January 2, 2018
I can’t believe how quickly this past year has flown by!
I felt a strong urge this evening (late as it is) to write to you as it has been some time since my last post.
Perhaps this urge to write may have to do with the Full Wolf Moon that rose on the 1st day of January 2018 (i.e. a few hours ago!). Native American tradition holds that on this day, the Full Wolf Moon appeared when hungry wolves howled outside of the villages.
Or, perhaps my urge to write to you this night may have to do more with finding the right moment to actually sit down with my thoughts after a very eventful 2017.
There is, however, a third possibility I had turned my mind to this week. It has to do with the power of remembrance, the eagle and eagle medicine.
Journey into Silence Meditation with Mandy Trapp of Lifestyle Meditation
Over the holiday break, I had occasion to catch up with a long-time friend and colleague of mine who embarked upon her journey in mindfulness in 2014 – around the same time as I began mine.
We caught up over dinner at a downtown restaurant, and then decided how lovely it would be to attend a meditation class together to “ring in “ the New Year. I was excited to attend a meditation class with my dear friend as it been a long time since we had last attended one together in a formal setting.
As it turns out, Lifestyle Meditation had a Saturday morning class offering at 8:30 a.m. The title for the class was “Journey into Silence” with Mandy Trapp (who, by the way, is a powerful and gifted meditation teacher and owner of Lifestyle Meditation).
Journey into silence.
It’s exactly the words I needed to hear.
In a nutshell, this past year – especially in the last 6 months – my trajectory has taken yet a different path, to a new law firm, a new group of work colleagues, and a new set of challenges that I wasn’t sure I would be able to cope with, even with my training in mindfulness and yoga.
And yet, here I am. I am here. I am whole. I am grateful.
In the last 6 months, I can honestly say that I love my new job. I love where I work, the type of work I do, and I absolutely adore the people that I work with. The transition could not have been more seamless – from the time that I began working at my new firm, I have felt at home.
It may sound cliché, but I truly feel as though I have (finally) arrived at a place where my gifts and talents as a lawyer have been duly acknowledged and appreciated by my peers as much as my clients – where a level of genuine and mutual respect exists between colleagues the minute I arrive at the office. There is something extremely satisfying in the knowledge that my work and skill sets have contributed to the work and furtherance of the vision of the firm.
To have found a firm where I feel completely at home is simply a blessing.
It has also been a huge blessing to me that I have been able to maintain my yoga teaching at Good Life Fitness since I joined as a group fitness instructor in April 2017. I am continually inspired by my students who show up each and every week to class ready to move and breathe together in light, peace, and freedom.
So what, you might ask, does this all have to do with the meditation class that I attended this past week over the holiday break? In a word: everything.
You see, during the meditation class (guided by the very gifted Mandy Trapp of Lifestyle Meditation), we were guided through a journey into the Self, in which we were asked to set an intention for our practice, and ask that it be made manifest to us in some way.
My intention statement was: “I am moving forward in expansion, light and freedom.”
With Mandy’s guidance, we breathed life into our intention statement, raising our individual vibration so that we might open ourselves to the possibility of messages from source, from our spirit guides, from our animal guides.
From our animal guides. As you may recall, this past February, I travelled back to Sedona, Arizona, which I have previously written about here. What I did not mention in that post – perhaps because the moment was still too raw for me to write about in a public blog post – is that I had visited with a Shaman who led me out to the desert for a spiritual cleansing.
I can still remember that beautiful morning in the desert. The sun was brilliant and hot. The sky was turquoise blue. There was not a cloud in the sky. I immediately connected with my guide, who pursued her dharma as a Shaman after deciding that her position as a finance executive was not what she was meant to do with her life. She was meant to heal others. She realized her dharma after having to undertake the difficult task of assisting her brother who was dying from a terminal medical condition.
