Gift of the Writing Life

This post is about writing and the writing life but more to the point, it’s about spiritual connection with the animal world. Many of you might know about my intensely serious investment in protecting wildlife and wild places. I even started a fundraising page through WWF. Also, I’m in the midst of leading a talented group of young writers to write their own stories to be published in an anthology I’m publishing at the end of the year.

Dare to be a Voice, a collection of conservation-minded stories written by young authors, is coming soon to a bookshelf near you. Follow Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach to learn more information about this rumbling project.

Anyway, something pretty amazing happened to me the other day in relation to my spiritual connection with the animal world AND my personal writing life. I want to share it with you as something to think about in your own pursuits—whether it be creativity, business, family, happiness, productivity, whatever.

I make it a daily habit to meditate on my dreams, goals, wishes, writing life, and real-world life. My version of meditation is not the stereotypical sitting cross-legged and humming. I am too restless for that. I have to walk and meditate aloud. I do this in my house every morning. Usually my dog follows me around, with ears perked, thinking I’m talking to her but that’s another story.

On this particular day, I was meditating on my creative journey, thinking about my personal fiction as well as my creative business. I happened to glance out my kitchen window at the same moment a bald eagle soared over my backyard, above my pine trees.

That’s a flipping sign, I said immediately.

Let me ‘splain.

The Gift of Writing Life is a post about how to find inspiration through connecting to the natural world and paying to the universe when it hands you signs, like this bald eagle who might soar overhead when you are thinking about creativity.

The natural world has its own language, which includes signs and omens. We humans can actually work with animals as “totems” by studying their behaviors within the physical world.

If you talk to the animals

they will talk with you

and you will know each other.

If you do not talk to them,

you will not know them,

and what you do not know

you will fear.

What one fears one destroys.

~ Chief Dan George


I believe that nature speaks to us all the time. But we humans aren’t always listening. The eagle might have flown over my backyard hundreds of times before. Heck, it may even nest in one of my cathedral pines. But the fact that I saw it at the exact same time I was meditating on my creative force is a sign.

My go-to resource on this subject is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. Sadly, Andrews passed away a few years ago, but he remains a respected expert in the metaphysical field.

I opened my copy of Animal Speak and thumbed through to find the Dictionary of Bird Totems-Eagles. The eagle section is 5 pages long, but I’ll only share with you a few bits that stood out to me:

Keynote of Eagles: Illumination of Spirit, Healing, and Creation

“Whenever eagle flies into one’s life, opportunities (even those thought long lost) always arise.”

“For those with eagle totems, new vision will open.”

“There must be involvement with creativity.”

“The bald eagle is often a symbol of the feminine, whose white feathers are links to tremendous wisdom, healing, and creation.”

“The healing role [of eagle] will awaken in many forms for those working with eagle totems.”

“Accepting eagle as a totem is to accept a powerful new dimension to life…you will learn how to become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world.”


So that’s just a few specifics of eagle energy. Learning animal language involves many more elements. A study of the significance of numbers as well as paying attention to the directions in which animals appear help in expanded communication with nature.

For example:

I saw one eagle. It was on my right, flying from a northerly direction toward the west.

In numerology, the number one can signify beginning, originality, leader (positive aspects) or arrogance and dominance (negative aspects).

Because it came from the north, the energy it reflects include teaching, abundance, balance, sacred wisdom and knowledge, gentleness, thankfulness, drawing forth inner treasures, empathic intuition, trust, alchemy.

If an animal moves from right to left, it can indicate its energies coming into your life, maybe even being born within you.

The above info regarding numbers, location, direction are general guidelines. Through practice and connection with nature, each person can develop his/her own meanings and associations.

OKAY…I know what some of you might be thinking.

Kate, things are getting a little too woo-woo here.

OR …

Big deal—that’s all pretty random info and could apply to anyone anywhere.

Woo woo or not, the experience mattered to me. And yes, the info is random and insignificant on its own, but when I plug those meanings into my specific inner questions, doubts, risings, and energy then it becomes pretty clear that eagle offered itself to me as a totem.

I won’t get into the specifics of how eagle generates opportunities for me in this post, because that’s not really the reason for sharing my experience.

What I want to focus on instead is the importance of being open to inspiration every day—and how that one shift can change your life.

Most people who read my blog are fellow creatives. Writers, poets, bloggers, photographers are just a few examples of creative spirits who are a part of this community. I’m going to speak on the level of creatives, but my thoughts could apply to anybody who is looking to broaden or enrich or deepen their lives.

Opening yourself to constant inspiration is an intention that comes from the heart—not your mind. You have to believe that you are worthy of being inspired, whether it’s with great story ideas, engaging your audience, or even making a living from your writing.


