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Working with Behavioural Issues

How to work with an animal’s natural behaviour for a more effective result.

My stepfather likes to feed the birds in his garden.  He puts out several bird feeders, sits on the lounge and watches them through the window. At 88 it is one of his great pleasures in life.  However, whenever an ‘opportunistic’ squirrel appears he leaps up from his chair and bangs on the window to scare them away.

“Blooming squirrels” he said to me, “can’t you talk to them and tell them to stop eating the bird food?”

That is a great question!  Yes, of course I could ask them.  But my request for them to leave the bird food alone would be unlikely to yield a result. The squirrels are just doing what squirrels do naturally. Searching for food, especially nuts and seeds, and taking it back to their drey or burying it for winter.

I share this story with you because whenever we want to speak to an animal about its behaviour and especially when we hope to work with them to change that behaviour, we will have very little success if we are asking them to do something that goes against their natural instincts or their natural behaviour.

If we want a dog to stop barking or a cat to stop hunting we need to be collaborative with them in order to elicit a positive change. Dogs bark.  Cats hunt.  Once we recognise that they are only doing what comes naturally to them – what would have been their natural behaviour when they were still living wild – we can begin to work with this natural behaviour instead of trying to shut it down altogether.

So how do we work with them when we want them to change a behaviour that is causing distress, or negatively affecting the other beings that live with them or share their environment?  There are a couple of places that we can begin.

The first is to look for a COMPROMISE. Begin by suggesting an alternative behaviour that still respects their natural instinct and is not asking them to stop being a dog, or a cat, or a squirrel!

If your dog barks every time someone comes to the door or walks down the street, you could ask that instead of barking many times, they only bark once. This request will need to be reinforced by some positive affirmation on your part – letting them know that you heard that bark, that they did well to alert you and that you are grateful for that bark, and then reminding them that they can stop now.

Similarly with a cat that hunts you can ask them to leave baby birds, baby rabbits or baby mice alone. Again acknowledging them for what a great hunter they are so that they feel affirmed and not ‘made wrong’. This will provide them with what they need, while you get something closer to what you want.

Another tool available to us is NEGOTIATION. Offering an alternative solution that still meets the animal’s needs while encouraging behaviour that causes less distress or has less impact on the animals and humans that share their environment.

In the case of the squirrels, I suggested to my stepfather that he might set up a squirrel feeder in the opposite corner of the garden, creating a negotiation opportunity.  I could then to ask them to use that feeder and leave the bird food alone. “I’m not feeding the squirrels as well!” he exclaimed, putting an end to that particular idea!

If you are dealing with rodents or ants that are coming into the house, you could suggest an alternative place for them to be – perhaps outside in the garden, somewhere that they will still have shelter, warmth and food – and ask if they are willing to go along with that alternative.  A friend of mine did this with great success with an infestation of ants in her kitchen – she explained to them that she couldn’t share her kitchen with them, and that they needed to move outside.  She promised to provide them with food (sugar and water) on a regular basis, and the ants left.

Working with behavioural issues is a huge topic, and is probably going to be the one area that you are asked for help with more than any other. These simple ideas of remembering that the animal will always act true to its nature, and to work with it rather than against it, will help produce more successful results every time.

 

If you are interested in working in more specifically with animal behaviour, Jacqueline offers regular Mentoring Sessions exploring some of the topics covered in the Introductory trainings, including a session on Behavioural Issues.  There will also be new ‘masterclass’ one-day online classes, one of which will focus entirely on Behavioural Issues.  If you are interested in these, please contact Jacqueline direct.

The Importance of Being Relaxed

BEING MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY RELAXED, is a vital aspect of successful interspecies communication. Our busy energy bodies (mental, physical and emotional) can push an animal away, or muddy the communication. This is true for wild animals, and is also true for our companion animals.

We can support our development of our interspecies communication skills by beginning to recognise when our thoughts, our physical energy or our emotions are over-active, and by having practical ways of bringing ourselves back to a relaxed calm state.  It is when we are relaxed, calm and peaceful mentally, emotionally and physically that telepathic communication is most successful.

WHEN OUR EMOTIONS are running high, the animals will pick up those emotions, and they will either avoid us, or they will react to the emotion, or they will reflect it the emotion back to us by ‘mirroring’ our behaviour.

Our goal of being emotionally peaceful when we communicate ensures that our own emotional landscape is not colouring the communication. Also, the more familiar we are with our own emotions, the more easily we can differentiate between what is our own emotion and what is the animal’s.

