I Am a retired zoologist, professional animal behavior consultant, and published author. Enhancing the human-animal bond and supporting conservation are two of my greatest passions. I am also an Intuitive Empath and an Energy Healing Practitioner who utilizes Light Language for healing. Through blending science and spiritual truths, I enjoy inspiring, uplifting educating and unifying others. As my Cherokee heritage teaches, We Are One!
”Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Hello Friends! And Happy Spring! Good Gawd, it’s finally warming up here in the northeast. I Am so damn grateful! Finally! How is the weather where you are? I ask, because the weather really can affect our mood (both people and pets)! So, wherever you are in the world, I hope all is well with you and yours. And I hope you are creating time to play outside!
This will be a super short post because my beloved bought his first kayak so today we are taking it out for a spin! Well, he is; Hocus and I will watch from the rocks as he attempts to not flip into the frigid ocean waters. Eventually, our plan is to get a kayak for myself as well, and then take Hocus and Mr. Beaux with us on aquatic adventures!
Speaking of Beaux, the always-up-for-an-adventure-cat … Something about him came into my awareness this week. Something I had totally forgotten about. You know those Facebook memory things? Do you get those? They give you a play by play of posts you made so many years ago to the day. Well, we jokingly refer to facebook being “FaceCreep” because they creepily keep record of everything. Apparently, I created this post 5 years ago when we were stationed in NC. Not only did this memory make me laugh and shake my head at the silliness, but I was reminded of the hell we all went through prior to this particular post. It also reminded me of the eventual relief of it all when it all ended in the most unbelievable way. See Below:
May 16, 2014 · Hampstead, NC ·
Note to Self: Work on your quick exit strategy, especially when it comes to very awkward conversations with teenagers. 🤦🏻♀️
N’hood kid: Hey miss Amy. Did you ever find your cat?
Me: Yes, miraculously, a day before we left for our trip to Ireland. Beaux is home safe & sound. Thanks for helping me look for him.
Kid: Oh good. We found the leg of a black cat over by the big pond. I was hoping it wasn’t Beaux’s.
— At this point I should have run away. —
Me: WHAT?? Seriously?!
Kid: Yeah, it was gross. Maybe an alligator got it. It might have been a dog, not a cat.
Me: Possibly. Which pond?
(We continue to discuss the location of “the leg” & the gators out there.)
Kid: That’s not as bad as the body they found back there in the woods (as he points to the woods behind our house!!!)
Kid: Yeah, a missing lady was found there last week.
Me: Where you guys helped us look for Beaux?!?
Kid: Yeah, but closer to where we have our secret camp that my parents don’t know about.
Me: Well I wouldn’t go playing back there anymore.
Kid: Yeah. They also found an albino alligator at the pond on the other side of the golf course!
Me: WHAT? (thinking to myself) what the bloody hell has been going on while we were gone?!?
Kid rambles on and on for another 10 minutes while I passively listen, wishing I’d walked away after the first question.
…. I’ll be much wiser next time a n’hood kid starts to give me a play by play community news report.
🤦🏻♀️😄 It’s hard to believe this odd but humorous convo was 5 years ago. Now, five years later, and much to our amusement and sometimes much stress, Mr. Beaux is still keeping us all on our paws & toes. ✨🐾💫👣✨ At nearly twenty years of age, he is living his feline life to the fullest!
I share this memory with you today, because we have some exciting news on the way. Next month, in our community, Conscious Companion will be hosting a complimentary mindfulness workshop for younger kids like the ones I mentioned above. Then, Mr. Beaux will be visiting a local high school to teach kids about capable cats. And Hocus Pocus will be present at a few military events to teach families with young children about dog safety. We love cats, canines, and kids, so, what better way to educate our future generation than letting them learn from two patient and incredible furry teachers? And last but not least … As we draw nearer to Beaux’s 20th birthday, we will be (hopefully) launching our book trilogy!
By the way, if you are new to this blog, welcome! So grateful you are here! But if you have been flowing with us for a while now, then you are well aware of what we went through prior to that trip to Ireland that I mentioned above in the pop-up-memory. It was absolute hell.
It was also absolutely miraculous and magical.
Through Beaux’s seeming never-ending multiple near-death experiences, the horrifying unfolding of uncontrollable circumstances, the heartache, hope, and fears, Beaux and I both gained the greatest lessons we had yet to learn in this life. These experiences were so profound for so many, it changed us all forever.
But I couldn’t keep them a secret.
They needed to be shared with the world. They need to be shared with our future generations. People are ready to know. People are ready to learn. So we are gratefully sharing them with those who have hearts and minds that are open and ready to listen.
“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen.” – Winnie the Pooh
In this thrilling trilogy, we:
Share fascinating feline facts
Dispel cat myths and misconceptions
Learn how to locate missing-in-action cats
Dive into how dogs can do search and rescue
Survive harrowing “hurrications”
Chat about clicker-trained toads
Give the gifts of animal communication
Offer insights into our Cherokee heritage
Dodge near-death nights
Discover guardian angels of animals
Learn of Life behind The Veil
Discover why some don’t need saving
Oneness … and much more!
You can check out more about Beaux’s trilogy in the link below:
Hello Friends! It’s Mother’s Day! I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways.
We are all aware that today is Mother’s Day, but are we aware of the Many Mothers Who deserve our acknowledgement? Mothers are everywhere, but are we seeing and honoring them? Or do we just see and honor our own?
If we look closely, we will discover the many mothering roles in our lives. If we keep an open heart and Mind, we will begin to see there are many kinds of experiences which honor motherhood. We will begin to notice the many roles we all step into which embody the service of motherhood.
This goes far beyond just our family.
Let us honor and celebrate the many mothers in our hearts.
It seems that every cultural holiday is consumed by consumer pressures, rather than honoring the meaning behind the day itself, and more importantly, who we are honoring.
But Mother’s Day is not always an easy day for everyone. There are many mothers who have had to say goodbye. Let us honor those who are a mother who’ve said goodbye to their beloved child or animal companion. Let’s honor those who’ve had to say goodbye to their mother too soon. Let’s honor those who never could become a mother. Let’s honor the countless critters who are devoted mothers. Let’s honor the moms who brought our furry and feathered family members into the world. And let’s honor Mother Earth.
Let’s consider a new way of honoring All Moms, in every moment.
What if we began to look at Mother’s Day in a new way?
What if we cast a compassionate
net over the sea of many mothers?
What if we saw a mother where we
least expected it?
What if, we, as sons and daughters
of mothers, began to Honor All Mothers?
Would this open our hearts?
Would we feel more connected to others?
Would we see a stranger as a mother?
Would we see other species as mothers?
I believe it would, and I believe we can.
Whether we’re talking about a wildlife mother, a pet parent, a parent with (or without) pets, a caretaker of critters, or a steward of Mother Earth, each one of these souls are in a mothering role. And each one makes a difference in unimaginable ways. Your service as a mother matters.
I hope you create some time to listen. This important and empowering discussion serves to open our Mind and hearts to the many mothers all across the universe, who are all deserving of acknowledgement, gratitude, and honor. -Every moment of every day.
For we are all mothers at some point. And our service to each other matters. We Are One.
I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways. As we move through these intense times and energetic upswings, I would like to share something we created last month. It’s a short meditation-y video message that came through after enjoying a nature adventure with Hocus and Mr. Beaux.
“Each soul you meet is an aspect of yourself, clamoring for love.” ― Eric Micha’el Leventhal
Wherever you find yourself at this moment in time, know that everyone calls for love as you do; the form may vary greatly, but we are all calling for love. Know also that you are here on purpose, for a purpose. If you are floundering to find out what that role is, know that you do have one. Trust. Flow. Allow. Observe. See what unfolds. Your Soul Knows.
