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!
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“Being a mother is an attitude, not always a biological relation.” ~ R. Heinlein
Hello, friends! And Happy Mother’s Day! I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways.
Wow, it’s been a wild ride over the past few months. 2020 has turned out to be more than many of us expected. Regardless of where we are now, and what we have been moving through in this crazy life chapter, we are not alone in any of this. We truly are in this together around the world.
We Are One.
When I say this, it is no trite statement; it is true, friend. This includes the air we breathe, the trees and plants, the skies and seas, and our Mother Earth and her many inhabitants. We are all connected. From the Spring Peepers to the many peoples, we are not separate from one another.
“A hydrogen atom in a cell at the end of my nose was once part of an elephant’s trunk. A carbon atom in my cardiac muscle was once in the tail of a dinosaur.” ― Jostein Gaarder
Incredibly, it’s been over 9 months since we last shared here. Taking a break has been good for many reasons, but since it’s Mother’s Day – and I am unable to be with mine – I Am inspired to share with you today. This will be a relatively short post that includes inspirational images and thoughts related to the many mothers around the world. My hope in you creating time to relax and absorb this will bring you: the gift of new perspective, provide inspiration, and uplift your spirit. Maybe then you will see things in a new light, and pass the love and inspiration onto others. For we all need inspiration and to be uplifted at this time!
“Every thought you have, every move you make, is like a pebble dropped into water; it continues to make ripples. That’s why it is so important your rhythms be true to life’s Spirit. For in that way, your future will always rest in compassion. For such is life’s Spirit. It is the spirit of compassion.” ― Steven James Taylor, The Dog
The Many Unseen Mothers
When most of us think of Mother’s Day, we immediately think of a person. Maybe we think of a grandmother, a biological mother, an adoptive mother, or a mother-in-law. Maybe we are missing a mom who has passed on. Maybe we are appreciating and missing the moms who are still with us. -I know I miss mine. Honoring our mothers (and honoring the mom that you might be) is truly wonderful, but what if we also included the many mothers of the world?
We shared this collage below a few years ago, but the amazing thing about the the Animal Kingdom is that it’s tales are timeless. And maybe more importantly, is an often overlooked aspect: The Animal QUEENdom.👑💗🌍
What if – from this day forward – on Mother’s Day, we also included the many unseen moms behind the scenes? What if we considered the countless species of mothers all around the world? What a wonderful world that would be.
Our world is filled with an amazing animal kingdom full of extraordinary mothers! Just think of all of the many moms who inhabit our Mother Earth! From the frozen tundras to the humid jungles, moms are there. These mothers in the wild are guarantors of diversity. They are the caretakers, the guardians, the protectors, the providers, the leaders, and the teachers. They are the unsung heroes.
The Moms We May Never Meet
The wonderful world of wildlife is one aspect of Motherhood, but there are other unsung moms busy behind the scenes. Not only are the dedicated and devoted pet-moms-of-the-world some of the greatest people on the planet, but if we pan back far enough we discover other moms. These particular moms deserve our deepest gratitude. Yet, we may have never met them, and we may never know who they are. Although these moms may never be known, they have had a profound impact on “pet parents.”
These moms are the mothers of our animal family members.
The ones who walk, trot, swim, soar, and run next to us came into the world through their mothers. Some of these moms might have moved on from this physical life; some might still be with us today. But if it wasn’t for their mother, we would have never had our dearly beloveds by our side.
When you look at your cat, pup, pig, pony, turtle, lizard, fish, ferret or parrot, do you ever wonder who their mama was? Have you ever wondered who brought your beloved animal family member into the world? Whether they hatched or were birthed, they had a mother. These mothers also deserve our adoration and gratitude. They are the ones who brought our furry, scaly, hairy, and feathered soul mates into the world.
I will always be grateful for these mothers.
And if you have had the pleasure of meeting, knowing, or falling in love with the mother of your companion animal, it changes you forever. This week, one of our furry family members had a Big Birthday. Not only were we celebrating a decade of our lil dude being with us, but I was reflecting on how grateful I am for the mom who brought his precious soul into the world. Her name was Mama Cat, and I loved her dearly. (You can see the post about her and who she brought into the world here.)
Beyond Birth and the Bonds
Your connection to your companion animal comes from within. But it all began long before he/she was even a blip on the radar. We cannot even begin to appreciate every alignment, synchronicity, and behind the scenes orchestration that collaborated together to bring the incredible being with whom you share a home now, into the world. Somehow, despite all the odds, and impossible paths, we all aligned with our beloved family members at just the right moment in time. It’s truly amazing.