How we go about calming our emotions is a deeply personal thing.  We may need to find support to help us process our emotional reaction to an animal’s situation; or we may simply need to take ourselves ‘offline’ for a while until our emotions feel more balanced and equanimical.  Become familiar with your own emotional landscape; what triggers a response; what helps to bring you back to calmness.

If you want to know how well you are doing at being emotionally peaceful, go and visit a horse!  They are very sensitive to human emotions.  If they move away from you, there is still some work to be done;  if they stay near or move closer to you… well done! You’re on the right track!

OUR THOUGHTS also need to be relaxed and quiet  When we are overthinking, or if our mind is full of ‘to do’ lists, or running over the conversations we had earlier in the day (or earlier in the week) we are clearly stuck in our head.  There is no capacity for us to drop into our heart and listen.

Telepathic communication happens heart-to-heart (‘telepathy’ means ‘feeling with’).  In order to be successful at telepathic communication we need to be able to move out of our head, away from our thoughts, and drop into our heart space.  When we are overthinking we are not connected.  On the flip side: the less we think, the more connected we become.

You might like to find a practice that helps your mind to become still, such as a regular meditation practice, regular ‘sit spot’ time in nature, or practise Qi Gong or Tai Chi.  These are all excellent activities to help move energy away from our head and into our body and our heart.

Here is a breathing meditation that can help to quieten the mind, and which may also being a sense of emotional calmness:

meditation_jd-mason-xCPdjitY5sQ-unsplashClose your eyes and turn your attention to your breath.  As you breathe in, visualise the air moving into your lungs, filling them with life-giving oxygen.  As you breathe out, see the air moving out of your lungs giving carbon dioxide to the trees.  Do this three or four times.

Now begin to notice how each breath becomes slower, deeper, longer.  As this happens, notice how your body relaxes and your mind becomes still.  

Now breathe in for a count of three; pause and hold your breath for a count of three; then breathe out for a count of six.  Do this for one minute (you can set a timer on your phone so that your focus is on the exercise and not on keeping track of time).  Each day increase the length of time that you practice this breathing activity by one minute, so that by the end of the week you are practising it for seven minutes.

Any time you want to quieten your mind you can return to this breathing practice.  When we ‘watch’ the breath moving in and out of our lungs it distracts our mind, giving it something else to focus on, so that it can take a break from those persistent thoughts.  It is also a really great exercise to help you to fall asleep when busy thoughts are keeping you awake at night.

FINALLY, WE NEED TO BE PHYSICALLY RELAXED before we begin telepathic communication.  If we are fidgety and restless we will be distracted; it can also make the animal feel on edge.  Become familiar with your body’s need for physical activity and especially what helps to release it.  If you are about to sit down to communicate and yet you feel full of unspent energy, find some way to discharge that energy before you start the communication.  Dancing wildly around the kitchen, running laps in the backyard, or doing 30 minutes of strong yoga – whatever you choose, have something in your ‘toolkit’ that you can call upon whenever you need to release your physical energy.

WHEN WE ARE AWARE of these three forms of energy that are constantly moving in and through us and become familiar with how they express themselves within us, we start to recognise when they are out of balance.  At the same time we can build our capacity for quietening that energy through identifying resources that help us.  Over time we will find that we can quickly drop into a quiet, calm, relaxed state of being with very little effort – the perfect state for clear two-way communication.

May 2020

 

 

Here are some more ideas for relaxation:  Meditation – Walking in Nature – Tai Chi – Qi Gong – Yoga – Painting – Drawing – Listening to Music – Pranayama (breath work) – Gardening – Jigsaw Puzzles – Colouring-in Books – Tapping (EFT)

 

Bushfires, floods and drought and how Animal Communication can help

As a dual national of the UK and Australia, I am struck by the extreme weather conditions being experienced on both sides of the planet right now.  Listening to the rain drumming on my roof I wonder whether it will ever stop raining.  Our fields are so water-logged that the animals are getting bogged, and we have not been able to get out there other than on foot for weeks now.  However this is simply an inconvenience as luckily our farm is (mostly) elevated, meanwhile our neighbours in Kent are being flooded out of their homes.  Floods have hit Cornwall and Middlesborough too, and across the UK there are 80 flood warnings in place for the Christmas holiday period.

