Today I want to talk to you about raccoons.
Did you know they can be the key to your confidence?
Some fun facts about them, they have five dexterous toes so they can grasp and manipulate food, and their hind legs are longer than their front.
But it’s not their toes or legs that make them so special.
It’s their eating habits.
Raccoons are often referred to as scavengers, and there have been countless warnings to us as humans to make sure we have our trash cans firmly closed. Perhaps you have even had the experience of waking up to find your cans toppled over and the contents strewn about your yard or driveway. Or maybe seen them enjoying a tasty evening treat at a campsite.
Raccoons not only eat garbage, insects, seeds and fruit, but many other things including birds, and bird eggs.
The message around raccoons is pretty consistent: stay away, leave them alone, and don’t feed them.
They’ve been labeled as tricksters, masked, and cunning. Some have even gone so far as to label them as dangerous.
I was at one of my favorite parks last weekend and the visitor center is usually teeming with birds enjoying the many feeders filled with food by the rangers. But when we walked by them, the feeders were all gone and a lone song sparrow was hopping about in the grass.
My husband and I were so confused, as we have been to this park countless times. Where were the feeders and why would they take them down?
And there on the wall of the visitor center was a photo of a raccoon happily hanging on to the bird feeder and beneath it a sign that read, “we have removed the feeders for two weeks as we had a hungry raccoon coming for a snack.”
I imagine the logic behind their decision was, “remove the food and the problem goes away.”
While I was very amused by the photo of the clever and happy raccoon hanging from the feeder and enjoying a bounty of seeds, I thought of you.
So, I would like to use this story as a parable or metaphor for building your confidence, and explain why the raccoon is so powerful.
Let’s imagine the bird feeder as the place of nourishment for your confidence. The feeder is filled with fruit and seeds. This food originates within you, from your heart and your spirit. You can think of this as the seeds of your creativity, or the fruit of your vision. Birds come in flocks to fill their bellies and then are able to fly.
This simple process of seed to wing is what allows you to grow, move forward, and ultimately take your passions out into the world to your audience. The bird is only able to fly if it is fed, so providing the right food consistently is crucial.
Along comes the raccoon, also hungry for seeds, fruit, AND the birds. He interrupts this process, and is seen as a scavenger, dangerous, and only leaves the scene with a full belly, sleeping during the day. Where do your dreams go then?
The raccoon could be viewed as your inner critic or perfectionist, your imposter, or whatever other form your fears and limiting beliefs take shape. They are masked, hidden, and keep your vision from taking flight or reaching your audience.
So the food is taken down to eliminate the presence of the raccoon, but in the process, it also is taken down for the birds.
No one is being fed. Your confidence becomes malnourished.
But what if the presence of the raccoon is actually exactly what you need to feed your confidence?
The original logic behind taking the feeders down is, “remove the food and the problem goes away.” Except here you are, hungry and feeling discouraged.
So, I’d like to offer a much more powerful invitation.
Ask the “raccoon” or your inner part that has shown up what they need.
Ask your “raccoon” what is the gift they have for you.
It’s common Western tradition to turn away from your “problem” but this never actually solves the issue and only creates more distrust within your being. You begin to create a pattern of “I can’t handle it”, when the exact opposite is true. The critter has actually arrived at your feeder for a reason, and when you can understand their function, you will then begin to create a new pattern, one of resilience and curiosity. You will begin to trust yourself and that your answers lie within, not in evasion and avoidance.
Perhaps you have been stuck with writing lately, whether it’s your book or a song. You may feel like something is “eating up all of your creative flow”. When you turn towards this masked critter within you, it shares that it really needs more clarity. So, you take a step back in the process to really clarify the overall arc and message of your writing and then find your fingers flying with new words.
Perhaps you have been let down a LOT lately by team members. They aren’t answering emails, showing up late to your meetings or rehearsals, and are making comments that feel hurtful. You feel like they are eating up all your positive energy and momentum. You decide to turn towards the raccoon and it shares it wants you to see you are being tricked. This person, or people are not being honest and are bringing your work and project down. So, you release your collaboration and synchronistically connect with a new person that helps promote and nurture your work.
What if the raccoon is there for you?
What if your raccoon is actually a totem, a spirit animal, or symbolic representation of what your most whole and powerful being is calling for?
What if your raccoon is actually the key to your confidence?
As several of my spiritual teachers have said to me when things I didn’t like showed up, “there is no problem here.”
But there is something to look at and to learn.
According to spirit animal expert, Elena Harris, “The raccoon spirit animal is a problem solver. A clever totem, the raccoon offers lessons about the importance of adaptability in any situation and taking the time to look at the entire picture, not just what one wants to see.”
Now that is power.
That is confidence.
And it all lies beneath the mask.
Keep your feeders up and meet whatever comes to eat with curiosity.
They all have a message for you to help you bring your fearless vision to life.