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don Miguel Ruiz



Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

Mountain Lion Medicine

Last week, the Mountain Lion started stalking me again. She has been my Totem for the last 22 years and probably long before that.

My first encounter with her was the year before I met Madre Sarita—my spiritual grandmother and the woman who solidified my life as a shaman. That cat came face to face with me on a trail one night, and I came face to face with myself. It was the answer to my prayers that I had set out with that morning— to integrate the strength and independence I had found that summer, exploring the wilds of Mount Rainier’s glacial landscapes.

Looking in her fierce cat eyes, my world stilled and I took her in. It was a steadfast resolve that I received—to honor the solitude of the journey before me—and a perfect preparation for the divergence that led me to Sarita. I needed that courage to walk alone, and the conviction to stay once I arrived (despite the loneliness in me that wanted to run home).

So when I crossed paths with a baby Mountain Lion last week, I jested that my Totem medicine was regressing. Truly though, as I laughed with that baby’s playfully curious eyes upon me, I knew it to be a progression— an evolution of my strength and independence. ‘But how?’ I wondered. ‘Show me’, I invited and then awaited the reveal.

It came just up the trail as I paused to weigh my precarious solitude against the mother Lion that was likely nearby. Two young women fervently hiked passed me. “There’s a Mountain Lion over yonder.”, I cautioned them casually. They were quick to fly to fear, turning their racing hearts towards the safety of retreat. “It’s okay. I’ll hike with you. We’ll be a pack.” I smiled reassuringly, feeling more like the mother Lion now than my Totem baby.

But fear leapt from their beings as swiftly as it had come, mothering unsolicited, and our pack of three charged upward in blithely banter and sisterly ease. Tears found my eyes as my heart opened in a new way, or perhaps an old one— to the old ways of sisterhood where strength and independence is cultivated through interdependence.

Though the medicine of that baby Lion continues to weave its story into me, it has begun in a most beautiful way— this sister no longer walks alone.

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling
Shameless Beauty (revised)

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