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At the same time, my friends on the other side of the world are praying for rain.  The unprecedented level of bush fires now raging across the whole of Australia are not helped by the tinder-dry landscape – the drought is so extreme that some areas have not seen rain for ten years.  People are giving away their horses and farmers are shooting their livestock because they have no food or water for them.  It is heart-breaking.

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Whether we are dealing with rain, fire, flood or drought, the animals are suffering alongside us.  We have seen heartbreaking images of animals doggie-paddling through floodwaters desperately seeking dry land, of koalas burned or suffering from smoke inhalation. Then there are all those creatures who don’t make the news – birds, insects, reptiles, small mammals – as well as the plants and trees; all struggling to survive these extreme conditions.


This is a vital time.  There is much we can do as animal communicators to help alleviate the suffering, providing support and reassurance to those animals being affected by these extreme conditions.  Whether or not we can physically be with them, telepathic animal communication allows us to help them anyway.  Here are some ways in which we can help:

  1. PREPARE THEM BEFOREHAND:

BadgerAlert wild animals to an approaching weather event, letting them know (in the case of fire) which direction to travel in order to escape without running towards another fire.  Let burrowing animals (such as badger, fox, rabbit) that live in low lying areas know that floods are on their way so that they can relocate to an elevated site.

Let domesticated animals know that they need to be relocated due to impending fire or flood, explaining what is happening and where they will be taken.  This helps them to prepare and also not to be fearful because now they understand what is happening and why.  We can also let them know how long they need to be relocated for.  Is this temporary until danger is out of the way, or permanent because their home is gone?

2. HELP THEM AFTERWARDS:

KoalaFind out how they are coping.  If they have been injured, ask them about the extent of the injury and whether it is causing them pain.  Ask them if they know what could help to alleviate the pain or to help them heal.

Let them know what will happen to them now.  Explain what the humans are considering, and ask them if they are happy with that.  Especially in the case of rehoming animals (wild or domesticated).  We can ask them if they would like to go here or there, assuming that there are choices available.  If there is no choice, tell them as it helps them to more easily relax into the only option that is available to them.

If they need to be rehomed for a while, tell them how long it will be and reassure them that they will return home after that period of time has elapsed.  If plans change while they are in the relocated place, let them know as soon as possible that there has been a change of plan and give them the new information.

Our work here is to help them to understand the changes that will happen, to help them understand the reasons behind those changes, and to keep them updated, so they are able to roll with these changes as they occur.  Just like people, the more information they have and the better prepared they are, the more easily they can adjust to the new, unfamiliar situation.

3. SUPPORT THEM DURING REHABILITATION:

Wild horseKeep checking in with them to see how they are getting on.  Is their injury healing?  Is there anything else they need to be comfortable or out of pain?

How are they settling in to their new home?  Remember that animals live very much in the present moment. As long as they have been given good information about why they are there and for how long, they will quite quickly adjust to their new situation.  However it is good to check in with them from time to time, making sure that all is well and asking if there is anything else they need.

Give them news of their people (if they have had to be separated from them).  They will be curious and will want to know that their humans are OK.  This is especially important if their humans are unable to visit them regularly or at all.

4. HOSPICE THEM AT THE END OF LIFE:

BirdWhen an animal is facing the end of its physical life, we can provide essential support to them at this time.  Whether we are encountering wild animals that have been fatally injured by inhaling smoke or water, or have been burnt or drowned, we can hospice them on their way back to spirit realm.

Simply bearing witness and sending them feelings of love and appreciation, letting them know that our thoughts are with them and that we care about what happens to them, can make a big difference to the animal’s transition.  [This is a witnessing process, also known as Subtle Activism, and there are other ways that Subtle Activism can help which I mention in the fifth point.]

If an animal has been identified by a human (vet or other) that it has reached the end of its ability to survive, there is a decision to be made about how that animal transitions.  We can act as a go-between, asking the animal how it would like to transition.  Some animals want to go quickly and are happy to be euthanised.  Some are very clear about where and when they would like to be euthanised, and others clearly do not want to be euthanised, preferring to let nature take its course.