And our soul also knows we are All a thread in a grand tapestry.
The idea that we are a mere thread in a larger grand tapestry may be easy to embrace to some, but what happens when we extend this idea to every being around us. Can we accept that every living being has a role to play? Can we set aside our myopic view and choose to becoming open to seeing the big picture? Can we set aside our judgement and accept every being? Can we see each soul as a single thread weaving through the tapestry of life?
What would change if you knew that every being has a role to play? How would life unfold if you knew that each thread mattered? What if every being was a divine thread weaving their way? Would you see them and yourself in a new Light?
This has been a poignant lesson lately. My hope is to plant the seeds of remembering Who we All are, and that we are not at really separate and at odds with one another; we are all co-creating a beautiful tapestry as One.
“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.” ― Swami Vivekananda
This one’s for the lonely The one’s that seek and find This one’s for the torn down Come on friends get up now You’re not alone at all It comes and goes in waves
Hello, friends! And happy-almost-April! Time flies when you are … well, riding the waves! If you have been flowing with The Empowered Empath, you know that we have been moving through back to back solar flares, CMEs and Mercury Retro. Whew! The latter wraps up today!
We are all moving out of a retrospective chapter into a new chapter of creativity, expansion, and planting seeds in fertile soil. And as we all know, with every chapter in life, there are endings and beginnings. But these don’t have to hurt.
Beginnings and endings can be quite beautiful.
That’s why I am sharing with you today. We are currently revisiting a tough chapter in our family’s life. In the healing process, we are welcoming new beginnings by seeing events in a new light. I say, “we” because although I am the one processing the emotions of this event, our animal companions are fully aware of this; pets process what we are moving through.
We are One.
Speaking of connection, let’s get to the topic at heart …. Goodbyes. One of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved. I’ve done this countless times; few I care to recall. But there is one goodbye that’s reverberating like a bell. Tomorrow will be the two-year anniversary of when our beloved King Albert the Grey left this world for a new one.
Although it’s been two years, Albert’s physical presence is still deeply missed. He was the epicenter of our tribe. A beloved king like this is surely to be missed. But through many hills and valleys, we know he is still a huge part of our lives.
This post serves to highlight the positive aspects of what I refer to as, “Times of Transition”, by sharing how we can move through the many stages of life with our love ones. From assisting our aging animal companions to age with grace and ease, to how we can honor their spirit when their body is laid aside, and into the next chapter of how to keep the connection alive.
A Sudden Sad Surprise
A couple of weeks ago, one of those facebook memory things popped up and I saw my King Bear’s beloved’s face again. I was sad for a moment, then remembered what he’s taught me since he left his body for a new world in spirit. I let the feelings come. Then smiled as I spoke to him. I felt him all around me and remembered that Who He IS cannot die. I felt the familiar Unconditional Love, and remembered that Love cannot die. I remembered that a soul bond cannot be broken.
But the tears and sadness still came.
I couldn’t stop crying. It felt like a tidal wave of sadness and grief that would consume me. Gasping for breaths, I prayed it would pass. It did not. So, I succumbed. I let the sadness come in waves.
As I allowed the emotions to crash all around me, there were no thoughts. Only the overwhelming sense of grief and sadness. It was as if I had a broken heart again. Sobbing on my knees, I couldn’t believe I was back to square one with this sadness!
But then I noticed something about the sadness.
I noticed the emotion I was experiencing was very specific; acute yet overwhelming. Yet, I was not thinking anything specific to lead me to this emotional response (as this post explains). When I thought about Albert just prior to the surprise-now-you’re-sad-breakdown, I simply thought, “I miss my friend.” And I did. Deeply. But what I was experiencing and feeling was a thousand times more powerful than that thought alone.
Noticing this was was helpful.
That’s when the ah-ha occurred: These weren’t just my emotions; they were part of the collective coming through. As an Empath, I Am (finally) fully aware that when I am processing such incredibly powerful, overwhelming, and acute emotions, it may not be mine alone. It’s taken me years to understand and accept this. (This post will not dive into it in detail, but if you think you might be an Empath, read this post later.)
Many empaths process “stuff” in the collective unknowingly. The word empathy comes from the Greek—“en” meaning “within,” and “pathos” meaning “feeling.” So empathy is the ability to feel the feelings of another within ourselves.
Empaths are shadow magnets; we unconsciously draw to us that which has temporarily forgotten that it is Divine in order to return it to the fold. –Sweigh Emily Spilkin, MA, CHT, PhD
So, here it was. In my face. I could choose to suffocate on the sadness or release it. That day, I chose to accept it, process and transmute it for the collective, release it with unconditional love, and move on.
There’s too much to dive into the depths of those waters now, so I will share more on that process in a later post. The point is not whether you are an Empath or not. This statement is true for us All: Feel every bit of the sadness and grief. Resist the urge to shove it down, ignore it, or smother it with food, sex, drugs, and alcohol. -Been there; done that! I’m advising against those techniques 🙂 We don’t wanna end up like Homer when he eventually turns into the Incredible Hulk because of dismissing his anger issues 😉
The Connections Between Physical Pain & Grief
We we say we are hurting, we are on more than one level. Science has shown that “social pain” registers in the brain the same way physical pain registers in the brain. “Separation distress” activates the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, as does physical pain. Drugs that alleviate physical pain also work on social pain (feeling lonely or rejected). The opposite of social pain–social support, reduces the perception of physical pain. The connections are extensive; the more we learn, we discover physical and social pain are more alike than they are different.
Grief. The onion of life. Once we think we’re done with it, we find another hidden layer lying dormant, waiting to be discovered at the least expected times. I laugh now, thinking about how much I loathe onions in anything; let alone the annoying onion of grief in my life. Grief is sneaky and sticky if we don’t fully process it.
Feel your grief and move on.
Someone very wise actually told me that advice right after Albert’s soul left his body at home. I was in a heap of tears looking at his lifeless body. –Somewhat in shock that he was really gone. I knew that if I let the sadness consume me, it would be like the dark days I lived in before.
Initially, I didn’t understand what he meant when he said, “Feel your grief and move on.” And honestly, it sounded curt. But when I asked him for clarity, he explained that I need not hold onto the grief like I had in the past. What he meant was to feel it all, let the grief move through me like a wave, and then allow life’s next chapter to unfold. In this case, it was for me to fully accept what had just occurred with Albert leaving this world for another.
Feel it all. Then move along.
This is not a post about how to properly move through grief. That is a sacred process that is different for everyone. Some look to the heavens, some look to nature. Others go within.
All I know is what helped me to heal, and what has helped our tribe. I can tell you that when you let the sadness overtake you, it will suffocate you. But if you are willing to surrender to the process, it gets easier. Sadness, sorrow, and grief are not our friends. They are strangers passing through. They are not something we want to hold onto.
We want to hold onto the Love that held us together as a soul team.
Let the grief move through you. Don’t hold onto it. Don’t be afraid to feel it all. You will eventually get through to the other side of grief and sadness.
And on the other side is more than you could possibly imagine.
A broken heart is a beautiful, vulnerable heart. When our heart breaks because of grief, we are fully open at that point. Being open beautiful. If we stand strong, keep our heart fully open, choose courage, and are willing to feel it all, it will flow through us and be transformed.
When the layers of grief are eventually exposed, and released with love, we find there is unconditional love at the center. – An open heart that’s ready to receive again. But if we are afraid to go all the way and feel it all, we block the healing. We block ourselves from being open to beautiful beginnings.
Be strong of heart like a warrior and softness of Spirit will guide you. -Touches The Water
One of my soul sisters shared that warrior/softness quote with me during a day when we thought it would be King Albert’s last. It wasn’t his last day, but how was I to know that? My role as his guardian was to trust the process. My role was to give him a Life worth Living in his Golden Years. My role as his devoted person was to trust that Albert would let me know when it was time to lay his body aside, and begin a new life.
