I have been quiet for the month of April, taking a break from posting on social media. I chose to really listen deeply to my own heart and strengthen the muscle of tuning to my vibration and to keep the focus on my dream and how I can contribute to the greater good. It has been an interesting month of lessons through many reflections from my guides. The thing about my guides is they know me well such as I love games, am a big fan of scavenger hunts, and I love to receive messages while out in the natural world.
This morning I set out on my walk with asking my guides for a reflection of where my growing edge was for today.
As I enjoyed my walk through the kaleidoscope of green in the explosion of spring in the forest, I was full of gratitude for this particular bit of earth that I have walked on for over 25 years. Each season brings wonder and delight to me and my senses.
Since I live in Seattle, with a population of roughly around 760,000 these parcels of wilderness are a blessing. The parks department are always trying to find the balance between people, dogs, and respecting nature. Currently, these trails are frequented by many people who walk their dogs off-leash instead of taking them into the corraled official dog park. The City has been doing a great job of replanting a much-eroded hill by many dogs running up and down it chasing balls and each other. Recently, they put up a fence to keep the dogs on the paths for us who choose to still walk the dogs off the leash.
As I crested the rise to where the fence begins, to my dismay, it was partially knocked down and there was a friend inspecting the damage. As he left muttering about rude dog people who don’t respect the great effort of the city, my heart hurt a little. This fence had created a rift in the community that would meet in the mornings in the unofficial dog park where dogs run with wild abandon as we walk together and witness each others’ lives. I did not think it was afternoon dog people who had knocked down the fence – on further inspection the weight of the fence had snapped the last pole and down came the rest. Luckily only one pole had broken and low and behold there was a pole tamper lying under the down fence.
I was at a choice point here. Do I…:
We set to work and as a team of three women, we worked pole by pole – unbinding the fence from the pole then driving the poles deeper into the earth so they were solidly held. Then we stretched the fence to the next downed pole and repeated the process. Lucky for us, there was an extra pole laying around to replace the snapped pole. I asked the tree that the last pole was very close to where the best location for the pole would be to avoid damaging its root and the place we were directed to the pole went in smoothly and held securely – thank you, tree.
We had replaced the fence back to its full glory – setting a healthy boundary for dogs and people and I had a great reflection in response to my request from my guides of where was my growing edge for today.
Healthy boundaries with a strong foundation and asking for help from people.
Each of us has a whole spiritual team and guides who are willing to give us guidance and reflections if you ask – I find it adds a great deal of fun to life. I encourage you to start asking questions and be open to reflections and answers in the most unexpected ways!
Nineteen years ago today my mantra was, “My body knows how to give birth and this baby knows how to be born.” I surrendered to the wisdom of my body and the innate knowingness of my son and allowed the birthing process to naturally unfold. Eight hours later, he was born in a birthing tub at home surrounded by friends and family. Reflecting back on that incredible experience I realize that my acknowledging my body’s ability and not trying to micromanage what or how it should happen I was able to trust the process. I am not going to lie at times it was excruciatingly painful and yet at the same time, I knew that there would be an end result a beautiful baby would eventually be in my arms.
My labor experience gave me an understanding that our bodies are incredible vessels that have capabilities beyond our wildest imaginings. Communicating telepathically with other beings and using your intuition were capabilities everyone was able to do easily as children – preverbally. As we became verbal, more emphasis was placed on the mental aspect of communicating and telepathy took a step back. But, like any instrument that you may have played before, it just requires picking it back up finding the right chords and practicing to play your favorite song again. Our bodies are highly-tuned, telepathic sending and receiving instruments that are in constant communication with all of life. To strengthen it, all it requires is trusting it, acknowledging, and celebrating your body for receiving the information. After giving birth, I was in awe and wonder with my body and was in constant communication with it celebrating its capability to create, sustain, grow, and birth a child.
My body has cellular memory of the birthing process. I am grateful for this embodied knowing to help navigate the huge bump-up in energy from the eclipse, the invitation to expand, and find the balance between light and dark within as well as externally. I will, like in childbirth, surrender to the wisdom of my body and the innate wisdom it has of knowing what needs to be released in order for me to birth a new way of being. To support myself through this transformation, I will be in awe and wonder with my body and celebrate its capability to create, sustain, grow, and birth a new me. My new mantra is, “My body knows how to give birth to this new way of being and my Spirit knows how to be reborn.” My invitation to you is how can you surrender to the wisdom of your body to allow it do it’s thing and support you through this energetic time. What will your mantra be?
When my dog is chasing a ball, or I am asking him to do something with a treat in my hand, his focus is like a laser. His focus always brings to mind the concept that energy flows where attention goes. Focusing is one of the key components to animal communication. To be able to give them a clear understanding of what you want is made easier by setting your intention and clarifying thoughts. For example, if I am wanting him to get off the couch and stay off the couch, I will give him the command “off” and yet, I am thinking with a whole lot of frustration, “I know this rascal. As soon as I turn my back, he is going to jump right back on the couch.” Well, guess who will be sitting on the couch all day? Because he was listening to the energy and there was more flow of energy to my thoughts of him jumping on the couch, Prince will be sitting on the couch.
