Animals Gave Me My Best Education for Living Life

Understanding people has been key to my success. Understanding people came to me through years of being with and watching animals.

Me. Me who had an unrealistic almost phobic fear of cows as a child. My brother and sister used this fear for their entertainment when we were children. We would be exploring a field near our childhood home which was primarily barbed wired fenced in pastures that we had to ford in order to get to our favorite creek. We would be calmly walking feeling the sunshine fall onto our shoulders when one of them would yell: "watch out there's a cow coming after us!"

Horse and Calf Rides from Age 1 - 7 Years Old

Lots of falls off that old horse with memories of huge hooves coming at my face. Many times that horse stepped on my foot. Ouch! Back up on top the horse we went without a second to think about it. And, certainly, no tears.

Then, there were the calves. How my parents, their friends, my aunt and uncle, loved putting one of us kids on a calf for a little rodeo fun. No rope. Just whatever hair one could grab hold of and your thighs tightened to stay on the bucking, running calf. We never managed to stay on more than a few seconds before we were flying through the air after being bucked off.

Learning about Life from Animals

It's true. All of my formal education, raising two sons, living almost 70 years, being in the business, corporate world for over 35 years as an executive, the education I received as a child, from animals, clearly is the knowledge that has brought me this far in life.

Understanding people has been key to my success. Understanding people came to me through years of being with and watching animals.

Me. Me who had an unrealistic almost phobic fear of cows as a child. My brother and sister used this fear for their entertainment when we were children. We would be exploring a field near our childhood home which was primarily barbed wired fenced in pastures that we had to ford in order to get to our favorite creek. We would be calmly walking feeling the sunshine fall onto our shoulders when one of them would yell: "watch out there's a cow coming after us!"

Without a glance or a thought, fear filled me and I took off, blindly, running to get to the safety of the fence in order to jump over it so that the cow wouldn't get me. As I ran, I would glance back to see where it was, and almost always, trip on old rusted barbed wire someone had left after stringing it up for fencing. Tangled in the barbs and twisted wire, I would rip it away and off me, spring back up and run. Not until I got over the fence, bloodied from the barbed wire cuts and tears in my flesh, did I see my brother and sister doubled over in laughter.

It wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I finally slipped the chains of my phobia.

My father had semi-retired and bought 50 acres with a barn and house. He bought a small herd of Black Angus cattle to raise. One of the cows was pregnant and my father was so angry at the person from whom he bought the cattle; he had allowed this cow, who was too young to bear a calf, to be impregnated. He knew he had to watch her closely for delivery as her chances of dying giving birth were quit high. He also knew that the calf would be too large and die in the birthing.

One afternoon he called me to come help him; his fears had materialized and his cow was down trying to deliver her calf.

As I walked up the hill, I was talking to myself. Telling myself that I couldn't show my fear in front of my father. I had to mentally prepare myself to face this herd of cattle and deal with it without my father ever knowing how terrified I was.

When I arrived I sidled up to his tractor and quietly climbed on it for my protection as my Father summed up the situation. We had to "pull" her calf in order to save her life. The calf was dead and she'd been in labor for over 12 hours he figured.

I looked at the herd of cattle. The cow was down and they had encircled her to protect her while she was down.

Oh, great. I remember thinking. And these protective cattle were going to let my Father and I near the cow.

The downed cow suddenly gave out the most miserable bawl. She was in horrific pain.

Without another thought, I climbed off the tractor and went to her. Now, sitting beside her, I took her head in my hands and laid it on my lap as I stroked her. When I looked up, I saw the entire herd move off and away. They knew that we were going to help her.

We did. She lived. The calf was gone just as my Father knew. And, gone was my fear of cows. Well, let's just say I have a healthy respect for them and try to stay out of their way.

This experience along with many others from my early childhood on has served me well in the world of people.

My Father was a professional man who owned his own business as an electrical contractor who maintained and serviced large lumber mills in Oregon. He had been raised in the deserts of Eastern Oregon on a ranch in the early 1900s. He learned to live off the land, hunt, fish and all that goes with that from Chief Louie, of the nearby Paiute Indian Reservation. He also had been a sheepherder in his early years. Meaning he spent time alone in the desert and mountains with a herd of sheep to tend for six months or more. Living off the land.

