By Jen Zmurchyk – Prairie Sky Wellness
I often go for nature walks and when I do, I usually ask for spirit to bring me messages. Sometimes it will come in the form of an odd animal sighting or seeing something out of place in the natural world. Today was no exception.
As I was walking around the lake this morning, three skunks came waddling out of the trees and walked right in front of me on the path. Fortunately the little stinkers never saw me, so I was saved from possibly getting sprayed.
I’ve been sprayed by a skunk before as a kid. I grew up on a farm, and one hot summer day I was playing by one of the irrigation canals when I thought I saw a black and white cat in the long grass on the bank of the ditch. I love cats, so I decided to try petting it, only to discover in horror that it was absolutely not a cat!! I ran back to the farmhouse crying – not from tears of sadness but the intense stench of the skunk spray was so strong that my eyes were watering badly, and it appeared to my family back at the house that I was bawling my eyes out.
The unfortunate thing about skunks is that they are cute. Absolutely adorable, and very gentle creatures. It’s too bad on the farm that they were classified as useless varmints because it never seemed to me that skunks did any harm other than being stinky and cute.
After my encounter with the skunks at the lake this morning, I was curious to see what the spirit meaning of skunk is. I was a bit stunned to learn that a lot of the meaning is focused around setting gentle boundaries. The reason I was stunned is that yesterday I was required to set some healthy boundaries with someone I dearly love, and seeing the skunks was a definite confirmation from spirit that I had done the right thing.
The spirit meaning of skunk indicates a need for setting gentle boundaries. The skunk does not attack viciously with claws and teeth, rather it turns around, lifts its tail, and fires a gentle stream of warning to get the heck away from it
Up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t even know what a boundary was. In fact I let people walk all over me like a used doormat. Fortunately I have embarked on a serious mission to improve my life in the last few years, and one of the things I learned to do was love myself and appreciate my own value. A challenging task for any of us to master.
When someone like me learns to respect oneself, a beautiful thing happens – we begin to command respect from others. No longer allowing ourselves to be pushovers and people pleasers when we become strong and authentic in our own skin.
The first time I ever set a firm boundary was with a family member in 2017. I remember the incident well. Very well. I was shaking and nervous when I did it, but I gathered up all the strength and courage I could muster and told this person that they were not allowed to treat me in the manner they had in the past. This person was shocked. Their mouth was literally agape with their eyes wide; looking at me like I had just fallen off of the moon. This person had known me my entire life and had not once ever known me to stand up for myself.
I can’t say that it was a particularly satisfying experience as I wish I hadn’t required to set that boundary in the first place, however I gained a sense of power at the time and further confirmed my new and hard won self respect.
Since then, setting healthy boundaries is no longer difficult for me, even if it is with someone I love and care about. People who love and care about us actually appreciate it and have no issues if we need to set boundaries. On the other hand if that person is toxic, when a boundary is set they often get quite angry and usually choose to leave our life rather than face the fact they need to respect others. Good riddance to bad rubbish!!
So I would like to give a big thanks to those skunks that came across my path this morning. It was a difficult choice to set these boundaries with this person yesterday who is very important to me, but nature and spirit confirmed to me that it was the right thing to do and not to doubt my choice or feel guilty for standing up and respecting myself.