Let's Talk Self-Reliance ~

Let's Talk Self-Reliance ~

Self-Reliance was always one of my favorite Emerson essays (Ralph Waldo, of course). I learned of these essays in the books of Louisa May Alcott, wherein one of her female protagonists was reading them. I was eight years old. 

Self-reliance spoke to me, as I am the eldest of a smattering of siblings and my parents were always busy. Not neglected, but left on my own as much as I desired to be (which was often), I learned to rely on my intuition and inner sense of what was true, fair and just. I observed the world as does every sensitive being, looking to find what my place might be in it.

My father used to say "the buck stops here," pointing at his chest. At first, I thought, "great, because I love the male deer with those big antlers and I would love to see one up close, so if they really... oh wait, he must mean something else."  So I continued to listen and learn, as we all do.

What is meant by self-reliance when we talk about it from both a social and a spiritual context? I suppose most mean that one has to rely on the ego, on the sense of self-importance and personality one develops over time to carry on. 

Self-reliance means something else in terms of our evolution as productive beings on a world in transition. It is a doorway into learning to take responsibility for our own journey, without projecting our reactivity, expectations, and agendas onto others.  In other words, the big male deer stops with us. Stag medicine is the medicine of gentle grace, endurance and the recognition that we each are creative beings. It is the medicine of becoming one's own centre.

This is the medicine of calling what you need to you, not from a bellowing ego or woundedness, but from the highest frequencies of what you are. Then those vibrations can be matched by Source, quickened by the Love-Light of the Infinite and returned to you a hundredfold.  Your call will be answered at the moment it arises. IF you have learned that the doorway of self-reliance is entered with humility and by being fully present to what is, what is possible, and what openings are presenting themselves to you.

The saying in the English language is to "take responsibility". If, however, we become the vibration and frequency of being fully present and able to respond, then we don't need to 'take' anything ever, at all. What we require comes to us as we show up to meet it, responsibly, and do all that is required in each circumstance (meaning the work).

Why is this important? Another thing I learned long ago was to trust that which is within me. I heard a phrase somewhere that ran "I am as powerful as I need to be." There was more to it, but the feeling of that phrase let me relax into Source's arms, knowing that the power lives there and is mine to borrow when and as needed. Knowing that I am able to respond, rather than react, to anything. Later, as I surrendered to the truth of what I am, more and more, it became obvious that allowing Source to direct the flow of power and effort was the most efficient and grace-full way I could be.

Stag medicine is often equated with wisdom. When I finally 'met' a huge stag in my own back garden, he was being confronted by my very curious and protective Scottish terrier. I circled around the both of them, finding a way to try to collect her, as she was confronting the fourteen-pointer head-on from about 2 meters away.

As I approached, quietly and calmly, the great being flicked me a glance out of the corner of one eye. "I will not harm her" he said to me. Then, to my delight and amazement, he kneeled down, finally lying on the ground, in front of us. His antlers still towered over me and my little four-legged friend, who I then scooped up, saying to her "Let's go indoors and let him have his breakfast."

She jumped from my arms, standing fully a-quiver, feinting toward him. To each of her feints, he lowered his antlers, as if to say, "that's close enough." It was done with such patience, fortitude, and grace. Grandfather teaching the little rascal.

As I carried the little wiggling one toward the house, the stag stood, shaking himself off, and quietly began to feed on the tender lower branches of some of the trees in the garden. Only a bit from those he selected, not so much that the tree would suffer. It was fascinating to watch.

Was I relying on his wisdom or he on mine, in removing the little feisty youngster from a situation not requiring confrontation? It didn't matter. In relying, each of us, on the true nature of the moment and doing what needed to be done, the situation was handled gracefully. {if not to the Scottie's preferences}

How is this helpful in our day-to-day? When we show up as the truth that we are, able to respond and doing so impeccably, we flow with the grace that is available.

Why is this important now? Take a look around you. How is your life shaping up? How might a bit of stag medicine be helpful? St. Francis talked about "the wisdom to know the difference".  May we all be blessed with that discernment every moment of our lives.


This is a younger relative of the wise one that visited. It seemed he liked our garden so much that he spread the word.