It’s been a while.
The last few months have been clumped up in my mind as a “semester”, taking me into the depths of Freud and his predecessors, around the corners of communication and high above the plains of reflection. Learning, moment after moment, of what this whole “becoming a therapist” thing means to me. In that space of exploration, I’ve found myself feeling somewhat lost on what to say here…perhaps because there’s so much, I’m really just not sure where to begin. Funny enough, I’m not showing up this morning to speak to much of that, though I’m sure the lessons I’ve gained will come forward in their own way. I give them ample permission to do so.
Sitting in contemplation this morning, the spirit of The Rabbit Medicine began it’s work on me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous dreams containing The Rabbit and just the other day, met a beautiful lop-eared friend that seemed to be lost, wandering the front yard of a neighbor. I chased it for a bit in the hopes of finding it a safer place to explore than near the busy street, but this Rabbit – unlike the ones in my dreams – eluded me. In my dreams, I was hunting Rabbit for sustenance. In one, with the help of my partner, I was able to make the moves needed to ensure we could eat. In another, I caught a small rabbit with my hands but could not bring myself to kill it, so it ran free. Mind you, I’ve never caught a rabbit before…I’ve never hunted before… so none of this seems to be coming from any memory I have. Alongside these sightings in waking and dreaming life, I also came to remember that I was born in the year of the Fire Rabbit. Funny enough, as I write this, my partner put on Pink Floyd’s Breathe, catching my attention at the line:
“Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.”
Ok Rabbit, I’m listening.
Yesterday, I took the time look up the medicine of The Rabbit across many lineages and came upon so many meanings – the ones standing out the most include Releasing Fear and Fertility. When I first read these thoughts and ideas that The Rabbit leaves us, I immediately began to deny that fear had anything to do with me. I felt that it didn’t resonate as much as I thought it might…partly because it felt so negative. Fear isn’t something to get excited about finding on your path…and I was suddenly confused what fear and fertility had to do with one another. I couldn’t truly sense what it was I was fearing and, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I wanted to….something about looking at the fear is… scary. So, I left it alone.
But as I sat this morning with a cup of Rose and Holy Basil tea, it all started to trickle in and make sense. I took a look at my upcoming months – summer session, relocating to a quieter area, sorting out scheduling and finances, finding land to tend – and realized I’ve been really busy worrying. I’m guessing I’m not alone when I say that sometimes, I hold onto things or try to control outcomes that I cannot. I find I worry quite a bit about the unknown, about my future, and about how on Earth I’m going to manifest the changes I want to see happen in my life and in our world. I can go on fretting like this for days, until I wake up one morning realizing I’m “as frightened as a rabbit,” fearing the next step until I’m frozen in time, unable to act or move forward. I get lost in the “what if’s” of my overactive mind, tangled in the snarls of impossibility that I run without looking, often into the jaws of that I most feared. I can put so much energy into a dreaded cosmic “No” that it can start to come to life. As if all my worry has actually breathed life into that which I have been so busy trying to avoid. “What we resist persists” right? Yeah – that could be right. This revelation in hand, I started to further explore other aspects of the dream – following in the footsteps of some of the thinkers in psychology including Lacan, Mindell, and Jung. I started to think about the need for these Rabbits as sustenance and started to wonder if I (and perhaps others feel this way) need my fear or worry to stay motivated.. I started to wonder if this fear had tricked me into believing that I could not get anything done or get where I wanted to go if I didn’t worry about it. As I noted above, the fear can get me into a paralyzed place of inaction at times, so I know that this idea is a limiting belief I have. Beyond that, I connected the sense of fear with my fear of being able to provide for myself and those I love. I started to explore the possibility that my fears are truly around being able to live in the way that I dream of and being able to thrive in that way. A flood of fear around work, capitalism and it’s impacts on my role as a healer, therapist and yoga teacher, and what skills I have to live a self-sufficient life all began to wash over me and it’s here I became clear on what fears I’m feeding. It seems that this realization has been the hardest part.
Now, the work ahead is shifting my gaze away from what I fear to what I wish to manifest. To start taking all the energy I have invested in worrying and doubt and reallocated those energetic funds toward what I wish to create. Easier said than done, right? Well…yes and no. Getting to the point of being able to actually say that from a place of actual reflection and knowing has been quite the journey and required many allies that persisted in helping to direct me, so I can redirect my energy. It took trusting that my dreams and the symbolism contained within them are speaking truth about my experiences and how I’m holding life. It took understanding that the world and all in it is connected and that I have the power and ability to connect the dots, I just have to keep myself open and available to it.
This is the work and magic of yoga and therapy. Throughout our yoga practice, we can come face to face with our doubts and fears, we can settle into moments of feeling that which we would like to avoid and we make the choice to breathe into it. We give space to our worry so that it may pass by not denying it, but by experiencing it as it is and then moving on. It’s only by experiencing it, by going into the fear (insert any other emotion state you like) that we can begin to unravel it, see it for the trickster it is, and begin to unfreeze and move forward. We can then begin to tap into the other medicines provided by these messengers – for the Rabbit, that means moving from fear into abundance, fertility, and trust – for every medicine presented has two sides and we get to pick what side we’re on. Knowing where we are to start with makes moving to the other side that much easier and so much sweeter. Simply by knowing how we are unconsciously contributing to our fears manifesting, we take power back. Simply by making these habits something we are aware of, we are given choice. Choice.
Over the next few weeks (hopefully for the rest of my life), I’m going to be exploring all the options. I’m going to practice taking my attention away from the fear and directing it toward the trust. I’m going to breathe deeper into my resistance so we can both experience spaciousness. I’m not going to follow Pink Floyd’s instructions, but I’m going unbury myself and move forward with gentleness and trust. It’s not a matter of ignoring things that cause concern or throwing responsibility to the wind, but it’s a matter of taking what concerns me and directing myself toward solutions rather getting stuck in the fear. No matter how these lessons show up – be it animal medicine, dreams, or loved ones holding up the mirror – take courage and simply look. Breathe as you direct your attention toward that which is holding you still and become curious about what it is. Get help if you need it.
Fear is a tricky thing, but it doesn’t have to stop us from living a life full of gentleness and fertile abundance. I know this because The Rabbit told me so.
xx namaste xx