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Have you found your unique gift?

I received a touching comment from a reader named Paul and I'd like to respond to a question he asked. Here’s the question:

“Do you think animals and young children can sense goodness in you? Almost everywhere I go animals gravitate toward me and babies smile at me and make eye contact like they know me. I don't really understand it, and often think it's because I look like I'm not a threat to animals or I'm funny looking to children. My wife says it's because I'm a kindred spirit and they recognize it in me. The way I was brought up taught me otherwise. I'm not special, and no matter what I do it will never be good enough.”

I absolutely think that animals and young children can sense goodness in us. Putting it another way, they sense the love of our own presence, which is already "good enough" and then some. They sense your true nature and are drawn to it.

A special affinity with other forms of life

Mind you, I also think some people (and you are surely one of these people) have a special gift when it comes to creatures. For whatever reason, they share a special affinity with life forms different than our own.

For example, if there is a dog in a room, and if my wife, JoAnn, sits down in that room, I guarantee the dog will want to come over and sit down by my wife's feet. I've seen it happen so many times. After coming over and sitting down in this manner the dog (or dogs) simply remain there as if glued in place, staring blissfully at whatever they are staring at.

JoAnn doesn't do anything to encourage this sort of canine behavior. I think she'd be quite happy if dogs ignored her. But they don't ignore her – just as they don't ignore you, apparently. They feel your beautiful presence and it has a strong magnetic pull on them.

All you have to do is concede that your wife is absolutely right. Animals gravitate toward you and babies smile at you because they sense a kindred spirit. A spirit that is not overly distracted by busy human goals and preoccupations, perhaps, but as I say, appreciates the oneness we share with all life.

I have some good news for you

I’m sorry that your upbringing instilled the notion that you are not all that remarkable and nothing you do will ever be good enough. Many of us have been tarred by that brush. But I have some good news for you.

Nothing that has happened to you so far in your life – the conditioning imposed upon you by your parents, for example, or by society, or anything else – has hurt the truth of you in any way.

You came into this world with a unique gift to give and this gift, whatever it is, is unhurt and unharmed by any of the adventures of your life to this point.

Some good advice from Dr. Phil

All you have to do is let that beautiful gift shine through you with new focus and in greater abundance. Dr. Phil made a good point in an article my wife was reading yesterday, “There has to be something in your life that makes you want to hop out of bed and kick butt. It can be your job, spiritual life, family, sports – anything that invigorates you.”

What brings you joy? Look deep. The answer is there. Your own wisdom already knows.

Could it be animals, for instance, your love for animals, that gives you joy and purpose? Whatever it is, listen to your heart, and your gut, and trust. Trust yourself. Trust your own unconquerable spirit. You’ll find your way. Thank you again for your comment and I send you a ton of blessings and love.

PS  As always, any comments on the above much appreciated. Your comments mean a lot to me and others. Thank you so much.

Picture credit: houseofduke



{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmelo September 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Hello again Chris!

What a great post. And I’ve heard this question many, many times and yet your answer is so eloquent and in my experience right on target. Some people just haven’t lost that connection we have to Nature and her critters.

Like you say, life’s busy-ness hasn’t taken over their lives. And I love your admonition to seize that spirit, love, joy, peace, interest, or whatever fuels your cells and moves you and put some emphasis on that.

This journey is whatever we make of it which is an exciting thing to ponder! It also scares some people. Again … choice! Gosh, I didn’t expect to say nearly this much. Hey, maybe Paul has much more influence than he thinks – it’s not “just” animals!

You take care Chris … you too, Paul.
Carmelo recently posted..Changing the World


Christopher Foster September 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

Beautiful words Carmelo. Thanks.It’s always a deep pleasure to hear from you. I’m happy to be sharing the journey with you and wish you every success.


sheila September 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Good day Christopher
Well I love this post… I’ve worked with little kidlets all my adult life , been around some kind of four legged creature all my life…
Simply put, they do not hold the power of judgement as they still embody innocence…a quality many should try to regain ….
Hope you are having a delightful day
cheers for now


Christopher Foster September 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

Good for you Sheila. Thanks for your words about innocence. I’ve got to tell you, my day is even better after reading your comment. Love to you.


johanna September 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Hello Christopher

My husband was in depression for 40 years – then we moved to China, and he couldn’t find ‘depression-medicine’ anywhere. He didn’t have a choice, decided to go on without it – a hectic time, but miraculously he got through it, and ‘woke up’ as ‘Rip v Winkle’ .

