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Hip Sobriety School, Day 18

"I am a fierce motherfucker."

I have no words to say how much I love today's mantra. Someone in our tribe said she wanted to adopt another line from Holly's message as a mantra: "I can outlast this fuckery." Me too, except my post-it notes would say "I can outlast this fucking fuckery." What a great thought to run through my mind when I'm doing Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breath to de-stress: Inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8. Repeat until you 're off the ceiling and can climb back down the wall.

Today's image is brought to you by my Dream State. Arriving without a name, this fellow showed up out of nowhere on a trail just as I emerged from a patch of deep woods into a clearing. There he was, standing horizontally across the path right in front of me, his head turned my way and his eyes boring right through me.

His presence was startling but not terrifying or even frightening, nothing about him seemed menacing or threatening—just intense, watchful, deliberate. He looked like a wolf but his coloring was more like a coyote's and yet not even that. Light brown with darker highlights. The fur was so gnarled and clumpy in places I thought he might be very old or unwell. But this fellow had an air of majesty and power—and then it hit hit me: He's in the middle of spring moulting. That heavy old coat of winter is giving way to sleek, new lighter fur.

And then—nothing. I wasn't dreaming about hiking before I saw him and have no memory of anything happening after our long stare down. Just the sensation of coming out of thick trees and seeing him right ahead, only that meeting, only that fiercely intense gaze, came through as a one-scene standalone dream vision. And it haunted me for days—in a good way. I even thought about googling "light brown wolves" to see if such a thing exists in the natural world.

About three days later I started a texting thread with my daughter Lizzy.

ME: You know how much I love and miss you always but I'm just really really missing Cedar today, like shedding a few tears missing him. (Cedar being her auburn-colored border collie—the two of them stayed with us for a few months last winter.)

LIZZY: Awww, he misses you too!

ME: Well, he doesn't really but I know he'll be happy to see me again when I visit. That's one of the things I love about dogs: always living in the Now.

And then I launched into a detailed description of my dream vision, which in that moment felt so closely aligned with the rush of missing Cedar. Millennials are instantaneous googlers, so in the middle of my string of babbles about every visual and emotional detail of the encounter, including the thought that he might represent one of my spirit guides or that my spirit animal totem might be a wolf, several photos of brown wolves began popping up on our text thread. The moment I saw the last picture I shot back: That's HIM, and those are HIS EYES!

Lizzy said she had a hunch he was the one, and then she wrote: Looks like you've met your Patronus! (Thank you, JK, for that mystical, delightful image) Lizzy said he must be coming as a guide or a protector, and how odd that his eyes are exactly the color of Cedar's. Which is against-all-odds so true. Red-headed border collies are genetically rare just like red-headed people, but even within that group, Cedar's piercing gold wolf eyes are absolutely other-worldly. Granted my sampling is small, but I've never seen another border collie with his eyes. So it felt right as rain when Lizzy wrote: "Maybe he is Cedar's ancestral spirit."

And what does all that have to do with being a fierce mother fucker? I am watched and supported and protected and guided and strengthened along this and every path—loved beyond my comprehension of love. I am a beloved Child of the Universe, the heiress to endless mystery and ecstatic joy, and I am never alone. My Good is seeking me just as I am seeking my Good, and it will always know my face. Light is my shield and Truth is my sword, and if I stumble or fall, Love will be there to pick me up and heal the wounds and plant my feet firmly back on the path again. If that's doesn't make me a fierce mother fucker badass Warrior Goddess, I don't know what would.

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