Lessons in Personal Power and Purpose


Last week I had the pleasure to visit the animal sanctuary Lions, Tigers & Bears, in Alpine. As a shamanic practitioner, and deeply feeling individual, I was moved by the stories of the animals who have reached this highly accredited facility, often after suffering unimaginably cruel conditions at the hands of people trading in exotic pets.
I got the rare and breathtaking honor of being just a couple of feet from some of the most powerful and awe-inspiring land predators; and, even got an opportunity to feed one (through a fence and via a long pole of course!).

At first I thought I should feed the 500lb alpha male lion, to experience the thrill of interacting so closely with the quintessential "King of the Jungle." But when I got quiet within myself, I knew I was called to the leopard, Conga.

Petite and so cute when she pawed at the fence for food, it was easy to forget that, pound for pound, Conga is the most powerful cat at the sanctuary, with the ability to take down prey three times her size and drag it back up a tree to be devoured at her leisure.


According to Peruvian shamanism, the archetype of Jaguar sits at the West, which is associate with the season of Fall. And despite San Diego’s resistance to the changing of the seasons, we are most certainly in Fall!
My time with the majestic leopard reminded me of the medicine and gifts of Jaguar, the energetic cousin of the leopard. Part of Jaguar's medicine is to teach us how to walk through the depths of the dark shadowy jungle (and I'm talkin' about our inner jungle) without fear. It got me thinking about the ways that wildness lives in our collective Shadow – the things we disown not only in ourselves, but our culture.

We fear and disown the wild, and our innate wild nature so profoundly that it compels us to attempt to tame or control it, or at our worst, completely destroy it. That wildness is so unpredictable and frightening, and yet so alluring, that we would prefer to gather trophies of it rather than fully appreciating and harnessing that raw power. 

The animals of the sanctuary had been sedated for petting zoos, declawed and defanged to be pets for children, kept in cages far too small for them to survive, much less thrive, malnourished to the point of near death – all for humans to feel just close enough to that wildness, but still “safe” and in control. Even in the incredible experience of nourishing these big cats, some of the sanctuary visitors were more focused on getting a perfect picture of themselves smiling attractively at a camera than they were on the gift of connection with something truly incredible.
So I started to reflect…

  • Where in my life do I fear, disown or tame my raw power?
  • If I were to nourish and respect that power instead, what might I create?

As a transpersonal hypnotherapist, some of my favorite work to do with clients is the exploration of their shadow, and reclaiming the personal power that is held in some of those dark inner spaces. Often times what we find in the dark is actually some of their greatest brilliance, left forgotten under decades of limiting beliefs, addictive patterns, trauma, and more. Through working not only with the unconscious mind, but also the Higher Self, we can uncover and bring light into that shadow to reveal the treasure held inside.

Jaguars are also the apex predator of the jungle, without which the entire ecosystem would crumble. In that way, Jaguar teaches us how to be the stewards of our lives, the way jaguar stewards the jungle. Which got me thinking about life purpose and the surprises that can lay in store for us when we pay attention and listen to the sometimes subtle call of our Spirit.
Bobbi Brink, the founder of Lions, Tigers & Bears had always wanted to open a restaurant. That is, until she discovered the horrors of the exotic pet industry while looking through the newspaper classified ads. Seeing ad upon ad for baby tiger cubs on sale - $200, no paperwork or license required for ownership – Bobbi’s heart and soul was ignited. She took a hard left turn from restaurant ownership and into the unknown terrain of opening an animal sanctuary. Her ultimate vision and mission is to take down the exotic pet industry through education and advocacy to affect change at the level of federal law. At the sanctuary, you can have an embodied experience of the legacy she is working to leave behind through the animals she and her staff and volunteers have saved and rehabilitated.

Like Albert, pictured begging for more PB&J sandwiches!   

Like Albert, pictured begging for more PB&J sandwiches! 

As the apex predator of the jungle, jaguars has no natural enemies (besides humans). Through living their purpose, they ensure the balance of the ecosystem, from predators, prey, plant life, all the way down to the very microbes in the soil. And so I started to reflect….

  • How can I step even more courageously into stewarding my purpose?
  • If I truly believe I had no “enemies,” what would I fearlessly take on in my life and work?

I love to dive into life purpose exploration with clients! Whether they're in a transition, dissatisfied with their careers, or feel that something else is calling to them, hypnosis and shamanic energy work are powerful ways of clearing out any blocks standing in the way of their desire, re-visioning their lives, and establishing new patterns that will support their forward momentum into the life they want to lead!

As we continue to journey through Fall and into the darkness of Winter, may the medicine of Jaguar be with you. May you take hold of your life courageously, and find the treasures hidden deep in the shadows of your own beingness. May you choose to offer those treasures into the world in a way that is meaningful to you.

Tess Meissner, CCHT of Infinite Truth Healing provides hypnotherapy and past life regression therapy services in San Diego, CA, as well as online sessions via Skype or Google Hangout. Receive support in your self-healing in the areas of: stress reduction, integrative addiction solutions, inner child healing, shadow work, relationship issues, chronic illness, life purpose, spiritual and intuitive development, trauma or abuse, skill enhancement, grief and loss, depression, and more.