Throughout all his years of depression, I believe he retained his uniqueness inside somewhere, some innocence, some pureness of heart. It just got undermined with work-pressure, stress, worldly-expectations etc. As soon as he was free of the oppression of drugs, and free of expectations that held him back, he began cycling, investigating the streets of Zhang Zhou in China.

Everywhere people, specially children, greet him with “ye-ye!” (Meaning: ” Oupa!” or in English, Grand dad!), as if he’s a well-known, beloved inhabitant!
He is 70 years old now, enjoying himself without the Western expectations and pressure of goals. He can be just himself.

We have been five years in China now. He’s taking and fetching the grandkids to and from school every day, and the happiness of kindred spirits around him never ceases. Kids, animals, older people, workers in the streets – they are unconditionally happy with him!

I think you are right. Paul also has this unique kindred spirit – they “feel his beautiful presence and it has a strong magnetic pull on them.” Enjoy it Paul, be proud of it.


Christopher Foster September 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

I’m so touched with your remarkable story Johanna. It’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Incidentally, it touches a deep chord in me because while my experience wasn’t as extreme as your husband’s I too was in depression a few years back and “awoke” from it just as your husband did, without medications.

All honor to the extraordinary resilience of life and the courage of our own unconquerable spirit. Please say “Hi” to your husband. I rejoice with you in the opportunity we all have to find joy and purpose in the simplest of circumstances. Thank you also for your kind words to Paul. We’re all in this together aren’t we. Take care Johanna.


journeyintopoetry September 14, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hi Christopher,

This is a lovely post and I felt compelled to share back immediately for this reason. I am sitting here on the sofa with one cat at the side of me in “my place” so obviously I haven’t moved her but am sitting in the place next to her. I am using my IPad and to make it easier to type it is supposed to be balanced on a cushion which is on my knee. But the other cat has sneaked up and nudged her way into a very comfortable position rather like that of “Queen of the Castle”! And I find myself squashed into a corner trying to type on the “wrong” side of the sofa! Oh, and of course my dog is jostling for attention on the floor though – he is a rather large Golden Retriever!

I am currently in therapy with an MS neuro psychologist who is helping me come to terms and deal with the many psychological issues surrounding this condition. We are working through a model based on three circles we are surrounded by as humans, the threat circle, the incentive one and the safe, warm one. To describe the safe one my therapist suggested I picture that particular look on a dog’s face as it is curled cosily by a fire and very sleepily, looks up at you with one eye open and lets you know everything is ok. I knew exactly what she meant.

Just before I was diagnosed I kept losing my balance and falling on walks out with my dog and he would sit and lick my wounds while I gathered myself together and pulled myself up, and if I have a bad day he knows and comes for extra cuddles to make me feel better.

I feel totally at peace around animals and after a life long struggle with feelings of inferiority I am now reaching a point where I know we are all good enough and have lots to offer.

I hope I haven’t rambled too much!! 🙂

Best Wishes

journeyintopoetry recently posted..New Arrival!! – Haiku (I think!)


Christopher Foster September 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

Bless you and thank you Christine. Your words are so touching and evocative. You made your creatures come alive, and happy I am for the part they are playing in your life. Say hello to them for me, won’t you, please?

I was also most interested in the healing process with your MS specialist that you describe. It sounds very creative and I do hope it helps bring increased comfort and peace into your experience.

It’s a privilege to know you and share this life journey with you Christine. You have such a strong, yet gentle and compassionate spirit. My goodness, I only wish you had “rambled” some more! I send greetings and love to you. If you have a moment, what are the names of your creatures?


Journeyintopoeyry September 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

I have lots of moments Christopher! I never used to before the MS, I was always too “busy”. Nowadays I still see myself as busy but the busyness is so different and much more fulfilling despite this condition which keeps taking a little bit more away from me as time goes by.

Fortunately I have found the strength to open some new doors for myself, one of which is my poetry which I never in a million years thought I would be capable of. I think we have to push them open for ourselves, it doesn’t just happen without effort.

My dog, a Golden Retriever (although he is cream coloured!) is called Jack. And my two cheeky cats are called Poppy and Phoebe. They are all my very best friends.



Trefor September 14, 2012 at 6:33 am

Hi Chris

Animals of all kinds have that all knowing and can see through our stuff to the heart of all matter and respond in kind for those of us whose hearts are open despite our upbringing and that which society imposes on us.

At present I have an extra dog on board while a friend is away and she has the most amazing presence and look that gets to me big time, and that’s in addition to my regular hound and cat who have their uniqueness also. Those who claim animals have no feelings,spirit/soul I feel sorry for, and those folks who don’t like our four legged friends are missing out and missing something within them.