We can play a key role at these times, enabling the animal’s wishes to be taken into account and relaying those to the humans involved.  However, this is also a time to tread carefully and mindfully as not all humans are ready to consider that their animal has wishes which may sometimes conflict with their own.  Especially when humans are already dealing with their own trauma and grief around the situation, it can be hard for them to encompass new perspectives.  It is important that we are respectful of where each person is at on their own journey of relationship with the animal realm, and that we do not force our own ideas upon them.  At these times I find great comfort in Penelope Smith’s Code of Ethics for Interspecies Communicators:

“We go only where we are asked to help, so that others are receptive and we truly can help. We respect the feelings and ideas of others and work for interspecies understanding, not pitting one side against another but walking with compassion for all. We acknowledge the things that we cannot change and continue where our work can be most effective.”

5. SUBTLE ACTIVISM:

The world of Subtle Activism is one that is gaining a stronger foothold, and which can be immensely supportive for the animals as well as for us humans.  Especially in those situations where we cannot be physically present and cannot do anything at a practical level, we can feel overwhelmingly powerless.  With Subtle Activism at our disposal we are never powerless.

Subtle Activism is simply holding positive thoughts and feelings and sending those to the situation or animal or person who is struggling. It might be in the form of words – “I see you, I care about what is happening to you, I am sending you love, care and support”.  It could be in the form of feelings of love and compassion.  Or it could be a blend of both.

Bushfire-landscape.jpgIn the situations I have been describing here, we can send these thoughts and feelings to specific animals (wild or domestic) that we know about, or we can send them (using our intention) to all animals in a particular area.  In the latter case, we don’t need to know exactly who is there, we just trust that whoever is there will pick up these energetic vibrations and that they will feel supported and strengthened by them.


I hope that this post has given you some inspiration and ideas for how to bring these precious skills into practical application to support the animals during these challenging times.  It is my hope that we can all work together to help alleviate pain and reduce the suffering of animals and humans alike.

All of my workshops in 2020 will include a greater focus on how we can work with nature and animals in this way; providing you with tools and empowering you to make a positive difference in these times.  The Level Two workshops will include a deeper exploration of working with the elements, nature spirits and elemental beings, and you will discover that they are waiting patiently for us to work together for greater harmony and balance in the world.  Details of my 2020 workshops can be found on the Workshops page.

24 December 2019

 

This post is the first in a series.  The next will be on the topic of Working with the Elements, Nature Spirits and Elemental Beings.  How can we work together with the elements and the land to alleviate the impact of extreme weather?


In 2020 our introductory workshops will include modules on how to communicate with and support animals during natural disasters, such as these.  Our follow-on workshops will include how to work with the elements, nature spirits and elemental beings. For more details on these, please check our workshops page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice meditation

The solstice is the perfect moment to sit quietly in nature and consciously release the last twelve months, and then set our intentions for the coming year.  I offer this meditation to support you with this process.  You may choose to record it onto a phone or other device, so that you can sit and listen to it with your eyes closed at your meditation place.  If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a Winter Solstice meditation here.


“Close your eyes and become aware of your physical connection to the ground – through your feet or the log or bench you are sitting on. Imagine roots extending from your body down into the earth, growing and entwining with the roots of the trees and plants around you.

Turn your attention to your hearing – notice the sounds around you, the birds, the water, the wind, the closest ones and the farthest ones. Become aware of any physical sensations – the breeze or sun on your skin, the feel of the earth under your feet, the log or bench under your hands.

Now opening your eyes and using your ‘owl eyes’ become aware of your peripheral vision. Feel the immensity of this place, as it stretches out and connects through corridors of trees and hedgerows to the vast network of nature that spans the plant, and of which you are a part. Here you are – an aspect of nature, immersed for a while in your natural place in the rhythm of things.

Consciously connect with the fullness of midsummer, noticing how the energy around you is at its peak, the activities of the birds, insects and small creatures, the fullness of the trees and plants in their summer finery. Feel how all these beings are filled to bursting with life and energy. Take a moment to connect with the trees and plants and feel the vibrancy of life flowing through their cells. Visualise the same energy flowing through your veins, empowering and supporting you to bring your intentions into physical form.

Now close your eyes again and turn your thoughts to the last twelve months, bringing to mind the key points of the year. No need to remember everything – simply allow the moments to float into your memory, trusting that what you recall is what you need to recall at this time. Walk through your year in your mind’s eye in this way, month by month, giving thanks for each blessing, each new opportunity, each connection made (or lost), including giving thanks for the challenges of the year, as they too brought their teachings and opportunities to learn, grow and expand into the fullest expression of your essence self.

When you have ‘walked’ through the year, give thanks for it all and then release it.

