#2 Hey bro, I saw a coyote…what does that mean?

True story.  One frosty morning in the middle of suburbia, I had a surprising encounter with a fellow suburbanite.  I was on the way to my car which was hanging out in its little assigned space at the condo where my husband and I used to reside.  Mind you this was way back in the day when he was still just “the man with whom I live.”   Anyway, as I cheerily scurried towards my vehicle, steaming hot coffee in one hand, satchel of essential materials in the other, I noticed something odd.  Directly in front of me, trotting across the grassy area near my car, I saw a really large scruffy looking dog.  It was not on a leash which is rare in these parts.  Every town in a fifty mile radius requires hounds to be fastened to their owners at all times.  This rogue canine experiencing the joy of freedom made me a bit uncomfortable.  I scanned the area for a possible owner but no one was there to claim him.  In fact, there was not a single other person in sight.  It was at this point that I came to the eerie realization that I was not in fact looking at a dog, out for a good time without its human; rather, I was staring down a freaking coyote.  In the greyish light of early wintery mornings, you may question whether or not what you are actually seeing is indeed a coyote.  Trust me, my centuries old, rarely used cave woman senses literally made all the hair on the back of my neck stand on end ridding me of any such doubt.  In order to get into my car, I had to actually move towards the little beastie which was somewhat terrifying.  However, being ridiculously far from the building entrance, it beat actually staying outside of the vehicle to hang out with the coyote some more.  As soon as it was a reasonable hour to do so, I contacted my brother on speed dial to find out the meaning of this coyote.  He was able to share with me some insight based on his experiences with the Native American community and their beliefs about animal sightings and what the creatures of the world may have to teach us.  You can find more information about what lessons or messages an animal might be bringing to your attention here.  The list even includes obscure animals and birds like the armadillo or the ibis.  Here is an excerpt about coyotes from the same website Animal Totems: Dictionary of Animals by StarStuffs:

Coyote

Wisdom, jokester, having fun, stimulates cooperation and tasks, adaptations, balances knowledge and laughter into teaching, shows us how to learn from our mistakes with wisdom and a sense of humor, sense of family and children, demonstrating and communicating along with balancing risk and safety, trust and connection to the Spirit to find answers. Are you taking yourself too seriously? Too uptight and stressed? Are you trusting enough right now? Coyote will teach resourcefulness and adapting to new situations and how humor can be a useful tool in any situation.

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#1 Musical Brainwashing

I do believe that I was the only little girl in my elementary school who counted Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck among her favorite musicians.  This was a wildly unpopular choice among a sea of musical zombies dedicated to the likes of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.  Even my music teacher found it to be an unlikely choice for a nine year old.  While a formal investigation by child protective services was never conducted, if it had been they would have discovered that I was being musically brainwashed.  While conservative parents were trying to stop their children from listening to “satanic”  heavy metal music and requiring any type of music with explicit lyrics to be labeled with parental advisory stickers, my big brother was teaching me that eighties pop music was the devil.

Instead, he spent the greater part of the decade following famous blues musicians around the Greater Cleveland and Pittsburgh metro areas.  While I was too young to attend the concerts with him and his rowdy crew of hard core blues groupies, the music that he heard live and brought back home on CD made up ninety percent of the soundtrack to my childhood.  I passed this love of the blues on to my own son while he was in utero.  Stevie Ray Vaughan’s instrumentals  Lenny and Riviera Paradise would become my son’s womb music that he listened to on repeat every day during my hour long commute to work.  After he was born, we found that both songs have the ability to magically soothe him.  Of course he also loves to break it down to the pop songs Timber and Roar.  Since his toddler dance moves are absolutely hilarious, we’ll save the musical shaping until he gets a little bit older.