This is to say, that my Father was no pansy. He had no tolerance for the weak. This included his three children. From an early age he instilled this in us and exposed us to many of natures elements and lessons.

When my older brother was three, my father decided that it was time for him to learn to swim and dive. He climbed up a small hill and held my brother by his feet over the pond below. Ignoring my mother's protest, he dropped my brother into the water and watched as he popped up to the surface of the water, took a gasp and began frantically dog paddling. He learned to swim in the fashion of American Indian culture that he was taught.

Thank goodness he spared my sister and I from this method.

His sister had married a rancher, the only one of his 6 siblings, including himself, that continued on the ranch tradition. She and her husband operated a cattle ranch consisting of Bureau of Land Management grazing land which equalled over thousands of acres. They had no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing until around 1960.

From my birth, I was introduced to this way of life along with the animals found in that world.

I knew what to do if I encountered a rattle snake. Stand very still, be very calm and let the snake know that I meant it no harm. When it stopped hissing at me and rattling it's rattle, then, and only then, could I slowly turn and walk away. It wouldn't bother me.

With rattle snakes, scorpions and black widow spiders, I also knew to shake my shoes out every morning before putting my feet in; never to place my hand or foot into a hole in a rock, house, tree or ground. Or, over turn a rock or piece of wood since there almost always would be one of these critters startled by such a movement and would bite.

Ticks were another story. There isn't much one can do to avoid ticks except to try to stay out of grass, weeds and other places that ticks thrive as well as not touching deer or other animals on which they feed.

What does one learn about life from a tiny tick? Just that, tiny can be deadly. Awareness along with taking care to prevent a bite is critical.

I can still remember my Mother and a neighbor when I was three years old, trying to dig a wood tick that had attached onto my the top of my head.

I also remember my Mother trying to bribe me with a nickle if I just wouldn't cry when the doctor gave me my immunization for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which is a tick borne disease.

One vivid early memory is sitting on top of old Chief. An old 20 something year old white horse that my aunt and uncle allowed all children to ride. At one and two years old, to me Chief was a very tall, big, huge horse. As I looked down from his back, the ground was very far away.

Lots of falls off that old horse with memories of huge hooves coming at my face. Many times that horse stepped on my foot. Ouch! Back up on top the horse we went without a second to think about it. And, certainly, no tears.

Then, there were the calves. How my parents, their friends, my aunt and uncle, loved putting one of us kids between the age of two and six, on a calf for a little rodeo fun. No rope. Just whatever hair one could grab hold of and your thighs tightened to stay on the bucking, running calf.

After one ride, in which I flew from the calf to the ground, I got up with a mouth full of the surrounding area. I dusted myself off and spit out the offending mouthful. Later I commented to my parents that the dirt sure tasted funny. I saw them quietly glance at one another and smile. I knew then that I had a mouth full of manure.

We were taught to respect all breathing creatures. Each one has a role in life and in ecology. If my Uncle were to catch any one being mean, hitting, whipping, jerking, kicking or disrespecting any of the animals on the ranch that person was literally thrown off the ranch and told never to return.

Each time we went to ride a horse he reminded us that kindness was the only acceptable manner regardless of what the horse did. We often loved on the horse, stroked and petted it before riding and thanked it for the ride when we were done.

My aunt's cattle ranch is also where I learned to drive. By age 13, or when we were tall enough for our legs to reach the gas and brakes, we were allowed to drive around the ranch on one of the tractors. My Uncle Louis said that we couldn't get hurt and even if we tipped the tractor over ontop of us, we would simply sink into the alkaline desert beneath us and be cushioned from injury. Thank goodness I didn't find out if that were true.

Can you imagine being 13 and have the freedom to drive a tractor around hundreds and hundreds of acres without supervision! It was sheer heaven.

