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When Rachelle and I were in southern Spain a couple weeks ago, we stayed with some new friends on a three-acre fruit farm. Since the weather was so nice, we spent a lot of time sitting outside, enjoying views of rolling green hills and the city of Malaga down below, while we snacked on fresh avocados and oranges straight from the trees.
Here’s a pic, so you can see what it looked like.
There were five animals there: a small dog, two chickens, and two baby goats. When we first arrived, the dog was very friendly, but the other animals seemed slightly aloof. They all quickly warmed up to us though.
When either or both of us would sit outside, within a few minutes we’d soon be surrounded by all five animals who seemed drawn to us like magnets. If we moved to a different part of the farm, the animals would almost always follow us.
The chickens seemed to enjoy circling around us, popping up from under our chairs (as if to say “surprise!”) and occasionally jumping up on the furniture… or onto my arm while I was reading. They’d also lightly peck at my shoes and pants.
The baby goats seemed especially drawn to us. When Rachelle would come outside after me, she’d often find one or both goats keeping her seat warm. Near the end of our stay, one of the goats spontaneously jumped from the ground onto my lap and stood balancing on my legs for a while, looking so proud of himself while he claimed me as his perch.
I sometimes talked to the goats by trying to imitate their “baaaaaah” sounds. This would cause them to animatedly run towards me and excitedly talk back, as if to say “We hear you!” I had no idea what we were saying in goat language, but it made me smile to know that on some level, we were connecting.
As I spent time with the animals, I’d often talk to them, partly with my words but more intuitively with my energy. Of course they couldn’t answer me in words, but it surely felt like they were answering me energetically. I certainly enjoyed our conversations.
As I pet the chickens, I talked with them about their evolutionary history: You guys are descended from the great dinosaurs. Your ancestors once ruled the world and were the kings of this place. It’s a shame how humans treat your species now; I’m sorry that this happened to you. It’s gratifying to see that you and I as individuals can get along peaceably with each other. I wish more of my kind would see fit to treat you with respect instead of seeing you as property and product. I’m very sorry for all the pain your brothers and sisters are going through. You are magnificent creatures. I see your beauty.
The more I talked with the chickens and had an energetic exchange with them, the more they seemed to be curious about me. They would often stand on or near my feet while grooming themselves.
For hours each day, I reveled in the peacefulness and presence of the animals, the fruit trees, and the natural beauty.
While reading outside I’d often feel a little too hot after sitting in the sun for a while. If I sat in the shade instead, it was a little too cool. I noted that the dog would normally lie in the sun for a while, perhaps for 10-15 minutes, and then she’d switch to the shade for a similar amount of time. She kept shifting back and forth from sun to shade throughout the day. I began to emulate her behavior, setting one chair in the sun and another in the shade and cycling every 15 minutes or so, which turned out to be just right. This reminded me that sometimes the easiest way to achieve balance is to oscillate between extremes. Going with the flow doesn’t necessarily mean traveling a straight line.
I observed that the two baby goats (a brother and sister) always seemed to stay together, as if they were coupled by an invisible tether. We never saw one goat wandering off without the other. They typically stayed within 20 feet of each other, frequently within 5 feet. When they lied down to rest, they’d be in physical contact with each other. But it didn’t look like either one was leading, and they never fought with each other. They just seemed to be in sync.
The way the goats synched with each other reminded me of how we’re able to sync (or not sync) with reality. We can resist what reality gives us, fight with it, or try to force it to obey us… or we can simply relax and harmonize with it. When reality relaxes, we can lead for a while, and it may follow. But when it’s racing ahead, it might be more sensible to relax and roll with it. Things are best when it feels like no one is leading, and our desires effortlessly manifest in our present moment experiences.
Most of the time the animals didn’t seem to be engaging in obvious survival behavior. They had plenty of food and water, and they also had tremendous free time. It was nice to sit back and observe how they used their time.
When Rachelle and I were inside, and I observed the animals through the window, they would mostly walk around, eat, drink, interact with each other, and rest and relax in the sun or shade. When we were outside, however, they seemed to prefer to spend most of their free time just hanging out with us.
While they were occasionally a bit rambunctious — like when one of the chickens jumped up onto the table and sent a coffee cup smashing onto the ground — for the most part the feeling I got from them was very light and playful. It felt like they just wanted to be present with us and connect. There was no neediness. No agenda. No expectations. Just a beautiful, innocent feeling of shared presence.
I think that most of all, I enjoyed the purity and simplicity of the experience. It reminded me of how pure and simple human relationships can be as well. How easy is it for us to spend time with each other, be present, and connect?
Positive connections can flow naturally and effortlessly. We can enjoy sharing our energy. We can enjoy each other’s light and beauty.
It was such a delight to be around such non-needy, trusting, uncorrupted energy, especially given how fragile that kind of energy is. Any introduction of harshness or neediness or distrust (or any other such darkness) would have ruined it.
What a joy it would be to experience more human connections that are as pure and present as these…