This is Buck, a dear deer-friend who adopted my family a few years ago. He visits off and on and makes a point to come by each Fall to eat every single flower off the plants before the first snowfall. This year, the early storm beat him, but shortly afterward, he showed up and polished off everything the snow didn’t get. He’s teaching me about releasing into the flow.
You see, I love his summertime visits, but I feel an ache when he comes to tell me summer is over. I don’t want to let go of brightly colored flowers, hummingbirds, barefoot days, and the sense of lightness and freedom. I realize it’s like that for me with a lot of things.
Letting go can be painful. So, it’s natural to try to hold on to emotions, ideas, even relationships, past their season—the time they are serving our highest good. This clinging provides the illusion that we can avoid suffering, but actually, it is doing the opposite. Attaching to what needs to be released keeps us from being in the flow.
Sometimes we attach to old wounds or old stories about ourselves that are not true and may never have been true. I’ve done some of that, and I think it’s because at some level I believe I’m protecting myself from being hurt again. And of course, it doesn’t work that way, but the longer I stay in that framework the more natural it feels, and then it becomes a habit.
It’s the same way for my attachments to old patterns, old ways of living my life that may have been perfect for a time but are irrelevant to the “now.” Like the summer flowers, they are colorful for a season, but they must die and be released to fulfill the natural growth cycle. Otherwise, I become stagnant and nothing new comes in.
I’m acutely aware of this as we experience together a time demanding an intense letting go. It feels hateful. It feels chaotic. It feels dismal. But I trust that it is a necessary season and that it will flow into something beautiful and just right as long as we refuse to cling to our stories about it.
What additional insight might Buck have for us at this time? If you look up information about animal totems, you will find that lessons associated with the deer include combining gentleness with strength and determination. Deer energy teaches us to move through the obstacles of life with grace. It teaches us about the power of vigilance and the ability to change directions quickly. The deer spirit also signifies the magical ability to regenerate and to be in touch with life’s mysteries.
As I look at this photo of my friend Buck, I see something I hadn’t noticed about him before. The dark marking on his forehead flows from one side to the other in perfect balance. And it’s in the shape of a “w.” I’d like to think it stands for wisdom.