When you’re waiting for an important test result or business deal to come through, it can feel like a time warp where all your insecurities flood forth. In this state, it’s easy to wonder if you’re good enough, strong enough, smart enough, or lucky enough. The support and confidence of family, friends, and colleagues seem far away when you’re in this up-close grip of self-doubt. There’s no inspiration and your vision is cloudy.
Over the past couple of weeks, my literary agent has been negotiating with publishing houses on my behalf. At first, I was pretty chill- going about my usual routines, attending to business and seeing clients. But, as deadlines got closer, I started to get a bit anxious. The “what if” and “what then” popped to the surface. Now, after years of writing and rewriting my book, finding the right publishing house was crucial. Instead of being excited, all I felt was heavy and oppressed. I definitely needed to shift my perspective!
As I sat at my desk, pondering the publishing industry and my stuck energy one day last week, some movement caught my attention. I looked up to see a rabbit eating geraniums in the terraced garden outside my window. A rabbit, how sweet! In that moment, my attention shifted from churning internal worries to the simple beauty of nature. I wondered if this rabbit had a helpful message for me.
Because I know that animals can be symbols of greater meaning, I went to the Internet and looked up Rabbit. As you will discover if you check it out yourself, this rabbit of mine could mean a lot of things. For instance, Rabbit is known for luck (rabbit foot), fertility (multiply like bunnies), and fear (scared as a rabbit). It also represents family, shyness, and creativity. Seeing Rabbit changed my orientation from feeling snared in negativity to seeing this interlude of waiting as part of a natural process. It got me thinking about writing as a creative endeavor that demands productivity, exposure, acceptance of failure and success, as well as a bit of luck here and there.
From the beginning of time, people have ascribed meaning to animal sightings. Early Christians saw the wolf as compassion and mercy, often represented as such in paintings of the saints. In Africa, a lion signified power and pride. To the Celts, the bull was strong-willed; to the Chinese the ox was diligent. Native Americans believed animals held power and created totems to engage their help. In our imagination, then and now, animals are associated with their traits and characteristics. Think of some common ones, like cat (secretive), dog (faithful), or owl (wise). You don’t have to look them up to know what they mean.
It’s really up to each person to decide what an animal symbolizes at any given moment. For instance: Carole described how tuning in to the animal kingdom was a reminder to get out of her small self and attend to the big picture. Monika was doing a moving meditation at the beach when a pod of dolphins swam by inviting her to “ Be patient with your healing. Allow the flow and it will happen.” For John, whenever a hummingbird hovered in front of his face, he was reminded to broaden his vision and see the greater mystery. And, for me, Rabbit helped me embrace the challenges and excitement of being a published author.
So, whenever it feels as if your vision is clouded and your energy stuck, notice what animals show up in your life. Pay attention to the message and personalize it to your situation. This is a good way to change your perspective, tap deep inner knowing, and start things moving again.
Postscript: Shortly after Rabbit appeared in my window, I got a good publishing offer from Llewellyn Worldwide for my book on body wisdom. In addition to describing ways to listen to and follow your inner knowing, this book helps readers broaden their perspective and feel connected to all life. Look for Body Wisdom- How to Listen To, Care For, and Enjoy Your Most Valuable Asset in the Spring, 2018!