by Alison Martin, founder of Animal Soul Connection
As an animal communicator, one of the topics I hear from my clients is “What I can do to make my animal companion happy?” What we often learn is our animal friends simply would like to spend time with us – time uninterrupted, without distractions and with us fully present. When you spend time with your animal family, are you watching TV while you pat your dog on her head; texting while you take a walk around the block; brushing your cat but thinking about work? I think you see where I’m going with this. When we’re not fully present with our animal companions, we are missing out and so are they.
The love our animal receives from us when we are fully present with them, heart and soul, delights them.
There is nothing else like the unconditional love we receive from our animal family. The love our animal receives from us when we are fully present with them, heart and soul, delights them. I hear this from the animals I work with time and again. They ask so little of us. If we could all work on being truly in the moment when we’re with our animal companions, can you see how the energy of Earth might enjoy a slight shift?
I encourage you to let go of all distractions, even for a few minutes, and simply enjoy being with your animal friend.
In addition to the practice of connecting with our animals when we’re together, animals are natural meditation teachers. The key to meditation is being totally in the moment, and that is where animals are, all the time. They don’t live in the past or future as we often do. They are easily here, right now, in the present moment. Whether you are a seasoned meditation practitioner or have never tried to meditate before, slowing your mind down in connection with your animal will bring many benefits!
Just a few benefits of meditation:
- It improves concentration.
- It encourages a healthy lifestyle.
- The practice increases self-awareness.
- It increases happiness.
- Meditation increases acceptance.
- It slows aging.
- The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.
When we slow our minds and tune into our breathing and relax, our pets are reaping the benefits as well. By finding a quiet time to really connect with your animal friend, you are strengthening and deepening your bond. Animals like routine, so by starting a new habit of daily meditation with them you can increase their feeling of safety and comfort.
No worries, this does not have to be a lengthy process! Even five minutes a day can get you on the road to feeling more peaceful. Once you start, my bet is you’ll want to develop this healthy practice into longer sessions. It’s easy, fun and there are really no rules. You can’t mess this up! Just simply being, not doing anything, with your pet and connecting with them on a soul level helps them thrive.
Let’s get started!
● Sit near your animal, get comfortable with your spine straight, hands open in your lap and close your eyes. You may place a hand on your animal if she is comfortable with you doing so. If she moves away, that’s ok. You can join together without touching.
● Take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your stomach expand and the cleansing breath go deep into your body. Think of the gratitude you have for your animal on the inhale.
● Exhale through your nose, or mouth, and think of the unconditional love you and your animal share.
● Repeat this deep breathing three more times then resume your normal breathing pattern, staying aware of your breath and how it fills your body.
● Next, picture one of your favorite things about your animal. Focus on that and quiet your mind. It’s ok if your mind races. Simply recognize the thoughts and let them go – returning again to your favorite thought. Try to stay with this for a few minutes, breathing in and out, relaxing and feeling your pet relax with you.
● When you are ready to end your meditation, send deep love and gratitude to your animal. Take three deep breaths in and out – breathing in gratitude, breathing out unconditional love into the world.
● Slowly open your eyes and return to the room. How are you feeling? It may be nice to start a meditation journal to record these beautiful times with your beloved animal companion.
Alison Martin is the Founder of Animal Soul Connection. As an animal communicator, reiki practitioner and pet loss grief counselor she brings her passion to life. For over 20 years, Alison has made a positive impact in the lives of animals and their people through her professional work from contributing to a large humane society and veterinary clinics, to owning her pet sitting business and teaching holistic care classes, she has helped one animal at a time with love and compassion. Volunteering with rescues and shelters since her early teens, Alison knew her life’s purpose was to give her heart to animals. Her animal family of seven dogs, one cat, two horses and two goats teach unconditional love every day. Alison believes our animal friends have an unlimited depth of love and knowledge to share with us and is dedicated to making a true difference in as many lives as possible
By Yolanda Steyn, Co-founder of EETO (Extreme Equestrian Trail Organization of South Africa) and Director of Opposital, Horses & Humans in Harmony
One of the most challenging decisions for an animal lover is the decision to set their beloved animals free if they are suffering physically. Letting go – why is it so difficult for humankind? Some clients have reported that it is harder saying goodbye to their furry family than to their own human family. The reason for this? Unconditional love. Animals don’t have time and space restrictions like humans. They don’t need Google Maps or Rolex watches. Their love is unconditional. They are not bound by written contracts. Their existence is to be in balance, to make the very best of every day. They are givers, not receivers. They don’t fear death.
