Relaxing into our animal nature

I am writing from my garden before breakfast listening to a chorus of nearby tweeting birds, punctuated by calls from distant gulls.  I am reminded of the Mary Oliver poem ‘Wild Geese’ where she says: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”  I am not sure how comfortable most of us feel with that idea.  I was talking recently with a Future Foundations coach that I feel so much better on a sunny day.  We agreed that we can almost feel a bit shallow for this being the case.  One bout of sunshine in the morning and our mood is completely different!  Shouldn’t we be a bit more advanced than that?  But the journey is not about denying our animal nature, perhaps so much as relaxing into it and integrating it.  Gurdjieff’s teaching was that if we are fully present, and not being tugged from presence by our fixation or an imbalance of our instincts, then potentially we can respond to life in a much more natural, spontaneous and animal-like way.  Other teachings point to this.  When I was in San Francisco with my friend Gabriel Posner who is a somatic educator, schooled in the Thomas Hanna method, he was talking to me about the same thing but from an anatomy perspective.  Letting the muscles respond as they need to freshly in the moment, not in some pre-woven and restrictive pattern.  Perhaps there is a certain level of intelligence which realizes the limits of the intellect.

About Jack Butler

Jack Butler is a social entrepreneur, coach, workshop leader and speaker. His latest venture provides full spectrum human development through coaching, programmes and other development resources for leaders and entrepreneurs. He founded Future Foundations (, a leading youth personal development training organization. He is a professional member of the International Enneagram Association and a former fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jack was the IAB 2007 Young Entrepreneur of the Year runner-up and took a double first class degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Jack spends his time between London and Brighton in the UK and Boulder, CO and the Bay Area in the US. In his spare time, he enjoys physical challenges (3 Peaks Challenge 2010, Tresco Marathon 2006) and supporting The Simultaneous Policy Organisation ( He is a Partner in Passion and Purpose of the Grubb Guild, a voracious reader of personal, cultural and spiritual development, and likes to inquire, journal, travel and write.
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