Man and horse working in unison as one, when it is done right
Man and horse working in unison as one, when it is done right
Steve Irwin knew and understood the 'language' of the animal kingdom
Steve Irwin knew and understood the 'language' of the animal kingdom
For many, hunting is a way of life in order to feed themselves and their family
For many, hunting is a way of life in order to feed themselves and their family

Competative Nature of Man and Beast

My sister and brother taught me never to trust blindly, even, or perhaps, especially if it is your comptetitive siblings.

And competitive we were/are. It runs in our particular genetic makeup. Each born to be leaders.

How many leaders can live under one roof? Only the one who successfully removes the others, one way or another.

One cannot be passive in such an environment if you are to succeed and to live. There is always an edge. A stress when we are together. Just as there is amongst animals. For one day, it may come down to a battle of who survives or who becomes the unchallenged leader of the pack. For this reason, there can never be passive or implicit trust, or suffer the consequences.

I learned it all. Competative jostling. Mostly from my siblings. But observed it among animals as well.

All the tricks, secrets of the subversive, the passive agressive, the bully, and the pack of wolves. Team effort when two or more join forces to achieve one goal -- to push one from the pack or affect the kill. Working in tandum; one nipping at the heals, another at the side and another at the throat. Very effective and sucessful kill technique.

The Beginning of my Education

When I was 5 years old, my father moved us 200 miles away from our home near my aunt and uncle's ranch. Now we visited the ranch a few times per year rather than weekly.

Our new home was in a city like setting, but in 1946 it was still what most of us know as "country." We had cats, a dog and often bunnies that we found out in the fields.

I was particularly fond and close to Vicki, a cocker spaniel. She was my best friend and constant companion. She followed me as I walked to school each day and was on the school steps when school was over. Unconditional love is a wonderful lesson to learn at an early age . Vicki gave me this and taught me this; in return I gave her the same.

And then one day she wasn't there. Days of worry and tears later, my father explained that Vicki must have gotten sick and died. That when a dog knows that it is dying, it will seek out a quiet, hidden place; under a thicket of branches, a cave, a hole, where ever it can find; and die.

I couldn't imagine Vicki having to die alone. I couldn't imagine Vicki dying. Living without her. This was my first lesson on love, dying, and death. I didn't like it.

Living around and with animals be it in your home or in the wild, you learn to "read" them but more importantly you learn to understand their way of life. To know what certain body language means; and you must watch their body language closely.

For instance, a dog growling at you, doesn't necessarily mean danger or a bite. It is a conversation, certainly, and you best know that when a dog growls at you he is telling you that he isn't sure of you and is sizing you up... do not approach further until he knows who you are.

When I was 15 years old, I often babysat for a couple down several blocks from my home, close enough for me to walk. In order to get to their house, I had to pass a house on the corner that had a huge Collie who seemed aggressive.

When he saw me approaching, he ran to the edge of his lawn barking furiously at me. I knew that he was "talking" to me, telling me that this was his property. Telling me to stay away. Fine, I circled out further from his territory and he simply barked but left me be.

The problem was he began increasing what he thought was his territory. Enough so that one day there was no way to avoid it. He had taken over that portion of the street.

As I neared "his" territory, he ran out to scare me away and to emphasize that I was encroaching his territory.

I kept walking watching him from the corner of my eye. I knew that I couldn't show him fear since he would know he had me and, more than, likely bite. Head held tall, eyes averted so as to not look at him and thus challenge him, body erect and confident, I continued walking. I'm not afraid of you, go away.

The next thing that I was aware of was a yelp, yip and cry and the dog running fast back into his yard. As I looked at him running I realized that I had a mouth full of dog hair.

That rascal had come behind me and nipped (pinched me with his teeth) my butt! Instinctively, I had spun round, grabbed the fur on his neck and bit him back.

That was exactly what he understood, I had reclaimed the road and gained his respect. He never again barked or chased after me. I, however, remember looking around quickly to make sure no one saw me dispose of this situation in such a feral manner.

Other lessons were learned from horses, a mad charging bull; chickens, geese, raccoons, cows, coyotes; wolves and bears. cougars, lynx, eagles, owls and so on.

