Yesterday, at 7:06am, I was driving to work on Route 5. The sun had yet to rise. Traffic was not an issue. My mind was reviewing the morning's dream. Two points of light in the middle of the road, low to the ground, snapped me out of my lazy review. Animal eyes, yellow-green in my headlights, were moving back and forth. The size and shape of the shadow in the road told me it was a raccoon. A raccoon in trouble.
As I slowed down, I saw the raccoon was writhing on it's back, trying to right itself with flailing forelegs. I sucked in my breath, hard, and spewed out expletives. The bandit was suffering. And there was nothing for me to do. Had the eyes belonged to a cat, I would have been out of my car in flash, scooping it up. But raccoons carry rabies, and I am not equipped to end an animal's life, so I drove on.
I detest suffering. It hurts my heart. And so I began to pray. I asked all Universal agents at large to attend to the bandit in the road. I asked for its highest, most gentle good to be done. I asked for its ability to crawl off the road or its swift death. Whichever was more merciful. I prayed all the way to work, knowing it was the best I could do, then I turned my attention away.
After a short work day and completed errands, I drove home along Route 5. I had to see what mercy had delivered. There, straddling yellow lines in the middle, was my bandit. Flat on its back, forelegs stretched up to its head, belly exposed to the afternoon light. I stopped my car. When traffic had cleared, I walked to the yellow lines and said, "I'm here now. I came back to help". And with that, I picked it up by its tail and walked it over the side of the road. It was not quite stiff when I laid it down on winter grass under a tree. It's teeth and paws were covered in blood, but it had not been crushed. Nor would it be. I covered it with branches that arcked over its belly and told it it's life was a gift and a blessing to this planet. I told it suffering was done and peace was all it would know. I said, "bless you, little one" and walked away.
In exchange for honoring its death, the raccoon spoke to me as I drove home. It told me that its medicine, its symbolic energy, was that of the mask. The mask has many applications for transformations, healings and rituals. All for positive purposes. But in my case, the mask was inhibiting. In my case, the mask I wear is hiding my true self. And without living my truth for all to see, the bandit told me I would never know the happiness I longed for. I would never know the full joy of expressing my life's purpose. The bandit told me I am half way between 2 lives. I am on the yellow lines and now is the time for me to make the choice. Remove the mask and walk proudly to the other side of the life I was born to live, or stay stuck in the middle, still wearing the mask of the life I have outgrown.
Today, I am holding the mask in my hands. Tomorrow, with the help of a raccoon spirit, I hope to leave the mask on winter grass under a tree.