What Is Your Inner Animal Spirit?

Big BearI asked Amy to send me a picture of my inner animal spirit. She won’t let me share hers, but that’s me on the left.

I’ve always felt like a bear. A big, cuddly, nice, soft bear. Mellow. I like to sleep. I like to eat. I wander around, a little curiously larger than comfortable in my slightly oversized body.

I’m really fucking ferocious when I’m mad. Which doesn’t happen very often (maybe once a year). Don’t poke the bear.

Amy and I discovered each other’s respective animal spirit early in our relationship. I remember talking about it over a meal about 22 years ago – it was shortly after we started going out. That night I learned about all of her favorite animals. Did you know that she loves rodents – rats, mice, capybara, guinea pigs, pika, and groundhogs. When I say “pika” out loud Amy responds “super cute super cute.” (she just did that). She likes marmots also.

I love bears. Brown bears. Black bears. Polar bears. Grizzly bears. Ghost bears. Kermode bears. I love everything bear.

Do you know your inner animal spirit? Your partner’s? If not, you should.

  • rosscarlson

    “Iā€™m really fucking ferocious when Iā€™m mad”

    I’m really glad that in the 12 years I’ve known you I’ve never seen this Brad – hard to even imagine what he’d be like

    • and I think that’s part of it; when those rare moments come, especially around someone who knows you and how rare it is, it’s intense.

  • I’ve wondered about this too Brad. I think a Bear is pretty close to mine, if not the right fit exactly. I think I’m a bit more quirky and playful, so I don’t know if there’s a species of bear with that streak–if so I think it’s a lock. Maybe a bear with a Quokka friend? (look them up if you and Amy don’t know them–so, so adorable).

    Not sure about my wife either–pretty complex and amazing person. Great thing to think about tho–already putting a smile on my face. Thx for the fun share.

  • CliffElam

    Funny. We were all (parents, three teenagers) watching Ice Age 3 and the hedgehog came on and there was a simultaneous: Ohhhhhhhh, he is so cute.

    Maybe the hedgehog is our family animal.


  • Pete

    Cute post, Brad! I like Pikas too, but must point out that they are not rodents, but lagamorphs.

    • ++ for the word “lagamorphs” . that is wicked!

  • Last year, at SXSW, I took to countering the slew of “What do you do?” questions with “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”. I expected there to be a narrow band of answers, but among the 25-30 people I asked, I never once heard the same response twice. I heard everything from penguin, to tiger, to starfish. And what’s more, no one even hesitated before they answered. It was a pretty fascinating experiment.

    For the record, mine’s a lion.

  • DaveJ

    “I think I just accidentally ate my spirit animal.”

    – Jim Gaffigan at a Super Bowl party.

  • Mark Phillips

    I’m a Hawk.

  • John Salvatore

    Peackock Mantis Shrimp

  • Daniel

    I named my first son Sholom DovBer (literally Peace Bear Bear in Hebrew). Peace represents being whole and wholesomeness (it is one of the names of God). The Hebrew word “Dov” (Bear) represents spiritual strength and firmness. The Yiddish word “Ber” (Bear) represents the physical strength and the bears ability to sustain itself for long periods of time on its physical reserves. My favorite Animal Spirit.

  • My wife has done some Harner-ish shamanic journeying which, while on one hand is a bit woo-woo for my overbearing left-brain, is a fascinating form of [spiritual, artistic or otherwise] exploration and expression. She has seen me as a horse and I connect with bear and wolf too. The horse part is interesting though since I grew up around them and have kind of a love/hate relationship there.

  • Wolverine

  • i love cheetah!

  • Bears also go “off the grid” to recharge, so I suppose that would fit you as well.

    I would say I’m a donkey. Contemplative, slower and less skittish than a horse, not a great herd animal. Comfortable around the proletariat. Capable of carrying a lot of stuff, fun for kids to ride on, and one hell of a back kick.

  • Mine is a Saint Bernard.