I let go of trying to control. I trusted.
He led the way. Our last days together were beyond beautiful. I gave him what he wanted. I honored his every wish. I held space for the healing that would come. I let love lead. And to this day, I know Albert is grateful for this.
Living a Life That’s Golden
Do you share life with an aging animal companion? How would you describe their Love for Life? What makes their heart sing? What makes their soul soar? Who were they in their younger years? Who, what and where did they enjoy most?
Do you have images of them from back then? Find them. The pics will help you to SEE their vibrant, young spirit that is alive within them now. Ask your beloved what they want. How would they want to spend their last days, weeks, months, or years? What would their Golden Years become if they could choose? What would they want to have, be, see, or do if you would allow it? Can you see their vibrant soul within their aging body??
It’s still there.
This is some of what King Albert taught me when his body began to fail. Recognizing his vibrant youth within a geriatric body was one of the greatest gifts I could give him every moment of our days together. Recognizing his needs, acknowledging his heart’s desires, and honoring how much he LOVED life was what I needed to see, feel, and know during his last days with us on Earth. Once I set aside my sadness and fears of the inevitable, I was able to recognize these; I was able to give him what he needed.
I gave him a life that was golden.
All of the adventures and escapades he had in his youth had never left him; he still wanted to have those even as he aged and as the illness set in. He still wanted to try new things. He wanted to live bravely and fiercely, even at 17+ years of age. Albert wanted to be able to relish everything that life had to offer him. The scents on the breeze; The grass, soil, and sand between his paw pads; The Earth’s healing energy under his body; The warm sun on his face; The wind in his whiskers. These were some of his favorite things. These are what Albert wanted every day of his life.
This is what I gave to him during his last days on Earth.
Below is a video of what I mean about honoring who Albert was and what he wanted every day, even when his physical vessel was failing. Who he was never gave up, never gave in, never felt sorry for the state he was in. King Albert lived life to the fullest. He lived life fearlessly up to the very end of this life chapter. You can view it on Vimeo here.
“ I’ve learned to heed the call of the heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path. I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.” ― Steve Goodier
The Choice Is Ours.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with an aging animal companion, take heart. Do not forget for one moment that you and your beloved are connected in heart and mind. When we are faced with the certain (or uncertain) fate of our beloved animal companion we have two choices: We can choose to fall into fear, or we can choose to lift ourselves and our beloveds in Love.
In every moment, we have a choice.
No one else can make this choice for us. It is ours and ours alone. We can cry over the circumstances or we can embrace them fearlessly. We can choose to stay angry and resentful about what’s in front of us or we can choose to celebrate their last days on Earth with them.
We can find creative solutions, or we can give up. We can choose to accept defeat, or we can choose to proceed ahead together with an open heart of acceptance. We can sink into the swamps of sadness that steal our joy, or we can stand tall, walk with our beloved joyfully, and celebrate every breath together.
These two contrasting images symbolize how we can choose to view the circumstances. We can choose to stare into the face of their declining mental and physical health and become burdened with despair, or we can keep searching for solutions. We can choose to see sickness and death, or we can choose to see beyond their body; we can see, feel, sense, and know their vibrant soul within. We can give up or we can give them a life that’s Golden.
We get to choose.
When we choose to let go of fear (anger, sadness, control, etc.) we let them (and fearless Love) lead. When we find peace, we give them permission to live their last days in peace. When we see beyond their body we are giving them the greatest gift; we are recognizing and remembering who they really are. When we learn to listen to their needs, their requests, and their wishes, we are honoring them and respecting them. When we honor and love ourselves through these challenges we are also honoring them, for We Are One.
Ea Nigada Qusdi Idadadvhn (Cherokee for “All my relations in creation”)
At Their Summit in Spirit
Imagine the top of a mountain. Picture the peak. Now think of your pet at their peak in life. Ok, hold that thought.
In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. A summit, mathematically, is a maximum in elevation. The topographic terms “acme”, “apex”, “peak”, and “zenith” are synonyms.
Our pets are at their peak in spirit.
Read that again and let it sink in. It’s true. For all beings. I promise you.
Our animal companions, even at their peak in their physical life, are only scratching the surface of who they are in spirit. The world they enter when they lay their body aside and the world they leave behind are incomparable. Behind the Veil our beloveds no longer know fear, scarcity, pain, or suffering. They are thriving. They are experiencing their zenith.
They are at peace. And they want this peace for us, too.
There are many levels of life which we cannot see and know, yet which certainly exist. There is a larger world, vast enough to include immortality … Our spiritual natures belong to this larger world … If death is apparently an outward fact, immortality is an inner certainty. – M. Hall
Call On Your Beloved.
Our beloveds beyond the veil are not “gone”. They are worlds apart, but not far apart from us. Our Cherokee heritage teaches there is no death; only a door to another realm. A new beginning. A new chapter. A new world.
So, when you miss them or when you are hurting, call on them. They are not “far away”. They are waiting in the wind, ready to answer your heart’s call. Where they are, may be outside of our experience of time and space, but they can hear your heart. That is your connection.
Our beloveds may not be physically in front of us, but that does not mean we are separated forever. In fact, our roles often are reversed. While they lived their physical existence, we were their guardians. When they are living their spirit existence, they become our guardians.
Their lives do not end when the time comes for them to lay their earthly vessel aside. Do you really think Who They Are can be contained in a body??? Who they are cannot die. Their spirit lives on. And they still walk with us.
Our Beloveds at Their Best
What are your most favorite characteristics of your animal companions? Think of those traits, characteristics, and unique personalities carefully. Are they gentle, goofy, or generous? Are they playful or snuggly? Are they serious or silly? Think about what you admire about them most. What is it/was it about them that made your heart swoon, made you giggle, or made you admire them?
This is their incredible energy that you can call upon.
King Albert was in a word, a Badass. He was fearless almost to a fault. He was unapologetic about everything. He set firm boundaries. Albert was not known for being goofy and playful. Anyone who knew him viewed him more like a military general, a mini grey panther, or a wee grey grizzly bear. Albert was fierce. But he was also fiercely devoted and unconditionally loving to those he trusts. He never snuggled, but he loved hard and true. He was choosy about companions, but if he allowed you into his inner circle it was for life. He was amazing.
And he still is.
Crossing that bridge with lessons I’ve learned Playing with fire and not getting burned I may not know what you’re going through But time is the space between me and you Life carries on, ooh It goes on – Prayer For The Dying, by Seal
Take some time to consider the questions above. Recognize their strengths and what they bring to the table to share. When it’s time for your beloved to lay their body aside, you can call on them for support. You will always have a direct line to your loved one. Their love and energy never dies. They are merely a thought away.
King Albert, like every animal companion, was more than a “cat.” Wise, strong, confident, and true, he was incredible in countless ways. And he was one of my very best friends. And we miss him every day.
Stiyu, Instead of Goodbye.
One of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved. But in our Cherokee language there is no actual word for “goodbye”; this word is too final. We say “Stiyu”, which means “Be strong”. Now, instead of saying goodbye, we honor their stages of life, while standing strong. Now we know their body’s death is an ending to one chapter of life and the beginning of another.
Say no goodbyes to those we love, Though they have passed from view. Our mortal eyes seem not to see The truth that our hearts do. Love is of the spirit. It exists beyond these shores. And love still flows between us, Now and forever more. 💫
Art from Ashes
I am really excited. This weekend, on the anniversary of his transition into spirit, I will honor our King Albert by creating something I have been called to bring forth. This is in gratitude for what I’ve learned over the years from loved ones in spirit. I will be starting a new endeavor in his honor, with the hopes of sharing this creative process with other people who have said goodbye to their beloved. After it’s complete (and if I don’t burn down the house!) I will share it with you here.
