Perhaps it is my Scorpio Sun Sign, but I am drawn to symbolism like a vampire to a silky smooth neck. We Scorpios love to interpret symbols and untangle a good mystery. For example, I am looking back over my first two sentences here and noticing all the “s” words (like a snake hissing, and snakes are a Scorpio symbol). And don’t even get me started on the vampire symbol. . . . blood and death and regeneration. Doesn’t get more Scorpio than that.
One of my favorite symbolic languages–other than the obvious one of astrology– is that of animal totems. Many cultures look to nature for messages, and if we can learn the “dictionary” of animal symbols, we too can receive these messages.
Now, first let me state that I don’t necessarily believe in “signs” or “omens” the way you might think. I believe too strongly in free will to think that there are set-in-stone meanings. Rather, I believe that one should pay attention to the symbol that appears, and then ask what that symbol means for oneself.
Here are two examples of animals and their symbolic meanings:
Squirrel: Are you planning and preparing properly? Are you too busy or not busy enough? Are you balanced in gathering and giving?
Snake: Are there areas of your life that require transformation? Are youpaying attention and being discriminating in what’s going on around you?
Just for today, why not be open to the messengers that appear to you? Observe, research, and reflect. Just by the very act of wondering, you will be inviting new possibilities into your world.
Sports and fitness have always been a part of my life. I began to play organized sports when I was twelve years old, and I have been a coach and personal trainer since 1993. The lessons I have learned from athletics have been priceless.
For me, the most valuable lesson has been discipline. Learning how to clear the mind and prepare for anything is truly a gift, and one that keeps giving in all areas of life. I believe that getting the mind set for action is like cleaning out the attic, clearing away the cobwebs and getting rid of stuff you didn’t need anyway.
I use four guidelines to get my mind set; these guidelines are useful for any task, from running a marathon to solving a problem at work.
- SIMPLIFY. Get rid of what doesn’t work. I mean this literally as well as figuratively. Old clothes that you haven’t worn in years, old habits that don’t contribute anything to your life. I know of people who will not go to a workout unless the hair, makeup, outfit is just right. I see two problems here. First, most people are not really watching you; they are more worried about their own appearance or their own workout. Second, if you have done your workout correctly, you will need to shower after the workout anyway! By hanging onto inefficient habits and unfounded beliefs, not only have you wasted your own time, but you have also caused yoursel unnecessary stress.
- BECOME MINDFUL. I encourage everyone to develop a strong kinesthetic sense and to realize that the body is not separate from the mind. Being more aware of yourself can literally turn up the volume on your senses. By paying attention, by thinking about what you are doing, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you see, hear, taste, or feel. You might even find that what you thought was a lack of coordination was really just an undeveloped sense of your body.
- BECOME ACTIVE. Put the emphasis on you. You are an active participant in your life, not a passive victim. Raise the standards for yourself and constantly strive to outdo them. Robert Browning once wrote, ” a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Let this be your guiding principal in all your endeavors.
- VISUALIZE. Visualization techniques are not just for Olympic athletes. You can use them to perform better and conquer any challenge in life. First, quiet your mind by breathing deeply a few times. Then visualize yourself accomplishing your goal as though a camera is filming from the perspective of your eyes, not as though you are taping yourself from the outside. This is important. By mentally viewing the scene as if you are DOING IT, not as if you are WATCHING IT, you will have greater success.
Be patient with yourself as you develop your new mindset. Remember that you may have spent years NOT paying attention. And remember that mistakes are not failures. Rather they are opportunities to learn more about yourself. Conquer the mental chatter that is trying to talk you out of success, embrace the challenge, and always keep learning.
Most of us REALLY dislike change. I believe we humans are somewhat hardwired to seek pleasaure and avoid pain, and change can certainly be painful sometimes. So why change?
If you are brave enough to listen to that little voice inside your head telling you that something’s not right, then it is time for a change. Perhaps your career is going nowhere, perhaps you are starting to experience ill health because of weight gain, or perhaps you have finally had enough of “just getting by.”
Carolyn Myss, an author and teacher of intuition workshops, says that “our biography becomes our biology.” That is, if we betray ourselves by not listening to that little voice, our bodies will register that betrayal. Have you ever worked at a job you hated or for someone you didn’t respect? You probably got headaches or back pain. When we ignore our instincts or refuse to listen to our hearts, we get in trouble.
Myss goes on to say, “As long as you stay confused and decide that you have no idea what choice to make, you are actually trying to manage the speed of change because you don’t want change to happen.” In other words, you indecision is really your decision.
If your little voice is telling you that you need to make a change, then you need to trust that it is true. Trusting yourself can be intimidating, I know. But ask yourself if you are afraid of following your intuition simply because of the changes that will come in your life.
Consider NOT hating that which is difficult. Embrace the difficult. Billie Jean King once said that “pressure is privilege.” Tackle the hard things, and find out what you are made of. It is very likely to be stronger stuff than you ever imagined.
Welcome, fellow searchers and seekers! As Socrates said, wisdom begins in wonder, so this blog is dedicated to making both of us, you the reader and me the writer, wonder and question about everything in life. What is our purpose here? How can I be my best? What is the meaning in my life?
Please join me in learning as much as we can about our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. Questions, comments, and suggestions welcom!