By Jessie Klassen
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Nature has many wisdoms and lessons for those who are open to her teachings. 7 years ago I went through a major life change where I began to “wake up.” Fortunately, nature was there, patiently waiting for me. Animals are wonderful communicators and messengers who are more than willing to interact with those open to the possibility.
Here are 5 of the most profound lessons I have learned from the animal kingdom. This article is a follow up to my previous article, “5 Lessons from the Animal Kingdom.” As Nature offers infinite wisdom to those who are listening, the list of lessons that can be drawn from our animal teachers is an endless one, but these are several more of the most profound lessons I have learned from the Animal Kingdom in the last 7 years.
Lesson #1: “Always trust your instincts”
This lesson was shared with me by a Lioness during the dream state (I am a dreamer, after all!) It was during a time when I was feeling very uneasy with someone who was becoming involved in my children’s lives, due to the fact that I am divorced and can’t always control who they are around.
I had no “logical” reason to not like this person, but something about them just felt “off.” After weeks of trying to convince myself that I was just being paranoid, a Lioness visited me in a dream. She was walking with me and my children, and she was coming close enough to rub against them and lick their hands. My kids were at first a little uneasy about this, but I quickly assured them, “It’s ok, she’s here to protect you.” I then heard her say as she looked at me, “Always trust your instincts.”
When I awoke from that dream, I realized that my instincts had been right and I quickly took necessary steps to stop the involvement of this particular person in my children’s lives. Time has since proven that my instincts were indeed correct about this person, and I will not be doubting myself again.
Lionesses are fiercely protective of their young, and they know that they can trust their intuitions. I am so grateful to the Lioness for giving me the confidence to do what I had to do to protect my “cubs.”
Lesson #2: “We’re really not that different”
This next lesson came to me last winter through one of my dearest cows, on a day where I was feeling particularly lost and confused. It was the first calving season I had been through as a vegetarian, and needless to say, I was quite at odds about my livelihood as a farmer. Everything I knew to be true in my life, and had previously identified with, was changing.
On this particular day, I had been helping my family cut up meat, as once a year as a family we butcher our own steer so that we have healthy meat to last the year. After feeling especially sad while cutting, I just had to get out of the meat shop. Of all places, I felt called to walk out to the cattle pens where we keep our calving cows. The sun was shining strong on this March day, so I just stood there facing it, soaking it up with my eyes closed, tears streaming down my hot cheeks.
Suddenly I heard this sweet voice say, “You know, we’re really not that different.” When I opened my eyes and looked around, I saw one of our gentlest cows standing near me. She was looking at me with such understanding in her eyes. I cannot describe just how “human” her eyes looked, there was such an awareness within them.
I had never before heard one of our cows speak so directly to me, so I replied in my mind, “How are we not that different?” She then showed me telepathically, with a visual image, how she enjoys soaking up the sun as well. I could feel how warm the sun felt to her, and how comforting it is. She showed me her favourite place to stand, which happened to be next to the pond that I grew up beside, near my parents’ house. She showed me a picture of herself, standing on the banks in the summertime, a slight breeze blowing the bugs away, while the sun beat down upon her back. I could feel her peacefulness and complete satisfaction with life in this perfect moment.
I said to her in my mind, “That’s one of my favourite places too.” I then showed her pictures of myself playing on the banks as a child, and rafting on the water.
“You know, we’re really not that different.”
We stood together for a long time in this awareness and appreciation of one another, and in the knowing that we really are not that different. I was deeply touched by her compassion for me and sympathy for my tears; for her willingness to comfort and cheer me up. I know that I must have stunk of the meat shop, and yet she was so empathetic and understanding of my pain.
My cows have taught me so much about forgiveness and acceptance, and naturally, I hold a very special place in my heart for them.
Lesson #3: “Whose song are you singing?”
This lesson was shared with me last spring by one of the most iconic symbols of springtime and warm weather, the Robin.
Just like my lesson shared by my cow, this lesson came on a day when I was once again feeling out of sorts with my livelihood and was confused about what I should be doing with my life.
It was early morning, and I had just completed my cattle check. I was on my drive home down our short winding road through an oak bluff. It was here that a Robin decided to land on the road in front of me. I stopped and the Robin stared at me. I could feel his eyes looking into me. After a few moments I could hear him say, “Whose song are you singing?” Then he flew up only to land a little ways ahead of me and again and stare at me. This time I heard him say, “Are you singing your song, or is your song still within you?” The Robin looked at me a while longer before he flew up into the trees and began singing his lovely morning song for the rest of the world.
