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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Animal Signs: Hawk

I was dive-bombed by a Hawk the other day while walking in the woods.  He came out of nowhere it seemed and flew straight for my head, missing by what felt like, mere inches.  The phrase from my childhood, "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye", started to make sense for the first time.  He didn't go very far past me but took up residence in a nearby tree and continued to scream. Then his mate, on the other side of the trail screamed back. Turns out she was sitting in a huge nest, high in the trees. You don't have to have any special powers or abilities to understand that communication.  Apparently I had walked onto private property without an invitation and this couple was not open to spontaneous visits without calling ahead first. Maybe it was a case of new, or soon to be new, parent jitters. I didn't linger to ask for more information.

A few days later and I'm seeing those Hawks all over the place so it seems only fair to give them some air time on the blog.

Like the commanding nature of the Hawk, their spirit is considered powerful as a spirit animal guide or totem.
Hawk's are associated with Power and Magic.  They are considered messengers that awake vision and inspire higher levels of consciousness.

Steven Farmer in Animal Spirit Guides, writes that when a Hawk shows up it may mean you are caught up in the details of a situation and you could benefit from stepping back to get a greater perspective. Farmer explains the Hawk may indicate you are caught up in emotional turmoil and have lost your perspective. Hmm...

It occurs to me that getting lost in the details is sometimes a coping mechanism in stressful situations. By getting very focused on the immediate task at hand and acquiring some tunnel vision, we protect or insulate ourselves from seeing the wide angle lens picture. Getting immersed in the details of a project, the science of an illness, the logical analytical side of our brain, we can stop or delay "feeling".  We create our own emotional turmoil by writing the "to do" list deciding there is a way to work our way out of the situation.

I've taught Stress  and Time Management programs encouraging students  to write down their goals, set objectives to achieve the goals, and tasks that would help meet each objective. Such step by step, logical thought keeps you "on track" in measurable, achievable ways. Hmm....

I look at coping mechanisms a bit differently now. I think such analytical, practical thought might be a cover-up.  I think this focused attention allows you to keep going on a path, to keep doing, to keep achieving, to cope with a situation or event such that your output doesn't appear to change. I'm not sure that's a good thing. I think "cope" might mean "ignore" or "power through" and I don't think that's the point. 

Perhaps events that challenge us are meant to be viewed from that wide angle, high level, in the clouds,  perspective the Hawk takes. Perhaps from that level we can open up our Vagus nerve a bit  and accept the connection with others. Maybe in doing so we wouldn't block out our feelings by "coping" and paying attention to details and action.  Maybe we would just sit and be there for a friend. Maybe we could just sit and be there for ourselves.  Maybe we wouldn't try to take it all on, take it in stride, power through. Maybe it isn't about fighting our way through using the sympathetic nervous system, stress management techniques, and the logical left side of our brain.  Maybe we could just allow the right side of our brains to take over our hearts and feel our way through to the vision.

Hawk energy encourages us to see the overall view. It's from that perspective where we can find magic, creativity, vision and power because we aren't lost in the details.  We don't need to dig for the proof  or bury ourselves in the plans and the tasks because we can see from a higher place, an omniscient point of view. Because the Hawk spends time observing and studying the situation, when it is time for action they are quick and decisive. They are very effective at protecting their home and family because of this. They don't get distracted by the little things along the way.

Farmer writes that when a Hawk shows up you should pay attention to your surroundings because you are about to receive an important message.  Maybe there is more to come, but I think I already got the message. I think I was so caught up in my own thoughts and my brain that I wasn't feeling the connection to nature. I was "coping" instead of "experiencing". I wasn't really walking through the woods, I was reviewing my "to do list" and thinking about what I could do to change circumstances. I had no idea the Hawks were even there until they almost hit me. He came at me from the right side of my head, another message to open up that side and just let things flow. Less thinking, more feeling. 

Maybe we could all use a bit of that!

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