And each of their mothers were the seed that grew, and through their lives, they allowed the flowers of our lives to bloom.
“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning
Happy Mother’s Day to the countless dedicated moms around the world who love, care, and protect for their furry, feathered, scaly, and hairy “kids” with such incredible devotion. We appreciate that “Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” And as Conscious Companions, we honor ALL moms every day! And as the above heart-warming images and these remarkable wildlife tales prove, a mother’s love is unconditional – no matter what species you are.
The Mother of All Life
Last but not least, this post would not be complete without sharing our love and gratitude for the Mother who supports us all; the mother who sustains every species; the mother who is also often overlooked – our Mother Earth.
This Mother’s Day, as we honor our mothers, grandmothers, ancestors, and every mother of the wild ones, may we remember to honor and give our gratitude to Mother Earth. She has seen it all. She has lived through more than we can imagine. Yet she is still here. She is supporting all life, all births, and all of the many mothers around the world.
Thank you, Mother Earth. Thank you for allowing all of the mothers that we love dearly – and the many mothers we may never meet — to be born, to live, and to thrive in your seas, skies, mountains, forests, deserts, and tundras.
All mothers are here because of you.
We thank you, Mother Earth.
Below is some new artwork we created on Earth Day. This pieces serves to be a visual reminder of Mother Earth’s unmatched beauty and resilience, and a reflection of what our Mother can become when she has clean and clear seas and skies. When we heal, she heals, and when she heals, we heal. Every day can be Earth Day and Mother’s Day when each of us chooses to do our part for the greater good of all species who share this precious planet. There is so much we can consider now, to create a better future for all.
We Are One.🤍✨🌎✨
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water is a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world, there exists a brotherly feeling that keeps us safe among them … This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.” ― Chief Luther Standing Bear
“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.”
Hello Friends! I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways.
Have you been enjoying your Summer?? And how is it almost September!? We’ve had some important pet days recently ( Take Your Cat to the Vet Day & International Dog Day) But today is a really special one. Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, so I am feeling very inspired to share something special with you.
If you have been flowing with Conscious Companion’s blog from the get-go, then you know that animal companions, Mother Nature, and the lessons they all offer us can be life-changing. From the highs to the lows, there is always something to glean. Whether we are talking about a beloved animal companion, person, teacher, or favorite Tree, time spent together is precious.
But time together on this Earth is not eternal.
Life always seems to have a way of appearing to “take” something away. Whether it’s a lover, sibling, child, or parent, or a furry, scaly, or feathered family member, a burning forest or a dear friend, the sense of separation and loss can be crippling. I know this all too well, having experienced loss on an unimaginable scale a multitude of times. At times I thought I would never recover. More than once I wanted to leave this world to be with my beloveds every time they said goodbye. As awful as that sounds, I have no doubt that I am not alone in this experience. For the sense of loss of a loved one can sometimes seem worse than death.
But even in death there are gifts in strange wrapping paper waiting to be discovered.
A Time of Transtion
If you have been blessed with unconditional Love in any form, then you know that one of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved. But what if we learned to say goodbye in a new Light? What if, when our beloved’s body is laid aside, we knew in our heaped-up-broken-heart that the love that they are can never die? What if we knew that Who they are will always be by our side?
In our Cherokee language there is no actual word for “goodbye”; this word is too final. We say “Stiyu”, which means “Be strong”. Instead of saying goodbye, we honor their many stages of life while standing strong. We choose to know their body’s death is an ending to one chapter of life and the beginning of another.
I now refer to the Dreaded D-word as A Time of Transition. If we look at the word, transition, we can better understand what our beloveds are doing when they lay their physical vessel aside.
transition[ tran-zish-uhn, ] is a noun. It is defined as “movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, concept, to another; a change.
Their physical life with us is one chapter in their lives. When our beloveds transition, they are much like a caterpillar to a butterfly; they become. They return to the Wholeness of Who they Are. Our Cherokee heritage teaches there is no death; only a door to another realm. A new beginning. A new chapter. A new world awaits them. And they are ready to begin.
This may sound trite, but I promise, it is true.
If we choose to step back and see their passing objectively, (after we Ride The Waves of Grief,) we are able to bless their new Journey. Rather than seeing their body’s death as an ending, what if we chose to see it as a new amazing beginning? What if after we let ourselves move through the myriad of emotions, we could come to celebrate their Life and Love that IS eternal?
Love cannot be limited by the body.
And who are beloveds are, IS LOVE. The death of the body has no effect on who they Are. What if we chose to focus on this fact? Could we honor them by celebrating where they are? Could we live a life in remembrance of them every day by knowing that who they truly are cannot die?
