It was nearly a year ago when I first met Hops, the hare.
I was stuck in one of those loops, one of those endless mental loops. My mind was circling and circling and circling, constantly repeating this one scenario that ended time after time with this super intense feeling of barely repressed terror and hurt… and then the cycle would begin again.
Nothing I did would stop my mind from repeating this extremely painful pattern.
I tried breathing. I tried saying something different, changing the dialogue (in my head). I tried to notice and feel the sensations in my body. I tried to simply not care when I came to the painful part and was again flooded with pain and panic.
Nothing worked. This particular scenario was so stuck in my head that it felt impossible to shift. My mind just kept cycling and cycling and cycling. My frustration grew and grew and grew.
Then, something unexpected (and quite weird) occurred:
I was in the middle of the scenario, in a state of complete frustration with my inability to have any control over my own brain, when in pops Hops, the hare.
Now, it might be helpful here for you to know that I work with animal medicine (buffalo, raccoon, owl…) quite a bit. There is nothing I like more than having the opportunity to quietly observe wild (or even domesticated) animals and birds. It is a deeply nourishing and healing practice (medicine!) for me.
So, when Hops popped into my brain and said:
“Hey, if you can’t change how you feel at then end of this loop, why don’t you change how you react to how you feel?”
I just accepted the suggestion.
Yes, there was a rabbit in my brain. Yes, I could make up a lot of stories about what that meant or where he came from or whether or not he was real or just some other part of me showing up as a rabbit.
I didn’t question his appearance. I simply chose to listen to his advice.
Except, I didn’t really understand.
Hops: “You can’t change the pattern, right?”
Hops: “Why don’t you change how you react to the pattern?”
Me: “Ok, how?”
Hops: “Well, you could always *hop*.”
Me: “Huh. Ok…”
So, the next time the scenario looped through and I felt that overwhelming rush of terror and hurt (*after* I felt the terror and hurt that were feeding the loop), I stuttered out “Hop!”
It was kind of funny.
And, I almost forgot to do it because I was once again so caught up in the pain of the scenario. But, I remembered. And, it kind of made me giggle.
The loop began again. At the end, I again said “hop!”. And, this time I was suddenly inspired to add a couple more random words after ‘hop’: butterscotch, sandpiper, sailboat!
And with that, the Game of Hops began.
With each cycle, I would say Hop! and then add as many random, nonsensical words as I could think of in a 2-5 sec span. The loop would repeat. I would again hop! and add more random words: pumpkin pie, rainbow bright, candle light!
It started to be fun! I began to look forward to the end of the scenario (which I had so dreaded before).
And, as I continued to play in this way, everything became more and more of a game until the entire pattern shifted and there was only freedom and love in the moment that previously held so much pain.
It was amazing.
And then, the entire pattern, the entire loop, dissolved. *poof*
My brain was once again mine. My mind was still and quiet. My body felt calm and at ease.
It was then that I realized I couldn’t even remember what the scenario that had so dominated my mind had included. The pattern had shifted so completely that there was no longer even a memory of the painful incident. There was only love. And giggling.
Here, now, is the Medicine of Hops, the Hare, as I experience it:
It is medicine that leads to the unraveling of things (issues, patterns) that no longer serve.
It is medicine of interrupting patterns that seem impossible to change. And through interrupting them, changing them. Little by little, like small hops across a yard (hop, hop, hop). Or, in one giant leap, like a rabbit escaping the bobcat by the width of a hair (of a hare?).
I have wanted to share this story for a long time.
I just haven’t known how. It is fairly convoluted (and odd) and yet it ends in simplicity.
There is only this truth. The truth that everything can change. Can transform. And that when we are truly done with a particular pattern, there is no need for it anymore, at all. Anywhere… in our heads or in our lives. It simply disappears. As if it were never there.
In fact, it disappears so completely that we even forget it ever existed.
This is the medicine of Hops. This is the medicine of the hare as I’ve experienced it.
For you, now, I offer the Song of Hops.
A couple of weeks after the experience above, I was sitting in meditation when this melody popped into my mind.
The Song of Hops
Hop Hop Hop
What you think is what is not
Hop Hop Hop
Hop Hop Hop
Here’s how you sing it: The Song of Hops
I find singing it to be a powerful (and very playful!) way to bring the medicine of Hops directly into my life – especially when my mind is caught up in some some loop of anxiety, worry, regret or fear. I hope it does the same for you. Hop, hop, hop… 🙂
Thanks for being here. I’d love to hear any stories about medicine or healing you’ve received from animals. Also, what helps you when your mind gets stuck in some unending loop?
*sending love and hopeful hopping*