    Full of energy. Clumsy – knock things over all the time. Loyal. Eager to learn. Hard working. Sleeping when not. Need strong hands/influences in my life else I can get unruly (danger MAY have passed now). I’ll be there when you need help. It takes a lot to piss me off. Don’t. šŸ˜‰

    And did I mention damn good looking? šŸ˜€

  • jerrycolonna

    When I was a teenager, I was sitting around with a bunch of friends–including a girl I was dating–and we asked each other a similar question. When my then girlfriend asked me what her animal spirit was, I said, “A horse.”
    Everyone nodded and thought that was cool. And then she asked me why I thought that.
    Being the idiot I was I said, “Because you have a really long face like a horse.”

    I was girlfriend-less for the rest of the summer.

    PS Mine is a spider. And I won’t tell why.

  • Michael D.

    While backpacking in Alaska with a friend, I looked up the hillside through a thick fog and, far in the distance, saw a massive brown bear watching us while sitting up on her hind legs. We examined her for awhile through binoculars until she bounded away, somewhat like a marmot. As the fog cleared slightly, we only then realized my massive brown bear up the distant hillside was in fact a marmot, about 50 feet away.

    To this day my friend hasn’t let this go. If I told you now my inner animal spirit is a bear, he’ll laugh and say “Yeah, a giant marmot bear!”

  • Mac

    Mine must be a “rented pack mule” since my wife often refers to me that way. At least I know.

  • raj

    I’m an elephant: gentle, but capable of clearing paths.

  • Also a bear but of the polar variety. Great Post Brad.. reminded me a little of the Narrators penguin in Fight Club… slide…

  • Pikas are real animals?? I know I’m not the only one who’s mind flashed to Pokemon *googles Pika*… awwww šŸ™‚

  • Christina Roberts

    Fun topic!! Me: River otter (smart, fast, sleek, playful) My partner Frank: Dolphin (gregarious, friendly, cooperative, helpful)

  • ali

    “What’s your totem Animal?” is also a great first date question (I blogged this a while ago: http://www.lovelifeartwork.com/thekissinglessons/20-questions-for-a-creative-first-date). The bear has also been my totem this year. It’s significant for going inside, being attuned to your inner voice, all the intuition and vulnerability there – as well as for being assertive for what you want most. A great totem to work with. My personal totem is the Owl: wise, fierce, precise and ability to see in the dark (Unknown). What a wonderful post. I love seeing these softer imaginative topics on a tech orientated blog. Thanks for infusing your realm of influence with great spirit!

  • panterosa,

    I have been trying to remember what this is called, inner animal spirit, for months now!! I have an animated one, the Pink Panther. When I was little I loved the cartoon and thought you could actually get into a cartoon and dreamt like that (still do, of him in the flat colorful world. My partner is a cartoon as well, Timon the meerkat from Lion King.

    A few years ago, I walked into Jerry Colonna’s office and suddenly I was a cephalopod – a cross between octopus and squid. Can change shape and color and texture, be bioluminescent, taste with my feelers, feel things before I see them.

    I wonder often if I was influenced by Jerry being an octopod as well, even if from a very different phylum.

  • galestaf

    To echo Pete’s comment below: “Cute post!”. My partner is sort of a bear. Unlike me (skinny dude), she’s cuddly and full of warmth. If someone is messing with one of our kids, she gets completely fierce. It’s freaky.

    Brad, I remember that video you posted on your Facebook feed last year — someone had found a bear stuck in a trash dumpster. They drove up next to it, propped a ladder up against the dumpster, and that cute little bear climbed right out!

    As for me, I feel like a mellow gazelle. Is there such a thing? I feel like my inner animal spirit is lean, light and agile.

  • I like being a horse. Horse sense, endurance, speed, agility, majestic.

  • animalsandearth
  • Depends. Sometimes an elephant, and sometimes a wolverine.

  • Shane Schieffer

    Hi Brad, Bears are special. I donate to http://www.vitalground.org have you heard of them? They preserve tracks of land that interconnect grizzly habitat. If you aren’t already, you may consider protecting your spirit animal.

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  • I’m a Clare Bear.

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