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Goats, Wind and Drugs: Natural Survival Instincts and Decision Making

Teri DluznieskiI was just out grazing my goats- which I do on an almost daily basis.  This gives them some  free-range time.  I notice during the summer they are very inclined to hang out in an area, or tend toward the shady areas as soon as they have eaten enough to be moderately full.  I say moderately, because anyone who owns goats will agree– completely full is a rarity for a goat 🙂

Anyway- it is getting cooler now…. and they tend to move around more.  Goats, like deer have a rutting season.  I only have 5 does (girls) right now– so I don’t think the change can be attributed to the friskiness of social interaction and the boys “bad influence.”

What I have noticed the last few days, is that they keep ending up on the wrong-neighbors side of the fence.  I have one neighbor who is completely open and inviting as to letting the goats graze on their field.  The other neighbor, I term the black hole of hell and death… despises the goats and has been excessively (and not grammatically correct) in threats and displeasure.   So, what does this have to do with us, and how we make decisions…?

At first I was taking the goats sudden determination as an instinctual response.. like a wayward child- intentionally doing exactly what will piss someone off.  But while I was out today, I noticed something else.   I kept trying to herd them south, and it was like trying to force them against an invisible current.  They moved very easily north, the wrong direction.  But south, where I kept trying to herd them.. was a losing battle.  What I noticed, was the Wind.  It has been blowing from the north.

The goats had been following deep instincts.  I looked it up online, to check.  And yes.  I was right.  And it makes total sense.  Grazing animals will graze in a zig-zag, upwind.. so they can smell/sense any potential predators.

They must have wondered if I had lost my marbles.  What is wrong with this person?! I was essentially violating every innate survival instinct they KNOW to be correct and reliable.

This really made me start to wonder about our own instinctual behaviours.  What are OUR “grazing patterns” in Life?  How do we determine “safe,”  or “dangerous?”  What patterns and routines or practices do we have to maximise our safety in Life?  Do we travel upwind into territory we can sniff out?  Or have we lost these mechanisms, and travel into territory ‘downwind’… where we cannot see the “predators”  that may lay in wait?

I suppose a lot of “girl behaviour” is reminiscent of protective herd instincts.  Going places in pairs, from out to a bar, to a trip to the loo.  Adversely, boys also travel in packs.  And yet, somehow, for the most part– why is it that our immediate perception is that when boys travel in packs, it is a predatory aspect? Boys, like girls, band together for mutual protection.  I suppose the distinction is how boys have a need to demonstrate prowess in ways that is very different from girls.  When we see boys traveling in a pack.. girls become curious, and can also be a little wary/ distrustful- especially if it is a “herd” she does not know.  The risks are not assessed– this could be a “safe” herd/band…. or it could intend harm “prey”/predatory.

I can’t help but wonder how many of our social instincts we are losing though.  What habits and practices can we instill in ourselves, friends and children, that can work WITH natural instincts so that we do not “graze downwind?”

Where and how does this apply to education, and life choices?  Drug use or other risk-taking behaviour? What happens in that moment of choosing to turn upwind, or downwind… into or away from risk? And what might we be able to do to improve our successful “survival”  both literal and metaphoric… as we journey through our lives and worlds?



I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education.  Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques.  I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.

Author of:
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book





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