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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn


Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: Patting

Pat yourself all over with the palms of your hands, very gently or more firmly, as you prefer. It's easier to know you've covered everything if you start at the top of your head and go down your torso. Then pat one hand and arm with the other hand, starting at the fingers and moving up to the shoulders, then do the other arm. Then the legs--start at the feet and pat up, using two hands on each leg. Be sure to pat everything, including all features of your face. You can use a pillow to pat the areas of your back that you can't reach, or gently bump those areas up against a doorway, or if you have a friend or partner handy, ask them to pat your back. Then relax and see how you feel.

Julie Henderson, zapchen creator, notes that this zapchen exercise can help you have an "increased awareness of physical, energetic and psychological boundaries [and] helps the immune system know its 'job' more accurately." All this may "increase confidence and clarity and impact." Therefore decreasing anxiety.


Lawrence spends much of his time outside, and often brings something back inside to share. Our property is not what you would call manicured, and we're on the edge of town, bumping up against hundreds of acres of woods. So there are deer, birds, foxes, insects, wildflowers and more. But you have to look. Lawrence looks with eyes that see things others tend to pass by.

Yesterday it was the rather cool but, alas, invasive ostrich fern he had just pulled up. And what we thought might have been a small rabbit nest, uncovered when he dug out the fern, with lots of short white, grey and light brown hairs partially felted together with some dried blades of grass. Unexpected.

One day last year in the middle of May he came inside and said, "Follow me--very quietly." He took me down to one of our lower, wooded terraces some distance from the house. And there, tucked in among some ferns, its back against one of our low rock walls, was a tiny fawn, probably just a day or so old. (Mother deer often leave their new fawns hidden for hours at a time, so they can forage without attracting prey animals or tiring out the newborn.)

With enormous eyes that stared at us, and huge ears, it sat as still as the rock wall that sheltered it, except for an occasional flutter of its nose. Its coat was the color of fresh cinnamon, with white dapples like sunlight for camouflage.

I don't know if I have ever seen anything quite so present, so full of potential for the future, and yet so vulnerable.

It was exquisite. We stood near that tiny cathedral, entranced. There have been no repeat episodes.

A few days ago we took a walk through a nearby neighborhood. I noticed a small bud on the ground that looked like it had fallen from some kind of magnolia tree. About an inch long and covered with fur as soft as a pussy willow, it was the exact color of a newborn fawn, with a whisper-light sheen of iridescence.

I have it on my desk now, reminding me of the ineffability--and fragility--of fawns. Of life.

Until next time,


Photo credits:

Hands, Liane Metzler, unSplash

Ostrich fern, Juniper Level Botanic Garden (Note: The brown fruiting structures are shaped like ostrich feathers, hence the name, but are as stiff as twigs.)

Fawn, Isuri Kumbukage, Wikimedia Commons


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