I sat there in my truck for a long while, unable to move. The Robin had touched such a deep truth within me. Until that point, I had never asked myself these questions, but the Robin was right — I wasn’t singing my song, at least not the song that was true to me now. My life was changing so quickly, and I was trying to fit myself into what I used to be instead of who I really was. My song was still inside of me. I hadn’t been using my voice because I was afraid that people wouldn’t like what I had to say, and that they would no longer accept me. But the Robin does not worry about such things; he has a song to sing, and so he sings it — and he brightens the world because he does.
After this encounter, I knew that I had to start writing again, and that I had to share my writing with the world. I am eternally grateful to the Robin for sharing his wisdom.
Lesson #4: “You still have work to do”
This lesson came by way of a rat, and I have to admit, as a born-and-raised farm girl, I’m embarrassed by how freaked out I am at the sight of a rat. And I’m not talking about a hop-on-a-chair-and-shriek kind of freaked out, I’m talking about a hyperventilating-and-paralyzed-in-terror kind of freaked out.
I know, I know, how can someone so connected to Nature be freaked out by an animal? I’ve asked myself this same question, many, many times. I know that all animals have a purpose, and that none of them are “bad”, whether we think of them as pets or pests, yet the very sight of rats evoked a response in me like nothing else. And worse yet, it was a reaction I couldn’t seem to control or rationalize — even living on a farm where, with all of the grain around, rats are commonplace.
It is true that anything that really bothers us in our surrounding world is simply reflecting something back at us that we are not at peace with within ourselves. Essentially, anything that we are afraid of teaches us that we still have inner work to do. So, after noticing the signs of a rat in my chicken coop, and not wanting to have a panic attack every time I pick eggs, I decided to finally do a meditation specifically around my fear of rats.
In my meditation, I was shown that I had once been a prisoner in a previous life. As a prisoner, I was locked up in deplorable conditions — a dark, dirty jail with many other people. We were filthy, sick, and the smell was so awful it turned my stomach. And of course, there were also — as you may have guessed — rats. They were everywhere, scurrying around us and running up the walls. I realized then that the sight of rats was triggering a memory within my subconscious of that hellish experience. No wonder I couldn’t keep it together!
With this understanding, I was able to heal the energy of this experience, and I thanked the rat for revealing a part of my subconscious to me that I had not been aware of.
One day, not long after this healing, I saw a rat in my barn… and I didn’t freak out! As I stared at this rat that stared right back at me, I could hear him say, “Don’t be afraid to make use of all of your gifts.” I was floored. Like the Robin, the Rat had struck a nerve. I wasn’t using all of my “gifts” that I had been born with. I was hiding some of them, afraid, once again, of not being accepted. As a result, I had allowed myself to continuing suffering from fear, instead of applying the knowing within within me to confront, heal and overcome that fear.
The sight of rats still makes me uneasy, but at least have some self-control in those moments, and no longer hyperventilate at the site of them! I am very grateful to the Rat for helping bring my gifts into the light that I had been stowing away in the darkness.
Lesson #5: “Don’t take life so seriously”
This lesson was shared with me by the cheeky little squirrels who live in the oak bluff near my home. I often walk the winding road through this oak bluff with my 2 dogs, Sidda and Chubs, as this road leads to our cattle pens, which also then leads to my parent’s home.
Squirrels are wonderful examples of how to keep our inner child alive.
Every time we walk or drive this road, without fail, out of nowhere appears a little red squirrel, streaking across the road. And every single time, without fail, Sidda and Chubs go chasing after them. The squirrels seem to stay just far ahead enough of the dogs to avoid capture before they climb up into the safety of a tree. And then they chatter back at the dogs, taunting and teasing them. One can’t help but laugh at the silliness of it all!
I have often wondered: If the squirrels didn’t like being chased, then why do they always run out in front of us?
Squirrels tend to be a bit of a contradiction. They work tirelessly collecting acorns to stow away for the winter, much more than they can ever use for themselves, and yet, , they never miss an opportunity to take time out to play, chasing one another from limb to limb and taunting the dogs from above.
One day after Sidda and Chubs had once again successfully chased a squirrel up a tree, I could hear her chatter at me, “Don’t take life so seriously.” I couldn’t help but smile, because I had at the time, been taking life too seriously and was in a bit of a “funk.” I realized that if a squirrel who works tirelessly in preparation for winter can still take time out and play, than why can’t I?
Squirrels seem to have an ability to keep life fun and light, and are wonderful examples of how to keep our inner child alive, and take time out for play. They also encourage us to enjoy what we do, and if we are not, then perhaps we need to change what we do or change our perspective. Just as they enjoy running on the ground as well as soaring high above in the tree limbs, the remind us that it is also beneficial for us to get a “higher” perspective of our lives at times, as well.
Nature has a way of guiding us with exactly what we need when we need it. All we have to do is be aware of the wisdom that is around us and available at all times.