Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

(Our maximalist dining room wall with LLAMA:))

Hello dear creators of magic and wonder!

This is just a brief note to share a film that I think is SOOOOO good!  It’s called Miniamlism. and the trailer is here.   The film brilliantly covers a very complex topic-  finding meaning in our life and STUFF-  and how to make sense of it.  I guarantee you’ll feel inspired and clearer about the life you truly want after watching it!
You can watch it free on Netflix if you’ve got a membership.  Watch it while you work out and double your FEEL GOOD.

I’m no stranger to simplifying/downsizing (this summer we did our second downsize and eliminated our mortgage so we could continue to pursue the life we love) and what I can honestly say is that our home and possessions had to shrink so that we could GROW.  I’m a bit of a maximalist, design wise, and you’ll never see my living room looking spare….I’ve written about my MAGPIE tendencies here (in case you can relate).  But, what has happened is that I hit “PAUSE” a lot now before buying anything that’s not absolutely essential.  Sometimes paper mache llamas ARE essential.  And, sometimes you can wear last year’s dress to that black tie event every year:)

What I’m after is freedom-  to live and work and explore the world in the way we want to do it and when you live beneath your means-  it’s possible.  That fun “feeling” you get from new shoes, cars, coats, coffee machines, etc etc is temporary…but when you experience true connection, community, and can be YOURSELF on a regular basis?  That is true wealth.  I wrote here about how to know if you’re truly a success.

I’m having an extremely busy December and Spring 2017-  finishing up my latest book Swimming with Elephants:  One Woman’s Unexpected Journey from Physician to Healer and beginning my new MASSIVE BEASTIE book project for Sounds True (it will replace What the Walrus Knows in 2018).  I will still have openings for coaching and healing (in person or via phone or SKYPE) for the time being.  You can book here.

I’m sending blessings of every kind imaginable to you!
With love, Sarah

P.S.  One of the best gifts you can give this season is the right under your nose- and you can read more here.

P.S.  A spot has opened to go to Peru for a two week intensive healing retreat with shaman LuzMa from  let me know if you are interested and I can send you details!

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Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

Join me for this amazing interview with Carla Robertson of Living Wild and Precious.  Carla is a coach from New Orleans who had a dream since she was in grade school of hiking the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail. People wondered WHY IN THE HECK are you going?  Is your husband OK with this ( He was, LOL!)?  She did a lot of prep and ended up completing all 2,000 miles in 6 months.  She learned a lot about what she was capable of, about what material possessions meant to her and what “fears” really are.  “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”,  is the Mary Oliver inspired question that Carla likes to ask.


Carla is a badass hiker and life coach who most loves leading, teaching and coaching in the outdoors, whether that’s amid the ancient oaks and mysterious bayous of her home in  New Orleans or the rugged mountains of the Appalachian Trail.  Need help reconnecting with your truth or rediscovering a lost dream, or simply tuning up your relationships or tackling your overwhelm?  Carla’s fearless yet gentle style will help you make big shifts with ease.  


Phone number: 205-907-9955

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Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

As you know I am all about the BEASTIES (this is the last holiday my Walrus book will be in print-  a whole new version is coming in 2018- so if you like the original- gift it now!) and how much amazingness can be learned by paying attention to the wild animals that cross our paths in reality, in night dreams, or in other magical ways (youtube videos and coffee mugs etc!). However, I didn’t expect my most recent guest Beastie to appear in our house in the middle of the night.

A few nights ago while in bed I felt something rush over my feet-  I thought it was a freaky dream…I dismissed it and returned to sleep. We’d been hearing weird noises in the ceiling on our third floor for a while but weren’t sure what to think.  A little later that same night,  I heard my husband Mark say in a weird loud voice at 3 AM:  “Sarah….you need to come in here right now.”  He was in the room next door to our bedroom. As I walked in he was standing as still as a tree and said, “check out the dream catcher- we have a visitor”.

Clinging to the edge of the big dream catcher hung in our window was a cute, huge eyed, flying squirrel.  Oh my lord-  I shuddered-  so THAT is what ran over my feet in bed!!!!  Long story short, he moved sooooo quickly that it was impossible to catch him without harming him and because it is NOT OK TO HAVE SQUIRRELS in the bedroom, we ended his life.  It felt absolutely horrible to do this.  Horrible.

Two nights later(after a pest specialist examined everything and assured us it was likely a one time problem)…we discovered yet another flying squirrel-  this one was in bed with me (nestled behind my knees!)— she moved so fast we never were able to find her…she vaporized.  Live traps are now set, a hole near our window has been filled where they probably snuck in and we trust we will clear them.