A session I did on Freedom Day 2017 taught me some valuable lessons.
A client asked me to assist with their grey beautiful mare and 5 month old foal. The foal had septicemia in her knee joint. The vet advised the guardian to put the foal down. They wanted to have confirmation that this would be the right thing to do.
I started the session with the question – how does Topaz (the dam) say good bye to Misty (her foal) if this is the desired outcome? Even my usual background music sounded like funeral music that day. It is much harder for humans to accept death. We feel more emotional dealing with foals as we hold life expectancies, dreams, and hopes for them. Topaz told me that death is not like we perceive it. Death is the beginning not the end – a paradox. Lesson one.
During the session, I was reminded by Willow, a bay gelding that visited our yard, that communicated we need to change our “think”. He didn’t call it the thinking process, he called it THINK. THINK in bold capital letters. This is a tall order. We mustn’t think that the foal will perceive her death like we do. Lesson two.
Topaz is an extremely proud mother. She carries the energy of serenity around her. For her it is more important to feel that she has given everything. No regrets. Topaz is saddened by the event but she knows how important freedom is to a horse. Without freedom they can’t be a horse. She was very humble when she gave me these words. (My heart goes out to all the horses that are trapped in their stables or small paddocks. They need space to move, space to be free.)
You can’t have the pasture and not enjoy it. This will be far worse than letting her foal go. It is her choice to let her foal go. Setting Misty free. Topaz asked that the owner be present with the procedure. The presence of the owner would comfort her. She asked to be with Misty and that the proceedings are done in the pasture. It would be less stressful.
Horses don’t judge us. They don’t experience death like we do. For them it is walking through another gate. No expectations. Without freedom you cannot exist. Without freedom you are trapped. Lesson 3.
Misty shared that we all live in different time zones. Sometimes we live past each other. We don’t understand each other. All of us are on our own journey. Our own belief system. She has tried hard to recover, but it wasn’t meant for her. She wanted to be free. Free to play and to run once again. Free to be a playful foal. With her injury it is impossible for her. She saw her death as traveling to a different time zone. She was ready to be parted from her mom in her physical body.
I am always amazed by the words of wisdom horses share with me during a session. Topaz shared that we all have expectancies in life. We judge ourselves to live up to those expectations. It is human nature to set these expectancies too high. Humans often feel like failures because it is impossible to live up to those expectations. This creates fear and guilt. Horses live in the present moment. No fear and no guilt. Only truth. The truth was that the foal got injured. It wasn’t our human expectation. Please don’t let guilt or fear take the place of love. Lesson 4.
I received a message from the guardian later that afternoon to say that the procedure went smoothly and she highlighted the significance that it was Freedom Day.
Till death do us part – freedom is awaiting us.
*Names of the horses have been changed
About the author:
Yolanda is an animal communicator and equine specialist. Looking after the well-being of horses is her first priority. Her passion is to create harmony between people and horses. She studied Human Resources and Learning Development and is a qualified Sanef Level 2 Western Instructor. She is also a registered healer with the Healing Animal Organization. She was one of the first groups of students in South Africa to train in the Mastersons Method and she is also a qualified TTouch practitioner. Yolanda is the Co-founder of EETO – Extreme EquestrianTrail Organization of South Africa and the director of Opposital. Additionally, she has played a vital role in developing Sanesa Western School Shows.