I am currently taking Earthstar18's Inner Animal Magic course for the second time. The first time I took the course, I spent a lot of time learning the information and significance of my spirit animals and creating my workbooks while this go-around, I have been able to go a little deeper into working with them. I now understand why they say: once you are done the course, you should work month by month with your animals again.

At my Foot Chakras, I have two animal guides, Dolphino and Delphina. (They're dolphins...if the names did not give that away!) The first time I took the course, I did not realize I had two dolphins, but a lot of what I was working on was the balance of the masculine and feminine and I often felt more than one dolphin around me, but I thought maybe that was the pod, and not a second guide. The Foot Chakras are about grounding as well as moving you forward and I have a male and female dolphin because it's important to be in balance with my masculine and feminine qualities in order to move forward. This awareness did not come in clearly the first time I took the course so it's just the perfect example of how working with your spirit animals is an ongoing practice, something that evolves, just as you do.

Dolphins signify joy; in addition to moving forward in balance with my masculine, "type A", go-go-go tendencies and my goddess, feminine, creative energies, I must feel JOY to move forward (both are major lessons from Dolphino and Delphina). What you learn through doing this work is that your animals come to you because they can show you what you a) already possess and b) what qualities they possess, that they're going to share with you to make you whole. These qualities in part b) already exist within you, the animals are there to help you reawaken what may have been sleeping a little too long for your highest good :) I mention this aspect of the program as it relates to joy because this is one of my biggest lessons: if you are happy and joyful, your light will shine so bright that you will be far more successful than if you work yourself 90 hours a week but you are unhappy. On some level, those around you, whether it be your family, friends, lover, clients, and so on, know when you are authentically happy and it's contagious and they will want to be around you or be doing whatever you are doing. Happiness is good for business. If you are without joy, you will be stuck... you have got to be happy to evolve.

For so many years of my life, I believed that you worked very hard so that after you were done working, you could breathe a deep sigh of relief because you could then enjoy the fruits of your labor but what I realize now is that if you are living a work-life you love, the fruit is already there...and there's more of it, more than Miss Chiquita Banana would be able to fit on that hat of hers! My dolphins helped me with this realization.

You can breathe easy WHILE you're working and this does not mean that the challenges are not there, that there is no difficulty, but if you are in a place of *joy* and *balance* you can see the opportunity in the difficulty because you're not spending all of your time being miserable and reacting to things "not going your way."

Speaking of "breathing easy", brings me to the next lesson from my dolphins, which is to BREATHE. Dolphins live in water but they breathe air just like we do so they need to remember to come up for air and breathe on a rhythm. I think anyone who has ever been in an exercise class where the teacher reminds you to breathe during the most challenging position of the class and you realize you may have been  holding your breath for the past minute and a half, that we do have a tendency to forget to breathe literally and figuratively when things get tough. While I am working with the dolphins, they give me a simple reminder that can go a long way in everyday life, as well as during tough workouts :)

So when I say, "working with my dolphins", what does this mean? I am not at the Baltimore Aquarium in the tanks with the nearest dolphins to me and I haven't traveled out of Baltimore to see any others this month so what I mean is...

I look at, almost each day, a little list of what the Foot Chakras represents: achieving goals, connection to earth and nature, opening up to new opportunities, recognizing your courage and strength. Then, I look at a list of what the dolphin represents: the playful genius, empathy, communication, creating a new rhythm, letting go to fill with joy, taking time out for play, love, sexuality. Then I cross compare and ask myself WHY do I have these animals with these traits and significance at *this* chakra?

For the rest of this entry I will give specific examples of breakthroughs and activities from my personal experience working with my spirit animals at my Foot Chakras. Do keep in mind that everyone's experience and interpretation of the work is different.

One of the most impactful instances for me when going through this program the first time was how my overall energy would shift as I moved through the chakras/different animals. For instance, when I was on my Root Chakra (which is a sea turtle which you will read about in my next entry), I actually felt paced, slow moving and grounded. When working with my dolphins, my energy was more fluttery, airy, and playful. You can see how your dreams vary as well as your overall energy. When I worked with my dolphins, I had nightmares or dreamed of things I feared/that were holding me back, while when I was on my sea turtle, this was not the case and you can actually feel the shift as you move to the next chakra or part of the course!

When I recognized the flighty nature of my energy while I worked on the Foot Chakras, I was a little concerned because the Foot Chakras are about being in balance, connected to earth, achieving goals, all of these things I had believed required being focused, not flighty, so I was feeling a little doomed...

Part of the workshop is meditating with your animal three times a week which means inviting and invoking them into your meditation. When I first took the course, I didn't have a strong meditation practice so just meditating three times a week was a huge goal for me and then I had this flighty playful energy which seemed to be very counter productive to meditation! One of the first meditations I did with the dolphins, I had this very clear image of the dolphins swimming downward, toward my feet/the bottom of the ocean like a torpedo and this was an awesome visual for me to experience because it was their way of showing me how their fun, flighty energy can ground me and swim me down when I am feeling scattered. I often use this visualization when I need to "get it together" :) The fact that I have water animals at my two grounding chakras, the Foot and Root, is unique so that is another reflection to make, why do I ground with water as opposed to a land-dwelling animal?

This reflection about why my dolphin and sea turtle are related to my Foot and Root Chakras was an important one for me because these chakras are about moving you forward but also about your purpose. Therefore, having these animals was a major validation of what has been in my heart for a long time which is that my *purpose* is to work and dedicate my life to protecting these marine animals.

