At the Animal Communication Basics class in Durango, Colorado, we discussed the different ways of visualizing changes in animal companion behavior. We explored the many lines of communication that we are constantly receiving from our animals and constantly sending to our animals – though in both cases, we may not be aware of it.
One of the lines of communication is through Emotion. You and your beloved animal companion are sending and receiving each other’s feelings and emotions. You may sense their dismay when you sit down to watch TV instead of going for a walk with them. You may be sending emotions unconsciously which could mean that behavioral challenges might be arising. Take for example you want to walk on the bike path but you are afraid of your dog chasing the bikes (which he has in the past and it did not go well). Over time, you have a created a considerable amount of fear tied up with this exercise. Now, when you walk on the path you are emanating fear and it is tied to the picture of a bike. Your dog receives this message and understands that you are afraid of bikes and they become the enemy. He sees a bike and chases it to try to chase away the fear that you hold and you become even more fearful. Now, it is a catch twenty-two.
Since you have been stuck in a fear cycle around the bike, there needs to be a big energetic shift within you. It starts by beginning to send them a picture of what you do want when a bike goes by. Thoughts get switched into pictures so don’t worry about sketching out what you want, instead imagine watching the scenario you want to play out like a film. For example, you are both walking on the path with the leash loosely held and a bike is approaching. The two of you notice the bike, while the leash is still loose, your body is calm, and he is calm. As the bike approaches, you both are still calmly walking, stopping to smell the bushes or take a pee, etc. Then, the bike passes you as you two are still walking, disinterested in the presence of the bike and biker, with the leash loose between you. When the bike passes, you praise him and let you know how you like walking on the path with him when all is calm. He will feel your calm presence and enjoy walking.
Often during my class or animal communication sessions when I can sense that there is a behavioral challenge, I will invite you to reflect upon what emotion you may be sending out that may trigger this response and then start imagining what you do want instead. Sending images of how you want the situation to go is far more effective and allows you to start rewriting the movie.
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.
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.
One thing I like about having conversations with animals is witnessing the way animals so lovingly present their human’s with observations about particular habits. The observations are full of compassion and love. They are delivered without judgment and often are full of curiosity. Inviting their people into a safe space for exploration and awareness.
I once asked a horse, Dante, “Can you give me a reflection of what I am doing with my inner authority?” It was a beautiful spring day and he was out in the paddock grazing on all the fresh new green grass that had just been pushing its way through. I leaned back against a tree just 5 feet from him watching him graze when another horse came over and took a dump basically right in front of Dante. The other horse wandered off and Dante stopped grazing and walked over to the steaming manure and starting sniffing each manure ball. He was so focused on sniffing and going over each manure ball with each nostril for what seemed like five minutes when I finally I asked Dante, “What is going on?” He lifted his head and looked me in the eye and I heard “You spend a lot of looking at the shit instead of looking at the beauty around you.” He then went back to grazing. I was doubled over laughing – another reason I love talking with the animals they make me laugh. What he said was true. As I quieted, I allowed the truth of his words to ripple into my consciousness into my being into my knowing.
Then I instantly asked him “Can I offer you some Reiki?” He went straight over to the manure again and started sniffing. I heard him say “More shit. Why do you think you have that to do something in return? Just allow yourself to receive.” This time it was not laughter but tears that had me doubled over. Again, I quieted and allowed the truth of his words ripple into my consciousness, into my being, into my knowing. I spent time with him in the paddock listening to his steady breathing, the chomping of his grazing, the switching of his tail. Just being by his steady presence, my inner authority went through a big transformation that day, all thanks to Dante and a manure pile. Sometimes when I am in the middle of something or feeling stuck I hear his words or see him, or smell manure and I self-correct and start looking at the beauty around me and start receiving.
Posted on June 16, 2017by neaveanimalsMany of you have known me and my practice as Neave Animals. My practice is now called HeartSong Communication. This name change came about in April 2016 when things had shifted greatly in my life. My marriage of 23 years was dissolving. I felt as if I was free falling and yet at the same time there was a quiet strength…for I had listened and honored my heart and it was leading with solid confidence.
Just a few days after we announced our separation to our kids and my husband had moved out of the house, I was walking with a wise friend who was holding space for me and my processing. I was talking about my hopes and dreams for my animal communication practice and how the name Neave Animals did not resonate anymore since it was not just me and animals, instead it is a whole host of spiritual beings and guides as well as the natural world that collaborates with me during each session between a client and their animal companions. I was lamenting about how Neave Animals was not the right name and wanting something more expansive, more descriptive, and yet I had been drawing a blank on what the new name was going to be. My friend casually asked me, “Well have you asked your practice what its name is?” That stopped me. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I talk to everything animals, trees, flowers. I understand everything has its own resonant energy and this knowledge is strengthened every time I locate a lost item within my house by just calling out to the item and listening for its response–maybe I am a part bat and using echolocation ;). So, of course, my practice would know what its name is.
