I am looking forward to opening sacred space for the Day of the Dead Celebration for the animals on November 1.
As I gather items to create the shrine for my dearly departed companion animals I am bumping into all sorts of repressed emotions: grief, anger, confusion mixed in with love and joy. As I thumb through pictures searching from my childhood animal companions. I am seeing my younger self again. The little girl who was loved and tended by these sweet beings. Due to circumstances I did not get to say goodbye properly to these sweet dogs. And then I was not supported through the stages of grief from losing my best friends. Leaning into these emotions and meeting my little girl I can now allow the emotions to flow and be the parent for myself that I needed then and allow their spirit to surround me again. WIth the new perspective of being the loving parent to my younger grieving self I can know delve into the impact this pups had on my life.
The Day of the Dead is not simply a day about mourning your loved ones and telling stories of them; it’s a day about remembering their lives and the impact they had upon you. As well as keeping in mind that just because they’re no longer with you doesn’t mean that they’re entirely gone, because you keep them alive in your hearts and memories.
The animals are such great teachers about energy. Today the wasp teaches about clearing off energy that can get stuck on you when entangled in someone else's web - dream, energy etc. And to thoroughly clean yourself off before flying off into the next moment.
Being spider web season here in the PNW today there is a lot of activity around the webs. Today I observed a paper wasp cleaning every part of its body. Balancing on the front four legs as its back legs cleaned off its abdomen then moved up to thoroughly cleaning its head off.
I was curious why there was so much cleaning? As I was thinking this a spider shimmed up into the center of its web and the paper wasp launched itself trying to grab the spider. It was an unsuccessful attempt since the spider had dropped quickly between the deck boards. The wasp investigated all around trying to find the spider to unavail. It then zoomed back up and flew aggressively back and forth through the web destroying the web. Then the cleaning started all over again.
Happy Summer. I hope you are all well as can be expected in this world that seems to be turned inside out and upside down. For a little break from the chaos, tension, and uncertainty I asked the animals what they can share with people right now that would be helpful. I ask the animals because they are masters at reading energy and they can feel the energy of the collective. They are also great teachers of presence. The animals feel the energy is constantly being stirred up right now - like a bumpy ride and they observe humans are wildly uncomfortable and not present. The animals invite you to learn from either your companion animals or wild animals about the compassionate accepting space they hold for you.
So that you can learn to hold that space for yourself and be able to sit in discomfort and still be present.
Here are some of their suggestions for you to become more present.
Leave the computer, the phone and any other electronic device and get outside.
“The idiot box or energy drain” is a term often used by the animals when talking about computers or phones. When you engage with the computer or phone to them it's as if nobody is home in your body. This makes animals very nervous and worried for you because you are not present. Their suggestion is:
Get outside, move around, feel your body.
Also, the animals notice with all this upheaval in the collective - things are getting emotionally shaken up within you. The animals encourage you to:
Turn toward the emotion. Accept and allow the emotion to be present and run its course.
Cry if you need to cry, rage if you need to rage, grieve if you need to grieve. Ask for forgiveness if you feel guilty. Emotions are just energy in motion. So allow the flow. Instead of ignoring upturned emotions by checking out and getting lost on Facebook or zoning out and watching the tv.
This is where the animals encourage you to be like them and hold a loving compassionate space for yourself. Think about how your animal is your witness no matter what you are going through or how they show up when for you when you are sad. They are there loving you, accepting you, witnessing you. Can you do this for yourself? Emotions are just energy in motion. So allow the flow.
For example, the collective grief has stirred up old stuck unresolved grief in me . A lot of the grief has been around past animals that I was not able to properly grieve when I was younger. By turning towards it and allowing the tears and sadness to flow for that particular experience and releasing the stuck energy I am able to be more present in the moment.
Smudging is one of the useful tools I have been using during conversations with animals and their humans clearing the old energy off animals and people. You can smudge and clear your energy many different ways. Your animal will appreciate you cleaning yourself off.
Also, this month there has been a lot of guilt and regret being stirred up. These big balls of stuck energy block connection to the present and to flow. The Hono'pono'hono prayer is a powerful exercise to ask for forgiveness for things that happened long ago, clear the air and be more present.
We are all in this together! Let's be in it together being as present as possible.
Each of us come into this lifetime with a whole circle of spiritual resources which include guides, guardian angels, spirit animals and so on. This circle of resources is your own personal posse that is always listening to you. They like to help you as often as possible , daily if you allow them by providing protection, guidance and healing.
Spirit Animals are guides from your circle of resources that come in animal form to teach or deliver a message. They are often referred to as power animals, animal guides and they are all one in the same. It is believed that animals are receivers of energy and become mirrors for you to learn about yourself. The spirit animal that appears for you is bringing your their sweet "medicine" in the form of guidance, wisdom, teachings, power or protection.