Much knowledge was gained through stories the cowhands told, or my uncle, aunt, cousins, and father. They had far more experience than did I in living with animals and many injuries and stories to talk about. Even such things as hunting for deer, bear, elk, geese and other game as well as various types of fish, crabs, clams, etc. that was common place on our dinner tables back then.

By understanding the thinking and habits of animals, they knew how to track them when it was time to hunt.

Just as the cat, dog, cougar, wolf, fox, etc., pay careful attention in teaching their young at an early age to hunt for food, considering this skill to be essential to their survival -- man often will also teach his son to hunt and fish or gather food.

In my childhood of the 1940s and 1950s many hunted. They began teaching their sons to hunt before the age of 13. Many a son stood next to his father as early as age one, observing the ritual of hunting,fishing, preparing the catch for eating, and, finally, eating. When they were physically big enough to carry and shoot a rifle, they were taken out and taught to track and hunt.

I was taught to shoot a pistol and rifle before I was 10 years old. My father often brought home his "kill," for me to pluck feathers and clean geese, pheasants and other birds. I helped with the gutting and skinning of his deer or beef. In this manner, I was taught to survive by learning how to prepare game and to cook it for eating.

All considered necessary skill for our survival.

One learned quickly to always be aware of one's surroundings and to listen. The cougar's strength, for instance, is ambush. Along with it's powerful strength, the element of surprise is how it captures and kills it's prey.

You won't hear the cougar but by listening you will hear the absence of a bird song or some other normal sound and sense the danger. Because a cougar always attacks from behind, if you cannot quickly leave the area for safety, I was taught to back up to a big tree or rock, or mountain side and keep my face forward standing tall, to look bigger, until the big cat leaves. Not until you hear the normal noise in the area, a bird sing for instance, are you to move.

We were taught to be aware of "skat" (animal poop) especially if it was fresh and to look for paw prints, we learned how to gauge their freshness. In this manner we knew what was in the area with us.

Not to startle was critical, so we talked loud, sang, stomped our feet and made lots of sound so that they knew we were in the area and coming their way. Most animals don't like us and fear us. By making noise they will usually hide or go somewhere else when they hear us. There are exceptions, of course, especially a hungry animal with a taste for humans. These are rare. We really don't taste that good -- I'm told.

My sister and brother taught me never to trust blindly, even, or perhaps, especially if it is your comptetitive siblings.

And competitive we were/are. It runs in our particular genetic makeup. Each born to be leaders.

How many leaders can live under one roof? Only the one who successfully removes the others, one way or another.

One cannot be passive in such an environment if you are to succeed and to live. There is always an edge. A stress when we are together. Just as there is amongst animals. For one day, it may come down to a battle of who survives or who becomes the unchallenged leader of the pack. For this reason, there can never be passive or implicit trust, or suffer the consequences.

I learned it all. Competative jostling. Mostly from my siblings. But observed it among animals as well.

All the tricks, secrets of the subversive, the passive agressive, the bully, and the pack of wolves. Team effort when two or more join forces to achieve one goal -- to push one from the pack or affect the kill. Working in tandum; one nipping at the heals, another at the side and another at the throat. Very effective and sucessful kill technique.

To this day, there is little peace as we siblings gather. After an initial seeimingly warm and loving greeting; smiles all around to welcome one another. Than constant observation as each observes the other, noting weakness, strengths and opportunity to act and to replace that person's place in the family if not in society.

What are the rules? There are none. They are made up as the situations change.Anything goes. Hopefully within the rules of societal norms. Meaning no murder.

A Parents Love

10 Rules of Life that I Learned from Animals

1. I learned about "instinct." And that color doesn't matter. Whether within a species one is yellow, black, white, brown, grey, gold, blue, red or green, they each are the same and live by the same rules, or not. Not living by the same rules as the group is what makes an "outcast."

2. I learned about "timing." There is a time for everything in the cycle of life. One must wait for "the" time. "There is a reason. for every season."

3. I learned about "compassion," loyalty, and obedience. As well as the need for order. There is a distinct heirarchy in the world of animals; Alpha to Omega. I learned of consequence.