Now turn your attention to the year to come. Imagine yourself doing those activities that you already know you will be taking part in, and see them happening in the best way. Next, bring to mind those things that you’d like the next twelve months to contain – specific activities and experiences, but also an overall sense of the relationships, connections, journeys and feelings that you would like the next year to contain. In this way you are setting your intentions for the year. You might want to imagine each of your wishes as a seed that you plant in the ground beside you, offering your wishes to the earth and to the nature all around you, where they will take root and grow. Each time you return to your sit spot you can water and feed these intentions.

Now give thanks (as if these things have already happened) and consciously release yourself from the meditative space, bringing your attention back to the current moment and place.”


In addition to the meditation you may wish to light a fire somewhere outdoors and use the fire to release your reflections and gifts from the last twelve months; and to offer up your wishes for the next twelve months.  To do this, simply write the reflections and intentions onto separate pieces of paper, and place them into the fire one at a time. This is a ritual that can be done with friends gathered around the fire together, bringing even more power to our intention-setting through the shared experience.  If you are doing it with friends, I find it works best to place all of your reflections on the last year into the fire one at a time, followed by then placing your intentions into the fire.

Whatever you do at this time of year I hope it brings you joy, nourishment and supports you on your journey.

With love,

Jacqueline xx

Winter Solstice meditation

The solstice is the perfect moment to sit quietly in nature and consciously release the last twelve months, and then set our intentions for the coming year.  I offer this meditation to support you with this process.  You may choose to record it onto a phone or other device, so that you can sit and listen to it with your eyes closed at your meditation place.  If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, there is a Summer Solstice meditation here.


“Close your eyes and become aware of your physical connection to the ground – through your feet or the log or bench you are sitting on. Imagine roots extending from your body down into the earth, growing and entwining with the roots of the trees and plants around you.

Turn your attention to your hearing – notice the sounds around you, the birds, the water, the wind, the closest ones and the farthest ones. Become aware of any physical sensations – the breeze or sun on your skin, the feel of the earth under your feet, the log or bench under your hands.

Now opening your eyes and using your ‘owl eyes’ become aware of your peripheral vision. Feel the immensity of this place, as it stretches out and connects through corridors of trees and hedgerows to the vast network of nature that spans the plant, and of which you are a part. Here you are – an aspect of nature, immersed for a while in your natural place in the rhythm of things.

Consciously connect with the silence and stillness of midwinter, noticing how the activity is slower and quieter now; that the beings living here are conserving their energy and building their reserves. Take a moment to connect with the trees and plants who have shed their leaves and drawn their energy down into the earth; resting, taking a pause. Visualise drawing your own energy inwards and down into your own roots, slowing your breath and becoming still, and feel how this supports you at this time of year.

Now close your eyes again and turn your thoughts to the last twelve months, bringing to mind the key points of the year. No need to remember everything – simply allow the moments to float into your memory, trusting that what you recall is what you need to recall at this time. Walk through your year in your mind’s eye in this way, month by month, giving thanks for each blessing, each new opportunity, each connection made (or lost), including giving thanks for the challenges of the year, as they too brought their teachings and opportunities to learn, grow and expand into the fullest expression of your essence self.

When you have ‘walked’ through the year, give thanks for it all and then release it.

Now turn your attention to the year to come. Imagine yourself doing those activities that you already know you will be taking part in, and see them happening in the best way. Next, bring to mind those things that you’d like the next twelve months to contain – specific activities and experiences, but also an overall sense of the relationships, connections, journeys and feelings that you would like the next year to contain. In this way you are setting your intentions for the year. You might want to imagine each of your wishes as a seed that you plant in the ground beside you, offering your wishes to the earth and to the nature all around you, where they will take root and grow. Each time you return to your sit spot you can water and feed these intentions.

Now give thanks (as if these things have already happened) and consciously release yourself from the meditative space, bringing your attention back to the current moment and place.”


In addition to the meditation you may wish to light a fire somewhere outdoors and use the fire to release your reflections and gifts from the last twelve months; and to offer up your wishes for the next twelve months.  To do this, simply write the reflections and intentions onto separate pieces of paper, and place them into the fire one at a time. This is a ritual that can be done with friends gathered around the fire together, bringing even more power to our intention-setting through the shared experience.  If you are doing it with friends, I find it works best to place all of your reflections on the last year into the fire one at a time, followed by then placing your intentions into the fire.

Whatever you do at this time of year I hope it brings you joy, nourishment and supports you on your journey.

With love,

Jacqueline xx