The Gift of the Writing Life is a post about finding inspiration in your creative life through connecting to the natural world and taking advantage of opportunities that arise when you least expect them.

Because it’s a heartful intention, because you have to make it an important part of your daily nourishment, many people don’t do it, or they don’t do it correctly.

Many people sit by and complain that they’ve had a bad day or that they hate their jobs or they’re bored with their lives or that no one likes their stories. These people don’t realize that it takes just as much energy and focus and time to complain and be negative as it does to be positive and take inspired action.

Living a life of inspiration and intention rather than passivity or negativity will bring forth opportunity, gifts, freedom, and more inspiration.

Going back to my eagle (MY eagle, now that’s important, because someone else five minutes later could have seen the same eagle and the connection would have a different meaning—if any meaning), I was focusing on creativity. Eagle showing up in my life at that specific moment validates my intentions for my creative journey because eagle can teach me how to “become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world.”

There is no coincidence here, people.

The universe is giving me “something to lean on” for times I may feel doubt, exhaustion, discouragement, or fear. With that same gift, the universe is also offering me opportunities, spiritual growth, and healing.

All of that is related to my creative journey, which I simply know because I’ve been really interested in this stuff for a few years now. Someone new to this level of perception might not pick up on the nuances. It does take practice.

Just for fun, think about something in your life that’s super important to you. Maybe it’s health-related, or job-related, or money-related—whatever it is, start thinking about how the thing you want IS POSSIBLE. Think about how you can make it happen. Bring positivity and belief to the equation and start feeling it, heartfully.

I’m willing to make a bet with you that one day very soon, if you’re genuine and in tune with yourself, the universe will come by and say, Hey there, would you like a gift?

Will you accept it?

I’d love to know if you’ve ever had a similar experience! Share in the comments!

Have a writerly day!

13 thoughts on “Gift of the Writing Life”

  1. What an inspiring, courageous, joyful post, Kate. YES, I believe in animal “signs,” and yes, I believe there are no coincidences. All we need to do is be aware, as you suggest here. I’ve had birds “talk” to me, give me messages. I’m a walker, also, although usually outside, not inside. I’ve had times when I’m meditating while I walk (well, I always meditate while I’m walking, if I’m alone) and just as I pondered a particular question – a problem – a bird sang right above me, so loudly, so sweetly, that I knew the message was for me. My heart filled with understanding. I needed to let go of the worry, and just BE. That’s the best message I receive from the animal world. Let go, and let be.
    But I’ve also received bolts of creative energy from birds, like the hummingbird who hovered outside my bedroom window as I was looking out, just hovered looking at me through the glass; her words spoke volumes, even though neither of us opened our mouths. WOW! JOY! LIFE! is what I heard.

    • I was thinking of you and your birds when I wrote this post, Pam. 🙂 Everyone can find sources of inspiration in the natural world. The biggest barrier is rejection of such a possibility. 🙂 I love what your hummingbird told you–and I love that you were listening!

  2. I think there are all kinds of signs that we’re given. We just have to look and listen, and remain open to what’s being “said.” Lovely post, Kate. I think you are inspired and inspiring!

    • Thank you Jilanne, you’re sweet. I just couldn’t get over the connection that happened, right when I needed it. The world is truly amazing. I hope you have an inspired week! 🙂

  3. Fabulous post Kate. I’m a firm believer in signs from the universe. I’ve been intuned to them for years now and never second guess my gut either. 🙂

  4. Very interesting post, Kate. 🙂 I’m not sure my experiences have been having to do with nature, but I do see signs from God when I’m aware and cognizant to them. So I do believe they’re out there and they are little stepping stones to our spiritual path that leads up in the right direction towards God if we discern the ones from Him. I don’t believe in coincidence. Love animals, too. On that subject, I have a book called Animals and Man that is all about the relationship between humans and animals and that holy people have been so close to them, they became tame and followed these holy people around, and the holy people fed them and treated them kindly. A couple of the animals were a lion and a bear, that would regularly be dangerous. 🙂 It is all written from the ancient Christian tradition. 🙂

  5. How wonderful–to find your totem. For those of us who don’t have an eagle fly over our backyard (which I would love), how do we find ours? Does Ted Andrews go into that? Because if he does, I really need to buy that book.

    • Hey there, Jacqui!

      Yes, he does. The book is really fascinating. It helps you determine your Nature totems as well how to honor and invoke their energies into your life. In chapter two, he discusses ways to figure out your animal totems (animals choose us; not the other way around). He includes “dictionaries” of birds, animals, and insects where he goes into specific species and outlines their qualities and behaviors and what they mean symbolically and spiritually.

      Andrews wrote other books too, and they all deal with the metaphysical aspects of our world. If you’re curious about animal spirit guides, I think you would truly enjoy Animal Speak. 🙂

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