On my mid-afternoon walk today, the breeze was tickling the leaves and the rippling laughter of the leaves brought back the memory of the big cottonwood right outside my childhood 2nd story bedroom window. The murmur of leaves is a comforting sound for me and Bing Crosby’s “Land, Lots of Land” song starts in my head with my favorite lyrics being:
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you, please
Don’t fence me in…
I agree with Bing, don’t ever fence me in. My daily walks in nature feed me and strengthen my skill of being fully present – allowing me to be able to hear my intuition and speak with the animals. One way I play with being present is by listening in between the spaces. Since I usually walk in the morning, I felt like a guest at an afternoon party eavesdropping on all the juicy gossip. The woods were alive with the cawing of crows, the chipping of chickadees, the clear chirp of robins, and the clicking of juncos, layered in with the songs of trees and adding depth to a chorus of rustling leaves and the deep bass tones of creaking trees. The dappled light filtered through the trees transforming the well-worn dirt trail into a dance floor of mosaic flickering circles.
As I stood drinking in all the beauty around me a hummingbird flew into a sunbeam, like a solo dancer the light glinting off the ruby throat necklace, and then he was gone. The interconnected web of life was all around me and I felt alive, present, attentive, and full of wonder. From this place, I could easily hear my intuition and my heart.
As I stood savoring this feeling I was silently thanking my body and letting it know I wanted more moments of being present like this. Being in communication with your body and letting it know how you want to feel gives your body important information and it strengthens your intuition – you are letting your body know that you are receiving information on certain channels. It’s like finally giving an employee a job description so they now can become more efficient and co-empowering.
Witnessing today’s beauty in the park gave me a deeper understanding of the interconnected web that is outside and inside of me.
At one of my Animal Communication practice group sessions, when the group was sharing reflections of what their takeaway was from the evening, one of the students shared in wonder, “I did not realize it could be that easy. It is just like having a conversation with a friend.”
She had been conversing with one of her cats about an annoying, demanding behavior and she gained clarity through the conversation that her cat was asking for snuggles instead of treats. When she understood this, guilt, as well as frustration, came up on how she had been responding to the tone of the meow. I reminded her to be as compassionate with herself and invited her to reflect on if there was something she needed to ask the cat so that she could respond in a loving way instead of responding in frustration to the cats’ demand. Taking her own needs into account, she was then able to request the cat to ask for the snuggles in a sweeter tone instead of the demanding NOW and it would be easier for her to respond compassionately.
This sentiment was then echoed within less than 12 hours when I met a friend on a walk and she said, “I did as my dog requested. When she was barking and barking at another dog I told her calmly there was no need and invited her to keep walking.” And with wonder, my friend added, “It worked–she stopped barking and we walked on. It was so easy.” The dog had requested her human speak with clarity and tell her what she wants instead of yelling what she did not want.
Animals and kids are the greatest teachers — so honest and pure. I remember when my son was 3 and we were on a walk with him in a stroller and two black labs on Flexi-lead leashes. The dogs had this habit of what I called “circling the wagons”. They would constantly be circling us and I would be high-stepping over the leashes, contorting my body in all sorts of way to keep the leashes untangled while moving forward. My frustration level was off the charts and my voice and response to them matched it. When, once again, they circled the wagons I screamed, “Zoe and Jetexas enough!” as I gruffly untangled the leashes and had ripples of waves of anger cascading off of me. From within the stroller, a sweet voice wisely suggested, “Mama, you know if you tell them calmly what you want they will listen.”
After much laughter, frustration, and gratitude I agreed to give it a try. I sat both the dogs down and told them “Zoe and Jetexas I would like us to move along in a flowing manner with each of you staying on your sides of the stroller and no more circling of the wagons. ” That walk was a turning point for the next three miles, as we moved as a flowing unit with ease and little corrections. If there was a correction, I calmly told them what I wanted. It was that easy and it can be that easy for you, too.
Photo by Matheus Queiroz on Unsplash
I have been on a quest for a long time to learn to be present and embodied with the ease that the albatross has as he soars. Since yesterday, when I learned the short-tailed Albatross is on the endangered species list for Washington, they have been on my mind.
On my walk this morning I was pondering the ability of the albatross to sleep while flying as well as being able to go for days without flapping its wings. I imagined soaring with wings outstretched, being carried on the air currents and I felt buoyancy, trust, and effortless being-ness. It was a sensation of being supported and resourced at all times.
