People that share their lives with pets understand that they have emotions. Animals are beings who enjoy life, grieve at loss, appreciate beauty, participate in social networks, and fortunately for humans, love unconditionally.
Our relationship with animals has the ability to transform our life. Studies have proven that the mere act of petting your cat or dog reduces blood pressure and lowers your heart rate, and that sharing your life with a companion animal reduces minor illnesses, such as colds, hay fever, and headaches. Pets can help heal our psyches and restore our bodies, but they can also teach us.
Animals play an important role in teaching children, and adults, empathy and kindness, but the lessons go even deeper. Animals teach us to live outside of words, to listen to other forms of consciousness by tuning into their spirit. And if we are willing to explore the idea that our animals are teachers and mentors, our ability to change is limitless. The animals in our lives want to help us create a life of excellence.
Lets face it, no one wakes up in the morning feeling great, happy and calm and decides that they want to change their life. Humans don’t work that way and animals know this about us. It’s when we wake up unhappy, fearful or dissatisfied that we accept that something needs to change. Animals know how to bring out strong emotions in us, however they have to, in order to get us to change.
Therapists say there are four, false, core beliefs that people trapped in negative emotions hold. These core beliefs are:
- I’m not safe, supported or protected.
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m not deserving or worthy.
- I’m not loveable.
If we are holding one of these beliefs, our quality of life will suffer. It’s time for a change and our animals know it. They can tap into these feelings and work to motivate us into new beliefs.
One way our animals let us know our behavior needs to change is through the act of mimicking our behavior. I was asked to offer Reiki to a dog that was going into have a cancerous tumor removed. The vet wasn’t sure if they could get it all. Of course, the owner was very upset. This was her first dog and she couldn’t stop shaking or talking about the fact that her dog may die.
We were outside and the dog was running around the yard as frantically as she was talking. I knew I wouldn’t be able to help the dog unless I could first get him to calm down.
I asked the owner if I could offer her Reiki. She looked surprised but agreed. She sat in a chair and within three minutes she began to calm down, and her dog came over and laid quietly at her feet. They were both calm for the rest of the session. Her dog was mirroring her behavior.
Sometimes our animals can behave in the exact opposite of us, creating emotions to help us change. For example, someone that is driven and works all the time, may have an animal get sick, requiring the person to slow down and take time out for other things besides work. The animal is teaching them about a balanced life.
In everything they do, animals are always teaching and assisting humans. I believe that the great lesson we learn from animals is that we are all interconnected in the web of life – humans, animals, and plants. As we strive to improve, its important to remember that change does not occur in isolation. Achieving a life of excellence requires all life experience the opportunity for a life of excellence.