Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gazehound's Creature Thoughts: May/June 2007


May/June 2007*

Keeping in touch with the animals....
and the people who love them

Serenity and Connection


They say that the greatest wisdom arrives over quiet seas.  So often, our modern-society lives are full of rushing here and there, checking off to-do lists that never end, and we rarely get a moment to just sit.  "Just sitting", though, is one of the most fulfilling things a person can do when trying to grow closer, and increase understanding, with their animal companions.

Watch your cat, your dog, your horse ... observe how much they treasure quiet time, whether napping, soaking up the sun, or grazing contentedly in a pasture.  Don't think, "he's so lazy, all he does is eat and sleep all day" -- thinking along those lines is such a human thing to do.  Try to appreciate the fact that your friend actually does treasure those moments, and finds joy in them.  Try "just sitting" for a while.  Turn some music on (for this purpose Mozart might be preferable to Linkin Park) if it helps you to quiet your mind, or if you find your thoughts scattering and running back to all those things you haven't crossed off your list yet.  It doesn't have to be a long time, just five or ten minutes a day will do to start with.  Have your animal companion at your side, and just "be" with him.

You'll be amazed at how your relationship improves.  Even relationships that are great to begin with will find new depth, and your animal friend will truly appreciate that you wish nothing more than to "be" by his side.

Aside from just being present with my animals, I also find it fun and enlightening, when I spend quite moments with them, to try mirroring them at times.  If out walking quietly around the yard, I'll watch how my dog moves, and attempt to move my legs the same way, arch my neck similarly, and otherwise shadow what it might feel like to "be a dog".  The cats can get into some positions, of course, that would strain a few muscles if I tried to fully mimic them, but I can move my body in a suggestion of those poses, which is often an interesting and fun activity.  When doing this, I will try to reach my mind toward them, pretending that I'm living inside their skin, and imagine how it feels to be who they are.  As silly as others might think these games are, I do find it helps my emotional connection with the animals when I remember to spend this kind of time by their sides.

Recently, I've returned to the act of honoring one of my earliest and greatest life's loves: horses.  I have been volunteering my time grooming at a nearby farm.  I've also been playing with a particular horse who needed a regular friend, a Percheron named Zeus.  He's a wonderful soul, as are all of the animals at this farm, and it's been a great opportunity for me to be around them.  "Hanging out with the herd" up in their pasture, before the fly season brought them back inside during the day, was great fun, as I'd interact with them and observe the myriad ways that they interact with one another.  While there, I've also been privileged to get to know the other animal residents: llamas and alpacas, pigs, sheep and goats, rabbits, and various types of barnyard fowl including some very cool peacocks.  One of the greatest things about spending time at the farm, is the opportunity to carefully observe the behavior, and as a result get to know the souls, of all the animals there.  Each has his or her very unique and special personality, and they all find wonderful ways to amaze me.  They teach me so much.

I encourage you all to seek the quiet moments, or actively create them if they're hard to find, to just be with, and to imagine what it is like to be, your animal friends.  I trust that it will not only help you to know them better, but bring more serenity and connection to your entire life as a whole.




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After writing the above article, I walked out into the living room to see if Pree would like to contribute, and she trotted up and hopped into my lap with an encouraging purr and meow.  She shared that the animals enjoy the quiet and connection time, too.  She says she loves when I just "sit" with her, and actively try to quiet my mind.  She knows that human  thought is so often scattered and chaotic, and she appreciates that I make a concentrated effort to quiet those thoughts just to be with her.  She's sure other animals are just as pleased when their humans do the same.  Pree also says that she'd encourage animals to try to "be" their humans ... to stretch their own imaginations to see things from a human perspective.  She thinks that the animals might be better at that than the humans are ... because they, for the most part, are better at quieting their minds and appreciating the peace to begin with.

There are, of course, always exceptions ... but those exceptions might actually benefit from the exercise more than most.

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Gayle Nastasi
Animal Communication Consultant
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