“I think to myself, what a wonderful world” – (George Weiss / Bob Thiele)
Recently I met a seal during one of my morning walks. Wonderful to see. The peace that the beast radiated, the flexibility with which it moved and at the same time the open view with which it perceived what happened on the beach. It was an encounter that filled me with a feeling of happiness all day long.
Back home I was reminded of a book I received years ago from a close friend and fellow coach, “Spirit of the Wild” by photographer Steve Bloom (1953). This period of quaratine gives ample opportunity to browse old known books in peace. It is a beautiful book in which Bloom proclaims that we can learn a lot from the animal world.
Among all the breathtaking photos of animals are statements by famous and wise people about the value of our nature. Mark Twain is always good for a smile: “it is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.” Charles Lindbergh puts his own passion for flying in perspective: “I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.” I Agree with him, now that the sudden decrease in air traffic has immediately made the sky so much brighter.
Gerald Durrell’s words also touch me: “The world is as delicate and as complicated as a spider’s web. If you touch one thread you send shudders running through all the others threads. We are not just touching the web, we are tearing great holes in it.” How true is this? If there is anything that we are faced with today, it is that everything is connected. Measures and guidelines to minimize physical contact lead to major consequences worldwide in all kinds of social areas, the consequences of which we cannot yet predict.
I get touched when Bloom refers to Eva Cassidy who once again performed “What a Wonderful World” in 1996 when she was already terminal. A song which is nterpreted by many, but rarely as vulnerable and intense.
The Lesson from the Seal
Bloom’s message that we can learn from animals brings me to a completely different book. “How to find your Animal Spirit” by David Carson. Carson is a descendant of the Choctaw Indians and has spent years researching the tradition of shamans. According to Carson, the Seal is one of the animals that represent inner wisdom. These are the animals that can bring us new insights and new realizations.
Water, the seal’s domain, teaches us that our personal reality is always changing. The Seal invites us to move flexibly and agile with the unmistakable changes, as it does with the rhythm and flow of the sea. How appropriate is that! Especially during a time when everything is suddenly so different and we have no idea what these developments are leading to, except that it no longer becomes the way it was.
I will keep the Seal in mind for a while. Accept what is and try to move with what is coming. As good and as bad as it will go.
You can find the performance of Eva Cassidy on YouTube.