Dear Spirit to Spirit friend,
Our lives today are very rich, full, and busy- and for many people filled with tremendous pressure and stress. Friends, family members, and clients share with me the constant challenges of navigating life- within themselves, in their families, at work, within their communities, and in relationship to world events.
Everything seems to be more complex and oftentimes emotionally charged.
These are times that seem to be stretching us, frequently it seems, beyond our capacity to be with all that is going on. It is easy to see how feelings of stress, of too-muchness, of disturbance, of overwhelm affect us. And how the feeling of not knowing how to be with the enormity of all that is in front of us can be unsettling and even frightening.
If we are feeling this way in ourselves and we come home to our animal family members, what do they feel and how does our stress and inner turmoil affect them?
We are in an ever-present energetic relationship with our animal family members- and... with everyone, everything of this world. We are deeply connected in obvious and subtle ways, our lives are energetically embedded within each other. If we are open, we intensely feel the other and his/her inner experience.
Have you ever heard from another family member that your dog or cat went to the window or door to wait for you quite a while before you arrived home? Many animal family members do this. S/he is energetically tuned in with you and knows when you are thinking about heading home, when you start coming home, as well as when you are arriving- s/he knows, senses... and then waits. (see "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home" by Rupert Sheldrake).
And, not only do our animal beloveds know when we are coming home, but how we are as we are coming home. They sense if we are happy and easeful or upset and distressed. They intimately feel our feelings and frequently hold them within themselves- with us and for us, in empathy. When we arrive home- if we are feeling upheaval inside ourselves- the intensity of our feelings can be overwhelming for them and some animals, in caring for us, cannot separate themselves from our feelings.
Knowing that not only who we are but how we are directly impacts our animal family members...what can we do to help them not "take on" our emotions or stress?
It is actually quite simple.
The first step is to take a few moments to deeply feel the thoughts/emotions that are churning within.
Then, own them as our thoughts/feelings, and only ours. They are our experience, not our animal family member's experience.
Finally, acknowledge- out loud- to our animal beloved: "this is my stress, these are my thoughts/feelings and not yours- they are not yours to hold. I take responsibility for them".
This can break the energy dynamic that has been in place. Our animal family member can then release from identifying with and being impacted by our feelings. And, in naming what is moving inside us and owning it, our relationship to our experience has the space to open, be witnessed differently, and shift in unexpected ways.
It is surprising to see how a simple inner action like this can have such an enormous impact not only with our animal family members but within ourselves as well. In freeing them, we free ourselves.
In Gratitude & Love, Joanna