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March 3, 2012: Animal Teachings

I recently received a copy of Animal Teachings, written by Dawn Brunke and illustrated by Ola Liola. Dawn lives in Alaska, and Ola lives in Israel. This was their first collaborative effort. Let’s hope that they continue to work together, because the overall effect is synergistic. Animal Teachings is a very special book—and I might add, this isn’t a term that I toss around loosely.

My eyes were initially drawn to the illustrations, beautiful, bright watercolors, most of which are in soft shades of orange, pink, and purple. The cover painting is of a wolf, which looks directly at the reader. Six other wolves are embedded in his ruff. This is a most fitting cover, for altogether too many

Animal Teachings

humans are spiritually and psychically distant from our wolf brethren.

My eyes were next drawn to the text. Dawn provides us with an overview of this book in a section aptly entitled “What are Animal Teachings?” She speculates that we’ve “strayed from our intimate connection with the natural world, this joyful celebration of life.” Dawn then brings this split into question by asking “why did we separate from our fellow animals, creating an ‘us’ and a ‘them?’” adding “at times we even told ourselves that animals were dumb, soulless creatures.” Thus, “we lost much of our heart connection.”

Dawn alerts us to the importance of re-connection, stating “now, more than ever, animals urge us to awaken, to be more conscious planetary stewards, to reclaim our response, ability, and joy in the dance of life.” Furthermore, animal teachings and gifts are a start, for “animals have the capacity to be teachers, guides, partners, friends and companions.” And in this respect “they remind us of what we have forgotten and who we really are.”

Dawn provides an organizational rationale in the section entitled “Using this Book.” Animal Teachings is divided into twelve topics, labeled “Attention and Awareness,” “Balance,” “Communication,” “Creation and Creativity,” “Dreaming,” “Healing Integration,” “Intuition,” “Joy,” “Personal Power,” “Transformation,” and “Wisdom.” The input of five specific animal groups follows. For example, if you want to focus on balance, you read the topic introduction, and then consider the “various flavors or qualities” that the camel, cow, penguin, prairie dog, and wolf offer.

Dawn’s self-example reinforces the above information in “Communicating with Animals.” Furthermore, she suggests in the final section that we might bridge the communicative gap by forming alliances with “animal teachers, helpers, advisors, partners and friends.”

I did as Dawn suggests and worked intuitively, zeroing in on the section on balance. As of late, I’ve been attempting to do deal with career-related disconnect. Cow, camel, penguin, and prairie dog all had very important words of wisdom. However, wolf’s message came through most clearly. Ola’s illustration depicts a kindly, no-nonsense fellow, who demands excellence. Indeed, “wolf knows how to find the meaning of life,” and as well “. . . reminds us to balance instinct with intelligence.” Thus, I deduced that I should continue with my endeavors but not take on too much more. A tall order, but obtainable if I continue to see wolf as my teacher and spiritual guide.

And so, the question that I’m now considering is, what can I learn from my herd of three goats? Thus, Animal Teachings has further opened my animal communicative doors.

Next: 87. 3/4/12: Sunday Brunch