If you have an aversion to hippy shit, check back in a few days, as I’m trying to get a pass to The BET Awards. However, if you commune with flora and fauna, believe in fairies (not the chic ones), or read “Watership Down” as non-fiction, please read on.

Ten months ago I found myself in the midst of a massive transition. I left my job. Having spent a decade inundated with tag lines and deadlines, I faced each empty day with terror. It took about six months of feeling hopeless and worthless to realize that I’m not my job. Then I started selling off the beautiful clothing I’d purchased, most of it still with tags. I’d spent a copious amount of my wages on designer gear that I coveted, rather than wore. Once I’d slowed down, I realized I didn’t want to be defined by my purchases. I am not how I spend. So I stopped spending and started purging. Within a few weeks, I started feeling something. I started hearing a voice and surprisingly, it was my own. Having prioritized so many people’s goals, and a multi-squillion-dollar company before myself, my guts had stopped trying. Fueled by a chiropractor, food allergies, more supplements than a cancer patient, a bottle of Tums, cigarettes, self prescribed meds, and a constant stream of pressure, I kept going. Without my gut or the ability to “feel” my way around a situation, I simply moved forward. It wasn’t ’til the train stopped moving that I asked if I was even headed in the right direction.

Reunited with my intuition, I started making a real effort to get reacquainted with myself. The idealistic, aggressive, dreamer that I was at 17 would hate the 38-year-old with “a broad understanding of the current market” that I’d become. Invigorated by the possibility of self discovery, I attempted to meditate. Five minutes of stillness took thirty minutes to achieve. The next day, I crossed my legs and closed my eyes and found myself under siege. The names of people who’d wronged me permeated my mind and lit up in neon across my eyelids. It was loud and chaotic. I opened my eyes and gave up. I confessed the war in my head to a yogi friend of mine and he wisely replied, “Get back in there! It’s only you.” I hadn’t looked behind door number three in so long that everything came tumbling down when I cracked the door.

However, I didn’t get to be princess at the sausage-fest by giving up, so I utilized writing, painting, cooking huge pots of sauce, and long walks, to tune into the rumblings in my stomach. It’s a hermetic, but meditative way of peeking inside, without looking directly into the light, as my insides are very much like “Poltergeist”. During the course of my mission a challenge approached in the form of a “good job”. The money was generous and they offered total control, which is an aphrodisiac, as powerful as blood to a vampire, for me. Contrary to my assumed enthusiasm, to my surprise, the offer scared me mortally. I can’t seek the truth of my soul and provide you with a global marketing strategy. I can multi task with the best of ’em, but those two goals are diametrically opposed, and even I can’t do it. But I wrestled with it, clocking 26 miles that week, walking for hours in between phone interviews with multiple department heads.

I have a path I walk, in some variation, everyday, and one day, I noticed a lizard sunbathing. Instead of scurrying away, it stared at me, like I was the lizard. I stopped, 3 feet away and we had a stare down as I mulled over my position. Security and personal oblivion, or financial insecurity and self-knowledge. The lizard kept staring, switching eyes. I looked away first, as a cop car slowed down to look me over. I peered back down at the lizard and then walked on. I saw two more police cars on the way home, and considered them a sign that I shouldn’t take the job.

The next day I had another phone interview, which went well enough considering my ambivalence. Unfortunately, the discussion of “strategy” and “local relevance” blocked my juju and I stopped writing and painting. I went to dog sit for a friend and, getting out of my car, I had a clear view across the roof of my car. Was that a lizard arm reaching out of the roof of my car, like the zombie hand plunging up from the earth from “Evil Dead”? Looking around the street I found a stick and poked at it, maybe it was a flower that had curled into a claw and stuck to my car. Nope, it really was a lizard claw, probably a scrap from a hawk eating in a tree above my car. It had fallen on the hot roof of the car and the bloody end had stuck to the car, raising it like a tiny Stonehenge. It’s little claws and scales thrusting out of my car. I scraped the branch across the roof, dislodged the claw, and thought to myself, “I better look up ‘lizard medicine’ on google when I get home.” Having long ago been inducted to hippy shit and Native American rituals, I welcomed any animal magic.