Dropping into my center and putting my attention on being receptive and listening, I telepathically connected with my practice. I gave great thanks for all the assistance and collaboration over the years we had together under the name NeaveAnimals – I felt a flow of reciprocation in gratitude. I then simply asked, “What is the new name of my practice? If we are not NeaveAnimals anymore who or what are we?”
I heard “HeartSong Communication” true and clear. I was honored. There was no questioning, no hesitation, no doubting — just pure acceptance of this name. It defines the beautiful language of the heart where the animals communicate from and hold the space for us to meet them.
Since that walk, I have been questioning and gaining clarity about HeartSong Communication and how it can be of service to the world. I am excited to share with you what HeartSong is all about.
HeartSong’s vision is to support embodiment and listening to the song of the heart the intuition. Celebrating the web of life and the interconnectedness of all by bringing awareness to the human body is a telepathic transmitting and receiving station communicating with all of life and beings including our beloved animal companions, plants, nature, spiritual and divine guidance.
HeartSong’s mission is to deepen the animal and human relationship through interspecies dialogue, healing, classes, and ceremony.
HeartSong’s purpose is open sacred space for interspecies dialogue wit the intention of clarity, alignment, healing, balance, and harmony.
HeartSong’s purpose is to be a voice for the animals by listening deeply and communicating their truth, observations, suggestions, desires, questions, concerns and……
HeartSong’s purpose is to be the human representative and voice for the spiritual resources and support available for each being in the conversation and bring awareness to all that is available for each person.
HeartSong’s purpose is support people in strengthening their innate intuitive abilities so they can communicate with their beloved animal companions.
I am full of gratitude for each and every opportunity I have to open sacred space and be part of the conversation with people and their animals. Each animal is as different as each person and the wisdom and teachings they have to share with their humans blow my mind. The common factor in each conversation is the strong foundation of love and deep heart connection that flows freely and strong between animal and human. I am honored to be able to listen to the shared songs of the heart.
The past few weeks I have witnessed and marveled at a pair of Juncos, a ground nesting bird, who built a nest a foot away from my house in an overgrown strawberry bed. I was impressed at the bravery of these birds to build in such a busy yard with kids, dogs and the constant coming and goings so close to them. I only became aware of the nest when I was determined to weed out the bed and when I began two birds flew out and sat above me berating me and twittering with great irritation. I ceased what I was doing and sat back to observe. Reluctantly after an age of waiting, they darted in among the strawberries to nestle down. The next morning when they were off feeding I was able to get a look at the nest a beautifully woven nest of grass. In an effort to protect them I put up a wire fence to keep the dog from foraging for strawberries, for it is truly his strawberry bed. The spigot was directly over the nest and when I had to turn on the water I would approach slowly, announcing myself gently and sharing my intentions. The bird would fly up and observe me – chirping away at me. Watering became a chance to see the development of the three little chicks that hatched. These three never peeped – often their mouths would be open bright red chicks with a bright yellow rim around the beak it looked like a target of where to deposit the food.
For me when juncos appear in my garden it is a marker of late Autumn for that is when they return to the urban yards from their summers in the woods and forests. So I was curious why they had decided to nest in my yard? Leaning back into being open and receptive to the teaching of these birds I understood that they were given me a beautiful template of how to tend to sacred space for myself amid chaos. This was valuable for me since I am navigating many milestones in my life right now as my parenting role is shifting with my son graduating from high school and my daughter is entering her teen years as well as my recent divorce and I am converting my basement to an Air BnB space.
The nest was the sacred space they had created within a busy yard right outside of a ground level window where all the construction was taking place. Yet, they tended that sacred space and those three chicks diligently. Delivering food, snuggling down on them when it was cool and hiding in the strawberries when it was too hot to be on the nest. I understood that through all this upheaval I could tend to self and my needs as beautifully as these juncos were tending to their chicks. That when I felt overwhelmed by so much at once I could take a few moments to regroup, seek refuge and give myself a little distance like the juncos did in by being near the nest but not on the nest. Even though their ground nest was vulnerable this pair had chosen a great yard to create a nest since my dog makes sure cats dare not enter. Another lesson of choosing when I and where I wanted to share my vulnerabilities and making sure I am that I am tending and protecting my heart. Also, when the crows were sitting on the wires watching the yard the juncos did not go to their nest and their chicks did not make a peep all to protect the whereabouts of the nest. Another lesson for me about honoring the sacred space – holding it with reverence and care for the place for me where I can feel safe, loved and free to be myself.
In my ongoing quest to understand animals as teachers, I turned to the internet to see what others have learned about Junco as a totem animal. According to Shamanic Journey Juncos as totems:
The Junco will bring with it increased activity and opportunity, creating movement and change in one or more aspects of your life. You will be pushed into new avenues, with your strengths enhanced, as well as your shortcomings – it will be revealed how to blend everything together in a balanced harmonious style.
This was a good reminder for me that when I create that sacred space for myself and tenderly and compassionately nurture what is vulnerable at some point it will grow and take on a life of its own and blend harmoniously into my life.
