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The Nature of Animals
By Allen and Linda Anderson

     Most of us have had memorable experiences with pets who show us love in unmistakable ways. We form spiritual connections with animals who share our homes and enrich our lives with their friendship. In the course of gathering stories from around the world and reviewing our own experiences, we've found that animals in nature are also "angels" or messengers who help humans accept that love is, indeed, all around.

     In a previous article we wrote about an entrepreneurial squirrel who found his way into our house and helped us realize that if only we could trust, Spirit would guide us through our fears to freedom. We had another spiritual connection with animals in nature which deeply affected us.

     On the day when we first thought about starting the Angel Animals Foundation, we'd just attended a wonderful event where Bishop Desmond Tutu had spoken about his initiative in South Africa. He'd formed a system for bringing healing and forgiveness to those who had opposed apartheid by shedding blood or who had fought violently to retain racism as a way of life. Bishop Tutu's visit and the delivery of his message had been made possible through the efforts of a local nonprofit organization.

     After hearing this awesome peacemaker speak, we sat in our car outside a coffee shop and started discussing an idea which had popped into our minds while listening to Bishop Tutu. We began to wonder if forming a nonprofit foundation would help us fulfill our dreams of bringing more love and peace into this world. A nonprofit foundation might encourage people to donate their inspiring stories, skills, talents, and money to support our efforts at increasing love and respect for all life, one story at a time.

     This was a cold autumn day, inching soon into an even colder Minnesota winter. By then, most of the birds had flown south for the winter. As we talked about the possibility of a foundation, we noticed an amazing display of nature. Right in front of our car, a bush, barren of leaves, had filled with chirping sparrows who should have been long gone from this frigid weather.

     We immediately saw a gift from Spirit in the bouquet of sparrows who were serenading us as we discussed starting the Angel Animals Foundation. Whatever we decided, we knew we were being shown that we'd be loved and our needs would be met. For God watches over the sparrow. The sparrows had served to catch our attention and open our hearts to divine guidance. We realized that no matter which direction we took, we'd experience spiritual growth from the journey as well as, or maybe even more than, from the outcomes of decisions we made that day.

Turtle Wisdom

     Dorothy W. Weiss, a writer and motivational speaker from Orlando, Florida, wrote to us about her angel animal experience in nature when she encountered a very determined turtle. Dorothy says that one day she was driving home when a turtle began crossing the street in front of her car. She slowed down and swerved so she wouldn't hit the little creature. After she'd gone around him, she looked into her rearview mirror and noticed each car behind her also slowed and avoided hitting the turtle. Yet no one collided; there were no screeching brakes or road rages. Traffic resumed at a normal pace as the cars cleared the turtle's path.

     Dorothy says that she found herself comparing this turtle crossing incident to other times in her life when she'd faced a temporary obstacle. She'd found that if she made adjustments or tried other options, she was able to creatively solve problems with minimal disruption of her life or the lives of others. She writes, "A turtle, focused on achieving his goal of crossing the street to get to a grassy embankment by the river, gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect on how I could face the difficult challenges in my own life."

     How often have you been annoyed by the actions of people or animals who seem to be getting in the way but may be giving you the opportunity to stop, look, listen, and reflect? Are there any angel animals in nature who might be bringing messages which prompt you to consider how to be more persistent, patient, and creative?

     Amazing, Stupendous!

     Reverend Gary Kowalski wrote to us with a story from his wonderful book, Green Mountain Spring and Other Leaps of Faith (Skinner House Books, 1997). Reverend Kowalski is a Unitarian minister who also wrote The Souls of Animals, one of our favorite books. He says that he received a letter from Mrs. Peggy Carter of Landrum, South Carolina. She'd written to him about a pig she had on her farm in Mississippi. When this pig gave birth to her piglets, the jonquils were in bloom in Peggy's yard. The pig bit off the flowers and carefully placed them in a perfect circle with their stems pointing toward the center and blossoms pointing outward. She'd lovingly placed her baby piglets in the middle of this flower circle. It was as if the mother pig had welcomed the miracle of life by creating a beautiful yellow halo around her babies.

     Reverend Kowalski writes, "If a pig can find such an amazing way to celebrate new life, surely we can be equally creative." What amazing and creative ways could you find to show your gratitude for life and the blessings all around you?

     Are there angel animals in your backyard, along the pathways you walk, the rivers and oceans you swim, or the sky you gaze at who are demonstrating how to appreciate the fullness of life?

     We welcome your stories about angel animals in nature. Has a wild or farm animal helped you understand something more about the interconnectedness of all creation? Or has an animal in nature brought a message of love, peace, and hope when you needed it most? Write to us so we can inspire others with the spiritual experiences you're having with angel animals.

     Remember to tell your stories to others. In as many ways as you can--through the written word, art, photography, music, theater--share the messages angel animals express in your life.



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