I pulled the Eagle card this morning. I’ve never pulled this card before. I was anxious to find out its meaning.
If you have pulled this symbol, Eagle is reminding you to take heart and gather your courage for the universe is presenting you with an opportunity to soar above the mundane levels of your life…. On some level, Eagle is telling you to seek higher ground on which to build your nest. The nest is the home of the heart and cannot remain in a swamp….
That sounds pretty promising. It does mention this “opportunity” may come as part of a spiritual test. That’s a little more ominous than I’d like. But I’d like to think that the last few years were the “test”, and the last couple of months have brought me into a new phase. I know that the relationships I’ve made and the confidence I’ve gained have me feeling like I’m in a new place. Maybe I’m out of the proverbial “swamp”… but, then again, maybe I’ve just begun.
I love my cards. They make me think of my life and my adventures in analogies. I know the power of analogies in learning. The psychology of learning depends on a very simple concept which is complex in execution. Our brains learn everything through a sort of web or scaffolding of information. That’s why flow charts and visuals are so powerful in learning. It helps us quickly see how information we already know relates to the new information we are trying to process.
When we are children, our brains are like clean hard drives. As we experience life, hardships and education, we build scaffolding in our brains. That’s why it’s so hard to change behavior when children experience abuse or loss early in life. As they get older, EVERY new relationship and experience is run through that same scaffolding. And the more often they experience abuse or loss, the more scaffolding they build. They have to experience trusting relationships and safe experiences in order to build new constructs. Otherwise, they BELIEVE every new experience will turn out the same way…. in abuse or loss. It’s also why it’s so hard for people to get out of the grip of poverty or addiction or any other type of cycle. Their internal scaffolding keeps them bound.
I, of course, have my own scaffolding that limits me. We all do. It’s part of the human experience. I have limiting scaffolding in the area of relationships. I’ve had two failed marriages. My brains says “yeah, I know how this movie ends.” I know it’s not necessarily so, but I haven’t had the opportunity to build scaffolding that says it could end up in a positive experience. I also have scaffolding that limits me as a woman professionally, as a enabler of change in my own life and in what I can afford financially. I was raised in a middle-class household with a tight budget, and, no matter how much money I earn, that scaffolding stays in place unless I let myself have the freedom to experience money in a different way.
So, analogies – and stories – are very powerful to build scaffolding that presents new ways of looking at things. That’s why I love my Medicine Cards and Native American spirituality in general. They used the animals and nature as their scaffolding on how to live life. And there’s a lot of wisdom in that. The natural order of things in nature is also very much the natural order of things in the world. And my biggest lesson – always my strongest challenge – is to trust that I am supported beyond what I naturally sense as a human.
That is Eagle’s message to me this morning. What I hear is that there is a path for me, and I need to trust that I am on it. No matter what I see or feel, I am supported by the Great Spirit. In addition, challenges are just tests for growth, so everything is good. In fact, pain can often be better even though I can’t see that at the time. It is in those times of great pain when I have grown most. In hindsight, I am always amazed at the amount of distance I have traveled personally – and the new scaffolding that I have built.
I’ve also learned that the most solid scaffolding in the brain is built when the event is emotionally charged. Divorce, abuse, addiction and trauma are powerful emotionally, and counseling and healing are important afterwards to put them into perspective. Emotion fuses impressions and memories into our psyche. If we don’t process the events, we may build scaffolding in our brains that will keep leading us down the same path over and over again. Our brains may be powerful engines with infinite capabilities, but they are limited by our programming.
So, I’m noodling Eagle this morning. I imagine flying over the clouds with an amazing view of the world below me. “Legalize freedom,” the reading said. What would it mean for me to legalize freedom? What kind of movement and direction could that mean? What would I want it to mean? What kind of freedom do I desire, and what kind of structures do I have in place inside me that have prevented me from going there? Last fall in a meditation, Macaw came to me and said, “You feel like you are heavy like an elephant, but,” he added, “you can fly.” And he flew away with thousands of other magnificent birds just like him. I can fly. Hmmmmm …. interesting analogy.