Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shaquille's ABC's of Life

Stories are an ancient way of learning and never forgetting. Humans are not the only ones who can share stories. Animals have this ability also, even though we have to listen with the ears of our hearts and not our heads. Shaquille, or Shaq as most of the volunteers called him, crossed over into another realm two days ago. He didn't leave because he didn't like it at Big Cat Rescue, but felt his life purpose had been served. His story involves a trail of tears and the ABC's of a cycle our society has adopted as natural and normal.

The first letter, A, represents acquisition of the animal. Our society still thinks of animals, any animal, as property and as such, have no rights and can be treated any way we choose to subject them according to our current emotional and mental needs. Acquisition is often motivated by cultural status, being unconscious and economic gain.

B represents brutality . Humanity has forgotten all living creatures are kindred spirits. Animals have no egos or belief systems. They are in harmony with their environment. They see no separation. Since humans see separation, there is a mind set of us vs. them. Artificial needs are created because in a world of separation, there is never enough. Abuse, brutality and cruelty are inflicted upon the animal because we don't understand or appreciate who they are. We demand things from them that they often cannot do without being motivated by fear to do it. We don't train or work with them from a position of cooperation. We train from a position of instilling fear into the animal until they do what we want them to do. When we see them "perform," generally we are watching fear in action.

C represents confinement . The animal is ALWAYS confined, whether it be physically and/or mentally. They are caged because of the limits we force upon them. They are very seldom able to express their innate nature. Frustration, stress and desperation are produced because they never feel freedom. You can see this in the animal, especially in their eyes.

"The eyes are the gateways into the soul." I heard this as a child many times, and it is true. Shaq was very happy at Big Cat Rescue. The volunteers gave him nothing but love. He was safe and well cared for, but if you looked into his eyes, you knew his story and could see the trail of tears. Our promise to Shaq, his story will not be forgotten.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jumanji's Present

A while back, I was on a private tour with some Big Cat Rescue supporters and the founder, Carole Baskin. We stopped at Jumanji's home because he was the favorite cat of one of the young girls on tour. She wanted to ask Jumanji some questions; however, before she could say anything, he spoke first.

"I think you should hang the picture by your bed," he said. She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face as I conveyed what Jumanji had said. I thought perhaps I had misunderstood what he said since the girl knew nothing about a picture. So, I asked Jumanji, what picture? Give me a clear picture of what you are talking about. I saw a picture of him in a beautiful frame.

"He says it is the picture of him," and described the frame. Again, she knew nothing about the picture. Jumanji also proceeded to tell me that he thought it was the perfect place so she could see him first thing in the morning. When it was apparent Jumanji was not going to let this rest until she agreed, one of the adults who was her aunt, spoke up.

She had this sheepish grin on her face and whispered to me that the girl's birthday was tomorrow, and she had bought a picture of Jumanji in the gift shop and was going to surprise her with it. She asked the young girl if she wanted her present early, and of course, she said yes. When told about the picture and what Jumanji thought, everyone laughed. The best part of all-he was right. He knew the pur-fect place to hang his picture as the young girl thanked him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Purr-fect Movement

There is so much to learn just by sitting quietly and observing nature. The Big Cats especially offer potent insights as they have not adopted a lot of our dysfunctional behaviors. I want to share a personal experience that transformed my life regarding Big Cats.

There is a man from Russia, Dr. Nicholas Romanov, who was my running coach when I was a competitive runner in the Tampa area for several years. I knew when I started running, I didn't want to run injured because most of the runners at one time or another got injured. I discovered Nicholas and met with him. I had only been running about 4 months and didn't know anything. What Nicholas shared with me was nothing short of amazing.

He explained to me how he discovered his technique for runners. It all started by observing a cheetah running, followed by observing other Big Cats. It appears as though the cats have perfect technique which may explain why they never get injured when running. His Ph.D. is in bio-mechanics, and he saw things in motion that once pointed out, anyone could see. After a few months, my per mile minute not only decreased by 3 minutes to a 6:30 minute mile, but I noticed some emotional issues had disappeared.

When I asked him about this, he discovered through movement and without effort, we can let go of anything that has been stored in our bodies. In addition, the repetition of running put us into the zone or present moment effortlessly. He learned from the Big Cats to work with nature, with what IS and as you become one, magic happens. The Big Cats taught him purr-fect movements and techniques he is now teaching to our elite runners of the Olympic team. The cats are making a difference!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Nature always communicates with us. The problem is we don't understand what it is saying. Where do we go to remember? I suggest the Big Cats. The universe reflects what our inner beliefs are no matter what our minds tell us. Often, they are completely different. Take the belief the earth is unlimited in her resources. The big cats will show us what we believe may not be true.

