Growing up in eastern Europe, south Africa, and eastern Asia, ever since my early years I have had the chance to encounter different and diverse species of animals. Lucky for me, my parents put an emphasis on observing them in national parks, rather than zoos. It is in these natural environments where I simultaneously experienced pure calm, pleasure, and entertainment.
It is only now, years later, that I thought about what a vast impact these experiences had on me. I have come to the realization that they taught me some valuable life lessons and changed me for the better. Below are some of the most important lessons taken form these experiences. :
1.The beauty of BEING
As for me personally, this is probably the biggest challenge and the hardest lesson to implement in life. I am very certain that many of you share this struggle as well. Today more than ever, we are valued based on what we are doing rather than who we are. it seems as if people take pride in the never-ending “TO DO” lists and constantly enhance the things which are ought to be done either at their work, body, relationships, home or anything else that requires specific energy input. Animals, on the contrary, did not accept this ridiculous constant pressure in their lives. There they are, beautifully being themselves. If a polar bear sleeps all winter, it is just what he does. If a sloth takes time to climb a tree, he takes his time. If an elephant enjoys eating all day, he just eats.
2. Listen to your biological clock
Interestingly enough, we hear that certain diets are efficient and popular and we force our bodies and minds through it. Intermittent fasting, werewolf diet, chrono diet, skip breakfast, skip dinner, you name it, and we tried it. Yet, there are so many issues related to eating and nutrition in our world. Eating disorders are spread more than ever and origin and nutrition value of food is often times questionable. In contrast to this, animals eat like they always have for centuries of time, except those fed by humans. Carnivores are still carnivores, omnivores are still omnivores, mammals are mammals etc. The timing of their food consumption is directed by the signals the body is sending – hunger.
If we could resist the numerous marketing and media temptations around, and eat intuitively like animals, only when we are hungry, I am sure we could eradicate both obesity and anorexia and in fact, any other eating disorders which occur in the modern era.
3. Being present in the moment is the best present to give yourself
Have you come across the recently popular videos on Instagram of fluffy pets being brushed and groomed? If you haven’t, at least you might have seen two kittens or puppies playing or even the simplest action of an animal staying still and appearing peaceful, beautiful and happy. I mentioned the examples above because it is in those recordings where we can see from their facial expressions the amount of joy they are feeling at that very moment.
As animals don’t have such complex thoughts are we do, they are more present in the moment. Instead of making plans for future or questioning the past, which we commonly do, they are more present in the moment, which allows them to be calmer and probably happier than us.
4. Family is everything
Think of birds, ants, monkeys, elephants, lions, hippos… Are any of them all alone other there in the wild? Perhaps they may be alone when you see them, but at some point, all of them go back to their pack. Even though we are not in the wild and can technically survive without family, it is a fact that we will feel safer, stronger and happier if we have support from at least one close person. We are also social beings and it is in our nature to connect. Therefore, let’s not forget what are our priorities and most valued aspects of life.
5. Connection is the best therapy
No, I don’t mean good Wi-Fi connection, I mean forming a deep connection with other people, animals or any other parts of nature such as oceans, trees or grass. Although it may sound ridiculous, you can connect with all these. In fact, these kinds of connections will certainly have a more natural and positive impact than a connection with nicotine, alcohol, fast food or any kind of synthetic drugs. Bonding with a partner, child, friend, therapist, dog, cat or even with our little houseplants on the window could be a lot more significant and powerful than it seems. I would also have to mention that often times animals are not only best friends to us humans, but the best therapists too. Their unconditional love, good listening skills and desire to have fun makes their impact extremely valuable. Thanks to these capabilities, they help treat autism, PTSD, different phobias, anxieties and many other disorders, proving the value of sincere connection.
Let be more intuitive as our fellow animals and learn from their examples, they are indeed much closer to us than we think they may be.