Southern Flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans, voplaning or gliding at night, steering with its tail to maintain balance and direction
Meanwhile- I’m thinking- THIS MESSAGE has got to be good.  A Flying squirrel in a freaking DREAM CATCHER???
So, I endeavored, as I often recommend to other who are confused about the message of a particular Beastie in their life, to journey and ask my spirits for a little help.  The next thing you know I was meeting “Stan” a very friendly huge flying squirrel (with a powerful hand/paw shake) who I immediately got down on my knees to apologize to, in tears, for harming him.  He laughed and helped me back up—-“you humans take this reality sooo seriously– it’s not the way it appears.…this “reality” is really not the truest one. “But we caused suffering to you”, I said. “Yes”, he admitted “You did.” but, he also reminded me that “that’s life”—just try not to inflict too much and spend more time sharing love.

His message for us? “You guys need to relax and PLAY waaaaay  more.”  It’s true Mark and I have both been working a lot the last few months- me on book projects and him at his day job.  Ever since Stan appeared, I must admit I’ve been laughing a lot-  about sleeping with a live squirrel  and the very idea that we might have more than one in our attic.  Stan assured me that he’d help to get his relatives to go quietly using the live traps.  Phew!

Journeying to meet Stan brought such relief and laughter and AH-HA’s to me and I am forever grateful for this way to view life— the way of seeing with the heart or shamanism.  I am committed to PLAYING and RELAXING in every way I can find.  Sometimes the most awful things turn out to be the BEST things- do you know what I mean?

I hope you are getting clear and helpful messages from the world all around you about to align with your most beautiful, peaceful and contented self!  If you’d like to discover a Beastie of the YEAR for 2017 to help you find your way check out this post. If you want me to choose one for you using the What the Walrus Knows app I created- simply join Squirrel Radio at Facebook and say “please give me a BEASTIE” in the pinned post!

I think mine for 2017 might just have to be STAN THE FLYING SQUIRREL but, I haven’t decided yet.  Maybe he’s a messenger for you?  Do you need to relax and PLAY more?

What do you want to experience in 2017?  How do you want to contribute?  Who are you becoming?  What are you creating?  I can’t wait to see!!

With BIG love, Sarah
P.S.  In case you missed it- I’ve just wrapped up three new episodes of a podcast I have created to explore pilgrimage– travel taken with a sacred purpose in mind.   They are great for taking a soul strol around the hood or for long commutes!


I’ll be bringing you interviews with some of the most irrepressible and fascinating people I know who have undertaken such journeys.  Maybe they will inspire you to take one too?  Or maybe you’ll be inspired on your own daily pilgrimage right at home to see the world a little differently!  I hope you enjoy!

Episode 1- Walking the Camino Solo with Becky Bacon- Blisters and TOTAL presence in Spain!
Episode 2-  Into the Alaskan Wilderness Solo with Wendy Battino- Singing birch trees and Wolverines!
Episode 3-  Walking the SHT- Superior Hiking Trail Solo with Kim Stromgren-  Depression and a Mount Trudee!

P.S.S. As always you can read more about shamanic healing or coaching too- they are both wonderful ways support yourself and prepare the way for a beautiful and heart centered 2017.

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Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

For those of you curious to hear about a shorter pilgrimage- Kim’s was just two nights– but don’t let the brevity of her trip make you think it was small.  What she discovered on Mount Trudy was nothing short of AWESOME.  Her intention was simple:  “I just want to complete it!”.  As she climbed up the dome shaped mountain- things got very interesting.   Kim had an unexpected encounter with something that has been dogging her her for years- depression.  So beautiful was her encounter that she returned to repeat the pilgrimage again just a few days ago.  You can find Kim Stromgren here at SACRED STEPS on Facebook.

You can listen here and subscribe!:)


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Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

Over the past few years, I’ve spent a preposterous amount of time studying wild animal behavior as it relates metaphorically and literally to human behavior. As an animal totemologist who goes about her job vigorously, I’ve spent many marvelous hours in the pursuit of Beastie info – bumping around on the South African Bushveld in a Land Rover; communing with an eccentric and controversial animal rescuer while he wrestled and mothered orphaned bear cubs in West Virginia; schmoozing with Bob, the peregrine falcon guy, at Morro Bay; birding in Minnesota’s Sax Zim Bog (a Dr. Seussian name for North America’s premier winter birding destination); banding, snuggling, and releasing saw-whet owls under cover of night; leading recovering wild mustangs around in a pen; tromping with binoculars along the beaches of Lake Superior with world-renowned ornithologists wearing vests packed with birding tackle; intensely bonding with a nature photographer who, like me, could spend hours alone in the woods.