Ride the Waves with Ease.
Wherever you are in the sacred process of releasing grief, missing your loved one, or processing the pain of it all, know that you are never alone. Reach out. Lean on your tribe. Trust your team. Call on your loved one. Ride the waves as they come. You won’t be crushed. Feel it all. Then let it go. But above all, keep your heart open. An open heart is the window to the world where your loved ones are now.
This one’s for the lonely The one’s that seek and find Only to be let down Time after time This one’s for the torn down The experts at the fall Come on friends get up now You’re not alone at all It comes and goes in waves –Greg Laswell
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.” – Gandhi
🎙NOTE: This can be listened to as an audio recording here.🎙
Happy mid-March! What are you up to this weekend? I hope you’re up to something that brings you joy. I’m sure you’re aware that St. Patrick’s Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is today, but did you know …?
The real St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.
He didn’t drive the snakes out of Ireland; many see this as symbolism for banishing the Celtic “heathens”.
Adding green dye to food/beer symbolizes not only the green countryside, but also the time of the Great Famine, when Irish people were so deprived of food they resorted to eating grass; their mouths were green as they died.
March 17th is also the feast day of the original Cat Lady (St. Gertrude, the Patron Saint of Cats).
We stand somewhere between the mountain and the ant. -Native American (Onondaga) Proverb
I share those St. Patrick Day facts with you because it’s just one of the many ways that we continue to follow traditions without questioning them. We let ancient beliefs and centuries of practices go unquestioned. Sometimes it’s harmless; other times it’s quite harmful. One particularly harmful example is the unquestioned belief in being superior to any species or group within a species is a belief to be undone.
That unquestioned belief is at the heart of this heartfelt post.
Speaking of judgey-judgements and blindly following the masses, I’d like to ask you about a common one that comes up in communities around the world. How do you feel when you read, hear, or see the word “Spider”? What does the sight of an insect do to you? What are your thoughts about Arachnids?
I ask because yesterday was Save A Spider Day. Seriously, it’s a real day. And frankly, it should be. It may seem as nonsensical to you as celebrating an unquestioned evangelical saint and green-food-dye-day is to me, but it’s important.
I believe it should extend to everything our eyes see.
This includes every being; strangers, spiders and such. This questioning of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs should include ALL beings with whom we share the universe.
Here’s an easy example: Yesterday, on our Conscious Companion Facebook page, I shared a wonderful teaching moment that Hocus Pocus & I had with some lovely Canada Geese. You can check that out here. That respectful experience between three species is just one example of how we can choose to change they way we treat others in every moment.
All creatures have value whether we find them cuddly, affectionate, beautiful or otherwise. Our own perspective–in a way–is neither here nor there. Theology, at its best, can help to liberate us from our own anthropocentric limitations. – Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey
I get it. Not all species are easy on the eye of the beholder. And physical characteristics set aside, not everyone has had a positive experience with every species on the planet. But the looming fact remains: Whether you’re a person or pet, those early life experiences with any species (or lack thereof) need to be positive ones.
For example, if I were to choose to hang onto a grudge for the guard geese who used to attack me (while I was riding my bike to school) every day, I would be cruel or careless to the Canada Geese whom we encounter every day. And if I were never exposed to snakes early in life in a positive light, I would have never become a herpetologist who taught people to set aside their fear for the Slithering Ones.
Every experience adds up. And so does every judgement, thought, and belief.
We don’t need to look far to see how hateful judgements and unquestioned beliefs deeply affect lives. Just this week we witnessed another attack, based in fear. This can end. But it has to begin within.
Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them. ~ Byron Katie
I believe change begins with changing the way we see the seemingly little things that scare us. The little frights are merely symbolic of greater fears. What scares us is an invitation to question our fear. What frightens us is an invitation to fearlessly look within. What evokes revulsion, terror, or hatred is an invitation.
What we are a afraid of is an invitation to inquire.
Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears. – Rudyard Kipling
Last Night’s Fright
So, let’s get to the fearful fright we had last night. Do you follow synchronicity in your life? I never understood what that meant until I learned about how powerful and transformative it can be. Now I love how things are always In Sync. Last night, there was a frightful sight in our house. Then yesterday, I discovered it was Save a Spider Day! That’s why I am so inspired to share with you now!
Ok, friend, find your comfy spot. Grab a yummy drink. Invite a Cuddle Buddy. Settle in. It’s gonna get Real … and also funny. 😉
If we are to use our tools in the service of fitting in on Earth, our basic relationship to nature–even the story we tell ourselves about who we are in the universe–has to change. – Janine M. Benyus
Okay so here’s the rundown. Last night I had been in my office for a couple of hours working on my new website and participating in a soul sister’s live Q&A call for her chakra series. You can check out her program here. Mr. Beaux was with me. Hocus Pocus was sound asleep in her bed next to us. Knox, was strangely not in the vicinity.
After the call ended, I went downstairs to pour myself a glass of wine and begin the process of winding down. When I entered the kitchen, not only did I discover that all of my chips and queso had been devoured to my dismay, but Knox was wide-eyed, low to the ground, looking crazed. (I was honestly less concerned about Knox looking crazed than my shock at how and why my carefully cached chips and queso had been devoured. I felt like the dude in this French Fry scene from the movie “Men At Work”.
After I realized Knox couldn’t have possibly eaten the chips and queso because the lid to the queso had been replaced (and he lacks opposable thumbs) 😉 I went to ask my husband about the thievery. As I was leaving the kitchen, I looked over and saw Knox frantically pawing at something under the dishwasher. Knox has a great recall so I called him to come over to me. Rather than coming quickly as usual, Knox stayed put, but glanced back at me. I could see that his eyes were fully dilated.
At this point I realize he has something cornered. A critter.
So, I go to investigate. I look underneath the dishwasher where he’s crouching but I see nothing. I call Knox away from the area, reward him for coming, and get down on the ground for a closer look. I see nothing still. Hoping it wasn’t another mouse, I leave the kitchen and head back upstairs do discuss The Chip Incident with the suspected thief.
A few minutes later, I come back down to discover Knox playing with something at the foot of the stairs. He’s frantically pawing at something again, but this time he takes a several swat-breaks to shake his head, spit and salivate as if he has something poisonous in his mouth. Then he goes back to pawing at something in the crevice of the stairs. I quickly recall him away from whatever he’s attacking. He complies.
Hocus is intently watching all of this go down, anticipating when she can intervene. I ask Hocus for a down-stay and she complies. Now cat and canine are watching intently as I creep towards the critter.
I can see it.
Doing its best to make itself a small target as possible, a gigantic alien-like insect sat motionless at the bottom of the stairs. Now I am doing my best to work up the courage to capture it. At this point, I am aware that my attitude and actions will either elicit an aggressive or calm response from both feline and canine, so I keep my cool.
Internally, I’m experiencing full on heebie-jeebies.
Stay with me here.
Suppressing the visceral reaction I’m experiencing just looking at this thing, I am aware that I need to act quickly. Hocus, being the ever protector, will go after something if she thinks it is a threat. Knox, being the ever hunter, will kill something if he thinks he can eat it. Neither of these are options.
Not only do I not know how toxic this creature is if consumed by cat or canine, I am doing my best to keep everybody calm and safe. Including myself! And including this creature who is now huddled in a corner. As I creep closer, doing my best to work up courage to investigate this alien insect, I was surprised to notice that I wasn’t afraid.
I felt compassion.
