So glad you’re here with me today, my friends. I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood this week.
This photo is of the tiny island in the middle of Huntington Lake in the California Sierras. Isn’t it beautiful?
As you are reading this, the devastating Creek Fire is actively burning in the Sierras- including at Huntington Lake and surroundings, the place where I spent two weeks of every summer growing up. Knowing this tranquil place of natural beauty is burning out of control is simply heartbreaking.
My heart goes out to all the animals, people and nature suffering due to this massive wildfire. Yet in the middle of the sorrow and destruction, I want to bring forth something positive: a vision of light in the darkness. Just as new life can eventually spring forth again in the beautiful Sierras, Huntington Lake planted a seed in my life that eventually grew into something very special and sacred for me, and even for each of you!
Huntington Lake was the place where I first learned to Let Animals Lead® me to a place of quiet, stillness and connection. When I was very small, I would venture out from our cabin into the nearby forest and find a quiet place to sit: sometimes on a fallen tree in a thicket, sometimes up on a tall rock overlooking a meadow. I would quietly sit and breathe, and wait. Within a few minutes the chipmunks would come out and resume their business, sometimes walking across my legs as they busied themselves. I never moved or reacted, just watched and tried to become part of the landscape.
Soon the birds would fly down and explore the areas near me for seeds and insects. Bunnies would hop along, often stopping and resting near me. If I was lucky, a deer would come graze nearby. One special day, a large buck with massive antlers chose to nap in the comfort of a fort made of sticks that I built against a tree. I often spent hours like this.
Every year when we’d arrive for our vacation, I couldn’t wait to run out into the forest so that I could sit quietly and just be with the wildlife: chipmunks and squirrels, bluejays, hummingbirds, ravens, deer and more. The peace and connection that overflowed in my heart in these special moments are truly my favorite childhood memories.
It was in these quiet moments that I discovered that all animals, even the tiniest mice or birds, have emotions, distinct personalities, and true wisdom that comes directly from nature. It was in these moments that I observed the way birds warned chipmunks of danger, and how so many species lived side by side in cooperation and harmony. It was in these moments that my understanding of the sacred nature of animals took root. It was in these moments that I understood that I too, could be a part of this communing, if I chose quietude, respect and kindness.
Looking back on these special moments at Huntington Lake, I realize that these experiences planted a seed in me about how to commune with animals, and how stillness and presence could bring about a new relationship, even with the wild ones. Even though Huntington Lake is going through fire devastation and will be forever changed, these special gifts to my life can never be taken away, and I am so grateful for each of the wild animal teachers who chose to share space with me every summer as I grew up! Now, through the Let Animals Lead® method, their teachings can also help you create amazing connections with animals in your life! 🙂
Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,