“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself.
The challenge is to silence the mind.” — Caroline Myss
I’ve written about 15 versions of this post (a great use of my time, I know). And as I wrote each version, my ego said things like, What if they don’t like it? Am I ready to reveal this part of myself? What if they think I’m crazy?
At this point in my life, I can’t afford to let my ego lead. So here it is. Version 16. I hope you like it.
The Winter Stag
Over Christmas break, my family and I went for a night sled in a nearby park. It was my favourite kind of wintery night — one that glows from the ground up. Calf-deep snow lit the landscape so brilliantly that even in the black of the trees, we could see perfectly.
As we trudged toward the hill, my eyes caught a figure at its crest. Standing sideways, silhouette strong, antlers poised with powerful grace — was the Stag.
Imagine a majestic winterscape painting and you will have an inkling of how the scene looked. It can’t be expressed through art, there’s just no way. Because the majesty this creature exuded was beyond. I could only stare in complete awe and reverence. As it stared back.
Cautiously, we continued our trek toward the hill, and the creature slowly journeyed down its other side. We had our fun in the snow. But I couldn’t shake this feelings of something more. So, I stole a moment for myself and went to the top of the hill.
My eyes scanned the distant streetlights, the snow-dense mauve clouds, and landed on the creature’s outline. Poised between the trees, the stag still watched me.
By way of some magnetic orbital dance, we had reversed places. Were standing in each other’s tracks. Looking at one another, we shared a presence, but more than that, something happened between us, some type of acknowledgement, some type of exchange. I received Stag’s message.
This wasn’t my first encounter with Stag, and it wouldn’t be my last. It also isn’t the only spirit animal that has guided me in life. Each time, the messages they’ve carried have been precisely what I’ve needed at that time.
I know what some of you are thinking: Lady, the deer was there because it was foraging. They come out at night. It was watching you because you were on its turf.
I say those things to myself, too, don’t worry. But there is a difference between an animal being present and sharing presence with an animal. It’s a choice you make. A choice to let it happen.
When my brother-in-law tragically passed away, I was bombarded with dragonflies. The winged insect came to me in life, in images, in art. The day he was taken off the machine that kept his body alive, I was at work and the dragonfly found me even there.
I stood in the empty conference room on the phone and gave my husband, who was at his brother’s side, my parting words. It was the most heart-breaking moment of my life. After I hung up and gathered myself, returned to my body, I realized that I had been staring at a large dragonfly sculpture on the shelf.
If you allow yourself to believe in something more, if you open yourself to it, you’ll start to notice that guidance is everywhere, and not just in tragedy or through spirit animals.
It can come to you as people, songs, symbols, intuitive nudges, dreams, opportunities, and yes, even voices (not the psychosis kind, calm down).
The Psychological Perspective
Synchronicity is a term for experiencing meaningful coincidences. For example, you might be yearning to return someplace you’ve visited and suddenly you’re seeing travel advertisements everywhere. Or, you’ve been thinking about someone you lost touch with years ago and you happen to run into them. Certain numbers (e.g., 1111) or sayings (e.g., “It is what it is”) might come at you with such frequency that you can’t shake the feeling that perhaps you’re being sent a message.
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or frequency illusion, states that once we become aware of some new piece of information, we start experiencing it everywhere because of the brain’s prejudice toward patterns. So, after reading this post, the topic of spirit animals might start harassing you. (Heh, you’re welcome.)
That these strange things happen is undeniable, even from a scientific point of view. Why they happen and what they mean is what you get to decide for yourself.
It’s All About the Guidance
Whether you believe this guidance comes from forces beyond yourself or from your own psyche, what matters is that it helps you. If you look at it this way, where it comes from — Spirit, God, synapses, Higher Self, intuition, brain, energy — is irrelevant.
Because when we listen to this guidance, life refocuses. We feel a little less alone, a little less chaotic, a little less untethered. When we listen to the forces that guide us, worldly or other, internal or external, we connect with a part of ourselves that we often push aside because it’s what we have to do in daily life. We must perform, after all.
The unknown or misunderstood can be confusing and frightening. But it can also be comforting and magical. So, the next time you experience a meaningful coincidence or an animal comes to you too many times to ignore, do a little digging. Follow the rabbit, peer down that hole.
Try giving up a sliver of your protective ego to hear what your inner self is telling you. It might just change your life.
— Coulee Mom