When it comes to animal communication there’s a couple of pipe dreams floating in the air:
All animals are waiting with bated breath to have the chance to talk to us and share their message for our benefit
That learning to talk to the animals happens because of a single grand gesture on the human’s part
Some of those grand gestures are:
Taking that weekend class
Reading the latest book
Signing up for an on-line webinar
It has the ring of a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Do these prescribed things and MAGIC will happen, you’ll be talking with the animals in no time!
But what happens when you do those prescribed things and the magic doesn’t happen?
I remember early on when I met my first animal communicator IRL. I had called her out of desperation because of a habit my dog Teddy had - peeing and pooping in the house (you can read that story here). I was so impressed with the results that I decided to sign up for her weekend class.
That first morning I sat in the circle, excited, nervous and anxious. The morning was spent with an introduction which involved listening and taking notes, followed by a break. Then it was time for our first exercise.
It was a basic question - connect with the animal and see what she tells you.
I connected *just like I was told to do in the introduction that I had so assiduously taken notes on* and I got a …..
After the exercise it was time to share what we got.
Everyone got wonderful, positive tidbits from the animal. Then it was my turn to share about the BIG NOTHING.
It was humiliating. I felt guilt, shame and all those things that go along with ‘not good enough’.
Decades later, as an animist, I am now able to look back on that formative experience with compassion. I have forgiven myself for all the unnecessary shit I piled upon myself due to what I thought was my failing, my not being good enough.
There’s a noxious underbelly when it comes to animal communication - that we all should be able to communicate with animals, the animal will always answer our question and if we get that BIG NOTHING (or an answer contrary to what is expected) it’s our fault, we’re doing something wrong.
Those assumptions leave some things out of the picture, some MIGHTY BIG things:
the animal’s own agency
the animal’s own authority
the nurturing and tending of right relationship
Learning to recognize and accept the animal’s own agency and authority is a BIG THING and it doesn’t happen overnight, or happen because it’s solely our intention to connect with another sentient being. When we start to recognize an animal’s agency, we are going against what society and culture has taught and engrained in us, what we all carry in our genes and what we often unconsciously think: We, the humans, have authority over all.
My, that can be a heavy load!
But let’s get to the good news…..
Changes can be made, changes that are made with consistency and connection, one baby step at a time.
Being present with the animal and waiting for her/him to tell you the next step, IF there is even a next step
Being willing to sit in that uncomfortable space of BIG NOTHING, knowing this is what is and you’re not responsible for it
Recognizing when you slip into that ever-so-natural-and-usually-well-meaning state of disregarding the animal’s own agency
Knowing what your boundaries are; what is yours to work with and knowing what simply ‘is’ and doesn’t involve you
Making complex and cathartic changes like I described above are a joint effort. Why? Because we all sometimes need an outside eye to show where more change is needed, to model successful steps in making these changes, to reflect where and when old patterns keep popping up and most importantly, to celebrate and witness the good work as it’s being done.
So what do I want you to take away from this? When you’re connecting with the animals, be aware of yourself, how you’re approaching them. Learn to notice when old patterns and habits pop up that block or control the natural flow of the conversation. Learn to notice, nurture and tend those new steps that you are taking that recognize and acknowledge the animal’s own agency.
If you would like some help, let’s set up a time to chat and see how I can help you make those changes happen.
We’re All In This Together,