Have You Ever Experienced “Forest Bathing”?

animal communication

Remy Near One of the Old Oaks

I recently read an interesting article from the “Grateful News” (part of a regular Newsletter published by www.gratefullness.org) about the beneficial affects of  being around trees and/or spending time outside in nature.  It was perfect timing, as I have been experiencing a healing of sorts every time I go to visit my horse Remington.

The Farm where he lives is quite remote, miles away from the hustle and stress of the city, and is surrounded by trees, mountains, wildlife, pastures and beauty.  To my surprise, this article explains that one of the reasons I may feel so peaceful as I sit under one of the massive oak trees and eat my lunch while Remy’s small herd of three stands around me, is because oak trees are one of several trees which emit allelochemic substances called “phytoncides”.   These chemicals help the trees ward of insects and slow the growth of fungi and bacteria.

But here’s the “Forest bathing” part:  (translated from the Japanese term “Shinrin-yoku”).  When humans are exposed to these chemicals, it’s been scientifically proven that blood pressure lowers, stress is relieved and the growth of cancer-fighting white blood cells is boosted!

animal communication

Pastures and Oak Trees

Nature is our mother, in more ways than one.  When we take the time to reunite with her, spending time outside, reveling in the beauty, peace, harmony and wonder that is her, our very cells are affected.  And so is our spirit.  We are reminded on deep, subconscious levels that we are part of a larger whole, that in essence we are Nature.  Experiences like “Forest Bathing” bring us back to center, healing us on many, many levels; helping us to come home to who we really are.

 

Here’s What Happens When Cats Go Grocery Shopping

animal communication
Felix (left) and Oscar (right) helping with the groceries

Our two Orange Boys Oscar and Felix LOVE grocery shopping day.  As soon as I arrive home, bags in hand and start stacking them on the kitchen counters to be unloaded, the boys are ready to help.

They usually hear my car pull into the garage and when I first come in, are on the counter waiting for me to start unloading all the goodies.

They make a big deal of inspecting the bags, giving me the “hurry up” vibe, not-so-patiently waiting for the real and only reason they know I’ve come home with the bounty:  Kittie Grass.

animal communication
My Helpers

I buy wheat-grass at my favorite health food store, which most people use for juicing.  Since the boys are inside-only kitters (Our home is surrounded by nature and they would be coyote appetizers in a heart-beat.  They are very content to live inside with their outside deck for viewing, their numerous cat-trees through-out the house, consistent affection and attention and Bella, our dog to keep them entertained.)…..I always have fresh grass on hand for them.

animal communication
The Real Reason for Grocery Shopping

They have come to expect regular delivers of this delectable delight and they know that grocery shopping day almost always involves Kittie Grass.  Once I have all the bags on the counter I search through everything for it before unloading all the groceries, put it in the sink and water it, then set it on the counter where they are both waiting to dig in.  They each grab a bite or two then go to their garden-window beds where they take a bath, relishing the after-taste of grass and then settle in for a nice long sun-nap while I empty the bags and put everything  away.

animal communication
The After-Grass Nap

My life is blessed with the animals who share it with me.  They are not only my four-legged buddies, my confidants and comfort-givers, they are my beloved teachers who remind me daily of how to live in the present, be one with nature and cherish the unconditional love that fills my life and heart with cherished moments.

Have You Ever Taken A Nap With A Horse and Been Healed?

animal communication
Saddle Creek Farm

The last two times I’ve visited with Remington, I’ve had an extraordinary experience.  It may seem like no big deal to some one else but for me, it has been a profound, enlightening and consciousness-altering gift.

After I take Remy out of the pasture and we do our usual walk around the Farm, groom, go eat grass, I return him to the pasture where his buddies William and Luke await his return.  They are a close knit herd and Remy is loved by them both.  I then gather up my chair and lunch stuff and go sit under the shade of one of the massive oak trees in the pasture where I can watch the boys and revel in the beauty, quiet and natural serenity of the moment.  Usually, the boys are wandering around the pasture, grazing, interacting or just hanging out.

animal communication
Got Anything For Us?

But now there is a new routine.  It starts with Remy trotting over to me, a beautiful expression on his face, obviously delighted that I’m there and eager to spend some more time with me.  Then follows the greetings from the other two boys.  All three spend time convincing me that it would be a good idea to share my lunch with them, but Remy knows the routine, so he usually just stands near me and tells the other boys to give it up; their treats will come later.

