The Coyote Guide
What does it mean to kill a coyote? What wisdom was my body’s knowing trying to transfer to my conscious self in the form of this tagline from a seemingly inconsequential dream?
Initially, the coyote represented something outside of me; something I needed to rid myself of or avoid.
I realize now that this tagline was calling up my coyote. This coyote that was sent to me as a tagline to my dream was a part of me – a trickster, shape-shifter, and transformer. “Coyote is about waking people from their slumber; shocking them if that is what is necessary to get them to open their eyes. Coyote Medicine is about stopping people from acting out of habit.”
To kill a coyote, what started as a mysterious tagline to a dream I had so many years ago, curious yet obscure to one not versed in animal medicine, has taken on a life of its own. The coyote is rich in meaning; providing life lessons – a guide to knowledge that leads to transformation.
For me, to kill a coyote has come to represent the continual process of recognizing the grand illusion for what it is, what it was, and what it is yet to be. To kill a coyote is an illusion. The coyote will live on – it is only our harmful illusions that will perish.
above material is pulled from the front matter of To Kill A Coyote
Above: Hiking back to the car on a 4x4 road after working on trail restoration all day in the Clear Creek/South Winfield trailhead area
Above: Colorado peaks viewed from Continental Divide Trail in June 2013 while working on the trail with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
The optimism and invincibility of youth manages without knowledge; doubts are few, dreams are many. You act on belief, expecting the world to adapt – to accommodate your dreams and your view of what life should be. You think that you can make the world fit your dreams. You still believe in your dreams.
When I left my home and family in Iowa, I did not know enough about the ivory towers of Princeton to be afraid. I was intimidated but not nearly as intimidated as I would have been if I had compared my public school education to the private school education many of my classmates had received. The time and money that had already been invested in the success of my classmates while I was star-gazing on new moon nights on the dirt roads of southwest Iowa, was beyond my knowledge of the world.
Those nights were beautiful. The night sky entranced me – specks of light so numerous that they could not be counted, each a massive light in its own right, emanating rays across such great distances that history can be seen. Darkness where currently a birth has occurred – we cannot see the light, not yet. We must wait years to bathe in the beauty of what is taking place today, what had taken place yesterday or the day before. Each of those stars represented a possibility; the night sky was a world of possibilities waiting to be explored.
Reaching my limit for the first time in my life placed me on barren land. All the trees, plants, and blossoms of my once lush garden had gone long before I realized a lack of nourishment. My emotional life was in crisis and this crisis was interfering with my ability to complete every day tasks. I was left feeling desperate and empty. I had nothing to give.
This was the start of the inner journey that has moved me from a state of confusion and learned helplessness to one of clarity and empowerment - on most days, at least.
There is depth in knowledge when one moves beyond the boundaries of what is expected, what is accepted. This is what coyote medicine teaches us if we are willing to be taught. Coyote forces us to look past the surface, to question appearance.
The coyote asks: How can we understand the world if we do not even know our own heart and soul? What is your greatest sorrow? What is your greatest fear? What makes your soul sing? What are your dreams?
above introduction is pulled from the front matter of To Kill A Coyote
Top of page: Rifle Falls in Western Colorado (Labor Day Weekend Road Trip 2013)