As I experienced this sensation I remembered the guidance a wise mentor recently gave me. She encouraged me when engaging in a new arena in life I need to allow the physical and spiritual resources to gather until I feel buoyed with the energy to move forward. It is just like the albatross soaring, navigating and sleeping on the air currents. (This same mentor reminded me that these resources are available all of the time, 24/7 and for every area of my life.)
When I shift out of presence or I go to sleep (figuratively) in what I am doing, I feel a contraction in my body. I freeze, thereby shutting off all access to my resources. I am no longer present. To return to the present and get out of contraction, I need to pause and remember my intention and call in my resources. As I wait for them to gather I stay in constant conversation with my body until I feel my nervous system relax. Once this happens, engaging becomes effortless instead of a push.
As I played with the sensation of the albatross navigating on its journey, I felt the slight tilt of the wing or movement of the body when the air currents shifted. The movements were subtle and automatic, no thinking involved, just the sense of deep presence, trusting the body and going with the flow.
I then imagined what would happen if the albatross contracted and pulled in his mighty wings when he felt a shift, instead of going with the flow. He would quickly plummet to earth or into the ocean if he did this.
Playing with the albatross energy of soaring, lightness, and going with the flow, compared to the energy contracting and plummeting, I realized that when I am contracted, it is my intention for where I want to be and my attention on what I need that become my mighty outstretched wings. These wings allow me to be supported and buoyed up in life.
Oh, mighty albatross thank you for such teachings of trust, navigating, and being present. I am honored to have you join my walk and give me wings to soar
Today is Endangered Species Day and I agreed with Spirit to start on a journey listening in to each of these endangered species and bringing the wisdom onto a global platform.
I laid upon Grandmother Earth for guidance on this journey. Being held by the earth, I looked up the list of Endangered Species in Washington State. The Short-tailed Albatross was first on the list.
I lay back to listen to the wisdom of the albatross and fell into a deep journey of flying with powerful wings outstretched and riding and flowing with the air currents. As well as being at one with the waters as I transitioned from flying to floating. Both the air and the sea felt buoyant and effortless. An inner compass and knowingness guided my course – this map was interconnected with earth, air, water, sky and understanding of the weather patterns and currents of air and ocean. Albatross loudly proclaimed “I am the teacher of trust and listening to one’s internal guidance and deep river of knowing – the intuition. Navigating the unknown can be effortless and buoyant by staying connected and listening to your internal wisdom. Learn to flow with the ups and downs of life by staying loyal to yourself.”
There is the spiritual message from the Short-Tailed Albatross. Now to find out if and where these birds live in Washington state. According to the site E-bird Northwest*:
“On 15 August 2015, a live hatch-year juvenile Short-tailed Albatross was found about one mile north of Tatoosh Island, Washington, and sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, the young one did not survive. Interestingly, because the bird was banded as a hatchling on 2 March 2015, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was able to learn that it came from one of the colonies in the western Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Japan and Taiwan.”
Curiosity pushed me further how many were there once of these magnificent birds and how many are there now?. According to BirdWeb:
“At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Short-tailed Albatross was fairly common throughout the north Pacific. Remains found in excavations of Native American dwelling sites corroborate reports by early naturalists that this species was more common near shores than were other albatrosses. Their historic population is estimated at over a million birds. On their nesting islands, they were aggressively hunted for food, oil, eggs, feathers, and feet, and in one 17-year period, over 5 million were killed. By 1933, when all forms of Short-tailed Albatross hunting were banned, and the bans were finally enforced, the population was only 3-50 birds. They were considered extinct in the 1940s. In the 1950s, a few young pairs that had been at sea for a several years returned to Torishima Island and began to breed there. Since then, numbers have gradually increased, but a bird that is so late to breed and lays only one egg per year is slow to rebound. Currently there are an estimated 1200 birds worldwide, with 600 of breeding age. The largest colony is on Toroshima Island, an active volcano that could easily wipe out the population once again. There are no breeding populations in the United States, but several individuals have been seen regularly during the breeding season on Midway Atoll in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The small population size and limited breeding distribution have left the Short-tailed Albatross genetically vulnerable. It is listed as endangered by the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife, and is a candidate for listing by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
Albatross Behavior: Short-tailed Albatrosses engage in elaborate courtship dances and tend to maintain long-term pair bonds. They are graceful in flight but clumsy on land. It is believed they can sleep while in flight, gliding on air currents and staying aloft without flapping for hours or even days at a time.