And then he invites them all to take a nap.   They surround my chair, up close and personal with not only me, but each other, cock one of their hind legs and proceed to enter that mysterious equine zone where horses go when they are sleeping while standing up.  It is obvious they see me as part of the herd and feel extremely comfortable with me.  Horses don’t nap unless they feel safe.  And almost always they will nap next to each other, even when they live in corrals.  You’ll see them hugging the fence-line, standing next to each other while they nap.

animal communication
Companion Napping

What makes this such an unusual and delicious experience for me is the state of consciousness that surrounds me while they are in their nap zone.  It is permeable.  It wraps around me like a soft, protective bubble, their energies taking me to a place of utter oneness and unity.  We become one ‘being’ of pure spirit, pure peace and harmony.  It is both humbling and exhilarating at the same time.  I am aware of being healed on a very deep level; the gift of equine wisdom and love soaking into my very cells.

Animal Communicaton
Remy and William

And the healing lasts; it stays with me.  I am reminded many times throughout the following days of the experience and all I have to do is picture it and I can feel the healing energies affecting me again.

Horses are profound, amazing and sometimes misunderstood creatures.  When you open your heart to their heart, you may find yourself being transported to a place that touches your very soul.

Listen For The Trees Who Sing

animal communication

Nature Preserve

We live overlooking a beautiful nature preserve….complete with a bounty of trees and our own small “Wild Kingdom” of various wildlife.  Today when I took our dog Bella for a walk, I decided to go down the road that leads to the preserve.  Since it’s off-limits (to protect the animals and habitat) we only approached the entrance.

As I stood, taking in the quiet, the beauty and the energy of this sacred space, I heard our ‘singing trees’.  These are the eucalyptus and in several spots they are crowded together, their limbs intertwined in an embrace of togetherness and community.  When the wind gently moves through them, they create a sound that is unique only to them.  Almost like the tones of a violin being played, as the limbs rub against each other they create a sound: their song.

animal communication

Eucalyptus Families

Standing under them, Bella and I were serenaded by their mystical symphony….a reminder that we are all connected.  We are all part of this wondrous phenomenon of Nature; we are never separate from her and when we open our hearts to her, we are brought back to the center of our being.

Walking back home, I was soothed and relaxed; touched deeply and so grateful for the experience.

Animals As Spiritual Advisors and Mystics

animal communication

Turkey Vulture Riding The Winds

I believe that animals are messengers.  I’ve written about this before, since I experience daily the powerful wisdom of animals and their timely appearances in my life.  When we pay close attention to not only our domesticated animal friends, but to the wildlife around us (even if you live in a city and your contact with wildlife is minimal), we can begin to see that they show up at just the right moment…..usually with a message or a meaning for us.  One of the best books I recommend to learn more about this subject is Steven D. Farmer’s “Animal Spirit Guides”.

Here’s an example of an animal showing up in my life as a messenger: The last time I visited my horse Remington, a vulture flew overhead, almost pausing as he passed back and forth over me.  It was clear he was a messenger.

animal communication

Turkey Vulture

Now vultures don’t have the best ‘feel good’ reputation with some people, although they are vital to the natural Eco-system and help keep things in balance.  As natural consumers of carcasses, they help clean up the ‘smelly things’ in life.  So how did this relate to me?  I am currently going through a chapter in my life as I approach the age of 65 in which I am taking stock; letting go of the things, people, stuff, etc. that don’t ‘smell right’.  (or in this case don’t feel right to my inner guidance.)  Vulture’s graceful and agile way of riding the winds that day was a wonderful gesture to me that I am on the right path.  He helped confirm for me that letting go of ‘dead’ energy in my life is a powerful and important action for me to be taking.

The next time you encounter an animal, check in with yourself.  Is there a message for you?  Is the presence of this animal just a coincidence or is there a much deeper meaning just waiting for you to discover it?

 

 

What To Do When Your Animal Friend Displays Jealousy

animal communication
Oscar

A couple of days ago, I decided to brush Felix, one of our Orange Boys.  He doesn’t normally like to be brushed, but that day he was in a particularly affectionate mood and actually indulged himself in the feel of the bristles as they pulled out mounds of his shedding coat.  He was completely in the zone when his brother Oscar came over for some action.  Oscar likes to be brushed.  Whenever I brush our dog Bella he always appears, expecting some brush-time too.

Well, as soon as I started brushing Oscar, rotating back and forth between both brothers.  Brush, brush here….brush, brush there…..Felix became irate!  He pounced on his brother with obvious jealousy and then when I attempted to brush him, he fiercely pounced on my hand and the brush.

animal communication

Oscar and Felix Sharing Some Peace Time

What to do?  I knew scolding him wouldn’t work.  Felix can escalate very easily when he’s mad.  He’s the kind of cat that will fight back, not back down.  So I paused for a moment, went back to brushing Oscar while I peacefully looked at Felix and emitted kindness through my eye contact and using a gentle voice said “No fighting Felix”.  He pouted and grimaced and gave me back the stink eye, knowing I wouldn’t scold him, but also knowing he couldn’t get away with bad behavior.  He walked into the other room where I followed him, checked his energy to be sure he was starting to quiet himself down, then stroked him lovingly, told him he was a good boy (which he was for pulling himself together), then did a few more strokes with the brush and telepathically told him that we could have many more wonderful brushing sessions in the future if he behaved politely and kindly.  The whole incident took about 2 minutes, but it ended peacefully and with deep understanding.