In addition to meditations, dream reflection, and learning facts about your animals in nature and in the spirit realm, there are a lot of other activities for you to choose from to get in touch with your animal and that allow you to connect with them. It's nice to have options because everyone is different in what they like. Activities I had some fun with were: going to the pool at my gym and swimming laps, envisioning the dolphins on either side of me in the other lanes I was able to connect to water/their habitat. I also watched different movies with dolphins in them. I chose an activity I already enjoy, watercolor painting, and created a painting with a woman, the sun, and a dolphin. This most recent time I worked with my dolphins I felt inspired to read different volumes of the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) newsletter to connect to what is going on with their habitat right now. Working with your animal could be as simple as putting a photo of them up on your bathroom mirror so you saw and honored them every day, even if you don't quite understand what they're doing for you yet, in time you will.

At this point, many of you may be wondering, "why the names Dolphino and Delphina?" Well, the first time I took the course, I was going through week by week, chakra by chakra, with Danny. Danny and I are both dedicated students who can also have the tendency to be competitive and when he was going into meditation with his animals, they were giving him their names! I was both jealous and competitive, wondering why my dolphins were not giving me their names? It was driving me crazy! I mention this to remind everyone that your experience is going to be different than your classmates, so you might as well throw your competitive edge out the window in the beginning and save yourself the grief. Later, when I was less fixated on getting my animals names, I asked and got "Dolphino". I had to laugh because Danny's animals had these beautiful, eloquent, and obviously significant names while mine were quite goofy, like me. I loved Dolphino's name and thought it was cute and fun (wait until you hear my sea turtle's name...) Later, when my female dolphin made herself obvious to me, I got her name which was Delphina. I recognized her name and looked it up on one of my most favorite and reputable sources: urbandictionary.com. I learned that Delphina was the daughter of Apollo and Daphne and was the goddess ruler of the sun. She signifies light, illuminating your surroundings, eloquence, beauty, being fine in every aspect, emotionally fine, being from the most precious of things, captivating eyes, long nose, small waist, tight booty, the list goes on. You can all image how pleased I was with this description; I was excited to have Delphina "working it" on my team.  Sometimes, however, you may see that your animal... or their name signifies something that makes your stomach tighten and your face sour. This is a sign that that (whatever it is) is probably one of the biggest lessons you have to learn from your animal because you are clearly resisting it!

I had a bit of resistance to one of the lessons of my Foot Chakras this past time working with Dolphino and Delphina. The Foot Chakras are about connecting to nature and Mother Earth and a lot of what nature and the earth are about is the cycle of life. Right as I started working with the dolphins, I lost a critter so special to me, Addison Whitworth, the Maltese. For the past five years, I have had a dog walking company and for the past four and a half years Addison had been part of my everyday routine. In addition to our daily midday walks, I had spent extensive time house sitting him, to the point where his owner Kristen and I have become the best of friends and I have my own room in their home. Addison and my dog Sedge, were an odd couple, Sedge being the 75+ pound female and Addison being the 15 pound male. Sedge bonded with Addison like she had with no other dog and we were all in a wonderful, loving routine. Kristen and I found out one morning, suddenly, that Addison had cancer throughout his blood with masses in his lungs and stomach and the specialist told us he only had a few days with us and that he could possibly even pass that night when we brought him home because he had blood in his lungs. We felt like the world was crashing in around us and my heart felt so raw and broken. I wrote a journal to my dolphins asking why, if they signify joy, could they be with me during a time that seemed so void of that emotion. From the outside, it may seem obvious that they come with joy at a time when I need it the most, but I didn't feel like that was my message because it just did not feel "right" to feel any joy when I was saying goodbye to my little buddy who I loved so whole-heartedly. I was in full-on resisting mode. As I wrote in my journal, things became more clear to me.  My dolphins were in fact there to remind me of joy, of all of the precious, funny moments I had with Addison: giving him a bath in the sink, taking him on his first hike, watching him resist getting out from under the covers in the morning, seeing him do a little dance when I got his leash out for a walk. The way that I was able to see these joys, however, was after I got clear with the bigger lesson for me that day from my dolphins, which was the cycle of life, death and rebirth. In grief, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture of life and death but my dolphins helped me remember that every life here on Earth is impermanent and Addison had fulfilled and completed his purpose here, HUGELY (even if it was only to bring me happiness and love and comfort). When I asked my dolphins later for more guidance through my grieving period, their lessons of rhythm surfaced. Dolphins signify creating a rhythm and I was about to transition to a new period of life, moving out of state away from Addison, and Kristen was about to move into a new home she had just built. It was as if Addison was helping us get started with our new chapters and new rhythms. As we held his little body as he left us, he was so peaceful and reminded me that he's okay now, it's okay to LET GO.

I will share one more reflection from working with Dolphino and Delphina before I leave you to ponder what my sea turtle's name is :) Dolphins exhale out of a blow hole. Anyone who has seen this action in nature or on film, knows that it can be a powerful release. The dolphin, as a spirit animal reminds you to release or pop the cork on tensions and emotions that no longer serve you. One feeling that I was trying to have a POP with was fear and so I journaled to my dolphins about fear in what I titled as, "The POP Journal". Through journaling I was able to release, or pop, the cycle of fear that had become a pattern for me and then the dolphins could also help me to create a new rhythm, breathe to move forward. This is just another example of applying an animal's traits to your situation and opening your eyes to why there are here for you at your specific chakra, it's all very synchronistic!

I hope my sharing has given you a better understanding of this program, please feel welcome to write me if you have any specific questions or want more details on a certain part of my experience.

love, b7