I have loved animals as far back as I can remember. I played with my "imaginary" animal friend as a child, not knowing at the time what a power animal was. I had vivid dreams and visions throughout my life. I also felt drawn to different animals at different times in my life and when I found out about power or spirit animals, I finally understood why. Reading up on those animals and then going on shamanic journeys and meditations afforded me the entry point into the world of animals on a spiritual level. The reason I prefer the term power animal to spirit animal is simply because it feels more grounded and manifested to me. You are, of course, welcome to use whatever term you like; power animal, spirit animal, animal guide...You choose. The important thing is to have a strong, loving connection and to trust and ask your animal to teach you and share its wisdom with you.
The Two Sides of Care
This power animal was chosen by my daughter Tarini who is a natural at picking out cards or other messengers for herself as well as others. As she was lying beside me, reading a book, I asked her to close her eyes and tell me which animal she sees first. She did as much and with a big smirk on her face, said, “Bear. He’s so cute!”
She repeated this when she helped me choose the perfect Bear picture for this page after I’d received the message from Bear. Thus, this animal message centres around the theme of caring. A very interesting one, as there is a lot of misunderstanding about what caring really is.
To care stems from the Latin root cura, meaning care, attention, caution, anxiety.
The Old English root developed from this was carian, cearian, meaning to be anxious, grieve; to feel concern or interest, from Proto-Germanic *karojanan (cf. Old High German charon, to lament, Old Saxon karon, to care, to feel sorrow).
The word in itself has a rather heavy and sorrowful root meaning, so as we receive Bear’s message, we must pay attention to when showing an interest in and doing something for others we love that we do not do so out of grief, sorrow or worry about them, but rather from a sense of freedom and love that empowers them, as well as yourself. It is the allegory of giving a man a fish to feed his family for a day or teaching him how to fish, so he can feed them for a lifetime.
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Caring has nothing to do with self-sacrifice, which is a notion that springs out of a lack mentality, like there isn’t enough to go around, so you relinquish some or all of your own in order to give to others. This does not reflect the truth, it does not bring anyone quality of life and it is condescending and disempowering. There is enough for everyone at any time of anything needed. Any scarcity manifesting in your reality means you have a lack mentality and you ought to pay serious attention to your belief system.
But what does it mean to care in an empowering, creative way? Bear gives us the answer.
Pay attention to those who are important to you, those you love and those you can give some form of assistance to that is empowering and freeing. Do not forget that the most important person in your life is the one looking at you each time you gaze into the mirror. Spread wellbeing wherever you go, wherever you are and whatever you do.
Have a hot bubble bath, read a good book, treat yourself to a coffee at a café and watch the people walk by. Whatever floats your boat, do this to ensure that with all the turmoil of daily life you find islands to rest and recharge your batteries.
When you see someone in need of help, give freely and openly without condemnation or condescension. The old lady having trouble crossing the road may have been the one stopping you from running out in front of a car when you were a little child. The homeless person at the corner might be the one who calls after you because you dropped your expensive iPhone on the ground without noticing. Your children shower you with love every single day and to teach them to cook makes the process of preparing a meal a lot more fun, too.
When we feel like something is a chore and an obligation, rather than coming from the heart with lightness and love, let’s take a quick break, take a deep breath and think of all the wonderful things you have done in your life to make yourself and others feel better. Think of the smiles, the kisses, the hugs and the gratitude. Think of the many things you did that someone else didn’t know about, but that still added quality to someone’s life. Can you feel that smile on your face already? Can you feel the lightness in your heart, where all was heavy and solemn before?
When help and care come out of the energy of love (meaning liberty and freedom), we empower ourselves and others. The action we take is inspired and adds quality to our and others’ lives. When you feel you are not light and free within, take time out to breathe deeply and reconnect with your own Source, the seat of your innate divine wisdom. That voice or feeling will let you know what the best thing to do is in any given situation.
Pamper yourself or kick yourself in the butt to finish a project, meditate or go for a walk in nature. Whatever it is you or others may need from you, deep within you will know. And when you’re in this space of love and freedom, your thoughts and actions will spread that same energy to your environment as well.
Watch how a bear raises her young. The mother will cuddle and protect, but also teach her cubs to care for themselves, so they are empowered to walk through life one day without her assistance. She will give unstinting love, loyalty and security, but also impart knowledge, skills, wisdom and power. Be like a bear and take care of yourself and others. Make a positive difference.