What inspires and represents your life’s trajectory?
I was wandering the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fresh from a separation from my now ex-husband, and recovering from the failure of my business. I had no direction, and no real purpose.
Coming to Santa Fe, New Mexico felt like running into my mother’s arms. New Mexico, and Santa Fe in particular, claims to have sunshine 360 days of the year. Of all the time I’ve spent there, I have only seen four or five cloudy days, so it must be true.
The two weeks I was there in August of 1992 was sun bathed and desert glistening. The brightness of the sun's rays penetrated the windows of the galleries and businesses lining and just off the town square; the Santa Fe Plaza, where magic happens.
As I entered one small shop, Touchstone Galleries on San Francisco Strett, filled with amethyst geodes sparkling and glistening in the sun’s reflection, my eyes were drawn to a roughly cut, grey, soap stone sculpture of a bear. It was sitting, arms wrapped around its body, looking off to the side. To me it seemed the bear was gazing into the future, with serenity and composure. The bear was confident and relaxed. Self-contained. All the things I was seeking to become.
My business had gone under almost three years before. My husband, at the time, had voted with my partners to close the business. I had been in graduate school almost two years, and my marriage was ending. I came to Santa Fe, New Mexico to find the piece of my soul that had always dwelled there. And to find my soul’s peace. I needed guidance to move on and forward. I needed to know if the path I was on was the best one for me.
As a grad student, and separated from my husband, I was low on funds. My visit to Santa Fe was possible because I drove ten hours there, and was staying with a friend.
The bear was $500. It seemed like a fortune at the time. And it was a long way down from times when I easily bought art, artifacts, and rugs at that price, and more, without a second thought. Now, I thought five times or more before making such a decision and purchase. It wasn’t yet clear when I would have money again.
If you were following me around on that trip in Santa Fe, you would wonder about the number of times I went to visit “my” bear. I was in that shop at least once a day, visiting my lodestone, and my muse.
On my fifth or sixth visit, the owner approached and said, “I’m pretty sure that’s your bear.” I had to agree.
I dug down into the recesses of my bag for a Discover card I kept for emergencies. There didn’t seem to be a greater emergency at that time than my driving need to own that bear sculpture.
My bear now rests comfortably in my office where I see my therapy clients. The bear represents courage and conviction. Bear represents protection, as in Mama Bear energy. The bear is my spirit guide. Bear also represents connection with the earth and her creatures.
Mostly, though, my bear represents the best parts of me and the place it was "born." Santa Fe. New Mexico. Connection to Mother Earth. Courage and bravery. Calm and sure vision of the future. Restful acceptance of the past and present. Protection, of me, but also now, of my child, my son, my cub, who came into being through the growth, acceptance, and intention born during that time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in fact he was conceived there. I met his father there, in the plaza, where miracles happen.