In our last blog I shared about Manny, the horse with wings. That experience left me with a burning and heart-felt question. What happens when every particle of our being tells us we are heading in the “right” direction for our life, yet life then zigzags and takes us on a completely different path?
At those times has something gone wrong, like a Universal “glitch”? Or was our initial spiritual certainty misplaced?
To understand the answer, I need to take you on another journey - this time with a snake called Rebel.
It was 6 weeks ago, and the afternoon sun was fading into evening when a notification popped up on my phone. A man had been using a whipper snipper/strimmer to cut some long grass on his property, and the device had hit a python who was snoozing in the grass.
I’m a volunteer wildlife rescuer and knew this snake would need urgent help.
When I arrived on the scene, I found a little girl python only 700 grams in weight. She was the saddest sight. Instead of being coiled peacefully on the ground in slumber, she was writhing in pain and bleeding from 3 deep cuts. The pain had been so intense she’d bitten into her own flesh, and her 100 razor-sharp teeth had become caught in her own skin.
I ever-so-gently released her teeth, placed her into a snake bag where she’d feel safe, and rang one of our skilled wildlife Vets. This little girl was going to need some urgent pain medication and a Vet check.
It was Saturday night, and I had little hope of the Vet answering her phone. Yet by some small miracle she did, and agreed to see us.
I want to give a shout-out here to all the amazing Vets around the world who treat injured wildlife. In Australia, our Vets do this as a volunteer service. They receive no Government subsidies, and they pay for the medication and their staff time from their own pockets.
As I walked into her clinic, the Vet said to me, “I won’t be able to operate tonight – I’ll just give some pain meds”. Unlike humans, for a snake to be stitched up, it needs to be fully sedated under general anaesthetic. It’s a lengthy procedure, often taking 3 to 6 hours from when the first sedative is administered to when the snake awakes from the anaesthetic.
Neither of us had this in our Saturday night plans. Yet once the Vet saw the state the little python was in, she changed her mind. The sooner a python is stitched up, the better its chance of healing. And with no Vet Nurse on hand, I had the honour of assisting in the operation.
It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. “You’ll breathe for her,” said the Vet. I had no idea what she meant by this statement but was soon to find out.
A small tube was inserted into the snake’s tiny oesophagus, and attached to a machine that was pumping oxygen and anaesthetic into her lungs. My role was to hold onto a small rubber balloon attached to the machine, and to lightly press on it every 20 seconds to push some of the anaesthetic and air into her lungs.
The Vet was very clear – if I squeezed the balloon too hard, I would hyperinflate her lungs and kill her. If I didn’t squeeze enough, she’d become oxygen deprived and die. And given the severity of her injuries and state of shock she would be in, her chances of surviving the operation were about 50/50.
What happened next was the most beautiful blend of heart and Science.
I put all thoughts aside and went into a counting meditation. Every 20 seconds I’d gently inflate the balloon, while the Vet spent an hour expertly stitching up the 3 wounds. Her wounds were extremely deep - one had narrowly missed her oesophagus, and the other two were on either side of her little heart.
It was a miracle that the whipper snipper had missed her vital organs. But this wasn’t the only miracle we were to witness that night.
As the operation drew to a close, we waited for a heartbeat. There was no need for more anaesthetic, so the tube was disconnected from the machine and the Vet began to give small breaths into the end of the tube every couple of minutes, administering “mouth to mouth” resuscitation to the little python via this tube.
Although the Vet encouraged me to go home, I couldn’t. I was holding a space of love for this little python. It can take a snake up to 4 hours to come out of an anaesthetic, but it was concerning that we weren’t yet seeing a heartbeat. Every now and then I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d seen a flickering of the skin. Was she alive? Was she dead?
It was then that the second miracle happened.
We suddenly saw it…a heartbeat! And that little pulse that was barely visible on her skin grew stronger and stronger. The Vet and I looked at each other, and our smiles said more than words ever could. We were both giving love that night, and celebrating this little snake’s journey.
“How could we not have seen that before?” said the Vet…yet we both knew it hadn’t been there before. This snake had just come back from the dead.
But then something happened that neither of us wanted. Her little heart that was beating so strongly only a moment before suddenly stopped again.
Ten minutes passed, and the Vet and I looked at each other. Still no heartbeat. “Do you have anything in your toolkit to help bring something back from the dead?” I asked.
It turns out there is a homeopathic remedy called “Corpse Reviver”, and I discovered why. The Vet used a little needle to stimulate an acupuncture point on the roof of the python’s mouth, and then put 3 drops of Corpse Reviver into her mouth. In less than a second, the little python gasped and started flicking her tongue. She was alive!
She’d just had her third miracle and earned the name of “Rebel” – the python who defied death three times!
The temperature was cool in the Vet’s surgery, and as Rebel started to come out of the anaesthetic, I gently placed my hands on her body. The warmth from my hands would assist her in coming to.
One of my gifts as a healer is a modality called Body Harmony, which I learned almost 30 years ago. It’s the gift of conscious touch. As my hands touched Rebel’s body, she relaxed into the touch and her muscles began to unwind their tension and her body began to dance.
It was now 12.30am, and we’d started the operation at 8pm. Rebel needed a night on a heat pad, and I was to collect her the next morning, so it was time to get some rest.
When I woke the next morning, I felt huge and full of space, like I was bathed in Spiritual Light. I believed it was because of the miracles I’d witnessed the night before.
I reached out to the Vet to organise collecting Rebel, only to receive some very sad news - she had not made it through the night.
I cried buckets that day, in sadness for little Rebel. And that’s the human side of me. But inside was this niggling feeling…. I’d seen the path ahead so clearly. It had felt so “right”.
How did I get it so wrong….or did the Universe get it wrong?
It was a few weeks later that I spoke to my friend and spiritual mentor. As often happens in my conversations with him, the bell of truth rang as he spoke, and the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle began to fall into place. He said to me:
“We’re not always in someone’s life for them to live – sometimes we’re there to help them transition. That Light you felt when you woke was Rebel, reaching to you from the other side. She was showing you what it’s like to be out of the body. She reached through the veil to you, to thank you.”
And I realised that she didn’t need to do that. Rebel could have moved on without a second thought. But she had paused a moment to thank me, because she had indeed felt the love that both the Vet and I had poured into her, and she wanted to give back.
And suddenly another memory clicked into place, like the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle.
That Light I had felt with Rebel….it reminded me for a moment of my beautiful Aunt who had passed away from cancer. I’d been with her for the last 9 days of her life, and about 8 hours after she’d passed, I walked into the kitchen of her home, and it was as if I was walking into an enormous bubble of Light and Gratitude.
I knew it was her energy from the other side, reaching to me to both thank me, and say a final farewell.
And that’s when I realised that with both Manny and Rebel, I had imposed my own vision of a future together onto them. Yes, they were both meant to be in my life. But my path was not intertwined with them in the physical plane.
Instead I was invited to the role of death doula, to stand on the threshold of life and death, and assist them in moving from their physical form into Spirit.