Those of us that are Stronghearts, those of us that allow our hearts to be strong enough to "feel" for animals, sometimes find that in opening our hearts fully to animals and their emotions it can also open our hearts to other humans. Lately it seems that an extra feeling of division and intolerance between people, especially in the US where I live, has been coming to light.
Because of my deep connection to animals and my seeing them as complete equals, I have always had to walk a path of finding a way to connect with people who did not see or understand the world as I do. My way of relating to other humans has always been grounded in the ability to feel compassion & kindness toward animals and friendship has taken root if I can find at least a seed in them that mirrors the love I feel for animals.
Often the seed is there, but has not been watered by having the connection with an animal companion. I have seen many people who maybe didn't grow up with animals (or even harbored a bit of fear of a certain kind of animal, ) whose hearts grew and strengthened once they were graced by the unconditional love of an animal family member. This transformation changes us to the core of our souls. Once open to animals and able to "feel" who they are and the way they love us and take care of us emotionally & energetically, the seed not only grows into a beautiful plant but it also blooms and allows others to see the incomparable flowers. It also begins to extend to other animals outside the family and beyond those species who live with humans as family members.
When I see someone connecting at this level with their animals, treating them with the level of kindness and respect that accompanies this type of soul connection, I am able to feel kinship and love towards that person too. This extends to those that have experienced the love even if their companion has crossed the rainbow bridge, or those who perhaps don't currently have an interspecies family, but who find other ways to connect with them, such a protecting and forming connections with wildlife and helping in any way possible.
Seeing this seed, watching it bloom into love and gratitude for all that animals so freely share with us, becomes my way of connecting with other humans. It helps me to see them as a being, instead of as their occupation, politics, religion or a combination of personality traits that differ from mine. I am not perfect and don't always succeed but I do notice that if I know someone truly & deeply loves and cares for at least one animal I feel at least the roots of a possible connection sprout.
*The photo is of Perry, my beloved companion who crossed over the rainbow bridge many years ago.
Happy New Year Stronghearts! Last January I wrote about setting intentions for making the language we use to refer to animals more inclusive, for example always using “he,” “she” or “they” instead of “it” since as we all know, they are beings, not objects. Many of us already do this. This year I would like to take it a step further and have animals included and acknowledged in any situation where it would apply.
For example, on a personal level we can make sure to always include them when asked about our family. “How many kids do you have?” “I have five kids, two human, two dogs and one cat.” Or “Do you live alone?” “No, I live with my best friend Perry, who happens to be a dog.”
On a societal & cultural scale I would like to see animals always included when news is reported. Anytime there is a natural disaster we always hear on the news how many human lives were lost or saved. I notice & cringe at this omission every single time. It makes more sense to me to hear for example “the house was lost to flooding but rescue workers saved a family of three people and their two cats.” Or if a person does pass away- normally we say they leave behind a loving spouse, two kids etc. I believe we should include that they are survived by their loving and devoted dog. (And as a side note to that, it is always a good idea to have “god parents” for our animal companions so they are not taken to a shelter or abandoned if anything happens to us.)
There has been progress in the US since the disastrous events surrounding the 2005 hurricane Katrina in New Orleans when people were not allowed to evacuate with their companion animals. This tragic situation brought forth a lot of positive changes. We are not yet at the point where most people see it as the same if a human dependent versus a non-human dependent is abandoned, but it is getting better. It is up to those of us who already see animals as family to lead the way for many who possibly feel this way but are afraid to speak up. It made me happy to see Canadian North airlines evacuating interspecies families together to safety during the Fort McMurray wildfires last year. This was a beautiful example of “bending the rules” in an emergency to support interspecies families. I would like the rule to become that families must be kept together, regardless of species.
Finally, on a general (global) scale, I would like to see animals included in all the statements about making the world a better place. Humans tend to say things like “May there be peace for all people.” This is a lovely sentiment but to me it feels incomplete. I can’t help but notice what (or who) is missing. I prefer to hear “May there be peace for all” or “for all beings.” We often hear about environmental stewardship in relation to “leaving earth a better place for our grandchildren.” Again, this is a positive thing but what about leaving earth intact and better for all the inhabitants, not only for the human ones. It may feel wordy or strange at first, but if we take the lead and get used to saying “I want to help people and animals” instead of just “people” it will spread consciousness about this. Many of us already feel this way, we are simply not used to verbalizing it.
How we communicate makes a difference and can create social and eventually legal changes. I believe 2017 is going to be an amazing year for animals and for the people who love them!