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Friday, March 16, 2012

What the Lion Has Been Trying to Teach Me

I've been wondering why lions have been appearing to me over the last year. I'm not one who usually sees lions. I suppose I like lions, but I've never felt particularly connected to them.

It started around last February. Each time I meditated or scryed into a crystal, trying to connect with my spirit guides, at least one lion would appear in my mind's eye. I had no idea what it could mean.

I looked up everything I could about lions, metaphysical and zoological as well. I watched several documentaries. I bought a little stuffed lion and used a lion screen-saver, trying to tap into "lion energy," hoping a message would somehow come through to explain the appearances.

I certainly learned a lot about lions! I watched for signs in the behavior of the documentary lions or a story in the films that I could relate to. I felt for resonance in articles and books on lions. I slept with my stuffed lion and stared into the eyes of the lion on my desktop. His expression was impossible to read and was starting to make me a bit uncomfortable.

I took several stabs at explanations. The concept of "strength" seemed important. Did I need to be more aggressive in some area of my life? Perhaps I needed to feel "pride" in something? Should I be getting a little more sun? Maybe I needed to contribute more to a community or was it that I needed to “hunt” for something, perhaps with a group? Was it time for me to roar? At different times, each possibility seemed true in some way. Yet, none of them seemed like the real reason for so many lions appearing so many times. I keep seeing lions when I meditate, but lately I've sort of given up on trying to figure out what it's all about.

Today, I was doing my usual daily reading using my Ludy Lescot Tarot. It was going fine, looking pretty good actually. Then, I laid down the last card. The Devil! Ugh! Now what??? Was I going to overindulge in something like I did the last time I got The Devil card and couldn't put down the carton of Denali Bear Claw ice cream? Is there some addiction I have that I need to acknowledge? Again, ice cream comes to my mind. I couldn't possibly be in bondage to someone or something at the moment and not realize it, could I? I really didn't see how. Looking at the image, I wondered if maybe I was going to have some kind of wild night?

As I sat there looking at the Devil card. It just wasn't making sense to me.

A couple days ago, I got a great deal on a deck that had been on my wishlist for a long time, the Osho Zen Tarot which I've been getting to know this week. I've only studied a couple of the cards so far and have been really delighted by its perspective on Tarot. So I figured, what the heck, and I reached for the guidebook to that deck. I looked up card #15, The Devil card, but in the Osho Zen it's called “Conditioning.” Hmmm... I took out the deck and looked at the card. That's when my mind was officially blown.

From the Osho Zen Tarot guidebook:
“The card recalls an old Zen story, about a lion who was brought up by sheep and thought he was a sheep, until an old lion captured him and took him to a pond, where he showed him his own reflection.”

The book goes on to say: “It's time to take a look at your own reflection in the pond, and make a move to break out of whatever you have been conditioned by others to believe about yourself.”

It also talked about not playing it safe and cozy like a sheep, but rather to be the individual that the lion is, and being dedicated to freedom, rather than being obedient.

I read it again and it hit me like a ton of bricks!

You see, at the moment I am "between jobs." For the first time in over ten years, I don't have a steady "day job." I'm just not used to it yet, but I'm working on it. I know a lot of folks are going through the same thing especially in this economy, but it just feels weird. I suppose I'm a little more than stressed over it. I've been actually breaking out in hives!

It's like I go from feeling incredibly optimistic about the future... to really uncertain. When I do readings on this transition for myself I keep getting The Fool card or an oracle message to “Trust the Universe.” It kind of makes me worry that I'm going to somehow do something careless like the Fool stepping off a cliff. “Anything is possible” is not what I want to hear right now. Being reminded that it's a "new beginning" doesn't feel all that helpful either. I want the sure bet. I want my readings to say "call ____" or “apply for ____ job.” And it feels like all that's coming thru is the "____" part. I keep chanting to myself “I trust the universe”... while crossing my fingers.

On the one hand, I'm excited about not having to answer to a boss right now or punch an imaginary clock. I finally have the opportunity to follow my heart and create the life I really want!

But, on the other hand, I'm nagged by the idea that I've never really felt wholly in charge of me or my time before. Have I grown dependent on having someone to answer to and having a salary? That sounds lame. But, could it be true?

It dawned on me that throughout my life I've been continually “conditioned.” As a child, as a soldier, in my career – it's always been about carving out a tiny bit of freedom to be myself within everyone else's world: The world of the farm I grew up on with it's early to bed, early to rise, muck out the stalls, and tend the fields; the world of the Army and it's reveille at o'dark-thirty, marching in formation, and constant performance ratings; and the worlds of the divas I've worked for with their incessant demands, crazy hours and eternal just-one-more-things.

After the deluge of these thoughts had filled my brain, I turned on my netbook and I gazed at my desktop lion for awhile. Then, I had a good cry. I finally understood the look in his eyes. He's been saying, “It's time to be you!” This time the message feels true.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful conclusion the Lion has finally brought you. Now is the time to be true to yourself and who you are! I remember us talking about the Lion, I did not realize it has been that long. Yet;, for those that try to speak to us time has no meaning only the joy and happiness when we finally achieve that ah ha moment.