Woodpecker – Animal of the Month

I was walking the in park one morning, minding my own business when I felt a psychic tap on my shoulder. I had been thinking about the next animal to highlight in the Animal Wisdom Circle and of course (being a former marine biologist) I was considering another marine animal.

But my attention was brought to my shoulder – it literally felt like it was tingling from someone tapping on it – and I heard the acorn woodpeckers hammering on their granary trees in the woods around me.

“Hey, why not talk to us?” a voice whispered in my ear. “Get a higher perspective from the animals of the air.”

Oooh. I hadn’t thought of that! My whole body felt energized and solid – my “inner ‘yes.'”

After traveling to Thailand, Scotland, South Carolina, Florida and Bali, I knew it was time to talk to some of the locals.

I began the conversation with a Woodpecker, who was a leader of the community that lived in my park, by asking my three questions. His answers were from a “higher perspective” and they reinforced the recent theme of how we are all connected – to ourselves, to Source and to the natural world around us.

What is your Spiritual Gift?

Being part of something bigger than ourselves.

What is your Spiritual Lesson?

When I lose someone else, I lose part of myself.

Do you have a message for people?

Don’t lose sight of your true nature. You are part of nature and not separate from it. There’s nowhere you can go where you’re not connected to your true nature.

The members of the Animal Wisdom Circle who were on the call live with me asked more questions and by the time we hung up, we felt like we really understood what it’s like to be a woodpecker. What an awesome insight!

Now on my daily walks, I am even more aware of my connection to nature in general and to the woodpeckers in particular.

Thanks for tapping me on the shoulder, Woodpecker!

Now it’s your turn: what does the Woodpecker’s message mean to you? When do you feel the most connected to nature and to your inner true nature? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Ele Nature Park

Afraid of My Dream

When I started my business 6 years ago, I thought all my dreams had come true because I was going to make a living talking to animals!

But last year, I realized there was a deeper dream, a dream I wasn’t letting myself dream: to meet wild animals face to face and to take my clients with me.

Today on Facebook, I saw a little video with words of wisdom from Jim Carrey – one of my all-time favorite spiritual teachers.

Jim Carrey said that ‘so many of us choose our paths out of fear disguised as practicality.’

And that’s what I was doing.

I was limiting myself because I was afraid I couldn’t have what I wanted. I cloaked my fear in practicality and responsibility.

I wasn’t even admitting my dream to myself because (I told myself) it wasn’t practical for a mother with two young children to traipse all over the world talking to wild animals.

Here’s how I solved my problem

I admitted my dream. First, just to myself. (“I really want to travel the world and bring people to talk to wild animals.”) Then the energy started to build and I shared this crazy idea with a few more people and a few more and few more and before I knew it, my dream was out there in the open for everyone to see!

Phase Two was to take a step toward realizing my dream. For me, this was starting the Animal Wisdom Circle – I could meet wild animals in the comfort of my own home! I could talk to wild animals and still drive carpools! Life is good!

Phase 3 was sharing my dream with my family and letting them know that I wanted to start seeing wild animals in their homes, not just ours. They loved my idea and want me to go!

Last fall, I went to the Bahamas to meet wild dolphins.

In January, I’m going to Thailand to live with a herd of wild elephants for a week.

The first step was the hardest – admitting I had a dream. But what blossomed after that has just been magical and sacred and beautiful and life-affirming. My dreams keep coming true in new and amazing ways.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your dream? Have you ever been afraid of your dream or afraid that you couldn’t live up to your dream? Have you moved past this? If so, what helped you?

Please share your experience – it is sure to help someone else on her journey toward making her dream come true!

The New Paradigm: Getting Paid for Being YOU



Recently, one of my coaching clients – a budding professional Animal Communicator – was asking about rates and how much she should charge for her animal readings. Now there’s a ton of info out there about how to determine your rates, so I asked her what was bothering her about her rates.

She said: “I feel embarrassed taking money for something that is just being me.”


She stepped right into the dominant money issue of almost every healer and intuitive I have ever known! This is such a common issue for us! We all feel like we should just give it away because we would be doing this work whether we were paid or not. And, we are in it to help animals which makes it even harder! And if it comes naturally to me, it’s weird/wrong/bad to charge for it.

Then I watched a great Jimmy Fallon segment on YouTube. He’s just there talking and singing and fooling around with people. And he makes millions of dollars doing it. Millions. He is just being himself. Is he embarrassed to take money for just being himself? I doubt it. Would we want him to do something else so it felt harder and more like he ‘earned’ it because it didn’t come naturally to him? Hell no! We want him doing his thing, being himself and getting paid well to do it.

