This is what I did at work today with my Clients in our morning group therapy. Usually it is all about how you are feeling, what are your goals, let’s get into positive space and start our day off right (even if by this point in the morning it is more like my afternoon because I get so early!). Well we had all of that but I wanted to do something fun with my wonderful group of 32 souls. So my last question of the morning was “if you were an animal (besides a human animal), what animal would you be and why?” I thought this would be fun and since it was my Friday (I work Sunday – Thursday) it kind of felt like a fun last day activity and it was! (Let me add that it was a loose interpretation of animals too, just continue reading you will understand)
The first person of the morning was not feeling too well and could not come up with anything and I began to think, “oh no, I have really set myself up here!” But that quickly ended when the next person really got into and started talking about how he would be a monkey and began to act a little like one (quick reminder, I work with grown adults, but I let them be kids because we all need that sometimes!). We moved through the crowd with everyone really giving thoughtful answers and I thought I would share a few (okay maybe a few more than a few but you will understand when you read them).
Many shared their passion for birds and being one to fly above the sky. While one man shared that he would be an eagle because it symbolized freedom to him and he could imagine soaring above the trees and being so majestic.
A woman shared that she would be a butterfly and looked at this opportunity in recovery to transform into a different person.
Another man shared he would be a zebra because they are one of a kind, no two zebras are striped the same and he too is one of a kind.
One man shared that he would be a tick (after being creeped out because I hate ticks, I listened to his answer why). He explained that ticks are patient; they will wait in one place for a long length of time before their prey comes along and then finally latch on at the ideal moment. He did a great job tying this to his recovery from substances and how he is become patient and waiting for everything to click with is recovery.
Then there were two final Clients that were very overwhelming. The first was a Client who has come back a couple of times and he explained that he would be a clam. He choose clam because over the 40+ years of his life he has created a hard exterior and if he would just open his shell just a tiny bit and let a grain of sand in, he could turn it into a pearl of recovery! Loved that!
The final one was a man who has been with us a little while but has never really had anyone to take care of him. He has never had a family. He explained that he would be an orangutan because they are never alone and he thinks of all of us as his family! Loved this too!
So this is just a sampling of one of my groups during the day and a little peek into why I love working with Clients. But it also got me to thinking, what animal would I be? The one that kept coming to me during the meeting was turtle, because slow and steady wins the race. But in my running mind (when I was on the treadmill putting in my 5 miles after work) I was thinking Cheetah, because they are fast and lean. So really I guess I am a yet created turtle that runs fast like a Cheetah, a Cheetle or turtah!
I share this because we need to think out of our boxes of life. Yes we are animals but have we thought about the traits of other animals that we like and why we like them? Is there a way to utilize this in our everyday life? I don’t believe they will ever come up with a Cheetle or Turtah but I do believe that I can work harder to fulfill my image of a faster 40 year old Cheetah and be persistent and focused like the turtle in everything I do.
Which leads me to this: What animal would you be and why?