Identifying with the Dolphin

November 3, 2014 at 4:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“What I know for sure is that it’s only when you make the process your goal that your big dream will follow.” – Oprah

Over the weekend I had the chance to catch up with one of my oldest friends. It is always such a fun and connection filled time whenever we have the chance to get together. To me, she has always embodied energy, joy, wonder, openness, gratitude and presence, while navigating the many successes and challenges that life can bring. Many funny stories from over the years came flooding back through my mind after our conversation but above all it was those qualities that I have listed above that have had me thinking.

After the conversation with my friend I started reflecting on a powerful experience I had last year during the Stanford University Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) in Sydney. During the three days we took part in many compassion cultivation practices but one in particular provided a strong metaphor for a particular way of being. The facilitator prompted us to bring into our minds an animal that resonated with the guided meditation we were exploring. For me, the dolphin playfully jumped in and out of the waves as the facilitator spoke.

“What I know for sure is that you feel real JOY in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth.” – Oprah

All throughout my life I have experienced wonder and awe when witnessing dolphins at different times in the water at our local beach. As a child I can vividly remember experiences like body surfing and hoping it really was a dolphin and not a shark that shared the same wave. During the meditation at CCT I had the chance to really reflect on why the dolphin provided such a strong metaphor for me as a way of being in the world. This animal, like so many other natural world reminders, provided important connections for me to discover.

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” – Oprah

My connections on that day were numerous and varied. The dolphin epitomises for me the ‘strong back, soft front’ way of being. Within a vast and changing ocean, sharing the space and time with fearsome predators such as sharks, they remain true to their social and playful nature. Their ability to use the interconnectedness of the pod as a way to care for sick and injured dolphins, also provides protection and defence if necessary from their would be predators.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah

Anyone who has witnessed dolphins in the water would definitely remark about their playful nature. It seems that they are choosing to express themselves fully by embracing their natural propensity for curiosity, wonder and enthusiasm. This way of being guides the behaviours of the individuals and the pod, maybe having something to do with what most would describe as a happy and joyful demeanour.

“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.” – Oprah

Finally, I am in awe of the way dolphins use echolocation to navigate their environment. By tuning into and really listening to the echoes that are created around them, dolphins are able to sense which direction to go, what shares their space in the water, communicate effectively and avoid unnecessary encounters with predators.

“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.” – Oprah

What connections could you make with a particular animal as a way of being in our world? What qualities do you most admire in a family member or friend that enables them to effectively navigate the successes and challenges that life presents? How is joy expressed and experienced in your own life?


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