4. Either fight and stand your ground or submit. Weigh the options.

5. I learned of the tenderness of life and the miracles; "leaving the nest" and "empty nest," and Independence,

6. I learned of the Circle of Life. The beauty and cruelty involved. The reality of life. It's rhythms, it's cycles. That many things simply have to be accepted for what is.

7. Survival means being alert, obedient, intuitive, instinctive, and flexible and knowing when to be what.

8, I learned how and when to trust, cry, feel and show pain, handle pain and mourn. Yes, animals feel each of these emotions.

9. I learned about sex. To be on a ranch or farm among many varieties of animals a child learns early about sex. They learn that it is a natural, necessary part of life. I learned that not all of these lessons applied to humans; but some did.

10. Life is precious and must be lived, experienced and enjoyed as it happens. There is no yesterday. There is no tomorrow. There is only now. For in an instant it is gone.

The Wonder of New Life

The Final Cycle of Life - We Mourn, Remember and Honor Those Gone Before Us

Essentials of Living Learned from Animals

Animales can live alone or in packs/herds.

Third, I learned about "compassion," loyalty, respect and obedience. As well as the need for order.

The Alpha animal (top of the heap, leader of the pack) demands respect and obedience from his pack. The pack must act in unison and harmony in order for the pack to survive as a whole. Obedience to the pack leader is essential for the pack's survival.

There is a distinct hierarchy in the world of animals; Alpha to Omega. The beginning and the end. The leader and the followers.

Were the alpha animal not to enforce this respect and obedience the consequence can be dire. One consequence is that a young upstart is going to overtake and replace him.

And so I learned of consequence.

What I've Learned

How did this education and knowledge of animal behavior help me with success?

It didn't come quickly nor easily. I had no idea what I was doing when I ventured out from my childhood home, at age 17, to make my way in life. At least I didn't think I did. It turned out that when a situation or problem came about, I did the "right" thing, most of the time. I just wasn't aware of how I knew what to do.

It didn't occur to me then, that I had all the knowledge I needed from my "education" by animals. Conscientiously, implementing that knowledge came about 15 years later. It was another 5 years before I actually realized what I was using as the base of my life.

While I instinctively utilized these techniques I didn't think about from where the technique came.

When I was in a situation in which I'd never faced or experienced, I found I looked to animal behavior as a model. Finally, I learned that animal behavior and human behavior are very similar. Therefore, actions and consequences that applied in the "wild" often applied in human life. Voila!

Finally, I realized that my "real" teachers, my "real" education began as a chld and continued on for years and years. I, of course, continue to learn from animals behavior, nature, reptiles, etc.

First, I learned about "instinct." And that color doesn't matter. Whether within a species one is yellow, black, white, brown, grey, gold, blue, red or green, they each are the same and live by the same rules, or not.

Not living by the same rules as the group is what makes them an "outcast."

Animals have incredible instinct about everything color of a species plays no role in their lives when choosing.

Prior to a disaster such as a forest fire, tidal wave, or earthquake or hurricane, animals may intuitively know danger is near and escape to safety, often, days before the event.

When another animal or human approaches, even a member of their own family or pack; they know immediately, sense instinctivly, the intent of the approacher and will act accordingly.

Second, I learned about "timing." An animal has to know how to time a kill or an attack in order to be successful and to live.

There is a time for everything in the cycle of life. One must wait for "the" time. The time to hunt; the time to strike; this takes patience, skill and stealth. Often it takes team work. Many animals, such as wolves, hyaena's, and dogs, etc., hunt in packs with each member of the pack knowing exactly what it's role is; it's job, in helping the pack bring the prey down in order for them all to eat.

Third, I learned about "compassion," loyalty, respect and obedience. As well as the need for order.

The Alpha animal (top of the heap, leader of the pack) demands respect and obedience from his pack. The pack must act in unison and harmony in order for the pack to survive. Obedience to the pack leader is essential for the pack's survival.

There is a distinct heirarchy in the world of animals; Alpha to Omega. The beginning and the end. The leader and the followers.

Were the alpha animal not to enforce this respect and obedience the consequence can be dire. One consequence is that a young upstart is going to overtake and replace him.

And so I learned of consequence.

