Saturday, July 4, 2015

When The Teacher Comes

Image from Medicine Cards by
Jamie Sams, David Carson, Angela C. Werneke
In the late night stillness, a deer quietly grazes on red clover in the abandoned lot across the street from my apartment.

They say when the student is ready the teacher will come.
I have been ready for a new teacher. The deer has made it's way down from the mountains to this same place to feed for several nights in a row, so I'm taking this as a sign that I ought to pay attention to it's presence in my life right now.

My deck of Medicine Cards are over 25 years old now, the edges softened and worn from use. The images are spotted and dulled with the oils from my hands, but the vibration, and most importantly, the knowledge I have gained about animals from using this deck of symbol cards is still relevant and still developing. The Deer card shows a fawn with soft eyes. It is still innocent and openly trusting. The fawn's erect ears, however, show it's alertness to its surroundings, it's ability to hear the sounds unheard by human ears. The deer-like most animals-has a better ability to see in the darkness around it than we humans. Therefore it perceives what is unknown and unseen before our human senses detect subtle movement and things out of our range of perception.

It has rained every night this week.The deer has appeared around the same time, right after the moon has come up and the rain has had enough time to soak into the ground. It is serene and graceful, but if it hears any noise it intuitively raises it's head and flicks its ears. When it is satisfied with the  safety of its surroundings, it moves a bit and continues to seeks out the tender red clover covering the ground. Watching this deer is a perfect moment captured in time for me; everything else falls away and I am brought into it's peace. The medicine of the deer reminds me to be gentle with myself and others, to be sensitive and in touch with my surroundings, and to move through obstacles gracefully.

I am often unintentionally hard on others, and harder on myself. The intensity of my own upkeep these days makes life more difficult than it normally would be. I am good at being loving toward others but much less so toward myself. I know perfection is an impossible achievement, and yet I still beat myself up. I do not enter into life with a spirit of communion as I should; that is why I count the appearance of the deer now as significant. It is a reminder to quiet the urgency of living in order to have life: things will fall into place as they should if I approach things with less emotion. There are times I need to step back and just allow things to be.

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