Crouched in a corner, exposed and vulnerable, this little
critter was just trying to survive. It
was absolutely terrified. I could intuitively
tell by its body posture. And I could
feel it. I was moved even more when my suspicions
and senses about its fear and the harmlessness of its nature were confirmed.
Acting quickly, I grabbed a conch shell. My intention was to carefully scoop up the creepy critter without harming it, letting it escape, and lawd help us all in the house — without it actually touching me. (If any of my entomologist friends are reading this, I know they are laughing).
I set aside my fears and went to work.
Based on the behavior and structure of this alien insect, I assumed capturing it would be a challenge. Thankfully I was incorrect. I had to coax it into the conch shell. Rather than fighting back or fleeing, this long legged being shut down. It wouldn’t move. It put up no fight.
It was terrified.
And when I knew this, I was no longer afraid. I saw it differently. My heart began to open, and all I wanted to do was help it. I saw it as someone who needed help. And I was willing to be of assistance to this long-legged alien.
Funny how that happens when we can see clearly. Funny how fear blocks the truth. Funny how an open heart allows us to see
others as they really are. -Not as
monsters, but as beings just trying to get by.
When the fear leaves, love walks in.
With an open heart and questioned mind, a carefully navigated the creature into the conch shell. While simultaneously telling him he’s safe, I thanked Hocus and Knox for allowing that to go as smoothly as it did.
I then brought the little being down into our basement, intending to release him in a safe spot. Slowly and carefully he crawled out of the conch shell. He took a moment to pause where I had placed him. Then he slowly walked away. I wished him well and thanked him for teaching me.
A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being. -Mohammed
Seeing Species In A New Light
I would be doing all species a dis-service if I wasn’t honest in sharing this with you: Just googling for an image of that creature gave me the full on hee-bee-jeebee chills. But that’s normal considering it’s only the second time I’ve seen it, and via my PC I’m looking at an image of it magnified 50 times bigger than it is in real life. So yeah, it’s still a little creepy to look at up close. And unless I continue to have positive associations with that creature again, I may recoil a bit. Like any person or pet, until we change the underlying emotional response to a perceived threat, we will respond fearfully.
Although it was a really moving experience, I have not been completely desensitized to this species yet. But give me some chips, queso, and a Guinnes while I observe it again and I’ll be feeling much more comfortable with this critter skittering! But the next time I encounter one, my response will be filled with kindness because now I know better.
By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe. –Albert Schweitzer, The Teaching of Reverence for Life
If you aren’t feeling compassion for “creepy crawlies” yet, I understand. For as long as I can remember I’ve been terrified of roaches of all shapes and sizes. In fact, I was so afraid of them, I hated them. So I killed them.
It was only through my career at the Audubon Zoo, that I began to have compassion for creatures who I once killed as soon as they came into my sight. My fear of them was so intense my immediate reaction was to kill them. Destroying them did not stem from anger. It stemmed from a deep-seated fear.
But since all fears are learned, all fears can be undone.
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.” – Gandhi
Each of us has the ability to remain fearful or become empowered. This includes every species in the universe. Once the root of the fear is recognized, we can change the underlining emotion. Some fears take longer to undo than others but it is possible. Again, this does not pertain to specific species; All is One. The scientific principles behind this pertain to every species on the planet.
If we try to get rid of fear or anger without knowing their meaning, they will grow stronger and return.– Deepak Chopra
I am forever grateful to my entomologist friends for teaching me to see even roaches in a new light. Through witnessing their kindness and compassion towards “creepy critters”, and their unending patience with helping me to unravel my deeply rooted fears, I learned to see insects of all shapes and sizes in a new light.
I even “adopted” an 8 inch centipede as my first venomous pet while doing field research with the Louisiana pine snake project. (Looking back, I realize I actually stole a viable female from the wild, and should have left her where I found her; lesson learned.) Although, she was initially unsettling to look at, and her venom is wicked powerful, I fell in love with her. She was a fierce, brilliant, and beautiful bug. I began to see her this way when I was no longer afraid of her.
Blinded by fear initially, I could not see her beauty.
If we are willing to be still and open enough to listen, wilderness itself will teach us. –Steven Harper
Fear Binds. Love Unfolds.
Speaking of beautiful and brilliant, the image above is of my closest Soul Sister utilizing her joy, love light, compassion, kindness, and beauty to contrast the scariness of creepy crawlies to kids. Liberty was the Super Hero Bug Lady who ran the Bug Mobile at Audubon where we worked together. She was beyond amazing at her job with bugs. She could transform children’s fears of insects into curiosity. The curiosity transformed aggression into kindness towards these creatures. Kids came forward instead of recoiling. They were open to learning. They were open to changing their limited perspective about all insects.
And so was I.
I learned how sensitive they are. I learned they can experience fear. I learned they have personalities. I learned they care for their young. I learned they all serve a very important purpose. I learned that the human species would not survive without them. But mainly, I learned they’re not out to get me. 😉
You have to hear this.
One of my favorite entomologist friends shared this today, and I promise you will learn something amazing about Arachnids:
I always liked to talk about the Amblypygids (Tailess Whip Scorpions) and kin recognition. These are the arachnids that most people will recognize from Harry Potter when he was being taught the curses. They actually not only recognize family members, but prefer to spend time with them, especially in stressful situations. Siblings will huddle together with mom and stroke each other with their whips to calm down when they are put into new environments. -Matt Thorne
You read that, right? Please take a moment and let that sink in. Even the scariest looking insects are not what we believe them to be; they are capable of concern for their young. They provide comfort to their family when they are scared. How is that not unlike us?
Matt continues: As a personal story, I’ve had many arachnids that are total sweethearts and completely handleable. My giant Asian forest scorpion, Beatrice, was definitely more like a dog with a crunchy exterior. She would walk right onto my hand and nuzzle my palm, and she would eat crickets right out of my hand. She was so gentle and looked like she genuinely liked to be held.
Matt also shared this humors but poignant example of how his compassion and care was witnessed by a stranger: While evacuating for a Hurricane, I was sitting outside of my motel room holding her, letting her get some exercise crawling from hand to hand, and giving her a mealworm to snack on. In the middle of this, a man staggers out of the bar down the street and walks my way. He gets closer and then stops, trying to focus on my hand. “Is that a scorpion?” he slurs in disbelief. “Yep.” He leans in a little closer and in a conspiratorial whisper asks, “Are you a wizard?” I nodded in the affirmative and he hurried away.
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. – James Stephens
Species Serving a
All life is valuable. All species serve a purpose. There is a connection and interdependence within the Whole. But are we open to accepting this? Can we become compassionate to all life?
Even after everything my entomologist friends taught me over the years, I was amazed to discover that the creature we captured in our house is considered a very beneficial insect. An entomologist has a great write up about the species on his website. You can check it out here.
It turns out, this particular critter in question is called a house centipede. He refers to them as curious. They are docile to non-prey items (you and me and our pets). He explains that the venom of house centipedes is not particularly toxic (to humans/pets) and they seldom bite. He further explains they prey on tons of unwanted house “pests” such as clothes moths and cockroaches. How cool is that?!?
And this species does all of this without charging a dime for their services. 😉
Kindness or Cruelty is a Choice. And Choices Allow for Change.
The really cool thing about changing the way we perceive
something is that it brings the power back to the observer. The power of perception lies within. We
have the ability to change the way we perceive something. No one else has that power over us. When we change the way we perceive something, change
occurs on all levels.
Change Is a Choice.
People aren’t the only ones that learn from observing. How we choose to react to, and how we treat other creatures with cruelty or kindness does not go unnoticed. I’m convinced that our cat and dog learn something from observing me and not experience with the creature. Had I finally reacted towards it, you can bet their response would’ve been similar in the future.
If emotions can change, so can behavior.
