It’s time for this written exploration, as interactions and conversations about leadership have been coming up in numerous areas and within different connections for me right now. I would like to share about leadership from a very personal perspective about ways that my own leadership has been called out by the animals in my life or the animals that cross my path in any number of ways that they do and will. What do I mean by leadership here? In Part 1, I will start by sharing my perspectives and then get into more directly applicable notes and suggestions in Part 2.
Leadership within the context of culture and humans, where power dynamics and hierarchy are favored, is more often than not the skillful exertion of power for some specific means or end such as control of outcomes or progression along a focused directive or to express one’s outer authority. Leadership within the context of the instinctual life force and vitality we share with animals is a way of being that is primally or instinctually meaningful to both human and animal. This is the kind of leadership I would like to explore with you here in this post. Leadership as reliable, primal ground allows both the human body and the animal body to be supple enough to respond fluidly in any situation without the distortion of reaction or fixation.
As some of you know, I have been called on to step in to a number of peoples’ lives to assist with creating new patterns or ways of relating with animals that allow for harmony where there was once disruption, confusion, or upset related to how an animal was acting or behaving. Assisting in this way is the work I do in Communing With Animals. In nearly all of these situations, it’s become important to look at the kind of leadership that is being engaged in by both human and animal. It may sound odd to say this, but I have found again and again that animals are expressing leadership and offering us leadership even when engaged in a disconcerting or upsetting kind of behavior or action. We are being invited to take their cues and listen in, in a new way, to what is being communicated energetically and via both the primal and subtle bodies.
Blue & Oscar focused on chewing bones
Leadership, no matter what kind, when expressed consistently and reliably has a way of providing context or structure for life and life force, such as energy, thoughts, direction, or connection. Leadership doesn’t always have a positive or harmonious outcome! We each are expressing leadership whenever we practice or engage any behavior or pattern consistently. Thus, we all have the capacity for leadership and are providing leadership, whether we realize it or not. This realization came to me clearly while working with animals and trying to understand myself more transparently through those connections, as well as through my more unconscious reactions that surfaced around animals. Sometimes I led with frustration. Oh dear me!
I see repeatedly in my connections with animals that I am the one providing leadership around energetic patterns, especially the ones that are ultimately unsettling and out of balance for both me and the animals I’m with. Wow. This has been a big eye opener. I see this happening with my clients, as well. Sometimes fearful interaction is the kind of leadership being provided. Very often, excited relating or interaction is an unconscious kind of leadership or leadership style. Maybe consider for a moment what kinds of leadership you do provide and have provided, not only with yourself and others, but with the animals in your life.
As I reflect back on situations that I have shared with animals that may have felt frustrating, confusing, or even nerve-racking, I see there is a pretty big difference between seeing a pattern as it is and being able to create a new, life enhancing pattern in its place. It’s not always easy to be put directly in touch with my own habits. (So, I want to put in a plug for self-compassion and right timing both, as integral parts of this conversation!) Sometimes my tendencies and preferences are held unconsciously or seem unrelated to what is at hand, so I’ve seen myself fault toward dismissing the importance of my leanings toward less than beneficial ways of relating in the now.
I have worked with this directly and had shifts that have allowed both me and the dogs I’m relating with or working with to drop into a more easeful, relaxed state. This state is closest to the primal restorative state that is truly a birthright for all creatures, whether human, mammal, or other kind of creature. Especially in the most aggravated situations, the kind of approach I describing here is essentially the most fundamental way to address out of balance situations.
I’ll next describe, in Part 2, what working with leadership as reliable primal ground can look like in several specific situations, some of which I have been asked online for some assistance. Since this is a blog post, what I’m sharing here is somewhat theoretical, as this is not a hands on, interactive session. But the upside of that is that others may be able to experiment with applying some of these changes in approach and find the way of leadership to a new calm or ease.
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May you be inspired to explore some of what I’m talking about here as it relates to you and the animals in your life. I have found that how I am, how I offer my energy, and then how I relate with animals via that energy, that these modes are the building blocks for harmonious, shared experiences that then, day after day, make up a more continuous or fluid reality.
Stay tuned (or sign up to receive my blog posts directly from WordPress by email) for Part 2! Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, as well as any scenarios that came up for you while reading this Part 1 introduction & orientation to leadership as reliable, primal ground.