Monday, August 19, 2013

Alpacas and Jungian Psychology

What do Jungian depth psychology and alpacas have in common?  One answer is ME!  I earned my Master's degree in Counseling with an emphasis in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and now I own an alpaca farm.  From a glancing look, you wouldn't think there would be much in common perhaps.  But, I have found I use my education considerably owning my farm.

The last couple of weeks have been rough ones but not out of the norm either when you own any kind of farm.  It comes with the territory losing animals, having sick ones and having open farm events happening simultaneously.  After I dealt with the first couple of animal issues, I had a couple of dreams.  Both are recurring dreams, or at least the theme of them are.  The first dream was with my mom who in real life passed away about 7 years ago.  I was her main caregiver for much of her later years.  It was such an intense time especially her last year or two of almost full time caregiving all her needs.  I miss my mom terribly but I don't miss the caregiving role I was in.  When I have a dream with my mom, it is almost always having me stopping what I'm doing and going back into caregiving mode to aid her.  Those dreams are typically premonition dreams because either later that day or within a day or two, I find myself having to be in a caregiving role to either animals or someone close that is ill.  When I had this particular dream a few days ago, I thought it was because I had already been in the caregiving role with a couple of sick animals.  I was hoping that was the case and not a premonition dream of me having to go back into that mode yet again.  I was pretty tired physically and emotionally from the last two rounds.  I went back to sleep and had a second recurring dream of witnessing a large plane crashing near me.  In this recurring dream, sometimes I'm in the plane and sometimes I'm a witness.  This time I was a witness to the crash.  I woke up again after having this second nightmare feeling not very good about the day ahead.

That evening after my two nightmares, I found Cosmos sitting oddly while I was feeding the gang.  He belongs to a client and is boarded at my farm.  I contacted his owner and we wound up having to take him to OSU the next day to have emergency surgery.  He is recovering nicely and will be heading home soon.  My dream was most likely a combination of what had happened earlier in the week and a premonition dream telling me I wasn't done caregiving yet.  The plane crash that I was witness to was telling me that I was more a witness to the main caregiving and decision making for Cosmos.  Since he wasn't my animal, I was there to support my friend and aid in his caregiving but the decisions were not mine to make.  If I had been in the plane while crashing, I would have been more involved in the actual caregiving role.  I was the one that first witnessed Comsos "crash," but after helping get him into capable caregiving hands, my role was virtually done other than sending him lots of prayers and energy from afar.  Even though I dread when I have those dreams, I also know to become even more vigilant and aware of my surroundings because I may very well be needed to step into action in a moments notice and to be ready.  I think it made me discover Cosmos faster having an issue and because of that, we got him help faster and gave him the best opportunity for a healing outcome.
Handsome Cosmos getting cared for and on the road to recovery (even sick has such a sweet smile!)

Dreams are one way that alpacas and Jungian Psychology have in common.  But I use depth work in dealing with alpacas on a daily basis too.  It has gotten to the point, I don't know I'm doing it.  Alpacas are such intuitive creatures.  Having that training and education as well as interest in depth work, has made me more aware and attuned to the alpacas.  It taught me to listen with a third ear and eye.  Whether I am picking up that they are sick quicker or while I'm training and socializing my alpacas, having that ability to listen beyond words and body language has allowed me to be better at doing things more effectively and efficiently when handling my animals needs.  And, I'm proud that I have some of the most social alpacas around.  My depth psychology background has definitely helped me deal with the ups and downs of having a farm too.  Being able to look at the challenges as a personal growth opportunity is a way of me dealing with those hard times.  However, let's hope no more caregiving and plane crash dreams for awhile.  

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