I am in search of my animal totem as of late. Does that sound weird? Good Girl would probably say yes. Me? I think it rocks! When I was in high school, I had an amazing teacher, Mr. Moore. He taught two electives. Environmental Studies I and II. I’m thinking that right now in this moment, that was my favorite class in high school. (Good Girl’s was Mr. James’ Writing class. . . because he was so good at telling us all the things we SHOULD do to succeed in the world!)
Anyways, one of Mr. Moore’s assignments was to find and visit a Nature Spot on a regular basis. And the whole idea of this Nature Spot was that you sit there in total stillness, become one with the spot so that Nature (in whatever form-a squirrel, a deer) would feel at ease to show herself to you.
In 2013, it is one of my intentions to find my nature spot. And then visit it often. Hand in hand with that is welcoming in my animal totem. From what I’ve read thus far, it seems that you can have one or several animal totems. Or certain animals might appear at certain times in your life to represent that present moment’s needs. Well, I’ve not done a whole lot of action to discover my totem. But I’m finding that it’s not really about doing, it’s about being open. And since I began to read of this, I’ve been open to the idea that certain animals might have a message for me.
And there is no denying it, I’m getting a pretty strong message this month. Loud and clear! It started with a visit to the aquarium. I made sure we didn’t miss my favorite part, which is the feeding of the sea otters. I absolutely LOVE watching them. And wouldn’t you know, a good place to start in seeking out your animal totem is to just pay attention to what you are drawn to. Okay, for you skeptics, who are thinking “so what, you love watching sea otters, how can this have some deeper meaning to your life” what about what showed up in my mailbox this month? Our Ranger Rick Jr. and just who should be on the front cover and the subject of the feature story? That’s right, the otter. I turn on OPB, what do I see? A story of Yellowstone’s river otter family. This morning, Big C has on PBS kids and who is chatting with the Cat in the Hat and Sally? You guessed it, an otter! These are just a few examples among a plethora of ways the otter is making itself known to me.
And that leads me to where I started, finding that child in me. Rediscovering the child-like qualities that will help me on my current path to finding peace, joy and connection. You see, according to my book on animal totems, here is what otter could mean to me…
“If otter has surfaced in your life, it may be time to find some play time. Involve yourself in some creative activity. You do not have to be good at it, just have fun with it…Honor otter and it will teach you not only how to have fun, but it will reawaken a new sense of wonder at life and all things in it.”
And one way that I know I’ve stifled this child-like part of me is that often when I think of an idea (especially one that makes me feel excited) I put it off. Today it occurred to me that children never do this. When they have an idea or see something they want to do, they drop what they are currently doing and just go for it! And I know that, as an adult, I don’t always have the luxury to do this literally. (Imagine, dropping the pan of boiling water to rush off and make a new picture frame for the window sill.) No, but I can certainly start to honor this part of me that just wants to DO. Not think about, put it on a list and write it on my calendar for some later time. But just DO!
So, dear otter, I AM listening. Today, I had an idea for a new wall hanging in my kitchen (it came to me while in the shower). I got dressed, ran a brush through my hair and went to it. I gathered what I would need, wrote my beloved quote on my beautiful paper, took the old picture out of the frame, measured, nailed and hung it up. (It didn’t all happen so linerally….there were several interruptions, like a call for ice water to the sick child, help with the putting on of some pants for the toddler, a phone call.) Every time I’ve walked through the kitchen, seeing it has made me smile. And it was FUN to just do it! Not clean up and THEN do it. Not declutter and THEN do it. Not write it on a to-do list and THEN do it. Not put it on the calendar for next week’s grandma day when I’ll have some time to myself and THEN do it.
I just did it.