Animal Teachers Reveal Success Through Pleasure

What the anteater and otter show us about success?

It's been called the " id" by Freud, and hedonism by zealots. In truth, the animal self is the part of us that seeks pleasure. Labeling this limits our experience of it. Still for the sake of reference I'll describe this very free, intrinsically joyful aspect of being as "animal." Animal encapsulates it. The living world seeks out pleasure and avoids pain without fear of appearing lazy, foolish or greedy. The irony is that for many animals this creates productivity, dignity and unselfishness. By looking at their actions from a spiritual rather than biological viewpoint we have a tool to unhinge ourselves from our hang-ups.

You otter play

Almost all animals play and act silly when young. Otters continue this into old age, making him a fun furry dude to be around. They romp, wrestle, snow slide, chase each other and play catch-and-release with their dinner. Most of us, myself include, are not nearly so free spirited. For example, I haven't tobogganed since I was eleven and my romping is confined to a spirited jog. I could learn a lot from an otter. Most important: Play is good.

Play is good. We forget this in our rush to achieve and amass. In the otter's game of dinner lost-and-found he shows us that losing can be just as much fun as winning. This is contrary to ego but so is spirit. In the otter's dinner-game he loses lunch but finds freedom: He doesn't need to eat if he doesn't want to. Spiritual aspirants who fast for greater consciousness believe the same but have a lot less fun in the process. The otter has a better idea. He relinquishes without regret or strain.

Dances with spirit

Play is one of the few ways we can lose ourselves without trying. Caught in the moment we may realize a meditative type bliss. Dance can feel like play but for some it is meditation. The spontaneous spasms that characterize ecstatic dance allow us to express spirit with the body. When else can we do this? Compared to ecstatic dance our movements are rigid as a robot's arm. When did we become so reserved? Play and dance help us to become more spontaneous. For some this will be met with cheers. For others, and unfortunately, jeers. It takes courage to march to the beat of a different drum. Yet in practicing courage we develop it. Dancing our private dance in front of the marching crowd is a challenge.

Besides unknotting our muscles, ecstatic dance unties our mind. Though historically this practice has been thought to exist only among humans it seems that the otter, with his flipping and wriggling, would make a great ecstatic dancer. Unlike us he doesn't wait for the music to start to move in a musical fashion. His body is free and expressive. He chooses to move with the fluidity of waves rather than the rigidity of trees. We have the same choice. We don't have to jump in the water to enjoy this experience. Mind-body exercises like pilates, yoga and tai-chi cultivate this creative body motion.

Joyful errors

People make mistakes; animals evolve. We judge ourselves so harshly. Distinctions between right and are necessary in terms of moral issues but they have no meaning when it comes to trying new things. Yet when we make a mistake we are often the first to notice and hope to God no one else does. Nobody likes to feel humiliated. Most of us are concerned about looking foolish or feeling like we're on display to be laughed at. Interestingly, feeling humiliated and being humiliated are two separate matters.

I once watched a show called Pet Star, where an anteater was called to perform an exceptional feat: Climb up a ladder, eat from a bucket, and climb back down. His trainer/owner watched anxiously as the scaly critter ascended the metal stairs. There were a series of clunks on his journey as his tail patted the ladder and a louder clunk when he reached the bucket. He had tipped it over. A heap of berries and throngs of audience members bore witness to shame. But it wasn't the anteater that cringed- it was the owner. The blushing young man proceeded to stammer out excuses for the creature, which by this time had climbed down and was happily eating his dinner off the stage floor. Under the glaring stage lights that illuminated his owner's red-face and sweaty brow, no change could be found in the anteater. He was intent on claiming his berry-delicious reward. Whether or not anyone was impressed didn't matter.

That anteater didn't catch any awards that day. He did, however, capture my heart. I remember what that anteater taught me: There are many mistakes on our way to victory, and others may have not feel we have earned it. We can let this bother us, or like the anteater, we can dine on what we deserve.

Failure is relative

Though his efforts were obvious the anteater didn't perform as desired by others. The anteater dealt with this in a better way than most people. Unlike the anteater we try to interpret other's interpretation of us. This is agony for both inner peace and performance. When feeling like we've failed we interpret every blink as shock and mouth twitch as dismay. This creates the disappointment we fear. We can turn a stumble into slapstick if we have the confidence of Chaplin. Similarly, a misplaced streak on a canvas can create abstract perfection if we desire. Either way we must persist. What if the anteater was to stop striving when applause wasn't forthcoming? Motivated by the end result instead of appearances he continued. All he won was some berries, but then again that's all he wanted.

