We have mice, little gray house mice and brown, white-footed field mice. We have big mice and little mice. One day we opened the door leading down to the garage and found two baby mice, blind and shivering, hunched down on the threshold. They were tiny and supple enough to flatten their bodies and squeeze under the tightly fitting doorjamb. As we opened the door, they scrambled back into a tiny hole in the doorframe. Mother mouse was probably out hunting, hunting in our kitchen right next door no doubt.
Evidence of mice greets us every morning in the kitchen, little mouse doots all over the place, in the sink and on the counters. We leave very little food out, but the mice still come. I had three little red chili peppers drying in a small bowl on the counter. One day I noticed that one of the peppers was missing. The next day all three were gone, taken by the mice. I wondered what kind of mice we really had. They like hot chili peppers?
We hear them running up the walls to the attic. We even hear them knocking things over up there, thumps and crashes that make it sound like more than just tiny mice. When our girls are visiting they see mice scurrying across the bathroom floor. I’ve plugged up the most apparent entryways, but the mice still get in. We feel bad about killing any creature, but we made an executive decision to put out traps. We justified this by saying we’d feed the dead mice to the crows, one creature giving its life so another might live. It seemed reasonable.
Every morning we’d find mice in the traps we’d set out. I’d apologize and thank the mice for giving their lives, and then put them out on an altar-like stone ledge in the front yard. Soon crows would arrive and take the mice. It was a system that seemed to be working, at least on the outside. But inside I began to feel bad. I noticed that I had a swollen gland in my neck. I’d notice it when I was reading, my head bent at a particular angle to my book.
The other day—the day Hurricane Sandy blew inland and rattled our windows and shook our house with gusts of wind—I had a sudden insight while standing at the kitchen sink. I realized I had to stop killing the mice. It wasn’t right. As the rain pelted the kitchen window over the sink, I suddenly knew that the swollen gland in my neck was due to this killing.
“I have to stop killing the mice,” I said to Chuck. “Even though I’ve justified the killing, saying that it’s necessary and that I’m feeding the crows in turn, it’s still wrong. I’m absorbing the energy of those dead mice. That’s why I have a swollen gland. It may sound pretty farfetched, but it’s been bothering me for a while now, and I knew it had something to do with something that wasn’t quite right, that something was bothering me on a deeper level. Now I see what it is.”
Last night, I didn’t set any traps. My decision felt right. I had forgotten about my swollen gland, but a little while ago I noticed that it’s completely gone. The message that came in on the storm rattled more than my windows. I got a much deeper appreciation for how we are affected by energy, if we care to investigate ourselves on a deeper level. It’s what Jeanne mentioned doing in her message on Monday, and although I didn’t consciously follow her missive, the storm itself led me to investigate and resolve an issue, as the energy of nature, the storm, awakened a deeper unrest inside me.
The mice came into the kitchen last night. I cleaned up their droppings this morning, but I feel no anger or animosity toward them. They are just doing what mice do.
What message of guidance do you have for us today, on this day of a great storm in the Northeast?
Welcome new energy into your lives, for this is the gift of storm energy. As it whisks away debris and untethered objects, so does it have the capability of doing inner clearing as well.
Prepare for change. Prepare to be surprised. Prepare for things to be different. In preparation remind the self often that change is good, change is necessary, change offers new opportunity.
Be calm in the midst of storm. Be grounded in spirit no matter what evolves outwardly. Be of calm mind, knowing that the material world has little importance in the grand scheme of things, that demise of tangible goods is normal and expected, that if the time has come for demise then the time and the demise are both right.
Do not look for explanation of events outside of the self, but turn always within. With calm mind and calm spirit, still the body, and meditate upon the storm within as you are confronted by that which comes to greet you. Whether it be fear, sadness, loss, or pain, find the real reasons for its presence within the self. No amount of storm damage will change anything if you do not allow it to impact you within.
If destruction comes into your life, find its necessity and its revelatory aspects, asking it to keep changing you in the myriad ways you need. Accept what comes without blame or judgment. Accept life, the inner and outer dimensions of it, as naturally unfolding in the direction that is now most appropriate.
