Clever Like a Fox

red fox in snowA reader recently forwarded my muse One Less Thing to her distribution list. Seeing it in my email prompted me to reread it and acknowledge the continued importance of its message for myself. The piece had been inspired by a visit with my very active in-laws for a family wedding one weekend last year. When the idea to walk through a local art museum had come up the day I arrived, I’d suggested to my sister-in-law that we do one less thing instead of one more, that we go home to relax a little before the weekend’s festivities began. Doing less was a smart move at the time and a good principle for me to remember in general.

I’m still trying to incorporate into my life the principle of doing one less thing. And, as life goes on at its normal pace – now intensified by holiday activity, I’m even more aware of needing to be mindful of this.

However, doing less may be more difficult to incorporate at the moment. In addition to holiday activities, I’m deep into a major renovation project – a new web site for Spiral Energies. After months of work on designing, organizing and writing, it’s now time to learn how to work with WordPress, do final editing, and put everything together.

It’s all very exciting, but the timing couldn’t be more…challenging. Hardly sounds like one less thing, does it?

But, the website needs to happen, as do the holidays. So, I’ve decided to do less in a different way, not by taking on less, per se, but by going about my work in a different way than I usually do – a way that was inspired by a red fox.

View this and watch the fox diving into snowdrifts to hunt down his dinner. The snow is deep, and it’s hard to imagine how the fox can find mice or chipmunks moving around on the ground below. We watch fox pause, wait, leap and dive. At one point, he cocks his ears, listening. Then, sensing an animal below, he leaps head-first into the snow. It can take many tries, but eventually he comes up with something to eat.

The fox’s success varies, but it turns out his success rate isn’t completely random. Scientists have determined that when the fox hunts facing north, his chances of coming up with a mouthful of dinner are greatly improved. In fact, he has a seventy-five per cent chance of success when he’s facing in a northerly direction! The theory is that the fox is aligning himself with earth’s magnetic poles and that facing true north sharpens his senses and accuracy.

It takes a lot of effort to dive into these deep drifts, and the hungry fox probably is a little low on energy until he’s gotten some food in his belly. It behooves him to hunt as efficiently as possible. Fewer dives (one less thing) makes a less effortful process. Hmmmm…perhaps there is something to that!

Fox’s process intrigues and inspires me. While I’m definitely not trying to capture rodents for dinner (!), working in the most efficient, least effortful way on my website will leave me some energy for other things, like holiday activities. Maybe Fox can teach me something as I dive for ideas, words, and illustrations for my new site. I’m open to any process that brings in effortlessness. I’m also open to practices that cultivate spiritual elements like pausing, being still, listening, and being in alignment.

Fox’s north-facing hunting has inspired a personal experiment with northern alignment. I pulled out my compass and found north as I stood in my workspace. It wasn’t spatially practical to orient my worktable and chair to face north, so I have adapted my practice in this way. As I begin working on my website project, or if I need help as I work – I’m at a loss for words or can’t decide on an illustration or quote – I stand facing north, hold the compass and myself quite still, then invite in alignment, clarity, and whatever information or energy I need for my work.

Do I notice a little tingling in my brain, or is it my imagination? I’m not sure. But I am finding that while I stand facing north, my energy settles, a sense of clarity comes to me, and inspiration enters.

Aligning myself with magnetic north is a new experiment, so I don’t have a lot of data to report on my results. It would be great to be “clever like a fox” and reach his success rate! If I come up with the “goods” – the right words, quotes, and illustrations for my website seventy-five per cent of the time –I’ll be very pleased.

But the larger goal is to be using less energy – one less thing – as the most “clever” and streamlined way of operating. Whether facing north is achieving that or not, I know that being still and inviting help, support, and guidance from my Inner Depths is the best way to move through life. It brings the greatest results from the least effort.

Perhaps facing north is “code” for turning inward. Ultimately, our guidance is from Source within us, from wherever we experience our Highest Self. Be still. Ask. Listen and wait. What rises from the depths can be pretty amazing.

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