I choose to believe this.
“From what we are, spirit; from what we do, matter. Matter and spirit are one.” ― Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife
Behind the Veil
The Cherokee people, like many first nation tribes, believe that most of mankind is conditioned to be blind and deaf. When I refer to being blind and deaf, I am speaking of subconsciously or consciously choosing not to See or Hear a world beyond this one. Of being unaware of a world that exists alongside this physical one.
But these worlds exist.
Most are unable to See it. Maybe they are afraid. Maybe they have never been taught. Maybe they haven’t experienced it for themselves. Maybe they are totally resistant to seeing the truth.
Regardless of the block, there is Life Beyond the Veil.
As we reside in the physical world, we know there is life here. But there is also life Behind the Veil. In this place, outside of time and space, our beloveds no longer know fear, scarcity, pain, or suffering. They are free. They are never-ending expansion. They are truly at peace.
And they want this peace for us, too.
“We teach best what we most need to learn.” ― Richard Bach
After much suffering, I finally learned that our beloveds want us to be at peace, more than anything. I guess that’s why I am so passionate about sharing my experiences with others. I have been there; in the deepest, darkest depression of days. I thought I would never heal my broken heart. And I still have my moments when I miss them.
But now I know we are always connected. The pain, grief, and suffering was a door. I chose the key to unlock that dreaded door. And beyond the door gave me the gift of knowledge, understanding, and insight. I now know that every beloved who walked this world with me is never really gone. I know now that there is no death.
Through working with my Guides, and the countless In-Spirit readings I’ve provided for families who’ve said goodbye to their beloved, I’m humbled and grateful for what I continue to discover.
I Am in awe.
The peace, joy, and freedom they are enveloped in, is astonishing. Regardless of how their earthly vessel was laid aside, they are very much alive and at peace. In fact, even in what appeared to be a violent death of several of our human and animal family members, was not as it appeared. Their suffering was not as it seemed. And they were not alone in their transition. From the beginning of the death of the body, to the transition into Spirit, our beloveds were greeted by a host of angels, Guardians, and Guides.
“So Lyra and her soul companion turned away from the world they were born in, looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.” ― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
Death is but a Door.
In the animal and elemental kingdom, “death” is not a word. It is untrue. It is unreal. It is an illusion. To these highly evolved beings, there is no death; there is only an awakening. There is only a returning Home.
Our True Home.
Our animal companions understand that when it’s time to lay the body aside, there is nothing to fear. They know that the death of the body is a release. It is freedom. Expansion.
It is all that their physical world withheld from them. It IS the only reality that gives them Life. It is a celebration of the soul.
“This is what’ll happen,” she said, “and it’s true, perfectly true. When you go out of here, all the particles that make you up will loosen and float apart. If you’ve seen people dying, you know what that looks like. But your beloveds en’t just nothing now; they’re part of everything. All the atoms that were them, they’ve gone into the air and the wind and the trees and the earth and all the living things. They’ll never vanish. They’re just part of everything. And that’s exactly what’ll happen to you, I swear to you, I promise on my honor. You’ll drift apart, it’s true, but you’ll be out in the open, part of everything alive again.” ― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
Now Our Guardians and Guides
Who our animal companions and human family members were in their physical body, while they were here with us, is only a glimpse of Who they Are after they transition. They Become their fullest expression. But most incredible of all, they are Standing by, always on call, loving us unconditionally.
We loved them unconditionally while they walked the world with us. We carefully cared for them. We guarded them from harm. And we looked after them while they were here during their Earthly life.
Now they look after us. Our beloveds are now our Guides.
The roles are reversed. And they want to be in service to us. They want us to know and trust that they can hear us. They want us to know that we can call on them. They can hear us if we take the time to be still, go within, and listen.
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 alongside of us.
“In quietness are all things answered.” ― A Course in Miracles
When people say, “the ones we love live on in our hearts”, they really do, friends. This is true because that is where we loved them, and love never dies. Goodbyes are only temporary. The ones we say goodbye to are always there when we think of them, when we remember our times together, and when we speak to them.
Our heart and Higher Mind IS the Rainbow Bridge. Our Heart and Higher Mind is the key to the connection.
When you think of your beloved animal companion that has passed, know that they hear you. Feel their love. It is unconditional and it is endless. Believe that their spirit is free and never dies.
If you were connected in life, you are still connected in the afterlife. Call on them when you miss them, when you need inspiration, or when you just want to say hello again. They are always there for you.
