On the eve of Thanksgiving, I am filled with gratitude for the Shakti community. Your big hearts and warm smiles are a gift. Thank you!

Bear visited our town, literally. Last week a small Black Bear cub wandered onto our local university’s campus. Students were herded back into buildings until the cub was safely relocated. The young bear caused quite a stir and prompted me to look up information about bears. Here are some of the facts I discovered.*

  • There are only 8 bear species in the world. Three of those species are found in North America. They are Black, Brown, and Polar bears. The most common species in the world is the North American Black Bear.
  • Bears can see in color.
  • Bears have an excellent sense of smell. A bear’s sense of smell is approximately 100 times greater than a human’s. A Polar bear can smell a seal through 3-feet of ice.
  • Bears are good endurance swimmers. They also can run for several miles at approximately 25 mph. Their long claws allow them to climb trees too. If you encounter a bear, your best option is to quietly and slowly retreat. Humans cannot out-swim, out-run, or out-climb a bear.
  • Bears experience sadness and loss when their mother or their cub is hurt or killed. Cub bears are known to moan and cry for weeks if separated from their mother.
  • Bears are smart. Their brain to body ratio is one of the largest of all mammals. They are excellent navigators and use tools.

*Bear Fact Resources One Kind Planet and Fact Retriever.

Another way to approach animal sightings is to consider the animal as a messenger.

When out of the ordinary animals wander into your life or when you see multiple animals of the same species in a short period of time (at least three animals or the same type of animal three times), wisdom traditions suggest this animal is here to share a message with you.

While there are books and blogs which offer interpretations, I encourage you to sit with your own observations and awarenesses first. After all, when you have a conversation with a friend, you don’t ask another person to serve as translator.

Not sure where to begin?

Below are some questions to sit with and to journal about as you contemplate the significance of your animal messenger. Remember, there is no “right” way to engage in the conversation. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

  • Where was I and what was I doing when I first encountered the animal?
  • What personal meaning does this animal have for me? For example, the Cardinal was my grandfather’s favorite bird. When I see a cardinal, I remember my grandfather and feel his love.
  • What behavior is the animal exhibiting?
  • What do I know about this animal? What is their role in the ecosystem?
  • What myths, folktales, or stories feature this animal? What is the animal’s role in the story?
  • What does this animal symbolize in the culture?
  • Most importantly, what is my first instinct or intuition about this animal?

I used the above questions as well as researched bear facts in my quest to understand the message Bear was sending to my community last week. As Bear’s message continues to unfold for me, I keep paying attention to the natural world and following my instincts.

If you have stories of observing and connecting with animal messengers, then please consider dropping me a line. I would love to hear about the messages you received.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!


Kim Bushore-Maki


Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.

Since 2010, Kim continues to build and to support a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.

Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.

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