Because this is how we all need to be living. He is a great role model for us.

The old paradigm was ‘work is hard’ and ‘I have to work hard to earn money.’

The new paradigm is that we all get to make money doing what we love and using our natural gifts and abilities. Being ourselves. This is the most satisfying, fulfilling, enjoyable way to live.

So how can we do that?

Start seeing every dollar that comes to you as a blessing acknowledging the gift you are to the planet.

I tipped a porter at the airport once and my son asked me why and I said, ”Sometimes I like to say ‘thank you’ with money.”

Your income is the Universe’s way of saying ‘Thanks for being you!”

Your income is your clients’ way of saying “Thanks for being you. Thanks for sharing your gifts with me to give me the insight, information, and connection I needed and couldn’t get on my own. You are a gift to me and I’d like to say ‘thank you’ with this money.”

Now get out there and make some money being yourself!

Now it’s your turn: in the comments, please share your experience – bad or good – with the concept of right livelihood and getting paid for being you. Is it working for you? What’s blocking you?

Animal of the Month – the Octopus

OctopusWhen my Animal Wisdom Circle members voted that we talk to an octopus, I admit I was nervous.

An invertebrate? And a cephalopod at that!  I’d never done that before!

But the Animal Wisdom Circle is helping me to keep expanding my comfort zone and try new things and look at the world through different eyes.

And what eyes could be more different than those of a marine invertebrate?

And isn’t that what the Animal Wisdom Circle is all about? Seeing the world through different eyes?

So, today on my blog is a summary of the conversation I had with Paul the Octopus Oracle  – and an interesting conversation it was!

Some of Paul’s answers surprised me – like why he wanted me to call him Paul the Oracle (hint: he has a good sense of humor), why non-attachment and territoriality are issues we should all be concerned with, and why we should understand our place in the Universe.

When I connected with the Octopus, I saw myself floating over the earth to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coastline of Italy or Greece, I slipped into the water and I saw an octopus sitting on a rock waiting for me.

He told me he was an oracle and he would answer my questions. I thought it was a little pompous to call himself an oracle, and as if he’d read my mind he said to me that an oracle is exactly what he is – I am asking him questions in order to gain wisdom. Isn’t that what an oracle does?

Chastened, I asked him if he had a name. He said I could call him Paul the Oracle – making a joke about the octopus who predicted World Cup Soccer match winners several years ago.

Okay, smart and funny. I liked this guy. Plus, I was underwater and didn’t have to go up to the surface to breathe. I could get used to talking to octopi!

What is your Spiritual Gift?

Flexibility and fluidity.

What is your Spiritual Lesson?

Non-attachment – being territorial is the opposite and many octopuses are territorial. it’s a challenge for us to really be present and see how and what the universe is providing for us.

What Message do you have for people?

We live in a benevolent universe. Everything we need is provided for us. Sometimes we may not see what we think we need, but that is when we need to be flexible and see how we can use what is provided for us.

The more I talked to Paul the Oracle, the more I liked him and the more sense he made. IN the days since our conversation, I’ve become more aware of times when I’m attached to how I want things to be – or how I think things should be. I haven’t achieved total non-attachment, but at least I am more aware of places where I am attached!

Animal Wisdom Circle members tell me that they are noticing that judgment now seems to be *optional* and they are seeing the resources all around them with new eyes.

Now it’s your turn: what attachment are you willing to let go of?

Leave your response in the comments so we can all benefit from your perspective, too.


What you seek is seeking you

What you seek is seeking you.

Whatever you are looking for is already inside of you.

Nothing happens to me. Everything happens for me.

These are a few of my favorite concepts. Up until recently, they were vague, wishful ideas that I didn’t think were grounded in reality.

But then I talked to a Manatee.

She thanked me on behalf of animal-kind for the work we are doing in the Animal Wisdom Circle. She said that the animals know what we’re doing they appreciate what we’re doing and they’re spreading the word that we are tuning to the natural world for wisdom and guidance and honoring Mother Earth and our roots and the interconnectedness of all life.

It had never occurred to me that the animals want to talk to us as much as we want to talk to them! And the insight that they appreciate our efforts made my little phone calls feel somehow important and relevant and meaningful – not just to me but to animals everywhere.

And then I talked to an Octopus!

He told me that we live in a benevolent Universe and that all we need is provided for us. Everything is there for us. It’s always there and we need flexibility to see that what is there is there for us when we are looking for something specific that we don’t see. We need to see how everything in our environment can support us.

