I recently came across one of the best headlines I’d ever read: Alan Cumming’s Dog Helps Heal Scottish Leader’s Fear. (I love actor Alan Cumming for many reasons, one being that he truly adores his dogs.) This article explains that when Alan had dinner with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon back in 2016, he brought his dog Lala with him, not knowing that Nicola had always been terrified of dogs.
But after Nicola spent an evening with Lala, she found her to be a very lovely and soothing dog—the first dog she’d ever felt safe with.
Nicola has been quoted as saying that her fear of dogs had never been the dogs’ fault. Think about that for a minute…We often adopt beliefs, opinions, or ways of life that aren’t really ours. We could easily get them when we were kids from people we looked up to, or from something we saw on TV or in movies as we were forming our view of the world. We don’t even realize the beliefs aren’t our own, but there they are, stuck in our heads.
And then one day we’re moved to feel something that resonates more with who we are and our truth, and we’re compelled to get out of our heads and into our hearts.
The same year Alan met the First Minister, I went on a trip to the Bahamas to swim with wild dolphins. I was excited to go—it sounded like a beautiful adventure. The first day there, though, my group sat through an orientation and I promptly began to panic. All of a sudden I “knew” that my chronic health issue would hold me back, I wasn’t a strong swimmer, I’d never be able to keep up with my group in the water.
That afternoon we sailed away from the coast for an hour, and a dolphin pod showed up to play. After I fearfully got into the water, the dolphins welcomed us into their world, frolicked with us, and shared their irresistibly gleeful energy. And I immediately felt amazing.
A few days later we were on the boat again, waiting for hours for the dolphins to show up. I kept thinking how likely it was that we wouldn’t encounter a pod that day. Having just started to study animal communication, I decided to try to connect with any dolphins nearby. The message I received was, “You don’t even know how good it’s going to be!” A pod eventually showed up that day, got super up-close and personal, and played with us for longer than any other day that week. It was epic!
Not once that week did I fail to keep up with my group—my body performed super efficiently to my utter shock and awe. Why? Because each time I was in the water, the dolphins helped me lead with my feelings, not my brain.
Animals are so good at bringing us back into our hearts and syncing us up with our instinct and intuition, away from that heady, go-to worry mode. But you can also get there by spending time in nature or just doing what lights you up. Allowing ourselves to really feel leads to balance, wholeness, and true connection. And really, how good does that feel? 💜