Who can resist those gorgeous brown eyes and black floppy ears? I must. I want him off. my. couch.
So, using focus, how would I communicate to him that the couch is off limits. The first step is by taking some time to gain clarity about why I want him off the couch and where he is welcome to lounge instead.
To go through my thought process: I want him off the couch because it is starting to smell like dog. I want him off the couch because he is dirty and he is making the couch dirty. I want him off the couch so every time I sit down I don’t go into the “Ahh, it smells like dog…I need to clean…I need to give him a bath…” and start to create a whole lot of frustration around this with a whole lot of energy. Basically, I want him off the couch because I want him off the couch. I observe I have a lot of frustration around it and I start beating myself up that I should have never let him on the couch or if I was a better dog trainer he’d never be on the couch, etc. Basically, a lot of stuck energy around this couch and that stuck energy flairs up when I see him on the couch.
Now, where do I want him to lounge instead? There are a variety of places he can lounge, his bed, the floor, the porch, the yard – just not on the couch.
How will I feel when he is lounging other places than the couch? I will feel happy that my couch is no longer a dog bed. I feel comfortable when people come over that my house is clean. I will feel more at ease when people are over that he will not jump up and join them on the couch. I just realized by allowing him to lounge on the couch, the couch is basically his territory and having people sitting on it is invading his space. Allowing him to lounge on it is a disservice to him by expecting him to be welcoming of people in his bed.
Having taken the time to clarify what I do want, I have a new focus with him and the couch – it is for him to learn to stay off the couch. I will focus my attention and intention on letting him know his job is to find new places to lounge and I will back those thoughts of my feeling of happiness in seeing him comfortably sprawled out on the floor. I can now firmly tell him “off” while I am thinking about him comfortably laying on his bed or laying on the floor. Focusing on his new job will make it easy to re-orient his lounging and it is not fueled by the frustration and big energy of “GET OFF THE #*#@ COUCH.” I can now firmly tell him “off” while I am thinking about him comfortably laying on his bed or laying on the floor.
One of my million dollar ideas to accomplish the no-Prince-on-the-couch-rule is to somehow bottle my dogs’ focus and create an elixir. This elixir will increase focus and efficiency with minimum effort mixed in with a whole lot of fun. I will use this magical elixir to create a routine when trying to get him off the couch. I will deliver this new routine with the same focus and attention he has on the ball when we are playing. His intensity to find the ball is coupled with the enthusiasm of the game. Now, can I make staying off the couch just as fun with my focus? The opportunity is to focus and master the feeling he has when playing ball of “come on, come on, throw the ball!” to “come on, come on, on the floor!” and coupling it with the excitement he has quivering through his body when he bounds off to find the ball. I will couple my focus of “on the floor” with the excitement of seeing him lounging on the floor. Once I master this, you are invited over for a nice chat on my clean comfortable couch.
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.
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
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.
Do your beloved animal companions a favor today and spend some time today setting your family’s intention and do some energetic house cleaning around the new intentions. When I am speaking about the family I am including all humans and animals that cohabit together. The animals we share our lives with play an important part within the family unit, they are the family system analysts and therapists. They are masters at reading and feeling energy, understanding energy flows, where attention and intention go.
Setting a family intention is a guiding light for the family – something to re-direct focus back to if things start to get out of alignment. And the energetic housecleaning means to literally go through the house and state the new intention while smudging – clearing out old energy and tuning the house to the new intention. Our animal companions spend a majority of time in the house Imagine what it feels like for them sitting in old energy that is just filling up the floor space. Clearing the energy is a gift for them.
As I have journeyed through a separation and a divorce, the family unit plunged into chaos and everyone was out of sorts. Our dog was completely confused, grieving the pack as the kids went back and forth between houses. I shared very similar feelings and to find solid ground I began setting daily intentions for my family- (at times the family only consisted of my dog and myself then it would expand to include the kids when they spent the week with us). At the beginning just trying to finding ground was difficult so the intention I chose was “Balance”. As I focused setting my intention on “Balance”, certain opportunities arose that invited me to make choices to either fall back into the chaos or move forward toward “Balance”. As I made choices that promoted the balance within myself, in my life, and the house, my dog started to settle – he was not as anxious and confused. Finding balance for him meant walking with other dogs which I resisting, at first, as my walks are a sacred alone time where I am able to work out a lot of emotion. Yet, honoring the intention of balance and his strong need for being with other dogs actually helped bring more balance to my life because I realized it met my need for social interaction as well.
Take a moment to enjoy setting the intention for the family and smudging your space knowing that your animals are grateful for the clarity both in body and home.
I have been pondering gratitude and the expression of it on my long walks that Prince, my dog, invites me on. When we are in the woods and he is running with other dogs and chasing balls I can feel the gratitude radiating off him with his big smile on his face and his responsiveness. As well as in the evening after he and I have had a session of tug of war or wrestling he settles down with a happy sigh. Then as the evening progresses he will check in on what I am doing throughout the evening with more of a “Hey, now what’s going on?” attitude compared to an exasperated “When are we going to play?” sighing attitude.
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