animal communication

Felix

Animals have a wealth of emotions which are similar to ours.  We hold the monopoly over them when it comes to guilt, self-incrimination, over-analyzing (and therefore over-feeling), hatred and a few others, but there are many emotions we share with them.  As an Animal Communicator I have always found that when dealing with a challenging emotion coming from an animal (like jealousy or fear), it always works to use not only common sense, but loving kindness.  Just like us when we are feeling a negative emotion that’s making us upset, what we ultimately want is support, love and empathy, not a confrontation or a scolding.

Animals are always reminding us in one way or another that love is the only path towards harmony and goodness.  Love will always overpower any and all other feelings.  Love provides the light which heals, pacifies, nurtures and ultimately enlightens those who are sending it out as well as those who are receiving it.

Teaching Our Children About Sacred Relationships With Animals

 

animal communication

Abby

Our next-door neighbors are having a birthday party tomorrow for their beautiful daughter Alice who just turned 1 year old.  I’ve watched Alice grow from a new-born to a toddling, curious and strong willed little one.  From the moment I met her, I knew she had a gift of intuitive sensitivity.   And as she’s become increasingly more mobile, she’s started insisting on coming over to see our dog Bella.  She and Bella have a thing….Bella who can be a bit hyper is gentle, quiet and even submissive with Alice.  And Alice is inquisitive, but kind with Bella.  When I watch them together, I can feel Alice’s heightened awareness and connection with Bella.  Even Alice’s mom says she has to be careful sometimes because Alice wants to go up to every dog she sees.  Most children have a natural, uninhibited need to connect with animals (unless they have picked up fear or concern from their parents).

When allowed to be, children are automatic Animal  Communicators. They haven’t yet been conditioned out of their natural abilities to use telepathy in exploring their surroundings.  The gift of instinct, the power of intuitive listening is born into us when we arrive on this planet and when cultivated, this gift can grow and become a normal, accepted way of being.  There are many indigenous cultures that still exist today in which children are raised to respect, understand and feel at one with nature and all her beautiful creations.

animal communication

Bella

 

When trying to decide what kind of birthday gift I wanted to give Alice, I decided against the traditional toy, cute dress, or the latest and hippest thing for a one year old.  Instead, I framed a print of one of my favorite paintings I did years ago of a Golden Lab named Abby.  My hope is that Alice’s parents will hang it in her room where every day she can talk to Abby and remember her special connection to all animals.  I hope Abby helps her recall the sacredness of animals and the wealth of joy, wonder, love and wisdom that is waiting for Alice as she grows up and develops many relationships with many animals.

 

Altered States of Consciousness and the Animals Who Take Us There

animal communication

Remy and William

As I have been spending more time with Remington and his pasture mates….in their pasture……. I have been experiencing a shift in consciousness that I did not anticipate.  During the first few weeks, it was all about establishing hierarchy amongst the four of us.  Luke, the oldest is the Herd Boss.  Next in line is Remington and the youngster William is last.  Horses in herds develop these roles not just for safety and order, but for socialization, comfort and to create a sense of harmony.  Unlike predators they are prey animals, so maintaining a system of organization is not only necessary for their survival, but for their peace of mind.  Even though these boys are not living in the wild, they still carry the same ancient genes of their ancestors…it’s one of the most  fascinating facts about domesticated horses.  They remain “wild” in ways that captivate us, entrance us and ultimately cause us to want to be with them and their mysterious wisdom.  We hope they might help us touch upon our own ancient ways, finding more harmony and peace like they do.

As I have helped the boys learn that when I am in their pasture with them, it is I that is the Herd Boss, our dynamic has changed.  They don’t experience me as a predator or as another two-legged who’s just going to make them do stuff to suit my own needs.  (as is true for so many horses who are ridden and/who perform in various equine sports).  So, as an accepted member of their herd and the established leader, they feel secure, safe and content enough to show their true selves to me.  They don’t have to be on the watch for me to come over and demand something of them.  Instead they watch me sit in my chair while enjoying my lunch, or wandering the pasture, standing under the shade of the majestic oak trees, or simply just taking in the wonder and natural essence of the beautiful farm where they live.  (It is a magical place; miles away from the city and surrounded by mountainous hills and valleys, plentiful wildlife and a genuine peace that is permeable).

animal communication

Remy and Luke

 

The other day when I was relaxing in my chair, just watching the boys grazing together at the other end of their large pasture I found myself slipping into another dimension….an altered state of consciousness in which I became merged with all the sounds, smells, textures and energy of that moment.  It was a pure and all-encompassing state of presence.  Time became irrelevant as a sense of profound peace and oneness overcame me.  I don’t know how long  I remained in this state, but as I slowly came “back”, I looked up and all three horses were making their way over to me and came to stand around me.  