While in New Zealand I witnessed an Albatross landing at a nesting site. When this massive bird came in for a landing he proceeded to do two somersaults before stopping sideways on a bush. He awkwardly picked himself up, shook off and belabored walked over to his mate. To see them on land I did not witness the grace and beauty of them in the air – gliding on currents. I realized there are areas in my life where I am not so agile and graceful as in others – just like this albatross.
I got one message from the Albatross but I was curious about the other teachings and meanings of Albatross As A Totem that were out there. I often look up the totem meanings of animals I encounter because I know that Spirit has sent them to me as a messenger and if I can’t discern the message or if I feel what I heard from the animal did not resonate with me, I turn to the internet and more often than not a message appears that completely resonates with me.
According to the psychic website Aunty Flo, the Albatross as a totem teaches us:
The Albatross totem tells us to believe in freedom. It allows us to think wise and search for solutions beyond the horizon. The message is to break ourselves from the shackles of self-developed constraints and limitations. The Albatross totem energy is exactly opposite to conservatism and the philosophies that bounds freedom of speech, freedom of belief and the freedom of adopting a particular culture.
What a beautiful teaching from a bird that is endangered. All this information both spiritual and physical data has given me and I hope you an understanding of this amazing bird. And I long to see this birds return to their population numbers in the millions. On this Endangered Species day, I commit to weekly connecting with an endanger species and bring awareness to their wisdom, teachings, and plight. In this great web of life, we are all connected. Aho!
I invite you to read and explore further about the albatross.
Below are links to the articles I referenced:
Through my 10 years as an animal communicator, I have gained an understanding that our beloved animal companions are the family system therapists. Animals are masters at reading energy and they have a deep understanding of what is going on energetically within the family dynamic much like a herd of horses or a pack of wolves. They spend their lives in our worlds observing and responding to the energy, often taking on jobs within the family to keep the energy flowing: absorbing emotions of their people or acting out to get stuck energy moving, for example. From teachings from the Native Americans, I learned and believe that animals walk in balance on this earth. This belief is strengthened as these wise family system therapists share ways they see that balance can be brought back to the family or to their beloved person and the living environment.
During a conversation, animals have often requested smudging the house (including the yard). This is often requested if there have been a lot of changes in the family, such as a new job, death, divorce, emotional times, remodel or moving into a new space. The animals say they feel like they are literally swimming through discarded energy that is not serving any purpose. Since they don’t have the luxury of leaving every day they are sitting in this energetic build-up, or energetic sticky soup, all day and are eager to get out upon your return.
What Is Smudging?
Smudging is clearing the energy in the house to bring back the energy into balance. There are many techniques for smudging. The traditional technique is burning sage within an abalone shell and allowing the smoke to clear the space. But don’t let this stop you from smudging. There are many ways to get a house, a space yourself smudged without sage.
For example, one client summed it so nicely for her beloved animal companions “The energy in the house is like a toxic soup and we want the house to feel like a beautiful, clear, nourishing, light broth.” The animals wholeheartedly agreed. We did not have sage. So I guided her to set her intention on clearing the energy and bring in light. And we started in the corners of the basement and with waving our arms and repeating “Out with the Toxic Soup, in with the Nourishing Light.” We directed the energy from all the rooms out the windows and the door. As we came back in the dogs were settled and you could see the lightness in their eyes and the way they moved with ease.
Other ways to smudge and clear spaces according to the Spirit beings I work with and the animals:
This next technique in smudging requires in believing in angels and asking them for help. In many of my conversations with animals and clients, on behalf of the animals, I call on the angels who know about clearing spaces of stuck energy and ask them to clear the space. Animals often request that these angels attend to smudging daily. From my understanding of working with angels, we are each born with two guardian angels who are with us throughout our lives. And there are a host of other angels willing to help, but as humans, we have free will and the angels can only help if you request their help. According to Doreen Virtue – Angel Intuitive Therapist, “Your pets are surrounded by angels who bestow miracles upon you and them. In many ways, the animals act as angels for you and your loved ones.”
