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Learning from Animal Mothers
I think I could turn and live with the animals,
They're so placid and self-contained.
I stand and look at them long and long . . .
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.

--Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Last summer a doe and her fawn came into my backyard every day. I enjoyed seeing fawn grow from an impossibly tiny and wobbly-legged baby into a spirited, prancing youngster.

One visit in late summer was a little different. After a few minutes of browsing, the fawn bolted into the woods. The doe watched it leave and then lay down in the shade beneath a tree. At first, I thought it was nice that she seemed so comfortable in the back yard, but when an hour passed and she'd hardly moved, I became concerned.

My concern deepened when a car drove up, and she didn't run away. I wondered whether she was sick and if I should call a wildlife rehabilitator. In my experience, deer wisely avoided cars. Besides, if a doe let her baby prance off into the dangerous woods and didn't try to find her after a long time, didn't that mean she was really sick? And where was that fawn, anyway?

I spent a half hour in deepening worry. Then, just as I was beginning to feel I really should do something, the deer stood up, casually stretched, and began eating grass. A few minutes later, the fawn danced back into the yard, had a quick hit of milk, and followed her mother for a stroll around my property.

The doe hadn't been worried about the fawn, nor the fawn about the doe. Only I, the human, worried. Worry: A Human Disease

This made me think of some of the other animal mothers I'd seen that summer. In June a mother bear and three cubs passed through the yard. If an unwise human had appeared in the yard, she would have almost certainly attacked, but the evidence of human occupation (cars, etc.) didn't disturb her. Her attention to her lively triplets was casual.

A few weeks later, I saw a raccoon mother with three babies. These little guys were the size of eight-week-old kittens, and their heads were the biggest parts of them. They were way too small and adorable. At one point the mother stood on her hind legs and looked around, but, satisfied that there was no danger, she crossed the yard, letting the babies trail behind her.

Animals don't rely only on visual scans for their safety reports. All their senses are working. Heavy footsteps, an unfamiliar or familiar but dangerous smell, or a threatening sound, awaken their protective and self-protective urges.

Their ability to sense true danger is far greater than ours. Animals will flee an area when a volcano is about to erupt, and scientists observed that animals had early on evacuated areas where the tsunami of several years ago struck.

Humans, on the other hand, may sense danger where none exists. We can turn the sight of a peaceful, resting deer into an occasion for worry. We can fear events that haven't happened, aren't happening, and may never happen.

Outer Sensing

In part, we are fearful because we have come to suppress our physical senses. For city dwellers, this is almost inevitable. The sounds and smells of traffic and many humans, the visual distortion of artificial light, the unlikelihood of sinking one's feet into soft earth, and other factors, often make one want to reduce sensory abilities. It took me at least months of post-urban living to expand my sensory awareness, and, even then, I was likely to think the snapping of a branch meant that a mugger approached.

If someone were forced to drive a car in the dark without headlights, she would be very cautious and fearful. Lacking animals' sensory skills is a disability that contributes to our fearfulness.

Inner Knowing

Animals have another gift that we've suppressed: full awareness of their connection to an inner source of knowing that is the personal expression of oneness with the universe. With this sense, they walk with confidence in the physical world. They know what actions further their intentions and which don't.

Their gift is true because it's untarnished by living in regret for the past or fear for the future, the opinions of others, and our self-judgments. All of these can make humans act as if we're guided by a global positioning system that's gone out of whack.

When we follow our inner guidance, we, too, know whether our current path is the best one for us. A sudden urge to make a detour on a physical path may prevent an accident. An inexplicable negative feeling following a job interview may be a warning that one should seek more favorable employment paths.

Being attuned to intuition connects us to the subtle patterns and cycles of life. When we learn to move in that rhythm, we experience a oneness with all of life that teaches us we have no need to be fearful for ourselves or for others. We realize that the deer beneath the tree is, like any worn-out mom, taking a break and that her fawn is both playing and experiencing independence.

I thank that deer for teaching me to stop worrying and to pay more attention to the inner harmony that lets me know I'm safe.

Getting Back on the Path

To be attuned to inner guidance, we need the ability to stop listening exclusively to the voices of reason and logic. Fortunately, you can employ a number of methods for developing faith in the intuition that connects you to this guidance.

You can find articles on each of the areas below in the article listings for Rainbow Reflections and Living with Crystals.

These methods open both our inner and outer senses. Dreams connect us to the inner self and its guidance. Meditation quiets the interruptions of the outside world and lets us go within. Meditating with crystals adds their vibrational impact to the inner journey. Simply holding and rubbing crystals opens new sensory dimensions.

Essences help to clear up the blockages that may limit our ability to access inner wisdom. Essential oils, among their other gifts, awaken us to the glory of the sense of smell.

Playing with Crystals

Although crystals in general help to open us to the senses, I most strongly recommend clear quartz in any form. Feeling the texture of a quartz crystal or cluster while looking at it can help us to integrate the functions of the left and right brains. A crystal with rainbows can be especially beneficial, as is gazing into a sphere.

I also recommend choosing a crystal because something you can't explain guides you to desire it. You will probably receive some pleasant surprises.

Learning to Sense the Essence

The following essences are all from the Flower Essence Society (FES).

Hound's Tongue: For overly rational or materialistically oriented people. This essence helps to promote a more spiritual consciousness and meditative awareness.

Lady Slipper: Helps to bring spiritual energy into one's everyday life, leading to a general raising of energy and a sense of purpose.

Lotus: For spiritual openness and meditative receptivity, a general spiritual essence.

Mullein: When one feels weak, confused, and unable to hear inner guidance. It helps one re-attune to the inner voice and become true to oneself.

St. John's Wort: Protects those afraid to experience expanded spiritual and psychic consciousness; helps one experience divine guidance and one' own inner light. Beyond the Rainbow
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