Monday, October 19, 2009

Snake medicine.

{I like this image because , as we all know, fear loses
it's power when one looks directly into its eyes.

There's one thing I've always been afraid of and that's snakes. As a matter of fact, my very first memory as a young girl is of accidentally running over a garter snake with my tricycle. I remember the sun, the perfectly green grass, and the absolute focus of my journey from Point A to Point B. I was, what you might call, "in the zone," lost in my travels, a pedaling adventure between Clara's garden and the house. I remember the absolute fear that coursed through my body as I saw my front tire bump right over the top of that fine, slithering body and the lightening speed with which I climbed to the top of Clara's head (well, at least as far as her shoulders). Clara, bless her soul, a tiny woman whom my siblings and I adopted as an extra grandma, stayed calm the entire time. I even remember the sweetness of her smile as she peeled me off her head and assured me that there was no reason at all to be afraid.

Despite many noble attempts, I have never been able to overcome my fear of snakes. It seems to be a fear I was born with--and is, in my humble opinion, a fear that any intelligent creature SHOULD be born with. Gah. Of course, living in the country comes with its fair share of snakes. That is to be expected. And, luckily, in Minnesota none of the snakes living here are poisonous (but that's beside the point).

Earlier today, I posted a comment on Facebook proclaiming that I was going to FREAK out if I saw one more snake basking in the sun outside my studio door. Now that the weather has gotten cold and then warm again...oh my good god, they are out in hoards, storing up as much sun for the winter as they can. I can't blame them for that. And, actually, if I wasn't afraid of them, I might even think that they look quite stunning. They are graceful and quick. The bigger, older ones seem to possess an intelligence that I even respect.

But when they are laying right across the metal strip of the threshold of my studio door, warming themselves in the crack of the concrete between inside and out, and along the sun-warmed front of my studio, there they lay. Well...this is just about enough to push me over my snake-fearing edge. When they crawled under the door not once, but three times in one day (yesterday)....oh, bloody hell, that is just about more than I can stand! (ps. today none have made it that far--thank god).

And, yet, I get the very clear feeling that they are not attempting to stay in here. They have no interest in making a home in my studio, rather they are just trying to find some temporary warmth before falling asleep for the winter in whatever warm earth den they call home.

A couple of wonderful friends suggested that I look into what the Snake might have to teach me. After all, there is often a reason that things show up in our lives. I couldn't agree more and, after a little bit of reading, learned that "Snake arrives when we are moving toward change, and need to let go of a part of our old self....prepare to shed something in favor of something greater and better." And Tanaya shared with me this link.

My first reaction to the idea of more change was the desire to throw a temper tantrum. You know, one that goes like this: "But I don't wwwwaaaaaannnaaaa change anymooooore!" After all, this past year has felt like nothing BUT change! The notion of change has sort of lost its shiny luster for me and, as I was driving to the store, I began to realize that although I once used to equate change to excitement and adventure, I've now started to equate to pain and emotional/physical/mental discomfort. It's no wonder I'm no longer welcoming it into my life! I find myself whining: Can't things stay the same for just a little bit?!

haha! Yeah, right.

OK, Snake. In the moment of realizing what was holding me back from change (that is, fear of more discomfort), I decided that I'm going to start over. After all, there ARE plenty of things that I am more than ready to change about my life. Some things are actually causing a helluva lot of pain and discomfort in staying the same. Especially my work to income ratio and my relationship with time (among other things, I'm sure). Snake Medicine also teaches about intuition, creativity, transmutation, and the energy of wholeness. Hmmm...not all bad. This is something I can work with.

I still can't say that I like snakes--or even that I plan to anytime soon. But ever since returning home I've decided that every time I step over the threshold of my studio, it is an opportunity to face my fears and grow past them. The snake is just a metaphor. I step through the door and, each time, find myself returning to the words: Be Brave. Two years later and I'm still living those words every single day. Damn those words. They are good.

You see, there is power living inside of this studio. Great amounts of beautiful, heartfelt, loving power. And by power, I mean Inner Power. The kind of stuff that causes me to glow. The sort of power that lets me know, without a doubt, that in this very moment, I am living my life's purpose; I am doing my best and truest work. The way I feel when I'm painting or creating is worth stepping over any number of snakes.

Snake is fire medicine. It has vitality and intelligence. It is protective, healing, acutely intuitive and it's movements lack resistance. These days, I desire to find a way to allow my passion to take better care of me (and visa versa). You know the quote by Albert Einstein: We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Well, I'm going to believe that the Snake is showing up in my life (REPEATEDLY!) to jar me out of old patterns. Every time I step into my studio or back into the world outside, I make a conscious decision in the direction of Bravery and new thinking.

Instead of representing fear, what if I give Snake the power to represent Change? And what if I decide to no longer equate Change with negative experiences? How about if, this time around, Change means something GOOD and, in this way, gives Change the power to mean that awesome things are coming my way? What if I allow Snake to become a reminder for me to use a new way of thinking and acting? Think new, create new.

OK, Snake, be my teacher. I am, after all, more than ready for the next leap.

Image credits: http:


Amber said...

Beautiful post! I love it. Insight from all over...we never know. ;)

I have never been afraid of snakes. I used to catch them when I was a kid. But spiders? NOOOOO!!! lol


Sharon said...

Yes, beautiful, insightful post! My first thought was, 'She HAS to write a book!'

It also made me regret that as a 10 year old on the farm, I used to capture snakes, cut their heads off and skin them... I wanted to make myself a snake-skin belt... and yes, I was a tom-boy... to the nth degree!

Anonymous said...

beautiful post, jessie. miss you. xoxo

jana said...

I shared your post with a friend of mine who got a large snake tattoo a few years ago. Her explanation of the symbolism behind her tattoo is fascinating and I thought you might enjoy reading it:

Jessie said...

wowzas, jana, thanks for the link. that is an impressive tattoo!

interestingly, i have not seen another snake since writing this post. i have been dreaming about them every night though. i feel like i've grown about 10 inches taller since confronting my fear of confidence seems to have grown in every other aspect of my life and i know it has a lot to do with this. strange, yes. but true.

bella said...

You know, I love you girlie. You are a thinker and a do-er, and I absolutely LOVE the lesson you've taken from your fear. xo

ps.. I've had an invasion of lady-bugs and brown stink beetles around my house. any thoughts :)

Samosas for One said...

Sometimes I wish you weren't so busy so that I got to hear your thoughts on my thoughts over at my blog because of all the blogs I read I feel the most that you are a kindred spirit of mine. I don't know why, although it is ironic that your dog has my name. But then I realize that is selfish and I feel really happy for you that your business is taking off and you're living your dream.

Anonymous said...

Last month I quit my job after 19 years of teaching. I took a leap into the chasm of change and the unknown. I went down kicking and screaming because I hate uncertainty. Almost immediately I started having dreams of snakes, always two small ones that I was unafraid of. Then I started seeing snakes and snake skins in my garden. Hard to miss the symbolism in all this, since it did mirror almost exactly what was going on in my life.

Beautiful post and lovely writing.

Jessie said...

congratulations on your brave leap, wallswithdoors. i'm only now beginning to understand the symbolism of snakes in my life and it includes some BIG change!

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog.. is it still alive like you I hope, or dead like it seems to B? Maybe it's time for a new skin?I am a snake myself in many respects..