GIFTS: Speed. Awareness. Zigzagging. Grace. Community, safety in numbers. Seasonality. Flaunting your vulnerability (strength in vulnerability).
CHALLENGES: Exposing too much vulnerability. Arrogance. Stopping your tracks before it’s safe. Getting stuck in the herd.
Spirit Animal Gazelle teaches speed, awareness, zigzagging and grace. Gazelle moves with great speed, but its main predator, Cheetah, moves faster. So Gazelle’s greater gifts are the gifts of awareness and zigzagging. On the plains of Africa, the gazelles that escape the cheetah are the ones that zig when the cheetah zags. They keep up the swerving, not giving up hope, until the cheetah burns out and gives up the hunt.
Gazelle offers you the gift of awareness through heightened senses. In the physical world, gazelles have a wide radius of vision to be able to spot predators. Similarly, their acute senses of hearing and smell make gazelles adept at sensing danger (a stalking cheetah).
You can use this gift of heightened awareness in a few ways. You can learn to trust your senses (and your intuition), having faith that you will know when danger is real and, thus, be able to relax the rest of the time. You can also use this heightened awareness to become more aware of how your primary fear manifests itself in your life. When is that little voice in your head the inner critic, and when is it your inner wisdom?
Use Gazelle’s speed and zigzagging to transition quickly from a fear-based reaction back to a Truth-based action. Yes, Gazelle reacts quickly when danger is near. Learning to react quickly to real threats is different from knee-jerk, fear-based reactions that diminish your personal power.
Spirit animal Gazelle helps you discern Truth and real danger from sabotaging fear. Harnessing this gift will help you release fear more and more quickly whenever it emerges.
When being pursued by a predator, a trick of Thomson’s gazelles is “stotting.” Stotting is when a Thomson’s gazelle jumps straight up in the air while running away. This is a form of flaunting your vulnerability—not unlike Quetzal’s extraordinarily long tail. It is as if the gazelle is saying, “I’m so confident in my ability to escape you that I can take time out to randomly jump up in the air.” When it’s a male gazelle doing the stotting, it ends up looking pretty attractive to females. Stotting can also be a diversionary tactic to draw the predator away from more vulnerable young gazelles.
The message for you is to find strength in your vulnerability—while not being stupid about it. Unnecessarily flaunting your vulnerability makes you an easy target and can result in the criticism or ridicule you were trying to avoid. But mustering the courage to flaunt your vulnerability can end up making you impervious to criticism and ridicule, increasing your power and turning your vulnerability into a strength.