“So, how did that feel?”, they all inquired.  “You just entered OUR world.  That’s where we live all the time.  You can do it too, you know.  Just let go and merge into it.  It’s a field that surrounds you and is a part of you all the time.”

animal communication

Remy, talking to me about altered states while grazing

 Not knowing what else to say, I was so deeply touched by this…..I just said “Thank you.  I will take this with me and practice being in that state more often, especially when I am with you.”

An Unexpected Experience of Becoming A Horse

animal communication

The Boys

Yesterday when I visited Remington, I had one of the most profound experiences with him and his herd mates.  As per our usual visits, I took Remy out of the pasture for our walk around the farm, we groomed and also had a special visit with friends who had come to see him.  When I took him back to his pasture, I decided to have my lunch sitting inside the pasture.

I’ve been doing this the last few visits, instead of sitting outside the fence.  The boys can get rowdy and playful at times and I wasn’t sure that sitting in my chair, having lunch with them would be a safe idea.  The first few times I tried this, sitting under the welcome shade of one of the many huge oak trees in their pasture, they were of course very curious and immediately surrounded me with pushy noses and expectant gestures, sure I was going to share my lunch with them.  I made it clear to them that I needed a certain amount of safe space around me….they were welcome to stay, but needed to be careful and mindful.  So far, they’ve figured out that I just want to sit there and enjoy my lunch, watching them and being in their presence, so they’ve usually wandered off to graze. 

animal communication

Grazing Peacefully

 

But yesterday, they wanted to stay around me.  They circled me, all at a respectable distance so as not to intrude…..but just wanted to be with me.  Then Remy began to paw at the ground near me, a sure gesture that he was thinking of rolling in the dirt.  (Their usual role spot is at the other end of the pasture, so I found it interesting that he  wanted to role there.)  I noticed Luke (who is the boss of Remy and the youngster William) watching Remy.  Remy stopped his pawing and then Luke began to paw the dirt, laid down for a good role, then got up and wandered off a short distance.  Then Remy (who is next in command as far as their herd dynamics) got in a good role and while he was flopping from side to side, William laid down right next to him and rolled.  They both got up and after shaking themselves off, stood near by. 

animal communication

A Good Role

I was overcome with the deepest, truest feeling that I was now an accepted part of their herd, something that I’ve intellectually understood but have never really experienced with such a profound knowing.  My entire consciousness shifted in that moment.  Sitting there, surrounded by these beautiful, gentle beings…..I felt one with them, merged with them.  I could feel their equine energy, not just as a human being, watching them and enjoying their company but as though I was one of them.  It’s an experience that is nearly impossible to describe, but one I will never, ever forget.  I feel changed, expanded, shifted……humbled, honored.  And so excited about seeing my equine brethren again!   

The Healing Power of Being Surrounded by Horses

animal communication

Bill enjoying his picnic

My husband Bill and I visited Remington yesterday….Sunday being one of the few days when Bill can take time away from the business.  I knew it would be beneficial for him to be out in nature, surrounded by peace and beauty, but I also knew the healing presence of horses would do him good.

All animals are good for us two-leggeds; they bring us closer to nature and to the things that really matter: companionship, fun, honesty, stress relief and pure, unconditional love.  But horses in particular have a peculiar, healing affect on humans.  Even for those like my husband whose lives don’t revolve around horses, just being in the presence of equine energy has a way of transporting us into another world.  Horses have the power to influence our perspective, taking us to a dimension that is timeless and surreal.  Even when we are just enjoying a picnic on a Sunday afternoon at a horse farm, we are influenced by the silent, palpable and powerful vibration of equine wisdom.

animal communication

Remy, Luke and William enjoying their pasture

 

Because horses live primarily in a state of being which is intuitive and naturally present, they emit a kind of force that touches our soul.  It begs us to remember our inner self; that place within us that is  quiet, all-knowing and trusting.  As Bill and I sat and watched Remington and his buddies Luke and William grazing in their pasture, I was deeply touched by how simple and refreshingly beautiful life is. 

And when Remy came running up to the fence, his beautiful face aglow with contentment and curiosity (“Got any more carrots, mom?”), my heart melted.  I don’t know that I will ever be fully able to express in words the profoundly deep connection I feel with horses, especially with Remington.  It is something that is felt deep within me rather than understood intellectually.

animal communication

My Sweet Remington

 

But I do know this:  horses have touched my life and my spirit like nothing else during my lifetime.  The more I spend time with them, the more I am convinced that they know far more than I do about life and living in balance and harmony.  I hope some day to learn their secrets, understand their wisdom and rise up to their standards of faith, forgiveness, hope, trust and loyalty. 

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