The most interesting things I discover about wild Beasties often have a deep resonance for me as a human.

On a lucky day in Sax Zim Bog with Erik Bruhnke – one of the finest guides of the avian world – I learned the magical word ZUGUNRUHE (say “ZOOG-oon-ROOha,” with enthusiasm!). ZUGUNRUHE describes a peculiar behavior some Beasties exhibit when it’s time to migrate or move on.

The German word ZUGUNRUHE comes from ZUG (move, migration) and UNRUHE (anxiety, restlessness). Birds in ZUGUNRUHE appear to have their little birdy undies in tiny birdie bundles. They’re rawwwther anxious and fluttery and restless as hell. Basically, their birdie bodies are telling them in various ways that the time has come to go.

So, what, pray tell, does ZUGUNRUHE have to do with humans? We who were born to FREAK (humans with eccentric inner multitudes who are here to rebalance the world by expressing them) experience seasons in our lives, too. We FREAKS sometimes get an anxious or restless feeling, a ZUGUNRUHE telling us it’s time to move on, literally or metaphorically, to something new. Maybe it’s time for a new career or a new way of being in the world, a new project, a different kind of relationship.

Being in ZUGUNRUHE can be kind of disturbing, altering our sleep patterns, waking us up at night as we begin to realize that something’s not right. It can feel like it’s no longer peaceful to stand still in this place. Little yearnings start showing up as our undies begin gathering themselves into bundles. Those strange urges clue us in to where to fly to next, how we might get there, and when it’s time to go.

As humans, we can sometimes forget (I forgot) that our bodies – just like birds’ bodies – are hardwired to navigate for us. But if we tune in, we hear whispers. We may not be like the blackpoll warbler, which suddenly knows it’s time to fly nonstop from New England to New Zealand … but, then again, we might!

Human ZUGUNRUHE seems to express itself in many different ways. It can start with a discomfort that begins to rise, an urge telling you that, like the birds, you just gotta fly … or be doomed to a lifetime of nervousness and chronic sleep disruption.

There are other symptoms of ZUGUNRUHE, too. I’ve experienced various periods of ZUGUNRUHE in my life, during which I’ve been wide awake at three a.m. for nights in a row and gained weight (sudden mass gain, or polymorphism, is common in migratory birds during ZUGUNRUHE). Hell, once I even molted like a European robin, during a particularly intense ZUGUNRUHE-prompted episode of telogen effluvium – a human scalp condition that causes the simultaneous shedding of all hair in a certain growth stage (I had to vacuum a lot during that one).

For humans and Beasties, the keys to making a successful migration through a really big change are the same. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Know where you are. Assess your current literal and metaphorical location.
  • Know the direction of your destination or goal. What are you moving toward? Joy? Inner peace? Outer Mongolia? Get clear on what your destination looks, feels, tastes, and smells like.     
  • Maintain a course in that direction. Check in during your journey, from beginning to end. Are you getting closer to your destination? If not, which wing flap needs to be adjusted?
  • Know when to stop. Have you arrived yet? Look around. If yes, then settle in. Build a nest or do whatever you need to do to get comfy … until ZUGUNRUHE strikes again.  

If you’re experiencing ZUGUNRUHE, don’t let your or anyone else’s previous failed attempts to change keep you from honoring the whispers and shouts for something new.

Remember that you truly cannot make a wrong turn.

So keep REACHING, DREAMING, and ACTING on joyful impulses.

~ Alice

If you’re experiencing a severe ZUGUNRUHE but feel unable to flap off toward the new place (physical or metaphorical), a wonderful coach or healer of some ilk (shamanic or otherwise) may be able to help you alleviate your discomfort and rediscover your own internal compass so you can use it to get to your lovely new destination. Then you can focus on settling in and enjoying your new bounty.

  •       Are you experiencing ZUGUNRUHE right now? What does that anxious, restless feeling seem to be whispering about a new destination?
  •       Are you molting? What’s being shed? What new feathers are trying to come in?
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Discover your core Beastie and get TIPS to feel good from an Elephant here!!

About Me

I am not a pie in the sky person. I’m a realist with 4 real kids, a real husband, 2 real dogs and a "real life" – it’s just that my reality has shifted. I am a Board-Certified physician who left my pathology practice in order to live out my destiny as... LEARN MORE