Monday, March 11, 2013

Finding Rhythm: Unexpected Encounters & Coyotes

I had put off going for a jog long enough, my morning coffee buzz threatening to wane, I laced up, lathered up with SPF 45, tugged my hair into a ponytail and headed down the hill to the reservoir.

Not a natural jogger, I tend to go too fast and wear myself out. It takes being present and listening to my body for me to find my pace, to slow down and get into a good groove, a rhythm that I can sustain.  I had just found that, and was slowly making my way, weaving through baby strollers and dogs with their humans, when I saw my new friend, the woman I had so rudely and serendipitously interrupted at a neighborhood bar. We had already spent a day discovering how much we had in common, and felt a strong kindred connection, which was strengthened as we made a lap around the lake, talking about recent experiences, and the frustration of staying in the moment, especially when the moment is one full of ambiguity.

My new friend talked about small miracles of connection, recognizing how often paying attention and simply showing up offers the most amazing opportunities in life.  She had just been to the reservoir over the weekend, and spotted a coyote inside the fence, and mentioned that she should look up more about what the coyote tells us as a totem, spirit guide.  Moments after, we saw our trickster-fool of a friend hunting through the low-lying bushes, seeming to dart away from a lizard.  We stopped to watch him, trying to call him closer, safely behind barbed wire.

"The Coyote is a clown in the natural world, and in many Native American tribes view the symbolism of the Coyote as that of trickster, shape-shifter, and transformer," Avia Venefica writes.

"Legend has it Navajo never kill Coyote because of their belief that it accompanied the first man and woman into the entrance of the first physical world.

"Also, in the same myth, the Coyote brought with it seeds of life so as to sew new growth upon the new world. This legend depicts the Coyote as a bringer of life and a new birth symbol.

"Shoshoni believed the Coyote as an indication of an ending. The sighting of the Coyote was said to bring natural shifts in balance, causing an end (which, of course, simply makes way for new beginnings, and so on). Essentially, the Coyote is like a "way-maker" of new direction as it went about its symbolic role of representing the cycle of life/death in nature."

At the point where we'd part ways to head home, we stopped, stretched, and finished our conversation, promising to meet up this week for a drink and a little live music. I continued back around the reservoir, picking up my pace to jog again, to find my sad, slow stride. A pace where I could see the faces of the dogs and babies passing by, wonnder what kind of bird that is, feeding beside the water, stumpy, black, with a white beak.

Reading about what the coyote might teach us, I'm fascinated by the things that have come to an end in my life, friendships changed or ended, and what that means for new beginnings. Slowing myself down from the desire to sprint, instead finding the right pace to enjoy the journey.

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