I’m beginning to see how the desire in me to talk to animals was matched by the desire animals have to talk to me. While I thought the Animal Wisdom Circle was a service I offered my clients, I now see how I created it to help myself, too.

What are you seeking (which is also seeking you)?

What are you looking for outside of yourself (that is already inside of you)?

What is happening for you in your life right now (that may feel like it is happening to you)?

Ponder those deep thoughts for a minute and see what insight you gain – and then share it with me here! I’d love to know what’s going on in your world!

Summer Learnin’ – a Zen Moment in a Kayak

Last week, I was kayaking on the American River with two friends who were in a raft. Things were going well, but I noticed that I wasn’t quite getting to where I planned to go in every rapid.

And, my mind was on the last big rapid of the day: Troublemaker. (cue scary music: Duhn, duhn, dunnnnnn.)

As I navigated through a class III rapid (challenging but not life-threatening), I remembered that kayaking is like driving – you can see the intersection coming but you can’t make the turn until you get there. My body relaxed and I immersed myself in the flow of the current around me, seeing the big picture, but only acting on what was happening right in front of me.

Everything changed for me in that rapid: I started making my moves, finding my lines, getting where I wanted to go by being in the water that was going where I wanted to go.

I stopped worrying about Troublemaker (yes, that’s its real name), and knew that if I just stayed calm and focused in the present moment, I would respond to whatever the rapid threw my way. I couldn’t figure it out beforehand, I had to just be there.

I had a great run through Troublemaker – complete with a paddle twirl over my head at the end – and my reminder was reinforced: BE HERE NOW.

Now, I’ve known this lesson for years. But I had to re-learn it that day alone on the river, just me and my boat. And I think I re-learned it in such a visceral way that the lesson should stick now….at least I hope it will!

Sharing with you and articulating the event and the lesson also help me anchor my learnings. Try it yourself:

What is a lesson that you have re-learned recently? What events in your life brought that lesson back to your awareness?

What’s your Mission?

My Spiritual Truth, until quite recently, included only 2 parts: we are here to 1) share our gifts and 2) learn our lessons. I’ve just added a 3rd part: 3) we each also have a mission or a message that we are expressing through our lives and our work.

Jim Carrey has a mission: to help people let go of their concerns for a while. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had missions – social change through non-violence.

My mission is to show the world that animals are people, too, and that we are all divine beings.

You have a mission, too. Have you defined it yet? When you do, you become so clear and so powerful  – energy just flows  through you and gives you purpose. Everything gets viewed through that lens and priorities automatically get set in your daily life. You are on purpose and on your mission!

When I was planning my first Elephant Blessings Retreat in Thailand, I found the perfect place for 2017. And I can’t wait to go there. However, I want to be with the elephants like yesterday, so I kept looking for another wonderful place that fit my standards: elephants were free to be themselves, no rides, no entertaining, no anything except whatever they felt like doing and the people involved had to come from a place of love and respect.

I looked at a lot of wonderful places and even rejected the Elephant Nature Park until I saw this video. And then I knew that ENP was the place for me. Because Lek’s mission is palpable. Because her love and respect for the elephants is unmistakable. Because I was inspired to be part of her mission.

So we are going to Elephant Nature Park for the first Elephant Blessings Retreat in January 2016 and I think it is going to be a magical, once in a lifetime experience.

Watch this video and I think you’ll agree: this is an extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things for elephants and people.

Her mission is clear and I hope that as you watch her living her truth and spreading her message, you get clearer on who you are and what you’re up to in the world.

What is your mission?

The Draw of Nature

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir

I’m starting this post not having any idea what I will right or where I will finish. I’m taking my own advice today: do what you love without worrying about the outcome.

Today, I am feeling the pull of nature inside of me and outside of me. Dreaming about spending a long weekend in the trees near Mount Shasta. Missing the tumbling sounds that a rapid makes in a river. Looking for an image that transports me to that magical, mystical place I love to be: Nature.

Most weekdays for me are very tame: I wake up, pet the dogs (they are sitting on top of me so there is no way around it), let Po back in from the backyard, get my kids ready for school, take the pups for a walk in the neighborhood – on the sidewalks! – so I can get to Hot Yoga on time. Then it’s a shower and work, picking up kids, making dinner, and getting everyone ready for bed. It’s all very civilized.

While part of me adores my life, another part of me longs for the wilds and the winds and the unknowns of nature. That part is pulling me to just tap into that nature within me today. My Inner Daily Wild.

