Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wisdom of Animals

Before I became so involved with Pet Haven and animal rescue I used to volunteer with Earthwatch and would volunteer and go on expeditions with research teams studying marine life. My expeditions included: capturing data on dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida; living on a restored Norwegian fishing vessel for two weeks studying dolphins off the coast of Spain; scuba diving in Barbados and capturing data on damsel fish of Barbados. While in Barbados I also had the opportunity to learn more about sea turtles. For a long time I have had a fascination with dolphins and turtles. As I look around my room I see dolphin decorations and souvenirs from around the world; i also see wood turtles, marble turtles, glass turtles .. even turtle stuffed animals; i see turtles in resting pose and ready to hatch and break from their egg. When I walked barefoot along the beach in Barbados one early morning, listening to the waves rushing along the shores, I would imagine the dolphins and I would ponder and pause in the awe at how baby sea turtles after they have hatched would instinctively follow the light of the moon, and swim into the ocean.

The dolphin is the symbol of breath of life, love, balance and community. I found the following from the Shamanic Journey website : "Dolphins are connected with the power of breath and with emotional release, which are also both deeply connected .. breathing is conversing with the outside world. When people feel that the outside world is a source of pain, they learn, very frequently at a young age, to constrict their breathing ... When we learn to breathe deeply we can learn to feel deeply, in turn letting go of stifled feelings."

In recent weeks, I have found myself thinking more about turtles again and my acupuncturist has mentioned turtles to me on several occasions -- a metaphor for how I am shedding protective layers that I have built as a result of painful experiences as a child. I am not unique. All of us find ways to cope and survive. For me, I put more and more layers on to protect myself from pain, hurt and emotions I never learned how to manage as a kid. It's time now to shed those layers. It's time now to let go of all that has held me back, and, like a baby sea turtle, simply follow the light and head towards the ocean. And once i'm in the water, to follow the wisdom inherent in the dolphins, which according to the Shamanic Journey site is "Knowledge of the sea, change, harmony, wisdom, balance, communication skills, freedom, trust, understanding the power of rhythm in your life, use of breath to release intense emotions, water element magic, unselfishness. Dolphin reminds us to get out, play and most importantly, to breathe."

It's amazing how the wake up call of precancer cells has been such a tremendous gift to me. There is wisdom all around us. Life's lessons are all around us ... from our four-legged furry friends, to the sea turtles and dolphins in the ocean. We just need to slow down enough to notice, and for me, to shed protective layers and not only walk up to the edge of the ocean, but dive in!

Here's to living ...
to loving ...
to playing ...


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