A friend asked me recently, “How do we know we aren’t projecting?” He had just practiced tuning into his dog.
It’s an excellent question! And it’s important to consider.
Here’s what I think…
We all have the ability to be intuitive. Unfortunately, our cultural location and timing provides a gigantic suppressive shadow that nearly denies us access to this incredible sense.
But just as our eyes see and our fingers feel, our physical heart can be “woken up” to our intuitive sense.
In this process, it’s normal for an inner voice of doubt to chime in. And concern about projection is a totally legitimate one. We project all kinds of things on other people… so it could happen when you tune-in to an animal.
Here are five questions to ask yourself after an animal communication encounter, to make sure projection is at a minimum.
Question 1 – Was your heart engaged?
It’s the most basic step of interspecies communication: tune-in using your heart.
So did you feel that? There is a physical sensation to receiving and sending energetic information through your heart, just as you can feel vibrational waves of your voice when you speak.
It’s subtle, so you have to pay attention. Breathing will help.
And there’s your inner knowing- you can be aware of your projections if you take the time to question. Does it feel like you really were engaged with your heart-space?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, but want to learn more, this is a thing I can teach you about!
Question 2 – Did you learn something?
When you accurately tune-in to an animal, the medicine is going to take effect. What I mean is, you will learn something- about yourself, about the animal, or about the world.
That’s what animal medicine is: exchanging information about the meaning of life, love, and all that juicy stuff!
Sometimes animals are shy and won’t say much… at first. But stay open and look for meaningful parts of it.
Even something simple like feeling how much your pet loves their favorite toy, or mealtime. What does that say about how you experience pleasure? Might they be sharing these sensations to help you slow down and enjoy the simple things in your day?
That’s the medicine!
Question 3 – Did you help the animal learn something?
Part of the beauty of animal communication is that it goes both ways. Just as animals have medicine for us, we can help animals!
In the course of an animal’s life there are infinite surprises and misunderstandings. So when you are tuning in, what information can you offer their way? That’s your unique medicine, flowing back toward them.
Maybe you communicate with a deer you see on the side of the highway, “Go the other way!” and you send a vision towards them of the woods, away from the road. You see him bound off that way. Well done!
If you see a tangible outcome of your communication, immediately or down the road, then you can be sure you weren’t projecting.
Question 4 – Is the information you received hurting yourself or another?
I don’t believe that animals will ever tell us something that would result in feelings of hurting ourselves or another. If something like this comes up, it’s probably an opportunity for you to explore a shadowy part of yourself, which could be part of the animal’s gift to you.
For example, if you are in a communication with a cow, and you feel a craving for a hamburger, it’s probably not the cow wanting a burger. A cow would never have a craving for meat, or wish another cow would die.
I would say that’s a projection. (And hopefully you can go find a veggie burger!)
Question 5 – Are you frustrated?
Let’s say you have a cat who adores ripping up your favorite chair.
When you tune in, you express your understanding that the chair is the place she loves, but you would be so much happier if she could shift all that energy to a scratching post instead.
Outcome one: she switches to the post. Evidence the communication was received and she agreed to it. Hurray! Sometimes this happens, smoothly.
Outcome two: the chair is soon destroyed. You want to curse animal communication.
But before you do, we should talk about habit formation and instincts. Or maybe there’s an underlying trauma at play, or your cat is reflecting an emotional pattern of yours that needs some light shed, (like you aren’t taking care of yourself and your home, so why should she?)
We Are Animals… and we aren’t perfect. No animal is, but that’s the beauty of getting to communicate!
Just like in any relationship, communication is a process, and it involves two parties.
Sometimes others just aren’t going to behave the way we wish, so it’s an opportunity to practice real intimacy.
You need to be patient with yourself and the new skills you are learning. And have acceptance and grace in your love towards others.
It’s super fun to witness the power of our magical hearts! If you want to explore this more, check out my live events this summer in Northern Michigan.
Photo credit: Steve Vorpagel at Ruff Life Pet Outfitters – Our recent workshop, where we practiced “tuning-in” using our hearts in order to avoid projecting.