Last Wednesday, I awoke before dawn excited to write about my recent encounters with a fox, a shark, a bobcat and a magician. Before the alarm chimed I lifted my head and peered out the bedroom window. Darkness. Off in the distance a coyote called; no one answered. High Maintenance Kitty was curled up on the pillow next to mine, his motorboat purr kickstarted by the alarm. His tail flicked my face. Before I sensed how comfortable the bed was, which would make leaving it a challenge, I slid out. I was at the keys in five minutes.
For the next four hours I wrote. The sun rose, lighting up the clouds, competing with the sundown of the eve before with its oranges and pinks and purples. The fog retreated. Nocturnal animals punched the clock and hit the hay, turning over the land to the first shift. And I wove together the meaning behind the recent flurry of encounters, from the man in Pt. Reyes who taught me how to care for my tires and where to surf cast for rock cod and ling cod to the chef who set me straight on the proper cooking of Dungeness crab – anchovy paste is a MUST.
I slowed down as Thanksgiving approached, allowing others to approach me. My Observer Self was fully engaged but relaxed, trusting me to make good choices. Discernment, a skill I was without for so long in my life, was being exercised regularly. Calm replaced anxiety. Knowing moved confusion aside. I felt a confidence in my choices that left me feeling at peace. Each day brought challenges, as they are designed to do, but I could see their purpose and felt a rush when I hit upon it.
Ah, THIS is why this is happening. I get it!
Life seemed to be settling into a supportive and easy-going cadence.
The post flowed as turkeys were dressed and trussed nationwide.
The little dude woke up.
He crawled up on my lap like a cat, legs curled under, his head resting on my arm. After assorted kisses and a quick batch of french toast, I returned to the post for the final touches. Just before I inserted the picture I decided to save my words. Just in case. I have lost the last two posts – poof, gone – as I saved them. After the first one vanished, due to operator error, me being the operator, I promised myself and anyone who would listen that it would never happen again.
It’s pretty easy to hit ‘save’.
The next time it happened I saw it as an opportunity to choose my reaction and avoid throwing my laptop through the window. I can get pissy and have it spill over into my life, affecting how I interact with the dudes, or I can consider it a post that needed to be rewritten. So it is written, so it shall be rewritten. Or something like that.
If I’m all about seeing the signs and not letting the 3D world with its ups and downs control my experience, than I have no choice but to remain at peace with the wiping away of 4000 words hand picked and strung together to communicate what is in my heart.
In both cases, as I started from scratch, I got a little deeper into what really needed to be said. The posts didn’t flow as easily the second time around. But there was less frosting and more cake. After successfully publishing them, I understood why each post needed to be rewritten.
I was getting lazy.
Or thinking I had arrived. The divorce was final. I know where I’m headed. I’ve taken the time, dedicated days on end, to excavating within, uncovering the character, the details, the charm that makes me Me.
Full steam ahead. I’m healed! It’s time to have some fun and lighten up. Hello, world!
The fox, the shark, the bobcat and the magician all became a sweet little story about the presence of Nature, the relief that comes from letting go and allowing the signs to take the lead, freeing me up to play detective, see magic, breathe. I was psyched that I had set out to write before the dudes woke up, and other than the technical aspect of publishing, I had achieved my goal.
Every word I wrote disappeared.
Stunned at my own cluelessness, I pulled my legs up, wrapped my arms around them and rocked out a few deep breaths. I cannot affect the dudes’ day with this. It’s my screw up, not theirs. How could I let this happen AGAIN?! How?
How is not the question that needs to be asked.
Why do I keep needing to erase my words, words I can never restring, three times in a row?
In that moment it felt as if someone was leading me down a path. One that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own. I heard this: You are right to wonder. It’s not happening because you don’t know to save your work. It’s happening because you aren’t working on what is next, on something that needs your attention. You’re avoiding it.
I powered off the laptop and gathered the dudes to plan our day.
Long drives to our destinations provided me with the opportunity to ponder. With Bohemian Rhapsody blasting and the dudes doing their impersonation of Wayne and Garth in the backseat, I went on a sensory exploration of my insides with the shark, the fox and the bobcat leading the way, lanterns in hand. Or, flipper, paw and paw.
The magician was missing.
In my first pass with these animals and their meanings I gravitated toward these messages:
The symbolic lesson of the shark ‘is tantamount for humankind, and the lesson is this: We can be submerged in emotional dramas, but we do not have to be swallowed by them.’
‘The shark is also symbolically equipped to share lessons of death too. Actually, sharks know death is a fallacy. They have no concept of it. Sharks are in a constant state of renewal, and those with the shark totem will confirm the absence of death. Sharks, and humans attuned to sharks will only see renewal – only transition.’
‘While learning from Fox, you might also gain confidence in your ability to know instantly what will happen next. After observing for a while, you will become aware of a certain predictability in given situations and be able to quickly make your move. Fox medicine teaches the art of Oneness through its understanding of camouflage. This applies on all levels, from rocks to God. With Fox medicine, you are being asked to see all types of uses for Oneness.’
The bobcat reminds me to ‘Trust in your senses. Even if there is no logical reason, trust what your inner voice is saying.’
