When I returned to work after a lengthy battle for health, I was challenged time after time to shed my skin, let go of the old and grow a new set of scales, only for my skin to get too tight again. I would be called to go on journeys beyond the veils from time to time and I enjoyed them immensely. There were lessons to be learned and sometimes the lessons came with a lot of good-hearted humor.
One day a beautiful skunk strolled into my energy field and asked me, if I wanted to go for a walk together with her. Her energy was inviting and friendly and she wore a red flower on her head. So naturally, I said yes.
Since I enjoyed shapeshifting immensely at that time and it would be good training, I decided to shapeshift into a skunk as well. At that time, gravity was still conditioned into my mind and since I am a perfectionist Capricorn, the process of shapeshifting back then was more like reading a chapter out of a biology book describing every little detail. My skunk friend was watching me patiently while I was shapeshifting. I started at the wrong end and gravity had its say. Like I said, if you have gravity on your mind, gravity will remind you of its existence.
The skunk was smiling gently, while I was getting the dust out of my fresh coat of fur and then we set of. We ran through the woods, played tag under the trees, jumped over roots and simply enjoyed our time together. Then we came to a clearing. My skunk friend stopped on the edge of the clearing and smiled at me. There was a shaman dancing in the middle of the clearing. He wore a skunk pelt on his head and nothing else. He seemed perfectly happy, enjoying the moment with a serene smile on his face. I looked at my skunk friend, then back at the shaman and back at my skunk friend again. “You are perfectly fine with this.” She kept on smiling her gentle smile, nodded and said, “Yes.” Then she slightly touched the flower on her head and started dancing, too.
Be who you are. Therein lies your power.
A few days later I was on my way to buy some groceries. While I was walking, I was thinking about the various opinions, others had about me, and I finally reached the point at which I said to myself, “The opinions of others are none of my business. I am who I am.” When I looked up, I saw the same shaman in my energy field in front of me, skunk pelt on his head and nothing else. He winked at me and then he continued dancing having the time of his life.
"White Eastern Spotted Skunk", white pastels, Kristin Raphaela Otti (2023)
A few weeks after that, one of my colleagues gifted me a special hat for my birthday. I love good-hearted humour and the five of us, that shared an office space at that time, were a tight knit group. I had also been elected to serve on the works council a year prior to that and was growing into my new role, learning to speak on behalf of my colleagues, attending meetings and discussing issues concerning employment law. Since the company was quite big, the works council was as well, having 28 members.
"White Skunk", white pastels, Kristin Raphaela Otti (2023)
While I was walking, I was thinking about the various opinions, others had about me, and I finally reached the point at which I said to myself, “The opinions of others are none of my business. I am who I am.”
When I wanted to get a fresh cup of coffee, my colleagues insisted upon me wearing my new hat on the way to the kitchen and back. I accepted the challenge after some tongue-in-cheek back and forth. Since we had taken a break, while the lessons were in full swing and the chance of meeting anyone in one of the hallways were slim to none, wearing that hat – a giant plush chicken with incredibly long legs and a bright red tail – would not be a problem. If – by chance – one of my students saw me, no problem either, they were familiar with my sense of humour.
Yes, that is me, wearing a plush chicken on my head.
I went out of the office, took a few steps and of course, the moment you decide to walk through the company you are working for with a gigantic plush chicken on your head, you will run into your superior. It is a law of nature. He looked at me, his eyes grew big, his mouth fell open and I was faced with a decision. Instead of taking the hat off and mumbling an apology, I looked him deep in the eyes and said, “I know. I can wear anything and it simply suits me.” Then I took one of the plush chicken legs and flung it back like you would fling back long hair, slowly strutted past him and went around the corner to the kitchen. When I opened the kitchen door, I heard him burst into laughter. It was the first time I had heard him laugh in months.
At a later point of time, when we were joking about it during a meeting, I suggested asking HR, if we could use the picture with the plush chicken hat as my new official company headshot. Two days after that, he called me into his office, looking very serious. “I have bad news.” He sighed and shook his head. “HR has declined your request.” I just stared at him for a moment. “That is truly unfortunate.” Then we burst into laughter.