Photo credit: BriarCraft via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC
Finally some relief from the stars, planets and solar system. Today’s full moon according to The Power Path invites us to:
Pay attention to what is unfolding with ease, support and inspiration. If it is not unfolding easily, put it aside for now. Your reality check at this time needs to include what inspires you. If you are not inspired in your life you are probably playing out someone else’s reality.
Today marks a closing of a chapter in my personal life with my divorce being final. There is now an opening of a new chapter, creating a whole new personal reality. To honor this momentous occasion in my life I performed a ceremony for myself, honoring my inner feminine and my inner masculine, and inviting them into a union of balance and harmony. After the ceremony, I walked on the beach – a beach that I have walked for years and where I get all sorts of gifts and signs left by my guides and often meet new teachers in animal form. As I walked I was in a quiet reflective space drinking in the beauty around me with the tide washing in and out – reminding me of the cycles of life. The spring rain was gently washing away old ways of being and the wind cleared out old thought forms making way for new possibilities.
My quiet reflection was interrupted my screeching from above with two birds swooping down at me. I watched two arctic terns make big circles flying out over the water as they would look down searching for fish. I asked silently, “Hello, new teachers and allies, what am I to learn from you on this day of new possibility and a new reality?” What I observed about these two is that they were a pair and they would be in constant contact calling to one another as they would widen their searching. When they fly they look down and they look straight ahead, which made me giggle as I thought “What are they going to run into, a flying bus?” When I thought that I heard clearly, “It’s all about navigation … minding the details and looking for nourishment while knowing where you are going.” I felt as if a wise elder at a wedding reception offered me the wisdom of life as they passed me on the dance floor.
I continued my walking, observing these two as they’d dive for fish and fly back up circling, even at times they’d dive between seagulls resting on the water. Really getting the message of, “When you find what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to go for it even if others may not be as aware of it.” Beautiful teachings for me in creating my new reality.
Upon further researching about arctic terns, more wise teachings became apparent to me. Arctic Terns make an incredible journey from the Arctic to the Antarctic twice each year. Over their lifetime they cover a distance equivalent to three trips to the moon traveling further than any other creature in the world! That is is 2.4 million miles during its lifetime which is an average of 30 years. Why is this fact so significant to me on this day of the full moon and creating a new reality? It is because I have the chance now to create new patterns. Like the terns I share its stamina and endurance. In the past, this endurance was the unhealthy flavor of, “I will endure no matter how painful” and through courage and awaken to the longings and needs of my own heart, I have freed myself of that pattern.
In this new reality, I will enjoy learning about enduring through pleasure and knowledge instead of pain and suffering. I will navigate to co-empowering relationships with self and others and when I find the spaces, places, people, animals, friends that will nourish this new reality I will go for it by speaking my truth and showing up fully. I will fly the distance to the moon and back, again and again, to be true to myself and my heart.
Further your reading on arctic terns:
I am just stepping into a role of teacher and I am experiencing a mixture of excitement and nervousness. One of my offerings is a bi-monthly practice group for students to strengthen their intuitive muscles. Since I am a one-woman show working with a host of spiritual beings, I create energetic containers for each of my projects knowing that there are plenty of resources available for me and my projects and all I have to do is ask for their help. Part of the energetic container is calling forth the spiritual council who are willing to hold and collaborate on each project.
For my practice group council, I curiously asked: “What animal guides are part of the council?” I leaned back, being open and receptive to welcome the guide. I had a felt sense of small energetic animal running to and fro exclaiming “Oh this is fun! Very fun!” and, at the same time, I heard very loudly in my mind, “Chipmunk.” I tried to feel what chipmunk as a guide brought to the council. I could sense joyful adventure and exploration. I then looked up chipmunk as a totem and it was confirmed what I was sensing in addition, chipmunk teaches animal magic of intuition and wishes to get granted. It feels good to have the guidance of such a wise being who is willing to join in the adventure of exploring animal communication as well as reminding me to ask for help for wishes to get granted.
It felt as if there was another animal totem so I asked if there was one and I heard chipmunk encourage me to pick an animal totem card. Before I chose the card I held my intention for my practice group and then selected a card which was Armadillo. I instantly thought that he wears his protection on his back. Turns out from the description of Armadillo they are teachers of boundaries. The armadillo medicine is part of its body since it wears its armor on its back and its boundaries of safety are a part of its total being. Armadillo encourages defining my space by discerning what I am willing to experience by drawing a circle/shield and writing down within the circle what I want to experience. I am grateful for Armadillo’s presence on the council for I am learning how to navigate holding space while teaching with appropriate boundaries so I am not drained at the end of a day. This led me into a brainstorming session of how I want my Practice Sessions to feel, defining what I am willing to do at each practice group and areas I will need support.
Totem animals and guides are powerful teachers. You can strengthen your connection to them by learning all you can about their gifts as well as their habits as beings in physical forms. The joyful, exuberant curiosity paired with ground presence and clear boundaries this dynamic duo bring to my teaching adventures are very comforting. I look forward eagerly to the next Animal Communication Practice Group.
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