I’m going to ask you a question.
Don’t think about it. Don’t research it. Simply notice the first answer that flashes through your mind.
What animal are you?
Tune into your body, your animal self. Feel into your toes and see if you can sense the beating of your heart.
Now ask your body, your physical self, which animal it’s most like.
No changing the answer! This is your body’s truth.
And this is mine.
Hold on! Before you scamper to the comments to write how I should love my body, before you diagnose me as having a self-esteem issue, let me tell you a story.
I’m lucky to be friends with my acupuncturist. I don’t know which came first, the friendship or the acupuncture, but at this point they’re completely entwined.
So I’m lying on the table, there’s a lavender pillow on my eyes, and the needles are doing their thing. We’re talking quietly and I’m bemoaning my constant need for tune-ups. I mutter my old riff: I wanted to be a sturdy Volvo, but instead I’m a Fiat. Constantly in the shop. Fix it again, Tony!
My friend replies, I’ve been thinking about my body lately. My animal-self. I’ve spent a lot of time working on loving my self, on self-image. But it’s all in my mind, it’s mental exercises. So I’ve been working on feeling my body, my animal self, and asking it what it needs.
We continue talking. Exploring being grateful to our kidneys, our liver. Acknowledging how much energy our bodies use in our work, holding space for people to heal.
And every time she says “my body, my animal self,” I think elephant.
Here’s the thing: it’s hard to hate an elephant.
It’s hard to be angry at an elephant for being, well, an elephant.
My choice of elephant was not my brain insulting my body, it was my body speaking its truth. And in researching it a bit it’s spot-on right down to the powerful sense of small to compensate for poor eyesight and bad peripheral vision (I have a partially paralyzed eye that doesn’t move outward so, like the elephant, I have to turn my whole head to see to the side).
Acknowledging my elephant self is actually comforting; it makes it easier for me to love me. Because an elephant simply is an elephant. It doesn’t need to be anything else.
And I love elephants for what they are. It never occurs to me to think of what they aren’t.
So what are you?
Not what animal do you like or what’s your totem. I want to know, when you reach down into your skin, what animal resonates there.
Share with me. And tell me how it feels to acknowledge your inner elephant… or jaguar… or mouse… or cricket. Tell me how it feels to live in your skin and love it for what it is.