Dogs and humans recently gathered in the Spring Grove area to share their thoughts, literally.
Animal communicator Jacqui LeBeau and her husband, Larry, hosted a two-day introductory animal communication workshop at their North Codorus Township home in May.
The workshop was led by Carol Gurney of the Gurney Institute in California, who has been communicating with animals for more than 20 years.
The LeBeaus' five dogs - golden retrievers Jasmine, Sunny and Cassidy; Maddie, a Great Pyrenees; and Bailey, a Newfoundland - helped out at the workshop.
Saturday's class began with attendees introducing themselves, since most of them had never met.
Gurney then explained the concept ofanimal communication and shared her experience with the group.
"The main factor of animal communication is the ability to listen, which means to become senstive, to use our intuition, to allow ourselves to really feel as that animal feels," Gurney said. "Children have this natural ability, but as our society is so intellectually oriented, this gift of communicating with animals is slowly shut down as we grown older."
Gurney doesn't consider herself to be psychic or special; she said anyone can communicate with animals.
"You've all done it, you just don't know you're doing it," she said.
When meeting some people for the first time, you feel like you've known them forever, Gurney said, and you're comfortable with them because that person has their heart open to you and is interested in knowing who you are. They're not there to judge you.
"They create a sense of safety for you. That's the heart-to-heart connection," she said. "And it's the same thing with animals. When we open up on a heart level with the animals, we are privy to hearing about their life."
Animal communication is a different language.
"It would be like learning French, Italian, Spanish. It's the same thing," Gurney said. "Their way of communicating is through thoughts, images, feelings and physical sensations."
Gurney warned students not to put their expectations too high after taking this introductory workshop.
"This would be like you're coming to class to learn Spanish. After two days, would you be able to communicate in Spanish fluently? No. Maybe you could order off a menu, maybe you could get a few things," she said. "It takes time, it takes practice in order to be able to communicate."
She said often people will say it feels like they're talking to themselves, like they're making things up that they think the animal would say. "But you have to get used to it, because that's how it feels."
The only way to know what you're getting is from the animal is to communicate with animals you don't know and ask detailed questions, she said.
If they tell you "I love playing with a ball," try to get the color of the ball, where they play with the ball, who throws the ball for them, etc., then check these descriptions with the animal's person.
"If the animal shows you that he loves playing in snow but you know that the animal lives in Florida, and their person says 'Oh, I can't believe
you got that because every holiday season we go to Aspen and our dog loves playing in the snow,' there's your validation," Gurney said.
She said the animal's thought becomes your thought for just a moment, which is why it might feel like you're talking to yourself or making it up.
She said humans process approximately 40,000 thoughts a day, so often when an animal tries to connect with us they get a "busy signal.
"The key to communicating sucessfully is the ability to quiet the mind, which can be a challenge because humans are so activity-oriented," Gurney said.
Sometimes meditation can help to show how to limit your thoughts, to become calm and open. Others find tai chi, yoga or a nature walk work better to help them relax.
"It's different for each individual. Try to do it on a daily
basis, so you have this place that you can go that's quiet, and you can get there quickly," Gurney said.
She said animals can share thoughts, images and feelings. People who are very comfortable with their feelings will often receive communication as feelings. Artists often receive images because that's a
comfortable mode of communication for them.
"You'll probaby start with your strong suit," Gurney said, "but it's possible to get it all eventually."
Gurney next led the group in a guided meditation to help them relax and open up to communication, after which the students paired off to do a sending-and-receiving exercise using the color pink.
Later, students tried communicating with Jasmine, one of the LeBeaus' golden retrievers, and Bailey, a Newfoundland.
On Sunday, Gurney began by asking the group if they had any questions from what they had learned the day before. She provided troubleshooting techniques for those having problems making a connection.
Then the students paired off and exchanged photos of their pets, to try their hands at long-distance communication, with some surprisingly accurate results for beginners.
Libby Lynch, when communicating with Kate McKelvie's pet, felt her back get hot even though she was sitting in the shade. McKelvie's pet has back problems. Jacqui LeBeau said Lynch appears to be an empath, because she gets physical sensations when communicating with animals, rather than just words or images.
Kyra Kugler told Michele Crumrine that her mule likes to rub his face and chest on wood. Crumrine said the mule has skin issues in those areas that cause him to itch.