If we want to change the behavior of any being, we gotta dig. Aggression in all species does stem from fears, but the details are complicated. Today we will keep this simple.
Both people and animals learn that aggressive behavior gets them what they want. This can be social status, resources, or a sense of safety. Behaving aggressively comes in many forms; bullying other school kids to biting someone who tries to pet you without permission. Both of these behaviors receive desired results. Quite effectively actually. The bully feels powerful and the impinged upon pet gets the pushy person to go away. Aggression towards an Archind serves the same purpose; I kill the spider. Now he/she can’t crawl on me. Attacks on other people have the same results; I shoot them; now they can’t impinge upon me.
But until we look at the underlying emotions and beliefs or prior experiences that have created the fear, we cannot undo the fear that’s led to the aggressive behavior.
Harm no other beings. They are your brothers and sisters. – Buddha
So, all of this discussion about “creepy crawlies” is now coming back full circle. This brings us back to the eight-legged species of the day: The Spider! A souls sis shared that spider meme with me yesterday and it made me laugh out loud. As silly as it seems, now you’ll think twice before you kill your 8-legged roommate. 😉 And let’s not forget what our entomologist friend Matt shared with us about spiders having social behavior!
Bottom line: Spiders are awesome. Spiders deserve respect.
As do all insects in every corner and crevice of the world. Bugs are doin’ the best they can, man. And they’re doing a damn good job at what they do. Let’s do our damnedest to be better to them.
We are the earth, made of the same stuff; there is no other, no division between us and “lower” or “higher” forms of being. –Estella Lauder
Have you seen Ellen Degenere’s stand-up comedy bit about how quick we are to kill “creepy crawlies” and other critters? You can check it out here. It’s so true! And if you really think about it, we see humans doing this with other humans, too.
Fear is Fear. Love is Love. With whom we love or fear, the species does not matter. It’s all the same.
I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. -Mahatma Gandhi
Ok, so here’s something you may not know about spiders: Their symbolism is astonishing. If you have never heard about Nature symbolism, please let me explain. This tool was utilized by all of our ancestors, most of whom were deeply connected to Mother Earth and Mother Nature. My Cherokee and Celtic ancestors recognized important communication and clues that surrounded symbolic patterns in nature. In our modern-day society, we have forgotten this, and we often miss the signs, but we can learn to use our intuition to recognize these subtle messages from Spirit.
Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. –The Dalai Lama
Compassion for Fears with A Willingness to Change
How would we see things in a new light if we weren’t judging them as bad, wrong, evil, or scary? How would everyone’s experience change if we weren’t afraid? This pertains to every species on the planet. As the title of this post asks us, are we Justifying Judgement or Choosing to Compassionately Face Fears?
I choose compassion. I choose to face every fear.
Find out what you’re afraid of and live there. – Chuck Palahniuk
Once we remove the fear, the underlining emotion changes. When the underlining emotion changes, the behavior changes as a consequence. This is not woo; it’s actually based in science. Thoughts, beliefs, judgments and emotions are intrinsically linked.
It’s All Connected.
The fear we have about a species, person, place, idea, or experience is not our fear alone. It ripples out. It is shared. This is why we all have so much responsibility to each other.
But there’s a flip-side; the fear we have about something that scares us can give us compassion and understanding for what another soul is experiencing. We don’t have to fully understand their fear, but we can respect it and then help them to undo it. This is true for both people and pets!
Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it. St. Francis of Assisi
If we understand what it feels like to experience revulsion, fear, and even anger towards something that frightens us, we can show compassion to the one who is afraid. We can understand that fear is at the root of all anger and aggression. This includes every person, animal, and insect.
Those who are not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I discussed in my last post about the power of our thoughts, the power to change our thoughts brings the power back to us. When we question our upset, angry, hateful, and fearful beliefs we open the door to compassion, empathy and understanding. We move out of fearful or reactive energy and shift into a loving presence. This allows gratitude and love to enter our mind.
This is what transforms worlds.
These are not trite sayings, my friend. They are true. And Love is who we all are without our stories, beliefs, judgments, and justifications. When we can tap into the compassionate side of ourselves, we will ripple that out to the world. Like a stone tossed into a pond the impact of the stone penetrating the surface of the water eventually reaches the shore.
We Are One.
Looking closely at our disgust or dismay for something frightening or unfamiliar is a doorway to a new way of seeing all beings in a new light. Finding compassion for the smallest-sized critters is no small feat, my friend. If we can show compassion to a ant, spider, or centipede that once annoyed, scared, or creeped us out, imagine how we would begin to see other communities, other nations, and other worlds of life. One seemingly small shift in perception from fear to love is the beginning to peace within and without. Empathy is the first step in conquering fear.
We are all in this together.
It will take time. It will take a little willingness on our part. When we lead by example, others learn. But will we teach and lead with love? I Am hopeful we will. I have faith in you.
What has been your experience with fears, limiting beliefs, and judgments? Has something occurred in your life where compassion became the focal point instead of fear? We would LOVE to hear❣
And it’s hard to love, there’s so much to hate Hanging on to hope When there is no hope to speak of And the wounded skies above say it’s much, much too late Well, maybe we should all be praying for time These are the days of the empty hand Oh, you… Listen without Judgement … 🎥 — George Michael, “Praying for Time”
Teach them a spider does not spin a web. Spiders spin meaning. Cut one strand and the web holds. Cut many, the web falls. With the web’s fall, so too falls the spider. Break the web. Break the spider. So breaks the circle of life. – Frederic M. Perrin
Spiders. They either invoke reverence or revulsion in the eye of the beholder.
But what if the presence of Spider is much more than meets the human eye???
Spider energy, (or as my Cherokee ancestors refer to it, “spider medicine”) is a sign that your higher self is guiding you toward a deeper understanding of your place and purpose in this life. Grandmother Spider spins the web of time and knows all aspects of the future and the past. In Shamanism the Spider is an inventor. The creature’s 8 legs represent the medicine wheel, and Spider spirit was the sacred keeper of Native American history.
As the weaver of the web, the spider symbolizes the spirit of creation. In several traditions, she’s the totemic symbol of the Mother, strong feminine energy. To the Egyptians, Spider was sacred, and associated with the Goddess Neith – a mother figure. Similarly Native Americans see Spider as a creator and a symbol of the divine Feminine aspect. This creative energy is central to Spider’s lessons.
Spider says, “Haste makes waste. Go slow and steady and wait for the right time.” As you do, you’ll achieve greater understanding of all your aptitudes and traits and pull them together as a cohesive whole. Spider reminds us that planning and taking your time with a heartfelt project is the key to success.
Spider as a spiritual guide and mentor encourages you to try looking at a problem from different angles. Follow one strand – where does it take you? Try another – where are you then? Stay flexible and don’t be afraid to test out a new Path.
Spider asks us to ask ourselves, “Where do you want to build your web/network so that it’s strong?”
Most spider webs are round-ish spirals which unite at a central point. In this, Spider webs are mandalas! As the center of your own “web”, are you focused on what you truly want or are you spending time concentrating on negative energy?
There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. Ideas leave not their source.
How are you, bright Light?
I truly hope you and yours are doing well in all ways. I have been better. The past week or so has been hellahard. I don’t normally say life is hard; usually I find a more helpful way to describing what I am feeling, but it’s tough love time. Let’s cut through the crap shall we?
I have been creating hell on earth for myself.
I could blame circumstances, people, places, or events, but that is being a victim, of which I no longer see myself or anyone else these days. I am not a victim of the world I see. No one is. I have learned, through much trial and error, (and surprising success) that even as an Empath and Intuitive, there is nothing outside of myself that can cause me pain. Nothing. It is only my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that can do this.
The present now remains the only time. Here in the present is the world set free. For as you let the past be lifted and release the future from your ancient fears, you find escape and give it to the world.