If change comes, then know that change was needed. Be aware of inner self at all times. Read your own energy, even as you read the outer energy, even as you track the progress of the storm. Do inner work, asking the self the many questions that deserve answers: How do I feel? What do I fear? Who am I? Why am I here now? Why must I experience this?
The answers to all your questions do not blow in on the wind. The wind brings the questions, posing them as it buffets you from all directions, but the answers lie in the depths of your soul. Use this storm energy wisely and you will flourish. Be the calm eye in the midst of the storm. That is how to weather all causes of disturbance. That is how to experience outer change and innerly investigate the deeper self.
Anchor in calmness. After storm, do not pick up where you left off, but pick up where you find yourself and in acceptance move on.
Thank you, Jeanne! And good luck to everyone during this storm energy.
We switched things around this week, so Chuck’s blog appeared on Wednesday and here is mine today. Have a great weekend, I’ll be back on Monday with a message from Jeanne!
I’ve been hard at work on the next book in my Recapitulation Diaries series. Today I publish a couple of excerpts from the Prologue. One about an encounter with an ostrich, the other, in keeping with Chuck’s theme, is about an encounter with a coyote. These two animal omens not only predicted events in my life, but also bracketed the fifty-year pact of silence that I unknowingly upheld before beginning my recapitulation—information that remained hidden inside me until I was ready to receive it. I invite you to read on. My intent is that the new book, On The Edge of the Abyss, be published in January. I’ll keep you posted.
An Ostrich Bite
As the story goes, I was about a year old when my parents pushed my stroller up to the ostrich exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. Without warning or provocation an ostrich simply poked its head through the bars of its cage and bit me on the arm, only releasing me after being whacked repeatedly over the head. I received a nasty pinch, but other than that little damage was done. This curious tale was told often during my childhood, though the retelling was always brief, the details left to the imagination. “An ostrich bit you!” my parents would say, in the same dumbfounded tone they would have used had a dragon bitten me.
“But why?” I’d ask, seeking deeper meaning. “What does it mean?”
“An ostrich bit you!” they’d simply say.
By the time I was twelve this story no longer intrigued me; in fact, I was rather bored and embarrassed by it. I’d often wish it had been some other bird or noble creature, or that it had happened to some other girl. Why couldn’t a handsome peacock or beautiful swan have bitten me, why the ugly ostrich? And why did this have to be the only story my parents ever told about me as a baby, and why did they have to tell it so often? I was never satisfied by their presumption that it was just a plain and simple fact of my life; I knew there had to be more to it. Now, after all these years, the possible significance of that bite emerges.
Both an omen and a warning, I believe the ostrich was marking me for the journey ahead, for shortly thereafter, by the time I was two, my trials began. Perhaps, with that nip on the arm, the ostrich was saying: this child will be challenged, but this child will also find the means to transcend the ugliness of those challenges. Perhaps the mark of the ostrich signified strength and groundedness in this world, but the severing of all ties to this world as well, for only in having experiences of transcending this world would the innate abilities of the spirit self find reason to emerge.
I believe the bite of the ostrich was preparing me for what was to come, predicting the encounters with the sexual predator and the lessons I would learn during my life. And so began my solo journey, ritually initiated by the ostrich at the zoo, stamped by the keeper at the gate so that I would be recognized in the dark and dreary world I was soon to enter. I believe I was guided as my journey transgressed from the world of protected infancy into the unknown, into the shadows of a forest filled with dangers more fantastical and abhorrent than that meager nip on the arm.
Within a few months of that ostrich bite a new baby brother took my place on the lap of our distant mother, my brief year of maternal tenderness over. I was sent out into the world to play, to explore, to gain sure-footedness, to become self-sufficient and strong, worthy of the bite that had been placed on my arm by that ostrich at the zoo.
