I recently saw a news story where a British swimmer was competing in a 16-mile swim across the Cook Strait off the coast of New Zealand. At one point, he noticed a great white shark swimming just a few feet below him.
Soon after the shark had approached, a pod of dolphins formed a circle around the man as he swam. A few minutes later, the shark disappeared, and the dolphins continued swimming in a circle around the man for another 50 minutes.
I’ve written before about instances where one or two wild dolphins have shown people (including me) complete love and acceptance in the open sea—it blows me away every time. What I find exceptional in this case is that a whole pod collectively decided to rally around the man to protect him. Dolphins often stick together in pods to protect each other from sharks, and they could have chosen to protect only themselves that day in the Cook Strait. But there was obviously a conversation and consensus among them that surrounding the man together would be a good idea.
I don’t go around accusing sharks, and I don’t know for sure the shark was going to attack the man. I am pretty sure, though, that the man experienced some level of automatic panic and fear when he laid eyes on the shark beneath him, and that the dolphins picked up that signal right away. When they circled the man, the dolphins basically brought him into their pod and treated him as a legit member. And they didn’t drop that support when the shark swam away. For nearly an hour more, they all swam as a pod.
I taught an intuitive animal communication workshop a couple of weeks ago, and I described to the students how all animals communicate intuitively all of the time with each other. In a pod, flock, pack, herd, etc., it’s crucial that animals do so in order to stay healthy and thrive.
One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen is when I observed a herd of horses in Costa Rica. One horse was serving as lookout, focused on the surroundings to keep the herd safe. His back was to two other horses who were grazing. At the exact moment the lookout horse started to put his head down to graze, the two behind him lifted their heads up and started to survey the surroundings. They’d switched roles without physically seeing each other. It was all one hundred percent intuitive and an exchange of energetic information. The two grazers were happy to give the lookout a break.
When we bring pets into our home, we’re part of the herd, and they treat us as such. Last week I had to have a rather intense dental procedure, and as soon as I got home, I lay down on the bed to rest. Immediately, our cat Calla jumped onto the bed to lie down with me and give me comfort. Calla is not a snuggle-on-the-bed in summertime cat. Her fur is thick and she prefers lying on hardwood floors or in front of the AC. But whenever I lie on the bed with an ailment, she’s there. She reads the energy and supports the herd. It reminded me of when Calla had her dental procedure last year, I lay on the floor with her and sent her Reiki. We all naturally play the roles that are for the best of the herd.
On my way to the dental procedure, the Uber drove me up the East Side Highway of Manhattan. At one point I looked out the window to the East River, and I caught sight of a small boat with huge letters at the back that spelled out COSMO. I immediately thought of Cosmo the horse who I’d worked with in Costa Rica right before I had surgery a few years ago. I’d had a lot of fear going into that procedure, and Cosmo’s message to me that week was to go into my heart, stay in joy, and know that everything’s going to be great. It was the exact mindset (and heartset) that I needed to enter the dentist’s office with that day.
Our herd doesn’t have to live in our house with us. Physical proximity isn’t required, although it’s very useful in, say, the Cook Strait. Animals constantly show us how to function in balance together, how to give and receive support intuitively, energetically, and physically. Pods, herds, and packs are the ultimate schools of life (and love). 💜