The Why of It

deer In Native American traditions, Rabbit, by imagining all the things there are about which to be frightened, calls its fear to itself.

Whenever I've driven in the country I've worried about hitting a dear. While one of my concerns has been that such collisions tend to be quite costly, my primary fear has been that of harming or killing an animal whose gentle beauty and grace has always so inspired me.

One day several years ago my fears seemed about to become manifested. I was driving down a highway when a doe crossed it. I stopped the car, and breathed a heartfelt relief at not having hit her. I'd barely exhaled, though, when I looked out the side window and saw the belly and legs of another doe, who was leaping over the roof of the car.

The deer survived her passage across the highway (as did the car, which suffered only the loss of a side view mirror). The damage to my (and my partner and passenger, Joyce's) nerves were alleviated by massive doses of Rescue Remedy (a flower essence combination designed for exactly these kinds of occasions).

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Why Did It Happen?

Once we calmed down we paused for a moment to be grateful that the damage hadn't been more severe. Later on in the day we began to wonder why it had happened.

I feel that it's always a sound idea to contemplate a dramatic event in my life (and also events of less drama). I've discovered that the events which manifest in my outer life can serve as maps to the landscape of my belief systems.

In this instance we'd been on our way to give some workshops (which I ended up giving solo while Joyce successfully hunted for a new side-view mirror). Joyce confessed that she hadn't felt prepared to give the workshops, and I admitted that I was initially panic-stricken at the idea of giving them alone.

On the practical level, the deer incident worked well for both of us. It provided Joyce with a different agenda for the morning, and gave me the invaluable opportunity to discover that I could handle my unexpected responsibility well (and the deer story fit perfectly into both workshops).

That, however, wasn't the end of our ruminations on the episode. We fell into the difficulties which arise when self-examination becomes an opportunity for self-criticism. Too often, people launch their surveys with questions such as "What's wrong with me that I did that?"

Think of the mind as the most sophisticated search engine ever devised. As with any search engine, the information it returns is as good as the way you ask for information. If you ask what's wrong with you your mind will do its best to tell you--and it will tell you that's something wrong, which isn't going to necessarily help you improve matters.

My "what's wrong with me" led me to the conclusion that I hadn't yet kicked the habit of being a drama junkie. I was disgusted with myself. I learned nothing about how to change.

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Beyond the "Why's"

And that, I have discovered, is the heart of the problem. When we, through judgment and self-criticism, separate ourselves from the experiences we've manifested we lose the opportunity to learn from them - and when we don't learn from them they, as the faithful and patient teachers they are, continue to present the lessons.

I don't pretend that self-examination minus self-judgment is easy. It is ever so much easier to shelve an issue with an opinion than to step out into the unknown territory of experiencing something just as it is. However, when one falls into the habit of dismissing lessons because some of them are unpleasant (s)he may also miss out on those which are sources of enjoyment or even ecstasy - like the sight of a beautiful and graceful deer leaping over your car.

When I told this story to people knowledgeable in the ways of deer, I learned that what the animal usually does when faced with a car is to jump over the hood (with considerable damage to creature and vehicle) or crash into the side of the car (with much injury to deer, car, and driver). It is, according to my sources, rare for a deer to make a standing leap which clears a car roof.

Not only rare, I decided, once I'd given up criticizing myself (at least for the moment), but a miracle. Finally I realized the beauty of this creation, a magnificent creature soaring through the air, sparing us harm, as if to remind us that we are always safe, always protected.

There is another lesson that Deer can teach us all. In a story in the book, Medicine Cards, Fawn once heard Great Spirit call her from the top of Sacred Mountain. When she began up the trail she met a monster w ho tried to keep creatures from communing with Great Spirit. She, however, wasn't frightened. Speaking to the monster with love, she asked him to pass. He, unable to frighten her, melted into invisibility.

And so, when we face our creations - demonic though they may appear - with love and compassion the path becomes clear to the Great Spirit which lives within us all.

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Spirit Helpers

One of the benefits of working with crystals and flower essences is that when we allowed ourselves to be filled with their energy we may experience that there are other ways to BE. We begin to lose some of the limitations which we believe are part of being alive; we perceive the possibility of being radiant with light, of being receptive, of appreciating and being at one with all which surrounds us.

Any life form can teach us this lesson; I've selected the stones and flower essences below for their ability to assist us in releasing judgment from our lives and in opening our capacity for appreciation.

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Spirit Stones

A wonderful stone for shaking up our fixed ideas about ourselves and our lives is smoky quartz. The most light-filled of the dark stones, it teaches us that we, while in physical form, can be equally filled with light.

Any cluster is a helpful object for meditation. spend some time looking at one. Notice how differently shaped and sized points coexist in beauty and harmony. Close your eyes and picture various aspects of your life, the different people you know, and experience that these, too, are part of the beauty and harmony of your own life.

Meditating with aquamarine is an experience similar to sitting by the sea. With this stone, small worries and fears (sometimes larger ones) begin to dissolve, as do footprints on a beach, washed away by waves of tranquility.

Amethyst helps us to release our ordinary waking consciousness, the self which worries about both past, present, and future. It helps us to shift into a twilight reality and opens us to new understandings of reality as an experience which is always changing.

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Flower Spirits

Larch is the ideal flower essence to address the issue of why we're beating ourselves up for our beliefs. Its energy is that of self-esteem; thus, it helps to give us the confidence to appreciate our lives while at the same time initiating a spirit of spontaneity which begins the changes we would prefer to accomplish.

The Beech condition is more severe. Rather than a conscious state of low self-esteem, it is usually characterized by criticism of others. This habit, however, tends to mask an attitude of self-criticism which is projected outward. With Beech, we learn to release judgment of ourselves and others.

Black Cohosh is for those who seem to attract to themselves very challenging people and situations because of unacknowledged inner negativity. This flower essence helps us to release these feelings and restore a sense of balance.

Lotus, an all-purpose remedy for integrating spirituality with our physical being, helps us to view all the circumstances and people we create in our lives from the perspective of our divine nature, and allows us to recognize that each of our creations assists our purpose in taking physical form.

Beyond the Rainbow
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