Me, my Self and other Animals

Animal encounters on the Cami de Cavalls, Menorca

by Ethical Emily
Me and my Self

Not the self with a little s, the Self with a big S. Not the me made of matter and limited, lineal, narrow thoughts and stuck in the past but the Me, the Self that’s energy, light, love and potentially amazing is what I’m grappling with on a daily basis. In my quest to become more familiar with my true Self and shed my deep inner fears, guilt and shame, I decided that it was time I got up early in the mornings to walk. Not just to walk the dog but a long steady keep fit type of walk. Somewhere where I would arrive at a destination to sit, maybe meditate, do some yoga, maybe even have a swim and then make another steady keep fit type of walk back.

I decided that taking the car down the Torre Soli Nou road to Son Bou to walk on the cami de cavalls to Talis (the far right end of Son Bou beach) was the nearest and best option. Out by 07:30 I’m on the beach around 08:00 and home by 09:00. Perfect distance for the dog and the best time to get the whole beach literally to myself, a part from a few joggers. Although it’s a divine time to be on a deserted beach with absolutely perfect weather conditions and the sound of the sea gently hitting the shore, my dog, Summer, didn’t help much with her incessant barking for a ball throw. But, I thought, if I do this every day she’ll soon get the idea that at least 10 minuets will be set a side for meditation, well that’s the idea anyway.

Unexpected encounters with other animals

Towel, bottle of water, empty dog bowl, dog lead, ball, keys, phone and head phones. Perfect. It’s a short picturesque walk. Plenty of little wooden gates connecting tree topped covered paths, a path way of stepping stones and fields of wild flowers. Perfectly peaceful for a meditative walk and, to our surprise, for animal encounters. The beach invited us to stay for a short while and I left for the walk back with the intention of returning the next day for a swim, bikini or no bikini, no excuses. I’d been reading that cold water immersions were excellent for lifting the spirits, getting the heart pumping and circulating the blood. Not my kind of thing but neither was early morning celery juice, just another discipline to add to the list.

On the return walk back we came upon a sweet foal and her mother. The mother stood by, at a distance, emanating a sense of calmness and wisdom while the foal followed Summer with curiosity. When I came to the next gate there were three beautiful adult horses with their heads resting on each other. It seemed they were blocking the way out but I didn’t want to disturb their divine loving hug so I decided to walk the wall instead. I felt safer.

I was reminded of a Meditation with horses that I had attended a while back. We sat in a circle to meditate, to lower our barriers and relax meanwhile the horses roamed around us freely. We were told a horse may approach any one of us at any time. I think most of us had one eye half open but we all soon got ‘into the zone’, with the sound of the hang drum playing who wouldn’t. Apparently a horse will approach you if you are your Self, of pure heart.

Is it possible to be of pure heart, your true self, if full of fear? I think my fear comes from lack of understanding. Not having any experience with horses but at the same time I completely respect their strength, dignity and Beauty. But today wasn’t the day to face my fears of horses. All in good time.

The following day on the same path to Talis we came across a very playful mischievous donkey and some very placid baby cows, obviously very accustomed to people walking through. This walk is a gift. To be able to witness free roaming farm animals is a pure delight whatever my opinion about the use of animals for our own selfish purposes. These animal encounters allow me to reflect on my fears and challenge me to connect with my true Self with the full knowledge that my fears are merely thoughts of the ego. An ingrained sense of separation from the animal kingdom and nature.

To my delight Summer and myself had another animal encounter that surpassed all expectations. After an exhilarating early morning sea swim we came across sows wallowing in the marshes with their litter. There were about four mothers and at least 30 piglets running around. One of the sows laid down to feed her babies on the pathway. I obviously wasn’t scared of the piglets, I mean how could I be? To me they are the cutest little puppies ever! But the mothers are a different thing, with young born you just never know, so I didn’t get too close.

Suddenly to my surprise a couple (of humans) meekly crept out of the bushes about 10 meters away. They were scared, clutching onto their beach towels. The guy asked me “Are we safe?, Will they hurt us?” I wanted to say Right now I’m more scared of you! But I didn’t. I said “there was no need to be scared as they seem very happy and don’t seem to care very much about our presence. But maybe we shouldn’t get too close.” I mean really though, what are we like? This irrational fear we have towards other animals is really fucked up. There’s a lot of work we need to do, not only with our relationships with each other but with the animals we share this planet with. We have so much to un-learn and re-learn.

Encounters with animals is a true healing process. If we really want to nurture kindness and compassion for all it means including the animals we share this planet with. They deserve so much more than fear and our lack of understanding.



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