The animals we take into our lives all have a past that is separate to ours, with maybe one exception – when the animal is born from parents that are in our guardianship. In this case we become one of their first memories.
We all have memories. Some bring a smile to the face and a feeling of love and joy, some bring tears and a feeling of sadness and loss, some bring fear and anxiety. Some bring all of them together. How can we feel happy, loving, sad, anxious, and frightened all at the same time? Is that possible, and how can we make peace with all of that?
One example of this could be when our parents move home and we have to go to a new school. We could have fear first, then anger, then anxiety about meeting new people, then sadness at losing old friends, then later joy and happiness as new friends are made. Or it could be joy and happiness at moving because there was only unhappiness where you were, but then anxiety about whether it will be the same as what you have left. So many variations…
As humans we can mostly acknowledge that we can go through various feelings about an upheaval, a change in our life, and we can take steps to move forward. Some struggle with that more than others.
Why do we find it difficult to understand that animals can go through this to? They can get moved from one owner to another, suddenly finding themselves in a new environment with new animals and humans to get to know, new food to get used to, different water to drink, and nobody told them this was going to happen. It just happened. Everything they knew was stripped away. Not even a chance to say goodbye to old friends.
I have had many instance now where I have been sharing the present moment with an animal and they will show me a past memory. They are always different.
There is the childhood memory of a mother; the loss of a child; the memory of a strong friendship bond and of playmates; a picture of a different field / house / barn/environment; a memory of bravery and confidence as friends stand together; a picture of a human attachment; and sometimes pictures of love despite hardship, memories of shared fear.
Querida has been sharing a memory recently of a young girl she loved and lost. The intellectual understanding of what happened I don’t know. All I know is this girl was in her life and then gone, and she wants that loving memory acknowledged as something to treasure, not forget or ignore, or even put a story around to suit ourselves.
What all these memories have in common is they are usually happy memories, tinged with sadness, and that sadness is mostly around the need for those memories to be acknowledged. This lack of acknowledgement can cause the sadness to become stuck, the happy memories to become over ridden by the anxiety and fear that change engendered, or the grief and anger at losing friends and/or family.
How can we acknowledge the memories of our animal partners, understand their stories? They don’t have words to explain. They can’t write you a letter. But they have feelings. And so do we. It is how we can share our truths.
Bring a feeling of peace to your animal and open up a pathway for them to share how they feel. When your feeling of peace changes to something else, acknowledge that feeling and thank your animal for sharing. That is all that is needed.