“Listening with our Soul”
Here are some words about this weekend’s Introduction to Animal Communication.
I most often, am able to write these words quite easily, but on this occasion, have been unsure about where to begin.
As always, I am delighted to welcome participants, who arrive with open hearts ready to experience a weekend of remembering the skills and aptitude that we naturally have in connecting with other species and what the experience may teach us.
There is always a profound realisation, as the weekend develops, and whilst each weekend is planned in the same way, no two workshops are ever the same.
Of course, they are not; the energy, experience, perspectives and expectations of every participant, will always be different and shape the workshop, itself. And equally, our visitors and that which they bring and share, will shape things.
I always, of course, have a learning plan for the two days, but have learned from experience, that this needs to flex and change, according to the needs of the group.
It is never a lecture/teach scenario, a fluid process through which, each and every participant shapes their own learning and in fact, the group’s as a whole.
This weekend un-veiled a perfect example of that, and I shall try to share why I felt so, though of course, words are not the same as having the experience and I may not do it justice.
I shall try.
For the first time on a workshop, of this nature, I would be welcoming a younger person.
A keen young person, but understandably, a little overwhelmed about joining a group of “grown ups” – I use that term lightly as we did dig into the concept of time in terms of that!
Even though I was re-assured by his Mum, about his participation, I too, felt a little trepidation.
I need not have felt that, although I had re-arranged the approach slightly, so whilst following the usual ‘structure’ of the two days, I would plan to work directly with the young person, but it was the group that created a perfect environment, in which he felt at ease.
Just so everyone knows… I never do those terrible “let’s introduce ourselves” – there is always time for folk to get to know each other in breaks etc and share what they wish. It does not matter and foregoes the sometimes need to justify oneself and creates comparison, in my view and a fair bit of angst !
We always focus on Ethics, fundamentals and un-doing self-sabotage on day one – self-belief, trust and fear on the early part of day one of the workshop and many interesting discussions, invariably arise.
My feeling has always been that the “other species” are awaiting our “catch-up” in terms of communing together, but I firmly believe these days, that there is no “other”. I don’t mean the cliché, that “we are one”, more so that there is “us”.
That might not be clear, but I really feel that a Cat/Dog/Horse (and you could expand that list to include everything) is “us”.
Perhaps, as we discussed on the workshop, when we are “communicating” to “other” species, we are in fact speaking to ourselves… Anyway, I digress!
But back to the workshop experience. One of my participants beautifully expressed the difference between fear and excitement, in anything that we may be doing, particularly in experiencing new scenarios, as in the case of a workshop, of this nature.
Fear versus excitement - I always note in myself ahead of any workshop!
Folk reading my posts, after a workshop, often ask about what wisdom the animal teachers bought to the workshop, on day two.
I find this, always interesting – yes, they share their perspectives on things, based on questions and in “free flow” communication, as received by my participants.
Sometimes things maybe shared as metaphors and have a wider meaning than the literal information.
I always encourage my participants to share what they receive.
It is for the guest teacher/ Guardian to validate, or not, this information.
Sometimes these things may not resonate or require deeper reflection for all parties. I often reflect on those things that are shared, and it can be a bit of a pandora’s box, given I think possibly we are speaking to parts of ourselves, in this work. From where and to whom the information belongs – Animal, Guardian or Communicator? An internal debate I am currently having…. Every single workshop I run, teaches me something and I am grateful for that.
I am moving past the point of animals being our mirrors and holding stuff.
I believe, sometimes, animals enable us, open a box, unpeel parts of us to look and see – not always about the information that they share but to consider more deeply what we believe and what we do. Pushing things out into the “light of day” – for us to look at…….maybe?
As my Willow Cat has always said, “Through their eyes we see ourselves more clearly”.
I trust what he said.
Anyway, back to the workshop itself…….
The participation of a younger person in the group, created a very interesting dynamic, well I thought so. It was a real gift.
The listening was different, I noticed.
He quickly felt confident to join the discussions, and, boy, did he do so.
There were wonderful moments when we all realised, we might be viewing the world incorrectly, without the benefit of younger eyes and perspective. Extremely insightful, illuminating and, no doubt, memorable, for all participants.
From a logistical point, the weekend was a little challenging. I had not fully appreciated the number of local events taking place and road closures etc. That presented a few challenges for folk travelling here from a distance.
One of our participants had a most trying journey and the care and support offered on arrival was beautiful. People are lovely.
This care extended, all weekend, to anyone having a “wobble” – thank you to all for this – I really appreciated.