For example, when forests are cut down for our consumption at an incredible rate, it destroys the homes for countless animals who depend upon a system for survival. In the process, we destroy more than we are aware of and as a result, species of all kinds are forced to keep on the move until they end up in cramped quarters, fighting for territory.

More and more big cats are being killed because they have no where to go except where people are because their homes have been destroyed. They have very limited resources they can use to survive because of our beliefs. We have been using everything up until there is no more.

The big cats are communicating with us by reflecting our beliefs back to us and showing us it is time to examine what we believe because it isn't working. They celebrate Earth Day everyday by living in harmony with the environment. If they can, we can't we?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jaguar Energy

Have you ever thought about why Tigers have stripes and not spots? Or why Servals have spots and stripes? So many people ask about Jaguar's on the tours, I thought you might want to know what an ancient culture thought about the Jaguar's spots and what Jaguar energy meant to them.

To the Maya, the Jaguar’s spotted skin symbolized the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy. The birthplace of First Father in the mouth of Jaguar was known to the Quiche Maya as Xibalba Be (shi bal ba bay) “the Road to the Underworld.” The Sun’s daily journey from light to darkness represents consciousness and its transformation. The Nocturnal Sun in the guise of the Jaguar travels through the underworld revealing our subconscious fears and allowing them to be transformed.

The jaguar paces on the periphery of our subconscious, protecting our inner temple and listening for unusual sounds in the night.
Utilize the energy of Jaguar to follow your instincts. Allow your feelings to guide your actions and movements. Jaguar shows us we no longer need to fear the jungle or the night. Jaguar teaches us to face our inner demons and arise transformed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lunar Lunacy

The April full moon is at its peak tonight, but the cats aren't waiting. While there is still a touch of coolness in the air, it's not enough to stir the cats into the kind of action I saw today at the sanctuary. Banjo, although he is a Binturong and not a cat, is very popular because of his buttered popcorn smell. I have never seen Banjo move as quickly as he did and roll with his red ball. It was as though a bee had stung him into action, and once he got going, he didn't stop. Swatting his ball with his paws, he hugged his ball and flowed with the roll. Spanking that ball as hard as he could, he jumped and pounced on it and was a crowd pleaser.

Next was Diablo, a new addition to the sanctuary. He is a Savannah cat who can't make up his mind who he is. He was running back and forth and if you didn't know better, you would have thought a ghost was chasing him. Nothing but spooks for Diablo. Sundari, a favorite Asian Spotted Leopard, had a hold of her tail and rolled up into a ball and continued to perform gymnastic moves for everyone to see. Even Hercules, a gorgeous Snow Leopard, was not as intense as his eyes followed everyone behind the protection of tall grass blades. He was still, but his eyes were playing with everyone who was trying to find him. Bongo had the serval section fired up as his constant talking alerted Shasta, Arizona, Frosty and Ty to keep moving, looking for anything that might provide unexpected enrichment.

We can't forget the domestic cats that call the sanctuary home. Maya teased Simba, another Asian Spotted Leopard, as she begged attention from anyone who would stop to pet her. As she did, Simba exhibited some fancy moves that the tour group didn't expect as he pumped his rear end waiting for Maya to make a wrong move. Lastly, the peacocks were so noisy and under everyone's feet that you couldn't hear what the tour guides were saying. Dancing and flirting with each other, love was definitely in the air. So, if you are feeling a bit crazy today, know you are in the flow with the cats as this bright moon can bring out the "wild" in you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

WHAT IF?

The cats ask, "WHAT IF........You were aware and remembered one simple act makes a difference. What simple act would you carry out today?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finding Joy in Life's Surprises

Animals are such a blessing in our lives as we connect with their wisdom and perspectives. We forget that a kind word or recognizing the animal as we pass by, can be a huge boost for their spirit. Mac, a beautiful cougar, is always excited to see Matt. He knows he usually has some enrichment of some kind for him, whether it is spices that makes him feel really good or just spending time, squatted down at his level, quietly talking with him.

Mac doesn't have any emotional attachments to any preconceived ideas of what Matt is going to do. He patiently waits, and even though he gets excited, he knows that it is only going to be good. By not having the need to focus on specific probabilities, it allows Mac's heart and mind to be open to a wide variety of possible outcomes.

A simple way of Being, Mac's approach to life allows him to find joy in any of the surprises that Matt presents. Send Mac a heartfelt hug as he reminds us how simple life is.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WHO AM I?

