Editor's Note: While this article is written about making big decisions about your animal companions, its tenets also apply to any major decisions in life.
Keeping your power in every decision is necessary for your growth and for making better, clearer choices on your animals’ behalf. Trusting yourself when you’re stressed out or when you face the potential loss of a beloved companion can feel overwhelming and scary. Seeing your companions in pain and suffering can really get you ungrounded, in which case it’s very hard to be clear.
There are no exceptions; everyone is having a very human experience. So when you’re in the middle of a big decision, it can be natural to look externally for the answers. Let’s face it: we’re all so programmed to give away our power in those moments to another person. We just want the problem solved and long for someone else to fix it.
Think about it. We were all taught, when making big decisions, to give away our power from a young age. For instance, what happens when you go to a doctor? It’s a step-by-step process:
1. What’s wrong?
2. Fix it!
3. Tell me what to do, when to follow up, and what medications to take.
We’re programmed to trust those individuals who we believe to be more knowledgeable than we are. Healing practitioners do serve an amazing purpose, and I highly encourage creating a team of those you can rely on and trust to partner with you to help you determine the best course of action you can take when making a major decision about your animal(s).
The Power Derived from Looking Within
The subconscious desire to let someone else tell you what to do is created to avoid the potential pain you perceive you might feel (if you make the “wrong” choice) or might cause your beloved animal. This avoidance actually prevents you from tapping into your inner wisdom, which is the land of golden clarity and it holds the key to knowing the highest and best path for your beloved animals.
Yes, it takes courage and intention to cultivate and then listen to your inner guidance, but doing so will help you mature and grow, and you will learn to trust yourself.
Take a deep breath and really take this in: No one knows your animals better than you. No one.
No one knows your animals
better than you.
Our fears of causing our animals any type of suffering or pain or even of losing them brings us to a place I call Crazy-Fix-It-Island (CFII)—a place I’ve been to frequently, I might add. Know that when you’re visiting CFII, the unconscious belief is simply this: “I won’t be able to handle the pain if
happens to my little Tobey. It will be too much for me, so I have to fix him and fast.”
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This reaction is completely normal. Indeed you are their guardian and responsible for their care. While visiting CFII, you will justify your actions and stay in busy mode to avoid facing (and releasing) your fears.
Let’s look at fear in general. Think about how many crazy fears you’ve had that never came true. Good stuff gets through to you despite them.Think of your fears as simply unhealed emotional wounds coming up to clear. Then intend to go within to more intimately get in touch with yourself and your inner knowing. It’s an inside job.
As you can imagine, I receive many inquiries asking if I can determine if an animal is ready to transition or if the person should try everything they can to help them heal. This is a big decision that most all animal lovers will find themselves in, including myself.
My role is to be a guide to help them rely on their deeper connection and inner knowing, which ultimately holds more gifts for both of them. It is my job as a healer to show people how to retain their own power and trust their inner knowing, not to tell them what to do so they become dependent on me.
Following are three steps to catapult you out of the land of ambiguity so you will have clarity when making big decisions on behalf of your animal companion. The life-or-death decision we sometimes must make on behalf of these beautiful souls who have graced our lives is nothing short of being one of the most, if not the most, difficult decisions we will ever make.
1. Help from a Higher Power
This one act can help more than all the others combined. It will remind you that you’re not in this alone and that there are indeed spiritual resources to help you with any and all decisions. Time and time again, I’ve heard clients’ stories of miraculous shifts when they asked for help from God, angels, or whomever they resonate with in a higher realm.
When you rely solely on the physical world to get you through tough times and big decisions on behalf of your animal, it limits the potential for less suffering for you both.
Many years ago, my cat MaiTai had gotten into a cupboard and then jumped through a small hole in the side wall of it and was trapped in a tiny area between two cupboards, and for whatever reason he was unable to jump back through the hole. He frantically tried for hours, and I tried everything I could think of to help him gain traction to get back out, all to no avail. We were both stressed out.
I paced around the house, talking out loud, and thinking, What will I do? Call the fire department? Finally, I remembered my go-to question when I’m feeling helpless in a situation with one of my animal companions—What would I tell my client to do in this situation?
Immediately I called upon God and the strength of Archangel Michael to help MaiTai get out of the walls inside of the cabinets, and within seconds he had easily jumped through the hole and walked over to me. Sometimes, we just need to get out of our own way so help may arrive.
You might also find that spirit speaks through a friend, family member, or practitioner during times of need. You will know when the guidance is coming from spirit, through the person, because it will resonate in your heart to be truth for you.
If you are praying or asking for help and guidance, always ask for the highest and best outcome to occur and try, as much as possible, to be unattached to any specific outcome. This keeps the situation string-free for God to navigate through the heart of the matter.