I promptly forgot to look up lizards on the google machine, kept up with the facade of the interview process and agreed to fly out to meet in person. I was mortified, but I even took an online, third-party, personality test sent to me by this prospective employer. I researched the test and found that it had been developed in 1955. Personality test in itself is alarming, but how can you judge someone on an archaic test developed half a century ago? I tried to write and couldn’t, so I went for a walk. Slogans and campaign ideas forced their way into my head. I didn’t even have the job yet, and they were already controlling my mind. I got to the top of the hill and looked down at my feet at a lizard massacre. The smallest lizard was being eaten by a mid-sized lizard and the biggest lizard was coming in for the kill. Apparently, a silent Toyota Prius ran them over in a cruel twist of fate. I assumed they were run over, because they were flattened and I guessed it was a Prius, as the lizards would’ve heard and felt any other car’s engine. The image was so terrifying and fantastical that I walked home and got my camera for proof.

Clearly, without a doubt, I rushed home to the google machine, because dammit this was a sign. I got home and read that lizard medicine has to do with the lizard’s ability, once in its’ life, to detach its tail when confronted by an attacker. The tail remains, writhing on the ground, to divert the attacker, as the lizard makes its’ getaway. Confronted with the actual lizard massacre and the message to leave your ass/past behind to protect yourself, I almost cancelled my flight. But the remnants of the corporate savage in me said, “Just go. Hear them out. It’ll be good practice.”

I got to my destination on a red-eye, slept for a few hours, and went to the interview. I had to get a security pass and stand in an empty room with a telephone and instructions to dial the extension of the person I was there to see. The interview lasted five hours and I walked back to my friend’s house where I was staying, a bit shell-shocked. On my walk I noticed a sparrow hopping up and down, frantically, between the tires of two bikes locked to a meter. I kept walking and then figured it might be some kind of sign, so I went back over and stood over the bikes. Then I noticed one of its’ baby birds, dead,  a few inches away. The sparrow was yelling at death. I sighed and kept walking.

I flew home and still hadn’t been able to make a decision. I needed room for my thoughts so I went for a walk. I hit the top of the hill, and, in the same spot where the lizard massacre had taken place, there was a dead sparrow. I got home and told a friend about the lizards and sparrows and that I figured a deer might be outside my door, tapping its’ hoof, looking at a wristwatch wondering where I’d been when I was out-of-town. He told me I was nuts. The next day I’m out on my trail and I saw a hawk. I held onto a chain link fence and leaned all the way back so I could watch better, when suddenly a sparrow swooped down and attacked the hawk. I laughed at their size difference, as I think the hawk did as well. Then, I kid you not, for a couple of seconds, the sparrow rode the hawk, who was as shocked as I. The hawk let out a shriek and in one huge gesture, had flapped off the sparrow, who flew away, like “I didn’t give a shit anyway.” On the walk home I laughed to myself and said to myself, “Now if it was a dead sparrow.” I was about to laugh when I saw another dead sparrow at my feet.

Back to google. Sparrow medicine. Search. Sparrow medicine is associated with dignity and self-worth. At that point, I’d seen three dead sparrows, a mourning sparrow, and a trickster sparrow who rode a hawk. I choose trickster sparrow and I determined not to pursue the job any further. Not because of the animals, but because of what I saw in each moment. I looked at the lizards and I said “to each his own”, meaning this is how we treat each other, we’ll eat you up and spit you out, and we’re family. Then I saw the dead sparrows and associated them with an internal, personal death of spirit. Again, I ain’t Dr. Doolittle, I’m just running on feeling.

The next day, I went for a walk with a lighter heart. I topped the hill and there was nothing dead awaiting me, to my relief. When I got to the bottom of the hill, a mocking bird  swooped down from above and attacked my head. I could feel its claws caught in my pony-tail, and feel the breeze it created against my skin, as it flapped its wings. I screamed and ran as fast as I could laughing. When I googled mockingbird later that evening it said: “When Mockingbird appears to you it is time to sing a joyous song of life. With one of the prettiest vocalizations of the bird family, his medley of calls is a culmination of many other birds, likewise, your song is a medley of circumstances, experiences and those that surround you. Rapid succession is events are about to unfold, if they haven’t already. Experiences will expand your repertory profoundly. Mockingbird teaches the art of adaptability and going with the flow.”

I’m hoping to get licked by a coyote, peed on by a fox, and shit on by an eagle.

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