Getting what you want

What is your heart's desire? If it doesn't seem important to others you may be told, or may feel that your efforts are wasted. It's not. Nobody has the right to determine the value of your dreams. This is between you and the Universal Source. As natural beings our desires are natural, and as long as they don't harm anyone it is our divine right to aspire to them. Whether you want enlightenment, a BMW or the ideal vitamin regimen your work will be rewarded. This is providing that you keep trying. You may not get your prize in the way or at the time you first imagined, but it will come to you. Just remember to dance and play along the way. This will make the journey a lot lighter.

Galina Pembroke is an internationally published writer. In addition she is publisher and editor-in-chief of New View magazine online. New View offers unique, non-mainstream articles on personal and planetary enhancement. To aid this we have rapidly expanding sections on Green Living, Animal Rights and Self-Help. Check us out at http://www.nuvunow.ca

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Three Proven Ways To Leverage the Big Power of Small Changes

Successful people set ambitious goals. But the high standards and... Read More

Success - Its Never Too Late

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds, was over fifty when... Read More

Success: What Are You Afraid Of?

What are your fears? Fear of failure? Fear of success?What... Read More

Reach Your Goals - Temp Your Way To The Top

Temp your way to the top Want to take the... Read More

Don?t Stop Asking So Many Questions

A few weeks ago I took my boy on a... Read More

The #1 Secret of Success

Today I am going to tell you the #1 secret... Read More

Do You Want to Just Survive or Thrive? (Part 2)

"Fighting to pay the bills is hardly worth it? fight... Read More

The Seven Deadly Roadblocks to Success

When traveling down the road it is always good to... Read More

Consuming Passions Consuming Success

The other day I went shopping at the local consumer... Read More

Creating an Action Plan

So you've bought into the idea that you need to... Read More

17 Extraordinary Human Capacities

People have a tremendous capacity for outstanding achievement. There are... Read More

True Success In Wood And Water

Let's get right to the point, folks.We're all looking to... Read More

Introducing 4 Indispensable Strategies For Success

I would like to use this medium to introduce my... Read More

10 Keys to Designing A Personal Lifelong Learning Process

A Lifelong Learning Plan is a conscious, continuous engagement in... Read More

Success By Performing Without An Audience - Is Anyone Listening?

To achieve success it can be important to keep going... Read More

5 Tips to Make the Right Decisions in the Midst of Chaos

"In a moment of decision, the best thing you can... Read More

Signs Along the Road to Achievement

One of the first things most of us remember hearing... Read More

I Would Give Anything To ?

A couple days ago I was listening to a CD... Read More

Success: 11 Universal Laws to Get You There

The Law of Experience"Success comes from good judgement; good judgement... Read More

Listening - A Life Skill for Success!

When I decided to have my web site built, I... Read More

Success Doesnt Always Come Easy

On a raw, cold day in the European Alps, Lance... Read More

How to Make Success a Habit

Want to make success a habit in your life? If... Read More

What ARE the Secrets of the Millionaire Mind?

If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?Becoming a millionaire... Read More

Are You the Reason for Your Lack of Success?

Have you ever noticed when playing a video game, or... Read More

How Important is Your Lemonade Stand?

When my neighbor's child was about 8, he decided that... Read More

Decisions Can Change Your Life

To realize that you determine the outcome of your own... Read More

Nothing Comes Easy

I am constantly approached by people when I am speaking... Read More

Opening Your Unlimited Potential

It is high time you know the truth about yourselves.... Read More

Nitty-Gritty Reasons

(excerpted from the book Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness)Wouldn't... Read More

Gracefully Accepting Feedback a Key Employment Skill

With the long-term trend of protecting employees' individual self esteem... Read More

The One-Two Punch for Success: Authenticity and Alignment

Have you ever felt as if you are beating your... Read More

Lifetime Success Key: Get a Life...

I was talking about my business to a stranger the... Read More

A Century of Hope

What would one initially think about someone who dropped out... Read More