Nature's Relationships to Guide Us

What kind of relationship do you find yourself participating in?

How do you want to be in your relationships?

One of the first things to shift when you begin to do your inner healing is your relationships!


In a conversation with my veterinarian friend the other day, the subject of boundaries in relationships came up.  This sent him into a full-on biology teaching on the nature of destructive parasites, and the relationship that cows have with egrets!  I loved the metaphor and the chance to invite you to look a little closer at your own relationship dynamics with a little creativity!  

In nature, there are some parasitic relationships that cause biological stress on the host, and some that are downright deadly!  But the dynamic is similar - one creature lives off of the other one, to the parasite's sole benefit.  Sometimes this results in mild irritation, like the barnacles that live off of the whale, and sometimes it results in debilitating disease, as when hookworms invade an animal's digestive tract.  Either way, the host sacrifices some of its being in order for the parasite to have life.  And in some cases, the parasite literally sucks the life right out of the host!

You probably see where I'm going with this!!  

Do you have some parasitic relationships going on in your life?  Are there some destructive dynamics in your relationships?  Are others "living off" of your energy in a way that depletes you?

You know what I'm talking about!  The people in your life who, after being with them, you feel drained and heavy.  Maybe even used or overwhelmed.  The people who don't seem to be satisfied with what you have to offer, who always seem to want more than you have to give.

Do you want to change this dynamic?

We also find in nature, my friend reminded me, other types of relationships that are more mutually satisfying and beneficial.  Similar to the relationship that the cow and the bird have with each other...he referred to it as the cow-bird relationship.

You've seen them...the white birds - egrets (there are actually black ones, too - cowbirds) - who always hang with the cows...they often perch themselves on the backs of the cows.  The white birds and the cows are helping each other out.  Cows stir up grasshoppers, which the birds love to eat. The birds also feeds off the insects infested in the skin and hair of the cow that cause discomfort and disease.  The birds are satisfied with food, and the cows become more healthy in the process of feeding them!  A mutually beneficial relationship!  

It is a pleasure to participate in these cow-bird relationships!  It doesn't mean there aren't challenges in them, conflicts, even hurt feelings at times.  But overall, there is a giving and a receiving, a mutual desire to share, and to receive the gifts (of time, help, encouragement, conversation, etc...) that are offered.  Both people benefit!

Can you bring some of these types of relationships to mind?

Let's pause here for a second...

So far, I've been pointing you in the direction of your relationships, or the people who interact with you in a particular way.  Maybe you have been remembering a friend here, or a relationship there, that fit the description of a parasite,  or of a cow or a bird! These are important to consider, because you may be invited to establish more boundaries with people who are parasitic!  Learning to set boundaries, speak your voice, and find your authentic self in relationships requires self-awareness, inner work, and healing.  These are the outcomes that can't help but emerge when you enter a healing program like what I am offering in Becoming Your Heart's Treasure.

It's also really energizing to notice the cow-birdness of our mutually enhancing relationships and offer gratitude for them.  If these are the norm in your life, you are probably entering into, or already exploring a time of creativity and expanding your intuition.  I would love to walk with you as this valuable Treasure emerges from your depths into your life!

As I've been writing this, though, I've remembered many times when it was I who was the parasite!!  The times that because of my woundedness or lack of awareness, it was me who took from a relationship without being able to offer much to the other, and may have caused stress to the other.  Do you also remember those times?  Is it going on now for you?  

Finding yourself in that place is nothing to judge, criticize, or be ashamed about!!  It's only an indication of an inner unmet need.  I would be honored to help guide you in learning to listen in a deep and profound way that clears the way for healing and growth.  This work will transform the way you operate in your life and in your relationships!  

Relationships and the way we navigate them, have much to tell us about what needs attention within.  Parasites. Cows.  Birds.  These creatures and the way they do relationships just invite us to look a little closer at our own patterns.  On this road of healing and transformation, there is always something more to see, a new door to open, a pocket of energy to be tapped into.  It would be my pleasure and privilege to guide and support you on your journey through Becoming your Heart's Treasure, or one of my other offerings!  

Contact me for a conversation about how I can help guide you in your healing and expansion so that you can have more cow-bird relationships in your life!!  

with gratitude and healing!  Alisa


Alisa Carr, Spiritual Director, LCSW, DreamWorker, and Contemplative