Even the alpha of many types of animals are compassionate with family and his pack when the occasion arises, and often with other species. It is not rare that say, a dog nurse the litter of another dog of a different breed; or for cats to care for and even nurse other babies of different breeds. It is a baby, and the maternal instinct often knows no boundaries and cannot bear that a baby would die without food and nurturing. The males don't often object to this adoption.

Some, such as wolves, mate for life and are often devastated at the death of a mate. I learned about love and loyalty.

A male lion often kills the litter of a former alpha lion that he took down in order to become the alpha male. In this manner the female lion has no former ties nor loyalties to the other lion, she is all his.

A mother cat will eat it's own litter if it senses it cannot care for the litter, that there is danger, or the kittens are sick. Other animals will often do the same or, leave behind to die, a sick baby or sick member of the pack in order that the pack as a whole survive.

Others don't.

I learned of nature and how cruel it can sometimes seem and the difference in the thinking and conditions, surroundings of various animals.

Fourth, I learned that when one animal is angry and trying to pick a fight, if it doesn't want to fight, a dog, wolf, lion, will quickly cower down lower than the attacking foe and stay there, or turn on its back with its belly exposed to show total submission. Very seldom will it be attacked. It might get slapped but it won't be attacked.

Conversely, should it decide to fight, it will stand it's ground and stare at the other dog to communicate that he is ready to fight. "Bring it on!"

This of course is not always the rule. Each species is different just as are people.

Fifth, I learned of the tenderness of life and the miracles. Witnessing the birth of a new born dog, kitten, rabbit, calf, foal, goat chicken, one cannot help but to be in awe.

I've witnessed a dog or cat stay with it's human companion when the human was ill. Nurturing, cuddling, loving and waiting for the human to regain strength.

Many ranchers talk of being thrown from their horse while far out, alone, on the range with no ability to contact anyone for help. Or injured or ill in some other manner. They report that their horse stayed with them the entire time they were down rather than run away.

Often the signal that something is wrong, is a horse and rider not returning to the barn. A search can than begin. Seeing a lone, riderless horse is easiar to spot that a rider lying on the ground.

I learned about "leaving the nest," and "empty nest." How it is a natural part of living for the babies to be pushed from the nest in order to learn how to fly and to live on its own, to be dependent on itself; independent. Each animal species is duty bound to push their young out of the protection and caring of the parent animal when the time is right. Timing.

Sixth, I learned of the Circle of Life. The beauty and cruelty involved. The reality of life. It's rhythms, it's cycles.

That many things simply have to be accepted for what is. Wishes and wants mean nothing.

Seventh, survival means being alert, obedient, intuitive, instinctive, and flexible, and knowing when to be what. One does not need many material things to live and to be happy, in fact, too many material things will only hinder and slow one down.

Eighth, I learned how and when to trust, cry, feel pain, handle pain and mourn.

Yes, animals feel each of these emotions and when you observe how they express them and deal with them, you will see that they are very similar to humans. Some, however, handle these emotions better than do we.

If you have been around cowboys and watched the process of "breaking" a horse you understand the cruelty of what it is to be "broken." Stripped of your will.

Look into the eyes of a dog that has been beaten, abused, abandoned and you will see deep sorrow and sadness. A body language of a living creature that has no place to go, no hope, no reason.

See a dog, wolf, coyote, with it's tail between it's legs, slinking off as quickly as it can and away from you. You will see fear.

See a horse in a far field, raise it's head high, suddenly, sniff the air, give a whinny and come running toward you it's tail held high as it flies in the wind. You will know absolute joy of being greeted by a horse who knows and loves you.

Or the dog that spins, jumps, wags it tail or entire back end when it hears your car drive into the driveway. Sheer happiness.

Ninth, I learned about sex. Reproduction of species animal, reptile, human, etc. To be on a ranch or farm among many varieties of animals and living creatures as well as plant life, a child learns early about sex and reproduction. They learn that it is a natural, necessary part of life.

I recall when my grandson, Joshua, was around 7 years old, he had come to visit me. We went for a walk one afternoon to a lovely wildlife pond abundant with fish, ducks, geese, otters, turtles, and other wildlife. It was one of my favorite places in the midst of a large city filled with hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Joshua lived in California in a similar setting with little exposure to wildlife and the outdoors.

