Fairfield County Edition

Live Like an Animal

Appreciating Wisdom from Other Species

Many pet lovers make resolutions about how they will care for their animals. This year, take it a step further and consider setting an intention to live like an animal because, when we stop to consider it, every species has wisdom to offer.

Greet People You Love Like a Dog. Dogs know how to welcome people they love. Research shows that some dogs sense the instant their owners depart for home and will begin waiting, even if the humans are miles away or have an erratic schedule. Dogs give humans exuberant greetings and clearly demonstrate how thrilled they are to be reunited. Humans don’t give as much thought to greeting the people they love, especially if they see them frequently. A cursory “hi” upon arrival, followed by an immediate return to the daily distractions of the computer, phone, to do list, etc. is the norm. In 2019, show people how much they mean by greeting them with enthusiasm and giving them undivided attention, even if only briefly. Watch what happens with your relationships with this simple act of appreciation and love.  

Claim Your Desires and Offer Your Gifts Like a Cat. Anyone who has spent time with a cat can understand why they were once worshipped as gods. Cats have a confident, almost regal presence. They know what they want, and seem to be quite comfortable claiming it, whether it is food, a special spot on the couch, or your attention. Cats also seem to have a healthy sense of self-worth; they believe they are valuable and are confident giving what they have to offer. Humans are less effective at clearly asking for what they want and believing they will get it. Our species also seems less able to recognize our unique strengths and gifts and be comfortable sharing them with the world. In 2019, be like a cat; ask for what you want and believe in what you have to offer. You are worth it!

Return to Grazing Like a Horse. As prey animals, horses are constantly vigilant. They scan their environment looking for signs of danger and will take immediate action if they sense a problem. As soon as the danger has passed, however, horses immediately return to grazing, their natural relaxed state when their heads are down and they rhythmically munch on their grass or hay. They are ready for anything, but live in the moment, so once the danger has passed, they return to peace. Humans have a much tougher time with this. Humans often get stuck in a constant state of perceived danger, even when nothing dangerous is happening in the moment. Humans project fears onto the future and worry about the past, entirely missing the calm of the present. In 2019, set the intention to return to grazing like a horse, take each moment as it comes and enjoy more peace.

Shed What You No Longer Need Like a Snake. One of the amazing things about snakes is that they shed their entire skin. When they are actively growing, some species shed as often as every two weeks. As adults, many types of snakes still shed their skins two to four times annually. Humans may not shed in as dramatic a fashion as snakes, but can embrace the shedding process and the growth it represents by shedding possessions and beliefs. Humans are often surrounded by meaningless things that can drain energy and time, but still have trouble letting them go because they may have once been important. Shedding old limiting beliefs and unwanted things is an essential part of growth and makes room for new energy and experiences. In 2019, review your physical and mental environments and shed the items and beliefs that are holding you back. Recognize how you have grown over the years and celebrate how you are continuing to change as you spend the coming year shedding what you no longer need like a snake.

Embrace Change and Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Like a Frog. Frogs are born as tadpoles with gills and a long tail, designed to live in water. As they mature, frogs lose their tail and gills, and grow arms and legs. At some point, they need to step out of the watery home they’ve known and begin living on land. That’s a big transition! Humans also go through many transitional stages. As babies and toddlers, humans constantly push boundaries and try new things, but tend to become less comfortable with change as adults. By approaching life with a sense of curiosity, wonder, and adventure, it is possible to reconnect with the fun of change like in childhood instead of approaching change with fear or dread.  Make a list of some areas in which you would like to grow. As you step outside of your comfort zone and explore in 2019, realize that you can survive and thrive in many situations, just like a frog.

The list of animal wisdom intentions could go on and on: spread your wings like a bird, eat mindfully like a rabbit, and play like a fox. Every animal has wisdom to offer humans. Adopt the characteristics that resonate, start living like the animals, and get ready for an amazing year!

Carrie Brady always lives with a menagerie of animals. She is the creator of Possibilities Farm, a unique wellness center in Wilton where she partners with horses to bring out the best in humans through innovative non-riding programs. Services include equine-assisted reiki, meditation, creative arts, drumming, and personal and professional development workshops. Carrie also leads the Heart Herd, an online community applying horse wisdom to daily life at PossibilitiesFarm.com/Heart-Herd.html. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 57.

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