Breaking away from old habits
Last night I felt very lethargic. My pattern for the past 4 weeks–ever since I started attending Fall classes–has been to retire to the bedroom when the sun disappears and proceed to try to stay warm under several layers of covers while watching up 3-4 movies in a row to decompress from the fast-paced nature of all the non-stop reading and requisite report writing I ‘ve had to do for the writing-intensive courses I had been enrolled in. But, last night I had had enough and was ready for a change.
I felt that spending a marathon 6 hours every day watching movies to try to make myself feel better about my situation was not the best solution. All of a sudden, my spirits spoke to me (or I had an epiphany) and they said “Go for a jog”. I had been having trouble with seriously ice-cold feet, despite having multiple layers of socks on under multiple layers of covers. My intuition told me that poor circulation was very close to the root of my cold feet. Jogging, therefore would be one solution to improve my circulation.
Now, I didn’t really want to go jogging, but I knew that if I didn’t heed the voices I would regret it. I got up abruptly, put on sweats, tucked into my socks to ensure my jeans would slide easily over top of that. Two layers of shirts, a collared sweater and some hiking boots and I was ready to go. Something told me to grab my Shamanic Oracle card deck, which I did. I closed my eyes and pulled a card. The spirits told me I should repeat the name of whatever was on the card as I was on my walk. My card? COYOTE. With Coyote aiding me, Around 5:30 PM last night, instead of sitting in the bedroom watching movie after movie, I took the first step toward breaking my obsolete habit, and began a new one.
Starting new, good, useful habit patterns
Fully dressed, I asked Hannah (all names have been changed to protect privacy) if she wanted to join me, but she declined. Then I set off on my journey. I didn’t know where I was going or how far I would walk or jog, I just started walking, understanding that the spirits would guide me where I needed to go.
I was wearing a woven hat (the kind with braided tassels that hang down either side, with a little fluffy sphere at the bottom end of each), though, in truth, I really enjoyed the feeling of the slightly chilly rain as it drummed out morse code on my head.
The rain kept steady time as I jogged, slowly at first, then faster as I began to feel the spirit of Coyote coursing through my veins. Soon I was running up a hill, between a grove of trees, then down the other side. When I reached the bottom of the hill I noticed the lights were very soft, bright, and somewhat blurred–like in a Thomas Kincade painting. Perfect lighting for an evening jog.
The journey begins
I emerged through an opening at the end of a dirt path which intersected with the sidewalk. I turned left almost instinctually, and felt like I was being guided to go visit my friend Daisy, a nice old lady, wise in the ways of growing and cultivating edible plants, such as tomatoes, chili peppers, and cucumbers, as well as several sacred and healing herbs. I jogged about a block, past several houses, many decorated with Halloween paraphernalia including furry spiders, fake spider webbing, bats, witches, ghosts, & pumpkins. Nobody seemed to have an real pumpkins out just yet though; probably afraid of the quite likely and common occurrence of pumpkin-smashing goblins paying their houses a visit.
Down a dark path
Soon I came to a dark clearing, marked by one lone post with a red reflective plastic circle fastened to the front, as if to say “Enter if you dare!”. I felt a slight chill, and my fight or flight reflex started to kick in as the spirits guided me to turn left onto the dark path.
I couldn’t see much, because it was very dark as I was jogging at a moderate pace down this seemingly spectral corridor. I would catch quick glimpses of movement out of the corner of my eye as I moved along, trying hard to keep a steady pace. When I turned my head to try to see what it was more clearly, it would be gone. Here I thought i saw a tall goblin (4 foot is very tall for a goblin!) with a pointy hat and a pointy nose. There I thought I saw a group of gnomes observing me. And everywhere in my peripheral vision I saw fairies, flitting and fluttering just beyond the corners of my vision. I began to wonder what other creatures lurked in the woods and my heart started to pound. I had gone only about thirty steps down the path when all this had happened suddenly and started to become afraid. Just as the fear started to overtake me, I remembered that the spirit of Coyote was with me. I began to chant “Coyote. Coyote. Coyote” over and over in my mind. Soon I was not aware of any fear at all. Just a rush of excitement and a greater awareness of the forest path as I began to feel my hands turn into fore-paws.
