Power. Patience. Fierceness. Flexibility. Conserving energy. Protection. Survival. Rebirth.
Crocodile came to me shortly after I was diagnosed with an aggressive, advanced breast cancer last September. She arrived in the form of a story posted on my Facebook page. A most ancient animal, crocodiles have thrived on Earth since the Jurassic Period, 240 million years ago. When this animal guide comes to you, be prepared to tap into primal energies of power, survival and ancient knowledge.
When hunting, a crocodile remains motionless, with just its eyes and nostrils above the water—it waits for an animal to come to the shore for a drink of water. When the moment is right, the crocodile lunges with tremendous power from the water. Crocodiles have been observed using their tails to corral fish and herd them to shallow water, where they are eaten. They also sometimes regurgitate food into the water and lure hungry fish to their jaws in that way.
A bad mammo – before leaving the office I was scheduled for an appointment the next day with a surgeon. Upon arriving, Crocodile Woman noticed that the surgeon’s office was located in bad real estate – no view, below ground and the waiting room was decorated with depressing artwork in grays and browns. The receptionist did not greet her and seemed distracted, overworked. Later, naked, terrified, she was asked by an unintroduced, unnamed assistant to provide a DNA swab. The Assistant wrote an incorrect zip code on the test tube that was to be sent to the lab. Crocodile Woman found another surgeon to work with. The teaching includes stealth, attentiveness, flexibility and creativity in survival. Crocodile asks, can you bide time, what information needs to be gathered before taking action? Are you creative in your survival tactics?
Being cold blooded animals, crocodiles are ectothermic and must warm and cool their bodies by moving between warmer and cooler parts of their environment. Crocodiles can slow their heart rate, allowing them to remain under water without having to breathe for up to two hours at a time and for the same reason, can go for years without eating.
Amputation followed by twenty weeks of chemotherapy – chemical immolation from the inside out — and then six weeks of radiation – more burning. Learning to be Still. Accepting. Loss. Healing. Eating. Resting. Exercise. Reduced hours. Loss of income. Loss of hair. Loss of dignity. Grieving. Enduring. Patient. Crocodile teaches awareness and attention to physical needs. Crocodile teaches about conserving energy. Crocodile asks, when do you slow down, when do you rest? Do you know when to move? What are you doing to conserve energy?
Female crocodiles are attentive parents and fiercely and powerfully defend their nests. Despite the fact that they have the strongest jaws of any creature on earth (ten times greater psi than a great white shark) when needed, a mother crocodile can gently carry her young to a safer area.
“I’m so worried about you,” said a friend, “What can I do to help?” The anxiety in the question felt like someone took the plug out and I was swirling down the drain hole. Crocodile Woman spoke fiercely, “You can help by not worrying about me. If you must worry, talk to someone else about it. Right now, I’ve got healing to do. It’s time for you to leave.” When Crocodile is your companion, you are in possession of tremendous great power. Are you willing to fiercely protect and nurture your life?
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About me: I’m in the middle of treatment for breast cancer and I find God in the support-net of friends who are praying for me when I’m too sick and tired to be confident of anything. I’m a children’s librarian, and I’m constantly awed by the goodness of strangers and casual acquaintances I meet at work. I have a big city garden; vegetables and perennials as well as a smattering of trees. I find God in quiet moments of daily life – in the complex and ordered detail in the center of a flower, in the kind words of a stranger, the hug of a little boy who found a Calvin and Hobbes book at the library, in the surround-sound three dimensional audio of bird song on a Spring morning in the middle of the city. As far as I’m concerned that is all God.
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