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Checkpoints

coyotes

Jessica Litwak

Photo by GriffinGillespie/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by GriffinGillespie/iStock / Getty Images

Three times in my life I have come up against coyote.
 The first time was in Los Angeles when they came over the fence and took Marlow our little deaf chihuahua. The second time was in a Poughkeepsie park when a rabid female attacked my beloved mutt William and myself in broad daylight. The third time was last week when a tall coyote came into the yard in Massachusetts and mauled my little dog Max so badly that he had to have major surgery and continues to fight for his life.

Wikipedia tells me this: The coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore (Southwestern United States and Mexico), usually depicted as a trickster that alternately assumes the form of an actual coyote or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote acts as a picaresque hero which rebels against social convention through deception and humor. The animal was especially respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military might, with some scholars having traced the origin of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl to a pre-Aztec coyote deity. After the European colonization of the Americas, it was reviled in Anglo-American culture as a cowardly and untrustworthy animal. Unlike the gray wolf, which has undergone a radical improvement of its public image, cultural attitudes towards the coyote remain largely negative.

Icertainly have a largely negative attitude towards the coyote. But I do not want to live in blind anger, hatred and blame - so I have looked deeply into the eyes of the trickster. I have looked deeply into my own psyche, to try to figure out why Coyote keeps biting my dogs and hurting me so terribly again and again- after all, the third time has to be a wake up call.

I go into active imagination and ask the Coyote questions. I close my eyes and hear the answer. In this way I have the following conversation:

"Coyote why have you come to hurt me again?"

"You need to wake up!"

"Why? I'm awake. I live a reflective life. I work at awareness every day. What am I missing?"

"Protection"

"What do you mean"

"You need to be more vigilant. Protect the boundaries. Secure them."

" I am non violent. I don't believe in border patrol."

" I said boundaries not borders. You are less awake than you think you are. LISTEN."

"I am listening. Max is fighting for his life. The vet bill is over $4,000. What am I not hearing?"

"You are not hearing your own heartbeat. I will keep biting until you do"

" What do you mean?"

"You are listening to the human mantra: how am I doing? how am I doing? how am I doing?"

"What should my mantra be?"

"How am I being? How am I being? How am I being?"

"You don't seem like the wise creature I should be getting advice from"

"I eat. I drink. I sleep. I mate. I hide from predators when they come. I bite puppes. I live my life simply. According to the boundaries. If you let me in. I will take what I can."

"I didn't let you in"

"Oh Yes, my Dear you did. You were on the telephone - your attention directed at yet another project of self improvement, and your little innocent puppy was alone in the yard at twilight"

"But in seven years there has never been a coyote."

"Keep your innocence close. There is always a coyote."

"So your are advising me to live in constant fear?"

" No. In constant readiness. If you are confident in your boundaries, you can relax your grip. Your awareness is your power. Stop putting all of your focus on improvement and success. Set your boundaries.  Then live your life simply according to the boundaries. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Mate. Hide from predators when they come..."

"And bite puppies?"

"If that is your taste. Otherwise stick to take out sushi and chicken wings."

"And then..."

"And then surrender to the great mother, knowing you are truly awake."

"And if I do this, you won't come around again."

"I will always come around, but if you do this, I won't get into your yard."

"And I will be free"

"And you will be alive."

"Thank you."

And with that the coyote ran off into the trees. And I finished my lunch and gave Max his antibiotics.