A Coyote Tale
I began my life encountering the bite of the ostrich and much later, a few years before beginning my recapitulation journey, I encountered another animal totem, another sign of life’s potential unfolding. I was in the midst of change, having experienced a brief moment of clairvoyance that had precipitated a move the year before. I was living with my then-husband and our two young children in a farmhouse on the edge of ten acres of land, our backyard enclosed by a white wooden fence and a rush of tall pines. One early spring day I walked back to the compost pile in the corner of the fenced area farthest from the house. Surrounded by open fields, I was just about to empty my bucket of compost onto the pile when something caught my eye. Looking up, I saw a coyote standing no more than five feet away on the other side of the fence, an enormous groundhog hanging limply from its mouth. Catching sight of me at the same moment, it dropped the dead animal. Our eyes locked.
Unable to break the intense scrutiny of the coyote’s eyes, the world around me dissolved and I was pulled into a different world by its stare, a world that was timeless, dark and silent. I had the sense the coyote was assessing whether or not I was a threat, while I silently sent it the message that I would not harm it, nor challenge it for its prey. After what felt like several minutes, the coyote shifted its eyes, breaking the spell, and the ancient silence between us dissolved. The world reappeared and I dared to breathe again.
I watched as the coyote slowly bent down and picked up the large furry animal in its powerful jaws, tossing and juggling it to get a good grip, before it slowly turned away. Taking one last look at me over its shoulder, it pranced off through the field at a brisk pace. I stood there for a long time, looking after it, amazed at what I had just encountered. We had stood so close, both surprised to find the other creature intruding upon our private space, our private thoughts, our private experiences, yet we were simultaneously caught in the same state of utter calm knowing, ancient and unthreatening.
So what did this mean? At the time I was uncertain, but I took it as a good omen. My spirit uplifted by the experience, I felt sure it meant something important. A shaman friend told me it was an unusual occurrence. “The coyote rarely shows itself,” he said, “especially rare to see one on a sunny afternoon.” So, why did it show itself to me and what was I supposed to learn?
Although its message evaded me, the magic of the moment stayed with me, and I gradually allowed myself to envision positive change coming my way. Within a few years the fragile world I was attempting to uphold would crumble, not through anyone’s fault, it was simply done. There was nothing left to be gained by staying there. Similar to my experience of moving on from infancy, after receiving the ostrich bite and being released from my mother’s lap, it was simply time. Moving on this time meant discovering that it was time to recapitulate my childhood, to rediscover the world I had lost, the world I had blocked out, the secret world of the predator and its prey.
In recalling the encounter with the coyote, I began to wonder what it was hinting at, for I knew our encounter was deeply and personally meaningful, even more so as time went on and change did happen, much as I had dared to foresee. Was the coyote hinting that I had once been locked in a battle with a predator like itself and that I would only rediscover this by going into the dark past and reliving it? This seems likely to me now, though at the time it would have been a far-fetched idea. At the time, I had only a vague awareness of the shaman’s world, and yet I was deeply struck by the encounter with the coyote, a significant shamanic symbol, and I could not let it pass as mere coincidence. I had learned a long time ago that everything was meaningful in some way, though that meaning could be as illusive as the memories that lay hidden in my inner darkness. Or was I just a fool, tricked into thinking I was being offered something by the wily coyote? Only time and hindsight would tell.
Indeed, what I could not have imagined then has transpired. Warning of what was to come, what was to be reawakened, the coyote signaled that I had the strength to go back into the predator’s world, telling me not to be afraid, not to flinch at what I would see and experience. It was telling me not to fear or back down when I went back into the past and looked the predator in the eyes. It was telling me to use my own adult eyes to gain clarity about what happened to me in that world and to pay attention to everything I encountered along the way. In utter silence, the coyote told me these things.
Though these two tales bracketed the first fifty years of my life, I made the choice to remove the brackets, to let in memories and experiences that would transform my entire world, and me along with it. My books are about taking such a journey, about finding meaning and purpose in even the most dire of circumstances and discovering a direct connection to that ancient self that the coyote briefly reconnected me with. It became my job to allow that knowledge to fester, to remain in my awareness, and then to elect to go inside, taking the inner journey of self-discovery, reawakening it more fully. Glimpses of meaning must be taken seriously and allowed to fester, for they are what lead us to real change and transformation.
Today, we switch things around and publish Chuck’s blog. Jan’s blog, which normally appears on Wednesdays, will be published this Friday instead.
