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The Blue Heron

I’ve been continuing my daily sojourn striding around the greenery of Tucson’s biggest urban park each morning.  This time of year is stunning and unlike the rest of the country, it’s beautiful weather at a balmy 73 degrees.    I call my routine a three mile meditation, because it helps me focus for the day and wakes me from the languid pit of dreams and sleep and delivers me back to life with vitality.  My big blind dog is an ever enthusiastic companion and we have bonded in our rhythm of this daily ritual.

This morning, an extraordinary find lay among the grasses by the baseball field – a leg and talon decapitated from a blue heron – the talon was the width and breadth of my hand, dark and prehistoric with claws and feathers still attached to where it had been ripped from the body – laying lifeless and dead among the carpet of brown.

It was a shockingly awful sight at first, and it took a moment to realize what I was seeing – fresh blood dripping at the end of the leg, so it must have happened within the hour.   I thought about taking it home to study and draw.  I felt such a wave of empathy for the bird that it belonged to, that in all honesty, I couldn’t move it in case the bird came back.  I know that is ridiculous, but empathy is a powerful emotion that we make many decisions upon.   My thoughts went to wondering the scene before I had arrived.  So like all good 21st century explorers, I snapped a picture and posted it to Facebook announcing this as a symbol of the New Year and perhaps my totem for 2014.  Social media has shifted everything and this private shocking awe of a moment was shared with 400+ people in a thumb click.

Like all adventurers, I love to find the magic in all things and particularly a totem as strong and obvious as this one – the connections that tie us together are unseen but yet are strongly visible if we want to find them.   We are all living in small and minute degrees of separation.    While social media fills a physical need to post a picture or share a moment of ridiculously cute kitties and pictures of our children and our grandchildren or clever quotes, I am not sure how many appreciated my bloodied stump and talon, but I felt that it was a great discovery.

These moments of stumbling upon extraordinary findings are wonderful reminders of the impermanence of everything and how quickly life can change.

When I googled Blue Heron totem, I found this:  

According to North American Native tradition, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on one’s own.

Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances. They reflect a need for those with this totem to follow their own unique wisdom and path of self-determination. These individuals know what is best for themselves and need to follow their hearts rather than the promptings of others. Those with the Medicine of the Great Blue Heron may sit until the rest of us lose patience. And, when they follow the promptings of the heart, they are one of the most magnificent when they choose to soar.

With 2013 behind and 2014 stretched out like a long ribbon of road with a view that disappears at the horizon line, there’s a sense of renewal and vitality walking under the blue skies of Tucson this New Year.  I love this time to clean out the old and bring in the new and push for changes to occur.

So I’ve found my message in this morning’s totem to apply for the year ahead,  and cleared the desk, dusted the spider webs from the loft windows, vacuumed those hard to reach spots and am plotting my assigned projects for the this new year – it’s time to get back to work and I’m ready.   Box Fifty Four has kicked off with an amazing selection of new projects and opportunities to manage, new ideas to reap and sew and a long list of things to accomplish over the coming months.

I don’t like to talk about projects unfolding until they are done, I have an underlying belief that doing this can jinx a project – rather like baking, you don’t keep looking inside the oven to see how the cake is rising.  There is a science combined with a certain touch to successful cooking as there is to successful production and manifestation of good projects– and perhaps talking too much about them before they are completed is like letting a lot of hot air spill out!  I believe you have to just do them! So I’ll mention the last cake baked – at the end of year there was a nice surprise when the final box set of Howe Gelb’s solo projects arrived at the stoop of my Tucson front door from Fire Records in London.   Howe and I spent the last 4 years working with Fire on their rather immense and prolific reissue series of Giant Sand and these solo releases, and they produced and delivered the final ‘Little Sand Box’ quite beautifully to the stores in December.   That was a great way to mark the end of the year and successful completion of this project together.

I will say that now I’ve found my totem, I can clearly see what is on my to-do list for this year.   Inspired by several friends who set creative tasks at the beginning of their year, I have made some personal commitments to myself to deliver some goods that I’ve been wanting to do for an awfully long time!  Like many of you, I spend a lot of my energy focusing on assisting others and helping bring their projects to fruition – and I am immensely grateful to be surrounded by a wealth of bright talent in music and the arts, but my fingers are also itching for some of my own creative well to leak out and thrive.

A lot of times, we put everything and everyone else first.  It’s a vital part of life to be selfless and give our best, but sometimes we can forget our own creative purpose, or get waylaid through others objectives.

Perhaps we have been beaten down by life events or people around us, or unfortunate situations that have shaped our lives that have stopped us believing we are able to achieve our dreams.

Perhaps like me, you don’t invest enough energy in yourself to make time to take care and do those things you dream about.   So instead of hiding behind the curtain, which is an awfully comfortable and easy place, I am ready to fulfill my dreams of 2014.   I have my totem, the determination and the self-reliance to deliver…and I will follow my heart.

I dare you to join me!   Let’s start right now.

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