Our beloveds are not gone. Do not forget them. They walk with us, In Spirit. They are healed, whole, at peace, empowered, and perfect in every way. Who they Truly are cannot be contained by this world. They are Eternal Beings. My heartfelt wish is for everyone to know and feel this, too.
“For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal.“ – A Wrinkle in Time
Recently, I shared something vulnerable with my friends and family on Facebook. -Something i have been scared to share until now. The response (or lack of by some friends and family) has been interesting, but it was time to come out with it. No more hiding. Below are a couple pictures from that post. What do you see?
Over a year ago, this art endeavor came directly from Spirit while I was on a walk with Miss Hocus. I was shown a new way to move through the multi-layered grieving process, while honoring the ones who laid their body aside. It’s called Art From Ashes.
And that is is exactly what I Am Creating … Art from their ashes.
Each person and pet (either physical or nonphysical) holds an energy signature that is incredibly unique to them. This is my Maggie💗
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
In her earthly life, she was known as my “shadow”; an ever-present and faithful canine companion through childhood into college and beyond. Sixteen years ago, Maggie left this world for another just after Valentine’s Day. Fast forward to present day … she is still with our family, but In Spirit.
I had zero intention of connecting with Maggie. She wasn’t even on my radar honestly. If you read this post, then you know I was stoked about working with King Albert for the first art-from-ashes-endeavor. But when I meditated on how to create what I was shown, my Guides were loud and clear: Begin with Maggie.
There was so much resistance to do this.
Mainly because there was a lot of guilt. But I pushed through the fear, and I am forever glad I did. Maggie was there, waiting patiently for me to connect with her in all of her glory. She was perfect. And she was truly at peace.
Never did I think I would find the courage to do this, but it has healed me on many levels. Connecting with Maggie In Spirit was astonishing. She is now in her ascended aspect. The nervous-nelly I knew is no longer. Maggie has also healed into who she is at her True Essence.
Maggie had much to show me and I had much to learn.
Not only was creating this art out of her ashes deeply healing, but during the Journey, I was amazed to discover that Maggie’s faithful presence is still with me and Mr. Beaux.✨ She and he were in constant cat-and-canine-cahootz for nearly twenty years! And apparently, they still collaborate!
Stiyu, Instead of Goodbye.
Maggie’s ashes art has lead to others. And there are more art-from-ashes-endeavors in the works. I guess that’s why I am Guided to share this process with you all now. I wish for everyone to understand what I have been shown. There is no separation In Spirit; We Are One. I wish for broken hearts to heal. My prayer is for everyone to find peace. My wish is for the grieving to know there is a world alongside this one, where our loved ones are reaching out to us. All we need to do is place our heavy hearts in theirs. Their love is unconditional. Our Beloveds Are … Always.
Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be the household word it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; There is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner… All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before, Only better and infinitely happier, And forever we will be one together. ~ Henry Scott Holland
Hello Bright Light. I hope this finds you and yours well in all ways.
You may have noticed that we’ve been absent from sharing here for over three months. We recently moved and have been trying to get settled into our new home. Much has been unfolding behind the scenes, including heaps of healing in our Fur Tribe, finding an editor for Beaux’s book trilogy, Conscious Kids workshops, and much more. When I have more time to share what’s been unfolding, you’ll receive the full scoop! 😉
For now, this will be a quick empowering post.
Considering the current state of the nation and our world at large lately, I Am Guided to share something beautiful with you. May this uplift, inspire, and light up your world, so that you may share your Light with All who need it now and forever.
Below is a prayer from a Bodhisattva — a being uninterested in his/her liberation alone, who strives for the well-being of all living creatures:
May I be a guard for those who need protection A guide for those on the path A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood May I be a lamp in the darkness A resting place for the weary A healing medicine for all who are sick A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles And for the boundless multitudes of living beings May I bring sustenance and awakening Enduring like the earth and sky Until all beings are freed from sorrow And all are awakened.
Read that again, but this time out loud. Really feel it in your heart. This powerful prayer is a proclamation. This is what it means to be In Service to All. – To be in service to every brother and sister of every color and creed; to every being who walks, crawls, flies, or swims in the sea.
We Are One.
I was so inspired by that powerful prayer, I created this video for the hearts who are here to be of Service to every being in need.
Let your voice be heard. Be the Light in the darkness. Let Love Lead. Create the change you want to see by BECOMING the change. Uplift yourself in every moment so you may uplift others. Be Kind. Be Love. Be a friend to strangers. We are all in this together, beloveds. We Are One.
“We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to reflect on how our actions affect other hearts.” -Pema Chödrön
”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”