En route to errands, Jan asks: “Did you bring the DVDs for return?” I hadn’t. It was time to turn around, a familiar theme for us these days, as in the past few weeks we have noticed a propensity for making the same trip twice in a day, something always needing a redo. And actually there were two DVDs to return, though we had only watched one. “What is the unseen story?” I ponder, not wanting to get caught in frustration or be disheartened by this unnecessary waste of time, and so I stalk a different attitude as we turn around and slowly drive back home.
“What will we see that we wouldn’t have seen had we not had occasion to retrace our steps? What will we be shown?” I wonder.
Within seconds my questions are answered. Off to the right, deep in a field, I notice what appears to be a German shepherd on its own, standing alertly, sniffing the air. We turn the corner and pull to the side of the road. The animal slowly makes its way towards us, an unmistakable coyote, low to the ground, long bushy tail, triangular face. Barely breathing, we watch as it prances out of the field and cautiously crosses the road right in front of us. What a thrill! But what does it mean?
Coyote is a night hunter. What brings it so boldly into daylight for all to see? Coyote is trickster, a shapeshifter, who teaches folly and wisdom. We are tricked where we are fools, yet through facing our folly honestly we acquire wisdom.
In earnest, I watch the third presidential debate between Obama and Romney. Suddenly, I get it; shapeshifting coyote trickster stands before us in the bright light of scrutiny. Romney has become Obama, adopting nearly all his positions, many of which he disputed but a week ago. Romney has transformed into calm statesman, touting the wisdom of WORLD PEACE!
This shapeshifter actually transforms into a being who in a non-lucid moment doesn’t seem all that bad, actually appearing presidential! Oh what fools we mortals be!
After watching the debate, I am awakened twice in the night by dreams that seize me with fear. In each dream, a psychopathic killer seizes power and is unstoppable. In the morning my waking mood is tense, worried. Not wanting to attach to fear, I penetrate the dreams and the synchronicities of now. Now awake, I clearly see the trickster, come in my dreams to play me, letting me in on the folly of where we are now poised in our world. If we fall for the fool we will eventually get to wisdom, but how rough, how necessary, will that journey be?
Presidents and presidential races attract our projections because they concern our destinies in this world. As well, like kings imbued with divine right, they mirror our inner relations to our own higher powers. As mirrors we must ask ourselves: Are we allowing ourselves to make decisions and take actions in our lives based on our deepest truths, or on foolish illusions we sell ourselves in order to live a safe and complacent life?
The fool will always indulge our weaknesses, but are we willing to out the fool who caters to our inner greed and avoidance of truth? If we refuse inner truth, we certainly will delude ourselves with outer fool, who caters similarly to our greed and fears. We cannot really expect more from our leaders than we do of ourselves. Do we stay mesmerized by the coyote within or the one that walks amongst us in broad daylight? Or do we awaken and heed its warning: Nothing is hidden; it’s right in front of us!
What really matters, the truth, or what we want to believe? Either way, we are led ultimately to wisdom. But the journeys will be very different.
When worry comes remember that it is but a figment of imagination, that it does not exist except in your mind. If you attach to it, it will grow and fester, it will absorb your energy and become an enormous weight, it will burden you and make life difficult.
When worry comes visiting, do not let it in. Instead scan the body for issues and reasons for its presence, for normally worry arrives when it is time to shift. When it is time to take the next step on your journey you can expect your fears to manifest in some way. Keep in mind that issues that arise when you are flowing nicely along in your life are most often related to unfinished business within the framework of your human self.
Aside from the human self, however, is the energy self, the self who knows all, who sees all, and who pushes you to evolve. This is the self who teaches detachment and the process of growth, as its main purpose is to evolve.
Find your worries as signs of growth, asking you to go to the next level, to deepen your evolutionary task—in reality, your spirit requesting fearlessness and a deepening acknowledgement of the truth of the self as a being of infinite possibility.
When worry attaches, draw inward, and without worry guide your awareness to take you beyond your concerns to the truth of your spirit. You are being shown something important each day of your life. What is it today?
The answers lie within, waiting for you to discover, accept, and move on toward greater fulfillment. It takes work, this spiritual business, but the journey itself is most amazing!