There’s a porcupine hanging around our house. He/she suddenly appeared the Sunday morning after I returned from my final week on the job in Denver. We were alerted to this arrival when our younger dog, Ember appeared at the door with a nose full of quills.
We extracted them quickly and she was fine, but the varmint remains. My husband immediately suggested getting rid of it. Many friends weighed in with ‘shoot it’. We explored hiring a local guy to trap and relocate, but decided his fees were a bit too steep.
For you city folk, I’ll fill you in on the ways of the elusive porcupine. They climb and eat trees and often nest in them. You may have walked right underneath them on many occasions. They are not aggressive and are quite solitary; you will rarely see more than one, unless it’s a mother and her young ‘un. They move quite slowly, which is why you will see them dead on the side of the road in rural areas and they do not ‘shoot’ their quills, except in cartoons.
Porcupines are actually rather peaceful, little vegetarians, but the quills are a major problem if you have dogs. I know this from personal and expensive experience. Which is why we are struggling with what to do about our prickly, fellow earth traveler.
We have to do a quick perimeter search before we let the dogs out at night and last night, I looked at my husband and said “Who is this porcupine and what does it want?? Why is it here?”
I Googled ‘porcupine spirit animal’ and this is what I found for when a porcupine enters your life:
It’s time to free yourself of guilt and shame and reclaim the innocence that you left behind as a child. Open your heart to those things that gave you joy as a child; remember fantasy and imagination and bring them into your life again. Make sure that you do not to get caught in the chaos of the world, where fear, greed and suffering are commonplace.
Know that you are protected and that protection is always available to you. It’s time to be yourself, and trust that it is safe to be who you are. The focus here is on faith and trust and the knowing that you can move mountains with these powers.
Protection, not threat. We live in a time where we seem to believe that we can eliminate all threats, often by killing them. It’s easier than listening or empathizing or trying to find common ground. Thus, the advice to ‘just shoot it’.
I went out last night with a flashlight to commiserate with our visitor, who I found sitting under a huge cottonwood tree. I told him/her that it was time to move further away from the house because we were fearful for the dogs. He/she turned and waddled away and up a tree and in that moment, I felt such a wave of sadness and affection that I had to take a deep breath to keep from sobbing; over a porcupine.
We are so quick to shoo away that which we don’t understand; so quick to see everything that might be different as a threat. There is always danger, but I think that many times, our reactions heighten that danger, rather than dampen it.
There is chaos in the world, protests in our streets. Politics is divisive and the common reaction is ‘just shoot it’ as if that solves everything. How about ‘just talk to it’ or ‘just listen to it’ becoming our go-to reaction?
So, Mr/Mrs Porcupine. Thank you for the lesson. Be well.
We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning and the snow is still falling. I just took a few minutes to gaze out the window. Early morning snowfall mutes or removes all color from the landscape. Fresh snow is so peaceful.
Then, I turned on the news. God, the world is a mess, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that statement has been uttered every day since the beginning of time, but since this is our time to inhabit the earth, this is our mess.
Violence, anger, hatred, oppression; the greatest hits of man’s inhumanity to his fellow travelers. If you think about all of it too much, you are likely to have reactions like anger and/or withdrawal. The worst is the feeling of impotence; that nothing you can do will matter.
I don’t believe that our reactions don’t matter. I believe that we can all throw out a little bit of light into the world and with enough light, we get enlightenment; an awakening of sorts.
I truly believe that the world is on the brink of a great spiritual revolution. Humans, by and large do not want to live in fear and anger and hatred. I think we are naturally drawn to love, beauty and compassion and that the vast majority of us practice those things. Watch the news and all you see is the bad stuff, so it seems as if the dark side is winning.
We have a choice, every single second of every single day regarding our feelings and what we toss out into the world. Many spiritual teachers call it “co-creation”, which means that we just need to tap into all of the positive vibes that surround us, in order to create the lives we want.
By the same token, we can tap into the negative and be a part of the darkness and chaos. I’ll admit it’s easier said than done, but we all have free will. Internal free will. That love and light and compassion and empathy is inside of us; in our hearts.
Of course life isn’t fair and events can make us angry and hurt, which leads to dysfunction, but that’s the human condition that we all experience. We can make a conscious choice to tap into that stream of the good stuff and reject the bad.
Jack Canfield distilled it down into a simple equation: E(event) + R(reaction)= O(outcome). Make it your mantra: E+R=O. How you react to life is instrumental in what you create.
