Keiko (Free Willy)

I couldn’t be more grateful for the life I lived on earth. I touched millions of people’s hearts, and in particular the hearts of children all over the world. Children are the future of earth, that is obvious, but what’s understated is that each new generation is equipped with new DNA, new mindsets and new abilities that the previous generation didn’t possess. I am one of the most famous cetaceans to ever live on this planet and I loved every moment of being able to lovingly influence young humans in their formative years to have an appreciation for the ocean as well as the life inside of it, fostering in them as sense of justice and equality for all beings. I was able to provide a perspective that most of their elders simply couldn't.

All I wanted to do was be around people, that’s what I came to Earth to do. There are a lot of Orca in captivity that are dissatisfied with their situation, and rightfully so; captivity conditions are not sufficient enough to support the immensity of our bodies and minds. But because of my life’s particular mission, I was tolerant of captivity because it allowed me so much interaction with humanity. And on top of that, I was selected for a film career. How many non-humans have that opportunity? It’s incredible!

When they were casting an Orca for the role, I did everything perfectly for the audition because I knew the potential of me being selected, and I would joyfully do the work as well (not to mention it was a distraction from my tank and lots of new sensory experiences to occupy my mind). I was always very kind and peaceful; I never showed any signs of aggression to other humans or any of my trainers, so that made me an ideal candidate as well. I didn’t want anything to jeopardize my opportunity to interact and influence people with unconditional love and joy. Again, it was all about the children. I had this warm, nurturing mother energy almost that could not be extinguished.

Following Free Willy, the tenants of the film where widely received and many people moved to actually free Willy (me, Keiko). It was a lovely gesture by humanity and I felt their overwhelming support. It was reactionary and beautiful and done from a place of sincerity. The irony was I enjoyed my life. I didn’t have much experience at sea and I was accustomed to abundant human interaction, and that was vital for me. When I was interacting with humans I was touching their hearts, radiating joy and participating in a true, reciprocal interaction, my calling. So when I was released back into the sea I stayed near the coastline to be around people, and this satisfied me in the way that it could. I had an opportunity to interact with a whole new set of people and influence their hearts.

The transition to ocean life was definitely an adjustment for me, for instance, it felt like someone going on a diet in a different country, eating categorically different foods, wondering which grocery store to buy them from and not knowing their way around town. But I figured it out and generous beings of the Sea were helpful at my re-introduction. After a while the humans feared for my safety, which is funny, and they made it difficult for people to visit me and the interactions slowly dwindled. After that I didn’t really have much of a reason to inhabit this body on Earth any longer so I decided to leave. I was missing a family structure, I was missing everyone I had grown accustomed to, the movies were done shooting, and now all of the pilgrims making pilgrimage to come see me were prohibited. It was melancholy no doubt, but it was obvious that it was my time to go. I came here for a very specific mission and that mission was complete, and for that I am grateful. I don’t think about the end, I think about the fullness of my life, as should you.

The funny thing about humans is that they do a lot of assuming and jumping to conclusions. That is the important role of interspecies communication: each animal has a distinct personality, experience, mission and preferences. I hope that my life can serve as a testament to the fact that not everything is ‘black-and-white’. Start asking more questions, wait, let me rephrase that, start asking thoughtful questions and you’ll get some pretty divine answers. I’m sending my love to all of humanity and I am still very present with you; you are in my heart.