Randy Grove told Diana Dykes that her bird is bored and wants to have his cage furniture rearranged. And Kyra Kugler said Dykes' dog would like to have steak with peanut butter for dinner!
Christine Aument got varied attitudes from the animals. When she asked if the animals would be willing to communicate with her, one said "yes," but another said "if you must."
Color exercise (with human partner)
EXERCISE YOUR TELEPATHIC MUSCLE by practicing with a human partner.
· Sit in comfortable chairs facing each other, with about a foot of space between you. Decide which of you will be the receiver and which will be the sender, center yourselves and begin.
· Close your eyes and put your feet flat on the floor. Imagine roots growing from a very old and wise tree that extend deeply into the ground. These roots will help keep you connected to the earth and well grounded throughout the exercise.
· Take a few deep breaths, knowing that with each breath you take you allow yourself to find that place within your heart where all your love lies. Take a moment or two and allow a most wondrous, loving, white light to emerge from your heart. Surround your partner with this light for support and encouragement. Remember that this exercise is done with a great deal of safety and joy.
· Quietly reassure yourself that you already have this telepathic ability and are willing to let your logical mind step aside in order for you to have this experience. Remind youself that this is not a test but simply an exercise you choose to experience. Allow yourself to be focused in your heart's center. As the sender, allow yourself to feel the color pink in your heart center. Be aware of how it feels to you, be aware of the tone and shade, and be aware of any images and thoughts that are there.
· As the receiver, allow the doors of your heart to open. As the sender, allow this color pink, its images, feelings, etc., to flow from your heart center to the heart center of your partner. As the receiver, allow yourself to feel this color pink. Be aware of the tone and shade and of any images or thoughts that are there, as well.
· When you feel complete, open your eyes, taking as much time as you need. There is no rush.
· Now it's time to compare notes with each other. As the receiver, tell your partner what you experienced in detail. As the sender, validate your partner wherever you can. Look for the similarities and try not to get too critical with yourself. You grow from these building blocks.
If you got one image or one feeling, or the shade of the color was correct but you were off on the other aspects, don't worry. Focus on what you did get and not what you didn't get. This is where you will need to be disciplined, patient and very loving with yourself to improve your skills.
· Exchange roles and begin again.
Source: Gurney Institute
Making a connection
TO COMMUNICATE with an animal, you should:
· Be with the animal in a peaceful place; invite him to get quiet with you.
· Relax, find your still point and ask the animal if the time is right.
· Go heart-to-heart with the animal; ask questions from the heart.
FOR LONG-DISTANCE COMMUNICATION you'll need the name and address of the animal's person and a photo of the animal or a good description, including gender, breed, size, body color, age, fur length and type, eye color, distinguishing marks.
Imagine a beam of light reaching out to the animal.
Once a connection is made, introduce yourself and ask the animal if he or she is willing to communicate with you. Afterwards, be sure to thank them.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF to the animal first. Remember to get details, such as color, shape, location.
· Are you willing to communicate with me?
· Show me what your favorite meal is.
· What are your favorite activities?
· Share with me your dislikes.
· Who is your best friend?
· Where is your favorite place within the household?
· Share with me what your relationship is like with each other animal in the household.
· Show me what your home looks like.
· I'd like to know how you feel physically.
· Share with me what your age is.
· What is one of your most memorable moments with your person?
· Is there a message you want me to tell your person?
How to practice
CREATE a comfortable place for yourself at home in which to communicate with animals.
· Turn the radio and TV off, or you might want to have some relaxing music playing.
· Work with animals you don't know at first to help build your confidence. Get permission from the animal's person, because you will need them to validate your results.
· Create a colorful notebook where all your communication gets noted, and put stars next to those items that were validated.
· Learn from the information you received that was incorrect. Go back to when you were with the animal and revisit how you got off track.
· When telling the person what you got from the animal, remember to pause in between items, allowing the person to give you feedback.
· Ask sub-questions when you get an answer that is too general, to get details.
WORKSHOP ATTENDEES included Randy Grove of York; Cheryl Kugler of Carlisle and her daughter, Kyra; Libby Lynch of York; Diana Whitehead of York; Kate McKelvie of Glen Rock; JoAnn Ford of Green Lane, Pa.; Cindy Huffman of Jarrettsville, Md.; Michele Crumrine of Spring Grove; Diana Dykes of Stewartstown; Christine Aument of Ocean Pines, Md.; Maria Stoner of Harrisburg; and Carolina Ford of Shepherdstown, W.Va.
