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Tides of Change

with Dawn Baumann Brunke

About six weeks before my old canine pal Barney died, he began a series of conversations with me that marked a turning point in our relationship. Although Barney and I previously had many profound talks, during which time I came to realize that animals are not only sentient but wise, humorous and talented beings with unique purposes for being upon this planet, these conversations—what I would come to think of as the Death Talks—were special. Nearly every morning in the days that followed, we would speak about a good many subjects: the transition from life to death, reincarnation, karmic illusions, and—one of Barney's favourite topics—the value and wonder of shapeshifting.

Beneath the surface, I sensed we were moving into a sacred-space of learning. I could feel it. There was a deeper quality to our exchange, a feeling of "this is it" in the words. I felt, perhaps, that this is why Barney and I had come together in this life, for me to hear these words, feel these feelings, open to these experiences.

It is true I am thinking of leaving the body behind, said Barney one morning, but there is still time left for us to finish our discussions. You are now briefly wondering why I waited until 'the last minute' to have these discussions, but another part of you also knows that this is the exquisite nature of timing and the unfolding of events in this dimension. If I had given you this information before, would you have been able to hear it? And, if you had, then why would I need to stay? This is not to say that I am here solely for you, but perhaps you get my drift about our relationship—much of our time together has led to this.

I wonder if this is often how it is when we find ourselves on the precipice of great change or great awakening. Like now, in our world today. Here we stand teetering on a very precarious edge—some of us welcoming and some of us fearing the inevitable tides of change.

And maybe we are asking ourselves, why now? Why have we let things—the environment, the economy, intolerance for others, and all the crazy wars—get to such an unstable state of affairs? Is this really the 'exquisite nature of timing and the unfolding of events in this dimension'? If we had been given information to prevent some of these events, would we have been able to hear it, to make use of it? Then again, if there was nothing left on earth to solve or shift or heal, would we still be here?

Sometimes when I get caught up in such questions, a sense of nervous quickening overtakes me. I wonder why I didn't do this, that and the other so that my plate could be clear, so that I could face the down and dirty 'real work' now at hand.

That is part of the problem right there; Barney told me more than once when I indulged in such thoughts. You think that there is a pile of stuff for you to deal with before you can get to the 'real work.' But the Real Work is always right here, right now. That is the shift in perspective that is needed. Once you do that, all falls into place.

As nearly always when my wise friend reminds me of something I know deep down but have momentarily forgotten, I sighed. In this case, I sighed so loudly that I sensed Barney smiling. Perhaps you allowed yourself to drift away from the centre only to discover how really close you are, he added wryly.

Well then, is this how it is? Is it possible that we are all really, truly, right where we need to be to hear the words we need to hear, feel the feelings we need to feel, say the things we need to say, and experience the situations we need to experience? In the grand scheme of things, this isn't too hard to imagine. And yet there is a tricky balance between the Big knowing of this perfection—knowing the presence of Spirit in All—and the small knowing (which sometimes appears as a forgetting) that here we are on earth still playing with our own self-made illusions, barely grasping the idea that maybe, just maybe, all aspects of ourselves are none other than masks of God.

How not to become lost in our own overwhelming barrage of prejudices, projections and self-limiting systems of belief? How do we see and move through all the little obstacles we ourselves place in our way? How do we, as a planet, learn to ride the great wave of global tides of change with elegance and awakening?

It doesn't matter what you are doing, Barney said to me when I was pondering such things. Always the opening exists to deepen. Allow yourself to experience all from the depth of your being. Every moment, every instance, is a point in which you are open to knowing—and being—the fullness of who and what you are.

As the tides of change flow all around us, and all around the Earth, many beings acknowledge the heartfelt sense of "this is it." The feeling need not be fear-laden. Rather, like my talks with Barney, we may experience this as a sacred-space of learning. Perhaps we set it up this way—and perhaps we will come to smile in understanding that we are all perfectly poised, exactly where and when and who we need to be.

The advice to open our hearts and minds as we deepen ourselves points to a timeless truth: that all is present for us to awaken to in each circumstance, in each and every moment. This is even true—or maybe especially true—during great tides of change. As Barney put it, Remember: The Real Work is always right here, right now, no matter what it seems.

Dawn Baumann Brunke is the author of Animal Voices, Awakening to Animal Voices and the upcoming Shapeshifting with our Animal Companions, due out in August 2008. Her books explore the deeper nature of our relationship with animals, nature, each other and ourselves. For more, see Dawn's website.

Be sure to read the reviews of her book "Awakening to Animal Voices" in our May 2005 Issue and her book "Animal Voices" January 2006 Issue.

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