Tree spirits continued to appear to me. One even resembled an Asian luck-toad. You know the ones with coins in the mouths that often sit on the desks of powerful, ruthless finance executives, gentle, altruistic, naturopaths, and even stay-at-home moms desirous of greater prosperity and abundance from their essential oils-selling business? That’s what I call the “money toad”, and the curved trunk of this tree looked just like that. Though in the darkness of the wooded path it also resembled one of those stone lions that guard libraries and homes of the very wealthy.
Passing the money toad
As I passed the money-toad tree I realized, this was a turning point. This was where the light began to shine into the forest. In a way, my journey of simply jogging around the block could be seen as a hero’s journey of sorts. The point where I entered the forest path was the descent into the “underworld” and passing by this particular tree was a “return” of sorts. Within seconds I was out of the dirt path which ran through the back forest and was arising up onto a new path. One that was more solid and straight. One that offered more space and more light in which one could find a way much easier. One made of asphalt.
Emerging from the dark
Dark though it was, the asphalt path around my apartment complex was littered with newly fallen leaves that had no doubt floated from tree tops above to offer their services of beautification to the earth. Tree feathers of oranges, yellows, reds, and even some whites lit up the surface of the black so that a traveler could easily find their way, and helped to make the journey that much more colorful.
By now it was really dark and the electrical street lights had turned on to help light the way. As I jogged, zig-zagging here and there, the spirit of Coyote with me, I began to see a dim light flashing ahead to my right. I supposed at first that it was a hobo or hitchhiker who had climbed up from the road and passed over the barbed-wire fence put there to keep intruders out, just to find some sort of warmth, dryness, and shelter from the pouring rain. As I drew closer I realized it was a fellow traveler, possibly a resident from nearby, who was taking photographs with a small digital camera. I didn’t stop to chat but she did almost collide with me as she began backing up and not paying attention. Luckily I had the awareness of Coyote to help me stay clear of such unnecessary collisions.
After about three more minutes I reached the end of this dark path, which led to a small side-road. The entrance to the driveway to my apartment complex was only twenty feet away from me now. The spirit of the trickster guided me to stay in the shadows. I surged up a hill beside one of the apartments, staying concealed among the few trees there, hiding in the dark. I knew somehow that by the spirit of Coyote, I would be hidden from the view of everyone, even though I seemed by all logical accounting to be exposed and obvious.
Spirit cloak of invisibility
Faith kept me going. Faith that I would not fall, faith that I would be home soon, and faith that I would be one-hundred-percent protected along the way. A boy rode by on a ten-speed bicycle and somehow he never saw me. When he had gone, I shimmied down a stone retaining wall covered with luscious green plants. I felt the harmony of nature as the green bounty of the earth provided a surface to slide to help speed my journey. I landed on the asphalt driveway, then immediately, instinctually bolted to a tree kitty-corner from my landing spot. Again, I began to become acutely aware of the presence of Coyote. But, now it was even more than accompaniment. I could feel that I was sort of “shape-shifting”, almost like a dream, into the Coyote; we were merging.
Having become Coyote, I leaped here and there and my gait was so swift, it was as if my paws never even touched the ground. I was now in the home stretch. Another fifty feet and I would finally be home. Lights were on everywhere in and around other folks’ apartments, but no one saw me. I was wearing the spirit cloak of invisibility. Darting left, then right. No cars were driving, no people were walking; I was protected in my secret, hidden endeavor.
Lessons learned from Coyote
Ten feet more. I’ll be inside, telling Hannah all about my journey and what I learned along the way. Telling her the lessons that Coyote spoke to me. The lessons about movement, fear, momentum, belief, determination, and faith. The lessons about spirits all around us, in nature, and along our path. The lessons about luck, observation, awareness, and intuition. But, most of all, the lessons about transformation. The transformation from lethargy to energy. The transformation of static enertia to dynamic momentum. The transformation from a stuck soul to a free-spirited shape-shifter. And, perhaps most importantly, the transformation of self I learned from listening to the trickster, Coyote.
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