Over the last few weeks, many of you have asked about the deer image I created for my blog. So, I’ll try to explain why and how I chose the deer, or perhaps more accurately, how the deer chose me. In doing so, I must admit that sharing this feels more vulnerable and personal than other posts, yet it also feels important to share.
Why the deer?
For the last year I have been courted by this majestic and graceful animal. In times of sorrow, challenge, and difficulty the deer (and the buck in particular) has been my guide. The deer has helped show me the way and has given me strength and fortitude to carry forward. In particular, there are three encounters that have been personally meaningful and transformative.
Deer out of water – About a year ago, just shortly after my former partner left, I went for my daily walk to the ocean. That morning I was struggling emotionally and I decided to change course and walk a different way. Yet, as I approached the ocean something told me to go the way I knew. I listened to my gut, and as I turned to walk the way I had been many times before, I witnessed a buck swimming out of the ocean towards me. Our eyes locked and we stared at each other for several moments. He then looked back towards the ocean, as if to see if someone or something was coming. There was nothing. He looked back at me and intently stared and bowed his head. It was if he was saying “it will all be ok. You will be ok on your own.” He then ran off into the forest. It was an extremely powerful experience.
Soul bound – Nearly a week after being diagnosed with lymphoma, I had another encounter with the deer, yet this time I was visited by the deer in a dream. In my dream, I was walking through the forest with some friends and we spotted two deer. Seeing these deer, I decided to blow a whistle (interestingly I was wearing one around my neck), and in response the two deer ran backwards. When the deer reached the end of the path, the buck proceeded to run towards me. Instead of stepping out the way, I stood firmly in my spot, and the deer ran into my body. In that moment I woke up and every cell of my being was alive. It was if the deer had become part of my soul and wanted me to know that he was with me on this journey. It was simply unexplainable!
My spirit guide – A month ago I attended a wilderness retreat based on Bill Plotkin’s book: “Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche,” and again the deer showed up. We had been asked to find a spirit spot in the wilderness and on my walk to find “my spot,” I struggled to simply wander. In an attempt to get out of my head, I put my head down and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. After getting completely and utterly lost, I looked north (the direction of our generative, nurturing adult), and a doe stood staring at me. I tried to follow her through the forest, yet lost sight of her. She then re-emerged as if to say “follow me.” I did and she led me to a clearing where two of her friends were grazing. The three deer then dispersed into the forest. At that moment, I “knew” that I had found my spirit spot! The deer had been my guide!
Through each experience I have had with the deer (of which there are many more), I am reminded that I have many valuable lessons to learn. And so, as I embark on this next step in my life, I chose to continue to pay attention to him/her, and embody his/her qualities. I seek to be gentle and graceful; sensitive and intuitive; innocent, yet wise; mindful and vigilant; and in touch with the great mysteries and awe of life.
Thank you dear one for your teachings. I am watching and listening!