I had asked my guide if she could perform a cleansing ceremony on me, to help purify me of negative energy that did not serve me, and to welcome new energy into my life. During the cleansing ceremony, my guide suddenly shouted at me to look up into the sky. I did as she instructed me to do, and what I saw amazed me.
Over our heads, a bald eagle soared above in the turquoise sky. It circled our heads for what seemed like an eternity (but in reality, probably for approximately 2 or so minutes). My guide immediately turned to me and told me that this was a very rare event, to be visited by the sacred bald eagle during this type of ceremony. There was a message that the eagle needed to convey to me, she explained, but that I may not understand that message until I returned to Canada.
I was completely in awe of what had just occurred. I did not speak of this witness of the bald eagle to many people upon my return to Canada, not even to my buddy Gurinder, who I had travelled with to Sedona.
Although I was extremely curious as to why the bald eagle had decided to participate in the cleansing ceremony that day in the desert, I did not pursue this inquiry when I got back to Edmonton. Instead, the ebbs and flows of my work life took over.
Even when I started my new job with my firm in July of 2017, I did not turn my mind to whether the transition had anything to do with the visitation from the eagle that beautiful morning in the Sedona desert.
“The eagle is your spirit guide”
It should not have been a surprise that when Mandy left us in silence for 20 minutes, the same eagle that had visited me in Sedona this past February came back to visit me during my meditation.
But, I was surprised. Not at the experience of witnessing the eagle again in my meditation; but, because I had forgotten about the experience altogether for the past several months! What this showed me was that even the most steadfast practitioners of mindfulness get off track once in a while. That is, the tendency to move into states of mindlessness and wakelessness – do happen, even to the “best” of us.
When I told Mandy that I had received a second visit from the eagle that visited me in the Sedona desert, she looked at me and said very matter-of-factly: “Alex, this is eagle medicine. The eagle is your spirit guide. They are trying to convey a message to you. The eagle is very important to indigenous cultures. I recommend that you look into eagle medicine.”
And so I did. I have come to learn in just the past few days of my preliminary on-line research that there is a field of indigenous medicine called “eagle medicine”. Ina Woolcott, for example, describes this medicine as: “Eagle’s medicine includes swiftness, strength, courage, wisdom, keen sight, illumination of Spirit, healing, creation, knowledge of magic, ability to see hidden spiritual truths, rising above the material to see the spiritual, ability to see the overall pattern/big picture, connection to spirit guides and teachers and higher truths, great power and balance, dignity with grace, intuitive and creative spirit, respect for the boundaries of the regions, grace achieved through knowledge and hard work.” (source: http://www.shamanicjourney.com/eagle-power-animal-symbol-of-spirit-vision-and-strength).
When I think about all that has happened this past year, I cannot help but feel that my eagle spirit guide has been with me to remind me of staying true to who I am – to trusting my insticts, to pursuing the path always of expansion, light and freedom. This is my intention. Each and every day. The eagle is a powerful symbol of focus, new beginnings, and higher truths. I am grateful to have been visited by my eagle spirit guide and shall always remember the messages of courage, inspiration and hope that she has delivered to me as I move forward in my journey.
When I arrived at the meditation studio on Saturday morning, it was completely dark outside. By the time I left, a new day had begun, and the sun was smiling down upon us.
Although I do not yet know what the future holds for me, I find comfort in the knowledge that yoga and mindfulness will forever be a part of who I am, and that the best is yet to come!
I am so privileged to be able to sit in the seat of the teacher to all of the students who I have had the privilege of guiding through the ancient and honourable practice of yoga. To all of my students, you inspire me each and every day. Please check out my website here fore details on when and where I will be teaching in 2018.
My wish for all of you in 2018 is that you may grow deeply in love with your true essence and Truth, and that you may be blessed with abundant light, peace, and freedom, wherever your path leads you – one moment, one breath, at a time.
And may you be blessed with the wisdom and courage of the eagle spirit so that you may soar in expansion to your highest seat of Self, all the days of your life.
With deepest gratitude and respect,