Coyote Medicine


I’ve been exhausted for the past few weeks. Bone-deep wake up in the morning ready to go back to bed exhausted. My heart is heavy from the losses of the world. There’s a wet blanket on my shoulders, pulling me down, down into a black hole where all I want is rest, solitude, snacks. No phones, no screens, no nothing. This isn’t like me.

What’s going on? I ask my I Ching, the ancient falling apart third edition by Carol Anthony. The coin toss leads me to Hexagram 47: Exhaustion.

“We receive this hexagram when our spirit is oppressed by certain fundamental untruths: when we believe the Higher Power does not exist; when we doubt its goodness because things have gone badly; when we suspect it will not, or cannot help us, or that the help will come too late; when we suspect that Fate is conspiring against us, that the situation is too difficult, and that we lack the means to deal with it. The Higher Truth is the source of all spiritual nourishment. This nourishment, or essential energy, is called chi. Chi flows first to our higher nature, and through it to our bodies. When we are true to ourselves, chi flows without resistance or blockage. When we are not true to ourselves, the chi energy no longer flows properly. We know this because believing an untruth causes inner conflict and depression. If the disruption in the flow of this energy, or nourishment, continues, we experience what this hexagram calls “exhaustion.” Exhaustion affects both the essential self, and the body.”

The cause of my exhaustion, it patiently explains, is a disconnect from Spirit. I’m flat out of chi because I’m letting doubts and fears cripple me, telling me we’re doomed, the human race is toast, that we might as well pack it all in, and there’s nothing I can do that will make a difference. When I doubt that things can and will work out, the hexagram gently reminds me, I am really doubting the creative power of the Cosmos.

I rouse myself and go for a walk. The snow from the spring storm two nights ago has melted, and the earth is moist, ready for seed. I stop and hold my breath: Ten feet ahead of me a coyote crosses my path. With one glance over his shoulder, he darts into the juniper and disappears. I think it’s a male. He’s tall and broad with muscular flanks,  out scouting for a place for his mate to have their pups.

Coyote! The trickster has appeared, ready to stand the world on its head so I can see things from a new perspective. What if I resist my doubt, my fear and hopelessness, and submit willingly to being transformed by grief into someone I do not yet know, roused from exhaustion, ready to preserve what hasn’t yet been destroyed, ready to serve in whatever direction Spirit leads me.

Coyote! Permission given to reclaim my divine right to find pleasure in the sacredness of being human, of balancing on the edge of holiness and irreverence. Permission given to let go of thinking I know what Fate has mandated, or what has been written in stone. None of us knows the ultimate outcome to the accelerating climate crisis we’re facing, none of us has all the facts, and if someone tells you they do, walk away.  We are just at the beginning of the seismic, cataclysmic shift that’s taking place as we open to the truth of the interconnectedness of all life. We are only just awakening to the magic that the tiniest change in one of us produces a profound change in the whole. Witness Greta Thunberg.

My exhaustion lifts. I feel lighter, more playful, able to see the potential in the unfamiliar and unexpected. I feel better equipped to shield myself as I move safely through this insane world using Coyote medicine: masks, disguises, tricks and transformations, looking at what I thought was true from a new perspective – backwards, upside down, inside out, willing to challenge the habitual ways I  view Fate, and remake the world as I know it.

What I mean is this: We are powerful beyond comprehending, able to create change with our consciousness.  All we need to do is keep our notepads open and our pencils sharpened, listening to Spirit for the next set of instructions. Asking for, receiving, and  giving thanks for this help is our call and response with the Universe, the hookup that opens the floodgates of chi, of purpose and of peace.

Where do you go to commune with Spirit, and when was the last time you were there?

“Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.” Rumi


monk at sunset


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is







2 thoughts on “Coyote Medicine

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful and beautiful piece.
    Kathleen Mock
    (Was in one of Laura’s workshops at Bolinas re grief with you.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s