The gift of your teachers surrounds you


As the storm blew through last Saturday morning, I watched a coyote traipse across the snow, cross my front yard and garden, drop down to the street and take a left around my neighbor’s house and head toward the woods down in the back. Normally, at that time of day, people are walking their dogs or themselves, but no one was out during this blizzard morning (except the coyote), and we have plenty of coyote sightings in our suburban neighborhood these days, so I wasn’t alarmed. But, for me, it was rare.


What I did do was that I thought about the symbolism of “coyote.”

In earlier times, without the internet, television, radio and other artificial means of communication, we all lived much closer to our food sources. The sighting of a coyote would bring up different thoughts and concerns back then than they do in suburban Connecticut in 2022. Today, people tweet and share fears for coyotes in “our” backyards. Years ago, people might have simply decided to lock down the chickens for the night, bring in the dogs, and wait out the storm.

For me, I was able to consider the coyote as a symbol. Symbols abound. They are in our religions, our literature, our communities, our beliefs about life or simply in our memories. Nowadays, the search for symbols can be a little disconnected from nature – we seek them out in numerology or astrology or other systems, although those are equally ancient. Whether you do that or seek more natural sources, looking for symbols can enrich your life. On the other hand, succumbing to them without reflection can cripple your life. As with any personal development work, take charge of what matters, savor and investigate it and let it nurture the personal growth work you are doing.


For instance, a friend who lost her mother last year and her father some years prior sees cardinals in pairs and she is consoled to think her mom and dad are together again, happily reunited in death. When the coyote showed up for me, I looked it up and found that it means the resources you need are available. It means you should look for the lessons in the turmoil you are experiencing.* For me, whenever I see hawks overhead, I believe it’s my mom and my dad watching over me.

What symbols are appearing in your life? Are you overlooking them out of an abundance of skepticism or reason … or fear? Reconnect to this simplest of connections. See something a bit unexpected or untimely or out of the usual sequence of things? Reflect on it. It could be an animal that crosses your attention, a license plate in front of you at a stop sign, a song on the radio or a smell in the air as you walk to work. It could be a word or expression that reminds you of someone or something. It can simply be a single note or tone or expression you hear. Open your awareness, notice what is and let it be. And then, when it lands, reflect.

That reflection, of course, is the work. Why is this important to me? What is it connecting with now, for me? What am I working out? Why is this a reminder? How can I take this lesson and proceed? Does it make me happy, melancholy, attentive, moody? What am I supposed to learn here? What can I take from this forward into my day?


The world around us abounds with suggestions, reminders and hints about the personal questions we have. Pay attention. The gift of your teachers surrounds you.


Peace and love to you in the week ahead.

* Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D.