Sunday, August 21, 2011
Coyote, Grasshopper, Meadowlark & Dove Conspire
Animals, insects, reptiles and birds are great teachers for life if we are willing to heed their lessons. Native Americans have long held these creatures with the highest regard as communicators of wisdom. It is believed that when you have an out-of-the-ordinary experience with an animal, it is purposeful to our journey. One may encounter the same animal many times, or once in an unexpected crossing of paths.
In the last two weeks, a Coyote pup, a Grasshopper, a Meadowlark, and a Dove have conspired to present their lessons to me in an "in your face" kind of way. In three out of the four encounters, the creature was dead. I’ve been told that when an animal sacrifices itself in this way, it is so that we may be startled awake to the message loud and clear, and that their sacrifice is worthy of highest honor and respect. While I cringe over their demise, I’m honored by their selfless effort so that I may receive their message of wisdom without fail or waste.
My first encounter was during an early morning country road walk. The coyote pup must've been freshly hit during the night. Coyotes are around but never had I experienced a close encounter or a pup. While annoying to many, coyotes are regarded as teachers and creators. They are playful and very skillful, but too often look for shortcuts to get what they want, making things more complicated than necessary. There was no surprise in my understanding Coyote’s medicine because my impatience tends to “fast-forward” my journey to the end result rather than relax into it with simplicity and trust. I also lose sight of my playful side, becoming bogged by the seriousness of life. The fact that this coyote was a pup further prompts me to reawaken my childlike wisdom in response to the world and its chaos, so that I may move through it with greater poise and adaptive ability. Often as we age, we become less comfortable with and more rigid to change. Coyote invites me to keep things simple, trust in the process and its unfolding, and to rely on my intuitive faculties to adapt and move through the travel of change.
One evening, I was walking down the darkened hallway when I saw something at the baseboard; at first I thought it was a spider but when it jumped upon my closer inspection, I discovered it was a grasshopper in the house! Grasshoppers represent uncanny leaps forward and remind us to get off our haunches and MOVE; to take a chance and leap forward. Often in change, we freeze in fear, thus we take no action. We simply stay where we are and “deal” with whatever isn’t working for us. Grasshopper reassured me that my taking action was positive movement forward. But when taking action, I get impatient with the progress (notice a pattern here?). When we find things aren’t moving or flowing the way it does for others, we may feel we're left standing still while others seem to be making step-by-step progress. The Grasshopper’s long and large hind legs give it the ability to leap the distance twenty time’s it size. Grasshopper’s cameo appearance asks me to not become discouraged in my efforts and to know that there is about to be movement that will carry me forward by leaps and bounds! Grasshopper also finds the “sunny side of the mound” so it enjoys the warmth and Light of the sun, and in doing so, knows when to make its leap. Grasshopper reminds me to stay in the Light v. the Shadow of despair and discouragement, so that I may listen more clearly to my inner voice and know when to make my next move in any area of my life.
The bird was lying on the road’s edge, its form perfect, as if it was asleep. I first saw it while walking Casey one evening, and gave wide berth to keep her from investigating it. I anticipated that by morning a creature of the night would pick it up for its meal. But the next morning, and again later that afternoon, this bird remained in the same place, untouched. I picked it up by his tail feathers to move it into the hedge row that runs parallel to the roadside so its carcass would be left undisturbed by scavengers and car tires. It was then I noticed its bright yellow chest, and realized it was a Meadowlark. Meadowlarks teach the cheerful journey inward and the movement associated with self discovery. Unlike most birds, Meadowlark sings cheerily in flight where other birds sing on a perch. It lives in open meadows which symbolize positive growth and fertility. The Meadowlark offered me the lesson to find joy in going within my Inner Self to find ways to sing within my life’s conditions, and to recognize and remember that every individual event in my life is a part of the greater journey. A conspiring accomplice to Coyote, this bird reminds me that the joy of the quest is not in reaching the destination but rather in the journey itself.
Finally, today, a Dove flew into our patio door so fatally hard it sounded as if someone had thrown a rock. The Dove is my favorite bird, and it saddened me to know of its violent sacrifice to remind me to have peace as I move through this transition of what has been to what shall be. The Dove’s song can be heard throughout the day but is more distinct at dawn and dusk, the “between times” that represents the thin veil between the past and the future. The Dove helps me to remember to use this "in between" time to see the creation process active within my own life. In doing so, I am alerted to remember the promise of my future yet to be seen, while staying peacefully present in each moment of my journey. The Dove is a symbol of peace, and today, sweet Dove reminds me that peace can only be found within, never from anything or anyone outside of me or in the outer world.
The Dove and Meadowlark conspire to teach me that peace and joy are found only through the process of going within (meditation, quiet reflection, prayer, and contemplation of self) to discover that true peace and joy can only be found within. Coyote reminds me that my efforts to move forward need not be complicated, but rather simple, without struggle or drama, and to assert myself in complete trust so that I will, much like Grasshopper, move forward by leaps and bounds as I find my courage on the sunny side of up.