It all made sense:
– remain disengaged from any drama – create none and participate in none
– my Mom’s transition from here to there is a process of renewal, not death
– trust that you are capable of knowing how to handle all that lies ahead without judging it as good or bad
– keep the Ego benched and silence the mind chatter to allow discernment room to see
But the words all vanished. Why? (And the answer is not because Auto-Save isn’t enabled or I didn’t use TextEdit or write in blood on parchment with the feather of a falcon.)
I thought of the unusual nature of the animal encounters. They all happened at exactly the same time on the lane that leads to the Calmmune. Off to the left, halfway to the cottage, sits a boat, tilted, out of its element, and dusted with moss and spores that will continue to green its white body. On it is painted the face of a Great White shark that could be smiling or sneering. Viewer’s choice. (Shark references have been piling up, part of many conversations and on my mind as I continue to get chest deep in the ocean, encased in my seal costume, I mean wetsuit.)
Curled up on the bow of the boat, or head of the shark, also out of its element and in broad daylight was a fox. He remained still, his head buried in the curve of his body as I drove by. I almost kept right on going. 10 feet up the gravel drive I stopped the car and grabbed my phone. A fence of barbed wire separated us. An opening led me to the lane closest to him. When I was 20 feet away he picked up his head. Our eyes met.
I laughed as I captured him on film.
Why are you sleeping up on the bow of a boat in broad daylight, baby? Shouldn’t you be holed up in your den, camouflaged?
He rose without urgency and walked to the back of the boat where he remained, looking back at me to see my next move before he made his.
So odd, I thought. A fox curled up on a boat in the sunshine like a cat on a sofa catching rays through a window.
As I made my way back to the car I spied a bobcat sitting like a statue, surveying the sloping hill that fronts the homes on the Calmmune. It was 11AM. By this time their feline desires usually take over and NAP is the word. This cat, a large male with full fur, and a muscular body, looked directly at me, stood up and began to walk away. Not into the woods, but across the lawn, not looking to hide but expecting to be noticed.
A shark out of water, a fox on a boat without camouflage, and a bobcat, a night creature, taking a stroll in broad daylight.
Contrary! These animals are appearing to me in a way that contradicts their normal way of being, their meaning to be interpreted as such. With that intention I set about to rediscover their messages.
‘Contrary Fox may be telling you that you have become too visible. If you are feeling attacked, withdraw. It may be time to assume the attitude of the hermit and deck yourself in the cloak of invisibility.’
‘To right contrary Fox in this situation, call on Armadillo and name your boundaries. Then call on the family’s protector to show you the art of camouflage. Once out of the line of attack, you can resume the role of being your “foxy” self.’
‘The Shark in contrary urges me to learn to express my wants, needs, anger, love, fear, (i.e. emotions) in a manner which is both respectful of Self and of Others rather than bottling those feelings up. Ultimately, this move will manifest as a reclaiming of my youth. For in the innocence of Youth is found implicit Faith in our existence, the realization that All happens for a reason. Then the shift is made from merely “surviving life” to embracing it for all of its wisdom and beauty, fueling the ability to endure even the most challenging of lessons and still retain the blessings of Trust and Faith.’
The bobcat, in all its contrariness, teaches me that as I come out of my lair into daylight I will need to rein in the desire to point out the secrets held by others in an effort to help them heal. When approached I may offer protection and expertise, but otherwise I need to respect the needs of souls who don’t seek assistance at this time in their journey. Unconditional love is always appreciated, however. As is admiration for walking their path alone.
Over the course of a day’s worth of driving over the hill, up to Tomales Bay, down through Pt. Reyes and back to happy little Bolinas, the animals morphed. And with it came this:
I am not a finished product. I am still under the cultural spell of what is and is not perfect. And, in the eyes of the world, my body is not perfect. Or so I have accepted. And I still care about that. It’s time to figure out how to shed this often unconscious behavior of critically viewing my body as if it needs to live up to its photoshopped and 25 years younger counterparts (if that is what I’m doing – I’m not certain yet); it’s time to stop ignoring that this is an issue that needs to be addressed with focus; it’s time to honor the physical body for what it is – my mode of transportation here, one that can experience pleasure or create pain.
This is not a logic-based fix, but requires me to keep moving, like the shark, in the emotional realm to discover the part of my journey that centers around the physical love of my body.
My Mom has already helped with words of wisdom. The magician has made a brief appearance to encourage me, unknowingly. The words LOVE YOUR BODY flash like a neon sign in a darkened town. The shark says, Don’t be afraid, keep moving. The fox says, Rip off the camouflage. The bobcat says, Quietly observe to solve this riddle. Magic awaits you.
Instead of an homage to Nature, this post has emerged into the daylight as one that has uncovered the Holy Grail.
It’s my body.
A body I hope has the opportunity to be loved by more than just me one day.
PS: Goddess L is hard at work, tiara askew, figuring out a way to make commenting as easy as spotting a bicycle boy in West Marin on a Saturday morning. Apologies for the funky formatting. I’m writing in Text Edit until the autosave feature is perfected. I’m no fool. And I’m grateful for the lessons.