For those of you who do not know my house has a pet grouse. And we have a history! It all started last year when this grouse appeared out of the speckled forest in our back yard. It seemed friendly enough, never flying away in fear, generally just curious. It always came about and explored what we were up to until one changing day when it hopped on my son’s back and scared the poop out of him. Now you’re messing with my baby Mr. Grouse and mama’s got a problem with that.
I chased that bird away into the bush on countless occasions, one time with a broom, only to have it follow us over and over again. Last winter we were enjoying a nice day sliding down the hill in the yard and it decided to jump on my back as I slid down. I jumped off my plastic, green slide in terror and hid under it and using like a shield until my husband stopped laughing enough to chase it away.
This winter the grouse has been M.I.A. and quite frankly I was at peace with that. But yesterday, as I drove home from a medical appointment I slammed on my breaks and came to a dead stop. The sun glared in my eyes as my mouth dropped open in disbelief. Twelve, grey, confident grouse strolled across the road with their chests puffed up in the air walking slowly and commanding road. The hair on my arms stood up and I knew those grouse were sending me a message.
In her book Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams connects the grouse to the sacred spiral. She asks us, “Analyze the way you move through your world. How do you picture yourself in the act of “locomotion”…What word would you use to describe the way you move through both the material and spiritual worlds?…is your movement compatible with your greatest desires and goals?” She also speaks of the grouse being an ancient symbol for birth and rebirth. The sacred spiral is also a symbol of personal power, a feminine symbol that we used to paint on our bodies for ceremonies and vision quests, a symbol of visioning to the center of creation, down the sacred spiral and towards the center and still spot of a tornado.
This message fit well as I have been really exploring my energy lately and witnessing how much I push myself and how much I pull back. And in my self-assessment I’ve come to realize that I’m really good at pushing myself and I rarely pull back my energy on my own accord but usually out of collapse. I typically go from a state of pushing, pushing, pushing to a grinding halt…stopped dead in my tracks with inertia and exhaustion. The experience of pulling back is not gentle or subtle, it’s extreme and fierce. It’s forceful and out of desperation, a need for recuperation and a catching of my breath for survival. Like everyone else I’m learning to exist somewhere between inertia and a thousand miles a minute and moving away from the extremes. I do know this, for every action there is an equal or greater reaction. So when we move to one extreme, there is always the opposite extreme waiting for our arrival.
My yoga class is showing me it’s in the small shifts that we can gently move to and from our edge. Whether it’s in doing every second sun-salutation instead of every single one or maybe it’s taking a half pose instead of the full pose. Sometimes it’s using modifications or props for support rather than pushing to the far edge of triangle pose and into injury or exhaustion. Maybe its letting the dishes dry in the sink every so often or reading a good book instead of doing the laundry every second night. I found it to be quite playful to try and find balance in a gentle, subtle, loving way in my every day life instead of just pushing and getting through these few days and then falling ill or finishing my weak in a state of depletion.
I’m aware too that I’ve over-done myself to the nards so much that when my body is pushed past her limit just a bit she reacts angrily and with an autoimmune flare up. So I’ve had to learn the luscious lessons of pulling back from the edge this year and now I find myself wanting to live in the pocket of it, not pushing past it, and not quite pulling back from it either. Just dancing in the swirling energy of the edge, and following it’s changing parameters on each day, in each moment at each season.
As I reflect on 2014 I realize now this year for me was in many ways about pausing. It was about stillness, reflection, contemplation, absorption, rooting, grounding, filling up the tank and restoration. Not the easiest of years’ for an over-doer. This year has been in many ways about sitting damn close to inertia and letting that be my edge. Our edges move, it’s not always where we think it should be, or even where we want it to be but it is where it is. It changes daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. All we can do is simply allow it to be where it is today and do our best to honor it. I had a couple goals for 2014 I did not accomplish but I can see now as I reflect now that I couldn’t move my energy out to accomplish that goal when I was taking the year to pull my energy in and fill up in preparation for 2015, a year of manifestation. There is a wisdom to our edges that is supernatural and purposeful.
So as we close this season, may you and I dance the sacred spiral of the Grouse. Allowing ourselves to at times push, at times pull back, all while being gentle and subtle, not aggressive or forceful. May we at times simply observe our energies to be as they are without a desire to change them. I encourage you to allow yourself to fall into a slower, more reflective pace for the winter season and dream the dream like the great dreaming bear who hibernates in the caves of Mother Earth. Fill yourself up with visions and dreams for the new year ahead.
I genuinely feel that learning about the 28 day lunar cycles and its’ connection to our 28 day menstrual cycles will help us find our edges. So invite you to witness how as a new moon approaches we are often in low energy, like a seed just being planted into the soil and allow yourself to be softer, gentler and slower during this time. The moon is dark and requesting us to reflect, imagine, and dream the vision for the seed we are planting. I always notice that the 3 days before a new moon I am often more tired and low energy as the end of a moon cycle comes to a close and a new moon cycle is preparing for release. Witness too that generally at a full moon, we are typically more energetic, vibrating, buzzing and hatching our goals and allow our edges to expand further and wider. We have more energy, we are at our peaks as the moon shines brightest in the sky.
May this upcoming New Moon & Winter Solstice on Sunday be a time for you to sit…reflect…dream…imagine your goals for the upcoming 2015 year. See them in your mind’s eye, see yourself doing and being in the next year to come. Dream the dream and dance the sacred spiral of the Grouse.
Look for more one day classes and short essays on teachings of the Sacred Feminine, Moon Time & Sacred Spirals in the New Year. It will be a great year. 🙂
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“We are born as wild mountain lions but live most of our lives like sheep, forgetting and denying whole parts of ourselves.” Lynn Andrews.