Last week I wrote about a magical moment our retreat group had swimming with wild dolphins in Hawaii. We experienced a direct communication and instant validation and clear follow thru of a healing touch from a wild animal. I was overjoyed, yet the next communication really threw me.

Again, unbidden, I hear crystal clear: “What do you want from us?” I was uncharacteristically speechless. I continued to witness the miracle of the circling spinner dolphins cavorting around us. What could I possibly want?? My mind blank, I humbly replied, “I am in bliss from swimming with you for over an hour, and your kind gentle touch of my friend in need, I am really blessed and do not want. I am so grateful for everything you have given me. It is so perfect!

But Dolphin didn’t seem to accept this, and asked again. “What do you want??” I struggled to think at all, my mind had spun out so much with the events of the day, swimming in Hawaii with dolphins, what could I want? Again I said “thank you –you have given me the experience of a lifetime I will always treasure.” And I meant it –I was so full, there was no wanting within miles, perhaps for once in my life.

Now the tone seemed to get a bit impatient as the Dolphins posed the same question for the third time. Not wishing to offend them, I struggled to think of something worthy of their question that I could request. Stammering a bit, trying to collect my thoughts, any thoughts, I was apparently divinely inspired (since I seemed to lack the ability in that moment to string one thought after another to form a sentence- it was now maybe 2 hours of swimming in some very strong current very far from shore, in- did I mention, VERY COLD WATER), and managed to make the following request: “Please give me a teaching!” Thank God I could oblige them; I certainly would hate to leave a boon hanging out there unaccepted because I couldn’t muster up a simple request.

As if anticipating that I would ask this very question, I felt their energy racing excitedly to share a teaching with a human. Dolphin seemed delighted to be asked and didn’t hesitate: “Well, you humans don’t know how to cooperate”.

“We dolphins are very happy to live in pods, not because we are not individuals, which we are very strong individualists, but because cooperation works better. It is easier to hunt for food in a pod, it is safer in larger numbers to defend against predators, easier to raise and protect our young, and it is more fun. You humans just have not learned to cooperate.”

At that moment, I noticed that we had been swimming hard and losing ground, rapidly getting pulled out toward a long menacing jetty. If we didn’t figure something out fast it looked like we would be dashed hard against some very nasty rocks. Denise and I looked around and found we were fairly alone, as the others had caught on earlier and began swimming in earnest toward shore. I turned to Denise and said we needed to swim fast and focused to avoid a major problem. She agreed. So I filled her in quickly with my Dolphin conversation, especially the cooperation theme, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Dolphin continued, “When we swim we connect to each other, and it makes the swimming much easier and quicker.” So I suggested to Denise that they are giving us some help, and we focused on connecting to each other energetically, and then, excitedly, she began to get the gist of the message from them too, and she began and we set our sights on a common goal, like that tree on the beach way over there. Let’s keep our focus on the tree as we swim! And, our little cooperation experiment in the moment had great and immediate results –with the same effort, we were able to make progress this time and were moving forward with each stroke instead of being pulled back!

We were so delighted we got giddy, and after awhile, began to look around to see where everyone was, and if we would still see dolphins, and what about that cooperation speech, and guess what? We lost our focus, stopped swimming together, and began slipping backwards again. However, this time we caught it, reconnected with our energy and intention, and re-focused on the tree, and voila! it worked like a charm once again. The same effort, or even a bit less, produced much better results and we seemed to glide through the choppy waters toward dry land.

By now there were no more spinner sightings for nearly a half hour, and Dolphin communicated that they had been swimming with us for a long time and now it was time for them to eat, and there were no fish here so they would be leaving. In extreme gratitude, I bid them farewell (or so I thought—but you will have to read Part III.)

The next day we went back to the same beach. Our retreat host mentioned that he had studied with a Native American shaman over twenty years ago, and he began to sing a little song to call the dolphins back. I asked him about the song, and he said the shaman had given him a CD of all the messages from animals. I looked at Denise as we doggie-paddled and said “Oh you told him about yesterday” but they both said they had not spoken about it. And then he offered, unasked, that the message from dolphin is “Cooperation”.

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