Animal Lessons: Discovering Your Spiritual Connection with Animals

Animal Lessons is a system intended to help you harness that which the animals in your life are teaching you. The system is both practical and fluid, and it can be broken down into a few simple steps. These easy steps will show you how to gain a solid understanding of how animals (whether domesticated, wild, farm, or other) are acting as your mentors, therapists, trainers, and gurus every day. 

The Five Steps to Animal Lessons

Here’s a very brief outline of the steps.

Step 1: Determine How Your Animal Is Helping You

The first step is very logical: determine how an animal is helping you grow, evolve, change, learn, or become a master. Your pet (or any animal you feel a special connection to) already knows this and is seeing it through, but your experience of this animal probably hasn’t made you aware of that yet. Determining how your animal is helping you is one of the most important aspects, as things with our animals aren’t always as they seem. I’ve worked with people who thought their animal was helping them shift in one area of their life, only to delve deeper and discover the learning was actually focused in a different, more profound direction.

Step 2: Determine the Lesson

Once you’ve figured out how your animal is helping you, the natural question that pops up is Why? This is the second step—figuring that out. Why do you need help in this area? What do you need to learn? What belief is this animal helping you change? We’ll use my fun technique with your chosen animal (and yes, it may make you feel a little crazy sometimes) to aid you in developing a new kind of awareness of yourself, including identifying what beliefs the animal in your life is helping you change. It’s through this awareness that you’ll next start identifying how you’re avoiding learning this deep lesson. The better your understanding of the belief your animal is helping you change, the more awareness you’ll achieve and the easier the process will be. Knowledge is the key here.

Step 3: Find Your Work-Arounds

People seem to have the most fun when they reach step 3 in the process. It takes into account the learning and growth you’ve now experienced and helps you (with your animal’s continued support and assistance) delve more deeply into your awareness, finetuning your tools to discover the next layer of this work with your animal. Here you get to discover those automated behavior patterns that are covering up your negative beliefs. This step is the reason so many people have had great successes through this system. It’s not about forcing yourself to make changes; it’s about mastering something within by changing an underlying negative belief (under the watchful and supportive eye of your chosen animal) in order to clearly and definitively begin experiencing internal and external growth. Let me be very clear: this has nothing to do with willpower. It’s about the results that begin to occur as you learn the lesson your animal has been diligently working to teach you. Finally, your dog isn’t peeing in the house as much, or your horse is getting along better with his stall mate than he was a couple weeks ago, or the pig you’ve grown to love is letting go of her anxiety and playing with the other pigs.

Step 4: The Decision-Making Process

In this phase of the process you’ll be asked to become your own little fortune-teller. But don’t worry, this isn’t as hard as it might sound, and it certainly doesn’t require any psychic abilities. You’ll simply use what you’ve learned about yourself and the special animal in your life to cull out moments that you can use for your new decision-making process. This is an exciting step in the process because it’s a very active one. Most of what you’ve been doing thus far in the process is about observing, and now you’ll be asked to put your new observation skills to work.

Step 5: Mastery

The fifth and final step is also exciting because it relates directly to subtle changes that are now happening within. Your deeply held negative beliefs about yourself—beliefs that are patently untrue (everyone deserves support and is worthy of love, but many people struggle to believe this, for example)—have been getting chipped away bit by bit through the Animal Lesson work. Here, you finally begin experiencing your life through a positive filter, instead of the old negative one, because the work you’ve done with this important animal has shown you a different reality. As a result, your decision-making processes are different, the animal you’re working with is behaving differently, your environment is different, and how you feel about yourself is different. All these changes result in new, desired experiences in your life. This part of the process is not just about noticing the changes that have occurred—it’s about living them. The transformations can be so deep that they just feel regular. Since there is no “push” or “force” to the changes (they have occurred within rather than through willpower), they have become the norm.

This system is not challenging. In fact, many people and their animal teachers successfully move through it in just a few weeks. Personally, I like that. I’m all for making things simple, easy, fun, and, yes … fast, while also improving the lives of the animals I do dearly love.

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Excerpted from Animal Lessons by Danielle MacKinnon. © 2017 by Danielle MacKinnon. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., www.Llewellyn.com.