In every moment we are co-creating. With every thought we build our beliefs. With every feeling and emotion, we become convinced. We are constantly creating. But what are we consciously and subconsciously creating? What are we convincing ourselves? And from which part of our mind?
“Your thoughts determine what you see.” —ACIM
This is no trite statement; the Truth of this returns all power to the perceiver/thinker/observer. It brings the power back to us, and removes it from where we thought it was; outside of us.
Nothing outside ourselves can “save” us. This has been a huge lesson for me lately; something my Team has been trying to teach me for a long time. But now, through the triggers, I See. I am willing to change my thoughts, which have created false beliefs about so many things.
Most importantly, I am remembering that peace begins within.
Nothing outside of ourselves can truly give us lasting peace. This also means nothing outside of ourselves can disturb our peace of mind , unless we agree to it. Embracing this Truth, places you in charge of your universe. You have the power. Now.
What we are experiencing is not at cause of how we feel; thoughts are the source of what we experience. Continual Thoughts lead to beliefs. Emotions follow. Then with which teacher in the mind we choose to See will be reflected in our experience.
How we choose to See affects All.
I created the vlog (video below) a couple of months ago, mainly to remind myself. Then I forgot about it. Then, quite unexpectedly, ugly crud came up for me to clear. So the shadow work began. Again. As you probably know, there is no lightwork with out shadowwork. As we are ALL moving through these powerful, transformative energies, shining Light onto the shadows dispels the darkness. We see that there was nothing to fear.
Diving Deep Within Is a Game Changer.
Now that we are full swing into Pisces Season (lawd, help us all) many sensitives are experiencing the far-reaching effects in the collective energies at play. -Especially Empaths. We are also smack-dab in the middle of Mercury Retrograde (which I personally enjoy), giving us an opportunity to review, reset, and rewrite conditions all across our landscape.
Here’s a bit of astro backstory: Basically, the Sun visits a new zodiac sign every thirty days or so. During each “season” everyone feels the influence of the prevailing astrological energy. Those who are more sensitive to these shifts, such as Empaths and intuitives, can have a wild ride. The Pisces cycle lasts until March 20, assisting us to cultivate compassion and move forward with our most creative ideas. Pisces also governs the things we need to release.
If these concepts are new to you, they once were unfamiliar to me, too! But it’s not woo. I promise, you. The patterns within the universe, planets, and our star, the sun, are all at play in a major way. These energies affect All life – people, plants, pets, and every population on the planet.
So, I Am hoping this is helpful. May we all embrace the power of our Loving Mind, and become grateful and respectful for the Oneness of All.
We Are Truly All In This Together.
Love or Fear, Dear?
We have two core emotions that come in a myriad of forms: Love & Fear. One we made and one was Given. Each emotion we experience becomes a way of experiencing life and Seeing; two very different worlds arise from these two different sights.
Love or Fear are the voices/teachers/guides we all have the choice of listening to in our mind. We will know which one we have chosen, based on our attitude, feeling, thoughts, and subsequent behavior.
“Fear and love make or create, depending on whether the ego or The Spirit begets or inspires them, but they will return to the mind of the thinker and they will affect his/her total perception.”
This perception includes our concept of our Creator and our
We cannot appreciate any of Them if we regard Them
But we will appreciate all of Them if we regard Them All with
In Truth, we can love All only as One, but we can perceive it as fragmented. We see individual people, plants, and pets, but this conditioned perception of fragmentation is inaccurate. Perception is a mirror; not a fact. What we look upon is our current state of mind reflected outward. But here’s the empowering part: Anyone is free to change their mind, and all thoughts, emotions, and beliefs change with it. You have the power. Always, in all ways, beloved.
“To change our mind means we have changed the source of all ideas we think or ever thought or yet will think. We free ourselves from the past of what we thought before. We free the future from all ancient thoughts of seeking what we do not want to find. Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this you have denied the power of your thought.”
P.S. Don’t forget about the little ways we can change our perspective … Self Care is at the root of this. Something as seemingly simple as taking a catnap can give our mind and body the break it needs during a hectic day. Just ask any cat around the world. They know 😉
Hello friends! And Happy Almost March! Seriously, how are we nearly in March already?? Time really does fly when you are having fun, feeling love, and when you are in gratitude! I hope you are enjoying February and are ready for more amazing things to come in March.
If you haven’t seen it yet, Unconditional Love was the epicenter of our February Newsletter. I wish this story made the cut, but it just occurred so you’re getting the scoop here first. Although this post is also centered on love, we will switch gears a bit. This is a look into how we overcame a stressful situation by coming together as a team. It was fun to make. I hope you enjoy it. And I hope it’s helpful.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ― Leo Buscaglia
Ok, let’s get to the nitty gritty of today’s post!
But first, I have some questions for you:
How do you feel about going to the veterinarian with your pets? How do your pets feel about going to the veterinarian? Do you dread it? Do you avoid going at all because it kind of sucks for everyone? Are your pets terrified at the sight of a cat kennel? Or do they dread seeing the door to the vet’s office? Where is your stress level when they are stressed?
Going to the veterinarian does not need to be a stressful experience. In fact, it should not be. Not only can going to the veterinarian be a positive experience for your pets, it should also be a positive experience for you as their guardian. Health challenges, routine checkups, and emergencies can be challenging to say the least, but they don’t have to be terrifying for anyone involved.
Both you and your pets can feel empowered together, in any situation.
The experience that each of you will have in any of these circumstances is directly linked to one another. Not only will your stress levels affect each other, but your attitude, responses and reactions are inexplicably linked. You may have separate physical bodies, but the emotions and energy between you are connected.
You are a team.
Today I was reminded of this in a very powerful way. I am incredibly grateful and inspired after what happened, which is why I’m sharing this with you! For the first time in what feels like forever, our family had a wonderful experience at the vet. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was by far the most positive experience I’ve ever had at a veterinarian’s office. I wish for everyone to have these kinds of experiences. And I wish that every animal companion had access to this kind of care.
Our companion animals are deserving of this and more.
I created a video describing a couple of aspects concerning this subject. I guess you could call it a Vlog (a video blog). But before you watch the video, it would be helpful if I gave you a bit of history about each of the animals that you will see in the video. It’s important to explain these aspects because with any animal companion in question, their individual history, individual temperaments, preferences, and personalities are all very important aspects to consider when it comes to creating conditions for compassionate animal care.
For the sake of time and to keep this short I will be brief about each of them.
Hocus Pocus is a 7-year-old Black-mouth cur with a history of reactivity towards very specific unfamiliar dogs and familiar cats who “creep into her canine space.” Over a year ago she was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, and was immediately put on medication. Hocus’ reactivity to unfamiliar dogs, and the cats with whom she shares her home dramatically decreased. We have not had an indecent in reactivity in well over 8 months. With regards to people, Hocus’ trust and love of humans (of all ages and physical stages) knows no bounds. She is a true love bug when she is at her best.
“Mood swings and unexplained aggression can be caused by low thyroid.” – Shannon Wilkinson
Hocus’ overall experiences with veterinary offices (from my observation of her behavior) have been very positive over the past 6 years. During her first year of life she had one very aversive experience with an old school vet, concerning her ears. But thankfully, we have not had a repeat of that unkindness. I invest a lot of time and effort to build up Hocus’ confidence and to create lasting positive associations with the staff, the machinery, and the sight and scent of veterinary clinics everywhere we move.
The positive associations pay off profoundly.
Bred to Hunt!
