I'm now trading prompts with my local friend sandracaprice as well. They are new to LJ so hopefully this will help them grow into this space a bit! This first prompt they created:
Have you ever had a spiritual connection with an animal (domesticated or wild)? If yes, explain the circumstances and how the experience changed you.
Yes. With many to various extents, but more than most with my first betta fish, Hyacinthe, and with my current cat companion, Kanika. I had Hyacinthe for about 2 years, and during those years I started having dreams about fish. In some I was rescuing fish from shallow, gasping bits of water and in others, I was walking into rooms filled with water to share space with fish. I feel like Hyacinthe was a dream-traveler with me. Before I knew Hyacinthe I might not have guessed that a tiny fish could have such personality, but when I got to know Hya, I knew that creatures don't need a large brain to have their own personality. Fish became a huge part of my dreamworld due to Hyacinthe mostly.
Kanika has been my companion for 12 years now (13 in January). This cat is the wildest 'domesticated' cat I've ever met. I got Kanika when they were just a few weeks old and when we met, this super-active kitten let me pick them up and hold them, and lay on their back in my hands for a good 10 seconds making eye contact with me -- that was when I knew this was my cat. Such a trusting moment for such a suspicious little being!
Shortly before Kanika came to live with me, I started going through treatment for childhood sexual abuse, and uncovering that was traumatic. As I progressed I got worse before I got better: I became agoraphobic and paranoid about strangers, and Kanika being such an empathetic creature was terrified with me. Kanika still responds to a loud knock at the door with a jump-and-run response whenever it startles me, but now I can just say "it's okay, 'Nika" and make eye contact and they will calm down. When they are anxious I can almost always calm them by making eye contact and radiating calm at them, with or without soothing words.
Kanika has a very powerful spiritual/energetic presence, which has become profoundly clear to several people who were interacting with Kanika in a moment of full awareness. I consider Kanika to be my familiar, and I think they consider me their witch (whatever the cat equivalent of that is). They will check on me when I don't feel good and will tell me when it is time to go to sleep (though I don't often listen). Whenever I meditate/chant they want to be in my lap (which they otherwise don't ever want to be, as they don't like being surrounded) and they will participate in any ritual that I do if they're in the house when I do it. If I am feeling bad they will lay on me and/or knead me, much more than they do when I'm fine.
They are particular about what energy they like to be near -- they will only lay on me if they can lay on my sacral energy center on my back, or my willpower energy center on my front, and if I am on my side they will drape across me with their front paws so that their chest is aligned with the energy center they like rather than sitting on my side. In the past few years, their favorite spot has been to lie just above my head in my crown energy center. They appear in my dreams pretty regularly, especially when they sleep in my crown.
They are very sensitive to energy and I have learned that when Kanika says no, I should listen. Kanika is a better judge of who a person is at that moment, including what they are carrying, than I could ever hope to be. I tend to focus on intentions and possibilities sometimes to the exclusion of actions and realities and that gets me in trouble a lot. They will also bounce back my own energy so they can be snappish because I'm anxious or stressed, which helps me realize that my energy is being drained and then I can take action about it.
I don't know how I have been changed due to these connections. I think I have learned that all animals have feelings, but I learned that as much through reading as through my interactions. Kanika has been my companion for a third of my life! They've been around since I was with my first lover. Having Kanika has changed the course of my life because if I didn't have Kanika, I would probably have moved in with Topaz or into some shared hippie house by now, so in a way Kanika helps enforce my need for a truly solitary place where I can cocoon myself in my own beingness. Also for good or ill, they make it really important that people who direct their anxiety outward and people who are disrespectful of animals' boundaries not come to my house. I appreciate my furry little housemate for being a fierce, powerful guardian. I feel honored to be respected and defended by such a creature.