The fearless bunny I buried

I started teaching the messages of animal spirits when I was 22.

It was my second job out of college, I was doing what I loved. Teaching outdoor education on over 50 acres of land in South Carolina for the Tugaloo Education Environmental Center (TEEC), a non-profit.

We are all looking for hidden messages and some kind of guidance, or sign saying “go here”. Like we are all on a scavenger hunt of some kind, trying to “have the time of our life”, or aiming to follow the signs for the life with the least amount of resistance.

Shamans believe that we all have power animals. They add to our power and protect us from illness, somewhat resembling the acts of a guardian angel. They can help educate, heal, inspire, protect, and help us.

My clients are committed to education and want to learn how they can heal their bodies or get results (lose weight, sleep better, manage anxiety) as quickly as possible. The problem is it can be overwhelming to sift through the books, the different opinions online, and the confusing labels at the grocery store.

We dive into how different foods and their preparation affect us physically and emotionally when we work together. The physical is attainable, it is something we can grasp, find online, read in a book, take notes, keep a log, create SMART goals, and measure progress.

The emotional element of our health goes much deeper, and it is much harder to measure as we continue to grow and develop on our journey to wellness.

So 20 years after my teaching career, I am at the crux of my business, and just finished one of my most amazing accomplishments of my career. Moving 200+ people on stage thru a modified Tai Chi exercise to get participants moving and help them de stress during a 3 day leadership event.

I was so scared when I committed to this event, climbing the hardest rock climbing route ever seemed more doable for me…and that is when the bunny appeared.

She was in the front yard, the back yard, it didn’t matter. She (like I knew it was a female) was always there to greet me at sunrise, sunset, and often mid day when they typically aren’t out feeding. I knew rabbits typically represented, facing your fears. So I started to smile at her, laugh, and tell her, “I know I know, I’m going to do it already”.

And as I prepared in February, March, and April, she was there. I would sit on the front porch, as the sun set, and Ali and I would watch her in the front yard. I would watch him shake as he wanted to run down the stairs and chase her, and I would teach him to “leave it”. And actually thought it was quite effective, as he never left my side.

My business coach Monica Shah taught me, the best way to overcome fear and anxiety and step into a challenge (public speaking for me) was to practice daily. Seems simple and basic, but I am a gal who can (and historically has) procrastinate and just wing it with great success!

I practiced and practiced for my event, like nothing I had done in the past. As I said, I am the queen of winging it.  Rock climbing, yoga, relationships, road trips, hard conversations, death, international travel, interviews, online dating, buying a 38ft RV, houseboat, and a Ford 350 Diesel truck just to name a few. I have always relied heavily on my gut and intuition and things have always “worked out”.

But because of the depth of this fear, the uncomfortableness in knowing I was WAY out of my comfort zone AND that my livelihood and business depended on my performance, I practiced.

Each day, I followed directions and took baby steps, smiled at the bunny, and as a result, I had the most amazing event that altered my path both professionally and personally in April. BOO YA!

Post event, May, I was in my “highly productive zone” and was facing some challenges around my productivity. I was learning how many appointments I could have in a day and a week and still be productive, intuitive, and authentic. And most importantly still nudge my new prospects forward with their health and transformation.

I had to reschedule some appointments when my energy was just too low, and my recovering perfectionist would beat me up for doing that.

I thought the bunny would leave after the event (and spring was leaving) and come May, she was still with me each day. I said, ‘Look bunny, I did the work, I am on the other side, I rocked it! Aren’t you proud? You can go now, I got it!”

But bunny stayed. So I googled It to see what other messages the little bunny could teach me. And to my surprise, it was all about fertility and productivity. Makes sense, thinking of all the baby bunnies produced in this world and all the sayings going along with that… “doing it like bunnies’. Sorry couldn’t resist.

I teetered between total gratitude and incredibly overwhelmed and stressed. I found my balance at a place called “highly productive”. That was my term for this time. I needed to be mindful of how I answered questions from my friends like “how was the event and how are you doing now?” I wanted to be authentic and grateful at the same time, since our words do create our reality.

Bunny egged me on the month of May. I found where she had chewed thru the wire on my fence and made herself a safe entry and exit point into my yard from the neighbors. Which I found was interesting considering there was plenty of grass, no dogs, and just the occasional renter next door. But for some reason, she loved my place.

Ah the spirit of animals. So I trotted along, enjoying my journey of productivity while growing more and more tired. Exercising less and less and wanting to rest more and more. Then it was time for my first 3 day weekend and time off since xmas. I was beat and needed a break and knew it.

I let Ali dog out on a Wednesday, like I always did. Gave a quick look for the bunny, even though I was certain Ali was trained by now. Besides, she was quicker and had her escape route down pat, and I let Ali out.

Put on my coffee, and welcomed the day. Go to let Ali in and he is standing over something in the yard. I ran to the yard and he is standing over the bunny. I immediately thought something else had killed it in the night because it could not have been my perfect pup. I checked before I let him out, there was no bunny, and she is fast, and…gulp.

I see the leg twitch. I yell at him to go inside and give him a lovingly swift kick in the butt.

It was just me and bunny, her body wet where clearly Ali had just had his jaws around her. I grabbed gloves and tried to coax her back, but she was gone. She got stiffer and stiffer and then my tears started to flow. I couldn’t believe it. I had gotten attached to her and all that she taught me. I was sick with Ali, I thought I had taught him to “leave it”. Damn it. I was pissed, sad, and felt responsible all at the same time.

When I realized she was gone, I grabbed my coffee and sat. Trying to figure out what to do. Said I was sorry to the bunny, and avoided Ali at all costs. He had no idea what he had done. She was on the other side of the yard from her exit point. He was fast. Lesson learned, at least for me, likely not for him.

I decided to bury her. I dug a hole, lowered her inside, grabbed Ali and had him sit with me and we thanked her for all that she had brought us. All of the connections, the birthing of many ideas, new clients, ideas, an abundance of everything we had now and all that awaited us. For the many seeds we had planted for the last 4 months.

I cried on and off all day, texted a few friends that would understand and knew about the bunny. I worked and recognized that I too needed a break. I cried into the next day and then decided to pack my bags for an undetermined amount of time, maybe thru the weekend, maybe for a week.

Bottom line, I didn’t want to go back home, not now.

I learned a lot from that little bunny. She was with me as long as I needed her. And although I was pissed that she had to die in my backyard, by my dog, and on my watch, that was the best thing for me to experience. I struggle with death and dying. I skipped out on both when my mom and my dad passed. I couldn’t bear the thought of watching them take their last breath.

It helped me realize, the bunny was gone. Just like we all will be one day. And to embrace this circle of life. Embrace the productive time, and to honor down time. Schedule down time. I didn’t have a vacation scheduled and desperately needed one. Needed to get on a plane as that seems to let it sink in best, that I am truly on vacation.

I spoke with my neighbor while I was away. She said she mowed the lawn, and there was a bunny hopping thru the back yard. Made me smile. Sure I know there are hundreds of bunnies out there. But a part of me just hoped that when the time was right, one would hop back into my life to teach me again about self care, productivity, and life balance. Until then, that’s what I will be hopping for.

If you want to learn more when an animal shows up in your life, go here to explore their meaning.

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