On the second day of the workshop, Carol Gurney asked attendees if they had any questions.
JOANN FORD: "I can get snippets of information, but my heart seems to always close."
CAROL GURNEY: "Explore. Get excited about the connection, rather than have fear freeze you. Incorporate the word 'feel,' such as 'How do you feel about your favorite activity?' We've got to play these tricks so our minds can relax and allow us to be there."
DIANA WHITEHEAD: "I'm having trouble understanding . . . dogs don't speak English, right? But we speak to them in English, and I'm getting stuff back in words. How is that happening?"
GURNEY: "It's thought. For instance, how can you speak to a dog in German or another language? It doesn't come down to that level yet. It's still telepathic, so it's in a thought that's universal. It isn't English or French yet. You get a thought, a concept, and you look for words that will best describe the thought that was sent to you. There are some words that an animal will actually say, because that animal is so used to hearing that expression. When we talk and when we send a thought to an animal, our subconscious imprints a picture that follows that thought. It's done automatically.
CHRISTINE AUMENT: "Do animals ever get frustrated with us?"
GURNEY: "Their frustration is when you ask them questions and you keep doubting yourself; that's very frustrating for them. If you keep doubting everything they say, sometimes they'll decide, 'OK, I'm not going to talk, you don't believe what I say.' Ask them for help. Say 'I'm doubtful; did you just tell me that?'"
RANDY GROVE: "Can you want it so bad that you miss it?"
GURNEY: "Absolutely. If you're trying too hard, you're wound up and pushing. You need to relax and open up to allow it to come in."
IF YOU'RE DRAWING A BLANK, you can pretend that you are the animal, and answer the question as the animal. "It's used in human therapy, Gurney said. "It helps us get out of our own way."
OR PRETEND that you've just arrived at the animal's home. You're at the front door. When you go into the home, how would the animal greet you? Would he come right up to you, jump up and lick your face? Would he stay in the distance and eventually come up to you? After the greeting, does the animal stay with you, or does he go to the couch? Now ask the animal what he enjoys doing, and follow him. Let him show you what he enjoys doing.
WHEN YOU'RE FROZEN and your mind won't let you move, you can do quick-word association with yourself. It helps you to let go, and not judge yourself, because there are no wrong answers.
IF YOU FEEL BLOCKED and nothing is coming, just start describing what you see physically (from a photo or in person), and when you feel comfortable with that, you're able to go into the personality, and can ask questions.
About Carol Gurney
ALTHOUGH SOME MIGHT call her a pet psychic, Carol Gurney doesn't use the word "pet." She feels there's something condescending about the word, and prefers the phrase "animal friend."
She also doesn't use the word "psychic."
"It is animal communication. We are learning their language," Gurney said. "People ask, aren't you using your intuition? No. There are communicators that perhaps use their intuition, but intuition is very different from animal communication. When you are communicating with the animal, you are getting your information, they are talking to you. When you use your intuition, you sense this about the animal. It is not direct communication."
When Gurney took her first workshop, it wasn't working for her. She put it aside for two years, until she met her first horse, Tallanny.
"Being with my horse changed everything," Gurney said. "I was always a little hyper, but when I would sit with him I became so relaxed," Gurney said. "It was by being with him that I began to see how we can connect with animals. What he told me was, 'You think you talk with us the same way you do with people, but it's different. You want to communicate from your head, but it really comes from your heart. If you can open up your heart you'll be able to hear us more.' And that's what turned the corner for me."
Find out more
MORE INFORMATION can be found online at The Gurney Institute's website, www.gurneyinstitute.com; or Jacqui LeBeau's website at
jacquilebeau.com.You can also check out Carol Gurney's book, "The Language of Animals: 7 Steps to Communicating with Animals," and there are DVDs available on her website that contain meditation exercises to help you to relax and open up for communication.
INTRODUCTORY WEBINARS are available at gurneyinstitute.com.
A SECOND WORKSHOP is planned for May 4 and 5, 2013, at the LeBeaus' home near Spring Grove. Find out more at jacquilebeau.com.
YOGA JOURNAL offers mediation help www.yogajournal.com/practice/meditation.
FOR MORE, visit www.yorkblog.com/pets and inyork.com/community.