Paul is blessed with a great gift and as for his past, that cannot diminish what he has. I read this yesterday and I share today for all of us like Paul who got the wrong information in our upbringing. Trust that just as you are, you are more than enough.

Woof! Woof! Meeeeooow and much Love and Peace to you and your readers.


Christopher Foster September 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

Good for you Trefor. I love your buoyant spirit and thank you for your spirited words, including your spirited farewell. Yes, we did get wrong information in our early years but it’s never too late to change our mind and as you say, know that just as we are we are more than enough.

Love and peace to you too, woof woof, woof woof.


Paul September 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thank you Carmelo, Sheila, Johanna, Journeyintopoetry, Trefor, and of course Chris for writing. You all have helped me realize I am not alone and it has helped me begin to heal.

Believe it or not, when I wrote the post Chris quoted, it was the first time I opened up about some of this to anyone. I had just got to the point that I had to try to reach out, yet I felt it had to be almost anonymous because I was afraid I would be chastised by family or friends for being weak if I said anything. It probably would have been fine, but it was a fear.

It’s strange how your logical brain can know you are a decent person because you treat others well, are truthful, and care for others, but your inner self can take you so far down. I hated myself for who I was and saw no hope or joy in anything, but there was no reason for it. I have a family, a house, dogs, good education, etc so I should be thankful.

I’ve had these bad feelings most of my life, but usually I can hold them off. It’s been a tough year so far, so I’m sure stress is playing a role in my issues. I was laid off in the beginning of the year 3 days before my birthday, my mom died a month later, and we’re now out of money because I can’t find work. I’m afraid of being a disappointment to my wife and children, and don’t know if I could face them if we lost the house. I’ve had some decent interviews lately so hopefully things will turn around some.

It’s good to know there are others out there that without even knowing me, have a kind word and advice. It actually increases my faith in humanity. I definitely think God has a plan for us because I wouldn’t have spent the time with my mom in the hospital if i had been working. She had gone in before and I hardly visited because of work. I wouldn’t have known that this time she would not come out alive and I would have missed that month talking with her.

I wish you all love and inner peace,


Christopher Foster September 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Thank you for sharing here Paul. It is a remarkable thing to me how well you have handled yourself in the face of these devastating events. I too am glad, truly glad, that you have reached out in the way you have.

I did write you a separate email just now, but as I consider your comment here I am so impressed with both your courage and your integrity. In many ways, your story is my story, and in that regard, I want to say I agree with you absolutely that God, the beautiful whole of which we are part does have a plan for us. There is a hand of grace on each one of us.

What a blessing indeed that you were able to spend that precious time with your mom. And I also give thanks for the support and reassurance that other readers of this blog have offered to you and your situation, whether in words or in their heart. We’re all in this together and not one of us is alone, I’m happy to say.


Julius Nobert September 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

The thing you said about kids smiling at you when they see you and animals being friendly to you, it is also the same case with me. I guess there is a connection that comes from the heart. When you have a kindred spirit and always want to be at peace with everyone and everything around you, you will get such a response where the people and things around you will be at peace being around you too.
Julius Nobert recently posted..http://www.gcdreview.org


Christopher Foster September 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Thank you Julius. Well put. Yes yes yes. There is a connection that is felt by the heart. Blessings.


Sonali Chauhan September 17, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi…I like this post ! Great Discussion about unique gift ! I like presenting animals as gift to others.


Christopher Foster September 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thank you Sonali, it’s a pleasure to hear from you. Good luck eh?


Ken Wert September 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Nicely done, Chris! Long time no comment, but good to be back at your site. I love reading your words. There is something soothing and comforting in the way you describe your perspective on life and our inner importance.

Great advice throughout, but especially in finding that gift that speaks most truthfully to our souls and from our souls. When we find that gift we were meant to share, it opens something inside of us that is quite profoundly life-changing.

I hope your reader recognizes the importance of what you told him with this post, Chris. Thanks for sharing it with us!
Ken Wert recently posted..Awaken Your Inner Superhero: how to become the best you in the universe


Christopher Foster September 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Ken, what a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks for your kind words and helpful input. I’m afraid I haven’t been much of a commenter either the past few months, I must say working on my book has taken a LOT of time. I like your notion about awakening our ‘Inner Superhero.’ It’s what we’re all here for isn’t it?

Love to you and if I may I’ll be in touch when my book comes out if not before. Take care.


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