I invite you to start thinking about how the energy in your house feel and do a smudge to lighten clear the energy and bring in nourishing lightness. Or ask an angel to do it for you. Either way, your animals will thank you!
Check out links below to read more about smudging and why sage is a great way to smudge your space.
A common behavioral issue that is addressed during my sessions is the lack of following commands or direction. Particularly, the person is frustrated because the dog is not behaving in the way they desire. The dog often is confused because what is desired is not clearly communicated to them, whereas what is not desired is being communicated. The command is then delivered with a lot of frustration and fear and both of these energies add extra fuel to what the dogs receive and they will act accordingly.
In the following examples, I will bold the words that the dogs hear due to the energy and the delivery method.
When someone is desiring Quiet they yell “No barking”. The dog hears barking and follows the direction beautifully. Or if someone wants their dog to calmly let a bike pass but in the heat of the moment, they yell, “No chasing bikes” then the dog will hear “Chasing bikes” amplified by the fear and the frustration their person is delivering the command. “Fear” to dogs means intruder and they look for what is creating the fear and go into protection mode. The dogs get really confused because more explosive energy is directed their way from their people.
During one session, a client was frustrated with the dog constantly pulling on the leash and during a walk, the person repeated like a broken record, “No pulling.”
When we explored the issue the dog was proud of his following the direction of pulling and was surprised to hear that is not what was desired. I invited the client to visualize exactly what she wanted it to feel like when walking the dog on the leash. Some of her words were “relaxed”, “shoulder-to-shoulder”, “slack in the leash”. Then I had her visualize the slack in the leash. When she did this, both the dog and I could sense the ease in the walk, the contentment in walking together, the energy coming down the leash was joyful, curious, attentive and grateful. The dog responded with “Oh that’s what you want.” Weeks later my client happily reported that their walks are just like she requested with a lot of slack in the leash.
When faced with a repeated behavioral problem, consider it as an opportunity to visualize what you want or how you want to feel and as often as you said, “no pulling” instead say your new intention such as “slack leash.” When your intent is clear and you can visualize what you want, your dog also gets the picture and will start to respond to the new communication. Consider a repeated behavioral problem as an opportunity to hone your intention.
Last Thursday was a morning of fog, a good soft day, a fog that settles in for a visit. On my walk, I was enjoying a visual delight: how the thick fog makes a brilliant backdrop for the vibrant greens bursting forth in exuberance, a rich tapestry woven with greens of the leaves announcing the tulips, the lush green grass, the tender green of new growth on the dark evergreens and the rusty greens of the freshly unfurled ferns. All of this, a feast for the eyes.
My nervous system quieted down bathed in this sensory delight which sparked a thought of. “Can I easily transmit these sensations of green telepathically?”
One of the exercises we practice in my Animal Communication Basics class is sending colors back and forth to each other. In the exercise I guide students to feel the color. A student asked me “What does that mean to feel a color?” As we explored what that could mean we came to the understanding that to feel a color is using all the senses and transmitting those sensations through our ever present telepathic tools – our bodies.
For example, when sending the color green instead of thinking “Like walking in nature in spring”- imagine the forest focusing on the five senses – touch, sight smell, hearing, taste. Send the sensation of how it feels touching grass or the tulip leaves, see the ferns, the tulips, and the grass; what does it sound like walking in nature – can you hear birds calling, dogs barking or a lawn mower; Can you taste green? A pickle, asparagus. Send feelings how your nervous system and body feel when walking in all this green – does it feel settled and peaceful?
Taking this a step further, when sending a communication to the animals it is helpful to feel what you are trying to say by employing all of the senses to communicate to the animal; not just words. For example, when walking I want to feel safe. I tell my dog this because he has numerous nemesis in the neighborhood and they like to challenge each other which, in turn, doesn’t make me feel safe. Or when he goes off-leash and he explores the homeless camps in the parks, I do not feel safe. Just saying the word “Safe” was not getting through to him and then I realized I wasn’t utilizing all of the senses. So, this began a fun playful game with my body understanding what it feels like to be “safe”. The data I have collected so far is: my nervous system and body are at ease; I feel calm; I am aware and alert. Safe for me is seeing nature – trees, the Puget Sound. I hear my regular breathing and birds singing. I taste a delicious cup of chicken soup. I am safe. So, before starting our walks I pause and conjure up all these feelings, sensations, images of “safe” and allow them to flow from me to him. I verbally say, “Let’s go have a safe adventure.” After this exchange, if we meet a nemesis or if he ventures into the homeless camp, I amplify the feelings of safety — broadcasting them from my body and he settles and walks past the nemesis or returns from scavenging at the homeless camps much quicker, not requiring me to go down there and retrieve him.