Hocus‘ breed was designed to chase, hunt, and kill small mammals. Despite this inherent genetic predisposition, she became very bonded to our beloved King Albert the Grey. She remained by his side until his soul left his Earthly vessel. Since King Albert’s passing, Hocus has become very bonded to Beaux. She keeps a close eye on him on his walks, body blocking other dogs if they come closer than she would prefer 😉 She has now become exquisitely attuned to Mr. Beaux since the beginning of his seizures. She races to him when she hears any sudden noises that sound like the start of a seizure, and she alerts us whenever he appears to need help.
Hocus Pocus has become Beaux’s Guardian.
Mr. Beaux is a 19+ year old cat. He is considered geriatric at this age. Mr. Beaux has a history of extreme aggression that only manifests in a veterinarian clinic. This aggressive behavior stems from extreme fear.
Fear is the apprehension of a stimulus, object or event. Fear is a highly adaptive response, which is essential for survival. Fear manifests itself in many forms in all species. It’s not something, as their guardians, we are to judge, make wrong, or be embarrassed by. It’s quite natural. More importantly, as this post poignantly pointed out, the appropriate response to any fearful reaction should be compassionate, kind, and unconditionally loving.
Thankfully, the fear response can be changed in all species.
If you have read this past post, then you are aware of 4 common patterns of behavior in fearful animals: The four F’s (Flight, Fight, Freeze, Fiddle About). If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. As the article explains, the choice to F,F,F or F depends on the situation, but the tendency to choose one over the other also varies greatly with breed and species. Cats tend to choose to escape as their first response to fear. If they are unable to leave the situation, they often resort to fighting (becoming aggressive) as a means to escape.
When people, pets, and even plants, respond to stimuli in
their environment, there is a very complex range of potential reactions. The response is both specific to the stimulus
encountered, and to the situation. This will
depend on two very important factors:
The genetic influence on behavior. This influences the species and breed-specific behavioral responses that have become established over generations.
The individual aspect of behavior. This has been established through the process of learning and which reflects not only the individual’s innate response to specific stimuli, but also its unique experience.
Beaux, when given a choice, will flee in the presence of danger or a perceived threat. In the past, at veterinary offices who did not practice force free medical care, Mr. Beaux did not have the choice of fleeing. So being the incredible House Panther than he is, his next and most natural innate feline response was to fight.
He fought hard.
Fast forward to today: I don’t allow that bullshizzill to happen anymore, with any of our animal family members, in any situation.
I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better. ― Maya Angelou
I have learned to love my failures and mistakes. They have become my greatest learning opportunities. Miracles come from mastering the lessons of our mistakes. Now I teach others how to prevent these kinds of situations, how to be proactive with their pets, and how to create conditions that help everyone involved to feel safe, secure, and as peaceful as possible. We won’t go into all of those today. We will just focus on a couple of conditions that were very helpful for our family in this particular situation.
Recently, Mr. Beaux had a seizure. Thankfully, he hasn’t had one of these in many months prior to this recent event. The last time it occurred was when we were living in California. At that time, he was under the care of a feline only health practitioner who practiced fear free techniques. This incredible veterinarian was assisting all of our cats with various medical challenges at the time. Because of the techniques that this certified fear free clinic was providing our feline family members, Mr. Beaux was learning to trust veterinarians and technicians for the first time in a long time. And considering he and King Albert were senior cats, they were being seen every six months. It was all going splendidly.
But then we moved. Again.
So, the search for a new qualified kitty vet began. Again.
Wanting to maintain Mr. Beaux’s level of trust, (for not only me, but for strangers who provide medical care to him), I researched, interviewed, and scouted out the best possible medical care facility in the area we now live. They say the third times a charm. And well, that was certainly the case with this cat. Mr. Beaux was seen by two other veterinary clinics before I “broke up” with them and began taking our feline family members to this new veterinarian clinic.
We hit the jackpot.
At first, I was incredibly disappointed that there was no certified fear free all feline (cat only) veterinarians in this new area. Going to a mixed species clinic has not worked out for our family in the past, so we usually avoid them when we can. But this new mixed species clinic did not disappoint. It was a calm and respectful experience for both Mr. Beaux, and myself. The staff were absolutely amazing. They did not push him, and they let him set the pace. I knew we’d be returning, and happy to do so when the time came to do so.
Six months later it was time to return.
To my great delight and amused surprise, taking Mr. Beaux to a mixed species vet worked out in our favor again. This time, our dog, Hocus Pocus, was invited to come along with us, and it was a smashing success.
Life with your animal companion, Improved.™
Of course, every situation is unique. Each person and pet bring both their individual and collective history, fears, preferences, emotions, beliefs, and energy into each challenging situation. And of course, who we choose to come along as our trusted companion will have consequences. This is true for both people and pets! I would not bring along a friend who asks a million annoying questions while I am trying to stay focused and centered. I would not bring along a friend who has the slightest aversion to medical offices or who has a history of panic attacks. I am going to bring the most grounded, calm, and secure person.
Bonus points: Someone who can make me laugh 😉
The two images below are examples of beautiful souls who can not only make me laugh when I am mad or sad, but they are giant oak trees who help me to stay grounded. Kathleen and Hocus are two strong souls I call on anytime I need support.
Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace. ― S. Goodier
Personality and energy set aside, there are also important puzzle pieces at play that we need to know about to stay empowered, together as a team. Below this post are a few links that go into this, including why we use food as a tool. The point is, there are countless ways to empower each other. There are tried and true science-based methods. And there are trials by fire. But to stay empowered takes time, compassionate effort, and a bit of creativity.
That’s what we did today. And it worked.
Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. –Thomas Merton
Questions to Consider
As the video alludes to, when it comes to creating empowering conditions, we want to consider:
What will be helpful?
What will be a hindrance?
What will empower?
What will be compassionate choices?
What will create more fear or frustration?
What will reduce fear?
What will enhance everyone’s confidence, peace of mind, and sense of security.
Asking these questions is critical if we want to create a Life with Our Animal companion, Improved.
Sometimes it’s helpful when we step back, reevaluate, take carefully calculated risks, and think outside of the proverbial pet box.
Canines In Kahootz
As we all know, there are no coincidences in life.
No less than an hour after we returned home from the vet,
our lovely mail person popped onto our porch, and began to share a similar
story. While petting Hocus she explained
how and why her family now brings her dog’s “BFF” with them to the vet, to help
her senior dog feel more secure. Before trying this unusual technique, she
could never get her whopping 100-pound Labrador through the front door, even
with food, compassion, and a lot of patience.
It took an entire team to force the dog into the vet, and the entire
time the dog was terrified, the people were stressed, and the staff were
strained. But when her best pup pal is
by her side, she struts right through the door, feeling confident and more
And the best part: Her pup chose to participate. No force needed.
Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering. – The Dalai Lama
The Power of Choice
I am passionate about allowing all species of animals to have the power to choose in every circumstance. The ability to choose to participate or choose to walk away are choices that all living beings deserve the right to exercise. But what about our power to make choices as their guardians? We have the power to choose as well. And the choices we make affect their lives. Even the choices we make in our mind can have a powerful effect.
When a stressful event is on the horizon and you know that it’s going to affect your pets, you have choices to make. We have the power to choose to be in fear or to release those fears. Whether you choose to stay stressed, anxious, or worried is your choice. But what you choose will affect the experience and the outcome for all involved.
The success of your family and your animal companions during times of change depends upon you and how you choose to prepare, address, view, and react during, after, and before the event.
What has been your experience with taking your pets to the vet? How do you manage their stress levels? How do you manage yours? Do your pets go to a certified fear free clinic? Have you ever brought a friend or family member along with you? Was this helpful or not? Do you have a good relationship with your pets’ veterinarian? Do you trust the staff? Do your pets? If you could wave a magic wand concerning your pets medical care, what would you change? What would you create? What would they change? What would they choose?
Know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. ― Neil deGrasse Tyson