Believing in a higher power is up to you, of course, but if you do, you’ll find it’s a resource like no other. To trust and have faith that you are being universally supported will bring you relief and allow grace to be the center of your big decision.
When you rely solely on the physical world to
get you through tough times, it limits
the potential for less suffering for you both.
2. Surrender the Outcome
Let me be clear up front: surrendering the outcome doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t take action. It simply means to release what you think has to happen so what really needs to happen can reveal itself.
It’s normal for people to think they have the answers, dig their heels in, and try many different ways to achieve their desired outcome. It’s difficult when we’re so attached to our animals to not be invested in the outcome, but it’s worth the effort to shift your energy.
Once you release the need for the outcome to be a particular way, other options to help you with your big decision will appear, which could be even better than you imagined possible.
Try not to let fear fuel the choices you make in big decisions as it’s counterproductive to attempt to control the outcome. Make a conscious intention to pull back your energy from your companions and from a particular outcome for whatever the situation is, and an easier process will unfold for you both.
The companions that grace your life
are divinely orchestrated appointments
that you will not miss.
You’ll be surprised at the unique and creative ways that answers to your questions are trying to find you. In every situation where there is uncertainty in the choice you make and you have asked for guidance, help, or signs, be awake and aware of your surroundings and coincidences that could hold key answers to your questions.
There might be someone who calls you out of the blue who holds the nugget of truth you needed to hear. You might receive answers in your dreams or through symbolism in the world around you. Maybe you’ll notice a bumper sticker or sign along the road with a message.
Nature can be one of the clearest channels from which to receive symbolic messages to help you with your decision. There are many websites and books to assist in clarifying specific interpretations from nature and animals in the wild. I’m most drawn to the books by (the late) Ted Andrews, but follow your guidance as to what’s right for you.
Once I had awakened to receiving messages through nature, I noticed there were hidden treasures everywhere to help me make the best decisions. I quickly came to rely on this resource that the universe had easily provided on my behalf.
Your animal companion could also be the one giving you the messages. For instance, if you are on the fence about whether or not your animal would like assistance in their transition, one of the signs might be that no matter what form of medical assistance you give, the situation doesn’t get better or a new physical symptom shows up right after the other one has healed. When your animal companion is ready to go and you have integrated the gifts they have brought to you, their bodies will continue to manifest a means to release.
There have been very direct signs from my animals every time I’ve had to make that decision on their behalf. Sometimes they were very obvious signs, like with my cat Bailey. His quality of life had greatly deteriorated to the point that he hardly stood up much—yet I still questioned the decision to put him down. One evening I sat on the bed next to him and asked if he wanted me to help him transition.
Somehow he found strength—unlike any I’d seen in weeks—to get up and easily walk over to me and give me a big slurp on the cheek. Then he turned around and got back in his bed. Never again did I see that level of strength in him. In that moment, I knew he had given me permission to help him transition.
There are endless stories of animals giving their guardians obvious signs to help them make a decision on their behalf. Once they are able to release their fears, their human companion is able to observe the situation from a higher perspective. The animals that want to live every day until their bodies naturally release will be with people that want the same thing for them. Thus will every turn of events be divinely orchestrated.
There is divine order and timing present in the middle of every decision you make. Go within yourself first for answers to the questions that are plaguing you. Hold on to your decision-making power and make a choice that you know in your heart is right, and if it’s not clear, wait until it is. Everything will unfold just as it should.
©2016, 2018 by Tammy Billups. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Bear & Co.,
a division of Inner Traditions Intl. https://innertraditions.com
Soul Healing with Our Animal Companions: The Hidden Keys to a Deeper Animal-Human Connection
by Tammy Billups.
The animals we attract in our lives reflect us in many ways. Our connections with them run deeply, down to the soul level. Just like us, they are also on a journey to evolve their soul through their relationships and experiences, and each has deeply spiritual messages for us and intentions for our personal growth. In this book, Tammy Billups invites you to explore and deepen this profound relationship, showing how you can co-evolve along with your animal companions, experience unconditional love, and, ultimately, enact healing for both animal and caregiver.
About the Author
Tammy Billups is a Certified Interface Therapist, Author, Speaker, and pioneer on the emotional and energetic connection between animals and people. She founded the animal ministry at the Southeast’s largest Unity Spiritual Community in 2004 and currently facilitates its monthly Praying Paws Animal Service. She also serves on the editorial board of the Conscious Life Journal, pens a column called Animals as Guides, and donates weekly sessions to animal rescue centers. Tammy has had numerous appearances on TV, radio, and podcasts –including CNN’s The Daily Share, Primetime Live ABC, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also an ordained Inter-Faith Minister. For more information, visit www.TammyBillups.com