Reprinted with permission from the December 2001 issue of Dr. Bob and Susan Goldsteins' Love of Animals newsletter, 606 Post Rd. East, Westport, CT 06880; for subscription information, call 800/211-6365
After the anguish of September 11th and its far-reaching fallout shared by millions of people and animals many of you have called to share your concerns with regards to the safety of your animals.
Bob and I believe we all need to take a little breather from all the sadness but to do so with a whole new spiritual clarity that is, to indulge in the holidays with a fresh perspective on what is really important in our lives.
While it's certainly good to be proactive, once you've set up your basic protocol of protection, don't dwell on the "what if." Instead cherish the moments you share with your loved ones. Visualize protection around yourselves with positive thoughts and activities. As our contributing editor Sharon Callahan says: "If we let them, our animals can teach us to focus on the simple pleasures of the holiday season, such as throwing a Frisbee in the snow, taking a walk in the park or woods, cuddling near the fireplace, and most importantly, letting everyone we know how much we love and cherish their presence in our lives."
Sharon believes animals can be our greatest teachers when we can learn to listen and be still. "They are natural contemplatives," she notes, "when they're not disturbed by human turmoil."
Unfortunately, we are often only motivated to be still when our animal friend is ill or injured and we have exhausted all of the more usual options in caring for them.
Sharon offers this simple exercise to contemplate with your friend during the holidays:
"Sit quietly with your beloved companion. Close your eyes for a moment or two. Imagine that you and your animal friend are gazing out across the surface of a windswept lake. Now imagine that the wind slowly begins to dissipate, leaving the surface of the lake smooth and ripple free like glass, or a perfectly polished mirror. Do this slowly and deliberately, seeing your reflection and the reflection of your animal companion becoming increasingly clear. As you do this, you will find a corresponding settling of your emotions and thoughts."
"In this state of clarity, with your eyes still closed or slightly opened, ask your animal friend how she is feeling. Be patient. Don't think too much about it. Just allow a feeling or sensation to come. Perhaps a feeling of sadness will come, or a slight sensation of anxiety or a sense that some part of your animal friend's body is in discomfort. Or perhaps the feeling will be one of total peacefulness and joy. Try not to analyze what you receive, just accept it with gratitude and thanksgiving. Now ask your animal friend what you can do to assist in the resolution of the symptom that is presenting itself to you."
"You may receive images or a feeling that your animal is suffering from loneliness because been so distracted and busy lately. You may experience a sensation of pain or tingling in a particular part of your body indicating that your friend is having a corresponding physical pain or sensation. You may also receive an image of yourself rubbing or massaging the area of discomfort or you may suddenly have a flash that your animal friend needs more exercise than she is getting. Accept whatever is revealed with gratitude. If you receive nothing at all, don't be concerned. Sometimes the message comes later when you have gone on to something else. Be on the lookout for any flashes of inspiration in the coming hours or days. Pay attention to your dreams, and trust what you receive. Sometimes the solution to a difficulty with an animal is more simple than we can imagine."