My Spirit Animal

Last summer I went on a girl’s vacation to Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Niagara Falls) with my mom and teenage niece. 

Dinner at the 360 Restaurant - CN Tower in Toronto, Canada

Dinner at the 360 Restaurant - CN Tower in Toronto, Canada


On the last day of our trip while looking over Niagara Falls my niece Judah saw a beaver running through a side path. She said, “Look over there!  That’s my spirit animal.”  Spirit animal?  I had never heard that term before.  Come to find out it’s an animal that has a special meaning to you or is significant or connected to your spirit in some way.  Judah asked my mom and I what our spirit animals were.  Right away my mom said a butterfly and gave her reasons why.  I on the other hand couldn’t really give an answer.  I had to think about it.

I have however thought about the answer to the question, if you could come back to life as an animal which animal would you choose and why?  That one I could answer right away.  I would be a whale mainly because I feel like I already know what life is like on land.  I would want to experience a totally new and different place if I had to come back as an animal.  I would want to experience life under the sea.  The ocean is so mysterious still.  Why a whale?  Well because they are not easy prey for the many ocean predators out there.  I also like the idea of being a gentle giant that almost everyone loves.  After all, people pay money to go out on boats just to get a look at them coming up to breath.   Whales can have their secret lives deep in the ocean that no one really knows about, but they can also have fun jumping and playing above the water enjoying the sun and fresh air.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any special memories or connections to whales so they are not my spirit animal.

After some thought I realized that I do have an animal that I feel connected to in many different ways.  They are fascinating animals and I often get lost in their activities.  I have different memories involving them at various times in my life and each memory is usually tied to an emotion.  The animal is a bird.  Not one particular kind of bird but all birds in general.  First of all I’m sure we’d all agree that being able to fly is the ultimate coolest thing.  But beyond just that I do have special memories in my life where birds and their activities were involved. 

I can remember various times throughout the years when I was feeling lonely, whether it was while traveling by myself or sitting at home looking out the window, being comforted by the activities of birds.  My favorite is when they fly and twirl around in formation.  Watching a group of birds fly to and fro, round and round, moving in unison can always bring my mind back to the present moment and out of my own thoughts.  I often feel like the dance performance is just for me.  It always works at cheering me up. 

Left:  Taken during my travels in Lima, Peru                                             Right:  This solitary bird turned this shot from good to great!

Left:  Taken during my travels in Lima, Peru                                             Right:  This solitary bird turned this shot from good to great!


Or, the memories of those early mornings as a teacher rushing off to work to get there before the bell rang at 8:00AM.  I would always pass a loud group of sparrows that live in a rose bush right outside my apartment building.  Rain or shine, snowy or sunny, they were always there to greet me in the morning.  It seemed like there were at least 30 of them crammed into one bush chirping and shouting at me as I rushed by.  It brought a smile to my face each and every morning when I actually took a moment to notice them.  Or, the many times the antics of birds made me laugh out loud as they did things that were normal to them but silly to me.  For example, have you ever seen a group of pelicans diving for fish?  It’s the funniest thing watching them swoop in then dive straight down head first into the water over and over again one after the other. 

Los Roques, Venezuela...  my friend and I watched the pelicans from the afternoon into the evening.

Los Roques, Venezuela...  my friend and I watched the pelicans from the afternoon into the evening.


Discovering my spirit animal has helped influence some of the décor I use in rooms I’ve decorated and perhaps it can help you as well.  You have to fill empty floor, wall and shelving space anyway.  You might as well create a décor with items that mean something to you.  The items in your home should reflect who you are and the things you love.  Each wall or vignette should bring you joy and comfort or evoke a memory that makes you feel good.  The following photos show rooms with my spirit animal as part of the décor.  But remember don’t go crazy with it!  No one wants to be labeled the crazy cat lady, or in my case bird lady…

Wide shot, then close up of the colorful folk art flock of birds - comes in a set of 3 (the third bird is in the next photo below) from  Wisteria.com .  Notice the birdcage on the floor.  Birdcages are unique, beautiful and can be used in a variety of ways, either on the floor, on a stand or hanging from the ceiling as a light fixture.  (But never put real birds in them...that is a no no!)

Wide shot, then close up of the colorful folk art flock of birds - comes in a set of 3 (the third bird is in the next photo below) from Wisteria.com.  Notice the birdcage on the floor.  Birdcages are unique, beautiful and can be used in a variety of ways, either on the floor, on a stand or hanging from the ceiling as a light fixture.  (But never put real birds in them...that is a no no!)


Wide shot, then close up of the third bird who flew clear across the room away from the flock.

Wide shot, then close up of the third bird who flew clear across the room away from the flock.

Vintage Mid-Century Modern brass bird wall hanging from  Etsy.com

Vintage Mid-Century Modern brass bird wall hanging from Etsy.com

Vintage Mid-Century Modern pair of brass seagulls from    Etsy.co  m

Vintage Mid-Century Modern pair of brass seagulls from Etsy.com


I can’t remember if I ever answered my niece’s question while on our Canadian vacation.  Plus I think by the time I figured out the answer no one really cared anymore anyway.  But I know my connection to these amazing creatures has grown deeper ever since discovering them as my spirit animal...  So you may be wondering if I have any whales in my apartment or use whale décor while decorating rooms (since that is the animal I wouldn’t mind coming back as one day)… the answer is no.  I figure I’ll save that adventure strictly for the next time around.

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