Cultivating Connection

A beautiful thing happens when MacGyver wakes up from a nap.  He seeks me out.  He seeks me out to be with me.  Every time he does this it reminds me of how I would seek my mother after a nap.  I just wanted a hug.  No reason other than that sweet moment between dreaming and full wakefulness.  MacGyver approaches me in his partial dreamtime state and asks to “be” with me. There is no agenda.  We are in a beautiful state of “being” with one another.  Nothing more than the sweet perfection that is that moment.  Nothing less than the sweet perfection that is that moment.  And then we enjoy more moments as they come.  We let go of the moment that just passed and enjoy another.  It’s a chain, you see.  Moments are just one snapshot in time.  Sometimes they are magnificently constructed and leave us reminiscing about the feeling.  Other times they are subtle movement through space and time with two spirits in a congruent state of “being”.  Neither is holding onto the last moment.  Neither is looking ahead to the next moment.

He rarely sticks around for long.  Often after a few pets and snuggles where we truly experience each other’s spirit, moving through that chain of moments as one, he contently wanders back to his napping spot.  That heart to heart connection (in shamanism it a type of a ceke line) is a sacred energetic line between two beings.  It’s a powerful connection, one that’s strength and presence continues regardless of space and time…if you nurture it…if you practice it.

A few years ago, early in my Reiki and shamanic training, I realized something about myself.  I had been, for as long as I could remember, receiving guidance and information from the animals around me.  I just didn’t know it.  It always seemed rather random and out of my control.  Sometimes it is a sense of knowing, other times it is a message from the natural world.  Sometimes it happens in a dream.  Sometimes it’s a 2×4 over my head (yes, even a sensitive person misses the subtle clues).  I’ve always been aware of my sensitive nature, but I didn’t realize that I could cognitively perceive the subtleties of being present and intuitive.  I know there are many people out there who feel the same way.  Everyone has the ability to connect with and partner with animals on a much deeper level than they think.  In shamanism we ask ourselves what energy center we are operating from.  For myself, and many others, we tend to migrate to our minds.  We process information and formulate plans.  Even when we believe we are being present, we are still in our heads.  But what can happen when we operate from our heart centers is an experience that can leave anyone speechless.  Words get in the way when we are genuinely experiencing the present moment with another being.  Language becomes an obstacle rather than a helpful tool.

What I found during my training was that I can intentionally access my ability to perceive information from the world around me.  Animals in physical form, animal spirits, plant spirits, Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, the stones, whatever the name is that describes your Great Spirit…the list goes on and on. Everyone has this ability.  Everyone can access it if they choose.  Imagine the connection that you can experience with your animal companion if you spend time practicing being in that state of oneness together!  It’s a state void of expectation, absent of thought, and open to communication.  Animals are incredibly communicative and they are always in dialogue with us.  We, as humans, press the mute button in our heart centers when we move to our heads to analyze situations, behaviors and interactions.  When we make ourselves available to receiving information through heart to heart connection with animals, and then continue that dialogue instead of getting stuck in a moment…when we can do that…magic happens.  Connection with our animal companions isn’t about a moment.  Connection doesn’t happen as an isolated event.  Connection is cultivated.  It’s an open, nonverbal dialogue between species.

There is this beautiful state of being that presents upon waking and it can help you begin to find your way into deeper connection with animals and the natural world.  When we emerge from dreamtime, we are in a semi-sleeping and semi-conscious state of being.  If it is you who just woke from sleep, access that state by mindfully experiencing it.  If it is your animal companion who just woke from sleep, stop what you are doing and take time to match their state.  Clear your head and just BE, letting the moments guide you…letting each moment pass.  It’s a beautiful space to experience with an animal!

These are the experiences that shape my connection and genuine, meaningful partnerships with animals.  These are the experiences that hold more significance than my behavior training plan because teaching a behavior requires less effort when we are in a reciprocal dialogue with one another.  Today, during his brief break from dreamtime, MacGyver and I spent a few moments “being” with one another in a sweet, gentle and raw form.  We were simply present together in each moment, regardless of how many moments graced us, cultivating the connection that is the source from which everything else grows.

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