If you've never heard of the term "spirit animal", allow me to explain. In certain spiritual traditions, it is believed that every person has an animal that accompanies them along their life's journeys, a guide letting us know we are on the right path, or in "the flow" of our life. We are said to embody certain characteristics of our spirit animal. Well, I have two animals that show up frequently in my life- the elephant and the tiger, signs that let me know I am moving in the right direction. It doesn't mean I ever have it all figured out, because who does? However, it is a symbol of synchronicity for me, a message from God that says, "Yes!!! Keep going this way!!"
The elephant first showed up on the scene as Kinda and I were planning our business, Reconnected to Life. Elephant represents someone called for leadership of their tribe and has abilities to stand strong but remain compassionate. Being a leader in no way means that I am the boss of anything or anyone. Rather, a true leader facilitates space for others to work through challenges effectively and encourages them to find the gifts that are inherently theirs, in order to share those gifts with their community. As a midwife, it is never my job to tell a woman how she should give birth, although when split second decisions need to be made concerning the health of mom or baby, I make them without hesitation. As a coach, I never tell someone that what they are doing is bad or that they should stop certain behaviors. I can offer insight based on personal examples and timeless principles, but it is always up to the client to do the work and come to their own conclusions about what needs to change in their life, in order to experience their healthiest self, both physically and mentally.
The tiger arrived when I began doing the Whole 30 program, a nutrition plan designed to eliminate sugar and other foods that are known to be inflammatory to our system. The first few days are hell because your body is literally withdrawing from sugar, so you can experience extreme fatigue and emotional outbursts. And oh, do I ever, lol. The first couple of days I am so tired I could fall asleep standing up. It's torture to even leave the house because I feel so bad. Then my mind starts in and I am aware of every perceived wrong anyone has ever inflicted on me. The experience usually culminates in me losing my ever loving shit in bursts of anger and fits of crying, before finally leveling out. But Day 16. Day 16 is referred to as "tiger blood" day, and it is the reason I have just completed a Whole 30 for the fourth time. Day 16 is like getting your second wind. Not only do I feel good, I am more energetic, more productive, and more inspired than at any other time. I chase that feeling because it is then that I feel "in the flow", when my mental outlook on life is at its most positive, and opportunities just seem to fall in my lap.
We just completed our first Reconnect Retreat. The theme for the retreat was welcoming Spring and the renewal and growth the season symbolizes. The goal was to experience a day of intention by nourishing our bodies with real food, replenishing our abilities to move our bodies more freely through yoga, massage, and hiking, and encouraging mental and emotional clarity through group discussion and journaling workshops, as well as periods of silent reflection. It is in these spaces between, when we allow ourselves freedom from the noise of the world and the expectations that constantly bombard us. These spaces are where we are faced with issues in our lives that we may need to address, whether related to a job, a relationship, or any big decision. The only way to face our challenges in a healthy way is by bringing the healthiest version of ourselves to each situation. My own experiences of coping with life through the Four Seeds of consistently eating well, sleeping well, meditating and exercising, is why I am so passionate about others realizing the power that lies in integrating these very basic principles.
All that being said, there are plenty of days when I ask myself who I think I am having the audacity to think I can take on such big tasks as holding the balance of life and death in my hands through birth, or offering advice to someone about the best way for them to live. I doubt myself often, never wanting to come across as a controlling know-it-all. I pray all the time to know that I am on the right path, that I am exactly where I need to be in my personal growth and for the people I am connected with through my work. After the retreat, I went to a friend's for a glass of wine. There were children's toys laying all around the house, and as I got up to leave, I noticed these two pieces right in front of me on the table. I'll just leave you with this.