We were sitting on a log near the edge of the pond watching the ducks, geese and hoping to see an otter. It was so beautiful, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue; a quiet respite for us.

A duck hen was quietly swimming near us with her brood of new born ducks swimming happily behind her. I pointed her out to Joshua. Just than, a drake flew in, grabbed the hen by her feathered neck and proceeded to pounce on her, pulling feathers, pecking at her and pushing her under the water. He was brutal. Violent.

I looked at this rather scene stunned. It had been a long time so I didn't at first realize what we were watching. Than it struck me.

I looked at Joshua who was staring agast at the pair. I didn't know what to say. So finally, I turned to him, smiled and said; "Well, Ducky, you just got your sex education from a pair of ducks."

He looked relieved but puzzled. When we arrived home, in front of him, I told his mother and father what had happened and suggested his father may want to talk with his son now about the "birds and the bees." Especially noting that humans don't beat and otherwise be brutal while having sex.

It is a similar reaction that I had when I first witnessed the mating of a cow at around age 4. The noise! I thought she was being hurt, she sounded terrified. My father happened by and saw what was happening. He softly explained it to me and let me know that this was a natural thing. As I grew older I came to understand the act, the sounds and the ways of nature.

I knew from an early age that sex among animals had nothing to do with love. That hormones often dictate when and with whom sex will occur.

I learned that females have no say or choice as to whom she will mate. It will be the strongest of the species who has usually fought for his place as alpha male, who will have the distinct honor of choosing his females..

That instilled in most males it is necessary for them to mate with as many females (some exceptions for instance, wolves mate with only one mate for life) as possible to perpetuate the species.

That sex happens, in the animal world, once or twice per year for the purpose only of procreation. Sometime after the mating season new borns begin to appear. All is good with the world.

I learned not all of these lessons applied to humans; but some did.

And, lastly, Tenth; life is precious and must be lived, experienced and enjoyed as it happens. There is no yesterday. There is no tomorrow. There is only now. For in an instant it is gone. You are a fly going about your daily ablutions. A big frog sees you and decides to have you for lunch. One flick of his tongue and you, the fly, are gone. Poof!

Throughout my career I have encountered and been confronted by and with many such aggressive episodes.

These have not been confined to my career, they appear every day. in every area of my world. My neighbors, people in the community, family, friends, etc. They are the norm in this world.

My experience includes: The charging bull, the biting chihuahua, the attacking pit-bull, the angry geese or chickens - roosters, the wounded bear and the momma bear. Even a few mountain lions/cougars along the way.

Tail waggers. People who approach with compliments and smiles, "I mean you no harm," body language, only to spin round and go for your throat, for the kill. Passive aggressive competitors.

Wolf packs were frequent and often the norm in corporate America. They are formed among peers in both upper and lower echelons. In any competitive environment.

How this Education was Applied in My Life

Early in my career as an executive, I was in my office with the door closed in order to focus on some important detail, when I heard something smash my door. It flew open. Storming in was a 400 pound female employee, her nostrils flaring, her body posture and face livid, furious. In a flash I, at barely 105 pounds, I remember thinking that if she sat on me she would crush me. I thought of a wild bull charging.

Instinctual and instantly, as my-training with animals mandated, I got to my feet to show my full five foot two frame, puffed it up, held my head high and pointed my finger at her -- firmly, calmly, I stated: "Sit down -- now."

She stopped dead, her nostrils stopped flaring and she sat. Actually, she plopped. We then discussed the reason for her enormous anger and solved the problem.

Throughout my career I was confronted with many such aggressive episodes of the charging bull, the biting chihuahua, the attacking pit-bull, the angry geese or chickens - roosters, the wounded bear and the momma bear. Even a few mountain lions/cougars along the way.

Wolf packs were frequent and often the norm in corporate America.

In another example of how my training with animals has helped. I had flown into London after some business in Brussels; it was the week of Christmas.

