I was talking to someone the other day who was telling me about the fact that she seemed to attract birds and animals to her to the extent that her neighbours had noticed and were complaining about it, telling her it wasn’t ‘normal’. She also told me that she wouldn’t talk about this to anyone else as they would think it strange and might not approve either. There then followed a long conversation about how as a child she had preferred the company of animals to humans, had been happy to take herself off on her own across the fields and spend time outdoors but had been told she was strange and difficult by her family.
As she spoke I found myself wondering why it is that part of society considers this to be unusual or abnormal behaviour. When was it as a society we stopped being able to be on our own? When did our values change so much that being in crowds, indoors, being with other humans or even on computers, as opposed to spending time with the animal or plant kingdoms, became the more valued and accepted form of behaviour?
Now in my work conversations like this happen all the time and I sometimes struggle to see why the person speaking thinks it is a problem, which probably says volumes about me. I often find myself thinking ‘welcome to my world’.
I too spend a large portion of my time to all intensive purposes alone. When I am not with clients, students or family I am often for example; journeying, working with my guides, teachers or connections within the extensive web of life, or perhaps learning from the signs, omens and symbols the Universe is sharing with me. This time for me is part of who I am, where and how I learn, gain insight or understanding, it is not something I am ashamed of, or which I feel is unnatural. I am aware though of how others might find it so, but when so many of us are capable of doing so much of this I am at a loss as to how to explain why it is still seen this way.
I don’t of course, even as a therapist, go around sharing what I do and how I work with everyone I meet. I am careful about how much I share and how I share it but I think this is what most of us do with our lives anyway.
I don’t for example tell everyone I meet about how I stood in the carpark of the local supermarket chatting quite happily to a crow who clearly had a lot it wished to say to me. Nor when seeing a ‘specialist’ after I was in a car accident who asked me ‘do you hear voices’ did I answer honestly. Instead I inwardly laughed, said to myself ‘not in the way that you mean’ and out loud said ‘No’.
This is all of course self protection. It is doing whatever I need to do to be safe and to be able to function in the society in which I live. I am immensely lucky in that I have friends, family, students and clients with who, I can be open and honest. I undertake training in places where what I do is considered the ‘norm’ and join forums where what I do looks like nothing at all compared to what others are often doing.
But how sad it is that not everyone feels that they can be themselves without being judged by others, that they do not have safe spaces where they can be honest about themselves, how sad that as a society we still cannot accept or understand that this world is not all there is and that there is so much we do not see or understand, and how sad it is that not everyone can accept those who can see it is so.