I’ve always tried to teach my kids that nothing is ever a mistake. When we are faced with a choice, the one we choose is what we feel is right for us at that moment. When we look back and consider that choice a mistake, it really wasn’t, it was a decision we needed to make because there was a lesson we needed to learn by taking that path.
My daughter recently showed me she has learned, and understands that message far deeper than I thought. Kate made this adorable octopus for me at a local shop. You may notice that the paint on the right eye isn’t perfect and pools at the bottom, almost like tears building up and ready to fall. My understanding is that the paint dries extremely fast and the lady at the shop told Kate they could fix that. It appears they have a special ‘eraser’ that can wipe off mistakes. Kate declined and said she wanted it left exactly as it was. She told me this story and added, “I wanted it kept that way because it looks like it’s getting ready to cry and that represents the struggles you’ve dealt with over the past couple of years. The other eye is clearer as it looks to the future.”
I then shared, with both of my children, the story behind a walking stick I’d purchased a number of years ago. Many years ago, I’m going to say around 2003, a Native American – Wiccan – psychic woman told me, the moment I stepped into her home, that my Totem was the Bald Eagle. I’ve always remembered this and, after meeting the award winning Ojibwa wood carver Wilmer Nadjiwon at the Toronto Sportsman’s Show somewhere around 2005, I’d felt drawn to his work and wanted to visit his studio in Tobermory to see if I could find a Bald Eagle carving by him that I could actually afford. This visit didn’t take place for many more years, and unfortunately, I was not able to find a Bald Eagle carved by Wilmer, those who know his work will recognize his familiar owl carvings and there were many of those there. However, I did find a walking stick carved by his nephew with a Bald Eagle topper. It was exactly what I’d pictured, and it was in my price range. Sadly, this particular walking stick is not signed and I don’t remember the artists name.
I was taking it to the front of the shop to pay for it, I noticed one eye missing. I could have easily mentioned it, but I didn’t. I wanted it exactly as it was. As I told my sister, who drove to the studio with me, it reminded me of my daughter. For those who do not know Kate, she was assessed with Asperger’s Syndrome in her early 20’s. She doesn’t mind me taking about this because we both use it as a teaching tool. The easiest way to explain Asperger’s is to call it high functioning Autism. It’s so much more, but that just makes it easier for people to understand without going into it too far. As I explained to Kate on Christmas morning, it reminded me of her because she sees the world very differently than the rest of us. I’m extremely proud of the steps she’s made to adjust herself to ‘our’ world, and the strength she’s shown in sticking to her guns when she simply chooses to stay true to herself and do what is comfortable for her, whether others understand or not.
I’ve since been gifted with another walking stick, this one a Wilmer Nadjiwon original, and the head of this one is a Wolf, crying to the moon. I’ve become very drawn to interpreting the animal imagery I have during meditation and, when researching Wolf as a power animal, I very much see this as my son. I won’t go into that further as he is a private person, but I display these two walking sticks in the entry of my home; one allowing things to be seen differently, and one with a strong sense of family, avoiding confrontation but fiercely defending loved ones when necessary.
I hope that people feel that when they enter; the ability to see and respect things from various perspectives, a strong sense of family and loyalty and a non-confrontational atmosphere. Home….