My head pops out of my den as I hear his footsteps approaching. I stretch my neck to see where he is. I know he is coming as I am his favorite cat. He gives me things that smell good. All the different smells makes me roll over on my back and rub my head against the Cat-A-Tat. I will roll and roll. He stays as long as he can and has helped me calm down. I wasn't sure when I first came here and had an attitude. I still like to stay in my den as people pass by. You can sometimes see me if you look closely. Can you guess Matt's favorite cat?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stillness Speaks

Looks are deceiving. The old wisdom of, "You can't judge a book by its cover," applied to the sweetest caracle I have met, Crackle. One would never know there was a power house hidden beneath her sweetness. Her power was not the kind that forces itself upon you or was aggressive. Crackle's power was the stillness that was always present.

I had the privilege and honor of working with Crackle for a short time doing operant training. She would be very dainty in taking the piece of meat as I clicked. She would patiently wait, although her eyes would betray her excitement, as I prepared another piece of meat. Often, I would have to wake her up but as soon as she smelled her treats, the stalks of grass would start to move, and I knew she was on her way.

Crackle's stillness spoke volumes. She touched hearts. Her soul could be seen as you looked into her eyes. Dainty in her physical appearance, strong in presence, Crackle will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Agent of Change

Animal communication encompasses many facets, and many animal lovers don't need research or the latest scientific discovery to tell them what they already know-animals have deep emotional lives and understand more than we know. For example, a lot of people coming for a tour at the sanctuary get so excited when they hear Cameron roar even before they can see him. The excitement reaches a fevered pitch and beckons "oohs and aahs" when they see Zabu.

Zabu is very much aware of the emotions she illicits from the crowd, and life presents an intangible magic as we become aware of the unseen as it unfolds. As the tour guide explains the "myth of the white tiger", people become disgusted, jaws drop, heads nod back and forth, and a discussion of their reality ensues. As Zabu prances, the truth behind her color instantly transforms conditioned beliefs , and a new reality has been woven into the tapestry of a new earth.

Animals always communicate with us. As we question our current beliefs, new possibilities see daylight and empower us to make different choices, always being grateful to the animal as an agent of change.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Completing the Journey

Many spiritual teachings of the ancient ways of Being teach us that "it is not the learning from which we came---but the task of "remembering" which completes the journey." This is but one of the many truths that I discovered from Sheera, Bobcat. Sheera remembered her purpose for this life and when it was completed, left her physical body Saturday evening taking advantage of the energies presented with the new moon. It is not uncommon for animals to work with the potent lunar energies to transition to a new realm, more wisdom Sheera remembered.

Sheera always maintained her wild spirit. When I first met her, I was amazed at her ability to survive. Although she came to the sanctuary in bad physical condition, she knew how to feel her body move and in so doing, memorized every inch of her Cat-A-Tat. Committed to memory, she knew which path to take to ease her pain. She avoided other areas that were difficult for her. In time, her physical body adapted to her surroundings.

Sheera was an example of no boundaries, no limitations and not giving up. Her determination and will power overcame any obstacle. She may have been a small bobcat, but her spirit refused to let anything get her down. Respect and dignity was given to Sheera as she chose how to complete her journey. We will miss the little cat who never forgot who she was.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Extinction or Evolution?

I have recently returned from taking a couple of seminars on Matrix Energetics. Its essence is the Science and Art of Transformation as you learn the language of "quantum." It appeared this was perfect timing since Oprah and Eckhart Tolle have been presenting a 10 week discussion of his book "A New Earth-Awakening to Your Life's Purpose." The two are very interconnected, and it is very obvious that humanity has a choice-wake up or die.

As I participated in the language of "quantum" where everything is possible, and you can time travel back before an accident or an event took place and change it, thereby creating a different outcome, I was very surprised when Snorkel, the deaf tiger at the sanctuary, came to me and wanted to share what was in his heart.

"The journey of the tiger started long ago," Snorkel said. "We symbolize passion and power. Our influence is great. We only hunt when we need to. We do not kill at random or are pleasure hunters. We have disciplined awareness and possess strong spiritual energy. We now share a common path. The journey is not yet over. We ask you-do you continue to kill us and as we leave the planet as a species, your journey is also over or do you see that we are connected and a new journey begins as we evolve together?"

This wasn't the usual way Snorkel communicates. I could sense his heart was heavy. It didn't take long to see tigers are self-aware and feel the crisis humanity has created for all. We have the inner technology to transform anything anywhere. The tigers are asking where do we go from here?