The Art of Invisibility and Shape-shifting
The first time a deer sniffed my nose was because I finally learned the art of invisibility and stillness. But what happens when the animal you are hiding on realizes you’re actually not a stump? At this point you have to become a shapeshifter…
Let’s first review the art of Invisibility:
- Get as comfortable as possible and break up your form with the landscape – have your arm wrapped along a branch, your leg mimicking a tree root, leaves scattered on your lap… Beware if you have ferns or branches sticking up in your hair if you cannot follow #2.
- Don’t move…EVER! Not when a mosquito lands on your face or your nose itches. If you have to move your leg because it’s tingling at a pain level of 7 and you’re considering the idea that you may actually lose your limb when you stand up again, definitely move at a pace the eye cannot detect.
- Becoming invisible is far more about camouflaging your mind than the color of your clothes – still your chatty thoughts, ignore your doubts and stop sending out waves of fearful imagery.
- Switch from a focussed vision to a softened, wide-angle vision and concentrate solely on heightening your awareness. If you fully engage your senses your thoughts will disappear as well. And believe me; animals hear your thoughts.
- Relax and breathe into your surroundings. Practice not being a human. Imagine with all your being you are that stump or tree and KNOW you are.
So you blew it…just when the bear began walking towards you a super-charged memory of Timothy Treadwell – the man who was eaten by a grizzly – flashed to the forefront of your memory and you raised your hand and called out, “Hi Bear! The sabotage of fear begins.
- Definitely don’t go back to being a stump, the game is over. Start moving very slowly so you don’t you become a “suspicious” human or the animal will say to itself, “Why isn’t that human moving…they’re always moving. Why would it freeze? Should I be scared too?”
- Pause in your movements, slowly look around, listen and test the air with your nose like a bear.
- Depending on the situation I often start grazing and imagine myself becoming an animal. When meeting a deer I always become another deer. Move a few steps, pick a leaf, nibble…If you don’t know what’s edible just pretend to eat something. You will suddenly become another grazer of the forest and that often says, “I’m not threatening.”
- If an animal turns its attention to something else, look and listen too. If you don’t, you’ve just proclaimed, “I’m lying at who I am, I’m not part of the forest like you are.”
- Become that non-threatening animal or “new creature” who looks like a human but doesn’t act or feel like one. See the forest through wild eyes.
Sometimes we just “bump” into bears. A few weeks ago, walking in the forest I decided to take a drink from a little creek and just as I bent down a big ol’ grizzly stood up on the other side of the bushes beside me. If I leaned forward I probably would have been able to touch him. Both our eyes widened.. I immediately said in a soft tone, “Wow, you are so beautiful big bear.” He moved onto the creek bank a few steps away and started snorting. Yes, not the best sound you’d like to hear! I whispered to him, “No need to worry big man.” I took a step back and he immediately let out a breath and relaxed. He then nonchalantly turned and ambled into off…so I followed….
Every animal speaks to you if you learn to listen with all your senses, especially from your heart. These tips will help our success in observing wildlife when they think a human isn’t watching….a friend of mine once watched a bear climb onto his 4-wheeler and then sit up with his paws on the handlebars.