So, we can rail against the messes in this world, but it all comes down to what are we putting out there? How are we contributing to more light, less darkness? Every second, of every day, we throw energy into the world. Give thanks, be kind, help a fellow human, love and nurture nature, try and see someone else’s point of view or as I like to say “walk a moon in their moccasins”. Be gentle; don’t celebrate bitchiness and anger.
We can change the world; we’re all connected and my energy is your energy is their energy. Make your choices wisely. Send out light. You are very powerful.
The trepidation arises from the hundreds of people who have asked me, “What are you gonna do once you stop working?”. My response for months has been that I just wanna ‘be’ for awhile and see what bubbles up. I’m here to tell you that for many people, that is not an adequate response.
“But, what will you do. Will you travel? Will you work? Won’t you get bored”? Honestly. I. Don’t. Know. That’s the point of this next phase. I will watch and wait and see what fizzes up. I’m giving up the planning/forcing/controlling urge to have the next 20 years mapped out.
After a few days of these question, I started telling people that I’m going to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and that’s as far as I’ve looked into my future . Many laughed; many just looked at me with pity.
We live in a culture that requires a 5 year plan, a mission statement and a jam-packed schedule. Busy, busy, busy! We are judged on our accomplishments, much more so than our happiness or emotional well-being. Which could be why so many people looked at me with such concern when I said I have no real plans.
They worry that I will be ‘bored’ and I probably will; as if that’s the cardinal sin of our time. But, what’s boredom? Time with yourself? Solitude? A chance to sit and think and reflect, without having to be going somewhere or doing something or just filling time?
I will adapt. I will develop new routines and interests and paths. I have no doubt that I will miss my radio family and the laughter we shared every morning. I will miss the forum that the radio show gave me to voice my opinions and perspectives, but that energy will be channeled elsewhere and there is a very good chance that I will find something even more fulfilling.
So, here I am. Freshly retired and I have no freakin’ idea what I will do today, other than breathe.
Since announcing my retirement from The Dom and Jane Show earlier this week, my inbox has been full of well-wishes and very kind notes. I sort of feel as if I’m being allowed to attend my own funeral.
I’ve had a job in the public eye for over 30 years, which is the majority of my adult life. I do not consider myself famous by any stretch, but on any given day, several hundred thousand people tune into our show. Some love it, some hate it and anyone who is in the public eye, soon learns that the ones who are angry, disappointed or flat-out pissed, are usually the ones who are motivated to reach out.
For many years, those kinds of letters, emails, phone calls and now Facebook messages, penetrated pretty deeply for me. In my job as a radio host, I’ve been judged and critiqued by listeners, co-workers, consultants, clients, friends, family and occasionally, people who’ve never even heard my shows (“Ugh, I can’t stand anything on the radio that isn’t NPR”).
So, even though I’ve been successful and the Dom and Jane Show exceeded my wildest professional expectations, many of us who work in the media can be a little shell-shocked because we mostly hear from people who don’t like us. That’s why the past week has been so incredible.
The amount of love and appreciation that’s been sent my way has filled my spirit with a great deal of gratitude. I love that our show and my participation has had such a positive effect on people. I’ve heard from so many who listened for years with their kids on the way to school, from people who got a few laughs that eased whatever sorrow or pain they were dealing with and from so many who said they were sad that I was leaving, then told me to go forth and enjoy the rest of my life.
I’ve been so touched by the personal stories of how our show was a part of so many lives and it added a dimension to many of you, that I really didn’t quite understand over the years. We sit in a studio and talk to a void and there are times, I’m embarrassed to admit, that we forget that you’re out there. We can tend to get a little full of our selves.
You told me that you think of our little radio show as ‘family’ and that really touched me, since I know you all have real families and how much they mean to you, so to be included is a gift and one that I may not have treasured as I should have. You all have dreams and hurts and problems and crises and joy and tragedy and triumph and there may have been times when I didn’t celebrate or mourn those with you, even though you celebrated and empathized with me as I struggled with these same universal human issues.
So, thank you. Thank you for the lovely notes, for the funny and sometimes, sad memories, for reaching out to lift me up during kind of an emotional and precarious time as I stand on the edge of a huge life change. Anything that The Dom and Jane Show may have given you, you have repaid me a thousand times over.
As I head into my last 5 shows, I will do so with a full heart, knowing that I made an impact on you and more importantly, you made an impact on me.