So, I’m connecting to that part of me that is wild, natural, raw, unfinished, rough around the edges and letting it come with me as I pick up kids and volunteer at a school event and basically be a responsible citizen today.

But on Saturday, Dazzle and Po and I will hike in the hills and swim in the creek and I will restore my inner harmony, my Inner Wild, my True Nature.

Where do you go to re-connect with your Wild??


How Do We Make Our Dreams Come True?

It’s June 8th, almost midway through the year and for me it feels like a nice time to eddy out and take a breather, reflecting on where I am and how things are going for me this year.

At the beginning of the year, I did my usual annual corporate retreat (me, Dazzle and Poda dreaming into the future together) and took some time to clarify my intentions for this year. (No, at the time, they did not include freaking out for the month of May!)

I created a Life Map that illustrated my dream of leading retreats locally, nationally, and internationally as well as my desire to keep coaching and offering readings for people and animals. I also included my desire to step into my role as an author more fully and start making money that way.

Here’s how things are panning out:

RETREATS:I led a Spiritual Business Visioning Retreat in January, I”m co-leading the Sacred Sound Healing Retreat for Healers in Mt. Shasta in August, co-leading a Dolphin Light Healing Retreat on a sailboat in the Bahamas in November, and, of course, I’m leading my Elephant Blessing Retreat to Thailand in January. Local, National and International Retreats: CHECK!

BOOKS: In January, I started collaborating with Nina Huang on our spiritual children’s picture book When You Were Part of the Sky. In March, I met with my writing coach and outlined not one but two memoirs and I am starting to dive deeper into the first in line. This week, I start working on my first Kindle book Diving Beings – The Spiritual Lives and Lessons of Animals with an online writing and publishing workshop called Soul Writers. Stepping up as an Author: CHECK!

It sounds easy, listed this way, but I’ve had moments of serious doubt and discouragement in the past 6 months and when I did, I used my Spiritual Psychology skills to ‘Work My Process’ and heal the underlying hurts and misunderstandings that were subconsciously holding me back. That always allowed me to start taking steps forward toward one or all of these fantastic endeavors.

So, this is how I make my dreams come true: dream them, clear my blocks and take action – just that next step – toward realizing them. I hold the vision loosely but I don’t let go and I let the Universe work out the details of how it will all unfold.

Just like the song by 38 Special from my youth.

Wisdom From an Owl – Lessons for My Son

When I was doing research for my book Divine Beings – the Spiritual Lives and Lessons of Animals, I asked dozens of animals the same three questions: What is your spiritual gift? What is your spiritual lesson? What message do you want to share with humans?

Each animal’s answers touched me in some part of my life but the situation with my son this week has me evoking the wise words of a great gray owl: take care of yourself and accept the consequences.

As we wrap up this school year, my son Zane has quite a few missing assignments to turn in before the grading deadline. He is a smart kid, but he just isn’t invested in his grades or doing his best. He just likes to get it done and move on as quickly as he can.

He also likes to procrastinate. That’s why this past week was filled with long nights of making up long overdue assignments.There was much hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing on my part as he took his sweet time doing each assignment.

And then Thursday evening, he came into my room crying. “Mom, if I flunk 4th grade, will I not be able to get into Stanford for college?” Stanford? Last I heard I didn’t even want to go to college and now it’s Stanford?

“Am I going to flunk 4th grade if I have missing assignments? What if I flunk one subject, do I flunk all of 4th grade? Can I still get into a good college?”

Stanford, a good college, and flunking are not part of our usual conversations and definitely weren’t in the conversational repertoire this week, so my guess was his teacher was laying it on a little thick to light a fire under the butts of the kids with outstanding assignments due.

I reassured him that he was going to finish all his missing assignments so flunking 4th grade was not going to happen and Stanford was not something he had to worry about right now.

“Mr. P said we have to turn in all our missing assignments by Friday if we care about our grades.”

Well, it sounds like you care about your grade, so let’s get going on finishing your work so you can turn it in tomorrow!

Zane finished most of his work and I assured him that I’d talk to his teacher and make sure he could turn in the last few assignments on Monday. As we were putting his completed work into his backpack, I found an old assignment crumpled at the bottom of his backpack and sticky with something from lunch several days ago. Ugh. More work to turn in, but this one had to be re-done since it was such a mess!

Zane not only re-did the assignment, he improved it, saying that he thought he could do better on it than he had the first time. He was taking care of himself and accepting the consequences for his actions! It was a School Night Miracle!