m in the flow and at peace with what’s unfolding in the moment. I don’t worry about the past or the future or what people might say about me and what I’m doing.Life feels rewarding and right, just as it is.

When my focus is elsewhere, I feel disconnected. I feel bored, restless and impatient as if I’m waiting for something else to happen, needing to get to the next thing. Also,the fear of facing feelings may also cause me to maintain a safe emotional distance. Rather, my unconscious thinking about how painful something might feel based on past experience can stir up anxiety. Old habits die hard.

I particularly notice the positive impact of being present on my work. When I’m being mindful,time becomes irrelevant. I am single-mindedly engrossed in what I’m doing. I am energized and the work feels effortless as ideas and creativity are fueled by attention and enthusiasm.

If I’m not in the present moment, I’m focused on how much I have to get done and by when. I get easily annoyed and frustrated that things aren’t moving along more quickly as I keep my eye on the clock and on my never-ending to-do list. My creativity feels stifled; the work feels burdensome and my energy ebbs.

Presence immerses me in the flow of the river of life, rapids and all. It may be scary, but it’s also exhilarating and worth the effort. And it’s always just a few conscious breaths away.

Who will be the grateful recipient of your presence today? Will it be you?

Learning to be present with an open heart for others is the best way to help them heal.

~Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Source

BrightHaven Resources to Help Your Animal Live Well Each and Every Day!

Gail & Joey
(Photo by in joy photography)

  • Do you have questions about how BrightHaven’s holistic healing or animal hospice care approaches can help your animal? Book a consultation with Gail by sending an email to
  • The BrightHaven Guide to Animal Hospice—learn how to care for your animal companions in their Golden Years and through the end of life (Author: Gail Pope)
  • Soar My Butterfly: The Animal Dying Experience—a simple guide to the signs and symptoms you may encounter during the final stages of the natural dying process (Author: Gail Pope)
  • COMING SOON!!! Gail Pope is putting the finishing touches on an important booklet called Following Your Heart: Navigating a Terminal Diagnosis.Her wish is to help you walk this often-challenging path with a deeper sense of peace, confidence and clarity.  
  • The BrightHaven Guide to Animal Hospice Online Series—BrightHaven Co-Founders Gail and Richard Pope share what they’ve learned since 1990 about holistic healing, living well and dying well by following the wisdom of the animals.
Carol Howe Hulse – Education Program Specialist
Carol & Silver
(Photo by Beth Shields) 
  • Walking with My Dog Through (End of) Lifean intimate look at a profound life passage, from terminal diagnosis through hospice care and natural death. (Author: Carol Howe Hulse, BrightHaven Education Program Specialist)
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