Our visitors arrive on day 2 – Our animal guest teachers, but I have come to realise, that the Guardians/Kahu teach as much to the group – my thanks are unbounded, whether they realise or not – their sharing and experience, prompts, almost always, stay with participants.
Participants remember Guardians that visit, every time.
Our Guardians, and again I want to say Kahu, visit because I have asked and they understand the work, believe in it, and wish to contribute, and support.
They equally arrive with openness and experience, whether from their work realm, intuition or perspectives.
I have equal responsibility for my visiting guardians and the teachers they bring with them, as much as I do, the participants on the workshop.
They have travelled with their companions, worked with their questions and are always supportive in listening and feeding back to workshop participants.
It is quite a responsibility they bear and I thank them for that.
Often, they are “raw” and sometimes, in their sharing and receiving – hugs happen or are needed for them.
We had 4 guest teachers to this workshop – one “in photo”, 3 “in person” and here is a little about that:
Willow – for the second photographic practice for the group, participants were invited to connect with Willow, a Cat, she shared her perspective, pragmatically on her home life, and in response to questions raised. Feedback, in person, was given to her Guardian, which prompted a learning discussion. She also offered her perspective, in relation to a question put to her, about the “missing” of past companions. We learned from this that our beliefs on loss may well not be the same as an animal’s view point and again this prompted discussion.
Murph – amazing questions posed by her Guardian and certainly a consensus on feedback from Murph, via participants was reached on a particular issue, amongst the questions.
Sid – a beautiful visit given. I am well aware of the guardians outside responsibilities, the journey she and beloved Sid have travelled together, and cannot thank her enough. The sharing from both, was beautiful and “squared the circle” for both of them. In addition, and on a practical level, the literal journey that they took to arrive here was rather stressful with road closures and the resultant need to drive a horse trailer through Guildford high street. The calmness demonstrated by guardian on arrival was something to behold and certainly extended to Sid, because of her approach.
Wiggy – A visitor, with his guardian, of many times. A superb reminder of that which Guardians/we think of as important, is often times not – certainly in Wiggy’s view, about changes within his home and family. Again, the wisdom they share about our concerns about them demonstrates the difference in perspectives. They live “in the moment” to coin a phrase.
The above is a very short section on our visiting guest teachers/guardians and most of what is shared by participants in these connections, is personal to the guardians and their animals. This is why I share only high-level information. A lovely montage of pictures, can be found, at the end of this writing.
Every visit and guest teacher prompts a discussion within the group. Often quite deep discussions, and, always informs my approach in teaching/facilitating these weekends. The discussions of this weekend may change my view in how I encourage participants to share all of their findings directly with visitors, without review.
We talked at length about language and the words we use generally with our animal companions and also how we rely information to their guardians, noting the frequency and energy attached to words we use to communicate. There is great responsibility in this aspect of the work and I am presently still reflecting…….But, I note, that I am ultimately responsible, for the experience that all involved in the workshops, have.
Whilst the weekends have a serious tone, there is also much laughing and joy expressed and I know that many will go on to deepen friendships, as a result.
That has bought to mind a lovely piece of music that we listened to. I often use music in place of formal meditations.
The piece of music is - “Sunshine on my shoulders” by John Denver. You might like to take a listen.
I finish this quite lengthy write up, by wishing to share the words of the Desiderata. I am not quite sure why. It felt important.
“keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
by Max Ehrmann ©1927
“O has spent the weekend learning animal communication with the lovely Samantha Munro. He is happy, tired and emotional. He felt like for the first time he met “his people”. He felt accepted, heard and loved. And he has come away with a new perspective and a new found confidence. I cannot thank you Sam and the other participants for this amazing opportunity for Oliver. Your conversations and shared experiences have left an imprint on him, more then you will ever know. Maybe now, finally, he will begin to believe how truly special he is x
We really enjoyed meeting O. It was lovely to see the purity with which he was able to connect and communicate with animals and the group. I can’t wait for S & O to visit us and the horses in Devon x
What a wonderful young man O is. A wise head on young shoulders, and so great to have him in the group. Thank you
“ the workshop exceeded my expectations – calm, relaxed, supportive, non-judgemental and time space and room to grow and learn”
“cherish the gift of listening” “embrace connection”, “believe and trust in yourself”
“wow, what a great two days; mind and eyes opened”
“listening to my intuition without question”
“ a skill we all need to re-awaken”
“It was great, refreshing to be on a course with no ego involved in the delivery”
“very relaxing, supportive and positive”
“felt empowered to create my own way of listening and helped to ‘get out of my own way’”
“practice, practice, practice”
“Thank you, I loved every minute, you are fab!”
Picture montage :
Pictures shared, with permission (including parental permission).