Yesterday morning, a hawk came to visit me with a message. Only twice has a hawk come to visit my yard, and both of those times someone else was here, so the message was most likely for them. Given that I just had the epiphany about fear the night before, the following message added even more to my epiphany.
Here is the gist of the message, as I understood it, after reviewing several sources on animal totems:I need to step back and get a larger perspective of a situation that has become so stressful for me. I have let myself become too emotionally attached, and I am no longer the detached observer of my life. This is the quote from the book Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson that really got my attention:
“When you allow your emotions to override your perceptions, the message from hawk cannot penetrate the chaos and confusion. At this point, you are asked to be mindful of the honest observer’s neutral position, which allows the message to be intuitively and clearly understood, without emotion coloring its true meaning.”
What I realized as I read this information was that I have had fear visiting me, not just to remind me of my strength, but also to remind me that when I am emotionally attached to a person, place or situation, my perception/perspective of it becomes skewed. This emotional attachment also seems to interfere with my ability to access my personal power.
I didn’t get the connection between my emotional attachment and fear before quite like this when I wrote my Fear Series (Act II specifically). If I am truly being a neutral observer, from a detached perspective, I am more empowered to deal with any situation that arises. I will intuitively know what the next action is needed, even if that means surrendering entirely.
Detachment is an often misunderstood concept. I used to misunderstand it myself. If you are able to detach from a situation, then you are able to remove the emotion and see the situation for what it is, right now. When we include emotion into our responses or reactions to situations, we are also attaching all of our past similar emotions based on similar experiences. This is just how our brains work.
To be present in the moment only with the situation, we have to detach to some degree. Let me give you a simple example. You are having a conversation with someone about something very important to you. They interrupt you and begin to talk over you about something that relates to themselves. You notice that your body is reacting—your face is flushing, you are hot, your heart is racing and your stomach sinks.
This reaction is based on your past experiences with being invalidated, not being heard or something similar. Your body may be reacting to the past, but if your mind is in the present, you can observe this physiological reaction and dissect it before saying or doing something you might regret later.
If you are present, you can see that you are reacting to the past. You can recognize that you are associating this person and this present conversation with some hurtful ones from your past. In order to observe it and work with it, you have to be detached. When you are detached, you are present. When you are detached, you are able to respond rather than react. You notice what you notice, and without judging it, continue on to the next moment.
Detaching allows you to see your life from a more conscious and more accurate perspective. Your perceptions and sensations are heightened, and you will find yourself less weighed down by your emotions and the past. In hawk language, this allows you to fly above your life to see the bigger picture more clearly.
This concept of detachment used to be confusing because my past idea of it was associated with a lack of emotion. I can assure you that nothing I do is devoid of emotion as I am a very emotional human being. Removing an emotional attachment to some person, place or thing does not mean we feel nothing for it. It means we aren’t consumed by it and that we can see it clearly without all of our past baggage, in spite of our feelings for it.
Today, I had the opportunity to step away from this situation with some help from a friend. I was able to shift my perspective just enough to remove some of the emotional attachment. This made room for potentially creative solutions to the problem that had been clouded by the emotion. In my next post, I will share more about that.
In the meantime, tell me about your experiences with emotional attachments to people, places or things. Did you see the fear connection before I did?