“Everyone alters and is altered by everyone else. We are all the time taking in portions of one another or else reacting against them, and by these involuntary acquisitions and repulsions modifying our natures.” – Gerald Brenan
People like to watch monkeys and gorillas and see if they’ll imitate their actions. When on a recent visit down to Florida I was able to take a behind the scenes trek through a different kind of a zoo. I was consistently impressed with the habitats of the animals and how the caretakers seemed to truly be aware of the animals around them. While this care was evident, there was also a disconnect. Not unusual in this setting, nor is it a judgment. Without animal communication this is common. The animals are more misunderstood and their behaviors are based on observation and not truly from the animal themselves. The behaviors have been misinterpreted more and more lately, but we still view the caretakers as the experts. Of course in my opinion I would say the animal themselves are the experts, but most people just aren’t on that level yet.
On this particular excursion of mine our first stop was through the gorilla habitat. The bachelors on the one side and the family on the other. There was one bachelor who put sticks of food on his head and was acting kind of goofy. I told him he was a ham and he laughed. He was joking with me. But when another person in the group asked about his behavior and asked if he was playing the caretaker said ‘no’. She gave some explanation of how they often take their food to different spots to eat. They only train the animals to come to the caretakers at certain times for certain events so they can be checked out. Otherwise they leave them in their ‘natural’ habitat so they are not disturbed. It is a natural response and not influenced by humans. There is no interaction between them and people. I had a difficult time not laughing out loud, but I did keep my thoughts to myself. It was not the time to challenge an ‘expert’. So, I was not surprised when Gorilla showed up and was the next in line to speak. So, here goes:
Gorilla: “Umm….yeah. If you people don’t think you influence our behavior and we’re in an actual natural habitat you must be delusional. Just like t.v. doesn’t influence your children right? Just like you observe us in the zoo, we observe you. We pick up on your emotions, your thoughts, your words and your actions. You don’t think we know what will make you laugh, scare the bejeebers out of you or bore you to death? You think we don’t know that staying in hiding will cause more people to be upset and then complain and then change what happens with us? Puh-lease. We pick up on all that you do. And since we are the most similar to you humans you just see us copy it more. Giraffe, lion, cheetah, warthogs…you name it, they pick up on your behaviors. Why do you think they respond to certain caretakers better than others? It’s not always because of familiarity. It’s also who they get along best with in their personalities – similarities in behaviors.
Let’s look at it a different way. As you know, animals take on their person’s stuff. When an animal is anxious, ill or has bad behavior where do most people look?”
Me: “At the animal.”
Gorilla: “Right. But where should they look?”
Me: “To the owner or caretaker’s behavior and illness’s”
Gorilla: “Correct. Look at Giraffe. Now you know she has a knee issue. Granted, you’re not here to physically address it, but we’ve talked with you about it before.”
Me: “Yes. I have been hearing about the knee for quite some time. I can’t do anything about it until I have the permission to do so. There’s also the shoulder itch, not wanting to eat and not really responding to antibiotics. The knee is a recurring issue.”
Gorilla: “And what did you assess the situation as when you talked with us? Based on your BodyTalk and talking with Giraffe that is…”
Me: “Well, the antibiotic tasted bitter and was causing a reaction in the shoulder area. The knee issue is more about the caretaker than Giraffe. There’s some difficulty in moving forward and feeling stable in that person’s life, as well as a past injury. Giraffe is taking it on in hopes the person will reach out for the proper care to help resolve the issue. At the same time the person is also feeling a bit of the weight of the world is resting on their shoulders. Something about feeling a lot of responsibility for something they really should let go of but can’t.”
Gorilla: “So who’s really needing the care?”
Me: “Well, in reality, both the caretaker and the animal with the issue. I understand that and I know that. At the same time, all I’m doing is speculating on the that issue because I’m not there. I am hearing you, Giraffe, Lion with his stomach upset, Cheetah with the shoulder issue not healing as well, and a few others. Although I have no physical proof at this point in time that is what is really going on. I have yet to officially meet the caretakers and haven’t had a chance to physically assess anything. Eventually that will happen….or so I’m told.”
Gorilla: “I know, and we’re working on that. So, let’s go back to the issue of people not realizing what they do always affects us. If we’re in our natural habitat and we aren’t being influenced by humans, then how are we getting the same issues as our caretakers, people in the park, etc.? People need to realize that their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are far more reaching than they think. Animals naturally want to help people out and we automatically try to take the burden off of you. We are much better able to handle the stressors of your life and let them go. However, with so many people hanging on to so many issues at this time, we can’t keep up and we then get sick ourselves. We are all connected. ALL connected. So, humans, remember to watch your thoughts and your actions. We are highly influenced by what you do, think or say. It doesn’t not matter if we have fur or not, if we are small or big, if we have four legs or two. We are all connected and we all affect each other.”
We do affect each other, often without realizing how much. How often has someone said something to you about something you did and you didn’t realize they had even been paying attention? You never know what word, thought or action will impact another being. So, in summary, pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions. Everyone, including the animal kingdom, is affected because we are all connected. The animals are a barometer to what is happening around us. If you notice something about them acting funny, look around (or in the mirror) and you may have your answer to that age old question “What is going on with them?!?”