As you can see, animal communication is a full body experience. The animals communicate on a variety of lines of communication also using all the five senses. You may get the feeling of thirst, or get the image of your dog drinking water or feel excited for cold refreshing water and then realize the water bowl needs filling, and your dog is eagerly awaiting to drink. Feeling is communicating with the animals by using all of your senses.
In my many years of working with clients and their animals, I have heard numerous times from animal companions an encouragement, if you will, for their humans to tend to themselves (or treat themselves) like a beloved pet and perhaps we, as humans, will care for themselves better. I have been exploring this idea: what does it mean to treat ourselves as well as we treat our animals? The animals hold compassionate, unconditional love for us and it is reciprocated by dedicated human companions spending countless hours a week exercising, feeding, playing with and loving up their animals. We take the time to really get to know and understand our beloved animals and what makes them happy. Can we accept the invitation they have given us and learn to have compassionate, unconditional love for ourselves? Can we meet ourselves and patiently explore what makes us happy? Can we accept ourselves, as we do our pets, when they are doing something we don’t like? How easily we shake our heads and think, “Ah, he is so Charlie.”
In the past, when I was doing something I didn’t like, such as eating just one more piece of chocolate, fully knowing it will start the sugar crash and loss of focus, the inner critic would come out in full force and I would lambast myself about my chocolate consumption. A typical inner critic tirade would be “What is wrong with me? Don’t I have any willpower? Certainly,, I do not want to succeed?” Usually, I would end up feeling worse and agree with that inner critic and turn towards more chocolate – commiserating it is hopeless anyway – and might as well enjoy something like chocolate when amongst all this misery. In this scenario, there is no shaking my head and thinking, “Ah, I am so Neave.”
To replay that scenario from a compassionate unconditional love place for myself. In those moments of the chocolate oblivion, there is the opportunity to curiously ask , “Can I tenderly question myself about what am I feeling, truly feeling in those moments of mindlessly reaching for one more handful of chocolate that is the tipping point? Do I have the willingness to explore why the chocolate holds such allure for me? Can I admit in those moments I am struggling and that it hard and I just want to zone out and chocolate is the fast trapdoor out?” With each answer, can I still stay present with myself and accept the answers…Not analyzing, criticizing, ridiculing but actually be present with self and my experience and love myself through it. My dog helps me practice this every day, especially when he watches me struggling with self-doubt/guilt. He provides support, non-judgment, and ease – shaking off whatever negativity surrounds me.
Getting to this compassionate space was highlighted for me during a conversation I had with a dachshund and his person. I heard his voice quite clearly and he had a thick accent. The love he had for his person was incredible – it was different than other love I have witnessed between animals and their humans. This was a romantic, adoring love. As we finished up the conversation I asked him if he could teach me on how to allow such deep love to flow from my heart. He agreed and asked me to show him the love I had for my husband. I let it flow and then he said “Your poor husband.” After much laughter – he asked me to show him the love I had for my children which I did – “Ah, lucky kids.” Then he asked me to show him the love I had for myself. Upon witnessing my self-love he replied like a wise, old elder, “This is the place of your personal inner work. Can you learn to love yourself and be compassionate with yourself? For then the love will flow easily to others.”
Since that conversation, I have been on a journey of learning to love myself. It has been a journey of getting to know myself and letting go of many old beliefs, limitations and thought forms that defined me a certain way. Shattering the old patterns that suppressed my creative self-expression. The inner judge and inner critic do not have the reins to my life anymore as I turn towards myself and lovingly accept who I am. It is meeting myself as witness and observer asking tender questions for greater understand. It has been a journey on a road filled with potholes and detours to old ways of being that tries to keep me sidetracked and the only way back to myself is through loving self-compassion. Holding a space for myself, like the animals hold from me, full of goodwill as I turn towards myself searching for a greater understanding and willingness to listen and take care of what is needed to bring me peace…And sometimes that means taking a nap in the sunshine.