I'm exhausted, but just have to type out a quick addendum to the last entry. Tonight, I attended another session in the Engaging Spirit series of events. This session was about shamanic journeys and Paul Diamond, the teacher-in-residence, led the group on a shamanic journey to find our spirit animal. Not very long ago, I would not have been able to take this seriously. I like to think I have a highly attuned bullshit detector. Recently, that is in the last few years, I've started to realize that power and utility don't have to be explicit in something to be present. In other words, you can't eat the cake before you've bought it.
I won't go into much detail about the shamanic journey itself, other than to say there was a trance induced by rhythmic drumming, and Paul led us to a place where we met our spirit animal. Before we started all of this I was very anxious about not meeting an animal, I was doubting my ability to visualize or "go on" the journey. I ran to the session, a couple minutes late from a poetry seminar that ended at the time the session began. Even though Paul seemed confident everyone would find an animal, I was worried and very tense. The tension started to ease as Paul led us through a body relaxation technique that I have practiced since I was a child and had trouble falling asleep at night - you simply focus on each part of your body in sequence, relax the muscle groups and let the body part melt into the floor.
My spirit animal, very much to my surprise, is a donkey. In exchange for it's power, I agreed to dance more. Afterwards, Paul asked each of us what our spirit animal was, and told us a bit of the power associated with each animal. Very spookily, the donkey represents continuous, daily hard work and daily commitment to those things that are most important to us. Which in lieu of my last entry, freaked me out a bit. Maybe I'll gain some daily stamina and purpose in exchange for my dancing, who knows.
In an exercise for myself, which is not very helpful to anyone else reading this, I'm going to decidedly not analyze this experience. I am going to take it at face value and appreciate the beneficial effects.