Woman looks into the eyes of a coyote

In many ways, we are creatures of habit. We are also shaped by cultural influences, the family, the times we are born into, and social pressures as to what is “normal.” Without realizing it, our brains are shaped by the pressures and examples we grow up with. And unless we are lucky, we are turned away from our own intuitive experiences. It becomes difficult to develop a true aspect of ourselves that is the source of our own ideas, intelligence, and intuition. We are in a transition time now between the older 20th century understanding of how the universe works---in which our sense of “reality” is the only one---and the quantum version of how the universe works, which is on...

White dog with black spots and black markings on his face

Odd things happen to all of us at some time or another. A few weeks ago, I woke up after a vivid dream about my dog, Abe. I was at the trailhead of a popular local path into the foothills, calling out for Abe, who had run off both leashless and collarless. I whistled, yelled, and shrieked to no avail. Hikers passed by, promising to search for him as they went on their way. For no apparent reason, I got into my old pickup truck and drove down a dirt road, rounded a sharp corner, and pulled up at a dead end. Who was bouncing up and down, yipping happily? Abe. After pouring a cup of coffee and wondering why I would have such a crisp, realistic dream---except for the part about Abe not...

Macro shot of a green insect with large brown eyes and antennae

The other day we watched footage from our trail cam on our wildlife corridor. Something flitted briefly across the screen as we looked for mammals, and someone said, “Oh, it’s just a bug…” “Just a bug?” I exclaimed. “What do you mean, ‘just a bug’? They make the world go around! Without bugs, we are lost. And they are incredible! Have you ever seen the film Microcosmos? Well now you must---it will be a staff enrichment session. And they aren’t ‘bugs,’ they are insects---proper respect, please! No demeaning through language---we do that with too many life forms, including humans, and the result is the same, so---insect, please.” (Even worse: because it was...

Close up of a blue dragonfly

- By Rose De Dan - As summer approaches it occurred to me that it would be timely to speak of our connection with our smaller brethren that we share this world with---kin that our society has great difficulty in thinking positively about, namely, insects, spiders, and all the other creepy crawlies. We always seem to be at war with them. As children we are taught to fear and despise them. According to our society they don’t have thoughts or feel pain---they are completely alien in nature to us. Yet, they dominate the earth, and many have existed on this planet for far longer than any other living beings besides ocean inhabitants and plants. Such are the dragonflies---pure miracles of...

Young buddhist monk in orange robes petting an elephant

Many of us have a deep longing for something more in life, a yearning, a sense of loneliness. What if we are longing for something we innately have: a deep, visceral connection to the wild---to animals, nature, and the community of Life? Wild animals are lonely for us. We are lonely for them. We have become disconnected from each other. Imagine what would happen if we expanded our sense of community to include all living beings in our consideration and planning? If we fell in love with the nonhuman life around us? What would the state of our environment be then? Falling in love begins first with intimate contact. When we truly know and love an individual, we are moved to protect and...

Hummingbird perched on a person's finger

I heard two incredible bird rescue stories recently. The essence of the stories is the same, although the people were very different temperaments and came from very different walks of life. It made me think… The first came from Mariabruna Sirabella, who leads spiritual and nature retreats. She focuses on helping people experience our interconnection with all of creation and tuning to our collective wisdom. In that context, the following story is not so surprising. “I was holding a retreat on a farm in central California. We were down in the field doing work, and one of the participants had to go to the bathroom, which was up in the main room of the farm. All of a sudden, I heard...

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