In working with our symbols—and they have to be OUR symbols! No one can give us our symbols. We are seized, gripped by them. And, in working with them, we have to get the right side of our brains into the action. The logical, rational, intellectual left side needs all the help it can get. The problem is the logical, rational, intellectual left side of our brain thinks it is all it needs and believes it is King of the World. The left side of our brain can't begin to answer the important questions on its own. We have to form a sacred partnership with the other side. Here is one way to do that:
If you were an animal, what particular animal would you be? What is the first animal that comes to mind? Bring that animal clearly into focus in your mind’s eye. For the remainder of this exercise, allow yourself to become the animal. The following questions are directed to you as the animal.
1. What kind of animal are you?
2. What is your name (the first name that comes to mind)?
3. What do you like best about being this animal?
4. What do you enjoy doing most as this animal?
5. Where do you like to spend your time?
6. What are your ambitions—what do you want for yourself?
7. What are your hopes and dreams about?
8. What are your greatest fears or concerns?
9. Upon what does your happiness depend?
10. What do you need most as this animal?
11. Where do you go to be nurtured and strengthened?
12. What motto do you live by?
13. What burdens do you carry?
14. What gift is yours to give the world?
15. What do you think of the other animals?
16. What do the other animals think of you?
17. What would you like to tell the other animals?
18. What do you think the other animals would like to tell you?
19. What strengths do you have as an animal that you could use in your life as a human being?
20. What message do you have for your human side?
As this exercise comes to a close, become yourself again and thank your animal for its presence and its place in your life. Your animal has a gift to offer you. Receive the gift from your animal, and present your animal with a gift in return. Promise your animal, if you mean to keep the promise, that you will invite her or him to visit you again in the near future. Say goodbye for now and return to this place of apparent, normal reality. What did your animal give you? What did you give your animal? Spend some time this week considering the gifts and what meaning they might have for you.