I met up with my friend, Sue, to spend the day before flying back home to the States. We decided to see a play but rather than a taxi, Sue insisted we take the "tube." She felt that I needed experience with this for future trips.

It was early evening as we left for the theater. The streets were full of people rushing about to do their last minute Christmas shopping. The tube even more packed. When we stepped on the down escalator it seemed that people were packed tightly against one another.

I felt a slight push or nudge. That's strange; but decided it was just so many people pressed against one another. Another push or nudge, then another and then a harder one. Now, I'm alerted. I turn to face the woman on the step above and behind me. She has a sour, set, almost mean look in her eye and face.

Just as I stepped off the down escalator, I felt something hit the floor. Without a thought, I swooped down and picked it up and kept walking.

It was my wallet!

When we got seated on the train, I looked at my purse and saw a huge, downward slit and opening in my purse. She had cut it completely through in order to obtain my wallet or whatever. Only my "animal" instincts kept her from succeeding. Be aware of your environment; what is around you. Use your instincts. Listen.

People's primal emotions are not dissimilar to what I've witnessed in animals. It has been my great advantage to have had teachers from the animal kingdom from the time I could crawl until this day. I discover something new about these incredible animals daily. Most of all, I've learned that there is not much distance between us.

The most practical and beneficial education that I received was, indeed, from animals in my life and in the wild.

The Spider

 

 

.

Guardian of Ancient Languages and Alphabets,

 

Polarity and Balance, Creativity,

 

Death and Rebirth,

 

Magic of Writing,

 

Gentleness with Strength.

 

.

 

Spider has long had symbolic meanings in many cultures through history. To Native Americans, spider's archetypal form was Spider Woman, a trickster immortal who might help the seeker or devour her. Often, the seeker must pass a test or answer a riddle before Spider Woman decides whether the seeker is to be helped in her quest or eaten for lunch.

 

.

 

In India, Spider symbolized the Laws of Cause and Effect. Her webs held humans fast in their illusions (Maya) until their learned that their own actions had caused their painful life experiences. Once learned, Seekers found her need was kindness, and they discovered their Dharma.

 

.

 

Her eight legs speak of the Mayan Twenty Count, where Eight is the number of the Laws of Cycles and the Book of Life. When we have lessons written in our Books of Life, they are karmic requirements. So when Spider lays down the Law, we must listen and do as she tells us. The Seasons of our Lives have their time. We must accept the natural cycles of birth, existence and death.

 

.

 

Spider teaches us that everything we do has consequences which may carry well beyond this life. Do No Harm is Her Lesson.

 

.

 

Spider wove the web of the Universe. When morning first came to the Universe, the dew drops glistened on her web in the dawning sky, and the First People named the points of light in the skies “Stars.” She was called First Creator for many Aeons.

 

.

 

Spider symbolizes three magics: The magic and energy of Creation, the magic of writing, and the Magic of the Spiral or Labyrinth.

 

.

 

Spider is the Guardian of ancient languages and alphabets. In old myths, letters were created from the patterns and angles in spider webs. Spider gives the gift of writing which can catch others in their webs of thought and emotion.

 

.

 

Possibly because the female of the species sometimes eats the male after mating, Spider has been associated in some myths with Death and Rebirth. She is also associated with the Moon.

 

.

 

In her dark aspect, Spider is associated with murder and horror. Out of mankind’s primal past, an image has also come which causes both men and women to recoil in terror at the touch or close proximity of Spider. Spider reminds us how we too once were prey of animals which ate us.

 

.

 

If spider has come into your life, you should ask yourself: are you caught in a web of karmic issues? Do you keep holding onto the things in life you shouldn’t? Are you in pain because you can’t let go of losing and winning? Do you need to spin a new web of dreams and life directions? Do you blame others for your not getting your needs met? If so, call on Spider to aid you. To find Her, you will need to go down into dark places within yourself to find your own answers to your frustrated needs. Spider often also brings the gift of writing; do you need to write?

 

 

 

Comments 1 comment

Julie A. Johnson 7 years ago

It is amazing how much we learn from animals and the natural world around us. Perhaps they are the best teachers, Keep writing! Julie

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    More by this Author


    Click to Rate This Article
    working