Friday, September 28, 2012

Playing Dead

I like to sleep with the windows open pretty much all year. My mountain geography allows this most months save for January. I have to have fresh air to have the best dreams is my rationale. Fernando not so much. We compromise on open window, closed curtains. Last night with the full harvest moon ready to pop and the neighbor's dog on a wolf hunt and the coyotes in full orchestration, I was ready to lock it down too. But instead I got up to investigate. Not alone of course, I want everyone to share in my insomnia. Just because you can sleep through a 120lb lab barking for an hour without pause, doesn't mean I'll let you. So off we went with flashlights, robes and hiking boots.

Square in the street a huge Opossum frozen and showing teeth and Diesel dog three feet away. No one reaching an agreement. No one diverting. Impasse. Not playing dead exactly but not fool enough to turn tail and run to nowhere in particular. What the opossum lacks in looks he's got in moxie. Diesel had already proven that he was all hat and no cowboy. The fake charge. The insanely vibrating bark through the hollow. The size difference lack of perspective. Diesel is an easy target with a piece of cheese in your pocket and I came prepared. We walked him back to our house since he was seemingly shut out of his own and brought him inside. The opossum waited a good 15 minutes before he even turned around. Make no sudden moves. Act natural. All is well.

In Mexi-Indian Medicine, Fernando explained that in his village the Otomi women use Opossum meat and hair in Curanderismo ceremonies to help people with fear issues or Susto. A soul shaking fright or trauma which encourages the soul to leave the body. Fear takes up residence instead. Opossum conjures up the ways of the warrior by playing dead. Using the power of discernment, you wait until the last possible moment to act. And only when necessary. Weathering the storm and waiting until the coast is clear. The act of not doing can be more powerful than doing and the Opossum is an unlikely but formidable agent of this message. She has the fangs and the teeth but those are only brought out in emergencies. Have you been bringing out your fangs and teeth more lately?

In our micromanaged lives of psuedo productivity we can often lose sight of the joy, the magic, the unknown. We try to schedule everything into bite sized little check lists. To Do. Bucket. Grocery. This can leave us bored. Scared (of nothing in particular) and without soul. Danielle LaPorte has a great check list to assist those addicted to time management (like me) and see? Another list. But it's a good one.

So what does the lowly homely slow and stinky opossum have to do with a totem message of supernatural power? It represents the feminine energy of instinct. Wait. Decline. Refuse to take the bait. Don't fight back. But I'm not victim you say! I'm going to defend myself...! This actually works against your personal power and energies. Often the best strategy is no defense. You certainly don't have to defend your right to be. Obligations (so often self imposed) and excuses used to get out of situations with people you don't care for or any excuses really. Be gone! All you have to say is, "that's not appropriate for me at this time..." or some version therein if that sounds less high hatted. But making up stories?  I have to work, I'm too tired, I'm watching my weight, I'm home with the hubby, kids, cats. You owe no one an excuse. Say it. I OWE NO ONE.

Opossum reminds you to use your brain. Be clever. Improv. You can figure this out. Or it may just figure itself out. I find that when I finally let go of the reins and just let the jackals have at it? the outcome is the same, and I've preserved my personal power. You may have to PRETEND to be apathetic but in the end it will be less draining and you can put that energy into something more pleasurable.

If you want to get in touch with your inner Opossum or just nature and quiet in general, consider a weekend at The Habersham Hacienda in the lofty apt. Write the next chapter. Nap. Eat. Walk. Pet a chicken. Paint.