Since your circle of spiritual resources works with you daily the spirit animals that appear to you may be different everyday depending on what is up for you. The animals are teachers of balance and harmony in life. They are responding to the energy of your feelings, beliefs and thoughts where you may be out of balance and offering guidance, healing or wisdom. Often they appear when you are searching for clarity, need guidance, affirming a power action, or they bring into consciousness something your soul already knows. Basically, they are listening and the animal that shows is spot on for that day, moment, event, experience etc.
The way a spirit animals shows up varies. You may have a physical encounter with one like walking in the woods or in your neighborhood, or it swoops over you car. You may have one as a pet. You may see the image of them everywhere you look - in the clouds, in the store, on billboards. It may visit you in your dreams or come to you while meditating or daydreaming. Or you may exhibit certain qualities of the animal such as going mama bear at the playground.
When you realize its a spirit animal for you. Pause and thank it for showing up. Put your hand on your heart (its the quickest way to access your intuition) breathe and ask why it is showing up for you. What is it's message? Then listen with your heart, your mind, your ears, your inner knowing. Ask as many questions as you like. They are willing to have a conversation with you.
The spirit animal may also be offering you a reflection of some of your characteristics. Take time exploring and learn as much as you can about them their diet, behavior, habitat, lifestyle. Staying present and attentive to yourself during this inquiry listening for what resonates with you and how their "medicine" can bring balance and harmony into your life.
Here is an example of a spirit animal showing up for me. I have a very active mole in my yard. This is during a time for me where I am turning inward to uncover and release old traumas to step into the fullness of me. Daily I am open to the teachings as I am raking the mole hills into the grass and the garden beds. What I am learning is that bringing to the surface what has been buried for decades creates space and feeds the rest of life - like the upturned soil is doing from my grass and garden.
Remember your circle of resources is always listening.
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:
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 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:
His attitude of gratitude invokes more engagement with me. Curiously I wanted to explore the feeling of gratitude which leads me to a blog post about “What is Gratitude?” which explained
Gratitude is both a feeling and an attitude, thankfulness is the demonstrative expression of it, whether extended to ourselves or others. We can express thanks in words—spoken or written—or in deeds, by extending time, resources, or gifts to support people in unexpected ways or to help those in need. Appreciation is the recognition of that which makes us feel grateful, and can also be expressed internally or externally. Gratitude often ignites acts of generosity; we are moved to offer ourselves to others without expecting anything in return. Buddhists refer to generous acts that are freely given as “royal generosity.” These are just a few of the qualities related to gratitude. The expression of gratitude creates an opening that invites many other positive states and experiences into our lives.
Prince’s clear expression of gratitude does create an opening that is inviting more bonding moments even if it is just an ear rub and a kiss. His embodiment of gratitude is teaching me to be present in the moment of the expression of energy I am radiating out. Am I clearly communicating energetically and verbally my gratitude in the moment? And what does that feel like? Each situation may be different and I am starting to track the moments I feel most alive and full of gratitude. The times that are the easiest for me to track this feeling is during a conversation with the animals, healings, teaching or leading ceremonies and I am grateful in those moments because I am so present.
Now can I cross train myself to feel the gratitude and the aliveness when chopping vegetables for dinner? Or when I am in conversation with a person who has opposing views? Can I be present and not get lost in distraction and thoughts?
According to ANGELES ARRIEN From her book Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life
When people in great numbers choose to practice, integrate, and embody gratitude, the cumulative force that is generated can help create the kind of world we all hope for and desire, for ourselves and for future generations.
I am thankful that I share my life with Prince, who can teach me about being present and embodying gratitude and exuding it with great clarity in the moment. I can then help create the world based on gratitude, kindness, compassion, and equality.
So this brings me to my gratitude for my clients, students and teachers and their animal companions and for the opportunity to be part of such deep and heartfelt conversations, healings, teachings, and ceremonies. Each conversation heightens my awareness of the depth of compassion and love that our animals have for us. Since the animals live in the present and are so attuned with the flow of energy they are skilled guides of balance and guiding us to the road back home to the heart, self, being here now and expressing ourselves in the moment. I often think of their role in the family as the family system therapist knowing when to demand attention to get their people off the computer, knowing who needs a snuggle or a long, long walk to help their person reconnect with nature and themselves.
To echo the animals in the advice I have heard repeatedly throughout the year
“Tend to yourself as well as you tend to your animals!”
Take yourself out on a walk, lay down and snuggle when you are tired, close the computer and look at the beauty that surrounds you may it be a ball at your feet with an eager dog to catch it or a demanding cat on your desk. Be present with the moments of life.
Originally posted Nov. 23,2016
My blog is an expression of interconnection of the web of life taught to me by the animals and nature.