Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mindful Meditation With a Horse? Is that Crazy Talk? The Answer is a Resounding NO!

I have Petitated with three horses so far and found that when I Petitate with them, they visibly relax--leaning on me and holding their necks near me for pets.   I am in the present moment with them—I stop worrying about the past of obsessing about the future.  How does this work? 

I have been participating in equine therapy over the past two months.  Each time I go, we are told to pick a horse that most fits with the exercise and spend some time with them before we do the therapy.  Today, it was working with a large exercise ball representing something we were dealing with, having the horse represent a strength and working with the horse to push the ball around a tree to move forward toward making an impact on the issue we were dealing with.  My teammate and I chose Flaming Jersey, a beautiful red mare with white spots on her butt, a brown flowing mane and tail and deep brown eyes. 

But, before we could do the exercise we needed to get into the present moment with Jersey.  I went over and practiced a Petting Petitation with her for a few wonderful moments, caressing her soft neck, stroking her muscular back, and patting her adorable nose.  As she calmed down, I did a quick Pet Scan Petitation with her.  I first checked her out visually from the tip of her ears down her neck, back, butt, legs all the way to her hooves.  I took in one of the most wonderful fragrances in the world, the smell of horses and talked to her about what to expect as we did the exercise.  Although she didn’t cooperate completely throughout the therapy (life always throws some curve balls), she stayed calm and persistent and about 20 minutes later we guided her to kick the ball against the wind around the tree and over the finish line.  Then it was more Petting Petitation and a quick Gratitude Petitation—I was truly grateful to have Flaming Jersey in my life.  

During the exercise I was able to move from worrying about my loneliness that I had been experiencing since I moved to Sacramento from the Bay Area four months ago to having a deep connection with another being.  I identified my strength, that of creativity and persistence to plan activities during the time between hanging out with the horses including square dancing that evening (something I had a lot of experience with and know of a local group with wonderful people), a writing group (I loved but had stopped prioritizing), an online writing group, and a writers’ wine party.   The persistence and creativity I showed with Flaming Jersey is quite symbolic of the persistence and creativity that I have been able to show on and off in my own life.  I also recognized that by verbalizing the plans to Jersey and the other people in the group, I had accountability, something that always helps me to move forward in a positive direction.

So no, Petitating with a horse to stay in the present moment, move toward a positive goal, and appreciate what I can have is not “crazy talk”—it is a wonderful reality.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Effects of Pet-Centered Meditation (Petitation) on Stress and Heart Problems

Yesterday, a close family member was diagnosed with Afib.  My immediate reaction,

knowing a little bit about the research on meditation and that he is crazy about his

Tibetan Spaniels, was to recommend that he try Petitating, or what we call Pet

Centered Meditation (  But, knowing that he

didn’t have as much respect for or as much belief in the power of meditation as I do,

I decided to take a closer look at the medical research.  It’s quite powerful.

Research shows that cortisol, the hormone that is released during stress, is reduced

when a person meditates.  Deep relaxation also increases the beneficial

neurotransmitters oxytocin and dopamine. The following is Deepak Chopra’s helpful

We can also point to the blood vessels specifically. When you relax, your
parasympathetic nervous system engages to counter the effects of your
sympathetic nervous system. Your sympathetic nervous system, which responds
to your direction, is like the gas pedal, while your parasympathetic nervous
system, which controls involuntary and unconscious processes, is your idle mode.
Take your foot off the pedal, and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate slows, blood
vessels dilate, breathing slows and deepens, and blood pressure falls back to
normal. In most people, unfortunately this automatic return to balance has been
compromised by stress and other kinds of subtle imbalance. Meditation
effectively restores you to a deeper standing rest rate. Once you’re balanced, your
immune system is strengthened, and in terms of the heart, your resistance to stress
increases. This reduces a major risk in heart disease and strokes.
Psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety can lead to cardiovascular
events. Meditation can reduce depression and anxiety therefore pointing to this as a
contributing factor in the reduction of cardiovascular symptoms(

A monumental study on transcendental meditation showed that 20 minutes of

transcendental meditation two times a day reduces heart attack and stroke in high

risk African American men.  After an average of five years follow up, there was a

48% reduction in heart attack, stroke and death from other causes in the group that

practiced the meditation versus a health education group.  They also had lower

stress and anger levels.  Here’s a video of the lead scientist describing the study

I presented this data to my relative, and he tried Petitating.  He was an easy recruit.

He found it enjoyable, relaxing, and reported that helped to reduce his stress level.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Purring Heals Cats and Their Human Families

Are you a cat person?  Perhaps that’s because a cat’s purring is healing for you and for your cat.  We all know that having our favorite cat purr in our lap reduces our stress and anxiety and makes us feel good.  But did you know that cat’s purring between 20 and 140 Hz heals bones, muscles, reduces pain and even makes an impact on our respiratory diseases. 

Cat--including not only domestic cats but pumas, cheetahs, ocelots, bobcats, lynx, and wild cats--purr when they are content as most of us cat lovers witness, but also when they are in pain, injured, giving birth and even when they are dying.  They purr to their kittens and the kittens purr back after only a few days. This helps with the bonding process between mother cat and the kittens.

Given how much energy purring takes, if it wasn’t important for survival, cats just wouldn’t waste their energy purring.  We have all heard the expression “cats have nine lives”.  This may be because of their purring.  In one study of high rise syndrome cats, they found that among the cats who plummeted an average of 5.5 apartment building stories, although some were severely injured, an amazing 90% survived.  Sorry dog lovers, this would be impossible for dogs.  And cats are less likely to be sick and to die from illnesses early in their lives than dogs are.  Arthritis, a big problem for dogs, is nonexistent in cats.

Next time you have a broken leg, or even an ache or a pain, make sure that your cat sits in your lap--purring away.